Monatsarchiv: Januar 2008

Infrequently asked questions

Awhile back I posted answers to some infrequently asked questions. And because knowledge is power and we all want to register big wattage on the SRM of life, I’ve gone ahead and answered a few more below. So read and be misinformed. If you’ve still got any questions once you’re done, check in with Fat Cyclist, since he may have some answers for you too:

What is a “century?”

A century is a word people who ride Serottas and Cervelos equipped with mountain bike pedals and compact cranks use to describe what the rest of us just call a long ride. There’s also something called a “metric century.” Riders use the same type of bicycles, but a metric century is shorter and probably involves more camelbaks and helmets with visors on them.

What is a “training ride?”

This is how roadies describe what the rest of us just call a ride. It can be long, short, fast, or slow. It can also be intermittently fast and slow, which is called “intervals.” Roadies call rides “training rides” so people know that they race. In fact, roadies only do two kinds of rides: training rides, and races. Any other type of riding is considered “garbage miles,” or “junk miles.” Garbage miles include any miles ridden offroad, any miles ridden for purposes of commuting or transportation, any miles not ridden in full team kit, and any miles during which the rider has any fun.

What is a “session?”

A session is a word fixed-gear freestylers, freeriders, and BMXers use to describe riding around in circles doing tricks. The term “session” is also used in relation to the Senate, therapy, and band recording. All of these sessions share in common the fact that they are generally self-indulgent, boring to watch, and in the end go nowhere.

How do I know if it’s time to replace my frame?

Inspect your frame closely for URLs. If your frame has any URLs on it, it means it is too new to be considered “vintage,” yet too old to be considered up-to-date. URLs on bikes went out in the late 90s and early Oughts, when manufacturers finally realized that even the dumbest person can figure out how to find a website without seeing a “www” and “.com” around the name.

Which is better, threaded or threadless steering setups?


As a cyclist, should I obey all traffic signals?

Absolutely not. The surest way to disaster is mindless adherence to rules, routine, and procedure, because they do not account for the unexpected—or, as I prefer to call it, the stupidity factor. Take pedestrians, for example. When you have the green, pedestrians will not think twice about crossing against the light, right in front of you. They will also usually look near you but not at you, as though they’re following Jerry Seinfeld’s procedure for admiring a woman’s breasts without being caught. Conversely, when they do have the light and you have a red, they’ll generally stop dead and look at you as though you’re about to run them down. When you’re dealing with this sort of stupidity, all bets are off. If you don’t believe me, go outside right now and stand at a busy corner. Wait until a large vehicle is approaching, and then run across the street. I guarantee at least five people will follow you to almost certain death. These bovine are simply too stupid to live, and if you blindly follow traffic rules they will take you right down with them.

More aggressively stupid are drivers. If you wait at a red light and then proceed when it turns green, you’re virtually assured death by yellow-miscalculating idiot.

Rules are not designed to protect you. They are designed to trap and kill you. Rely only on your wits, because that’s the only thing that will keep you alive.

Can I purchase a fixed-gear-specific hooded sweatshirt that is inspired by a Huey Lewis and the News Song?

You absolutely can! A reader just forwarded me the „Dissizit“ hoodie. (Just wait for the chorus to find the Huey inspiration—if you can bear it.)

from Bike Snob NYC

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By GEOFF BOTTING Weekly Playboy (Feb. 4)

With their habit of racing along pedestrian-filled sidewalks and ignoring the rules of the road, bicycles have long been a scourge of Japan’s city streets.
But perhaps no longer. The National Police Agency (NPA) — never mind the nation’s pedestrians and motorists — has had enough, according to Weekly Playboy. This spring, cops nationwide are expected to start collaring dangerous and annoying cyclists.
The crackdown would be backed by a revision — the first in three decades — to the NPA’s „Manual Concerning Traffic Methods.“ Drawn up late last year, the guidelines go into force this spring, adding five new cycling prohibitions: Wearing headphones, operating a cell phone, holding an umbrella or affixing one to the bicycle, carrying more than one child as a passenger and excessive ringing of bells*1.
Should a cop stop you for doing any of the above, you could be hit with a nasty fine. Cyclists with two kids on board, for instance, would be subject to fines of up to ¥20,000.
The tougher new police rules complement a comprehensive anticyclist crackdown instigated by the government. The revised Road Safety Law was enacted in June last year with the basic intent of clearing up a lot of gray-zone issues involving cyclists.
Notably, the legal revision treats bicycles as „light vehicles“ — just like motorcycles — and as such, cyclists are obliged to travel on roads*2, not sidewalks, where it seems 90 percent of urban cyclists prefer riding. And if cyclists can’t be bothered to switch on their lights at night, they could be pulled over, ticketed and made to pay a fine — of up to ¥50,000. That’s right: cyclists could be held up to the same standards as motorists.
„Until now, bicycles have been treated like pedestrians . . . and many of the people who ride bikes are mistaken in the belief that they are pedestrians,“ says a man, name not given, who runs a Web site for cycling enthusiasts.
Provoking the authorities‘ more aggressive attitude is the large number of traffic accidents involving bicycles. In 2006, such accidents numbered 174,000, accounting for 20 percent of the total.
But now the key question is whether the cops, who have long been taking a lax attitude toward cyclist miscreants, will actually follow their new rules to the letter of the law.
An anonymous police officer at a prefectural police force thinks so. „I think there’ll be a concentrated effort for several months after the manual’s revision comes into force. . . . Without a doubt, it will be easy for officers on the streets to get tough, now that the manual has clarified the issues.“
Yet perhaps the police’s bigger job will be to create a new awareness and sense of responsibility among urban cyclists.
„I don’t think riding manners will improve with a crackdown, but rather through a comprehensive form of safety education at schools and other places,“ the Web site operator says. He also notes that the cops on the beat often encourage cyclists to stick to the sidewalks for safety reasons — and to stay off the road.
So we can only wait and see until spring and beyond. Will our neighborhood cops actually step out of their koban (police box) to make the streets safer for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists alike? Stay tuned.

The Japan Times: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008

*1 ahem!

*2 …not really „notably“ Geoff…As a matter of fact, this has been the rule for the past 30 years although most people – including the cops who ride their bicycles on the sidewalks themselves (!!!) – are not aware of this. Hopefully this rule remains in force although there are rumored to be movements within the NPA to abolish bicycles altogether from the roadway…
Next time a cop tries to tell you to cycle on the sidewalk, remind him of the existing traffic law: „SHADOU WO HASHIRU NO WA, HOURITSUJOU NO GIMU DESU“ or better…next time you see a cop cycling on the sidewalk, remind him – with a stern look on your face – to cycle on the road like this: „OOOI KIMI! ABUNAI ZO! SHADOU WO HASHIRANAKYA!!….and watch his reaction!!

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Did the Kobu Tunnel today…climbing up there was great; descent was a different story….most of road is in the shadow and I tell you with these temperatures, it is scary!! Snow and ice everywhere! I imagine Suzugane Touge will be the same: going up fine…going down eisbahn! But we can always try! See you tomorrow. Tom.

PS: I will be very slow…got tortured by NFCC’s Young Hopes today!

MOB : OK, I will be there at 09.00 at Sekidobashi with my new yellow Assos Fugu jacket and my old bike,



mob : So we met at Sekidobashi at 9 AM and tried to move quickly against the headwind to Itsukaichi. After the break at the 7-Eleven we then rode along the road to Honjuku and further in direction Kazahari before we made a turn to the left and approached Kobu Tunnel. The road was much in the shade with some patches of ice so we moved very carefully. After that we rode to Fujino and down at the Uenohara CC to Route 20. This is not my favourite area really, I don’t know why but Uenohara makes me always so tired.

We then went over Otarumi from the Sagamiko side, none of us clocking the time as we were already pretty tired. Nevertheless Tom speeded up and I secretely looked on my watch but the time was not worth mentioning.

We went down the other side and gad a good lunch of Tororo Soba at a place close to Takaosanguchi station. Tom rode home by bike, I biked up my son from an insect hunting excursion. He and me were in luck first – he finished already at 2 PM and I was there at 2 PM despite the time set for 3 PM so we made an early start for home.

The trip home was a disaster. I mean in the train. We made it to Fuchu when someone in the station decided to commit suicide and jumped in front of our train. We couldn’t see anything as we were in one of the last cars, but as the train has not fully moved into the station when it came to a stop, the doors couldn’t be opened. we had to wait for 30 minutes, then finally could move out, took a bus to Kokubunji and a train to Shinjuku – finally we were home by 6.30 PM.

Nevertheless a very nice ride and it is good to add a lot of kms in the mountains this early in the season. Thanks Tom.

I also bought two maps at Takaosanguchi for the Takao and Okutama area to plan the next tours.

Tom: Thanks Michael…the ride was just what I needed to take up the slack after I got broken on the wheel on Saturday. Sorry to hear about the Fuchu accident and the long way back to home. Let’s go again when we have splendid weather again like yesterday.

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Saturday Freeze-drying Ride Jan 26?

I want to ride this Saturday. David Jacob also sounds like he wants to get back on the bike. Anyone interested in an 8AM start at my house? 8:45 at Sekidobashi?

Tom: David, I’ll be there at Sekidobashi – 8:45…I love these zero temperature rides! The Hinoharamura area will have min -6℃ ~ max +2 ℃ temperatures tomorrow fortunately with very little wind….

Well … David Jacob and I got a 10 minute late start, then I flatted a tubular tire about 5 minutes south of sekidobashi. Tom had invited some of the NFCC and rode off with them for Sagamiko. I managed to change my tire and, after some fun with the valve stem coming unscrewed, got it fully inflated. David Jacob and I rode up to Oume and over Jerome Hill (we blew through the record for Jerome Hill — and I was coasting the first part and only pedaled at all as the road turned up near the end), back over a different hill (the hill you go over if you do not turn at Sakamoto and head up Jerome Hill, and back down the river from Oume. 105 km or so from my house. Add 20 km for David Jacob. I got 3 hours of sleep after a long, long night of bengoshi recruiting activities. It reminded me of day 3 of the Tour de Noto, after Michael’s birthday party the night before, but with half the sleep. In any event, it was good to stretch the legs.

Tom: I’m sorry David I couldn’t wait for you. I’m glad to hear though that you managed to fix a new tubular on your carbon wheel…those tubulars can be a nuisance if you have to change them mid-ride. About the Jerome Hill….talk about pulverizing records! ….I cannot believe what you guys managed to do ‚cause I really gave everything for my time!! Are we measuring from the same start line? Something has got to be wrong haha!! Anyways, let’s do this hill all three or all four (with Michael) or all five (with Jerome himself) of us together next time!

Had a nice ride with three much younger NFCC guys…first time for me to go with them (which is why I didn’t want them to wait much longer at Sekidobashi)…two of them are transfers from a professional team. Whereas lately I am usually the one waiting at the top of the touge for the rest to arrive, this time it was the complete reverse! They all had to wait for me to show up! Not a very pleasant feeling having to let others wait. All three of them are more than 10 years younger than me, so maybe it has something to do with age…one thing is for sure, if I continue to cycle with them every weekend, I should be able to improve my hillclimb skills.

We are measuring the same distance — between Sakamoto crossing and the sign at the top of the hill. but don’t worry Tom, our 5 minute record was coming DOWN the hill. Michael picked up one clue — about riding via Oume. The other was „I was coasting the first part …“ 5 minutes was a very leisurely descent.

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The Positivo Espresso Jersey Design Contest + Entry No. 2.1 +

I have to admit that I can hardly think of any other thing any more than the Positivo Espresso design. I looked and the last version again and again and did some more changes:

  • I checked some of the other WAVE ONE designs and found out that it does look good if you change the background color only in accordance with the different parts of the jerseys. So I made the dark grey area a little bit bigger, cutting over to the front.
  • I showed the designs to Anna and she made the wonderful suggestion to arrange the flags like a ring on the edge of the sleeves. So I selected some other flags, including the Flemish lion rather than the Belgian flag for Tom, the Portland City Flag for David and the Moenchengladbach City flag for me instead of the seal of the pope.
  • I put the Positivo Espresso Name higher on the front of the jersey, otherwise it might get compressed by an inflated bottom line.

Ok, we can have endless discussions about the background colors most likely.
But later please.

So after I did all this I thought, hey let’s make some special versions for some prominent riders from the team which you can find below. Just by chance, with the yellow background, the cross is now matching perfectly the national flags of Belgium and (East) Germany.
Of course in case of Jerome, a completely different approach needed to be choosen.

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Team Jersey Special Version : Tom

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Team Jersey Special Version : Marek

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Team Jersey Special Version : Jerome

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The Positivo Espresso Jersey Design Contest + Entry No. 2 +

I found it hard to accept a jersey in white [thinking of our poor wifes who must wash them] and without any orange and grey, my favourite color combination and the basic design concept of my new bike.

Please note the fine details which you might only see in the full view, including the two German flags. Everybody who orders one jersey of the first batch should have his flag included. We might want to edit the flags a little bit although due to the origin of our members:, East-Belgium, East-France and East-Australia comes immediately to my mind.. I have the „East design“ of the German Flag ready, so we can easily edit all other flags. I would refrain however to replace every star of the American flag with hammer and compass.

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Zapped to Glory

Electrically stimulate nerves to build muscles. It’s an efficient, legal, and very painful way to beef up athletic performance.

Video: Electrocute yourself

Article: Compex Sport is a scary, yet oddly compelling, device

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