Just ducking back in to let you know my latest for Outside is now available for your perusal!
Just ducking back in to let you know my latest for Outside is now available for your perusal!
Well another media outlet has published some of my genius:
This of course inspired me to head over to Brunelle's Twitter to see what he's been up to. And what has he been up to? Making videos of himself messing with people who (justifiably, I'm quite sure) don't want to ride with him:
Remember the kid who tackled everybody too hard when you were playing ball, and when you finally told him you didn't want him playing with you anymore he took the ball and threw it over the fence?Banned from riding with this group, guess I’m a bad influence https://t.co/5QSq2Kimse #badreputation #fuckit #roadporn #cycling— Lucas Brunelle (@lucasbrunelle) July 29, 2017
That kid grew up to be Lucas Brunelle.
Anyway, now back to our regularly-scheduled hiatus!
I love you,
--Wildcat Rock Machine
At the same time, it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I'm not the world's greatest living cycling writer.
Yeah, relax there, Sammy, I said living writer.
And yes, I do consider Mark Twain a cycling writer, since he wrote probably the most entertaining essay ever written on the subject before the safety bicycle was even invented.
Alas, if only he'd had access to lifesaving bicycle helmet technology he might still be alive today:
Just kidding! I really shouldn't joke about that stuff, because last time I made an obviously false statement about a literary figure the Paris Review picked it up and ran with it:
Fake news indeed.
So where am I going with all this? Well, all of this is an extremely long-winded way for me to tell you that after today I'll be signing off of this blog [with some important exceptions]* until...September 5th, 2017:
See, after ten (10) whole years of blogging I've officially reached the point where I can take a great big selfish end-of-summer hiatus. Plus, as the world's greatest living cycling writer I need longer-than-usual breaks in order to nurture and cultivate my genius. You know how giant animals have longer gestation periods? It's the same when you possess the massive intellect and bottomless spiritual profundity that I do.
Also, now that I'm on Strava I need to devote more time to data analysis:
Then there's the family stuff:
I'd like to spend more time with them before the summer's up, even if the feeling's not entirely mutual.
Hey, when they get tired of me there's always Strava.
So what about those exceptions I referred to earlier? Well, here they are:
1) The Bike Forecast: I'll still be updating that daily through the end of this week;
2) Outside: My acclaimed column will continue to take the world by storm on a weekly basis during my absence, so I'll be sure to duck in here whenever they put up a new one;
3) Miscellaneous: If any other media outlet publishes some of my genius while I'm gone I'll pop in and flog that as well. (Or, if they publish someone else's idiocy and I'm sufficiently inflamed I might come here to vent about it.)
Then there's always Twitter, a medium in which I am delightfully pithy and frothily provocative.
As you can see, winding down my vast media empire for a simple end-of-summer recess is like stopping a freight train...or a brakeless fixie, depending on which cliché you prefer.
Speaking of my extracurricular writings, I do recommend you check out today's Bike Forecast update as it pertains to a New York Times op-ed I found rather troubling:
Also, regarding my latest for Outside:
It generated the usual enthusiasm on their Facebook page:
Sarah Bell Eben Weiss perhaps you are the problem. As both a cyclist and runner I use the pedestrian paths in Colorado extensively. For both safety and courtesy I say "on your left" and appreciate anyone who does the same. You seem really uptight. Maybe you should try getting some exercise.
Yeah, sounds about right.
And with that, I bid you a-doo. Thank you very much for indulging me during this lengthy but necessary leave-taking, enjoy the rest of August, and may all your rides be transcendent, or at the very least free from flats.
Thank you also for reading the words I type into this magical box, I remain eternally grateful.
And so forth,
Etc, and so on,
--Wildcat Rock Machine, Fredsquire
My latest Outside column (or "Oootside" if you're Canadian) should materialize on the world wide whatever-it-is imminently, at which point you can be sure I'll pop back in here let you know. In the meantime however I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right then go buy yourself something nice, and if you're wrong you'll see bicycling safety.
Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and always remember to wear a flotation device while cycling.
--Wildcat Rock Machine
Just a quick post to introduce you to my new hero. No, not the YouTuber who's been riding around the city with a car horn bolted to his bike, but the woman who gives him what for about five seconds into one of his most recent videos:
Is it annoying when people stand in the bike lane? Yes. Did he nevertheless have plenty of time to anticipate her presence and plenty of room to pass? Also yes. Is there anything more satisfying than an expertly deployed "Fuck you"? Almost certainly not:
Here's the deal: riding at someone while frantically ringing your bell, even if they're where they're not "supposed" to be, is like protesting the fact that someone didn't clean up after their dog by stepping right into a pile of its shit.
And as far as the horn goes:
Why adapt one of the shittiest aspects of cars to the bicycle? Is there anything more irritating than the self-important bleating of the urban motorist? Oh sure, it's bumper-to-bumper traffic for 20 blocks, but the asshole in the Hyundai really needs to be somewhere so let's all move out of the way. Unless your vehicle says "Ambulance" on it and someone's hemorrhaging in the back of it you should probably shut the fuck up.
On the other hand, if this were a hand-held horn and he stuck it in the open windows of cars that were, say, blocking the bike lane, then I could certainly get behind that.
I mean, I'd never do myself it because way too many people are violent lunatics, but I'd certainly watch the video.
Anyway, that's all from me for now. If you haven't had enough of me for today then check out the Bike Forecast, and if you have I'll see you back here tomorrow.
I love you all (yes, even you, crazy bike horn person),
--Wildcat Rock Etc.
Update: We’ll meet 8:30 A.M. at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park parking lot, and bike roughly 20 miles to Paul’s Slide before turning around. Big Sur Taphouse near Pfeiffer Bridge is open for business and is a good place to stop for food and drink after the ride. Pace will likely be closer to 12 MPH rather than 15 MPH.
Highway 1 across a large chunk of the California Central Coast will remain closed over the summer after extensive damage from last winter’s storms, closing off the incredibly scenic Big Sur coastal route. Several people have already taken advantage of a walking path across Pfeiffer Gorge that opened to the public on July 1, allowing them to bike 20 miles down the coast on a mostly car-free coast highway. I plan to take this trip on Saturday, August 12, and you’re welcome to join me. Caltrans says Pfeiffer Bridge will open to traffic in September, so this is pretty close to your last opportunity to ride this without sharing the road with heavy tourist traffic.
Who What When Where How: Saturday, August 12, 2017. We’ll meet at the
Molera State Park parking lot at 8:15 A.M. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park parking lot at 8:30 A.M., unload bikes and ride the five miles to Pfeiffer Bridge. We’ll carry bikes a quarter mile on a packed dirt trail to get to the other side of the gorge and get into the isolated part of Highway 1, where we can enjoy a Highway 1 along the coast with local traffic only. It’s about 20 miles to the next slide, so plan on 50 miles of round trip riding, with sight-seeing and other explorations along the way. Bring cash to support the struggling local vendors who normally depend on motorized tourist traffic.
Catch a ride with me! I have space for three bikes on my car; I’m pretty sure two of those spaces are taken, but feel free to ping me if you’d like a ride with me from Scotts Valley. You can even crash on my couch Friday night after Santa Cruz Bike Party, although no overnight parking is available. I will leave my home in Scotts Valley at 6:30 A.M. Leave a comment and I’ll email you with details.
RSVP: If you plan to meet me either at Molera or at my home, please let me know by Friday afternoon so I know to look for you, and pretty please send me a note if you flake. Leave a comment here, and I’ll send you an email with my mobile number so we can text updates. You can also contact me via DM on Twitter. Important: Cell phone reception can by iffy south of about Carmel, so be sure to send any status updates before you get out of Monterey, and be sure you send them before I’m south of there too.
What’s our pace? This is no rider left behind, and ideally I’m aiming for an endurance pace AKA 70% HR exertion level AKA a casual conversational ride but with noticeable exertion, which for me translates to about a 15 MPH pace for most of the 50 miles we’re riding. We’ll likely do frequent stops for photo opportunities and anything interesting we might see.
What to bring? Bring water and snacks and cash. Bring your bike. Don’t forget your bike shoes. Please ensure your bike is in good operating order before arriving at the parking lot at Molera Park. As for apparel, the temperature should be in the mid-60s along the coast in Big Sur, rising to the mid-70s towards noon depending on how foggy it is.
Why so early? Highway 1 north of Monterey gets very busy on the weekends. I’d like to avoid that. Prevailing north wind also picks up significantly after noon along the coast, so I’d like to avoid that too with an early start.
The drought-busting winter storms earlier this year damaged significant portions of the state highway system in California, washing out several sections of Highway 1 along the Central Coast and taking out Pfeiffer Bridge in Monterey County, isolating the residents and businesses there. They’re receiving basic living needs by helicopter, or by hauling supplies in on the backs of porters using hastily constructed walking trails. We’re using one of these trails to access this “island”, as described by Alpha Roaming on his recent trip to this same area.
Here is Caltrans District 5 current highway closure information for this part of Highway 1. We’ll ride from Pfeiffer to Paul’s Slide.
More background – historical
When Pfeiffer Bridge was first knocked out, I jotted these below notes while researching alternate routes for people who might need to bypass Highway 1 completely, e.g. large groups, and those touring the coast.
Brian Coyne (Bay Area Biking Blog guy) suggests State Route 25 from Hollister, see also this route at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/19172332. Brian said he would also try this route through the Central Valley.
Lodging for inland routes:
– Hearst Hacienda at Fort Hunter Ligget (open to public, call to reserve room). Camping around Lake Nacimiento.
– San Lorenzo Park Campground King City
– Queen Motel King City
– Memorial Park Campground Greenfield
– Camping at Pinnacles National Monument
– Campgrounds on east side of Big Sur State Park near Arroyo Seco Road (near-ish Greenfield)
– Williams Hill Recreation Area San Ardo – ATV area w/ FREE camping, 5 mile steep dirt road to access. No water, no trash.
– Cabins and camping around Lake Nacimiento & Lake San Antonio
– Lodging and camping near Paso Robles
— bigsurkate (@bigsurkate) March 15, 2017
New Pfeiffer Bridge approved . Caltrans says this bridge will open to traffic (likely single-lane) in September.
And my saddle:
Were still there after hours of sitting unattended in midtown Manhattan.
This could mean that both the Abus NutFix and the Hiplok Z LOK provided ample anti-theft protection, or of course it could just mean that the thieves were distracted by other far more attractive bikes in the area:
That bike looks like it has a mustache:
I did, however, return to my bike to find a note on it. "I hope your ride back," it began suggestively...
...sucks? ...is horrible? ...ends in tears?
...results in a saddle sore the severity of which defies medical science and necessitates the consumption of an entire bottle of Floyd's of Leadville CBD Hemp Oil?
My fingers trembled with anticipation as I unfurled the note, only to find that it contained nothing but well-wishings:
What can I say? Some think the glass is half-empty, others think it's half-full, and I think the glass contains a deadly admixture of sulfuric acid, spider venom, and Mario Cipollini's crotch sweat.
Assume the worst and you'll never be disappointed.
Anyway, the ride back did go well thankyouvermuch, and I even had time for a quick stop:
To pick up some kale:
What, you got a problem with salad?
I didn't think so.
Best of all, I didn't get caught up in any violent altercations:
I seem to recall reading somewhere that the driver got impatient and tried to make his way through a large group of cyclists who had "corked" an intersection, and while I in no way advocate violence, at the same time fuck him.
Sometimes you just need to wait a couple of minutes.
Lastly, the Colorado Classic is about to begin (in Colorado somewhere I'm assuming):
And it's shaping up to be a Fred-tastic freakout complete with food fairs, flea markets, and even a musical concert featuring music bands who play music and everything:
I am simultaneously too young and too old to be into any of these bands, but presumably these people aren't:
Actually I'm sure those people would go "Whooo!!!" no matter where you stuck them: a bike race, the line at the bank, the emergency room, you name it...
Because they are assholes.
One such item was the Abus NutFix, which may sound like a cutting-edge medical treatment you'd need to seek if botched a cyclocross remount, but is in fact a theft-proof locking skewer system:
Basically the idea is that when the bike's upright you can't get it open, but when you lie the bike down horizontally you can slide the cover off of the nut and open it up with an 8mm wrench:
Which is great as long as you don't park your bike like this:
Of course, once the box containing the Abus NutFix skewers arrived back in April I promptly set it aside and didn't get around to opening it until this very morning.
I need a larger staff.
Anyway, the first thing I did upon opening the package was try to unlock the nut by holding the skewer vertically, but try as I might I couldn't get it to work. I must have stood there in the kitchen for about 40 minutes, tugging and twisting the thing to no avail like a monkey trying to open a combination lock. Finally, I realized that what sets us apart from our simian siblings is the ability to operate the Internet, and so after roughly four seconds of G--gling I discovered I first had to push down on the nut and then give it a pull.
Yes, I realize all of this sounds totally obscene, but there's really no way around it.
Once I got that down and was confident I wouldn't wind up stranded and unable to fix a flat on a cold dark night on they went, and then I headed to Midtown where the bike is sitting outside as I type this:
That's about the closest I've got to a "fancy" set of wheels (they came with my Ritte Rustbucket) so it should be interesting to see of they're still there when I return. Oh, here's how they look when they're installed:
It seems like a decent system, but of course it all hinges on having that 8mm wrench when you need it. Naturally I've added one to my Surly's tool roll:
But inasmuch as an 8mm wrench isn't the sort of thing you're likely to find on a typical multitool it's easy to see how you might find yourself without one at a crucial juncture.
Oh, and while I was testing the NutFix I figured I'd also test that Hiplok "Z LOK:"
Yes, a reusable locking zip tie with a steel core is all that is securing my Brooks Cambium from the thieves of New York City:
Will see what happens.
Oh, and for the millionth time because it always comes up, yes, I suppose if a thief was familiar with the S&S coupler system then he or she could help themselves to half a bicycle if they were so inclined:
However, I'm willing to bet that if the bike gets stolen it's going to be an all-or-nothing scenario.
I'll keep you posted.
In other news, everybody's heard by now that Steuart and Tom Walton have bought Rapha:
Honestly I'm just surprised there are that many giant Freds in the world:
Mr Mottram said the investment would enable Rapha to accelerate its global expansion plans.
"It heralds the start of the next stage of our journey and is testament to the growth and potential that people see in Rapha and in cycling," he added.
Rival firms, including Aston Martin shareholder Investindustrial, were reported to have been interested in Rapha, which was valued at a reported £200m.
Though I'm not sure about this:
"Who was really interested in cycling back in 2001 and 2002? It was just something us weirdos did."
I dunno, 2001 and 2002 were Lance Armstrong's third and fourth Tour de France wins, and if I remember correctly the Steamroller of Fredliness had already attained unstoppable momentum--though either way there's no question that Rapha's timing was impeccable. And while everybody's relishing the fact that the Waltons are heirs to the Walmart fortune, I think the real irony is that the quintessential roadie clothing company got bought by a couple of mountain bikers:
Brothers Steuart and Tom Walton are grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and their shared passion for mountain biking has led the Walton Family Foundation to contribute $13 million toward trails in Northwest Arkansas. Remember when you were a kid (or, like last week) and you played that game: "What would you do if you had a zillion dollars?" Well, these guys can actually answer that question. And it turns out what they'd do is create a living lab for trail advocacy.
Though the current state of their wardrobe was almost certainly a factor:
In any case, I can't help feeling a bit nostalgic, since Rapha played such an outsized role in the salad days of my blogging career. After all, who could forget this?
I even got quoted in the article:
In an e-mail message, Bike Snob NYC said he was impressed with a “Fixed Jacket” that Rapha sent him to try. “It’s excellent,” he wrote. “It’s durable, the fit is good, and the pockets are in the right places.” The blogger added, “They’ve done a great job of not only evoking cycling history but also capturing a ‘soulful’ aesthetic that appeals to certain riders.” Still, he admitted: “As a cyclist, I understand it, but personally I sometimes find it off-putting. It’s a little rarefied for me ... I don’t want to feel like I need to be worthy of my clothes.”
Now Rapha's all growed up and fetching £200 million, and here I am riding a Surly and hoping my wheels don't get stolen. All I'm saying is where the hell is my buyout? I'm not asking for Walmart money, but couldn't the Tad's Steaks heirs buy me out for like fifty grand?
In the meantime I've been training hard on my chubby bike:
That's right, I plan to set those Strava segments on fire--unless of course the Renovo goes up in flames first.
Speaking of test items, a little while ago I mentioned that I'd received a set of these reusable locking zip ties from Hiplok:
Here's what happened.
As the curator of a vast publishing empire and the father of an undisclosed number of human children it's not too often that I have time to go for a leisurely Sunday ride. However, yesterday the stars aligned in just such a was as to make that possible. So I grabbed the Ol' Milwaukee and pointed it north.
However, a few blocks from my home, I noticed a potentially ride-ending problem:
My bar tape was messed up.
Specifically, the edge of one piece of bar tape had wriggled itself free from beneath the overlapping piece, and so it was popping up a tiny bit. Now, as a parent with limited riding time my capacity for bicycle imperfection has increased considerably over the years. Filthy bike? Out-of-true wheel? Rusty chain? I no longer give any of these a second thought.
However, riding around with unraveling bar tape is a notch above sporting a great big greasy chain ring tattoo, and the level of distraction it would present during my ride was akin to having a pebble in my shoe or a burr in my chamois.
Anyway, I was just about to throw the bike over a guardrail and give up cycling forever when it occurred to me that I could take that little zip tie key and tuck the tape back where it belonged. So that's what I did:
Incidentally, this particular tape says "Do not stretch" on the package, but clearly there's a fine line between not stretching and not wrapping tightly enough, and I guess I must have been just beneath that line by the time I made my way to the top of the bar.
It is exceedingly comfortable though, so I'm willing to ride the learning curve.
Speaking of Strava, now that I'm broadcasting my lame rides to the world, clearly I need to take the next step and make dramatic videos about them--just like world famous fixie bike rider Patrick Seabase:
Morocco - Riding in the Atlas Mountains from Patrick Seabase on Vimeo.
From the intense atmosphere of Marrakech to the silent peaks up to 3000m.
No, this clip does not capture the beauty of riding in the High Atlas Mountains. What it captures is the intricate linework of Patrick Seabase's chest tattoo and the wispy hairs of his mustache:
Lastly, remember when Fred Specs were going to be all the rage?
Well maybe not:
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Intel Corporation has quietly discontinued its Recon Jet smart sunglasses line as part of its reported move out of the wearables market. In a document published on the Intel website, the company said it would stop accepting orders for the products on Sept. 29.
Though not everybody's giving up on the concept:
Everysight, an Israel-based company, is continuing to move ahead with its heads-up display sunglass, also marked for cyclists. The company attended Summer PressCamp last month and said it will begin shipping its glasses soon.