Friday, May 6, 2016

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

It's Friday, which means it's recumbent upon me to remind you that tomorrow, Saturday, May 7th, 2016, in conjunction with Von Hof Cycles:


And Little City Books:


We'll be curating a fun-filled reading/presentation/signing-type thing in Hoboken, the Ho-est of Bokens!


I'm even preparing a PowerPoint presentation, so you know it's gonna be good.

You really won't want to miss this, unless of course you do want to miss it, in which case you're beyond redemption anyway.

And hey, it's going to be wet again tomorrow (and, according to the forecast, until the end of time) so it's not like you're going to be going out for that "epic" ride anyway, so you might as well join us and keep it local.

Speaking of offering you incredible opportunities, the haberdashers at Walz are now offering a limited edition book/cap combo!


It brings tears of pride to my eyes when I look upon the many fine goods emblazoned with my imprimatur.  The new hat in particular is exquisitely curated, complete with reflective stripe and embroidered logo on the underside of the brim where you can hide it:


It's also wind-tunnel tested and guaranteed to increase your average speed by at least 2.5mph.*

*[This is a complete lie.]

And thus endeth the self-promotion for the day.

Meanwhile, just when you think New York City has put the last nail in the Vision Zero coffin they find some more room on the lid to drive in another one, and the latest one comes in the form of this Vision Zero helmet, which Brooklyn Spoke summed up pretty neatly:


This morning, the New York City Department of Transportation held an event on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library at which they debuted a Vision-Zero-branded bicycle helmet. You read that right: a Vision Zero helmet.

Yes, and you'll want to wear it too in order to protect yourself from the facepalm:

You know, I wouldn't really brag about the fact that I've spent a shitload of money giving away hunks of styrofoam that have done absolutely nothing to mitigate the problem of reckless and careless drivers mowing down cyclists and pedestrians on a regular basis.

If they want to litter the environment with token giveaways they might as well just give away Vision Zero plastic shopping bags.  At least you could use those to pick up dogshit.

In any case, I'm looking forward to the Vision Zero-branded pedestrian safety vest:


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 better than everybody, and if you're wrong you'll see the most nightmarish scenario imaginable to a Staten Islander.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and be sure to don your Vision Zero-branded victim apparel at all times.


--Wildcat Rock Machine




("Yeah I'm in the bike lane, you got a problem with that?")

1) NYC DOT sez:

"Always _____ to peds."

--"yield"
--"yeild"
--"yell"
--"bow"






2) It is very surprising that British Cycling has a problem with sexism.

--True
--False






3) Woody Allen objects to bike lanes on the Upper East Side of Manhattan because they are not:

--"safe"
--"graceful"
--"wide enough"
--"underage"





4) The TwiCycle opens up an exiting new world of:

--"Pedaling" with your arms as well as your legs
--Undulating atop your bicycle like a randy gorilla
--Shifting your derailleur into your front wheel and transforming your bike into a Fred catapult
--All of the above





5) The frontal Aerospoke is back...and it's motorized!

--True
--False





6) VeloNews Senior Editor Caley Fretz called the riders injured in the Red Hook Crit crash:

--"Dumb"
--"Idiots"
--Both "dumb" and "idiots"
--"Probably much better equipped to deal with a stalled motorcycle in the middle of the pack than the typical Cat 4 crabon pilot"







7) Crashes rarely happen in "regular" criteriums.

--True
--False


***Special "I Can't Even"--Themed Bonus Video!***


But he's wearing a Vision Zero helmet so it'll all be OK.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bikes: Still the Number One Problem Facing Humanity Today



(Gate for pedestrian access...TO HELL!!!)

Yesterday at about 11:30am a loser and complete douchebag woke up, breakfasted on sugar cereal and Mountain Dew, and then hooked up with his loser douchebag friend in order to ride their stupid farty dirt bikes on the nature trail in Van Cortlandt Park.  As they neared the golf course clubhouse, their piece of shit bikes sputtering like they probably do themselves when they try to form a complete sentence, they passed the World's Greatest Bike Blogger:


(I have no idea who took this or when, but it's awesome.)

A dashing figure clad in a cheap black windbreaker and a sweat-stained hat, the World's Greatest Bike Blogger was preparing to give an interview to a pair of UK filmmakers working on a documentary about New York City traffic violence.  Incensed by the douchebags and their sickening disregard for public safety and the law, the World's Greatest Bike Blogger shouted over the flatulent motors that he was going to call 911 and then banished them to Yonkers from whence (he assumed) they came.  To this, one of the douchebags replied by presenting his middle finger, and then off to Yonkers (he assumes) they went.

Sadly the cameras were not yet rolling so I cannot offer video of the event, but I did take a few snaps as I chided them, and here's one of the douchebags:


Yes, a real prickface if there ever was one, his bent and limp brake lever reflecting both his poor riding ability as well as his utter lack of potency:


Alas, ATVs and the like are a problem in New York City, and the NYPD is responding with the modern equivalent of a public execution:


The city's top cop is going medieval on the summertime scourge of “screwballs” driving reckless, high-speed motor bikes on the streets.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Sunday some 500 two-wheeled motorcycles, dirt bikes and four-wheeled ATVs seized by the police this year will be publicly destroyed sometime in the next week.

He went on to tee off on the folks who speed down crowded city streets in irritating flocks of the often-unmuffled machines.

I'm all in favor of this and would enjoy few things more than seeing the bikes of those riders I encountered destroyed, yet at the same time it's frustrating that when it comes to the drivers who are actually killing people on a daily basis the NYPD is generally happy to let them go.  Sure, ATVs are not street-legal, but strictly speaking neither are many of the cars currently plying the streets.  And I'm not talking about tinted windows and performance modifications either.  I'm talking about insurance fraud.  Lots of drivers in New York City illegally register their vehicles out-of-state, taking advantage of the much lower insurance premiums, or (in the case of states like New Hampshire and Virginia) lack of insurance requirements altogether.  And you know what happens when one of those uninsured drivers hits you?  Nothing.  The police are more than happy to let them go, and unless you're lucky enough to be driving a car too and have your own insurance policy to look to, you're basically fucked.

Bike lane opponents love to decry the loss of parking, but one can only imagine how much street space would be freed up if somebody made a concerted effort to crack down on illegally-registered cars.  Sadly this will never happen, presumably because the people who would be responsible for enforcing illegally-registered cars are the same people who are driving them.

Given this, I suppose it's easier to hold monster truck rally-style ATV smashings, and to remind cyclists to "Yeild to Peds:"


(Spotted by Samuel)

I guess those signs don't have spell-check.

And let's not forget that "bikes are a big problem," at least according to the new commander of the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side of Manhattan:



He wasted no time in getting right to the heart of a major concern for Upper East Side residents: “From what I understand, bikes are a big problem,” he said. “I think the 19th precinct is the only command in the city that writes and confiscates more bicycles than the 17th precinct. I think the officers here … are aggressively pursuing it. And my goal is to continue that.”

In a city where people are getting killed and maimed by drivers on a regular basis it's frankly revolting to hear someone from the NYPD not only call bikes a "big problem" but brag to a bunch of rich people about how they're confiscating more of them than the other guys in the slightly less wealthy precinct next-door.  Then again, I suppose he's under tremendous pressure from people like noted urban planning authority Woody Allen:


"None of the streets can accommodate a bike lane in a graceful way," Allen said, arguing that the DOT's plan to add bike lanes to Upper East Side crosstown streets is out of step with the community. "Every street has a good argument why it shouldn't have a lane."

May I interject one statement at this juncture? And I don't mean to be didactic or facetious in any way, but shut the fuck up, Woody.


I don't think there's a single street in Manhattan that accommodates motor vehicle traffic "in a graceful way," so what the hell is he even talking about?  Even more vexingly, why is someone as notoriously private as Woody Allen publicly sounding off on the subject he probably knows the least about?  (Besides sleeping with women his own age, of course.)  If we want insight into having once been a great filmmaker, playing clarinet, or seducing our step-daughters we'll ask for it, otherwise please leave matters of life and death to the professionals--or, failing that, the Department of Transportation.

Speaking of people operating outside of the area of their expertise, check this out:



Basically this guy invented a revolutionary bagless vacuum sweeper attachment once:


So now he's going to revolutionize your bike with these:


Call me skeptical, but I'm always leery of any inventor who starts his bicycle-themed pitch like this:

"I was watching the Tour de France bicycle race when I got the idea..."

That's like saying "I was watching the debates on CNN when I decided I should run for President."

My favorite part of this video is the guy who demonstrates pedal installation and removal, because he sounds like he's describing the Kennedy assassination:



I also liked this convincing demonstration:


So basically it's the same as using a different gearing, or crank length, or one of those elliptical chainrings, or some combination thereof.

I'll wait until it comes in crabon.

Lastly, I'd like to remind you once again that this Saturday I'll be doing a group ride/presentation/book-signing thingy in Hoboken together with Von Hof Cycles and Little City Books:


If you're heading out that way, I'll be the person on the PATH train with a Brompton.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I'm Number One! (With an asterisk.)

When you're A) a book author with a new book out and 2) completely full out of yourself, you can't help visiting the website of a certain retail behemoth named after a river to see how it's doing.  Well imagine my delight when I learned that I've got A BEST SELLER!


...in bike repair:


Which is the literary equivalent of winning the Cat 6 KOM on the Manhattan Bridge during the morning rush hour, and Brooklyn-bound at that.

As for how my new book stacks up against the rest of the cycling world's prosaic efforts, I'm sitting in a respectable fifth position:

Though of course the book just came out yesterday, so I'm basically the recently upgraded rider who burned all his matches to get into the break, and who will probably slip right out the back of it again and out of the pack altogether in short order.

Nevertheless, in the meantime I'm reveling in my temporary celebrity by doing stuff like bloviating on podcasts:


I'm very grateful to Fat Cyclist for inviting me on his show, and somewhat less grateful that he posted this photo of us taken at a bar in Brooklyn some years back:


I may never live down the humiliation of wearing a Rapha jacket in public.

Speaking of my book, which is all I currently care about, I continue to receive nit-picky bike dork comments about the front fender on the cover because bike dorks can't shut up about that sort of thing.  Therefore, in the spirit of the software update, I'm officially releasing a downloadable patch:


If you really can't stand that front fender, simply print out the above image and glue it to your book.

Problem solved.

Now shut up.

Of course, even when you're the Number One Best-Selling Author In Bike Repair (no mean feat considering the book's not even really about bike repair), people still take advantage of you.  Consider this Garmin ad in Bicycling that invokes Fred "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" speed without crediting your's truley:


(Photo via Peter)

I realize I've mentioned this before, and I also realize I've got a somewhat inflated sense of myself, but there's no way that 46mph is a coincidence.  Frankly, I think they missed a fantastic marketing opportunity by not paying me to be in the ad.  Come on, me dressed as Bret and flying down a mountain pass with a great big "Oh shit!" look on my face?  They'd sell a zillion of those goddamn Fred computers, guaranteed.

Indeed, by appearing in an advertisement in a glossy magazine I'd be realizing a lifelong dream--as I would if I got a chance to ride with Mario Cipollini:



Have you got a few hours to spare this Thursday (May 5)? Can you get to London with your bike? If so, head to London Zoo for midday and you can ride with the legendary Mario Cipollini.

Wow!  London is possibly my favorite city in the world besides New York--and come to think of it New York is an overpriced shithole so I guess that means London is my favorite city period.  (Or "full stop" as they say over there, see what an Anglophile I am?)  So to ride in it with Mario Cipollini would be truly sublime.  To that end, I'm launching a Kickstarter in order to get myself to London by tomorrow.  Here are the rewards:

Pledge $5: I send you a terse thank you and pocket the money.
Pledge $10: I send you a terse thank you and buy myself a drink at a bar.
Pledge $100: Now we're getting somewhere.
Pledge round-trip first class airfare on a top-tier carrier: I ride shirtless and covered in olive oil as an homage to Cipollini and return with a sample of his semen you can use for breeding purposes.  (You provide semen shipping container, available here at a discount, simply use discount code CIPO at checkout.)

By the way, if you're wondering why they're meeting at the zoo, Cipollini keeps a pied-à-terre there where he puts himself on display in exchange for free rent:


(Cipollini relaxing in his enclosure during a recent visit to London.)

Meanwhile, in bike tech news, BikeRadar wants you to know that if you complain about all these stupid new bike component standards then there's something wrong with you:


Which is odd, because if you read the article it goes on to complain about exactly the same thing we've all been complaining about:

Nonstandard standards

The biggest real charge that can be levelled against ‘the industry’ is the widespread mistake of calling every new measurement a standard. Created a bottom bracket that’s 3mm wider than all the others? It’s misleading and inaccurate to tell everyone this is a revolutionary new standard. It is, in fact, an awkward new measurement.

Funnily enough, marketing departments don’t fancy printing Awkward New Measurement all over the down tube – not even ANM Technology – so they tend to write something else. They really should stop with the ‘standard’ thing, though.

Yeah, no shit.  We're not complaining about the stuff that works and is better.  We're complaining about the stupid bottom bracket shells that sound like Mario Cipollini cracking his knuckles before an "epic" wank.

Penultimately, remember the Frontal Aerospoke Craze of the Early Aughts?

Well, it's back--and it's motorized!



Now you can launch yourself off the curb at 20mph, which seems like a really great idea:


Though I hope you'll be able to stop the thing with your paltry rim brakes:


Lastly, I was reading the following obituary in the New York Times:


And though I wasn't familiar with the artist I was intrigued to learn she created a piece called "Lick the Tire of My Bicycle," which one article describes thusly:

In “Lick the Tire of My Bicycle”, 1974, legs sprout from colorful buttocks on bicycle seat that are a target of a gun held by a hand that on is mirrored on the opposite side by a hand growing from a hairy phallus. The zippy ardor of the colored pencil striations in purple, orange and pink contrast with the dark violence of bullets, penetration and explosive, coercive sexuality. An ugly John Wayne rides a child’s pony like a carousel horse, with pistol cocked and the horn of his saddle obscenely erect. Close inspection of most of the iconic figures reveal critical details: Marisol likes to open doors to celebrity culture’s dark closet of skeletons.

I think I just found the design for the new BSNYC jersey.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Happy Pub Day To Me!

Whelp, today's the day, my new book is officially out:


(My new book, which is officially out.)

Amazon?  Sure.
B and N?  Why not?
iTunes?  Holy crap, we live in the future!
Your local independent bookseller?  Abso-freaking-lutely.
A Walz cap combo?  Coming soon, baby!

And so on.

Speaking of your local independent bookseller, if yours is Little City Books in Hoboken I hope to see you there this Saturday:


Look at that, there's a whole other city right next to ours with a subway and everything, who knew?

Anyway, my book could not possibly be more essential, for yesterday I was browsing our little kiddie tablet with the youngest of my 6.022140857 × 10 23 children when, to my utter shock, this popped up:


Yep, that's Bret all right:


And as much as I admire his preternatural ubiquity it's horrifying to think that the next generation of "connected" children will grow up thinking this is what a bicycle is.  So as far as I'm concerned the only solution is to pour as much sensible advice as possible on top of this conflagration of misinformation, so that one day we may extinguish the flames of velocipedal ignorance forevermore.

Or something.

Though I must admit I'll take Bret's brand of goateed time-trialling over this contraption any day:

Yes, for too long our arms have been idle, or at best performing unnecessary tasks such as braking or controlling the bike.  Now they have been freed from the tyranny of uselessness by the TwiCycle:



No longer will the left hand not know what the right hand is doing, because it will be helping to pedal the bike along with the right hand, praise Jesus!

This does pose some linguistic problems though, since of course "pedal" comes from the Latin root Ped, meaning "foot," so you can't really pedal with your hands now, can you?  Meanwhile the Latin word for hand is manus, so I guess technically you could call it "manipulating," but that implies being skillful, which nobody who would opt to ride such a contraption could possibly be.  Perhaps then it's simplest just to replace Ped with Man and call pedaling with your hands "manaling," which coincidentally is one letter away from what it looks like you're doing when you're riding this thing:


See how when you're manaling hard you're bent over with your shoulders heaving rhythmically like you're churning buttermilk?


Of course you do.

By the way, I could very well be wrong, but that looks a lot like the Fred Stretch on Key Biscayne just over the causeway from Miami.  If you've ever been there it makes makes complete and utter sense that the TwiCycle was born there, since it's just that sort of flat, monied monotony that allows the mind to wander into horrible ideas like this one.

I also enjoyed the FAQ:

Do I always have to use both legs and arms?

You can use only legs… only arms…or any combination of those. The arms drive the front wheel and the legs drive the back wheel completely independent of each other. Also the handlebars can be locked in position turning TwiCycle into a normal bike.

Sorry, nothing could turn that into a normal bike.

Plus, as I understand it the "Q" in "FAQ" is supposed to mean "Question," but some of the FAQs aren't even Qs at all, they're just confrontational statements:

Watch when that chain gets caught in the front wheel!

Watch when the back chain gets caught too!

The front wheel drive mechanism is no different to a normal rear wheel mechanism and this has been tried and tested for a 100 years. The risks are the same as for any other standard bicycle.

It's alarming that anybody designing any kind of a bicycle is unaware of how much more disastrous it is to lock up the front wheel than the rear.  If 100 years from now that stupid front wheel derailleur doesn't get stuck in the spokes and send someone flying over the bars then we can talk.

Anyway, later on in the FAQ they do start asking Qs again, only those Qs are now directed towards the Q-er, which is exactly the opposite of what an FAQ is supposed to be:

Is this meant to make cycling easier? Literally see no point in this?

The point is to exercise your ARMS and upper body which you can’t do with a normal bicycle.

Also great for climbing hills as you can take over with arms once your legs get tired.

Another benefit is extra speed and in a mountain bike version better traction!

TwiCycle is currently one of the very few sports which allow FULL body exercise. There is no muscle on your body that you can’t put to use.

They really should have called this section "FDRITFORQ"  (or Frequent Defensive Retorts In The Form Of Rhetorical Questions).

Given this sort of nonsense it's hard not to conclude that all the good bike ideas were used up 50 years ago, but believe it or not here's a Kickstarter for something I actually kind of want:



My first thought was "Great, just what the world needs, more crabon," but then I watched the video.  Apparently you just clip this rack onto any road bike here:


And here:


And you're ready to go:


Hey, if that works like they say it does I'd certainly find lots of good use for it on the old Fred Sled.  Clearly I'm not alone either, because there's 28 days to go and already people have funded the fuck out of this thing:


Nicely done.

Seems like this crabon Fred rack could be just the ticket for taking advantage of Amtrak's new carry-on bike service:


Cyclists who long to ride amid the mountain air of New England this spring and summer will soon have an easy way to get there.

Beginning May 1, Amtrak will offer carry-on bike service, allowing passengers to ride in designated cars outfitted with bike racks on its Vermonter line, which operates each day between Washington, D.C., and St. Albans, Vt., with stops in cities including Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, Conn., Springfield, Mass., and Essex Junction, Vt.

I must say the idea of taking a train up to Vermont for a day or two of cycling sounds extremely appealing to me, though what with my ∞ children the chances of my doing that anytime soon are fairly slim.  Sure, there was a time when I had no kids and little responsibility and could have lit out on a moment's notice, yet instead of taking awesome bike trips I frittered away all my time and money clinging to the back of the pack in amateur bike races.  What the hell was I thinking?!?

Let that be a lesson to you.

Anyway, here's how the train works:

Cyclists who wish to use the service must arrive at their station a half-hour before boarding time. Train cars with bike service will have “bike-friendly” stickers on them, and there will be instructions in the rack area about how to load the bikes. The front wheel of each bike must be removed to fit it into the space, and extras, like panniers and saddle bags, must be removed as well before you add the bike to the rack. An Amtrak crew member will be on hand to help.

There are some sweet gravel roads in Vermont as I understand it, so I hope that Amtrak crew member has been trained in the intricacies of disk brakes and Boost 148.