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Okay, let’s do this.

Posted by on March 9, 2017
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:
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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