Thursday, April 27, 2017

I'm typign fixed-gear which is why I cant' backspace to fix the typoes

With all the excitement surrounding Mario Cipollini's impending visit to Brooklyn it's easy to forget there's also a race taking place this weekend.  And it's not just any race, either.  It's the most spectacular fixed-gear bicycle race the world has ever seen.

I'm talking of course about Skinsuits 'n Beards...though you probably know it by its nickname, the "Red Hook Crit:"


(Via here.)

While you millennials out there probably take the Red Hook Crit for granted the same way you take everything for granted (you really should be doing more with the future your elders have stolen from you), the truth is it has changed the face of bike racing forever.  For one thing, it put a big hairy beard on that face.  For another, "crits" used to be small bicycle races that nobody watched:


(Sadly for criterium racing, people waiting to cross the street didn't count as "spectators.")

Whereas fixed-gear bicycles were reserved for a sport called "track racing" that nobody watched:


("Six day racing was once the most popular sport in America" is a thing people say before you punch them in the nose.)

What the Red Hook Crit did was to combine those two things into something that, for some inexplicable reason, people suddenly want to watch:


Yes, it's a total mystery.  I mean, people couldn't possibly be watching the Red Hook Crit for the crashes.  That would imply human beings have some sort of innate bloodlust, and nothing could be further from the truth.


Of course there's a lot more more to it than that.  After all, it's fun to watch people go fast on bikes, which is why bicycle racing was once the most popular sport in America.  [Ducks and narrowly avoids punch in nose.]  Also, between then and now, an organization called USA Cycling did its very best to transform bicycle racing into the most spectator (and participant)-unfriendly sport the world has ever seen, and the Red Hook Crit wisely circumvents that whole operation.  Then there's the zeitgeist, and and the urban fixed-gear trend, and the Brooklyn setting, and blah blah blah and so forth.

Plus, like any sport, fixed-gear criteriums have spawned their own unique personalities, and this year's rider to watch will of course be Jeremy Santucci, who will be played by James Franco when Hollywood makes the story of his life:



Yes, you'll no doubt be elated to learn Santucci will indeed be starting this year:


And so I checked his twitter to see what he's been up to:


After getting lost in those piercing blue eyes for a full 15 minutes I learned that he is indeed training:

A post shared by Bikes & Fa$hion -TUCCi (@jeremysantucci) on


And that he's even been getting out on the road bike--or at least modeling next to it:

A post shared by Bikes & Fa$hion -TUCCi (@jeremysantucci) on


Plus, whereas last year he was still a Cat 5, he finally seems to have made the big (and automatic) leap all the way to the lofty heights of Category 4:


Given all this my money's on him for the win.

Moving on to Kickstarting news, bike shops are having a hard time these days, so here's one that is branching out into leather:



It was my understanding that in Trump's America we'd all be drowning in money, but apparently I'm the only one, go figure.  Anyway, I wish them nothing but the best, which is mostly why I'm sharing this.  And if you're wondering "Why leather?"


The answer is because there's still no better material for transporting your artisanal axe:


I think if you attempted this in New York City the police would shoot you on sight.

Lastly, have you ever wanted to commute on your road bike while wearing dress clothes?  Me neither.  Nevertheless, here's Pedal Plate!




When commuting I sometimes use my city bike, but I prefer riding my road bike. Seeing a beautiful road bike with normal pedals is painful, so I feel forced to take a backpack with extra shoes with me.

Okay, firstly, nobody in the history of bikes has ever referred to a Cannondale as "beautiful:"


Secondly, would someone that into style be using a Biopace crankset with the sticker still on?


By the way, I'm 99% sure those are the inventor's own legs:


Please note that's not meant as a criticism, I think he looks fabulous.

Anyway, in addition to commuting, Pedal Plate is perfect for when you want to go camping with your Fred bike:

On holiday when leaving the camping site going to a town, beach or restaurant, we also would like to go by bike without having to change and take additional shoes along.



Seems to me what they need are new bikes.  They should call Topanga Outpost, who I'm sure would be more than happy to set them up with the perfect camping bike:


I mean it's not like the Pedal Plate is a bad idea or anything, but does the world really need more plastic crap?


Seems to me that if most Kickstarters did business with each other instead of asking the rest of us for money everyone's problems would be solved.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Call to Unction: Today's Post Will Be Short But Greasy

Have your wildest dreams and most horrific nightmares ever come true at the same time?

Well mine just did:
That's right, the Layin' King himself, Mario Cipollini, will ooze into town this coming weekend for the Red Hook Crit:


The Lion King, Mario Cipollini will be in town this weekend for the Red Hook Crit, supporting the top Italian contenders and hanging out at R&A Cycles. He’ll be leading a casual ride at Prospect Park on Friday morning (9:30am GAP) followed by a Q&A at R&A Cycles.We’ll also let him try a few laps on Saturday if he brings a track bike.#redhookcrit #rhcbk10 #critweek #cipo #racycles

Mario Cipollini?  In Brooklyn?  Riding casually in Prospect Park?

This is like...I don't even know what it's like, and rarely am I at a loss for simile.

All I know is that even post-artisanal 21st century Brooklyn still has its fair share of unctuous characters, all of whom will move up a notch or two on the Class-O-Meter by default this coming weekend:


(When graded on a Cipo curve this is like Muffy, Buffy, Chip and Chaz at the country club...and yes, apparently Hot Chicks With Douchebags still exists, even in our modern post-PC society.)

You can also expect a lot of impromptu "training camps:"


As well as a measurable increase in the borough's population in approximately nine month's time:


("I got a lotta stops to make.")

And, ultimately, a bumper crop of charismatic sprinters on the local race circuit:


(Lucarelli & Castaldi are gonna have to pony up a lot more prime money.)

Of course, in my almost 10 years of semi-professional bike blogging I've had the opportunity to meet some of professional cycling's most intriguing characters.  For example, remember Michael Ball?


Well, during Rock Racing's apotheosis he brought he whole devil horn-throwing shitshow to Harlem:


Where I obtained his autograph upon this hat:


Which I in turn presented to my number one fan at the time:

Heady days indeed.

Nevertheless, even I, who have moved in the most rarefied (or sordid, depending on how you look at it) circles of cycling, am deeply intimidated--cowed even--by the prospect of being in the presence of someone who has played such a crucial role in my blog over the years:


("Without me to fall back on you are nothing.")

Indeed, even more daunting is the prospect of schlepping all the way to Brooklyn for a 9:30am rollout.

And then there's the prospect of discovering he's probably just a regular guy who's cannily cultivated an entertaining persona.

All if this is to say it remains to be seen whether or not I'll actually make it, and in the end it will all hinge on whether or not I manage to get the necessary vaccinations in time.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Once Upon A Time...

Recently a reader forwarded me an excerpt from this children's book:


Which implicates riding without helmets in the extinction of the dinosaurs:


On the surface this is just harmless whimsy, but the underlying message is clear: helmetless fun equals death.  This has inspired me to write my own children's book.  After all, using allegory and heavy-handed morality to promote your own agenda is the basis of all great children's literature (I'm looking at you, C.S. Lewis!), and I want in.  So here goes:


Once upon a time, there were these creatures called dinosaurs:


Dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and Jesus put them there to punish the Jews for not believing in Him:


The battle raged long and hard, but eventually the Jews won and the dinosaurs died out, which is how the international Jewish conspiracy was born:



Alas, all seemed lost, but the Lord works in mysterious ways, and after the dinosaurs died they gave humankind the greatest gift of all:

Oil!


Yes, all the little critters love frolicking in oil:


But oil's not just for playing.  It also makes your family's car go, go, GO!!!


Plus, we make all kinds of cool stuff out of oil.  Handy plastic bags:


Pretty nail polish:


And fun sports balls are all made from petroleum:


And yeah, let's not forget the tires on those eco-friendly bicycles:



But maybe the most fun thing we can make from oil are those fun foam hats mom and dad make you wear whenever you get near anything with wheels (except for the car, go figure):


Yep, that's right, you're wearing a dinosaur on your head!  How cool is that?


You should always, always, ALWAYS wear a helmet when riding your bicycle.  After all, bicycles are the leading cause of injury to children, right after motor vehicle crashes...and suffocation...and drowning...and poisoning...and burns...and falls...


...actually, I don't see bicycles anywhere on that list, but that doesn't mean it's okay to ride a bicycle without wearing a helmet.  Why?  Because I said so, that's why.  So before you get on your bike, stop, and put on your helmet:


Again, stop, and put on your helmet:




One more time, because it's really important:

STOP...



And put on your helmet.

See that?  Now you're getting the message!  Well, at least you're getting the STOP part, which is why in 1969 48% of kids like you rode bikes to school, but by 2009 only 13% of you did:


Instead, your parents take you to school in the car, where you're safe:


And where you make it more difficult for that remaining 13% to continue riding to school, while at the same time generally fomenting a toxic storm of negative emotion that follows you for the rest of the day:


In a recent study by British insurance company Allianz, more than 1,000 parents were surveyed for their levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, as they did their school day morning routine. Levels peaked just before leaving the house to drive to school, at around 8:15 a.m. each morning, researchers found. And the impact of the school run stress stays with parents well into the day. Also, nearly 25 percent of parents surveyed said that morning drop off stress sets their mood for the day — good or bad.

And that's why your bicycle helmet is destroying humanity and the planet.



DISCLAIMER: Oil doesn't actually come from dinosaurs, it comes from marine organisms that lived long before the dinosaurs.  All the stuff about the Judeo-Dino War is totally true though.

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Not An Adventure If You Don't Measure Every Second Of It

If you missed the BSNYC BOOMB!* Pre-Fondon't Ride this past Saturday then you missed the BSNYC BOOMB! Pre-Fondon't Ride this past Saturday:


(Photo by Jem)

Hills were scaled, derailleurs were destroyed, and the passive voice was employed afterwards by me to sum it all up.  Rest assured there will be a full accounting of the ride (in the active voice) in the not-too-eventual future.  In the meantime, the success of the ride (and by "success" I mean nobody pelted me with stones afterwards) gives me the confidence to curate a full-blown BSNYC Gran Fondon't ride in the coming weeks:


(Artist's rendering of what a Gran Fondo could look like, but won't.)

So stay tuned, and in the meantime thanks to everyone who rode on Saturday.

Indeed, the only thing that would have made the ride even better would have been if I'd been using a state-of-the-art power meter:


Yes, nothing says "adventure" like meticulously quantifying every facet of your mediocrity.

If you're wondering about what makes it adventure-specific, it's that if you don't meet specific fitness goals it simply falls off the bicycle, leaving you stranded in the wilderness.

And no, nobody jumped over a Lamborghini at any point during the ride either (that I'm aware of, anyway) but you can't have everything:



And another angle:



This is an entire genre of video apparently, who knew?


It's also now my favorite style of video.

Hey, you wanna drive a $300,000 shim around town you don't get to "curate" what kind of attention you receive.

Some people will be impressed, others will think you're a douchebag, and still others will just wanna ride over that shit.

If you want to inspire complete indifference while driving I recommend a Hyundai:


I mean I could have a Lamborghini if I wanted, I just choose not to:


(Evidently their interest in performance stops the moment they step out of the car.)

What would really impress me though would be seeing someone hop a Lamborghini on a folding bike--and speaking of folding bikes, Dahon has launched a Kickstarter for their new Curl model:




Which, as far as I can tell, is basically a Brompton:



Or am I crazy?


By the way, the US leg of the Brompton World Championships will take place in New York City this year:


As always, the Brompton World Championship USA will begin with a "Le Mans" style start, with each competitor racing to his or her folded bike before unfolding and taking off on the course, which consists of ten laps around NYC's Marcus Garvey Park. Brompton owners from all corners of the country are invited to compete in the United States leg of the Brompton World Championship series.

I've been flirting with the idea of entering this race, and if I can figure out how to retrofit an Oral-B electric toothbrush into a secret motor you could very well be looking at your new champion.

Just let me know whether you think I should race or not via this online poll and I'll do whatever you decide:


Lastly, I was very sad to learn about the death of Michele Scarponi:


Scarponi was killed on Saturday morning when he was struck by a van while training just two kilometres from his home. The driver of the van was a 57-year-old local man. “We know each other well. I’ve lost a son, but I’m thinking of him too,” Scarponi’s father, Giacomo, said.

Enjoy every ride, it's all you can do.