A Tedious Wednesday Diatribe About How Stupid We Are

Most weekday mornings this summer my elder son and I get on our bikes and ride the one (1) mile to his day cap.  A fairly decent hill (especially if you're seven) notwithstanding, it's a mellow ride through a fairly quiet residential neighborhood--with one exception.

At about the halfway point of our ride is another day camp that is held on the lush campus of a private school.  (Annual tuition $42,805 not including an additional $7,000 for books, supplies, field trips, etc., in case you're wondering.)  By the time my son and I are passing through, the drop-off is in full swing, and a phalanx of traffic coordinators guide a seemingly endless procession of SUVs with license plates from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut (not to mention a whole bunch of yellow schoolbuses) through a series of orange cones and eventually to the entrance where, eventually, parents discharge their little campers.

And of course the entire process repeats itself in the afternoon during our return trip home.

To their credit, the staff clearly puts a great deal of effort into managing all this traffic, and they're always very considerate of us as we pass, but even so riding through this shitshow of an obstacle course is a real pain in the ass.

Americans--even New Yorkers--have gotten used to the idea that driving kids absolutely everywhere is normal behavior.  However, when you ride a bike the scales fall from your eyes (or, if you prefer, the pie plate falls from your hub) and you see that a school run with the complexity of an airport drop-off is fucking insane.  And sure, call me smug, but it seems doubly insane to drive all the way from Connecticut or New Jersey (or Manhattan for that matter) and then spend 15 minutes idling in a drop-off line so a kid can kick a soccer ball around on a field in the Bronx.

Oh, sure, I realize it's typical of a smug cyclist to pass judgment on others' choices.  After all, I'm sure plenty of these parents have perfectly logical reasons for sending their kids to day camps out of state.  For example, it's probably on the way to their Manhattan offices, and once they've completed the dropoff they they likely head downtown and curse the bike lanes as they sit in traffic on the Henry Hudson Parkway.  Also, like all cyclists I'm a giant hypocrite, because even though I'd rather chew my own foot off than drive my kids to school or camp on a regular basis I still pile them into THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK for all sorts of other stuff when the mood strikes me.  (I've got a trunk full of beach chairs and I'm not afraid to use them.)

Still, when you ride a bike around the neighborhood it's hard--really hard--to watch other parents subject themselves to this sort of thing and not wonder to yourself, "What the fuck are they doing???"  It's also hard not to meditate on the moronic choices people make because of cars, whether it's commuting to another city go grocery shopping (guilty), or driving into the city during rush hour, complaining about the traffic, and then complaining about the bike lanes used by the people who actually live there:


I've certainly never considered myself an environmentalist, and my inclination to ride bikes a lot of the time is motivated mostly by joy and impatience, but it's getting harder and harder to ignore the implications of the stupid decisions we make because we're dumb and lazy.  And it's not just or addiction to cars either.  Consider air conditioning:
Sure, it's easy to laugh at flip flops, the footwear of choice for fans of Jimmy Buffett.  At the same time, let's consider the fact that we squander an insane amount of energy in order to air condition basically the entire city so people who work in offices can dress like it's winter all summer long.  Incredibly, many people on this planet actually dress appropriately for the climate in which they live, and that includes wearing some form of sandal (which is what flip flops are) even in formal situations.  After all, as far showing your feet at work, if sandals are good enough for heads of state then who the hell are you to complain?


("I dare you to say some shit about my sandals.")

Yes, all over the planet entire countries go more or less barefoot, but you push some papers around at a legal firm so you shouldn't have to see some toes.

And sure, feet can be pretty damn funky, but this person should maybe get some help:

Thomas Beatty, 63, who retired from a job in hotels in Manhattan, had a much more colorful reaction to flip-flops in a professional setting.

“Never!” he said. “Disgusting, filthy, revolting, repellent, repulsive, sickening, nauseating, stomach-churning, stomach-turning, off-putting, unpalatable, distasteful, foul, nasty, vomitous.”

We're justifiably outraged when the Saudis arrest a woman for wearing a miniskirt, but we're aghast at the notion of someone exposing their little piggies.

(By the way, Thomas Beatty is totally a closet foot fetishist, and he's afraid if he catches a glimpse of some bunions he'll want to start "toe-jammin'.")

And while thinking flip flops are ugly, gross and noisy may seem innocent enough, it's really just another symptom of the same uptight attitude that keeps people from riding bikes places because "Eew, I'll get all sweaty."  Perhaps if we came to terms with the fact that wearing less shit keeps you cooler, and that a little sweating is normal, and that the economy won't collapse if both these things happen at work, then chances are we'd be free to make more rational decisions about how to get around.  (Not to mention dialing back on the AC a bit.)

Plus, I know a guy who used to wear flip flops to the office, and his name was Jesus:


See?


And when he comes back you'd better believe he'll be wearing Tevas and riding a Citi Bike:


You have been warned.
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A Very Quick Post Because Time Waits For No Fred, This One In Particular

First of all, great news!


Looks like I'll soon be taking delivery of one of those wooden bikes:


Wait, sorry, not that one.  This one:

I can't wait to try it, even though it doesn't have disc brakes:



I'll also have to carry around some tools while I dial in the adjustments.  Here's how you lower the integrated seatmast:


And here's how you raise it again:


Anyway, I'm looking forward to finding out whether the ride quality is woody or tinny, and I suspect it will be the former:



I'll keep you posted.

Maybe I'll use it for the BSNYC Gran Fondon't.

(Yes, I haven't forgotten.)

Of course, I'll also need a suitable pump to carry with me, and I'm leaning towards this mobile inflating device:


Typically I offer assistance when I pass another rider with a flat, but if I saw someone on the roadside churning away rhythmically with a delighted expression on his face I'd be out of the saddle and sprinting to safety like there was a $1,000 prime on offer:


But the best thing about this pump is that it's helping to save the planet:

Global warming is becoming more and more serious.  People getting less exercise and which leads to worse healthy level.

Therefore bicycle has become much more a favorite tool for transportation as well as exercising.   Having a flat tire somewhere in a remote place can be frustrating, thus a carry-on inflator is indispensable when biking.   Traditional inflators are either bulky/heavy or they need to be powered by electricity, which is inconvenient. 

Though I do my part by carrying the same mini pump I've had for over 20 years already.  I also refuse to use C02s, because frankly I don't see the point.  If you're racing you're dropped anyway, and if you're not what difference does an extra minute or two make?

Though I suppose triathletes like the way they look with their butt-rocket launching systems:



I mean that's what these things are, right?


Sure they are.

Lastly, my mail bag runneth over, because not only have I received these things which are not toe straps:


But I've also taken delivery of some exquisite hand-curated deerskin gloves:


I promise to tell you all about both items tomorrow, at least assuming I manage to wrap my mind around them by then.

Until then,

I remain,

Yours and so on,


--Wildcat Etc.


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This Title Is Merely A Wind-Cheating Fairing That Offers No Actual Protection

Happy Monday!  Say hello to our old friend Bret, spotted by a reader in Brooklyn:


At this point he is officially inside the DNA of cycling.

Speaking of people who wear yellow, despite all my wisecracks about the Tour de France I'd probably be watching if only I have the time.  Alas, I do not, so at this point if I've got a couple hours it's either watch the Tour or go ride a bike, and obviously given the choice i'm going to opt for the latter.  Still, I like to scan the results, and I see that over the weekend Chris Froome managed to close a monster gap after a wheel change:


Froome was 45 seconds behind his rivals at one point but managed to close the gap with a huge effort and some vital help from his teammate, including Mikel Landa, who dropped back to ensure Froome was back on before the top of the climb. Froome later suggested he had suffered a broken spoke in his wheel. It could have cost him the race.

So at this point it's safe to assume he was tired, feigned a "broken spoke," and received one of those electromagnetic wheels from his teammate, yes?

Sure he did.

Hey, there are some pretty sleek and unobtrusive settings out there:



Now who's being naive?

Meanwhile the supervillain in charge of Team Sky has gone Full Trump with the media:


When Ryan asked Brailsford what parts of the piece before the Tour de France he considered inaccurate, Brailsford replied: "I'm not getting into that. It was opinion, you write shit.

“We make ourselves available, we answer all the questions and you write this shit.”

The heated exchanged continued. Ryan suggested that the only other person to act like this (with the media) was Bruyneel when he barred Sporza at the 2009 Tour de France.

Brailsford replied: “Are you accusing me of running a doping programme as well?”

Ryan said: “Well, UK Anti-Doping are investigating that...”

At that point Brailsford said, “You can stick it up your arse” and walked off.

I'm assuming "You can stick it up your arse" is Brailsford confirming the doping program, which must involve administering HGH suppositories.

In other technology news, mountain biking now "requires" more gizmos than a rider can operate at one time, and to that end we now have the "Kill Switch:"



“Let me show you how it works.  The Kill Switch is mounted between the dropper post and the rear shock.  Before climbing just raise your saddle and Kill Switch will lock your shock.  When ready to descend, drop your saddle, and Kill Switch will unlock your shock."


Between the inherent phallocentrism of mountain biking and the direction he's pointing it's difficult to tell whether he's talking about the Kill Switch or his bro's perineum.

Because the perineum is also located between the "dropper post" and the "rear shock."

Medically speaking, of course.

"Now we’re ready to ride faster and smoother.”


He then points to another bro descending a smooth and gentle grade you'd never be able to ride on a regular bicycle:


At this rate here's your mountain bike in ten years:


Lastly, Outside ran my latest column last Friday, and once again I couldn't resist browsing the comments on their Facebook:


The latest issue of the magazine may contain thrilling stories of avalanches and near-death experiences:


Yet oddly a surprising number of Outside readers seem horrified at the prospect of a woman piloting a bakfiets full of children through the mean streets of Portland, OR:

Jason Melchior That just looks irresponsible. But hey...I'm not a complete cyclist.

Michael L. McClung Stupid and dangerous for kids when these people ride those contraptions in traffic.

James Keith Mowdy Potential serious injury.

I bet they all shop at Best Made.

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BSNY Friday Fun Self-Promotion!

Good morning!

You've had a long week, I've had a long week, so I'm going to spare you the quiz and dismiss you early.

But first, click on over to Outside and read my latest column, which is all about using your bike to do stuff:



Even the most "epic" Fondo, gravel-grinder, or bikepacking expedition isn't so much a feat as it is a vacation, and the true cycling accomplishment is Getting Shit Done.



Notice the deer is wearing one of those performance-enhancing ear tags:


Speaking of the Turbine (as I was yesterday), do you notice anything?:

No?  Look closer:


Here's a pop quiz:

The Turbine nasal-dilating athletic performance system resembles:

--A penis
--A uterus and ovaries
--The Ebola virus
--All of the above

Small, medium, and large sizes indeed.

Okay, you're now free to go.  Enjoy the weekend, ride safe, and enjoy riding safely this weekend.

Yours and so forth,


--Wildcat Rock Machine


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Wait, is it really Thursday already?

Sorry I'm late, but you have no idea what I'm dealing with.

I'm not saying I'm dealing with a lot, because I'm not, I'm just saying you actually have no idea because you never think to ask:


Here's what he's writing, by the way:


Hey, therapy's expensive, but it's worth it.

Anyway, I doubt you even miss me at this point, since: 1) you take me for granted; and B) I have a whole other blog now.

And that's not even counting my weekly column at Outside, the next installment of which should materialize imminently.

Speaking of bullshit, remember how Andrew Talansky (currently 41st on the CG) was training with a for the Tour de France with a brain-zapper?



Well now Chris Froome is wearing a performance-enhancing septum ring:
At this year's Tour, Froome has been seen wearing a nasal dilator called the Turbine. The three-time race winner has been using it for a while. Riders are allowed to wear it in competition, according to the UCI, but we've seen Froome use it only after racing during his cooldown.

The company says on its website that the Turbine is "proven in a clinical trial to increase air flow through the nose by an average of 38%." 

Here are some of the research notes taken during that clinical trial:


Thinking of trying a Turbine for yourself?  The "starter kit" is only $19.95:


On one hand, twenty bucks isn't a lot of money in the context of Fredly performance-enhancement.  On the other hand, it's a piece of fucking plastic you stick up your nose.  Also, in a stroke of pure genius, you have to keep buying new ones.  Just read the FAQ:

HOW LONG DOES EACH TURBINE LAST?

Each device is recommended for use up to 10 times. A single pack comes with three devices.

Amazing.

And why do you have to replace it?  Because accumulating bacteria could make you die:

WHY SHOULD I CHANGE TURBINE AFTER 10 USES?

Testing has shown that to optimise the performance of the device, comfort and fit, Turbine should be replaced after 10 uses.
While Turbine may appear fit for use beyond 10 uses, optimal device performance cannot be guaranteed because:
1. Of the risk of bacteria accumulation and the maintenance of hygiene standards.
2. The device may discolour or the ultra-soft polymer may begin to stiffen affecting comfort.
3. The dilation mechanism will wear and may not hold its dilation effectively.

That's why I'm getting in on the act and selling an aftermarket system to keep your Turbine running longer:


Just keep in mind if the ultra-soft polymer gets too stiff it could snap and you could inhale the Turbine during competition, resulting in death--or worse, a diminished placing in the Gran Fondo or other targeted event.

I'm just waiting for Mario Cipollini to officially enter the performance-enhancing insertable market:


("Mine is similar, but for the butt.")

Lastly, you'll no doubt be delighted to learn the fixie and/or singlespeed as branding exercise refuses to die, and the "L Train Commuter" is proof:



Brilliant was inspired to build this bicycle after hearing news that the NYC Subway's notoriously unreliable L-Train is going down for 15 months of service, leaving many Brooklynites without their main artery into the city. With this limited edition bike, they set out to create the ultimate commuter bicycle for a seamless borough-to-borough, city ride. Even the paint options have a Brooklyn story to tell; a subway grey in tribute to the train, or a rich dark blue inspired by the Hudson river crossing. 

That's right: it's the first-ever dedicated subway service change bike.

Just don't try to use it in conjunction with any other subway line outage our you'll void the warranty.

Also, once L train service resumes you should discard the bike immediately, just like a Turbine schnoz ring after the 10th use.

See you tomorrow, and more punctually I hope.


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Ready, set, Wednesday!

Admittedly I haven't been following the Touring of France very closely, but I got very excited when I saw there had been a slapping incident--until I saw footage of said slapping:
Oh please.  That's a slap like Michelob Ultra is a beer.  In fact, between this and the outrage over Fabio Aru not waiting for Chris Froome, it's tempting to say cycling's getting too soft.

Wait!  Are we critiquing Tour de France riders for being too soft?!?

Cue an outraged old guy in five...four...three...

(Greg LeMond demonstrating the purported size of his testicles.)

"If the race is on, it does not matter what happens to the yellow jersey, he's got a team and that's what a team is for," added the American, who won the Tour in 1986, 1989 and 1990.

...

"The riders have lost their ability to race," said LeMond.

And with that, LeMond took a bong rip the size of a team bus:


Of course, if you really want context for the Tour de France, you've got to dig deep into the race's history.  Here's a New York Times article on the race from 1926:


[PDF]

28 Days!  And check out who was racing:

Many internationally known cyclists will compete in this event, the twentieth of its kind—last year’s champion, Bottesvia from Itall, Belgian’s Buysse brothers, Huysse, Beniot, Frantz, the Frenchmen Bellenger, Aymot, Huot, Sellier and many others, including Swiss, Hollanders, &c.

In those days they left off the first name for weight savings.

Of course, the basic idea was the same, but the wardrobe was a slightly different:

The man with the least number of accumulated hours will wear the coveted yellow sweater which often changes hands during the circuit.  

I couldn't help plugging the delightful phrase "coveted yellow sweater" into a popular search engine, and here's what I came up with:


(Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's sweater.)

But perhaps the best thing about the old-timey Tour was that amateur Freds could jump in too:

The professional cyclists operate in squads representing various bicycle manufacturing firms and lend each other a hand in case of punctures.  The amateurs operate alone, and while they cannot expect to win, they have a lively competition with each other for amateur prizes.  All along the route towns and villages offer prizes for spurts, &c., and the native sons always get a wild reception, whatever their standings in the race may be.

It's true, the native son always did get a wild reception, but once he arrived in the next town and was no longer the native son he was beaten mercilessly about the head and torso with a stale baguette.

In other news, I received a press release by email yesterday, and imagine my surprise when it was 50% about me:


As the NYC Bike Snob, the snarky and elusive Weiss became a guide for cyclists all over the world, with posts ranging from bike part information to bike lane etiquette -- never afraid of criticizing the big names in the competitive sport. 

The above paragraph continues thusly:

"Interest in the Bike Snob eventually faded until Outside found him behind a taqueria scrounging for discarded burrito stubs.  Taking mercy on him, they engaged him as a columnist ."

Anyway, being a "top influencer, " you can imagine I get lots of great marketing emails, such as this one:

Breaking the wind with Wood...Aerowood

Never one to resist a fart pun, I read on:

In today's carbon rich bicycle environment, it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd and introduce something truly unique and different. The new Renovo Aerowood is a genuine head turner and a great conversation piece.  Please share this with your followers and if interested, please ask about Review Bikes that are readily available.

Wait a second:



Did they say review bikes are available?!?

I may have to try one of these things:


The new Aerowood combines wood with carbon to produce Renovo’s FFSVD© (full frame shock and vibration damping) engineering technology which creates an incredibly fast and smooth ride. In addition, the hollow wood frame is a unique departure from mainstream bicycles that Renovo has found to absorb vibration better than other frame materials and has been expertly engineering since 2007.  Completing the package the Aerowood sports a shrouded rear wheel, aero downtube and seat mast fairing to reduce wind resistance.

Not only will that give me at least two weeks' worth of wood puns, but I'll finally have an appropriate bike for my $45 wooden bidon:


Not to mention my wooden combination bottle opener/tire lever:


Not only is the shape highly ergonomic, but if you're using a tubeless system it can also be used as a sealant injector.

Best of all, I understand Best Made Co. has a travel bike conversion kit available specifically for wooden frames.  It consists of one of their axes:


And a set of hose clamps:


They're like S&S couplers, only more artisanal.

Still, being a top influencer comes with a lot of pressure.  For example, I'm woefully behind on all the different road bike categories, and I need to get caught up.  To that end, I recently browsed the VeloNews Buyers' Guide, where I was stunned to find that ther eare now "All-Around Road" bikes:


And "Aero Road" bikes:




And "Endurance Road" bikes:



And of course "Gravel" bikes;


Even more confusingly, the top Aero road bike was a track bike:


And in case you're wondering, the last place Gravel bike was a Cannondale Slate:


Cannondale’s Tim Johnson calls the Slate “the Swiss Army Knife of road bikes.” Do you really want to dress a deer with a folding knife? Isn’t that can-opener a nuisance? That’s not to say the Slate isn’t a fun, versatile bike. It just seems like a complicated design that tries to do too much for a very specific person. But maybe you’re that person.

Oh snap.

Anyway, I don't know much, but it seems to me that maybe one day they can come up with a bike that's just kind of a regular road bike you can use to do pretty much anything:


Nah, it'll never catch on.
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It’s a Le Mans Start Today, So Kindly Walk to the Other Side of the Room Until I Give the Word

Good morning!

Welcome to your Official BSNYC Tour de France Recap, brought to you by the Best Made Co. "Bowl Dancer" Toilet Brush:


We designed the Bowl Dancer from the ground up to evoke the act of butter-churning each time you clean your commode.  The handle and stand are constructed from locally-grown teak (don't worry about where it's grown, it's local to wherever you happen to be) to resist humidity and urine splatter, and the brush is made from Japanese boar whiskers to remove even the most stubborn fecal remnants from your porcelain.  


Oh, and for best results, make sure to use with Best Made's "Bowlshine" bowl cleaner:


Has a night of small-batch artisanal bourbon consumption left you with a case of the "whiskey shits?"  Our Moonshine Bowlshine is distilled from hydrogen peroxide, fresh-squeezed Dekopon juice, and hairless cat urine.  Just don't confuse it with our Best Made "Moonshine," which comes in the same kiln-fired earthenware jug:


Or, do, because it's all the same shit anyway.


Anyway, moving on to the Official BSNYC Tour de France Recap, yesterday was...a rest day:


Shit.

Speaking of the outdoors and things with the letter "X" on them, meet "LIGHTPACK, the World's First Electroluminescent Backpack:"


The bag was thought of and designed by Sully Sefil, artist and designer of Rock The Street brand. X-shaped bright logo symbolizes the crossroads of streets, styles and cultures. In union resides strength and in the mix we find the source of wealth and progress.

Sounds creepy--almost as creepy as these handlebars:



3 REASONS FOR A NEW DESIGN

So there are three main reasons for creating a new design for the traditional road bike top tude.
1. Reduce wind resistance
2. Reduce the risk of injury to wrists, elbows and shoulders due to misalignment of arms when holding your elbows in close to your body in order to reduce wind resistance, and
3. Reduce the risk of accidents due to a rider not holding the handlebar in order to achieve a less wind resistant position.

Handlebars like this are generally designed for people who really should be riding bars like this:


Or this, both of which address Reasons 2 and 3:


But haven't yet come to terms with the fact that Reason 1 has absolutely no bearing on their lives whatsoever because they totally suck.

Plus--and this may sound crazy--when you want to get aero shouldn't you be riding in the drops anyway?


I mean sure, I realize 90% of road bike owners have never actually placed their hands in the drops, but one day some Fred is bound to try it and the world of cycling will be changed forever.

Lastly, a reader has forwarded me the Y-Foil of your wildest dreams:



About Trek's famous YBikes:

These USA made carbon bikes are an example of what US carbon fiber manufacturing can produce. The Optimum Compaction Low Void (OCLV) monocoque mainframe uses techniques developed by Boeing to build 747/747 tail fins and is virtually indestructible while being ultra light weight.

The unique Y-bike design established the pattern followed by countless other manufacturers but it was first, and best, done here. The URT (unified rear triangle) rear suspension is superior to multi-link setups for cross country riding providing a nominal stiffening/lockout under load (while remaining active unlike other URT designs) while being stiffer, less wear and damage prone, and lighter. 

It's the epitome of retro-chic.



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Titles Are The Pie Plate of Literature

I'm not on the Facebook, but subsequent to the publication of my Outside thing about the Tour de France I went to their Facebook page, which Zuckerberg and Co. graciously let non-Facebookies look at provided they are willing to peer around this annoyingly-placed rectangle:


In so doing, I was bemused to find hundreds of incensed comments beneath the link to my piece, most of which were some variation on the theme that I'm stupid because the Tour is awesome and so should return to my "safe space."  If this represents the typical Outside reader I find this highly encouraging, since if they're this easily upset it should be great fun to continue taunting them for as long as the magazine will continue to have me. In fact I'm already at work on my next missive, tentatively titled "Fuck Mountaineering."


By the way, I'd be willing to bet that 90% of those Facebook commenters have not watched a Tour since 2005.

Then again, I should probably work a little harder to understand the outdoorsy demographic, since I'm assuming there's got to be something in between the types of people who buy stuff from Best Made and chop wood in photography studios:



And the potbellied cargo-shorted suburbanites who shop at REI and buy racks they'll never use for their meticulously detailed SUVs.

However, if there is I have yet to encounter it.

Alas, I'm a lot more familiar with the cycling demographic--who, when you retweet a found stolen bike:
Reply with comments about bike setup:


Or smugly tell you how things work in France:


There are a lot of annoying people on the Internet, but we cyclists truly are the worst:


(Via here.)

Hey, I practically invented making fun of fixies, but it's 2017 now and I just wanna see that person get their bike back.

Speaking of the Tour de France, yesterday's Stage 9 was certainly exciting, but not for the right reasons:



Prompting another one of Outside's know-it-all pundits to call out the race organizers:



Knowing a route like the back of your hand comes into play in the Tour de France. While I thought today’s 182-kilometer course into Chambéry was really stupid—a supposed “queen stage” that doesn’t end with an epic climb—the GC contenders still needed to know it like they do their home terrain. A twisty-turny descent as critical as today’s demands that you and your team ride it in training three to four times. I mean, you really need to know it. Not to say Porte didn’t know the downhill, but today either an overcorrection or a bad line sent him to the ground, and then straight across the road and into both Dan Martin and the rocky hillside. No way for Martin to save that crash, and Porte goes to the hospital, reportedly breaking a collarbone and his pelvis. I totally disagree with this kind of dark, moist, dangerous downhill before a queen-stage finish. Because of it, the 2017 Tour has lost another one of its big names.



Questions must be asked of race organisers Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) for including a treacherous final descent after one of the toughest climbing stages in recent Tour history. Rather than settling for a typical summit finale, ASO opted for the stage’s fourth technical descent and a finish in Chambéry. Porte was one of 11 riders to fall during the day, with Froome’s lieutenant Geraint Thomas also suffering a race-ending shoulder injury. Martin, who completed the stage despite crashing into Porte, offered guarded criticism of ASO afterwards. “I guess the organisers got what they wanted,” said the Quick-Step Floors rider. Cycling is an inherently dangerous sport, but this was just gratuitous.

Criticizing a stage that not only takes out a favorite but results in serious injury?  These people really need to return to their "safe space."

In other crash news, Esteemed Commenter Daddo One informs me a driver slammed into a Hubway station in Boston:


According to police, officers responded to the intersection around 3:59 a.m. Saturday where they found a black Cadillac “in the middle of the Hubway Station with multiple damaged bicycles surrounding it.’’

The vehicle was unoccupied.

Seems pretty innocent to me.  Clearly the driver decided to exchange his Cadillac for a bike so he attempted to dock his car and then rode off.  Hey, I read the Hubway instructions, and nowhere do they explicitly say the docks won't accept Caddies:


If anything we should welcome this driver into the fold and gift him with a "One Less Car" sticker.

Lastly, Bret sightings continue unabated, and here's one via a reader in which he's inspiring students at a London secondary school to pursue a career in biology:


Given Bret's omnipresence and ability to bend space and time physics would seem a more appropriate course of study, but then again his soul patch no doubt harbors untold biological mysteries, so I'll allow it.
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Waiting for the Axe to Fall


Longtime readers of this blog may recall that back when it was good I wrote extensively (perhaps too extensively) about a designer camping supply and artisanal axe-bedazzling concern called "Best Made Co."  In fact, my first post on the subject appeared seven years and one day ago, on July 6th, 2010.  It was, characteristically, both insightful and hilarious.

By the way, if you're wondering whether or not I ever heard from Best Made, the answer is...sort of.  Evidently someone named Jack forwarded my post to the axe-bedazzler himself, Peter Buchanan-Smith, and in turn forwarded me his reply, which was as follows:

Jack! Thanks so much for the link. I'll comment when he shows me his face, tells me his real name, or is willing to test drive my product... then he'll have grown a pair of balls big enough to slap down on the proverbial glass table... Thanks so much for sending the post. Always a pleasure to see Best Made inspiring such critical thinking. All the best, Peter  

In my reply to Jack (which I told him he should feel free to forward to Mr. Buchanan-Smith) I pointed out that both my face and name were featured prominently in the mainstream media, and that I was more than happy to try one of Buchanan-Smith's axes and see if it was worth over two times its usual retail price because he painted the handle.

I never received a reply from either party.

Anyway, let's skip ahead to late June, 2017, when I received an invitation to "An evening with Specialized Bikes, whiskey, and Best Made Co.," described thusly:

In addition to celebrating good people and tasting fine whiskey, we’ll be displaying our new adventure/gravel bike, the Diverge. The crew from Yonder Journal is making the trip out from Oregon to talk about their latest documentary, Project Y, which aims to discover the motivations behind gravel racers, and how the popularity of gravel racing events have seemed to explode over the past few years with events like Dirty Kanza and Grinduro. It’ll be a great opportunity to dive headfirst into the experience and hear from the folks who are living it!

I like bikes, I like whiskey, and I think Best Made is freaking hilarious, so you'd better believe I RSVP'ed in the affirmative faster than a ticket-buying bot scoops up the first row of a Taylor Swift concert.

The event was last night, and so it was that on the seventh anniversary of my first Best Made post, I ventured forth into the belly of the beast:


The Best Made store is located on White Street, just off of Church Street in Tribeca, and if you're: a) a longtime New Yorker; and b) depraved, you may recognize this as the erstwhile location of the no-longer-extant Baby Doll Lounge:


Best Made doesn't occupy the actual space (it's a "modern, casual restaurant & wine bar with a creative Italian menu featuring pizza, pasta & omelets" now), but it is one door over.

Regardless, when I saw all the hip bikes parked out front I knew I was in the right place:



And so, brimming with furtive excitement like a Baby Doll Lounge patron, I entered The House that Bedazzled Axes Built:


The first thing I noticed was this showcase, featuring an item no New Yorker should be without:


I can only assume this is the American Longbow, which sells for $798:


Like The Best Made Axe, the American Longbow is a timeless instrument fabricated around a hickory core, harvested locally in the USA. Black fiberglass laminates and bubinga risers add power and beauty for an elegant merger that is equally effective on the range as it is on the hunt.

Now I'm no Archery Fred so I'll tread carefully here, but I did enter the phrase "best longbow" into a popular search engine and the sense I get is that this thing is overpriced by about $300.

If any William or Willemina Tells would like to weigh in please do so in the comments below.

Anyway, once I was finished checking out the longbow I ventured forth into the bro-down:


I greeted Derrick from Specialized, who I've known for quite awhile, and thanked him for inviting me.  In turn, he presented me with a book someone gave to him to give to me like five years ago or something:


The connection here is that, like Richard Feynman, I too lived in Far Rockaway as a child.  However, the similarities end there, because unlike Richard Feynman, who was a world-renowned physicist, I am an idiot.  Nevertheless, I was touched by the gesture.

Book in hand, I then graciously accepted a modest pour of some artisanal bourbon:


And continued browsing the store.  There was much to admire, such as this thing:


I have no idea what it is, but it costs eighteen hundred and fifty bucks:


There was also this $1,650 box:


This may seem like a lot of money to pay for a box, but keep in mind it performs two (2) vital functions:

1) You can put weed in it;

2) It makes this smaller $600 box seem like a total bargain:



But what good is a box if you don't have any gloves with which to handle it?  Don't worry, Best Made has you covered:


These "rough-out" gloves are made in the USA using high-quality medium weight tannery run elkskin, which in addition to its durability, leaves natural imperfections and handsome scars that develop with age.

Sure, you could pay a lot less for Geier gloves elsewhere, but they don't come with the prose:


Best Made also carries plenty of merit badges you can use to reward yourself for your imaginary accomplishments:


Welcome to the uncomfortable place where the outdoorsy bro aesthetic and the white power aesthetic meet:


These will look great on your rucksack or bomber jacket, as applicable.

And of course there were the axes:


The handle says "courage" because after that second small-batch bourbon some Best Made axe owners actually muster up enough of it to take the thing out of its presentation box.

In any case, it was absolutely brilliant of Specialized to hold this event at Best Made.  Anywhere else a $9,000 gravel bike might seem like an extravagance, but in this setting it seemed like a total bargain, and certainly it was the only object in the room I'd actually want to take home with me and use (besides the whiskey, of course):


And while ordinarily I'd be tempted to scoff at stuff like dropper posts:


And sproingy headtubes:



It all seemed positively prosaic in the context of really expensive boxes and $540 sunglasses::


Look, I'm not a rube, I know expensive sunglasses exist.  But even the most expensive Fred specs Competitive Cyclist sells are under $500:




And at least those things are genuinely bedazzled.

Plus, the Diverge even comes with a toolbox, and I'm sure if Best Made sold a bike toolkit it would cost at least as much as this entire bicycle:


It would also be made of wood and filled with straw.



They showed a trailer for the full-length film and answered questions from the crowd:


The project seems genuinely interesting and entertaining and I'm looking forward to seeing it.  I'm also pleased to report that during the Q&A I was the first to ask "#whatpressureyourunning."

And so, having accomplished everything I'd set out to do, I hopped back on the subway and cracked open my copy of "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" for the ride back to the Bronx:


As for Best Made and Buchanan-Smith, he was right about my not having big balls, because Specialized also organized a demo ride this morning but I skipped it--partly because I was busy, but also partly because it was raining.

Then again, doing big rides in the rain is sort of like having big balls: it seems like something worth bragging about, but it's mostly just uncomfortable, so who the hell needs it?

Anyway, I'm hoping I can convince Specialized to let me borrow one of those Diverges, but I'm not holding out much hope for that axe test.
Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

This Just In: I’ve Gone Outside!

Outside:


You're no doubt familiar with it as the periodical that ran such groundbreaking features as "The Wildest Mountain Bike Race On Earth:"


And "BSNYC vs. PDX:"


Perhaps you've even enjoyed their cultural takes, such as this humorous comparison of "Premium Rush" and "Quicksilver:"

Wow, those writers were really talented.

Anyway, you'll be pleased to know you finally have a reason to read Outside one again (well, online anyway), for I will now be be appearing there on a weekly basis.  Yes, that's right: more me!  And here is my first offering, which is all about a bike race that's going on in France:



Read it, savor it, squirt it all over your face like it's a bidon on a hot day.

Then, come back here later today, because I'm going to tell you all about my visit to Best Made Co. last night.

How lucky are you?

Don't answer.  It's a rhetorical question.  You already know you're very, very lucky.

Until later,

I remain,

Yours in etc.,


--Wildcat Rock Machine



Categories: this just in | Leave a comment