Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Everybody Follow Me: Party At Old Man Brooks's House!

Remember when you were young and some rich kid's parents went away to St. Barths so you all went over to his house to hang out?  Remember how much nicer everything was--the TV with all the cable channels, the en suite bidet, the giant fridge with a door like a meat locker that the butler had to open for you?  Then remember you stole the old man's rare Ferrari and went on an charmingly irreverent coming-of-age tear through Chicago?

Well, I'm going to L'Eroica in a couple of weeks, and guess what?  Brooks let me use their blog and that's where today's post is, so now let's go trash the place!


Not only that, but I'll be returning to the Brooks Blog for regular monthly guest stints--that is until somebody throws their bidet out the window.  But pending that, it's very kind of Brooks to indulge me, and here's a picture showing the very embodiment of their indulgence:


(Eric "The Chamferer" Murray cannot believe stupid I am, yet still he indulges me by not cutting me.)

So enjoy the blog and let's all meet back here tomorrow.

Also, remember: if Brooks wants to know who smeared pâté all over the big-screen TV, we have no idea, because we were at the library studying all day.


--Wildcat Rock Machine


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mangia! An appetizer before Wednesday.

Good day to you!

I regret to inform you that, owing to various obligations and miscellaneous whatnots, today's blogular post will be somewhat truncated.  This also has something to do with it:

 

Yes, I "curated" this cannoli-eating "edit" myself, and its significance will be revealed in the not-too-distant future.

Possibly.

Also, further to yesterday's post, a commenter had this to say:

Lyscii said...

Lol, surprised to see my ad here. I needed a longer seatpost when I built up that Bianchi, and a friend sold me that seatpost super cheap. As soon as the deal was done, he tells me that the post once belonged to Bike Snob NYC. As the story went, both were at a bike polo match, Bike Snob was having issues with a seatpost slipping, my friend happened to have one lying around that was .2mm bigger, and they traded. Sucks that it turns out not to be true, but I guess an effective tactic to sell a bike, as it sold this afternoon.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 AT 12:39 AM

This is patently absurd, and I am shocked and appalled at the implication that I participate in bike polo matches.  I mean sure, fine, I tried bike polo ONE TIME:


But that was only because I was in Portland doing research for an article I was writing:


So does it have to haunt me for the rest of my life?

Apparently so.

Furthermore, the bicycle pictured did not belong to me.  Rather, it was lent to me for the occasion by the bicycle poloists, who to a man were almost disgustingly friendly and good-natured.

It was also on that same trip that I competed in the Single Speed Cyclocross Single Speed World Singlespeed Championships For Singlespeed Bicycles, and I can assure you I was truly unique because I wasn't wearing a costume.


(I'm totally stealing all these photos from my erstwhile Outside editor's photostream.)

When racing bikes in Portland, sincerity is the boldest form of irreverence.

While I'm waxing nostalgic on the Mustache of Time, this was also the race in which Stevil Kinevil of All Hail the Black Market and I faced off for a sprint finish so dramatic that the entire race fell away around us and for a brief moment we were the only two riders at the Portland International Raceway, or indeed on the planet earth.  He'll tell you I won and I'll tell you he won, and the only thing that's certain is that neither of us had any idea what lap we were on--but as far as we were both concerned, the race was over.  And ultimately, who won really doesn't matter, because the only loser that day was dignity.

Speaking of Stevil and cyclocross, if you're following this whole "Beergate" thing (and I can't blame you if you're not), he recently had the definitive word on heckling:

Let me be perfectly clear- I learned from some of the finest hecklers in this region’s history, and have been doing it for far longer than some of the aforementioned dicks have been riding bikes. Rule number one is to never, under any circumstances interfere with the race. You wanna throw beer on somebody? Throw beer on your friends at your local event. Or save it for a guy in an orange jumpsuit. Beyond that, if you don’t know the difference between a creative and funny heckle and a bald faced insult, keep for stupid mouth shut. It’s so painfully simple, yet clearly piles of people don’t get it.

Stevil is living proof that it takes true class to be a dirtbag.

Penultimately, I'd like to remind certain people that YES I'VE SEEN THE NAKED MIDRIFF PICTURE already:


While Stevil Kinevil may be the cycling world's heckling expert, when it comes to Colombia and partial nudity there is no greater authority than Klaus of Cycling Inquisition, who sums up the "controversy" thusly:

Their statement says that the team has been racing with this kit for nine months. It was designed by one of the team's riders, Angie Tatiana Rojas, and (as you might expect) appears more salacious in these photos due to shadows. The statement from the Cycling League of Bogota says, "this uniform was not designed with any malice whatsoever, and there was no intent in trying to objectify our athletes, or use them in such a manner for the sake of exposure for the sponsor." They also say that the kit was vetted and approved by the rider's teammates, though many assumed that the riders were being used, and objectified.

So there you go, and if you're worried about women being objectified then worry about the riders who participated in that Mario Cipollini "training camp:"


That was back in March of 2012, so the illegitimate children from that camp should be almost two years old now!

Time sure does fly.

Lastly, the California "three feet rule" has just gone into effect, so here's some safe passing porn:


You know who also gives three feet?  Here's a hint: he's oily, he's a former professional bike racer, and he's the father of fifteen illegitimate two year-olds.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Title: A Descriptive Or General Heading!

Stand up from your desk, café table, bus seat, or toilet and go to the nearest window.

Go ahead, I'll wait.

Now, open that window, uncover your genitals, and expose them to the outdoors.

So what do you feel?

The faint hint of autumn in the air, that's what!

(Unless you feel a sharp, concentrated burning sensation, in which case a wasp has just stung you on the penis or vulva.)

There was once a time when those first crisp suggestions of fall made me think of only one thing:

Cyclocross!

Sadly, cyclocross has reached "peak frat boy" now, and my patience for it has worn thin, like a pair of 10-year old Nashbar half-shorts.  Instead, I go "full Proust" around this time of year and allow the fall breezes to transport me all the way back to my school days.  It's all I can think about lately.  I remember walking to class wearing a leather motorcycle jacket and an off-brand Walkman, my cigarette and expression both smoldering as I dragged the heels of my 8th Street Doc Martens past the kosher pizzeria.

It feels like it was just yesterday, though in reality it was a full seven years ago, when I took that "How To Be A Bike Blogger" class at the Learning Annex.

Of course, all of that hard work eventually paid off, and I'm now internationally known--which I can prove, because according to my analytics someone in Canada accidentally clicked on my blog last week.  In fact, I'm so successful that I've become a selling point in Craigslist ads, as a Twitterer has informed me:


Here's a closer look (emphasis on the relevant portion mine):



52cm Bianchi Limited Shimano Nexus 3-speed Flat Bar Road Bike - $170 (West Madison)

Up for sale is a Bianchi that I've turned into a 3-speed. Frame is a 1981 (+/- a year or two) Bianchi Limited. 52cm seat tube, 54.5cm top tube, some sort of Tange Cro-moly tubing, Suntour GT dropouts, made in Japan, accepts 47-57mm brakes. 

Wheelset is a Shimano Nexus 3-speed coaster brake rear hub, alloy sealed front hub leaced to a set of nice looking brown rims. 

SR Apex crankset
Sakae TCO 26.8mm seatpost (Apparently belonged to BikesnobNYC at one point)
Selle San Marco Island Saddle
Ergon Grips
Promax Dual Pivot front brake

Bike has been built up by a professional bike mechanic

That's right: just imagine the thrill of owning a bicycle equipped with a seatpost that was once owned by you'rs truley, and knowing that a pair of vanadium seat rails and a centimeter of foam and vinyl were all that lay between it and my scranus.  (Well, except for the time I forgot to tighten the saddle rail clamp, at which point there was nothing lying between it and my scranus.  For two weeks after, I walked like I was wearing road bike shoes, even when I in sneakers.)

The only problem here is that it's completely untrue, and I have never owned this steatpost.  In fact, I have no idea what a "Sakae TCO" even is, though it sounds like something that you might knock back after shouting "Kampai!!!," or maybe a Japanese version of Teddy Pendergrass's "Love TKO."

So caveat emptor.  And remember, you should never, ever purchase a bicycle or component purportedly owned by me unless the seller can furnish you with a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity proving its provenance:


And if you're a seller, please note that I will happily sell you a bogus certificate in order to legitimize your endeavor.  Simply click here to purchase.  It doesn't even have to be for a bike part!  No reason someone wouldn't spend top dollar on a BikeSnobNYC-owned Cuisinart, right?

Right.

Speaking of Cuisinarts, here's one for your crotch that was spotted by a reader outside of a diner in Hondo, TX:


Either this person is expecting some serious trouble, or else that's a handbrake that also castrates you.

Whatever the case, it's no surprise the diner was forced to post this sign: 


After the fourth or fifth time a customer runs into your shop bleeding profusely from the crotch you stop taking legal responsibility.

Though is losing your "pants yabbies" to the knife you store underneath the nose of your saddle really an accident?

I guess that depends in part on whether or not you believe in "God," and when I did an Internet search for "Hondo, TX" here's the first thing it came up with:



This is a perfect example of "Good message, bad underlying concept."  Drive carefully?  Sure I can get behind that.  Do it because this is "God's Country?"  By that reasoning then I can speed up again as soon as I leave town because fuck those shitbags in Uvalde, right?


Though maybe I'm overthinking it--or else I'm underthinking it, which is sort of the same thing.

Another example of the "Good message, bad underlying concept" concept is this article which was forwarded to me by the author:


Basically it says that cars and bikes are different, and therefore it doesn't make sense to apply the same rules to drivers and cyclists.

I couldn't agree more.

However, for no reason at all he's got to add stuff like this:

The car drivers and I have that hatred in common. Just because I am riding a bike doesn’t mean I am nice. I wish I was the only one on the road too; no bikers primping in their skin-tight pants while they do their group rides and block the right lane, and none of those look-at-me bicycling parents with precious junior in that bike trailer they are dragging around. They bug me too, along with cars that buzz by me a foot from my elbow at 45 mph when no one else is on the road.

Speaking as someone who often rides in "skin-tight pants" or with a child (though, it should be noticed, never at the same time), guess what?  I don't want you to look at me.  What kind of nutcase rides around town thinking everyone else on a bike is trying to taunt him with their asses and children?  

The kind who thinks you should have a license to ride a bike, that's what:

Now that we have that out of the way, we can go back to hating one another (and maybe more so). Next we can determine if I should need a license to ride my bicycle on the roads. I’m all for that. But because we base our licenses on weight (more weight causes more road damage, which is why trucks pay more), let’s set a fair market license-for-bikes fee. Based upon me and my bike weighing about 250 pounds total, and a 4,000 pound passenger car charged $34.50 in Ohio per year, I figure my cost should be about $2 a year.

First, I think he's confusing "license" and "registration."  Second, I don't care if a license (or registration, or yellow badge, or whatever they want us to carry) costs two cents a year.  I'll move before I sell out my independence to The Man!


("The Man."  And by "sell out" I mean "give him money.")

But otherwise, yeah, the writer's right on with the red light thing.

Lastly, here's a Craigslist "Missed Connection" that can't fail:

u jogging..while.i bike - m4w - 35 (prospect park..)
age : 35

Seeing ur.georgs nokout...body.and..big..titees... While I bike. .tried to wink..at..u just so shy...u pull me out of bed make want to see u every day......just wish...I can feel u closer. ...love ur..muscle. .and..you're beautiful body. Please. Let's meet. .up

Makes Shakespeare's sonnets look like Ikea instructions.

Friday, September 12, 2014

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

So how psyched are you that it's Friday?

Please enter your response here:_______.

No obscenities please, this is a family blog.

JUST KIDDING!!!

Feel free to answer this way if you're so inclined:


Oh, also, we're well into September, so who's racing cyclocross this weekend?

Show of hands:


Okay, you can put them down now.  Good for you.  Have fun driving three hours, walking around a field for another five hours asking people in shants "Whatpressureyourunning?," riding your bike for 45 minutes, and driving another three hours home.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I like the cyclocross.  But you can't tell me that's not exactly what it is.

And spare me the whole "But there's beer!" routine.  Why is that so exciting?  What, you can't get beer at home?

Oh, so did anybody go to Interbike?  I finally found myself browsing some of the coverage recently, and for me this sums up the sad state of bottom bracket "standards" perfectly:


Tired of the perpetual bottom bracket creak on your PF86/92 or PF30-equipped frame? Wheels Manufacturing showed off a new thread-together bottom bracket design that might finally quiet things down.

The problem with frames using either of those bottom bracket designs is that the manufacturing tolerances are too wide for the press-fit cups to fit consistently tight. And while thread-together adapters such as from Praxis Works have been great for mounting Shimano, SRAM GXP, or FSA 24mm-diameter spindles into an oversized PF/BB30 or BB386EVO shell since they can be installed so securely into the frame, other combinations typically don't leave enough room for tool access.

Okay, so we've been told for years that bottom brackets weren't "beefy" enough:


Apparently, we were losing precious watts to our diminutive bottom bracket shells, and so salvation came in these PF/BB30-whatever things.  However, it turns out they suck, so apparently now the solution is to buy an adapter like the one above (I mean the Wheels Manufacturing thing, not the giant ass) and turn them all back into regular threaded bottom brackets.

Indeed, the PF30 bottom bracket shell is pretty much the only complaint I have about my Ritte von Finkelstein road riding bicycle cycle:


The adapter I've got in there works fine and is quiet, but it's a hassle to install and remove, and as far as I'm concerned the Hollowtech II thread-in bottom bracket cup system represents the highest point in bicycle engineering.

That's enough Fred talk for the day.

And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right that's fantastic, and if you're wrong it's tragic--though you'll be consoled by the deep, abiding love a Fred has for his bike.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and make sure you've got a philosophy.


--Wildcat Rock Machine



1) Order your Flying Rider now and get a free Bike Snob NYC hat!

--True
--False




2) What is this?

--The "CrankPump" hidden tire inflator
--The "Balls Out" bottom bracket bearing extractor
--The "One Hit Wonder" hidden marijuana vaporizer
--The "Ryder Hesjedal" electric motor assist





3) Tire levers are for "woosies."

--True
--False






4) What's the best type of rack system for carrying bikes with a motor vehicle?

--Roof rack
--Trunk rack
--Hitch rack
--ZZZzzz...





5) What is this?







("This say I not father of baby.  You please sign.")

6) Fill in the blank: The new time trial bike from Mario Cipollini is called the ____.

--"Bomb"
--"Nuke"
--"Duke"
--"Douche"





7) Finally!  A shoe that tells you how much you suck!

--True
--False




***Special "Well, There's That Problem Licked, Now Let's Move On To The Middle East"--Themed Bonus Video!***

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hanging In There: Undaunted or In Denial?

Here in New York City it's an overcast day both literally and metaphorically, so let's focus on the positive.

Remember the Flying Rider?



They said it was ridiculous.  They called it a rolling hernia truss.  They said it would never get off the ground.  (The bike, that is, not the rider.  The rider is clearly off the ground, hovering preternaturally like a seagull over a garbage scow.)

And when I say "they," I mean "me."

Well, that didn't stop the inventor, one David M. Schwartz, architect and living embodiment of the American Dream, who next took the Flying Rider project to Kickstarter in search of $28,888:



By the time his campaign was over, he had raised just over three hundred bucks.

The story might very well have ended there.  David M. Schwartz might have given up.  In search of solace, he might have turned to drink.  He might then have engaged in drunken street corner tirades against the all-powerful saddle and seatpost lobby who, threatened by his brilliant invention, clearly squelched it so that their wares would not immediately become obsolete:


("You make that bike and I'll chamfer you from bollocks to bunghole."--Eric "The Chamferer" Murray)

Well sure, a Canadian might have done all that stuff, but David M. Schwartz is an American, goddamn it!*  That's why I wasn't surprised to learn that he was undaunted by these setbacks.  That's also why, after reading his latest press release, I stood erect (as in on my feet, not the other way) and belted out the National Anthem at the top of my lungs.

*[Disclaimer: I have no idea whether or not David M. Schwartz is actually an American.]


Fair Oaks, CA.  D. M. Schwartz, inventor of the flying Rider bicycle, announced today that a limited edition of 100 carbon fiber bikes is under construction at Dynamic Composites in canada.  Each bicycle in this initial series will be signed by the builder, Al Beyer, and each end user will receive a copy of the patent personally dedicated by Schwartz.  Deliveries to dealers who order at the upcoming Las Vegas Interbike show will begin in September.  Retail prices are:

Complete bike, $4,770.  Frame only, no front fork, $2,462.

The design appeals to speed-oriented riders who will take advantage of increased leverage on the pedals, and riders who can't tolerate a bike seat will take advantage of the suspension frame.

I wonder where David M. Schwartz made his actual announcement, though I suspect he issued it from the toilet while gazing into a shaving mirror, because I know that's where I hold all my own "press conferences."  I was also surprised to learn that Mr. Schwartz had found a builder willing to put his name on that thing.  Most of all though, I was surprised to see this:


Yes, that's right, look a little closer and you'll see the Flying Rider model is wearing the greatest cycling cap ever made:


If you dedicate yourself wholly to your craft, day in and day out, year after year, striving for excellence with no thought of compensation or recompense, one day you might just be lucky enough to experience a single fleeting moment of validation, a cosmic tip-of-the-cap that makes it all seem worthwhile.

For me, this is emphatically not that moment--if anything, it makes me think I should quit right now--yet I blog on undaunted.

Meanwhile, speaking of indomitability, some scumbag in Brooklyn stole a bike with a kiddie seat on it:


And the owners of the bike are worried about him:

"The first thing we thought when it was stolen was, we hope the guy riding it around is all right. The brakes are kinda bad."

Okay, the thief is a complete lowlife and nobody deserves to have a bike stolen, but two things:

1) What the fuck happened to Brooklyn that people who live there now actually think this way?  If the guy who steals your bike crashes because the brakes failed, you just won the cosmic lottery!  I mean come on, that's life at its most beautiful!  Flowers blooming, a mother gazing lovingly at her child, and a thief screaming in terror as he speeds into busy intersection on a bike with no brakes.  These are the moments for which we live!

2) Why the hell are you riding your kid around on a bike with shitty brakes!?!

Also:

"It's the third bike we've had stolen from the exact same spot," Herwig says. "We've had two U-locks cut, and now this cable."

Uh, if someone cuts your lock you're supposed to get a stronger one, not the other way around.  Come on, you guys have a kid!  Haven't you ever read The Three Little Pigs?


Then again, this is Brooklyn, so there's probably a new book called the Three Little Artisans where the pigs start with brick but then move on to reclaimed wood and bamboo before finally joining the "small house movement:"


There's also no Big Bad Wolf in the story, because children shouldn't be exposed to the realities of meat-eating until their sophomore year at Bard.

Anyway, I think I'm going to disable the coaster brake on the State Saturday Deluxe and leave it unlocked on top of the steepest hill in the neighborhood:


I'm then going to write a children's book about it.  It will be called: SPLAT!  The Naughty Weasel Who Stole Bikes.

Lastly, speaking of no brakes, there's this:


Good to see there are people trying to keep the dying flame of dumbass fixery alive.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's Wednesday And I Forgot To Go To Interbike!

My goodness, is it Wednesday already?

Whew!

Where does the time go?


("I'd explain to you where the time goes but you're too stupid to understand.")

So I realize I've been breaking Bicycling's balls (relax, it's just a figure of speech) over anointing my hometown as the number one bike city in the country (if this is as good as it gets please shoot me), but here's something they published about cycling in New York City by a guy who really knows what he's talking about:


And no, that's not my bike.

Also, I finally read our city's actual profile, which was extremely interesting to me because I appear in it and I absolutely love reading about myself:



Not everyone finds riding in NYC so idyllic. I meet with blogger (and BICYCLING columnist) Eben Weiss, aka Bike Snob NYC. “Show me New York’s underbelly,” I tell him. Rolling through Central Park, Weiss points out where a cop once tackled Lance Armstrong for riding on the sidewalk. En route to Harlem we swerve around limos parked in a bike lane and teenagers walking three abreast in the bike path. 

“Typical,” says Snob.

As I explained to the writer at the time, there is nobody less qualified than me to show anybody the underbelly of anything.  At this point in my life you can bet I do my very best to stay on the soft, pale, flabby surface of the belly at all times, which is precisely why I met him in Central Park and not at some sub-cultural shitshow like "Bike Kill:"



I don't find this sort of thing even remotely interesting.  My advice is to leave the belly's "treasure trail" untraveled, for that way pubic lice lies.

I should also clarify the anecdote about the cop and Lance Armstrong, since I probably didn't go into sufficient detail at the time.  Technically, the "cop" was with the Park Enforcement Patrol, not the NYPD, and our violation was rolling into Central Park from Columbus Circle via a path which is for pedestrians only.  (Yeah, like you never enter the park that way.)  Also, he didn't exactly "tackle" Armstrong; rather, he grabbed him, but Armstrong quickly extricated himself--much as he used to do from all those doping allegations, now that I think about it.  I was quite impressed by the maneuver, which Armstrong explained to me had become second-nature after years of escaping the grasp of crazed fans at the Tour.

Hmmm, I guess maybe I'm more familiar with cycling's underbelly than I give myself credit for.

Anyway, while I failed to show the writer the city's sordid underbelly, we did take a nice little ride up the Harlem River Speedway.  It was also raining, so at least we got dirty.  I had originally intended to add a swing through the Bronx to our trip which would have culminated with a coffee stop on Arthur Avenue, but unfortunately his schedule didn't allow it, which was too bad because I was enjoying his company.

Oh well, more cannoli for me.

Speaking of the underbelly, I was stuck in Brooklyn until late last night, and when it was finally time for me to head home I really wanted a Citi Bike so I could ride to the subway station:


(Yes, Brooklyn Geography Snob, there's a subway station right here, but I wanted a different one, okay?)

This was the second Citi Bike station I tried, and I'd been looking forward to a little nighttime spin before retreating underground for an hour.  Instead, as I stood there contemplating the three broken bikes, a rat nearly crawled over my foot and scurried into the storm drain.

So I said "Fuck it," scrapped the Citi Bike idea, and sucked up the inconvenient transfer.

And yes, because I'm underbelly-averse, I did use my smartphone flashlight to inspect the area around my seat for bedbugs:


That's just how I roll.

When I finally get it together to move to the suburbs at least you'll know why.

Also, here's something to contemplate:


There are two lessons here:

1) Lock your frame and not just your wheel;

B) You know those signs they have at amusement parks?  Well, your wheel needs to be at least this shitty for a thief not to bother with the cable cutters.  So if you're palping a 27" steel wheel with a massive metal pie plate, the cable lock is probably fine, but if you've got anything better than that (which is pretty much anything) you're going to need more security.

Here's something else to contemplate:


I like to think that rack is for carrying the car on your bike and not the other way around.

Speaking of which, yesterday I talked about putting my bike on the roof of THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK, and a commenter pointed out the following:

Yeah man! Roof racks are the bomb. Especially when you drive into a parking garage and forget your bike(s) and kayaks are on them.

Very true.  Generally, I find the best way to avoid doing this is not to drive under low stuff when you've got a bike on the roof.

It's not that hard--though now that I've said that I'll probably do it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday is the Wednesday to Wednesday's Friday.

Before anything else, I'd like to address yesterday's post, in which I mentioned tire levers:


As we sail the seas of cycling, it can sometimes feel as though we're all adrift on a vast ocean of ambiguity.  However, rest assured there are certain islands of absolute certainty waiting to dash the crabon hull of our little ship (the "SS Fred") into so many laterally stiff yet vertically compliant toothpicks.  For one thing, if you die while cycling, the reporter covering the story will take great pains to mention whether or not you were wearing a helment--even if you have a heart attack while riding and then get run over by a steamroller.  For another, if you get within three (3) feet of Mario Cipollini, regardless of your gender, you will get pregnant.  (Fun Cipollini Fact: After impregnating all 38 people in an Old Navy store at the Mall of America, Cipo is now legally required to wear this jersey in the state of Minnesota.)  And yet another inevitability is that, if you admit that you use tire levers, somebody will feel compelled to point out that you're some kind of a "woosie."

Sure enough, it didn't take long for someone to do just that to me yesterday, only he misspelled "woosie" as "rookie:"

sTONEdEADLAND said...

Tire levers are like bottle openers - only rookies require them

SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 AT 2:21 PM

I don't understand people's aversion to using tire levers.  It gives me the same "douche chills" I get when I read those dumb Velominati rules.  (In fact, not using tire levers probably is a Velominati rule, but I refuse to check because I won't risk the "douche chills.") After all, using tools is what separates us from the animals--apart from the ones who use tools, of course:


(Pffft!  Rookie monkey needs a stick to eat termites.)

Furthermore, at this stage of my life (I'm on the wrong side of the middle-age divide), I have nothing to prove.  This is why, unless the tire simply falls off the rim after deflation like the meat off an over-boiled drumstick, I whip out my tire lever like a chef at Benihana and deftly slice the tire from the wheel in one swift motion.  It's called "elegance," goddamn it!

Sure, you shouldn't use a tire lever to put the tire back on again, but that's only because you're liable to damage the tube that way.  Other than that, there's no reason not to use them, except for misguided vanity, and cyclists are the only humans on earth who are delusional enough to think anybody else is impressed by strong their thumbs are.  It's only a matter of time before some bike dork tries to remake the movie "Over The Top," but for thumbs.  It would be called "Over The Rim," and it would involve thumb wrestling matches in twee Portland cycling cafes.

Then again, it's not surprising cyclists take pride in their thumb strength, since these are the same people who boast about their tan lines:


Good for you.  This melanogenesis pattern conveys only two things to the world at large:

1) You have no life;
2) You have slightly-stronger-than-average thumbs.

So, to paraphrase a certain groundskeeper, you've got that going for you.  Which is nice.

Speaking of stuff I've got going for me which is nice, almost two years ago now I moved onto the mainland.  I admit I was frightened at first, mostly because there were no longer any bridges separating me from the great unwashed rabble that inhabits the contiguous United States.  However, my fears turned out to be unfounded, because it turns out it's not the bridges that keeps them away; rather, it's our strict gun laws.

Whew!

Even better, my quality of cycling life improved dramatically, not least because I could now ride to mountain bike trails.  In fact, since moving from Brooklyn I can count the times I've driven to a mountain bike ride on one hand--and I don't even need to use my scrawny, diminutive thumb!

However, yesterday afternoon I had to go somewhere in THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I PAY THEM BACK (the CAR THAT I OWN was sadly repossessed by rust), and I realized I'd be near the mountain bike trails, and because I no longer have anything to prove I said "Fuck it" and threw my bike up on the roof so I could sneak in a ride while I was out.  Furthermore, since I was going to be riding on a weekday, I also strapped on the Fly6 tail light camera so I could claim I was working.

Guess what that means?

ROAD TRIP!!!


Yeah, that's right you smuggies, I'm driving on a bike blog.  Whaddaya gonna do about it?

Beat me up with your muscular thumbs?

I'm so scared.

Anyway, driving someplace to ride a bike has its pros and cons:

Pros

Radio, air conditioned comfort, the soothing sense of societal acceptance that only comes from operating a great big wasteful debt machine, yadda yadda yadda.

Cons

By the time you get all your crap together and load up the bike and all the rest of it you might as well have just ridden there.

Anyway, between the soothing strains of Howard Stern and the reassuring motion of my David Byrne dashboard bobblehead the miles passed quickly, and before I knew it I was at the park:


Obviously these are just still images, but you want to get a sense of what the actual Fly6 video footage looks like, it's pretty much exactly like the intro to "The Naked Gun" except with a knobby tire instead of a siren:


Though I did have the decency to turn the bike the other way while I got changed in the parking lot:


Otherwise you would have seen something that looked like this:


("I may not have sharp tan lines, but I assure you my thumbs are both powerful and opposable.")

Now, lest you think that driving to a ride makes me a "woosie," I can assure you it comes with its own set of hardships, and when I bent over the front end of the bicycle in order to secure the quick release I was confronted by this menacing yellow jacket:


Naturally I called 911, and once the Nine-Man Beekeeper Fumigation Squad arrived and exterminated the insect I finally finished getting the bike together:


And then I scampered into the forest like a Lycra-clad chipmunk:


I happen to enjoy riding rigid mountain bicycles, but part of the fun is that when you switch to a suspension fork it feels positively decadent:


In fact, between the car ride and the suspension fork I was really pampering myself, so I resolved to go all the way and get a mani-pedi and facial immediately after the ride.

Because I deserve it.

Speaking of decadence, I realize this looks really bad, but I can assure you I was merely stopping to investigate a drivetrain noise and that I was not attempting to have "relations" with my bicycle:


Oh, I should also mention that, because it was a Monday afternoon and I was driving, I was reasonably certain I wouldn't encounter any other cyclists.  Therefore, I figured it was safe to wear this jersey:


Driving to a ride and then putting on a Mellow Johnny's jersey is worth exactly 20 million billion Dork Points.  In fact, when you dork out this hard, you start receiving Bicycling in the mail without even subscribing.  Really, the only way I could have outdone myself is by wearing a Gran Fondo New York jersey and using a trunk rack.

Moments later, I swung a leg back over the bike and was off again:


See this?  This is called "speed!"


Actually, it's probably just called the Fly6's inability to focus on leaves once you exceed three (3) miles per hour, but I'm going to call it "speed" anyway.

Hey, it may not be Collarady, but the riding around these parts is still pretty good.  We've got rocks:


And fallen trees laying across rocks:


And roots and rocks:


And even rocks and roots:


There are few things more enjoyable than sneaking in a mountain bike ride during a week, and the whole time I was thanking the Almighty Lob that I don't work in the bicycle industry, or else I'd be in Las Vegas for Interbike.

Ugh.

Here I am getting my scranus way back over the rear wheel as I hump a giant boulder:


It was as this very moment I heard a series of long, loud electronic "beeps" followed by a bunch of shorter "beeps," which scared the living crap out of me.  My first thought was that some electronic device was telling me I was having a heart attack, and I immediately began scanning the woods for the steamroller that would finish me off.  ("The rider was wearing a helment," the newspaper article would say.  "He was also wearing a Mellow Johnny's jersey, and was identified by his faint tan lines and spindly thumbs.")

As it turned out though, the sound was merely the Fly6 warning me that the battery was now dead, so it is here the story ends:


Sure, I could keep going anyway, but we all know that if the ride's not on camera then it didn't happen.