Friday, December 2, 2016

The Speed of Sound

Now that bicycle frames are available in every conceivable configuration and material from boron to bamboo (you can get both from the same company by the way), the bicycle industry is finally admitting that it's mostly just tire volume and pressure that's informing your bicycle's ride quality and performance, which is why the roadies are allowed to use wider tires now:

See, they couldn't have told you that before, because if people knew then what they know now then nobody in their right mind would buy a carbon fiber bicycle.  They'd have simply kept what they had and bought some Paselas:

(28mm Pasela: the only road bike tire you need.)

Of course now they're telling you that you also need new wheels for your new wider tires, and of course disc brakes to stop them with, but that's a whole other story.

But there is another crucial factor that determines how your bike rides.  No, it's not your frame's elastic modulus or resonant frequency or cognitive dissonance or anything like that.  It's a far more profound quality called "acoustics:"

So how do your bicycle's acoustics affect its ride quality?  Well, they don't.  But you think they do, and that's what matters.  Consider, for example, that chain ejaculator we looked at yesterday:

This device keeps your chain in a constant state of moderate moistness, just like a Matthew McConaughey movie.  In so doing, it claims to increase your power transmission by 12 watts--which is a load of utter crap, as drivetrain efficiency is mostly a function of sprocket size and chain tension:

The researchers found two factors that seemed to affect the bicycle chain drive's efficiency. Surprisingly, lubrication was not one of them.

"The first factor was sprocket size," Spicer says. "The larger the sprocket, the higher the efficiency we recorded." The sprocket is the circular plate whose teeth catch the chain links and move them along. Between the front and rear sprockets, the chain links line up straight. But when the links reach the sprocket, they bend slightly as they curl around the gear. "When the sprocket is larger, the links bend at a smaller angle," Spicer explains. "There's less frictional work, and as a result, less energy is lost."

The second factor that affected efficiency was tension in the chain. The higher the chain tension, Spicer says, the higher the efficiency score. "This is actually not in the direction you'd expect, based simply on friction," he says. "It's not clear to us at this time why this occurs."

But try telling your ears that.  When your chain is thirsty for lube it makes pedaling your bike sound like you're raising a medieval drawbridge, which in turn makes your bike feel slower, even if it's really not.  So it makes perfect sense that a clueless Fred with a £250 chain-slathering device is going to mistake his bicycle's sudden silence for 12 more watts of pure, unadulterated speed.  (Until the thing malfunctions, dumps a bunch of chain lube onto the rear tire's contact patch, and causes him to crash--and I'm saying "him" because only a man would be dumb enough to buy one of these gadgets.)

The same thing goes for bottom bracket stiffness.  For years the bicycle industry has been telling us that your spindly, diminutive bottom brackets are robbing you of precious watts.  Consequently bottom bracket shells have gotten bigger and bigger, to the point where they're now just gaping holes that you have to stuff full of various adapters:

Do you really thing a giant sandwich of crush washers and spacers and seals and shims and washers and plastic sleeves and whatever else they stuff in there is somehow more efficient than the square taper cartridge bottom brackets of yesteryear?

Of course not.

The way your bottom bracket sounds, though, is hugely important.  For example, recently the generic stock bottom bracket on my Marin Pine Mountain 1 started making noise on the climbs, so I replaced it with one of those boringly solid Shimano Hollowtech II ones that last roughly forever:

Can you possibly discern bottom bracket stiffness or frame flex through two big fat 27.5+ tires at extremely low #whatpressureyourunning?  No.  Did swapping one pair of thread-in bearings for another make any appreciable difference apart from silencing the bike?  No.  But I can assure you that with a quiet bottom bracket I suddenly felt like I was rocketing up the same climbs upon which I had once struggled, and that I was riding a totally different bicycle, one that was somehow newer and better and maybe even lighter.  (A quiet bottom bracket is a powerful thing.)

Of course, the irony is that those new giant bottom bracket shells are more likely to creak, but it's a worthwhile trade-off because they also allow bike manufacturers to use gigantic crabon tubes, and that's where the real acoustic benefits come into play:

See, nothing sounds faster on a bicycle than a big hollow plastic tube.  It amplifies everything: the click of the shifter, the thrum of the road surface, the gun-cocking sound of your chain dropping into a smaller cog...  A plastic bike with giant tubes rolling on those whooshy plastic wheels sounds as tight and lively as a snare drum--and if you add the weaponized whirr of a loud freehub and the servo sound of an electronic shifting group then Fred's spank-bank doth overflow:

BikeHugger really oughta be careful because he's gonna go blind:

And of course gravel opens up a whole new exciting world of acoustical possibility:

Ah, so soothing...  It's like listening to a gentle spring rain fall on your windowsill while you're frying bacon in a skillet.  Sure, you can ride pretty much any bike on gravel, but you can expect tomorrow's dedicated gravel bikes to be 100% acoustically optimized to amplify that wonderful sound and keep you in a state of bacon-y bliss.

So to recap, I'd estimate that (assuming correct fit and geometry of course) bicycle performance breaks down thusly:

Tire Pressure/Volume/Etc.--50%
Miscellaneous (wheels, frame materials, ergonomics, blah blah blah):--10%

*[For purposes of this analysis "aesthetics" also includes weight, since the only time it means anything is when some Fred lifts your bike at the coffee shop.]

In other equipment news, I guarantee you that Freds are going to be wearing self-lacing cycling shoes within the next two years:

Yep, you can add "lace tension" to the array of electronic systems riders will have monitor while on the bike, right alongside wattage output and shifter battery life and dropper post position and suspension setting and chain lube flow rate.  Come on, a drop-bar mounted "sprint" remote that increases lace tension by 2.5Nm increments?  The gimmicks practically invent themselves!

Though if self-lacing comes to Brooks then we'll really be in trouble:

(Pic from Lovely Bicycle)

I hear remote saddle lace tension adjustment will be an option on the new electronic shifting group from Rivendell:

(Rivendell's new bar end-mounted electronic shifter.)

Can't wait!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

This Post Is Self-Lubricating

First of all, we haven't discussed this:
No hands?  No helmet?  On an old mountain bike with cantis and thumb shifters?

Not only is Kenny okay in my book, but he's about a thousand times cooler than Russell Crowe:

I guess when you're from the Antipodes it's hard to shake off the shackles of bike-dorkdom.

Moving on, after two days of heavy rain the sun is shining upon us once again:

Though as I headed out this morning I was dismayed to discover that my chain was a bit noisy.  Oh sure, I'd lubed it after my rainy ride on Tuesday, but evidently it could have used another slathering.

Clearly I need one of these:
Yes, it's the automatic chain lubricator of your wettest, most Fredliest dreams:

Always forgetting to oil your chain before or after a ride? Take away the hassle with the Flaer Revo Via, an automatic lube dispensing system that oils your chain as you’re riding along and is claimed by the company to “significantly increase the power transmitted through the drivetrain to the rear wheel” by a heady 12 watts. 

Heady indeed--assuming "heady" means "fictional," since a study revealed that chain lube has little effect on bicycle drivetrain efficiency.  (The study is even cited in the story about the chain lube device.)

So really, the worst thing about forgetting to lube your chain is that you might have to hear sounds from it until you can scrounge some White Lightning from a bike shop (they love when you do that I'm sure) or surreptitiously rub your chain on Mario Cipollini's unctuous limbs:

Yes, by rolling your bike past Cipo and allowing your drivetrain to graze his glistening calves you can keep your chain noise-free for up to a year--for free!

Nevertheless, according to the company that makes the auto-squirt, they know it works because they've conducted "extensive testing:"

The company tells us it purchased a Chain Efficiency Tester that is apparently one of only three in the world and with this, it conducted its own extensive testing.

“It is impossible to achieve a 100% efficiency through a drive train, there will always be a discrepancy between what you put in at the cranks and what you get out at the rear hub,” says Flaer’s Andy Parker. “However, what we are able to do is keep these losses to a bare minimum, approx. 5 watts. This is where any chain that has been appropriately lubricated would be at the beginning of a ride. Where the Revo Via provides a performance advantage is, it can keep you at this 5 watt level for the duration of your ride.”

Hmmm, let's see: a special device that totally and conveniently validates their absurd claims?  Isn't that basically the idea behind an E-meter?

Indeed, the gap between Fred-dom and Scientology is rapidly closing, and at this point I'm not sure there's much difference between a custom-tailored training program and an auditing course.

And if special rare devices aren't enough to convince you that you need a chain lubing device on your bike, there's also this chart:

You're probably one of those poor schmucks using "other lubricants," and applying them at home instead of while in motion.  Silly you.  See how low you are on the chart?  Don't you want to be all the way up at the red line where the Revo Auto-Sploodge 2000 is?  Come on, get with the program already!  Plus, it doesn't sound like something that would be a pain in the ass at all:

The Revo Via comprises a small control module and fluid reservoir that can be attached to the down tube of the bike, and a short hose then runs along the chainstay to the dispensing unit which is attached to the rear mech. The whole setup adds 121g before you add any fluid, with a maximum of 27ml of fluid in the system. Refill intervals range from 7.5 to 37.5-hours depending on the frequency, and this will depend on the riding conditions. The system is powered by a battery and run time is 150 hours. 

Best of all, it only costs a mere £250 to catheterize your bicycle, though I suppose now's the time to buy one given the favorable post-Brexit vote exchange rate.

Though I'll probably wait for the gravel version:

In other news, if you've got any money left over after purchasing your Ejac-U-Tron 9000 make sure to help fund the USA Grand Tour, since they've only got another month to raise $1.3 million:
Clearly they've really thought this thing through:

The USA Grand Tour will be a race like the Tour De France, The Giro D'Italia and the Vuelta Espagna. Each of these 21 day stage races, or Grand Tours, is designed to showcase the country in which they are held, the products which sponsor the race, and to push the 198 or so riders to their very limits. The enormity of the race logistics and the secondary nature of bicycle racing here in America has made such an undertaking unthinkable. ..until now.

We've entered a new era where the growth of cycling participation and spectating in America is exploding! As a result of that growth it's time America stands up on the world stage and demonstrates how WE do a Grand Tour!

No it isn't.

And the video's not helping:

"Professional bicycle racing means many things to many people: Incredible speed that you can reach out and touch..."

Yeah, please don't reach out and touch the speed, it makes them crash.

"...and sensational triumphs:"

I'm not sure that's the photo I'd use to accompany the phrase "sensational triumphs."  Chris Horner's biological passport smells fishier than the Dumpster behind a Long John Silver's.

Bike fighting, on the other hand, could very well be the sport America needs NOW, and a commenter on yesterday's post was kind enough to share this article about on-the-bike self-defense:

This studio is the only one in the world with a defense program catered specifically to cyclists. The Krav Maga For Cyclists workshop, a three-hour hands-on tutorial on principles and special techniques, was a response to a rash of attacks against bikers in the city throughout the early 2000s.

Yes, your bicycle can be a weapon, as many triathletes know all too well:

Bike Attack

In most situations, the bike is your friend, you should not leave that friend behind unless absolutely necessary (more on that below). In addition to being a partial shield when you’re off the bike and a trusty escape vehicle, it can also be a weapon.

If your attacker(s) is (are) in front of you, you can pull the bike onto the rear wheel so that your front wheel is in the air with your hands still on the handlebars. Engage the rear brake (right hand), to keep the bike firmly planted. Thrust your arms out, using the front wheel to jab at your assailants.

With the rear wheel planted, you can swivel the bike, keeping it between you and the attackers. As soon as you have an opening, drop the front wheel, run forward and re-mount the bike.

Question: when you're pummeling your opponent in the face with your front wheel, what pressure should you be running?

Also, you may be forced to throw your bike to the wolves, turn tail, and flee for your life:

When To Ditch The Bike

In almost every scenario when you are confronted by a single attacker, keep your bike. But if there are multiple assailants from coming from different angles, let go of the bike and focus on protecting yourself. The bike may be the most valuable item on your person, so surrendering it may “buy” you a way out. Nothing is more precious than your life.

Nothing is more precious than your life?  Really?  Clearly the author has never ridden a CUSTOM RODE BIEK:

As far as I'm concerned Larry Olmsted remains the greatest cycling writer of all time.

Anyway, I enjoyed the bike-fighting article, but I could have done with an in-depth analysis of what the best frame material is for a weaponized bike.  Do you want the lateral stiffness and vertical compliance of crabon?  The supple reliability of steel?  Or the pleasant springiness of titanium?

Though in the right hands even high-tensile steel can yield high performance:

Lastly, here's a tragic instance of life imitating Super Mario Bros.:

Investigators found no evidence that another vehicle was involved. An autopsy showed that Kervin's head trauma was consistent with falling off his bicycle.

The turtle survived the crash with a small crack in the bottom of its shell. It crawled away with minor injuries.

No mention of whether the victim was wearing a helmet, but they do point out the turtle was wearing a shell.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Wednesday by Any Other Name Would be a Tuesday, or Possibly a Thursday

Well, it's gift guide season, and the latest book by Jørs Trüli has made Portland's River City Cycles 2016 Gift Guide:

It's the perfect stocking stuffer, as is a tub of chamois cream:

Indeed, my words and this chamois cream have a lot in common: they're buttery smooth, they're soothing when applied to the scranus, and they've both been tested on animals*.

*[Just kidding, as far as I know Assos chamois cream is not tested on animals, though I did test my book on animals by reading it to the cat**.]

**[The cat coughed up a hairball at around page 96.]

Not only that, but River City also mentioned my book in the Willamette Week:

I've got to admit I'm pretty intrigued by that beehive and am thinking it could make a great Festivus gift for the kiddies.  Beekeeping seems like a wholesome hobby and I see no reason why I shouldn't set up a hive in their bedroom.  In fact I visited the maker's website and they even offer a complete starter kit:

Though I'm sure rocking this will mark you as a total Bee Fred.

Speaking of lit-ritch-ur, today is Mark Twain's birthday:

(Mark Twain was just a pen name, his real name was Mark Goldfarb)

And to mark the occasion I highly recommend reading his account of learning to ride a bicycle, which is the source of this oft-used quote:

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.

Not only is it highly entertaining, but he describes the sensation of riding a bike better than anybody else has since, and this was only 1884:

The bicycle had what is called the "wabbles," and had them very badly. In order to keep my position, a good many things were required of me, and in every instance the thing required was against nature. That is to say, that whatever the needed thing might be, my nature, habit, and breeding moved me to attempt it in one way, while some immutable and unsuspected law of physics required that it be done in just the other way. I perceived by this how radically and grotesquely wrong had been the life-long education of my body and members. They were steeped in ignorance; they knew nothing--nothing which it could profit them to know. For instance, if I found myself falling to the right, I put the tiller hard down the other way, by a quite natural impulse, and so violated a law, and kept on going down. The law required the opposite thing--the big wheel must be turned in the direction in which you are falling. It is hard to believe this, when you are told it. And not merely hard to believe it, but impossible; it is opposed to all your notions. And it is just as hard to do it, after you do come to believe it. Believing it, and knowing by the most convincing proof that it is true, does not help it: you can't any more DO it than you could before; you can neither force nor persuade yourself to do it at first. The intellect has to come to the front, now. It has to teach the limbs to discard their old education and adopt the new.

Now cycling writing is just bike reviewers telling you a $10,000 plastic Fred Sled "goes where you point it."

Indeed, you could argue that the refinement of the bicycle is the very enemy of art.  Consider, for example, that if Twain had had access to a modern-day gravel bike this passage might never had been written:

Stones were a bother to me. Even the smallest ones gave me a panic when I went over them. I could hit any kind of a stone, no matter how small, if I tried to miss it; and of course at first I couldn't help trying to do that. It is but natural. It is part of the ass that is put in us all, for some inscrutable reason.

Instead he'd have bored us with some crap about how the Cannondale Slate ($4,260 with Force group) is equally at home on the tarmac and the trail and gives you the confidence to rail those corners like a monkey in a mining cart.

And would his spills have been half as entertaining if he'd had the false sense of security you get from wearing a helmet?

Though I suppose this is the 19th century equivalent of getting heckled for not wearing one:

He was full of interest and comment. The first time I failed and went down he said that if he was me he would dress up in pillows, that's what he would do.

"The victim was not dressed up in pillows," the newspapers would say.

Oh sure, the safety bike was a welcome innovation, and without pneumatic tires we wouldn't be able to obsess over #whatpressureyourunning, but it should be clear to everybody now that bike innovation topped out years ago and now they're simply grasping at windmills and tilting at straws.  For example, does anybody really need magnet pedals?

Apart from mountain unicyclists, of course:

Note how all-terrain unicyclists flail their arms like they're being attacked by a swarm of invisible bees.

Still, I wouldn't try these in New York City, if only because the streets are littered with bits of metal and your pedals would look like this in short order:

Also, they already ran a Kickstarter like two years ago that didn't get funded.

In other news, a reader forwarded a groundbreaking study with a shocking conclusion:

Yes, believe it or not, when you add bike lanes and stuff cycling becomes safer:

The odds of cyclists being injured in an accident in Boston have decreased significantly in recent years as the city has made a slew of changes to promote bike riding and improve safety, a new study from Harvard University researchers has found.

The study, published in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health, found that there was a 14 percent reduction in the odds of being injured in a cycling accident for each year from 2009 through 2012.

And when you add more cyclists then cycling becomes safer still:

“There is a concept of safety in numbers that several studies have evaluated and we touched upon briefly,” said Pedroso. “The concept is based on the fact that with increased number of bicycle riders there is increased cyclist awareness by vehicles. This improved awareness results in reductions in vehicle-cyclist accidents.”

If you didn't know better you'd think that adding bike lanes and encouraging people to ride is more effective than making people wear helmets.

And here's a frustrating fact:

■ The odds of injury in accidents involving car doors are 225 percent higher than other types of accidents. “This is an interesting finding because it shows that if we expanded on strategies that separated bicycles from cars that we may have a significant impact on overall injuries,” Pedroso said.

Yes, of all the crap we deal with out there on the roads, we're most likely to be taken out by some asshole who can't be bothered to check before flinging open their fucking car door.

Drivers are so lazy they don't even put any effort into hitting you.

Lastly, on the subject of safety, race organizers are taking bold new steps to keep riders from getting hit by race vehicles:

During the General Assembly of the International Association of Cycling Race Organizers (AIOCC), the three groups decided to decrease team rosters from nine to eight in the Grand Tours and from eight to seven in their other events. This new policy will go into effect for the 2017 season.

"This decision responds to two-pronged objective: The first being to improve the safety conditions for the riders with a smaller peloton on roads equipped with more and more street furniture," read a statement released Friday by the ASO.

Wait, the road are crowded so they're going to reduce the number of bike racers instead of the number of race vehicles?  Aren't the bike racers why people follow the sport in the first place?  Isn't this like "improving" Lucky Charms by reducing the marshmallow count to three per box?

I guess we can look forward to an all-ITT format for the Tour de France by 2025.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I Could Have Titled This Post, But Then It Would Have Been Even Later

When you've got seventeen (17) children and a semi-professional blogging empire to run you take your chances to ride when you get them.  What you don't do is hem and haw just because it's going to be raining for the next two days.  You grab a bike with fenders and get out there while you can, precipitation be damned, which is what I did this morning:

And yes, I do realize that my bulging rear fender line is disgraceful, and that I should remedy the situation by trimming those struts and putting a spacer between the fender and the chainstay bridge immediately:

However, I can promise you I'll never do that, because with so little riding time the last thing I'm gonna do is waste any of it prettying up my goddamn fenders.

They deflect the water and they don't rub so for the time being that's good enough for me.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable ride and I visited some of my favorite hidden climbs of the lower Hudson Valley (you can order my guide to these climbs for only $2.99 by clicking here), though by the end of it I was a bit waterlogged:

But while I may be wet and wobbly-fendered at least I have my integrity, unlike a certain Mario Paz Duque, who apparently doped his way to a 38th place at the Red Hook Crit Milano:

Paz Duque, who finished 38th, is now disqualified from the Milano No.7 results and receives a lifetime ban from the RHC and all Trimble Racing events.

As far as I know this is the first positive drug test from the Red Hook Crit, though it's been pretty obvious for awhile now that the new breed of fixie-crit bro is almost certainly doped to the gills:

I wonder if they'll flag his Strava account:

Of course, in an age when even 45 year-old Fondo Freds get caught doping none of this is particularly surprising, though that didn't stop VeloNews from gloating about it:

(Yeah, saying "Jumped the shark" jumped the shark sometime in the last decade.)

Which is suprising, because people in Colorado have such a laid-back approach to riding bicycles.

I mean sure, of course I think it's hilarious that someone got caught doping at the Red Hook Crit, but I'm not sure VeloNews gets to laugh at it.  After all, the magazine owes its entire existence to performance-enhancing drugs.  It's like a porn film company laughing at a model for having breast implants.

Because Jim Ochowicz totally hasn't jumped the shark:

Speaking of porn, I recently received a press release with the following subject line:

The Sexiest Cycling Bottle in History

And here it is:

Arrive L allows easier and intuitive entry and exit from cages, and pockets. Compared to standard bottles, it slides in and out with less resistance, and easily at severe angles, thanks to tapered ends. It also has a high flow rate, self-sealing silicone valve, and 710ml / 24 oz capacity.

Holy crap, is this a water bottle or a double-ended dildo?

Finally, a bottle that isn’t just a product of engineering. Visual balance and a streamlined shape captures the essence of cycling. The clean façade lacks graphics to scratch, and allows a neutral presentation. The high-gloss cap is available in nine colors, with a smoke black, semi-transparent body.

They should do very well with this whole no-graphics concept, because cycling teams, bike shops, and other organizations who order bottles in large quantities to promote themselves certainly wouldn't want any graphics on them.

“Cycling bottles haven’t fundamentally changed in decades. We’ve been stuck with brute cylindrical shapes, bad graphic design, and basic functionality ” said Yujin Kawase, Founder and CEO of ABLOC.

Thank you, Yujin Kawase, for liberating us from the bottle shape.  You should move onto the wine industry next, the bottle shape has been a huge problem for them as well.

Speaking of things nobody asked for, that paper helmet has made the New York Times:

As bike-share programs have proliferated in cities around the world, a clear point of friction has emerged for bicycle commuters: How do they protect their fragile skulls?

Really?  Has this been an actual problem?  They protect their fragile skulls the same when they do when they're walking or riding the subway or taking the bus: by doing their best not to fall on them.  Reminds me of that Mr. Burns quote: “Ever since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun."  Forget liberating us from bottle shapes; please liberate us from the bullshit idea that people need or want helmets to ride Citi Bikes three blocks at a time.

Many are unwilling to share helmets with strangers, because of germs and stuff. And carrying a helmet at all times can be a burden.

Lice.  They're called lice.

Luckily, a selection of foldable helmets has emerged to help solve the problem. This month, one such product, the EcoHelmet, won the 2016 James Dyson award, named for the British designer best known for making high-tech vacuum cleaners.

The helmet’s inventor, Isis Shiffer, will receive $45,000 to further develop the cheap, recyclable product, which is made from cardstock paper.

I gotta hand it to her, nothing gets people to open up their wallets like a good helmet gimmick.

Monday, November 28, 2016

I'm Now All Out of Thanks, and I Had No F*cks to Give in the First Place.

Well, it's the 21st century holiday known as Cyber Monday:

And obviously you should look no further than the right-hand margin of this blog for all your online holiday shopping needs.  Seriously, what can't you buy from my generous sponsors?  Bikes, coffee, tool rolls...even humorous how-to manuals informed entirely by this blogger's own highly subjective precepts!  I dare say you could go from layperson to jaded cyclist who's totally over it in a matter of days simply by ordering your way down my ads.

It's like 20 years of cycling experience distilled in like a dozen banners.

Oh, and if you're looking for Cyber Monday discount codes from all my generous sponsors, you can find them here.

Speaking of being totally over it, Malcolm McLaren's son burned a bunch of pants on a boat or something:

The items set on fire included a pair of bondage trousers that had been tailor-made for Mr. Corré as a child; rare posters; live punk recordings; and pants that had belonged to John Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, the lead singer of the Sex Pistols, according to a news release sent by a publicist for Mr. Corré.

This was apparently to protest the fact that punk has become a marketing tool:

“Punk has become another marketing tool to sell you something you don’t need,” Mr. Corré said to a crowd of dozens gathered on the shore in London’s Chelsea district, as flames licked at a trunk of punk paraphernalia and fireworks shot from the boat into the late afternoon sky. “If you want to understand the potent values of punk, confront taboos. Do not tolerate hypocrisy. Investigate the truth for yourself.”

This bold statement comes at least 39 years too late and would have been trite even then, so who better to make it than the son of the person who conceived of the punk style as a marketing tool in the first place?  If you really think about it, punk is basically an entire musical genre based on complaining about its own inherent marketability.  It's just people in riveting wardrobes singing songs with irresistible pop hooks and then getting mad when people like them, which is the perfect formula for success.  Indeed, as every lovelorn soul out there knows, it's this very seduce-and-rebuff cycle that perpetuates the entire human species.  So the pants burning seems lame even by marketing standards.

Nevertheless, I fully intend to burn a bunch of fixies on a barge in the East River in 2047, so mark your calendars.

(I wonder if he ever got brakes, and if so did he modify the tattoo?)

In other fashion news, Eurodouche coglomerate LVMH is sniffing Rapha's chamois for potential purchase:

Helped by the boom in road cycling over the past decade or so in the UK and elsewhere – the US, Australia and Japan are all significant markets for Rapha – the company achieved turnover of £48.8 million in the year to 31 January 2016, with pre-tax profit of £.1 million.

The Mail on Sunday says that while a source confirmed the two parties were in talks, neither LVMH nor Rapha would comment.

Paris-based LVMH, owner of brands including Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon, Marc Jacobs, Dior, TAG Heuer and Bulgari, is known to be keen to build its presence in the sports and leisure sectors.

And let the record reflect I totally called this after it was reported LVMH was kicking Pinarello's tires awhile back:

I commend them on their choice, as Pinarello will make a fine addition to their exquisite portfolio of Eurodouchery.  After this the next acquisition is going to be either Assos or Rapha, and by this time next year you can expect them to offer an $8,000 leather Louis Vuitton pool noodle.

So to recap:

1) The nexus of professional Fred cycling is shifting to the Persian Gulf:

2) Used to be the last thing you saw before getting doored on the Upper East Side was a Vuitton bag emerging from a town car; now they're going to be making both your plastic bike and your bib shorts:

3) President of Trek Bicycle John Burke may already be positioning himself to succeed former stage race organizer Donald Trump as President of the United States:

Given this it's abundantly clear to me that not only is road cycling being wholly appropriated by the word's ultra-rich and well on its way to becoming the new horse polo, but it's also probably somehow going to figure into the nuclear apocalypse that is certain to put an end to life as we know it sometime during the next administration--though if somehow we make it through a Trump presidency unscathed then President Burke has the solution to nuclear security going forward, so we'll all be able to breathe easy again:

Reduce the risk of nuclear war. This one scares the hell out of me, especially with you in charge. We have over 2,000 missiles on active duty. We don’t need 2,000 missiles on active duty. There is a great op-ed published in the May 23, 2010 edition of the New York Times  written by civilian employees of the US Air Force, Gary Schaub Jr. and James Forsyth Jr., in which they adeptly calculate “that the country could address its national defense and military concerns with only 311 strategic nuclear weapons.”This move would reduce our chances of accidentally causing a nuclear war by over 93.91%, and significantly reduce our costs. Remember we have a debt of $19 trillion.

Yes, why have 2,000 nukes when you only need 311?  That's why President Burke will be introducing the Domane ICBM.  Billed as a "quiver killer" that will reduce the size of your stable while still maintaining mutually assured destruction, it's equally at home menacing nearby neighbors and far-flung republics alike thanks to its Classics-proven IsoSpeed decoupler:


Domane with IsoSpeed has it all: Blistering speed. Devastating power, even on the punishing pavé of Kim Il-sung Square. Don’t endure. Conquer.

Powering over centuries-old empires, vaporizing upstarts, descending from the sky to rain death upon our enemies. That's how America refrains from firing its Domane in the name of maintaining a precarious détente. How will you refrain from firing yours?

It even has an integrated chain keeper for some reason.

Yes, with a mere 311 cutting-edge "gravel nukes" hand-crafted in Waterloo, WI* and Jens Voigt as Secretary of State, America will regain the global respect we're sure to lose during the next four years:

*Project One missiles only


Hey, John Burke vs. Mike Sinyard with Grant Petersen running as a third-party candidate?  Stranger things have happened.  In fact all of them happened during this most recent election.

Lastly, I was perambulating through Central Park over the Thanksgiving break when I encountered this rider braving the forbidding (and forbidden, no bikes allowed) bridle path on a fat bike:

Might be time to launch the fat bike-burning party barge.