Thursday, November 16, 2017

Honestly I Don't Even Know What Day It Is Anymore

Please forgive my tardiness, brevity, and so forth, but you know those weeks were everything goes wrong and life in general just seems like an unmitigated disaster?

Well thank goodness it hasn't been that kind of a week at all.

Nevertheless, I've been rather busy, so once again I'm compelled to keep it short.  I do, however, urge you to contemplate this image:

I've posted a photo of this vehicle before (I can't be bothered to look up when) but yesterday I happened upon it again and took a clearer picture while looking frequently over my shoulder as you can probably imagine.  This car conveys a bewildering--and I daresay uniquely American--set of messages.  Specifically, the license plate informs fellow road users that he (I'm going to go out on a limb and say the owner is a man) is a veteran of the "War on Terror" and has ostensibly put his life on the line to keep us all safe, yet the decal informs me that he wants to rain death and destruction upon me and my family.  Frankly, it's hard to know what to make of any of this, so, uh...thank you for your service?  Oh, and also please don't kill me.

In other news, a commenter yesterday shared this:

Descending a steep Hobart backroad behind friend and pro-rider Nathan Earle, Gee got lost in the joy of the ride only to pay for a brief lapse in concentration.

"I've been down this road lots of times and I know how steep it is," he said.

"And it's rough, so I usually take it very gingerly.

"But we'd had such a fantastic ride. Nathan was ahead of me. I was admiring how well he was descending and not concentrating."

Before he realised, Gee had entered a tight corner too fast but still thought he could wrest back control.

But the brakes locked up, the corner tightened even more and he shot off the verge and over the handlebars.

He may owe his life to that helmet or he may not, but sure, if you're prone to lapses in concentration while engaging in technical descents, by all means throw on some safety gear.  In fact I'd go with full leathers and a motorcycle helmet while you're at it.  Nevertheless, I maintain that Australia's mandatory helmet laws are a load of shit.

Finally, besides putting new bars on Ol' Piney there was one more upgrade I've been meaning to make to my portly bike, and now that this has arrived I can finally proceed:

Nothing left to do now but ride the damn thing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday: It's What's For Dinner

Today's post must needs be brief again as I am headed down to this thing:
I look forward to fielding many questions about why those damn bikers think the laws don't apply to them.

Rest assured however that I have not been idle.  Indeed, when I left you yesterday we were here:

And by the afternoon I had Ol' Piney officially Jones-ified:

Sadly by the time I was finished all I had time for was a brief shakedown ride, but my first impressions were very positive indeed, and I would have disappeared deep into the woods of suburbia if only I'd been at liberty to do so:

I'm looking forward to doing a proper ride soon, and in the coming days I'll experiment with positioning, probably put more tape on the bars, cut myself some new jorts (it's really evolving into that kind of bike) and so forth.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the trouble I encountered whilst switching over to cabal-activated dick breaks, it was that the rear Avid BB7 brake caliper did not fit under the seatstay.  Upon hearing I was having this problem Jones were kind enough to offer some possible solutions.  However, given how insufficient the clearance was I had my doubts, which is probably silly of me since they're easily a thousand times smarter about bikes than I am.  More importantly though, these solutions also required items I did not have on hand, and the bottom line was that if I didn't finish the bike right then there was no telling when I'd be able to get back to it.  (The life of a semi-professional bike blogger and one-person media empire is quite hectic, as you can no doubt imagine.)  It was either get it done or let it sit until Thanksgiving.  So I dug out this Forté-branded Tektro caliper I happened to have (the brake set was on sale years ago for like nineteen cents) and whadya know, it fit perfectly:

Indeed, as I put it on it remembered I actually like these brakes better than the Avids, so I was looking forward to installing the front one as well and calling the whole debacle a happy accident--until it turned out that the long brake pad tabs on the Tektro/Forté interfered with the brake adapter.  And since that was the only 180mm adapter I had, it was on with the Avid:

So now I'm palping a pretty sweet Forté/Avid mechanical disc brake mullet, which will no doubt inspire disgust in all the mountain Freds but which I find oddly satisfying.

And once that all-weather Cambium comes in I'll really be in business--well, business in the front, anyway, because the party's in the back.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Update From The BSNYC Tech Department

This post will be short, because things are happening.  In fact, as I type this the Jones-ification of Ol' Piney is well underway:

Actually, that's a bit of an oversimplification, since I had to temporarily cease my Jones-ifying endeavors in order to type this.  But you know what I mean.

If you're just tuning in, basically what happened was that I went to install these bars last week, but the radically different shape necessitated longer brake cables, so rather than deal with fluid and hoses and all the rest of it I figured I'd install mechanical brakes as a temporary measure.  Then after some saddle time and experimentation with position I'd fit the hydrolic dick breaks again.

Well guess what?  It turns out dealing with the hydraulics right away would have been way easier, since I'm running into clearance issues with the mechanicals I'd never have imagined.  (This is no fault of the Jones bars, rather it is the arbitrary and fickle nature of mountain bikes and there eleventy billion axle and wheel size "standards," not to mention brake brands and caliper shapes.)  Rest assured however my determination is only increasing in the face of adversity, and while the end result certainly won't be pretty (I currently see some sort of "mullet" as the most likely workaround) it will hopefully be rideable.

Anyway, I'll report back once everything's in place and the bike has undergone a shakedown ride, though it's hard to say for certain when that will be.  I guess I'll just have to keep you in suspense.  Oh well, such is the nature of bike blogging and rigorous product testing.

In the meantime, I'm going to be on the Lifehacker podcast, The Upgrade, so you can spend your idle time formulating questions for me:

And no, I refuse to disclose #whatpressureyourunning.

See you when I see you!


--Wildcat Rock Machine

Monday, November 13, 2017

Oh my goodness, is that the time?!?

Well, I've done no rides on the wooden bike subsequent to the Outside column I shared on Friday, mostly because it was bitter cold and that's not when I want to be riding an aero bike with skinny tires.  Instead, I sought shelter in the woods and took a ride on Ol' Piney:

Subsequent to my thwarted attempt last Thursday I still hope to have the bike Jones-ified by the end of this week, though when it comes to failing to meet the goals I've set for myself I often exceed my expectations.

Also, you can be sure the ride was no fun whatsoever, because not only was I on a rigid bicycle but also my "local trails suck."

Moving on, the UCI is going to investigate Fabian Cancellara after Phil Gaimon, in his latest book, accüsed him of motördoping:

"What I would say regarding the case you are speaking about is that I will try to have more information and we will investigate. We will investigate because we need to know exactly what is behind this. Of course, I heard all the rumours, like everybody, and I just want to know exactly. So we will investigate, that is our job," Lappartient said.

"At this level, I cannot say more than this, but I hope that this never happened in professional cycling. If this was the case, it would be a disaster for the image of cycling and that's why we have to fight. I want the people and the fans on the road to be able to trust the result, trust the UCI and trust the controls from our institutions."

Translation: we will go through the motions and then and conclude there's no evidence that he cheated so that you can safely continue to enjoy pro cycling.

Of course this is where people in the media start saying they've known all along:
Funny how that works.

But yeah, I mean come on, look at this this fucking guy:

He should be delivering Chinese food on that thing:

Yes, the only organization that hates ebikes more than the UCI is the City of New York, so if David Lappartient doesn't nail Cancellara then I'm sure Mayor de Blasio will.

Speaking of tech, here's the sick-ass titatium hop-up kit of your dreams, and it's perfect for those Brompton beach rides:

Internal hub and disc brakes?

That's a folding Fred's fantasy right there.

Finally, in Sarasota, FL, police are ticketing cyclists and pedestrians in order to save them:

Oh sure.  Looking at that intersection behind him, my first thought was "Someone really needs to do something about all those unruly pedestrians and cyclists."

Friday, November 10, 2017

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

***Edit: the new Outside post is up, and it's all about the Renovo!***

And now back to today's post.

It's Friday, which means at some point Outside will probably publish my latest column, assuming it passes muster:

No no, that's passes muster.

Damn AI virtual photo editor.

Anyway as soon as they do I'll let you know when it happens.

Of course ,my last column was all about drop bars:

And my favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to writing this column is to peruse the enraged comments on Outside's Facebook:

This last batch was particularly amusing because of how many people got all hurt in the butt over that wet noodle of a Trump joke:

Logan Kirkpatrick Outside Magazine, this is just poor taste. This will only make the magazine lose more readers, definitely not a way to win any new ones. Be mature and keep your political biases to yourself or personal blogs. Stick to the magazine subject matter, otherwise you're shooting yourself in the foot.

It's hard to imagine a more gentle, politically neutral Trump reference.  Is it really news to anybody that this guy tweets a lot?  I mean, if I wanted to be politically biased I'd have said roadies neglect their drops like Trump neglects Puerto Rico, but notice I didn't go there.

But my favorite incensed commentary came from this reader:

Amanda Resch Exactly. Snob is getting old and can’t come to grips with it so he’s taking it out on all of us- his local trails suck and he doesn’t have time to go anywhere exciting- he writes articles about how suspension is useless and everyone should just pedal around their neighborhood. He can’t reach the drops anymore, so he writes an article on how drops are useless. Never seen someone go out of their way like this to justify their sorry life choices. RIP Bike Snob, it was good while it lasted.

Who left not one but two real humdingers:

Amanda Resch Poor Snob, he’s completely run out of ideas. This end of career flailing about is difficult to watch. Can someone please give him a time machine so he can go back to 2008 and 
write about Craigslist fixies again?


I certainly don't begrudge this person's right to disparage my work in a public forum, but I think it's only fair that I have the opportunity to respond.  So please indulge me as I fact check her critiques point by point:

Snob is getting old...  This is undeniably true.  Aren't we all?

...and can’t come to grips with it  I put forth that this is false.  I think I'm embracing my age rather well.  Not only am I totally cool with balding, but I also just had a colonoscopy.  (Bonus: I finally found that valve extender I was looking for.)  Also, I'm cool with all sorts of things now that used to make my head explode, like crooked saddles and pie plates, and even salmoning hardly registers with me anymore.  (Though my newfound casual attitude could be because I finally got that valve extender out of my ass.)

his local trails suck  So very false.  The trails outside of New York City are great by any metric.  I know this because I've been around.  Speaking of which...

he doesn’t have time to go anywhere exciting Also false.  Oh sure, it feels like that sometimes.  After all, we all wish we could travel and ride more, don't we?  But since starting this blog I've gone places and done rides I might never have otherwise.  I've visited Australia.  I've gone to Europe.  I've ridden L'Eroica.  I've been all over the United States.  Singlespeed World Championships, riding with Tour de France winners (well, former Tour de France winners), Bicycling Editor's Choice confab, Rivendell ride...  Certainly I'm traveling a little less now so I can look after the kiddies, but it looks like I'll finally get to ride L'Eroica California this coming spring, which is something I've been wanting to do for awhile.  Oh, and also I live in New York City, which is pretty damn exciting in itself.  And despite my child care responsibilities I seem to have ridden more since July than my detractor has all year, so perhaps I can teach her something about time management:

he writes articles about how suspension is useless and everyone should just pedal around their neighborhood  Guilty as charged.  People totally shouldn't ride around their neighborhoods.  Instead they should use their cars for short trips.  Also they should load suspension bicycles onto SUVs and spend more time driving than riding.

He can’t reach the drops anymore...  So very false.  Sure, I've mostly downsized to a 120mm stem from the 130mm I preferred in my racing days, but you can bet I'm still reaching for the drops like I'm at IHOP and it's the maple syrup.

Never seen someone go out of their way like this to justify their sorry life choices.  Really, have you missed the whole Harvey Weinstein thing?

I think Amanda Resch could use a time machine back to 2008, she seems to have really enjoyed that fixie material.

Fortunately there's always Google, which is the next-best thing.

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 great, and if you're wrong you'll see Inflate-A-Head.

Thanks for reading, ride safe, and pass the mustard.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

1) What does the other glove say?

2) How much for this watch?

3) "I am in the process of converting a bike from Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 to Ultegra 6870 DI2. I have the BT-DN110-1 internal battery, a EW-RS910 handlebar end junction, and the SM-BCR2 battery charger. I have used the E-Tube software to update the firmware on all of the various components and everything seems to be operating just fine. I am still waiting on a rear wheel that can carry the 11-speed cassette, so I do not actually have the bike on the road yet.

My question is, how do I make sure the synchro-shift functionality is completely disabled?"

--When you simultaneously push both shift buttons on one lever, the LED indicator lights on Junction A will tell you what is going on. They will first tell you the battery level by only illuminating the battery LED (in the proper color to indicate your battery level). If you have the option for Synchro shift, this will be followed by both lights simultaneously glowing or flashing. If the battery LED glows green and the “+-” LED glows red, with neither of them flashing, the bike is in Manual shift mode. If these green and red LEDs flash twice, then S1 shift mode is operational, and if they flash three times, the bike is in S2 shifting mode. If on the other hand, only the battery light glows and is not followed by both lights coming on, then your bike is not currently set up to even go into Synchro mode at all, and you are simply in Manual mode.
--Jargon is thus "the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group". Most jargon is technical terminology, involving terms of art or industry terms, with particular meaning within a specific industry.

4) I don't have time to go anywhere exciting.


5) Fill in the blank: these parents are deeply concerned about the threat that ______ traffic poses to their children.


6) Why is this kid delighted?

--He just got a new bike
--He just got a new plastic SUV
--His parents just defeated the bike lane that would have passed by his school
--Two words: "Kale chips!"

7) Mirror mirror on the wall, who's most butt-hurt of them all?

--Vehicular cycling advocates
--Trump supporters
--Suspension proponents
--All of the above

***Special Metaloid-Themed Bonus Video!***

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Would That I Could...

Hello, and welcome to the BSNYC Tech Beat, where we give you the low-down on all the hot new cutting-edge components:

Firstly, if you're among the legions of people awaiting a report on the Jones H-Bar:

Which I received last week:

I have some good news, and I have some bad news.

The good news is that I finally carved some time out from my busy schedule this morning in order to install them on my Marin.  

The bad news is that my hydrolic dick break cables aren't long enough for them, nor do I have all the necessary hoses and fittings to lengthen them, which means I could not complete the installation.

Of course any sensible person would have just high-tailed it to the nearest bike shop and let them do it, but I am not a sensible person, and most likely what I'll end up doing is putting some mechanical dick breaks on the Marin for the time being.  This will allow me to experiment with positioning, etc. without having to deal with messy fluids and all the rest of it.  Then once everything's where I want it I can revert back to the hydrolic breaks--or not, maybe I won't even feel like it. 

Either way, with any luck by next week I'll have the Marin transformed into an adventure machine.

Oh, you'll also be relieved to know that after spending the night in the stairwell the cat is safe and sound:

She must have slipped out last night when we took out the trash, and I found her this morning by the door to the building roof, crouched in the defensive position she'd probably been maintaining for the past twelve hours.  

I explained to her she's free to leave us at any time, but that if she does at least we'd like some closure in the form of a note, because open-ended disappearances are just creepy:

Last time she pulled a stunt like this we found a "Lost Cat" poster in the elevator before we even realized she was gone.

And in other tech news, the Renovo Aerowood testing continues apace:

Indeed, after a preternaturally warm spell it's finally getting chilly here, and yesterday as I prepared to head out for a brief jaunt on Ol' Woodrow I remembered I had just the gloves:

These are of course the work of Barry Wicks:

And I'll be darned if they weren't just the thing for gripping the unwrapped tops of those crabon bars:

Why do people like that, anyway?  There should be tape anyplace your hands go, end of story.  And with regard to the gloves, I admit that when I first got them I was like, "Yeah, right," but now that I've worn them I'm kinda into them.

As for the bike, with a mere 60-ish miles on it I'll refrain from making any pronouncements, but I'll most likely share my first impressions sometime next week.  I will add however that it turns out the shrieking of the crabon rims is not totally gone after all (it's now an intermittent shriek rather than a sustained one), though the situation is certainly far better than it was on that first ride.

One promising aspect of the Renovo is that its frame provides ample hiding space for a motor:

In his book, Gaimon wrote: “I dismissed it until I heard his former teammates talk about certain events where Cancellara had his own mechanic, his bike was kept separate from everyone else's, and he rode away from a ‘who's who’ of dopers.

“When you watch the footage, his accelerations don't look natural at all, like he's having trouble staying on the top of the pedals.

“That fucker probably did have a motor,” he added.

Hey, you don't have to convince me:

Come on, Cancellara passed him like he just drank a bottle of MiraLAX and Boonen was a kernel of corn.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Get Wednesday!

As part of my transformation into a Strava weenie I obtained a popular brand of smart watch which I use to interface with said application, or "app" as they call it in Silicone Valley.  Alas, the other day I noticed a crack in the face of my smart watch, probably caused by repeated exposure to my objectionable visage.  So I took the smart watch to the store from whence it came and they in turn put the watch in a box and sent it away for analysis, which means I am, at this moment, deeply and profoundly watchless.

It's a touch transition and I keep looking at my bare wrist, so I think I may have to buy some sort of inexpensive "gap watch" in the interim--and I'm pleased to report I may have sound just the thing:

The watch, which took three years to develop and was introduced last month, features a mechanical odometer that can record distances up to 99,999 kilometers (62,136 miles). Mr. Mille — who, like Mr. Prost, is an avid cyclist — said the idea for the new complication came from his bike racing friends who “every time were totally unable to tell me how many kilometers they’d covered since the season began.”

I don't get it, are they not on Strava?

Anyway, here's the watch:

The case is made of Carbon TPT, or Thin Ply Technology, a shock-resistant industrial material used in the aeronautics industry, and blends three shapes — tonneau (a Richard Mille signature), rectangular and asymmetrical — for comfort and legibility while gripping a bicycle’s handlebars. Features include a manual winding tourbillon, 70-hour power reserve and a titanium baseplate and bridges that recall bicycle frames.

Oh, please, it looks like something you'd find in the Beetlejuice house:

Still, given the reasonable price tag I'm sure I can live with the ugliness for awhile:

The watch is a limited edition of 30 pieces — and those who find the $815,500 price a bit steep may take comfort in knowing it comes with a bespoke carbon road bike by the Italian maker Colnago.

Amazing.  The irony is that if you bought a Colnago and the shop told you, "Oh, here, it also comes with this ugly-ass watch" you'd probably just throw it away.

But hey, whatever motivates you to ride, right?

Mr. Mille hopes the partnership will get his clients on the saddle, even if they don’t ride as often as he does. “I absolutely don’t know how many kilometers I’ve cycled this year,” admitted the watchmaker, who now rides mostly on weekends. “So I’m expecting to get my own watch soon.”

Just imagine, oh, I dunno, this guy rode into a wormhole and time and suddenly arrived in our present:

Now imagine showing him both the Beetlejuice watch and a smart watch and explaining that one has a mechanical odometer while the other one can tell you pretty much anything you can possibly imagine, and also you can use it to communicate with people on the other side of the planet because it talks to satellites in space.  Then ask him which he thinks costs almost a million dollars and which costs just a few hundred bucks.

I think we all know what his reply would be:

"Dear god, is that the president?!?  Somebody please kill me!"

You don't want to evoke natural selection when you're selling kids' stuff to parents, that's just marketing 101.  That notwithstanding, the bike looks pretty cool, though there's absolutely no reason for the belt drive:

The video cites chain stretch and lubrication, but I can assure you that kids outgrow bikes before the chains even need lubing, much less get anywhere near the point where they actually start to "stretch."  If you're measuring your child's chain for wear then get help immediately because you are a terminal Fred.

Now a quality timepiece?  That's another story, which is why when it comes to getting watches for my kids I don't mess around:

Finally, the electronic shifting on the Renovo is a whole new world to me, and to that end a friend sent me this:

Which is perhaps the most impenetrable two paragraphs I've ever read on any subject:

Dear Lennard,
I am in the process of converting a bike from Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 to Ultegra 6870 DI2. I have the BT-DN110-1 internal battery, a EW-RS910 handlebar end junction, and the SM-BCR2 battery charger. I have used the E-Tube software to update the firmware on all of the various components and everything seems to be operating just fine. I am still waiting on a rear wheel that can carry the 11-speed cassette, so I do not actually have the bike on the road yet.

My question is, how do I make sure the synchro-shift functionality is completely disabled? I just want the bike to shift normally with no auto shifting assistance. I looked around in the E-tube software setup but I was not able to see where/how this would be done. There is quite a bit of information on the internet about how to set up synchro-shift, but there does not seem to be much info around on how to disable it, so maybe this would be something good to cover in your column.

Even so, the answer is easy:

You're welcome.