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Holy Crap, It's Friday Already? Well So Much For That...

Well there I was being all cynical about the snow:

Meanwhile we got walloped pretty good; it was supposed to snow for a bit then turn to rain, but we ended up getting something like six inches in Central Park and then the entire metropolitan area plunged into chaos:

Also, despite frequent tweets all day long from the city about how they were prepared for the storm, once the actual snowfall began I didn't see a single plow until well into the night.  I also witnessed some truly spectacular displays of wheel-spinning.  Now I hate to be one of those "Back in my day" types....


...but back in my day they actually taught people how to drive in snow.  Now the prevailing wisdom appears to be, "If you lose traction then FLOOR IT," and by nightfall the entire city seemed to reek of burnt rubber.  It was a display of wanton and pointless tire destruction rivaled only by that guy Seabiscuit or whatever his name is:

And speaking of destroying your tires I'd be remiss if I didn't gratuitously post my most favoritest snow-inanity video of all time:

It's just so deeply satisfying.  Also, WHY DIDN'T HE JUST BACK OUT OF THE SPACE?  It's fascinating to me that there are people who would rather fight gravity to the death than take advantage of it.

Anyway, this guy and millions like him are out on our public roadways every single day, which tells you everything you need to know about why it's utter carnage out there.

Moving on, if you've come around here looking for me these past few days and wondered where I've been, I'd like to say I've been busy riding.  Unfortunately I can't say that, because I haven't been riding much at all this week.  First it was Veteran's Day (observed) on Monday, which meant the kids were off school and I had to put on my parenting waders and venture waist-deep into the muck of child-rearing.  Then stuff, and things, and other stuff, and by Wednesday I was like, "I'd better get onto the trails before this lousy weather hits!" and that's what I did:

Even then it was a hurried affair, and I didn't even bother to wear bikey-specific clothing--though I did sport some designer pants from Mission Workshop:

I received these awhile back for the purposes of evaluation, and since ostensibly I'm a bike blogger I'll go ahead and evaluate them now while there are still one or two of you paying attention.  Here are my main thoughts:

So yeah, handy to have, but I wouldn't exactly run right out and buy five pairs if you know what I mean--though I did wear them to Consumer Reports:

(Photo by Ted Bongiovanni; arrow by me; tinea cruris by Mission Workshop.)

Ultimately, as far as jeans and cycling, I've gotten the best bang for your buck from cheap stuff at Uniqlo, though sooner or later the pockets get holes in them from my keys.  Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again, their Heattech undershirts make great and economical base layers.  (You're welcome.)

But yes, the upshot of all of this is I've only gotten one (1) ride in so far, and that's not going to change today as the first snows of the season have also been accompanied by the first kid-puking of the season, so it's back to the parenting waders for me.  (Or at least the Mission Workshop pants, they're probably pretty decent at puke-deflection.)

This isn't to say I've been sedentary, however; in fact I've run not once but twice so far this week, which is unprecedented.  I assure you this is not because of my New Year's resolution, though I also assure you I will furnish you with a complete accounting at year's end.  No, the reason I'm running is because it doesn't take very long and I also live across the street from an awesome park.  Plus, I sort of even like running, though getting past the initial pounding is quite difficult both physically and mentally.  Starting a bike ride is like easing into a warm bubblebath, whereas starting a run is like leaping naked into the ocean in the dead of winter--though maybe I'm just running the wrong pressure in my Reebok Pumps:

I really should convert to tubeless.

Another Outside Column Already?!?

Yes, that's right, the ink was barely dry on the last one when this appeared:

Do I like that bikes are environmentally friendly?  Yes.  Would I still ride if every time I threw a leg over a bikes some unseen organism went extinct forever?  Probably also yes, I'm not gonna lie.  (But don't worry, that only happens if you ride a carbon fiber bike.)

And with that, I'm gonna go throw a leg over a bike now and I advise you to do the same. 


--Tan Tenovo

New Outside Column, Same Old Creaking Sound...

Firstly, here's my latest column for Outside, which is about dooring:

As you may or may not know, it's generally the publication and not the writer who comes up with the headline, and that's the case here.  Of course I'm perfectly fine with this headline (it's certainly better than "Start Hitting Cyclists With Your Car Door" ), though my original headline was something along the lines of "You Can Learn Everything You Need To Know About Americans By The Way They Open Their Car Doors," which might give you a slightly better idea of what I was going for here.  (And what I was going for, in case it's still not clear, is that Americans are selfish assholes.)

Secondly, remember how I said I was battling a creak on the SS Renovo?  Well, someone suggested replacing the current skewer with a Shimano one, which is excellent advice.  Indeed, I've silenced more than one creaky bicycle over the years by ditching crappy open cam skewers in favor of the superior Shimano/Campagnolo-style ones, but I was so busy obsessing over cracks and bottom brackets and so forth that I hadn't thought to employ that tactic here.  So this morning I swapped skewers and headed out for a ride, and guess what?

It's still creaking like a floorboard when you're trying not to wake the baby.

So I stopped next to a pair of inebriated Lime bikes and commenced futzing:

I even attempted to snug up the bolts that hold the dropouts together (and not for the first time):

But to no avail.

Next I'll just swap wheels, and the only reason I haven't already is because the Renovo is my only 11-speed bike so in order to switch wheels I also have to switch cassettes--not to mention brake pads because of the crabon rims.

Still, I can't get past those cracks, which you can see here:

And here:

And also am I crazy or is it spreading over here?

Or, who knows, it seems like there's all kinds of places where this frame could make noise:

Honestly I absolutely love the way this bike rides, but this is no way to live, and if I can't figure out what's causing the creaking soon I may have to "retire" it.

Somebody fetch me my artisanal axe...

"Do You Have Any Idea Who I Am???"

It was a beautiful, warm, clear autumn morning after two days of rain, and so I headed out for an easy spin to Central Park astride my Milwaukee:

As you can see, it's still sporting the cheap and not terribly comfortable plastic saddle I threw on there for a rainy race some months back.  Also, I've got strap-on fenders instead of proper ones, and the state of my handlebar tape is nothing short of disgraceful:

Hey, whaddya want?  Given my sundry life responsibilities it's either fix the thing or ride it, and until something falls off of it I'm going to opt for the latter.

Anyway, once I'd dispatched the kids to their various institutions I rolled on down to Central Park, where they're still breaking down all the equipment from the marathon this past Sunday.  Then I headed toward home to resume the fulfillment of my aforementioned responsibilities, whereupon I encountered two velocipedists stopped at the side of the path.  One had incurred a flat tire, the other had happened along and stopped to assist him, and neither had the full complement of tools to rectify the situation.

Like a surgeon preparing his instruments I unfurled my tool roll and got to work, and within minutes I had the unfortunate cyclist ready to resume his ride to work.  He was profuse in his gratitude, which I accepted with deep humility, though as I resumed my own ride I reflected deeply on what a wonderful person I am.

Of course, having given a stranger my spare tube (did I mention I'm a wonderful person?), I now needed to re-stock my own stores, and so I popped into a nearby bike shop.  A staff member greeted me and wheeled my bike into a rack, and in the process of doing so applied downward pressure on the bicycle and made the following announcement:

"You need more air in your tires."

I was stunned.  That anyone might insinuate--much less declare outright--that I, the world's greatest living cycling writer, was running either more or less than the precise optimal amount of pressure in my tires was audacity of the worst kind.  I felt like Jeff Bezos would if the Hyundai salesperson said, "I'd love to sell you this Elantra, but we're gonna have to run a credit check first."  Reeling, I searched my brain for the correct response.  Do I ignore the remark?  Do I make light of the situation?  Do I walk out without saying a thing and then return a week later with the complete works of Jan Heine?  After some deliberation I opted for #2, though sarcasm can be a tricky note to strike with a stranger and I'm sure I just came off like a douchebag.

Anyway, once I had my tubes I embarked upon the final leg of my journey homeward.  If you're wondering what pressure I was in fact running I'll never tell, but I can assure you I curated it expertly, taking into account the width of my tires, the road conditions (particularly the preponderance of wet leaves), the ambient temperature, and what I'd had for breakfast that morning.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to order some back issues of Bicycle Quarterly to send to the bike shop.

Vote Oily, Vote Often

It's Election Day down here in Canada's Tortured Subconscious, so I'm off to the polls:

Then I'll be spending the rest of the day parenting because there's no school today.

So I'll see you when I see you, and not a moment sooner.

In the meantime, Peter Flax has the Fred-osphere all in a tizzy because last week he wrote a story for CyclingTips about how he doesn't wear a helmet:

It's a good story, though the editor, Caley Fretz, did his best to undermine it with this ridiculous disclaimer:

Most of us at CyclingTips wear helmets most of the time. I wear one whenever I kit up for a ride. They’re pretty comfortable these days, and I don’t see any reason not too, even after reading the story below. For some of our readers, helmets are mandated by law, and of course, we don’t want anyone to break the law.

To be frank, I wasn’t sure if it was a perspective we wanted on the site. We have multiple writers on staff who credit helmets with saving their lives, or at least preventing far more severe injury. I’m glad they were wearing helmets, and I’ll continue to wear mine.

He and I had some words over it last week:
Fretz seemed to feel that publishing the story at all is prima facie evidence that he is not in fact cowardly, but I think introducing anything with a 200-word disclaimer about what you think is wrong with it--whether it's an article about helmets or your spouse--indicates a deficiency in the spinal department.  (And please note I'm not calling Caley Fretz a coward *in general,* I'm just calling him an editorial coward.  I have no reason to believe that, if confronted with a wild animal while cycling, he wouldn't strip down to nothing except his bibs and his helmet and fight it to the death.)

I also think that the Fred set is one degree away from the "Avid Cyclist" set inasmuch as their attitudes are holding the riding of bicycles back.  Remember, for example, when Red Kite Prayer said California cyclists shouldn't fight a mandatory helmet law?  Because I do.

Anyway, you know what to do today, and make sure to wear your voting helmet.

Yours and so forth,

--Tan Tenovo