Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ridin' Dirty

Are you a Seahawk? Did you just win an NFC Championship? Good for you! Now do what any one would do and celebrate with a victory lap!

...On a Police bike no less! 

Oh, Michael Bennett, fans or not, for a moment, you made us all smile.
...Well, almost all of us that is:

"Now they got a bicyclllle!"

I kinda feel terrible for laughing at this kid's pain. I also kinda love this more than anything I have ever seen! Indeed this moment captures perfectly what all Packer fans were feeling. I should know, I have a few friends who could just as easily have been in that video.

Luckily for Bennett, The Seattle PD has a good sense of humor.

Be of good faith Cheese Heads, if Karma has taught us anything, it is that those fucking cheaters (the Patriots) will get what's coming to them, and will have their ass handed to them handily by the Seahawks. So you can still watch the Big Game, clutching your Tom Brady voodoo doll.

Stupid sexy Brady

As a Niner's fan, I could care less really, but for your sake, I certainly hope that those assholes get what's coming to them.
Hopefully your loss will not be in vain.
...There is always Hope.

So I am with you in spirit, as I too will be in front of my television, cheering on any team that is not the Pats and puking my guts out when 
Katty "Fucking" Perry takes the stage.

She is just terrible.

Anyway, Happy Foosballing, Fuck the Patriots and go Seahawks!

Click the video to stop it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wanna Borrow My Bike?

Well now you can!* For a small fee, of course ;)
 *well, not this bike.

...Let me back up here;

Say (for some God-forsaken reason) you wanted to come to South Bend, Indiana and while you were here, you wanted to go go mountain biking on one of our many local trails. Well, as I learned on my recent "business" trip to Colorado, sometimes even the idea of schlepping your bike across the country just to ride it for one or two days is kind of a pain in the ass. In my case, I honestly did not think that I would have any free time to ride so rather than taking my bike with me, I left it at home. Only to find that my Mother had a bitchin trail within ear shot of her house, and I was without a bike. So with no bike, and the local bike shop closed, I instead took to the local brewery. This doesn't have to be the case for you (unless you would rather hang out at a brewery, in which case I won't judge).

I am certainly aware that larger cities present you with many more options when it comes to renting bikes but let's face it, you are not always visiting bigger cities. This is not a big city by any means but being near a large University, we get people in from out of town all the time who want to rent bikes. Problem is, only one shop around here actually rents bikes, and most of them are 26" cruisers. So, for the most part, the guy who wants to go on a nice long ride on the Friday before the 'big game' is out of luck. that case, there is Spinlister.

Bike sharing and rental are not new ideas and both have their merits. They also have their pitfalls. Bike sharing can be paid for annually or per hour, but the bikes...   ...oh the bikes:

Sometimes, you arrive at a bike share docking station, only to find no bikes at all. Often, the one or two bikes left are left in disrepair. A necessary evil for some, it is not my idea of a good thing to spend my money on.  

Bike rental can be affordable too as you usually only pay for the service as you use it. While a rental fleet may offer limited selection, at least you can be sure they are shop quality bikes that are well maintained.

Liability is likely the biggest reason why smaller bike shops do not want to rent. This point is not lost on potential renters either. Not everyone wants the liability of a $5,000 bike on their hands if God-forbid, something bad happens. While Spinlister still requires you incur any costs associated with damage to someones bike, this seems to me like it offers a potential middle ground between a quality bicycle and peace of mind. Meaning, many of the bikes I have seen so far look like quality, used bikes that would offer what you are looking for at a price that is reasonable.

Like the Bike Rumor comment section, I too had some questions. Albeit mine were not the angry, incredulous, "this is a stupid idea" questions.

Calm down sir.

This isn't about "whoring out" your most beloved bikes. I mean, you can list your high-end bike if you want. They insure you for up to $10,000 if the bike gets stolen, damaged, etc... (the video says $5,000 but read the terms of service or visit the website)

That's the right attitude. Like many others who subscribe to the N+1 theory I have some extra bikes hanging around that could do me a favor and start making me some money.

So I joined Spinlister a couple of weeks ago to see what it was all about.

Naturally, I started by signing up. At first it was because of a desire to learn more about the service by reading the user agreements myself. Plus, I wanted to see if anyone was really using it.

With this I was pleasantly surprised. Though concentrated in highly populated areas, the service has reached cities both big and small across the United States and the world. What impressed me though was mere minutes after signing up, before even perusing the whole map, I received an email from an actual person which basically said, "Welcome... If you have any questions, please ask!" As I did have questions, I was sure to ask. We traded emails back and forth all day and he even sent me PDF files in regards to policies including the $10,000 insurance, Renter's Agreement and Fees. 

Yes, there are fees. Spinlister is free to sign up and use until you make money at which time they take 17.5% of income generated via the service. Sounds like a lot until you consider the many facets of the work being done behind the scenes. They handle all the contracts, securities, and liabilities. They maintain both an app and a website. Pus, they provide an interface for users to communicate with one another. With all of that in mind, it is important to remember that this is not a "get rich quick" service. It is simply a vehicle (pun intended) for turning your unused fleet into some folding money. 

So, who is renting your bike? Who are you renting from? A valid concern for sure. Spinlister makes signing up very easy so ANYONE can use it. Now if you are anything like me, you are reluctant to let just ANYONE rent your bike. Spinlister takes some of the worry out of this by verifying users based on the social media accounts they use, and mobile phone verification. Giving you a better sense of who you are dealing with. The idea being, the more verification options, the better the chance you are dealing with a decent human being...
...Like this guy.

The bikes range from fixies, to road bikes to mountain and folding bikes. Every bike that is submitted is manually approved by a real life person. This is a valuable portion of the service as it limits the amount of riff-raff that can be listed. That said, not every bike is a winner. My concern in that case is the fact that not everyone is a professional bike mechanic which makes me wonder how many of these bikes are less than ideal from a mechanical standpoint. Now, do you always need a race ready rig? Or do you just need a fixie to cruise around town? Meaning, sometimes the prices are justified based on the type of bike and the usage.
Regardless, you can search the pictures for yourself and contact the Lister with questions you may have. Using good judgement, one should be able to tell which bike offers what they are looking for at a fair price.

What's in it for me? Well, nothing. Spinlister has not reached out to me for an endorsement, nor have they offered me any compensation for my honest opinion. I, in no way, owe them ANYTHING. In fact, when I reached out to them, they asked me what my "angle is."
 I laughed a little, but then I assured them of my intentions:
While I talk shit about a lot of bike related things, I honestly believe this is a cool product that has amazing potential. If my writing about it on my shitty blog is helpful, then it is the least I could do to help.

To whit, while I am not yet willing to rent out my "Precious"

I have entrusted the service with my hand built TT bike ridden by Tom Doughty in his bid for the 1980 Olympics.
Now "modernized," it is a full on race ready bike. Whether you are looking to race at Steelhead or compete in the Pokagon time trial series, if you are headed this way... you can borrow my bike

Want to try it for yourself? Click the Icon below to get started!
Only time will tell if this was a good idea but Yea or Nay, I will keep you posted.
In the mean time,
If I missed anything, or you have questions, I would direct you to the comment section below in which I am inviting them to participate.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Inellectual Property is for Suckers!

Where is exactly is the line and is Trek the only one that can cross it? Seriously, I want to know. Here you have a large fucking ginormous corporation that can sue another company for the mere possibility of trademark infringement yet is somehow oblivious to is own hypocrisy. 

Yesterday, a reader sent me this: 

Now, many of you know exactly what this is. Much like I did. But before I jumped to conclusions, I did some homework...
Because social media compresses images, it was not immediately clear if this was a Campagnolo bottle opener but it damn sure looked like one. Now, I'm no rocket surgeon but I do know how to do a 3 minute Google search. Wouldn't ya know it... there was the same damn one.

It's not easy to see with the red paint, but smack in the center of the thing, is the 1970's Campagnolo logo. So it was clear that they were similar... 
except one says "TREK." 

...I immediately I became confused. Is it made by TREK? or Campy? 
You know, because (as TREK alleges) it is easy to confuse things for other things...

I still can't tell the difference between a Subaru and a Silque (what a stupid name for a bike by the way)

So okay, it's not like they covered up the Campagnolo logo with a TREK one (in which case this would be a VERY different discussion), but you have to admit that given the iconic status of the product, this could just as easily fall into the same "confusing" category. 

So who is this @joev3 ?
According to the always credible internet, it so happens that he is the
"Global Director of Product Development, Marketing and Creative Design for Trek Bicycle." 
Figures. It's a great marketing strategy when you think about it; take one of the most prominent names in all of cycling history, and put your name next to it. Put it on Twitter for the world to see, and BAM! People just assume that you are awesome by association. If I know one thing about marketing (and I do know at least one thing) it's that it is fine to plaster your logo all over shit for your own personal use, but if you are the damn "Global Director of Product Development and CREATIVE DESIGN," Then perhaps you should get "creative" and "Develop" your own products.
Why bother with the TREK sticker at all?

Because it's MINE! That's why.

If I had to summarize my feelings on the subject, I would do it thusly:
Putting a TREK sticker on a $200 cork screw invented by none other than Tulio the Great, is akin to drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa with a cat turd.

(You are going to have to use your imagination on that one)

Anyway, I am not in the least bit surprised about this.
Given TREK's track record with this sort of shit, it all starts to add up.
Let us not forget the year the bastards painted their plastic bikes Celeste for the Tour.

Sure looks "confusingly similar" to a Bianchi to me.

Why on Earth a company would paint their bike the same color as the oldest bike manufacturer in the world is beyond me. Oh, wait, no it's not. It's all about brand recognition. Can you patent a color? No. (well, unless you are Specialized. At least they think they can.) Still, If one can bring suit saying someone's product is "confusingly similar in design and style" over the name of a fucking CAR (not even in the same realm of consideration as far as any kind of market share is concerned), then this iconic Italian color should be considered "hands-off" and reserved for, oh, I don't know... Bianchi?!

 At the end of the day, it just goes to show you that the one's who feel as though they own the line, are the only ones allowed to cross it. As they acquire more and more of that line, I fear that one day there will be only TREK and I will be burned at the steak as a heretic. Quite honestly, I would rather it go down like that, as a world run by TREK, is not a world I prefer to be a part of.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Confessions of a Bicycle

For me, a life chained to a bike rack sounds less than ideal. Adding insult to injury, it's even worse to be ridden in to the ground and then chained to a bike rack for all eternity. It happens to bikes like me all the time. Though I am not sure what we did to deserve it. All we did is provide One with reliable transportation. We did our best to stay in one piece despite One's total lack of giving a shit about us. We tend to be quite vocal when it comes to the level of neglect we experience. We hate to be bothersome or annoying so we start off with a bit of gentle persuasion in the form of a squeaking chain. When our needs go unnoticed, we get a little louder. Perhaps a knocking sound from anyone of our four major bearing systems is in order.
If that doesn't do it, we have been known to make embarrassingly loud brake sounds. 

Perhaps I do deserve the blame. I should raise less of a fuss. Maybe it would just be easier to fall apart, in Peace, all at once. At least then it would be on MY terms. 
But that just doesn't sound like something I would do. 

What do you take me for... a Walmart bike?    

No, I'm gonna stick it out here, a prisoner in the Land of Martin's. Why? Well, because that is where you left me.

It's been about 8 months since you locked me up and walked away. I thought you were just going into the store, but you never came back. I even heard that you went back to your hometown leaving me here forever. So I sit here, poorly locked up and waiting to end up like this poor schmuck...

You remember him, right? Yeah, that poor bastard was here when I got here. I have it on pretty good authority from the BMX bike at the other end of the building that he showed up about a month before I did. But no one remembers what kind of bike he was.

Here's a picture of he and I together. 

You see, we are locked in the same manner which means it may only be a matter of time before it happens to me. Do you know what that is like? I mean, just... waiting. ?
Being chained to a bike rack day after day can get very lonely as well. Especially if you spend your days with a bike who is a portion of his former self. (He complains a lot. Sometimes I wish someone would cut his lock once and for all) We see people go in an out of the store all day, and they just walk right on by. A guy who works at a bike shop stops by occasionally and takes pictures for his stupid bike blog, but mostly to check in on our deteriorating condition and laugh at it for personal gain.

Just ask the BMX bike at the other end of the store...

He's freaking out because he has been left UNLOCKED for months now. Just sitting there...waiting. Then, here's some guy, taking pictures with a big grin on his face. What's that all about?

It's getting tougher to be a bike in this weather too. It's gotten much colder since we were left here. Now the snow is piling up and we are starting to rust up pretty good. I fear it will not be long before I succumb to either corrosion or theft. Either way, it's not looking good.
The silver lining? 

A ladies bike has been visiting for two months now. Things are starting to get pretty serious. It's getting difficult to be alone. We just have to ditch the "fifth wheel" I guess.

Yeah, he's still there, but for how long?

we will keep you posted... long as we make we to Spring.

Raleigh and Huffy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Now THAT'S a Bargain!

Well, the snow I asked for is here. Stuck inside between shoveling "intervals" I got a chance to check some email and to my surprise, eBay sent me this:

Sweet! Now at a lower price? I'll take eight!

I am so glad you asked. Let's take a look shall we...

Have you been looking to break into the disc brake road bike market but don't have the extra scratch for a new frame? Do you want a new road bike, but don't want to give up your kickstand? Do you... well, you get the point... This bike has it ALL!!

Product Information:
Speed:21 Speeds
Frame: 52 --54 cm VISP 6061 Aluminum Alloy Frame
Fork:  VISP 6061 Aluminum Alloy Fork
Handlebar: VISP 6061 Aluminum Alloy Handlebar Parts
Headset: TW CNC Head Parts
Wheelset: 700CX70mm/900mm/3 Spokes/5 Spokes
Hub: Quando 32 H with Quick Release X Bearing
Tire: Kenda Professional Road Bike Tire
Shift Lever: SHIMANO A050
Front Derailleur: Microshift FD-R52
Rear Derailleur: SHIMANO TZ-30 
Chainwheel: VISP CNC 52X42X170
Freewheel: SHIMANO TX-21
Chain: KMC Professional Road Bike Chain
Brakes: Germany Twitter Cable Mechanical Disc Brake
Pedals: YH-B03 CNC Aluminum Pedal

Funny, they don't address the kickstand, 

THAT'S a kickstand.

I have to be honest here, I am less confused by the presence of a kickstand as I am by the description of the wheels...

Wheelset: 700CX70mm/900mm/3 Spokes/5 Spokes

but my confusion is compounded by the puzzling set up of the drop bars...


Don't worry, if you prefer the classic Italian styling, similar to a Celeste Bianchi, they come in a myriad of colors including, well... Celeste

Now, it is probably fair to say that a 700C Men Road Bike Speed Road Bicycle Disc Brake Bicicleta is not for everyone. Maybe you prefer your bicycles be a little more utilitarian, perhaps even folding...

No problem! The Rockefeller High Fashion XC Mountain Bike might be more your speed. If you are the type who likes to upgrade your Walmart fat bike, then perhaps you should save yourself the trouble and just upgrade to the Officially Licensed* Transformers version:

*what do you think the odds are that they actually have permission to use that image?

I wonder if they have the same lawyers as Subaru.
Finally, if you are the type that has kids, it makes it difficult to go for a ride no matter what the flavor of the day is, in which case this looks pretty promising...

Kind of upset they don't make one for Dad's, or kids with non-matching DNA because I would have bought one. 
Seriously, this thing is rad!

Certainly looks functional. Looks like a pain in the ass to store. Sure it's folding but judging by the pictures, it looks bit cumbersome.

She starts off smiling, but by picture 5 she's still fiddling with it and there are no more directions.
...just saying.

So, If you didn't get the bicycle you wanted for Christmas, 
you have options.
...and now they are on sale.

Time to shovel.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Make Offer: Be Your Own CEO

Hold on to your caps! Have I got an exciting, limited time offer for you! 

Intrigued? Who wouldn't be, right? Nothing about this seems "if-y" at all.
   For the low, low price of "Make Offer," you become sole owner of the "inventory, patent, molds, tooling, customer and manufacturing database, and trademark" of Never Reach even get this cutting-edge promotional video:

"Aerodynamics: Reducing wind drag is the second most important thing a competitive cyclist or triathlete can do to improve race times...

...or, ya know, lose the drop bars.
 Even the most Amateur Fred can save as much as 5 minutes by simply using an actual triathlon/TT bike. If you are the type that worries about losing 35 seconds (over 40km) you should should probably work on your transition skills first. 
I'm sure you can make up a few second there somewhere.

It won't make you the next Paul Fritzsche

 "I've been using the Never Reach system for, uh, two seasons now..."

...and now Paul Fritzsche is a house hold name.

If you are not yet a "Pro," they make a model allowing you to "Go" as well.

Less "aggressive" than its "aero" counterpart, this version incorporates the same technology while sacrificing only a tiny bit more dignity. While riding off road, its bouncy nature really makes you "work for it."  Which makes something as simple as drinking water seem really, really phallic.

 Come to think of it, this advertisement is loaded with innuendo...
"aero as 'Fuck'"

Call me a pervert (no, seriously do it. I like it ;), but I can see how one might confuse this with something sexy, which might might be why they give you very specific directions to follow.

Go home directions, you're drunk =)

I'll decide what I do with my hands thank you very much. Only thing left to do with my mouth is: