Tora Bike Check

FRAME: Made in Manila by Ave Maldea
FORK: Giant
STEM: Cinelli Pista (80mm)
BARS: Cinelli Pista (40cm)
BAR TAPE: Cinelli Volee
HEADSET: Cane Creek (OS)
CRANKSET: SRAM Omnium 165 (48T)
COG: Standard (14T)
HUBS: Novatecj
RIMS: Stars (32H)
PEDALS: Cult flatform pedals
STRAPS: Reload
TIRES: Continental Gatorskin (700c X 23c)

Nice Build WHAM!

Bikes and Cameras

I can't really get out without these two.
Photo by Damian Riehl


Now, that's a studio!

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz And Holiday Announcement!

According to Wicking Pedia, "Labor Day is an American federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 3 in 2012) that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers."

I'm not a worker, nor do I contribute economically, socially, or in any other way to America or indeed any country.  Nevertheless, I'm not going to let that stop me from celebrating Labor Day.  In fact, I'm going to start celebrating it immediately after this post, and I'm going to continue to do so until Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, at which point I will return with regular updates.

Sure, I could call it a much-needed end-of-summer recess, but instead I'll call it what it actually is, which is wheelsucking behind the American labor movement.

Meanwhile, it's a dark day for American cycling, and one which will forever be remembered as the opening day for the movie "Premium Rush" starring Jason Gordon-Levitt:

The New York Times has mostly good things to say about the movie, and also says that it "tries hard to look real:"

Like some fixie devotees, Wilee also rides without brakes, a choice that’s branded by other characters in the movie as reckless and maybe evidence of a death wish. But it also registers on screen — as when Wilee, like a groovier or at least thinner Fred Flintstone, skids to a stop using only his skill and sneakered feet — as the ultimate in authenticity. To a degree, the director, David Koepp, has tried to mirror the DIY ethos of fixed-gear devotees by using real rather than digital stunts and effects. There are digital cars and occasional passers-by scattered amid the remarkably clean streets of New York — as well as a lot of interstitial Google-map-style sections that zoom out for an aerial view and in for the street view — but most of the imagery is analogue. The movie tries hard to look real.

In that sense (trying hard to look real), I suppose it has captured the fixed-gear zeitgeist perfectly.

I'm still a Lance Armstrong fan, and whatever happens he'll always be the two-time winner of the Dauphiné Libéré as far as I'm concerned.  (A feat, I might add, that only six other riders have managed to accomplish--not including all the other riders who won it three times.) Plus, there's no question he's given his heart, soul, and bodily fluids to the sport:

I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided.

"Whatever they asked for" is right.  When the UCI wanted blood, he gave it.  When USA Cycling wanted urine, he gave it.  When Ashley Olsen wanted saliva, he gave that too.  Yes, whether it was an out-of-competition test or just an out-of-wedlock "booty call," Armstrong was always available at any time of the day or night for any drug tester or starlet in desperate need of his secretions.

Of course, in the cycling world you're not supposed to say you like Lance Armstrong.  It's almost as un-PC as making jokes about women's racing:

“I think (RadioShack) forgot that the women’s race is later in the week,” Sayers said, referring to the Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge women’s criterium. “I don’t understand why they’re not going for stage wins. I don’t expect anybody to help my team, but I don’t understand why, when you have six riders in the front group, that you won’t even pull, and then you start attacking to get the stage win.”

RadioShack countered by assuring Sayers that they did remember that the women's race was later that week, and further explained that the reason they weren't pulling was that they were saving their legs for it.

Lastly, I recently received the following email from a reader who encountered a bike thief in the Flatiron district of Manhattan USA:

Here's a picture taken today around 1pm of a bike thief in action on 5th Ave between 22nd and 23rd St.  I saw him checking bike locks on the block walking around with his bright yellow bold cutters.  He settled on the on in the photo with a cheap cable type lock.  Immediately after this was taken my friends and I confronted the guy asking him what he was doing.  His words: "it's okay i talked to the police and they said it's no ones bike," then said "I already have my own bike, its parked around the corner, wanna see?", then "those shears, they are my bosses, i'm just carrying them for him."  There was a lot of shouting and a crowd gathering and 10 seconds later the guy took off down the street.  Worst part, as he was leaving the scene an undercover police approaches us saying they had been watching him the whole time and were just waiting for him to cut the lock before making the arrest!

Here he is, complete with the city-mandated yellow flag identifying him as an officially licensed bike thief:

Notice the bolt cutters are still in his bag and he's instead chosen to melt the cable lock with his mind.

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'll know, and if you're wrong you'll see a bicycle opera.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe on Labouring Day, and I'll see you on September 4th.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

("Biodynamic, no pesticides.  Can't spray.  Don't want to.")

1) The producers of "Premium Rush" have already announced a sequel called "Artisanal Squash" in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character moves to Portland and starts a Community Supported Agriculture bicycle home delivery service.

(Just another day at Cipollini Sex Camp.)

2) The Italian Society for Hair Restoration has stripped Mario Cipollini of his seventeen consecutive "World's Greatest Lover" titles due to his alleged use of sensual oils containing a banned meerkat pheromone.

(Cyclists love those Robs Fords.)

3) After a Toronto cyclist was killed in a crash involving a disused streetcar track, a city councillor proposed:

4) When not calling for a tax on cycling, John Kass is sodomizing chickens with beer cans.

5) This man is:

6) What are these?

--Ultra-lightweight pant cuff retainers
--Elastomer retrofits for Brooks saddles
--Internal tire sidewall stiffeners to enhance cornering
--Oral bug guards

(Researchers believe the condition known as "micro lip" may be transmitted by poop sex.)

7) What is "Micro Lip?"

--MicroSHIFT's proprietary name for its diminutive downshifting button
--The new title sponsor for the RadioShack cycling team in 2013
--Todd Akin's term for the labia minora
--David Byrne's latest artisanal bike rack

***Special Tattoo-Themed Bonus Question***

Gentlemen with dandelions for heads prefer pennyfarthings.


Paying Your Way: Physics Isn't Fair

Yesterday, while riding home, I inserted my Scattante into David Byrne's lip:

(At least I'm pretty sure that says "lip.")

As I mentioned yesterday, Byrne has designed some new bike racks for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and as it happens later that day I found myself in the vicinity of that august institution.  Immediately I remembered the rack, and so I resolved to stick my bike into it.  At first I was skeptical, but as it turns out there are few acts as thrilling as becoming one with a piece of living art created by a true genius of our time.  Of course, I'm not referring to parking my bike in David Byrne's rack; rather, I'm referring to reading Heather Hooters's column in the copy of "Juggs" magazine I found in a nearby wastebasket.  It was only after finishing it (spoiler alert: it was about big breasts) that I got around to parking my bike in the rack.  I certainly can't say it was as exciting as a found copy of "Juggs," but I'm sure the Brooklyn gentry will savor the experience of hitchin' up to Mr. Byrne's latest brainfart when they come down to see "Red Hook Summer" so that their next visit to Fairway will seem more culturally significant.

(By the way, the copy of "Juggs" was deposited into that wastebasket by a man driving a brand-new Hyundai Sonata with the sticker still in the window.  I wouldn't swear it was David Byrne, but it sure looked like him, and the music coming from the car sounded a lot like Brian Eno.)

Meanwhile, as Byrne works tirelessly to gussy up the cycling structure of New York City by means of his prodigious mental flatulence, the next mayoral administration (whoever it turns out to be) will most likely do their best to tear it down--or at least put it in a state of suspended animation:

I was disappointed to see Streetsblog refer to the Robs Fords in the singular, but otherwise I found this to be an edifying yet somewhat depressing read.  On the other hand, this "modest proposal" from some idiot in Chicago, which was forwarded to me by a reader, is just stupid:


Also, I liked him much better in "Midnight Run:"


Sure, it's easy to laugh at idiots like this, but it's only a matter of time before someone succeeds in passing a law requiring cyclists to purchase a gallon of gasoline for every 20 miles traveled.  (The fact that cyclists don't have to pay for gasoline seems to be at the heart of all this resentment.)  But of all the idiotic things said by Dennis Farina's slow-witted cousin in the above video, this was probably the idioticest:

"Wouldn't you say that they're kinda like the one percenters of the commuter class?"

Apparently to work for the Chicago Tribune you don't even have to say things that make any form of sense, even as satire.  Instead, it's sufficient to simply equate something you don't like with something other people don't like, even if the two things have absolutely nothing to do with each other.  It's like saying, "Wouldn't you say that kayakers are kinda like the Nazis of the sea?"  Anyway, you know who are the one percenters of the commuter class?  The one percenters.  Like this guy:

I swear to Lob, if another one of these entitled Wall Street assholes rolls up to me in the bike lane and asks me if I have any fancy mustard I'm going to put my U-lock right in his boeuf bourguignon.

It should be apparent to anybody with even the most meager cognitive ability that cycling is cheaper than driving not because of the laws of man but because of the laws of physics.  Anyway, cyclists do their best to make it expensive anyway, which is why they buy stuff like Butnitz bikes.  Incidentally, I recently visited the Budnitz Twitter where I read this:

You know, those guys in the "matching bike outfits" aren't embarrassed, they're tired.  That's because they probably just got finished riding like nine hundred miles through the Rockies and are rolling home, whereas you're riding your designer city bike to brunch.  They're not racing you.  Thinking you're faster than people who are at rest is the primary symptom of the condition known as "New Cyclist's Exuberance."  If left untreated, it can go on to cause other undesirable forms of behavior, like starting designer bike companies or inventing gratuitous accessories:

Every great inventor has his "Eureka!" moment, and the inventor of the Wingz seatpost rack had his during an ill-fated trip to the grocery store:

"One night I had to make a late-night run to the grocery store, and that's when I bought a 24-pack of water bottles, some cereal, and milk.  And on the way home, every time we'd make a turn all the cargo would just fall off.  So I ended up having to walk the bike home."

Sadly, between admitting that he purchases bottled water and revealing that he rides a Magna, he's just lost every single potential investor in Portland:

(To Portlanders, this is the equivalent of riding around in a Klan outfit.)

Nevertheless, this was his inspiration to invent the perfect seatpost rack:

"So that's when I decided to design my own seatpost rack.  One that could adequately balance larger cargo without causing them to become off-balance and fall off."

Arguably, inventing the perfect seatpost rack is sort of like inventing the perfect suction cup car dashboard pad.  Still, you have to admire him for boldly ignoring the fact that there's already an invention that can "adequately balance larger cargo without causing them to become off-balance and fall off," and it's called "The Box:"

(Modified box with cutouts for additional weight-savings.)

Instead, he went with barbecue-tongs-and-a-bungee:

Though I suppose in a pinch he could use it to take a hot dog off the grill.

Speaking of milk crates, the crate image above comes from a site called "Milkcrate Digest"--which, amazingly, exists:

Since learning about it, I've been elbow-deep in milk crate porn (milk crates are typically only elbow-deep)--and I even found some milk crate pet-portaging porn:

Awww, that dog's wearing a hlellment! ("Hlellment" is Welsh for "helment.")

Hopefully they'll charge him double for the passenger if he rides though Chicago.

Blue and Green

The first time my bike went home in Laguna.

Wednesday is the Loneliest Number

So apparently they have this Vuelta thing going on in Spain.  It's basically like a big bike race and some of the people from the Tour de France are in it, but not the funny-looking guy who won it.  (He's too busy smoking and scootering.)  I was curious to see what's been going on at this Vuelta thing, so I went to a website that has stuff about bike racing and found out that Alethandro Valverde is whining because Sky didn't wait for him after he crashed:

“They didn’t have the balls to stop, they chose an unsporting way,” Valverde said at the finish. “Sky formed an echelon and they’re perfectly within their rights to do that. I’m not cross that I lost the lead because of this, but because there was no respect.”

It's enough with the waiting in bike racing already.  The most basic part of bike racing is not falling off the bike.  If you fall off a horse during the Kentucky Derby do the horses stand around grazing until you get back on again?  If you misspell something in a spelling bee, do they wait around while you go find a dictionary?  Do you get a "do-over" if you get a splinter in your inner thigh during the caber toss?  (Actually, I have no idea, maybe you do.)  Anyway, everybody waited around for Valverde for two whole years when he got suspended for cheating, so expecting them to wait again when he falls of his bicycle is a bit much.

Meanwhile, here in New York, it turns out that more people like bike lanes than don't like them:


Though that doesn't mean people don't have irritating things to say about them, like this:

Gloria Tingue, 41, an occupational therapist in Brooklyn, said she believed that many bicyclists ignored the city’s traffic rules. “Everyone should be going in the same direction, and if we’re stopping, they should also be stopping and not weaving and bobbing in traffic, because it is a hazard for everyone else,” she said.

I couldn't agree more.  Cyclists should really behave much more responsibly, like drivers do:

Looks like somebody made an "oopsie."  And here's another one:

Oopsie!  Looks like he forgot to stop.

But for the real idiocy, you have to read the reader comments on the article.  Consider this one:

Donald Dal Maso NYC
Yes of course, more bike lanes! But please, lots and lots of public service announcements to educate the rest of us, who don't bike-ride, about how to respect the lanes.

I admit my ignorance and I would like to avoid being screamed at by bike-riders for my lack of alertness and awareness. And of course I don't want to get hit or cause an accident. Something on the order of the seat-belt campaign from years ago is really needed.

Here's a public service announcement:

I'm all for respecting even the most clueless pedestrians, but do we really need public service announcements for concepts this basic?  I'm sickened by all the motor vehicle carnage in the city but even I wouldn't expect the city to issue a public service announcement telling people not to stand around in the middle of the street.  Once we start having public service announcements about not standing around in the bike lane it's only a matter of time before we're inundated by other PSAs like "Don't play in fire!," "Don't eat dead rats!," or "Don't tie yourself to a filing cabinet and jump into the Hudson!"

Anyway, I have a sinking feeling that whoever becomes the next mayor is going to roll up all our spiffy new green bike lanes like one of those "marijuana cigarettes" they talk about in the PSAs and make a big show of smoking them into oblivion.  Then everyone will have to take "Premium Rush" lessons, as in this embarrassing video that was sent to me by some PR firm:

I found certain aspects of this video troubling.  For example, consider this warning:

Isn't pretty much everyone who rides a fixed-gear bike on the street technically an amateur?

Also, I don't think that doing a 180-whatever is a good way to flee an attacker, as the video suggests:

When fleeing an assailant on your fixed-gear bicycle the most effective technique is to simply hurl the bike at him and run.  If you do it properly the assailant will become hopelessly entangled in the bike frame and then lose his fingers in the fixed-gear drivetrain like in those awful photos on Sheldon Brown's site, and your subway train will have almost certainly arrived by the time he manages to escape by gnawing off his own limbs.

(Now that's street smarts.  The city should make a PSA.)

The next lesson in the video is the bunnyhop, which Justin Gordon-Levitt apparently uses to escape a New York City bike cop:

This is highly unrealistic, since if you've ever seen a New York City bike cop you know that all you have to do to escape one is be able to ride a bike in a forward direction without falling down.

It's also at this point that the "superfan" getting the fixie lessons reveals himself to be a total ringer:

(Yeah, like he just learned that.)

By the way, did you know that you too can own a "Premium Rush" bike?

Well you can--and it even comes with a "sticker pack:"

And of course, Affinity will be making a limited edition Metropolitan frameset in pure white, supplied with a sticker pack, so you can customize your ride to mimic the bike in the movie.

Stickers?  Movies?  Mimicry?  This should be a huge success.  I was particularly alarmed by this:

On August 24th, fixie culture, bike messengers, and Hollywood collide with the release of the new movie Premium Rush...  And with any luck, it will inspire people to air up the tires and ride their bikes.

I really, really do not want to share the streets with anybody who is inspired to ride a bicycle by "Premium Rush."  It's been bad enough these past few years sharing the streets with all the idiots who were inspired to ride bicycles by all those insipid "MASHSF" videos.  Fortunately, the typical Nü-Fred generally lasts only two to five years in New York City before downgrading to an easier and more manageable city, at which point they just become San Francisco's or Portland's or Austin's problem.  Or, if they do stay, they eventually become regular Freds and spend all their time on Route 9W playing with Strava.

Anyway, the whole fixie thing was like totally over by the time "Premium Rush" went into pre-production, and anybody with any sense has long moved on to mini bikes:

The biggest problem with riding a mini bike is finding a u-lock for it, though I've had good luck just using a safety pin.

And on the more genteel (and by "genteel" I mean "smug") end of the New York City cycling spectrum, David Byrne has once again honored us with some whimsical bike racks:

Apparently, the idea is to arrange the letters so that they spell out the names of productions, sort of like a marquee:

"I realized that a few very basic shapes — a semi circle, a line, and a V shape — would allow one to make a good percentage of the letters of our alphabet. With help and advice from Dero Bike Racks, we figured out how these components could be easily and quickly swapped out to spell different words. For example, the letters could spell out the productions at BAM or any random message for that matter."

This should be especially entertaining when Stanley Wiggins performs at BAM:

Speaking of alphabet bike racks, the only cycling pick-up line more seductive than "Wanna lock your bike to my cunt?" is "Wanna do hill repeats?"

Hill Repeats - Pershing Hill - m4w - 45 (West New York)
Date: 2012-08-21, 8:14PM EDT

You were wearing a pink jersey and torn shorts. I was riding a bright green bike with an Australia jersey.
I don't want to hit on you, you looked like a decent climber and I want to invite you to join my group for longer rides...

Wait...  Green bike?  Australia jersey?  Holy crap, it's MC SpandX!

The fact that this video is now three years old underscores just how late "Premium Rush" actually is.  They should give him a show at BAM.