I Love Riding in the City – Serge Kulyk

sergeNAME: Serge Kulyk
LOCATION: Washington DC
OCCUPATION: Systems Analyst

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
Washington DC. At times it can be quite a challenge. With or without bike lanes, motorists in DC are not super attentive, not super informed or worst yet could have gotten their driver’s license in Maryland.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
I have actually found that cities in Michigan, in particular Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Traverse city are some of the neatest places to ride. For the most part it has to do with density, in a city like Grand Rapids there is a good network of long trails, plenty of room on the roadways and with a favoritism towards highways and high speed roadways this leaves suburb streets and smaller/slower city street open and well maintained for bicycles. Ann Arbor in general is just a great city for cycling and Traverse City is just a vacation spot city, with a very laid back attitude and plenty of empty/twisty country roads just outside of town.

Why do you love riding in the city?
It is the ultimate in stress relief. It heightens all the senses you use in cycling. It is incredibly demanding but encourages and rewards the practice of observing good fundamentals.

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?
Riding in the city is embracing what the bicycle was invented for. It is the future for the population growing, urban environment. It is appropriate that the tool humans created to enhance their mobility and celebrate their freedom will propel mankind to a green, healthy and bright future.

Check out www.thebikehouse.coop

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Diner en Blanc

So a while back my friend Cory asked me if I wanted to go to the Diner en Blanc with him. I said, sure!

It all seemed novel, until I realized I had zero white clothes. So I bought a dress (thanks, GAP). Then I realized you had to bring your own... EVERYTHING. 

As the day approached, I started to dread it. What a pain. It's a fancy dinner where you actually do all the work! We had to get a specifically sized table, bring real stemware and china... and the morning of the dinner we had thunderstorms. JUST GREAT. 

I had a poo-poo attitude about the whole thing, but Cory and I just went ahead and did it. We brought clear umbrellas, our two picnic baskets full of goodies, and skepticism. 

It turns out quite well! Cory and I both seem to be the prepared, outdoorsy-type people, and we had our rig up and ready to go in record time. I was really proud of our efficiency and preparedness!

I also started the evening accidentally shooting on Manual on my camera. But, the effects look really awesome! I'm sad that I fixed the camera and then everything started looking much more ordinary. 



This was the part where I fixed the camera. Also the part where it started to rain while we are in line for our busses to take us to the secret location. 

Once we got there, we got it all set up!




The china is vintage Limoges, as are those little champagne glasses.
And yes, Cory painted pineapples white and created our centrepieces out of them. He is a genius.  


I actually told him I thought he was crazy, but I am happy to admit that I was wrong. The pineapples were truly fabulous. 



I can't remember if these photos of us were taken before or after the rain - We survived!



As did everybody else.


I even brought a little candle. 


Then, there were sparklers!





And I take my words back - It was a pretty swell time and the weird weather was somewhat of an adventure... I'd probably do it again!
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LA Bicycle Commuters Form ‘Bike Trains’ For Safety

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 9.32.57 PMFrom NPR:

A grassroots project in Los Angeles – a city, of course, dominated by cars – is helping those who commute by bicycle but don’t like being out there alone in traffic – called LA Bike Trains. It’s built on the idea of strength in numbers.

Read more.

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10th Annual Aeolian Ride

10 years ago, 52 people showed up on bikes and Jessica Findley put inflatable costumes on them and they rode from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Check out www.aeolian-ride.info

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Where’s the stadium bike parking, Santa Clara?

You might recall that the Santa Clara Stadium Authority told the public they planned 422 bike parking spaces outside of Dignity Health Gate (aka Gate C) and another 328 spaces outside of the Intel Gate (aka Gate A).


Levi's Stadium bike parking

Ever since the connection between the San Tomas Aquino Trail and the parking lot opened up the other week, I’ve hunted in vain for the promised bike parking. Instead of bike parking, I see dozens of freshly painted car parking spots.

Here’s the view of the parking lot looking towards the Dignity Health Gate (Gate C).


where's the bike parking, Santa Clara?

The Levi’s Stadium parking information page tells me to find bike parking in Red Lot 1 (near Gate “A”) and Red Lot 6. I didn’t find anything that looked like bike parking anywhere in Red Lot 1. I can’t access Red Lot 6, which is the fairways at the Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club.

I’m glad to see the Stadium Authority still plans valet bike parking, but I’m a little bit concerned about the invisible bike parking. What’s the plan, city of Santa Clara?

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A 34th Birthday


I mentioned my little birthday party in the most recent weekender, but I had a few pictures of the place that I wanted to share. 

I wasn't even sure I wanted to have a party at all. Things have been really busy (my life is a little ridiculous); I feel like I'm on and entertaining all the time; and, the exterior of my house is currently under renovation so I'm logistically not up for hosting. 

Cory Christopher to the rescue! 

He made up the space so perfectly, and even my tiniest guests were pleased to arrive. 


He painted bike rims for me! Which, apparently, make for great flower arrangement accessories.


Some were hung.


And we dumped a bunch of drinks at the bar. Extra martiny (small martinis) ingredients was brought and created by Sean. 

 Most of the guests were crowded around the bar and the door, but a select few of us banded together to rock out.

Have I ever mentioned my love for Rock Band?

I LOVE IT.

So here I am with my rock face, with Ryan, Nick, and my brother, Simon!


Then Nick had rock face.

And we rejoiced, realizing we had finished the song without being booed off stage.

I think it was one of the best birthday parties I have ever had. Somebody else made the place clean and beautiful, while I just did a food and drink run (you had the choice of eating samosas and um… samosas). 

I got to wear shorts and a t-shirt. 

It was also fun to see some of my friends meet my other friends for the first time - Swell! All the fine people of the world must surely group together, right?

I'm another year older and (hopefully) wiser, but I still feel young! 

Party on, right?

Here we go. 

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Just when you think nobody can improve the bicycle, someone proves you right.

Firstly, one week ago, I said the following regarding Tour de France rider Ji Cheng:

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

Well, it came down to the wire, but in the end he didn't disappoint:
Oy.

Moreover, after this, Liggett enthused at great length over Queen Victoria's upcoming Diamond Jubilee, to which he had just received an invitation.  Here he is getting ready for the affair with his date, Mary of Teck:


Liggett must now complete cultural sensitivity training in the off-season, so you can expect him to use the more acceptable "Chinaperson" in Tour de France 2015.

Secondly, remember how the Oregon Manifest was doing this thing where they were inviting gentrification all-star teams from the five most gentrified cities in America to create the "ultimate utility bike?"


Well, let's pretend for the moment that the ultimate urban utility bike doesn't already exist, and that you can't easily buy it from at least 15 different companies.  I realize this is hard to do, because everyone from Bikes Direct to WorkCycles are ready and waiting to sell you a city bike, and all you've got to figure out how much you want to spend.  Really, in 2014, it's about as difficult to find the "ultimate utility bike" as it is to find a Subway franchise.

Let's also pretend that "ultimate urban utility bike" is even an objective thing, because all cities are the same, and furthermore all the people in those cities are the same and lead exactly the same lifestyle.  You know, this lifestyle:


So is that Chicago?  Portland?  San Francisco?  Chicago?  New York?  Well, no matter which city you picked, you were correct, thanks to the insidious global monoculture!


(Except for the warzones and the really, really poor ones, but those cities don't count.)

Okay, so now you've got the proper context for this contest: it's a parallel universe in which everyone wears plaid shirts and expensive denim while drinking hand-roasted coffee, yet somehow practical bikes don't exist.  Fine.  Well, it's in this imaginary vacuum that these five bikes were born:


Not what you were expecting, was it?  You probably expected more fenders, and perhaps also a few more upright, swept-back handlebars.  HA!  Wrong!

Welcome to Designtown, baby.

At this point I've only watched the video for the New York City bike, which does answer a pressing question, namely:

So what happens when you take a framebuilder who makes some pretty nice bicycles and team him up with a pack of design douches?

The answer, of course, is that this happens:


"Hey, wait a minute!," I can hear you protesting.  "That's a Vanmoof!"


(A Vanmoof.)

Uh, no it isn't.  Sure, it's got the Vanmoof's trademark uncircumcised baguette frame, but the Merge also takes its cues from Inspector Gadget, which is why it has numerous tricks up its top tube.  For example, it has this crappy ineffectual retractable fender:


At least I assume it's a fender, though perhaps it's some sort of measuring tape to keep track of tire wear, or else some kind of lizard phallus.

In addition to the doofy filth prophylactic, there's also an ineffectual retractable lock:


("Snip!")

As well as a retractable USB charger:


I'm not sure why this is necessary, inasmuch as anyone who would ride a bike like this lives, works, and drinks within two or maybe three Brooklyn ZIP codes, which means they're never on the bike for more than 20 minutes at a time.  But hey, I guess USB chargers are the pump pegs of the 21st century.

Oh, and don't forget the retractable rack:


(At last, the murphy bed comes to bikes!)

No retractable avocado slicer though:


Really, they should have skipped all the retractable crap and just turned that ridiculous top tube into an avocado cannon.

Or, here's another crazy idea: Why not just make a bike where the fenders and rack are there on the outside all the time?  Under what circumstances do you really need to hide any of these things?  Even in New York City nobody's stealing fenders and racks.  Plus, name one thing retractable that hasn't worn out or broken on you eventually.  (Fine, my vacuum cleaner power cable still retracts, but that's about it.)  Even the automotive industry has realized retractability is stupid, which is why you no longer see power antennas and pop-up headlights--though presumably everyone involved in the production of this bike is too young to have seen all those Fieros with only one open headlight pathetically winking at everybody back in the '80s.

And if nothing else, why introduce more opportunity for noise?  I really hope there's a long-term test to see if all that stuff starts rattling in there, and if so here is my pledge:

If, after one year, this bike does not sound like a subway panhandler shaking his change cup, then I promise I will finally take it seriously.

They should have just submitted a Citi Bike.

Speaking of Citi Bike, it looks like it's being saved by the real estate industry:


REQX Ventures, an affiliate of real-estate giant Related Cos., is close to hammering out an agreement that could enlarge the footprint of Citi Bike to upper Manhattan, into Queens and further into Brooklyn over the next few years, these people said. The number of bikes would nearly double, from 6,200 to about 12,000.

Real estate giant?  I'm not sure what to think.  On one hand, as a member of the Citi Bike Cat 6 Racing Team, I'm glad to see the system may finally expand and improve.  On the other, once the entire city is covered in these blue dots the hyper-gentrification of New York City will be complete and we'll all be moving to Philadelphia:


(Gentrification pox.)

This is especially bad news for the people of Philadelphia, who will then be forced to move to Camden, NJ:


The Philadelphians will go willingly too, because anything's better than sharing a city with a bunch of assholes from Brooklyn.

Lastly, a reader informs me that serial groper Mario Cipollini was recently spotted in Paris, where he was two-fisting man-boobs:


Retirement has done little to dull Cipollini's prodigious libido, and in fact there's evidence on his website that he may have undergone enhancement surgery on "Li'l Mario:"


Hey, it's never too late in life to get yourself a new "tool."

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Fast Women in France

Women line up to ride in the in ‘La Course by Le Tour de France’ before Stage 21 of the Tour de France on Sunday 27 July, 2014.

La Course Tour de France women cyclists

Here’s the view from Marianne Voss’s bike as she raced in the Tour de France “La Course” women’s race in Paris yesterday.



Voss went on to win the €22,500 purse yesterday.

Categories: pro cycling, tour de france, women | Leave a comment

Riding bicycles is an enjoyable activity, even though they can explode.

So how was your weekend?  Yeah, whatever, keep it to yourself.  As for mine, it was excellent, for once again I pulled off the road ride/mountain bike ride double.  (I mean road bike ride Saturday and mountain bike ride Sunday, not both in one day.  I think I did that once like ten years ago, and I won't have that kind of time on my hands again until I retire and my seventeen (17) children take over the family business.)

However, I did ride my road bike on a mountain bike trail at one point, which officially made my road ride "epic:"


Granted, I did so extremely gingerly and only for only about 10 minutes, so in that sense it was like having sex after surgery.  But that didn't matter, because the point of my brief skinny-tired off-road foray was reconnaissance, as I am in the process of "curating" a mixed-terrain route which I plan to have dialed in by the fall.  Ideally, I'd like this route to be cyclocross bike-friendly and to include some singletrack, so I figured if I could pick my way through a section of this particular trail on a road bike than a cyclocross bike should be no problem.

So you'll be pleased to know that I am now that much closer to charting a route of unprecedented awesomeness, and because I don't use Strava or a Garmin or anything else you can be assured I will take it to the grave:


The rest of you can just keep on shuttling to Nyack and back.

By the way, you'll notice there are no longer any decals on my Ritte von Finkelstein:


(That's not some sort of soft Instagram filter, that's just a smartphone camera lens covered in sweat.)

This is in no way an indication that I am disenchanted with the bicycle or the brand.  Rather, it simply means the decals were starting to come off and so I finished the job.  As for the bike itself, I remain extremely pleased with it, and even though it's not a "gravel bike" it spends the majority of its time on terrain like this and performs with aplomb:


(It's almost like this whole "gravel bike" thing is complete BS.)

In fact, I'm this close [indicates tiny distance with fingers] to saying "fuck it" and putting mountain bike pedals on it, though my Inner Fred still refuses to let me stop walking around like a duck for no good reason.  I'm also still tempted to put a metal fork on the bike, because crabon sucks:


“Anyone in a team who’s being honest with you will tell you how frequently their bikes are breaking; everybody knows,” said Mark Greve, a physician and assistant professor of sports medicine at Brown University who studied injuries to 3,500 competitive cyclists. “Few people in the public appreciate how many bikes a pro team will go through in a season, because they break for one reason or another. The bikes, they completely explode.”

Did you hear that?  They COMPLETELY EXPLODE:


(Age of Crabon.)

That's right, pro cyclists shatter their bikes with their scranuses (or scranii) on a regular basis:

But when they spoke on the condition they not be identified, their stories emerged. Riders described landing on the top, horizontal tube of the bikes during crashes and ending up on the road after their frames splintered and collapsed. Small spills that used to mean, at best, straightening handlebars often require a bike change. Mechanics say they sometimes return the shattered remains of frames to manufacturers in bags intended to hold a single bicycle wheel.

It seems to me that instead of worrying about saddles causing impotence we should be worried about crabon top tube splinters causing genital impalement, but unsurprisingly Specialized had this to say on the subject of crabon and durability:

Chris Riekert, a spokesman for Specialized, an American company that supplies bikes to three Tour teams, said in a statement, “Carbon gives our engineers the ability to produce much stronger and lighter products than traditional steel or alloy by letting us put more material in high stress areas to ensure performance and safety in real world riding conditions.”

Even though this is what a Specialized bicycle looks like after it touches another bicycle while on a car's roof rack:


Not that it matters, because all the Freds will see is this:


And, to be fair, most of us Freds will probably never have a problem with our crabon bicycles--though the reason cited by the New York Times is obviously wrong:

Greve and Perovic agreed that for consumers who are not constantly banging their bikes around on team vehicles and who are unlikely to be involved in crashes, the risks in buying a carbon bike made by a reputable company should be minimal. Greve said many riders had told him that the performance gains from superlight frames reached the point of diminishing returns long ago, and he questions the wisdom of consumers’ buying what are, in effect, very costly throwaway items if they crash.

Actually, if there two things you can count on from a Fred, it's transport mishaps and crashing:



Which is why the real reason our bikes last more than a season is that these companies know we suck so badly that we can't even stress a crappy hunk of brittle plastic to its perpetually imminent failure point.

Lastly, you've probably already seen this video of Kevin Reza filming his own crotch with some guy's helment cam:



I really hope this viral marketing from Team Europcar, because if it's actually real then the guy who owns the helment cam is a complete idiot, as evidenced by his explanation:

orangesokz

ok ppl, 1st I am not standing in the road im standing on the pathway,2nd the helmet camera is being held out at arms lengh, 3rd the riders pass very close to the left side of the road due to spectators on the right standing in the road, 4th I am a massive cycling fan and ride a my bike 365 days a year covering over 13000kms per year, 5th as for the lotto rider elboing it from my hands, he is not protecting any other riders by knocking it from my hands where it is under controll into the road where other riders could ride into it! lastly the camera recording this is a contour roam 2, it has an extreamly wide angle lense and at close range like this destorts things massivly, enjoy the vid, its a unique view of the tour and just a bit of fun :) 

Holding a helment camera at arm's length into the Tour de France peloton is basically the Fredly equivalent of doing this.
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Cop Does Their Job!


Wow…this happened. A typical angry, tailgating driver gets pulled over BEFORE they hit a cyclist…and gets ticketed! The cop is even heard to say, “Just letting you know I care.” Well, man, can we get this guy to travel the country advising other cops on how to take preventative measures and protect the most vulnerable of travelers?

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