July 10, 2019 § 30 Comments
MY TOP TEN:
- Power meter. All it told me what was I already knew: YOU SUCK.
- Deep dish wheels. Deep dish belongs on pizza. Period.
- Anything ‘cross. Everything ‘cross. Cross is my personality, not my bike.
- Masters race entry fees. Subsidizing other people’s drug problems? I don’t think so.
- GoPro. I am not a pro. I can barely go. So, no.
- The Stravver premium subscription. Kidding. Even I’m not that lame.
- Turbotrainer. I had one of those in 1984. Still haven’t recovered from the extensive brain damage.
- Skinsuits. I already have skin. Suits I wear to court. Ergo, bad combo, like “fun interval.” Nup. Nah. Nuh-nuh. Nopey nope nope.
- Track bike. Do road or do track, doing both is like cross dressing. It only impresses a few weird people.
- Aero bar extenders. When you have the form of a pig hunching a greased football, them bar extenders don’t mean squat.
May 22, 2019 § 10 Comments
It has been years since I last encumbered my bike, and more importantly my brain, with gewgaws that disgorged ersatz stats about when, how, where, and what transpired on my ride.
The summary eviction of Strava from its tenancy in my life, not to mention the death penalty levied on Cycling Peaks has restored the best thing about riding my bike, which is enjoying the ride, and then being done with it until the next time I throw a leg over.
Yet for all this purity, which includes riding without my Apple tracking device or a Garmin, I have continued to ride with a wristwatch. Why? Because there is only a single data point you need to know in cycling, and it’s called “time.”
Time answers the only two questions that any cyclist can ever possibly want answers to:
- How long have I been riding?
- How much longer do I have to ride?
Everything else, unless you get paid to pedal your bike, is flimmer-flammer.
The wristwatch, unlike all the other junk that gets peddled as “gotta-have,” is no accessory. It is, after the bike itself, the only thing between you and getting scolded badly for not returning in time to [celebrate your anniversary] [take the kids to soccer] [get your colonoscopy]. And far more importantly than mere timeliness, the wristwatch links you directly with the most awesome dude to ever pedal a bike.
Was it good enough for Eddy when he was winning Roubaix or the Tour or MSR? It’s good enough for you.
In addition to the square-edged utility of the wristwatch, it is an incomparable fashion statement. “I don’t need no fuggin’ computer or Stravver or Garminator. All I need to know is how many more seconds before I overhaul the rider ahead and ride her off my wheel.”
Of course this leads to the next issue, “Which wristwatch should I buy?”
Before I begin, let me say that the Apple Watch is not a watch any more than the iPhone is a telephone. They are tracking devices with a time function whose primary goal is to distract you from life, especially from cycling. A wristwatch is something that tells time and little or nothing else.
For years I’ve used a Timex Helen Keller model, so named because of the giant numbers on the face and the absence of any functionality besides a date. The Timex is cheap, sturdy, manly, painless to replace if you smash it, and about as workmanlike as it gets. After hundreds and hundreds of sweat-soaked rides, not to mention assault by filth and rain and the elements, the watch case began to corrode, which added a very cool look that you can’t purchase in the store.
The only two things I disliked about it were the fact that it had a leather band with a buckle, so it wasn’t flush against my wrist, and that it had a date on it. No cyclist buried in pain at Telo cares what day it is.
That’s when I came across this gem, made by Nixon. It cost me $100, about three times more than my Helen Keller. But it has a crazy nice flush metal watch band and the face is easier to read. Best of all, no date, no twelve time zones so that I can know the time in Bangalore, no alarm, no stopwatch, nothing but a big hand, a little hand, and a second hand. It is beautiful, thin, and you can’t call home on it.
Eddy would approve.
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February 16, 2019 § 18 Comments
I’m not sure why women generally have worse bike equipment than men, but they do. It may be because they don’t see the value in spending a lot of extra money for things that have little or no added value. And women seem to ride their stuff for a lot longer. I know serious women cyclists who are riding bikes six or seven years old.
That’s a Stone Age bike to the average guy enthusiast.
When I got my wife her bike it was a pretty basic deal. Carbon frame, Shimano 105, and aluminum rims.
The first thing I upgraded were the wheels; a nice set of super light FastForward carbon climbing wheels. Why? Because wheels make a huge difference, but also because I ride the same wheels and they are very nice.
Why shouldn’t she have the same things I have, especially at upgrade time?
After a while the Shimano 105 thing wasn’t working out so well. She could shift okay but actually she couldn’t, and I quit trying to explain it. Part of it was because those levers aren’t easy to move. The other part is because at age 51 she wasn’t all that interested in gear-inches.
A month or so ago I scraped up all the spare change I had, sold everything I never used, and got her e-Tap. She loved it and it made riding so much easier. For both of us.
Then the other day, Baby Seal was riding with her. “Hey,” he said, surprised. “Are you riding e-Tap?”
“Your shifters. Are they electronic?”
“I think so. Seth had them put on. They are really easy to use.”
“Oh, he got a new set?”
“And he just put his old stuff on your bike and the new stuff on his?”
“No, this is the new thing. He has the old thing.”
Later on, Baby Seal and I were riding together. “Dude,” he said. “You bought your Freddie wife e-Tap and kept the old stuff on your bike? You didn’t give her the old stuff and put the new group on your bike? It’s the NEW generation e-Tap, man!”
“Why would I do that?”
“Everybody does that,” he said. “Everybody.”
February 8, 2019 § 10 Comments
I drove to Sacramento to meet up with friends for an annual ride. When we arrived I realized that I had lost the charger for my laptop, so we detoured to the Apple store.
There are no young customers at the Apple store. They buy their stuff online and fix their stuff online. The Apple store does have young people in it, though., the sales staff. They are there to guide the stupid old people through the circuitous maze leading to their credit card.
“I need an adapter charger thingy,” I said.
The chic Mac jock in hipster shoes and a ragged beard smiled. “Sure! Which laptop do you have?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
This fazed him exactly zero, and how could it? He hears it every day, a thousand times. “Does it have a magnetic connector?” he asked.
“I don’t know. What’s that?”
He knew that my very ignorance meant I didn’t have one. “So the power cord plugs into a little socket?”
“And when did you buy the laptop?”
“About a year ago.”
“Fifteen or thirteen-inch screen?”
“I don’t know.”
“Kind of big or kind of little?”
“Kind of big.”
“Here’s what you need,” he smiled, guiding me to the adapter charger thingy.
I stared at the $79 price tag and pretended that I hadn’t just been to China, the country of origin, where they were selling these in the street for $5.
“You’ll also need the cord,” he smiled, pointing me to a little box with a wire cord in it. $15. They’d had those on the street in Chengdu, too. One buck. For three.
Then Yasuko chimed in. “I need a new phone charging cord.”
“Okay,” the hip guy smiled again, pulling down another $10 cord.
I handed him my credit card meekly. He had gotten to the end of the maze so fast, almost as if he’d done it a million times before. The total was over $120, with tax.
Behind me some other stupid old people were speaking baby English to a different staffer, who had asked “What seems to be the problem?”
“Our Internet doesn’t work,” the stupid old man said.
“Let’s have a look,” he said, whisking them away to the Genius Bar, which is what they call the wallet vacuuming station. “And see if we can’t get this fixed.”
I half expected the stupid old people to pull the Internet out of their pocket to show the Mac jock, but they didn’t need to. He was already 99% of the way to the end of the maze.
February 6, 2019 § 2 Comments
After the bongshell announcement that former Tour de France ace and gadfly about town Floyd Landis had formed his own cycling team in cahoots with “Max Kash Aggro” beer peddler Roger G. Worthington, Cycling in the South Bay sat down with these two paragons of cycling wisdom and marketing wizardry to plumb the depths of their new plans to send cycling’s Ancien Regime up in smoke.
CitSB: You first, Floyd. What’s a nice boy like you doing in a shit-show like this?
Landis: It’s time to give back with more than just drugs. After getting that $750k from the Lance lawsuit, I wanted to help revitalize this sport that I love, or at least provide it with an alternative to opiates and manmade painkillers.
MKA: Hey, shut up, Floyd. It’s my turn to talk. Look, Wanky, your blog sucks, okay?
CitSB: We’ll get to you in a moment, little fellow. Floyd, you and Worthington have been friends a long time. How has that worked?
Landis: We go way back. Rog was one of the first people who believed in my innocence.
CitSB: One born every minute, right?
Landis: Pretty much.
MKA: Remember that time after you got banned that I had you announce at the Dana Point GP and you got hammered and sang all those Johnny Cash songs from the booth?
Landis: That was a gas, Rog. Good times! You are the best!
CitSB: Floyd, you’re on record as saying with regard to young people racing that “I would never encourage kids to get into it. It’s a catastrophe. It’s awful.” Has that changed?
Landis: Oh, absolutely. I totally encourage kids to get into bike racing now. It’s amazing. It’s fantastic.
CitSB: What’s changed?
Landis: The unicorns. They are everywhere now, with rainbow farts that smell like licorice and cetewale.
Landis: Middle English for “zedoary.”
Landis: Never mind.
CitSB: Okay. So back in 2017 when asked about the potential for change in cycling you said, “No, there’s no hope. There isn’t any. That’s just a fact. We can sit here and be pie in the sky, but they’re not changing.” And you described the U.S. governing body as “These are the same people, the same officials, the same USA Cycling. It’s all still just infested with disgusting people.” But things are different now?
Landis: Oh, absolutely.
Landis: Unicorns are in charge now and they are all eating Floyd’s Pot Shop cannabis products. Look! There goes a unicorn now!
CitSB: Where? Where?
Landis: Oh, dang it. You just missed it.
CitSB: Crap. Anyway, a couple of years ago you said, “In any case, the sport will never be clean and the guys who take the products will always be one step ahead.” Thoughts?
Landis: When I said “always” I didn’t add “and forever.” What I meant was “always” like “I will always love you, honey.” You know, one of those things no one believes. Come on. I was KIDDING. What I should have said is that the sport will never be clean until I and MKA get our own pro team and the riders are drinking Worthy Beer, the finest craft beverage currently produced in America.
MKA: It’s better than that!
Landis: You are the best, Rog. You rock, bro!
CitSB: A quick check of Beer Advocate has Worthy Brewing at 3.66 out of five. Just sayin’.
MKA: Those worthless sacks of shit at Beer Advocate wouldn’t know good beer if you poured it up their butts with a siphon.
MKA: It’s all a joke. Those beer rating things are scams. He who pays the most, wins! And I play to win. Our marketing budget for 2019 has quadrupled, with glossy back cover buys for 12 issues. That will increase our taste rating by a full point, you’ll see.
CitSB: MKA, in addition to your extensive background as a leaky prostate masters racer, what are you bringing to the effort?
MKA: I’m not a megalomaniac. I have, however, performed lung surgery, founded a Nobel Prize-winning institute that has cured mesothelioma and bunions, built a 50,000 square foot, zero-carbon footprint home in Bend, taught Chris Botti how to play trumpet, developed the best tasting beer hop on earth, won several football championships for Clear Lake High back in Houston, written a New York Times bestseller about hair regrowth in older men through pilates, recovered over $4,000 billion for deserving asbestos victims without ever setting foot in a courtroom, devised a plan to stabilize and re-freeze the Thwaites Glacier, mastered the comb-and-tissue paper, and personally delivered Christmas presents in a magical sleigh to over a billion people in Africa.
CitSB: So you’re thinking the bike racing venture should be pretty easy?
MKA: Who’s the winningest masters cycling team of all time? Labor Power, brought to you by MKA. Who’s the greatest brewer of all time? Worthy Brewing, brought to you by MKA. And who’s gonna win the Tour next year? Floyd’s Pot Shop, brought to you by MKA. I’m like Ceasar. I come, I see, I conquer. Got it?
CitSB: Yes, sir.
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.
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:
- Cool pose leaning next to your expensive bike.
- Cool pose in your expensive outfit.
- Cool angle on your expensive bike.
- Cool angle on your expensive outfit.
- PR on that driveway-to-bush segment behind the security gates.
- Selfie atop a tall mountai.
- Selfie of some uber-cool socks.
- Selfie chillin’ by the pool.
- Selfie enjoying the good life in [Cancun/Bahamas/Omaha].
- 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!