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cycling

Bike Month Comes But Once A Year

Yes, that’s right, this Saturday, I, the so called “Bike Snob,” will be loitering at the Walz Caps booth at Bike Expo New York:

You won’t want to miss me, if for no other reason than you can pick up the new BSNYC cap, which is a subtle homage to the local Applebee’s.

Seriously.

(Don’t worry, it doesn’t say “Applebee’s” on it.)

Also, if you want to ride down to the Expo together let me know, though I’ll tell you right now if it’s raining I’m going multimodal with the Brompton:

These days my MetroCard gets more of a workout than my legs.

Speaking of stuff you put on your head:

Good advice from our neighbor state, Maryland. https://t.co/jonjqdMO5h

— DDOT DC (@DDOTDC) May 3, 2017

Yeah, that’s right:

Good advice indeed.

By the way, in addition to the helmet misspelling (or correct spelling depending on how you look at it), May isn’t “Bicycle Safety Month.”  It’s just plain Bike Month:

So if anything it would be nice if everyone would stop bugging us about the stupid helmets already.  I realize we’re not going to undo Helmet Mania in this country anytime soon (though believe me I’m doing my best on this end), but at the very least they could shut the fuck up about it until June.  Bike Month should be a celebration of the joy of cycling during which we revel in delightful weather, savor the freedom of the bicycle, and appreciate wherever it is we live.

Here are five (5) things you should try at least once during Bike Month:

Riding Without A Helmet

Try it, you might like it.  And I guarantee you’ll survive.  If you don’t, contact me from beyond the grave and I’ll refund your money.

Riding With Headphones

Boy do people ever get self-righteous about that one.  Do you know how dangerous it is to ride while listening to music or a podcast at a moderate volume?  Not very.  In fact, probably not at all.  The biggest risk is that you’ll get a ticket depending on your local laws.  (In New York City you’re only allowed to wear one earbud, which frankly seems more disorienting.)

Riding No-Handed While Having A Cellphone Conversation

Can you ride no-handed?  Can you walk and talk at the same time without bumping into anything?  If so you can combine them both into a no-handed ride-and-talk.  Of course, it’s the kind of thing people see and think, “What an irresponsible person!,” but the people who think that are usually douchebags.


Going For a Long Ride Without Wearing Special Clothes

When was the last time you just hopped on your bike and went a long way without getting all dressed up first?  If you’re a Fred, not since you were like 8.  However, the truth is it’s actually possible to ride a bike without stuffing yourself into an overly-revealing Lycra Fred condom.  In fact, it can be quite liberating, and it might even encourage you to stop along the way and do stuff, like have a drink–which brings me to…

Stop And Have A Freaking Drink for Chrissakes

Trust me, I spent years Fredding about and doing my best not to stop lest I sacrifice precious miles, and I’d get anything to have that wasted time back.  Had I ridden half as much and drunk twice as much I’d probably…well, I’d probably be in even worse shape than I am now, but I’d probably have been a lot more pleasant to be around.  (Then again, if I hadn’t spent so much time racing and Fredding about back then I probably wouldn’t appreciate not doing it now, so I guess it works both ways.)

Hey, it’s Bike Month, loosen up is all I’m saying.

Speaking of which, I saw the following video via the Twitter, and while it purports to be motivational I saw it as nothing less than a horrifying cautionary tale:

I pray to the Good Lob on High that one day this poor Fred is able to break the Shackles of Weeniedom and know what it means to be free.

Seriously, if you get too deep into all of this you can lose the ability to think, and next thing you know you’re reading articles about how to purchase food in a deli:

How to navigate a convenience store and save yourself from a bonk: https://t.co/wWv4tmzN1a pic.twitter.com/mFV7Ejtm07

— Bicycling Magazine (@BicyclingMag) May 3, 2017

Horrifying. Continue reading »

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Thank God It’s Wednesday

Did you know that bike lanes are part of a vast Jewish conspiracy to undermine gentile businesses and prime the city for a complete Semitic takeover?

It’s true, I read it in the comments on a local news story:

(Is she even Jewish?  I’ve never heard of a Jew named Polly.)

And you can read all about that delightfully idiotic story over at the Bike Forecast so I don’t have to repeat myself:

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you might even “shart” depending on what you ate for dinner last night.

Anyway, everybody knows the notion that New York City’s bike lanes are part of a Jewish conspiracy is ridiculous, because it common knowledge that Jews prefer to manipulate the populace through their control of the entertainment and banking industries:

As half a Jew they let me audit the meetings but I’m not allowed to participate.

Nevertheless, I look froward to CBS New York’s next hard-hitting report:

In the meantime, should people should start sabotaging the bike lanes with nails in order to Make America Great Again, you might want to get some Bicycle Armour, the new tire sealant currently vying for your money on Kickstarter:

As far as I can tell it’s made from clumps that were scooped out of a bathtub drain or something:

Eureka Moment

Like Archimedes, our Eureka moment happened in a bath tub too …. the domestic chores of clearing a blocked drain to be precise. So the premise was; if human hair (which has quite a small diameter) can tangle up and effectively block a drain (which has a relatively much larger diameter), then maybe we can apply this principle to our bicycle puncture problem.

FACT:* This is the composition of a typical bathtub drain clump:

Soap scum: 15%
Hair: 25%
Semen: 60%

*[This is in no way a fact.]

So there’s your sealant.

With that in mind, let this image of someone stirring a slimy brown blob with a chopstick forever haunt your dreams:

Of course, the concept behind Bicycle Armor is quite sound.  In fact, if you’ve been riding bikes for awhile, it probably sounds pretty familiar to you:

We incorporated different sized fillers, ranging from nano sized particles to microns in diameter. We developed a non aggressive, stable liquid transport system to suspend these fibres and fillers. And we combine all these ingredients using a very high energy three stage mixing process which we developed in house.

Hmmm, tiny particles suspended in a semen-like matrix?  I think someone named Stan might want to have a word with you:

(“Not me, you idiot, the sealant guy!”)

I wouldn’t say there’s nothing new under the Sun, but there’s definitely nothing new on the Kickstarter.

Lastly, in news of professional bicycle riding, the Giro d’Italia has called off plans to reward the fastest descender with fabulous cash prizes:

But ahead of Friday’s opening stage in Sardinia, one new Giro award caused such a storm in the professional peloton that the race scrapped it just 48 hours before the start. The Giro was offering a cash prize of up to €15,000 ($16,381), in effect, for the craziest rider in the bunch: the fastest descender.

Pre-owned Hyundai money to the fastest descender in the race?  What could possibly go wrong?

Even better would have been if the cash prize was sponsored by a disc brake manufacturer:

Alas, in the end “safety” prevailed over spectator bloodlust, which is alwasy a bummer:

On Wednesday morning, following a backlash from the cycling community, organizers announced that the fastest descenders’ prize would be canceled.

“The spirit of the initiative was to highlight an important skill which is an integral part of a cycle race without putting the riders’ safety in jeopardy,” they said. “Rider safety is, and remains, the priority of the Giro and the race organizers.”

It’s true, descending quickly is an important skill, which is already highlighted by, you know, winning the race.  Remember this guy?

(Savoldelli doing his best “Stop Making Sense” impression.)

Savoldelli was a climber but known for his fast downhill riding. He is nicknamed Il Falco (“the falcon”). His downhill skills won him the 2005 Giro. His descent of the Colle delle Finestre before the final ascent to Sestriere in the penultimate stage, closed a gap to Gilberto Simoni, preserving his lead and giving him the win.

Of course you don’t.

But you would have if he’d launched himself into a ravine in pursuit of €15,000.

Anyway, in the end it’s the fans who have been cheated out of a thrilling spectacle–not of of crashes, but of riders with no GC hopes ballooning up to Sumo-like weights in order to descend more quickly and claim the prize.

And there goes any hope of corporeal diversity in the professional peloton.

Continue reading »

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A short post almost entirely about me.

It’s Bike Month, everybody!

That means it’s time for Bike Expo New York!

Which in turn means it’s time for me to hang around at the Walz booth pushin’ caps!

Not only is Bike Expo New York free, but it’s also your opportunity to hoard like a year’s worth of free energy food samples (mmmm, can you say “Chia Squeeze?”).  Just make sure you take a break from glomming and schnorring and swing by the Walz booth between 10am and 12pm on Saturday, May 6th, which is when I’ll be there.

In other news of me, I graciously offered a piece of my jenious to Outside magazine recently:

While CDOT’s judges deliberate, we went ahead and asked 11 of the brightest minds in the bike industry what they would do to make U.S. cities better, safer, and smarter for the two-wheeled crowd. Here’s what they had to say.

Yeah, that’s right.  I’m one of the bike industry’s “sharpest minds:”

This according to the same publication that said you should “throw your rim brakes in the trash.”

By the way, I feel I should offer a little backstory on that photo.  You may be wondering why I’m sitting on top of a picnic table in full Fred gear next to a rather incongruous retrogrouch sleigh.  Well, back in 2009 I visited Portland in order to pen this Pulitzer-worthy article for the very same publication:

The editor who commissioned the piece was a Portland denizen, and during my stay we went for a ride together.  When you’re riding with people for the first time it’s always interesting to see how people turn up, and in this case I showed up in full Fred gear astride the versatile yet aesthetically-challenged Ironic Orange Julius Bike, which served dual duty during my stay as urban runabout and irreverent SSCXWC chariot.  My editor, on the other hand, showed up in the sort of wool ensemble you’d expect to find atop a classy sport-touring/randonneuring/whatever-you-call-it bicycle complete with canvas handlebar bag like the one above.

Anyway, together we made for Forest Park, and at one point we switched bikes for a bit, which is when the above photo was taken.

All of this is a long way of saying I may be a sartorial disgrace, but even I would not have chosen that outfit to ride that bicycle.

Oh, he also took a picture of me playing bike polo in the interest of research:

I’m gonna go ahead and lie and say I curated that facial hair so I could go undercover in Portland and that it’s not how I usually looked at the time.

Speaking of bike polo, have you ever wondered who invented it?  No?  Me neither.  Nevertheless I found out by accident and wrote about it in the Bike Forecast.

So there you go.

Continue reading »

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I Came, I Saw, I Went Home

As you no doubt recall, Friday was the day Italy’s second-most unctuous export after olive oil, Mario Cipollini, was due to visit Brooklyn:

And given the outsized role he’s played on this blog over the past ten years I knew I’d be remiss were I to forego this rare opportunity to pay my respects and take his measure in person:

(“You gonna need a very big ruler.”)

According to the Red Hook Crit website the ride was set to take place in Prospect park at 9:30am.  Back when I lived in Brooklyn, 15 minutes and a few strokes of the pedal would have been all that it took to deliver me to the start.  However, now that I reside in the northwest Bronx, a trip to Prospect Park is a good 20 mile ride.  All of this is to say that I had every intention of being punctual, but by the time I crossed under the fog-enshrouded George Washington Bridge I was running something like an hour behind schedule:

Alas, if only I’d had an ebike like this guy I might have made up the time easily:

The brand of the above bike was “Juiced,” and I’m assuming that’s the “CrossCurrent” model that sells for $1,499:

Hey, whatever works for you, but if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about ebikes it’s that they encourage their riders to circle at red lights even more than fixies do.

Once I’d ridden nearly the length of Manhattan I merged onto the new Chrystie Street bike lane:

And mounted the Manhattan Bridge, where even at this late morning hour riders were still streaming towards Manhattan in considerable numbers:

Either New York City’s got an actual bicycle rush hour now, or else they were simply fleeing the Cipollini.

Upon alighting in Brooklyn I made straight for Grand Army Plaza:

Where a group I took to be the Brooklyn chapter of the Mario Cipollini Appreciation Society in fact turned out to be park volunteers:

I’m assuming the Prospect Park Alliance heard Mario Cipollini would be visiting, and so they brought a wheelbarrow full of sawdust to soak up any oil slicks and keep the roadway safe for the park users.

Anyway, I’d long missed the rollout, but it wasn’t long before I heard a flurry of Fredly activity nearby:

And moments later I was among them:

The main group was well ahead of me, and presumably these were the riders who’d become overwhelmed by Cipollini’s pheromones and dropped back to breathe some unadulterated air for awhile.  Obviously many of these riders were in town to compete in the Red Hook Crit, and as you can imagine it was thrilling to be among the crème de la crème of international fixiedom.  Every few moments I’d hear the unmistakable whoosh of crabon wheels and the rattle of over-tensioned chains, only to be passed by yet another rider with tattoos and a mustache:

(Sagan?  More like Sag-ain’t.)

Indeed, when it comes to sheer fastidiousness in the realm of appearance, fixie-crit riders have overtaken roadies like that guy on the Juiced bike overtook me:

Given the sheer volume of runners, dog walkers, and Orthodox Jewish power-walkers, Prospect Park at mid-morning is not exactly the ideal venue for a huge group ride, so rather than attempt to make my way to the front I instead dropped back, took the cutoff, and waited for them at the park entrance.  Before long they came back around, and while it was hard to pick him out at first:

I soon spotted the unmistakable profile of Cipollini himself:

And once the ride ended I watched as he graciously posed for photos with his many admirers:

I’d briefly considered bringing something along for Cipollini to sign.  Indeed, at the risk of sounding too arrogant, I’m something of a sensation in Italy myself.  Not only have my books been translated into Italian, but I was also the guest of honor at “Full Bike Day,” which was without a doubt one of the fullest bike days the region of Puglia has ever seen:

Therefore, I figured I’d do Cipollini the honor of presenting him a copy of the Italian edition of my book, asking him to sign it, and then taking it back and keeping it for myself…though as I was preparing to leave I realized that rummaging around in boxes looking for a copy of the Italian edition of my book would have made me even later, so ultimately I just said “Fuck it.”

I also briefly considered taking a picture with Cipollini myself as a souvenir, but given the earnestness of the occasion I felt like injecting irony into the proceedings would be kind of a douchey thing to do, so instead I just took pictures of other people taking pictures:

I have no idea why the riders in the background are shielding their eyes, and I can only assume they can’t bear to look directly at a skinsuited Cipollini from behind, much in the same way you can’t look directly at the Ark of the Covenant or else your face will melt:

Once Cipollini had graced everyone with handshakes and pixels I headed down to R&A bike shop, where according to the Red Hook Crit website a “Q&A” was to take place:

However, when I asked someone at R&A where the Q&A was taking place they looked at me like I was an idiot and said they didn’t know anything about any Q&A but that Cipollini was inside:

I can only assume that since everyone had gotten what they came for the whole Q&A idea must have fallen by the wayside, and once again I was disinclined to bother a guy who clearly wanted to tap at his phone uninterrupted after having given generously of his time.  So I paid my respects to the Red Hook Crit organizer and made my way back to the Bronx.  The cherry blossoms were in bloom:

The bridge was now free from the fog in which it had been imprisoned:

And as I contemplated the cycle of life and these symbols of rebirth it occurred to me for the first time that I might be pregnant.

I should have shielded my eyes.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what happened at the Red Hook Crit, I have no idea, but I did see this on the Twitter:

A post shared by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Design,Fixie,Bmx,Moto (@rustedjalopy_) on Apr 30, 2017 at 12:12pm PDT

So there you go.

Continue reading »

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Call to Unction: Today’s Post Will Be Short But Greasy

Have your wildest dreams and most horrific nightmares ever come true at the same time?

Well mine just did:

@bikesnobnyc Mario Cipollini himself will be in your home town this wknd @redhookcrit. Just sayin’. pic.twitter.com/t1AY3otulP

— Jo (@jo_h_bell) April 25, 2017

That’s right, the Layin’ King himself, Mario Cipollini, will ooze into town this coming weekend for the Red Hook Crit:

The Lion King, Mario Cipollini will be in town this weekend for the Red Hook Crit, supporting the top Italian contenders and hanging out at R&A Cycles. He’ll be leading a casual ride at Prospect Park on Friday morning (9:30am GAP) followed by a Q&A at R&A Cycles.We’ll also let him try a few laps on Saturday if he brings a track bike.#redhookcrit #rhcbk10 #critweek #cipo #racycles

Mario Cipollini?  In Brooklyn?  Riding casually in Prospect Park?

This is like…I don’t even know what it’s like, and rarely am I at a loss for simile.

All I know is that even post-artisanal 21st century Brooklyn still has its fair share of unctuous characters, all of whom will move up a notch or two on the Class-O-Meter by default this coming weekend:

(When graded on a Cipo curve this is like Muffy, Buffy, Chip and Chaz at the country club…and yes, apparently Hot Chicks With Douchebags still exists, even in our modern post-PC society.)

You can also expect a lot of impromptu “training camps:”

As well as a measurable increase in the borough’s population in approximately nine month’s time:

(“I got a lotta stops to make.”)

And, ultimately, a bumper crop of charismatic sprinters on the local race circuit:

(Lucarelli & Castaldi are gonna have to pony up a lot more prime money.)

Of course, in my almost 10 years of semi-professional bike blogging I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of professional cycling’s most intriguing characters.  For example, remember Michael Ball?

Well, during Rock Racing’s apotheosis he brought he whole devil horn-throwing shitshow to Harlem:

Where I obtained his autograph upon this hat:

Which I in turn presented to my number one fan at the time:

Heady days indeed.

Nevertheless, even I, who have moved in the most rarefied (or sordid, depending on how you look at it) circles of cycling, am deeply intimidated–cowed even–by the prospect of being in the presence of someone who has played such a crucial role in my blog over the years:

(“Without me to fall back on you are nothing.”)

Indeed, even more daunting is the prospect of schlepping all the way to Brooklyn for a 9:30am rollout.

And then there’s the prospect of discovering he’s probably just a regular guy who’s cannily cultivated an entertaining persona.

All if this is to say it remains to be seen whether or not I’ll actually make it, and in the end it will all hinge on whether or not I manage to get the necessary vaccinations in time.

Continue reading »

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Once Upon A Time…

Recently a reader forwarded me an excerpt from this children’s book:

Which implicates riding without helmets in the extinction of the dinosaurs:

On the surface this is just harmless whimsy, but the underlying message is clear: helmetless fun equals death.  This has inspired me to write my own children’s book.  After all, using allegory and heavy-handed morality to promote your own agenda is the basis of all great children’s literature (I’m looking at you, C.S. Lewis!), and I want in.  So here goes:

Once upon a time, there were these creatures called dinosaurs:

Dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and Jesus put them there to punish the Jews for not believing in Him:

The battle raged long and hard, but eventually the Jews won and the dinosaurs died out, which is how the international Jewish conspiracy was born:

Alas, all seemed lost, but the Lord works in mysterious ways, and after the dinosaurs died they gave humankind the greatest gift of all:

Oil!

Yes, all the little critters love frolicking in oil:

But oil’s not just for playing.  It also makes your family’s car go, go, GO!!!

Plus, we make all kinds of cool stuff out of oil.  Handy plastic bags:

Pretty nail polish:

And fun sports balls are all made from petroleum:

And yeah, let’s not forget the tires on those eco-friendly bicycles:

But maybe the most fun thing we can make from oil are those fun foam hats mom and dad make you wear whenever you get near anything with wheels (except for the car, go figure):

Yep, that’s right, you’re wearing a dinosaur on your head!  How cool is that?

You should always, always, ALWAYS wear a helmet when riding your bicycle.  After all, bicycles are the leading cause of injury to children, right after motor vehicle crashes…and suffocation…and drowning…and poisoning…and burns…and falls…

…actually, I don’t see bicycles anywhere on that list, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to ride a bicycle without wearing a helmet.  Why?  Because I said so, that’s why.  So before you get on your bike, stop, and put on your helmet:

Again, stop, and put on your helmet:

One more time, because it’s really important:

STOP…

And put on your helmet.

See that?  Now you’re getting the message!  Well, at least you’re getting the STOP part, which is why in 1969 48% of kids like you rode bikes to school, but by 2009 only 13% of you did:

Instead, your parents take you to school in the car, where you’re safe:

And where you make it more difficult for that remaining 13% to continue riding to school, while at the same time generally fomenting a toxic storm of negative emotion that follows you for the rest of the day:

In a recent study by British insurance company Allianz, more than 1,000 parents were surveyed for their levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, as they did their school day morning routine. Levels peaked just before leaving the house to drive to school, at around 8:15 a.m. each morning, researchers found. And the impact of the school run stress stays with parents well into the day. Also, nearly 25 percent of parents surveyed said that morning drop off stress sets their mood for the day — good or bad.

And that’s why your bicycle helmet is destroying humanity and the planet.

DISCLAIMER: Oil doesn’t actually come from dinosaurs, it comes from marine organisms that lived long before the dinosaurs.  All the stuff about the Judeo-Dino War is totally true though.

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It’s Not An Adventure If You Don’t Measure Every Second Of It

If you missed the BSNYC BOOMB!* Pre-Fondon’t Ride this past Saturday then you missed the BSNYC BOOMB! Pre-Fondon’t Ride this past Saturday:

(Photo by Jem)
Hills were scaled, derailleurs were destroyed, and the passive voice was employed afterwards by me to sum it all up.  Rest assured there will be a full accounting of the ride (in the active voice) in the not-too-eventual future.  In the meantime, the success of the ride (and by “success” I mean nobody pelted me with stones afterwards) gives me the confidence to curate a full-blown BSNYC Gran Fondon’t ride in the coming weeks:
(Artist’s rendering of what a Gran Fondo could look like, but won’t.)
So stay tuned, and in the meantime thanks to everyone who rode on Saturday.

Indeed, the only thing that would have made the ride even better would have been if I’d been using a state-of-the-art power meter:

Yes, nothing says “adventure” like meticulously quantifying every facet of your mediocrity.

If you’re wondering about what makes it adventure-specific, it’s that if you don’t meet specific fitness goals it simply falls off the bicycle, leaving you stranded in the wilderness.

And no, nobody jumped over a Lamborghini at any point during the ride either (that I’m aware of, anyway) but you can’t have everything:

And another angle:

This is an entire genre of video apparently, who knew?

It’s also now my favorite style of video.

Hey, you wanna drive a $300,000 shim around town you don’t get to “curate” what kind of attention you receive.

Some people will be impressed, others will think you’re a douchebag, and still others will just wanna ride over that shit.

If you want to inspire complete indifference while driving I recommend a Hyundai:

I mean I could have a Lamborghini if I wanted, I just choose not to:

(Evidently their interest in performance stops the moment they step out of the car.)

What would really impress me though would be seeing someone hop a Lamborghini on a folding bike–and speaking of folding bikes, Dahon has launched a Kickstarter for their new Curl model:

Which, as far as I can tell, is basically a Brompton:

Or am I crazy?

By the way, the US leg of the Brompton World Championships will take place in New York City this year:

As always, the Brompton World Championship USA will begin with a “Le Mans” style start, with each competitor racing to his or her folded bike before unfolding and taking off on the course, which consists of ten laps around NYC’s Marcus Garvey Park. Brompton owners from all corners of the country are invited to compete in the United States leg of the Brompton World Championship series.

I’ve been flirting with the idea of entering this race, and if I can figure out how to retrofit an Oral-B electric toothbrush into a secret motor you could very well be looking at your new champion.

Just let me know whether you think I should race or not via this online poll and I’ll do whatever you decide:

Lastly, I was very sad to learn about the death of Michele Scarponi:


Scarponi was killed on Saturday morning when he was struck by a van while training just two kilometres from his home. The driver of the van was a 57-year-old local man. “We know each other well. I’ve lost a son, but I’m thinking of him too,” Scarponi’s father, Giacomo, said.

Enjoy every ride, it’s all you can do.

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The Official Post-Pre Announcement!

[Please note there will be no post Friday, April 21st as I’ll be doing “ride reconnaissance,” but I’ll be back on Monday the 24th with regular updates.  The Bike Forecast will not be affected.]

Remember how yesterday I pre-announced the pre-ride to the Gran Fondon’t?

Well know I’m officially announcing it, and here’s the official flyer.  Officially:

So I guess everything after the flyer qualifies as a post-announcement.

Also, please note that officially the official name of this ride is the “BSNYC BOOMB! Pre-Fondon’t Ride.”  The “BOOMB” stands for Beers On Old Man Brooks.  This is because the Brooks Bicycle Saddle-Making Concern is buying the beers afterward.  Isn’t that nice of them?

You bet it its.

Plus, if you show up on a bike equipped with a Brooks saddle you get…well, you get nothing, apart from perhaps the sense of smug self-satisfaction that comes from owning a Brooks.

“I want to join this ride of yours!,” you’re now shouting into your monitor or smartphone.  “How do I register?”

You don’t.  Just show up.  For past rides I’ve asked people to RSVP via email, but screw that.  Just come to the corner of Broadway and 9th Avenue in Manhattan this coming Saturday morning and be ready to roll at 8:30am:

It’s very easy to get there via the Harlem or Hudson River Greenways, the subway, or even the Metro North, but if you’re still confused then maybe this isn’t the ride for you.

The Route
We’ll ride north through Van Cortlandt Park into Westchester, up the South County Trailway for a bit, then cut over over to the Old Croton Aqueduct (OCA) for the return trip.  The OCA is unpaved and there are roots and rocks.  While this will justify your recent purchase of a state-of-the-art gravel bike, your regular road bike will work just as well, though I’d recommend tires over 25mm wide–which you’re undoubtedly using anyway, because skinny tires are like soooo out of style.
The South County and the OCA are flat, but we’ll go up a couple of decent climbs in between.  If you’ve never ridden the OCA it’s a lot of fun.  We can also work in a coffee stop.
I still haven’t decided where we’ll go for beers afterwards, but most likely it’ll be reasonably close to where we started.
Total distance will probably be around 30 miles, give or take.
If you need a GPS route map complete with elevation and exact mileage then maybe this isn’t the ride for you.
The Pace
My racing days are long behind me and as the father of seventeen (17) children I don’t have much hustle left in me.  If you want pacelines and attacks I’m happy to point you towards the Gimbels Ride.  In fact there’s a pretty decent chance I’ll be rolling up in cutoffs and a t-shirt because that’s where I’m at in life.  At the same time it’s not like I have all day to futz around, so you should be able to get over a hill or two and handle your bike on dirt.  This should be a spirited ramble as opposed to a slog.
Your End of the Bargain
As I mentioned yesterday, in exchange for the free beer and my expert guidance through suburbia I ask that you snap some pictures during the ride and email me at least one good one afterwards, along with some words for context if warranted.  I will then incorporate these pictures into a future post which will most likely appear on the Brooks blog.  So if you’ve ever complained about my shitty photography, now’s your chance to do better.
That should about cover it, but if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments.  Otherwise see you Saturday!
Love,
–Wildcat Rock Machine

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Where the hell have you people been all day??? (Also, a low-key pre-announcement.)

Remember awhile back when I said that there was a 59% chance I’d curate some kind of Pre-Fondon’t?And remember how I said that if it did happen I’d give you short notice?Well, here’s your short notice:Yes, that’s right, THIS VERY SATURDAY, I’ll lead wh… Continue reading »

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The Future’s So Shocking I Gotta Wear Pads

***Importent Reminder***

Tonight this is happening:

Rest assured that I’ve been preparing assiduously–not by working on my presentation (I still have no idea what I’m going to say) but by riding one of those stupid all-terrain bicycles with only one gear ratio:

And then going to the taco truck:

I’ve also got caps and stuff from Walz to give away, and according to UPS there’s a box o’ coffee from Just Coffee currently en route to my palatial estate, so if all goes according to plan at least some of you will be going home capped and caffeinated.

Plus, if you’re willing to reach into your wallet, purse, or wherever you keep your currency, you can buy a copy of my latest book, The Ultimate Manual Of Velocipeding on Velocipedes: A Velocipede Primer, which I will even bedazzle for you:

So don’t miss it, because New York Magazine called it “the hottest ticket in New York City:”

So there you go.

In other news, remember the Specialized FutureShock?  It’s that road bike suspension system you’re not using:

Well, a friend alerted me to the drama of professional cycling person Niki Terpstra’s crash due to a failed FutureShock:

Apparently, despite the vertical frame compliance and comfort across all of the major touch points afforded by the FutureShock system, Terpstra just wanted an old-fashioned rigid bicycle.  However, instead of giving him one, Specialized gave his FutureShock some Viagra so it would behave like one.  The results were disastrous:

The FutureShock system relies on a cartridge between the stem and the steerer that allows the cockpit to move in response to road input. According to Specialized, Terpstra requested a rigid component so his handlebars did not move, so Specialized developed such a piece. A pre-production rigid cartridge ultimately made it onto Terpstra’s bike due to a communication error. This cartridge was not approved for racing use. Quick-Step’s seven other riders used the non-rigid FutureShock system during the race.

Specialized, of course, apologized profusely:

Heading into Paris-Roubaix, a few of our riders asked to try a rigid cartridge as well as the fully-active Future Shock on their new Roubaix bikes. In response to this, we developed a pre-production rigid steerer cartridge and later an approved engineered cartridge for the race.

In the days leading up, Niki Terpstra chose to race the rigid option. Unfortunately, a missed communication on the Specialized team resulted in the pre-production part remaining in Niki’s bike instead of being replaced by the approved engineered part. Ultimately, this failed during the race. All other riders raced on Future Shock equipped bikes.

Though I can’t help thinking this is the Fredly equivalent of putting a horse head in your bed, and a message to the world that all Freds who refuse the forward march of technological progress will be systematically eliminated.

As for me, I’ll stick to my Rivendell road bike suspension system, thankyouverymuch:

Yes, between that and my Rivendell electronic barend shifters I’m enjoying all the hot new cycling trends while staying true to the retrogrouch ethos:

And yes, of course there’s a friction option:

Now all I have to do is add a Rock Bar and I can do some serious “weighted cycle training:”


Train Smarter!

- Bring your training to the next level with the Rock Bar. Designed for use in weighted cycle training, the Rock Bar is available with specially designed, fully adjustable weights.

- The design allows the Rock Bar to be attached to the bike at the best locations for weighted cycling…below your center of gravity. Attach below the down tube or the top tube.

- Adding weight to the bike while cycling will increase your strength and power at your ideal cadence. With today’s bikes getting lighter and lighter, it is important now to incorporate weights while cycling. The Rock Bar is available with 7 pounds of weight.

Guess the new question is going to be #whatballastyourunning. Continue reading »

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