Author Archives: BikeSnobNYC
This morning, your instructor had to attend to some urgent bicycle-related business:Therefore, consider this a reprieve from the punishing weekly testing schedule to which you are ordinarily subjected.However, there’s always more me over at the Bike Fo… Continue reading
Before anything else, I’ve been meaning to mention this for the last few days:
Apologies for my tardiness.
However, the festival runs through the 25th, and you’ve still got time to get in on this tonight:
I would totally go see this tonight if I could:
But I can’t, so I’m not.
Moving on, a number of people have forwarded me this, so now I’m subjecting you to it:
To be a professional cyclist, one must have guts, microbiologist Lauren Peterson says, and she doesn’t just mean that in the metaphorical sense. Peterson, herself a pro endurance mountain biker, has theorized that elite cyclists have a certain microbiome living in their intestines that may allow them to perform better, and if you don’t have it, well, there may soon be a way to get it. . . .
Oh yeah, this is going exactly where you hoped it wouldn’t:
Peterson hosts Prevotella in her gut, thanks to a fecal transplant she administered herself three years ago. Her donor? Another elite athlete.
So how do you pull off an amateur fecal transplant with a fellow athlete? I just assumed you’d go butt-to-butt, but in fact what you do is you perform a “reverse enema:”
But through chance, she came across a donor, an elite long-distance racer, who had his microbiome mapped and screened after a case of food poisoning, which showed he was otherwise healthy. So Peterson took antibiotics to wipe out her own gut bacteria and essentially performed a reverse enema.
“I just did it at home,” she said of the February 2014 procedure. “It’s not fun, but it’s pretty basic.”
Incidentally, “Reverse Enema” is also the name of my pop punk band, and that’s exactly how Brooklyn Vegan reviewed our first album:
Anyway, the story leaves certain questions unanswered (chief among them being #whatpressureyourunning on that reverse enema), but results are results:
Within a month, Peterson said, she began feeling better than she’d felt in years. She said before her transplant she was having trouble just training on her bike; just months later, she said she began winning pro races.
Of course, there is no way to prove the fecal transplant, opposed to other changes she may have made in her lifestyle or even the placebo effect, was the cause for her rebound.
And sure, it’s all too easy to laugh at stuff like poop and enemas (in fact I’m laughing even as I type this), but keep in mind this is someone who’s been suffering from the effects of Lyme disease, which can be debilitating, and if this relieved those symptoms then that’s no joke.
Still, my concern is that fecal transplants and reverse enemas will fall into the wrong hands. Yeah, you know which hands I’m talking about: Fred hands. Freds are like North Korea in that if you allow them access to any sort of technology or information they’ll turn around and use it against society. (To wit: Strava, power meters, Zwift, the list goes on.) Given this, all it takes is for one Fred to read that certain intestinal microbiomes are performance-enhancing and before you know it they’re all sticking tubeless sealant injectors up their ass before races:
Which means doctors are going to be seeing a lot of this:
Don’t think this is dangerous? Well consider which publication broke the story in the first place:
Bicycling is the Fred bible, and not only do they name all the performance-enhancing microbes:
In addition to Prevotella, Petersen has identified an archeon named Methanobrevibacter smithii, or M. smithii, which she believes is also significant. Archeon are ancient microorganisms that have managed to survive for millions of years in hostile habitats like sulfur springs and deep in the ocean. They also live in the human digestive system, where they have specialized functions. Like Prevotella, Elite cyclists often have M. smithii, but it’s less common in amateur racers. That’s significant because M. smithii also appears to be a performance-enhancing microbe.
But they even mention carbon!
What does it do? In science terms, it thrives on hydrogen and carbon dioxide and other bacterial waste products in the gut. In 12-year old boy terms, M. smithii eats the poop of bacteria. Yes, everybody poops, even bacteria, and it can have detrimental effects on your health. Namely: buildups of hydrogen and carbon dioxide can prevent the other bacteria in your gut from properly breaking down your food for fuel, which is bad news if you need calories for that sprint.
Performance enhancing and carbon? That squirting sound you hear is a thousand self-administered reverse enemas.
But of course like any other cutting-edge Fred tech you pay a high price for being an early adopter:
“What we’re learning is going to change a lot for cyclists as well as the rest of the population,” says Petersen. “If you get tested and you’re missing something, maybe in three years you’ll be able to get it through a pill instead of a fecal transplant. We’ve got data that no one has ever seen before, and we’re learning a lot. And I think I can say with confidence that bacterial doping— call it poop doping, if you must— is coming soon.”
Shoulda waited for the pill.
Just as water takes the shape of the vessel into which it is poured, so does cycling adapt to your current lifestyle. For example, before my days were consumed by child-curation, I used to spend hours and hours swaddled in Lycra and racing about … Continue reading
Further to yesterday’s post on the subject of the Brompton World Championships, if you’re the one (1) person who wanted actual details about the actual race, I’m pleased to report that I’ve received a press release from Brompton which includes photos of the starting lineup:
The pointy end of the race, which I was nowhere near, hence my lack of a blow-by-blow account:
The finishing sprint:
The women’s podium:
And the names of the victors in both the men’s:
With a number of previous Brompton World Championship USA winners participating in the event, it was always going to be an exciting race. The battle for the finish line was intense, with 2015 USA Brompton Champion, Dave Mackay, and Victor Gras, a talented New York cyclist who placed second in the recent Grand Fondo New York, going head-to-head in a sprint finish. Dave took the win with a late surge of power, gaining just over a bike length by the line.
And women’s categories:
New contender, Kristin Negele, took the women’s title and the 2011 USA women’s champion, Julie Secor, came third. The female and male champions both win flights to the UK and entry to participate in the Brompton World Championship final in London. The team event, sponsored by Brooks England, was convincingly won by the Prospect Park Pelicans, with the Philadelphia Fliers coming second and the Brompton NYC team coming in third.
So there you go.
I knew if I didn’t do my job Brompton would eventually do it for me.
Oh, and one amateur photographer was kind enough to forward along some action shots of your’s truley. Notice my face is extremely flushed from the heat:
Fortunately when the man with the ices cart came by moments before the start I joined my kids in yelling “PLEEEASE!!!” until my wife finally bought us all some, and if it wasn’t for that pre-race cup of frosty rainbow goodness I’d almost certainly have left in an ambulance.
Also, while on the surface the Brompton race would appear to be something of a novelty, it was in many ways like any of the more “serious” races in which I’ve participated over the years. For example, like any Fred, after a race I’d always spend lots of time scouring the Internet for pictures of myself only to be deeply embarrassed by the results. Sure, I may have felt cool at the time, but the photos invariably reveal that I was more schmo than pro. Similarly, in this case, while everyone else looked dapper and composed:
I looked like a total schlub:
Not only am I about to lose my shorts:
But I’m also perspiring profusely in my tramp stamp area:
And speaking of tattoos, yes, I do realize I have one on my leg, and yes, I also realize it looks like one you’d find on the sorts of people who wear jorts to the water park.
It is what it is.
But don’t feel bad for me, feel bad for Brompton, because that sound you hear is a bunch of people folding theirs up and consigning them to the closet forever after seeing those photos.
On the plus side, I may be able to get a lucrative automotive endorsement deal after all of this:
In other news, here’s one of the most grandiose Kickstarter videos I’ve ever seen, and it’s for…a helmet mirror:
Mind you, I have nothing against helmet mirrors. In fact, given what’s been going on here in New York recently I’d say they’re probably a hell of a lot more important than helmets:
I do confess I’ve never actually used a helmet mirror while cycling, probably because I suffer from the distorted sense of aesthetics that caused me to get a leg tattoo all those years back, but a shatter- and vibration-proof rear-view mirror that clips to pretty much anything seems like a good idea to me.
However, I’ll defer to people who actually use them as to whether or not this is the case. (But please don’t then go on about your damn recumbent–though feel free to weigh in on whether or not a recumbent-specific mirror that attaches to a beard is a good idea.)
And in other Kickstarting news, here’s someone who thinks triathletes can Go Fit Themselves:
Here’s his motivation:
“Every day I’m contacted by triathletes from around the world who simply want to get comfortable on their bike.”
Silly triathletes. How can you ever be truly comfortable on this?
That’s like a folding bike rider consulting an expert on how to look dignified.
It just ain’t gonna happen.
But this particular bike fitter is also a prop comic:
Wow. He should totally Kickstart an aerobar attachment for that button.
Of course, triathlon equipment arguably lends itself just as well to prop comedy as a novelty buzzer:
And while I’m not particularly moved by this project I would totally fund a triathlete intervention video series that consisted entirely of scenes like this:
And yes, I realize full well the irony of my making fun of triathletes:
Hey, I shattered my glass house years ago. At this point what do I have left to lose?
As the sporting world knows, yesterday saw the running of the Brompton World Championship USA race at the Harlem Skyscraper Criterium, a race in which I decided to compete after receiving a special “action suit” from a popular chain of menswear shops:B… Continue reading
Sorry (not really) to be late (not really), but I treated myself to some much-needed saddle time this morning:
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years already since I took delivery of the Milwaukee, and my fondness for it has only increased during that time. At this time of year the bike goes fenderless, and I’m taking advantage of the additional clearance to run/rub/palp some 32mm tires inflated to exactly [X]psi instead of my usual 28s. (There’s no way I’m disclosing #whatpressureyourunning, or my proprietary tire pressure algorithm which involves daily weighings as well as occasional soil-tastings.) Other features include an EH Works tool roll (go ahead and buy two, you deserve it), as well as a genuine MA2 rim on the front:
I dug these rims out of a bike shop basement many years ago because they were the official Jobst Brandt-approved rim and even though I was still a dyed-in-the-Lycra Fred and these were considered old and heavy his curmudgeonliness spoke directly to my soul. Sadly, the rear rim is no longer with us (probably due to a sub-par non Jobstian wheel build which I was not responsible for), but the front is still going strong–which is not really saying much since pretty much any front wheel will last roughly forever. As for the rear, I rebuilt it some years back with a cheap polished rim of similar dimensions, and I daresay silver wheels lend a bicycle a certain dignity which is absent from today’s flashy wheelsets.
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 a good old-fashioned fixie fail.
Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and may all your rides be bicycle rides.
–Wildcat Rock Machine
1) Shoe designer Christian Louboutin used which cycling activity to showcase their $995 sneaker?
2) How much money is Velo Visor looking to raise?
3) According to Hallmark, which is not an appropriate gift for a 10-year anniversary?
4) Bronx Community Board 8 voted against a street redesign that included a bike lane because:
–People will stop visiting New York City, the economy will collapse, and the city will become a ghost town
–“The Bronx is not close to New York City like Brooklyn is”
–Everybody who’d been killed on that street deserved to die
–All of the above
5) Yet another NYPD report regarding a cyclist’s death has turned out to be false.
6) Did Pirelli get bike tires right with the Pzero?
7) This Bicycling story fails to include the most important feature of all: an “off” button.
After a night of uneasy dreams in which I was being chased by Roberto Heras:
I awoke in a cold sweat only to realize it’s only a few more days until the Brompton World Championship race in New York City:
In which, as a budding Bromptonaut, I will obviously take part:
Plus, you know, I’ve got that suit:
As a semi-professional bike blogger I have scant opportunity to wear a suit, and if it weren’t for the race I’d have to wait for someone I know to get married or die–or, failing that, my own demise:
Please bury me with my Brompton as it’s the only bike that will fit inside my carbon fiber coffin. Of course, it does technically still belong to Brompton, so if they want it they’ll have to exhume me, which sounds like the premise for a bicycle-themed zombie movie called “Undead Fred.”
In the meantime, rest assured that this very morning I weighed down the Brommie with ballast and headed out for some Cat 6-style bridge intervals:
Victory may be elusive, but I’ve already got intoxication in the bag.
FLORENCE, Italy — Isolationists, take note. Politicians may build walls, seal borders, freeze passports and talk trash about international cooperation, yet the realities of our global interdependence remain unchanged. Though it may no longer be the world’s largest manufacturer of pig iron or steel, the United States remains a powerhouse thought generator whose cultural exports — think rock ’n’ roll, graffiti, Pop Art, software, computer gaming, skateboarding, surfing, sportswear, the list is extensive — are avidly taken up around the world.
Consider the spectacle that opened the 92nd edition of Pitti Uomo, the twice-yearly men’s wear trade fair that is not only the world’s largest such event, but also by far its most creatively adventuresome.
I’m not sure I’d include bike polo as a uniquely American cultural export. Were we even responsible for it in the first place? And if we were, did the current hipster variation actually originate in Seattle?
In a plaza set before the 14th-century basilica of Santa Maria Novella, in the heat of a Tuscan morning, polo grounds had been set up, complete with barricades, safety nets and goal posts. The playing field was not for an equestrian tournament but for its two-wheel variant, hardcourt bike polo — a growing and super-democratic version of the sport of kings, one with roots among off-duty bicycle messengers in Seattle.
“Bike messengers did it after work,” said Julian Aristeo, a mechanic who first trained as a graphic designer and who is a member of the three-man Gnarcats, a Seattle team. Though in ordinary play, hardcourt bike polo is notably unisex, for Pitti the teams were all male. “It’s a men’s wear show, after all,” Mr. Aristeo said.
Well I don’t know if Seattle’s where this current iteration of bike polo started, but as far as who actually invented it in the first palce, according to a popular online user-edited encyclopedia it was proto-Fred in Ireland by the name of Richard J. Mecredy:
The game was invented in County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1891 by retired champion cyclist Richard J. Mecredy, editor of The Irish Cyclist magazine.
Though my own research points to Francis Wilson of New Rochelle, NY:
I suspect however that neither of these are true, and I’m working on a theory that the game was in fact invented by a Cleveland cyclist who needed to transport a ham home from the butcher shop by bicycle. The ham was too unwieldy and succulent to carry, and his bike was not equipped with a basket or rack, and so he used a broom to push the ham home while riding alongside it
And that’s how bike polo was born.
Lastly, after a failed Kickstarter campaign, Velo Visor is back with a flashy new video:
Originally the were looking for six thousand of your British Pounds Sterling:
But now they’ve lowered their goal to £300 (or three hundred eighty-two of our American Fun Tickets) which hardly seems worth it:
Wonder if I can get one in time for the Brompton World Championships.
So hey, guess what? This blog’s 10!If you’re wondering what to get me, according to Hallmark 10 years is either aluminum or diamonds:So if you want to go modern, might I suggest a jewel-encrusted Cipollini: Cipollini RB1K Luxury Edition from Mcip… Continue reading
You may recall that not too long ago I attended my local community board meeting in support of the city’s plan to upgrade the deadly drag strip that separates me from the city’s third-largest park:Well, last night the board met again to vote on an idio… Continue reading