Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Bike Snob NYC
This blog has not been relevant since 2009 at the very latest, yet every so often someone still reaches out to let me know I’m furnishing them with some free entertainment. For example, here’s the tail end of a lovely email I received recently that brightened my day:
Of course, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and right on its wheel came this one:
Whoah! Scrolling back through my archives, from what I can tell I’ve mostly been blathering on about riding Rivendells in sneakers, so this took me by surprise. Granted, I have expressed some feelings about the “reality of climate change” here and there, but I haven’t really denied it exactly, I’ve just made it fairly clear I’m not particularly worried about it either way…which is I guess what is troubling this person, so fair enough.
Hey, seems to me if we’re all doomed they could at least enjoy the little time they have left by reading about my flat-pedaled Rivendell exploits, but I suppose they prefer to use the time more productively, such as by protesting outside of the governor’s office:
It’s hard for me to figure out who to sympathize less with in this story: the protesters, or the drivers:
With all due respect to the people who tend to our precious green space, I winder what sort of dire mulching emergency prompted him to drop his credentials like that. Perhaps he was attempting to underscore the irony that they were stopping traffic in the name of the environment while he was trying to get to a job that involves tending to the environment, though the fact he was driving to it does tend to undercut the smugness factor somewhat.
It’s precisely brilliant insights such as these that my indignant ex-reader is already missing, and I daresay he’s slightly poorer for it.
Plus, I recycle! See this bike?
Recently I noticed that the cable housings were fraying at the brake lever. (Well, they weren’t so much “fraying” as the metal strands inside them were working their way through the cable ferrule.) So instead of purchasing new cables and housing–which would have been the safe and yet wasteful thing to do–I went into my box of scraps, found some “new” lengths of housing, and replaced the fraying ones. Not only that, but I managed to reuse both the brake cable and the zip ties, so suck on that!
And yes, I know that according to the Brake Freds mechanical disc brakes are only acceptible if you’re using fancy housing like this:
But clearly there’s something wrong with me because I’ve always found mechanical disc brakes to work perfectly well, thankyouverymuch. (Pro tip: instead of spending lots of money on fancy cables, just spend lots of time riding a bike cantis, those mechanical discs will feel positively transformed when you go back to them!)
Granted, my cable recycling probably doesn’t make up for the fact I also replaced the crank for no better reason than I wanted a silver one. See, I’d stolen the original crank off it for my Platypus:
And replaced it with this OEM one from my parts bin:
But since putting on the bamboo bars and the orange highlights it occurred to me the bike could really use a bit more silver. (Plus, while I like to think I’m above this sort of thing, I felt that my fancy custom bicycle deserved a name-brand crank). So I went to a popular Internet auction website in search of a silver LX or XT Hollowtech II crank. I must not be alone in believing the LX and XT Hollowtech IIs are the best mountain bike cranks ever made, because they were commanding quite a premium. Eventually however I found a set in decent shape at a not-too-exorbitant price, and if you’re the person to whom they once belonged I hope you enjoy your ill-gotten gains, you avaricious bloodsucker.
But yeah, now that everything’s gone single-ring direct mount I guess I can add 104bcd mountain bike cranks to my “Parts To Horde” list, since I have like five zillion chainrings for them and want to be able to use them eventually.
Anyway, one of the best things about a singlespeed mountain bike (even a fancy custom one, antithetical to the singlespeed spirit as that may be) is that you don’t need much to keep them going, and what you do need you probably have piles of in your basement, garage, or storage area. (You also don’t need much mechanical aptitude, which is especially appealing if you’re a ham-fisted dunce like me.) And at 11 years old, it’s not my oldest bike, but it is my oldest bike that’s currently running. (That’s not counting my various “vintage” bikes, which are technically older, but are much newer to me.) Here it is at Engin Cycles before I even came down there to pick it up:
Quick release, 135mm rear spacing, “narrow rims” and double digit-length stems have all vanished from the all-terrain cycling landscape since then, but none of those things were holding back singlespeed mountain bikes anyway, and I’d argue that this specimen represents the apotheosis of the genre, decadent as it may have been.
I do sometimes thing about putting a derailleur on it though.