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Posted by on April 11, 2017

(Does that sticker say "I [heart] TRI or I [heart] TRUMP?")

Visiting Gothamist yesterday, the headline "How To Bike In NYC Without Being A Jerk" caught my eye:
"Oh, great," I thought to myself.  "Another blowhard whining about how those crazy 'bikers' don't follow the law."  So I rolled up my sleeves and got ready to pick the thing apart, only to find out the story was in fact mine:

It's always strange when you bump into yourself online like that.

I do still have an issue though, which is that the link says I'm "inimitable," when I am in fact totally imitable:

When my 10-year blogaversary rolls around I'll probably give you the "Bike Snob NYC" title if you ask nicely.

I'm keeping Wildcat Rock Machine, though.


Speaking of mountain bikes, BikeRadar "takes the piss" (as they say over there) out of singlespeed mountain bikes:

I was very disappointed to see this--not because I think people shouldn't make fun of singlespeed (they absolutely should), but because I thought people had finally forgotten about them now that it's all about fat bikes and plus bikes and "bikepacking" and low gears that dwarf even the most massive pie plate.  Once people start griping about something this way it usually means that thing is coming back into fashion.  Frankly I don't think I could live through another singlespeed mountain bike craze, and the only worse scenario I can imagine is an Aerospoke comeback.

Also, I will say that while I appreciated the contrary attitude behind this this spirited take, I do think the writer got it exactly wrong.  Consider this:

The problem here is, if you review a singlespeed as a mountain bike, it should get a terrible score – no matter how well it’s built. That’s because it’s a terrible mountain bike due to having a 3mph operational window on purpose.

Oh, I dunno about that.  Singlespeeds are much faster uphill than geared bikes.  In fact, most Mountain Freds can't even make it up a hill because they lose momentum halfway up and proceed to fall over due to their overdependence on tiny gears.  Plus, once you make it to the top of a climb, gear ratios don't really mean that much, and the real factor in how fast you descend is gravity.  No Mountain Fred in the history of visored helmets has ever utilized his or her big/small combo.  Ever.

As for flat terrain, sure, singlespeeds are slow there, but so are squishy bikes or ones with 3-inch tires inflated to 9psi.  And who the hell rides mountain bikes on flat terrain anyway?  That's what those new gravel bikes are for!

And this:

Singlespeeds are terrible in the way iron tyres on wooden wheels are terrible. They’re terrible in the way the smoking room in a Zeppelin is terrible. They’re terrible like old British money, which was all like “That’ll be 3/16ths of a bob, nine shillings, a half-crown, a florin, 4d, six sovereigns, 240 pennies and thruppence… and there’s no use trying to load that flintlock pistol, sir. I’m closing up in 30 minutes.”

These things are all terrible in that they simply don’t need to be that way any more. Nowadays we have inflatable tyres, commercial jets and simple cash. We have the technology to change gears.

We also have the technology to obsessively track our feeble mileage and performance and we shouldn't be doing that all the time either.  Indeed, it's mountain bike shifting and suspension systems that are like the clunky wheels and currency of yore.  There's a reason a mountain bike that's only 10 years old looks like an antique, which is that this crap doesn't last: either it fails during use, or the rider simply gives up on maintaining it because it's "obsolete" now.  Mountain bikers also make even the most terminal road Fred seem like Grant Petersen in comparison.  Sure, the legions of roadies scowling their way over the GWB with their fascistic matching Rapha armbands are sort of depressing, but there are few things sadder than watching someone unload a $6,000 mountain bike from the hitch rack of a Nissan Armada and inflate the tires with a goddamn air compressor just to ride around in a city park in Queens.

Take a decent singlespeed and the latest boingy/squishy bike and I guarantee you that in 10 years' time the former will offer you a much better riding experience, while the latter will basically be tomorrow's Wildcat Rock Machine.

And yes, I realize I'm taking this far more seriously than I meant to, but how else am I going to justify my artisanal singlespeed?  (I do happen to think having a fancy singlespeed and a cheap geared bike is the appropriate allocation of resources.)

Lastly, ebikes are terrorizing Australia:

$1,200 fine...and he was even wearing a helmet!

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