Author Archives: BikeSnobNYC
Hey, look at that, I got an “And Finally…” in the Times!
The Daily Bike Forecast, which began in January and posts on weekday mornings by 5 a.m., shares information like bridge and path conditions; travel advisories; clothing-musts based on the weather; and Citi Bike updates from across the five boroughs.
Today’s entry is especially indispensable, since not only does it include the lowdown on an NYPD ticket sting, but it also blows the lid off the correlation between hating bike lanes and having an insatiable appetite for human testicles.
Now that’s hard-hitting news you can ewes.
Congratulations to me. And TransAlt, of course, who will never recover from their association with me.
Oh, and the Times mention is even getting great comments:
Reminder to the doofuses (doofi?) of the world to read before commenting.https://t.co/RezPQtoowg pic.twitter.com/uxTwRSLjV3
— Bike Snob NYC (@bikesnobnyc) March 30, 2017
So there you go.
In other news, a blogger over at Jalopnik attempted to make fun of that dumb $39,000 Bugatti bicycle:
This sort of thing should be like shooting fish in a cliché, and the bike is undeniably moronic, but still the author managed to miss the mark:
Boats and yachts I get, because you could theoretically include the car’s engine to power the thing. This is a bicycle. A fucking “special urban” bicycle WHICH! I might add, is not even intended to be used on public roads, reads the website. Well, then, what the fuck good is it?
Firstly, what does the lack of a motor have to do with anything? She mentions boats, but I’m pretty sure you could pay a fuckload of money for a sailboat. Guaranteed some Wind Fred is tearing it up out there on a crazily expensive America’s Cup replica even as I type this.
Secondly, making stupid bikes is just what car companies do. Remember BMW’s hybrid for example?
You know, the one with beefy disc brakes that weighed as much as a baby?
It’s not just car companies, either. Putting out an overpriced bike with their name on it is pretty much de rigueur for all luxury brands:
Not only do they get some instant press, but a few high-net worth individuals for whom decimal places are totally meaningless might see one on display while on a shopping spree and buy one, and the rest of us get to laugh.
Most importantly, why is the Bugatti bike and dumber than, say, a Bugatti Chiron, which costs three million dollars?
It has 1500hp and a top speed of 261mph, which no billionaire douchebag could possibly attain and live. In that respect I suppose it’s a subversive machine designed to kill off the global elite one by one.
Anyway, none of this would even be noteworthy if the car blogger didn’t finish up her wet noodle smackdown with this nugget:
“Laugh at your tiny genitals,” “Put paprika in your chamois cream,” “Smash it to pieces while you’re chipping golf balls at the servants…” Any of these would have been not only acceptable but at least marginally more clever. But this kind of crap coming from a car blogger?
Hi @KristenLee agree Bugati bike is pretty damn dumb, but saying “If I see you on this bike, I may hit you with my car” isn’t remotely funny
— Peter Flax (@Pflax1) March 29, 2017
All else aside, I wanted to know what kind of car a blogger at Jalopnik might hit a cyclist with, as I was pretty sure it wasn’t a $3 million supercar. It didn’t take me long to find out:
Regarding the headline, I do (or at least the bank does) and it isn’t, I promise–and I don’t even have to deal with alternate-side parking, let alone keep my car in a garage:
I live in Brooklyn now, just across the water from New York City’s densest traffic. My annual garage fee is what some Americans would call a year’s worth of rent. The garage is down the street, but I need to call at least one day in advance if I want my car. That really takes the spontaneity out of a drive.
Sounds great. So what is this car?
I daily a 2002 Mercedes-Benz C32 AMG, and, charmingly, this is the car that got me into cars when I was a kid. You know, the weird C-Class AMG. The one with the supercharged 349 horsepower V6 instead of a V8.
Wait, you “daily” it? Not if you have to call a day in advance to use it you don’t. At best you every-other-daily it.
So how is all of this possibly worth it? Well, I guess it helps when your father gave you the car:
This little sedan used to belong to my dad and we had great talks about what made it special, why he chose this over the E46 BMW M3. I grew up watching him. I watched him park in the spots as far away from the grocery carts as possible. I watched him go on Sunday morning drives when nobody else was awake. I watched him wash it in the dead of night in the garage after the state issued water regulations in the face of a drought.
Ah yes, a hand-me-down Mercedes. It all makes sense now. Not only does it explain how a blogger can justify the expense of garaging a car in the most transit-rich city in the country, but it also explains the joke about hitting people, since finding that sort of thing funny is usually born of a sense of entitlement. Not that I think she would actually go hitting people with her Mercedes (I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt here), but you can be damn sure that she’s emanating contempt in your direction from the safety of her hand-me-down luxury car and nodding her head approvingly at every anti-bike tabloid screed.
Anyway, naturally a Twitter discussion about this shitty joke ensued, which predictably prompted the editor-in-chief of Jalopnik to accuse the over-sensitive cyclists of not understanding their sophisticated humor sensibility:
@bikesnobnyc @Courier429 I don’t know how you can read that as anything but extreme sarcasm but OK, if you wanna be Important Twitter Men
— Patrick George (@bypatrickgeorge) March 29, 2017
— Patrick George (@bypatrickgeorge) March 29, 2017
Hey, I know it’s tough to make the monthly payments on that Kia Sportage, but maybe squeeze a few more bucks out of the budget to hire some slightly better writers.
As for the Bugatti, rest assured a request is pending:
I’ll let you know as soon as I receive it.
In my capacity as a semi-professional bike blogger and social media influenza, from time to time I receive the sorts of glamorous invitations that you lowly professional types with real jobs would never dream of. For example, at this very moment, a quick glance in my inbox reveals that most recently I’ve been invited: to learn more about my Irish ancestry from Ancestry.com on the occasion of St. Patrick’s day; save 20% when shopping at a popular online bicycle component retailer; and to use my $2 in Staples rewards before they expire.
Hey, what can I say, life is pretty heady up here at the top.
Anyway, in addition to these exciting opportunities I was also recently invited to join Paul Budnitz on something called “Wuu:”
So what is “Wuu?” Well, before we get into that I should remind you who Paul Budnitz is. He started out as a maker of toys for adults:
And while you may be mystified as to why any adult would want a toy that doesn’t either have wheels and go fast or bring you to orgasm, apparently there are a lot of overgrown children out there, because he was able to parlay his fortune into an eponymous bike company:
Which sells bikes he once explains are inspired by a BSA bicycle from 1946:
People have been asking where we found original inspiration for our bicycles.
Above is the 1946 BSA Paratrooper folding bicycle — the twin-cantilever design we use has actually been around for almost 100 years.
Though one custom bike builder offers a different story:
Anyway, Budnitz launched with the premise that they’d offer an Apple-type shopping experience, meaning they’d sell something pretty and easy to use to people who don’t want to be bothered with how they work in a transaction untainted by haggling or any technical details whatsoever.
Budnitz then gave me a bicycle to test:
Which I immediately customized:
It was basically a 29er but without the frame clearance or off-road capability, and it creaked like an old person’s knees:
This offended me deeply, because: A) The whole point of the bike was to give you a trouble-free experience; and 2) As the world’s greatest living bike blogger I resent being presented with a bicycle that’s less than perfect.
Anyway, I decided it was indeed the perfect bike if you’re looking for something like a Giant Cypress but you want to spend a lot more money and you’ve got a hearing impairment.
And that was that.
But Old Man Budnitz was not done, and having disrupted the bike industry with his revolutionary new concept of selling expensive bikes to people who don’t know or want to know anything about bikes, he moved on to social media, bringing the world something called Ello:
If it were me I’d probably have curled into a ball and whimpered.
Here’s the full story straight from the source:
Just one more thing to worry about. Continue reading
You’ll be [insert feeling here] to know that, further to yesterday’s post, I’ve put a new (old) bottom bracket in the Brown Stallion and it rides like a dream (assuming that dream is about riding a perfectly serviceable bike):
As you can see in the picture above, fog has descended like a metaphor upon the city (I just used metaphor in a simile, what do I win?), and as I headed downtown this morning I felt as though I was disappearing into the mists of time. See, whenever I find myself riding in the rain in Midtown on a weekday I’m immediately transported back to the 1990s, a glorious age when people danced the Macarena, AOL sent people us free discs in the mail, and I worked briefly as a bike messenger:
As the moisture crept into my shoes the nostalgia dampened my soul, and once again I was an adrift 20-something flitting about the city with a bag full of modeling portfolios, a heart full of awe, and a crotch full of tinea cruris. Yes, there was a time when I knew all the skyscrapers by their addresses, and when I could navigate the warren-like service entrances like an industrious little bunny. Alas, this information has since been pushed out of my tiny brain, supplanted the day-to-day considerations of child-rearing and blog curation and the pictures of Mario Cipollini that have been burned into my wetware and will no doubt haunt me until I die:
It’s an occupational hazard.
Speaking of sexism, Wolf Tooth Components (makers of those wide-range cogs and narrow/wide chainrings that are so hot with the millennials nowadays) recently experienced a bit of a PR chain-drop and consequently squashed their nuts square on the top tube of ignominy:
American parts manufacturer Wolf Tooth Components has apologised for yesterday posting a sexist, homophobic image to its Instagram account. The image – seen by BikeBiz but later deleted by Wolf Tooth – adapted a disparaging meme to mock those who use SRAM and Shimano products.
Of course, the Internet never forgets (as I know too well) and here, apparently, is the image in question:
COME ON this is seriously so gross on so many levels. pic.twitter.com/uvwoGdt9so
— Kat von DGAF (@attnkatdaley) March 26, 2017
You see what they did there? People who use SRAM are gay, because SRAM is gay. And you don’t want to be gay, because being gay is gay.
Anyway, obviously it’s a stupid image, not just because of the sexist and homophobic implications, but also because anybody who cares about bike components that much is a complete dork who spends all their non-riding time sad and alone:
And that’s true regardless of sexual preference or which restroom you use:
For their part, Wolf Tooth Components pushed the hot chicks off their laps for long enough to explain that it was the action of a rogue employee:
Stung by the growing criticism, an image of the company’s logo was later posted to Instagram with the message: “We are so sorry for the inappropriate post put up this morning by one of our employees. It is a disgusting image and we are saddened that a picture of our product was used this way. This does NOT represent our company. A mistake was made, we are very sorry.”
No word on whether or not this employee was censured, but presumably he drove home that evening in a tuned Honda Civic with one of those farty crabon exhaust pipes and spent the rest of the night playing video games and doing a lot of this:
He’s wanking, by the way. (Just in case you couldn’t tell from my design department’s sublime illustration.)
And of course none of this is surprising, given the cycling industry’s strong “bro” culture–though it is kind of funny how bro-tastic cycling is given that it’s really not that much different from hobbyhorse riding:
Customizing something and then putting it between your legs and prancing around in front of your peers is pretty much exactly what cycling is.
Lastly, speaking of cycling and bros, Peter Sagan kinda makes my skin crawl, although I do enjoy his cooking videos:
After nearly a month of racing, I’m relaxing today with @BORAGmbH I’m preparing venison filet with kohlrabi and sea buckthorn. Bon appétit! pic.twitter.com/7csN1rV7Hl
— Peter Sagan (@petosagan) March 27, 2017
I’d suggest watching this highlight reel:
You’re welcome. Continue reading
Did you know what if you buy a frame or bike from Rivendell you get a copy of my book?It’s true! And not just because they jammed the spine to ascertain your pubic bone height and can’t in good conscience sell it to anybody else:It’s that right, pubic … Continue reading
Hello!Just poking my head in the door to let you know that on Monday, April 17th at 7:00pm I’ll be bloviating at the REI in Soho:The subject of my bloviation will be “mountain biking,” which is a hot new trend involving riding bicycles with knobby tire… Continue reading
I’m pleased to announce I’ve teamed up with/infiltrated/been abducted by the smugness mafia over at Transportation Alternatives, and together we’re bringing you a new site called…
Here’s the email that went out this morning:
Dear Wildcat Rock Machine,
I am Eben Weiss, a.k.a Bike Snob NYC.
Since 2007, I’ve been publishing the BikeSnobNYC blog, my lovingly sarcastic take on the cycling world. Now, with Transportation Alternatives, I’m embarking on a new project:
Drivers and straphangers can always find local media reports on traffic jams and transit delays. But what if you ride a bike?
Bike Snob’s Forecast is your answer — a daily digest for #BikeNYC. Every morning, I’ll update you on the weather and provide you with all the information you need to ride your bike that day.
Citi Bike down? Snow in the bike lane? NYPD ticket blitz? Before you drag your bike out of the house, check out Bike Snob’s Forecast.
Besides the weather, I’ll keep you up to date on the cycling zeitgeist with news from New York and beyond — whether it’s London’s £770m investment in cycling initiatives or the xenophobic community board member blocking a new bike lane in Queens.
And periodically, I will share longer features on cycling in New York City — from ride guides to in-depth mockery — to remind you of the many ways in which this great city is best experienced by bike.
Bike Snob’s Forecast is a resource built exclusively for New York City and people who ride bikes here. Check it out, and let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bike Snob NYC (and TransAlt’s newest blogger)
P.S. Excited about Bike Snob’s Forecast? You can help support this project with a tax-deductible donation to Transportation Alternatives. Donate now to support Bike Snob’s Forecast.
I’m looking forward to this for many reasons, not least of which because it gives me a great excuse to get out on the bike and ride around the city.
Jimmy Breslin is rolling in his grave.
Anyway, the Bike Forecast will be updated daily, if you need me this week that’s where I’ll be.
I love you,
–Wildcat Rock Machine
PS: No, don’t worry, this blog isn’t going away. It’s like the chewing gum in your spokes: impossible to get out.
Not to be THAT GUY, but Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal, who not only officially revealed my identity to an indifferent world back in 2010 but also had me on his podcast not too long ago was totally THAT GUY yesterday:
not to be THAT GUY but if you’re gonna wear a smart jacket and take calls, wear a helmet. helmet truthers dont @ me. https://t.co/MBTIjFgLLN
— Jason Gay (@jasongay) March 16, 2017
And so I totally THAT GUY-ed him:
— Bike Snob NYC (@bikesnobnyc) March 16, 2017
Hey, I can’t help it. I mean really, if you’re going to concern-troll, wouldn’t you start with the fact that he has no brakes?
As for the video and the stupid jacket therein, it appears to be a year old now, and for all I know I’ve already bloviated about it. Regardless, let’s look at it again:
First of all, those are some long-ass bars:
To his credit, I suppose they give him a lot of leverage which he can transfer into stopping power, and from what I understand the general brakeless fixie rule of thumb is that every additional foot of handlebar width translates into 1/8th of a coaster brake of stopping power.
That means to give your fixie the stopping power of a bike with front and rear discs you need a handlebar roughly 60 feet wide.
As for the jacket, having futzed around with that stupid battery-sucking “smart helmet” I can pretty confidently say this jacket is stupid. I mean sure, ride around town dusting off your sleeves if you want to:
But I’ll stick to using my sleeves to wipe my nose–you know, the sleeves of my wildly expensive custom-tailored non-smart jacket:
After all, a jacket’s only as smart as its rider.
Anyway, who wants to take calls from the boss while riding?
Unless of course that call is from the Boss and he has some important fashion advice for you:
Seriously, unless you’re in a Springsteen cover band you should not be wearing that much denim all at once. It’s like Dorkness on the Edge of Town with this guy:
For Lob’s sake, if you insist on listening to stuff while you ride just skip the smart jackets and smart helmets and wear some fucking headphones. Sure, if you’re THAT GUY you probably think wearing headphones while riding is reckless and irresponsible, but as long as you keep whatever you’re listening to at a sensible volume it’s really not an issue. (I almost never ride with headphones myself, but have no issues with those who do.) And yes, it’s technically illegal in New York City to ride while using two headphones (you’re allowed one), but now that wireless earbuds are taking over you can hide them under your hat or payos:
Yes, I’m a radical who believes it’s okay to ride helmetless and while listening to music or podcasts at a reasonable volume as long as you remain aware of your surroundings and use a bicycle with functioning brakes. This is heresy in Anglophonic countries and I expect to be banished to the Netherlands forthwith. Meanwhile, Americans seem to be perfectly fine with blasting their shitty music on handlebar-mounted loudspeakers, which I assume is because we think this sort of antisocial behavior is normal due to loud car stereos. Indeed, it’s only a matter of time before they’re also bouncing along to the music on Rinsten Springs:
As far as I can tell, this is basically a way to retrofit your plastic Fred saddle into a Brooks:
So that it complements the questionable aesthetics of your wardrobe and Fred bike:
Speaking of hoary British contraptions I was pleased to see a Brompton make a cameo in the New York Times Real Estate section:
The couple arrived last month, paying $321,000. Annual taxes are around $11,000. They bought a used car. Ms. O’Shaughnessy drives it to the station while Mr. Lopez, an early riser, takes a fold-up bike.
I believe you call that “Bromptossining.” Continue reading
I have good news and bad news.
The bad news is that if you’re a fan of this blog I have to work on a project today, so there won’t be a post today:
Although this is technically a post, so instead let’s just say there won’t be a comprehensive update today:
Okay, so what’s the good news? Well, if you’re not a fan of this blog, then the good news is that there won’t be a post today:
See that? Every cloud has a glass that’s either half empty or half full, depending on how you look at it.
And really it’s all Moots anyway:
In the meantime, I leave you with this:
And the “It’s Snowy So Fuck It” parking award goes to…
–Bike lane? Check.
–School zone? Check.
–BMW? What else? pic.twitter.com/J4EpkNSx3s
— Bike Snob NYC (@bikesnobnyc) March 16, 2017
And I’ll see you back here tomorrow.
I love you,
–Wildcat Rock Machine
As you may or may not be aware, New York City is in the grip of SnowPocaGeddon 2017, the Killer Blizz-Tastic Nor’Easter from Hell:
Though now the blizzard warning has been cancelled:
The blizzard warning for NYC has been cancelled. Icy mix now. Windy. Periods of rain expected later pic.twitter.com/FAWhvJi3ms
— NY1 Weather (@NY1weather) March 14, 2017
Deal with it.
Thanks for your understanding, annoyance, relief, or indifference as the case may be, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow. (And yes, I can see you, thanks to my CIA-level surveillance capabilities.)
–Wildcat Rock Machine
Not sure if you’ve heard, but apparently there are these things called “fat bikes” in quotes:
PORTLAND, Me. — Gone are the days when cyclists had to put their bikes away for the winter. These days, hard-core riders are staying outdoors year round thanks to “fat bikes” that allow them to conquer winter’s worst instead of staying indoors on a stationary bike.
Yes, according to the Associated Press Style Book, “fat bikes” must be rendered in quotes until the 10,000th article is published about them:
This is why the knuckle tattoo trend no longer has to be rendered in quotes, but the “air quote tattoo” trend does–though strictly speaking it should be rendered “‘air quote’ tattoo,” which will surely be the undoing of many a copy editor.
It’s even more complicated if you want to add “irony punctuation,” in which case it’s “‘”air quote”‘ tattoo”…I think.
Or we could all just accept the fact we’re living in a post-grammatical society and surrender to emojis:
I’m old enough that the first thing I think of when I see this is blotter acid.
Anyway, if you want to know what makes a “fat bike” a “‘fat bike'” it’s the “comically large tires:”
The bikes, with comically large tires, have come into the mainstream in the past couple of years, after having been introduced about a decade ago.
It’s certainly true that “fat bike” tires do look cartoonish, but if you adjust for brainwashing it’s really the rest of America that’s riding around on “comically large tires” thanks to our obsession with SUVs:
A largely aesthetic consideration that tends to create more problems than it solves:
See, in America we like motor vehicles that can cross rocky stream beds (at least in advertisements) but can’t make it through a tiny city without wreaking havoc.
The article then quotes a “fat bike” enthusiast:
John Grondin, 48, of Scarborough, Me., got his fat bike to kick the winter blues.
“I wanted to get outside and ride in the winter,” he said. “I like to ride, period. I’ll ride a road bike. I’ll ride a mountain bike. I just want to ride.””
I’m getting the sense he likes to ride.
By the way, another good way to kick the winter blues is to not live in Maine.
The article then goes on to make the stupendous claim that “fat bikes” are the first major cycling trend since the 1980s:
Fat bikes represent the first major bicycle trend in several decades, after BMX bikes in the 1970s and conventional mountain bikes in the 1980s, said Jay Townley, partner in Gluskin-Townley Group, a Pennsylvania consultant and market research company focusing on the bicycle business.
Um, what am I, chopped liver???
Jay Townley clearly slept through the fixie craze of the early 21st century (not to mention the Lance Amstrong-driven road bike boom that preceded it), and for that I envy him.
Nevertheless, these “fat bikes” are now big business:
The NPD Group, which tracks retail sales of bikes in the United States, reports that fat-tire bike sales have grown eightfold in the past three years, to $74.7 million in 2016.
If we assume the average “fat bike” costs $1,000 that means there are currently 74,700 “fat bikes” out there rolling around on comically large tires. And since every one of those bikes will need two (2) new comically large (and therefore comically expensive) tires eventually then it seems to me that’s the business you want to be in–which is why I’m pleased to announce my new online retail venture:
Alas, if only I’d planned ahead, I could have debuted this at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, which took place in Salt Lake City, Utah:
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Debra Banks, a hand crafted saddle manufacturer for Rivet Cycle Works, left, checks out a one of a kind “Big Bamboo Bike” made by Craig Calfee of Calfee Designs out of Santa Cruz, CA. at the 2017 North American Handmade Bicycle Show at the Salt Palace Convention Center on Friday. This model is an electric bike made of a bamboo including the wheel spokes. The battery is inside the large tube. He makes several more coventional design custom bicycles using bamboo frames. It’s the largest and oldest handbuilt bicycle show in the world where ideas and innovation come together to promote custom bicycles and the companies that support the market. It is the show’s first time in Utah. The event runs through Sunday.
I’m thinking that maybe if I add some bamboo veneer to the WorkCycles I can also get a pass on sorting my refuse when I eat at Whole Foods.
Anyway, obviously I didn’t go to NAHBS this year, but I feel pretty confident in saying that it was exactly like every other NAHBS except there were more disc brakes:
Wake me up when someone shows a rim brake fat bike made from bamboo.