Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rebellion is a dish best served lukewarm.



(If you say so.)

Have you ever woken up in the morning determined to take life by the balls, only to realize that life is a woman and she owns you completely, at which point you surrender in short order?

Me too.

Still, that doesn't stop us all from pretending we're heroes in our own personal narratives, or that we have any measure of control over the vicissitudes of existence.  Take the videos of Lucas Brunelle, daredevil cinematographer and expert bike handler:



He and Benny Zenga have collabo-ated on yet another video, this one entitled "Road Sage," to which I was alerted by the latter party:

I think you'll enjoy this one. 

Advanced perspective transcendent urban cycling -or- suicidal tendencies cyco-vision. At any rate, it’s a nudge to forgo being a spectator and go for a bike ride.

Thanks,

Benny



ROAD SAGE from Zenga Bros on Vimeo.

And which, mere moments before press time, seems to have mysteriously and inconveniently disappeared after I went through the trouble of taking screenshots and everything:


I cannot stand the smug error messages you get from websites.  "Sorry, there seems to be like a problem, dude.  We're totally working on it and stuff."  Fuck you.  I especially can't stand them when they suggest that something I watched with my own goddamn eyes just moments ago may not have ever existed, because that's both flippant and Orwellian.

This didn't happen back when we used VHS, even if we did have to constantly futz with the tracking.

Anyway, the video starts thusly:


If I may offer the filmmakers a word of advice, you should really stop with the whole dictionary definition opening title thing, because it's trite:

trite adjective \ˈtrīt\
: not interesting or effective because of being used too often : not fresh or original

In fact, the above descriptor applies to the entire video, which could be why they deleted it.  Predictably, it features all the usual hallmarks of Lucas Brunelle's work.  There's the skitching:


The obligatory "Ooh, they ran a light in front of a cop, take that, system!" clip:


The "elbowing your way through a yellow cab Malachi Crunch like a dumbass" maneuver:


And of course the ever-present car-and-truck touching:


Yes, always with the touching:


It's like they're priests and the cars are little boys.

(There's a good word to describe that joke, by the way...)

Of course, before you fondle a motor vehicle you should always engage in a bit of foreplay.  For example, try mounting the sidewalk:


Skidding in front of an elderly pedestrian:


And then groping the bus:



He sure showed that old guy and that bus who wears the "jorts" around there.

Speaking of urban cycling clichés, there's even fixed-gear freestyle, which means Brunelle must have been sitting on some stale footage from 2008:


To be perfectly honest I kind of miss fixed-gear freestyling.  Those people used to get sooo defensive when you'd tell them how stupid it was, and somehow they managed to live in complete denial of both BMX and artistic cycling for a good year or two.  Then, all of a sudden, they all gave up and bought road bikes--though evidence of the "sport" lives on in videos made by aging people struggling to remain relevant, like this one.

Nevertheless, you've got to give Brunelle credit, because he's the undisputed master of petty rebellion porn:


(THEY'RE NOT PAYING THE TOLL, THEY'RE NOT PAYING THE TOLL!)

Check out these duders falling all over themselves in traffic like a bunch of Cat 5s (probably because most alleycat racers are Cat 5s):


And thrill to this flagrant salmoning:


At this point I started getting bored, so I skipped ahead to some of the rider interviews, and those made my brain hurt so I gave up.

Now the video's gone.

Sigh...

Speaking of adrenaline-charged thrill rides, a reader informed me of this commercial for the 577-horsepower Mercedes AMG Über-Teutonic SpörtzVagen complete with MILF-Drive and Wank-O-Tronik paddle shifters:



Which the woman in the commercial uses to get to a spin class:


You'd think that if you wanted some exercise on a lovely autumn day you could just ride a bike outside instead of driving to an indoor spin class.  Then again, the roads are probably too dangerous for that, thanks to all those rich suburbanites rushing to spin class in their supercharged luxury cars.

I think you call that "irony."

As for me, you won't find me in spin class.  I do exercise inside though, and I've been using this workout to good effect (via another reader):

 

Laughter is good for the core.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday's Here And It's Equipped With An Aerodynamic Fairing!

Firstly, as part of my increased commitment to bringing you top-quality blogging content in 2015, here's more gratuitous triathlon crash porn:



Yep, that's the entire spectrum of human expression, right there in a single image:


Amazing.

Oh, and if you're wondering what else my increased commitment to bringing you top-quality blogging content in 2015 entails, it basically means I'm going to remind you even more often to buy jerseys and hats:


The hats will caress your head like a "Magic Kippah," and so silky smooth is the jersey that when Mario Cipollini sampled it at Interbike he immediately commissioned Walz to make him 20 pairs of underwear and a set of king-sized bedsheets out of the same fabric.*

*[This is not true.]

But yeah, it's a really nice jersey, and I can't wait until the winter's over so I can actually ride in the thing instead of just wearing it around the house and air-cycling** in the bathroom mirror.

**[Air-cycling is the bike equivalent of air guitar; it's when you put your fists out in front of you like you're in the drops and then squint intently like you're descending at Fred "Wooo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" speed.]

Speaking of cycling accessories you can't do without, remember Überhood?



Of course you don't.

Regardless, it turns out Überhood was merely ahead of its time, for behold...LEAFXPRO!






Do you hate straining against gale-force winds and horizontal rain while wearing an ordinary poncho?


Well, this guy does, and so he cut stuff:


And drew lines on paper:



And sewed stuff:


Until finally he'd created sort of an aero-umbrella to fend off the elements:


Not only is it ideal for fighting your way through squalls on those seaside slogs:


But it's also great for mountain biking:


And in addition to transforming your bike into a sort of "upright recumbent," it also administers a much-needed "wedgie" to you while you ride:


I'm also reasonably certain that's Bret mixing it up with a little offroad action for a change:



Sure, you might look a bit strange riding around the city with this thing on your bike, but you can draw attention away from the fairing by wearing a velvet king's hat:


Until I come out with my own BSNYC version you can buy yourself a similar velvet king's hat at Party City:


He looks nonplussed.

I should also point out that if you need a plastic windshield just to ride your local trail you should probably stay off it altogether until it dries out, lest you invoke the ire of your local IMBA chapter:


Or at the very least you could lay off the gratuitious skidding:


Best of all, when you get to where you're going all you do is unzip:


Extricate yourself from your rolling garment bag:


Throw the whole system over the shoulder of your corduroy jacket:


And run off into the sea due to sheer embarrassment, never to be seen or heard from again:


Speaking of shame, you know how parents don't like to talk about sex with their kids but they do it anyway, because they figure better the kid hears about it from them than from some friend who thinks HPV is the cable channel that "Hoarders" is on?  Well, I feel the same way about this video that was forwarded to me by Klaus of Alps and Andes--I'd prefer not to address it at all because it kind of creeps me out, but if you're going to hear about it from someone it might as well be from me.  Anyway, basically it's a video for some cheesy brö-metal song that features a cameo from that guy who lost all his Dauphiné Libéré titles:


Evidently, it's supposed to be some kind of statement about doping:

Appropriately, the accompanying track, the hard-rocking "Mountain Lion," concerns the misplaced outrage over performance-enhancing drugs. "The amount of attention given to PEDs is incredible," says Commerford, "especially when you consider the amount of drugs – recreational, illegal and pharmaceutical – that America supports and profits from."

Wow, man.  Now that's deep.

But what I couldn't get past was this:

"Lance is a friend, an awesome person and, as far as I'm concerned, a punk rocker," he says.

Really?  "Punk rocker?"  Are you kidding me?!?  I find that offensive.  Hey, I'm fairly pragmatic when it comes to his Tour wins (and yes, he did win them), but Lance Armstrong is categorically and objectively not a "punk rocker."  I don't care what your definition of punk is--whether it's Discharge or David Byrne or something in between, this guy ain't it.  Come on, even post-Oprah he's as corporate as they come!  If Lance Armstrong is punk rock then what does that make Thom Weisel, Malcom McLaren?


(Cash from chaos.)

Actually, there may be something to that.

Nevertheless, I suppose we should remember that this guy's old band, Rage Against The Machine, did change the world with their politically charged frat rock/rap, assuming your definition of "changed the world" is "got college dudes pumped to get tribal armband tattoos back in the '90s."

Lastly, some town in Colorado is putting bike racks on the ambulances:


The bike-friendly ambulance "is eliminating some of the concerns that our patients had in the past when they were like, 'I'm not going to the hospital if I have to leave my bike here,'" Steve Main, PVH's director of emergency medical services told The Coloradoan.

This is bike-friendly?  Oh, come on!  Yeah, like I'm gonna visit the town with the bike racks on the freaking ambulances.  Clearly the local officials already know where I'm going to wind up.  How far is this town from where Matthew Beaudin was hit, anyway?

Seems to me that riding in a town with bike racks on the ambulances is like eating in a restaurant where they put Imodium on the table as a condiment: nobody's expecting it to end well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

From Blizzard To Snow Job

Well, that didn't happen.

New York City, which was shut down overnight, was spared the worst of a snowstorm that swept across the Northeast early Tuesday and slowly returned to its normal rhythms as travel bans were lifted and transit services gradually restored.

My sympathies to those of you residing in areas that did receive or are currently receiving the full cockwallop of the storm, but here in my woods of the neck it was something of a bust, and it skipped New York City like the march of time has skipped Cleveland.  (It's still 1989 in Cleveland, which has confounded physicists for decades.)  This is ironic given the unprecedented level of storm preparedness, which included shutting down the entire New York City subway system last night for the first time ever in anticipation of a blizzard:

Juno becomes first snowstorm in history to shut down MTA

New York's subways, commuter trains and roads were shut down Monday as an overnight travel ban went into effect, the first time in history that subways have been shut down due to snow, the MTA says.

New Yorkers will debate as to whether or not this was a necessary precaution or gubernatorial exuberance for days to come, especially since the trains ran all night long anyway, just with nobody in them:
See, they have to run the trains anyway to keep the tracks clear.  You just couldn't ride on them.  I believe that's called dramatic irony as opposed to regular irony.

Even more incredibly, they closed the roads to non-emergency motor vehicles!
Ah, now that's what I call "Vision Zero."  If only he could do this every day!  While shutting down a train system that runs largely underground was probably unnecessary in this case, I'd argue that they should close the streets to private motor vehicles and their incompetent operators at the first sign of snow all winter long.  After all, it's the dingbats who take to their cars in snowstorms who block the roads for plows and emergency vehicles--the very emergency vehicles that need to rescue them from their own cars.

It's situations like these that underscore our skewed perception when it comes to danger.  When a storm is bearing down on us (or even possibly bearing down on us) our officials are willing to declare a state of emergency and close the roads to prevent deaths and injuries that might occur.  However, hundreds of people are killed and thousands are injured by drivers every day, yet that's not an emergency.  It's just business as usual.  One death in a snowstorm caused by a driver who lacked the common sense to stay home?  Not acceptable.  Hundreds caused by drivers who fail to yield?  No big whoop.

Oh, they also closed Citi Bike, which should surprise nobody:
And further warned riders to make way for the plows:
Given the shitty weather we had last night you'd think these sorts of warnings would be unnecessary, but I'm sure somewhere out there some schmuck on a Citi Bike decided "Screw that, I'm taking the lane!"

There's a time to take the lane, and there's a time to get the fuck out of it.  A snowstorm is generally an example of the latter.

Finally, even the revived Yehuda Moon comic strip tackled the blizzard with its trademark brand of dry irreverence:


By the way, that's the NSFW version, and the "NS" stands for "Non-Sequitur."

Meanwhile, in other NSFW-ish news, a Twitterer alerted me to this post on Mario Cipollini's Instagram:


Oh, Cipo.  Classy as always.

(I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume there's a bowl of cereal between her thighs, in which case it's technically safe for work.)

Speaking of class, what's classier than caviar?  Nothing, that's what!  (With the possible exception of marble columns, of course.  And I grew up close to the location of the fictional Mike's Marbleopolis, so I know what I'm talking about.)  Well, just when you thought no company could possibly want to invest in the shitshow that is pro cycling, here comes the luxury fish-gutting industry with an infusion of cash:


Actually, I have no idea if this is a cash sponsorship, and maybe they're just paying them in fish eggs.

Expect a "Bicycling" article on the recovery benefits of caviar in time for the spring riding upgrading season.

Somewhat less classy and infinitely more dorky is this "22-foot-long bike-powered 'Star Wars' star destroyer," of which I was informed by a reader, and which can be yours for nothing assuming you live in or near Portland:


Residents of Portland, Oregon are in for a treat, as a custom-made, bicycle-powered, 22-foot-long Imperial I-class Star Destroyer parade float is currently available for free on Craigslist. The Star Wars-themed float fits in a standard road lane and requires four bicyclists to operate it. The current owner gives a stern warning about the seriousness of adopting such a craft.

Here's the text of the actual Craigslist ad:

This is a ~22ft long, ~8foot wide STAR DESTROYER (like the ship from STAR WARS). It is best described as a bike-powered parade float. No bikes are included or attached; instead the craft is held up during flight* by 4 individuals on bikes. The design allows the bikes to move somewhat independently. 

The ship has been ridden and featured in 2 years of the Pedalpalooza "Star Wars vs. Star Trek" bike rides. This is a one-of-a-kind item that we unfortunately do not have the space for anymore. We want this to go to a good home, so we're letting it go for free.

A great deal of engineering effort and money went into this project. The ship itself is a PVC frame, re-enforced in certain areas with electrical conduit. The coverings are grey-painted weather-resistant coroplast. It's roughly 22feet long and roughly 8 feet wide. It fits in a standard lane of traffic--for scale, it is about as wide as a 2015 Ford Super-Duty, and a little longer. ( http://www.ford.com/trucks/superduty/specifications/exterior/ ) The craft is designed to split into 2 sections using convenient screw-joints for easier storage.

If you think your life would be enhanced by owning a 22 FOOT LONG STAR DESTROYER that you and your friends could ride around Portland, please let me know ASAP!

SERIOUS REPLIES ONLY. YOU WILL NEED 4 PEOPLE ON BIKES OR A VERY LARGE TRUCK TO BE ABLE TO MOVE THIS.

*Spaceship is bike powered; it does not actually fly.

It's good to know Portlanders are putting a "great deal of engineering effort and money" into important projects like this.  Admittedly though this does have other applications beyond Pedalpalooza attention-whoring.  For example, it could easily be repurposed as sort of a "Fred stockade" in order to teach Cat 5s how to ride in a pack without crossing wheels.  In fact, in addition to completing 10 mass start races, Cat 5s should have to spend at least 20 hours in the "Fred stockade" before upgrading to Cat 4.

Also--and it hardly warrants mentioning--triathletes should not be allowed to ride within 20 feet of another cyclist at any time on public roads unless they are confined by such a device:


 You can't be too careful.

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm back and I'm twice as paternal now.



Firstly, thank you for indulging my absence as I took a week to get my baby-rearing legs back.  Thanks also for your well-wishings, for those of you who extended them.  Here are answers to some of your questions:

--Regarding genderway, to quote Luca Brasi, the child is a "masculine child;"
--Regarding nameway, after much deliberation we went with Masterlink Derailleur Hanger Pump Peg Rock Machine;
--Regarding the delivery, it was an artisanal birth, complete with kiddie pool in the living room, iTunes playlist consisting of Indian ragas, a Wiccan midwife, a highly-paid doula, a Rabbi who can juggle, and, for reasons I still don't quite understand, a live llama painted with fractals.

It was beautiful.

Oh, also, before I forget, a very special thanks to Riccardo Riccò for the fantastic baby gift:


We'll cherish it always--or at least until the cat punctures it while trying to make love to it.

By the way, I was just about to head out for a ride when I got The Call notifying me that Masterlink's birth was imminent--and when I say "just about" I mean I was stretchy-clothed out and in the process of lifting my bicycle off the storage rack in the basement when my dork-tastic smart watch started vibrating.  Of course, a true Fred would have said, "OK, breathe, just a quick spin, I'll be back in an hour."  However, being the chivalrous sort I abandoned the prospect of a ride, shucked the Lycra speedsuit, loaded up THE CAR THAT THE BANK OWNS UNTIL I FINISH PAYING THEM BACK, and headed down to the hospital.

Only when I was nearly there did I realize I'd forgotten both my wife and my pants.

As for that thwarted ride, it would be nearly a week before my scranus would know the sweet caress of a Brooks, and when it finally did I propped my bike up against an outcrop and took a photograph to commemorate the occasion:


A second later the bike fell over, scratching the crabon fork, which means it's now liable to explode at any moment.

My belated New Year's Resolution is to make my bicycle cycle fleet completely crabon-free by the end of 2015.

Meanwhile, no sooner has the storm of childbirth begun to settle than a new storm has brewed, and as I type this we New Yorkers are about to get slammed by Winter Storm Juno: The Blizzard Of Hades:


With the first flurries starting to fall Monday morning in what officials said was expected to be one of the most powerful blizzards to ever strike New York City, officials warned residents that the storm would gather strength and urged people to get off the roads before evening when winds would pick up and the heaviest snow was expected.

That's gonna seriously cut into my riding time.

That's also the cue for denizens of the northern reaches which suckle off Canada's arctic teat to start getting all smug:



Well, scoff all you want, but it won't be too funny when some poor schmuck freezes to death trying to un-dock a Citi Bike.


And before you even start:



I know you've waited all year to gloat about your stupid fat bike, but that doesn't mean I want to hear about it.

Here's something else I don't want to hear about:


During my absence various people informed me that some football player rode a bike around, but even a cameo from my most favoritest form of wheeled conveyance is not enough to make me care, because I hate football.  Sure, football brings together America's favorite twin obsessions--mass consumerism and helments--but that's precisely why I despise it.  In fact, I despise pretty much every professional sport both foreign and domestic (yes, even curling, mostly because of all the annoying people who like it ironically), and increasingly I'm inclined to include cycling in that list.  As a sports-hating cyclist I've made an exception for pro bike racing for years, but I've finally realized it's a sport no different than any other and I was merely distracted by all the pretty bicycles.

So now that the bicycle's aren't pretty anymore the spell has been broken.

Another race, another plastic bike.

This is not to say that racing plastic bikes can't be inspiring.  For example, here's someone who wants you to give him $3,999 so he can do just that, and in exchange he'll let you look at his ass:


Scoff if you will, but he's already on his way to being a successful amateur racer, since the very essence of bike racing is believing you're doing the world a favor by partaking in it.  Also, his goal to fight addiction is a noble one:

I need to give the world something nice to look at, in doing so make the world a better place. By buying a beautiful bike, I will bike most everywhere in most conditions. I also want to start racing here in Vancouver and my current bike is not an option. Being on parole and fighting addiction I need something positive to keep me occupied. This will do it. If you back me, you are going to help me stay clean and positive as opposed to being a leech on the community. 

However, it is also misguided, since amateur bike racing is itself an addiction, and there is no bigger leech on the community than the roadie.  So if he wants to replace one addiction with another he'd be much better off just chain-smoking cigarettes.  Really, both amateur bike racing and smoking are bad for you in the long run, but at least with smoking he'll still have some time on his hands to do something productive, whereas bike racers are only off the bike just barely long enough to disappoint everyone else around them.

If you have a roadie in your life then you know what I'm talking about.  Roadies aren't even wet blankets; they're depilatory wax the moment you rip it off.

Lastly, remember how some company asked me if I was interested in a drone?


Well, naturally I asked for one with the intention of crashing it immediately and/or harassing triathletes on the Hudson River Greenway.  (Hard to imagine anything more fun than buzzing triathletes with drones!)  Sadly, though, they're not going to send it after all:

Hello Bike Snob NYC,

This is Sabrina of the Hexo+ team. Unfortunately due to logistics reasons, we could no longer be able to offer a testing unit free loan. It would be most grateful if we could still be mentioned on your website. Regardless, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused and we wish you all the best in future.

Oh, sure, I'll still mention you.  In fact, here's an advertising slogan you can use for free:

HEXO+: The Company Confounded By The Logistics of Putting A Crappy Drone In The Mail

You're welcome.