Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ready, set...read!

Firstly, the New York Times ran a nice little story about the Tour's Lanterne Rouge:


I haven't been watching the TV coverage, so I have no idea if Phil Liggett has used any cringeworthy terms to describe his ethnicity yet.

Secondly, Alexander Vinokourov doesn't want to talk about the past:


“2007 is in the past and I don’t want to return to that topic,” Vinokourov said flatly, before pointing to Astana’s membership of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) as a sign of its good faith.

"Instead, I'd like to bypass 2007 altogether and go straight back to 1978, which is the last time my outfit was fashionable," Vino added:


(Vino played Whitey the Pimp in the 1976 cult blaxploitation film "Dolemite II: The Human Tornado.")

In other news, Woody Allen designed a bike, and he's already raised well over $300,000:


("May I interject one statement at this juncture? And I don't mean to be didactic or facetious in any way.")

According to Woody, this perfectly ordinary bike embodies a "new concept in cycling."  Check it out:



Okay.  The bike looks fine.  But how is this in any way a "new concept in cycling?"  I mean sure, it is made of an exotic material called "aluminum," which has never been used for bikes before.  This "makes the frame lightweight:"


Which is essential when fleeing to the safety of your Brooklyn brownstone after you scuff somebody's Jordans:


By the way, I don't know about you, but after a hard ride I always chug a carton of orange juice:


Another way this bike is completely different (at least according to the director of classics such as "Manhattan" and "Annie Hall") is that it has a comfy seat, upright handlebars, and three speeds--a combination which no bicycle company in the history of bicycle companies has ever attempted:


And, in a bold example of innovation that could only come from a clarinetist of Mr. Allen's stature, the bike is equipped with a coaster brake only:


See, some companies selling comfortable upright bikes with three speeds give you both a coaster brake and a handbrake for the front wheel.  However, the Priority does away with the extra stopping power, which you'll appreciate when you're coming off one of the East River bridges and immediately merging with heavy automobile traffic.

And of course it's got a belt drive:


(That's a lotta chainring bolt spacers.)

"One of the most unique features of our bike is the belt drive.  Harley Davidson started using belts in their motorcycles in the '80s and has never looked back."

Harley Davidson should not be held up as a paradigm for anything except their uncanny ability to speak directly to the sad leather-clad yearnings of middle-aged lawyers whose idea of an "upgrade" is amplifying the sound of flatulence as they ride.

But Woody really crossed the line with this one:

Theft Deterrent - We know you’ll fall in love with Priority, and we want to do anything we can to keep our bikes with their proud owners. By using bolts instead of quick releases, Priority makes it more difficult for thieves to disassemble parts. You'll still have to lock up your bike, but bolts are a precaution Priority has taken to make theft more difficult.

Oh come on now.  What bike like this does feature quick releases?

Actually, I can think of one, and it's the Priority:


(Pretty sure that's a quick release.)

That's an ethical mobius strip akin to the plot of 1989's "Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Lastly, a reader tells me the Wall Street Journal has published an article about "Zoobomb," complete with short film:


In which you'll see that participants begin their ride with a cry of "Three...two...one...Zoobomb!!!"


I have a strict rule whereby I don't take part in any event in which people shout the name of the event in unison.  This is because I have an inherent fear of "groupthink," and know there's a very fine line between "Portlandia" and "Dystopia."

Here's the Zoobomb "monument:"


When I first saw this pile of crap in person during a visit to Portland some years ago, I thought it was an aesthetically objectionable Tower of Tetanus.  However, as a parent, I now understand the Portland city government's rationale here.  See, I know I shouldn't let my kid leave his toys in the living room, but the fact is that I'm kinda lazy and I don't want to deal with the whining, so I do anyway.  And that's exactly what's going on here.

Also, check this out:


Tattoos and tzitzit?  Only in Portland:


He's either the World's Hippest Orthodox Jew, or he saw those things on a visit to Brooklyn and thought they looked cool.

Lastly, carrying your helment on your head with the straps unfastened is the lowest form of helment portaging:


(Charity ride chic.)

Though they may just be trying to emulate the ever-so-trendy payos look.

Monday, July 21, 2014

One down, a gazillion to go.

First of all, give yourselves a great big "high five."

This past Friday, as I was crawling through the bowels of YouTube for Friday Fun Quiz wrong answer videos, I came across an anti-veloist rant that had recently been posted by one Laura Weintraub:



In it, she travels the streets in an automobile expressing her disdain for cyclists and her desire to run them over.  It was pretty much exactly like the Keith Maddox thing--if, instead of being a living caricature of an Alabamian, Maddox were a stereotypical Southern California bottle blonde being chauffeured about town by a willing "himbo."

Anyway, I tweeted about the video, and other people did too.  Then somebody pointed out that, in addition to being a demonstrable idiot and possible sociopath, Laura Weintraub was also a reserve police officer, and it wasn't long before the cycling "Twitterati" figured out that the department she "served" was that of the city of Santa Paula.  Armed with this information, I sent them an email bringing their attention to the video, and presumably numerous other velocipedists contacted them too.

In the meantime, Laura Weintraub deleted her YouTube video as well as the "tweet" linking to it.  (As I recall, the tweet said something like, "I can't be the only person who feels this way, can I?")  However, the video lives on, because the Internet never forgets.

By Saturday, Keith Maddox's SoCal alter-ego had been "placed on leave:"


"Meet Laura Weintraub, horrible person, incompetent videographer, and utter moron," said a Twitter poster with the handle bikesnobNYC who linked to the video.

Uh, "a Twitter poster with the handle..."?  Wow, the Los Angeles Times is really out of it!  The appropriate attribution for someone of my stature is "the internationally-acclaimed cycling blogger and author."  Southern California is truly a cultural wasteland.

Laura Weintraub also issued an apology:

I would like to apologize to all those who have been offended by what was intended to be a satirical video on cyclists. It was never meant to be hurtful or harmful in anyway, I am a human being, I made a mistake, I have learned from this and ask for your forgiveness. The responses have shown me overwhelmingly just how hurtful my comments were to some and that is not at all what I intended. As soon as I knew, I removed the video immediately. 

Translation: "I'm a soul-less person with a feeble intellect who is desperate for fame and would sell my mother to be on a reality show.  I really do hate cyclists, but because my video didn't get the response I wanted I'm taking it down.  I may have strong opinions and beliefs, but none of them are stronger than my borderline psychotic desire for favorable attention.  I will move on to baiting other groups of people who are less social media-savvy."

And now she's resigned:

Santa Paula Police Department

The purpose of this post is to advise the community that I have accepted the resignation of Volunteer Reserve Officer Laura Weintraub. Her resignation is effective today. I believe that Ms. Weintraub did the right thing for everyone involved and wish her nothing but the best for her and her family.

Chief Steven McLean

I've seen some griping on the Tweeter that she should have been charged, but public embarrassment and subsequent resignation precipitated entirely by a bunch of pissed-off cyclists feels pretty good to me.

So go ahead and smack your screen in a great big virtual collective high five for a job well done.*

*[Please note that BSNYC Industries, LLC shall not be responsible for damage to your computer, tablet, or smartphone device.]  

Indeed, the good news with regard to Ms. Weintraub was merely the cream cheese on the bagel of what was, for me, a lovely weekend of bicycle cycle riding.  On Saturday I rode a bike with the curved-type handlebars like they use in the Tour de France, and on Sunday I rode a rugged all-terrain bicycle with knobbly tires and dick breaks--all without crossing bridges, utilizing automobiles, or dealing with any other inconvenience:


One day I'll write a glowing testimonial to my little corner of New York City and how it affords easy access to some of the best bicycle cycling in the tri-state area, though probably not until it's time for me to put my mansion on the market and move to the countryside, where I will open a do-it-yourself "farm to table" restaurant called "U-Bludgeon."  (We give you a pig, a hammer, a grill, and a bottle of our delicious artisanal barbecue sauce, and you do the rest.)

In the meantime, hopefully the Freds of New York stick with Brooklyn and their hour-long slogs to the George Washington Bridge as they're beset by herds of tridorks with aerobars heading inexorably towards Nyack like migrating elks:


If you can't draw a direct line between the rival gangs of 19th century New York and the various cycling clubs and fondos of modern-day New York City then an astute student of history you are not.

Speaking of New York City and old-timey chicanery, here's a New York Times profile of a man who practices the dying art of pocket-pickery:


If you're unfamiliar with picking pockets, it's basically an artisanal form of embezzling whereby you actually appropriate paper money by hand:


And as it happens, the subject of the profile plans to stop picking pockets and become a bike messenger:

He is a slight man but has long, insistent fingers, and eyes set wide apart. Pickpockets call each other “shotplayers.” Asked to reflect on his career, Mr. Rose said, “Shotplayer — I don’t even want to hear that word anymore.”

After his release, he vowed, he will reform. “I’m done with this life,” he said. “I’m going to buy a bike and become a messenger. That’s what I’m going to do. I want a job.”

In other words, he's basically leaving one obsolete and moribund profession for another.  Historically speaking, this is a lateral career move, and at that rate he might as well just become a cooper:



Though I'm sure there are three or four thriving coopersmiths on Bedford Avenue already.

I imagine wooden barrel-like "bidons" would go over rather well in the trendier precincts of the city, though there's still nothing more "cycle chic" than climbing a hill while "scarfing" a baguette:



You riding a bike and eating a baguette sandwich- love you girl! - m4w - 39 (Midtown)
age : 39

I saw you go by on 47 and 2 by the park- you were heading up the incline and scarfing the baguette... I shouted out "yeah girl"

If you ever want to ride bikes with a good looking bike boy who is fun- let me know.


Sounds like a good way to choke on some breadcrumbs.

Friday, July 18, 2014

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

This morning I was going over my schedule while eating my Froot Loops.  Flipping through my DayRunner one day at a time I saw nothing...nothing...nothing...  until August 20th, when I head to the IMBA World Smit in Steamboat Springs, CO!


If you're not going you totally should, because all the Smits of the world will be there summiting, me included.  We'll also be talking about lots of important stuff, including:

9) E-bikes and Trail Access: Electric-assist bicycles are a fast-growing category. This discussion will examine the evolving management strategies and best practices for e-bikes on natural surface trails. Facilitated by IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel. Confirmed speakers include: Randy Neufeld, SRAM; Larry Pizzi, Currie Technologies; Samuel Benedict, Specialized; Zach Krapfl, GSD-Global; Mike Van Abel, IMBA.

So what do you think?  Should e-bikes be allowed on trails?  [Hint: the correct answer is NO!!!]

We'll also talk about:

10) Fat Bikes and Trail Access: Considered a fad just a few years ago, fat bikes have emerged as a meaningful trend in bicycling with application to winter sports, sand sports and backcountry travel. The go-everywhere capability of fat bikes has inspired discussions about how to best manage their use at Nordic facilities, multi-use trails and public beaches. Facilitated by IMBA Upper Midwest Region Director Hansi Johnson. Invited speakers include Gary Sjoquist (QBP/Salsa), Jake Hawkes (Grand Targhee Resort), others TBA.

So what do you think?  Should fat bikes be allowed on beaches and stuff?  [Hint: the correct answer is NO!!!  It's enough with the goddamn "fat bikes" already.  Mountain bikes were already plenty fat, your bloated tank is just annoying.  Also, if you need to ride a bike at the beach then get a beach cruiser and use the boardwalk.]

I'm glad I was able to clear that up.  Now you know why they invited me.

In other mountain bike news, remember the guy who won a race because he was wearing my hat?


(Skill had nothing to do with it, it was totally the hat.)

Well, he's written a review of said hat, and it shouldn't surprise you at all to learn that it is awesome:


Specifically:

You see, I am a heavy sweater (a person who sweats a lot, not a dense garment used to stay warm)
and as I had explained in the previous blog, I find it hard to wear caps while riding in the warmer months without wanting to rip it from my head mid-ride. The first time I tried a Walz cap I was mostly impressed by the wicking fabric that they use in the head band area. Keeping the sweat off of my face soon became easier with their caps than with others I have tried.

This particular cap, is all wicking material. It is the lightest, most airy cap I have ever worn.

This is one hundred percent true.  I too have a hair trigger when it comes to sweating, and this hat is like having angels fan my brow and massage my scalp as I ride.  In fact, the other day I was so sure that's what was happening that I attempted to capture the Sweat Angels on "film:"


(Douche.)

However, they darted out of the frame just as I pressed the button, and then one of them got stuck in my rear brake and let out a little squeal as its creepy little insect leg was torn off:


So if you see Hoppy the One-Legged Sweat Angel, please tell it I'm sorry.

And also BUY A HAT:

Thank you.

And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If your wright good for you, and if you're not you'll see a fat recumbent.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and watch out for Sweat Angels.


--Wildcat Rock Machine





1) "HMFIC" stands for:

--"Head Mother Fucker In Charge"
--"Head Massive Fred In Charge"
--"Helments May Fail In Crashes"
--"Hear My Farts In Cans"





(The coveted maillot AARP.)

2) The oldest rider in the Tour de France is:

--Jens Voigt
--Chris Horner
--Alessandro Petacchi
--Sylvain Chavanel






3) The owner of this bike would like to trade it for a:

--Road bike
--Mountain bike
--Folding bike
--Gun




4) The owner of this bike would like to trade it for a:

--Road bike
--Track bike
--Recumbent bike
--Gun

[Via Klaus of Cycling Inquisition]







5) The short film "How to Survive as a Bike Messenger in NYC" should have been called "How Not to Carry a Pizza."

--True
--Flase




6) In the companion piece to this signed Robert Mapplethorpe photograph, the same models roll around naked in a giant pizza.

--True
--False






7) Someone on Kickstarter wants £4,000 to:

--Make a macaroni salad
--Win the Single Speed World Championships
--Launch a new line of artisanal chamois cream
--Blog about putting his fat bike together



***Special Some-Guy-Pretending-To-Be-Interested-In-Bicycles-Themed Bonus Video!***



Thursday, July 17, 2014

There's more than one way to slice an avocado.




Well, one by one the race favorites are being plucked from the Tour de France like rat turds from a bowl of Raisin Bran, and the latest to go is Andrew Talansky, who wasn't really going to win anyway but he's American so we all had to pretend:


“I'm absolutely heartbroken to leave the Tour de France. I built my season around the Tour, and the team has supported me every step of the way. I had hoped the rest day would allow some time to recover from my crashes,” Talansky said in a team press release issued this morning. “But it proved to be too much.”

And if that wasn't bad enough, his hometown of Key Biscayne, FL is rapidly going the way of Atlantis:


At Florida International University, geologist Peter Harlem has created a series of maps that chart what will happen as the sea continues to rise. These show that by the time oceans have risen by four feet – a fairly conservative forecast – most of Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Virginia Key and all the area's other pieces of prime real estate, will be bathtubs. At six feet, Miami city's waterfront and the Florida Keys will have disappeared. The world's busiest cruise ship port, which handles four million passengers, will disappear beneath the waves. "This is the fact of life about the ocean: it is very, very powerful," says Harlem.

Sucks.

By the way, Key Biscayne has a thriving Fred scene, and rumor has it that Australia just repealed its "crabon tax" because the country's HMFIC (that's "Head Massive Fred In Charge") Tony Abbott was once dropped on the Rickenbacker Causeway and has hated Key Biscayne ever since:



But don't worry, because as usual Portland is coming to the rescue, and their plan is to save us by holding a contest to develop the Ultimate Urban Utility Bike:



For nine months, collaborative design teams in each of our five cycling-centric cities have been working from Oregon Manifest design criteria to develop the Ultimate Urban Utility Bike, the next bike for the everyday rider.

On July 25 you can see the incredible result of their efforts.

Here's the New York City team, which is identical to all the other teams in every way, thanks to the insipid 21st century global monoculture that the flood waters will hopefully one day reclaim:


Apparently, the team is a "collabo" x ("x" is Newspeak for "between") Horse Cycles and something called "Pensa," which is described as follows:

Pensa was founded in 2005, born out of love and determination to improve quality of life through better products and better business choices. We believe great design can deliver experiences that don’t force a compromise on value, the environment or social impact.

To this end, they've brought you the three-in-one avocado slicer:


Okay.  If you want to "curate" yourself a great big bowl of guacamole but you don't want to have an impact on the environment, what's a better choice:

a) Manufacturing an elaborate plastic contraption that serves only one highly specific purpose;

or

b) Just using the knife you already have?



Given this, I can't wait to see this bike, and if it doesn't have an integrated avocado slicer I'll be tremendously disappointed.

Speaking of the Ultimate Urban Utility Bike, one could argue this already exists in the form of bike share.  This is because if you ride your own bike you have to maintain it, but if you use bike share you can instead use all your free time to "curate" great big bowls of guacamole.  However, it seems as though some unscrupulous Citi Bike users are skipping the whole "paying" part and just taking the things:



Naturally, the police think this is hilarious:

“The first time we saw it, I thought it was kinda funny,” one police source said. “We can only assume they’re taking them for joyrides or that the crook would rather take a bike than a train ride home.”

Yes, if there's one thing the police take seriously it's bike theft--though if your Hyundai gets scratched you can be sure they'll come out in force.

Unfortunately, they may ultimately be forced to do something about the problem, since the stolen bikes are taking up precious cell space:

The problem has gotten so bad in Crown Heights that cops are out of garage space to store them, another police source said.

To solve the problem, they’ve started stashing the bikes in a jail cell — while they wait for Citi Bike officials to pick them up, the source said.

“We were putting them in the garage, but there wasn’t enough room — so we moved them to the back cell,” the source said.

To the NYPD, if you can't put a cyclist in jail, then putting a bike in there is the next best thing.

As for the thieves, not all of them have the sense to ditch the bikes after using them:

At least two Citi Bike crooks have been arrested in recent weeks — including one cyclist who painted a bike orange to disguise it, a Bronx police source said.

But cops spotted the Citi Bike “sticker” on the orange ride and charged him with grand larceny, the Bronx source said.

The master criminal was caught while repeatedly ramming the bike into a fire hydrant.  When questioned, he explained that he was trying to dock it.

Lastly, a reader tells me the owner of this bicycle is willing to trade it for a handgun:


Felt TK2 Track Bike 56Cm - $1200 (carrboro)

I have a Felt tk2 for sale its has a custom set of carbon 90mm rims and it is mostly stock bike besides that, Its running a TruVativ Omnium GXP with a 48 front and 15,16 rear. 3T SPHINX LTD carbon bars. I have a Shimano NX01 chain on it, its a real track chain. The size is a 56cm TT and a 56cm ST. If you have any questions just text me. Could be used in a trade for motorcycle, or a handgun

Hmmm, meeting the stranger you met on Craigslist to trade your expensive bicycle for a handgun...I don't see how that could possibly go wrong.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It's Wednesday All Around Me And I'm Kinda Freaking Out!



Yesterday, I was determined to watch the Tour de France stage.  However, despite my best efforts, I was unable to plant myself at or near a televisual screen for any sustained length of time owing to my extensive "to do" list.  (Those fingers and toes aren't going to mani-pedi themselves.)

Eventually, I gave up.

Then, this morning, I went to check yesterday's results, only to discover that yesterday was a rest day:



This welcome reprieve should help me get up to speed on the race.

But it won't.

Meanwhile, the controversy the cycling media has not dubbed #Contador'sBrokenBikeGate may finally be at an end:


Speculation ran riot on social media after suggestion that Contador's bike had failed before he crashed. However bike sponsor Specialized said this is not true. Other witnesses and teams corroborated the claims of Specialized and the Tinkoff-Saxo team.

See that?  Specialized says it isn't true.  Also, so do some witnesses, and everybody knows professional bike racers never agree to maintain a code of silence.  That's good enough for me!

So what happened?

"Teammates were first to communicate the crash to the team vehicle via radio. Reports from Tinkoff-Saxo are saying their team car was passing closely to a vehicle Team Belkin and bikes became entangled between the two. Alberto’s spare bike was broken into two pieces in this way..."

Okay, so the bike didn't fail while in use.  It failed when it touched another bicycle while sitting on a roof rack.  Yeah, that's way more reassuring.


("You should see the other bike."--Contador's Specialized Glass Jaw SL)



("Actually, I'm totally fine."--The Other Bike)

There are only two problems with this story.  Firstly, the other team involved in the bike tangle is Belkin.  Belkin.  That's the same team that has been begging for money on its website:


Obviously there's no way they could be bribed by a team owned by a Russian millionaire douchebag or anything like that--though if you go to their website now here's what you'll see:


Hey, sometimes you get a windfall, you know?

Secondly, the broken bike has Contador's race number on it, which is not typically the case with spare bikes.  Granted, Cyclingtips reports that Contador's mechanic does put race numbers on spare bikes out of sheer anal retention:

Several Tour riders expressed surprise at this, telling CyclingTips that from their experience, spare bikes don’t have race numbers on them.

However, according to Mondini, Contador’s personal mechanic Munoz – who is known as a perfectionist – ensures that his rider’s number is on both the usual race bike and also his spare.

But you'll notice the link to this picture of the team car with no numbers on the spare bikes at all, which would appear to contradict that:


Anyway, whatever actually happened, you have to give everybody involved plenty of credit for fabricating a high modulus rationale.

In other news, a reader has forwarded me a short film called "How to Survive as a Bike Messenger in NYC," and while the embedding doesn't seem to work with my blog I suggest you visit its site and watch it:



It opens with what appears to be Father Time clutching an hourglass:


"If you look at me, you are definitely rolling the dice. It is a 50/50 chance you're going to get me or I'm going to fucking kill you. And definitely one of the two is going to happen. Fortunately they don't call me 'Wild' for nothing."

As it turns out, this is somewhat inaccurate, because it turns out there's a 100% chance that if you find yourself face to face with Wild Bill he's going to give you a pizza:


I like those odds.

Indeed they don't call him "Wild" for nothing, because there are two ways to deliver a pizza: the easy way, and the hard way.  A true outlaw, he opts for the latter by portaging his pies on a fixie with low handlebars, no brakes, and no load-bearing accessories of any kind:


Okay.  This guy works hard for a living.  He was probably already a seasoned messenger back when I was still watching "You Can't Do That On Television."  Criticizing other people's bikes is stupid and petty.

And so forth.

However, if you've been making deliveries by bicycle for 30 years and you are still having a demonstrably difficult time carrying your pizza pies, I think then it's fair to suggest that maybe it's time to visit Nashbar and shell out twenty bucks for a rack or something.

I mean really, it's painful to watch, especially when he has to deal with two bags:


Come on now.  He's halfway down the block before he can even get both feet on the pedals!


Like...why?


I honestly don't know.

By the way, so-called "Best Pizza," I'm looking at you guys too.  Why the hell don't you buy a decent delivery bike?  Worksman Cycles is like ten miles away in Queens and they're to pizza delivery what Rivendell is to retrogrouchery:


Meanwhile, here's Wild Bill shouting at a pedestrian crossing with the light to get out of his way because he's riding around on a track bike and carrying 14 pizzas:


One thing all these bike messenger videos seem to have in common is that you're supposed to feel like it's the messengers against the world, but it becomes clear that the world is actually being pretty cooperative a lot of the time and it's usually the messengers themselves who are making things so difficult:


Still, there's no doubt Wild Bill has what it takes to be a Brooklyn legend.  They're still way into the old-timey look there, and Wild Bill's old-timey look is so authentic you'd think he was a deserter from the Civil War.  "Premium Rush?"  Fuck that fakenger crap.  This is some "Red Badge of Courage" shit.

Finally, the film ends as he salmons off into the sunset:


Ride on, Wild Bill.

And fuck Domino's.

Lastly, Andy White of Fyxomawhatsit wants you to know that his new line of ironical shoe covers is now available:


You've heard of "fuck me heels."  Well, these are perfect if you're looking to get gang-banged by Nike's lawyers:


It's that irrepressible Antipodean irreverence.