Thursday, April 19, 2018

You may ask yourself, "How did I get here?".

I'm going to tell you all about L'Eroica California in painstaking detail:

Just not now.

I will say though that I've given a lot to cycling over the years.  Selflessly I've blogged for eleven (11) years, written four (4) books, and banged out countless articles in various periodicals, asking nothing in return except for money and adulation.  So why the hell is it that I'm still riding in the cold and rain instead of living somewhere like this permanently?  Let's see that picture again:

I'm not just coming to this realization now, either.  I've had many opportunities over the years to head out west and ask myself why the hell I live where I do:

Even in Los Angeles, which is supposed to be a smoggy automotive hell, you can ride to this in like five minutes:

Well at least you can ride to it in like five minutes from the cool neighborhoods, which is where I stay when I visit.

Anyway, as great as it is to come home and be greeted ebulliently at the front door by my seventeen (17) children, I can't help resenting the fact that I have to go back to riding all bundled up--in late April no less!  Indeed, this very morning as I rode around Central Park in the spitting rain, my California sunburn still itchy beneath my multiple layers of Lycra, I pondered my lot, pulled over, and shouted at the nascent buds, "HURRY THE FUCK UP ALREADY!"

Of course the spring will arrive in earnest eventually, and as always it will be glorious, especially after such a long winter.  When it does, I'll tell myself that there's no other place on earth I'd rather live.  Then it will turn hot as balls, followed by like two and a half sublime weeks in autumn, and the whole cycle will begin anew, netting me like six or seven weeks of ideal riding weather annually.

On top of all that, ironically in middle age I've grown mildly allergic to all the local staples that have sustained me since childhood, namely: pizza, bagels, and hero sandwiches.  Indeed, probably the fact that I ate nothing but pizza, bagels, and hero sandwiches for like 40 years broke something inside of me and I have nobody to blame but myself.  Meanwhile, out there the staple is tacos, which are not only right in line with my current dietary requirements, but also delicious.  

Alas, I'll most likely never leave New York, not only because my wife has an awesome job here, but also because I'm awesome at not having a real job here:

Plus, I could never give up my apartment, which is not only legally habitable according to city and state law but also has a full-time doorman!

Sorry, did I say full-time doorman?  I meant full-time door:

A lot of people in New York have to make do with door share, and that's no way to live.

Hey, I've even got exposed brick.  Granted, it's in a pile in the living room, but I'm confident that one day the contractor will come back and finish the job.

After all, I paid him in full before he even got started, so why wouldn't he return?

Moving on, as you know I've been enjoying a bit of a Fredly Renaissance lately, part of which involves swallowing what's left of my dignity and supplicating myself to Strava, and recently I see they've added some new feature called "relative effort:"

I stood there for an embarrassingly long time wondering what the number "28" meant and what exactly it was relative to until I realized that it's all just an eye-catching graphic telling me that I suck.  Indeed, the whole app is just a You Suck-ometer that helps you visualize your suckitude in the form of numbers, colors, and tiny gold cup icons that mean nothing, all of which I new already anyway.

So obviously I use it all the time now.

(I also assume "managing your effort" is a nice way of saying "riding really slowly.)

Finally, I checked, and yes, people are still making fixie videos:

This is truly a daredevil feat--not the riding briskly in a straight line part, but the willingly placing yourself anywhere in the vicinity of Times Square, bike or no bike, part.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I Wrote a Column for Outside and They Published It on the Internet!

I'm currently waiting to board a cross-country New York-bound germ tube as I type this, but my latest column ponders the question all thinking cyclists* have asked themselves at one time or another so I wanted to share it:

*["Thinking cyclists" obviously excludes mountain bikers and most roadies.]

On one hand we've got nifty bikes, and on the other we've got assholes in pickup trucks, so clearly there's a lot to contemplate--which I invite you to do as I binge on in-flight entertainment and tiny bottles of liquor.


--Wildcat Rock Machine


Monday, April 16, 2018

Just Checking In

In case you're wondering, Eroica California was a smashing success:

This is my final day in the Golden State, or the Sunshine State, or whatever the hell it is they call themselves, and I will be spending it returning various bikes to various places and wondering why I live in New York.

Oh, right, it's the transit system, how could I forget:

See you when I see you!

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New Outside Column!

I'm packing up my artisanal bindle and getting ready to split for the coast, but before I do here's my latest column for Outside:

Basically it's all about how I break laws on my bike because I'm better and smarter than everybody, so let the bike-haters of Facebook suck on that one:

Other than that, if you're looking for me over the next few days and I'm not here you should be able to find me over at the Bike Forecast or on the Twitter--and, since I am going out there for L'Eroica California, eventually some sort of activity should pop up on the Strava.  If all goes well I'll return with a bindle full of adventure, and if it doesn't I'll be back with some sort of wool-induced skin condition.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Filial Fredness

Great news!

So how will this affect your bike's performance?  It won't.  In fact if you can tell the difference between 10-speed and 11-speed without looking down I'll give you $100.*

No, the reason this is great news is that a move past 11 means maybe people will finally stop making that Spinal Tap reference.

Or maybe not:

Goddamn it.

Is it a hilarious scene and an iconic moment in comedy?  Yes.  If I hear someone reference it again with regard to bicycle drivetrains will I chop my wooden bicycle into tiny bits with my Rivendell axe?  Also yes.

Come on, at the very least we can get a new reference and say that Campagnolo has gone to plaid:

Anyway, you'd think we've reached the limits of drivetrain hair-splitting (or cog-splitting) by now and that anything less than a high-performance road CVT with electronic shifting hardly even warrants a press release.

Speaking of Fredness, last week I undertook an incredible five-day run of pre-dawn rides in Central Park--and when I say pre-dawn I mean it, because the sun was only just peeking over the buildings by the time I was leaving the park each morning:

I haven't engaged in behavior this Fredly since the days when I had an actual job, and the reason I did so was that the schools were closed so it was my only time to go for a stretchy-clothes ride.  It worked out rather well too, because it left me with the day free to subject my son to culturally edifying activities such as visiting the Guggenheim:

And by noon I was already feasting on beer and Shake Shack:

As an aside, the art in the Guggenheim had little impact on my son, but the building itself provided much entertainment.  In particular, I seem to have acquired a fear of heights in my adulthood (that and a wheat allergy), and my staunch refusal to look down or indeed get anywhere near the edge of the walkway was the source of considerable amusement:

Then on the train ride home it became apparent from the large number of people wearing Yankees attire that there was a game that afternoon, and it occurred to me that a more traditional father-son activity would have been to attend said game, so hopefully he does not grow up to resent me for depriving him of a proper American childhood--or, worse, overcompensate in adulthood by driving around in a lifted F-150 with tinted windows and Yankees logos all over it:

With any luck it will all work out and he'll grow up into a well-adjusted adult, by which I mean an urbane snob with an attitude of smug condescension towards anything west of the Hudson.

As for my weeklong residency in Central Park, it culminated with a race in that same park on Saturday morning.  All was going well too--that is until I hit a pothole on the penultimate lap and flatted:

Fortunately I race with a full complement of tools, knowing full well that when you suck like I do saving a few grams just because it's a "race" is not even remotely worth it when it means you might have to walk back to the start in cleats in the event of a mechanical.  I congratulated myself for this as I replaced the tube, though I also upbraided myself for managing to hit a pothole after having ridden around and around that same park loop for five days straight.

Then I finished the week by watching the thrilling--and, as it turns out, also tragic--Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.  However, owing to more kids' activities that morning, all I actually saw was the early part of the race when nothing was happening, and then when I got back home and turned on the TV again Peter Sagan had already crossed the line and the rest of the riders were arriving in spurts. 

Even so, it was a rather satisfying week of family and Fredness that should serve me well as I prepare to depart for L'Eroica California later this week:

I'll keep you posted.

*This is a lie.  Under no circumstances will I ever give you $100.

Friday, April 6, 2018

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

Happy Friday!  I'm now 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 "Alligator up!"

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and watch for large reptiles.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

1) "L'Eroica" is Italian for:

--The Erotic
--The Bold
--The Beautiful
--The Eroica

2) According to Outside Magazine's Facebook friends, I am a hipster.


(Al Spinks)

3) Who is Al Spinks?

--The first Canadian to ride Paris-Roubaix, in 1939
--Chris Froome's asthma specialist
--A wealthy Texan with a penchant for wooden bicycles
--He's whoever you want him to be

4) Motor vehicles are forbidden on this trail.  Why are they driving here?

--Google Maps directed them onto it
--They're looking for lost keys
--They're looking for a bathroom
--They wanted to take a hike but they're afraid of rabid coyotes

5) How many human rabies cases are reported annually in the United States?

--1,000 to 3,000
--100 to 300
--1 to 3

6) What is this bar called?

--The Biplane
--The Hoverbar
--The Double-Decker
--The Rivendon't

7) Skitching is out; _____________ is in.

--"subway surfing"
--"riding up escalators"
--"intentionally loosening your stem bolts"
--"riding without a saddle"

8) What is he thinking about?

--His new Portland luxury apartment
--How he's going to get the drivetrain grease out of his shirt
--What's making his hair stand up
--What a fucking hipster Bike Snob is

***Special I-Have-No-Idea-Whether-This-Is-A-Joke-Or-Not-Themed Bonus Video!***

Waiting for the Zwift-specific helmet.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

New Outside Column!

Just ducking in to let you know I've got a new Outside column about the importance of cycling route curation:

It's a light-hearted, whimsical little piece that doesn't invoke the fraught car/bike dynamic at all, though I'm sure people on Outside's Facebook page will still figure out a reason to use it as more evidence that cyclists deserve to die.

You'll forgive me if I have routes on the brain, as schools are in spring recess this week, which means that in order to get my stretchy-clothes riding in I must head out in the ungodly pre-dawn hours.  Furthermore, because it's dark, I've been opting for well-lit streets, which basically means staying in the city and riding in Central Park.  And while I love riding in Central Park (especially in the early morning when the tourists are still sound asleep in their Airbnbs and rising sun gives the skyscrapers a pinkish aura) I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pining for some decadent midday out-of-town riding.  However, I can take solace that in a week and a half I'll be getting some out-of-town-and-then-some riding at L'Eroica California:

Hold on, let me fix that:

That's better.

Hopefully I can force-grow an old-timey mustache by then.