BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

Guess what?

School's closed on Monday again.

That means so am I.

Yep, that's right, no post here on Monday the 12th.  However, I'll be updating the Bike Forecast in the meantime, and I'll be back here on Tuesday the 13th with regular updates.

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're right, and if you're wrong you'll see roadie freestyle.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and ride safely.


--Wildcat Rock Machine






1) George Hincapie, pictured above, will have a cameo in "Zoolander 3: Blue Crabon."






2) How much for a hub that simulates the effect of brake rub and binding bearings?






3) According to the NYPD, it's your responsibility to keep yourself and everybody else in New York City safe while you're riding.



4) Roadies have Zwift, now touring cyclists will have:

--Their own series on Netflix called "Smelly Birkenstocks"






5) The world's largest bicycle is made from:

--Aluminum
--Steel
--Bamboo
--Children





6) What evidence does retired Classics star and hair transplant recipient Johan Museeuw give to back up his claim that cycling is cleaner now?

--"Testing proves it."
--"There is less pressure on riders for results."
--"Average times are slower today."
--"Because I say it is."





7) A disc brake-equipped gravel bike with a quill stem?  Sure!  Only from:

--Rivendell
--Velo Orange
--Surly
--Walmart



***Special "Oh, I'll Bet They're High All Right!" Bonus Video***



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We’re Going Straight from Wednesday to Friday!



Tomorrow, Thursday, June 8th, the city's schools are closed:


(That's today meaning tomorrow.  Meaning Thursday.  You know what I mean.)

Therefore in accordance with my blogging contract, I won't be updating this blog tomorrow.  Instead, I'll be doing some skateboarding and then going to see the "Captain Underpants" movie.

Then once I'm done with that I'm going to spend some quality time with the kids.

In the meantime, rest assured I'll be updating the Bike Forecast as usual, and I'll see you all back here on Friday.

Speaking of skateboards, I recently got one for my eldest child since he'd been asking for one for his birthday.  Here's me portaging it across the Brooklyn Bridge via Citi Bike in an environmentally unfriendly plastic bag:


Of course, inasmuch as I once looked like this:


It probably won't surprise you to learn that I too used to ride a skateboard in my youth.  Furthermore, like all aging people who once looked like that, buying that skateboard rekindled something inside me.  Therefore, it also probably won't surprise you to learn that within a week I pulled the classic dorky dad move, and instead of simply living vicariously through his son like a normal middle-aged doofus I went back to the store and bought another one for myself.

Yeah, that's right, I'm a walking cliché:



And I won't be walking for long, either, because we all know it's only a matter of time before I bust my ass on this thing.  See, the problem isn't that it's been like 30 years since I regularly rode a skateboard.  In fact, as soon as I stepped onto it it felt as familiar as if I'd been skating just yesterday.

No, the problem is that even 30 years ago I wasn't very good.  I mean sure, I could zip around the neighborhood on the thing no problem, but I was pretty bad at doing tricks.  Indeed I was similarly bad at doing tricks on my BMX:


(This was about as good as I got.  Note I hadn't yet adopted my angry teen wardrobe, or removed my reflectors for that matter.)

Which is why I went from trying to copy freestyle moves I'd seen in magazines to racing on the track.

(This, incidentally, is why I like riding singlespeed mountain bikes.  It feels like the BMX racing I enjoyed so much as a kid.)

Nevertheless, as I'm sure you can imagine, as soon as I got on the skateboard I started to break out all my old moves, and then as now my entire repertoire consists exactly of this:



Seriously, I might as well be watching a video of myself.

So what I'm saying is basically it's only a matter of time before the board flies out from under me when I fail to land one of my pathetic ollies and I wind up in the ER.

In the meantime though it's been fun, and I figure I might as well enjoy it while my son's still too young to be humiliated by the sight of his father on a skateboard.  (Or until I wind up in the ER, whichever comes first.)  And surprisingly, perhaps the most enjoyable part so far (besides the familial bonding) has been buying the thing.

See, as much as I try to have a good attitude when I walk into a bike shop, as a complete bike dork I'm always secretly rolling my eyes whenever a member of the staff dares make a recommendation.  It's the insufferable attitude of the old man who'd been there and done that.  Believe me, I'm not proud of it.  In fact I make myself sick.

Not like I need to tell you any of this.  I mean you all read my blog.

Given this, it was incredibly refreshing to walk into a skate shop, embrace my ignorance, and completely surrender to the staff.  (I also refrained from binging on information from the Internet and then trying to pretend I knew what the hell I was talking about.)  Oh sure, I know a bearing from a bushing, and I'd even owned a couple of the retro boards that they had for sale, but it's been so long since I've paid close attention to skateboards that I wasn't going to even attempt picking one out for myself.  Best of all, there's not a lot of risk in buying what they tell you to buy, since while skateboards aren't cheap exactly they sure seem like it when your frame of reference is bicycles.

Seriously, consider what Fred pays for just a pair of handlebars:

For that money you can buy two skateboards and have plenty of change left over for weed, knit hats, or whatever the hell skaters spend their money on.

As for what I ended up buying, it's probably the equivalent of a hybrid bike or something, but that's about where I am in life anyway, and at least I didn't go for the electric model.

Finally, here's someone who has been thoroughly brainwashed:
Wearing a helmet while city cycling the Netherlands is like wearing a latex glove when you masturbate.

And on that note, I'm off, and I'll see you back here on Friday.

Love,


--Wildcat Rock Machine




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Keeping Bikes Dumb

Bike companies and Kickstarter entrepreneurs have been pushing the concept of the "smart bike" for awhile now.  Consider for example the VanMoof SmartBike, which incorporates such features as theft tracking and keyless entry:


The smartest thing on wheels.

The VanMoof SmartBike is unlike any other bike. Not only will it ship with anti-theft parts and tracking that make it terrifying to bike thieves. If a thief is brilliant enough to get past all that, we promise to get your stolen bike back to you in two weeks, or we'll replace it. We call this the VanMoof Peace of Mind Service, and every SmartBike gets it totally free of charge for the first two years.

Not only is the SmartBike a nightmare for thieves. It's also been designed to be the ultimate city bike. Unlike most bikes that get rustier with time, this one will get smarter over time, thanks to all the tech packed inside the frame and a dedicated smartphone app. It’s totally keyless, and can be unlocked with the tap of a finger on a smartphone or even the touch of a hand on the bike.

While I do have certain retrogrouchical tendencies--I don't care for the crabon, I think rim brakes on road bikes work just fine thankyouverymuch, and I prefer a quick release skewer to a thru-axle even on my mountaining bikes--the truth is that in real life I embrace technology.  More than that, I believe that as a species we're in the process of digitizing not only the things we use in everyday life but consciousness itself.  Just hand a toddler a smartphone, watch how adeptly they use it, and it becomes clear that this is all part of our evolution.  Some may find this creepy, but I find it inspiring, and I for one welcome our new technological overlords and eagerly await next phase of human existence:



Wow, I better take it easy, after all it's only Tuesday.

Nevertheless, having said that, I believe in keeping all that crap off your bike.  Consider the theft-tracker.  Sure, it sounds good, and having your bike stolen definitely sucks, but how effective is this thing really?  Well, according to an article from February of this year, VanMoof has recovered ten (10) bikes since they implemented the system in 2016:

Instead of putting its customers at risk of a standoff with bike thieves, though, the company promises it will handle the grunt work. And while VanMoof has recovered about 10 stolen smart bikes since they went on sale in 2016, this past weekend the company hired the first employee of a new new dedicated “bike hunter” team and started chronicling the adventures on Medium.

That's not very much.  In fact, I'd wager that in any decent-sized city 10 stolen bikes are recovered in a single week by their owners, who find them under the nearest highway overpass or being peddled on Craigslist.  That's not to say that plenty of bikes don't vanish, never to be seen again, but at the same time a service such as this is probably more a content-generating PR campaign than anything else.  I don't want to call it a "gimmick" because that seems a bit unfair, but at the same time the truth is relatively few people are actually going to take advantage of the anti-theft guarantee so there's little risk on the part of the company in terms of offering it.

Oh sure, once in awhile they may have to follow a truck to Brussels or something:

Spending half a day scouring a city only to have to travel to another country is a rather inefficient way to recover a stolen item. It’s also not sustainable for a small company like VanMoof. But this James Bondian approach isn’t without reason. In fact, it has to do with the compromises associated with tracking something using a GSM signal. VanMoof says the bikes’ cellular signals are easier to track when they’re moving, meaning they’re always going to expect a bit of a chase on a search-and-rescue mission.

But it pays for itself in terms of publicity.

Then there's the other aspect of the "smart bike," which is communication and data consumption, and there's no shortage of bike, helmet, and accessory makers who want you to be able to access all manner of data safely while riding your bike.  Consider "GObyLIVI," which recently appeared on the Kickstarter:



It's got the usual assortment of features, including the increasingly common "crash detection" whereby in the event of a spill it supposedly calls your emergency contact to notify them that you may or may not at that very moment be dead:


Like the theft-tracking feature, there are precious few reports of this actually working in the wild.  In fact, as I've mentioned in a previous post, I've been unable to find a single report of such a system coming into play--and that's saying a lot, because cyclists love to crow about stuff on the Internet.  Mention that you think helmets are ineffective and 100 people will immediately tell you the story of how one saved their life; mention that crash detection is a gimmick and all you hear are crickets.

But what about the other features, such as being able to get directions or place a call or text while you ride without having to handle your phone?  Surely that's a convenient safety feature, right?

Nah.

Just as I've gotten over toddler handling smartphones with aplomb I've also gotten over people using their phones while they ride.  If anything, I think someone texting while riding is a sign of a healthy society in which people are comfortable and adept enough on bicycles to engage in everyday behavior.  Sure, the boogeyman in this scenario is the incompetent cyclist who Mr. Magoos it through an intersection causing a six-car pile-up or takes you out while texting, but like the successful theft-tracker or the life-saving crash notification call this is something that mostly just exists in theory, an image conjured up by concern trolls.  The fact is an incompetent cyclist is an incompetent cyclist whether or not they're using their phone, and for a competent cyclist using your phone while riding is about as dangerous as reaching down your pants to adjust your [insert your specific genitalway here].

And if you don't believe me, keep in mind I'm typing this entire blog post while cycling and nothing bad has ha



Categories: cycling | Comments Off

Keeping Bikes Dumb

Bike companies and Kickstarter entrepreneurs have been pushing the concept of the "smart bike" for awhile now.  Consider for example the VanMoof SmartBike, which incorporates such features as theft tracking and keyless entry:


The smartest thing on wheels.

The VanMoof SmartBike is unlike any other bike. Not only will it ship with anti-theft parts and tracking that make it terrifying to bike thieves. If a thief is brilliant enough to get past all that, we promise to get your stolen bike back to you in two weeks, or we'll replace it. We call this the VanMoof Peace of Mind Service, and every SmartBike gets it totally free of charge for the first two years.

Not only is the SmartBike a nightmare for thieves. It's also been designed to be the ultimate city bike. Unlike most bikes that get rustier with time, this one will get smarter over time, thanks to all the tech packed inside the frame and a dedicated smartphone app. It’s totally keyless, and can be unlocked with the tap of a finger on a smartphone or even the touch of a hand on the bike.

While I do have certain retrogrouchical tendencies--I don't care for the crabon, I think rim brakes on road bikes work just fine thankyouverymuch, and I prefer a quick release skewer to a thru-axle even on my mountaining bikes--the truth is that in real life I embrace technology.  More than that, I believe that as a species we're in the process of digitizing not only the things we use in everyday life but consciousness itself.  Just hand a toddler a smartphone, watch how adeptly they use it, and it becomes clear that this is all part of our evolution.  Some may find this creepy, but I find it inspiring, and I for one welcome our new technological overlords and eagerly await next phase of human existence:



Wow, I better take it easy, after all it's only Tuesday.

Nevertheless, having said that, I believe in keeping all that crap off your bike.  Consider the theft-tracker.  Sure, it sounds good, and having your bike stolen definitely sucks, but how effective is this thing really?  Well, according to an article from February of this year, VanMoof has recovered ten (10) bikes since they implemented the system in 2016:

Instead of putting its customers at risk of a standoff with bike thieves, though, the company promises it will handle the grunt work. And while VanMoof has recovered about 10 stolen smart bikes since they went on sale in 2016, this past weekend the company hired the first employee of a new new dedicated “bike hunter” team and started chronicling the adventures on Medium.

That's not very much.  In fact, I'd wager that in any decent-sized city 10 stolen bikes are recovered in a single week by their owners, who find them under the nearest highway overpass or being peddled on Craigslist.  That's not to say that plenty of bikes don't vanish, never to be seen again, but at the same time a service such as this is probably more a content-generating PR campaign than anything else.  I don't want to call it a "gimmick" because that seems a bit unfair, but at the same time the truth is relatively few people are actually going to take advantage of the anti-theft guarantee so there's little risk on the part of the company in terms of offering it.

Oh sure, once in awhile they may have to follow a truck to Brussels or something:

Spending half a day scouring a city only to have to travel to another country is a rather inefficient way to recover a stolen item. It’s also not sustainable for a small company like VanMoof. But this James Bondian approach isn’t without reason. In fact, it has to do with the compromises associated with tracking something using a GSM signal. VanMoof says the bikes’ cellular signals are easier to track when they’re moving, meaning they’re always going to expect a bit of a chase on a search-and-rescue mission.

But it pays for itself in terms of publicity.

Then there's the other aspect of the "smart bike," which is communication and data consumption, and there's no shortage of bike, helmet, and accessory makers who want you to be able to access all manner of data safely while riding your bike.  Consider "GObyLIVI," which recently appeared on the Kickstarter:



It's got the usual assortment of features, including the increasingly common "crash detection" whereby in the event of a spill it supposedly calls your emergency contact to notify them that you may or may not at that very moment be dead:


Like the theft-tracking feature, there are precious few reports of this actually working in the wild.  In fact, as I've mentioned in a previous post, I've been unable to find a single report of such a system coming into play--and that's saying a lot, because cyclists love to crow about stuff on the Internet.  Mention that you think helmets are ineffective and 100 people will immediately tell you the story of how one saved their life; mention that crash detection is a gimmick and all you hear are crickets.

But what about the other features, such as being able to get directions or place a call or text while you ride without having to handle your phone?  Surely that's a convenient safety feature, right?

Nah.

Just as I've gotten over toddler handling smartphones with aplomb I've also gotten over people using their phones while they ride.  If anything, I think someone texting while riding is a sign of a healthy society in which people are comfortable and adept enough on bicycles to engage in everyday behavior.  Sure, the boogeyman in this scenario is the incompetent cyclist who Mr. Magoos it through an intersection causing a six-car pile-up or takes you out while texting, but like the successful theft-tracker or the life-saving crash notification call this is something that mostly just exists in theory, an image conjured up by concern trolls.  The fact is an incompetent cyclist is an incompetent cyclist whether or not they're using their phone, and for a competent cyclist using your phone while riding is about as dangerous as reaching down your pants to adjust your [insert your specific genitalway here].

And if you don't believe me, keep in mind I'm typing this entire blog post while cycling and nothing bad has ha



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Just when you think Fred can’t get any Fredlier…

I'm pleased to report that this past weekend I enjoyed an all-terrain bicycle ride on Ol' Piney:


And if you're one of the people who tweeted, emailed, or commented, YES I KNOW ABOUT THE FORK RECALL:


Not only do I know about it, but I've already received and installed the replacement fork, so there.

And what is it with the smug, gleeful, "I told you so!" tone people adopt when they're alerting you to recalls, anyway?  The company identified a possible issue and they took care of it.  It's not like GM failing to acknowledge a faulty ignition switch for 10 years.

By the way, in case you're wondering, it does seem like maybe the new fork is a bit less flexy than the old one, but then again I may totally be imagining it.

Anyway, lately I've been riding an all-terrain bicycle with only a single gear ratio, so it was a refreshing change to get on one with multiple gear ratios and voluminous tires--especially since I'm finally using said tires in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions:


Well almost anyway, since it's still only spring, but as far as I know nobody's selling a spring-specific tire yet.

This isn't to say I like one style of all-terrain bicycling better than the other, it's just that I like to alternate between shifty and non-shifty bikes, like running back and forth from the swimming pool to the hot tub.  There's also a misconception that riding a bike that doesn't shift is some form of punishment, which I wholly disagree with.  Really it's only punishment if you're doing it wrong.  And how do you do it wrong?  By riding someplace where it isn't fun to be on a bike that doesn't shift, which I never do.

No, when it comes to punishment you've got to look to the roadie set, who are constantly looking for new contraptions that take the joy out of cycling.  For example, remember PowerCranks?



I haven't seen these lately, but I don't know if it's because: 1) They're out of style; or B) I mostly avoid the Fred routes these days and scamper around on the dirt trails of suburbia.

Either way, I thought the PowerCrank was as sad as it got, but if one thing is true it's that you can never overestimate Fred's willingness to spend lots of money to make cycling less enjoyable.  To this end, meet the AIRhub, an expensive device that simulates the effect of binding bearings and/or brake rub:


The AIRhub is a road bike wheel with a resistance unit built into the front hub. The self-powered (no batteries or charging required) electromagnetic brake can can add up to 100 watts of resistance. A smartphone app controls the resistance. In addition to a manual resistance mode, the AIRhub will, when paired with a heart rate monitor or power meter, vary resistance to keep the rider in a set training zone.

Yep, you're reading that right.  It's a hub designed to slow you down.

So why would you want this?  Well, you wouldn't, unless you're a terminal Fred suffering from late-stage Weenie-itis:

Weird? Maybe. But it can be challenging to find rides tailored to your workout, especially if you live in an area lacking in challenging climbs. Or it could be a solution for riders that want to follow a training plan but still go out on casual group rides with friends. You could be putting out 300W while your friend rides along next to you at 200W.  You could even use it to turn your daily commute into an intense workout.

Oh please.  If you're that much of a weenie you don't have any friends.

So how much does Fred have to pay for some aftermarket retarding force?  Well, it's a bargain at just under $1,500:

Installing the AIRhub is as quick and easy as any front wheel: all you need is a tube and a tire. It's not cheap: the AIRhub sells for $1950 AUD (about $1460 USD.)

Though the real bargain is the FAQ on the company's website, which is both free and priceless:

I DON’T RACE WHAT ABOUT ME?

I find inner city commuting too short for training, the AIRhub works me so I'm sweaty when I get to work. Short, intense morning & evening sessions through the neighbourhood keeps me fit and healthy. Without the AIRhub, speeds would be unsafe or the intensity too low.

Usually people who commute by bike are trying to figure out how to arrive at work without being sweaty, which makes the AIRhub the equivalent of a device that allows you to shower without inadvertently washing your ass and crotch.  Also, if you don't race why the hell are you trying to turn your commute into a training session?  You suck, you'll always suck, and you need to get a grip before you do something you'll really regret, like actually taking up racing.

I FEEL A TAPPING. WHATS UP WITH THAT?

That means it’s working. It's normal for a light tapping to be felt when resistance is applied.

Yeah, no shit.  You just paid $1,500 for a broken wheel simulator, remember?

I KNOW IT WAS BUILT FOR ROAD RACERS, DOES IT WORK FOR TRIATHLETES TOO?

The AIRhub will work even better for Triathletes. More training in less time. It allows high quality training in the Aero position to become safe and easily achievable. No need to travel for miles to find safe roads. Long high intensity sessions can be done on a bike path.

Okay, stop and meditate on this for awhile: triathletes who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on aero gear are now purchasing $1,500 hubs that simulate the effects of riding bicycles with more drag.  Also, "travel(ing) for miles" is what most non-triathletes call "riding," an activity which has the effect of making you a better and stronger rider.

But sure, by all means ride the aero bike you can barely control through virtual molasses on the bike path and inconvenience normal people instead.

Of course, a much cheaper option would be to train on one of these:


The 700c GMC Denali Men's Road Bike is built around a lightweight aluminum road bike frame. You'll stop on a dime with the alloy calipers and brake levers, and the high-profile alloy Vitesse racing rims look as good as they perform. Shimano Revo shifters allow you to shift without taking your hands off the handlebars, providing safety and confidence. A Shimano derailleur completes the drive train for quick and smooth gear changes. Lastly, this road bike will help you stay hydrated with the included alloy water bottle cage.

But I suppose it doesn't have the same cachet.

Lastly, bike-baiting is back in style here in New York City, and you can read all about it on the Bike Forecast:


Now to do some resistance training by riding a loaded WorkCycles.

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San Jose Kooser Road safety improvements meeting

San Jose DOT will repave Kooser Road from Camden Avenue to Blossom Hill Road later in 2017. As part of the pavement project, the City of San Jose DOT plans a 4-3 lane reduction between Camden and Meridian. The community can give their input on these plans at a community meeting Tuesday, June 6th, 2017, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, at Vineland Branch Library, 1450 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, CA.

Kooser Road San Jose safety improvements project

Kooser is currently four lanes between Camden and Blossom Hill, with no bike lanes, and street parking on both sides west of Meridian. After repaving, the city plans to re-stripe Kooser to three lanes between Camden and Meridian, with bike lanes for the entire length of Kooser on both sides of the street.

City of San Jose DOT says these changes will improve Safety by decreasing vehicle speeds, improving safety for motor vehicles turning in and out of driveways and to and from side streets, decreasing the number of lanes that must be crossed when walking across the street, and adding bike lanes; provide safe(r) routes to schools, namely for Lietz Elementary School and Dartmouth Middle School; improve neighborhood livability by calming traffic and creating a more comfortable environment to walk and bike; and leverage resources by implementing with the City’s annual pavement maintenance program.

There are currently no good east-west bike corridors in this part of San Jose; the nearest east-west bike route that’s reasonably connected to anything is Curtner Avenue three miles to the north. I’m an aggressive rider, but I personally avoid this part of San Jose because biking here can be extremely unpleasant. Even the Strava global heatmap shows Kooser (the east-west road highlighted in the map below) is not a popular route.

Kooser Road cycling heat map

Still, people need to get around, even in car-dependent Kooser + Dartmouth neighborhoods in San Jose’s District 9, represented by Donald Rocha. SWITRS shows five collisions involving a cyclist and another six involving pedestrians on Kooser Road from 2006 through 2016.

Kooser Road cycling / pedestrian collisions SWITRS 2006-2016

We see another five cyclists were injured in the same time period on nearby Blossom Hill Road, along with three pedestrians, one of which was a fatality.

The four-three lane reduction is warranted because Kooser has low traffic volumes and high speeds with a history of collisions. Four to five traffic collisions are reported on Kooser every year.

Several years ago the city tried to replace street parking with bike lanes on Kooser; the residents shot it down. Hopefully the residents might be more amenable to reducing lane capacity on Kooser; it can’t be pleasant living on a street with 50 MPH traffic zooming past. Still, a few voices speaking up for active transportation in South San Jose can’t hurt if you can make it.

Categories: san jose | Comments Off

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz! (And Recess Announcement!)

[After today this blog will be on high-ate-us until Monday, June 5th, at which point I will resume regular updates.  The Bike Forecast will continue uninterrupted...except for Monday, May 29th which is Memorial Day.  Got it?  Good.]

Apologies in advance for any incoherence on my part beyond the usual amount (this blog is generally at least 40% incoherent), but the truth is I'm suffering from a massive hangover.

Sadly, this hangover is not due to excessive libation.  Rather, it's because I spent three hours steeped in stupid at last night's community board meeting, which you can read all about on the Bike Forecast:


Believe me when I tell you it's soul-crushing to spend that much time among people who are literally too stupid to get out of their own way:
And who can somehow spin drivers crashing cars into their homes into a rationale for opposing a bike lane.

Also, let's not forget the time-worn line of bullshit that bike lanes somehow slow emergency vehicle response times.  So sure, by all means keep the streets deadly, because at least the meatwagons will have an easier time showing up to scrape us off the road.

Morons.

In all sincerity the advocates who fight tirelessly for this stuff are made of some seriously high crabon moral fiber and I'm a counterfeit eBay S-Works in comparison.

Anyway, it's on that note that I'll bid you a-doo for the holiday weekend.  Please note as stated above that I won't be here until Monday, June 5th, at which point I'll resume regular updates.  I will however be person-ing my post at the Bike Forecast next week (Memorial Day excluded) so if you can't get enough of my insightful typing then rest assured you'll be able to relish it over there in the meantime.

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 video that is definitely a reward and not a punishment.  (You're welcome.)

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and enjoy the holiday weekend.


--Wildcat Rock Machine






1) Fill in the blank: "Reservoir _____"

--Dogs
--Dudes
--Dorks
--Freds





2) What is this?

--A fragrance ad
--A clothing ad
--A bicycle ad
--An escort service ad





3) How does the "smart bell" work?

--A button on your handlebars plays a bell sound through your phone
--A button on your phone rings an electronic bell on your handlebars
--A voice-activated electronic bell on your handlebars responds to the command "Ring-a-ding-ding!"
--It broadcasts a bell sound to drivers directly through their car stereos





4) I will be Brompton World Champion.

--True
--False





5) Of course you can get crabon wheels for a Bormpton.

--True
--False





6) In Florida, after you get hit on your bike by a pickup truck driver, you get:

--Justice
--Free health care
--A large cash settlement
--Deported





7) Adult balance bike racing is the new adult kickball.

--True
--False



***Special "Pedaling to Paradise"-Themed Bonus Video!"***





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Wait, it’s Thursday? I thought it was Wednesday!

Wanna hear something ironical?

Sure you do.

Back when I had a real job I dressed several notches below "business casual," often commuting by means of the fabled "Ironic Orange Julius Bike:"


Which, owing to my penchant at the time for embroidered racing saddles, quickly devoured the seats of my pants:


They say "dress for success."  I didn't, and I wasn't, though which was the cause and which was the effect was unclear and ultimately irrelevant.

Anyway, it was of course while in thrall to the purgatory many people refer to as "employment" that I began typing away at a modest bicycle blog.  This blog quickly consumed my being like the saddle of the Ironic Orange Julius Bike consumed my pants.  I quit my job, wrote some books, co-curated some human children, and almost ten (10) years later her we are.

The end.

Just kidding.

Maybe.

So what's the ironical part?  Well, it's that now that I'm almost a decade into being a total bum I should find myself going multi-modal with the quintessential gentleperson's bike:


Contemplating neckties:

And standing before racks of uncomfortable-looking shoes that, inexplicably, do not accept road cleats:


Why?  Because I've fallen in with the Smugness Mafia, and as I mentioned in the Bike Forecast on Monday they wanted to put me in a suit for Bike to Work Week:

TransAlt Bike Month Ambassadors will be outfitted in AWEAR-TECH by AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole suits available exclusively at Men’s Wearhouse. AWEAR-TECH clothing uses 37.5 technology, an advanced fabric technology from the high-performance sports world. With this technology, patented active particles remove moisture in the vapor stage, before liquid sweat can form, making these tailored clothing items far more comfortable to wear. When you’re overheating, active particles in the fabric speed up evaporation and cooling. When you’re cold, the particles return the energy to warm the body. The suits are engineered from the yarn up, incorporating 37.5 technology in every layer, from the suit lining to the wool.

So last week I multi-modaled myself on down to the Men's Wearhouse for a fitting:


Lo, by Friday I was a schlub transformed, and my total suit holdings had increased by 100% to a grand total of two (2).  This means if I ever have to attend back-to-back funerals I won't have to wear the same thing twice in a row:


(Who died?  My inner dirtbag, that's who.)

Meet the Reservoir Dorks:


Of course this was the most time I'd spent in a suit since the last wedding I attended.  It was also at least 30 degrees warmer outside than it had been during that wedding, and unlike the wedding I spent much of this time riding a bicycle.  Nevertheless, despite riding around Manhattan and Brooklyn in temperatures that tickled the undercarriage of 90 degrees I was surprisingly comfortable.  So if you need to attend weddings, funerals, or actual jobs with any regularity and you would like to ride a bike to them, you might want to add one of these to your quiver/wardrobe/stable or whatever the Clothing Freds call them.

Next stop: Brompton World Championships!



In other news, meet Neva, the bike just for women:


In a time when the bike internet practically lives to call out the bicycle industry's inherent gender biases, it's almost quaint that they'd market this thing with a video montage consisting almost entirely of stock photos of fashion models:


In fact I'm pretty sure they just repurposed an old fragrance ad.



I am happy to report: No. The vibe in Fort Worth is somewhere between a soccer game and a pizza party. To be sure: Some young racers are really into it, and some parents, too. But most seem to be there simply for the spectacle and a good time. “Have fun, that’s the main thing,” a parent named Blayne Chambers tells me, even after as his son, Cason, winds up winning the 4-year-old category. “If he’s not having fun, there’s no sense doing it.”

May the Benevolent Lobster on High steer them from the Chasm of Fredness.

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Maybe technology really will save us.

For thousands of years, cyclists have longed to be able to communicate directly with the creatures who inhabit the motorized death boxes that terrorize our streets.  Oh sure, we've used our voices, middle fingers, and occasionally u-locks to great effect.  However, none of these can truly penetrate the sheet metal in which the typical motoring moron is encased.

But not anymore!  For thanks to recent advances in technology, we now have the AXA Smart Bell (or at least a video for it):


We've seen the word "innovative" bandied about in the bicycle industry for far too long.  Yes, every misshapen crabon tube or new decal color(way) is hailed as an innovation.  But this?  This is something that warrants the appellation:


In fact, it just may be the biggest innovation in bikes since the wheel.

Okay, I know what you're thinking: "This is just one of those stupid smartphone bells, isn't it?"


("Look!  Now my phone's a bell that can run run out of batteries!")

Nope.  If we're to believe the video--and Sweet Lobster on High really, really, really want to believe it--what this allows you to do is ring the bell:


Which then travels to a box directly under your scranus and/or vulvanus:


And is in turn broadcast inside the car next to you:


Right through the sound system!!!


I'm sorry, I'm all choked up.

I have to stop and dry my eyes.

Thank you.

Anyway, do you know what this means?  It means we're now this close [indicates tiny distance with fingers] to being able to infiltrate drivers' cabins with our voices and say to them whatever we want.  Just imagine the possibilities:

--"I'm on your right;'
--"You're violating my right-of-way;"
--"Please look up from your phone;"
--"Where did you get your driver's license, your own asshole?"
--"Get fucked, you frumunda cheese-eating piece of crap!"

In fact, it's entirely conceivable you might need to utilize each of these in that exact order in the course of a typical interaction.

And just imagine how amazing it would be to use this on people in the bike lane:



A "new way of communication?"  Now that's an understatement:


This could conceivably give us the near-telepathic ability to berate people with the most vile insults we can muster.

Of course, as an aging bike blogger I know nothing about so-called RDS technology so I don't know if you can really make it do any of that, but I'm assuming these clever millennials with their fixies and their hack-a-thons can make it happen.

This gives me hope for the future.

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Today’s Post Will Be Short But Short

I realize you may be looking for Internet content that offers temporary respite from world events.  Alas, today's post needs be short owing to the vicissitudes of blah blah blah and so forth.  However, just to keep you up to date on a few things:

Firstly, you are looking at the new Brompton World Champion:


This is because I just registered for the race, which takes place on Sunday, June 18th, and obviously I'm going to win:

DESCRIPTION

The Brompton World Championship returns to North America this summer, and it's coming to New York City!

The uniquely competitive and singularly sartorial event will be held during this year's Harlem Skycraper Cycling Classic.

The race will begin at 2:15 pm sharp. Donning their finest formalwear, competitors will take off with a Le Mans-style start, running, unfolding and mounting their Bromptons, before racing ten laps around Manhattan's Marcus Garvey Park.

The winner of this race (who will be me) is then flown to London for the finals, which of course I'll also win.

This means the BSNYC Gran Fondon't, which will be held on [DATE TBD], is now merely a training ride for my inevitable win...unless I decide to hold the Fondon't after the World Championship, in which case it will be a victory ride during which I can showcase my rainbow pant cuff retainer or whatever honorific vestments the reigning champion gets to wear.

And between now and race day I must contemplate the big question:

Flat pedals or clipless on the Brommie?

It's not a question of performance, mind you, it's just that the former will allow me to wear my Vittoria shoes, which they sent me way back in 2009:


And which I typically break out for special occasions, such as L'Eroica:


Now to figure out how to fit a Gruber Assist into a Brompon.

Secondly, turning to world bicycling news, this happened:


PALERMO, Italy — A mafia boss was gunned down while riding his bicycle in Sicily on Monday, judicial sources said, in what appeared to have been the sort of mob killing that has become rarer in recent years as dangerous figures have been locked up.

Giuseppe Dainotti, 67, had served more than two decades in jail for murder and robbery, as a member of the Cosa Nostra mafia, before being released in 2014.

Investigators believe at least two hit men, probably on a motorbike, approached Dainetti and shot him in the neck, a few hundred meters from the scene of another mafia murder in 2014.

Living in New York it's not unusual to see these sorts of people in the wild, though the idea of one of them riding a bicycle is almost unthinkable.  Naturally my first thought was "So what kind of bike was it?"  I mean was he cruising around down, or was he off on a full-blown Lycra-clad Fredo ride?  Of course consulting a popular search engine quickly yielded an answer:


I guess if you're a Sicilian mob boss your choice of transport is a tough call.  Motor vehicles might hide you from view, but are susceptible to car bombs:


Whereas bicycles are harder to sabotage yet leave the rider vulnerable to point-blank shootings, as was the case here.

Still, two things are certain: 1) Had the mob boss been wearing a helmet this wouldn't have happened, since nothing bad happens to people who wear helmets; 2) The mafia in America should take to riding bicycles, since then they'd be free to kill each other on a daily basis without law enforcement so much as lifting a finger to investigate.

And finally, there's a City Council candidate in Brooklyn who basically wants to legalize parking in bike lanes, and you can read all about it in the Bike Forecast:


Wow, what a putz.

Okay, now time for some Brompton training.  See you tomorrow.

Love,


--Wildcat Rock Machine


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