Looking down, we discover Newtonian irritation in, well
...basically we are irritated with you.
The Thing is... Everyone does the work, right? struggling to the summit; We wait at the top for our friends... then We all coast. We go someplace to earn barely enough for a new bicycle, and some of us will use it properly. We ride someplace on it for fun... A waterpark, lunch, a church, a hike, perhaps a bike ride up to the top of Mt Crumpet? Then, reluctantly we return to our caves, with stupid stories and stuff acquired along the way. Perhaps a Medal or a jersey laden with sponsors whom we don't give a shit about.
A filthy Medal, Lactate burning Lungs and Legs, Some Costly Carbon Bling... A Sour-Patch Stomach rumbling beneath a snug lycra uniform... A few gummies, a new Gel or a Gooey Tonic, enhance and unsettle the whole mess. But it's you. We are cheering for you.
We all strive a bit -- Some on Strava -- carefully stenciling the outline of our beloved's chin on a real roadway. We may choose to live an illusionary drama through pretend "Likes". citing data to prove we were there first. Others suffer in their lonesome basement with a Virtual ride atop a $10K mail-order bike strapped to motors and such, following Fake Plastic trees, atop magnetic mountains in upside-down land.
Many give it their all on a real road, without keeping score -- Without fanfare. With or without "Likes". A loathsome few, actually ride their bikes into the wind and rain, because they like to feel something real. Pissing of their bike-shop mechanic who nary gets a summer day out of doors to play nor suffer. These "Outsiders" do it to enjoy the ratcheted spree of a whirring freewheel, and the separation of thought from action.
A pencil-thin Puerto Rican pulls past into oncoming city traffic, slick wet pomade on raven-black hair, No helmet to douse the sheen. Carbon tri-spoke front wheel -- Some Blue spoky abomination behind it. Zero Brakes... Back-stroking to slow his single speed, with a final inhale, and his last kick-back before his fixie pride and his perfect hair land atop the hood of a Lexus. Thud!
He will survive his lunacy, (sans brakes), In-fact he will roll off the bent hood and blame a Soccer-Mommy for his hobby. But he will never know the thrill of the coast. The Buzz of the pawl heating up against a hardened circle of tool steel, as the descent becomes real. Really loud clicks purr, tears tickling cheeks, as the doppler fades whirring clacks to black numbness.
It's all in the coast. Rolling without regard for time, work, or worry. The descent is where we all level out. Fat fucks, Clydesdales, and Scrawny dicks, we all drop like stones as velocity heats beneath our calculated braking. The ratchet winds up to the ultrasonic pitch of a hummingbird's, We scream down a slope for 20 full minutes numbing hands and minds. The Coast... It's all about the coast.
The fixie fanatic, is an enthusiast, true, riding the razor's edge through traffic to feel something. To impress oneself with the unchallenged feeling of invincibility. Sovereign soaking head-nods from adoring friends for swerving just in time. But enlightenment never comes. The coast will elude this kid until they come of age.
We are ALL FAST IN THE FUCKING DOWNHILL!. Aren't we?
...I identify as Fast Motherfucker, so please afford me this one moment and Get the Fuck out of my sight on this one descent. Unless of course your jersey plainly states: "I'm doing this for Pussy" or has a Cigarette or Whisky sponsor, then you can cut in line, of course you can.
IF, you use your bike like a dildo, rolling through the motions on a magneto in your basement throughout summer, citing humidity and covid as a reason to remain "sheltered in place", You are not the problem, just stay where you are. You may be the VR analog of the clown-like pubescent kid that just guilted a coffee-clutching Yoga Mommy into 400 bucks for a bent fork -- But you will not know what it means to ride, without a freewheel. You suck only slightly less than the fool who races me in the downhill. DONT RACE ME IN THE DOWNHILL, Dumb-ass. We are all fast in the downhill, Duh!... you fucking idiot. Lithe, fat, thin as a triathlete's aero ass... we all have to do the work to get up the fucking hill, and the just desserts for said spent energy is this moment -- My Moment, The Coast. Kick Kick Coast. We the people, celebrate this sublime recipe of spent energy. We WORK toward this moment, because we are sledding, we are skitching, we are skiing slalom down the hill and we didn't bring an E-Bike to this gunfight. We earn the summit & the downhill. So my friend, could you please spare us all the humiliation of your smug face passing me on the interstate at 60 MPH and queue up behind my ugly gleeful ass... because my silent scorching ratchet whirrrs for me alone, It's mine..., and I need a bit of space to walk through my buzzing Zen garden alone melting brake pads tiny hot pawls and all, in a perfect whine. WITHOUT seeing your smug ass 2006 jersey from some Team-building exercise, or your Fake KOM jersey sponsored by some orthopedic hospital or worse an investment firm. Please!
I need you to kindly stand the fuck down while I listen to my ratcheting freehub warm with the lightening-fast click of the surrounding cicadas. I've earned the right to descend "My Mountain" with MY thoughts and even if we are on the same Fucking Fondo... I'd appreciate some respect as I burn some lithium grease without your fat spooging waistline rolling up beside me.
I'd like to descend alone, and without consideration of your chamois, your pseudo-sponsored jersey, and your unmatched bar-wrap. Leave this to me, and I will try not to encroach upon your decal'ed cloud.
No gripe with you folks who don't know how to enjoy yourselves out of doors. Hand Solo at home...? I'm good with you. No issue with you monkeys pressing backwards to avoid obstacles across town on your fixie-bike which never coasts. What IS annoying, however is the heavy-weight who has something to prove whence he arrives upon summit, and is dead-set to make up his sloven performance on the hill-climb. Really? My complaint is with the fair-weather downhill roller. My complaint of course, (Mr. Portnoy) was with my right to climb and plummet and contemplate my own chamois chafe without some hack making up his glacial ascent time in a tuck, while I'm forced to consider his in-grown thigh shag.
Peace is afforded when we all do the work together, but alas we descend alone, and when we all grant the space to enjoy the fruits of that labor, within the intimacy of one's descent we are whole.
Lay back! ...Lest I get my super-tuck on, and glow past your damp ass with a whirr only the cicadas respect.
We are all fast in the descent, aren't we? ...And as with skiing, there is a flat beer waiting for the first fucker to cop my line in the downhill. We know who you are, and we don't appreciate you ruining what we have worked for.
In an era with so much pent up potential, why is it that struggling "Artists" cannot find adequate ghost writers? With so many people spending the greater part of a year alone with their thoughts, it would seem to me that there would be both a surplus silo of creative content, and a crippled coven of shitty artists in deep malaise seeking a new Muse to lift them out of incapacitated stupor. As we emerge from our Cheeto coated cave It dawns on me that there is a symbiosis here, which should have been well brokered, even a cottage business to introduce the under-equipped "popular class" who drive internet clicks, with the fully competent cloistered mousey clan, who write just fine. (For the Bernie's to sell the Elton's their next hit.) In Upside-down land This might have been the special sauce which should have protected us all from a headwater of sewerage breaching the bank of good taste. Put plainly, Today there is both nothing to watch, and nothing to listen to. The former being understandable because in the past 14 months nobody wanted to stand beside, (let alone stage kiss) a pathogenic Nicholas Cage... On any given movie set -- The latter seems unfathomable, because most music can be made with a MacBook, and a small mixing console. Any given film does require a few more willing bodies. In a void of anything authentic, it happens that we have all been watching shit, with our daylight-sensitive weary brains. We have been consuming, commenting, even recommending all the new re-runs & canned shit-shows which would never have breached daylight, were it not for Covid's cessation of the entire studio production apparatus.
I know that I am not alone in lamenting the consumable crap which should have better remained upon the shelf -- So I won't list every marginally shitty show I've watched ten minutes of, in hopes of some dismal improvement, only to find that even the Romanian overdubbed sci-fi crime dramas are pissy shit. Not because they are not compelling stories in their own right, but because they are basically the re-hashed Eastern euro-trash version of a shelved (Nicolas Cage) Western drama, which was stolen from the Better BBC version before, being retold in another language, with laughable and pornographic overdub of English voice actors, from an eastern bloc language school.
So the 2020's shortage of anything worthwhile in entertainment, bled into the 2021's black hole which successfully sucked any nutrients from our starved brains -- We are left with cushions coated in chip residue, the occasional cracker or crust, and more bottles and cans than the recycle bin can hold. This ritual we do ungracefully to fend off the penultimate awfulness, whilst we await daylight.
So, today, in celebration of the Summer Solstice, strengthened by your MRNA re-code, it's time to cast aside the blue glow of LED's For the Warmth of a glorious yellow sunshine.
To Quote Van Gogh in one letter to his brother Theo, " For want of a better word I can only call it yellow -- Pale Sulphur yellow, pale lemon gold, How beautiful Yellow is!..." So in complete contrast to what we know, there is this lovely light at the end of our cave, igloo, or tunnel..., It is best to begin your journey forward before you learn a foreign language by the Netflix immersion method.
As a caution toward your blind thoughtlessness, and underexposed consciousness, I will assert what I find to be the talisman of what evil can come in a sort of "Ghost of Christmas Future", warning... Wipe your glasses, or better yet grab your far less chic Ray Bans, for here beware the ides of June.
If, upon this Solstice you should find yourself yet languishing in your cave hoisting hot pockets, and shaking the chip bag into your mouth like a baby bird -- Then what follows is quite literally the most outlandish defilement of our remaining filthy façade of fake cultivation -- What you will be left holding is The worst middle-school notebook scrawl, the most adolescent shit-story-board for bad lyricism. Whilst you were sleeping we've sent this "artist" to your dreams to deliver to you direct warning from his dumpster of reject writing. Your best reason to book a ticket, or host a party. You have been warned, but while you were in your virtual office, we've been waterboarded with this gibberish, and so here it goes:
"I've been waiting on a war since I was young
Since I was a little boy with a toy gun
Never really wanted to be number one
Just wanted to love everyone
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this
More to this, more to this than
Just waiting on a war?
Just waiting on a war?
Every day waiting for the sky to fall
Big crash on a world that's so small
Just a boy with nowhere left to go
Fell in love with a voice on the radio
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this than that?
Is there more to this
More to this, more to this than
Just waiting on a war?
Just waiting on a war?"
-Foo Fighter Extraordinaire
Please select your preference:
A. “On what day did God create Dave Grohl?, and could be not have rested on that day too?”
B. “Shit Sandwich”.
I won't argue that a good concert is precisely what we all need right now, Complete with bathroom-stall make-out session, smuggled whisky, and psychedelics. But if entertainment as an escape, is useful for a well formed soul -- Then a great performance does not equivocate great songwriting. In fact great songs are not (necessarily) required for a solid rock show. A great concert can thereby be pulled off, with showmanship, stagecraft, smoke machines, and decibel's, (even if most of the tracks are crap). We can hereby all just agree to self medicate until they/them, "Play their fucking hit already"... But please sweet baby Jesus save us from this hideous plague which has infected our brains. This vacuous scourge has made it not only possible to create such trash, but to take a cold bath in it, and thus accept this spiky ball of shit to bind to our brains. It's not your fault if you find yourself singing along to Madonna's "Borderline" Because we are all desperate for Something, Anything..., and heck!, "Borderline" is a good track, even in an elevator.
But the 'King Foo'?... Wow! when did "Borderline" became the breached border wall of quarantine, and why are we now forced to suffer the indignity of yet another junior-high notebook doodle, cum garage-band from that "Bearded Nirvana Drummer guy"?
You can do something before you slide so far down the slope that your friends catch you tapping your toe to this track. Before they can no longer help you out of the muck... Just say no. Being desperate for the company of good music does not mean that we should so readily lift our skirts for just any track (with or without a toy gun in it) -- Lest it be from this guy, This Song even smells like Fluorescent Lights and Blatz Beer, On-stage -- Hurling saliva droplets upon my 5th row VIP experience.
"I've been waiting on a wristband, since I was young" -- And to cuddle 3000 awkward strangers in the mud for the first Rock Show in 16 months. This has it's therapeutical advantages -- But, I'm not waiting on, "Smells Like Teen Spittle".
Play drums? Yes.
Form a Band? OK.
Be the front man if you wish -- But when you absolutely cannot conjure anything better than this banana hammock drivel, you need a friend to pick your next outfit. Stay home until you have something presentable.
Is there more to this than that? Fuck yes there is. It's called the back catalog by anyone, maybe even Nirvana.
To celebrate the summer solstice Open your Window Shades, Stretch, Vaccinate, Vacuum, Trade-up your TV for some Records. If you need some help with selections, phone a friend, or better yet have them over. Because friends don't let friends listen to crap, or Loverboy. But if you want to place your speakers in your open window sill, and "Blast" the neighbors, and it has to be Loverboy, Fine! just don't let it be the aforementioned "boy with the toy gun". Because well... Just Don't! It's the longest Day of the year, and it's a Monday -- So don't waste 4 minutes and 34 Seconds of glorious sunlight with this track.
"Relax, relax, relax just a little pin-prick, there'll be no more Ahhhhh... But you may feel a little sick".
Generation P (It Looks like The Meek shall Inherit All This Shit)
Are you out of breath pouring Oat milk over your cereal?
Who the fuck can afford cereal?, ...oh that’s right you live in your Mom’s basement.
So Bored with, "...How other countries still like fucking exist” and "how is it they have a completely different (if real) set of crises"?
Nobody Suffers like I do bro..., "Fuck! I cracked another $800. Android".
Sad that nobody clicked on your feed this week? You sensitive flower.
"But, um like... Everyone’s Posts seem so similar, so is it really plagiarism"?
Appalled with The inflated price of mainstream vape apparatuses?
And, "Shit man! they are out of White grape… Bro".
Pissed that you can’t grow an adequate ironic mustache?, or that your roommate’s boss said you can no longer ween at the teet of pilfered single origin cortados?
"Dude, I Absolutely cannot go to work without coffee, and who the fuck knew they were actually 5 bucks"?
Told your pal (while stoned) that you, "Make way better Ramen than that Uber Eats Shit"?
From a packet no less?, "...The secret is Mayo and Sriracha Bro".
You "Don’t vote, ever”, although your parents still pay your Car insurance?
You are so thoroughly “Gen - P”
Today you argued with your Sister and your Father, (who you also call 'Bro') because
they um like called you a lazy fuck, and you think that's a "racist slur".
You sensitive twat!, You are not the "Woke Pronoun" you believe you are because you sleep until 2 pm, and, you believe, "Jay Z totally invented Hip Hop".
Well, at least you believe in something.
Sad day and sorry to hear that you, "Crashed your One-Wheel E-scooter-Handicapped-Mobility-device-thingy?
It was bound to happen in the bike lane, at rush-hour, in traffic, while posting rad vids of your dragon wing tattoo to your instagram.
"...Won’t get a free vaccine, because", "the Lines are hella long"?
Yawn… Line? -- Wait... -- You actually wait in-line for brunch, bitch.
You didn’t know that cell phones "even had a Phone-Call App", until you started getting political spam. "They can, um like make it ring, and then you like listen and talk..."
Last Fall you blocked everyone, but the nine people in your contacts.
You're thinking that perhaps you identify as 'Bi', or 'Q', or "Whatever", because you can’t umm like talk to other notorious genders.
Maybe changing your name will help; But (Um Like) today, you actually just identify as “P”
Let's make it easy, we have a name for you.
You are the future Bro..., And we shall call you 'Generation Pussy'.
What an irony that Two Bicycle Makers, (brothers actually), became America's first gasoline-powered car makers. Charles and Frank Duryea were keenly interested in the compelling new gasoline engines and in imported automobiles., and so they set about to build themselves some cars. It should be noted that these two were certainly curious tinkerers, and continued to pursue challenges of both engineering, and to score them some wins in their need for speed. Somewhat laughable today, These were not the speediest machines, in fact some contemporaries on bikes rode beside them in their inaugural road race. The Duryea Bros. participated in races, nearly as soon as they had a working prototype; Of course they did.
Frank & Charles Duryea became the first Americans to launch a successful commercial automobile company, and they were thrilled to participate in any challenge which would get them needed market exposure. The brothers Duryea were also the first to incorporate their American business to build automobiles for sale to the public. They studied the internal combustion engine at their public library, and after begging, everyone for start-up capital, they set about to make something so pedestrians and cyclists would forever live in fear of crazy drivers.
At 8:55 am on November 28, 1895, six motor cars set off from Chicago's Jackson Park for a 54-mile (slow car) race to Evanston, Illinois -- and back through the snow to the park. Incidentally this is a route that I do in my bicycle in about half the time, but one could argue the roads are a bit nicer today... I'm not so certain.
Car Number 5 driven by inventor Frank Duryea, won the race in just over 10 hours at an average speed between 5.4 & 7.3 mph. This "Thanksgiving day Race" pitted him against three imported Benzes and two electric cars. Charles helped, his brother Frank cracking a crop to speed his horse-drawn sleigh through a snow-storm supporting his brother with parts and repairs for the car. Bad weather forced these cars to slip & slide into each other and snowbanks. Frank Duryea was the only one to actually finish the race.
The winner of the annual Thanksgiving race scored $2,000. (more than $50,000. In today’s money).
An automobile enthusiast from the crowd notable for giving these new horseless vehicles the name "motorcycles" won $500. The race was sponsored by the Chicago Times-Herald Newspaper and after the thrilling race they published, "Persons who are inclined to decry the development of the horseless carriage will be forced to recognize it as an admitted mechanical achievement, highly adapted to some of the most urgent needs of our civilization." Wow!!
As far as staying power is concerned, most early inventions explode, deteriorate, completely flop before getting legs, or immediately become eclipsed by a new fashion, or a far better contraption. The namesake Duryea automobile, and later sold only 13 units, before the brothers arguments split them up. Frank continued to tinker and became quite successful with his new "Steven's Duryea" automobile which was sold in a more-or-less similar and expensive limousine version from 1896 into the 1920's. The initial hand-built buggy was little more than a carriage, tiller for steering and a motor., It was a handsome, and efficient machine for its time. Fully Formed in Springfield, Massachusetts -- within one year of their Chicago Publicity race, the Duryea Motor Wagon Company soon disbanded, with Charles pursuing different trades, and Frank following his dreams to build a better machine than Benz. Before the two split and Frank formed his second company, the two made many new ideas work — But Frank would later invest considerable time in a 6 cylinder engine. Frank Partnered with the Steven's Firearm Manufacturing Company to build his new engines and 3 models, and so Steven’s investment in both the company and manufacturing brought Stevens primary naming rights. The second phaeton was an expensive limousine, which remained in production in some form for 20 plus years, making Frank and Steven’s quite wealthy.
Two months after their first winning race, "Customer Number 3" -- A New York City motorist, Mr. Henry Wells Esq., struck a cyclist piloting the original Duryea. The rider suffered bruises, and a broken leg..., and Mr. Henry Wells spent a night in the city jail. This auspicious incident became the nation's first recorded traffic accident, and injury.
Is it any wonder that the first ironic American Automobile crash of any kind, was some rich dude striking a cyclist, in a car built by Bike Makers?
It is only comforting to recall that these sweet rolling coffins hit a top speed downhill with a tailwind of no more than 14 Mph, the average speed of a bicycle in America today.
Chilled Beer, Cool Movies, even Cooled Seats... Go ahead and grab a cold one, but don't vilify those who brought it to you, because (perhaps) they brought more good than harm.
The term “air conditioning” actually originated with textile engineer Stuart H. Cramer. Cramer used the phrase “air conditioning” in a 1906 patent claim he filed for a device that added water vapor to the air in textile plants to condition the yarn. This invention became the Humidifier, which is essentially the opposite of what we now know as Air Conditioning.
In 1902 just one year after Willis Carrier graduated from Cornell University with a masters in Engineering He was making $10 a week at the Buffalo Forge Company, A year out of college, and Carrier’s “Apparatus for Treating Air” was already in operation for a Brooklyn printing company, Fluctuations in heat and humidity in his plant caused the dimensions of printing paper to alter and create misalignment of the colored inks. The new air conditioning machine created a stable cool dry environment and, as a result, aligned four-color printing became possible His first of several patents was awarded to Willis Carrier four years later. Carrier is recognized as the “father of air conditioning.”
In 1911 Carrier published his basic “Rational Psychrometric Formulae” to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. His formula remains today as the basis in all fundamental calculations for the air conditioning industry. Carrier said he received a “flash of genius” while awaiting a train on a foggy night. He was thinking about the problem of temperature and humidity control and by the time the train arrived, he said he understood the relationship between temperature, humidity and dew point.
Because of Carrier, temperature and humidity levels could now be controlled, and with impediments removed, Manufacturers could scale production regardless of the weather to improve productivity in Meat, Medicine, Textiles, Printing, Prayer, and even Office Work.
Charles Franklin Kettering invented many things, He invented an easy credit approval system, a precursor to today's credit cards, authorization system. In fact you’d likely wait the same amount of time from swipe to signature today as his O.K. system in 1920. Kettering also invented the electric cash register for NCR (National Cash Register), which remained in production for 40 years. These allowed sales clerks around the globe to manage transactions, authorize credit cards, and conduct commerce at a new clip. Later his electronic cash register would evolve into Code-Breaking devices for wartime cyphers, Followed by the folkloric Enigma Machine, and later your Computer.
Shortly after Joining NCR Kettering’s coworkers were encouraging him to improve the automobile, Charles Kettering modified an internal combustion engine to run on kerosene. However, kerosene-fueled engines knocked, as trapped kerosene droplets would crack the cylinder heads and pistons.
Thomas Midgley Jr. An associate of Kettering, discovered that the cause of the knocking was from the kerosene droplets vaporizing on combustion. Anti-knock agents were researched by Midgley, and subsequently tetraethyl lead was added to fuel. This led Thomas Midgley to invent leaded (ethyl) gasoline.
With a smooth running engine, Kettering (working now at General Motors), invented the first electric automobile ignition system. The “self-starting” ignition was first installed in a Cadillac on February 17, 1911. The invention of the electric starter motor by Kettering eliminated the need for hand cranking, but equipped the automobile with a Lead Battery. Lazy Humans could now go forth by automobile, And do so with very little effort, and even bright lights.
Lead would become ubiquitous when the new self-starting automobiles began to run upon leaded gasoline, ignited by a leaded battery.
We were now set to scale up simple knock-free self-starting cars for everyone. Convenient Cars could belch lead and cast their leaded sheen over the coal dusted landscape. Midgley, now called the most destructive inventor of all time, kept secret the known hazard of Leaded Fuel until his death. In fairness Midgley and Kettering, moved the Fuel industry to efficiency, and thereby reduced emissions, and waste. Kettering and Midgley experimented with a variety of fuels, and patented
many blends, He also discovered that the most interesting high-percentage anti-knock additive was ethyl alcohol (ethanol); Which is blended in fuel today to maximize it's efficacy, and reduce knock.
With full credit to Carrier, it should come as no surprise that two of the most influential inventions, (perhaps ever); The Automobile, and the Air Conditioner, would become substantially improved by Kettering and Midgley, en-route to destroying the Ozone, and poisoning our landscape.
But Air Conditioning and refrigeration, (arguably the coolest inventions of all time), were using ammonia, and other caustic, toxic, and flammable refrigerants, to cool and dry the air. In fact many arched top refrigerators stood in yards because of their propensity to catch fire, or sicken a household. These dangers became the devil you’d know.
Comfort cooling evolved along side industrial utilization, and in 1924 three Carrier centrifugal chillers were installed for the J.L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit, Michigan. Shoppers flocked to enjoy an “air conditioned” store. The revolution of human cooling flowed from department stores to movie theaters, Matinee tickets were cheaper in the hot seats, Before the Rivoli Theater in New York installed their Carrier Chillers. “Cool Comfort” signs soared sales for the Summer film business, and as demand increased for safer refrigerators and cooler spaces, demand outpaced ingenuity.
Refrigerators from the late 1800s until 1929 used the toxic gases, ammonia (NH3), methyl chloride (CH3Cl), and sulfur dioxide (SO2), as refrigerants. Several fatal accidents occurred in the 1920s because refrigerators leaked methyl chloride.
Charles Kettering was the vice-president of the General Motors Research Corporation from 1920 to 1948, when Thomas Midgley was chosen by Kettering to head research into new refrigerants. An auspicious collaboration with Dupont, General Motors, and Frigidaire, lead to the development of a safer, and more effective refrigerant. In 1928, Midgley and Kettering invented a "miracle compound" called Freon. Frigidaire received the first patent, US#1,886,339, for the formula for CFCs on December 31, 1928.
Freons, (unlike leaded fuel) are colorless, odorless, nonflammable, noncorrosive gases or liquids.
They contain several different chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, a group of aliphatic organic compounds containing the elements carbon, fluorine, as well as halogens (especially chlorine) and hydrogen. These have been deployed in commerce and industry at incredible scale for a hundred years to improve production of nearly every industry from filmmaking, to food-processing. They are invisible and odorless, and so it’s no surprise that nobody saw them destroying our planet, in tandem with Leaded Fuel. These Hazards became the Invisible Devil.
Willis Carrier developed the first residential “Weathermaker” air conditioner in 1928, for private home use. The Great Depression and World War II slowed the non-industrial implementation of air conditioning, which is just as well, because the new refrigerants would improve a rebound after the war.
Packard would become the first automobile manufacturer to offer an air conditioned vehicle in 1929. Massive units about the size of a window AC unit today bolted in the trunk, consuming more than half of the boot, while pipes were run the length of the car to deliver the chill via vents. This “option” was installed by Bishop and Babcock (B&B), of Cleveland, Ohio. The B&B AC upgrade were ordered on approximately 2,000 cars. The "Bishop and Babcock Weather Conditioner" also incorporated a heater. Cars ordered with this option were shipped from Packard's East Grand Boulevard factory to the B&B factory where the conversion was performed. When finished, the car was shipped to your local dealer for pick-up by it’s wealthy clients.
Packard warranted and supported their conversion. However, it wasn’t commercially successful in depression era America because of it’s price of $274. ($7500 in 2020 US dollars)
CFCs, or Freon, are now infamous for greatly adding to the depletion of the earth's ozone shield. High up in the stratosphere is a 3mm thin veil of O3, which blocks (filters) UV wavelengths. This blanket guards against Ultra Violet bombardment from our sun. Leaded gasoline is also a major pollutant, A double duty damager producing burnt carbon, and toxic lead in spades, and dumping the heavy stuff in our drinking water, while floating the lighter stuff upward. Thomas Midgley secretly suffered from lead poisoning because of his inventions, and tunnel vision, a fact he kept hidden from the public, until his death.
Before everything went to shit with The War, America enjoyed cool Theaters, Cool Cars, and Cold Beer.
Because of ozone depletion, Most uses of CFCs are now banned or severely restricted by the Montreal Protocol. Today, no suitable (general use non-flammable / non-toxic) alternatives to halocarbon refrigerants have been found to resolve problems innate to the original Freon
Brands of Freon containing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) have replaced CFC’s for the same purposes, but they too, are under strict control under the Kyoto protocol. CFC’s & HFC’s are deemed "super-greenhouse effect" gasses. If you believe in that junk.Kettering holds over 186 patents from the Neonatal incubator, to Guided Missiles, and from Diesel Engines, to Automotive Paint.
Of course every new feature comes with some bugs, and at a cost, -- So in consideration of a myriad improvement to human comfort afforded by your lovely Fridge, One’s car, or the humanity restored by your first 'Window Unit” — We have a few formerly unknown fellas to toast as the thermometer goes straight up.
As you pull a frozen Hot Pocket from your ice-box, reflecting that you were lucky enough to be vaccinated, then you can thank Carrier, Kettering, Midgley, and (of course) our frenemy Freon.
What do you get when you cross a McLaren with a Stuffed Toy? What happens when you shod your Ducati with doughnuts? How can I possibly make fast more comfortable? Can I have my couch mounted to my bike's seat-post? None of that is possible, as the dynamics of comfort are antithetical to the physics of going fast. To be efficient, is to shed every possible exceptional gram, and gadget, and perhaps slip the wind. Going Faster seems a direct proportion of effort, exertion, and efficiency. Is a Front shock the answer? Full suspension road bike, in your future? Maybe a "Road Bike" is not the "right bike" for you?
If I ride a bicycle wearing a baggy wind-breaker and a back-pack, I should expect these to luff in the breezes catching wind and dragging me slower. If I ride my 1956 Schwinn 3-Speed, I should expect to work a bit to push against formidable rotating weight, and heft. If I ride the lightest bike on the block, and wear my birthday suit, I should expect to slip the wind, powering forward without impediment, as I double or treble my Schwinn's-speediness, but be arrested, just the same. So with a sense of danger, ideal gear (a proper lycra kit on a fast bike) & perfect elements (lovely weather & conditions), the only thing slowing one down is ability, and (of course) the rank surface upon which you roll. For the city rider with perfect kit, speed may defy gravity, but one cannot become fast at all if the terrain plots to swallow you whole. It's best to levitate.
I recall fondly the first day I borrowed my friend's Peugeot Mountain Bike, and the deliberate reckless abandon with which I bashed into every conceivable bump, patch, and pot-hole. I felt empowered to do evil to the cushy tires, and sturdy steel frame. I cut across every lawn, and landscape, river-beds, and pathways, until I returned to put that mare away wet. I feel certain that this release of testosterone, and adrenaline, as counterpoint to my Custom Paramount with 20c SUP's, was cause for my friend never lending me her bike again. She was polite to not berate me for banging up her bike. But This set a fire beneath me to one day own my own fat-tire rig. I relived this very moment again when I picked up my new Cannondale MT2000 from Lay-away, and put it through it's paces. This was the same moment that I swore to learn to build wheels, swap rims, and hence I became a better mechanic. It is not lost on me that everyone has this primal YOLO experience, when given a deadly toy. Most "normal" people slip a bit when handed the danger keys. It is poignant that I can tap this very nostalgic empathy each time I help some sap fix something bad they did quite deliberately to their beloved bike. It is with this same Evil Urge to bomber into shit, that I clicked my heels upon my new set of wheels, and became belligerent with my bike but again. Ohh the sweet release of being negligent!! Like a rental when you have "Full Coverage"...
So today, quite deliberately I poked new valves into a brand-spankin' new set of custom wheels, and belted them with some Schwalbe's I'd had sitting about the house. I poured a few ounces of latex into these, and snapped them onto the rim. With my handy-dandy Silca Pista, I pressed the plunger down and the whole dream clicked together. My new custom wheel-set is at this very moment regretting ever having met me, and we are pressing forward with an undiscussed agenda, whereby I do the deed over some of the rougher roads my fair city has to offer. (We have the shittiest roads North of Nicaragua).
I spun the discs off my Roval's and checked the indexing, before setting out on a deliberate tear down by the abandon foundry. My new wheels are built from DT180's, 32 Berd UHMW String Spokes, and 32c Atomic Carbon Road Hoops. They are both bizarrely competent looking, (if a bit inelegant), and brilliantly lightweight. All tolled, as compared to my Roval CLX's, These Custom Berd wheels are a flat 1200 grams, and appear to be up to the task. My Current Roval wheels are a bit of a Magic Carpet Ride, because they are flat out the fastest wheel I've ever strode upon. They are wicked light, punchy, bomber strong, and wind-up like a fighter jet. Incidentally the Roval Alpinist CLX weigh about 1255g. So... It is my opinion that I can only be disappointed with my first test-ride, Right? Should the folkloric claim to comfort by Berd owners, prove false, I will be the first to say. As Prophesy goes, those who believe, shall be saved. So today as traffic subsided I set about to beat these wheels about the worst roads my fair city has to offer, and to see how they Koncede the Kush. It is fair to clarify two points... One, is that I'm a lightweight, so the punishment is not coming from Clubber Lang the Clydesdale. Two, is that I am just like the rest of you indelicate fuckers, who have tried to punish someone-else's gear, without regard for life or liberty. These are my wheels and I promised them I'd do my best to gauge their singular advantage as compared to my benchmark wheelset; The Roval Alpinist CLX. Are they Lighter? -- Not Much. Are they More Aero? -- Not at all. Are they cheaper? A bit. Are they faster...? Well -- We will find that out.
Out the door I felt the gears, and brakes, and ran through them to be sure no harm may come. Pursuing a course through a few washboard areas, where crucible train tracks crossed the road over and again to carry hot steel from foundry to prep areas in a space which was once a Stainless Foundry, This crumbling causeway allowed me to cruise through a quick patch of obstacles. After a few bunny hops, and perhaps not paying close enough attention, I can say that my headwind was strong, and yet at about 18 mph, most of what I noticed was not memorable at all. In essence, my ride through what is generally quite taxing on my hands, forearms, and ass, were not much to mention. This conspicuous missing data, where I really didn't feel beat up, was perhaps the special sauce I was looking to confirm. I checked myself, and thought as I hit a straight-away, "Was I just not paying attention?, or" was that not a big deal?" Maybe I should have paid more attention to the washboard, and the tracks, as well as those cracks and potholes, and so I vowed to focus when I hit the park. As the perfect sunny day released many varied people from their habitats..., Their strolling-about forced me to go off-road. through the park by Grass and Gravel. I hit some roots, ruts, and branches, as well as a few ledges. What again happened was this strange sensation that something was missing. I calculated that I should very well have perceived more shake, more shimmy, and more fatigue, but it just wasn't coming. Was this confirmation bias? Am I fooling myself? What the hell is happening here? There is a claim from some wheel builders who lace with these $8. string spokes that their wheels impart 20% more comfort. This of course is nearly impossible to quantify, unless by creating a custom dynamic testing rig in a laboratory, or by placing one's frail ass upon a road bike with a hard carbon seat. Problem: Rough Ride - Solution: Levitate.
I continued with a paved route, using the occasional dodging to grass and gravel maneuver off tarmac, and onto the shoulder. I rode like this for about 6 miles and then hit some parkland. Again offroad I was missing the general gentle jarring of a rigid wheel. Wait! what's my tire pressure? Is it leaking? Are they getting splashy? No. They were still at 80 psi, about 16-18 lbs. harder than my Roval reference. So now I soldiered onward, then turned around to hit the same terrain on the way back to make more notes. It's not unusual for me to not be passed at this time of day, as I swam amongst the minnows, but I was going quite fast both directions and felt none of it.
On the technical side the Berd Spokes are basically a high molecular weight Polyethylene rope. They have a threaded tip held on like a Chinese Finger trap, and a knot that stops them at the hub. They wind-up like a typical spoke, but require a few tensioning phases to ensure they are devoid of slack, They play a bit like a ukulele, and they are reparable the same as any spoke, albeit easier to pack. The spokes float on water, but won't allow you to ride upon it. Berd spokes are protected by US Patents 10,150,332 B2, 10,661,598 B2, and patents pending.
When returning i had a tail wind and so I hit the same terrain at about double the speed. Through each distinct obstacle, I rode with what appeared to be less impact to my otherwise pansy-assed constitution. I'm not getting any younger, but this new recipe of a bike lover's bike with a wheel lover's wheel seemed to be doing what's advertised. I cannot quantify with a percent sign what modicum of squish factor is being applied through this initial test-drive, but we will certainly revisit, the present fantasy, that my new Berd Wheels were legitimate contenders for my Sofa Seat fantasy. What will become of me with a wheel-set that allows me the freedom to ride it like I stole it? I trust that having faith in one's deity, whether a gadget, totem, or plain fantasy may very well be enough magic to sustain the faithful. I have ridden upon what appears at first blush to be a marvelous set of wheels, and hope to live to tell about it.
We will revisit this string-wheel review after a few hundred miles, and then again after a few thousand, and I hope the news is as good. Today, my new custom Berd wheels are magnificent. I was not initially mesmerized by the retro aesthetic as I changed from 24 spokes back to 32, but once I get over fat shaming my spokes, I will settle on these as my preferred go-to all-rounder.
Let's see how they climb next.
My wheels and all reviewed gear is paid for in full and all reviews here are without influence of $chwag.
Phone: (612) 308-8740
Address: 401 11th Ave S Ste 300, Hopkins, MN 55343
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm Central US Time
"My intentions are good and earnest and true
But under my hood is internal combustion power
...And Satan is my motor" -Cake
What type of motor does your bicycle have? Class 1? Class 2? Class 3? Pedal Assist?, or do you have a throttle? How fast does the whirring assist take you?
Mine is "Class Nil"... I have no motor to speak of installed in my bicycle. The principle reason is this -- Because batteries shoved into my frame are stupid. This will always be stupid. It was stupid, and remains ...well, Stupid! I'm a fan of getting everyone on bikes; even motorized bikes. I love e-bike riding? I've rented and long considered purchase. I have helped with E-bike companys & retail start-ups, and I've helped other's purchase, and rent E-Bikes.
So you would think that I would know exactly why most bike makers build a battery pack deep within the frames of their E-Bikes. It's almost like their are smuggling a shit-ton of button cells through customs. The question is a bit like asking why a Twinkie has cream filling rather than frosting. What is the technical benefit of concealing the battery cells deep within the frame? I have some theories, and they may not sit too well with you, nor their manufacturers.
An "E-bike" is initially a "bike" correct? Meaning that the bike is the place where the motor and batteries get attached, No? Yes... This is true, but what is an e-bike when the battery is detachable? It's still an e-bike. What is it then when the motor AND the Battery come off? It's a huge competitor to the fashion of selling
e-bikes for stratospheric prices. THIS is why e-bike makers shoe-horn li-poly cells into the frame.
You see, that a Fazua Motor is a self contained concept where the motor-battery assembly can be detached. This clever invention clicks into the downtube, connecting to the bottom bracket and cranks -- viola!, you have an e-bike. Take it out and what do you have?, well... It's still an e-bike, if a bit lighter. This design gets startlingly close to an acceptable form, but not quite. The concave downtube which houses the motor/battery looks a bit like a cargo helicopter, sans container. The bike comes quite close to riding like a normal bicycle would, but without attachments -- So with the motor detached is it still an e-bike?
I would prefer to believe in the magic of this Helicopter being powered by four VW beetles, but that is not the case here, however this illustrates how a cargo copter looks without it's payload. Yep..., basically like the Fazua Bike does without it's tiny genius motor and battery payload. It rides well either way, but I'm still wondering why the battery for most if all popular brand e-bikes is crammed in their belly. Why could these bikes not just have an attached battery-pack below the downtube, or even a bottle-style battery in a standard bottle-cage, to power a hub motor?
Because Satan is my Motor, I don't much care how you get your e-bike fix, but if left up to the marketing team -- one can draw some quick lines between Dolby Labs, and enumerable down-tube laden battery packs. Dolby created 90 different surround sound modes, to help sell a gazillion speakers over time. There was AC-3, 3.1, 5.1, 5.2, 7.2. 9.2, Atomos, and any manner of excessive speaker combinations -- then the world said, "Fuck It" I'll just buy a pissy little sound-bar. It was a great ride for retail while it lasted, but they spoiled it for everyone, by jumping a shark with a fuck-ton of speakers on their back. People now stream their music and movies through a speaker the size of their palm, and they want their bike to charge their speakers, and pedal for them as well.
Today nearly all my friends have shitty sound-bars for their party tunes. Casting aside any complexity, in favor of a single cylinder. These sound like shit, but I don't mention it. So E-Bikes play this game of slow evolution selling a different form factor every single year, expiring last years design without support for last year. Sure the Bosch motors are generally BB loaded, and yes the battery being held down low will best center the COG (center of gravity), but engineering a frame with a shitload of tiny Li-Poly cells in it like a pregnant fish, is merely done to maintain propriety over a "System". For Trek it seems to preclude compatibility with another brand, and for Giant and Specialized the same seems true, but the core design of the Bosch and or any system is an architecture where the motor maker gets paid and hands you a set of specs, and even some skeletal carcass, like a rib-cage and you slap carbon plies around it like papier mache'. "Here, Build your bike around this thing".
So if you cannot travel on the airlines with your e-bike it is because of two things which could have been different: One is that the battery cannot be removed for travel, preventing air travel adventures, and also preventing Fedex and other Express curriers from moving it around for you. Two is that the Bike is not modular and hence it weighs a Metric Ton, and none of that weight can be removed and divided for travel.
OK, so I know what you are thinking..., you say, "well on many the battery is removable from the downtube"; Which is true. But you cannot get around the fact that the bike was shaped around the battery pack, and THAT is the issue, My issue with e-bikes.
The only good reason to shape the battery du jour within a sculpted frame is to make it proprietary, and hence you see a "System" because as soon as the Mahle Motor and a Bottle battery are sold separately, why in the fuck would you buy an $8500.-$12,000. e-bike from Specialized, Trek, Giant etc...? You wouldn't. Those who wanted an e-bike would simply buy a 'Class X' kit, (Likely from Mahle) and drop a battery or two in their bottle cage, and off they roll.
Here is another con against the con for integrated Batteries in your downtube; When Trek stopped asking their Taiwanese OEM to build you a Domane-E, and the following year they pencil a new plan, that is the very moment that the Battery and parts for your precious e-bike become obsolete. Add to that the Charger, with proprietary connector, and the silly glowing buttons on the top-tube. If you trash a battery with the wrong charger, get it wet, or short it out, then you now have a pedal bike like mine, with 30 spare pounds to lug about, that nobody wants to buy from you.
Why do e-bikes have a large doorbell button glowing on their top-tube? This is a throwback to electric skateboards from 1997. Can't the "controls" be a wireless button, or wired mount for the stem or handlebar? Yes..., yes they could, but they have to integrate these things to keep you aligned with the cult of integration. This makes it look like they are delivering to you (a system) something other than a bike with someone else's motor and battery attached. This is not intended to bash a brand, but for crissakes, let's move this slow evolution forward a bit faster.
I'd like an e-bike which has a bottle battery, and a rear wheel motor, and nothing more. Heck, I may even want a two wheel drive e-bike with two wheel motors, which can pull me through the snow or sloppy mud, but that would ONLY require a new set of wheels, and a battery. A' la-fucking-carte is my future e-bike. It's OK to sell me a proprietary system, but I really don't need to encase my nuts and such in carbonite to make it go. You could say that my e-bike wouldn't be much of an e-bike at all... Mine would only be my bike, but faster (bought and paid for with a few grand into the conversion). I'd have a modular and versatile, shippable airline-ready e-bike for those days that I feel flu-like symptoms, or feign an injury. If I were to feel lazy and wish to, "roll like me, only faster", I could slap that kit on any one of my bikes, and have a go.
So the "e-bike thing" today, is betwixt between a beguiling bafoonery of glacial evol., and poncy proprietary piss-me-off integration. Your e-bike will sport a bewitching button beset upon the top-tube -- This glowing cyclops door-bell, is wired into 'Brand-X' motor but this will be obsolete next season, along with it's custom painted battery. We've all been taught that our "ON Button" is somewhere near our crotch, but for a bike the position of that bionic button is bunk. I want to look down and scratch whilst charging forward at 22mph?
You can see the evolution happen so fast that last years e-bikes are being sold beside this year's models for different prices, with essentially the same feature set, only today's are smarter. You can also see the evolution toward any relevant standard of retrofit, as glacial. Today, if they cannot find owners to adopt last years tech, these surplus e-bikes will soon dwell in a land of misfit toys. This is obvious when visiting any brand retailer, who is completely out of regular bikes but is sitting on a half dozen of last year's over-thought pregnant down-tubes.
When you say, "...just maybe, he is getting carried away with his rant" -- I have no reasonable retort, except to say that, "it's MY rant". Today when i wish to be wisked away with a whoosh, I will likely do so under my own power, thank you... Because well, "Satan is My Motor".
Hear my motor purr
Satan is my motor
Hear my motor purr
Satan is the only one who seems to understand
Satan is my motor -Cake
I have mixed feelings about plagiarism. Not ethically, per se' because I may have copied someone's Math and English assignments in the pre-google period. (B.G. Before Google). Criticizing 'copy-cats' would make me a hypocrite, but I do believe in intellectual property rights, and more loosely in Trade Marks. How does that saying go?... Plagiarism is the fondest form of flattery? Nah... And as insulting idioms go, we all know the feeling when the new guy starts -- And the smug fucker, (barely out of school), projects airs of superiority, and innate wisdom -- which could not possibly be merited, right?
Born back when there was something called "the school of hard knocks", I was run through the grinder with every attempt, advance, and shift in position. This fo course sucks as much as it evolves stronger character, thicker skin, and better equipped humans. But what of the copycat, who observes and makes a copy without fully understanding how it works? Can this be hazardous? I dreamt last night of inexperienced youthful self-assured snowflakes being ground into a fine powder by those with actual experience, and expertise. Alas, (sigh) above all we seem to stamp-out freshly minted "New Kids" with ZERO experience, and even less grace, while we coddle them as creative 'fresh talent'. They will, "help us connect with our market", we older crew recite. But what do copy-cats, and these un-formed babies have in common? Perhaps they have a desire to play out a fraud, amongst the genuine. Swimming in the pool of doers, where larger sharks lurk until the wee ones, and the fakers slam their heads squarely against the ladder, they should have grasped. Drawing a line between authenticity-and-clones, as with capability-and-clowns, can be a useful skillset. But when the information appears legit, and nothing bounces back in the background check -- Then you have to take a leap of faith when buying that generic brand of cat food, a knock-off toddler toy, or cheap kite-board. The rub is, just how much do you trust the one trillion positive reviews, before you pull the rip-cord, and assume your life will be saved by a Brand "X" Parachute. When drawing a line between inventiveness and copy-cats, it may prove a critical boundary, to assert some rules, before someone gets hurt. ...And so we have laws. Copyright laws, Patent Laws, Import Laws, and Property rights Laws, amongst other's. When Brand "X" makes a Bottle of glass cleaner to look exactly like Windex for the Dollar Store, a trademark boundary is traversed, and the agreed upon norms, and laws which protect brand rights are broken. Owing to a corrosive vortex called the internet, and with ancient US Postal legislations, anyone abroad can copy your product and sell it into your market for less than you can. In fact this is now so simple that what you thought was the "Next Big thing", gets rubbed out by some crap-tastic brand like "Shinoma".
Quick Question: Why even change the name?, why not just make fakes?
When moving two letters around to create a "me too" brand using the same font-type, do the Makers of Shinoma, or Shinano know how close their Product's brand name cuts against the pejorative word for a shoe polish, feces, or a bad TV band?
So there is this brand called Shimano, who have been innovating many industries with intricate machining and blissfully brilliant functionality for nearly 70 years. Then along comes some Chinese knock-off, who moves two vowels around, and begins selling into the US market with, well basically shit.
Have Shimano made crappy devices in the past?, not really, even a bike wrench will tell you that when setting up their worst derailleur, 'Tourney SIS', "it basically needs nothing but lube or occasional cable for a decade or more of riding".
Any Internet inducement can advertise similar specifications, with similar weights, and one can even instantly create credibility by buying 10,000 positive comments, with links to all sorts of fake reviews, (thank you social media, you greedy whore). One can pay Yelp, Google, or Fake Book to leverage your new clone brand to the middle top of the food chain, by equal parts mimesis, fraud, & false marketing. I can now buy any fare of junk on Amazon, which look (from a distance) just like the "real thing". Your newly minted clone falls far short of it's performance, and safety threshold, because there is no expectation for function, durability, and authenticity. We perpetuate the fraud with a fake Louis Vuitton, bag, but that of course will only hurt the brand, and not the user. So what of a Bicycle, featuring real Shinoma Parts? Will you love it? Will your new toy bring joy, and many years of fond outings. To induce your online purchase of the latest gadget today, requires a whole new lexicon of promises such as, "Designed in California", "Free Delivery & Free Returns", "Guaranteed Highest Quality", "Just Like the Real Thing", You are possibly purchasing something which will fulfill your wildest dreams. Or, Perhaps you are procuring a total piece of crap which was engineered to imitate, forged from faulty parts, with inferior standards. To the unwitting consumer we have but one caution; Buyer Beware. The makers of fake shit are laughing when they sell you truly crappy stuff. They mock your disposable lifestyle -- Your empty life full of cheap broken shit filling your garage and basement. Tisk tisk for walking out of your local bike shop saying, "C'mon, we can just find one on Amazon/Ebay". If the vendor knocks off something great, can you guarantee it will be even good? When they make something crappy and then move two syllables around: swapping 'ma' for 'no' exchanging 'mano' for 'noma', you go from Shimano to Shinoma, you don't have to present too much to the judge to see that this is about as graceless a grab as they come. But fear not because there IS a sucker born every minute, and they just left the qualified and helpful staff of the local family owned bicycle retailer, to endeavor to buy five bikes through the lifespan of the one they didn't buy today from the local bike shop. Searching their smart-phone while speaking with the salesperson.
"Oh well, He can't tell Shit from Shinoma!", they may mock.
So what could be wrong with saving a little money, If it looks like a duck and sounds like Shimano?, right?
So what's wrong with knock-offs, if they save me money? What's wrong with blatantly copying other people's stuff, and selling stuff under the guise of a conspicuously similar moniker? What harm can come to anyone if the free market will leverage down the cost of similar products cloned from the original? Millions of people get to save when they exchange their soul and freedom for cheap junk, right?. Everyone has one product in their lives which simply has not failed them. They may revere and covet their wallet, money-clip, pocket knife, turntable, camp-stove, hiking boots -- a backpack, chair, press-pot, or an ashtray, as precious... Some things, be they simple inelegant tokens, express innate worth. These are simple intrinsically valuable objects by their quality. Whatever that one coveted object is for you..., The fact remains that you stagger upon a plank above cheap gratifications holding one thing of intrinsic value. You have some things which always produce a smile or cozy satisfaction, but daily you may piss money away upon junk which fleetingly fills only a gap in your own self-worth. A new piece of junk cannot be ascribed to measure against your confidential consumerist void -- Only quality and utility will steady this journey.
Can't tell shit from Shinola: rude slang; To be exceptionally naïve, unworldly, ignorant, or undiscerning.
This definition is concise, and needs nothing added to be wholly understood. Shimano, and SunRace, have built a reputation upon quality products. Whether it is the revered Deore from the 80's or a cogset on your trainer, you know what to expect when you exchange money for parts. Trying to locate the source of fakes, and knock-offs has proven elusive for this article, but the truth is that Shimano and SunRace have been vigilant since the 80's to quash fakery.
Yet for fakes to exist and constantly flow into the consumer eco-system, means that there is indeed a sucker born every minute, and as Tom Waites says, "You just happen to be coming along at the right time".
Our best defense against being bamboozled to buy junk, is of course research, but when the factoids come slamming against the back-side of your LCD screen as dishonest photons, it is best to seek professional help. You are far better served by a dishonest sales-person, than a dishonest internet. The shopkeeper stakes their livelihood upon honest advice and quality, which is innately not the case for the cowardly internet. The internet nearly singlehandedly invented conformation bias. Good luck with an honest opinion there.
So why not case your local camping store, when you want a tent, Peruse your local wine store for a Pinot, and shop your neighborhood bicycle store for a bike? Call a friend for advice on something which they remain passionate about?.. Friends don't let friends buy shit. To shop outside of a wealth of sound opinion is to live outside of the very society which brought you up. The only thing worse than buying junk, is buying it twice from the internet. And the only thing worse than that is to be the dickhead who sold it to you -- And the only thing worse than being that dickhead is being fooled by that dickhead.
Since 1887 When Dunlop invented the pneumatic tire, Cyclists have been more or less happy creatures. Evolution, periodic even glacial -- improved upon the same basic butyl bounce... With the Clincher wheel came the fresh thinking of a far simpler road-side repair. From World wars to World Cup racing -- humankind's ability to mend a flat mid-route has made the difference between being stranded, exposed to the elements and the enemy -- And completing one's mission. So, today we can bring a book of matches, some glue, or a 3M plaster, to make a mid-route repair. It goes without saying that flats never come in a "super convenient place and time". It is always on the hottest, driest, wettest, coldest, muddiest, buggiest, most infectious, most desolate stretch of road. With that hiss, comes the sinking feeling, in one of two ways: One is the intuition that one is working far harder, or that cornering feeling a bit 'Splashy'. The Second, comes without that slow sucking hiss -- But as an immediate surprise burst, often with a "BLAM!!". Whether one senses the splashy bounce, and squishy control, giving way, to safe deceleration; Or the dreadful rim to pavement grinding stop, what follows is damage management, followed by whatever triage your inventiveness can muster. A folded dollar as a boot..., chewing gum melded to latex, a Bad Patch resuscitated to work with pine sap, even a folded tube, can limp you homeward.
Mustering the head-space we contemplate pertinent questions: "Did I bring a spare tube", "Is my spare any good", "Is this the spare I pledged to patch when I finally got home the last miserable time I flatted"? "Do I have a Patch"? "Are my patches wet..., any good, dried out, expired"? And so we dismount uncertain about our outcome. One may have to swat Mosquitos, or fend off a wild animal or rabid cat, but this is certainly preferred to fixing a flat while being shot at, or shelled. The Bicycle has served in every war since invented, and it is a near perfect methodology when fossil fuels go dry. Is a Tubeless tyre without air a good idea? Is air necessary for my happiness?
Luckily, like fishing -- every flat comes with a story. We embellish everything, because this minor set-back stirs the soul, and sharpens the mind. Saga is far too often the locomotion of change. ...And nearly ANY Flat-tire, is preferred to pedaling on a stationary rig -- ...Of course it is.
But to whom should we credit the cushy ride of our beloved air filled doughnuts? The Patent for these "Pneu" Inventions belongs to Robert William Thomson, another Scotsman, who filed his patents in both the U.S., (1847) and in France, (1846). Thomson also invented the Fountain Pen, which changed another category most completely, untethering the writer from dipping a pen every few words. Each clever stroke of genius has saved the modern world decades of time, travel, and effort to correspond. Imagine The Bronte Sisters, or Bukowski putting pen to paper with a chisel, or a feather. Incidentally Jane Eyre was published the same year as the fountain Pen was patented. Soon, where and how deftly one could pen a novel would be eased.
Thomson's tyre consisted of a hollow belt of India-rubber inflated with air so that the wheels presented "a cushion of air to the ground, rail or track on which they run". This elastic belt of rubberised canvas was enclosed within a strong outer casing of leather which was bolted to the wheel. Thomson's "Aerial Wheels" were demonstrated in London's Regent's Park in March 1847 and were fitted to several horse-drawn carriages, thereafter, greatly improving the comfort of travel and reducing it's noise. One set of these ran for 1200 miles without sign of deterioration. (Source: Wikipedia) The Below Patent Illustration shows that most exquisite soft sponginess compressing below your carriage.
We are now barely beyond the event horizon for the next phase of innovation, which seems to be fairly infantile, considering "Tubeless", and "Airless". These technologies are not new to the automobile, but for Bikes are rather disparate if sluggish innovations struggling toward a standard. What merits do these new strategies proffer. It's fair to say that "Tubeless" technology is "not all that". In fact if you have left your home this year at all... an honest person, will admit to many irreparable punctures. A friend of mine gets a flat or destroys a wheel with each adventure. For me, I consistently stare forlorn at flatted or leaky wheels, whether mine or someone else's. By this, I mean that the sluggish advancement of any standards for airless tires, has led to many mornings demanding more time to fill, or service a tire, valve, or tube. Amongst a plethora of bikes, at any given moment, the bikes with Tubes seem to retain air, (Thank you Dunlop) whilst my Fat Bike, My 650b Gravel Knobbies, and my 28c Road hoops require air, or repair, because of Leaky Valves, Poor Tubeless tape, or expired Sealant. What is true, is that with tubes, I've generally never had as many disappointing Mornings, nor postponed outings from finding a flat, or slow leak. What forces a last minute course correction, bike swap, or delay is the reliability of compatible systems? So... are Tubeless combos "all that"? For me, they are not. An honest person will concede the same.
It merits mention that I have personally repaired more than 2500 flats, and in a single evening ride support, replaced or repaired 72 flats (this owing to a saboteur tossing tacks along the service course.)
It is not without experience nor acumen that I criticize the status quo. It is simply true that flats are not preventable, and your favorite brands are to blame for a conspicuous lack of cooperation.
Alas with all things "bike", it is true that if Dunlop's valve, were not adopted early -- cyclists would likely have as many air valves as Bottom Brackets. While innovation burns like a brush-fire, "Standards" are a unicorn mired in a sticky pudding of Latex, and glue... Cooperation is ever elusive in cycling.
While collaboration is nearly always a myth in the cycling industry, Innovation seems to be unfettered. More competition yields more creative work-arounds. Brilliance often emerges from tireless work to circumvent patent boundaries. Unlike the technology industry, cycling may suffer from far too much pride to either concede to pay a royalty, or to offer a collaborative olive branch. Exhibits abound from Chain-ring teeth, to rim profiles, spoke patterns to shift buttons.
A short list of bicycle bottom brackets follows:
PF24 (Chris King)
Specialized Alloy OSBB
BBRight (Direct Fit)
BBRight (Press Fit)
Specialized OSBB Carbon (Road)
Cannondale Asymmetric Integration (Ai)
Truvativ ISIS Overdrive
These are simply the cups and/or bearings which hold ones rotating cranks to the bike.
Why we have any flats at all, is equal parts karma, and conditions. For nearly 60 years the square taper BB spindle was perhaps the last agreed upon "standard system" used universally. This leads me to believe that if the technology can outlast the patent, then we are all happier, paying less, and enjoying more free time.
Tubeless Tyre leaks should equally be blamed upon bad karma, and adversarial brands, who cannot or will not concede that "Brand X" simply has a far better design. Instead, innovation follows stubbornness to constantly re-invent the wheel. While Punctures are rightfully blamed upon saboteurs, and the slobs who litter -- That slow hissing sound is not your tube, but every vendor conspiring to suck money from your pockets. Fitment between a tyre, and the hoop it clings to is anything but standardized, and while Mavic, and a few others work to make combinations of tyre and rim, this bicycle industry seems destined to march in distinct directions, and to different music. It should be noted that one can shod a car with new tires for less than their race bike, and it is no surprise that nearly any rim measured to match it's car tyre will run until bald without a tube nor fickle servicing. Just like when bikes used inner-tubes, I have a 1956 Schwinn with one original tire, and it seldom requires that we bond over a pump.
If you are riding A RACE DAY TIRE out for coffee and flat..., then you can take solace that this is far preferred to flatting nearly any place else. While inconvenient and not any less hazardous, the inevitable outcome is preferable to the calamity of a high-speed corner descent.
Many hope for a "Tyre Standard" (for rim and tire beads to at last match perfectly), but the best we have to offer today, are clogged valves, tight fits, and that bubbling hissing geyser of latex which is your cushy "pneu" lifestyle. One thing is certain, keeping air in your tire is fundamental for a good ride, and however you manage, it is certain that when you hop on your bike it would be swell that you didn't look down to see a splashy tire. For people with less time to fuck around with fickle systems, perhaps keeping a few inner tubes around the house is a good idea.
Hushhhh!... Can you hear that?, the silvery slow hissing hush of nothing whatsoever?
In times like these..., a silence is surreal. When it lifts, will we return to straight-talk? honesty?, bringing more people into the conversation, using plain language? Cognizant, of how unprecedented things are -- Perhaps the most irritating thing is not our collective CoVid dread, nor the outgoing fascist's half-baked insurrection, What is most irritating to me of late, is our abuse of the word "cognizant". In what context will the word "aware" not suffice? While we are at it... Can we please dispense with the term "unprecedented"?, at least through the inauguration? Everything we are witnessing today, has precedent. If you cannot find precedent for autocracy, racism, classism, and even hapless rebellion, then any compendium of white-washed 8th grade world history, should suffice. Finally, can we please dispose of the excruciating phrase, "...In times like these"? What the fuck other times did you have in mind? These are of course "times like these".
What I've learned from the recent well-precedented melee, is that we were all 'aware' (cognizant) of what was going to happen at Trump's final Tea Party. But, let's not use such fancy words around common folks, because it's precisely this "fancy smart-talk" that makes 'them' hate fancy-talking democrats. It is precisely the collective's lack of straight-talk, and not calling-out fascism, that tossed the keys to an adolescent autocrat.
The fact that it took this long for him to break Twitter's cardinal rule of "No e-vites on our platform", "...whether it be for birthdays, cross-burnings, or lynchings" Quoting Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, when interviewed about share value tanking after removing Trump, Dorsey continued ..." Our policy is plainly stated in this-here cryptic EULA agreement", "This President (a blatant narcissist sexist racist fascist homophobe), and half a billion other plain folks willingly click our EULA daily..."
As for Twitter, when the Democrats put these fans on trial in February for their loose rules and anti-trust violations, and shine a light on Social Media for complicity in the coup-party, they can say, much like Betsy De Vos, "...As soon as I noticed the party was out of control, and the dickhead was an autocrat, I left".
Alas, cosmic justice for this historic (Mr.) Precedent. And, peace for the rest of us.
But what comes next, Now?... Bedlam? Revolution?, nah... What comes next is real work, the sound of progress like a 6th grade study-hall.
Silence comes now. All conceivable oxygen stolen from a raging media fire. As the embers cool to black charcoal, grab a chunk to draw some new boundaries, and the factual history upon your cave wall.
As the lights come up, these bugs will skitter into the shadows, We'll grab a mop, and begin cleaning house. It will be quiet, for a spell. A short-lived holiday from hideous scowls, flash grenades, and tear gas.
Until their next charismatic leader leads them by the hand, lured out of the shadows... -- for now, it's quiet.
It should remain calm without: Cognizant, Unprecedented, and the phrase, 'In times like these'. Life was far simpler without such fancy talk.
A year from Now, as the new holiday emerges, to commemorate January 6th -- May I suggest, January 7th 2021, remain as ("Insurrection Observed Day"), where we celebrate the silencing of America's first true Autocrat?
Can you hear it? Nothing at all sounds perfect right about now. Soon a new warm wave will crash against this shore, This new hushed wave looks like every other, but this one will change us. Be ready for a complete easing of your tensions. Roll your shoulders back and stretch your neck up toward the sun. You will not be alone basking in this new conspicuous quiet. What's about to wash over this great country will feel like a heavy silent wave. Your most comfortable bed, a dark room in which to rest, and recover. We will repair as this gentle tide consumes us, softness and solitude washing over, our ears fill with warm white-noise, our heads become softly submerged, our hair loosely floating, lolling about to the sound of absolutely nothing at all. This, our first warm bath after a miserable unshakable flu... We will remember this hushed moment above all else most conspicuously. This, our first real holiday during the plague years. This numbness will subside gently, and we will return to the work before us. Queue some Marvin Gaye, for some quality 'alone time'.
...But for the next few days, turn off the netflix, the news, give your thumbs a break, and have a walk outside in your fairy garden, to enjoy the hush.
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.