Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Virtual Velocipedists and Fredly Fisticuffs

Everybody knows that tomorrow, July 1st, is Canada's birthday:


(Haven't gotten Canada anything yet?  Click here for a great last-minute gift idea!)

But did you know that down here in Canada's noseless saddle we also have a birthday?  That's right, we do!  It's called "The 4th of July," and we generally celebrate it on July 4th:


(America presenting its feathery bird-cock to Lady Liberty.)

Like most Americans, I usually observe the holiday by dousing hamburgers and hot dogs with lighter fluid, setting them ablaze, and catapulting them into the sky.  This year however I figured I should do something different, and so I was excited to receive a promotional email inviting me to cycle America's national parks:


This seemed like it could be truly inspirational, for our national parks are our greatest treasure--or at least I'm assuming that's the case, otherwise Ken Burns wouldn't have bothered to make a documentary about them.  (I haven't actually seen it yet, I've been trying to finish "The Dust Bowl" for the past 14 months.)  Unfortunately, when they say "cycling America's national parks," what they really mean is "watching videos of America's national parks while riding a trainer:"

"From the valleys, to the prairies, to the mountains..." this 9-video pack includes a fantastic lineup of cycling journeys through twisting canyons, over high mountain passes; from below sea level to above the treeline; with the geysers and bison of Yellowstone to the unmistakable profile of the Grand Tetons; rushing rivers, placid alpine lakes; Zion's amazing colors and landscapes; Blue Ridge's smooth, smokey skyline; mammoth Sequoia trees, even bigger red-rock formations and tiny chipmonks; the stark desert beauty of Joshua Tree and more for 40% off the usual price with our July 4th sale! 

That sounds about right.  Our roadways are far too dangerous for cycling, and it's only a matter of time before drilling and droughts have laid waste to the landscape, so we might as well embrace our dystopian future now, cower indoors, and enjoy America the way God, Jesus, and Sam Walton intended: on a big-ass TV screen:


(Not sure what he's doing down there, but at least he's wearing a helme(n)t.)

Plus, why ride for real when you can do it inside while listening to shitty music instead?



I only hope you get to pick an avatar:


Best of all, by riding virtually you can avoid altercations with your fellow cyclists:


Here's the video, which contains language that is "NSFW," such as "FUCK" and "WHAT THE FUCK:"




The altercation took place during the men's pro 1/2 race, the featured event in the Fitchburg Downtown Criterium, just after both men crossed the finish line outside City Hall.

In the video, Warner is seen seated on the ground, his bike beside him. Townsend is standing over Warner, punching him twice in what appears to be the back of the neck as Warner raises his arms to defend himself.

Back of the neck?!?  I sure hope the victim had his helme(n)t on the right way!


("Go ahead, punch me in the back of the neck, I dare you!")

Subsequently, the assailant's contract has been terminated:

Townsend's former team, BikeReg Elite Cycling, released a statement on Facebook on Monday morning in which they announced that Townsend's contract had been terminated.

"BikeReg is aware of the unacceptable actions of one of our sponsored riders at the 2015 Longsjo Classic in Fitchburg, MA.

This is probably a good thing for Townsend, because when you're riding at that level your contract generally says you have to pay your team and not the other way around, so this ought to save him a lot of money.

By the way, the BikeReg.com Elite Cycling Team bills itself as "New England's premier elite amateur cycling program."  So what could this contract possibly have to say that's so important anyway?  "Any rider caught doping will automatically forfeit his 10% discount at Chuck's Bike-O-Rama?"

Please.

In any case, Townsend can always fill those empty slots in his racing schedule with nude modeling:


Is there training involved?

I do not train specifically for modeling. However, I am a professional cyclist as well as a model. I raced in the Downtown Worcester Criterium on June 28 and placed fourth in the Pro Men's race. So, all of my training is done for cycling but yoga, which I use for cross training, lends itself to modeling very well.

Sadly, Townsend's nude modeling contract was terminated after he repeatedly punched a student in the back of the neck for not drawing his penis correctly.

Speaking of nudity, the Portland World Naked Bike Ride recently took place, and please enjoy this somewhat-unsafe-for-work video:



It's worth noting that heme(n)t propaganda has been so effective that people will risk sunburned genitals before they will ride without a plastic hat:


And yes, I was surprised to learn that Portland does in fact see genital-scorching weather:


(Yep, that'll do it.)

Anyway, I haven't seen any reports of men horrifying fellow participants with spontaneous erections, but apparently the ride was full of "douchebags:"



Including so-called "Look At My Dick" Guy:

#1: "LOOK AT MY DICK" Guy

"LOOK AT MY DICK" Guy wants you to look at his dick. He might be completely up-front about his motives or he might be covert. Either way, you better believe "LOOK AT MY DICK" Guy doesn't have any underwear on!

The particular "LOOK AT MY DICK" Guy I rode next too for far too long last night painted a rainbow onto his stomach that led to his dick and yelled "TASTE THE RAINBOW!" He yelled it over and over. He never yelled anything else. He just rode dick-first straight at every group of spectators and yelled the same hilarious line: "TASTE THE RAINBOW!"

Sounds like someone else I know:


Nevertheless, I remain shocked--SHOCKED!--that a ride that resembles a fraternity stunt attracts what sound like current and former fraternity members.

Lastly, Ford wants to sell you you a bike:



Not only does the saddle come pre-tilted:


But the bike is also "modular," which means you can create your own two-wheeled abomination:


"So you can put different pieces on the central core.  You could actually have a mountain bike front end or a road bike front end and sort of change the type of bicycle you have..."

I'm still waiting for the two-wheel drive model.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sorry I'm Late, My Apple Watch Was Set To Venusian Time

So who else rode bikes this weekend?


Rest assured the bike's just on its side because I was too lazy to find something to lean it against while I stopped to relieve myself, and not because I fell over for want of an industry-approved gravel bike.

In addition to riding bikes I went shopping for plastic crap at this really cool and trendy store called "Target," and while I was there I threw a leg over this sweet fat bike:


First I did the "lift test" and was surprised to find it was lighter than I expected--by which I mean it felt like it weighed a hundred pounds instead of the thousand pounds I was anticipating.  Then I rolled it down the aisle and squeezed the brakes.  This felt a lot like calling your cable company about an outage, in that you know you took action on your end but there's no evidence that anything's going to be happening any time soon.  Still, part of me was tempted to purchase the bicycle just to mess around with it, but I'm not exactly made of money (I'm actually made of halva), nor do I have some great big workshop in which to house all this crap--and most of all, I've got 18 or 19 kids now, which means I don't want to squander my precious riding time on department store fat bikes.

Therefore, I figured I'd replicate the experience of riding a Fracture by taking one of my own mountain bikes, disconnecting the brakes, and filling the tires with kitty litter.

By the way, this Fracture should not be confused with the Fracture road bike from Broken Bones Bicycles--though of course you should never ride either without wearing a hjëllment:


I'm surprised the CPSC hasn't made them replace that sticker with one that says: "Warning: There's a 50% Chance The Fork Is On Backwards."

Anyway, after handling the Target fat bike I needed a bit of a palate cleanser, and so today I selected pretty much its exact opposite:


Hopped a train:


And disembarked at an undisclosed station, where I lifted up this satanic manhole cover and disappeared beneath the street:


(If you put your ear to it you'll hear this.)

It's where I get my powers.

In other news, Esteemed Commenter Daddo One informs me that, despite their funny accents, people in the Boston area are just like everybody else in that they don't give a shit about velodromes:

Local officials across the state have fought to host Olympic basketball, volleyball, and sailing. But as Boston 2024 officials have roamed the state putting together their new plan, there is one venue that no one seems to be vying for: the velodrome, a physically huge and enormously expensive indoor bicycling track that hosts one of America’s least popular Olympic sports.

In an Olympic landscape stalked by white elephants, the velodrome just might be the lead pachyderm, skewered by critics as the ultimate symbol of the waste and excess required to host the Games.

Goddamn right!  Remember back in like 2007 when fixies were big and the people we used to call "hipsters" were all whining about how they needed to have velodromes so they could ride their track bikes and show off their knuckle tattoos?  Well, it's a good thing nobody listened to them, because if they had the entire country would now be littered with the shells of unused velodromes, desolate and lying in wait for some natural disaster when they could finally see use as emergency shelters.

At least the stupid NJS track bikes they don't ride anymore aren't getting in anyone else's way.  (With the possible exception of their parents in the suburbs in whose basements they're now being stored.)

I mean come on, we're talking about track racing here!  You'd have better luck getting people behind indoor fly fishing arenas.  Even USA Cycling is like, "Track racing?  Who cares?"

But even velodrome believers admit getting Americans excited about the sport is not easy.

Watching muscular racers on fixed-gear bicycles with no brakes hurtling around steeply banked tracks is popular in Europe. But in the United States, “it’s sort of a marginalized discipline,” said Andy Sparks, director of track programs at USA Cycling. “You say, ‘track cycling,’ and people are not familiar with the concept.”

Way to stand behind one of your core disciplines, USA Cycling.

Of course, one of the problems here is that nobody even knows what the hell a velodrome is:

That is partly because hardly anyone knows what a velodrome is, particularly in New England. There are only 28 of the oval-shaped tracks in the United States and the one closest to Boston is in Breinigsville, Pa., 317 miles away. The only American velodrome that meets Olympic specifications is in Carson, Calif.

This is all cycling's own fault.  Why the hell do we still call them "velodromes?"  It's so 19th century!  If you're going to Yonkers Raceway you don't say "I'm off to the hippodrome to partake in some equestrian sports betting," do you?  Of course not.  You simply get on the free bus shuttle from the subway and sip booze from a bottle concealed in a paper bag.  So why should track racing be any different?

Instead of velodromes they should be calling them "no brakes bike tracks."  Problem solved.

I mean come on, isn't "velodrome" a little highfalutin for something like this?

The last velodrome in New England, a humble asphalt course built on a former go-kart track in Londonderry, N.H., closed in 2011 after struggling to attract cyclists.

Of course it did.

And of course the very worst way to get anybody interested in a velodrome is to insist it's going to benefit amateur bike racers:

Kross and other boosters point out that Boston has a high concentration of competitive cyclists, and harsh winters. A velodrome, they say, would provide a place for these cyclists to train from November to March and draw fans willing to plunk down $15 to watch races.

Come on, everybody hates amateur bike racers.  They're inconsiderate wankers!  Why should we give these people anything?  "Oh, it's snowy in winter, I can't train."  So go skiing!  Arguing that a velodrome will give them a place to train in winter is like like saying they should build a new shopping mall so muggers will have a place to ply their trade in inclement weather.

Anyway, everybody knows the only reason track racing is still even in the Olympics is it's one of the relatively few sports British people are good at.

Speaking of amateur bike racing, I continue to be fascinated with the media hype over the new Specialized Venge-Schmenge.  Last week's CyclingNews review was amusing enough, but now that Lennard Zinn's weighing in with his own it's like Eddie Van Halen blowing a high school band recital off the stage with a blistering solo:


Think of time savings as water pouring into a bucket. Sagan, since his power savings are so much higher with the new equipment than yours are, turns the faucet up high, but he pulls the bucket away sooner because he’s done with his 40km sooner; that limits the total water collected in the bucket. Because our power savings would be lower for the same change in equipment, we would have the faucet on a lower flow rate. But since we’re out there longer, our bucket stays under the faucet longer and ends up with a similar amount of water in it as Sagan’s does.

Uh, what?

Actually, I guess it's less like Eddie Van Halen and more like Bill Nye after he's just taken a huge bong hit.

Of course, the best part is that in order to reap the maximum benefit you've got to use all of this stuff together, right down to the shoes:

Specialized has come up with a time savings number for each individual piece of equipment, adding up to over five minutes of total predicted time savings.

Well done, Specialized, well done.

After all, it only takes one incorrectly-worn helme(n)t to erase all those hard-won gains:


That thing's just a few inches away from being a scarf.



Friday, June 26, 2015

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

Hey, the Tour de France is over in eight days!


(It's the Hanukkah of bike races.)

How d'ya like that?  I didn't even realize it had started.

Well I'm glad it's almost over.

Meanwhile--surprise!--Bjarne Riis has been involved with doping throughout the course of his career, and here's your obligatory "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" reference:


Yeah, no shit his credibility is not very high.

You know what is high though?

His hematocrit!


(Mr. 60%)
Ba-ZING!!!

Of course, all of this means pretty much nothing, since A) we knew already; and 2) the statute of limitations has expired, so nothing's happening anyway:

The 96-page Anti-Doping Denmark report came after a two-year investigation and interviews with 50 former or current riders. It concluded that Riis, directeur sportif Johnny Weltz (now a directeur sportif at Cannondale-Garmin), former Riis Cycling managing director Alex Pedersen and a number of Danish former riders all violated anti-doping rules. However due to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s eight-year statute of limitation rule in force at the time, none will face disciplinary action.

Well isn't that convenient.

Speaking of high performance, yesterday I mentioned the review of the new $12,500 Specialized Venge-Schmenge, and how it's ever so slightly faster than a Tarmac, which costs thousands less.

This raises an important question:

"If speed is your goal, wouldn't it be more cost-effective to ride an aluminum Cervélo and put some Armor All Bottles over your shins?"


Sure, it may look a little silly, but it's not nearly as embarrassing as riding a Venge.

I mean really, who's a bigger doofus: bottle-shins, or this guy?*

*[Hint: it's the second one.]

But when it comes to doofuses nobody beats Patrick Seabiscuit, who once again is taking to the mountains on his stupid fixie:



Over the years, Seabiscuit has carefully cultivated a persona that seems to be based on this premise:

What if there was a third Schleck brother who wore black, rode a fixie, and had a wispy mustache?

By far the best thing about this video is that it has subtitles, which means I don't have to retype all the inanity:


So do we, Seabiscuit.  So do we.

And now, he's enlisted a co-conspirator in the denim-clad form of former professional rider Danilo Hondo:


(A "German Tuxedo" is like a "Canadian Tuxedo," only artificially distressed.)

By the way, I missed a frame, and here's the complete subtitle:

"I'm really sorry for what I did.  It was years ago.  Those were dark times.  The statute of limitations has expired.  Oh, wait, this is just a fixie video?  Right.  Well, as a former pro, I have to admit: I would't really want this."

And here's Seabiscuit again, who is eternally trapped in the year 2005:


Would you stop mythologizing your stupid fixie already?  Bike-douchery has moved on!  All your fellow d-bags have grown full beards and taken up gravel-grinding and bikepacking!

Meanwhile, Seabiscuit has appointed Hondo as his "athletic director:"


Is he also going to add oxygenated blood to your bloodstream?

But at least Seabiscuit acknowledges the pointlessness of this endeavor:


I agree, watching people ride fixies is stupefyingly boring no matter how you look at it.

It's also incredibly stupid, because all that skidding means he has to keep changing his tires like a dumbass:


Still, there is a moment of drama when Seabiscuit recites the list of symptoms of premenstrual syndrome:


You know who could help him with "substances?"  His athletic director, Danilo Hondo:


Right, I'm sure.

But yeah, I agree, Seabiscuit does have "balls"--and it's going to be awhile before regains sensation in them.

And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right that's good, and if you're wrong you'll see a video that captures the beauty and excitement of cycling in New York City.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and never trust anyone in head-to-toe denim.


--Wildcat Rock Machine



1) Why is this a stupid test for a bike lock?

--Bike thieves don't use sledgehammers
--He's not even placing the lock on a hard surface
--He's not using a dedicated gravel hammer
--All of the above





(Good lord!)

2) Bike locks are generally ineffective in preventing machete attacks.

--True
--False







3) In Adelaide, Australia, the court recognizes that meth makes you a better driver--even if you run over a kid.

--True
--False






4) In a sure sign of desperation, McDonald's is attempting to appeal to:

--Drunks
--Meth heads
--Animals
--Cyclists





5) Finally, it's:

--An under-the-saddle air mattress
--A portable bikepacking tent
--A sail for your bike
--An inflatable trunk rack




("Bang bang, Maxwell's brushed ti hammer...")

6) How much for a titanium Fred hammer?

--$180
--$810
--$1,800
--This is a trick question, Fred hammers are made from crabon and not titanium





7) Cannondale's revolutionary Slate opens up an exciting new world of gratuitous driveway skidding.

--True
--False

***Special Greasy Cog-Themed Bonus Video!***



Penguin have a new album coming out, and they describe themselves as "100% queer grumpy transexual punx playing straight forward 90's inspired music. Catchy leads, harmonies, and at least one song about cats."

So I think we can guess where any downvotes on the video might be coming from:

I'm looking at you, translucent justices on the right...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Never Mind The Bike Locks

Today I'm riding my Ironic Orange Julius Bike in its present guise as a no-frills who-gives-a-shit around-getter:


I'm even wearing flip-flops, in a boldly frank admission to the world that I've totally given up on life.

Anyway, as I often do while riding it, I thought back to that stupid Budnitz, and how my Ironic Orange Julius Bike rides just as nicely, only it doesn't creak like the Budnitz did:


I'm not the only one who experienced that either:

For the most part, the build kit has performed quite well. I loved the Kojak tires so much I obtained a set for our Project Any Road build. The Oury grips did come installed backwards, but functionally they were fine. We flipped them for aesthetics. The only other issue is the dreaded noisy bottom bracket. It creaks and squeaks a lot, acoustically ruining what is an otherwise incredibly smooth and quiet drivetrain. Beyond that, I would much prefer to see higher quality hydraulic disc brakes on the bike, especially given the price point. If Breezer can use them on their $1569 Beltway 8, I think Budnitz can find a way to spec them, or at least offer them as an option. The BB7s work fine, but personally I really just don’t care for mechanical disc brakes.

Also, the Ironic Orange Julius Bike costs thousands less, so I don't feel the need to uglify it further than it already is to deter thieves--unlike the Budnitz:


Sorry, it's been almost three years now and that goddamn bike still pisses me off.

In fact, the Budnitz is probably the second-most annoying bike I ever reviewed after this one:


Boy was that a stinker.

It's like the this sneaker of bikes:



Speaking of locking up your bike, here's the bazillionth Kickstarter for a "smart lock," the one cycling accessory that absolutely nobody on the face of the earth is asking for:


This one purports to be "strong," and "smart," and "social:"
I may be none of those three things, but I do know the "blulok" is bollocks--even though it can stand up to a 10-POUND SLEDGEHAMMER:


Which might mean something if this is the way bike thieves defeated locks:


Except that it's not at all how they defeat locks.

In fact, what bike thieves do is they use giant levers, which I know because I was in a movie about it:


I'm already getting Oscar buzz, and I think there's a good shot I'll take home the statue for "Best Disembodied Hand In A Brooklyn Public Access Non-Fiction Segment About Bikes."

So right, the hammering.  Yeah, who gives a shit if you can hammer the lock?  He might as well have shot at it with an assault rifle, because bike thieves don't do that either--though it goes without saying if you do hammer a bike lock you should be sure to use a titanium Fred hammer like this one:


("Spins up nice, tracks really well, descends with confidence.")

Most importantly though, the blulock "knows every move your bike makes:"


Which is quite useful if you suspect your bike may be cheating on you:


("Don't tell him about us.")

If nothing else, I'll now be sure to disinfect the Ironic Orange Julius Bike's "contact points" after leaving it unattended for more than a few minutes.

In other Kickstarting news, remember this guy?


He's the mastermind behind Broken Bones Bicycles, the bike company for crash-prone Freds.

Anyway, a reader by the name of Derek emailed me to let me know that the unfortunately named Broken Bones crabon "Fracture" frame:


Is in fact a genuine HongFu Sports Equipment CO., LTD:


Only with the application of tribal bro-douche graphics:


(A de-douched HongFu, elegantly minimalist)

If nothing else, I have to hand it to the Broken Bones guy, because this is perhaps the least successful bicycle rebranding attempt I've ever seen.  Generally when rebranding something you want to create the illusion of cachet, but I'd much rather tell people I ride a HongFu Sports Equipment CO., LTD than a "Broken Bones Fracture" with graphics inspired by Tapout.

Speaking of rebranding concerns, here's a review of the new $12,500 Specialized Venge Schmenge Aero Deluxe Super-Tan-Fastic SL:


Which is demonstrably the fastest Fred bike in the known universe, because here's why:


For the Venge ViAS test, we first measured in the wind tunnel the total drag of each rider on a ViAS, then the total drag of each rider on a Tarmac. Specialized stacked the deck a bit with each of us wearing a skinsuit and aero helmet for the ViAS measurement, then regular bibs, jersey and standard road helmet for the measurement on a Tarmac.

Wait a minute: they tested the Venge with the rider in a skinsuit, and then they compared that to the Tarmac with the rider wearing regular Fred gear?

That's like taking the Pepsi Challenge with the Pepsi served over ice and the Coke at room temperature after the can has been left open for a few days.

Next, the subjected the reviewer to a 20 kilometer time trial, and here's what happened:

Nonetheless, the ballpark comparison showed immediate results. For instance, I took note of my speed at three spots on course: a fast downhill, an uphill and a flat section. The downhill was 5mph faster at the very bottom on the Venge, the uphill seemed to be the same, and the flat was maybe 1mph faster. The total ride time was a little more than two minutes faster with the Venge and aero setup. But again, this was just ballpark, as I certainly couldn't track the variance in wind speed or even exact power over the two sessions while riding along.

Incredible: For $12,500, you will suck 120 seconds less than you will on a Tarmac.

That's the difference between sucking balls and still sucking balls but on a $12,500 bike.

But wait--actually, when you factor in the skinsuit, you're only sucking about 60 seconds less:

So how much of the difference is the bike and how much is the skinsuit and aero helmet? By Specialized's calculations, it's about 50/50. Before the launch was held, there was heated debate inside the company about whether inviting journalists to test in this way was a good idea. What if the results weren't impressive? Perhaps this is why we tested aero setup vs standard setup instead of just the bikes themselves with identical clothing and helmet. Nonetheless, even if the bike difference was half, it is still a huge difference.

Is that really a huge difference?  I don't think that it is.  Sucking at riding bikes is not measured in seconds, or even minutes.  It's measured in an overall lack of accomplishment and an overarching narrative of suckitude that runs through your cycling career.  Saying you suck less than some other sucky Fred because you finished a race a few seconds sooner than he did is like saying you're richer than your neighbor because you both have the same car but yours has those moronic stick-on air vents on it.

But of course no review would be complete without the performance-related anecdote:

Camera rolling, we set off down the rollercoaster of a descent. Now, if you have ever ridden a hyper-aero time trial bike, you know they are fast, but not necessarily the most confidence-inspiring machines. Now think of how comfortable you feel on your favourite road bike. Imagine putting the TT bike speed and your road bike's confidence together. That's the Venge ViAS.

Chris and I flew down the descent, yelling back and forth, and of course we had to attack the group when we came railing past. That's what boys do. Some spirited counters followed and we throttled along at 30mph. That evening as we uploaded our Garmins, my Strava file showed a KOM for that six-mile descent.

WOW.

I'm not sure Specialized should be encouraging Freds should be encouraged to launch downhill attacks, wind-cheating cockpit notwithstanding:


Plus, the Venge-Schmenge cockpit has nothing on this one, which was spotted in Tel Aviv by a reader named Paul:


Two-wheel drive?!?

Now that's performance.