Announcements and Events and New Stuff and Inventions and Life Is Just Exploding With Possibilities Today!

In yesterday's post, entitled "Harbinger of Scabies: The Mighty Mite That Might (Give You Scabies)," I used the word "theorum," and a reader tells me I should have written "theorem" instead:

Sadly, if Albert Einstein were still with us today, everybody would give him a bunch of crap for not wearing a helment, which would have inspired this theorum:  


Duly noted, and thanks, but I would remind anyone reading this blog to lower their expectations with regard to anything even remotely cerebral, since this is where I got my higher education, and I can assure you it was exactly as it's portrayed in the video.

This is not to say I haven't parlayed my mediocre state party school education into real-world success, for I just agreed to be the master of ceremonies at this event, which takes place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Wednesday, March 6th, at 8pm:

If you're unfamiliar with Brooklyn, it's a wealthy suburb of New York City and easily the most pretentious town on Long Island--so much so that it makes the entire North Shore seem like, well, what Brooklyn used to be like.  In fact, Brooklyn has become so precious that I swore off the place (and I'm pretty precious myself, so that says something), but I agreed to return because the opportunity to help a liquor company promote itself and promote myself at the same time was simply too good to pass up.

Anyway, you should come, because not only can you win a bike, but also because this is a great opportunity to get very drunk and laugh at me and not with me.  As for the performances by "The Babies and Nude Beach," I don't know if it's a band called "The Babies" and another band called "Nude Beach," or if it's one band called "The Babies and Nude Beach," or it's just a piece of performance art in which they cover the stage with sand and let a bunch of babies and naked people roll around on it, but whatever it is you can RSVP here and find out.

I'll do my best to make it fun, and if I fail you can blame the organizers and sponsors.  And let's hope nobody gets so drunk on Jack Daniel's that they die on the ride home, because that would be quite a publicity misfire.

Speaking of publicity, I've just been informed that the Giro New Road clothing collection embargo has been lifted.  Here's what the Giro New Road stuff looks like:

To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't have even remembered that the embargo was on if they hadn't emailed me to tell me it was off.  To be even more honest, I don't even really understand what an embargo is, or why you'd put one on bloggers.  I thought it's what you did to people like King Jong-un and Mahmoud Abdoujaparov.  I guess the point of this kind of embargo is that they spend a few months stroking and teasing a bunch of dorky bike bloggers into a state of hyper-arousal, but they time it so that the bloggers all climax in a sploodge of information on the same day, giving the the entire cycling world a great big marketing facial.

I feel so dirty, and so should you.

Cynicism aside, I do like the idea behind this stuff.  It seems like nice clothing in which to ride a bike, and the idea is basically that you can ride 200 miles and then go straight to your little cousin's Bar Mitzvah without going home and changing first because it has a collar and it's made out of merino so it won't smell.  (I mean you'll still smell, but the shirt won't).  It's all very 21st century, since if you haven't noticed we're now living in an age of dissolving boundaries and society is moving towards seamlessness and total integration.  Smartphones, connectivity, arriving at the Bar Mizvah, going commando, not changing, whipping that smartphone right out of the pocket of your Giro New Road shants and and transferring some gelt right into the Bar Mitzvah boy's account while he's still belting out the Haftarah...  I'm only half-Jewish and was never Bar Mitzvah-ed.  But that's not the point.  I went to a fuckload of them, and I wore a jacket with shoulder pads.  The point is different wardrobes for different stuff is sooo 20th century.  I can't wait until everybody is wearing all-purpose merino bodysuits everywhere they go.

This is only the beginning.

Oh, also, I have one of the t-shirts.  It looks like this:

It's very nice, but since it's still February I haven't yet worn it to make the biking--though I have been wearing it for running.  Yes, I'm still running semi-regularly.  Just imagine some dork dressed in a hodgepodge of cycling clothes stumbling around the neighborhood in a pair of bright white running shoes, flushed and panting with a bunch of snot running from his nose.  I look like some idiot that just got his bike stolen and failed to catch the thief--and this is before I've even started running.  It's an unmitigated fitness disaster.

Still, I think it's important.  You'll often read bikey types waxing pretentious about how suffering and grinding your way up long climbs builds character and leads to inspiration and self-discovery.  This is a load of crap.  What builds character is looking and feeling like a complete idiot while doing something you don't know how to do, and being mocked for it in the process.  It's not physical effort that builds mental fortitude; rather, it's embarrassment.  After awhile riding a bike simply isn't embarrassing anymore, and that's why I'm running--for that exhilarating moment when the real runners trot by me, giggle, and shake their heads with pity, or when a neighborhood child simply points and laughs.

Speaking of humiliating yourself in the name of athletic endeavor, there's now a comic devoted the exploits of the Cat 3 racer, as I've been informed by its creator:

Though it's sort of hard to get past the fact that no Cat 3 has legs that look like that:

Sure, Cat 3s think they have legs like that, so they shave them and tan them and slather them with unguents, but it's really all for nothing, because after all that their legs just end up looking like a pair of oily kosher franks.

In other product news, after watching someone who didn't know how to use a quick release try to remove his wheel, an engineering visionary has completely re-invented the system and made it far worse in the process--and needless to say he wants your money to fund this fatuous feat of reverse engineering:

Years ago, long-time bicycle enthusiast and three-dimensional mechanical designer, Leonard Ashman, was watching his father-in-law struggle trying to change his rear bike wheel. As Leonard watched, he had a flash of insight that after years of design, prototyping and testing lead to the industry-changing quick-release rear wheel axle design – HubDock.

If people re-invented every simple contraption after watching their inept fathers-in-law try to work them then we'd be living in a gigantic Rube Goldberg machine.  What is wrong with the quick release as we know it?  You flip it open, you pick up the bike, and the wheel falls out.  Maybe you have to nudge the derailleur a bit.  So why is this guy spinning and spinning it like it's a propeller?

Meanwhile, it looks like you have to unscrew the "HubDock," which basically makes it a glorified wingnut (to say nothing of its inventor).  Furthermore, because the cassette stays on the bike, you can't just switch to a different wheel with different gearing.  Still, "tests" reveal it's faster somehow:

Tests to date have shown that a wheel using the Liberty Wheel driven hub can be removed or replaced in as little as five seconds as compared with contemporary systems requiring between fifteen to twenty seconds or more.

Presumably their test subject was the guy in the video who puts his bike in a bizarre doggie-style position and then futzes with the skewer needlessly for half a minute before finally pulling the damn wheel out.

Lastly, a local cyclist appears to have had a thrilling daredevil encounter with a gay Orthodox Jew:

Orange skateboard and a death wish. - w4m (Greenwich Village)

We were side by side riding up Bedford, me on a white bike and with a white helmet, you on an orange skateboard and a rainbow knit beanie. You ducked under the side mirrors of the cars at the intersection of 7th and then sped off. I wanted to scream "Yeah! But be careful!" 

Please don't die, I want to ride with you again.

If you have a better explanation for a rainbow knit beanie then I'd like to hear it.


Hi!  Still on the fence about whether or not to take up the pastime of bicycle cycling?  Considering buying a Segway instead?  Well here are no fewer/less than 30 [thurtee] reasons to help you make up your mind:

I thought all of these were pretty persuasive, but perhaps the most MOVING (get it?!?) is that it will help you make #2 (number two):

4. Boost your bowels

According to experts from Bristol University, the benefits of cycling extend deep into your core. “Physical activity helps decrease the time it takes food to move through the large intestine, limiting the amount of water absorbed back into your body and leaving you with softer stools, which are easier to pass,” explains Harley Street gastroenterologist Dr Ana Raimundo.

In addition, aerobic exercise accelerates your breathing and heart rate, which helps to stimulate the contraction of intestinal muscles. “As well as preventing you from feeling bloated, this helps protect you against bowel cancer,” Dr Raimundo says.

If the Nobel Prize committee is worth a darn they'll recognize Harley Street gastroenterologist Dr. Ana Raimundo for her tireless research, which apparently involved making people ride bikes a bunch and then sit on the toilet.

I'm not sure I agree with the "preventing you from feeling bloated" part though, since apparently Dr. Raimundo has never experienced the stomach-distending effects of consuming Clif Bars and gels.

Here's another great reason to ride the bicycle bikes:

20. Make creative breakthroughs

Writers, musicians, artists, top executives and all kinds of other professionals use exercise to solve mental blocks and make decisions – including Jeremy Paxman, Sir Alan Sugar and Spandau Ballet. A study found that just 25 minutes of aerobic exercise boosts at least one measure of creative thinking. Credit goes to the flow of oxygen to your grey matter when it matters most, sparking your neurons and giving you breathing space away from the muddle and pressures of ‘real life’.

Wow, that's quite a list of creative people they've assembled.  Apparently Jeremy Paxman is "the question master of University Challenge," which is only meaningful to Americans who have that "Young Ones" episode with Motörhead, and which I suppose makes him the British Alex Trebek.  (It's worth noting that Alex Trebek is Canadian, which means there isn't actually an American Alex Trebek, because few if any Americans possess the necessary intellectual gravitas to host a game show that doesn't involve 5th graders or running really fast with shopping carts.  The only reason the United States still allows Canada to exist is that we need a steady supply of smart people.)  As for Sir Alan Sugar, I had to look him up too, and he's basically the London version of your typical ridiculously wealthy self-made Jew, which is old hat if you're a New Yorker.  Most impressive though is Spandau Ballet, and I'm assuming since they're mentioned collectively that the band always rides in toto.  The blistering speed of the Spandau Ballet paceline is legendary, and the "Huh-huh-huh-huuuh-huuuh..." from their international mega-hit "True" was inspired by a sigh emitted at the top of an "epic" climb.

Sadly, the list omits several notable personages who also experienced moments of world-changing inspiration as a direct result of sticking a bicycle in their crotches, including:

Albert Einstein

(Came up with the theory of relativity while trackstanding.)

Albert Hofmann

George W. Bush

(Realized after leaving office that he totally would have cleared that 'War on Terror' section on a 29er.)

Sadly, if Albert Einstein were still with us today, everybody would give him a bunch of crap for not wearing a helment, which would have inspired this theorum:

Speaking of lists, in the past week there have been at least two motor vehicle-related incidents in New York City that are so depressing I can't even bring myself to link to them.  The short version is that in one instance someone got killed on the sidewalk by a driver who supposedly passed out due to diabetes, and in another someone got maimed on the sidewalk by a parallel parker who supposedly mistook the gas pedal for the brake.

It should go without saying that both of these are perfectly valid excuses in New York, and the only reason the parallel parker is in any trouble at all is that he proceeded to flee the scene.  (You also don't get in trouble for fleeing the scene in New York, but only if the person you ran down was riding a bike.)  Still, it never hurts to have a few more excuses at the ready, so here's a list fresh new excuses so you can renew your licence to kill:

"I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder."

Don't worry, it's not necessary to be a war veteran to use this one.  Thanks to the fact that we live in a psychotic country with a crumbling infrastructure pretty much everybody has valid reason to be a post-traumatic stress disorder sufferer.  Show me an American who hasn't been in close proximity to a school shooting, crippling natural disaster, or horrendous auto "accident" in recent months and I'll show you a Dutchman.  And don't be afraid to rule out your own poor decision-making as a reason for your stress!  So you hopped on the LIE during a monster snowstorm and were forced to spend the night in your car?    There's your PTSD!

"I was lulled into a trancelike state by the rhythmic thrumming of my windshield wipers."

Shifting blame onto the auto maker is always a wise move, but what if you don't own a Toyota?  Well, I don't know about you, but I think equipping cars with metronomic windshield wipers is grossly irresponsible, and as far as I know all automakers do it.  There you are waiting at a light, and the next thing you know the back-and-forth, back-and-forth coupled with the grey weather has transported you into a reverie and suddenly there's a cyclist under your front bumper.  This excuse will be valid at least until the automakers start installing new "alert wipers" that sound like an Elvin Jones drum solo.

"Siri is a fucking idiot."

Thanks to draconian laws that prohibit you from using your smartphone while driving, you may find yourself forced to use hands-free technology.  If you have an iPhone this might include using Siri, which will inevitably play out thusly:

You: "Siri, I need directions to Hackensack."

Siri: "You said 'I have a hairy sack.'"

You: "No.  Siri, I need to get to Hackensack."

Siri: "Got it.  Looking up instructions for shaving your sack."

And so on. Not only is this a great excuse for running people over, but you also have grounds for a lucrative suit against Apple--especially if you also emasculate yourself in a tragic shaving accident.

In other news, yesterday I mentioned crabon, and that could be the reason I received this email from some PR firm about a flask for douchebags:

The Macallan, the luxury whisky brand, is launching a limited edition flask as part of a unique design collaboration with Oakley on the 27th February. Made of Carbon Fibre, the Flask is almost indestructible and with only 500 available it is sure to become a collectors item.

Please note all information is under embargo until 00.01am 27th February and the video will not be live in the public domain until 2pm tomorrow. Let me know if you would like any further information or hi-res images.

Yeah, right, "collectors item" my scranus--though this should go great with your Tapout sweatshirt.  It also makes a great groomsman's gift if you're having a Fred wedding, in which case you're also going to want a crabon wedding ring, forwarded by a reader:

When I think of two bike dorks being bound in Fredly matrimony and exchanging crabon fiber rings I actually tear up a bit, but only because it's so depressing.  Hopefully they can keep the passion alive--which, as it happens, is the only thing keeping Italian bike racing going:

Presumably this means the riders are being paid in passion, and Italy should have plenty to go around as long as it is being secreted by the gallon by this man:

Speaking of passion, here's another one of those dirty bike maintenance videos:


Remember to use plenty of lube, or else it can get stuck in there.

Becoming one with the bike--and not in a good way.

I owe the world of cycling an apology.

Since starting this blog in 1986, I've mocked cyclists for being total "weenies" when it comes to equipment.  Sure, this conceit became stale almost immediately, but that's not why I'm apologizing.  I'm apologizing because I've recently realized that cyclists hardly register on the vast spectrum of weenie-dom.  What brought me to this realization?  This:

(Steampunk iPod.)

Well not that exactly, but records and the playing of records upon "turning tables."  I am not an audiophile by any means, but I do have a bunch of records, mostly because when I came of music-buying age records were still what people used.  Therefore, I've maintained ownership of a "turning table" over the years so that I can still hear these records, and as much as I appreciate digital entertainment I still think it's fun to listen to music you have to flip over.  Sure, sometimes I flip my phone over out of nostalgia, but it's not the same.

Recently though, I discovered that turning tables and human children are natural enemies, owing to the turning table's delicate parts and the human child's natural instinct to destroy those delicate parts.  Therefore, I was forced to relocate the turning table to higher ground, and to replace the delicate parts--in particular, the pointy one that the turning table drags along the record to make sound.

As I said, I'm not even remotely an audiophile, and my goal was simply to make the turntable work acceptably again for a minimal amount of money.  Nevertheless, this being the Internet age and my being (at least anatomically) a male, I nevertheless found myself reading up on the latest equipment and stuff, and holy crap these people are insane.  You'd need an electron microscope to see the parts they're arguing about, and you'd need hyper-acute cat senses to even begin to discern the difference, if there even is any.  Reading about this stuff makes those chain lube tests seem eminently reasonable.

Fortunately though, years of cycling have trained me to recognize the Red Flags of Weeniedom, and of course the biggest one is the appearance of crabon fribé.  I shouldn't have to tell you this, but if you're researching a piece of equipment and find that any part of it is available in crabon, then for the sake of yourself and your family stop what you're doing immediately.  If someone offers you crack at a party then it's probably time to leave, and if someone offers you crabon anything then do the smart thing and smoke some crack instead.  That's why as soon as I saw that they were making turntable parts out of crabon I filled the tub with ice, got in it, and started slapping myself:

I don't know, maybe this crabon record stuff has been around forever, or maybe it's only happening now because records are cool again like
fixiescyclocross, but either way it was news to me.  I didn't even know that thing was called a "tonearm."  I always just called it the "needle wang."

Anyway, following the "no crabon" rule is guaranteed to save your ass from all forms of weeniedom, including but not limited to wine:


Sport motorcycles:

And of course fetish sex:

While being whipped for being naughty, you really need the lateral stiffness and vertical compliance of crabon.

Hey, do whatever you want, but don't say I didn't warn you.  They don't call crabon "Douchebag's Gold" for nothing.

Speaking of crabon, an important hurdle in the eventual selling of disc brakes to roadies may have been cleared, because you can now buy crabon rotors:

I've long felt constrained by the excessive weight of my metal brake rotors, but I'm relatively certain those are just cleverly repurposed pie plates.

In other news, I don't know about you, but when I receive an email from a reader with the subject line "Seat Post in Rectum" I open it immediately:

As cyclists, it's all too easy to get wrapped up in our own weenie-ism (you know, the kind of weeniesm that compels us to point out it was the saddle rail and not the seat post that got lodged in his rectum), so let's all join together and spare a thought for someone way, way, way less fortunate:

By the way, this is obviously a huge marketing coup for Giant:

You really can't buy that kind of publicity--at least not legally.

What you can buy, however, is Bret, whose image is now used on the packaging of rougly 68% of all consumer goods sold in North America.  In fact, he's endorsing so many products that a reader informs me he now competes against himself:

As the reader succinctly puts it:

2 Brets on 2 different packages for similar products on the same shelf at the same store

this is like one of those time travel paradoxes where the time traveling self runs into the current self...

If crabon is the Red Flag of Weeniedom, then Bret is the Good Housekeeping Seal of Extraordinary Cheapness.

Lastly, learning how to ride a bicycle in New York City is "liberating"--and not in the "liberate me from my bicycle with the Jaws of Life" sense:

Too bad they're totally going to liberate us from the bike lanes.

A Sunday In Heaven/Hell

The long ride to Clark. 200 kilometers of endless roads, towns, several crashes and quite a few busted tires. We rode to our heart's content, met other fixers, beat the heat and ate awesome sisig. One epic ride that's worth repeating. Respect to all who joined!

Images by Mickie. More after the jump.

Good morning! Wait, what time is it?

I realize it's not a good idea to tempt the weather gods in February, but it's feeling a little springy outside--springy enough that this morning I put a bag with flowers on it into a basket:

Took to the mean urban streets:

And, well, dropped the bag off someplace.  

What was inside the bag?  And where did it need to go?  Well, I can't tell you that, but only because the answers to both of those questions are profoundly boring.

So instead, let's just say I was driving my car yesterday, and that I wasn't really paying attention because I was busy sending the following text:

Then let's say I kind of maybe ran over a cat just before hitting "send," and despite my best attempts to resuscitate the poor feline with both mouth-to-mouth and jumper cable defribrillation, I was forced to pronounce it dead.  Naturally, I couldn't just leave it there, so I consigned it to my trunk until this morning, when the cat's owner left for work.  Finally, I removed it from the trunk, slipped it into a Trader Joe's shopping bag, rode it over to the owner's house, and left it on the front stoop with an anonymous note pinned to it that read, "Sorry about the cat."

Oh, and the reason I rode the cat over instead of driving it was that I didn't want to lose my parking space.

Now that would be an exciting story, especially if I also incorporated a vignette about how I told the story at David Byrne's Oscar party that night and we all got into a big fight over it:

(Dead cats are not funny.)

Of course, none of this actually happened, but you still kind of hate me a little bit now anyway.  Whatever, I made it all up, get over it.  Anyway, there are far too many cutesy stories about smiley people riding their bikes to the food co-op or to yoga class because they're concerned about the environment.  Who can relate to that?  Cycling will never truly be a mainstream mode of transportation in America until people understand that it's just as compatible with craven, depraved behavior as it is with smugness.  There will always be serial killers, but there's no reason they can't transport their victims' remains in a bakfiets instead of a car.  It's a real oversight on the part of the "bike culture."

One thing that totally did happen though was that I saw my shadow during the ride:

When a douchebag sees his shadow that means there will be six more weeks of bad scranus jokes.

(Scranii are not funny.)

I'll make that guy crack a smile one day, I swear to Lob.

Speaking of weather, if you're the kind of person who doesn't like to experience it while riding, you'll be thrilled to learn about the "Tour de Rue," which promises to make riding outside obsolete:

There was once a time when I too used to ride indoors, and then one day I made an important discovery, which is that riding indoors is idiotic.  When the weather is too foul to ride, that's the Great Lobster On High's way of telling you to get a life and do something else.  Or, if you can't manage to take your mind off bikes for even two seconds, you can at least use the time to do something useful, like patching tubes or learning to build a wheel.  Maybe if Freds weren't so busy scampering around on their hamster wheels they'd actually know something about their own bikes--though if they did that would put Specialized out of business.

Also, some people compare riding a trainer to masturbation, but that's not really a fair comparison.  This is because masturbation is a pleasurable alternative to sex, whereas riding a trainer is not a pleasurable alternative to riding a bike outside.   Sure, it involves a bike, but that's where the similarity to actual cycling ends, and if anything, riding a trainer is like hitting your genitals with a rubber mallet.  Nevertheless, people delude themselves into thinking they need to do it, because they need to "train:"

Firstly, you don't need to "train," because chances are you suck, and the sooner you come to terms with that the better:

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Secondly, the "experts" say all kinds of stupid crap, and you should never, ever listen to them.  For example, remember when Allen Lim was making everyone on RadioShack swallow tiny thermometers, which they'd then dig out of their stools and analyze?  Well, it turns out that was just to distract people from the fact that they were all doing EPO.  Still, who knows how many Freds were rooting around in their own feces in a disgustingly scatological bid for Cat 4 glory?  

Still, I suppose there's something to be said for being able to "ride" anywhere in the world:

For example, here's someone riding through what appears to be a riot in Angola:

Maybe now I can finally take that North Korean bike tour I've always fantasized about:

Nevertheless, there's only one reasonable answer to this question:

And that answer is "outside."

That's one small step for Fred, one giant leap for punishing his scranus.