BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

Of all the many reasons to love and respect the paradigm for human behavior that is pro cycling, perhaps the most compelling is the integrity of the team ownership, as exemplified here by Oleg Tinkov:


Wow, okay.

So what are we to make of this?  Well, there are three possibilities:

1) Between the inherent limitations of the Twitter medium and the fact that Tinkov is not a native English speaker, some nuance was lost here, so when he says "no monkeyobama" to Vaughters what he's really doing is warning Vaughters not to draw the comparison, à la "Don't go there;"

2) Tinkov is fiercely defensive of his country's leader and was deeply offended by the implication that Putin resembles Leonardo Da Vinci in drag;

3) Tinkov is a flaming racist.

[Hint: it's #3, with just a pinch of #2.]

Oh, but he does have 200,000 followers though:
Good for you.

While Tinkov's comment did not go unnoticed on Twitter, it's unlikely to draw the ire of the UCI, since racism seems to be fairly low on their list of priorities--a list which is itself languishing in a drawer somewhere.  Remember this from last year, for example?



But on Tuesday, words were some of the loudest elements of the day. After the stage ended in Bagnères-de-Luchon, a report emerged that indicated Switzerland’s Michael Albasini called Kévin Reza, the only black rider in the race and one of few in the sport, a “dirty negro,” according to Reza’s general manager at Europcar, Jean-René Bernaudeau.

Reza, he said, was upset after the stage, and that the comments were “unacceptable, inadmissible,” reported France’s Sud Ouest website. “I do not tolerate racism,” Bernaudeau said. “After doping it is the other scourge of the sport.”

Albasini of course denied the insult, but Bernaudeau's comment was telling, because if racism is even remotely as prevalent as doping in the peloton then they've got themselves a rolling KKK rally out there.

I don't know if that devil guy is still around, but either way maybe they should replace him with an "irony tuba."

Meanwhile, here in New York City, here's what you have to do to get in trouble for killing someone with your car:


On July 19th, at about 11:17 p.m., Aron "Eric" Aranbayev, 40, was struck by a car in front of his home on 71 Avenue. The car, a Dodge Magnum, fled the scene. Aranbayev and the driver may have been arguing about a parking space.

One person said, "He was just being dropped off, and some guy was in a rush. They got into a verbal argument and then the guy ran into him backwards." Aranbayev was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he died.

Police released video of the car and one of Aranbayev's famous clients, Floyd Mayweather, offered a $10,000 reward for information about the driver. 

Okay, so here's what it takes to get arrested for using your car as a murder weapon:

1) You have to argue with your victim beforehand;

2) You have to run him over in reverse;

3) You have to flee the scene;

4) All of this has to be captured on video;

5) Your victim has to have close ties with celebrities who are willing to shell out cash for justice.

Otherwise, if all five of these factors are not present, then "I mistook the gas for the brake" is a perfectly valid excuse.  Case closed.

Here's what the DA had to say:

Queens DA Richard Brown said, “The defendant is accused of viciously running down and killing a 40-year-old man, who was standing in front of his home. The victim didn’t have a chance. He was allegedly brutally rammed by a 1,000-plus pound, high-speed vehicle that violently threw him to the ground. The victim hit his head and succumbed to his injuries. This was a senseless, violent death that could have easily been prevented.”

"Brutally rammed?"  "Senseless, violent death that could have easily been prevented?"  Obviously it's a good thing they're prosecuting this guy, but these things are true for pretty much every motor vehicle death in New York City, yet we don't prosecute the vast majority of those drivers.

But sure, keep patting yourself on the back there, DA.

By the way, I notice the writer here didn't mention whether or not the victim was wearing a helme(n)t.

Hmmm...

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 then good, and if you're wrong you'll see a "human bike ride."

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and stay cool--unless it's cold where you live, in which case stay warm.


--Wildcat Rock Machine




1) What was the typical Fred uniform in the 1870s?

--"...tailcoat and tophat, hunting shirt and splatterdashes"
--"...a sort of blouse, buckled at the waist, long boots or Knickerbockers and hose, and a little cap"
--"...white flared trousers and rough blue serge"
--"...steel plate armor with peaked helmet and velvet-lined codpiece"






("The Wiggle, Presented by Facebook")

2) San Francisco cyclists are protesting:

--Stop sign enforcement
--Tech company shuttle buses
--Facebook's proposed purchase of naming rights for "The Wiggle"
--Mileage caps on cyclists in order to curb excess water consumption







3) The hot new performance-enhancing drug in cycling is:

--FG-4592
--THX 1138
--RU-486
--Pot Belge





4) The fastest team time trial in Tour de France history was Orica-GreenEDGE in 2013 at 35.9mph.

--True
--False






5) "Specialized claims the new S-Works Venge ViAS Di2 bike can save your 120 seconds over 40km."  This is a $12,500 bike.  According to Specialized themselves, how much time will a free leg shave save you over the same distance?

--0 seconds
--12 seconds
--40-90 seconds
--120 seconds






6) Why should you not lock your bike to a tree?

--It is illegal
--Your bike will get stolen
--It is bad for the tree
--All of the above







7) It is acceptable to lock your bicycle to a tree if your bicycle is made of wood.

--True
--False



***Special Physically Separated Bike Lane-Themed Bonus Video!***




What, no parachu(n)te?
Categories: bike | Leave a comment

The Evolution of the Fred

Like New York City, London is an economic powerhouse, and wherever you find money you find Freds:


(Parking for one (1) Fred, spotted in London by a reader.)

But did you know that Fred Culture actually began in London?  It's true.  Consider this article from 1874, which chronicles the birth of the cycling craze, and in the process reveals what may be the very genesis of Fredness:


A form of amusement which appears to be becoming very popular in England is what is called “bicycling.”  

Great name, I love it!

Unfortunately, by the 20th century, Americans would shorten it to "biking," which they pronounce "bi-keen."

When bicycles were first introduced there was a disposition to treat them with ridicule, and many persons imagined that working a machine of this kind was simply a roundabout way of applying physical force in order to do what could be more effectively done by simply walking or running.  

This blows my mind.  Today, we're derided for not driving cars, yet 140 years ago our forbears were ridiculed for not simply running:


It's strangely comforting that we've been annoying people with our efficient machines ever since history's very first pedal stroke.

In the first instance, the machines were, of course, rather rough and clumsy, and very heavy into the bargain, and there is therefore some excuse for the contempt with which they were regarded.  But great improvements have lately been made both in their form and materials; the weight has been considerably reduced, higher wheels have been supplied, and various arrangements made by which the person working the bicycle is enabled to acquire a more thorough and easy command over its movements.

Behold, the Venge-Schmenge of its day:


According to reviewers of the time, it cornered like it was on stilts.

A school of daring and expert riders has also risen up; and though it is doubtful how far the bicycle will ever be introduced for the purposes of ordinary locomotion, it is evident that it is likely to take a prominent place as a form of competitive sport.

"Riding bicycles in order to get around?  Fie on that!  Bicycling's future lies in racing against ponies!"


(What, no helme(n)ts?)

A new class of sportsmen are thus introduced to the pleasures of the chase, and though the humbler riders on their five-pound velocipedes cannot keep pace with aristocratic rivals mounted on 200-guinea hunters, still they enjoy, to a great extent, the same sort of exhilaration and excitement.

Wow, that sounds like it's right out of Bicycling...1874:



"The £5 Hi-Wheel Sport with its cast iron frame lacks the supple lightweight steel tubing of its 200-guinea sibling the Ultra-Hi SL, but it's an ideal rig for the entry-level rider interested in charity rides, quick jaunts to the country, and even the occasional pony race."

And so it was that Fred-dom was born.

By the way, this article also contains the first-ever recorded answer to the question "Whatgearyourunning?"

It may be mentioned that Stanton’s bicycle has a driving-wheel fifty-eight inches in diameter, and is under fifty pounds in weight.  Keen rode with a fifty-four-inch wheel, the weight of his machine being less than thirty-six pounds.

Keen was like totally spun out with that tiny wheel.

I wonder how many skid patches he had...

Of course, since then, competitive cycling has come a long way--by which I mean the drugs are way better:


Recent positive drug tests by two cyclists suggest there is a new, cutting-edge substance making its way to athletes looking for performance-enhancement: FG-4592, an experimental drug that increases production of red blood cells but has not yet been approved for human consumption.

FG-4592?  Sounds like a model of fixie from BikesDirect--and as it turns out it's just as easy to order online:

In theory, FG-4592 is available only to participants in clinical trials being conducted by AstraZeneca and FibroGen. The drug is in the final stage of testing, but not approved for sale.

But at least three chemical-supply companies sell FG-4592. A person can simply go to a website, click on FG-4592, add it to a cart, pay with a credit card, and even get it sent via overnight delivery. The hitch, though, is that the buyer has to be a researcher.

“You have to have something in writing saying you will be using it for research purposes,” said Jane Lee, a technical-support specialist at Selleck, a company that sells the compound and advertises it to be 99.36 percent pure. Lee added that the compound has to be sent to a university or research facility.

Fortunately, the Cipollini Bikes headquarters technically counts as a research center:


Sure, they don't have a wind tunnel like Specialized, but they do have a "Virility Chamber" where Cipollini himself has been conducting extensive research on the alleged link between cycling and impotence:


(The Cipollini Bikes Virility Chamber)

So far he hasn't found any, but he feels it's still too early to draw a conclusion.

Speaking of competitive cycling, cyclocross season will be here before you know it--but even if you're trying to ignore it you know it anyway, thanks to the incessant chatter on Twitter:
I wonder how people even rode cyclocross before Twitter...

Oh, right, I forgot: before social networking there was no such thing as cyclocross.

It took disc brakes and hashtags in order to make the sport viable.

And of course under no circumstances should you attempt to engage in cyclocross without taking part in a "clinic" administered by an expert:


Sure it's just getting on and off your bike quickly, but it's different when you do it in a skinsuit.

Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

Bicycle bedfellows in East Bay development dispute

The SummerHill development proposal in Danville, CA has stalled because opponents claim the development failed to properly account for bicycle safety in the project environmental review.


Summerhill Homes Magee Ranch development

SummerHill homes wants to build 69 homes on the 410 acre Magee Ranch off of Diablo and Blackhawk Roads in Danville, with about 270 acres set aside as open space. The homes will be clustered in 40 acres of flat space within the property. Danville City Council accepted the EIR and approved this project in 2013.

“Save Open Space Diablo” — mostly consisting of Diablo Road residents — filed suit to stop the development. They claim the city violated its own plan with an illegal re-zoning. They also claim the EIR is invalid because it failed to define the traffic safety impact to bicyclists who love to ride to and up Mount Diablo along the roads in this vicinity.

I don’t know the merits of this project or the lack thereof, but it smells like NIMBYism to me, and the cynical application of bicycle safety seems noteworthy. Some Diablo Road residents famously try to close their road to cyclists and ask the Contra Costa Sheriff for enhanced enforcement targeting cyclists, so I’m a little bit skeptical of their concern for my safety.

Nevertheless, Bike East Bay says they’re considering this legal battle because of the important precedent it can set. The bike advocacy group for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in the San Francisco Bay Area believes the transportation impact portion of an environmental review should include the impact on bicycle safety, with mitigations required for project approval.

The CEQA guidelines published by the state of California says “traffic and pedestrian safety” and “bicycle and pedestrian flows” must be analyzed in any EIR, but this is often a pro forma paragraph that often says “No bicycle or pedestrian safety issues are created by this project.” Indeed, the bicycle safety section from the Summerhill / Magee Ranch EIR says:

Diablo / Blackhawk Road is a popular route used by bicyclists. However, portions of the roadway are narrow and do not have bike lanes. This route is not a designated Bike Route in the Town’s General Plan. Given the narrow right-of-way along Diablo/Blackhawk, both vehicles and bicyclists should use caution. While the project would add traffic to Diablo/Blackhawk Road, it would not significantly change existing conditions for cyclists. In addition, the physical constraints along Diablo/Blackhawk Road (i.e., narrow roadways and shoulders, existing drainages, the close proximity of trees and telephone poles) limit the feasibility of widening for future bicycle facilities.

In response to persistent criticism from local cyclists on this lack of mitigation, the town of Danville promises to toss up a few “Share the Road” signs in front of this development. As if.

Read more in the Contra Costa Times — Danville: SummerHill appeal could set precedent on bicyclist safety

Categories: News | Leave a comment

Wednesday Advisory In Effect, Do Not Leave Your Sofa or Cubicle

Firstly, you should know that New York City is under a heat advisory and air quality alert:


* STAY IN YOUR CAR

* DO NOT SHUT OFF MOTOR OR AIR CONDITIONING FOR ANY REASON

* IDLING RESTRICTIONS HAVE BEEN LIFTED

* IF YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE, BE SURE TO DOUBLE-PARK IN FRONT OF A RETAIL COOLING CENTER :


The “Shut the Front Door!” initiative kicked off Wednesday with an estimated 200 volunteers fanning out across the five boroughs to chat with businesses about the true costs of pumping air conditioning into the ether, while tweeting about it with #BeCoolSaveFuel. The volunteers reminded some 5,000 businesses about Local Law 38, passed in 2008 to ban open door A/C at large chains or stores with more than 4,000 square feet.

I'm not sure why the city is making a big deal about this.  Forcing people into overcooled restaurants and retail establishments due to extreme temperatures seems like a great way to stimulate the economy--because nothing staves off heat exhaustion like shopping for underpants at Abercrombie and Fitch, or dining on Eggs Benedict and bottomless mimosas:



Of course, as the atmosphere becomes increasingly thick, aerodynamics in cycling will only become more important.  This is why the new Specialized Venge-Schmenge is yet another harbinger of the Apocalypse:


We've already heard from Bike Radar and VeloNews about how this new miracle bike will turn plodding Freds into ever-so-slightly-less-plodding Freds, and now it's Bicycling's turn to Enter the Wind Tunnel:

The protocol went like this: Each journalist (there were 12 total) had a basic bike fit done in advance of the event. We had two bikes set up: a new Venge ViAS and an S-Works Tarmac. We took wind-tunnel readings on both setups to establish drag, and then did a back-to-back road test of each setup on a lightly rolling 19km loop to see whether we were faster. 

Firstly, I don't think it's fair to refer to bike reviewers as "journalists."  That's like calling amateur bike racers "athletes," or like calling me an "athlete" or a "journalist."  Secondly, it's fairly clear to me that Specialized's wind tunnel is also a brainwashing machine, which is why they've been marching all these bike reviewers into it one after another.

So what happened?

Across my two runs, the Venge setup was 122 seconds faster than the conventional setup, or an average speed increase of 1.74kph (a little over 1mph). That’s significant, especially considering that the actual “conventional” setup we ran was slightly faster than their benchmarks, and since the Sub-6 shoes weren’t available to test, that made the Venge ViAS setup a little slower.

Yeah, I don't care about these bike reviewers beating their own pathetic times.  I WANT TO KNOW WHICH OF THE 12 CYCLING "JOURNALISTS" WAS THE FASTEST!  These people have been selling us on the idea of speed for years, so it's only fair that we learn the outcome so we can ridicule the losers.  Live by the Fred Sled, die by the Fred Sled.

But of course no review is complete without the "spurious anecdote," so here it is:

The Venge ViAS was the first aero road bike I’ve been on that I actually enjoyed. On a 62-mile road ride, it proved comfortable trading pulls on the gently rolling outward leg, grinding up a climb or hammering an almost 40mph paceline with a tailwind. At one point, grimly hanging on to the back of the line after a pull, I thought to myself: “If I was on a Tarmac right now, I’d be screwed.”

See that?  The $12,500 Venge-Shmenge (not to mention the $1,000+ outfit you need to wear with it in order to reap the full aero benefits) is the difference between getting dropped and finishing with the group.

So there you go.

[40mph paceline?  I el-oh-elled.]

As for me, I'd much rather have this "Cipollini Equipped" custom-curated vintage pro bike replica, as forwarded to me by a reader:



This 2000 Cannondale R2000 Saeco-Cannondale team bicycle that I have built to replicate the racing machine of the legendary sprinter Mario Cipollini. The bike is equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 component group, and is highlighted by the funky Cinelli Alter stem (hard-to-find in team colors) and Spinergy Wheels. The carbon fork is made by TIME, but is branded CODA Slice Prodigy. 


I remember that bike well, and it arguably represents Cipollini's stylistic zenith--though it's worth noting that as fashions change so does the Cipo, and here he is today clad in a full-camo Fred onesie with bike to match:


Of course, with Cipollini camouflage is more than just a fashion statement.

He also has to hide from all those paternity suits.

Finally, a reader forwarded me an amusing and insightful video that entertainingly underscores just how abjectly bicycle-unfriendly Australia is:


(Sorry, you'll have to click the link, I couldn't embed it because of technology.)

While another reader forwarded me this group of Melbournites (or Melbournians, or Melbatoasts, or whatever they are) brunching in an off-brand Dumpster:


They ought to have no problem surviving the Apocalypse.
Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

Wednesday Advisory In Effect, Do Not Leave Your Sofa or Cubicle

Firstly, you should know that New York City is under a heat advisory and air quality alert:


* STAY IN YOUR CAR

* DO NOT SHUT OFF MOTOR OR AIR CONDITIONING FOR ANY REASON

* IDLING RESTRICTIONS HAVE BEEN LIFTED

* IF YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE, BE SURE TO DOUBLE-PARK IN FRONT OF A RETAIL COOLING CENTER :


The “Shut the Front Door!” initiative kicked off Wednesday with an estimated 200 volunteers fanning out across the five boroughs to chat with businesses about the true costs of pumping air conditioning into the ether, while tweeting about it with #BeCoolSaveFuel. The volunteers reminded some 5,000 businesses about Local Law 38, passed in 2008 to ban open door A/C at large chains or stores with more than 4,000 square feet.

I'm not sure why the city is making a big deal about this.  Forcing people into overcooled restaurants and retail establishments due to extreme temperatures seems like a great way to stimulate the economy--because nothing staves off heat exhaustion like shopping for underpants at Abercrombie and Fitch, or dining on Eggs Benedict and bottomless mimosas:



Of course, as the atmosphere becomes increasingly thick, aerodynamics in cycling will only become more important.  This is why the new Specialized Venge-Schmenge is yet another harbinger of the Apocalypse:


We've already heard from Bike Radar and VeloNews about how this new miracle bike will turn plodding Freds into ever-so-slightly-less-plodding Freds, and now it's Bicycling's turn to Enter the Wind Tunnel:

The protocol went like this: Each journalist (there were 12 total) had a basic bike fit done in advance of the event. We had two bikes set up: a new Venge ViAS and an S-Works Tarmac. We took wind-tunnel readings on both setups to establish drag, and then did a back-to-back road test of each setup on a lightly rolling 19km loop to see whether we were faster. 

Firstly, I don't think it's fair to refer to bike reviewers as "journalists."  That's like calling amateur bike racers "athletes," or like calling me an "athlete" or a "journalist."  Secondly, it's fairly clear to me that Specialized's wind tunnel is also a brainwashing machine, which is why they've been marching all these bike reviewers into it one after another.

So what happened?

Across my two runs, the Venge setup was 122 seconds faster than the conventional setup, or an average speed increase of 1.74kph (a little over 1mph). That’s significant, especially considering that the actual “conventional” setup we ran was slightly faster than their benchmarks, and since the Sub-6 shoes weren’t available to test, that made the Venge ViAS setup a little slower.

Yeah, I don't care about these bike reviewers beating their own pathetic times.  I WANT TO KNOW WHICH OF THE 12 CYCLING "JOURNALISTS" WAS THE FASTEST!  These people have been selling us on the idea of speed for years, so it's only fair that we learn the outcome so we can ridicule the losers.  Live by the Fred Sled, die by the Fred Sled.

But of course no review is complete without the "spurious anecdote," so here it is:

The Venge ViAS was the first aero road bike I’ve been on that I actually enjoyed. On a 62-mile road ride, it proved comfortable trading pulls on the gently rolling outward leg, grinding up a climb or hammering an almost 40mph paceline with a tailwind. At one point, grimly hanging on to the back of the line after a pull, I thought to myself: “If I was on a Tarmac right now, I’d be screwed.”

See that?  The $12,500 Venge-Shmenge (not to mention the $1,000+ outfit you need to wear with it in order to reap the full aero benefits) is the difference between getting dropped and finishing with the group.

So there you go.

[40mph paceline?  I el-oh-elled.]

As for me, I'd much rather have this "Cipollini Equipped" custom-curated vintage pro bike replica, as forwarded to me by a reader:



This 2000 Cannondale R2000 Saeco-Cannondale team bicycle that I have built to replicate the racing machine of the legendary sprinter Mario Cipollini. The bike is equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 component group, and is highlighted by the funky Cinelli Alter stem (hard-to-find in team colors) and Spinergy Wheels. The carbon fork is made by TIME, but is branded CODA Slice Prodigy. 


I remember that bike well, and it arguably represents Cipollini's stylistic zenith--though it's worth noting that as fashions change so does the Cipo, and here he is today clad in a full-camo Fred onesie with bike to match:


Of course, with Cipollini camouflage is more than just a fashion statement.

He also has to hide from all those paternity suits.

Finally, a reader forwarded me an amusing and insightful video that entertainingly underscores just how abjectly bicycle-unfriendly Australia is:


(Sorry, you'll have to click the link, I couldn't embed it because of technology.)

While another reader forwarded me this group of Melbournites (or Melbournians, or Melbatoasts, or whatever they are) brunching in an off-brand Dumpster:


They ought to have no problem surviving the Apocalypse.
Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

An ozone alert, skin cancer, and sun sleeves

Skin cancer is a thing for people (such as cyclists) who spend a lot of time outdoors. But first, allow me the opportunity to inform you that the second San Francisco Bay Area Spare the Air Alert of 2015 has been announced for Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Ozone concentrations will be especially high in the Santa Clara Valley (again), and the inland areas of the East Bay. Although today’s air quality along the Pacific Coast rates as “Good” today, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District forecasts unhealthy levels of ozone for the entire Bay Area tomorrow. You’re encouraged to limit your driving to help keep smog levels down.

Now, let’s talk about this map, which shows the UV Index forecast for select cities.


UV Index Map July 29 2015

The red dots show a “very high” level of UV exposure, while purple is considered “extreme.” Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is a significant risk factor for skin cancer, both melanoma skin cancer, and non-melonoma skins cancers such as basal cell and squamous cell cancers. I know two avid cyclists who passed in their 30s from melanoma. In both cases, the cancer had metastasized to the brain. Disease progression was quick and devastating.

Please, for the sake of your family and friends, use sunscreen when you go out, especially on high UV days. That low-level smog-creating ozone does nothing to screen ultraviolet radiation. We need stratospheric ozone for that.

Sun sleeves

You may have seen Asian women who wear long sleeves in light colors to protect themselves from the sun. A few years ago, manufacturers began offering sun sleeves for summer cycling. These are very similar to arm warmers but made with a lightweight, breathable fabric.


Pearl Izumi sun shields

Pearl Izumi sent a pair of their white sunsleeves earlier this summer for me to evaluate. PI claims UPF 50+ protection. I’ve found them to be comfortable for a good half day of riding in warm (high 80s F) weather. The grippers in the upper arm become noticeable after a full day of sweating in them. After that much time I’ve peeled the sleeves off, but that’s no worse than lotion type sunscreens, which you sweat off after a couple of hours.

This obviously doesn’t protect the parts of your skin beyond your arms. You still want sunscreen on your upper back and neck, ears, face, and legs when out for an extended period of time in the sun.

For 2015, Pearl Izumi improved the arm gripper over the previous year and they use a lighter fabric. I am very rough on my gear, but nothing has ripped, failed or unraveled on these Sun Sleeves (yet). Pearl Izumi says to use gentle detergents, but I just throw these sleeves into the wash with the rest of my sweaty cycling kit after I ride. The reflective PI logo on the lower sleeve is still in good shape after perhaps a half dozen washings.

Only one person has given me crap about wearing “leg warmers” on my arms during the summer. He’s a friend who is not a cyclist. Most people pretty quickly figure out the purpose of the Pearl Izumi Sun Sleeves and nod approvingly.

Available at outdoor retailers such as REI, and specialty running, triathlete and cycling stores that carry Pearl Izumi. You can even occasionally find it on Amazon, which benefits me if you purchase through that affiliate link.

Leave a comment

A cargo bike rodeo in Brooklyn

718 Cyclery in Park Slope, Brooklyn will host New York City’s first cargo bike rodeo on Saturday, August 22nd from 9 AM to 6 PM.


718 cyclery cargo bike rodeo

The event will include a cargo bike race, raffle and free BBQ lunch, as well as a group test ride on the streets of Gowanus.

“There is no denying that cargo bikes have become a viable and affordable means of transport, exploding in growth, as NYC becomes safer and safer for cyclists,” says Joe Nocella, who owns 718 Cyclery and says his shop is the biggest seller of cargo bikes in New York City.

Cargo bikes from Xtracycle, Yuba, Urban Arrow, Surly, Bakfiets, Kona, and Bike Friday will be available to demo at this event.

This event and the food are free. You can also buy $10 raffle tickets for a chance to win a new 2015 Yuba Mundo. Proceeds from the raffle benefit Transportation Alternatives.

For more details, time, and location, visit 718 Cyclery Cargo Bike Rodeo.

Categories: new+york | Leave a comment

Steal is Real

If you read this blog you probably ride a bike, and if you ride a bike you're probably a giant nerd, and if you're a giant nerd who rides bikes and reads blogs there's a 99% chance you know "The Lumberjack Song:"

"He's a lumberjack and he's okay, he sleeps all night and he...STEALS BIKES ALL DAY?!?"

[Cue record scratching sound.]

Yep, that's right, a bike thief in Williamsburg, Brooklyn felled a tree in order to steal a bike:


SOUTH WILLIAMSBURG — A thief sawed down a 25-foot tree to steal a bicycle locked to its trunk last week, according to locals.

Sawed, are they sure?  Have the forensics come back?  This is Williamsburg, after all.  Are they absolutely positive the tree wasn't hewn with an artisanal axe?

Either way, the police have released a composite sketch of the suspect:
Fortunately it's summer, so relatively few men are dressed in "lumberjack chic" at the moment.  If it were fall the police would have to stop and question almost every single white male in gentrified Brooklyn.*

*[Just kidding, that doesn't happen to white people.]

Several witnesses also said the thief was accompanied by a blue bovine of some kind, and that after tucking the bike into the pocket of his flannel shirt he made his escape by using two MTA express buses as Rollerblades.  However, police believe the witnesses may have been intoxicated.

Anyway, the upshot of all of this is DON'T LOCK YOUR BIKE TO TREES.  First of all, it happens to be illegal:

Christopher Ryan said his friend locked a bike to a tree in front of 242 Grand St., between Driggs Avenue and Roebling Street, overnight last week — a move Ryan acknowledged was illegal and carries a $1,000 fine.

But more importantly, it's bad for the tree--especially when some lumberdouche decides to chop it down.

Still, it seems that many area cyclists are locking their bikes to trees, and so residents are calling for more bike parking:

As the neighborhood has grown, she's seen construction vehicles and beer trucks damage the relatively new trees. And many new residents are cyclists who attach their bikes to trees, damaging them with chains and locks, she said.

"We've had this explosive growth. Our infrastructure in general hasn't been able to keep up with it," Chapman said. "There is just not enough bike parking. They need to put up more bike stands, all over the neighborhood."

Okay.  I agree, the city needs more bike parking.  Absolutely.  More bike racks, less car parking, livable streets, blah blah blah and so forth.  I'm with it.  Totally.

However, I also have an issue with the idea that, since bike parking is tight, then locking your bike to a tree is somehow unavoidable.

See, there are two problems with this line of thinking.  Firstly, more bike racks in neighborhoods like this--while sorely needed--will not magically solve the problem, because they'll just get filled up immediately with delivery bikes and abandoned vintage 10-speeds left behind by people who have run screaming with snot bubbles in their noses to "cities" like Des Moines after realizing they can't hack it in New York.  That's just the way it works.  It's like these people who think rents will magically go down if we build tons of luxury condos get rid of rent control and stabilization.  Yeah, right.

Secondly, cyclists are lazy, especially when it comes to parking our bikes.  Think about it: if you can't park your bike right in front of your destination you're like, "This is bullshit."  If you can't park it on the same block you're like, "The city needs to provide me with more bike racks, I'm being persecuted, this is a conspiracy on the part of the automotive industrial complex."  And if you have to go all the way to a different street to park your bike you're like, "OH MY GOD WHERE AM I WILL MY CELLPHONE STILL WORK HERE WILL THERE BE ROAMING CHARGES?!?"

Actually, that third thing isn't true, because most cyclists flat-out refuse to park their bikes on a different street, and instead will do something lazy and selfish like lock up to a tree--or someone else's bike:


Look.  I get it.  Bikes are so damn convenient that having to walk from your bike to all the way to your destination seems inherently wrong and almost absurd.  However, it's time we cyclists realize that in a crowded city we can't always be guaranteed our ideal spot.  This parking crunch is a good thing, because it means there are more of us.  After all, if we don't come to terms with the realities of bike parking and resolve to walk a bit more, are we then not as bad as the motorists, who think they're entitled to free car parking in one of the most expensive real estate markets in America?

No, of course not.  We'll never be as bad as motorists.  Motorists are fat, stupid, and ugly, and they kill people while pawing at their smartphones with their greasy hands.

Still, that doesn't change the fact that you should be prepared to walk a few blocks instead of locking your bike to a tree, because anything you lock your bike to becomes a potential victim.

Speaking of bike theft, here's a gripping story from Portland:


So, I’m walking back to my shop from the coffee shop when I see a guy (young male with his shirt unbuttoned) on a track bike. I instantly knew something was wrong and followed him around the corner. My brain said “that’s the bike stolen from alpenrose!” So, I grabbed him and asked “where the fuck did you get that bike?” He claimed he “bought it in north Portland for $300″ I said “bullshit you did” and grabbed the saddle and refused to let go, while asking a guy walking buy to call 911.

I'm glad this worked out and all, but NEVER DO THIS.  Firstly, you could get stabbed, and getting stabbed over a track bike is like crushing your genitals on your top tube because you saved grams by drilling holes in your crankarms--not even remotely worth it, if not totally embarrassing.  (Everyone knows track bikes are out of style, so if you're going to get stabbed over a bike it should at least be a 27.5+ bikepacking bike.)  Secondly, when it comes to making snap judgements about people, cyclists are not always the most reliable--and that goes double for cyclists in Portland, who tend to be bewildered by anyone who doesn't look like they stepped straight out of Momentum Mag.

Of course, in this case, as a bike shop employee he was able to make up for his lack of law enforcement training with his superior mechanical knowledge:

Me and the bystander had to hold him for about 15 minutes before the cops did show up. He kept screaming obscenities at me and tried to wrestle away many times. I let the air out of the rear tire so in case he did get away he wouldn’t be able to ride it. But being a track bike with no brakes, track pedals and tall gearing, it would have been extremely difficult to actually ride anyway.

Oh, bike dorks...  "I knew the bike had a 49/16 gear ratio, which would yield 80.5 gear inches and 16 skid patches.  For every revolution of the pedals his bike would move forward roughly 21 feet.  Furthermore, at 90rpm he would reach a maximum speed of 21.6mph, so if I reduced his tire pressure by 50psi..."

As a New Yorker though I was quite surprised to read this:

The officers that showed up knew exactly which bike it was, as they just personally filed the report. They were very helpful and the one officer was taking about how stoked he was that we recovered it and that “bike thieves make him sick”.

Wow.  The police praised him?  The NYPD would have thrown him in jail.

Lastly, check this out:


What, he didn't ride back down?

I told you cyclists were lazy.

Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

SF Bay Area Spare the Air Tuesday July 28 2015

The San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced the first Summer Spare the Air Alert of 2015 for Tuesday, July 28 2015. Concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution are forecast to be unhealthy tomorrow.


smog

Residents are encouraged to drive less and reduce their energy use tomorrow and every day so pollution levels are lower, preventing health alerts when temperatures are high.

Because high ozone levels damage the lungs and irritate mucous membranes, the Air District tells us that “vigorous outdoor exercise should be undertaken only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.” To help reduce ozone levels, the Air District says to take one for the team and “bike to work or around town.” You can also take public transit, telecommute, carpool and link your errands to reduce driving, avoid using gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers, reduce household energy use, don’t use lighter fluid on the barbecue, avoid using aerosol spay products like hairspray or spray paint.

Ozone levels are expected to be especially high in Santa Clara Valley, with a forecast Air Quality Index (AQI) of 104. This translates to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit outdoor exertion.

Moderately bad air quality is forecast for the North Counties, the Peninsula, and inland portions of the East Bay. Good air quality is forecast for the Pacific Coast, San Francisco, and most of the East Bay directly on the Bay.

Photo: “Smog and one of its biggest contributors as seen from the Doubletree Hotel, San Jose, CA” by NZ Dave / CC BY-NC-ND.

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Spandex Optional Bicycle Touring

I’ve never been interested in long-distance touring, but Peter Rice’s practical philosophy and light humor in his Spandex Optional Bicycle Touring: How to ride long distance, the cheap and easy way might convince me to give it a try.


Spandex Optional Bicycle Touring by Peter Rice

At only 104 pages, this book isn’t a complete how-to manual, but more an encouraging manifesto that if you can ride across town, you can probably handle overnight touring to the next county and even across the state. He mostly assumes that you already know your bike. Once you get past his bike-gear chapter (a throwaway chapter that you can easily skip), he rolls with advice on what to bring, where to stay, and what to do when you get stuck in the boonies, interspersed with anecdotes from himself and a variety of other tourists.

“If you can ride a bike across town, you can ride across the country” is the premise and the promise from Rice, who has toured thousands of miles through eleven states on bikes that he says bike mechanics would turn their noses up at. One bike “was such a piece of junk,” writes Rice, “that I seriously considered leaving it to be stolen rather than paying more than it was worth to ship it home.”

Peter Rice dog in basket bicycle

This book is not for those who need that $150 axe imported from Sweden. As you might expect from a guy who rolls with a chihuahua mix in a milk crate, Spandex Optional completely lacks pretense. He eats Goober Grape straight from the jar, is happy with Gatorade drink mix for the electrolytes he craves, and happily buys his supplies from the cheapest vendor out there.

To show that he has nothing at all against lycra (and, in fact, he strongly recommends padded bike shorts when riding long distances), Rice asked me to use this photo of him next to Lyndsay Wood, who illustrated his book, on a ride near Taos with her and Joe Beman. “The reflective vest,” Price parenthetically adds, “bought for five bucks at Home Depot.”

Peter Rice with spandex in New Mexico

Spandex Optional is a self-published book (using Amazon’s CreateSpace platform), but Price’s background in journalism and other print media shows with good editing to create a professional product. Unlike most self-published media (including this blog), I counted zero spelling and grammar errors; the author’s breezy, conversational tone make this an easy and fast read.

Spandex Optional Bicycle Touring: How to ride long distance, the cheap and easy way by Peter Rice is available from Amazon.com in paperback, ebook (Kindle) and audio formats. For those who download the audio version, Rice makes his suggested packing list freely available.

Categories: Books, tour | Leave a comment