Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This Just In: New Outside, and more!

Firstly, I've got a new Outside column:


It's all about how you should never carry more than one water bottle and how gooey energy food is stupid.

Also, in Thursday's post I had the nerve to poke fun at a 1970s cycling technique video:


Seems to me that if anything remains fair game for laughs in this world it should be dated helmet technology, but somehow I managed to instill the ire of a small handful of John Forester drones, who in their characteristically robotic fashion left comment after comment about the evils of bicycle infrastructure.

Now, granted, we've come a long way in 40 years, all the way from this:


To this:


Oh, wait, no we haven't.  Actually the only difference is all the drivers have airbags now.

Of course nobody would argue that cycling skills aren't crucial.  However, it's absurd to say that we don't need bike infrastructure going forward.  There's nothing abstract about it either, the evidence is right in your face.  Nobody can point to a cycling paradise built on a foundation of confident lane-taking and a complete absence of bicycle infrastructure, but you can point to this:

Groningen: The World's Cycling City from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Basically you've got your flat earthers:


And then you've got your pictures from space:


Hey, you wanna ride around in a neon vest and a helmet like you're about to fall of the edge of the world then fine, but don't screw it up for the rest of us.

Finally, a craven thief has left a bike shop without a prized memento:

The thief?  Some sort of rogue ska enthusiast, apparently:



Just leave out a Lambretta with a key in the ignition and a Fred Perry shirt neatly folded on the saddle and hide behind a bush with a net.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

First?

Schisthead said...

SHARE SHARE SHARE

Finally some stupid social media bullshit I can agree with.
Just that part though.

janinedm said...

On the bright side, the circulation of that image will likely force the guy to get rid of that ridiculous facial hair.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Missed the podium again, SCRANUS!

Anonymous said...

yawn'd my way into the top five

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Great tips! I always say the early stomach catches the breakfast.

Some guy from upstate said...

The cars are less pointy now. I'll take the Toyota Yaris I bounced off of over my mom's '72 Cutlass wagon any time. Although this is balanced out by the explosion of pickups and giant SUV's. So never mind.

Anonymous said...

I read a John Forester piece some years ago and considered his approach. However I quickly thought, "am I willing to be a martyr for cycling?" and decided my answer was no.

Loneract said...

As a Lambretta riding, Fred Perry wearing cyclist, I approve your trapping method.



Serial Retrogrouch said...

...where can one find the comments left for you by the flat earthers?

Anonymous said...

Groningen looks like cycling heaven compared to the hell we still have in every major city in the U.S.. yes slowly adding some bike lanes, but with a lot of resistance. It makes you wonder what we have against safer streets and cleaner air? but then again we elected Donald Trump as our president. We are idiots and we are doomed.

Old Timer said...

Huh? What?

Rankin full stop said...

I like the bliss article. I've been doing those things by accident. mostly because my longest ride is less than 50 miles/3 hours. so no need for an extra water bottle or food. by that time I'm bored, tired or need a beer break.

BamaPhred said...

Where did the start of fall go? It's like sweaty summer just rolled back in.

Anonymous said...

I often wonder if the Dutch get tired of film crews sticking cameras in their faces and asking questions about bicycles.

janinedm said...

I mean yeah, you have to take it with a grain of salt. If you ride to Riis Beach during the Summer there's an interminable post Coney Island stretch where it's all highway and the reflected heat from the asphalt makes it such that you will need extra water. And let's say you go to the concession-free Ft. Tilden because you want to see bare hipster boobs? Well then you're going to need even more water. But generally sure.

If wishes were horses . . . said...

Something like Groningen will never happen in the US of A. Never. Not that it shouldn't, but where would we put all of our giant SUVs and "pick-ups-that-never-carry-anything-in-the-back-and-always-look-brand-spanking-new"?

Anonymous said...

I think the benefits of cycling infrastructure depend heavily on location. Having witnessed NYC before the bike lanes, I conclude they have been absolutely transformative in NYC, turning a highly bike-hostile environment into a fairly-OK one. OTOH, there are plenty of places that are already pretty decent for biking, even though planners have put zero effort into making it so. Either way, this is not an either/or proposition: vehicular cycling skills can save lives, but should never be used an an excuse for poor infrastructure.

Charlie said...

Judging from the photo, the helmet theft suspect is Ray Dorset from Mungo Jerry.

1904 Cadardi said...

Hey Snob,

Instead of the Jones bars, have you considered the Ergon grips with the built in bar-ends? They range from ultra-stubby to crazy long and curvy. I recently installed a set of the GP3 and they really do add to the comfort on smooth sections to/from actual mountain bike bicycle cycling areas.

Also, places like Copenhagen or Groningen are probably just myths told to American cyclists to remind them they were bad enough in a previous life to be condemned to spend this life in hell.

BikeSnobNYC said...

1904 Cadardi,

I have considered them, but part of why I'm attracted to the Jones-type bars is the sweep. I think having my hands in a more natural position would be much more comfortable on those long flat stretches.

--Wildcat Etc.

Bromptonaut said...

Cripes! Things did get a bit personal after my bedtime last Thursday, didn't they!

HLMT MIRR said...

When you toddlers and golden agers inevitably run into me on the separated bike path, my Bell Biker will CRUSH YOU!

Anonymous said...

Change the laws also.

J. Girardi said...

If that's an Apple watch on his wrist, then he's an employee of the Boston Red Sox. Try looking in Fenway Park.

Unknown said...

Read the Outside article. Where can you leave a comment? I have no problem with downgrading components, I can't tell the difference between Centaur and Super Record. But I can tell the difference between a good tire and a cheap tire. A 27mm+ good tire makes all the difference in the world when enjoying the ride.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Unknown,

You can always just downgrade the wheel.

--Wildcat Etc.

JLRB said...

"("Wow, so light!" "Yeah, I removed a water bottle!") "

That's some funniness - thank you

And I prefer to downgrade my performance while maintaining the same mid-level components I've always had

Anonymous said...

Pasela (non-belted) for the downgrade. I own tires costing three times as much but the fun factor is the same.

Didn't know there was a name for riding in the morning and being too lazy to get breakfast first. Yeah, it does work. Your body is actually pretty good about converting fat to sugar when it gets used to the idea that you aren't going to be eating some sweet every twenty minutes. It's not something I did on purpose, or to be weird. But surprisingly, I could knock out 40 and come home not really hungry. I wasn't training or anything, just enjoying the cool summer mornings before it was too hot and would have required water bottles hanging from everywhere.

The rest of the post is great. Life is too short to suck down overpriced icing in a tube instead of eating real food.

bad boy of the south said...

Water! water!I need water.sorry,not a water weenie.but I understand.

Anonymous said...

“All those high-end refinements ultimately work their way down anyway, so stay ahead of the tech curve by remaining resolutely behind it.”
Agreed. Although when the department I worked in was sent to India, I found I was an unemployed senior-citizen technological retrogrouch without computer to use when soliciting work (what, me upgrade from stamps and notebook paper?). That situation gave my resistance to the times a forceful nudge.
That’s another way of saying that upgrading from beach cruiser to mountain bike is sometimes the sensible thing to do.
Still own and ride my 1990 fully rigid steel Mongoose MTB. And have downgraded parts when the originals died.
One exception—I’ve never regretted any saddle upgrade I’ve ever made.

bad boy of the south said...

back to the nyc this weekend.one,to bury my dad.two,to chill.and,boy,do I need to chill.any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Lambretta? Fred Perry Shirt? Don't think it's funny.

- Gavin McInnes

jellyfishsalad71 said...

Not sure about the suggestion for downgrading components? To what level are you proposing? i wouldn't want to go much lower than shimano 105 which can be a bit flimsy as times (eg 105 front derailers dont seem to last very long but the rest of the group seems fine).

leroy said...

All of my riding focuses on two questions: where can I get water and where can I get rid of water.

Bad Boy - my condolences. Have you considered renting a bike for a day while you're back to just go clear your head? The best time to ride is when you think you don't have time to ride. It's therapeutic.

bad boy of the south said...

Thanks,leroy.good idea. I usually bring a bike with me,but logistics won't allow me this time.
Thanks for the condolences.my dad passed in March of this year and we're finally placing him with his parents in da Bronx.
Hey,does your dog know where I can rent a two wheeled human powered machine?

JLRB said...

"If you make your living driving and you kill somebody, perhaps it's time to find another line of work."
Amen, +1, etc.

It always amazes me how much worse the driving "professionals" are compared with the average cager. Cabs, limos, garbage trucks, buses, and now Uber-ers - I give a wide berth.

Anonymous said...

TED talk on bikes as forces of change:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTT7i3SKpMQ

One of the many interesting things mentioned (@~10:00) was cycling infrastructure, or complete lack thereof, in 1960's Amsterdam and how it came to be. Also, some good commentary on health, cities, and how bike vs. car infrastructure affects landscape.

Bryan said...

I'm too lazy to utilize the Googles, but aren't there laws where it is illegal to ride in the road in amsterdam? I seem to remember some sort of commentary during Le Tour a year or so about it, and that's why bike infrastructure is so big.

Anyway, it's high time for me to get Ye Olde Stumpy back on the trails.

dancesonpedals said...

Bad boy:

Sorry to hear about your dad. Try these guys: http://pedalpusherbikeshop.com/

East side of Manhattan. A hole in the wall packed with bikes. They used to have a photo of the cyclometer from a bike they rented one afternoon to Greg LeMond. He covered 60 miles in under 3 hours, just tooling around the city.

Anonymous said...

B. Snob esq.
Full disclosure: I use actual bike lanes for about a third of my daily commute, and totally separated multi-use trails for another third, and only steal their God-given lane from hard-working motorists for the remaining third. My world is at least round-ish. That being said, the reason folks in Amsterdam and Copenhagen (and perhaps NYC) can practically use 60 lb Mary Poppins bikes, street clothes and 8mph separated infrastructure for most of their transportation needs is that everything is pretty close to everything else.
My commute is 8.17 miles one way, and I've got numerous co-workers biking 15+ miles one way. To make that work, we have to bike fast-ish, and because I don't like chaffing I wear my dorky biking pants. We have a full gym at work, so I needn't reek either (that's infrastructure!)
Of course the culprit is decades of automobile subsidies and the resultantly jacked land use, but my question is: if most Americans have 10-ish mile commutes in their real life, why do bike advocates insist on pushing solutions that only work for the handful of folks living 1-3 miles from their workplaces?
Let's get us some infrastructure by all means, but let's tailor it for the commutes that folks each place actually have to deal with. It's unlikely and extreme, but if the "paint -n- planters" folks gave me a lovely Copenhagenesque 8 mph bike highway, I'd have to go back to driving, because I can't afford an hour-long commute time.
Cheers,
-Matt in AK

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 12:00pm,

Why do you have to "bike fast-ish" on your 8-mile trip to make it work?

I can't speak for other cities in the US but the advocates in NYC are working very hard for bike lanes at the outer edge of the city. Certainly the infrastructure arrives sooner in the more dense and "central" areas where bikes are more established, but I don't think any advocate worth his or her Birkenstocks anywhere in the US isn't working towards a larger network.

By the way, that "central" infrastructure potentially benefits everyone who commutes to a CBD or whatever you want to call it.. I often make multi-modal trips to midtown. Train/Brompton, Train/Citi Bike, etc. I think the viability and convenience of multi-modal commuting is lost on Americans, which is confusing. Not sure why more suburbanites don't ride the short mile or two to their local commuter rail station instead of driving there, jockeying for permits, etc. We're pretty stupid that way.

--Wildcat Etc.

janinedm said...

I hate being that guy, but my deep belief that 8 miles is not a chamois-worthy distance and is completely do-able on an upright bike compels me to say so. This is based on riding an Omafiets to work every day. Granted, my commute is only 8.1 miles. Perhaps the extra block would be the key to chafe town. How long does it take? ~35 minutes if there's little pedestrian traffic or I decide to ride like an asshole and ~40 minutes if I'm being Sally the Safety Nanny. I mean people who ride 15+ each way are putting in some commuting miles, but 8? An 8 mile commute is laudable and fine, but no more. Put on some regular pants, put some panniers on your bike and grab some milk for your significant other like a useful person.

bad boy of the south said...

Dancesonpedals,I appreciate the sentiment. additionally, I'll take a look at pedal pushers. I might stop at bfold... thinking of a clown bike.might jump that shark.

leroy said...

Dear Matt in AK -

A ten-ish mile commute needn't be an epic ride. That's the beauty of bike commuting. It can be a sprint, a lazy scenic tour, or a bit of both.

My commute from Brooklyn to mid-town is about 7-1/2 miles. Sometimes I like to see how fast I can go, sometimes I like to see how slow I can go. Mostly, I just ride half-fast.

I wear a chamois usually, but not always. Sometimes bibs, sometimes bibs under cargo shorts, sometimes under winter tights. It's just force of habit from commuting on a road bike. (That noise in the background is my dog doing his Bill Murray in "Stripes" impersonation: "Chicks dig me because I rarely wear underwear and when I do, it's usually something unusual.")

My grown up clothes are at work as is a shower.

But if the weather is nice and I have time, it's good to have bikey clothes to take a detour and stretch the commute. My record commute is Brooklyn to midtown via Rockland Lake (probably about 50 miles). My usual detours involve River Road under the GWB, or a short hop to Piermont, or a lap around Manhattan, or errands in Brooklyn before heading in via the Queensboro Bridge.

And when it comes right down to it, doesn't that tell you everything you need to know about bike commuting? Who ever decided to add a few subway stops or highway exits to their commute?

Over the years, we've gotten more and more infrastructure. It helps. It certainly isn't a disincentive. It won't slow you down. Age does that very nicely. The good news is: it also makes you want to hang on to the ride as long as you can.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Snob,
Um, well, at 8 mph, it would take slightly over an hour for me to get to work, and that's a long time compared to the 25 minutes it takes me to drive. If I chamois-up and take my road bike it takes me 35 minutes. That's basically free from a time standpoint, and I enjoy it. What would I get for the other 25 minutes? Less cardio, less fun, and less sleep, why is that good?
And oddly enough there is no Anchorage Alaska subway, or light rail. There are folks who multi-modal on our city bus, but, again, if I'm happy biking 80 miles a week, why would I choose to bike 20 and spend the rest of that time on a bus just for the pleasure of riding slower (which I don't like anyway)?
I guess I'm frustrated by the assumption that there's a "right" or "virtuous" way to ride a bike to work (step through, street clothes etc.) and a "wrong" or "flat-earth" way to bike to work (road bike, lycra etc.). Maybe the real way to get higher mode share is to open your aperture a bit, and encourage folks to bike in any way that "blows their skirts up."


Janinedm,
Ok, here's how math works. If you do your 8 mile commute in 35 minutes you're averaging a fairly respectable 14 mph on your Omafiets. If you can do that without sweating your pits out, then you're special. I can't. I'm old, and I've got a stent. Sometimes when it's 10 below (F) and I'm on my fat bike with fresh snow it does take me 50 minutes, but I still bike, and I still wear bike shorts (under my x-country ski pants in that case) and I still need a shower afterwards. Why does that make you emotional? Again, what do you gain with the assumption that there is a "right" or "virtuous" way and a "wrong" or "regressive" way to ride a bike to work. Lighten up.

Cheers,
-Matt in AK

Anonymous said...

Leroy gets it.

-Matt in AK

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:56pm,

I'm not saying that at all. You're riding at the speed you like to ride apprently and all is right with the world. Now thoroughly baffled what the issue is.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

Well Wildcat Etc., Sorry, but someone typed on your blog that folks who are happy to take the lane are flat-earthers screwing it up for the rest of the bike community. I disagree. I wanted to share the possibility that they might just be cyclists that would rather bike to work a bit faster, either through their time-distance requirements, or because it makes them happy. If you weren't saying there's a right and a wrong way to bike to work, good on you, but there are actually a lot of "advocates" who are saying precisely that.

Please enjoy the rest of your day.
-Matt in AK

BikeSnobNYC said...

Matt in AK,

No infrastructure means bikes are the domain of the go-fast set; infrastructure means it's the domain of everyone who wants to ride a bike. The flat earthers don't want infrastructure. Your gripe is with them not me.

--Wildcat Etc.

janinedm said...

It doesn't make me emotional so much as you implied that your way of commuting is the way it has to be done because of 8 miles. I'm just saying I have the same commute and disagree based on personal experience. I usually just try to not care what anyone is doing unless they're doing it within 3 feet of me, but I guess I have to admit that I have a personal problem with certain North American assumptions that I think keep individuals like me who'd otherwise be riding off of the road. 1) you need special clothes to go more than 5 miles 2) You need a fast bike 3) You even need to be fast. It just drives me nuts. I see people asking how to make their commutes work snd they get steered towards a dag nab Allez and if that were my initial bike, I wouldn't be riding today. Whatever. Abortions for some; miniature American flags for others.

der blaue Reiter said...

Hey janine, that got a little psychedilic at the end! But i think the whole exchange is kinda surreal... Matt, if you check in again, it's true that there's plenty of opinions around here, but my take is that most actual advocates are pushing for what will work for the most vulnerable riders in their home region. So since this is a NYC blog, and NYC is a densely populated city where bicycling is more and more popular with a wide range of folks, seperated bike infrastructure makes a lot of sense. Same for Chicago, where i live. Here there are no laws restricting bikes to the bike lanes, so if you feel like taking the lane and doing sprint intervals on your way to work go for it, but if you feel like a slower cruise there is a protected space. And most importantly, if you are new to biking our young or old or shy of traffic the infrastructure is there for you too. Like Snob says, the only people arguing that there is "one right way" are the VC fundamentalists who trucked in last week. I think the rest of us agree with Leroy that the right way to ride is however the hell you want.

Anyway, check the name of the blog, man! If you seriously expected a thoughtful and considerate analysis of arctic-circle commuting, i don't know what to tell you.

Anonymous said...

Janinedm und Herr Reiter,

This is of course what they call "irony", because where I am if you use the word "commuting" in a bike shop they automatically show you cast iron hybrids (or fatbikes depending on the season), and though the VCers might have the little red books it's the Copenhagenizers with the torches and pitchforks. (Both vats of kool-aide smell yummy, but I'm not that thirsty yet.)

I work on a military base up here, and I've got a group of about a hundred cyclists that I've been signing up for commuting challenges, publicizing local events for etc. for 5-ish years. My major issue isn't VC vs. Copenhagen, it's advocating for utility "cyclists" vs. advocating for utility "cycling." I know this is a fiercely secular blog, but it's like the difference between Lutheranism and Evangelicalism: is our job taking care of the flock we have, or is it marketing to the heathen? I'm frankly done with "advocates" saying: "you're already riding, we don't owe you anything. The cycling plan is for: (fill in the blank, but generally hand-wringing green dilettantes who already drive hybrids for their 1-3 mile commutes)." I want a municipal bike plan that will make things better for the folks who are already riding. I actually think that's a pretty good long-term recipe for growing mode share (happy utility cyclists are the best advertisement for utility cycling) but I'd do it even if it wasn't, because that's what civic associations are for.

Cheers,
-Matt in AK

der blaue Reiter said...

Uh, so now i'm with Snob not understanding what your problem is. You maybe skipped over the regional character of my comments? That nobody here knows or cares what is best in Alaska? If you had started with your last comment, everybody would have said, "ok, good for you (shrug)" and that would have been that. Because you may not believe it, but the cyclists who have been riding in Chicago for decades are mostly pretty stoked about the expanded infrastructure, which *also* makes riding a bike conceivable for a whole wide variety of dilettantes, who often in relatively short order grow into enthusiastic cyclists. It's important that the seperated lanes etc are optional here, i think, like i noted before, so that nobody is forced to drink any koolaid whatsoever. Anyway, have a good winter riding.

xm said...

That Lambretta wont start..