Friday, August 15, 2014

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz and Out-Of-Office Announcement!

As I've mentioned repeatedly, I'm headed out to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for the IMBA "World Smit:"

If you're unfamiliar with IMBA, they're a boutique company who make custom decals for Subarus.

This means that after today I won't be posting again until Monday, August 25th, at which point I will return to relate my experiences to you:

I can't promise that there won't be an additional small break after that so I can dump the last few shovelfuls of dirt over summer's coffin, but then again I can't promise that there will be, either.

Read that last sentence again and it still won't make any sense.

Also, if you're wondering why today's the last post when the Smit doesn't start until Wednesday the 20th, please bear in mind that I currently look like this:

So I'm looking at some serious barber time before they'll even let me through security at the airport, which is to say nothing of pulling together a decent wardrobe and all the rest of it.

I'll also be riding a bike in Colorado at some point, so I'd better find a pair of shorts that aren't worn to transparency.

This is the point where you remind me again that I'm sure to die from the altitude.

Honestly, my only hope at this point is that IMBA sees what I look like these days, realizes they made a huge mistake, and rescinds their invitation.

In the meantime, let's all join hands, close our eyes, and send our good vibes to Mario Cipollini, who has been hit by a car:

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the retired rider, who was the world’s top sprinter for many years, was taken to hospital in Lucca after a car hit him while he was on his bike. The driver was turning and didn’t see the rider, who reportedly has injuries to his knee and the quadriceps tendon.

Uh, the driver didn't see him?  That is utterly ridiculous.  How the hell do you not see The Cipollini?

The silver lining in all of this is that the article calls it a "training accident," which can only mean that Cipollini is mounting yet another comeback, though given his English that could also be a simple misunderstanding:

("I want to mount, then come on back.  What hotel you stay?")

Either way, Cipollini has been placed in bed restraints after pinching the hospital staff, which is perfectly fine with Cipo because he's "into that."

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 you're better than everyone else, and if you're wrong you'll see inspiration.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and see you on Monday, August 25th!

--Wildcat Rock Machine

(The Cervélo Douche)

1) Which is not an actual quote from the Cervélo Douche?

--"I do a meditation. I can do up to one hour. I come out of it feeling high. It affects all the chemicals of your brain, from the endorphins to the serotonin. I have a fireplace."
--"I take my car to go to the bagel shop. I take the Ferrari. I get a rush a little bit, zero to 60. When you are doing it in three and a half seconds, I love that. This happens around 8:30ish."
--"After that I usually like to go on a bike ride. It’s a Cervélo, light and cool."
--"To beat the traffic I head back into town at midnight.  Ferrari again, Cervélo on the trunk rack.  The sound of the V12 in the Midtown Tunnel hardens my nipples.  Emerging in Manhattan, I cruise down 2nd Avenue, throwing stale Hamptons bagels at the homeless."

2) The crux of Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy's latest anti-bike argument seems to be that people should not be allowed to ride them because he is an idiot.


3) What is Courtland Milloy wearing?

--A "Fly6 Bro"
--A "GoPro Manssiere"
--A "Polaroid Girdle"
--Surgical scrubs and a pacemaker

4) What is this?

--A 1960 Campagnolo saddle alignment tool
--A Park Tool FAG-2 frame alignment gauge
--A 1990 Cipollini genital alignment tool
--A late 19th century pennyfarthing wheel truing gauge

(Dick break technology has trickled down.  Way down.)

5) Disc brake rotors are:

--" circular saw blades of death."
--" spinning knives that have been heated in a 500-degree oven."
--" searing hot pie plates of Hades."
--" Blackie Lawless's codpiece."

6) Bicycle proctology can be very lucrative.


(Cyclist being ticketed for wearing a tank top that is too "mimey.")

7) The NYPD's latest bike crackdown is called:

--"Operation Safe Cycle"
--"Operation Spin Cycle"
--"Operation Top Tube Pad"
--"Operation F.R.E.D." (Frisk, Reprimand, Educate, and Deride.)

***Special Dutchies Rubbing Your Nose In It-Themed Bonus Video!***

--An American

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Professional Test Pilot: Do Not Attempt!

Let's put the "bike" in "bike blog," shall we?

You may recall that on Tuesday I un-boxed and assembled a so-called "Saturday Deluxe" from the State Bicycle Co.

As you can see above, since then I've successfully installed the frontal racking system, and it took me longer to do this than to assemble the entire rest of the bicycle.  This isn't to say the front rack is overly complicated or poorly designed or anything like that, because it isn't.  It's just that there are various small nuts and bolts involved, and I also forgot to install two crucial ones, so I had to take the whole thing off and do it over again.

This should be of no concern to you, for I am an idiot.  Rest assured that if you can manage to assemble a piece of Ikea furniture you will probably be able to get your new State bicycle rolling in relatively short order.

Moreover, I was quite the busy Fred yesterday, because in addition to front-racking the State I also finally got around to obtaining a new Micro SD card for my Fly6 rear tail-light camera!

And you know what that means, dontcha?  That's right, it means you get to come with me for a ride!

Here's the Fly6 the moment it became operational again:

Please excuse the garbage bags.  What do you want from me?  It's trash day.  Also, please excuse the fact that my gray t-shirt is drenched in perspiration.  I suffer from a disorder that causes me to sweat heavily whenever I perform even the most minor mechanical task on a bicycle.  Simply installing a water bottle cage causes me to drench myself like Albert Brooks in "Broadcast News," so you can imagine that assembling an entire rack turns me into Willy Water Bug.

It's disgusting.

So with the State together and the Fly6 rolling, I set out on a neighborhood "shakedown ride" during which I would complete two (2) tasks:

1) Go to the store and purchase an item I needed;

2) Test the cup holder in the front rack by purchasing a beverage and placing it inside the cupholder, and then riding around with it.

So I mounted up and off I went:

Yeah, that's right, I'm wearing flip-flops.  Deal with it.  What, I'm gonna put on shoes on a hot summer day to go to the store?  Please.  You're lucky I'm even wearing clothes.

As you may have noticed, the State Saturday Deluxe is a single-speed bicycle with a coaster brake, which is obviously best suited for the kind of flat terrain you find in America's trendiest and most annoying neighborhoods--your Missions, your Bushwicks, your Pearl Districts, and so on.  I, however, live in a non-trendy neighborhood on a ridge, and some of my neighborhood streets are legitimately steep, so I had to dig deep into my suitcase of sex toys in order to get the bike going:

Of course, as a two-time veteran of the Single Speed World Championships I knew I could manhandle (or at least Fredhandle) the State up just about anything.  I was less certain, however, how the coaster brake-only situation would work on the way down.  As it turns out, it was just fine, though as you can see from the "jorts overhang" in the next still I made sure to shift my considerable weight back for maximum coaster brake retarding force on the downhills:

(Heh.  Heh.  He said "retarding force.")

Meanwhile, the quasi-artisanal wood bottom of the front rack acted like a snare drum and be-bopped entertainingly as my Knog lock bounced around on top of it due to the irregular road surface:


Yes, you can get away with a lock like this when you're running quick errands in non-trendyville.

I should also point out that the sun had only just come out after roughly 24 hours of rain, so I did momentarily lose traction on some wet leaves at the bottom of the hill, which probably wouldn't have happened if I'd also had access to a handbrake:

Then again, I'm an experienced stunt rider, and losing traction with a coaster brake while wearing flip-flops is exactly the kind of death-defying thrill for which I live.

Look, more "climbing!"

Up and down, up and's no wonder I'm so incredibly fit.

Don't believe me?  Check my Strava!

Watch out, Colorado.  IMBA World Smit, here I come!

You may also recall that yesterday marked the start of the NYPD's "Operation Safe Cycle" crackdown, so my heart skipped a beat as I passed one of New York's Finest:

Fortunately, I was not tackled and arrested for the technically-not-a-crime-though-it-probably-should-be act of cycling in open-toed footwear.

I like to think that the police in this corner of the city aren't too concerned with ticketing cyclists owing to the complete absence of irritating crooked-Bern-helment-and-Linus-bike transplants, though I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they prove me wrong and nab me for something.

Pending that, having survived both the terrain and my harrowing encounter with the police, I locked the bike up and embarked upon my first errand:

As for the nature of that errand, that's for me to know and you to find out, but let's just say I was buying either a sitz bath or a gift for a child's birthday party.

I always take a parting glance at a bicycle before walking away from it, because you never know when you might be looking at it for the last time:

Notice how the sweat stain on my shirt is mostly concentrated on the left side, revealing exactly the angle at which I was leaning while I was installing the front rack.


Moments later, I emerged with either a sitz bath or a child's toy (not telling which) and was pleased to find that the State was still there:

So I placed the sitz bath or child's toy in the rack:

And set out to perform Test #2, which would be the purchase and insertion of a beverage into the rack's cupholder.

In order to obtain that beverage, I headed towards the other retail strip in the neighborhood.  The two retail strips around these parts have distinct personalities.  One is dominated by pizza, frozen yogurt, and real estate brokers, whereas the other is mostly pizza, frozen yogurt, and real estate brokers:

Here I am walking away from the locked bicycle and towards a popular coffee-flavored beverage chain:

Sweet fancy Jesus, please tell me that dark spot is not ass sweat.


Also, notice how effortlessly I blend into the surroundings as I retreat into the background, almost like I'm just a normal person with a sweating problem and not the World's Greatest Bike Blogger:

In fact, I'm so good at camouflage that people usually have no idea I'm the World's Greatest Bike Blogger, which is why they never stop me for autographs.  In fact, not only do they rarely bother me, but they also show me an extra degree of respect by giving me a wide berth at all times--though I suppose the ass sweat could be a factor.

Meanwhile, as I waited for my iced Mucka Fappuccino®‎, the State waited patiently for me.  I should also point out that, while the Fly6 is "rolling," it displays a mesmerizing red light not unlike that on the hood of KITT, the car from the "Knight Rider" TV show.  Therefore, I'm fairly sure that after sitting down this family began to suspect they were under some kind of surveillance, which is why they all turn to it at exactly the same time and look extremely nonplussed:

For that very reason I felt it was only fair to blur their faces, but I assure you they look almost as irritated as if I'd actually been there.

Eventually the coffee professionals at the popular coffee-flavored beverage chain finished fabricating my popular coffee-flavored beverage, and you'll be pleased to know that the size they refer to as a "Tall" fits in the cupholder nicely:

If that metal ring were just a few millimeters lower it would force the lid off the cup and "coffee" would spill everywhere.

Clearly someone at State is doing their homework.

So now, if you're keeping track, I've got a lock, a sitz bath or child's toy, and a Tall Muckafuckaccino®‎ in the rack:

Which is why you should always keep a bungee cord or cargo net on your bike at all times.

Next, I hopped back on the bike and towards home:

With regard to the above image, please note that in addition to the comically disgusting be-flip-flopped Monty Python title-squashing foot:

It also reveals a reflection of me awkwardly straddling the bike in the window of the "coffee" place:

In other words, I'm a rolling shitshow from every angle.

Then, some more hills:

And I'm pleased to announce that the beverage made it home with but a few drops spilled:

As for the bike itself, the "shakedown ride" revealed only two issues.  One was that in my haste I forgot to tighten the seatpost clamp all the way, and so as I rode around I began to realize I was slowly sinking.  In fact, I probably would have sunk even faster if the Fly6 hadn't been acting as sort of an "emergency wedge:"

So I snugged it back up, which of course resulted in even more profuse sweating:

The other thing I noticed as I used my massive power to stomp my way up all those formidable hills is that there's a small amount of play in the bottom bracket so at some point maybe I'll get around to investigating.

Or, more likely, I'll completely ignore it.

Other than that, the bike is a pleasure to ride (assuming either you live somewhere flattish or you're a world-class singlespeeder like me):

And not so bad to look at as well:

Which would make it an ideal "townie" for you, and exactly the sort of bike you'd expect to find in the lender fleet at a trendy boutique hotel.

Really, the only thing that reminds you you're riding a mail order bike are the plasticky saddle and grips:

So if you really wanted to class the bike up you could replace them with actual leather one day and be wanting for little else:

Though there'd be no pressing reason to do so, because the saddle is reasonably comfortable, the grips are rubbery but fine, and if the bike's going to spend a lot of time outside you don't need to worry about any of it getting wet.

The only thing I would replace right away is the bell:

Now I may be missing something, but as far as I can tell this bell simply does not work.  Like, you flick the clapper and it just lands with a dull "thunk."

I'll ask State about it and let you know what I find out.

So there you go.  In the meantime, I'm looking forward to subjecting this bicycle to proper "Cat 6" testing, and I'm sure you'll agree I earned that sickly-sweet beverage:

("Eeew, Starbucks!"  The coffee Freds are totally plotzing right now.)

And with that, I choked out the Fly6:

And then there was nothing.