From the Mailbag…

August 19, 2009

For some reason or another, I’ve gotten a good bit of mail in the last week and a half. I wanted to share with you a few of the goodies.

First, “Ben” asks:

Are you an intern?

No.

If you’re asking because you’re interested in becoming a target for the delightful parlor game, stripper-or-intern?™, I recommend convincing your parents to donate at least three gobs of money to your representative or at least seven gobs to your senator. If you’re interested in further reading on the local intern scenesters (or “internsters”), check out the DC Interns blog. Lots of invigorating Clif Shot Bloks-sized morsels of fun there.

Quick-camera “Reid” sent me a couple of lovely shots of lockjobs in and around our fair capital. Have a look at this Trek:

It's a good thing thieves don't have opposable thumbs.

It's a good thing thieves don't have opposable thumbs.

The thing about a quick release is that the “quick” doesn’t just apply to you, nor does it cease to be “quick” when the release is out of your line of vision. Our Trekker is clearly acknowledging the substantial and superior value of a Bontrager front wheel and the unabashed worthlessness of all other parts on a Trek bicycle.

Before we look at the next photo submitted by our intrepid street scout, let’s do an exercise. This is a picture of a bicycle with parts labeled in Esperanto, so as not to alienate any segments of my reading audience:

Diagramo de biciklo

Diagramo de biciklo

This, on the other hand, is a rocket ship. The parts are unlabeled, because it’s a rocket ship. The parts can be whatever you want them to be.

Rocket ship!

Rocket ship!

Good. We’ve completed the first two phases of our exercise. Now for the “ask” portion of our “thought experiment.”

These only exist in Fantasy Land. And Washington.

These only exist in Fantasy Land. And Washington.

What, praytell, is this? It’s clearly neither completely bicycle, nor completely rocket ship. I propose to you that we’ve discovered a new species in Phylum Birota, Bicyclus Rocketshippicus, or in common terms, the Rockcycle. I hope to see many more of these in the future, which is where the Rockcycle came from.

So I’ve gotten emails inquiring as to my profession and with delightful little pictures like “Reid”‘s, but I’ve still not seen one about the super secret squirrel unlicensed “urban cross” race in DC I alerted you to only a few weeks ago. If you hear anything about it, or if you’ve got anything else to shout at me, just email me. Remember, it’s bikesnobdc@the only email server people still use.


The Ballad of the Fuji Zipper

August 17, 2009

Not long ago, I spotted a new Fuji Roubaix all decked out with its stock 105 or Ultegra or whatever gruppo and a delightful piece of flare. That Zipp bottle sure did look fast. Moreover, it told us, the bicycle-gawking public, that this reasonable-quality-for-bargain-prices bike shopper knows what’s up in the world of wasting paychecks on bicycle toys.

Sad news, friends: our Fuji Zipper has removed his bottle (and cage) from his aluminum screw-turning machine.

Even faster senza waterweight.

Even faster senza waterweight.


I’m quite aware that I’ve arranged a large stack of wood just a few feet behind me, ignited the seasoned winter warmers, and deployed a fan to direct the runoff at my bathing suit area, but I certainly hope I’ve had nothing to do with this.

Here’s the thing. I ride bikes because it’s fun. It puts my competitive streak to a healthful use and it gives me an excuse for my manorexia. Also, and way more importantly, I do it because I really think riding (and racing) bikes is cool. There, I said it. I clean my bike not only to keep my frame from corroding, but to keep it shiny. It looks better that way. Fuji Zipper, if you’re reading this, you should totes reinstall your Bianchi bottle cage for the portage of your superfast (it’sonewordbecauseI’vegotnotimeforspaces) Zipp bottle.

You have to ride your bike, so you should like it. That goes for you, too. Be well, and stay hydrated. This place sucks in August.


Skinny bicycle arms and Los Campesinos!

August 7, 2009

We are a judgmental bunch. I’m not talking about cyclists specifically (though that “we” can be particularly judgy); I’m talking about all of us. When you notice someone walking into the office, sitting down at a restaurant, or parking their car, it’s not unheard of to think something along the lines of “he/she could stand to dress up a little,” “maybe a meal isn’t what you need right now, fatass,” or “instead of driving your Prius the one and a quarter miles to Trader Joe’s, you could’ve crashed on a new fixie on the way home.”

DC has its own fun judgment games–especially on the Hill. I’ve started taking to a wonderful new game we call “stripper or intern.” You’d be surprised at how often the answer is, in fact, red-badge-toting intern.

Now for the important things–the judgy moments that we bisicklers, especially those who turn their pedals in competition, experience from time to time. When I see a thin, gaunt-faced stranger, the first thing I look at is their arms. Runners have to hold up their fists for hours, and thus are prone at least a wee little bit of muscle mass in their upper arms.

However gaunt, these gentlemen would likely have little trouble lifting a gallon of milk.

However gaunt, these gentlemen would likely have little trouble lifting a gallon of milk.


The Tour of the Gila’s medical director, Dr. Michael Seargeant, says cyclists have “arms the size of beauty queens” (and “thighs the size of gorillas,” but that’s a story for another day, fatass). I prefer to call them what they really are–skinny bicycle arms.
Frank Schleck on a riding mower because a push mower would break every bone in his skinny bicycle arms.

Frank Schleck on a riding mower because a push mower would break every bone in his skinny bicycle arms.


See the picture of Frank Schleck above, taken by Brother Andy, as Phil & Paul call him. So this is what I look for, these skinny bicycle arms, when determining whether or not the emaciated gentleman sitting across from me on the metro should be my new riding buddy or if I should be prepared to kindly turn down his request for change (the clinky kind, not the kind that this gentleman is apparently bringing to our fair capital).

So when I went to the Los Campesinos! show Wednesday night, I found myself in the classic dilemma of the judgmental cyclist.They've changed all their last names to "Campesinos!" Really.
The show itself was excellent, and I highly recommend you check them out, but let’s get to the important things first.

Skinny bicycle(?) arms

Skinny bicycle(?) arms


Check out the arms on the beautiful and golden-voiced keyboardist. My question is this: did these arms come from a) long hours in the saddle, b) the poverty inherent to touring, or c) long hours doing blowcaine while touring? In my heart of hearts, I imagine the answer is ‘a’, though my show-going compatriots tended towards ‘c’. I’m not here to pass judgment (just kidding; I am).

As I mentioned, the show was excellent, and I think Los Campesinos!’ career in the fickle music industry has legs. The music was poppy, but thoroughly enjoyable, Gareth Campesinos!’ vox were reminiscent of Luke Pritchard the Kooks and Kele Okereke of Bloc Party on Intimacy, and the crowd was young enough to still think buying CDs is cool (I think. It’s been a while since I’ve known what was cool with the young people).

If you’re looking for a real review of the Los Campesinos! show and a real picture of the seven non Welsh members of the Welsh rock outfit, check out the CityPaper.

Have a good weekend, friends. I’ll see you at Jazz in the Garden, and if you want to be real life friends and not just internet friends, I recommend you not pick up or carry anything over 4 pounds, lest you lose your skinny bicycle arms.


Urban Cross in DC?

August 4, 2009

Got a tip the other day that there might be an urban cyclocross event somewhere way up in Northwest. Some bearded hipster and his bepierced hipstress friend told me something about a friend with a something something vegetable oil hybrid something van stuck something something New York something fundraiser something something unlicensed something urban cyclocross something something something “pay to play” something. Wait, did you say unlicensed? Count me in! Ain’t no cyclocross like non-UCI urban cyclocross within bike riding distance.

Know anything about this? Drop me a line.


Oh, and also

August 4, 2009

If you’re wondering where I’ve been the last few weeks, call it post-Tour partem syndrome with a side of Swine Flu. Wash your hands, you damn tourists!


Sex, Components, + Rocknroll

July 17, 2009

Let’s face it: bicycles are sexy. They’ve got curves, thin, drawn lines, supple parts, and some that are just rock solid. I myself am a handlebar man. For those of you who follow me on twitter, you already know that I went to the US Royalty mansion party a little while back. US Royalty put on a very solid show, and I highly recommend checking them out when they do another DC show–August 5 at the Black Cat.

The highlight of the evening, though, was the beautiful rack I spotted on a redhead out front of the mansion.

The rack in question

The rack in question


Like I said, I’m a handlebar man. These are sexy handlebars because they are reasonably creative, but most importantly, they retain functionality. The full rig didn’t catch my eye at first, but upon further inspection…
Redhead in question.

Look at all the sexy parts.


Whoa whoa whoa, is that a Chris King headset? And a Time carbon fork? And a full Ultegra drive train? And this city beater’s owner knows well enough to put his (or a tall her) valve stems in line with the logos on his tires? Mmm. This is one sexy redhead.

Components can also make a bicycle significantly faster. Zipp isn’t kidding around when it calls its products Speed Weaponry.

Whirrrrrr

Whirrrrrr


Riding in the middle of a peloton full of Zipp deep section wheels sounds eerily similar to riding in a pack of Priuses (Prii?).
Gasoline should be sipped like a fine scotch.

Gasoline should be sipped like a fine scotch.


Everything that Zipp makes will make a bike faster. Everything. Let’s do an exercise. When you’re getting your road whip ready to do, say, a hill workout, what is the heaviest part of your bike? Your frame? Only if it’s steel. Your wheels? These are a close second. Your saddle? Not unless it’s filled with water. Wait a tick… there is something on your bike filled with water: your bottle! That’s it! Your filled water bottles are the heaviest part of your bike. Logic suggests that making the heaviest part of your bike (your water supply) faster (by making it Zipp) is the most effective upgrade someone can make. I was nothing short of titillated when I spotted this Fuji Roubaix at Eastern Market last week.
Simply. Better.

Simply. Better.


Notice all the other components on the bike… stock saddle, stock wheels, stock shifters, and (probably) all original cables and housings. Now take a look at the one upgrade: the Zipp bottle. It makes the bike look so fast it’s unreal. So here’s to you Roubaix Zipper. Try to stay away from traffic speed cameras, because you’re dangerous.

Now go buy tickets to the next US Royalty show.


Bastille Day Ruined by Seven Strangers

July 15, 2009

Very simply, Bastille Day is my favorite of the French national holidays. I’m quite aware that it’s yours, too. So what better place to celebrate than Bistrot du Coin in Dupont Circle, where I once had the most wonderful meal of my life.

So I’m getting down with the getdown in a hot sweaty sexy dance party…

Guns don't kill people. Lazers do.

Guns don't kill people. Lazers do.

Live emcee. Likely from "the islands."

Live emcee. Likely from the islands.

Live yazz saxophone. I will not say that it was saxy.

Live yazz saxophone. I will not say that it was saxy.

… and all the sudden, the Real World DC rolls in. The party quickly got stupid. It went from so-crowded-you-can’t-move to so-douchy-you-can’t-breath faster than you can say “stop being polite, and start being real.”

There's no tape delay for gonorrhea.

There's no tape delay for gonorrhea.

I know I’m not the first to say this, but I want the Real World out of my town. Just after I get that dark-headed Real Worlder with the “wedding band” to come out to one of my races. Hey, who doesn’t want to race on (M)TV?