Thrills, spills, and shills!




This past Saturday was the Bike Expo New York and my book signing thereat.  As part of the signing I was of course leading a Brompton-optional ride from Grand Central to the Expo, and so you can be sure I spent the Friday before the big event doing some serious clown bike training:


As you may recall, some weeks back I busted my thumbing finger while riding a bike with fenders on an unpaved trail.  Well, you'll be pleased to know that on Friday I officially got the green light from the orthopedist to resume all normal thumb-related activity.  [Insert your wanking jokes here.]  I had anticipated this, and to that end I actually brought the Brompton to the appointment.  In fact, I took the above photo immediately afterwards, about 100 yards from his office.  So rest assured that after crashing due to a stick in the fender and breaking my thumb I'm doing my very best to make sure it happens again as soon as possible.

Anyway, on Saturday morning I performed my morning ablutions, unfurled the Brommie like a ninja whipping out a set of nunchucks, and headed to my local commuter rail station for the short ride to Grand Central:


(Yes that's the Bronx.)

I could have just taken the subway or ridden the bike to Grand Central, but frankly I enjoy the scenic riverside jaunt.  Plus, when you travel within the five boroughs you get a special fare on weekends:


(Love the City Ticket.)

Most importantly though, Metro North has a fantastic alcohol policy:

"I'd like to thank Barry Feinstein and all of the members of the task force for taking a hard look at the MTA's policy on alcohol sales and consumption and reaffirming our current position," Chairman Kalikow said.

"Many of our customers enjoy this amenity, and I am pleased that the Task Force confirmed that the current policy provides a benefit without compromising safety," said Executive Director and CEO Sander.

Metro North are generally also pretty decent about bicycles, and if only they'd install some goddamn bike hooks they'd probably never get me off the train.  (Come to think of it that's probably why they don't.)

After collapsing the Brompton like one of those accordion drying racks I pulled up a slice of platform:


And within about a sitcom's time I was at Grand Central:


As a novice Bromptonaut I was nervous about interacting with hardcore foldies, and I felt like a hairy-legged Fred with chainring tattoos at the start of a Cat 1 race.  It turns out my apprehension was justified too, because these people don't mess around, and I was immediately humbled.  Consider this ride, complete with folding helmet:


And folding mirror:


(Bloggers in mirror may be Fredlier than they appear.)

Holy crap, everything on the goddamn bike folds!

Not only that, but the owner had arrived that very morning from San Francisco, having traveled with the bike as carry-on and stowing it in the overhead compartment without so much as arousing the suspicion of the flight crew.  Then he rode from Jamaica, Queens straight to Grand Central.

Now that's some pro-level Bromptoning.

I thought things couldn't possibly get more Bromp-tastic, but I was wrong, because then this bike showed up:


Yep, Rohloff hub and front and rear discs:


(How do you find rotors with a smaller diameter than the wheel itself?)

The owner had traveled to Scotland for the disc brake conversion, and while I didn't get the specifics I'm assuming this is the person who did it.

It's interesting to contemplate that when taken to its logical endpoint the practicality of the Brompton sort of folds in on itself like, well, a Brompton, since the ease with which you can travel with them inspires you to make completely unnecessary journeys like going all the way to Scotland for an artisanal disc brake upgrade.

By the way, both of these elite Bomptonians had aftermarket handles on their bikes, which I quickly realized was the mark of the true connoisseur:


(Of course that's an Ultegra crank with chainring bolts to match the frame, because of course it is.)

But it wasn't all Bromptons.  (And thank Lob for that, because honestly who could take that many in one place?)  For example, there was this "KidzTandem," which I suppose is sort of the anti-Brompton:


And esteemed commenter Leroy showed up on his sweet Milwaukee road bike, of which I was a little jealous even though I have almost the exact same bike.

Speaking of Leroy, as a seasoned commuter to the East Side he graciously "curated" our route for maximum beauty:


Had I been left to my own devices we'd have gone straight down Lexington Avenue, seen nothing more interesting than the roughly 4,000 Starbucks between Grand Central and the Expo, and gotten separated four blocks into the ride.

Thanks to Leroy though we all arrived together, and after browsing the Expo a bit I took up my post at the Brompton booth and scribbled in a few books:


I also received some visitors, such as the curators of this titanium lock which has earned a shitload of money on Kickstarter:


I'll withhold judgement until they lock a fancy bike in Midtown Manhattan with it overnight and show us all what happens, which they claim they're going to do.

Anyway, many, many thanks to Brompton and Redbeard Bikes of Brooklyn for the hosting and book-selling duties.

As for the Expo itself, there was the usual assortment of cool bike stuff you wish you had, but I chose instead to search the darkened corners for esoterica:


You may laugh, but we're losing people to these things, and if the industry keeps pushing these stupid new bottom bracket "standards" on us then we could see a wholesale consumer defection to the Amish scooter within the next 10 years:


I also enjoy seeing how non-bike companies attempt to tap into the cycling market, such as Minute Rice, who is now making a major play for the lucrative Fred-fueling market:


At this very moment they have highly-paid lobbyists in Colorado Springs who are pushing USA Cycling for microwaves in the pit area and free laps for preparing and consuming their fast and delicious Multi-Grain Medley.  Once that goes through you can expect complete market domination, as well as a constipation epidemic among the USA Cycling membership.  (Though given the tightness of roadie sphincters there's arguably a constipation epidemic already.)

And yes, there were crabon kickstands, thank you for asking:


In all, it was a delightful day, though it easily could have taken a turn for the worse had this dog decided to hump my leg:


Fortunately he did not.

Of course, the Bike Expo is just a part of a bike-tastic weekend in New York City which also includes the Five Boro Bike Tour as well as the Red Hook Criterium.  I'm sure you've heard by now what went down in the latter event, but if you haven't what went down was many of the riders:


I was not at the Red Hook Crit, but this video immediately raised a number of questions for me, including but not limited to:

--How did the motorcycle driver even manage to stall like that?
--Why is an "underground" unsanctioned cycling event copying one of the stupidest things about pro racing, namely forcing the riders to deal with motorcycles that are constantly falling on them and even killing them?
--What was the organizer's role in this, and has the popularity of this "underground" event possibly overwhelmed their ability to run it safely?

Well, I dunno.  Maybe if I was an actual bike racing journalist I'd look into it, since this has grown into a wildly popular event that clearly appeals to both competitors and spectators.  What I wouldn't do is blame the riders themselves for a crash that wasn't their fault, unlike the Senior Editor at VeloNews:


What's so dumb about it really?  They're not blasting through crosswalks on public roads like your typical Lucas Brunelle video.  They're racing on a closed course, with permission, in an event with clear equipment guidelines.  It seems a bit disingenuous for someone who writes for a bike racing magazine to watch a crash that was clearly caused by a motorbike being where it shouldn't be and then call the victims "idiots:"


I mean sure, you can make a very strong case that bike racing in general is "idiotic and full of idiots" (to wit: risking life and limb for a $20 prime) but you don't get to pick and choose.  You'd expect this kind of bullshit from ESPN, but a cycling journalist insulting bike racers who were injured in an event his publication regularly writes about feels very wrong to me.  And it's not like "regular" crits are exactly known for their safety:



Plus, while the Red Hook Crit may have been crashy, I didn't see any riders crashing into the crash that already happened like they do in the video above.

And while I've always been a staunch advocate of brakes, as well as a blogger who built his dozens-strong readership on making fun of fixies, the fact is that brakes (or the lack thereof) was not the determining factor here, as Mr. Fretz would like you to believe:


Um, it doesn't?  Isn't that what happens on the opening days of like every Grand Tour?



The fact is that when you're racing in a pack you don't brake for obstacles, you attempt to avoid them by deviating from your line as little as possible.  Go ahead, slam on your state-of-the-art disc brakes in the middle of a crit and see what happens, I dare you.  And it's not like the riders who get involved in pile-ups know there's been a crash and have time to brake.  The only thing they see is the Lycra-clad ass in front of them.  You've got to be pretty far from the crash to have time to brake, and to do so without taking down the riders behind you.  (This is why I always sat up in the final kilometer in Prospect Park--well, that and the fact that I couldn't keep up anyway.)

Here's a super slow-n'-funky Fred crash to illustrate the point:



Seems to me they're either a) not braking; b) changing their line; or c) locking up their wheels which isn't doing shit for them anyway.

Indeed, if you watch the Red Hook Crit crash closely it's hard to see how brakes and freewheels would have made a hugely meaningful difference in the outcome, and for the most part it looks like your typical criterium shitshow.  The riders at the pointy end are able to avoid the motorcycle:


Then a rider who probably had no idea it was even there clips it and goes down:


Creating the Lycra-clad domino effect anybody who'd watched or participated in a bike race is all too familiar with:


By the way, the luckiest rider in the race by far is this rider, who comes out of his pedals, stays upright, says "Fuck it!" and just starts running:


Amazing.

Bad course design?  Organizer error?  Motorcyclist incompetence?  Sure.  But are these racers "idiots" merely for participating in a certain kind of bike race?  No more so than anyone racing on those notoriously difficult-to-control TT bikes:


Speaking of motorcyclist incompetence, we still don't know exactly what happened, but here's another view where we can see him futzing with his bike:



Though perhaps the most shocking revelation is this rider wearing what appears to be a LiveStrong bracelet:


The horror.

Lastly, if you missed the ride/signing this past week, rest assured you've got another chance to avoid me in Hoboken this weekend:


Thinking I may make that "nice ride through Liberty Square Park" a brakeless Brompton criterium.

What could go wrong?


Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

National Bike Challenge begins Sunday

TL;DR Summary: Click through to the National Bike Challenge, login or register, and link your account to Strava, MapMyRide, or Endomondo so your stats are automatically updated. If you don’t use these tracking apps, you can log your miles manually. It’s easy, and it’s kind of fun. Keep reading for more details.

National Bike Challenge 2016 begins May 1

PeopleForBikes announces the fifth annual National Bike Challenge in partnership with Kimberly-Clark’s Cottonelle Products Brand. The Challenge will unite 100,000+ bicycle riders to pedal 75 million miles from May 1, 2016 until September 30, 2016. The 2016 Challenge offers a redesigned look, new user experience, simplified registration, and more prizes!

The National Bike Challenge is an online platform, free for everyone to use to log their miles and celebrate riding, while finding inspiration to ride more often. The Challenge brings together tens of thousands of people who bike across the country who share a love of bicycling. You can sign up for free at nationalbikechallenge.org to compete as an individual, or sign up your workplace, school, or team.

“The National Bike Challenge is so much more than a competition. It is a motivator, a team-builder and a great way to strengthen the bicycling community,” said PeopleForBikes President, Tim Blumenthal. “PeopleForBikes brings people together to create a powerful, united voice for bicycling and its benefits. When you sign up for the National Bike Challenge, you help make bicycling better for everyone.”

The Bike Challenge began in 2011 as a thing for Wisconsin by Rob Gusky, a research engineer at Kimberly-Clark who’s also an avid cyclist and board member for the League of American Cyclists. He’s that guy who shows up to bike meetings dressed unabashedly in Lycra, and his infectious and dogged enthusiasm for a good idea resulted in sponsorship by his employer and before long it becomes a National Bike Challenge, woo hoo!

The National Bike Challenge website remembers your previous registration. If you’re new to this, registration is easy. After you register, feel free to click through to my profile so you can virtually stalk me.

Categories: News | Leave a comment

National Bike Challenge begins Sunday

TL;DR Summary: Click through to the National Bike Challenge, login or register, and link your account to Strava, MapMyRide, or Endomondo so your stats are automatically updated. If you don’t use these tracking apps, you can log your miles manually. It’s easy, and it’s kind of fun. Keep reading for more details.

National Bike Challenge 2016 begins May 1

PeopleForBikes announces the fifth annual National Bike Challenge in partnership with Kimberly-Clark’s Cottonelle Products Brand. The Challenge will unite 100,000+ bicycle riders to pedal 75 million miles from May 1, 2016 until September 30, 2016. The 2016 Challenge offers a redesigned look, new user experience, simplified registration, and more prizes!

The National Bike Challenge is an online platform, free for everyone to use to log their miles and celebrate riding, while finding inspiration to ride more often. The Challenge brings together tens of thousands of people who bike across the country who share a love of bicycling. You can sign up for free at nationalbikechallenge.org to compete as an individual, or sign up your workplace, school, or team.

“The National Bike Challenge is so much more than a competition. It is a motivator, a team-builder and a great way to strengthen the bicycling community,” said PeopleForBikes President, Tim Blumenthal. “PeopleForBikes brings people together to create a powerful, united voice for bicycling and its benefits. When you sign up for the National Bike Challenge, you help make bicycling better for everyone.”

The Bike Challenge began in 2011 as a thing for Wisconsin by Rob Gusky, a research engineer at Kimberly-Clark who’s also an avid cyclist and board member for the League of American Cyclists. He’s that guy who shows up to bike meetings dressed unabashedly in Lycra, and his infectious and dogged enthusiasm for a good idea resulted in sponsorship by his employer and before long it becomes a National Bike Challenge, woo hoo!

The National Bike Challenge website remembers your previous registration. If you’re new to this, registration is easy. After you register, feel free to click through to my profile so you can virtually stalk me.

Categories: News | Leave a comment

National Bike Challenge begins Sunday

TL;DR Summary: Click through to the National Bike Challenge, login or register, and link your account to Strava, MapMyRide, or Endomondo so your stats are automatically updated. If you don’t use these tracking apps, you can log your miles manually. It’s easy, and it’s kind of fun. Keep reading for more details.

National Bike Challenge 2016 begins May 1

PeopleForBikes announces the fifth annual National Bike Challenge in partnership with Kimberly-Clark’s Cottonelle Products Brand. The Challenge will unite 100,000+ bicycle riders to pedal 75 million miles from May 1, 2016 until September 30, 2016. The 2016 Challenge offers a redesigned look, new user experience, simplified registration, and more prizes!

The National Bike Challenge is an online platform, free for everyone to use to log their miles and celebrate riding, while finding inspiration to ride more often. The Challenge brings together tens of thousands of people who bike across the country who share a love of bicycling. You can sign up for free at nationalbikechallenge.org to compete as an individual, or sign up your workplace, school, or team.

“The National Bike Challenge is so much more than a competition. It is a motivator, a team-builder and a great way to strengthen the bicycling community,” said PeopleForBikes President, Tim Blumenthal. “PeopleForBikes brings people together to create a powerful, united voice for bicycling and its benefits. When you sign up for the National Bike Challenge, you help make bicycling better for everyone.”

The Bike Challenge began in 2011 as a thing for Wisconsin by Rob Gusky, a research engineer at Kimberly-Clark who’s also an avid cyclist and board member for the League of American Cyclists. He’s that guy who shows up to bike meetings dressed unabashedly in Lycra, and his infectious and dogged enthusiasm for a good idea resulted in sponsorship by his employer and before long it becomes a National Bike Challenge, woo hoo!

The National Bike Challenge website remembers your previous registration. If you’re new to this, registration is easy. After you register, feel free to click through to my profile so you can virtually stalk me.

Categories: News | Leave a comment

Bike school: Should people on bikes be required to use bike paths?

Trees down on San Tomas Aquino Trail Santa Clara California

Happy Friday, all. I occasionally participate in the weekly BikeSchool Twitter conversation that takes place every Thursday night beginning at 6 P.M. California time. A “professor” asks a series of questions to generate discussion on bike-related topics.

Last night’s guest professor, Matthew Dyrdahl, is the Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator for the city of Minneapolis, MN. Among his many good conservation starters, he asked if people “should” use a path next to a road if it’s available.

I think most people discussed this in terms of using a shared path, i.e. if there’s heavy pedestrian usage, should cyclists use the path? Given Matthew’s position as a Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, I realize now that he maybe asked this in terms of cyclist and walker conflict on shared trails.

Last night, though, I assumed Matthew was asking about this in terms of the motoring public’s perceptions and, more specifically, mandatory sidepath laws. In other words, should cyclists be required to use a sidepath if one is available next to the roadway? I answered:

To expand on my 140-character summary: If a bike facility is worth using, people will naturally use it. If the path off to the side of the road is not worth using, the cyclist shouldn’t have to be legally compelled to use it.

We don’t ride our bikes in traffic because we think it’s fun to get out in front of people in cars, nor do we do so because we’re ignorant or stupid or lack ‘common sense.’ We do it because we need to get from Point A to Point B. If a good path is available nearby, I’ll probably use it. If I’m riding on a narrow road with heavy traffic in spite of the presence of a nearby path, however, there’s a good reason I avoid that path.

San Jose Guadalupe River Trail #flooded under Montague Expressway.

Those with a windshield perspective often don’t understand why that guy on the bike is on the road in spite of the perfectly usable bike path just over yonder. Even many policy savvy and informed cyclists wonder why cyclist’s shouldn’t be compelled to use a bike path. Let me list a few reasons:

  • Bad Design: I’m blessed to have decent, usable paths in my area, and a few are even excellent, but bike paths are often poorly engineered. My usual commute route, for example, floods underneath Highway 101 in San Jose, CA when more than a tenth of an inch of rain falls. The maddening thing is that this is by design: the airport economy parking lot funnels all of their storm drain outlets directly onto the trail. The airport tarmac itself drains to the Guadalupe River about 50 yards north of this location, leading to more trail flooding in after even the slightest rainfall.

    We have a similar drain on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, where a school parking lot storm drain dumps directly onto the trail underneath Leigh Avenue. Who designs this stuff?

    Anybody who’s ridden a bike can go on forever about design flaws. A real winner is this barbed wire fence immediately adjacent to the Ralston Avenue sidepath in San Mateo County, California. Any highway engineer who designed a road that’s guaranteed to cause injury in the slightest crash would lose his engineering license and his job.

    Newly installed barbed wire Ralson Ave bike trail

  • Poorly maintained: The existence of a path near a roadway doesn’t mean it’s usable. Sidepaths are at the bottom of the list when it comes to allocating scarce maintenance funds. It could be flooded; blocked by mud and fallen trees; covered in horse manure; or have gaping, bike-eating potholes.
  • Exceptions can be subjective, and a ticketing authority may not agree that a foot of snow might be impassable on your bike, because hey, look, there’s a sled dog team pulling a young, fit, professional Olympic athlete on a fatbike on that path right now so what’s your problem?
  • Public safety: As I’ve mentioned previously, personal safety is a thing. The Silicon Valley Virtual Route Scouts have struggled with the question of directing new cyclists onto some of our more isolated trails. Every week, we have news about rapes, robberies, assaults, and other violent crimes on bike trails. Many cyclists feel safer sharing the road in heavy traffic than riding on an isolated trail. This perception of personal safety is never among the list of exceptions in mandatory path laws, as far as I know.

What’s your personal story of that time a helpful friend directed you to a safer, alternate route through an active artillery range?

Categories: Musings | Leave a comment

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

Firstly, tomorrow's the big day!


The way it's going to go down is that we're going to meet at the clock in Grand Central at 11:00am.  We'll discuss routes, folding techniques, and vital issues of the day for a half-hour, then at 11:30am we'll roll on down to the Bike Expo New York:


Where I'll sign copies of my new book at Brompton's booth at 1:00pm, together with Redbeard Bikes:


Technically it's not available until May 3rd, so you'll be getting a jump on things.

Plus, play your cards right and you could get one of these, while supplies last:


AND I will probably scare up some more stuff to give away too.

So there you go.

And of course for those of you who prefer to attend bike book events west of the Hudson, we've got a ride/signing going on at Little City Books in Hoboken on Saturday, May 7th:


Amazing.

Secondly, the artisanal bicycle bell craze shows no signs of abating, and now someone's selling a cowbell for mountain bikers:


Don't put one on your genteel Brompton though or you might find yourself getting chased by butlers.

And now I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right you'll know, and if you're wrong you'll see Pachyderm "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" speed.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and hope to see you tomorrow.


--Wildcat Rock Machine




1) The correct answer is:

--The helmet
--The banana
--The doll
--The smartphone






2) Helmets schmelmets, this is a clear violation of section 8-14 of the City of Phoenix municipal code concerning dogs and leashes.

--True
--False




3) Which is not among the reasons to ride a fixie according to a recent article in Bicycling magazine?

--"It’s an act of rebellion."
--"A fixed-gear has at least as much stopping power as a beach cruiser with a coaster brake."
--"Fixies can even go backward, so if a lane of traffic closes, just reverse and try a different path though a maze of stopped cars."
--"It's a zen thing, you're totally connected to the bike."








4) According to SRAM road PR manager Michael Zellmann, road bikes now need disc brakes because they have motors in them.

--True
--False




(In retrospect when her bike was dragging her up the hills it was pretty obvious.)

5) What is Femke van den Driessche's punishment for using a motorized bicycle?

--A six-year suspension and a fine of 20,000 Swiss francs
--A six-month suspension and a fine of 2,000 Swiss francs
--A lifetime ban and a fine of 2,000,000 Swiss francs
--A lucrative sponsorship deal with a chain of Belgian car washes and a lifetime supply of Turtle Wax






6) Apparently you can buy Tour de France champion Chris Froome's bike at the Peel Regional Police Bicycle Auction in Ontario, Canada.

--True
--False




(Another oversized smartphone case with wheels.)

7) Enough with the goddam "smart bikes" already!  Please feel free to cram your useless angular crabon hunk of crap:

--In your ear
--Down your throat
--Up your ass
--All of the above



***Special Groovy 1970s Propaganda-themed Bonus Video, Man!***



Have we learned nothing?

Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

Propaganda Gandering

Recently I experienced a parental rite of passage when I discovered an obscene publication in my child's bedroom:


I can only assume he found this smut at school, which concerns me, because learning about traffic safety from the City of New York is like learning about sex in the playground from the kid who saw a porno once.  Indeed, it's not a stretch to call this sort of material "safety porn," for as with regular porn it simultaneously idealizes and degrades its subject--wide-eyed characters smiling as cars (or phalluses as the case may be) attack them from every direction.

Anyway, I almost couldn't bear to open it and was about to consign it straight to the shredder, but despite my better impulses I turned the page and saw this:


Okay, obviously the "correct" answer in the context of the booklet is the helmet, and when I confronted my son and tested him that's what he chose.  I don't know where the hell he even picked that up, he sure as shit didn't learn it from me.  Such is the power of cultural osmosis.  Honestly, any good parent knows that the real correct answer is the banana:

(A banana.)

Why?  Think about it: kids get hungry.  Really hungry.  This is especially true when they're riding bikes.  Kids bonk just like full-grown Freds do.  So what are you going to do when yours is melting down miles from the nearest deli?  Feed them their own helmet?

I don't think so.

Yet this is where we are now: when engaging in physical activity, a hunk of styrofoam is considered more important than a source of fuel.

In fact, in considering those choices, I'd put the helmet at the very bottom of the list and prioritize them thusly:

1) Banana: 'Cause you gotta eat;
2) Smartphone: In case of emergency, plus if you don't Instagram the ride it didn't happen;
3) The doll: emotional support;
4) The helmet: to put on the doll.

And yes, I admit that a large part of me is moved by the earnestness of this booklet, what with its adorable cartoon animals all doing the "right" thing.  Still, as an adult steeped in cynicism and beaten down by experience, I can't help but find it infuriating that no matter how "safely" kids behave in this city the biggest danger they face every day is from maniacal motorists and the police who do everything they can to defend them.  Consider this:


The driver, a 41-year-old, got out of her red Fiat and, according to Ballantine, screamed, "She ran a light!" Ballantine said that Davis did not run a light. (Davis, at this point, "wasn’t talking coherently," according to Ballantine. "She was trying to get up but she couldn’t.") Shortly thereafter, Ballantine said, a black car pulled up and men who she assumed were police got out with walkie-talkies, and she continued on her way to work.

The day of the crash, the NYPD told reporters that Davis was riding against traffic when the driver hit her, and the driver was not ticketed or charged. A department representative said this morning that investigators have amended their report to indicate that Davis was riding with traffic, and that they are in conversation with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office about possible charges.

So basically the driver killed a cyclist, lied about what happened, and the police were like, "Well, that's good enough for us!"  And that's how it works--which is why my booklet for children would look more like this:


By the way, as the person who coined the word salmon, I'm very annoyed to see it used in a headline like that.  The whole point of the word was to mock the irritating fixie people riding towards me all the time, not as a technical term to use in connection with the victims of horrible deaths, regardless of which way they were riding.  It's pretty distasteful to use a stupid slang bike blog term in this context.  They might as well have added IMO FWIW while they were at it.

Still, I suppose I should be grateful that at least our propaganda doesn't try to scare kids away from bikes altogether, which is what they're attempting to do in Phoenix:


In the edition “Don’t Get Doored,” for example, a lad on the way to see his brother in the hospital (who was put there by not wearing a helmet, natch) smashes through a car window, lands on his head, and winds up with a weeping belly wound and a hand that looks like a broken rake. And that’s a tame scene compared to other stuff in the novels, which accompany each fracture and body-blow with Batmanesque noises like “KA-CHAM!,” “KA-SNAP!,” and “GA-GUSH!”

This has been making the rounds lately, but let the record show I mentioned it back in 2015, which I feel compelled to mention for the same reason I gratuitously remind you on a regular basis that I invented the term "bike salmon."  Anyway, with images like these, which mode of transportation do you think the teenagers of Phoenix will choose once they reach driving age?


"I think I'm gonna be sick" indeed.  They might as well skip the comics and go "Full Clockwork:"


Here's what he's watching:



Speaking of Amsterdam, they're now hiring a "Bike Mayor:"



The bike mayor will be a public representative, but not strictly a politician in the classic sense. Since they’ll technically be an employee of CycleSpace, an independent NGO, they won’t be elected by an entirely democratic process. The benefit of this system, however, is that they won’t be as constrained by the political system as elected officials are, and as such will be better able to represent a diversity of interests.

The bike mayor will be selected by a combination of public vote and an expert jury. Candidates who express their interest (via a short video) by May 1st will be put forward for the public vote. The public is able to weigh in until June 24, and while their opinion will hold influence, the final selection will ultimately be up to a jury of relevant parties including Amsterdam’s mayor and representatives from the city’s transit authorities and cycling groups.

"They won't be elected by an entirely democratic process," huh?  Interesting.  That's pretty much exactly how our president is elected, except the "diversity of interests" is basically the Fortune 500.

Maybe New York City should elect a bike mayor.  I'd love to see a no-holds-barred campaign between this guy:



And this guy:


Spoil alert: Bill Cunningham wins after it's revealed that David Byrne owns a Dodge Charger that's registered in New Jersey under an assumed name.

Lastly, meet VELOSCHMITT:



It's got unhooked v-brakes just like the Walmart bike that almost knocked you over on the sidewalk:


It's also looks like a hot tub crossed with a coffin:


Though when in motion it looks kind of like a cartoon sperm:


I'm sure it will be a resounding success.
Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

More keyless bicycle wheel locks

After posting about the Kyrptonite keyless wheel security devices yesterday, I learned similar products have been on the market for years.

Zefal’s “Lock’N Roll” locking skewers and seatpost clamp have apparently been on the market for about a decade. Unlike the Kryptonite WheelBoltz and WheelNutz, these are quick-release levers, so no tools are required.

zefal lock and roll wheel locking skewers

When the bike is horizontal, you can’t open the levers. You flip the bike up vertically and a pin drops out so you can open the levers to adjust your seatpost or remove your wheels.

OnGuard has a similar product they call the MinPin.

OnGuard MinPin bicycle wheel locking skewer

Like the Zefal Lock’N Roll, these are a seatpost clamp and wheel skewers with quick-release levers that can open only when the bicycle is nose-up in the air.

Like I mentioned about the similar similar wheel locks from Kryptonite, these are probably suitable only for short-term parking, and ideally where the bike is out-of-sight for no more than a couple of minutes. The lever style of release on these skewers might seem preferable to the Allen wrench required for Kryptonite’s locks, but several online reviewers report that while their wheels aren’t stolen, thieves break the skewers attempting to force them open. For better security, I recommend proprietary tool skewers such as those available from Pinhead or Pitlock.

Some of these apparently are easily defeated: While the lever side locks, for example, the non-lever side can be forced open with vise grips. Several users also report the locking pins can be moved with magnets. Finally, they may not be suitable for use in freezing conditions: water gets inside the locking mechanism, freezes the pin in place, and you’re stuck with a flat tire on the side of the road unable to remove the tire.

I saw the OnGuard MinPins at REI, so I know they’re carried there. I don’t believe I’ve seen the Zefal skewers in any bike shop, but they’re available for special order. And, of course, you can help me at Cyclelicious by purchasing online:

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Regretfully, I Must By Necessity Extend My Absence

Good Mornings,

Owing to the vicissitudes of life, unforeseen blah blah blah, and so forth, it becomes necessary for me to delay my triumphant return to the Blogular Sphere until tomorrow, Thursday, April 28th, 2016.

It pains me to force you to scrounge for quality content elsewhere "on line" for yet another day, but whatchagonna do.

In the meantime, you'll be pleased to know that I was able to squeeze in a little recon yesterday for this Saturday's impending Bromptation* Ride:


*[Bromptons not necessary and you can even ride a "real" non-folding bike for all I care.]

Just to remind you, we'll be meeting here at 11:00am for an 11:30 rollout:


And from there we'll proceed to Bike Expo New York where I'll be signing books at 1:00pm at the Brompton table while engaging in general merriment.

As for the route, we can decide on Saturday, but maybe we'll take the path that runs along the East River:


Or maybe we'll have a winner-take-all drag race straight down 5th Avenue, to be filmed by Lucas Brunelle.

Either way, there's a very good chance I'll have some hats to give away too.

So you'll want to be there, and you'll want to make sure to bring your head.

Oh, also, cycling industry insiders are finally admitting that pro racers are using motors:


To wit:

"The fact is, disc brakes will prevent more crashes, potential injuries, and provide riders with much greater control of the bike in all conditions," Zellmann adds, adding that this applies to pros and everyday riders alike. "The improved control of disc brakes is what you can point to. As bikes and riders get faster – like nearly every motorized vehicle – they require better braking, and we feel disc brakes absolutely address this need."

See that, he called them motorized vehicles!

Plus, motors notwithstanding, the idea that road bicycles have gotten so much faster over the years that they require a completely different braking system is completely ridiculous.  Are you really going to tell me that this modern road bike:




Is appreciably faster than, say, these bikes I saw at L'Eroica?


Not that I'm against pros using discs or anything like that.  After all, they're got to be safer than those Spinergys--which, I seem to recall, people accused of severing Michele Bartoli's kneecap at the time.

Or something like that.

Anyway, speaking of discs, here's a video I saw in the comments on James Huang's latest disc screed:


I have no idea what that's supposed to prove.

Hey, looks like I kinda posted after all!

Even so, see you back here tomorrow.

Love,


--Wildcat Rock Machine


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Keyless security for your bike wheel

Bicycle wheel security without special keys using Kryptonite Gravity WheelNutz and WheelBoltz

kryptonite gravity wheelboltz & wheelnutz

Kryptonite announced these products a couple of years ago and I completely missed them because I was so focused on their then-new “Messenger Mini+,” which is the Kryptonite Mini with a rear wheel shackle designed specifically for quick locking and unlocking.

Kryptonite also offers secondary protection for both wheels with either the Gravity WheelBoltz wheel locks (for hollow axle wheels) or WheelNutz locks (for solid axle wheels). WheelBoltz replace standard quick-release skewers, while WheelNutz replace the 15mm nuts used on singlespeed and fixed gear bikes.

The genius of these products is the use of standard tools for removal and installation. A pin secures the wheel lock so that a potential thief cannot turn the nut securing your wheel. The pin drops out of place when the bike is inverted so you (or your bike shop mechanic) can repair your flat tire, and a properly locked bike can’t be inverted. This video from Kryptonite shows how these bicycle wheel locks work.

I’m super disorganized, and there’s no way I would keep track of proprietary tools used for similar wheel locking solutions from other vendors, so I love the idea of standard tools. I don’t know how robust these Kryptonite gravity wheel locks are compared to these other locks; the Gravity WheelNutz in particular look like they could be vulnerable a leverage attack. Can that locking pin hold up to a 200 pound guy standing on the end of a cheater bar?

Still, I really like the idea. Cables through the front wheel are useless even for daytime parking in large portions of the San Francisco Bay Area, and I mentioned my hesitation about proprietary or uncommon tools. Perhaps these Gravity locks can be enough to stop the opportunistic theft of a wheel when I’m parked outside of a coffee shop for a few minutes in downtown San Jose.

To find where you can buy locally, click the “BUY LOCAL” button at Kryptonite’s product page. If your local dealer doesn’t have them in stock, you can call ahead and you can usually have them within a day or three from their distributor. Or buy online through Amazon (from which I might receive a dollar or two of your transaction if you click the below links):

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