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!

END

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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!

END

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big_banana_2019

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:

kits

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.

END

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Junk shop

October 12, 2018 § 7 Comments

My wife went into the Bike Palace today, where she was met by a very nice salesman. “May I help you, ma’am?” he said in that polite way of nice young fellows addressing a grandmother.

“Why, yes,” she said. “I’m looking for some butt cream.”

The polite young man nodded understandingly, as if every grandmother in San Pedro came in daily looking for this product. “I see,” he said. “You mean …” he trailed off.

“The stuff for your butt,” she said. “So it’s not onna raw meat.”

“Ah,” he smiled, relieved, greatly. “You mean chamois cream?”

“That’s it!” she said.

Rustproofing your undercarriage

I’m sure it’s been around for a while, but I didn’t really know there was such a thing as chamois cream until a buddy had a tube of DZ Nuts lying on the counter.

“Whazzat?” I asked.

“Chamois cream.”

“What’s it for?”

“Your shorts.”

“What does it do?”

He looked at me like he was talking to a simpleton. “It keeps your ass from getting raw.”

“You’re joking, right?”

It was a who’s-the-idiot standoff. I think he won.

Back in the days of barnacles

Fact is, I’ve never used chamois cream. Never needed it. Sure, there have been times when my junk has looked like the meat counter at Whole Foods, but when we started riding back in the day that was called “toughening up.”

In the beginning you’d barely be able to walk. Sitting on the bike was like sitting on an oiled and scalding frying pan. Chamois were rough and sometimes you’d wear the same one a couple days in a row. They were made of leather and had a tendency to easily rip open sores and tender spots. You softened them up with sweat and blood and excretions.

In especially bad cases of “toughening up” you’d get gigantic saddle sores, the size of a nickel or bigger, huge bleeding things that were uglier and more disgusting than a cat’s butthole. Once the cysts burst and the poison drained, the whole nasty mess would scab over, you’d ride a few hundred more miles, the scabs would fall off like chunks of tire from an 18-wheeler, and voila, you’d have a nice thick patch of skin as leathery and tough as a mother-in-law.

This was of course the best motivation on earth to keep riding: terror of losing that giant undercarriage callus and having to go through ye olde “toughening up” again.

More to the point, no one would have ever used chamois cream because there was something weak and cheating about it. “You mean you didn’t get sepsis and have festering, open wounds for six months? You call yourself a bike racer?”

The Decision 2018

I stared at that jar of chamois cream on the table. All natural ingredients. Guaranteed to keep things smooth and supple. Antiseptic, organically sourced, extends chamois life and presumably the life of your undercarriage as well.

It was practically calling my name. “Tryyyyy me!”

I looked at it again and reflected on what the last couple of hours of my 240-mile day had felt like a couple of weeks ago. “Shouldn’t I try it?” I wondered.

Nah.

END

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Bicycles I have loved

September 28, 2018 § 8 Comments

I’ve never had a bad bike. Some have been better than others, some more faithful, some more temperamental, and of course there have been those that you want to curl your legs around and stay with forever. Nothing lasts forever, though, except nothing.

This is my list.

  1. First bike. Gold and white, 5th birthday gift. I will never forget learning to ride that bike. It took forever and a lot of falling and terror and crying and training wheels. But that feeling of finally taking off the training wheels and riding free is something that will stay with me as long as I live.
  2. Cool kid’s bike. Purple with a banana seat. I will never forget when banana seats became uncool and you didn’t exist if you didn’t own or convert your bike into a BMX. My deep-seated fear and loathing of dirt and jumps began with that conversion.
  3. Man’s bike. Gray Murray 10-speed, department store birthday gift. I was about ten or eleven and “Welcome to the world of gears.” Rode that thing to school every day until I got a driver license, many years later.
  4. Nishiki International. First sport bike, $375 at Freewheeling in Austin, sold to me by Uncle Phil Tomlin. All I had to do was become a sportler. Incredible precision shifting. Suntour, Dia-Compe, Sugino, brown cloth tape, cages and clips and downtube shifters. I saw the identical bike on the campus at UCSD, all original, hard-worn components, in the summer of 2007.
  5. Picchio Rigida. Can you say Campy Super Record? Can you say drool? $1,200 from Frewheeling. Initiated into the secret society. One of the most beautiful bikes ever, shiny dark purple with glittery stuff in the paint. Cracked the rear drop-out and Skip Hujsak fixed it.
  6. Tommasini SL. $800 for the frame only, Freewheeling. The infamous Pink Shadow, pink with black shadowing, conquered the Blue Goose race course over by Cele. My mom mailed it to me when I moved to Japan. Fields cleaned and resold it for me for $900 with the hilarious tag, “Lightly used.”
  7. Eddy Merckx SLX. $900, frame only, Freewheeling. Squarest, most masculine chrome fork crowns ever. Dark blue, smooth, it wasn’t better than the Picchio, but it was way more Belgian, for sure.
  8. Bridgestone Commuter. $30,000 yen, the biggest bike they had at the bike shop in Utsunomiya, and it was a 54cm. Heavy, fenders, rack, 36mm tires, triple chain ring and a baby seat on back. I loved that bike even with my knees under my chin.
  9. Masi Criterium. $900, frame and NOS Shimano Dura-Ace 7-speed that no one wanted because, 8-speed. Freewheeling. My most favorite bike ever because I rode it the longest and even had it repainted in Carlsbad when the thousands and thousands of miles had stripped away its beauty.
  10. Specialized Stumpjumer, $575, Freewheeling. Reaffirmed my childhood allergies to soft surfaces on Austin’s Greenbelt.
  11. Eddy Merckx Leader. $700, frame only, from some guy in Oswego, Oregon. This was the 7-11 Team colors. It was a sweet bike too, but by now carbon was calling and no one could believe that anyone did the Donut on a steel bike with downtube shifters.
  12. Felt Frankenbike. $2,400, my first bike with handlebar shifters, ca 2007 at Revo Cycles in Dana Point. Front end aluminum, rear triangle carbon. As you can imagine, our relationship was brief. First time I’d ever bought from a bike shop in the U.S. not named Freewheeling. It was weird to buy a bike from people who didn’t know almost every bike you’d ever ridden for 25 years.
  13. Specialized Tarmac. Carbon with Zipp 404’s from PV Bicycle Center. Steve Bowen gave me a generous deal on it, $3,300 or something like that. Yeah, carbon is better than steel. White with blue lettering.
  14. Specialized Venge, I’ve blotted out the price, PV Bicycle Center. First day riding it I fell coming home from the NPR, hopping a curb on Beryl, and got a nasty concussion. Black with white lettering.
  15. Giant TCR, about $5,000, from RIDE Cyclery in Encinitas, part of the great deals we got from SPY-Giant. Amazingly nice bike except for the seat tube that I may have cracked in the Great NPR Bicycle Falling Off Incident of October, 2013. Giant warrantied it anyway and gave me a new frame. I put FastForward wheels on it and have stuck with the wheel brand ever since.
  16. Giant TCX, about $2,800, also from RIDE. I began my ‘cross “career” on this beauty, one of the few times I’ve actually gotten worse at something the longer I did it. Four seasons of CX nonsense and I was done. But it was an awesome commuting bike and you can still see it in the South Bay when Major Bob is pedaling a ‘cross bike. But he cut the seat tube too short …
  17. Cannondale EVO Super Six, about $5,000, Helen’s in Santa Monica. More impersonal, high-performing carbon. Intro to wireless shifting. More better, more tech, more cheating.
  18. Giant TCX, under $3k, Smith Cycle. Crazy comfortable and nice bike for cruising around and doing the Baby BWR on. Hasn’t dissipated my dirt allergies, but Giant is hard to beat.
  19. Fuji F1, frame only, from Veloworkx in Santa Monica. Crazy nice, stiff but comfortable, light as television news, but I won’t miss it when it’s gone as it will be replaced by another faceless plastic piece of amazing road weaponry, disposable, interchangeable, made by machines for machines.

END

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Barbie food

August 26, 2018 § 9 Comments

Once upon a time there was a mythical epoch in cycling called Back in the Day.

BITD everything was halcyon and good. Bikes were steel therefore real, rims were aluminum, tars were called sew-up because they were sewed up, people rode for the pure love of sport, no one ever doped, there were no computers or Stravver, a cell phone was called a mobile phone and weighed thirty pounds, and custom clothing meant your pants had a leather chamois that chafed your parts into blistering, oozing sores which you hardly minded, or, after 100,000 miles, transformed your undercarriage into a tough leathery hide suitable for making boots.

BITD the people were all Hard Men, especially the women, century meant a hundred Imperial miles, fondo was spelled with a “ue” at the end instead of an “o” and meant “melted cheese,” and everyone all the time rode in the harshest of conditions on primitive equipment which they enjoyed, cherished, and knew how to rebuild from the forge up. Helmets were worn by astronauts and it was more important to have a jaunty cotton cap than a full set of functioning brains.

And wool. BITD everyone wore wool, like sheep, only more colorful.

Indigestion

But what made BITD  riders truly different from the spoiled, whiny brats of today was the food. BITD people ate real food. It had common names like “banana” (50 miles or less), and “peanut butter sammich” (50 miles or more). There were other kinds of food, but you ate them at dinner seated in a chair with your family. Inside your water bottle was a special elixir that always combined, exactly, two hydrogen atoms for every oxygen atom. When it was all gone you filled it from a spigot or a hose.

It is true that there were convenience stores but they were inconvenient stores, never located anywhere near that point of 20 miles past your last drop of water and swallow of banana, i.e. “bonk.” When you had a 50-mile ride or longer, you packed your own food, that, is, a peanut butter sammich. Some people tried fancy things like rice crackers because they were on a cyclist diet, but they never did that more than once or twice because of bonk.

BITD people bonked all the fuggin’ time. Bonk was like the curse of the Hope diamond, following you around waiting to smite you dead the minute you miscalculated and ran out of sammich.

Some people carried large pieces of fruit like apples but never more than once or twice because of weight, the round bulge that pushed against your back, the difficulty of swallowing, and the unbearable painfulness of ridicule. BITD ride food was a careful and primary consideration. There was nothing you could scoop a handful of at the bike shop and jam into your water-bottle-shaped toolkit because no one had invented a water-bottle-shaped toolkit, second, and no one had invented Barbie food, first.

No one ever offered you any food when you bonked because that smushed up, sweat soaked, stinking lump of sammich was going to get them home, not you, and why should they be the one who bonked just because you were a poor planner? In the late phase of BITD was invented the granola bar, a revolution and the first true Barbie food but one that never caught on too much because it was expensive, about twenty cents a bar, for which you could make six PB sammiches, so why would you spend more to get less?

BITD, less didn’t only mean money although that is mostly what it did mean. BITD, less also referred to “not worth a shit.” The granola bar was less than the PB sammich because it evaporated in the metabolic furnace of your gut like straw in a steel smelter, whereas the pb sammich stayed around like a 200-lb. sandbag in the bottom of your outdoor burger grill. Why would you spend more money to get less energy?

That’s easy. BITD, you wouldn’t.

Enter the Barbie

I don’t know when Barbie food was invented, the proper kind that comes in a squeeze tube, jolts you for fifteen minutes, then leaves you on a jagged crying breakdown like a cruel ex-girlfriend who sends you photos of her and her new guy, but one day there wasn’t any Barbie food and the next day everyone was sucking it up with less thought and more eagerness than Internet news.

But I do remember who named it “Barbie food.”

That was Dan Seivert, a/k/a “Bull.” We were slogging along PCH one day, a hundred miles into a ride whose end was nowhere in sight.

“Fuck, I am hungry,” he said.

I reached into my back pocket and handed him a gel.

Bull shook his head. “Dude,” he said, “that Barbie food ain’t gonna do the trick.”

Shortly thereafter he bonked, and because he was a good friend I ate the gel and left him.

When I got home I went into my drawer and threw away all my Barbie food. It was like throwing away two hundred dollars, me, a guy who has never thrown away a dime except for that one time I bought a Felt whose front was aluminum and whose rear triangle was carbon. I still remember the sight of it bouncing along the shoulder of the freeway as I tossed it out going 85.

That probably makes me a litterbug. It probably also means that if we’re on a long ride and you run out of food, you can ask for a bite of my pb sammich. But you aren’t going to get any.

END

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Cuppa joe

August 22, 2018 § 4 Comments

A bicycle friend sent this blog rant over. It was a really enjoyable read, unfortunately.

Kind of like I don’t know much about the bread I bake, I don’t know much about the coffee I roast. I buy it in 50-lb. bags and cook it in a frying pan. Where is it sourced? From a tree. What is its flavor profile? It has caffeine and costs a couple bucks per pound.

My coffee friends cringe at my frying pan technique, which leaves some beans seared black and others lightly orange, like Trump. Friends who roast their own coffee on high-end, tabletop roasters shake their head as if to say, “Therapy. Boy needs therapy.” And of course getting the occasional cup at Starbucks marks me as dilettante + imperialist + bourgeois.

And the article was timely, because it wasn’t until last Thursday after the Flog that a rider informed me that a French press was not good.

For decades I’d been, you know, totally satisfied with frudge. But after a few decades using a press, why not splurge and buy one of those pour-over things? As he talked about coffee I realized that I really knew nothing.

Why the ignorance? Why the disdain of knowledge? Why the single-minded dedication to taking the tools of hipsterism and using them to create monstrosities such as bread-whose-baker’s-percentage-I-don’t-know?

The answer is simple and ugly. I’m real fucking cheap.

I’ve never tossed a pan of badly burned beans. I’ve never thrown out a frisbee brick of bread that you have chew like it was raw bison. And a bad cup of coffee? That’s defined as waking up and not having any.

But I am going to splurge on the pour-over filter thing. $43 for the thing, and ten cents a filter for the next hundred days, by which time I’ll still have enough green coffee beans to last me through the apocalypse. That’s the benefit of being old and having grandkids, though. You know how to let loose.

END

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