Friday, October 9, 2015

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

("Hello, India!  We bring you infection, in the form of Jesus and germs!")

Please note that this coming Monday, October 12th, is the day known as "Columbus Day."  I will not be blogging on this day--not because I'm a filthy imperialist, but because the schools are closed, and if I don't spend the day corralling my seventeen (17) children they will fan out and destroy the neighborhood.  You know, just like Citi Bike is doing.

Rest assured I will be back on Tuesday, October 13th with regular updates.

Pending my triumphant return and the concomitant fanfare, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right you'll know, and if you're wrong you'll see Australian ingenuity.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and go ahead and take a long weekend.

You deserve it.


--Wildcat Rock Machine

1) A clever rider in London has been reported to the police for:

--Completing a Rubik's Cube on a Boris Bike
--Solving the Guardian crossword on a Brompton
--Proving Fermat's Last Theorem on a Pashley
--Accidentally u-locking himself to a bike rack for several days

2) Mike Lane is the inventor of:

--The bike periscope
--The revolving bar end
--The posture girdle
--All of the above

3) Anti-pollution masks are the new helme(n)t.


("Where the hell is the Boost 148?!?")

4) What, you don't have Boost 148?  You gotta get the Boost 148!  So what is Boost 148?

5) White tires make you crash.


6) How much money do some Kickstarters want to produce a calendar of naked bicycles?  (So pictures of frames, basically.)


7) In his review of "The Cycling City: Bicycles and Urban America in the 1890," Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker invokes which of the following concepts? 

***Special Bespoke Bicycle-Themed Bonus Video***

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Warning: This Post Was Prepared In A Facility That Processes Peanuts

Maybe everyone in the world knew this already, but I was amused to learn in a very roundabout way that Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks fame composed Channel 4's theme music for the Tour de France back in the 1980s:

If you're like "No duh," well excuse me for being born on the wrong side of the Hotlantic Ocean.

Oh, right, the Atlantic Ocean is being rebranded the Hotlantic Ocean in order to put a positive spin on climate change, complete with licensed theme music.  (Did you know that guy from the "Hot Hot Hot" song was in the New York Dolls?  Crazy, right?!?)

("You knew that, now you're just being a wiseass.")

Speaking of climate change, the climate is changing right now in that fall is happening.  There was a time when I used to waste much of the fall sucking at cyclocross, which is a very poor use of time inasmuch as it's like 80% driving, 10% standing around, 9% hosing down your equipment, and 1% actual bicycle riding.  Now that I've come to my senses however, fall is my cue to ride the rugged all-terrain bicycle before winter comes and the trails get snowed under.  (And no, I AM NOT GETTING A GODDAMN FAT BIKE.)  So I strapped on the custom orthotics:

(I go to a high-end Park Avenue sports podiatrist named Dr. Scholl. $1,000 per foot and not covered under insurance but totally worth it.)

And hit the fabled Trails Behind the Mall:

Which is apparently now the "Giant Liv All Mountain Course:"

Indeed, between the fact that I was now on a genuine all mountain course and the flat tire I incurred, I think it's safe to say my ride was totally "epic:"

Some mountain bro is like, "You need tubeless, bro" but the four minutes it took me to fix my annual flat barely makes a dent in all the time I save not futzing with sealant.

("Futzing with sealant" sounds like a euphemism for how Eustace Tilley spends his time.)

In other news, someone Tweeted this story at me:
If you’ve perused our videos of the week article today you will have seen a clip of a chap completing a Rubik’s Cube while riding a Boris Bike through Hyde Park.

The attention he has received on the internet recently has alerted the Royal Parks to the clip and the rider has been reported to the police.

Italian student Simone Santarsiero wore a GoPro to record his footage and then uploaded it to YouTube. He told the Evening Standard: “At first it was quite difficult because I realised I could not cycle without both hands, but then I realised I could do it with one.”

Adding: “People were looking at me strange, I was worried about hitting someone but I did not injure anybody.”

Here's the video, which I hadn't seen:

So what did he even do that's illegal?  I don't even think the NYPD could come up with an excuse for arresting someone for doing this--well, apart from being too smart, which they probably do consider an arrestable offense.

Anyway, Santarsiero is presumably now a fugitive from justice, and the police are checking LARPing gatherings, Dungeons and Dragons meetups, and any other place Rubik's Cube enthusiasts are likely to be found.

Meanwhile, Old Man Rubik has declined to comment:

By the way, that quote's bullshit, because we used to pull those things apart, put them back together in order, and pretend we'd "solved" them all the time.

You could also just peel off the stickers and put them back on again, but that was too obvious.

And on this side of the Hotlantic, a self-described "fat guy" is riding across Canada's unsolved Rubik's Cube:

Eric Hites hit rock bottom earlier this year. At age 40, after having worked as a D.J., roadie, telemarketer, pizza delivery man and bartender, he found himself unemployed, and collection agencies were on his tail. His wife, who had left him in July 2014, was living with another man.

His weight reached 567 pounds. He told himself he had a choice: Rot away in Danville, Ind., where he had been living with his parents, or do something drastic to save his life and marriage. He considered a gastric bypass, but while listening to the Proclaimers’ hit “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” he had another idea.

I figured his idea was going to be punching the crap out of somebody, because that's what that song makes most people want to do, but instead he decided to ride across the country:

But maybe he could make it that far on a bicycle. Maybe he could even pedal more than 3,000 miles, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He could see the country, lose some pounds, get a book deal out of it and show the woman he loved that he could change.

On a $17 Mongoose:

("Only $17?  I'm a bargain at twice the price!")

Sorry, a Mongoose bicycle:

I'm firing the goddamn image department.

Anyway, he seems to be taking his time, and he's not denying himself any indulgences along the way:

Connecticut took them a week and a half. They were impressed by what they saw along the roads in Greenwich. “In regular cities you see bottles of Colt 45 on the side the road,” Ms. Atterbury said. “In Greenwich, it’s like a fancy Champagne bottle. I’m like, what?”

“People say it’s a long vacation,” Mr. Hites said in his Nick Nolte growl. “Well, but I’m getting healthy doing it.”

His wife said they had cut back to four or five cigarettes a day. “The doctor told us: ‘Don’t do both at once. Either lose weight or quit smoking,’ ” she said. “And we were like, ‘Nope, we’re going to do both.’ ”

Mr. Hites confessed to having made a pit stop at a White Castle, where he was surprised to discover ketchup on the double cheeseburger. “White Castles don’t have ketchup on them, ever,” he said.

That's how you do a bike tour in AMERICA baby!!!

This is not to say he isn't prone to introspection or periods of reflection:

“All the people saying, ‘Winter’s coming, you’ll never make it, this is all a scam, you’ve been riding in cars the whole way,’ ” he said. “Seriously? If I was going to cheat, I’d say I did 30 miles, not five miles or 10 miles. I’d already be across the United States, if I was cheating. I’m fat and I’m slow, and that should be proof enough that I’m doing it. And if winter comes, winter comes.”

I'm pretty sure that's a direct quote from "A Game Of Thrones."

This guy needs to hook up with Steve Spell, he might learn a thing or two:

Steve Spell is the this guy of Walmart bikes:

("What gear is that?"--A Fixie Dork)

Lastly, remember the Coronado Bike Lane Freakout?  Well, you'll be pleased to know that Williamsburg now has its own version:

Here's Simon Weiser, co-chair of the Transportation Committee, on the tyranny of bike lanes:

Every avenue cannot have a bike lane. They have to let people live. Bike lanes belong on side streets, not on every single avenue. The city created a mess putting these bike lanes all over. Then they go, "Oh, a biker got killed! A biker got killed!" Sure a biker got killed. Not every single street has to be a bike lane. All these bike lanes doesn't help.


He was then dragged from the meeting while shouting about how the city was "killing Independent George."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Shoal me, shoal me, shoal me..."

Further to yesterday's post, an astute commenter pointed out that the inventor of the revolving bar end appears to be the very same person who invented that fixie periscope:

Which is very possibly one of the dumbest cycling accessories ever conceived:

So at this point, he's invented a posture girdle, a bike periscope, and a pair of rotating bar ends, all of which suggests to me that he should forget trying to invent stuff and just do a Kickstarter to raise money for the back surgery he so obviously needs.

Also, it's worth noting that he invented the bike periscope in Brooklyn, and he invented the bar ends in Portland.  This confused me, but according to his bio he lives in both places:

I am an avid bike rider with a penchant for Burger King. I graduated with a business degree from Texas A&M university so that also makes me a bit of a redneck. I am fortunate enough to split my time between Portland, Oregon and NYC.

Self-conscious appreciation for fast food aside, I believe they call this being "bi-artisanal."

Anyway, Brooklyn's insufferable enough, so I think if I had to go back and forth between there and Portland I'd lose my fucking mind.

A reality that consists of toggling between two of the most affected places in the United States sounds like some nightmarish hybrid of "Twelve Monkeys" and a Wes Anderson film.

Speaking of cities and superlatives, apparently London is the most Strava-addled city on the planet:

The world's number one activity tracker has crowned London as the most active city on its network (perhaps unsurprising given its nearly nine million citizens), with more than seven million rides logged over the 12-month data capture. The average distance undertaken by Strava-savvy London riders was 25.9km (16.1 miles) with an average speed of 22.5km/h (13.98mph) and the average elevation change coming in at 644ft (196.3m). The data also showed that 8,639 London cycling commutes are logged on Strava every single day and that Tuesday is the most popular day to take to the saddle.

Translation: your ass is gonna get Cat 6-ed in London on a Tuesday.

In second place was Amsterdam with 2,760,418 cycle activities logged over the last 12 months and San Francisco third with 2,380,633 activities. Given that each of these cities is only around a tenth the size of London, cyclists who live there probably have cause to argue that they are, in fact, rather more active than those in the UK capital.

Oh snap!

Well, this may be true, but I will say that London is probably the Cat 6-iest city I've ever visited:

(♩♫♪ "And if a double-decker bus..."♩♫♩)

Pancake-flat Amsterdam clocked the fastest average speed per ride with 25.6km/h (15.9mph) while Milan cyclists ride the longest, with an average ride length of 54.2km (33.67 miles). Barcelona has the hilliest terrain, with cyclists climbing a leg burning average of 2,531ft (771.5m) per ride.

Note how the spiteful article qualifies Amsterdam's obvious Strava superiority by mentioning that the city is flat, yet it totally fails to mention that they're also riding 70 lb bakfietsen into 20 mph headwinds while Londoners ride expensive Fred chariots and sprightly Bromptons.

Then again, in London's defense, their pollution masks are probably slowing them down:

Is a mask as good a safety precaution as a helmet?

Sure, inasmuch as they're both pretty much useless when you get run over.

Maybe Volkswagen should buy one of these for everybody on the planet.

Meanwhile, here's how my hometown stacked up in the Strava genital-measuring contest:

NYC average speed: 21.7km/h  
NYC average distance: 28km
NYC average elevation: 208.8m

Though I expect those numbers to go up now that Ben Serotta is designing our Citi Bikes.

Speaking of cycling in New York City, a heated discussion took place yesterday in the local media on the subject of shoaling:

Though as the inventor of the term I suggest we all withhold our opinions until Donald Trump weighs in.

The guy knows a lot about bikes.

I'd also be interested to hear what Trump has to say about the new SuperX, which sounds like the name of an important figure from the Black Power movement but is really just a cyclocross bike from Cannondale--so basically the total opposite:

A friend of mine alerted me to this and I'm amazed at how positively wank-tastic and weenie-riffic a sport that basically involves riding around on grass for no more than an hour at a time has become in the space of just a few years.  First of all, despite being over $5,000, the reviewer calls it a "decent bargain."  Then he takes it to task for having a short-cage derailleur (it's a racing bike, for Trump's sake) and for not having thru-axles:

According to Cannondale’s representatives, the company uses the quick-release system because it combines light weight, simplicity of use, and solid performance, though future inclusion of thru-axles wasn’t ruled out. 

Wait, they specced the bike with something that's light, simple, works really well, and is damn near universal?

What morons!

And I'm not sure why it even needs thru-axles, since it seems to do just fine without them:

Dive hard into a corner, launch out of it, and the SuperX is right there with you. That sort of confident handling means the frame combines the right amount of flex for compliance and stiffness for power transfer.

[Pssst: don't tell anybody, but every bike is "right there with you" when you come out of a corner, unless you fall off of it.]

Even the reviewer admits the thru-axles don't make a difference--though apparently you need them anyway because "Boost 148:"

But there is one solid reason to switch to thru-axles even if the axles themselves don’t do much to improve performance: Boost 148 only comes in a thru-axle option, and in our experience, Boost works.

It's true, you gotta have the Boost 148.

What, you don't have Boost 148?

Come on, you need the Boost 148.

Just one thing:

What the hell is Boost 148?!?

At first I thought it was a movie, like Turk 182:

Fun Fact: "Turk 182" was written by inveterate bike-hater and complete dolt, Pete Hamill's Brother, who you may remember as the bonehead who hates those damn bike lanes, and who wrote this screed excoriating the new 25mph speed limit:

“I’m gonna be late,” my son said.

“This clown is slower than a glacier,” I screamed.

I honked. The guy didn’t accelerate. “He has two speeds,” I shouted. “Drop dead and rigor mortis.”

My speedometer read: 25 mph.

And I suddenly realized that come Nov. 7, this was going to be the speed limit in New York City. Bloomberg banned smoking and trans fats and de Blasio was gonna make us the City That Never Speeds.

Turning right onto three-lane Horace Harding Expressway, I passed the slowpoke, shot him a dirty look, and raced my kid to school just before the morning bell.

It's strange he's so averse to road safety considering people in his life keep getting mowed down left and right:

I have a teenage son who will be taking driver’s ed this year. I remind my kid daily about his Aunt Donna and his two cousins who no longer have a mother.

In the past couple of years, several fellow students at his high school were killed speeding or drag racing. I will discuss with him those four young women whose families will be burying them before they lived the best years of their lives because of a treacherous cocktail of gasoline and alcohol.

Then again, I suppose it's not so strange, given that he's a fucking idiot.

But yeah, Boost 148 isn't a movie, it's the new mountain bike standard, which you now need on a cyclocross bike for some reason:

I can't believe I'm still riding around on mountain bikes with 135mm spacing.

I'd better upgrade immediately.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

You Can't Spell "Innovation" Without "Anoint Vino"*

*Had to cheat to come up with that one.  You know, like Vino.

Merriam-Webster defines "innovation" thusly:

I suspect this may be a mistake.

Nevertheless, while "innovation" may be too charitable a word for the brainfarts of today's Kickstarter doofuses, we are certainly experiencing a golden age of bicycle alteration.  If a part on a bike didn't move before, it does now.  If there's a way to get your phone to operate some part on your bike that works much better if you just use it manually, then rest assured somebody's on it.

Now, one bold entrepreneur has turned his attention to the humble bar end:

Largely ignored since the 1990s, the bar end is the Primus of bicycle accessories.  However, like Primus, they still have their dedicated fans--though most bar ends you'll see are simply there because the owner couldn't be bothered to take them off, which is something they also share in common with pie plates.

Anyway, if you've ever used bar ends you know the most annoying thing about them is that once you set them up exactly the way you want them they tend to slip out of place--so naturally this person has invented bar ends that rotate on purpose:

Also, they look like a gun, so there's the added risk of getting shot by an overzealous police officer who will then testify that you were coming at him with a pair of pistols.

Then again, this is a Portland product, so you're probably safe from the police just as long as: A) You only use them in Portland; and B) You look like this, which in Portland most people do:

("Nothing bad could ever happen to us.")

So how did he come up with the idea for the rotating bar end?

"I initially came up with the idea 'cause I used to be a bike messenger..."

With the possible exception of "Whatpressureyourunning?," there is no more common phrase among bike dorks than "I used to be a bike messenger."  That's why it's going to be the basis for my new line of t-shirts:

Stay tuned for the Kickstarter campaign.

Alas, it seems bicycle messengering took its toll on his back:

"I would ride for eight hours a day and my back would just kill at the end of the day."

See, messengers get a bad rap for all the weed and booze, but all they're trying to do is soothe their chronic back pain.

"There was no way I could really change my hand position or my back position.  You know, when you ride a bike you're just hunched over in one position, or two positions at the most..."

Wait, what?!?

And that's just with standard road bars.  With a little creativity and some ordinary household items you can go way past the four canonical hand positions and venture Beyond the Infinite:

By the way, when you're a messenger, even though you're technically on the bike eight hours a day you're rarely riding for more than 20 minutes at a time, since you're constantly on and off the bike picking up and dropping off packages.  If anything you spend most of your time waiting for freight elevators--which gives you ample time to work the kinks out of your back.

I know this because I used to...

Well I'm not going to say it.

Either way, he's gone ahead and invented the trigger-operated adjustable bar end nobody wanted or needed:

And here he is explaining the mechanics behind the concept:

Which is basically that they're artisanal "bum bars."


But what's most compelling about this particular Kickstarter pitch is that Mike Lane of Portland looks remarkably similar to another Mike Lane of Portland who once hawked some sort of posture-correcting device on the TV show "Shark Tank:"

And the inspiration behind it?

Fanklin said Lane's desk job sparked the invention. "He said 'I’ve got an idea because I sit at my desk all day and my posture has gotten really bad. Let's create a posture improvement device.'"

Wait a minute!  I thought the bad back was from messengering!  Now we find out it's from sitting in a cubicle all day?!?

Actually, we may never know the real Mike Lane, for he's clearly a master of disguise.  Three years ago it was selling manssieres to office drones, now it's selling bar ends that look like guns to the urban cycling set, and three years from now he'll probably be selling some kind of ergonomic car seat cushion inspired by his days as a repo man.

Speaking of innovation, I've mentioned the ICEdot helme(n)t before, and apparently now in addition to alerting your loved ones that you've crashed it will also tell them when you've started and finished your ride:

Icedot text message feature rounds out safety platform

Icedot — an emergency ID and notification service — is now offering a digital safety platform that sends text messages to designated contacts when you start and finish a ride. These notifications also include a tracking link with map features to track your route. With the Crash Sensor app, the system uses automated push notifications at the outset of a ride that users can choose to turn on or off the text messages notifications.

If your loved ones really cared that much couldn't they just stalk you on Strava?

And why is this even necessary?  Everybody in the house knows when you start and finish a Fred ride, because you're wearing ridiculous clothing and you clomp in and out of the house in your stupid clown shoes.

Does your spouse or life partner really need some kind of electronic notification to know that this just walked in the door?

If anything, a text message on top of the horrifying reality only seems cruel.

By the way, the aforementioned Velo-whatever article also mentions this:

Umbo Helmets shoots to reduce traumatic brain injuries

A team of Colorado scientists and avid cyclists hopes to reduce the $76.1 billion that the U.S. spends on traumatic brain injuries each year with the newly designed Umbo Helmet.

I've mentioned this company's Kickstarter before, but I'm too lazy to figure out when.  In any case, if they want to whittle down that $76.1 billion figure they're wasting their time making bicycle helme(n)ts, because here's what's causing traumatic brain injuries here in Canada's scranus:

The leading causes of TBI in the general population are falls (35.2%), motor vehicle crashes (17.3%), blunt impact (e.g., being struck by or against a moving or stationary object) (16.5%), and assaults (10%) (4). Different age groups are affected to varying degrees (Table). Falls account for a large proportion of TBIs among children aged 0–14 years and among adults aged ≥65 years (4). Motor vehicle crashes and assaults are the predominant causes of TBIs in teens and young adults aged 15–34 years (4). Military personnel, both in and out of combat, and rescue workers and victims exposed to blasts also are at risk for TBI (10).

Notice "Fred crashes" aren't listed anywhere.  I mean sure, maybe they're included in the general "falls" category, but I'd think if it was such an epidemic that they'd break it out.

And I'm not saying that Freds don't fall, because they most certainly do:

Hey, in their defense, it was a very technical section of road:

As for what caused the first rider to go down, the videographer doesn't say, but my guess is either "foot popped out of pedal" or "front wheel came out from under him," possibly owing to a potently Fredly combination of spirited out-of-the-saddle acceleration and a choppy pedal stroke--and I'm not sure the white tires are entirely blameless here either:

Though I could very easily be wrong about all of this.

Still, in the interest of Fredly forensics I've analyzed the video, and here the rider already listing, his front wheel possibly coming out from under him:

Skipping ahead now to the slo-mo replay, we can see clearly that the foot's now out of the pedal:

Then the yabbies meet the top tube:

And he elegantly ice skates into the adjacent Fred:

At which point they both fall like it's the mirror scene in "Duck Soup:"

Helme(n)t apologists will no doubt point out that Fred 2's foam hat hits the pavement:

As does Fred 1's:

Though helme(n)t cynics will blame the white tires for causing it all.

Regardless, all of this is so engrossing that we forget all about Fred 3, who is right now at this moment completely upside down:

One can only imagine the texts if they'd been wearing ICEdots.

Here's hoping everyone's okay.