Tuesday, November 21, 2017

This Just In: New Outside Column!

Remember how I said I'd pop back in if there's a new Outside column?  There's a new outside column:

It's all a part of my mission to normalize cycling, or my blithe disregard for bicycle safety, whichever you prefer.

(And in case you missed it you should read my motördoping column too.)

Okay, now time to lube up the ol' blunderbuss and bag me a turkey.  See you on Monday (unless there's some more extracurricular prose to share before then), and if you need me in the meantime I'm over at the Bike Forecast.

Warmrest Regrads,

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Friday, November 17, 2017

BSNYC Invisible Friday Fun Quiz and Thanksgiving Announcement


Hey, look at that, it's the latest Outside column!

Now back to our regularly scheduled post about scheduling.

Okay, let's get right down to business: American Thanksgiving!

Apologies for the graphic, I had to repurpose one because American Thanksgiving is so obscure.

So yeah, next Thursday is American Thanksgiving, which means two things:

1) Our president will pardon a turkey, even though technically he already did;
2) I'll be taking my leave of this blog until Monday, November 27th, at which point I will resume regular updates.  (Though of course if an Outside column should appear before that I'll pop in here to let you know.)

As for the Bike Forecast, I'll continue to update that through Wednesday November 22nd for the poor commuter schmucks.


Speaking of being absent, I'd like to address a comment I received yesterday because it raises an important point:

Anonymous said...

How many of these lately start with you apologizing for being late, forgetting the day, or some other excuse... followed by a plug for something else you’re doing that’s obviously more important? Why not just stick a fork in it and move on?

November 16, 2017 at 11:18 PM

Firstly, in regard to the second question, the answer to that is obviously "Go fuck yourself."  And I don't mean that in a nasty way, I mean it in a totally matter-of-fact that's-a-stupid-question-so-go-right-ahead-and-fuck-yourself way.  No offense intended.  By the way, blogging is a compulsion for me at this point, so like it or not I'll probably be blogging until the moment I die--in fact, I'll probably die blogging once I set up my dedicated blogging bike:

Secondly, yes, being a one-person operation who manages to do the work of at least .75 people there are times when I must type fewer words into this blog than I'd like.  And while I'm honored that my absence bothers you, I'd argue that on balance it's a good thing, since there's too goddamn much of of me as it is.  Indeed, if I'm not typing words into this blog I'm probably typing them someplace else.  Seriously, I have what, like fourteen blogs already?  Also, I'm my own tech department, which means I have to prepare and ride wooden bicycles and Jones bars and Brooks Cambium All Weather Saddles and all the rest of it.  Do you think I like receiving all this exotica and then on top of everything having to take mid-week rides on them while the rest of you are working?  Of course not!

It's a hard life is all I'm saying, and hardly a day goes by where you can't find some fresh bullshit from me somewhere online, so cut me some slack.

Speaking of the indignities of product testing, I've got the Jones bars and the Cambium All Weather saddle on Ol' Piney now:

And this morning I finally managed to take the whole package out for a decent ride, i.e. my usual all-terrain loop:

And yes, I do feel like a gigantic douchebag for embedding my Strava data in this blog, but I'm way too old and over it to care.

Anyway, rest assured a thorough accounting of these bars will follow in the not-too-distant future, but for now I'll just say that so far I really like them and I think they'll succeed in turning Ol' Piney into the all-day bike it really wants to be.

And with that I bid you a-duh.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving if applicable, ride safe, and I'll see you back here on Monday, November 27th if not almost certainly before.

I Love You,

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Honestly I Don't Even Know What Day It Is Anymore

Please forgive my tardiness, brevity, and so forth, but you know those weeks were everything goes wrong and life in general just seems like an unmitigated disaster?

Well thank goodness it hasn't been that kind of a week at all.

Nevertheless, I've been rather busy, so once again I'm compelled to keep it short.  I do, however, urge you to contemplate this image:

I've posted a photo of this vehicle before (I can't be bothered to look up when) but yesterday I happened upon it again and took a clearer picture while looking frequently over my shoulder as you can probably imagine.  This car conveys a bewildering--and I daresay uniquely American--set of messages.  Specifically, the license plate informs fellow road users that he (I'm going to go out on a limb and say the owner is a man) is a veteran of the "War on Terror" and has ostensibly put his life on the line to keep us all safe, yet the decal informs me that he wants to rain death and destruction upon me and my family.  Frankly, it's hard to know what to make of any of this, so, uh...thank you for your service?  Oh, and also please don't kill me.

In other news, a commenter yesterday shared this:

Descending a steep Hobart backroad behind friend and pro-rider Nathan Earle, Gee got lost in the joy of the ride only to pay for a brief lapse in concentration.

"I've been down this road lots of times and I know how steep it is," he said.

"And it's rough, so I usually take it very gingerly.

"But we'd had such a fantastic ride. Nathan was ahead of me. I was admiring how well he was descending and not concentrating."

Before he realised, Gee had entered a tight corner too fast but still thought he could wrest back control.

But the brakes locked up, the corner tightened even more and he shot off the verge and over the handlebars.

He may owe his life to that helmet or he may not, but sure, if you're prone to lapses in concentration while engaging in technical descents, by all means throw on some safety gear.  In fact I'd go with full leathers and a motorcycle helmet while you're at it.  Nevertheless, I maintain that Australia's mandatory helmet laws are a load of shit.

Finally, besides putting new bars on Ol' Piney there was one more upgrade I've been meaning to make to my portly bike, and now that this has arrived I can finally proceed:

Nothing left to do now but ride the damn thing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday: It's What's For Dinner

Today's post must needs be brief again as I am headed down to this thing:
I look forward to fielding many questions about why those damn bikers think the laws don't apply to them.

Rest assured however that I have not been idle.  Indeed, when I left you yesterday we were here:

And by the afternoon I had Ol' Piney officially Jones-ified:

Sadly by the time I was finished all I had time for was a brief shakedown ride, but my first impressions were very positive indeed, and I would have disappeared deep into the woods of suburbia if only I'd been at liberty to do so:

I'm looking forward to doing a proper ride soon, and in the coming days I'll experiment with positioning, probably put more tape on the bars, cut myself some new jorts (it's really evolving into that kind of bike) and so forth.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the trouble I encountered whilst switching over to cabal-activated dick breaks, it was that the rear Avid BB7 brake caliper did not fit under the seatstay.  Upon hearing I was having this problem Jones were kind enough to offer some possible solutions.  However, given how insufficient the clearance was I had my doubts, which is probably silly of me since they're easily a thousand times smarter about bikes than I am.  More importantly though, these solutions also required items I did not have on hand, and the bottom line was that if I didn't finish the bike right then there was no telling when I'd be able to get back to it.  (The life of a semi-professional bike blogger and one-person media empire is quite hectic, as you can no doubt imagine.)  It was either get it done or let it sit until Thanksgiving.  So I dug out this Forté-branded Tektro caliper I happened to have (the brake set was on sale years ago for like nineteen cents) and whadya know, it fit perfectly:

Indeed, as I put it on it remembered I actually like these brakes better than the Avids, so I was looking forward to installing the front one as well and calling the whole debacle a happy accident--until it turned out that the long brake pad tabs on the Tektro/Forté interfered with the brake adapter.  And since that was the only 180mm adapter I had, it was on with the Avid:

So now I'm palping a pretty sweet Forté/Avid mechanical disc brake mullet, which will no doubt inspire disgust in all the mountain Freds but which I find oddly satisfying.

And once that all-weather Cambium comes in I'll really be in business--well, business in the front, anyway, because the party's in the back.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Update From The BSNYC Tech Department

This post will be short, because things are happening.  In fact, as I type this the Jones-ification of Ol' Piney is well underway:

Actually, that's a bit of an oversimplification, since I had to temporarily cease my Jones-ifying endeavors in order to type this.  But you know what I mean.

If you're just tuning in, basically what happened was that I went to install these bars last week, but the radically different shape necessitated longer brake cables, so rather than deal with fluid and hoses and all the rest of it I figured I'd install mechanical brakes as a temporary measure.  Then after some saddle time and experimentation with position I'd fit the hydrolic dick breaks again.

Well guess what?  It turns out dealing with the hydraulics right away would have been way easier, since I'm running into clearance issues with the mechanicals I'd never have imagined.  (This is no fault of the Jones bars, rather it is the arbitrary and fickle nature of mountain bikes and there eleventy billion axle and wheel size "standards," not to mention brake brands and caliper shapes.)  Rest assured however my determination is only increasing in the face of adversity, and while the end result certainly won't be pretty (I currently see some sort of "mullet" as the most likely workaround) it will hopefully be rideable.

Anyway, I'll report back once everything's in place and the bike has undergone a shakedown ride, though it's hard to say for certain when that will be.  I guess I'll just have to keep you in suspense.  Oh well, such is the nature of bike blogging and rigorous product testing.

In the meantime, I'm going to be on the Lifehacker podcast, The Upgrade, so you can spend your idle time formulating questions for me:

And no, I refuse to disclose #whatpressureyourunning.

See you when I see you!


--Wildcat Rock Machine

Monday, November 13, 2017

Oh my goodness, is that the time?!?

Well, I've done no rides on the wooden bike subsequent to the Outside column I shared on Friday, mostly because it was bitter cold and that's not when I want to be riding an aero bike with skinny tires.  Instead, I sought shelter in the woods and took a ride on Ol' Piney:

Subsequent to my thwarted attempt last Thursday I still hope to have the bike Jones-ified by the end of this week, though when it comes to failing to meet the goals I've set for myself I often exceed my expectations.

Also, you can be sure the ride was no fun whatsoever, because not only was I on a rigid bicycle but also my "local trails suck."

Moving on, the UCI is going to investigate Fabian Cancellara after Phil Gaimon, in his latest book, accüsed him of motördoping:

"What I would say regarding the case you are speaking about is that I will try to have more information and we will investigate. We will investigate because we need to know exactly what is behind this. Of course, I heard all the rumours, like everybody, and I just want to know exactly. So we will investigate, that is our job," Lappartient said.

"At this level, I cannot say more than this, but I hope that this never happened in professional cycling. If this was the case, it would be a disaster for the image of cycling and that's why we have to fight. I want the people and the fans on the road to be able to trust the result, trust the UCI and trust the controls from our institutions."

Translation: we will go through the motions and then and conclude there's no evidence that he cheated so that you can safely continue to enjoy pro cycling.

Of course this is where people in the media start saying they've known all along:
Funny how that works.

But yeah, I mean come on, look at this this fucking guy:

He should be delivering Chinese food on that thing:

Yes, the only organization that hates ebikes more than the UCI is the City of New York, so if David Lappartient doesn't nail Cancellara then I'm sure Mayor de Blasio will.

Speaking of tech, here's the sick-ass titatium hop-up kit of your dreams, and it's perfect for those Brompton beach rides:

Internal hub and disc brakes?

That's a folding Fred's fantasy right there.

Finally, in Sarasota, FL, police are ticketing cyclists and pedestrians in order to save them:

Oh sure.  Looking at that intersection behind him, my first thought was "Someone really needs to do something about all those unruly pedestrians and cyclists."

Friday, November 10, 2017

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

***Edit: the new Outside post is up, and it's all about the Renovo!***

And now back to today's post.

It's Friday, which means at some point Outside will probably publish my latest column, assuming it passes muster:

No no, that's passes muster.

Damn AI virtual photo editor.

Anyway as soon as they do I'll let you know when it happens.

Of course ,my last column was all about drop bars:

And my favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to writing this column is to peruse the enraged comments on Outside's Facebook:

This last batch was particularly amusing because of how many people got all hurt in the butt over that wet noodle of a Trump joke:

Logan Kirkpatrick Outside Magazine, this is just poor taste. This will only make the magazine lose more readers, definitely not a way to win any new ones. Be mature and keep your political biases to yourself or personal blogs. Stick to the magazine subject matter, otherwise you're shooting yourself in the foot.

It's hard to imagine a more gentle, politically neutral Trump reference.  Is it really news to anybody that this guy tweets a lot?  I mean, if I wanted to be politically biased I'd have said roadies neglect their drops like Trump neglects Puerto Rico, but notice I didn't go there.

But my favorite incensed commentary came from this reader:

Amanda Resch Exactly. Snob is getting old and can’t come to grips with it so he’s taking it out on all of us- his local trails suck and he doesn’t have time to go anywhere exciting- he writes articles about how suspension is useless and everyone should just pedal around their neighborhood. He can’t reach the drops anymore, so he writes an article on how drops are useless. Never seen someone go out of their way like this to justify their sorry life choices. RIP Bike Snob, it was good while it lasted.

Who left not one but two real humdingers:

Amanda Resch Poor Snob, he’s completely run out of ideas. This end of career flailing about is difficult to watch. Can someone please give him a time machine so he can go back to 2008 and 
write about Craigslist fixies again?


I certainly don't begrudge this person's right to disparage my work in a public forum, but I think it's only fair that I have the opportunity to respond.  So please indulge me as I fact check her critiques point by point:

Snob is getting old...  This is undeniably true.  Aren't we all?

...and can’t come to grips with it  I put forth that this is false.  I think I'm embracing my age rather well.  Not only am I totally cool with balding, but I also just had a colonoscopy.  (Bonus: I finally found that valve extender I was looking for.)  Also, I'm cool with all sorts of things now that used to make my head explode, like crooked saddles and pie plates, and even salmoning hardly registers with me anymore.  (Though my newfound casual attitude could be because I finally got that valve extender out of my ass.)

his local trails suck  So very false.  The trails outside of New York City are great by any metric.  I know this because I've been around.  Speaking of which...

he doesn’t have time to go anywhere exciting Also false.  Oh sure, it feels like that sometimes.  After all, we all wish we could travel and ride more, don't we?  But since starting this blog I've gone places and done rides I might never have otherwise.  I've visited Australia.  I've gone to Europe.  I've ridden L'Eroica.  I've been all over the United States.  Singlespeed World Championships, riding with Tour de France winners (well, former Tour de France winners), Bicycling Editor's Choice confab, Rivendell ride...  Certainly I'm traveling a little less now so I can look after the kiddies, but it looks like I'll finally get to ride L'Eroica California this coming spring, which is something I've been wanting to do for awhile.  Oh, and also I live in New York City, which is pretty damn exciting in itself.  And despite my child care responsibilities I seem to have ridden more since July than my detractor has all year, so perhaps I can teach her something about time management:

he writes articles about how suspension is useless and everyone should just pedal around their neighborhood  Guilty as charged.  People totally shouldn't ride around their neighborhoods.  Instead they should use their cars for short trips.  Also they should load suspension bicycles onto SUVs and spend more time driving than riding.

He can’t reach the drops anymore...  So very false.  Sure, I've mostly downsized to a 120mm stem from the 130mm I preferred in my racing days, but you can bet I'm still reaching for the drops like I'm at IHOP and it's the maple syrup.

Never seen someone go out of their way like this to justify their sorry life choices.  Really, have you missed the whole Harvey Weinstein thing?

I think Amanda Resch could use a time machine back to 2008, she seems to have really enjoyed that fixie material.

Fortunately there's always Google, which is the next-best thing.

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 great, and if you're wrong you'll see Inflate-A-Head.

Thanks for reading, ride safe, and pass the mustard.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

1) What does the other glove say?

2) How much for this watch?

3) "I am in the process of converting a bike from Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 to Ultegra 6870 DI2. I have the BT-DN110-1 internal battery, a EW-RS910 handlebar end junction, and the SM-BCR2 battery charger. I have used the E-Tube software to update the firmware on all of the various components and everything seems to be operating just fine. I am still waiting on a rear wheel that can carry the 11-speed cassette, so I do not actually have the bike on the road yet.

My question is, how do I make sure the synchro-shift functionality is completely disabled?"

--When you simultaneously push both shift buttons on one lever, the LED indicator lights on Junction A will tell you what is going on. They will first tell you the battery level by only illuminating the battery LED (in the proper color to indicate your battery level). If you have the option for Synchro shift, this will be followed by both lights simultaneously glowing or flashing. If the battery LED glows green and the “+-” LED glows red, with neither of them flashing, the bike is in Manual shift mode. If these green and red LEDs flash twice, then S1 shift mode is operational, and if they flash three times, the bike is in S2 shifting mode. If on the other hand, only the battery light glows and is not followed by both lights coming on, then your bike is not currently set up to even go into Synchro mode at all, and you are simply in Manual mode.
--Jargon is thus "the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group". Most jargon is technical terminology, involving terms of art or industry terms, with particular meaning within a specific industry.

4) I don't have time to go anywhere exciting.


5) Fill in the blank: these parents are deeply concerned about the threat that ______ traffic poses to their children.


6) Why is this kid delighted?

--He just got a new bike
--He just got a new plastic SUV
--His parents just defeated the bike lane that would have passed by his school
--Two words: "Kale chips!"

7) Mirror mirror on the wall, who's most butt-hurt of them all?

--Vehicular cycling advocates
--Trump supporters
--Suspension proponents
--All of the above

***Special Metaloid-Themed Bonus Video!***