(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!

Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

Me! More Than You Ever Wanted to Know

As I've mentioned before, the terms of my blogging contract stipulate that when New York City public schools are closed so am I, and of course New York City schools are closed this week (and part of next) for Spring Recess.

Nevertheless, because I am cursed with a strong work ethic, I will continue to post during this time (though I do reserve the right to truncate posts or even fuck off completely from time to time as it suits me).  I will also of course continue to update the Bike Forecast, because without it this city would grind to a halt like a seized freehub.

So there you have it.

With that out of the way, today's post will be all about me, because me, me, me:


Firstly, one (1) week from today (2dā), I'll be at the REI in the up-and-coming South of Houston (or "SoHo") neighborhood to talk about the trendy new sport of "mountainous biking:"

Mountainous biking involves riding bicycles with knobby tires on rugged terrain, and bike companies are even building dedicated bikes specifically for this purpose.

So if you live in New York City and have been curious about trying the mountainous biking, but have dismissed it as an impossibility because you live in the most populous city in the United States, I'll endeavor to explain things like:

--How you can ride or use mass transit to access mountain bike trails;
--Why you don't need suspension or dropper posts or all that other stuff the bikey media says you do;
--Once you get to the trail, how not to be a douchebag.

The proceedings will then conclude with a five-hour seminar on tire tread and how to determine the optimal #whatpressureyourunning.

Best of all, my books will be available and I'll even sign them for you, which is reason enough on its own not to go.

In other news, I put on stretchy clothes yesterday and rode one of those bikes with the click-in pedals and curved handlebars like they use in the Tour de France, and I think I'm getting a handle on the BSNYC Gran Fondon't Build-Up Ride that may or may not happen:

(Actual terrain and scenery may vary.)

If it does, you can expect the following:

--Short notice from me;
--Irregular surfaces that will allow you to justify that fancy new gravel bike you bought;
--Finishing someplace that serves beer.

I'd say that as of this moment here's a 68% chance this ride will happen, and if it does there's a 99% chance I'll be the slowest person on it if yesterday's ride was any indication.

I don't use Strava, but if I did I don't think it would ever leave auto-pause mode.

Speaking of riding on bumpy roads and stuff, yesterday saw the running of the [?]th edition of Paris-Roubaix, which was won by [?] after a solo attack/select group escaped on the penultimate cobbled sector/unprecedented 30-rider field sprint/trackstanding competition on the infield of the Roubaix velodrome:

(Generic creative commons photo of bicycle racers from a reace that is not Paris-Roubaix because at this point in my life I can't be bothered.)

As usual, riders did stuff like double-tape their bars and use top-mount brake levers, which always gets lots of press nothing thrills Freds more than occasional pro rider transgressions of those idiotic Velominati rules.  

Before he headed to the team bus, Boonen was asked what he would do next. "Now? I'm going to look for my car," he said with a laugh. That closed out the crazy scenery at the Quick-Step Floors team bus.

Journalists seem to want Tom Boonen to get all emotional about all of this, but you've got to imagine few things feel better than crossing the finish line of the race you've won four (?) times, firing off that last urine sample, and then driving off in your Hyundai with the knowledge you've never got to do it again.

As long as he avoids any ill-advised comebacks he should be in good shape:

Those never seem to turn out well:

Lastly, for those of you who live and ride in New York City, here's a petition for a two-way bike lane on Broadway in the Bronx along Van Cortlandt Park:

With a street design that encourages speeding for vehicles moving from Yonkers to Manhattan, we need a safer way for pedestrian and cyclist to access Van Cortlandt Park that also curbs speeding on Broadway.

Narrower vehicle lanes, pedestrian islands, sidewalk extensions and a dedicated, 2-way protected bike lane alongside the park would provide our community with a safer, stress-free access to the park and turn Broadway from a speedway, to a street inclusive of all road users.

You're goddamn right we do.

So sign it, because it makes my life better.
Categories: cycling | Leave a comment

BSNYC Friday No Quiz Because Technology Has Failed Us All

There once was a Fred from the coast/
Who installed a new dropper post/
At first it was sticky/
But then it went quickly/
And now his poor huevos are toast.

—William Shakespeare

Blogger, the old-timey blogging platform I use because I am an e-retrogrouch, has been down all day.  As a result, until pretty much this very moment I've been unable to curate my own blog.  Therefore, in the interest of at least providing you with a few words to read before you fork off for the weekend, today's post will be a short one.

You're welcome, and don't blame me.  Blame G**gle, who run Blogger, or perhaps dark forces hacked their way into it, who the hell even knows these days.

Not like it's a big deal, because it's not like I don't have a whole other blog for you to read or anything.

Anyway, remember that Montana state senator who was taxing cyclists to stop the spread of zebra mussels?

New section. Section 4. Nonresident invasive species bicycle decal.

1. an invasive species decal must be affixed in a conspicuous place to each bicycle that is brought into and used in montana by a nonresident. A nonresident may not use or give permission for the use of a bicycle the nonresident brought into the state on which an invasive species decal is not affixed.
2. an invasive species decal must be purchased each calendar year for $25 at locations prescribed by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks. The decal is not transferable between bicycles.
3. money collected by payment of fees under this section must be deposited in the invasive species account established in 80-7-1004.

Well now the legistlature is saying it was a joke or something:

During its first hearing Wednesday afternoon before the house Natural Resources Committee, the amendment’s sponsor, Senator Chas Vincent made this admission:

“Just for a little background on that, you know, maybe it was a little bit of an April Fools.”

Wait, what???

All else aside, the senate approved it on March fucking 30th, which is a clear violation of global April Fool's protocol.

Not even the French, with their strange poisson d'avril custom, would find this acceptable.

So here's the story:

Here’s what Vincent’s talking about. Several weeks ago, Sen. Sales made national news when he made these remarks about cyclists during testimony about a different cycling-related bill:

“They’re some of the rudest people I’ve ever – I hate to say it, but I’m just going to be bold – they’re some of the most self-centered, rude people navigating on the highways, or on the county roads that I’ve seen. They won’t move over, you can honk at them but they think they own the highway.”

That generated some major blow-back.

Wow, big fucking surprise.

Senator Vincent described the messages sent to Senate President Sales as:

“Some of the most ugly and nasty messages I’ve ever heard left on anybody – legislators – cell phone. He’s got them if you want to listen to them. It’s remarkable, actually."

I don't think it's at all remarkable.  By the way, were any of those messages about how he can get fucked to death with a dropper post?  Because that's what I would have said.

And that, according to Vincent, was the basis for Sales's amendment that’s again being described by some as "anti-cyclist."

“A lot of us had heard [those messages], so when he stood up to propose an amendment to charge a $25 fee for everybody who doesn’t have a state bike and wants to ride in Montana, as you can imagine it was kind of a comedic relief moment, but the amendment went on," says Vincent. "And then he voted for it. So, it was kind of a fun day.”

What the hell kind of state legislature is this???  They're almost as thin-skinned as our president.  This Sales guy really needs to see a doctor about extricating whatever invasive species crawled up his ass.

So now you're up to date, and you can add Montana to the list of bike-unfriendly places to avoid, just under Australia:

Finally, I leave you with this:

I wonder #whatmouthpieceyourunning on those brass instruments.

Ride safe this weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday...hopefully.

I love you,

--Wildcat Rock Machine

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My Kickstarter rules and a GPS bike

When Kickstarter became popular shortly after its 2009 launch, I and many of you were amazed and thrilled with the awesomely creative crowd-funded bicycle projects available. Before long, however, we began to see funded projects that failed to deliver, and I cringe at some projects from folks with little to no obvious background in bicycles who sell product with possible safety issues.

These days, I try to limit Kickstarter product mentions for ideas that are truly innovative, or that come from people with a proven background in product design and delivery and provide value for the cyclist. The perfect suspension saddle, airless tires, Bluetooth handlebars, and supposedly theft-proof locks are a dime a dozen, as are people crowdsource funding for a container of cheap singlespeeds and space at the Port of Los Angeles to assemble and ship these discount bikes, assuming they haven’t been seized by U.S. Customs for failing CPSC safety requirements.

Hence, I’m happy to mention Mission Bicycle Company’s current Kickstarter for the Lyra, a basic bicycle with built-in lights with one-touch on-off, and a real GPS tracking unit.

Mission Bicycles Lyra

Mission Bicycle is an established brand that has been building bikes in SF for nearly a decade now, and they’ve successfully delivered on three previous Kickstarter projects on time (and even early in one instance). They’re more than just a handful of bros with a great idea: they know bikes, and they know manufacturing process.

The Lyra smartly integrates electronics into a bike built up from 4130 double-butted chromoly steel, Velocity Deep V rims, and basic but functional components built as either a singlespeed or an 8-speed Alfine hub.

The battery can be removed from the headset for easy recharging, so you don’t need to park your bike next to a wall outlet. The lights on the Lyra are integrated into the seatpost and the forks, which Mission claims provides 360 degrees of lighting. This removable battery keeps another backup battery topped off; the backup battery deep within the frame provides power to the GPS unit for up to a week, so thieves can’t bypass the technology merely by removing the battery.

Some low-cost tracking devices sold as theft-protection use Bluetooth LE and similar technology; in my testing, these “crowdsource GPS” units don’t work in the tech-heavy Silicon Valley. Mission, fortunately, opted for real, satellite tracked GPS from Comodule. The GPS module itself costs $150, according to Mission, and includes a one year subscription for the data plan required to ping the bike’s location. After that, the data plan will cost you $5 per month.

Three options are available at prices comparable to Mission’s existing lineup: $499 Frame and fork only, $999 singlespeed, $1450 eight speed hub. For all the details, visit Kickstarter: Lyra: A new Mission Bicycle with Lights + GPS.

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Faster and farther on the MVMT Carnelian

Taishan Sports manufactures bikes for several second tier bike brands, and they designed and manufactured carbon-fiber bicycles under the Pardus brand for the 2016 Chinese Olympic team. They’re now launching a new, direct-to-consumer brand — MVMT (pronounced “movement”) — for the North American market, launching models for road and mountain enthusiasts on April 15, 2017.

MVMT Carnelian

I’m a road guy, so I tried the MVMT Carnelian road bike.

MVMT Road Bike from Taishan

The bike is a very competently designed road bike with mechanical disc on 700c thru axle wheels. The full Shimano 105 group provides dependably smooth shifting and braking. MVMT brand carbon drop bar, stem and post, with MVMT alloy rims complete the bike. The bike will be available in three colors: white (shown), matte black, and turquoise blue.

I tested the Carnelian during the worst of the storms we experienced in the Santa Cruz Mountains earlier this year, taking it out on the few non-rainy days. This is not an adventure or cobble bike, but I rode over shattered roads and confidently weaved around fallen redwood trees. The disc brakes may have saved my life during a fast descent in the mountains: a tree fell in front of me, taking down a power pole. I came to a complete and controlled stop with live power lines bouncing literally inches from my front wheel.

Two days of nice weather in late February was the perfect opportunity for a longer ride, and the Carnelian shines in the rolling hills of California Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast.

#California between storms. #cycling

A post shared by Richard Masoner (@cyclelicious) on

The beefy bottom bracket enables snappy acceleration and pedaling efficiency. I’m not savvy enough to know precisely how a bicycle’s geometry affects parameters like comfort vs efficiency and performance, but this bike earned me four new Personal Records (per Strava) on the Swanton Loop in Santa Cruz County, and I didn’t even feel like I was trying that hard on this early season metric century. MVMT has a heritage in time trial bikes, and the Carnelian wasn’t designed to be an endurance or sportive bike, but it’s almost as comfortable to ride as my trusty old Specialized Roubaix but with enough liveliness to brighten the ride.

Why a nicer bike?

Which brings me to the title of this post: Faster and further. People frequently ask, “Why don’t cyclists who ride for fitness ride heavy bikes? Won’t heavy bikes help them achieve fitness faster / more quickly / with less effort?”

There are numerous reasons people might buy lightweight road bikes, but for me the short answer is: long distance rides are more enjoyable and less painful on quality, well designed bikes.

I rode 40 miles last Friday, and 32 miles on Saturday. I intended to complete a metric century on both days, but had to abandon at distances that normally are moderate for me. The reason: I rode a heavy, 28 pound $300 clunker made with high tensile (aka “gas pipe”) tubing and bottom-of-the-barrel components, mostly to prove a point. That cheap bike is fine for short-distance city riding, but for these longer distances it left my wrists numb and my shoulders, neck and back sore. I think the heavy, straight-gauge tubing probably transmitted a big percentage of road shock directly to my spine and arms via both the seatpost and through the forks.

The Carnelian, by contrast, has stiffness where it counts in spades, but my middle-aged joints really appreciated the superior design and material that gave me a good feel for the road without knocking me senseless. MVMT’s American marketing manager in San Mateo described Taishan’s proprietary carbon layering process techniques that frankly went over my head, but it all means a bike I can ride fast for hours on end.

The Carnelian will retail for $1680 and will be available for online purchase at MVMT Bikes on April 15, 2017. Unlike other 105-equipped road bikes approaching this price range, the Carnelian is full 105, instead of “105 light” with a mix of downgraded and Brand X components to reduce cost. MVMT bikes come with a five year frame warranty, and two year warranty on MVMB components. There will be a crash replacement program allowing riders to exchange their damaged frame only for a price that amounts to about 30% off retail.

You can demo this and MVMT’s Corundum mountain bike (Carbon 29er w/ carbon bars and post, SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain, Rockshox Recon fork, hydraulic disc brakes) at the Sea Otter Classic coming up April 20 – 23, 2017 in Monterey, California.

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Moment of Silence

Steve Tilford has died:

If you don't know who he is take the time to read his blog (though it appears to be crashing due to all the traffic) as well as the stories about him that will no doubt be forthcoming.  If you do know who he is then you know it's hard to believe he's gone.

I didn't know Tilford personally, nor do I typically do moments of silence on the blog, but since he was someone I respected as a blogger I feel compelled to do one now.  If you need to hear more prattling from me in the meantime, you can of course find it on today's Bike Forecast, and rest assured I'll be back here soon.

See you later,

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Categories: moment of silence | Comments Off

Flexing Your Mussels

Today's post needs be short, but rest assured that if you want more of me--and who doesn't?--you can get it over at the Bike Forecast, which today features my award-winning nature photography:

That's actually a photo of a lion peering out from the reeds, but unfortunately you can't see it because it's behind the hawk.

Speaking of nature, Montana is under siege by killer mussels, and in order to combat this scourge they're going to tax visiting bicyclists:

That's right, if you're not a Montanan and you should suddenly find yourself in "Big Sky Country" somehow (like you were abducted by aliens during a ride, probed anally, and then unceremoniously dumped there by the Grays) you'd better have a "nonresident invasive species decal" on your bike or there's gonna be trouble:

New section. Section 4. Nonresident invasive species bicycle decal.

1. an invasive species decal must be affixed in a conspicuous place to each bicycle that is brought into and used in montana by a nonresident. A nonresident may not use or give permission for the use of a bicycle the nonresident brought into the state on which an invasive species decal is not affixed.
2. an invasive species decal must be purchased each calendar year for $25 at locations prescribed by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks. The decal is not transferable between bicycles.
3. money collected by payment of fees under this section must be deposited in the invasive species account established in 80-7-1004.

And no, as far as I can tell this was not some kind of April Fool's joke, as the douchebag responsible apparently has a great big alien probing wand up his ass over cyclists for some reason.  Here's what he said about them when he spoke against a bicycle safety bill:

“They’re some of the most self-centered, rude people navigating on the highways and county roads I’ve seen. They won’t move over. You can honk at them. They think they own the highway.”

The Senate president also criticized cyclists by saying they use the road without paying a gas tax to support maintenance, and suggested cyclists over the age of 16 should pay a $25 tax.

“They have this entitlement mentality, many of them, that we should just wait for them, and quite frankly I think that’s wrong. … Quite frankly I don’t want more of them in the state because there’s already too many of them as it is.”

Wow, what a shitbag.  Good luck with your zebra mussels, asshole.  I guess if I ever visit Montana I'll bring a big bag of the little fuckers (they're apparently invasive here too so finding some shouldn't be too hard) and flush them down Montana's only toilet.

"Welcome to Montana! Swim, my little lovelies!"  BA-WOOSH!!!!

They're totally going to erect a statue of this guy in New South Wales.

Lastly, remember how last year I curated the Second Annual BSNYC Gran Fondon't?

Sure you do.

Well I'm pleased to announce there's roughly a 70% chance there will be another one this year.  Moreover, there's also a 59% chance that prior to the Fondon't I'll curate some kind of Pre-Fondon't, and if I do that there's also a 40% chance I'll procure some sort of sponsor to buy us beer afterwards.

Just keep in mind that there's also a 75% chance that none of this will happen, which I realize defies the laws of mathematics, but you see I never was very good at math.

And there you have it.

See you tomorrow.


--Wildcat Rock Machine

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BSNYC Friday No Quiz Just Despair!

I wear many hats (not helmets) as a semi-professional bike blogger and world-tolerated authority on nothing in particular, one of which is the editor-in-chief, curator, and chef de cuisine of the Daily Bike Forecast:

Which, as I mentioned yesterday, received a nice little mention in what our toddler-in-chief calls the "Failing New York Times."  Anyway, some of the Times's failing commenters left the typical comments we've all come to expect from any mention of bikes in the mainstream press, and while it would be indecorous of me to reply to them in that august venue I'm inclined to reply to them here on my own blog where I have free reign to go "full douche."

Here are the comments first, with my replies below:

KL: It did, you putz.  Go call 1010 WINS and make them tell motorists to stop driving like assholes and killing people.  Once you've done that then come back and break my balls.

NYC Taxpayer: Even if were true there are well over 4 million people in Brooklyn and Manhattan, many of whom pay taxes (with certain exceptions such as Donald Trump), so seems pretty fair to me.  If one were as big a dipshit as you one could also argue that with a population of under 500,000 maintaining any sort of roads for Staten Islanders is also a waste.  But I wouldn't do that, since people who couldn't get it together to move all the way to Jersey deserve infrastructure too.

Thanks for singlehandedly bankrolling the city with your massive tax outlay though.

Peggy: And I would add: Stop driving cars on the sidewalks. Stay off paths in the Parks that are off-limits to cars -- for very good reasons: toddlers and the physically impaired, and dogs, like people, out for a walk.
Drivers who drive like maniacs, who drive on the sidewalks, who drive through red lights, who turn the corner (even on a green light) without looking at the cross walk, who drive on off-limits paths in the parks -- are a menace. And here's to the drivers who don't do those things -- but I would say your less-lawful fellow drivers are giving you all a bad name.

Also, shut up, Peggy.

Oh, there was also a supportive one:

Email is indeed always welcome, though they can also just fuck off if that's easier for them.

It certainly is for me.

It's amazing to consider how many people wake up early in the morning, perform their daily ablutions, pull up a comfy chair, and proceed to write the dumbest shit you've ever read.

Then again, I suppose that's what I do as a blogger.

Holy crap, I just blew my own mind.

Speaking of comments, I was dismayed to read this one on yesterday's post:

Aussie Arsehole said...

FYI, For the past week there has been a bicycle race across Australia, 5500kms from Perth to Sydney. And today - a fucking Australian motorist killed Mike Hall. A man who was an inspiration to many, a man who had ridden 10,000s of kms in endurance races around the world. And he dies on a fucking Australian road. A country with a well earned reputation as the worst place in the world to ride a bicycle. Will the fucking Australian police send his estate a few fucking $500 traffic fines - I'm sure they can find something - they do whenever I ride in that god forsaken country. 

RIP Mike Hall.

Here's more about Mike Hall:

Hall was a towering figure in the world of ultracycling, not just for his riding, but also for the events he organised – this year sees the fifth edition of the Transcontinental Race, which he founded in 2013 – and the inspiration and encouragement he gave to others.

He won the TransAm Race twice and the Tour Divide, and holds the records for completing both events in the shortest time. In 2012, he won the World Cycle Race in 91 days, 18 hours, faster than the then Guinness World Record for circumnavigating the globe by bicycle.

And about the Indian Pacific Wheel Race:

Which has now been cancelled.

And with the weekend coming we might as well keep it morbid and move on to the driver who killed five cyclists in Kalamazoo, who will now stand trial for second-degree murder:

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A motorist accused of killing five bicyclists and injuring four others in southwestern Michigan will stand trial on second-degree murder charges.

A Kalamazoo County Circuit judge has denied Charles Pickett Jr.’s motion to reverse an earlier ruling that allowed the murder charges.

The judge also denied Pickett’s efforts to suppress statements he made to police about the crash.

He should have committed his crime in New York City, because if he had he'd now be free on $15,000 bail:

According to the Post, Pelaez told police that his car had been stolen and that he wasn't driving the car during the hit-and-run. However, detectives saw Palaez driving his BMW on August 10, and also had cell phone records that showed he was near the scene of the fatal collision when it happened. The paper reported that Nin's relatives were upset that a judge set Palaez's bail at $15,000 (though the News reported the number at $25,000). "It’s ridiculous . . . It’s outrageous," Nin's uncle Alcides Urena told the paper.

So let's see:

--He "allegedly" (ahem) killed somebody with his car;
--He fled the scene;
--He lied to the police.

Nah, doesn't seem like a flight risk to me.

But Patrick George of Jalopnik is right, cyclists really should have more of a sense of humor about this sort of thing.

That's not to say the police and the justice system won't come down hard on you in the name of #VisionZero, it's just that for that to happen you need to be riding a bike:

It was then that McLeish informed them that he had been following them for blocks and had seen them run four red lights. He returned to his car to finish up the paperwork, and that's when reality set in.

"At that point we realized that we'd gotten ticketed for four different red lights," Frey said. "We were kind of stunned."

As the couple would learn shortly, not only were they getting four tickets for running red lights, but because of rules meant to apply to drivers who commit repeat offenses within the course of 18 months, the fines would increase for each successive one. The first red light was to cost them $150 each. The second: $350. The last two: $900.

Many years ago I got dinged for rolling through two red lights at a pair of "T" intersections, and if I remember correctly it was "these ones," as we used to say:

It was a hell of a fine, and my boss at the time berated me when I told him I needed to go out to traffic court on Coney Island, though ultimately he allowed it.  (I was fortunate enough to have the kind of job where missing a day didn't also mean missing a day's pay.)  Alas, I didn't get anywhere with the judge, and ultimately had to fork over the money.

There's a naive part of me that thinks, instead of applying the same penalties to cyclists and drivers, there's probably a way to discourage cyclists from running red lights and to even penalize them for it in proportion to the danger this behavior actually represents.  (Which really isn't very much.)  But of course this would involve moving past the American approach to "equality" (fucking everybody equally hard no matter how big or how small) and treating different people and different situations in a way that actually makes sense.

In other words it'll never happen.
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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:

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?
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:

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.

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Happy Wednesday!

In my capacity as a semi-professional bike blogger and social media influenza, from time to time I receive the sorts of glamorous invitations that you lowly professional types with real jobs would never dream of.  For example, at this very moment, a quick glance in my inbox reveals that most recently I've been invited: to learn more about my Irish ancestry from on the occasion of St. Patrick's day; save 20% when shopping at a popular online bicycle component retailer; and to use my $2 in Staples rewards before they expire.

Hey, what can I say, life is pretty heady up here at the top.

Anyway, in addition to these exciting opportunities I was also recently invited to join Paul Budnitz on something called "Wuu:"

So what is "Wuu?"  Well, before we get into that I should remind you who Paul Budnitz is.  He started out as a maker of toys for adults:

And while you may be mystified as to why any adult would want a toy that doesn't either have wheels and go fast or bring you to orgasm, apparently there are a lot of overgrown children out there, because he was able to parlay his fortune into an eponymous bike company:

Which sells bikes he once explains are inspired by a BSA bicycle from 1946:

People have been asking where we found original inspiration for our bicycles. 

Above is the 1946 BSA Paratrooper folding bicycle — the twin-cantilever design we use has actually been around for almost 100 years.

Though one custom bike builder offers a different story:

Anyway, Budnitz launched with the premise that they'd offer an Apple-type shopping experience, meaning they'd sell something pretty and easy to use to people who don't want to be bothered with how they work in a transaction untainted by haggling or any technical details whatsoever.

Budnitz then gave me a bicycle to test:

Which I immediately customized:

It was basically a 29er but without the frame clearance or off-road capability, and it creaked like an old person's knees:

This offended me deeply, because: A) The whole point of the bike was to give you a trouble-free experience; and 2) As the world's greatest living bike blogger I resent being presented with a bicycle that's less than perfect.

Anyway, I decided it was indeed the perfect bike if you're looking for something like a Giant Cypress but you want to spend a lot more money and you've got a hearing impairment.

And that was that.

But Old Man Budnitz was not done, and having disrupted the bike industry with his revolutionary new concept of selling expensive bikes to people who don't know or want to know anything about bikes, he moved on to social media, bringing the world something called Ello:

Which was basically a minimalist Facebook:

With help from a Denver consultancy, Mode Set, they built a service characterized by minimalist black-and-white graphics and no ads. Gradually, it became the social network that Budnitz and close to 100 of his artsy friends wanted to use. “It was totally private. The problem was that as we got toward the end of that year, there were thousands of our friends who wanted to get on Ello.”

So they raised $435,000 from a Vermont venture capital fund to create something that could grow. Budnitz says that the idea is not to take over the world, but to keep building something that he—and others—will want to use. That means it will remain a service with no ads. “People keep asking are we competing with Facebook?” Budnitz says. “And I actually believe that Facebook is not a social network at all. It’s an advertising platform. We are a social network. That’s all we do. Facebook is there for the advertisements.”

And while I have no idea of Ello still exists or not he's now introduced this Wuu thing, which is basically a minimalist Snapchat:

And that’s pretty much it. My colleague Dami and I spent the morning trying out the app, quickly filling the other’s feed with wacky filtered images and confused text messages. But Wuu’s interface is incredibly vague, putting even Snapchat to shame. Instead of any clear labels, you’re presented with a row featuring a square, a circle, and a triangle at the bottom of the main feed. Through trial and error, square lets you send a text post, circle a picture or video, and triangle an audio message, but there’s no clear way to figure that out. It took me almost an hour to figure out how to change the color of text (swipe right and left on the screen while the typing interface is active), and if there’s a way to zoom in with the camera or adjust text label sizes, I haven’t found it yet. The app is also fairly buggy — both Dami and I experienced crashes in our brief time with Wuu, and at one point it froze my entire iPhone.

Sounds awesome.  I especially like the idea of buttons that make no sense, like you've been abducted by aliens and are trying to escape in their spaceship but you can't understand the controls.

Anyway, back to the email:

Wuu is beautiful, fun, and private. It's my daily dose of happiness — a safe place to share your life with people you love. 

No Likes, no followers, and no ads. Everything deletes from Wuu's server in 24 hours. Lots of hidden features, and once you join you can invite people you love too.

I dunno, call me a retrogrouch, but when I want to enjoy private time with the people I love I generally use my living room.  There are no ads there either, and nothing gets stored on any server.  (Well sure, the TV is listening to me, and I've got Obama in the microwave in the kitchen, but that's something else.)

Still, you've got to hand it to Old Man Budnitz.  Over the past 10 years he's basically copied and re-sold:

1) The Noid from those old Domino's commercials (Kidrobot toys);
2) The expensive swoopy-framed bicycle (Budnitz bikes);
3) Facebook (Ello);
4) Snapcha (Wuu).

Indeed, he hasn't so much copied them as Budnitzed them, which is to say he's basically taken the whole thing and then changed some superficial details to make them less functional and more expensive.  (Or at least more "exclusive" in the case of the social networks.)  And while there was a time in my blogging career when this might have irritated me, now that I'm getting older I only wish I'd been similarly canny, for it only becomes clearer as time goes on that to the grifter go the spoils.

“He gets probably to this side of me almost completely past me and says, ‘I remember you.’ And before I know it he’s grabbing my throat. He basically shoved me over onto the boulder and I just went into total protection mode and tried to cover my head,” Andrew said. “After the two punches he stomped on my back kind of right around here,” Andrew said.

Then the runner allegedly threw Andrew’s bike 50 feet down the mountain off the trail.

“I’ve replayed the incident over in my head multiple times thinking what I could have done differently,” he said.

As far as what he might have done differently, apart from this I have no idea:

If it were me I'd probably have curled into a ball and whimpered.

Here's the full story straight from the source:

Just one more thing to worry about.
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