Monday, September 25, 2017

Stating Your Preference

As you know, I am a staunch opponent of the phrase "On your left!"  I even wrote a column for Outside about it.  Plus, when the New York Cycling Club naively asked me to speak at their monthly meeting the other day I hijacked the entire event and harangued them at length on the subject of the hated phrase.

Clearly, the complete elimination of "On your left!" from the cycling lexicon has become my white windmill.

Nevertheless, even I must admit that if you cannot occasionally yield then you are destined to crack, and that true strength of character requires you to maintain a state of lateral stiffness and vertical compliance at all times.  Consider this past weekend, when I was riding along the dirt trail I frequent:


It wasn't the above section, and of course the leaves are still on the trees, but you get the idea.

Anyway, this trail runs through various suburban neighborhoods whose neighborhoods take to it in fairly significant numbers on the weekends.  This affords me many opportunities to experiment with my passing technique, and what I generally do is tailor my approach based on the people and the circumstances.  Sometimes a verbal warning is best, other times a little ratcheting of the freewheel works better, and still other times it's best to say nothing at all.  And I'm please to say I've reached a point where I can usually overtake people with smiles and waves all around--most crucially without uttering the hated phrase.

Alas, this was not the case when I encountered an older gentleman walking with some sort of wooden stick or handle across his back and wedged in the crook of his arms.  (There is a distinct subset of suburban walker who must always walk with some sort of stick.)  Assessing the situation, I deemed it best to silently go around him, and did so giving him a wide berth.

"On your left!," he called after me condescendingly.

I stopped and accounted for myself.  I told him that I hate saying on your left, and that when I'm being passed I hate hearing on your left.  I further explained that when you do say "On your left!" often people abruptly turn left right into your path.  I finally pointed out that I'd given him plenty of room, and passed very slowly, and that I always make a point of doing so.

Nevertheless, it was clear he felt deprived of hearing not only a warning of some kind, but specifically those three words.

Hey, some people also like stiletto heels ground into their genitals, so go figure.

In any case, given that there are in fact people who not only want a verbal warning but specifically want to hear "On your left!," I think what needs to happen now is that everybody must wear a t-shirt or jersey emblazoned with their preference on the back.  Mine, for example, would read thusly:


Yours might say something like this:


As for people like the gentleman I upset, I've got something for them too:


Obviously when you're ordering you'll be able to add custom instructions of your choosing.

Problem solved.

Speaking of the scranus, we've seen the new heat-moldable shoes, but meet the new heat-moldable saddle:


When a Reform saddle is plugged in with a USB cable, the segments underneath the sit bones heat up. Next, the rider pedals their bike on a trainer for a few minutes in their normal riding position. The last step is to climb off and let the saddle cool and form.

And yes, that's Landyachtz the skateboard company, whose longboards you'll find under the feet of many a manbun-sporting longboard bro:


But if you think that means they don't know anything about The Crabon then think again:


That's $748 just for the deck, so just around a hundred bucks shy of that nice steel Milwaukee frame I've been riding:


So basically between crabon skateboards and wooden bikes it seems we're in the midst of a complete bike/skateboard inversion:


And no, I haven't heard a peep since August about that Renovo I'm supposed to be "testing," so I guess my dreams of woodgrain glory have been consigned to the wood chipper once and for all.



Sagan is the first man to win three in a row, as well as being the youngest to achieve a hat-trick, and his photo-finish victory in Bergen was not just an achievement for the ages, but a reminder of why Sagan is such an important figure in cycling.

But after winning the rainbow jersey yet again, will an imminent change in the Slovakian’s personal circumstances dull his famously competitive instincts?

The answer to that question is obviously no, because once that baby comes he'll be out on the bike as much as possible.

Friday, September 22, 2017

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

At some point or another I'm assuming there will be a new Outside post, but pending that I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right you'll rejoice, and if you're wrong you'll see gumption.

Thanks very much, ride safe, and boom shanka.


--Wildcat Rock Machine




1) Who is David Lappartient?

--The French Minister of the Interior
--Leader of the Quebec separatist movement, "Ville de Splits"
--The new UCI President
--He's you, he's me, he's all of us





2) British endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont has set the Guinness record for:

--Circumnavigating the globe (43 days)
--Back-to-back Iron Man triathlons (72)
--Trackstanding at an intersection (76 hours)
--Folding and unfolding a Brompton (1,746,203 times)






3) A Dutch safety foundation wants to ban:

--Ebikes
--Babies in bakfietsen
--Bikes with top tubes
--Cycling in clogs




4) Move over, North Korea!  Teenagers on bikes must be stopped, for they are the single greatest threat to American society.

--True
--False





5) Trek was recently sued by a group representing the intellectual property rights of which deceased comedian?

--John Belushi
--Chris Farley
--George Carlin
--Joe DeRosa




(TFW u nailed the test)

6) The next trend in pro roadie performance enhancement is going to be:

--Fecal transplants
--Maglev wheel bearings
--Turbine suppositories
--Shoe doping




7) Ride like...

--You stole it
--Your life depends on it
--The wind
--The total Fred that you are


***Special Big-BMX-Bikes-Are-The-Hot-New-Thing-Themed Bonus Video!***


Single speed bikes with knobby tires will never die.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Who Will Save The World From Cyclists?

Firstly, Sha Na Na Tovah to all my Jewish friends:


Did I say it right?

Secondly, I recommend you check out today's Bike Forecast for your reading enjoyment:


It's all about a recent Inside Edition story that reduces human beings to a swarm of locusts and abets the auto-industrial complex's ongoing attempt to criminalize cycling.

Moving on, the UCI has elected a new president:


So what does this mean?  Well, it's kind of like when Specialized or Trek or whoever uses a new carbon fiber modulus, in that it allows them to slap a different label on it but in practice it makes no difference whatsoever.

The truth is that a UCI president with teeth would eliminate every single discipline except for artistic cycling:



This is because it's the only one that doesn't exist entirely to feed the delusions of middle-aged Freds and Fredericas.  Well, that and radball:



And possibly BMX:



And I suppose trials:


Though I would absolutely love it if the masters racers set all took up trials.

By the way, if you think about it, trials is the polar opposite of triathlon.  One reduces cycling entirely to bike-handling, while the other completely eliminates it.  Even the bikes couldn't be more different:


If I was forced to choose between these two bicycles I have no idea which one I'd go with: the one that is only useful for hopping around Alpine logging sites, or the one that looks like something you'd use to prep for a colonoscopy.

In other news of athletic feats, British endurance cyclists Mark Beaumont has completed a record-breaking circumcision of the globe:


During his first 29 days, Mark broke a record for the Farthest distance cycled in one month: 11,315.29 km (7,031 miles).

The long-distance athlete set off in Paris on 2 July, before cycling through Europe, Russia and China – the first stage of his journey – and then moving on to reach Western Australia on 31 July.

“This was a fantastic milestone to achieve during the challenge of getting around the world in eighty days. I hope it is used as a marker for other cyclists to go and smash in the near future,” he said.

Another Guinness record they fail to mention is that he created the world's longest Strava segment.

And further to yesterday's post, in which we met comedian and conspiracy theorist Mitch Henck, more Wisconsinites have joined the eternal struggle to save the world from cyclists:


Yes, the "Stop Bad Bicyclists" movement is sure to pick up steam once this horrifying video goes viral:



My heart skipped a beat, I don't know about yours.

Of course filming that video while driving was probably the most dangerous thing happening in that video, but once we rid the world of these killer cyclists then maybe we can move onto these far less urgent matters.

Seriously, we cyclists will destroy the earth if you let us:
It's true, drivers don't eat so it totally adds up.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It's Wednesday And They're Coming For Your Top Tube

Further to Monday's post, here's a fun one:
As we all know, every time a motorist parks a car they're doing something monumentally important.  Indeed, it's a monumental engineering feat as significant as the Moon landing.  The rest of us, however, are merely in the way:


You can guess where this Twitter exchange went next.

Yes, thanks to the post-Apatow "inside the tortured soul of a comic" film and TV genre there's a sentiment among even middling comedians now that they're all misunderstood geniuses.  That's why when something they say elicits jeers because it's totally out of touch they deflect any critique with the whole "whiny PC white privilege" thing:
Wow, those two smuggies got under his skin as effortlessly as a puppy burrowing under a blanket.

Of course, in fairness to the comedian, he may have been traumatized by a failed attempt to walk over the Williamsburg Bridge years back:



It was an okay bit until the hackneyed stick-in-the-spoke comment.

Ultimately though, both the bike lane thing and the dooring rant share the same underlying theme (bicycles aside), which is that a lot of people lash out when they've done something wrong because they feel embarrassed.  A greater understanding of this would probably bump this guy's comedy up a notch, but he's been "doing just fine" as it is according to him, and I suppose there is a certain dignity to embracing mediocrity so good luck with that.

In other news, are step-through bikes becoming the new helmet?  Well, maybe, if a Dutch safety foundation has its way:



VVN claims that, based on a Swedish study, women’s bikes are safer because cyclists assume a better posture while riding women’s bikes and they have a lesser chance of getting a serious head injury when they are involved in traffic accidents. Other reasons given by VVN to ban men’s bikes in traffic are “dads giving their kid a ride with their bike” because this “may cause the child to fall off the bike or the bike to fall over as the dad takes a seat.”

Yes, the deadly allure of hitching a ride on a top tube is almost impossible to resist.  Just ask The King of Park Slope:


Okay, fine, neither passenger is actually hitching a ride on the top tube, but I just couldn't resist using the photo again.

Anyway, as the story points out, the whole idea of assigning genders to bicycles based on whether or not they have top tubes is kind of ridiculous:

They have a point; nobody complains about Citibikes and other shared bikes being gender neutral. In fact there is no reason to bring gender into it at all; racing bikes, where every ounce matters, have cross bars because the triangle is the most efficient structural form, and women racers have them. But in the city, a few ounces don’t matter all that much. It’s a design and safety issue, not a gender issue, when it comes right down to it. And thanks to the bike share systems, I don’t think any male rider is actually embarrassed by riding a bike without a crossbar.

Though I would argue that there are some riders who should be embarrassed to ride a bicycle without one.  Consider the Y-Foil for example:


And while it's debatable as to whether the beam of a Softride counts as a top tube, those too are a source of great shame:


Plus, if you try to give someone a ride on one of those then there's a good chance they'll get catapulted into next week:


So on balance the whole premise is pretty ridiculous, since obviously an upright step-through bike is more practical in a lot of non-sporting applications.  However, I do thing the thing about rider position and injury is an important point nobody seems to make (and hit has nothing to do with whether the bike has a top tube or not).  Consider a rider in this position:


And a rider in this position:


In the event of a crash, who do you think's going down harder?

Still, it's important to keep in mind that this same safety foundation also partnered with Shell on trying to get Dutch people to wear helmets, as someone mentioned in the comments on the article:

(Amusing headline wording courtesy of Google Translate)

Trying to sell the Dutch on helmets makes about as much sense as trying to open a Red Lobster at the Western Wall:


Finally, we all know that cyclists are part of a conspiracy to steal private property from hardworking Americans:



I looked Mitch Henck and was delighted to find that not only is he a radio host, but he's also a stand-up comedian:


Ouch.

Needs more bike material.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Well, So Much For Today's Post!

There I was, all ready to curate an ample serving of the day's mediocrity, when I got a call from the Apple factory informing me that my littlest kiddie is sick:


(Not my kid.  When my kid's sick he gets really pissed off and goes for your nuts.)

That meant I had to go pick him up, because a sick kid can't properly assemble the new iPhone X and it's a real drain on productivity.

Worst part is they dock his wages, and at $.15 an hour that's really gonna hurt my family's bottom line.

As for my productivity, it looks like that's going right out the window now that I've got to put on the Parenting Smock:

(Daddy's parenting smock gets results.)

Rest assured I'll strive to get this operation back on track, but in the meantime the Bike Forecast is updated and available for your perusal, and you can read about how the city of West Haven, CT is banning "reckless and dangerous" cycling in an attempt to outlaw kids on bikes:


See, this sort of thing is going on all up and down the East Coast:



And it's driving the squares crazy.

Anyway, that's all from me for now, but I'll certainly see you back here by tomorrow at the latest.

Thanks for understanding, and if you don't understand then you're always welcome to go fuck youself.

I love you,


--Wildcat Rock Machine


Monday, September 18, 2017

If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say About Cyclists Then You're Probably An Idiot

Cycling: it's the closest you can get to the sensation of flight without leaving the ground.  (Not counting the inhalation of spray-on deodorant through a bath towel, of course.)  Whether you're riding to work, riding to the store, or just riding for no reason at all, you feel like you're miles above the ground, and once you're seduced by the kinetics of riding a bike you need it to feed your soul.

Unfortunately, there's always someone in a car out there ready to send you crashing to the ground, either literally or metaphorically.  It could be a hurled invective, it could be a violation of your right of way, or it could be them actually hitting you, either on purpose or by "accident."  But of course you've got "the same rights and responsibilities" as drivers [insert wanking emoji here], so as far as most people are concerned that's just the way it is.

As infuriating as this is, it used to stop there.  What I mean is that once you finished your ride and came home (assuming you made it home) you'd shut your door, crack open a recovery beverage, and eventually whatever frustrations you'd encountered out there on the road would melt away.  Not anymore.  Now the battle rages on across social media and in the comments section of any article on the subject of cycling, no matter whether the article's positive, negative or indifferent.

The upshot of all this is that unless you've one of the very few people who have managed to remain totally disconnected into 2017 then the "Runnem inna dyyyitch!" never, ever stops.

Take this recent piece by Peter Flax, former editor-in-chief of Bicycling magazine:


Which itself is born of a Twitter exchange:

Surely my life would be more tranquil if I muted this acrimony, but when people threaten my way of life I find that watching funny cat videos or simply celebrating the awesomeness of cycling isn’t enough. I need to know what we’re up against.

Anyway, I had a Twitter exchange one early morning this week that really hit me hard. I had screenshot and then tweeted comments from four people, all expressing emphatically that they disliked bikes and wanted them off the road. (My favorite: “I hate when ppl ride bikes in the street like they cars…plz get hit.”)

Whenever I post this sort of stuff or share links about cyclists getting hit by cars, I typically get some pushback, sometimes genial and sometimes irritated, from people who feel like I’m being too dark. I’m used to it. In this case, a friend in the bike industry responded that my effort “seemed like a big waste of time” and that I should “go get a cup of coffee” because “we’re making progress.”

I think this idea of progress is at once empirically true and obvious bullshit.

It's a very good piece.  (Though I'd argue that when you're about to make a comparison to the Black Lives Matter in your cycling article it's time to take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard for a bit.)  But of course it wasn't long before the article elicited a new wave of toxic commentary:
I scanned some of this commentary, and it's the usual stuff about how cyclists feel entitled because their bicycles don't pollute, and how they're unfairly subjecting poor innocent drivers to their vulnerable presence, and that cyclists are somehow on the wrong end of Darwinism when anyone with half a brain can see it's the driver that's the plodding dinosaur and it's the cyclist who's the nimble and adaptable little warm-blooded mammal.

You know, bullshit.

Meanwhile, this past weekend Drunk Cyclist tagged me on another hateful exchange begun by someone apparently involved in something called "Barstool Sports:"
I was unfamiliar with Barstool Sports, but I looked it up and it turned out to be pretty much exactly what I suspected it was:


The site has received repeated criticism over content posted on Barstool Sports that critics of the site allege normalizes rape culture. Comments that have sparked debate include a post on a 2010 blog where Portnoy said "[E]ven though I never condone rape if you’re a size 6 and you’re wearing skinny jeans you kind of deserve to be raped right?"  Other elements that have received criticism include comments such as “we don't condone rape of any kind at our Blackout Parties ... however if a chick passes out that's a gray area”.

In light of this it was difficult to get too worked up, inasmuch as I've been defining myself in opposition to the American Sports Bro for pretty much as long as I remember.  I don't think there's every been a period of my life in which I haven't encountered people like this being hateful douchebags.  Given this, why wouldn't the people who hated me then not still hate me now?  It's hard to muster up the mental energy to waste on Kurt and Ram from "Heathers" when you resolved to stop doing so in elementary school:


Indeed, it's getting harder and harder for me to muster up the mental energy for any form of idiotic cycling commentary, inasmuch as it's so manifestly stupid that it sort of undermines itself.  At a certain point you might as well debate a flat-earther or a creationist.  At the same time, it's hard not to take inventory of all the hateful commentary with which we are now inundated, both cycling and non-cycling related, and wonder what it says about us and our future.  I mean surely the fact we have an internet troll for a president means we've hit some sort of intellectual low water mark, right?

Maybe.  Or maybe it's as simple as humanity's idiot quotient being sort of a universal constant, and all we're seeing is the digitization of that idiocy and the inevitable fallout.  Either way, from a strictly cycling perspective, here's the bottom line:
They can try to choke us out with our coal, but our victory is inevitable.

Friday, September 15, 2017

This Just In: New Outside Column!

Remember how I said I'd let you know when my new Outside column was up?

Well my new Outside column is up:



I always keep my word.

Or at least sometimes.

Well I did today.

See you Monday!



--Wildcat Etc. And So Forth