Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"They Froomey Under The Bus!"

Well, it was bound to happen:


Yes, noted asthmatic and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome appears to have taken one huff too many:



The cycling world woke up to a bombshell Wednesday: Cycling superstar Chris Froome could be facing a racing ban after urine tests revealed elevated levels of Salbutamol during the 2017 Vuelta a EspaƱa.

Details were confirmed by Team Sky and later the UCI ahead of reports from The Guardian and Le Monde.

Of course the performance-enhancing benefits of Salbutamol are debatable, which means this isn't nearly as bad as the situation with his fellow "asthmatic" Bradley Wiggins, who was getting injections right before Grand Tours:


("Athsma" my asth.)

But it still doesn't look good.  Here's Froome's explanation:

“My asthma got worse at the Vuelta so I followed the team doctor’s advice to increase my Salbutamol dosage,” Froome said in a statement. “As always, I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose.”

Though Vincenzo Nibali says Froome's full of it:

Well, if nothing else, this is more proof (as if you needed it) that the sport of cycling is merely a series of blood tests and that any riding of bicycles that may occur in between said tests is merely incidental.

Speaking of cheating and people who ride Pinarellos, Cyclingtips has a review of the new Nytro ebike:



I came for the bike but I stayed for the accent.  And it was worth it.

Anyway, you'll no doubt recognize this as the bike that Pinarello launched with a very poorly-received marketing campaign:


While the outrage was certainly justified, it's sort of remarkable how everyone piled on Pinarello until they withdrew the ad, yet somehow the entire self-lubricating Cipollini empire continues on unchecked:


Or to put it in more visual terms:


In any case the video is intriguing and so is the accompanying article--and not only because, in the age of ebikes, bottom brackets have gone from "beefy" to "vast:"


But also because it addresses the implications of ebikes:

The more I think and write about the road e-bike market the more it makes me think it’s a great idea. I’ll admit I was biased before — I was in the camp of “Pahh, e-bikes! They’re not proper bikes — they’re just mild motorbikes!” But after riding the Nytro, I’ve changed my mind. It’s a bike to help people get out and enjoy that feeling of riding further and faster than they may have been able to before.

Yep, I have about as much interest in an electric Fred bike as I do in an electric nose picker.  Nevertheless, these things are gonna be huge, no question about it.

I do, however, have a certain amount of interest in e-bikes for city use, specifically with regard to child-hauling, so I was curious about this:



While the phrase "British engineer" is almost as disconcerting as the phrase "midwestern bagel shop," he could be on to something with this, who knows?

And finally:
Sounds great, where do I sign up?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

With Elected Officials Like These Who Needs Enemies?

As the holidays approach, it's important to gather together with friends and family and remember that in general human beings are self-interested sleazeballs.  Consider this Twitter thread, which I mentioned on the Bike Forecast, and which I feel warrants some additional treatment here:

I strongly advise you to read the entire thread, but if you want the "TLDR" (or "Cliff's Notes" as those of us who grew up in the analog age used to say), the bike lane-commandeering, cop-impersonating, light-running placard wielder turns out to be Marty Golden, the New York State senator who has been fighting speed cameras for years:


Of course Golden has good reason to be against cameras, since he loves to speed in front of schools:

And occasionally hit people:



BROOKLYN STATE SEN. Marty Golden paid a hospital visit yesterday to the 74-year-old woman he accidentally ran over with his SUV. Hariklia Zafiropoulos, 74, was in critical condition at Lutheran Medical Center after Golden hit her at Third Ave. and 84th St. in Bay Ridge on Saturday. Authorities said she had been crossing against the light. "It's devastating . . . it's a terrible accident," said Golden spokesman John Quaglione. "He will probably visit her every day," Quaglione said. "I know right now his focus is on her survival and her recovery.

I have no reason to doubt the victim was crossing against the light, because why would a well-connected politician and former cop receive any special treatment from the NYPD?

Oh, John Quaglione, also mentioned in the article, wants to legalize parking in bike lanes.

So there you go.

Speaking of the holidays, it's time for me to put on my Santa helmet:




Fire up the Menorah of Justice:


And present my brief and utterly self-serving Holiday Gift Guide!

Firstly, is there a person on your shopping list who has a head?  If yes, then obviously they're going to want to cover that head with a genuine BSNYC cap:

And since you can't go around wearing a cap and nothing else you should also get one of these so they can put it on their body:


Order the XXL and maybe they can even get away without wearing shorts!

Or, if they hate me and my blog, order a vintage-style Cue Ball Cap with the number of your choice instead!




Hot tip: I hear "3" is gonna be the hot new digit for 2018.  And if you enter the following discount code you get $5 off:

BSNYCCB

Then there are my books:


You can get these wherever fine books are sold, just as long as they also carry books that aren't fine and are all about bikes.  And just listen to these rave reviews from people who purchased them on popular online retail stores named after rivers:

"This guy seems the sort who loves to hear himself talk."

Oh god yes!  You have no idea.  I've listened to myself on this podcast like 50 times already:
My only regret is nobody has yet asked me to record an audiobook.

I mean nobody would ever listen to it, but I certainly would.

Maybe I'll make one just for myself.

And while I'm pushing merchandise that has my name on it, who doesn't like a nice cup of coffee?



Not only is Just Coffee in Madison, WI as smug as they come, but they're also having a sale:


If you really think about it, it would cost you more money not to order!


And the fact that you should also patronize the fine companies who advertise on the right-hand side of this blog goes without saying.

Even so, I'm going to say it anyway.


Finally, Peter Sagan is putting on his advocacy helmet:

No word on whether or not he'll be giving up the custom Dodge Charger:


“We explained to him, ‘Peter, this [the car shown in the Fast and the Furious – ed.] is not a very functional car. It is a gimmick car. It is a car done for the movie. It is probably not very nice inside, it is not going to be what you think.’ So he has a Porche Turbo S 911, and he basically wanted a combination of a Porsche 911 with the violence and the raw power of an American muscle car.”

I'm guessing he's not.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Up And At 'Em!

Good morning!  Firstly, awhile back I was a guest on Lifehacker's "The Upgrade" podcast, and I see from the Twitter this morning that now the episode is ready to go into your ears:

Don't worry, I won't judge you if you listen to it while riding.

Secondly, in the context of plugging a recent Outside column, I noted a phenomenon I call the "Minnesota Humblebrag:"


Basically, the idea is that any mention of cycling and winter will result in at least one (1) Minnesotan working in a seemingly casual yet in fact highly contrived reference to how cold it is there:


All you have to do is, say, mention gloves and in comes Captain Snotsicle with a question he already knows the answer to, like "When riding in temperatures of −128.6 °F, which glove material do you recommend, PVC or Neoprene?"

Anyway, my latest Outside column has hit the Facebook:


And here comes Fred Frost right on cue:

Jack Kukowski The author has obviously never lived in Minnesota, where windchill values in winter (and sometimes the actual temperature) regularly dip to -30 or lower...working up a good sweat inside my house on my trainer during evenings like that IS time well spent...

Hmmm, I thought the tipoff that I've never lived in Minnesota is my sophistication and erudition, go figure.

And of course there was the usual deluge of indignant commentary:

Stephanie Morris This article reminded me why I don't read Outside any more.

Except you obviously do read Outside.  Presumably she also wakes up hung over every morning, heads over to Finlandia's Facebook page, and tells them their vodka is why she doesn't drink anymore.

Then there's my favorite, which is when people double down on the thing you're poking fun of as if that's somehow convincing:

Natasha Hilts I guess you’ve never been on a Peloton. It’s more than a bike and definitely not a hamster wheel. Suck it #Ridepeloton

Ah yes, Peloton:



I could totally relate:


"This is your house."

No.  That is so not my house.


"This is you waking up."

Again, no.  I wake up in a bed full of empty Finlandia bottles and puke and proceed to excoriate them on social media.


"This is you, tiptoeing past your family while they're still asleep."

Wait, is she bailing on the family and starting a new life somewhere else?


"This is what you woke up for.  This is your Peloton."

No, I woke up to go to the toilet.  And if I lived in a beautiful modern house in the forest the last thing I'd do is climb onto an overpriced exercise bike and work out with other people on a video screen.  I'd go outside and enjoy some nature sounds.  Maybe I'd even meditate next to a stream or some shit before the kids wake up and start braying for breakfast:




"When fashioning a mandala in sub-zero temperatures and 100mph winds what's the best kind of gravel to use?"


Anyway, you've got to love the irony of people who read a magazine called "Outside" being offended at the notion that instead of riding the trainer you should go outside.

Friday, December 8, 2017

BSNYC Friday Un-Quiz!

It's Friday, which means it's time for my latest Outside column!


I know what I'm talking about, too, because believe it or not there was a time when I used to ride the trainer.  Now of course I know better, and I'd give absolutely anything to have all those hours back.  And you know what I'd do with them?  Absolutely nothing.  I'd sit on my ass and watch TV, because that's exactly what I should have been doing then.

In other news, I went for a ride on a bicycle with voluminous tires today:


It was a ride of a little over 30 miles and one that used to result in some hand numbness towards the end back when I was using regular bars.  Well, I'm pleased to announce that with the Jones bars those days are over, and I'm feeling so dexterous I could easily knit you some booties or mend your clothing with a needle and thread at this very moment.  There are "upgrades," and then there are things that actually make your bicycle way better, and these bars have proven themselves to be a perfect example of the latter.

Indeed, the only blemish on this delightful outing was the fishing line I discovered in my derailleur after my chain started jumping around on the cassette:


"No problem," I thought.  "I'll just take the pulley out and extract the fishing line."  But wouldn't you know it, the multi-tool I was carrying did not include the proper Allen key.  Instead, it appeared the good people at Park Tool had seen fit to equip this particular model with both Phillips and slotted screwdrivers instead of the smaller Allen keys.  Therefore I was forced to hack away at the line with the slotted screwdriver blade until I could pull out most of the obstruction.

And of course as I struggled with and cursed whichever angler had failed to clean up after himself I thought of all the poor creatures who must get stuck in this stuff in a regular basis.  I also thought that birds probably use fishing line to make some badass nests, and I bet they tout their layup and weave pattern just like manufacturers of crabon bikes do:


(Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.)

Oh, wait, sorry about that:


That's better.

Anyway, I hope the next fish that guy catches bites him in the nuts.

And with that I set you free.  May you fly into the weekend like the Helmet-Crested Fredbird.

I remain,

Blah blah blah,

And so forth,



--Wildcat Rock Machine



Thursday, December 7, 2017

♩ ♪ ♫ ♬Come On With The Rain I've An Umbrella On My Bike♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

The search for a way to protect cyclists from the elements is as old as the bicycle itself:


And while we still haven't found the perfect solution:


We are certainly living in a golden age of precipitation-repelling technology.  Given this, in the interest of preserving this water-averse watershed for posterity, I have undertaken a brief survey of some of the more innovative products currently available--products such as the LeafXPro:

LEAFXPRO ACCESSORIES from LEAFXPRO on Vimeo.

With features this handy and smart optional storm accessory that makes you look like you're riding around in a sling:




Then there's the Nubrella, which you can incorporate into any activity, not just cycling:

Nubrella Hands Free Weather Protection from Christina Ricci on Vimeo.

And yeah, it's basically just a giant hat:


Albeit one that looks like some kind of robotic space nautilus is eating your head, but yes, still just a hat:



Indeed, it's enough of a hat that if the tax on umbrellas was 50% and the tax on hats was 5% you could totally make a compelling argument to the IRS that you only have to pay the latter.

Of course you may be wondering why anybody would bother with any of this stuff instead of, say, wearing a raincoat, but why do that when you can wear an umbrella?



As seen on Philadelphia local news:



If nothing else, the Under-Cover undermines pretty much every stereotype about German engineering.

By the way, I tried to find the Under-Cover on Kickstarter, but all I saw was this changing kilt for prudish bros:

Frankly I think it works better as a garment:


And if nothing else that entire video is just an advertisement for the importance of riding in regular clothes.

Anyway, amid all this innovation you've got to appreciate the unapologetically poor design of the Uberhood, which I've featured before on this blog:



I should really get one of these for my Jones bars.

Speaking of products I've been trying, remember the Renovo?


And remember how I said I'd conduct a thorough investigation into why it's creaking?

Well, it's a long story, but the sort version is that instead Renovo are going to take the bike back and figure it out for me.  Then once they have I'll report back and let you know.  In the meantime I'll refrain from speculating as to the cause, and for the time being consider the test on hold.


At this point I'd like to point out that by the time my environmentally sustainable wooden bicycle is done flying back and forth across the country it will have the carbon footprint of a herd of yetis.

(And that's not even accounting for all the crabon fiber on the bike.)

As for the Jones bars:


I continue to love them, and even though I think my position's working well as is I'm still going to try a shorter stem in deference to their philosophy.  Hey, maybe they'll feel even better that way, who knows?  I'm nothing if not open minded.


And there you have it.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Just Breezing Through

Sorry I'm late!  What a morning!  First I had to drop off urine at the doctor's office, then I had to pick up a receptacle for my compost (yes, New York City is composting now, eat that Portland), and by the time I was done I hardly had any time left to fork off for a ride.

But I did anyway:


While I usually head north and beyond the city limits today I felt like a plainclothes, flat-pedal spin through the Bronx, so that's what I did.  Pictured above is the bike repair stand on the Randall's Island Connector, and next time someone sends me a bike to test I'm totally bringing it here to assemble.  As for how I'll get it there, maybe I'll finally get myself a trailer.  Then I'll get a kayak and start boating on the Bronx River.

Now that's the life.

Anyway, with like half the day gone now I won't keep you, but I would like to share this:

At one point in the video, an officer on a bicycle comes close to an ATV and jumps off as he tries to reach for the rider, but he misses and falls to the ground. A police cruiser following him and the ATV stops. D.C. police said the officer on the bike suffered minor injuries.

I'd also like to point out that as the officer leaps from his bike his helmet appears to fall of his head:


And then he appears to trip over it:


Okay, maybe that's not exactly what happened, but it kind of looks like it.

So while we can debate the importance of helmets all day long, I think we can all agree that wearing an unfastened one is worse than not wearing one at all.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Titles Are Like Valve Caps: Who Needs 'Em?

All right, that's it, I'm moving to Carmel:

Do I know which Carmel?  No, it was not immediately clear from the article which state this is.  But when I see an opportunity to mold an entire city in my image--and get paid for it--you'd better believe I take it:

The Carmel City Council is considering whether to add a new paid city employee as a bicycle program administrator. The position could be paid up to $69,000 a year.

City Councilor Bruce Kimball introduced the ordinance at the Nov. 20 meeting as a late add-on to the agenda. Some city councilors said they would feel more comfortable taking time to examine what the position would do before approving it, especially since it was added to the agenda just hours before the meeting.

Oh sure, $69,000 a year isn't much to uproot my entire family and leave the city of my birth, but just think of the opportunities for graft!  Remember the David Byrne bike racks?


(Times sure have changed, he'd have been pilloried for that sexist mud flap girl rack today.)

Well just wait until I commission a series of racks from celebrated minimalist designer Olle Nilsson:


Is there a celebrated minimalist designer named Olle Nilsson?  Not to the best of my knowledge.  However, you'd better believe he's going to present Carmel with some staggering invoices.

Then maybe I'll commission a series of special bikes, like these from Specialized, which were curated from an incredibly diverse group of six (6) bros and one (1) she-bro:



After ten (10) years of bike blogging, during which I witnessed the dawn and subsequent demise of the age of the fixie collabo, this sort of thing hardly registers with me anymore and I found it mostly whimsical and charming--though I did get a little bit of a douchechill from the "Madmen" bike:


Complete with beer taps:


And a crabon mini bar:


Hey, what can I say, that whole whiskey-quaffing Richard Spencer haircut-wearing retro-bro aesthetic just doesn't do it for me.

Speaking of bikes and intoxicants, you will now be able to deliver marijuana in California, but not by bicycle:


Delivery operations will be legal, but, interestingly, only with certain vehicles. Car and truck deliveries are legal; bicycles are not.

Hey, you wouldn't want to do something progressive without putting more cars on the roads, would you?

Of course not.

And in exciting foam hat-related product news, a press release informs me that Coros is flogging a new helmet:



Featuring their bone conduction technology:


Which I described thusly in my Outside column on the subject of headphones:

I once tested a helmet that incorporated bone-conduction speakers in the straps and basically pumped the music from your phone via Bluetooth into your cheekbones, and while I don’t see how this setup kept me any safer than those ubiquitous white earbuds, I can assure you it sounded terrible.

Yes, you may recall I wasn't impressed with that earlier iteration of the Coros, not least of which because I could never get the "Your loved one just crashed and is probably dead" feature to work:



In fact between the crappy audio, the random disconnections from my phone, and the seemingly bogus safety feature I ultimately consigned the thing to my helmet pile (come on, who doesn't have a helmet pile?) and forgot about it.

Glad to see they're back with something that does nothing you can't already do with Strava and a smart watch.

By the way, that's totally the Rickenbacker Causeway on Key Biscayne, I have Fredded there on multiple occasions:



I'm pretty sure it's the biggest climb in Florida.

Finally, Lucas Brunelle has important places to be:

A post shared by Lucas Brunelle (@lucasbrunelle) on

His entire oeuvre is a cry for help.