Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Call to Unction: Today's Post Will Be Short But Greasy

Have your wildest dreams and most horrific nightmares ever come true at the same time?

Well mine just did:
That's right, the Layin' King himself, Mario Cipollini, will ooze into town this coming weekend for the Red Hook Crit:

The Lion King, Mario Cipollini will be in town this weekend for the Red Hook Crit, supporting the top Italian contenders and hanging out at R&A Cycles. He’ll be leading a casual ride at Prospect Park on Friday morning (9:30am GAP) followed by a Q&A at R&A Cycles.We’ll also let him try a few laps on Saturday if he brings a track bike.#redhookcrit #rhcbk10 #critweek #cipo #racycles

Mario Cipollini?  In Brooklyn?  Riding casually in Prospect Park?

This is like...I don't even know what it's like, and rarely am I at a loss for simile.

All I know is that even post-artisanal 21st century Brooklyn still has its fair share of unctuous characters, all of whom will move up a notch or two on the Class-O-Meter by default this coming weekend:

(When graded on a Cipo curve this is like Muffy, Buffy, Chip and Chaz at the country club...and yes, apparently Hot Chicks With Douchebags still exists, even in our modern post-PC society.)

You can also expect a lot of impromptu "training camps:"

As well as a measurable increase in the borough's population in approximately nine month's time:

("I got a lotta stops to make.")

And, ultimately, a bumper crop of charismatic sprinters on the local race circuit:

(Lucarelli & Castaldi are gonna have to pony up a lot more prime money.)

Of course, in my almost 10 years of semi-professional bike blogging I've had the opportunity to meet some of professional cycling's most intriguing characters.  For example, remember Michael Ball?

Well, during Rock Racing's apotheosis he brought he whole devil horn-throwing shitshow to Harlem:

Where I obtained his autograph upon this hat:

Which I in turn presented to my number one fan at the time:

Heady days indeed.

Nevertheless, even I, who have moved in the most rarefied (or sordid, depending on how you look at it) circles of cycling, am deeply intimidated--cowed even--by the prospect of being in the presence of someone who has played such a crucial role in my blog over the years:

("Without me to fall back on you are nothing.")

Indeed, even more daunting is the prospect of schlepping all the way to Brooklyn for a 9:30am rollout.

And then there's the prospect of discovering he's probably just a regular guy who's cannily cultivated an entertaining persona.

All if this is to say it remains to be seen whether or not I'll actually make it, and in the end it will all hinge on whether or not I manage to get the necessary vaccinations in time.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Once Upon A Time...

Recently a reader forwarded me an excerpt from this children's book:

Which implicates riding without helmets in the extinction of the dinosaurs:

On the surface this is just harmless whimsy, but the underlying message is clear: helmetless fun equals death.  This has inspired me to write my own children's book.  After all, using allegory and heavy-handed morality to promote your own agenda is the basis of all great children's literature (I'm looking at you, C.S. Lewis!), and I want in.  So here goes:

Once upon a time, there were these creatures called dinosaurs:

Dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and Jesus put them there to punish the Jews for not believing in Him:

The battle raged long and hard, but eventually the Jews won and the dinosaurs died out, which is how the international Jewish conspiracy was born:

Alas, all seemed lost, but the Lord works in mysterious ways, and after the dinosaurs died they gave humankind the greatest gift of all:


Yes, all the little critters love frolicking in oil:

But oil's not just for playing.  It also makes your family's car go, go, GO!!!

Plus, we make all kinds of cool stuff out of oil.  Handy plastic bags:

Pretty nail polish:

And fun sports balls are all made from petroleum:

And yeah, let's not forget the tires on those eco-friendly bicycles:

But maybe the most fun thing we can make from oil are those fun foam hats mom and dad make you wear whenever you get near anything with wheels (except for the car, go figure):

Yep, that's right, you're wearing a dinosaur on your head!  How cool is that?

You should always, always, ALWAYS wear a helmet when riding your bicycle.  After all, bicycles are the leading cause of injury to children, right after motor vehicle crashes...and suffocation...and drowning...and poisoning...and burns...and falls...

...actually, I don't see bicycles anywhere on that list, but that doesn't mean it's okay to ride a bicycle without wearing a helmet.  Why?  Because I said so, that's why.  So before you get on your bike, stop, and put on your helmet:

Again, stop, and put on your helmet:

One more time, because it's really important:


And put on your helmet.

See that?  Now you're getting the message!  Well, at least you're getting the STOP part, which is why in 1969 48% of kids like you rode bikes to school, but by 2009 only 13% of you did:

Instead, your parents take you to school in the car, where you're safe:

And where you make it more difficult for that remaining 13% to continue riding to school, while at the same time generally fomenting a toxic storm of negative emotion that follows you for the rest of the day:

In a recent study by British insurance company Allianz, more than 1,000 parents were surveyed for their levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, as they did their school day morning routine. Levels peaked just before leaving the house to drive to school, at around 8:15 a.m. each morning, researchers found. And the impact of the school run stress stays with parents well into the day. Also, nearly 25 percent of parents surveyed said that morning drop off stress sets their mood for the day — good or bad.

And that's why your bicycle helmet is destroying humanity and the planet.

DISCLAIMER: Oil doesn't actually come from dinosaurs, it comes from marine organisms that lived long before the dinosaurs.  All the stuff about the Judeo-Dino War is totally true though.

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Not An Adventure If You Don't Measure Every Second Of It

If you missed the BSNYC BOOMB!* Pre-Fondon't Ride this past Saturday then you missed the BSNYC BOOMB! Pre-Fondon't Ride this past Saturday:

(Photo by Jem)

Hills were scaled, derailleurs were destroyed, and the passive voice was employed afterwards by me to sum it all up.  Rest assured there will be a full accounting of the ride (in the active voice) in the not-too-eventual future.  In the meantime, the success of the ride (and by "success" I mean nobody pelted me with stones afterwards) gives me the confidence to curate a full-blown BSNYC Gran Fondon't ride in the coming weeks:

(Artist's rendering of what a Gran Fondo could look like, but won't.)

So stay tuned, and in the meantime thanks to everyone who rode on Saturday.

Indeed, the only thing that would have made the ride even better would have been if I'd been using a state-of-the-art power meter:

Yes, nothing says "adventure" like meticulously quantifying every facet of your mediocrity.

If you're wondering about what makes it adventure-specific, it's that if you don't meet specific fitness goals it simply falls off the bicycle, leaving you stranded in the wilderness.

And no, nobody jumped over a Lamborghini at any point during the ride either (that I'm aware of, anyway) but you can't have everything:

And another angle:

This is an entire genre of video apparently, who knew?

It's also now my favorite style of video.

Hey, you wanna drive a $300,000 shim around town you don't get to "curate" what kind of attention you receive.

Some people will be impressed, others will think you're a douchebag, and still others will just wanna ride over that shit.

If you want to inspire complete indifference while driving I recommend a Hyundai:

I mean I could have a Lamborghini if I wanted, I just choose not to:

(Evidently their interest in performance stops the moment they step out of the car.)

What would really impress me though would be seeing someone hop a Lamborghini on a folding bike--and speaking of folding bikes, Dahon has launched a Kickstarter for their new Curl model:

Which, as far as I can tell, is basically a Brompton:

Or am I crazy?

By the way, the US leg of the Brompton World Championships will take place in New York City this year:

As always, the Brompton World Championship USA will begin with a "Le Mans" style start, with each competitor racing to his or her folded bike before unfolding and taking off on the course, which consists of ten laps around NYC's Marcus Garvey Park. Brompton owners from all corners of the country are invited to compete in the United States leg of the Brompton World Championship series.

I've been flirting with the idea of entering this race, and if I can figure out how to retrofit an Oral-B electric toothbrush into a secret motor you could very well be looking at your new champion.

Just let me know whether you think I should race or not via this online poll and I'll do whatever you decide:

Lastly, I was very sad to learn about the death of Michele Scarponi:

Scarponi was killed on Saturday morning when he was struck by a van while training just two kilometres from his home. The driver of the van was a 57-year-old local man. “We know each other well. I’ve lost a son, but I’m thinking of him too,” Scarponi’s father, Giacomo, said.

Enjoy every ride, it's all you can do.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Official Post-Pre Announcement!

[Please note there will be no post Friday, April 21st as I'll be doing "ride reconnaissance," but I'll be back on Monday the 24th with regular updates.  The Bike Forecast will not be affected.]

Remember how yesterday I pre-announced the pre-ride to the Gran Fondon't?

Well know I'm officially announcing it, and here's the official flyer.  Officially:

So I guess everything after the flyer qualifies as a post-announcement.

Also, please note that officially the official name of this ride is the "BSNYC BOOMB! Pre-Fondon't Ride."  The "BOOMB" stands for Beers On Old Man Brooks.  This is because the Brooks Bicycle Saddle-Making Concern is buying the beers afterward.  Isn't that nice of them?

You bet it its.

Plus, if you show up on a bike equipped with a Brooks saddle you get...well, you get nothing, apart from perhaps the sense of smug self-satisfaction that comes from owning a Brooks.

"I want to join this ride of yours!," you're now shouting into your monitor or smartphone.  "How do I register?"

You don't.  Just show up.  For past rides I've asked people to RSVP via email, but screw that.  Just come to the corner of Broadway and 9th Avenue in Manhattan this coming Saturday morning and be ready to roll at 8:30am:

It's very easy to get there via the Harlem or Hudson River Greenways, the subway, or even the Metro North, but if you're still confused then maybe this isn't the ride for you.

The Route

We'll ride north through Van Cortlandt Park into Westchester, up the South County Trailway for a bit, then cut over over to the Old Croton Aqueduct (OCA) for the return trip.  The OCA is unpaved and there are roots and rocks.  While this will justify your recent purchase of a state-of-the-art gravel bike, your regular road bike will work just as well, though I'd recommend tires over 25mm wide--which you're undoubtedly using anyway, because skinny tires are like soooo out of style.

The South County and the OCA are flat, but we'll go up a couple of decent climbs in between.  If you've never ridden the OCA it's a lot of fun.  We can also work in a coffee stop.

I still haven't decided where we'll go for beers afterwards, but most likely it'll be reasonably close to where we started.

Total distance will probably be around 30 miles, give or take.

If you need a GPS route map complete with elevation and exact mileage then maybe this isn't the ride for you.

The Pace

My racing days are long behind me and as the father of seventeen (17) children I don't have much hustle left in me.  If you want pacelines and attacks I'm happy to point you towards the Gimbels Ride.  In fact there's a pretty decent chance I'll be rolling up in cutoffs and a t-shirt because that's where I'm at in life.  At the same time it's not like I have all day to futz around, so you should be able to get over a hill or two and handle your bike on dirt.  This should be a spirited ramble as opposed to a slog.

Your End of the Bargain

As I mentioned yesterday, in exchange for the free beer and my expert guidance through suburbia I ask that you snap some pictures during the ride and email me at least one good one afterwards, along with some words for context if warranted.  I will then incorporate these pictures into a future post which will most likely appear on the Brooks blog.  So if you've ever complained about my shitty photography, now's your chance to do better.

That should about cover it, but if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments.  Otherwise see you Saturday!


--Wildcat Rock Machine

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Where the hell have you people been all day??? (Also, a low-key pre-announcement.)

Remember awhile back when I said that there was a 59% chance I'd curate some kind of Pre-Fondon't?

And remember how I said that if it did happen I'd give you short notice?

Well, here's your short notice:

Yes, that's right, THIS VERY SATURDAY, I'll lead whoever feels like it on a moderate-length mixed-terrain ride.  Then, we'll stop for beers, which I'm pretty sure I can get one of my generous sponsors to pay for!  How's that sound?

Of course, this being merely a pre-Fondon't build-up ride, this is merely a pre-announcement for the pre-Fondon't ride.  I'll give you all the exact details between now and Friday, mostly because I'm still inventing them.  That will be the Actual Announcement.  Nevertheless, I'm sure you have many questions in the meantime, so here's an FAQ:

Why the short notice?

Two reasons:

1) As a semi-professional bike blogger, noted author, father of 17 children (and mother of 9), and lead guitarist of the rock group Unicorn Glitterfuck, I'm incredibly busy--so busy it's difficult to find a free day to ride bicycles in a recreational fashion.  Therefore, instead of waiting for the perfect day, which will probably never come, I just figured, "Fuck it, let's do it Saturday;"

3) Giving short notice means nobody has time to do anything stupid like travel to get to this thing, and that there will probably only be a few of us. 

What time will it start?

Probably 8:30am.  I'll get back to you.

Where will we meet?

Probably Upper Manhattan or the Bronx.  Or maybe Central Park but I don't know if I feel like going all the way down there.  I'll get back to you.

What's the route?

We'll head north via the Bronx, cut a swath through lower Westchester County, and wind up back in the Bronx at a place where beer is served.  There will be pavement, dirt, and some trespassing.  I'll give you more details in the official announcement.  Total distance will probably be in the neighborhood of 30 miles.

What do you want from me?

Ah, yes, I'm glad you asked.  You know that annoying thing they do at weddings where they put a disposable camera at every table and ask the guests to take pictures?  (Come on, you remember: you got drunk and thought it would be hilarious to take a picture of your own crotch.)  Well, we all have cameras in our phones now that we're living in the future, so all I ask is that afterwards everyone send me at least one (1) photo from the ride (and not of your own crotch) along with a few words for context if warranted.  I will then incorporate some of these into a future post.

In other words, you'll be doing my job for me.

All of this is already WAY too many words to say "Let's all ride on Saturday."  Stay tuned for more details.

I love you,

--Wildcat Rock Machine