Thursday, July 2, 2015

This Just In: You're On Vacation From Me!



(That's why they're morbidly obese.)

Well Canada Day is behind us but now it's time for the petulant sibling with behavioral issues to demand his own birthday party, only with BIGGER EXPLOSIONS and JUICIER GRILLED MEAT and BIG BIG SAVINGS ON NEW CARS AND TRUCKS!!!


(That's a shitty pun even by car dealership standards.)

Likewise, in the spirit of petulance, I'll be adjourning this blog as of today until Monday, July 13th, at which point I will resume regular updates...just in time for Bastille Day:


(A typical, non-stereotypical Frenchman.)

Good for them.  As for me, I don't give a fuck what people put in their guacamole.  Furthermore I think it's highly disingenuous for either of them to criticize, given that America is the country that now makes burritos out of chili cheese fries:


Pass some legislation against that and then you can start picking peas out of people's guacamole.

(Pro tip: In a pinch, guacamole makes a great chamois cream.)

Incredibly, despite our world-renowned cuisine, a reader informs me that 35% of us would consider leaving Canada's grease trap:


Though most of us don't because we're too lazy:


Note that almost 60% of Americans live here for the same reason you still have the pie plate on your bike: "I dunno, that's just the way it is.  I didn't even realize you could do anything about it."

Note also that 5% of Americans stay here because of something called "weath," which I'm assuming is either "wealth" or "wheat"--and which means it's probably not a coincidence that absolutely nobody cited "educational system" as a reason for staying.

Still, this chart is surprising, because I would have expected it to look more like this:



Americans are as good at math as they are at spealing.

Moreover, fully 55% of "millennials" would split if given the opportunity (or, as we call it in America, "oppertunatee"):

This percentage greatly increases for those age 18 to 34. More than half of millennials, a whopping 55 percent, said that they would consider leaving the U.S. for foreign shores. Among them, 43 percent of men and 38 percent of women noted that a higher salary would be a factor in their relocation decision.

So is this because millennials are fickle and spoiled by life in the Land of the Free, or is it because America's really not all it's cracked up to be?

I suspect the answer to this question is "Yes."

Indeed, sometimes it seems like nobody's happy in America.  Take the Supreme Court's recent decision on marriage equality.  You'd think that in the wake of a landmark civil rights victory only the religious nutjobs would be complaining, but when it comes to relentless dissatisfaction you should never discount bitter single people:


Firstly, this is something of a cultural watershed, for it marks the day the fixed-gear bicycle replaced the cat as the official symbol for "single person:"


Secondly, the writer is upset because he thinks our culture is prejudiced against single people:

Isn’t it enough to be denied the “constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage”? A constellation my coupled queer sisters and brethren now can hold dearly if they just make it official? Once again, being single is the dreary, awful, mournful alternative to marriage. A condition to be pitied, and quickly corrected by a sprint to City Hall.

This is exactly wrong.  Indeed, the only reason nobody talks about the "constellation of benefits" to being single as because it's so completely obvious as to not warrant mentioning.  (Hint: it's called "Doing Whatever The Fuck You Want.")  This is why you get emails like this from your single cycling friends:

"We're heading out around 11am tomorrow to do 6 or 7 hours.  May stop for beers afterwards.  Let us know if you want to join."

Of course they know you can't join, they just do it to taunt you.

Still, he feels that the Supreme Court's decision has only marginalized single people further:

And so old questions remain: Why can’t I put a good friend on my health care plan? Why can’t my neighbor and I file our taxes together so we could save some money, as my parents do? If I failed to make a will, why is it unlikely a dear friend would inherit my estate?

The answers to all these questions are the same: It’s because I’m not having sex with those people. 

Uh, no, that's not the answer.  Sex has absolutely nothing to do with it.  Plenty of married people don't have sex with each other.

Though if all of this was about sex then filing your taxes would sure be a lot more interesting.

And here's his conclusion:

What Justice Kennedy, and everyone else too, needs to remember is that simply being yourself — your single self — is already the fundamental form of dignity. Founding your dignity on something as flimsy and volatile as a sexual connection insures dignity’s precariousness as it enshrines your inherent unworthiness as a single individual.

I'm not even sure what that means.  It sounds like Lennard Zinn explaining aerodynamic gains, which is something I've been ruminating for the past week.  Here's that Zinn passage again, by the way:

Think of time savings as water pouring into a bucket. Sagan, since his power savings are so much higher with the new equipment than yours are, turns the faucet up high, but he pulls the bucket away sooner because he’s done with his 40km sooner; that limits the total water collected in the bucket. Because our power savings would be lower for the same change in equipment, we would have the faucet on a lower flow rate. But since we’re out there longer, our bucket stays under the faucet longer and ends up with a similar amount of water in it as Sagan’s does.

I think what he's saying is that with a Venge-Schmenge we're just as good as Peter Sagan, even if he too has a Venge-Schmenge--which, coincidentally, is exactly what Specialized wants you to believe.

Funny how that works out.

Of course, we all know it's the rider and not the bike, which this action-packed video proves:


The astute viewer will note certain clues that this rider is not a roadie.  First, there's the low saddle height:


Then there's the unusual handlebar position:


But most telling, he's smiling:


No roadie in the history of the velocipede has ever smiled.

Anyway, what's harder than riding down a hill backwards on your front wheel?


Riding down a hill backwards on your front wheel while inviting the world to kiss your scranus:


Alas, if only road bikes could always be this entertaining...  Instead, we get the Tour de France, which is why they're trying to replace all that soporific castle porn with GoPro footage:

"By mounting cameras to the fastest cyclists in the world as they take on the 21-stage race, GoPro will be capturing immersive, never-before-seen content, bringing cycling fans inside the peloton," GoPro said.

Yes, content like this:
And this:

And even this:


I can hardly wait.

And with that this blog is on hiatus starting...NOW!

See you all back here on Monday, July 13th.

Thanks for reading, ride safe, and happy everything,


--Wildcat Rock Machine



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Feels Like a Wednesday.

So the Tour de France starts this Saturday.


I know, who gives a shit, right?

Well, sure, but this year the Tour starts in Utrecht, and so the Dutch are using this as an opportunity to rub our noses in the fact that they live in a cycling paradise:


BIKE - The amazing world of cyclists in Utrecht from BLIK filmcommunicatie on Vimeo.

I enjoyed the video, but the filmmakers overstepped their bounds a bit by offering some cringeworthy editorial notes in their email:

Suggestion for posts:
You can open your post with something like this:
Yes, The Dutch Are Mad, Wheel Mad.
Or more environmentalist:
Why don't we be more like those wheel mad Dutchies

OK, easy there, Maxwell Perkins.  You make the delightful bike movies, I'll take care of the wiseass blogging.

So anyway, why don't we be more like those wheel mad Dutchies, eh?  They are Mad, Wheel Mad!  They are also "diverse"--at least according to the narrator:


"A bizarre twist of nature with a booming diversity."

Diversity?

Where?

From the looks of things Utrecht makes Portland look like Queens.

See, in New York City we have actual diversity.  Here, people from all different ethnic backgrounds live side by side, exchange customs, and ultimately run over one another without fear of reprisal:

(Via Mark)

According to witnesses who spoke with CrownHeights.info and DNAinfo, the driver was backing out of a parking space when he hit Rapp near Balfor Place and Empire Boulevard, then ran over him again in an apparent attempt to free him from under the car. 

Hey, third time's a charm!

You can now add "I was attempting to free the victim" to the list of acceptable reasons to run someone over with your car.  This is like saying, "The first time I shot him was an accident, and the second and third shots were just me trying to dislodge the bullet."

It's like when your ball gets stuck in the tree, so you throw another ball at it and then that ball gets stuck, and so forth.

Hey, it could happen to anybody.

This is why I'm considering applying for asylum in the Netherlands--and I think I have a pretty good shot at it too:

Conditions

You will be eligible for asylum if:

  • You have sound reasons to fear persecution in your country of origin because of your race, religion, nationality, political beliefs or because you belong to a certain social group.
  • You have sound reasons to fear inhumane treatment in your country of origin.
  • You are a family member of someone who now holds an asylum residence permit and you travelled to the Netherlands together with this family member or you have arrived in the Netherlands within 3 months from the date on which this family member was granted asylum.

Persecution because I belong to a certain social group?  You betcha!  As a cyclist I'm well aware that many of my fellow citizens would like to put me inna deeeitch.  I also fear inhumane treatment in my country of origin--in fact, my own state senate recently voted to give bus and taxi drivers the right to run me over!  So how's that for persecution and inhumane treatment?

I'll just keep checking my mail for that Dutch passport, and in the meantime I'm going to go get fitted for some rollerclogs:

Speaking of being a member of a despised social group, here's the town of Southold on the east end of Long Island:


(Long Island: New York's double-pronged wang.)

As per a commenter on yesterday's post, its seems that the Town Supervisor has moved to ban all bicycle-related events from May to October:


As swarms of bicyclists continue to flagrantly disregard the rules of the road, putting motorists and themselves in jeopardy, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell has proposed a ban on all bicycle and race events on town roads during the height of the summer season.

The ban, if approved, would be in place from May 1 to October 1.

This is because Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley says cyclists are the "number one complaint" they receive:

“I don’t know if our roads can support it anymore,” Flatley said. “The number one complaint we get now is about bicyclists on the roads, riding four or five abreast, not following the rules of the road.”

To me, this is less an indication that cyclists are a problem and more that WE NEED TO GIVE THESE PEOPLE MORE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT!  Really, their biggest problem is cyclists riding abreast?  If their existence is this rarefied then banning bike events is not going to work, because they'll only move onto complaining about some other non-problem, and next year Chief Flatley will be besieged with calls about how the local coffee shop has stopped putting out free pickles and cole slaw, or about how it's been unseasonably cold recently.

Moving on to product development news, here's a Kickstarter for something that's actually useful:

 

Specifically, it's a backpack with pockets you can access while riding, and here's a mesmerizing GIF that illustrates the principle:


As a backpack wearer and cyclist I acknowledge the convenience of this feature, so I give the concept a preliminary "thumbs up:"


Good for you.

Lastly, I bet you guys thought I forgot!


And in honor of this auspicious day here's some news via reader Jean-Francois about a brazen Canadian Cipollini heist:



On June 19, a man and woman entered the store at around 2:19 p.m., seemingly to browse. The woman idly wandered around the store, checking out inventory. The man, meanwhile, turned his attention to the high-end Italian Cipollini near the front door. The road bike — white with red and green striping on the frame, and equipped with Campagnolo wheels — was resting on a rack, from which the man then lifted the bike and placed it on the floor. Two minutes later, he opened the front door and pulled the bike out of the shop.

When it comes to pulling out quickly, nothing's faster than a Cipollini.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Virtual Velocipedists and Fredly Fisticuffs

Everybody knows that tomorrow, July 1st, is Canada's birthday:


(Haven't gotten Canada anything yet?  Click here for a great last-minute gift idea!)

But did you know that down here in Canada's noseless saddle we also have a birthday?  That's right, we do!  It's called "The 4th of July," and we generally celebrate it on July 4th:


(America presenting its feathery bird-cock to Lady Liberty.)

Like most Americans, I usually observe the holiday by dousing hamburgers and hot dogs with lighter fluid, setting them ablaze, and catapulting them into the sky.  This year however I figured I should do something different, and so I was excited to receive a promotional email inviting me to cycle America's national parks:


This seemed like it could be truly inspirational, for our national parks are our greatest treasure--or at least I'm assuming that's the case, otherwise Ken Burns wouldn't have bothered to make a documentary about them.  (I haven't actually seen it yet, I've been trying to finish "The Dust Bowl" for the past 14 months.)  Unfortunately, when they say "cycling America's national parks," what they really mean is "watching videos of America's national parks while riding a trainer:"

"From the valleys, to the prairies, to the mountains..." this 9-video pack includes a fantastic lineup of cycling journeys through twisting canyons, over high mountain passes; from below sea level to above the treeline; with the geysers and bison of Yellowstone to the unmistakable profile of the Grand Tetons; rushing rivers, placid alpine lakes; Zion's amazing colors and landscapes; Blue Ridge's smooth, smokey skyline; mammoth Sequoia trees, even bigger red-rock formations and tiny chipmonks; the stark desert beauty of Joshua Tree and more for 40% off the usual price with our July 4th sale! 

That sounds about right.  Our roadways are far too dangerous for cycling, and it's only a matter of time before drilling and droughts have laid waste to the landscape, so we might as well embrace our dystopian future now, cower indoors, and enjoy America the way God, Jesus, and Sam Walton intended: on a big-ass TV screen:


(Not sure what he's doing down there, but at least he's wearing a helme(n)t.)

Plus, why ride for real when you can do it inside while listening to shitty music instead?



I only hope you get to pick an avatar:


Best of all, by riding virtually you can avoid altercations with your fellow cyclists:


Here's the video, which contains language that is "NSFW," such as "FUCK" and "WHAT THE FUCK:"




The altercation took place during the men's pro 1/2 race, the featured event in the Fitchburg Downtown Criterium, just after both men crossed the finish line outside City Hall.

In the video, Warner is seen seated on the ground, his bike beside him. Townsend is standing over Warner, punching him twice in what appears to be the back of the neck as Warner raises his arms to defend himself.

Back of the neck?!?  I sure hope the victim had his helme(n)t on the right way!


("Go ahead, punch me in the back of the neck, I dare you!")

Subsequently, the assailant's contract has been terminated:

Townsend's former team, BikeReg Elite Cycling, released a statement on Facebook on Monday morning in which they announced that Townsend's contract had been terminated.

"BikeReg is aware of the unacceptable actions of one of our sponsored riders at the 2015 Longsjo Classic in Fitchburg, MA.

This is probably a good thing for Townsend, because when you're riding at that level your contract generally says you have to pay your team and not the other way around, so this ought to save him a lot of money.

By the way, the BikeReg.com Elite Cycling Team bills itself as "New England's premier elite amateur cycling program."  So what could this contract possibly have to say that's so important anyway?  "Any rider caught doping will automatically forfeit his 10% discount at Chuck's Bike-O-Rama?"

Please.

In any case, Townsend can always fill those empty slots in his racing schedule with nude modeling:


Is there training involved?

I do not train specifically for modeling. However, I am a professional cyclist as well as a model. I raced in the Downtown Worcester Criterium on June 28 and placed fourth in the Pro Men's race. So, all of my training is done for cycling but yoga, which I use for cross training, lends itself to modeling very well.

Sadly, Townsend's nude modeling contract was terminated after he repeatedly punched a student in the back of the neck for not drawing his penis correctly.

Speaking of nudity, the Portland World Naked Bike Ride recently took place, and please enjoy this somewhat-unsafe-for-work video:



It's worth noting that heme(n)t propaganda has been so effective that people will risk sunburned genitals before they will ride without a plastic hat:


And yes, I was surprised to learn that Portland does in fact see genital-scorching weather:


(Yep, that'll do it.)

Anyway, I haven't seen any reports of men horrifying fellow participants with spontaneous erections, but apparently the ride was full of "douchebags:"



Including so-called "Look At My Dick" Guy:

#1: "LOOK AT MY DICK" Guy

"LOOK AT MY DICK" Guy wants you to look at his dick. He might be completely up-front about his motives or he might be covert. Either way, you better believe "LOOK AT MY DICK" Guy doesn't have any underwear on!

The particular "LOOK AT MY DICK" Guy I rode next too for far too long last night painted a rainbow onto his stomach that led to his dick and yelled "TASTE THE RAINBOW!" He yelled it over and over. He never yelled anything else. He just rode dick-first straight at every group of spectators and yelled the same hilarious line: "TASTE THE RAINBOW!"

Sounds like someone else I know:


Nevertheless, I remain shocked--SHOCKED!--that a ride that resembles a fraternity stunt attracts what sound like current and former fraternity members.

Lastly, Ford wants to sell you you a bike:



Not only does the saddle come pre-tilted:


But the bike is also "modular," which means you can create your own two-wheeled abomination:


"So you can put different pieces on the central core.  You could actually have a mountain bike front end or a road bike front end and sort of change the type of bicycle you have..."

I'm still waiting for the two-wheel drive model.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sorry I'm Late, My Apple Watch Was Set To Venusian Time

So who else rode bikes this weekend?


Rest assured the bike's just on its side because I was too lazy to find something to lean it against while I stopped to relieve myself, and not because I fell over for want of an industry-approved gravel bike.

In addition to riding bikes I went shopping for plastic crap at this really cool and trendy store called "Target," and while I was there I threw a leg over this sweet fat bike:


First I did the "lift test" and was surprised to find it was lighter than I expected--by which I mean it felt like it weighed a hundred pounds instead of the thousand pounds I was anticipating.  Then I rolled it down the aisle and squeezed the brakes.  This felt a lot like calling your cable company about an outage, in that you know you took action on your end but there's no evidence that anything's going to be happening any time soon.  Still, part of me was tempted to purchase the bicycle just to mess around with it, but I'm not exactly made of money (I'm actually made of halva), nor do I have some great big workshop in which to house all this crap--and most of all, I've got 18 or 19 kids now, which means I don't want to squander my precious riding time on department store fat bikes.

Therefore, I figured I'd replicate the experience of riding a Fracture by taking one of my own mountain bikes, disconnecting the brakes, and filling the tires with kitty litter.

By the way, this Fracture should not be confused with the Fracture road bike from Broken Bones Bicycles--though of course you should never ride either without wearing a hjëllment:


I'm surprised the CPSC hasn't made them replace that sticker with one that says: "Warning: There's a 50% Chance The Fork Is On Backwards."

Anyway, after handling the Target fat bike I needed a bit of a palate cleanser, and so today I selected pretty much its exact opposite:


Hopped a train:


And disembarked at an undisclosed station, where I lifted up this satanic manhole cover and disappeared beneath the street:


(If you put your ear to it you'll hear this.)

It's where I get my powers.

In other news, Esteemed Commenter Daddo One informs me that, despite their funny accents, people in the Boston area are just like everybody else in that they don't give a shit about velodromes:

Local officials across the state have fought to host Olympic basketball, volleyball, and sailing. But as Boston 2024 officials have roamed the state putting together their new plan, there is one venue that no one seems to be vying for: the velodrome, a physically huge and enormously expensive indoor bicycling track that hosts one of America’s least popular Olympic sports.

In an Olympic landscape stalked by white elephants, the velodrome just might be the lead pachyderm, skewered by critics as the ultimate symbol of the waste and excess required to host the Games.

Goddamn right!  Remember back in like 2007 when fixies were big and the people we used to call "hipsters" were all whining about how they needed to have velodromes so they could ride their track bikes and show off their knuckle tattoos?  Well, it's a good thing nobody listened to them, because if they had the entire country would now be littered with the shells of unused velodromes, desolate and lying in wait for some natural disaster when they could finally see use as emergency shelters.

At least the stupid NJS track bikes they don't ride anymore aren't getting in anyone else's way.  (With the possible exception of their parents in the suburbs in whose basements they're now being stored.)

I mean come on, we're talking about track racing here!  You'd have better luck getting people behind indoor fly fishing arenas.  Even USA Cycling is like, "Track racing?  Who cares?"

But even velodrome believers admit getting Americans excited about the sport is not easy.

Watching muscular racers on fixed-gear bicycles with no brakes hurtling around steeply banked tracks is popular in Europe. But in the United States, “it’s sort of a marginalized discipline,” said Andy Sparks, director of track programs at USA Cycling. “You say, ‘track cycling,’ and people are not familiar with the concept.”

Way to stand behind one of your core disciplines, USA Cycling.

Of course, one of the problems here is that nobody even knows what the hell a velodrome is:

That is partly because hardly anyone knows what a velodrome is, particularly in New England. There are only 28 of the oval-shaped tracks in the United States and the one closest to Boston is in Breinigsville, Pa., 317 miles away. The only American velodrome that meets Olympic specifications is in Carson, Calif.

This is all cycling's own fault.  Why the hell do we still call them "velodromes?"  It's so 19th century!  If you're going to Yonkers Raceway you don't say "I'm off to the hippodrome to partake in some equestrian sports betting," do you?  Of course not.  You simply get on the free bus shuttle from the subway and sip booze from a bottle concealed in a paper bag.  So why should track racing be any different?

Instead of velodromes they should be calling them "no brakes bike tracks."  Problem solved.

I mean come on, isn't "velodrome" a little highfalutin for something like this?

The last velodrome in New England, a humble asphalt course built on a former go-kart track in Londonderry, N.H., closed in 2011 after struggling to attract cyclists.

Of course it did.

And of course the very worst way to get anybody interested in a velodrome is to insist it's going to benefit amateur bike racers:

Kross and other boosters point out that Boston has a high concentration of competitive cyclists, and harsh winters. A velodrome, they say, would provide a place for these cyclists to train from November to March and draw fans willing to plunk down $15 to watch races.

Come on, everybody hates amateur bike racers.  They're inconsiderate wankers!  Why should we give these people anything?  "Oh, it's snowy in winter, I can't train."  So go skiing!  Arguing that a velodrome will give them a place to train in winter is like like saying they should build a new shopping mall so muggers will have a place to ply their trade in inclement weather.

Anyway, everybody knows the only reason track racing is still even in the Olympics is it's one of the relatively few sports British people are good at.

Speaking of amateur bike racing, I continue to be fascinated with the media hype over the new Specialized Venge-Schmenge.  Last week's CyclingNews review was amusing enough, but now that Lennard Zinn's weighing in with his own it's like Eddie Van Halen blowing a high school band recital off the stage with a blistering solo:


Think of time savings as water pouring into a bucket. Sagan, since his power savings are so much higher with the new equipment than yours are, turns the faucet up high, but he pulls the bucket away sooner because he’s done with his 40km sooner; that limits the total water collected in the bucket. Because our power savings would be lower for the same change in equipment, we would have the faucet on a lower flow rate. But since we’re out there longer, our bucket stays under the faucet longer and ends up with a similar amount of water in it as Sagan’s does.

Uh, what?

Actually, I guess it's less like Eddie Van Halen and more like Bill Nye after he's just taken a huge bong hit.

Of course, the best part is that in order to reap the maximum benefit you've got to use all of this stuff together, right down to the shoes:

Specialized has come up with a time savings number for each individual piece of equipment, adding up to over five minutes of total predicted time savings.

Well done, Specialized, well done.

After all, it only takes one incorrectly-worn helme(n)t to erase all those hard-won gains:


That thing's just a few inches away from being a scarf.