Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hiatus Interruptus #1

Remember how yesterday when I announced my end-of-summer break I said I'd let you know if another media outlet published some of my genius?

Well another media outlet has published some of my genius:


I must say I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

When the hell is this city gonna make me the Bike Czar already?!?

Also, while I'm here, in today's Bike Forecast I mentioned this story:

But what I didn't mention was this:

In 2015, he tweeted: “The time when you first take your brakes off and feeling like you’re in a lucasbrunelle movie,” in apparent reference to an American bike stunt film-maker.

Oy.

This of course inspired me to head over to Brunelle's Twitter to see what he's been up to.  And what has he been up to?  Making videos of himself messing with people who (justifiably, I'm quite sure) don't want to ride with him:
Remember the kid who tackled everybody too hard when you were playing ball, and when you finally told him you didn't want him playing with you anymore he took the ball and threw it over the fence?

That kid grew up to be Lucas Brunelle.

Anyway, now back to our regularly-scheduled hiatus!

I love you,


--Wildcat Rock Machine



Monday, August 14, 2017

This Just In: End-Of-Summer High-Ate-Us!

I am an extremely humble individual.

At the same time, it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I'm not the world's greatest living cycling writer.


Yeah, relax there, Sammy, I said living writer.


And yes, I do consider Mark Twain a cycling writer, since he wrote probably the most entertaining essay ever written on the subject before the safety bicycle was even invented.

Alas, if only he'd had access to lifesaving bicycle helmet technology he might still be alive today:


Just kidding!  I really shouldn't joke about that stuff, because last time I made an obviously false statement about a literary figure the Paris Review picked it up and ran with it:


Fake news indeed.

So where am I going with all this?  Well, all of this is an extremely long-winded way for me to tell you that after today I'll be signing off of this blog [with some important exceptions]* until...September 5th, 2017:


(What I'm assuming things will look like by then.)

See, after ten (10) whole years of blogging I've officially reached the point where I can take a great big selfish end-of-summer hiatus.  Plus, as the world's greatest living cycling writer I need longer-than-usual breaks in order to nurture and cultivate my genius.  You know how giant animals have longer gestation periods?  It's the same when you possess the massive intellect and bottomless spiritual profundity that I do.

Also, now that I'm on Strava I need to devote more time to data analysis:


(Strava is going to destroy my life, I see that now.)

Then there's the family stuff:


(Some other family, not mine.  They look like vacuous people who contribute nothing.)

I'd like to spend more time with them before the summer's up, even if the feeling's not entirely mutual.

Hey, when they get tired of me there's always Strava.

So what about those exceptions I referred to earlier?  Well, here they are:

*Hiatus Exceptions

1) The Bike Forecast: I'll still be updating that daily through the end of this week;

2) Outside: My acclaimed column will continue to take the world by storm on a weekly basis during my absence, so I'll be sure to duck in here whenever they put up a new one;

3) Miscellaneous: If any other media outlet publishes some of my genius while I'm gone I'll pop in and flog that as well.  (Or, if they publish someone else's idiocy and I'm sufficiently inflamed I might come here to vent about it.)

Then there's always Twitter, a medium in which I am delightfully pithy and frothily provocative.

As you can see, winding down my vast media empire for a simple end-of-summer recess is like stopping a freight train...or a brakeless fixie, depending on which cliché you prefer.

Speaking of my extracurricular writings, I do recommend you check out today's Bike Forecast update as it pertains to a New York Times op-ed I found rather troubling:


Also, regarding my latest for Outside:


It generated the usual enthusiasm on their Facebook page:


Sarah Bell Eben Weiss perhaps you are the problem. As both a cyclist and runner I use the pedestrian paths in Colorado extensively. For both safety and courtesy I say "on your left" and appreciate anyone who does the same. You seem really uptight. Maybe you should try getting some exercise.

Colorado, huh?

Yeah, sounds about right.

And with that, I bid you a-doo.  Thank you very much for indulging me during this lengthy but necessary leave-taking, enjoy the rest of August, and may all your rides be transcendent, or at the very least free from flats.

Thank you also for reading the words I type into this magical box, I remain eternally grateful.

Yours sincerely,

And so forth,

Etc, and so on,



--Wildcat Rock Machine, Fredsquire





Friday, August 11, 2017

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

***UPDATE***



Braise the lard and holy luau!

My latest Outside column (or "Oootside" if you're Canadian) should materialize on the world wide whatever-it-is imminently, at which point you can be sure I'll pop back in here let you know.  In the meantime however I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right then go buy yourself something nice, and if you're wrong you'll see bicycling safety.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and always remember to wear a flotation device while cycling.

--Wildcat Rock Machine




1) What did this woman say to the bell-ringing horn-blower?






2) What is this protuberance?







3) These people are assholes.

--True





4) Which band will not be on the bill for the Velorama Music Festival?






5) Rapha has been bought by the heirs to which fortune?






6) I'm on Strava now.

--True




7) Recon Jet smart sunglasses have been:



***Special "They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore"-Themed Bonus Video!***




Thursday, August 10, 2017

Today's Post Will Be Short But Short

Hello!

Just a quick post to introduce you to my new hero.  No, not the YouTuber who's been riding around the city with a car horn bolted to his bike, but the woman who gives him what for about five seconds into one of his most recent videos:



Is it annoying when people stand in the bike lane?  Yes.  Did he nevertheless have plenty of time to anticipate her presence and plenty of room to pass?  Also yes.  Is there anything more satisfying than an expertly deployed "Fuck you"?  Almost certainly not:


Here's the deal: riding at someone while frantically ringing your bell, even if they're where they're not "supposed" to be, is like protesting the fact that someone didn't clean up after their dog by stepping right into a pile of its shit.

And as far as the horn goes:


Why adapt one of the shittiest aspects of cars to the bicycle?  Is there anything more irritating than the self-important bleating of the urban motorist?  Oh sure, it's bumper-to-bumper traffic for 20 blocks, but the asshole in the Hyundai really needs to be somewhere so let's all move out of the way.  Unless your vehicle says "Ambulance" on it and someone's hemorrhaging in the back of it you should probably shut the fuck up.

On the other hand, if this were a hand-held horn and he stuck it in the open windows of cars that were, say, blocking the bike lane, then I could certainly get behind that.

I mean, I'd never do myself it because way too many people are violent lunatics, but I'd certainly watch the video.

Anyway, that's all from me for now.  If you haven't had enough of me for today then check out the Bike Forecast, and if you have I'll see you back here tomorrow.

I love you all (yes, even you, crazy bike horn person),


--Wildcat Rock Etc.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fire and Fury: Live Every Wednesday Like It's Your Last

Further to yesterday's post, you'll be pleased (or perhaps disappointed) to learn that both my wheels:


And my saddle:


Were still there after hours of sitting unattended in midtown Manhattan.

This could mean that both the Abus NutFix and the Hiplok Z LOK provided ample anti-theft protection, or of course it could just mean that the thieves were distracted by other far more attractive bikes in the area:


That bike looks like it has a mustache:


I did, however, return to my bike to find a note on it.  "I hope your ride back," it began suggestively...


...sucks?  ...is horrible?  ...ends in tears?

...results in a saddle sore the severity of which defies medical science and necessitates the consumption of an entire bottle of Floyd's of Leadville CBD Hemp Oil?


My fingers trembled with anticipation as I unfurled the note, only to find that it contained nothing but well-wishings:


What can I say?  Some think the glass is half-empty, others think it's half-full, and I think the glass contains a deadly admixture of sulfuric acid, spider venom, and Mario Cipollini's crotch sweat.

Assume the worst and you'll never be disappointed.

Anyway, the ride back did go well thankyouvermuch, and I even had time for a quick stop:


To pick up some kale:


What, you got a problem with salad?

I didn't think so.

Best of all, I didn't get caught up in any violent altercations:



I seem to recall reading somewhere that the driver got impatient and tried to make his way through a large group of cyclists who had "corked" an intersection, and while I in no way advocate violence, at the same time fuck him.

Sometimes you just need to wait a couple of minutes.

Lastly, the Colorado Classic is about to begin (in Colorado somewhere I'm assuming):


And it's shaping up to be a Fred-tastic freakout complete with food fairs, flea markets, and even a musical concert featuring music bands who play music and everything:


I am simultaneously too young and too old to be into any of these bands, but presumably these people aren't:


Actually I'm sure those people would go "Whooo!!!" no matter where you stuck them: a bike race, the line at the bank, the emergency room, you name it...


Because they are assholes.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

BSNYC Product Test: My Nuts Are On Lockdown

As a world famous bike blogger and noted author of books, people occasionally offer to send me stuff to try.  (When I say "stuff" I mean equipment, not casseroles or homemade wine.)  Often I decline, mostly owning to the fact that things are pretty chaotic over at my château, and anything that crosses the threshold is liable to wind up getting flushed down the terlet by my two year-old before I have a chance to try it.  However, every so often something piques my interest, and so I say, "Ah, what the hell, send it on over."

One such item was the Abus NutFix, which may sound like a cutting-edge medical treatment you'd need to seek if botched a cyclocross remount, but is in fact a theft-proof locking skewer system:


Basically the idea is that when the bike's upright you can't get it open, but when you lie the bike down horizontally you can slide the cover off of the nut and open it up with an 8mm wrench:



Which is great as long as you don't park your bike like this:
This product appealed to me because I've been using my Surly Travelers check for a lot of my city riding these days and I'm tired of carrying around like three locks and/or taking the front wheel off:


Of course, once the box containing the Abus NutFix skewers arrived back in April I promptly set it aside and didn't get around to opening it until this very morning.

I need a larger staff.

Anyway, the first thing I did upon opening the package was try to unlock the nut by holding the skewer vertically, but try as I might I couldn't get it to work.  I must have stood there in the kitchen for about 40 minutes, tugging and twisting the thing to no avail like a monkey trying to open a combination lock.  Finally, I realized that what sets us apart from our simian siblings is the ability to operate the Internet, and so after roughly four seconds of G--gling I discovered I first had to push down on the nut and then give it a pull.

Yes, I realize all of this sounds totally obscene, but there's really no way around it.

Once I got that down and was confident I wouldn't wind up stranded and unable to fix a flat on a cold dark night on they went, and then I headed to Midtown where the bike is sitting outside as I type this:


That's about the closest I've got to a "fancy" set of wheels (they came with my Ritte Rustbucket) so it should be interesting to see of they're still there when I return.  Oh, here's how they look when they're installed:


It seems like a decent system, but of course it all hinges on having that 8mm wrench when you need it.  Naturally I've added one to my Surly's tool roll:


But inasmuch as an 8mm wrench isn't the sort of thing you're likely to find on a typical multitool it's easy to see how you might find yourself without one at a crucial juncture.

Oh, and while I was testing the NutFix I figured I'd also test that Hiplok "Z LOK:"


Yes, a reusable locking zip tie with a steel core is all that is securing my Brooks Cambium from the thieves of New York City:


Will see what happens.

Oh, and for the millionth time because it always comes up, yes, I suppose if a thief was familiar with the S&S coupler system then he or she could help themselves to half a bicycle if they were so inclined:


However, I'm willing to bet that if the bike gets stolen it's going to be an all-or-nothing scenario.

I'll keep you posted.

In other news, everybody's heard by now that Steuart and Tom Walton have bought Rapha:


Honestly I'm just surprised there are that many giant Freds in the world:

Mr Mottram said the investment would enable Rapha to accelerate its global expansion plans.

"It heralds the start of the next stage of our journey and is testament to the growth and potential that people see in Rapha and in cycling," he added.

Rival firms, including Aston Martin shareholder Investindustrial, were reported to have been interested in Rapha, which was valued at a reported £200m.

Though I'm not sure about this:

"Who was really interested in cycling back in 2001 and 2002? It was just something us weirdos did."

I dunno, 2001 and 2002 were Lance Armstrong's third and fourth Tour de France wins, and if I remember correctly the Steamroller of Fredliness had already attained unstoppable momentum--though either way there's no question that Rapha's timing was impeccable.  And while everybody's relishing the fact that the Waltons are heirs to the Walmart fortune, I think the real irony is that the quintessential roadie clothing company got bought by a couple of mountain bikers:


Brothers Steuart and Tom Walton are grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and their shared passion for mountain biking has led the Walton Family Foundation to contribute $13 million toward trails in Northwest Arkansas. Remember when you were a kid (or, like last week) and you played that game: "What would you do if you had a zillion dollars?" Well, these guys can actually answer that question. And it turns out what they'd do is create a living lab for trail advocacy.

Though the current state of their wardrobe was almost certainly a factor:


In any case, I can't help feeling a bit nostalgic, since Rapha played such an outsized role in the salad days of my blogging career.  After all, who could forget this?


I even got quoted in the article:

In an e-mail message, Bike Snob NYC said he was impressed with a “Fixed Jacket” that Rapha sent him to try. “It’s excellent,” he wrote. “It’s durable, the fit is good, and the pockets are in the right places.” The blogger added, “They’ve done a great job of not only evoking cycling history but also capturing a ‘soulful’ aesthetic that appeals to certain riders.” Still, he admitted: “As a cyclist, I understand it, but personally I sometimes find it off-putting. It’s a little rarefied for me ... I don’t want to feel like I need to be worthy of my clothes.”

Now Rapha's all growed up and fetching £200 million, and here I am riding a Surly and hoping my wheels don't get stolen.  All I'm saying is where the hell is my buyout?  I'm not asking for Walmart money, but couldn't the Tad's Steaks heirs buy me out for like fifty grand?


Here's hoping.