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All the News That’s Fit to Print, and All the Blogging That’s Fit to Bin

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.

— 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:

(This one’s actually pretty sensible…but not at $11,000)

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:

Wait, what?

“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

@Pflax1 @bikesnobnyc @Courier429 Only a cyclist could equate this situation to racism, congrats man

— 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.

Continue reading »

Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

Hey Brotard, Can You Spare A Meme?

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.

— 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!

— Peter Sagan (@petosagan) March 27, 2017

I’d suggest watching this highlight reel:

You’re welcome. Continue reading »

Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

The Unbearable Lightness of Crabon

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 »

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Just Popping Back In To Promote Myself

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 »

Categories: cycling, this just in | Leave a comment

Full Fredal Jacket

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.

— Jason Gay (@jasongay) March 16, 2017

And so I totally THAT GUY-ed him:

I’m now available as a freelance Twitter editor.

— 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.

I recommend a repurposed flagpole, which you can pick up for under $7,000:

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:

(Nobody need know but Hashem.)

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:

I highly recommend watching the video on the Kickstarter page, which I was unable to embed, but if that’s too much link-clicking for you just watch this instead:

You’re welcome.

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 »

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This Just In: Duty Calls, Sh*t Happens

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:

Since the project I’m working on will appear on the World Wide Internet eventually so it all balances out in the end.

In the meantime, I leave you with this:

And the “It’s Snowy So Fuck It” parking award goes to…

–Bike lane? Check.
–Crosswalk? Check.
–School zone? Check.
–BMW? What else?

— Bike Snob NYC (@bikesnobnyc) March 16, 2017

And I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

I love you,

–Wildcat Rock Machine

Continue reading »

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This Just In: Snö Dā Today!

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

— NY1 Weather (@NY1weather) March 14, 2017

And yet there are currently cotton ball-sized snowflakes falling steadily outside my window, so go figure.
Either way, the schools are closed, and as of my most recent contract renegotiation I reserve the right to shirk my curatorial responsibilities in such cases so that I can tend to my seventeen (17) children.  In other words, blogging service is suspended for today, and will resume tomorrow:

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.)

Jörs Trüli,

–Wildcat Rock Machine

(I see all.)

Continue reading »

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Trend Watch: People Now Riding Bikes With Large Tires

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.

Presumably the sustainable and environmentally-friendly bamboo is meant to offset the electric drivetrain, which requires lithium mining, as well as the leather saddle, which requires resource-intensive cattle whose flatulence contributes to global warming–sort of like how I ride to the big-box store on a bicycle to pick up my planet-destroying disposable diapers and paper towels:

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.

Continue reading »

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I was going to administer a quiz today, but then I didn’t.

They say you haven’t truly made it until you’re featured in a Manhattan window display:

They also say you’re officially a cultural icon if that display rotates:

Done, and done.

Anyway, after standing in the snow and crying tears of joy for 20 minutes I made straight for the nearest bicycle:

And as I wiped off the saddle with the sleeve of my custom-tailored Inspector Gadget jacket I decided that Brooks and I should collaborate on some kind of signature premium bike share kit that includes a special foul-weather saddle-wiping cloth and of course a pair of leather sheepskin-lined bicycling gauntlets with matching cap and goggles:

Just imagine what a dashing figure I’d cut as I threaded my way through the streets of Manhattan, my silk scarf trailing behind me until it got caught in the rear-view mirror of a passing truck and strangled me to death.

This is a very real possibility too.  See, the way it works is you’re riding in the bike lane, only to encounter a Barone Sanitation truck in the bike lane:

And just when you’re making your way around it is when the fuel truck comes roaring up from behind:

Beer trucks are a little different:

What happens there is when you make your move you invariably find yourself on a collision course with the hand truck guy:

Then there’s what I call the “Hand-Truck District,” which is the stretch of Sixth Avenue just below 34th Street:

On this day in particular I would say hand trucks outnumbered bicycles at least two to one:

Still, even giant trucks in the bike is somehow less frustrating than one asshole’s car:

And while I used to find salmon irritating I now just think they should make all the bike lanes two-way and be done with it:

After awhile you realize it’s futile to fight with human nature, and instead of creating policy that fights human nature why not simply accommodate it instead?  People are going to salmon, so instead of ticketing we should just make the bike lanes two-way.  People are going to drive like assholes, so instead of this whole “Vision Zero” thing we should just shoot them.  And so forth.

Meanwhile the snow fell in big chunky flakes as I rode:

It fell on the lions in front of the library:

Where there’s currently a Lou Reed exhibition:

And where, as I took that picture, an express bus from Staten Island pulled up behind me bearing this decidedly more prosiac advertisement:

I suppose these two banners represent the two opposite ends of the opioid addiction spectrum.

Speaking of snowy climes, bikes now outnumber cars in Copenhagen:

Bikes offcially outnumber cars in Copenhagen:

— Bicycling Magazine (@BicyclingMag) March 10, 2017

Actually bikes probably outnumber cars in a lot of places, it’s just that people aren’t riding them.

In any case, apparently t’was not always thus in Copenhagen:

When Copenhagen first began manually counting cars and bikes in 1970, there were 351,133 cars and 100,071 bikes on the roads—a ratio of about 3.5 to 1. That’s important, because it means not only are more people riding—about 150 percent more over 46 years—but also, fewer people are driving.

“Cycling went from being a normal part of daily life to a core identity for the city,” Klaus Bondam, former technical and environmental mayor of Copenhagen, explains to the Guardian. 

And they insist that if they can do it anybody can:

“[Bike commuting] is not something that’s in Copenhagen’s genes,” Kabell told NPR back in 2014. “We’re [not] weirder or stranger than any other people on earth. Every city can do this.”

It’s a nice thought, and there are certainly some encouraging signs in New York City.  Here are the Citi Bike stats for January 2017:

Which is quite an increase from January 2016:

On the other hand, Seattle’s bike share program will shut down completely at the end of this month:

Officials had planned to roll out a new system with electric bikes to replace Pronto, the city’s troubled bike-share system.

But Mayor Ed Murray on Friday said millions of dollars allocated for the new system will be spent instead on bike- and pedestrian-safety projects. And the city no longer will pursue an agreement with Quebec-based Bewegen to put electric bikes on Seattle’s streets, said Benton Strong, a Murray spokesman.

Pronto is scheduled to shut down at the end of March, so the announcement means the city will soon have no public system at all.

Yes, Copenhagen’s no “weirder or stranger” than any other city–nor is New York, or for that matter Seattle.  But the one thing Seattle has that Copenhagen and New York don’t is a helmet law.

So there you go.

Continue reading »

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Okay, let’s do this.

I realize that yesterday I said I wasn’t going to cover pro cycling, but I’ll make an exception for component failure porn of this caliber any day:

Wheel failure for Gianni Moscon of @TeamSky at #tirrenoadriatico

— Trevor Ward (@willwrite4cake) March 8, 2017

Supposedly the collapse came after an encounter with a pothole, and Shimano is going to get to the bottom of it:

In the full statement from Shimano, whose component wing of the business, PRO, produced the three spoke Textreme tubular wheel, Shimano said that the wheels had passed rigorous testing and emphasised its “flawless record”.

“PRO is continuing its investigation into the issue we saw with Team Sky at the team time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico. We are continuing to look closely into all factors that could cause the incident,” the statement read.

I can only hope the investigator’s first question will be #whatpressureyourunning, and I’m sure it will conveniently turn out to be either just under or just over what Shimano says the wheel is rated for.

In any case, we haven’t had a wheel failure investigation this exciting since the Mavic R-Sys debacle of aught-nine, which of course gave rise to the Diminutive Frenchman Unit (or DFU) as a universally-accepted unit of measurement:

I may be indifferent towards bike helmets but there’s no way I’d bend a crabon spoke without first putting on safety glasses.

But hey, the joke’s on me apparently, since the R-Sys is not only still available but Freds are still paying stupid amounts of money for them:

Of course I understand the temptation to spend lots of money on fancy wheels.  Indeed, back in 1999, in the heady days of my being a total Fred, I bought the first incarnation of the Mavic Ksyrium wheelset.  (I’d include an image of the original Kysriums but I can’t even find one, such is the short shelf-life of high-end cycling components.)  Those wheels are positively quaint by today’s standards, but I can assure you that to a young fin de siècle Fred those silver decals, fat bladed aluminum spokes, and internally threaded rims were the epitome of speed and technology and represented exactly what I’d need to make leap to big-time Category 3 bike racing.

Anyway, I seem to recall paying $700 for these wheels.  As a born-again retrogrouch that strikes me as a lot of money for wheels even today, but back then it was a fucking fortune, especially when you consider I was pretty young and had yet to become a world-famous cycling personality and media mogul.  And while the wheels certainly did look cool on my race bike they were no more round than the wheels I’d had before.  Furthermore, the affair was short-lived, for one day while riding in Manhattan a kid ran out into the street and kicked my rear wheel for no apparent reason.  This knocked the wheel out of true and it was never the same again.  So eventually I sold them at a considerable loss.

Meanwhile, if instead of buying those Ksyriums back in 1999 I had bought $700 worth of stock in, oh, I dunno, General Mills I’d have received about 35 shares.  Today that investment would be worth $2,100…which is almost enough to buy a pair of R-Sys wheels, so there you go.

Worst of all I can’t even say I learned anything from this lesson, since I still spend money on all sorts of crap I’ll wish I hadn’t in 20 years–which I suppose is the difference between me and people like Old Man Buffet, who I mentioned yesterday:

(Disclaimer: I have not authenticated any of these quotes.)

Hey, he may be one of the wealthiest people on the planet, but is he truly happy?

Almost certainly yes.

Speaking of happiness, traditional wheelsets, and materialism, yesterday I enjoyed a ride on my road bike, which I’ve been thinking of retiring:

Why am I thinking of retiring it?  Because for a parent of various human children who lives in a New York City apartment building I have a lot of bikes.  Here are my bikes currently in service as well as their use:

Ironic Orange Julius Bike: Intercity travel, locking up outside in high-theft areas
Travel Bike: Travel, all-terrain rambling
Ritte Rust-Bucket (above): Fred rides, all-terrain rambling
Milwaukee: Fred rides, all-terrain rambling, winter road rides (bike is fendered in winter)
Ol’ Piney: Mountain-Fred rides, all-terrain rambling, snow rides
Engin Artisanal Custom-Curated Singlespeed Mountain Bike: Mountain-Fred rides, all-terrain ramblings, races and ironic singlespeeding events
Brompton*: Bromptoneering
WorkCycles: Child-schlepping, family outings, neighborhood errand-running with an emphasis on diaper runs

*[Theoretically this still belongs to Brompton]

That’s eight bikes in regular service.  The downside is they take up space and psychic energy.  The upside is that it’s not like I’m putting in 10,000 miles a year these days, so wear and tear is spread fairly evenly across eight bikes, which means I’m replacing wear items pretty infrequently.

Nevertheless, in the interest of hoarding, I have retired the following bikes he last few years:

Scattante: Redundant due to Ironic Orange Julius Bike (donated)
Hardtail mountain bike: More or less redundant due to Ol’ Piney (still have, just disassembled and stored)
Big Dummy: More or less redundant due to WorkCycles (re-homed)
Cyclocross Bike: More or less redundant due to overlap among my other drop-bar bikes, plus I haven’t raced cyclocross in like six years (re-homed)

Anyway, I had finally decided to retire the Ritte Rust-Bucket in the interest of space and psychic energy conservation, but I really enjoyed riding it and have rationalized not doing so by deciding I need one bike with actual road pedals.

So much for that.

Lastly, I’m sorry to report a cyclist has struck and seriously injured a pedestrian:

The woman had just stepped out from between two parked cars mid-block near Sixth Avenue about 7 p.m. when the cyclist, 23, hit her with his aluminum road bike as he headed west in the right lane, police said.

Interesting that they specified the material of the bike.  Perhaps it makes the cyclist seem less evil than if they’d been riding a carbon bike.  In any case, I hit a pedestrian once while cycling many years ago.  She ran out into the street to hail a cab and I didn’t have time to stop or swerve.  She went down pretty hard, but I was very fortunate that she was young and resilient and was able to spring back up and duck into the cab after giving me a withering look.  I forgave myself almost immediately, since it was technically her “fault,” but as time goes on I realize that as the party on wheels there’s always a little more you can do, and that you’ve always got to be prepared for people emerging into traffic, because it’s a busy city and that’s what people do.  That’s not to blame either the cyclist or the pedestrian here, but that’s just the way it is.

Ride safe out there.

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