Thick And Thin

Speaking on behalf of the retrogrouches of the world, it’s not that we’re against new things, it’s just that we don’t understand why when new things come along we’re supposed to completely renounce the old things:

We also don’t understand why people think that just because you still use something that must mean you use it all the time and in every situation:

Hey, I ride everything from 23mm tires to 3″ tires–with discs brakes no less!

Sometimes you want a fancy beer or a cocktail or a fruity spritz of some kind, but sometimes you just want a stiff drink, and the 23mm road tire is a neat whiskey in a wine cooler world.

More than anything though I’m amazed at the misguided notion that fatter tires at lower pressure somehow represent a “better understanding of physics than 20 years ago”–as though 20 years ago we were all cavemen and the concept of using fatter tires at lower pressures hadn’t been invented yet:

I know there was already such a thing as fat tires because I was there. Mountain bikes, touring bikes, cyclocross bikes, hybrid bikes, city bikes–incredibly, all of these had fatter tires than road racing bikes. We were even using 29-inch wheels and Stan’s sealant! Really the only thing we hadn’t yet invented was the whole fat bike and plus-size tire thing–you know, the stuff that’s still considered borderline extreme today–but even the Surly Pugsley’s almost 20 years old now:

[2005 Surly catalog]

And please don’t tell me all about the pre-2005 history of fat bikes and how people have been welding together 15 rims in their garage so they could ride across Alaska or whatever since the ’90s because I don’t care and I’ll probably kill myself:

And as for road racing bikes, I get they’re using wider tires now, but are they really that much wider than they were 20 years ago? Here’s a top-of-the-line Peenarillo Douche-ma:

20 years ago your Jan Ullrich wannabe bike would have come with 23mm tires. Today its modern counterpart comes with…25s:

“But the wider rim bed changes the tire profile and effectively it’s–“


Yes, we get it, pros are riding slightly wider tires these days, but as long as they keep selling good quality 23mm tires at deep, deep discounts because they’ve been cancelled by the “Party Pace” crowd I’ll keep putting them on my racy rim brake road bikes. And it’s not like I don’t know my way around a comfortable bicycle, either. In fact I promise my bike’s more comfortable than yours:

I don’t wanna hear a goddamn thing about how comfy and safe your bike is unless it’s also got a kickstand and a step-thru top tube.

Meanwhile, the surest sign of fall is the changing foliage, but in the city the real giveaway is when they start setting up for the marathon:

Yesterday I also took a rare (bicycle) trip over the Triboro Bridge, which I last crossed (by bicycle) in March:

Technically you’re supposed to walk over it, but nobody does:

The pathway is quite narrow, hence the rule:

And there are several sets of stairs for your convenience:

Fortunately I was wearing cycling shoes with road cleats.

The span affords sweeping views of Hell Gate, and if you look closely you’ll see a catamaran, also known as the “Gravel Bike Of The Sea:”

One reason I rarely ride over this bridge is, stairs notwithstanding, I’m a bit of a “woosie” when it comes to heights and I find the low guardrail in the middle of the span mildly terrifying:

I’m not sure why there’s fencing on both approaches but none in the middle. I guess they figure if you hit land you’re screwed, but as long as you land in the water you’ll be just fine. The approach to Randall’s Island also boasts the longest chain link fence tunnel in the world, which is a fact that I just made up:

Whenever I’m on Randall’s Island I always stop at the same spot:

And think about the same things:

Industry, nature, land, sea, life, death, buses headed to Riker’s Island, planes taking off from LaGuardia…it’s the entire range of human experience in one sitting.

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