Friday, January 30, 2015

BSNYC Friday (No) Fun (No) Quiz!

Let's talk menses.


On numerous occasions I've mentioned Sustainable Cycles, and here's what they're about:

Sustainable Cycles works to catalyze a grassroots, person-to-person revolution away from single-use, disposable menstrual products to reusable, sustainable options.   We want as many women to make the switch as possible, and for users to become advocates – “spokeswomen” – in their communities.  We see our work as a feminist, social, and environmental justice project.

Now I'm going to put this in bicycle terms for you.  You know how when you keep trashing headset bearings and after awhile you just say "Screw it" and buy a Chris King, and voilà, you don't have to futz with your headset anymore?  Well, it's the same with menstrual products.  Why keep flushing tampons down the terlet when you can get yourself a top-quality reusable menstrual cup?


Just don't mistake it for one of those eye bath things, because eeew.

(It's perfectly fine to use them for tequila shots though, owing to the antiseptic properties of the liquor.)

So Sustainable Cycles is embarking upon a cross-country bicycle trip to promote their cause, which is sensible menses curation:



And so they're passing the hat (or, more accurately, the cup) around for donations:



So why am I, a male (genetically at least), so enthusiastic about this?  Well, here's why:

1) I spent a lot of time on the beach as a child.  In fact, you could even say I grew up on the beach, which is why I have to go to the dermatologist every six months now and get dysplastic nevi cut out of me.  Anyway, when I used to play in the sand I'd always find these plastic tube things which I'd pretend were boats, pipes, telescopes, or what have you.  "How convenient that the beach is strewn with toys!," I used to think, and it wasn't until many years later that I realized they were tampon applicators.  Sure, I suppose those tampon applicators sparked my imagination and made me who I am today, but I also think my children should be spared the indignity of having to play with feminine hygiene products;

2) I've had it up to here [indicates top of head] with all these fundraising campaigns for bullshit like this, nor do I care about the latest SRAM wireless electronic shifting group or some overpriced plastic "gravel" bike designed by the legal legal department at Specialized, and I especially don't care about stuff like raising money for junior bike racers to compete, since encouraging kids to race bikes is about as productive as locking them in their rooms with a bong and a Monster Magnet record.  This, however, is a worthy cause;

3) The whole menstrual cup thing just makes sense to me.  After all, you don't drink out of paper cups at home, do you?  Of course not!  You use washable glasses.  So why should menstruating be any different?  It's just common sense!  Basically, menstrual cups are the same as drinking glasses, except instead of drinking from them you stick them in you vagina.

I rest my case.

Meanwhile, in non-menstrual news, a New York City cyclist is fighting a ticket for riding on a marked bike path in Central Park:


Back in November, a cyclist riding on the 96th Street path in Central Park was pulled over by a police officer wearing a bike helmet. The cyclist’s offense: riding on the 96th Street path, which was designated as a shared bike and pedestrian path in 2012. The officer issued a criminal court summons for disobeying a sign, next to a sign that clearly marked the path as open to bicycles.

Criminal court summons for doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing on a bicycle?  That sounds about right.  Police have been cracking down on cyclists ever since a pedestrian was killed there last fall.  There is a silver lining in the crackdown though, which is this:

“I know several large tri clubs have completely left the park as of late October, and they’re looking for alternatives for completely riding indoors next year, even during the summer,” said Mikael Hanson of the Asphalt Green Triathlon Club.

Triathletes relegating themselves to the indoors all year round?!?  That's almost too good to be true!  Maybe there is a God after all.  High five, God!


("Don't mention it.")

If I were mayor I would fully subsidize any triathlon club who promised to ride exclusively indoors--where the worst they can do is this:



I'm not sure if he's actually a triathlete, but he does have aerobars and a Gran Fondo New York jersey, which is basically the same thing.

Not only would I subsidize these clubs, but I'd also buy each rider a $17,000 Eddy Merckx limited edition bicycle:


Eddy Merckx Cycles, the eponymous brand of arguably the world's greatest cyclist, is returning to its roots with steel racing bikes. The first batch will be a limited-edition run of EDDY70 machines. Sold online for US$17,500 / €14,000 a piece, there will by 70 numbered EDDY70 bikes, of which the man himself will get number one. But these aren't just retro bikes, the company insists.

What better way to say "Happy Birthday" to the cyclist who only got caught doping three times than by giving him a fuckload of money for one of his bicycles?


It's easy, too!  In fact, it's eerily like choosing a seat on a Jet Blue flight:


I'd have bought one myself, but unfortunately my preferred number was taken:


And I'm pretty certain I know who ordered it.  Here are a three hints:

--He's a retired sprinter;
--He rides shirtless;
--He's unwittingly ingested dozens of menstrual cups.

Give up?

It's this guy:



He's as classy as they come.

Lastly, before I go, I'm sorry for not administering a quiz, so by way of an apology here's some more triathlete crash porn:


Don't mention it.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rebellion is a dish best served lukewarm.



(If you say so.)

Have you ever woken up in the morning determined to take life by the balls, only to realize that life is a woman and she owns you completely, at which point you surrender in short order?

Me too.

Still, that doesn't stop us all from pretending we're heroes in our own personal narratives, or that we have any measure of control over the vicissitudes of existence.  Take the videos of Lucas Brunelle, daredevil cinematographer and expert bike handler:



He and Benny Zenga have collabo-ated on yet another video, this one entitled "Road Sage," to which I was alerted by the latter party:

I think you'll enjoy this one. 

Advanced perspective transcendent urban cycling -or- suicidal tendencies cyco-vision. At any rate, it’s a nudge to forgo being a spectator and go for a bike ride.

Thanks,

Benny



ROAD SAGE from Zenga Bros on Vimeo.

And which, mere moments before press time, seems to have mysteriously and inconveniently disappeared after I went through the trouble of taking screenshots and everything:


I cannot stand the smug error messages you get from websites.  "Sorry, there seems to be like a problem, dude.  We're totally working on it and stuff."  Fuck you.  I especially can't stand them when they suggest that something I watched with my own goddamn eyes just moments ago may not have ever existed, because that's both flippant and Orwellian.

This didn't happen back when we used VHS, even if we did have to constantly futz with the tracking.

Anyway, the video starts thusly:


If I may offer the filmmakers a word of advice, you should really stop with the whole dictionary definition opening title thing, because it's trite:

trite adjective \ˈtrīt\
: not interesting or effective because of being used too often : not fresh or original

In fact, the above descriptor applies to the entire video, which could be why they deleted it.  Predictably, it features all the usual hallmarks of Lucas Brunelle's work.  There's the skitching:


The obligatory "Ooh, they ran a light in front of a cop, take that, system!" clip:


The "elbowing your way through a yellow cab Malachi Crunch like a dumbass" maneuver:


And of course the ever-present car-and-truck touching:


Yes, always with the touching:


It's like they're priests and the cars are little boys.

(There's a good word to describe that joke, by the way...)

Of course, before you fondle a motor vehicle you should always engage in a bit of foreplay.  For example, try mounting the sidewalk:


Skidding in front of an elderly pedestrian:


And then groping the bus:



He sure showed that old guy and that bus who wears the "jorts" around there.

Speaking of urban cycling clichés, there's even fixed-gear freestyle, which means Brunelle must have been sitting on some stale footage from 2008:


To be perfectly honest I kind of miss fixed-gear freestyling.  Those people used to get sooo defensive when you'd tell them how stupid it was, and somehow they managed to live in complete denial of both BMX and artistic cycling for a good year or two.  Then, all of a sudden, they all gave up and bought road bikes--though evidence of the "sport" lives on in videos made by aging people struggling to remain relevant, like this one.

Nevertheless, you've got to give Brunelle credit, because he's the undisputed master of petty rebellion porn:


(THEY'RE NOT PAYING THE TOLL, THEY'RE NOT PAYING THE TOLL!)

Check out these duders falling all over themselves in traffic like a bunch of Cat 5s (probably because most alleycat racers are Cat 5s):


And thrill to this flagrant salmoning:


At this point I started getting bored, so I skipped ahead to some of the rider interviews, and those made my brain hurt so I gave up.

Now the video's gone.

Sigh...

Speaking of adrenaline-charged thrill rides, a reader informed me of this commercial for the 577-horsepower Mercedes AMG Über-Teutonic SpörtzVagen complete with MILF-Drive and Wank-O-Tronik paddle shifters:



Which the woman in the commercial uses to get to a spin class:


You'd think that if you wanted some exercise on a lovely autumn day you could just ride a bike outside instead of driving to an indoor spin class.  Then again, the roads are probably too dangerous for that, thanks to all those rich suburbanites rushing to spin class in their supercharged luxury cars.

I think you call that "irony."

As for me, you won't find me in spin class.  I do exercise inside though, and I've been using this workout to good effect (via another reader):

 

Laughter is good for the core.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday's Here And It's Equipped With An Aerodynamic Fairing!

Firstly, as part of my increased commitment to bringing you top-quality blogging content in 2015, here's more gratuitous triathlon crash porn:



Yep, that's the entire spectrum of human expression, right there in a single image:


Amazing.

Oh, and if you're wondering what else my increased commitment to bringing you top-quality blogging content in 2015 entails, it basically means I'm going to remind you even more often to buy jerseys and hats:


The hats will caress your head like a "Magic Kippah," and so silky smooth is the jersey that when Mario Cipollini sampled it at Interbike he immediately commissioned Walz to make him 20 pairs of underwear and a set of king-sized bedsheets out of the same fabric.*

*[This is not true.]

But yeah, it's a really nice jersey, and I can't wait until the winter's over so I can actually ride in the thing instead of just wearing it around the house and air-cycling** in the bathroom mirror.

**[Air-cycling is the bike equivalent of air guitar; it's when you put your fists out in front of you like you're in the drops and then squint intently like you're descending at Fred "Wooo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" speed.]

Speaking of cycling accessories you can't do without, remember Überhood?



Of course you don't.

Regardless, it turns out Überhood was merely ahead of its time, for behold...LEAFXPRO!






Do you hate straining against gale-force winds and horizontal rain while wearing an ordinary poncho?


Well, this guy does, and so he cut stuff:


And drew lines on paper:



And sewed stuff:


Until finally he'd created sort of an aero-umbrella to fend off the elements:


Not only is it ideal for fighting your way through squalls on those seaside slogs:


But it's also great for mountain biking:


And in addition to transforming your bike into a sort of "upright recumbent," it also administers a much-needed "wedgie" to you while you ride:


I'm also reasonably certain that's Bret mixing it up with a little offroad action for a change:



Sure, you might look a bit strange riding around the city with this thing on your bike, but you can draw attention away from the fairing by wearing a velvet king's hat:


Until I come out with my own BSNYC version you can buy yourself a similar velvet king's hat at Party City:


He looks nonplussed.

I should also point out that if you need a plastic windshield just to ride your local trail you should probably stay off it altogether until it dries out, lest you invoke the ire of your local IMBA chapter:


Or at the very least you could lay off the gratuitious skidding:


Best of all, when you get to where you're going all you do is unzip:


Extricate yourself from your rolling garment bag:


Throw the whole system over the shoulder of your corduroy jacket:


And run off into the sea due to sheer embarrassment, never to be seen or heard from again:


Speaking of shame, you know how parents don't like to talk about sex with their kids but they do it anyway, because they figure better the kid hears about it from them than from some friend who thinks HPV is the cable channel that "Hoarders" is on?  Well, I feel the same way about this video that was forwarded to me by Klaus of Alps and Andes--I'd prefer not to address it at all because it kind of creeps me out, but if you're going to hear about it from someone it might as well be from me.  Anyway, basically it's a video for some cheesy brö-metal song that features a cameo from that guy who lost all his Dauphiné Libéré titles:


Evidently, it's supposed to be some kind of statement about doping:

Appropriately, the accompanying track, the hard-rocking "Mountain Lion," concerns the misplaced outrage over performance-enhancing drugs. "The amount of attention given to PEDs is incredible," says Commerford, "especially when you consider the amount of drugs – recreational, illegal and pharmaceutical – that America supports and profits from."

Wow, man.  Now that's deep.

But what I couldn't get past was this:

"Lance is a friend, an awesome person and, as far as I'm concerned, a punk rocker," he says.

Really?  "Punk rocker?"  Are you kidding me?!?  I find that offensive.  Hey, I'm fairly pragmatic when it comes to his Tour wins (and yes, he did win them), but Lance Armstrong is categorically and objectively not a "punk rocker."  I don't care what your definition of punk is--whether it's Discharge or David Byrne or something in between, this guy ain't it.  Come on, even post-Oprah he's as corporate as they come!  If Lance Armstrong is punk rock then what does that make Thom Weisel, Malcom McLaren?


(Cash from chaos.)

Actually, there may be something to that.

Nevertheless, I suppose we should remember that this guy's old band, Rage Against The Machine, did change the world with their politically charged frat rock/rap, assuming your definition of "changed the world" is "got college dudes pumped to get tribal armband tattoos back in the '90s."

Lastly, some town in Colorado is putting bike racks on the ambulances:


The bike-friendly ambulance "is eliminating some of the concerns that our patients had in the past when they were like, 'I'm not going to the hospital if I have to leave my bike here,'" Steve Main, PVH's director of emergency medical services told The Coloradoan.

This is bike-friendly?  Oh, come on!  Yeah, like I'm gonna visit the town with the bike racks on the freaking ambulances.  Clearly the local officials already know where I'm going to wind up.  How far is this town from where Matthew Beaudin was hit, anyway?

Seems to me that riding in a town with bike racks on the ambulances is like eating in a restaurant where they put Imodium on the table as a condiment: nobody's expecting it to end well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

From Blizzard To Snow Job

Well, that didn't happen.

New York City, which was shut down overnight, was spared the worst of a snowstorm that swept across the Northeast early Tuesday and slowly returned to its normal rhythms as travel bans were lifted and transit services gradually restored.

My sympathies to those of you residing in areas that did receive or are currently receiving the full cockwallop of the storm, but here in my woods of the neck it was something of a bust, and it skipped New York City like the march of time has skipped Cleveland.  (It's still 1989 in Cleveland, which has confounded physicists for decades.)  This is ironic given the unprecedented level of storm preparedness, which included shutting down the entire New York City subway system last night for the first time ever in anticipation of a blizzard:

Juno becomes first snowstorm in history to shut down MTA

New York's subways, commuter trains and roads were shut down Monday as an overnight travel ban went into effect, the first time in history that subways have been shut down due to snow, the MTA says.

New Yorkers will debate as to whether or not this was a necessary precaution or gubernatorial exuberance for days to come, especially since the trains ran all night long anyway, just with nobody in them:
See, they have to run the trains anyway to keep the tracks clear.  You just couldn't ride on them.  I believe that's called dramatic irony as opposed to regular irony.

Even more incredibly, they closed the roads to non-emergency motor vehicles!
Ah, now that's what I call "Vision Zero."  If only he could do this every day!  While shutting down a train system that runs largely underground was probably unnecessary in this case, I'd argue that they should close the streets to private motor vehicles and their incompetent operators at the first sign of snow all winter long.  After all, it's the dingbats who take to their cars in snowstorms who block the roads for plows and emergency vehicles--the very emergency vehicles that need to rescue them from their own cars.

It's situations like these that underscore our skewed perception when it comes to danger.  When a storm is bearing down on us (or even possibly bearing down on us) our officials are willing to declare a state of emergency and close the roads to prevent deaths and injuries that might occur.  However, hundreds of people are killed and thousands are injured by drivers every day, yet that's not an emergency.  It's just business as usual.  One death in a snowstorm caused by a driver who lacked the common sense to stay home?  Not acceptable.  Hundreds caused by drivers who fail to yield?  No big whoop.

Oh, they also closed Citi Bike, which should surprise nobody:
And further warned riders to make way for the plows:
Given the shitty weather we had last night you'd think these sorts of warnings would be unnecessary, but I'm sure somewhere out there some schmuck on a Citi Bike decided "Screw that, I'm taking the lane!"

There's a time to take the lane, and there's a time to get the fuck out of it.  A snowstorm is generally an example of the latter.

Finally, even the revived Yehuda Moon comic strip tackled the blizzard with its trademark brand of dry irreverence:


By the way, that's the NSFW version, and the "NS" stands for "Non-Sequitur."

Meanwhile, in other NSFW-ish news, a Twitterer alerted me to this post on Mario Cipollini's Instagram:


Oh, Cipo.  Classy as always.

(I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume there's a bowl of cereal between her thighs, in which case it's technically safe for work.)

Speaking of class, what's classier than caviar?  Nothing, that's what!  (With the possible exception of marble columns, of course.  And I grew up close to the location of the fictional Mike's Marbleopolis, so I know what I'm talking about.)  Well, just when you thought no company could possibly want to invest in the shitshow that is pro cycling, here comes the luxury fish-gutting industry with an infusion of cash:


Actually, I have no idea if this is a cash sponsorship, and maybe they're just paying them in fish eggs.

Expect a "Bicycling" article on the recovery benefits of caviar in time for the spring riding upgrading season.

Somewhat less classy and infinitely more dorky is this "22-foot-long bike-powered 'Star Wars' star destroyer," of which I was informed by a reader, and which can be yours for nothing assuming you live in or near Portland:


Residents of Portland, Oregon are in for a treat, as a custom-made, bicycle-powered, 22-foot-long Imperial I-class Star Destroyer parade float is currently available for free on Craigslist. The Star Wars-themed float fits in a standard road lane and requires four bicyclists to operate it. The current owner gives a stern warning about the seriousness of adopting such a craft.

Here's the text of the actual Craigslist ad:

This is a ~22ft long, ~8foot wide STAR DESTROYER (like the ship from STAR WARS). It is best described as a bike-powered parade float. No bikes are included or attached; instead the craft is held up during flight* by 4 individuals on bikes. The design allows the bikes to move somewhat independently. 

The ship has been ridden and featured in 2 years of the Pedalpalooza "Star Wars vs. Star Trek" bike rides. This is a one-of-a-kind item that we unfortunately do not have the space for anymore. We want this to go to a good home, so we're letting it go for free.

A great deal of engineering effort and money went into this project. The ship itself is a PVC frame, re-enforced in certain areas with electrical conduit. The coverings are grey-painted weather-resistant coroplast. It's roughly 22feet long and roughly 8 feet wide. It fits in a standard lane of traffic--for scale, it is about as wide as a 2015 Ford Super-Duty, and a little longer. ( http://www.ford.com/trucks/superduty/specifications/exterior/ ) The craft is designed to split into 2 sections using convenient screw-joints for easier storage.

If you think your life would be enhanced by owning a 22 FOOT LONG STAR DESTROYER that you and your friends could ride around Portland, please let me know ASAP!

SERIOUS REPLIES ONLY. YOU WILL NEED 4 PEOPLE ON BIKES OR A VERY LARGE TRUCK TO BE ABLE TO MOVE THIS.

*Spaceship is bike powered; it does not actually fly.

It's good to know Portlanders are putting a "great deal of engineering effort and money" into important projects like this.  Admittedly though this does have other applications beyond Pedalpalooza attention-whoring.  For example, it could easily be repurposed as sort of a "Fred stockade" in order to teach Cat 5s how to ride in a pack without crossing wheels.  In fact, in addition to completing 10 mass start races, Cat 5s should have to spend at least 20 hours in the "Fred stockade" before upgrading to Cat 4.

Also--and it hardly warrants mentioning--triathletes should not be allowed to ride within 20 feet of another cyclist at any time on public roads unless they are confined by such a device:


 You can't be too careful.