Thursday, December 3, 2009

Riding Tactics: Letting Go and Moving Forward

Recently, I found myself leaving Manhattan via one of the bridgeways that spans the Big Skanky when I noticed a creaking sound. While I'm not especially picky about the appearance of my bikes, I do become distressed when they emit sounds that they shouldn't. To me, a creaking sound is like a cold sore on prom night, and it is a source of embarrassment and anxiety.

Naturally, I began to panic. "Does something need tightening? Is a component insufficiently lubricated? Is my bottom bracket shell simply not 'beefy' enough?!?" I actually stopped pedaling in horror. Fortunately, I was riding a bicycle equipped with technology allowing it to "coast." Had I been riding a "fixie," I would surely have been flanged ("flanged" is the past tense of "fling") headlong into the languid, fetid waters of the Big Skanky below.

To my surprise, when I stopped pedaling the sound was still there. Clearly then, it was not emanating from my feeble, woefully undersized bottom bracket. I also realized it wasn't so much a creak as a sort of rattling, pinging sound--the kind of sound you might expect a dry and severely overtightened 1/8" chain on a fixed-gear drivetrain to make. So I turned around to confirm my suspicion, and it was at this moment that the rider who had apparently been sitting on my wheel the entire time took advantage of my less-than-optimal head positioning and attacked!!!

I wasn't racing, but regardless of whether I'm simply making my way home or am in the heat of USA Cycling-sanctioned athletic competition, an attack is an attack, and my reaction is the same: I let it go. An attack is like an ex who tries to "friend" you on a social networking site--you don't follow it, you just ignore it and hope that it goes away. Unfortunately, this attacker didn't go away, because if you've ever been overtaken by a fixed-gear rider on a bridge, you know what happened next: he got spun out on the downhill and I got stuck behind him. I suppose I could have gone around him if I wanted to, but then he might have construed that as a counter-attack, and that would surely have set into motion a series of events that could only end in tragedy--like not only "friending" your ex but also responding to a "Why don't we meet up coffee and catch up?" message in the affirmative. In either case, you're going to wind up bruised, or sticky, or both.

At least the time spent behind him afforded me the opportunity to take in his wardrobe and equipment, which I would describe Nü-Fred sportif. The frame was of aerodynamic aluminum, the bars were narrow risers, and the wheels were both Zipps. Despite the fact that he had front and rear brakes, as he approached the end of the bike lane and prepared to merge with traffic he did what most fixed-gear riders do, which is to skid and fishtail with every pedal stroke in order to slough off some "speed." It's sort of like watching a fork go down a garbage disposal in slow motion.

Obviously, you should not put a fork in a garbage disposal, nor should you be anywhere near such a scenario. You should also be wary of riding too close to cars that are carrying menorahs, which is something else I saw recently:

Since the car was parked I felt it was safe to approach it, but had it been in motion I would have kept a safe distance unless I could be completely sure that the menorah was properly secured. Otherwise, the menorah might fly off the roof and you could find yourself impaled by the shamash and wind up contemplating the miracle of Hanukkah from a hospital bed. At least the menorah itself seems to be a quality item in this case--a little research reveals that it is a genuine "Car Menorah," which is apparently "The Best in the Industry." Also, the Car Menorah website is clearly the fixedgeargallery.com of automotive Judaica. Visit at your own risk, because if you do you're liable to waste hours gazing at the menorah porn in the "parade gallery." From what I can tell, a car menorah parade is kind of like Critical Mass for Hanukkah-themed minivans, and participants even get hassled by "the Man:"

Unfortunately, even the delightful sight of a a Car Menorah might not be enough to get you into the holiday spirit this season, for it seems that consumer confidence is still low ITTET. Last year at this time, the Chris King Headset Composite Index was at 72.21, and now it's at 80.75:

Since the Chris King headset is the most conservative investment in bicycle componentry, the fact that cyclists are pouring their money into them is a sign that cyclists are more reluctant than ever to spend money in other areas. Incidentally, you may notice that the first headset listed above is a "Headset Mango." Please note that in this case "mango" simply refers to the color, and it is not one of those actual bored-out mangoes that Craig Calfee uses as "organic headsets" on his bamboo bikes:

(Headsets at the Calfee factory await machining and installation.)

Yes, a mango makes a surprisingly effective headset, though it is prone to indexing:

But while it may shock some people that you can make a headset out of fruit, it should surprise nobody that, in New York City, our bike lanes are often blocked by cars. Still, I saw on the television news this morning (in between Tiger Woods stories) that Hunter College has undertaken a bike lane study and determined exactly that:

I'm not sure it required a study to come to this conclusion, though I hope professors Tuckel and Milczarski will continue their probing research into other obvious local phenomena. I'm looking forward to the announcement that, after a six-month field study, Tuckel and Milczarski have also determined that the Bronx is up and the Battery's down, there are far too many Ray's Pizzas, and the Big Skanky is indeed skanky. Still, in fairness to them, it is certainly useful that they've managed to actually quantify why cycling in New York City is so irritating. Consider these numbers:

According to the study, the vast majority of obstructions, almost 90 percent, were short-lived at less than 10 minutes long; the street range observed with the largest number of offenders is East 90th Street between 5th Avenue to 3rd Avenue; 20 percent of cyclists observed do not ride in the bike lane; cyclists who ride in the bike lane are more likely to wear helmets than cyclists who ride on the street (72 percent versus 64 percent); and blocked bike lanes occur with higher frequency during the morning rush hour.

Additionally, my own research has revealed that 78% of food delivery people ride on the sidewalk, 89% of Brooklyn cyclists are "hipsters," and 99% of the people who ride in Central Park are dorks.

I bet cyclists don't have these kind of problems in (sigh) Portland, were every month is Bike Month, every other head is dreadlocked, and the people are simple but the beer is crafty. However, cyclists in Portland do like to pretend they have these kids of problems. Take this incredibly narrow set of bars, spotted by a reader:

Portland simply does not experience the sort of vehicular traffic that would require having bars even remotely this narrow. The only time you need to squeeze through any tight spaces on a bike in Portland is when you're stuck at the back of the pack during a Flaming Lips video shoot and you want to be the first person to get to the Hairy Vagina Ball. Even by New York standards these bars are ridiculous, but in Portland it's like a Greenwich teenager carrying a gun to protect himself.

Meanwhile, this bike, forwarded by another reader, is like going to the beach in Timberlands:

Cannondale cf Raven cf wheels - $3000 (Manchester TN)
Date: 2009-12-01, 9:06AM CST
Reply to: [deleted]

Cannondale cf Raven large frame with cf wheels,new Panaracer Urban Max tires 26x 1.25 -1.75 .Hyd Magura 500 brakes,air suspension Fox shock ,XTR derailers nickel chain Kallcy seat post Trek split seat Never off road used mostly on the greenways .Light and very smooth .


That is one ungainly fowl. Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

113 comments:

Anonymous said...

win!

Anonymous Coward said...

Podium!

Charles said...

Podium!!

JTK said...

ta da!!

Astroluc said...

top 5?

OBA said...

top ten?

Anonymous said...

top ten?

Anonymous said...

Top 100

Billy Reid said...

oh my

wishiwasmerckx said...

top ten?

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Nick said...

0 comments my ass

Anonymous said...

yeah

Anonymous said...

all of you losers get a life - and suck my balls

Anonymous said...

buuuhh

Billy Reid said...

DIDIDING DIDIDING DING DING DING DIDIDING DIDIDING DING DING DING DIDIDING DIDIDING DING DING DIDIDING DIDIDING DING DING DING DIDIDING DIDIDING DING DING DING DIDIDING DIDIDING DING DING DIDIDING DIDIDING DING DING DING DIDIDING DIDIDING DING DING DING DIDIDING DIDIDING DING DING

Disgruntl Ed. said...

I barley rode my bicycle but I ended up in hopsital.

Cheers!

hillbilly said...

"hopsital bed"?

Glad to hear that is your strategy re: attack, I was worried I was doing it wrong, but I feel better now.

bikesgonewild said...

...hey, dammit...i wanted to be 1st...but w/o all that hangin' around, constantly checkin' & shit...

hillbilly said...

Hey! Disgruntled beat me to it! I was wondering why I was doing his job!

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CZSR

-P.P.

youaretheengine said...

A commuting DFL is as respectable as any other kind.

Anonymous Coward said...

99% of the people who ride in Central Park are dorks

Ha! I love it. Now the question is, where do LA and Snob fall under in that percentage ratio?

Polka dot said...

Finishing in the climbers group.

As luck would have it, I just put a comment up on yesterday's post about racing fixie dorks over the bridges. You obviously found one of the few that doesn't just have to lead. Too bad. But you're on the Queensboro man. Drop his ass on the descent!

Billy Reid said...

Nick:

It took you 4 minutes to scroll down to the bottom of the post? Or are you a blog-commenting purist/uber grouch who feels compelled to read the whole post before commenting?

Chris said...

At least the Jews smile for the camera

wishiwasmerckx said...

I was just commenting at the last Critical Mass how hipsters are somehow allergic to chain lube.

So you and Lance Armstrong represent the 1% non-dorky Central Park posse?

Menorah porn? That's just wrong.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous Coward,

Definitely in the "beefy" portion of that statistic.

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

It could be that the bridge itself was creaking. That thing bounces.

T.Woods said...

Snob? Hey, it's Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please take your name off your blog? My wife went through my browsing history and may be visiting the site. So if you can, please take your name off that. Just have it as an IP address, or maybe just redirect to Fat Cyclist. You got to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye.

Chris said...

"99% of the people who ride in Central Park are dorks"
At least that leaves room for you and Lance to not be in the dork group. As long as there are 198 other riders while you are there....

flaco said...

Drafting doesn't help under 15 mph, and yet everyone insists on doing it on the ascent of the bridge.

thegock said...

BCHN WHIP

Anonymous said...

UNEM PLYD

Anonymous said...

HASIDM BUT I CAN'T BELIEVE 'EM

Anonymous said...

SHIT I SPELLED HASIDIM WRONG AND MY CAPSLOCK IS ON

Anonymous said...

Either that, or you have, like 25 knuckles.

Cadel Evans said...

Snob, you should have let him continue to attack and just sucked his wheel all the way to work, you don't deserve that shit.

Rabbi Rabinowicz said...

SHIT I SPELLED HASIDIM WRONG AND MY CAPSLOCK IS ON

Bad Jew..no bagel for you.

rezado said...

hi-rez

LK said...

"89% of Brooklyn cyclists are "hipsters," "

89% of Brooklyn cyclists are:
a. Cyststers
b. Nü-Freds
c. riding the wrong way without a helmet.

:P

CommieCanuck said...

Hey, did you hear the latest on Tiger woods? He admitted to having an extra-marital affair with David Letterman.

thank yew, thank yew, ...in town 'til Friday, ...try the veal.

mikeweb said...

flaco,

some folks can get around 20 MPH going up a bridge. Especially when trying to keep up with the D train on the Manhattan to check out a woman through the window

mikeweb said...

Q: When is a Tiger not a Tiger?

A: When he's a Cheetah!

Thank you!

With props to the [cough] New York Post

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what type of camera Snob uses? I assume it's a pen cam based on the speed at with he's able to withdraw and snap a pic of non nonplussed and Freds alike.

hillbilly said...

Mikeweb,
gotta admit, it killed me, but I chuckled at that as well. Did you see the CGI version of "the crash"?

mikeweb said...

hillbilly,

I did not see that crash recreation.

grog said...

Yo! Saturnalia! Winter Solstice is nearly upon us. Order your Pagan pedaler decorations now.

esau bin necker said...

jolene tolt me she had sex with tiger too but that dont bother me none becos im pretty sure tiger is a mooslim

hillbilly said...

http://www.youtube.com/v/7i5FlC1MpkE

between this and the tiger slow jam, this is quite a "story"

Anonymous said...

http://isthisbikesnobnyc.blogspot.com

Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer said...

Fantastic, and it's all about the pass back, to anger them and put them into such a fury they're bound to drop you for good.

Anonymous said...

Pinkbike Pic of the Day: Danny Macaskill

http://www.pinkbike.com/photo/4316553/

hillbilly said...

dammit anon 332, I hope you didn't just set up another endless thread of Spartacus comments, I've just recovered from the last one.

Mellow said...

First Friday RideDay! Come out and play!

Celebrate Safer Streets with Non-Polluting Transportation and Exercise Your Right to the Road

7pm Union Square North.

Spread the word, bring friends!!

This Friday the new monthly group bike ride phenomenon celebrates its third month. Get exercise, meet new friends, see the city! Whether you want to discuss the loss of bike lanes on Bedford or want a group escort to your Friday night outing, First Friday Ride is the way to roll. No set route, no leaders but ourselves. Free Fun!


FYI another awesome ride this weekend in anticipation of next week's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen...

Ride Planet Earth: Join the Ride!

Sunday, December 6th, 12:00 PM

Center of Columbus Circle, Manhattan
Ends up in Prospect Park, Bklyn

ervgopwr said...

NEVR MORE

heath said...

was?

Anonymous said...

A little off topic, Guys... I have a question. Yesterday I saw this site:
[url=http://www.rivalspot.com]Rivalspot.com - Wii Live Tournaments[/url]
They say you can play online Football game tournaments on any console for cash... had anyone tried that before? Looks like a cool idea...
Are there any other sites where you can play sports games for real moneys? I Googled and found only Bringit.com and Worldgaming.com but it looks these guys don't specialize in sport gamez. Any suggestions?

sufferist said...

Anon 4:54 - Here is my suggestion, please go away...

Thank you,

Me

nat said...

I have had the same eexperience with that guy on the queensboro bridge. It was memorable zipps on a commuter are a bit excessive maybe and its hard not to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

bikesgonewild said...

...sufferist...such a "gentle" suggestion...

...i'm more like "hey...anon 4:54pm...how about you go fuck yourself & stop trying to use this site to draw people to your or your friend's site or whoever is paying you to do the on-line hustle"...

...now, how do ya like THAT suggestion ???...

Anonymous said...

Obviously, if one needs to shorten their handlebars to such an extreme then it is only logical to cut the pedals in half - or perhaps resort to a pedal-free schluffing technique.

kale said...

Those Zipps totally let you 'eat up the hills', and I'm assuming the creaking was coming from them right?

Bad Lawyer said...

I ride such a quiet route, that when I read about the Williamsburg bridge, Central Park (which I've been through), and riding through Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc, I shudder. My ride is so quiet ans so unpopulated that any noise from my bike lands me promptly at the LBS. Early in the year my fat ass was causing a chronic rear wheel truing issue, but being significantly lighter and thinner by August my persistent squeak which I attributed to my 11 year old campy bottom bracket was instead diagnosed as a broken spoke--replaced and whisper quiet since. Then I had a noise coming from a loose cateye computer rattling in the mount--I shimmed it with a coffee stir stick....ooooh so quiet.

Bluenoser said...

There are kids of problem all over snobby, glad to see they have them in Portland also.

Just ask the Tiger.

-B

Fierce Panties said...

The Raven is like going to the beach in Timberlands?

More like drudging through knee deep raw sewage barefoot in a bathrobe that you have to wear all day.

g said...

I don't know where the "Timberlands" are, but it doesn't sound like a very nice beach.

Fred said...

More obvious stats...
89% of Freds are:

a.. virgins
b. looking for valve covers compatible with their power meters
c. going commando
d. mad at their mom for putting their rag wool socks in the dryer

Anonymous said...

Lemme tell you something. This year I have had it up to *here* with racer poser assholes. They're everywhere of course but where I've been seeing them the most is when I'm out on a ride by myself and I'm banging along, trying to stay healthy and make it a good ride, and I take a curve and the sun swings around and there's a shadow under my feet. And I look behind me and there's a poser asshole who's been sitting on my wheel for who knows how long. I have no idea how who he is, I have no idea if he can even ride safely or if he's going to run his POS botique front wheel into my ancient Campy derailleur. He doesn't even have the manners or good graces to pull alongside and say 'Hi'. He just decides to suck my wheel for as long as he can get away with it, because he's a poser asshole and doesn't seem to be able to take a pull, so he has to suck the wheel of a 55 year old ex-crap racer from the 70s.

They're usually pretty quick, which is good, otherwise they'd hit me when I slam on the brakes, just to give them the message they don't seem to have learned about intruding on people uninvited or without request. Sure, they yell at me, or they give me some baloney about comradeship (which apparently makes lazy-ass-wheel-sucking off a stranger on a recreational ride OK), but you know, they never seem to drop me to show me how bad their motor is, and I'm not that fast. They just fall off the back and are gone, which is good, because they certainly don't have the manners and probably don't have the speed, even if their bike does look like Lance's, to be a decent riding partner.

So you rag on the fixies all you want, but I'm telling you now your entire sport is full of rudes and posers and scofflaws. Don't expect charity from non-riders; they despise you.

Felt good to get that out. Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:48, how about if we simply ban road riding by those under 40 years old? Problem solved?

Nein T. Nine said...

All those private schools in the UES and the nannies/mommies/bodyguards in taxis/Lexuseseses/Navigators who see letting the tots touch pavement for more that a meter or two as a personal failure - that's what 90th St. is all about.

BTW, I think I might be in the Central Park 99%, but I have old Campy, try to say hi if/when I can actually breathe and never pass anyone unless they are dead.

jet said...

that bike looks like my greyhound!

cheva said...

The forkers in the video were unbelievable. Where do you find this stuff. I want kneepads.

Jen said...

+1 for old Campy, noisy freewheel and all -- casting more "tsk-tsk-tsk" into the air than a minyan of Hasids.

If I ever dork out on mine in Central Park, you'll hear it clear over in Jersey, I'm sure.

Fred said...

I once unknowingly sucked Bob Roll's wheel. It wasn't as unpleasant as you might think.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure that's the manhattan, not queensboro. Snob is not hard to spot. He takes it most days. If the hipsters that get infuriated by his decimation of their trendy bikes/attire would drink less PBR and get up before noon, they could snap a pic. I guess those non-advertising culture warriors in black label are too busy uploading press to the web.

biorider said...

The Portland bike is ironic - a Vegan Straightedge with (one) leather toe strap. I expect its sporting a Brooks saddle, too.

Gregg said...

is greenway nu-fred speak for grass?

heath said...

oh, and Anonynous @ 4"54, learn hyperlink, bitchass

db said...

...how about if we simply ban road riding by those under 40 years old?

That's not a complete solution. Plenty of 40-plus-year-old dentists out there...

Andy Pandy said...

Zipps, did they have the dimpled hub and rim, cos that will give you the edge over evey fred, dick or harry on a HC

leroy said...

Well now that's strange.

BSNYC says meeting up for coffee with an ex and winding up "bruised, or sticky, or both" as if that were a bad thing.

And speaking of strange....

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that you can't spell Hasidim without Sidi?

The DOT can erase all the Bedford bike lanes it wants, but the Hasidic contribution to cycling cannot be denied.

leroy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lacking in spirit or interest said...

Kids of problems in Portland means these problems have been reproducing!

The Big Skanky is languid?
I thought it had a fairly good current.

Perhaps at ebb tide it is languid?

Oh, what the crap.
Thank you for another post that helped me pass the time.

flaco said...

anon 925...you almost had me, but when you ride the manhattan bridge, are there cars or trains beside you?

it's the q'boro.

brian said...

That Cannondale is one ugly bike

kerry said...

Those teeny weeny handlebars look like the rider should have like Thalidomide flippers or something.

Oh and Anon 454 What the f makes you think that CYCLING fans, want to bet on football?? WHAT PART OF CYCLING dont you understand?
For christs sake, what a yahoo.

mikeweb said...

Flaco,

confirmed - that's definitely the Q-boro. The baby puke beige paint and the 6 (8?) lanes of car traffic right next to the lane makes it pretty obvious.

My theory on Zipp wheel fixie commuter man is that he obviously has deeps pockets and needs to let everyone know. His "stable" at home doubtlessly also contains a road and a mountain bike, both in the high 4 figures price range.

CommieCanuck said...

I once unknowingly sucked Bob Roll's wheel.

Yeah, we all did crazy shit in college.

CommieCanuck said...

I once unknowingly sucked Bob Roll's wheel.

Yeah, we all did crazy shit in college.

CommieCanuck said...

So you rag on the fixies all you want, but I'm telling you now your entire sport is full of rudes and posers and scofflaws.

Dude, you're 55 and you just figured that out?

scofflaws! bully sir, bully to you.
Up here we call them scoundrels and ragamuffins.

OLDE GUZS

wishiwasmerckx said...

I am a reprobate, not a scofflaw, poser, scoundrel or ragamuffin.

leroy said...

Reprobate?

I prefer cad.

leroy said...

Or bounder.

leroy said...

Or Brooklyn blackguard.

leroy said...

Or Manhattan Beach miscreant.

leroy said...

Or Rego Park ruffian.

leroy said...

Or Willets Point wastrel.

leroy said...

Or Lefferts Honestead lead out.

kale said...

100

leroy said...

100th.

Gotta go. I'm spent and I think I heard Anon 7:28 yelling to get off his lawn.

leroy said...

D'oh!!!!

Kale was drafting me until the line!!!

Uh, I wasn't really racing. I, uh, was just out for a recreational ride.

In my chicken suit kit with the lycra feathers.

(Dang you Kale! Get off my lawn!)

kale said...

Cunningham Park Cunnilinguist?

kale said...

leroy, this entire comments section is full of rudes and posers and scofflaws.

leroy said...

Oh now you're just talking in tongues to show off.

mikeweb said...

Geez, when I riding up 9W I guess I'll have make sure not to get anywhere near riders with an "ancient Campy derailleur".

Tell ya what, when I turn 55 in 12 years and [insert your deity here] willing can still 'hammer' it well enough to outpace folks younger than I with bikes that "look like Lance's", I'll be happy and thankful. Hell, I'd even feel proud to be dragging around this wheelsucker no matter what they're riding and whether or not they feel like chatting.

Harumph!

g said...

won't grabbing your brakes and causing the miscreant to rear-end you harm you just as much? seems like a lose-lose situation, not a lesson learned kinda thing.
just thinkin'

Salty Seattle said...

mmm...I love you all.

Thanks for the pace! You're pretty fast! (Please don't be upset that you just got passed by a girl.) BTW, nice ass!

Damn, old guy's sucking my wheel now...Or, is he just staring at my ass?

...ewww

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HWY5aKZySw

BCC said...

An on-road Raven with Spin wheels... nice!

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