Winging It

Further to my last post, I think maybe I got the pressure sorted out on my gourmet tires–and I didn’t even have to consult a magazine first!

I’m just going to go ahead and assume that’s an homage to this blog, or at least to its much more entertaining predecessor, where I made a running joke (now called a “meme”) about how cyclists (particularly those who did “cyclocross,” which was a form of proto-gravel riding) are obsessed with #whatpressureyourunning. By the way, I went back into the archives to see when I first started with it, and the phrase appears so often that I eventually got tired of digging and gave up…though somewhere around the 2015 strata I did find this in the fossil record:

Evidently it’s an app-based derailleur adjustment system somebody sent me:

I don’t recall this thing in the slightest but I must have received it because I took a picture of it. Anyway, obviously the best solution for fine-tuning your derailleur is to abandon indexed shifting completely and just go friction, which is 100% accurate just as long as you have your limit screws set and your cable tension isn’t completely screwed up. Yes, it can go out of adjustment if you crash the bike or something, but even then all you have to do is like bend it back or whatever, and at most fuss a bit with the limit screws. Really, the more you think about it the more you realize it’s better than indexing in every single way, which explains why it’s completely disappeared from mass-produced bicycles.

So yes, I’ve got the fancy-pants tires feeling all floaty on dirt and only moderately Codeine-like on pavement. As is generally the case around this time of year it’s cold and grey, and with the holidays imminent everything’s infused with this weirdly comforting sense of joyous melancholy. Van Cortlandt Park also starts feeling like a Grimm’s fairy tale, and the absence of trees reveals how alive it is with fauna. First a deer loped across my path, and then I followed a low-flying hawk for awhile:

It’s hard to see in the above photo, but it is there, and it’s also clutching something in its talons:

Unfortunately, I think my presence rattled it and caused it to drop its lunch:

It then alighted in the broken branches and dead leaves along the side of the path, and hopefully retrieved its repast once I’d passed:

Alas, it’s not as thrilling a photo as this one:

But catching a hawk in the act of preying upon another animal is always deeply satisfying.

In other news, I see a number of my Outside columns have been un-pawyalled, including the one about how you’re not allowed to tell people to learn how to fix a flat anymore. Social media now exists entirely to deconstruct and undermine sage advice, and it feels more and more like a maggot colony stripping the flesh from the corpse of common sense. Now telling kids to look both ways before crossing the street is also politically incorrect:

Yes, of course I realize he’s not saying kids should cross the street without looking. And yes, of course too many assholes in cars rob kids of places where they can play and be kids. But it seems deeply flawed to hold up the “look both ways” thing as an example of that, since even in an urbanist utopia where cars have been banished and everyone gets around by bicycle and public transportation and pink clouds of smugness created by their own flatulence, you’ll still have to exhort your children to LOOK BOTH WAYS. New York City has installed lots of curbside bike lanes, and I can assure you that if your kid steps into one without looking they’re gonna get clobbered by a guy on an ebike faster than you can say “Seamless.” The problem with cars isn’t that you have to look both ways for them in the street; the problem with cars is that you have to look both ways for them on the sidewalk, and even in the Dunkin’ Donuts:

As for the first step in blaming kids for the actions of adults, that happens when you yell at them to wear a helmet.

Looking both ways is just covering your ass, which in terms of life skills is as basic and essential as wiping it.

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