Apology from the heart

January 11, 2019 § 51 Comments

I did it. I am sorry.

Sorry, honey. I really am.

Sorry, mom. I couldn’t control myself.

Sorry, dad. I know you had higher hopes for your son, one who would have discipline and taste.

Sorry, children. I raised you to be better than I was able to be. May you never wear this badge of dishonor yourselves.

Sorry, grandchildren, living and unborn. This a shame you will carry forever. Hide it well.

Sorry, dearest friends. You trusted me. I betrayed you. You will never look at me the same way again.

Sorry, cycling buddies. You thought I stood for something bigger. I didn’t. I fell in with a bad, bad crowd.

Sorry, blog subscribers. You thought you were supporting decency, goodness, and truth. You weren’t. You were supporting a sham.

Sorry, Big Orange. You embraced me. I fouled your nest with the opposite of Orange.

Sorry, Velo Club La Grange. You welcomed me as a member. I have besmirched your true-blue reputation forever.

Sorry, in-laws. You never fully trusted me. You were right. The minute you turned your back, I slithered into something horrible.

Sorry, on-line Chinese teachers. You believed I was dedicated and dependable. I was fickle. Just another faking poser.

I did this thing for which there is no atonement, I ventured to a dark place from which there is no return. I have no one to blame but myself. Henceforth when I look in the mirror I will only see the horror.

Why horror? Because I did it, with intent and full knowledge, knowing that my life would never again be the same and not caring about those who had loved and trusted me to be better. Yes, I did it. I bought Rapha.


Choose your notebook well

December 8, 2018 § 3 Comments

I know that no one reads anymore even though more books get published now than at any time in human history. Clearly, my two subscribers aren’t reading this either, and for sure Mom isn’t.

The way that you document things in the cycling world is with your phone, I mean, with your personal movement/thought/purchasing tracker. When things happen on the bike that are noteworthy, you whip out your 
personal movement/thought/purchasing tracker, take a photo, and upload it to your favorite voluntary monitoring and personal data donation service, be it Facegag, Instagratifcation, or The Stravver. (FYI: There are no others).

Here are the crucial cycling moments you will need to record on your 
personal movement/thought/purchasing tracker:

  1. Cool pose leaning next to your expensive bike.
  2. Cool pose in your expensive outfit.
  3. Cool angle on your expensive bike.
  4. Cool angle on your expensive outfit.
  5. PR on that driveway-to-bush segment behind the security gates.
  6. Selfie atop a tall mountai.
  7. Selfie of some uber-cool socks.
  8. Selfie chillin’ by the pool.
  9. Selfie enjoying the good life in [Cancun/Bahamas/Omaha].
  10. Cat photo.

Sometimes though, when I want to really disturb people I show up without a helmet. And then when I want to drive them over the edge, instead of pulling out my personal movement/thought/purchasing tracker, I pull out my notebook which is equipped with a pen.

[Note to potential notebook/pen purchasers: My notebook has never crashed, been hacked, phished, or accidentally deleted, although one time I did drop it by mistake into a port-o-potty.]

A good notebook should be durable, small enough to stow but big enough to write on, it should have good paper that doesn’t bleed easily, a hardy outside cover to protect it from blood, sweat, gunfire, and tears, and it should look #superpro, as if you’re jotting down notes for your upcoming tome on the history of ceramic bearings. Pro Tip: Leave it on the window sill for a couple of months in bright sunlight to give it that weathered, been-round-the-world look that will totally intimidate everyone at the airport as they furtively glance up from their Black Friday wish list and note with horror that you are, like, writing.

Best of all if you can pull it off is to finish a hard climb, take out your notebook, jot down your data, tear out the page, put it in a stamped envelope, and drop it in the next mailbox you pass, addressed of course to Strava.



Jot it up. Jot it down. But please, jot it. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Deep thoughts profoundly recorded in your notebook. Forever.

Don’t Do-It-Yourself

December 5, 2018 § 4 Comments

Lots of things have changed since I first got a sporty bike. One of them was that back in those old days I couldn’t work on my bike because I was an idiot. When anything broke or got out of adjustment I would hurry down to Freewheeling and Uncle Phil would fix it while Uncle Jack looked on and commented on the state of the union, the state of the pro cycling scene, and the state of the bike shop.

Nobody ever made me feel like an idiot; it was self-understood that anyone who couldn’t adjust a derailleur or brakes or swap out a crank or brake cables or a chain was a congenital idiot.

Plus no one wanted to offend you directly because if you stood around long enough you would eventually buy stuff. The bike shop used to be a place where people hung out because they didn’t have phones or Internets or any information other than what they could glean out of Uncles Jack & Phil. That’s another reason we respected our elders. They had info and they weren’t sharing unless you sucked up to ’em just right.

No one ever offered how to show you how to fix or repair anything because you were an idiot, a customer, and likely to ruin it and blame it on them.

The only exception was truing stands. “Love to sell truing stands,” Uncle Phil always said.

“How come? Is wheelbuilding easy?”

“Fiendishly difficult; takes years.”

“Then why do you like to sell them?”

“Cause the idiots always fuck up the wheels and then bring them to us to fix. Best way to sell new wheelsets is to sell truing stands.”

New levels of incompetence

Nowadays I am still a first-rate Not Do-It-Yourself dude; I cannot fix anything that doesn’t require Old No. 72. But unlike then, when I could only not fix a few things, all of which were mission critical, today I can’t fix about a thousand things. Then, I knew what was mission critical, i.e. everything. Now I’m not so sure so I assume it’s everything

And what’s worse, I’m not the only Not-Do-It-Yourselfer. A whole bunch of other people, people who used to be able to fix bikes pretty good, are similarly stymied when it comes to bike repair.

Built-in idiocy is a key point to new bike stuff. Used to, you could straighten a frame by tying it to a tree, hooking it to your bumper, and peeling out. At least I think that’s how they did it, which doesn’t work so hot anymore with carbon. The only way you can fix carbon nowadays is to have the last name Lonergan.

I suppose it’s all for the best, though. By not knowing how to fix anything I can spend more time on the things that matter, like not wearing a helmet in the shower. Now that is mission critical.



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Old No. 72, for when the going gets tough.

More cycling heresy

November 26, 2018 § 8 Comments

It is difficult to get more heretical than suggesting that one needn’t wear a helmet all the time, and then actually riding without one.

However, there is for sure an area even more locked into orthodoxy than helmet use, and it’s the area of saddle height. Basically, the rule of saddle height is that it should not be too high and that it should not be too low, in effect it’s the Goldilocks Law: It better be fuggin’ just right.

Experimenting with saddle height is a no-no. You must find the Goldilocks and never vary it so much as a millimeter, especially a millimeter. Such varying will cause tendinitis, back spasms, pattern baldness, and death.

So crucial is the Goldilocks that in order to find it, you must have a scientifically based bike fit that meets all ergonomic and phrenological parameters. Otherwise you will fritter away watts, get even more pattern baldness in worse places than your head, and die.

What are friends for?

The other day I was riding with Friend and Friend was talking about how awesome Friend’s bike was. Actually, it wasn’t Friend’s bike, it was a bike Friend had borrowed from another Friend, and that Friend had sold the bike Friend was on to another Friend, such that Friend was actually keeping it prior to shipping to Friend and had decided to take it for a spin to make sure it was Up to Snuff for Friend and to adjust it and stuff.

I am not great with bike talk. “How come you like it?” I asked.

Friend said many things but my understanding of the answers was limited. “Is it light?” I asked, trying to be bike-intelligent.

“Crazy light.”

“Can I pick it up?”


I picked it up. “It is a lot heavier than my bike,” I said.

Friend was disappointed and disbelieving until Friend picked up my bike. “Wow, your bike is a lot lighter.”

“Would you like to try it?”

“Sure. But the saddle is way too high.”

So I lowered the saddle and Friend tried it out. “Don’t you want to raise the seat on that?” Friend asked as we swapped bikes.

“No,” I said. “It’s fine. It’s just a bike.”

“How can it be fine? That is a 54 with the saddle mostly down, and you ride a 56 with the saddle up in the cumulonimbus and even then your legs are bent a little. How can it be fine?”

My knees were grazing the underside of the bars on the upstroke. “It’s just a bike,” I said. “It’s fine.”

Not fake news

We pedaled up Hawthorne, which is about 4 miles uphill. I felt a lot of leg muscles I didn’t know I had. Halfway up we switched bikes again, but even though Friend had shoved my seat post down all the way, I left it there. “Aren’t you going to raise it?”

“No,” I said. “It’s just a bike. It’s fine.”

I rode the rest of the way up Hawthorne all scrunched up, like a BMX bike. It felt weird but oddly it was easier to pedal. Partly that was because I was using lots of thigh muscle, and partly it was because when I am shoved down on my bike I don’t catch very much wind, and normally I stick up like a giraffe and can never get a draft off anyone except Davy and Pischon. I was down so low and tiny there wasn’t much wind down there in the scuppers.

Today I went out for a ride and raised the saddle, but kept it awfully low. My knees didn’t break and no male pattern baldness broke out. The absence of wind and the thigh-mashing seemed to work as well as they had the day before.

The only down side was the worst possible thing in cycling; it looked bad. So bad that I’d never get to buy one of those Team Fred Mackey jerseys with the coat of arms.

I decided to take it out on the NPR next week and see how things go. I will keep you posted.



Some things you can mess with. Saddle height isn’t one of them. After all, what did Eddy know? Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

Autumn 2-for-1 blog sale!

November 7, 2018 § 6 Comments

Cycling in the South Bay is rolling out its 2-for-1 blog sale. For a limited time only, you can subscribe to the blog and read it a second time for free!

In these tough times, it is important to support locally grown blogs that provide a steady stream of thoughtful, mature, intelligent commentary on the cycling world around us, a voice that is respected, reflective, and that refuses on principle to say degrading things like “That guy is a real motherfucker.”

Why you should subscribe

As part of our autumn subscription drive, the editorial staff has compiled a list of reasons to help persuade you to financially support our socially redeeming work.

  1. So that you won’t be a deadbeat. Market research shows that CitSB has three types of readers: Readers who don’t subscribe, subscribers who don’t read, and non-readers who claim to never read but comb through it like a dog scratching fleas. If you are a non-subscribing reader, or a non-reading reader, isn’t it time you quit being such a cheapskate? $2.99 a month. You got this!
  2. Protection. Very few subscribers have ever been fed into the dreaded CitSB meatgrinder. Although it happens, the best way to make sure your sordid doping history stays under wraps is to subscribe. $2.99 a month? It’s cheaper protection than a pack of condoms.
  3. Proper bowel movements. 99% of all subscribers say that CitSB helps them move mountains during their morning poop. I’m not kidding. Compare a CitSB monthly subscription of $2.99 to a packet of Ex-Lax. See? Cheap!
  4. Stay uninformed. Most people spend too much time reading about depressing real-world events. Here at CitSB, it’s all true except for the parts I make up, which is all of it. Happy endings. Ridiculous tales. Flights of fancy. You’ll finish reading and be just as ignorant as when you started. Knowledge is power but ignorance only costs $2.99 a month.
  5. Guaranteed ox-goring. Part of CitSB’s editorial mission is to make fun of your silly sacred cow. Whether it’s a ripoff fundraiser or phony masters track racers who beat two other doddering idiots to be crowned “world champion,” CitSB isn’t afraid to make fun of you. And you need that. Get off your high horse for only $2.99 a month. Cheaper than that fancy shrink!!
  6. ROI. Every dollar you spend on this fine publication results in at least 500 ragingly angry, pompous jackasses who think “this song is about them.” Best joke of all? It isn’t!!
  7. Robert Lewis Chapman, Jr. Thanks to CitSB, PV Estates’ favorite citizen hasn’t slept since July, 2016. Weirdly, there’s ANOTHER Robert Lewis Chapman with a criminal trial coming up on November 27 in Inglewood criminal court, charged with violating Penal Code 166(A)(4). Completely different person? Um, okay.
  8. Fitness tips. Here? Um, no. But still, $2.99.
  9. Openly biased. Most publications pretend to be objective. Here at CitSB, you know which end of the scale we have our thumb on. $2.99 for some homegrown #fakenews? Deal!!
  10. Accountability. Got a gripe? You know where to find me!



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Oranges or bananas?

October 17, 2018 § 17 Comments

Yesterday I talked about Big Orange, my cycling club.

Today I’m going to talk about someone else’s cycling club, Big Banana.

They aren’t really competitors as much as they are contrasts.

With Big Orange, anyone can join and purchase a cool kit.

With Big Banana, you kind of have to be invited, unless you are Douggie Smalls, in which case you have to beg for three years and still not get to join.

Big Orange has the One Rule: Don’t be a dick.

Big Banana has its own One Rule: Don’t be Douggie Smalls, which is kind of the same thing.

The only thing I really dislike about Big Orange is that it let me join. I would totally join Big Banana unless they invited me, in which case I would be rather contemptuous of their pathetic membership standards and refuse on those grounds alone.

Everything good happens in the off season

SoCal’s off season mirrors that of the World Tour, except that ours runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. During this time everyone prepares for the racing they are never going to do, such as the Big Orange team training rides that focus on the big spring SoCal road races, sorry, race, ‘cuz there is only one left.

In addition to kitroversies, riders flaking off like a Folsom point to form new non-racing racing teams, presidential impeachment proceedings such as the one that removed Sausage as head of VCLG, funny-ass stick-in-your-eye newsletters, and visits to various Santa Monica “nutritionists” to “prepare” for the next “world” masters track championships, the off season is, most crucially, the time to make the hardest decision you will make all year:

How do I spend my secret PayPal savings that my SO doesn’t know about?

These mini-slush funds are most riders’ sole source of new kit funds, e-Tap funds, ceramic bearing funds, carbon wheel funds (FastForward, duh), or in my case iTalki Slovak/Chinese video lesson funds.

With the ceramic bearings and wheels you can often sneak ’em in without the SO noticing, but kits are much more difficult.

Choices, choices

Making slush fund distribution harder this year, Team Big Banana has released its classic anti-orange kit for public consumption. Previously only seen by uber-cool South Bay posers who want the benefits of being in a club without the disadvantages of organization, rules, Dear Leaders, monthly board meetings, tents, parking lot crits, dues, parties, tent set-up, or anything besides occasional use of Major Bob’s Sprinter van, these kits are now being made available for the general public and Douggie.

The design is unique, and how could it not be? With [Meta Creative] devious designer Joe Yule at the helm, these kits are produced by Swiss maker Cuore (pronounced “Euro”) and if all the #fakenews, #propaganda, and #utterbullshit is to be believed, they are as comfortable as being snuggled against mommy’s breast.

Here’s the link. I swore I wouldn’t get another kit, but now that Mrs. Wankmeister has taken to falling off her bicycle on her very first NPR, here’s hoping she won’t complain. Store closes at midnight on October 21. Get that slush fund stirred!



You can’t afford another kit. You can’t even afford a subscription, right, Barraclough? But this isn’t about “affording.” It’s about looking good. Get a kit and please consider subscribing … Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!


A star is born!

October 16, 2018 § 19 Comments

Nothing very interesting ever gets into my inbox. But somehow, against all odds & filters, THIS DID!

For starters, if you read this love grenade and didn’t laugh there is something wrong with you. Not wrong as in “you had a bad day” but wrong as in “you are an incurably pompous jackass and probably a smelly, molded over asshole as well.”

Yeah, you.

The greatest bicycle kit controversy ever

No sooner had this awesome seal letter hit the Internet than its author, the infamous SB Baby Seal, began receiving calls to his cell and text messages galore from the Big Orange board. He did what anyone with a brain does when such notifications arrive, that is, he ignored them and kept working.

That’s when the pressure ratcheted and the phone calls began arriving at his place of employment, and, well he had to take them.

It seems that Baby Seal committed two pretty egregious infractions:

  1. He made fun of the Big O 2019 kit, which could hurt sales.
  2. He betrayed the trust and confidence of the club’s private FB group users by copying and pasting unattributed snippets of their comments about the kit, then sending it out in an unauthorized email.

So, let’s review.

There was actually a living, breathing, sentient human being who thought that you could make fun of this:


Yeah. Because these designs are so, uh, serious?

How do you make fun of Green Jizz v. Orange Nutter? Answer: You don’t have to. They are already so juiced up with lobotomy that words, like these ones, are superfluous.

And by the way, these kits weren’t created by a person. They were created by a committee over several MONTHS. If it never occurred to anyone that these were the goofiest fucking things ever to curse the eyes of man, then shame on you twice: Once for not knowing, and twice for proceeding anyway.

The great Facebag betrayal of 2019

With regard to the “betrayal” of the “confidence” of those on Facegag who had an “expectation of privacy” that their “private comments wouldn’t be shared,” I offer you the following legal analysis: Bwaaaaaahaaaaaahaaaaaaa!

You really think anything on the ‘Net in general, and the ‘Bag in particular is private? Did you not read the 42-page EULA that goes along with your Facebook registration? Do you know what the “share” button does? Is this the first time you have ever taken the Internet out for a drive without Dad in the passenger seat? Can I sum FB’s policy up for you?

We can freely monetize and use everything you write or post, including all private data you don’t even know that you are submitting to us.

More juicily:

You are a complete fucking moron if you think Facebook is a private forum. Yep, you.

So to recap, the kits are garishly, over-the-top ridonculous, and no, yimmer-yammer yip-yap on Facebag isn’t attorney work product that’s protected by the attorney-client privilege. WHO KNEW???

All hail the First Amendment

Baby Seal’s newsletter achieved its aim. It pissed off people who think their opinions are beyond criticism. It made people laugh. It garnered a couple of new members for our team, Big Orange, who predictably liked the kit and proved the adage “There is no bad press (although there is unquestionably bad taste).”

And of course it drove a few sales for the Bike Palace. How do I know this? Because immediately after reading it I drove down and bought an inner tube and a Bike Palace t-shirt. You can have my First Amendment when you pry my dead, sweat-soaked Bike Palace t-shirt off my back.

Like the shrunken pricks who send me outraged cancellation emails saying “You made fun of my favorite children’s charity even though it is actually a scam that harms sick children!” or “You don’t wear a helmet which makes you a child molester!” the people who got skewered by Baby Seal deserved it.

Take a deep breath and be thankful that there are still people out there who aren’t afraid to poke fun at the smelly turd you piled onto your plate and tried to tell everyone was actually a filet, and don’t forget to shop Bike Palace or to join my club Big Orange, which despite the occasional stick wedged up its butt, is still a pretty awesome club.



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