Friday, October 24, 2014

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

So yesterday I was flipping through an actual paper newspaper and I came across this New York Times "Style" feature on the phenomenon of non-bikey bikey clothes:


(Obviously this is the digital version, I saved the analog version to stuff in my Sidis when they get wet.)

The movement in the United States signifies a big shift from a decade ago, before bike lanes spread like kudzu in cities across the country. In those days, big-city cycling was generally a commando affair for bike messengers and other urban warriors. No wonder safety gear tended to be drably utilitarian in spirit, like military armor. Now that pedal-pushing professionals, many of them style-conscious women, are gliding down the streets, a next-generation biker wardrobe seems overdue.

Ordinarily I might scoff at this sort of froofiness, but after weeks of reading about cyclists terrorizing Central Park and drivers running over pretty much everybody I was actually relieved to read something about bikes that was utterly non-controversial--not to mention it's the "Style" section so what do you expect?  Also, my wife was looking over my shoulder and announced she wants this red "riding dress," but she's gonna have to fight me for it because it would look absolutely smashing on me:


"Rowr!," I growled at her, miming cat's claws as I shielded the paper from her view.

I would also totally wear this "Lightning Vest" with nothing else:





The technology is based on Acme’s Tornado whistle, engineered through the principle of wave interference – meaning it can produce a highpitched, high volume sound without the need for any moving parts. The shape of the whistle also prevents it from being pushed into the wearer’s mouth in case of a fall. The nylon neckband comes tied with a safety break free knot. It sits securely around your neck but if you pull it off with a quick snap, the knot will break.

I'd like to know the last time a cyclist either choked to death on a whistle, was inadvertently hanged by the lanyard from which it dangled, or both.  I'm also sure that, were a cyclist to actually die this way, the media would still go out of their way to point out whether or not he or she was wearing a helment.

Furthermore, you wouldn't think anybody would still need instructions on how to use a whistle, and you also wouldn't think those instructions would sound so lurid:

Blow softly for a gentle alert or hard for a loud warning. Keep it around your neck at all times and leave it resting on your lip when traveling through a particularly busy area.

It's simultaneously phallic and also evocative of that Star Wars guy's head tentacle:


(He rests it on his lip when traveling through a particularly busy area.)

Another product I learned about from the article was this "CitySeat" artisanal bike share bike seat cover:


I think they'll sell a million of these things if they start a rumor that Citi Bikes spread Ebola and that the CitySeat is your only defense.  Yes, everybody is freaking out that a guy in New York City now has Ebola, and while I hate to recycle my own Tweets this one encapsulates my feelings on the situation:
Nevertheless, everybody's obsessed with where Dr. Ebola has been over the last few days:


The High Line?  Bowling in Williamsburg?  Jogging?  All in the same week?!?  I had no idea anybody in New York City actually lived this way, I thought that was only in rom-coms.

In any case, it says a lot about people that, instead of saying "Wow, I hope the doctor who risked his own life to help people will recover!," they're instead worrying that they caught Ebola off a subway pole like a bunch of idiots.

Get over it.  Basically, if you went to any of the places above and rubbed your faces in any puddles of vomit or diarrhea--or maybe you went bowling at The Gutter in Williamsburg that night and then blew this guy in the bathroom--you should be very concerned.  Otherwise, worry about something that's actually pretty likely to kill you in New York City.  You know, like a car:


But that would require common sense.

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 nice, and if you're wrong you'll hear Dracula sing the "Cyclist's Anthem."

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and don't use that bowling ball or CitiBike if it's smeared with puke, blood, or crap.


--Wildcat Rock Machine





("A new car!!!")

1)How much to run down a cyclist with your SUV in New York City?

--$2,500
--$1,000
--$250
--$100



2) If you announce your intentions beforehand and then run down a cyclist with your SUV in New York City, you will get in real trouble, because it proves premeditation.

--True
--False




3) The key to immortality is:

--Riding between 75-200 miles per week
--Regular blood transfusions
--Being a retrogrouch
--Hot-tubbing with Steve Guttenberg







4) The 2015 Tour de France route was unveiled this week.  Which is this year's route map?

--This one:


--This one:


--This one:



--This one:










5) In banning Lance Armstrong from the Hincapie Gran Fondo, USA Cylcling is now one step closer to also claiming authority over the discipline of "Cat 6" racing.

--True
--False





(The boys enjoying Hincapie's "platinum package.")

6) Which of the following is not included in the $10,000 Hincapie Gran Fondo "Platinum Package?"

--Helicopter from airport
--Security team
--A Lexus
--Special one-on-one opportunity to give Tom Danielson "the finger"







7) Trading eyes is a good way to get Ebola.

--True
--False


***Special "A Bicycle?!?  That's Political Suicide!"--Themed Bonus Video***




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cycling Under Attack! Things Are Tough All Over




So how much would you pay to run a cyclist down with your SUV in the Most Bike-Friendly City In America?  $1,500?  $1,000?  $500?  Well, if you act now, you can run down the annoying cyclist of your choice in New York City for the low, low price of $250.  That's only 5,306,250 Vietnamese Dong!


Of course, the cyclist did give the flat-brimmed fucktard the finger, so obviously he deserved to die:

According to Vaccaro and a witness affidavit [PDF], at around 5:00 p.m. on July 13, 2013, Michael (not his actual name) was riding his bike on Avenue B on the Lower East Side. Avenue B is a narrow two-way street with no bike lanes and parking on both sides. To avoid being doored, Michael was riding in the center of his lane. When a motorist approached Michael from behind, tailgating and honking, he responded by flipping the driver off.

Approaching the intersection of Avenue B and E. 13th Street, Michael slowed for a red light. According to the affidavit, the driver, still behind him, accelerated, striking the back of Michael’s bike and flipping him over the handlebars, causing him to hit his head on the ground. With Michael in the street bleeding from his face and head, the motorist swerved around him and attempted to drive off. A second motorist on the opposite side of the intersection tried to block the way, but the SUV driver went around the vehicle and left the scene.

Witnesses noted the SUV’s plate number, and the driver was identified by NYPD as 33-year-old Jose Henriquez, of Queens.

I'm not sure why the SUV driver attempted to escape, given the fact it's perfectly legal to mow down cyclists here in New York City.  Indeed, this turned out to be his fatal mistake, for the New York County District Attorney meted out justice in typical fashion and now he'll have to dip into his gold chain and body spray fund:

But on Monday afternoon, the assistant district attorney assigned to the case notified Vaccaro and Michael that, after consulting with her supervisor, Vance’s office offered to allow Henriquez to plead to leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. Henriquez accepted and was sentenced to a fine of $250.

Yep, $250 for what basically amounts to attempted murder.  That's not even a slap on the wrist--basically they just tickled his balls.  Then again, prosecutors are in a bind, since they have to make sure there's enough room in the prisons for all those low-level drug offenders.

This city should not be receiving accolades from cycling magazines.  We should be receiving sanctions from the United Nations.  Unfortunately that will never happen, since nobody benefits more from our motor-vehicular free-for-all than diplomats:


If you're ever riding in New York City and encounter a motor vehicle with diplomatic plates, my advice to you is to immediately take cover under the nearest parked car or subway grate until it passes, because a diplomat driver makes even the most maniacal cabbie look like a senior citizen on a Hoveround.

Meanwhile, down in the Land Frumunda, a reader informs me the guy running for Lord Mayor of Adelaide hates bikes with almost Rob Fordian passion, and to that end he proposed a 13 point "Car Friendly City Action Plan:"



First, he's going to get rid of the bike lanes:

CYCLING LANE POLICY

“It’s insane giving a staggeringly small 0.8% of people 
20% of the road space.”

The proliferation of cycling lanes is out of control.

Everyday 130,000 workers commute into the city, predominantly by car (91%), by public 
transport (8%), and by bicycle, (a staggeringly small 0.8%).

Cycling lanes take up around 20% of effective roadway and numerous on-street car parks have 
been removed to make them. How did we end up with so many cycling lanes in Adelaide where 
there is clearly not the demand. The current Lord Mayor is driving this agenda at the expense of 
easy car access to the city.

Wow, 20% of the roadway in Adelaide is set aside for bikes?  That has to be an exaggeration.  I don't think even Amsterdam has that many bike lanes.  Either way, for good measure he's also going to make sure you have to wear your helment at all times, because he knows this is the absolute best way to prevent the growth of cycling while simultaneously pretending to care about cyclists:

Finally, Mark Hamilton supports the helmet law and won’t allow it to be rolled back in the 
future if he’s Lord Mayor.

Then, just in case you you decide "Fuck it, I'll just take the bus," he wants to get rid of bus lanes too:

“Just 8% of people use public transport. 
This will not change for generations. 
The rest must suffer inconvenience.”

He'll make a great Lord Vader.  I mean Lord Mayor.  If he fails to get elected, he should definitely move to Staten Island where residents would gladly make him their king.

Even in Portland, sub-Canada's erstwhile cycling nirvana, the situation continues to devolve, and recently some kind of AED (Artisanal Explosive Device) was discovered near Forest Park:


The Portland Police called in the bomb squad Saturday night to disarm an explosive device connected to a tripwire strung across a trail that leads into Forest Park.

According to a statement released this morning by the PPB, the tripwire was strung across Firelane 3, a wooded and overgrown old fire access road located east of NW Thompson Rd and accessible via Skyline Road from Thunder Crest Drive. Firelane 3 is open to bicycling and walking.

Here's the original report from The Oregonian, which tells the story of how the device was discovered:

But last Thursday the carefree walk from their Forest Heights home took a bizarre turn.

As they headed down toward the main trail, two men passed them. One was on a cellphone. Both men were sketchy and "were definitely not hikers,'' Colbach said. "It set off the hair on the back of my neck. They stuck out like a sore thumb."

Just before the couple entered the park with their Plott hound, Rhoda, Jennifer Colbach noticed a length of parachute cord stretched across the trail. They were headed toward Firelane No. 3 from the 4000 block of Northwest Thunder Crest Road off Northwest Skyline Boulevard.

"My wife said, 'Be careful here,' and she stepped over the cord," Mike Colbach said. "The dog stepped on it."

The line went slack and Jennifer Colbach noticed something move in the woods off to their right.

They continued on their walk and then went home. But the more Mike Colbach pondered the incident, the more it bugged him. So he went back Saturday.

What he found was chilling: The parachute cord was rigged to a three-quarter-inch-diameter pipe — open at one end, closed at the other — attached to a tree. There appeared to be a firing pin at the closed end. The cord was attached to a beer bottle that was supposed to swing down and strike the firing pin at the back of the device when the cord was tripped.

So they discovered the device on Thursday and didn't do anything about it Saturday?

The police might wanna take a look at these two is all I'm saying.

Lastly, Lance Armstrong may not be able to ride in George Hincapie's Gran Fondo after all:



Lance Armstrong may not, as previously reported, participate at the Gran Fondo Hincapie this weekend in South Carolina, due to the event’s sanctioning through USA Cycling.

Because of his lifetime ban, Armstrong is prohibited from participating in any event sanctioned by any signatory to the World Anti-Doping [WADA] Code.

What is at question is the status of the gran fondo, and how that lifetime ban applies.

Seems like time and money well spent on the part of USA Cycling.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday!

As the years go by I think more and more about my own mortality.  The subject of my inevitable demise is tremendously important to everybody in the world, because I'm a solipsist and when I cease to exist so do you.  In any case, this morning the following article caught my eye, and I'm not reproducing the accompanying images because they're fucking creepy:


I didn't have the patience to actually read it carefully because life's too damn short to attempt to understand science stuff, but basically what I gleaned from it is that if you surround yourself with stuff from your heyday you can retard [*snorfle*] the aging process or something.  Specifically, they herded up a bunch of doddering old people and had them spend a few days in an environment that replicated their heyday, and when they emerged again they were all spry and stuff:

At the end of their stay, the men were tested again. On several measures, they outperformed a control group that came earlier to the monastery but didn’t imagine themselves back into the skin of their younger selves, though they were encouraged to reminisce. They were suppler, showed greater manual dexterity and sat taller — just as Langer had guessed. Perhaps most improbable, their sight improved. Independent judges said they looked younger. The experimental subjects, Langer told me, had “put their mind in an earlier time,” and their bodies went along for the ride.

That's some "Cocoon" shit right there:


"So what does this have to do with cycling?," the slow-witted among you may be asking.  Oh, only that crabon will kill you and being a retrogrouch may be the key to immortality, that's all.  It's science!

Here's a little experiment: take Cyclist A and Cyclist B.  At around the time he hit middle age, Cyclist A said in an old-timey accent, "Index shifting, plastic saddles, and non-ferrous bicycle frames is for 'da boids."  Well guess what?  Cyclist A is 99 years old now and he's jamming up those hills on his Dick Power like a man one-quarter his age.   Don't believe me?  I seen it for meself, I tells ya!  Check him out, he's the guy in red:


He was 89 years old when he did his first L'Eroica in 2004, and now look at him!

Now let's take a look at Cyclist B.  On paper, he's the same age as Cyclist A.  However, instead of forsaking useless technological bicycle "innovation," he tried to keep up and remain on the cutting-edge--crabon frames, electronic shifting, Strava, you name it.  Here he is today:



A cautionary tale if there ever was one.

So disembark from the Upgrade Express before it's too late.  (Though in the above Fred's case I'm sure all those drugs didn't help.  And yes he took drugs.)

Speaking of aging Freds, this weekend George Hincapie is hosting the most heavily-rationalized Gran Fondo of all time:


This is a big deal because, as everybody knows, cycling is totally clean now.  So what happens when the squeaky-clean kiddies mingle with the dirty old men?  Will they be corrupted?  Well, obviously the answer is "They already have been," since the dirty old men run the teams now and the riders continue to take drugs.  Nevertheless, the media has to pretend this is a big deal by making everybody explain themselves:

VeloNews reached out to several of those pros, past and present, who are participating, for comment.

Most, including Armstrong and Hincapie, addressed their involvement with event, either via email, phone, or in person, while a few — Vande Velde and Livingston — did not.

Some addressed the inherent awkwardness of the reunion, others did not.

Their replies follow below.

Suffice to say the rest reads like a bunch of dieters explaining to you at great length why they're going to treat themselves to that slice of birthday cake.

Meanwhile, the Tour de France route for 2015 has been unveiled, and--SURPRISE!--they're riding through France again:


The above map is actually the Tour de France route from like two years ago, but honestly what's the difference?  You know the deal: mountains, sprint stages, a finish in Paris, yadda yadda.  Even the riders are sleepwalking through the whole thing at this point.  For example, Cadel Evans was at the presentation, having completely lost track of the fact that he's retiring in February:


("I feel like I'm forgetting something...")

Soon though he shook the nagging sensation he didn't need to be there and was back to his old tricks:


Being a semi-professional bike blogger, I launched my Rupert Murdoch phone-hacking app to find out what they were looking at:


Unsurprisingly, Mark Cavendish was nonplussed:


And it would be hours before Vincenzo Nibali realized that Jean-Christophe Péraud had superglued his finger to his face:


So yeah, the whole gang is off to France again, where the mountains are mountainous, the Freds are Frédérics, and the meat is tainted.

Oh, here's some news for you: Remember DU/ER, the action pants for restless metrosexual d-bags who lie in wait in a squatting position so they can go doody on other men's heads?


Well, not only have they received lots of press coverage:



But they also sent this smug email:


I thought you would be interested to know that we are in the final 6 days of our DU/ER Performance Denim Kickstarter campaign. Having raised 25,000 in just 5 days, we now have exceeded to $42,000! Some key elements of DU/ER performance denim is the quick dry, temperature control and is 30% lighter and stronger than traditional denim and proven to have 5 times the strength then the Levi's commuter jean. We would love for you to be able to experience our denim for yourself. Please contact us to experience DU/ER denim. You can also check out our Kickstarter campaign by following this link: http://bit.ly/Duerdenim

If you have any questions please feel to contact me at your earliest convenience. 

No thanks.  I don't want to experience DU/ER denim.  My fear is that if I experience the denim then copies of "Details" magazine will start appearing in my mailbox and I'll have to start shopping for a Range Rover.

Lastly, further to yesterday's post about bridges, a reader tells me that officials are considering charging pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Golden Gate Bridge:

On Friday, Highway and Transportation District directors said they are considering charging a toll for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the Golden Gate Bridge.

The sidewalk tolls would be part of a plan to eliminate $32.9 million over the next five years and would start charging in July 2017.

If this toll were to go into effect it would set a dangerous precedent, for it wouldn't be long before the idea of a "Fred Tax" would sweep the nation--and if they charge by the axle we'll all have to ride unicycles.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

No time for titles, let's get moving!!!

So how was your bike commute today?  Was it raining?  Did some douchebag in an SUV honk at you?  Well, save it, because unless a dick on a BMX kicked your front wheel out from under you, you probably don't have too much to complain about:


Raphael Carrondo was pushed into the side of the vehicle by a BMX rider.

Just moments before, the 32-year-old was forced to slam on his brakes as the unknown rider tried undertaking him as the pair were passing a parked bus.

Then, about 100 yards up the road as Raphael was overtaking a coach just as it began pulling out, the cyclist rode past his right side and kicked his front wheel.

Here is the very moment at which the rogue BMXer launched his lifestyle sneaker at the cyclist:


The assailant remains at large, though police suspect he was enraged by the victim's CamelBak:


The BMXer was last seen being a virgin and wearing a flat-brim cap and a "Red Bull Gives You Road Rage" t-shirt, so keep your eyes open for him.

In other news, yesterday I kvetched and bloviated about cycling in and around New York City--which, now that I think about it, is pretty much what I do every day.  (Well that's depressing.)  Specifically, I scoffed at "Bicycling" magazine's suggesting Oceanside as a cycling destination, mostly because Oceanside is so incredibly lame that even people in East Rockaway derisively refer to it as "Rockville Centre's soiled underpants."

Well, if bike advocates have their way, you'll be able to add a whole new list of questionable destinations to your New York City cycling bucket list, because a bike lane on the Verrazano Bridge would mean you'd finally be able to access exotic locales like Staten Island and (be still my heart, I can hardly even type the name without swooning) Bayonne:


The activists are campaigning for what they call the Harbor Ring, a roughly 50-mile route that circumnavigates the waterfronts of three boroughs and New Jersey. Starting in Staten Island, it crosses the Bayonne Bridge, heads up the New Jersey Gold Coast to Weehawken, onto a ferry to West 39th Street in Manhattan, down the Hudson River Greenway and the Battery, over the Manhattan Bridge, and finishes on the waterfront in Brooklyn from Red Hook to Bay Ridge.

With booming bike use on both sides of both rivers, the only missing link is the Verrazano.

All kidding aside, a bike lane on the Verrazano Bridge is long overdue, and if anything the utter lack of cycling facilities on three of New York City's mightiest suspension bridges (the Verrazano, the Whitestone, and the Throgs Neck) is yet another reason I scoff--scoff, I tell you!--at the idea that we're America's Number One Bike City:


This latest push for a bike lane on the Verrazano has received a fair amount of local media attention recently, and I strongly suggest you refrain from reading the comments on any of the articles about it, because they usually run along these lines:

--Morons insisting the cyclists should have to pay the same toll as the drivers because drivers pay for the roads (Staten Islanders are very resentful of tolls, because apparently they didn't realize they were moving onto an island until they tried to leave it);

--Morons saying they don't want bikes coming to Staten Island because then they'll get invaded by Brooklyn hipsters;

--Morons saying the bridge is "too windy" for bikes.

That last one's my favorite.  Every time the Verrazano bike lane thing comes up someone weighs in and says the bridge is too windy, which is funny because the Five Boro Bike Tour goes across the bridge every year and I have no recollection of thousands of dorks in pinnies being blown off the bridge and swept out to sea:



Though if they did I suppose they'd be easy to find.  Not only would they be highly visible in their pinnies, but they'd also be highly buoyant in their giant Bell helmets from 1989.  (This is standard issue headgear for the typical Five Boro Bike Tour rider, and a medium-sized adult could use one as a dinghy without much difficulty.)

Speaking of the Five Boro Bike Tour, I was perusing Kickstarter when I stumbled upon the ideal charity ride slayer:


Or, if you prefer, the ultimate sidewalk-riding bike:


You know the story by now.  Designer and engineer can't find a bike that meets his incredibly high standards, blah blah blah:


"Because as I looked around most commuter bicyclist are either riding converted mountain bikes or they're riding converted road bikes."

Really?

Well, as far as he's concerned the answer is yes, so he invented "the first carbon commuter bike on the market:"


Which is emphatically not the first crabon bike on the market, and he'd better be careful because Specialized is liable to sue him for making that claim:


Nevertheless, he maintains that his bike is "revolutionary:


"What's revolutionary about the Rogue is the bike itself weighs 20 and a half pounds, which is unheard of for a commuter bike."

This is emphatically not unheard of for a commuter bike--or for a flat bar "cyclecross" bike (or what we used to call a "hybrid" back in the '90s), which is basically what this is:


Also, it's made of you-know-what:


"It's made out of carbon.  Carbon compared to alloys is approximately seven and a half times stronger, but is usually somewhere in the region of about 50 or 60 percent lighter."

Which alloys exactly?  There are many.  This is like saying "apples are approximately five times more delicious than melons."

But it's not just the crabon and the low weight that make this bike revolutionary.  It's also got something else:


"Most bikes on the market right now are using a technology that's over 100 years old, which is a chain."

Yeah, you know what's coming.  Come on, it's Rule #1 in the "Reinventing the Hybrid" handbook!  Let's all say it at the same time:


("Carbon!  Belt!  Drive!")

Which is also the "same apparatus that's used on motorcycles and some of the heavier industry type vehicles like combine harvesters..."

Yeah, that's right.  Combine harvesters:


That's exactly like a bicycle.

Also, the bicycle chain may be well over 100 years old, but technically so is the belt drive bicycle, which was first patented in 1890:




Instead of using sprocket-wheels upon the driving-axle and rear axle, as has heretofore been the almost universal custom in Safety bicycles, I use pulleys having V -shaped grooves upon both of said axles and transmit Fig. 4, 6251- 'iCO 1 edges-inclined toward each other to correspond with the V-shaped grooves in the driving and driven pulleys,the engagement of the belt with the pulleys being wholly with its edges.

I'm just saying, that's all.

And that's not all, either.  Where would you be (literally) without GPS?


"The first GPS system is an application that you download on your phone.  That basically gives you things like speed, cadence, elevation, and it shows you the map of your area so you can pretty much track your rides and you can share them with various people..."

So, basically, Strava.

And it's also got the theft-tracking device you've now come to expect from Kickstarter:


"The second part of the GPS is more for safety.  So if you park your bike or lock it and it gets stolen, you can basically go back onto your phone, send your bike an SMS asking where it is, it'll send back location..."

In other words, you send a message to your bike:


And you get a reply:


Amazing.

Also the bike has built-in lights, yada yada yada, but most importantly it has Futuristic Space Fenders:



I like how the rear one provides 100% protection to the rider behind you, while simultaneously offering 0% protection to your own ass.