Biketoberfest Now

Good news everybody, it’s Biketober!

This is easily my third-favorite bike-themed month after Freduary and, uh, Threaded Bottom Bracket Shell July, in that order:

[A family delights in a fireworks display celebrating the reliability and simplicity of threaded bottom brackets.]

In addition to a logo that looks kinda like the German flag, Biketober also has an event calendar:

I was most interested in the self-guided bike rides, since not only I was curious to see what of their work the NYC DOT could possibly think was worthy of highlighting, but I was also amazed they’d actually send anyone off into this hellscape on a bicycle on their own:

Just kidding:

New York is a lovely place to explore by bicycle, and while it’s always possible you might die, the odds are generally in your favor:

Anyway, the rides all seem nice, but clearly they’re not keeping up with the trends because incredibly there’s only one (1) ride that involves gravel, and that’s the one that goes to Shirley Chisholm Park, which has like ten (10) miles of delicious gravel trails:

[“Mmm, gravel.”]

I would like to see New York City make a serious bid to host the UCI Gravel World Championships at Shirley Chisholm Park. Sure, it’s tiny, it’s not even remotely challenging, and they’d have to do like 20 laps just to get warmed up, but the compact course would almost certainly favor narrow bars:

Alas, I’ve only actually ridden there once, and that was on an excursion with the family a few years back:

My wife was riding the American M-16, which is now back at Classic Cycle:

[Photo: Classic Cycle]

And is also on sale:

It’s the original Alumalith:

And a lot cheaper.

Of course I realize the DOT’s self-guided rides are geared towards normal people and not bike freaks, so the emphasis is more on the city itself, but I do think they could have highlighted some of the city’s dedicated bike venues, such as Kissena Velodrome:

Attempting to race that beautiful Fiorelli was one of my most harrowing (and embarrassing) moments as a semi-professional Old Crap Test Pilot.

Then of course there are the mountain bike trails at Cunningham Park, which have something for everyone to the complete novice to the sorts of people who drive there in big stupid cars and say stuff like “send it”–and which is also perhaps the greatest place to ride a non-suspended singlespeed mountain bike on the planet:

I speak with authority, too, since in 2008 I was the 183rd best singlespeed mountain bike rider in the entire world:

That’s right, I’ve competed in ironic singlespeed world championships in both Napa, CA and Durango, CO (and Portland if you count singlespeed cyclocross) and I’ll take Cunningham over those dumps any day. Granted, that may say more about my own abilities (or lack thereof) and the inherent limitations of one-speed bicycles than it does about the virtues of Cunningham, but fuck it, I’m standing by it.

And of course way uptown (or downtown if you’re me) there’s the much smaller and considerably more daunting Highbridge Park:

There’s about four feet of trail in there that you can ride on a bike like the one pictured above, and the rest of it is quite challenging, but it warrants mentioning in the context of a New York City Biketober for its location alone:

It’s tiny, but it’s amazing considering it’s actually in Manhattan, and while a hapless Biketober celebrant would no doubt wind up going off a ledge and landing in a crumpled heap on Dyckman Street, it’s only marginally more risky than those green things the DOT has the temerity to call “bike lanes.”

Moving on, Greg LeMond says the pros were totally using motors:

One reason he thinks so is that there was a period when they were making a suspicious number of bike changes:

“Either Shimano and these component manufacturers were producing such crap, which we know is not the case–there’s no reason to have five bike changes or six bike changes in a stage…”

Of course we now know that Shimano was indeed producing total crap. Also, I no longer watch pro cycling regularly, but I’d imagine the move to thru-axles means that instead of swapping a wheel when a rider punctures it’s just easier give them a new bike. And as a retrogrouch I like to believe disc brakes and batteries are more finicky, which leads to annoying rubbing brakes as well as stuff like this:

But do I also like to believe they were using motors in their bikes, so there you go.

Anyway, LeMond clearly knows a thing or two about bikes with motors:

Nice bike, too bad it has a motor in it.

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