Welcome to the Gruppetto

Just like the United States of America, I’m slowly dragging my broken body towards the finish line of 2016:

(Image from here, as far as I can tell.)

In the spirit of limping, please note that there will be no post tomorrow, Tuesday, December 20th.  I will be back on Wednesday, though after that it’s anybody’s guess what’ll happen with this blog between then and New Year’s.  Nevertheless, stay tuned, and together we’ll get through this.  After all, it’s crucial we direct the full force of our efforts towards mounting a defense against liberal America’s dastardly War on Christmas:

(Lance Armstrong’s greatest crime was inventing the awareness-raising rubber bracelet.)

Yes, by keeping the Christ in Christmas and the cops in bike lanes we’ll finally make America great again:

Holy Luau, A-Men.

(Who didn’t love the A-Men?  Mister Tea was awesome.)

Moving on, which bicycle frame material produces the best ride quality?  Is it the lateral latitude and vertical vertices of crabon?  The sublime suppleness of steel?  The reassuringly expensive twang of titanium?

Exquisite bicycles can be built from all these materials to be sure, but none of them can compete with the the combination of smoothness and smugness produced by a bicycle made entirely from garbage.

And no, I’m not talking about your average Specialized.  I’m talking about a bike made from actual garbage:

If you’ve ever longed to answer the question “#whatpressureyourunning” with “trash” then this is the bike for you:

Imagine that you are going down the street and something jabbed your tire. You have to waste time to repair it and obviously it will cost you money. This will not happen with the new Urban GC1. Its tires are designed not to use air. Magic? Not. It actually uses rubber, recycled plastic and our GC Panel. Thanks to a special metal structure the rim is kept in excellent condition. The GC Panel, rubber and plastic, help to create the necessary shape of a tire and absorb the vibrations generated by the movement. This makes you feel a smooth ride, but without worrying about the air on your tires.  

And the inventors also assure you that your garbage bike won’t dissolve when it gets wet, which means it totally will:

We know … kraft paper and water do not get along. If it gets wet, it gets damaged. Not in the Urban GC1. Since it uses recycled polystyrene paint … yes, even the paint is ecological. This allows the water to not touch the paper and you can continue pedaling while it rains.  

Of course, if you live in snowier climbs, you might want to look into a “SkiByk” instead:

“With the support of our backers, SkiByk will soon be the next major snowboard craze.”

How can it be the next snowboard craze?  It’s not a snowboard.  Isn’t that like saying Rollerblades will the next major bicycle craze?

In any case, I’m not sure the world needs a conveyance that bridges the gap between bicycles and skis–especially when the concept is already well established in the toy industry:

Yes, the fact is that some bikes are better left unbuilt, just as some packages are better left un-probed:

This is very much the visage of someone experiencing a prolonged and thorough package-probing:

As for the contents of the much-probed package, it took awhile, but Team Sky’s director Dave Brailsford has finally settled on just the right lie:

Brailsford had previously refused to clarify exactly what the package contained, but he now says Sky’s team doctor Richard Freeman told him it was Fluimucil, which is used for clearing mucus.

“Freeman told me it was Fluimucil for a nebuliser,” Brailsford told the British government’s Culture, Media and Sport committee during a hearing about doping in sport in central London.

“That was what was in the package. It was what Dr. Freeman told me.

Sure it was.

He should have just said it was a gift of fragrant artisanal Frumunda cheese and left it at that.  Then everyone would have stopped probing the package and instead just backed away from it slowly.

But if anybody knows the details of Bradley Wiggins’s package its Rapha, who for years have made the clothing in which it is swaddled.  And as it happens Rapha is the subject of a Bloomberg photo essay:

Here’s where they test scranial conditions and tune their chamois for optimum frumunda production:

A cyclist tests equipment in “The Vault,” a climate simulation chamber in the basement of the Rapha club at Spitalfields market in London. Almost one in three vehicles heading into the heart of the British capital during the morning rush are bicycles, and the city estimates bike trips will soon outnumber those in cars.

I’m not sure what his has to do with Rapha, since from what I saw in London the typical bike commuter does not exactly embody the Rapha aesthetic:

Everyone else wears a hi-viz vest and rides a Brompton.

Nevertheless, it’s no surprise that Rapha is doing so well given the massive crowds bicycle racing attracts:

A customer watches bicycle racing on a screen in the outside terrace area at the Rapha Racing cycle club in Spitalfields market.

This may not look like much, but bear in mind it can get twice as crowded during the Tour de France.

Lastly, what do you do on a balmy summer day in Finland?

Why, conduct some bicycle brake thermal imaging tests, of course!

SPOILER ALERT: disc brakes get hottest.

They should have tested a ski bike.