October 3rd, 2010

Beware of these imposters

If I were a computer hacker, I would sabotage the blogs of my rivals: 1. Lets Go Ride a Bike; 2. Copenhagen Cycling Chic and; 3. Bike Snob. Curse these imposters!

Nowhere does Let's Go Ride a Bike acknowledge the input of its silent contributor, the main author's husband/boyfriend/partner, who "Dotty" drags about Chicago photographing her as she imagines she is. In the genre of New Woman media, males are to be silenced more surely than women were even in the decades preceding the Suffrajets. Meanwhile,women are to dress with the aim of transferring esteem from males back to themselves, by baiting them into the now shameful act called "the male gaze". In this game of esteem stealing, the bicycle has become a handbag, or a new pair of shows, and is frequently coordinated with one or both. Comparing a Lets Go Ride a Bike Post with, say, a Get The Look segment on Behooving Moving, makes it clear that the former has no redeeming comedic dimension. No one could deny these girls their god given right to be haughty. It's the absence of humor that will ultimately cause this fine blog to go under. Sorry Dotty, it had to be said.

Shamelessly pandering to the fragile ego of the New Women, is Mikael Colville-Andersen, the aging ogler behind the "Cycling Chic" blog franchise. Sure, I love Mikael's unauthorized hidden cam shots of every attractive women he sees on the street. What red blooded male wouldn't! But under any other circumstances, his photos would have found him in court. Instead, by a slight of hand maneuver all perverts must stand and applaud, he is flown around the world to speak as a keynote. Billed beside genuine thinkers, this imposter stands up and says, "Um, der, you all should be like Copenhagen, where bicycles are just taken for granted, like washing machines." Mikael, you can keep Copenhagen, and its washing machines. The thought of having to pedal at 10km per hour in a sea of cyclists with flat tires who smoke, with you in the shadows snapping off hotties, actually makes my city look like cycling utopia. As a complete aside, this interview shows Mikael to be a pretty reasonable guy, with an eye for the ladies of course;)

The most intelligent star cycling blogger (after myself), most would say, is Bike Snob NYC. And yes, he's hilarious. He must never stop blogging. But he does have a dirty little secret, that it's time I revealed. The snob is not a New Yorker. His frequent references to incidents on and around the George Washington Bridge betray him to be from New Jersey. Those who live on Manhattan, would have little cause to ever cross the George Washington Bridge, and they have a name for people who do—those suburbanites trying to have the city and the big house as well. "Bridge and tunnel" they call them. During my albeit brief, semester long stint at Columbia, living on the Upper West Side, I quickly learned not to associate with "bridge and tunnel", especially those from New Jersey, lest I lose my social standing with Manhattan's in-crowd, who actually live on Manhattan. I should add they live as far South of the George Washington Bridge as they can afford to! No wonder Bike Snob doesn't reveal his identity. He would be stoned at the off-ramp by real New Yorkers, outraged by his masquerade. When not at his computer, this imposter spends his days being snobbed by those living in the city he pretends he is from.

Worst of all, none of these imposters are independent. Ours is a consumer driven society. I don't have exact stats, but am confident a sizable portion of google searches are in search of product reviews. From my own experience, I know product reviews generate web traffic to a bike blog. It is clear from their sites that the three bloggers mentioned are basking in gratuities and advertising payments. Even Bike Snob's snarky reviews can be seen as a lour, bringing readers to his paid-for, very partial reviews, like this one of Elektra's Ticino

Maybe this is just a case of sour grapes, from someone jealous of the hits these long standing bloggers receive for having gotten in early. More likely, I would suggest, Behooving Moving will grow to receive the thousand hits daily that it deserves, in recognition of my sheer intelligence and propriety in all matters cycling related, while the above blogs will all fade into nothingsville. I thank you all for spreading the word about this authentic bike blog.

What is this blog about?

If this blog were to be summed up as having one central idea, it is that drivers seeing us from their car windows, or pedestrians stepping out of our way, or anyone moving by whatever other means one might imagine, should look upon us with envy. Our first duty as cyclists is to assert our superiority over non cyclists. Our superior fitness, happiness, resilience and style, should be rubbed in non-cyclists' faces, not so they join us, but so they continue to provide that dark backdrop against which we shine. We and our bikes are the sacred cows of the environmentalist era, paragons of perfection, and a frame of reference for contemporary design trends in fields as diverse as fashion and architecture.

But with rights come responsibilities. We must each prepare ourselves for our particular role, when we rule the world.

The Behooving Moving Quotidian: Australia's "for-life" about town bike

From a short career spent designing buildings, I know the design process can instill a feeling dread. The sheer number of choices one faces, and decisions that have to be made, can be overwhelming. I set out to design a semi-upright randonneur with BIG comfortable wheels. I have the Shimano disk brakes and Alfine drive train on my Mongoose to play with, and might one day swap the hub for a Rholloff. Despite the big wheels, I was aiming for stand-over clearance not in excess of 800mm, that is, the length of my own inside leg .
Exhibit 1: the somewhat Art Nouveau style bike (left), by former NAHMBS winner Naked Bicycles and Design, commissioned by Shimano to make the best use of their Alfine equipment. With 700c wheels and slack angles, it does fit my brief. Exhibit 2: the Civia Loring, another such bike, with ample cargo capacity, even if it does have small wheels. 1 + 2 = give up, it's been done. Or does it?

Each of those bikes (how should I say this?) is, um, Appalachian in character. There's no way around this: they are for men who marry their cousins. They is f___ing hillbilly bikes, and I would not be seen riding either!!! My vision is of a bike with a horizontal top tube, yet still with generous stand over, achieved without resorting to bent tubes, because men in suits, in cities, in the 1940s, did not ride bikes with bent tubes. They rode cool manly bikes, like the one I've designed.

The Behooving Moving Quotidian: Australia's "for-life" about town bike. Inspiration for the triple yoke forks.

Indeed, I have ended my long weekend on a high, having struck on the idea of superimposing the two bikes I was working on 4 days ago. The result is a design providing fabulous rigidity in the core zone, yet vertical compliance out near the axles. Since I ride an upright bike daily, my coccyx can attest to the jolts that seat stays shoot to a rider's buttocks when all their weight rests on their seat. This design alleviates that, with mixtie bars instead of seat stays, that point to the head tube. Another problem with big, long wheel-base bikes, is the vastness of the front triangle. I've noticed my Velorbis starts twisting and swimming when I give it a short burst of power. A frame divided into no fewer than 5 small triangles in elevation, and having the width of a mixtie when viewed in plan, will overcome the big bike swim—if I may name such a stroke. As for my target height for the top tube, I've come in well below 800mm, despite the big tires. My fascination with chopper style forks centers on the anchorage points these provide at the front, something standard forks don't accommodate nearly as well. I also worry about fork crowns snapping or bending from the kinds of abuses I plan to inflict.
The unpainted critical regionalist  "Australian" aesthetic has still not changed since I posted these shots a week ago.

All I need now is for CB King to weave some magic with cast lugs and top shelf stainless tubing, and we might be looking at a NAHMBS best in show entry!