Bike Snob NYC is one of those rare blogs that combines wit with an acidic sense of propriety masquerading as humor. You can search the blogs on music, politics, cars or World of Warcraft and you aren’t likely to find a greater moral outrage over more minor infractions than on BSNYC. Not since The Washingtonienne has a blog utilized more pixels in its quest to skewer targets.
For every person I meet who likes BSNYC, I meet another who finds the blog harsh, mean-spirited and not reflective of the average cyclist’s views.
When I was in second grade I read a short story about a monk who was given a vision of heaven. Angels gave him this glimpse of the afterlife as a reward for his piety, but his return to daily life was hell itself. In his glimpse of life behind the pearly gates, he heard music. Music the angels make to serenade God himself. The sound was pure, without dissonance and a beauty so haunting that it lasted in the listener’s mind the way a taste of fine wine lingers on the tongue.
On the monk’s return to our waking life, music was ruined for him. Even the greatest symphonies were cruel taunts barely hinting at what beauty was truly possible. He hated music.
I think the same thing happened to BSNYC. I think he got a vision of cycling in heaven. How else can you explain such a finely honed sense of style.
Even the gentlest, most forgiving roadie knows there is a PRO way to do things and a NOT way to do things. You take your turn at the front. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t show up with tube socks. You don’t turn your bike into a piece of art. You show respect for the riders around you. And sometimes you chuckle at the clueless.
One can be forgiven for imagining BSNYC hasn't shared the road with a knowledgeable rider since the advent of indexed shifting. He suffers hell here on earth. We decided to interview him to find out why.
BKW: You have a finely honed sense of roadie style. What riders exemplify your sense of proper style?
BSNYC: Hard to say. Proper style varies from race to race and from decade to decade. You know--Grand Tour style vs. classics style vs. crit style. It even varies from body type to body type. You just know it when you see it.
Helmets have pretty much killed style in road cycling anyway. Not that I have anything against helmets, mind you, but let's be honest. Cycling looked better before helmets.
BKW: A lot of being a good rider is basic consideration: not being a squirrel in the pack, blowing your nose down and not out, pointing out road debris. As crimes against cycling go, is there anything that offends you more than lack of consideration?
BSNYC: I think one of the biggest crimes in cycling is whining. I see this in people who yell "Close that gap!" or "Pull through!" all race long, or who get angry at others, or who make excuses and look for someone else to blame when they don't get a result. If you want a gap closed, close it yourself or keep quiet. Bragging is another unforgivable crime. Strong cyclists never need to brag. You brag with your legs. Road riding is about class, and class is the absence of whining and bragging.
BKW: Is there anything about your own riding or personal sense of style about which you are sensitive?
BSNYC: I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin. I have no illusions about my abilities, I love to ride and race, and I'm happy being pack-fill.
BKW: It seems one of your pet peeves is practicality, that is, anything a cyclist uses ought to make sense. How do you define practical?
BSNYC: What's practical obviously varies from discipline to discipline, but what drives me crazy in all cases is when vanity trumps common sense. On the road, a good example is the person doing a Sunday group ride on a $2,000 tubular wheelset. If you've got the cash you can afford training wheels. Practicality is using the right tool for the right job. Save the jewels for the ball--don't wear them to the bar.
BKW: The subtext of your posts, the way I read them, is that those cyclists you write about are missing an opportunity to enjoy all the sport has to offer. Do you despair that those cyclists will learn how it's done?
BSNYC: Well, of course I understand that some people enjoy different aspects of cycling than I do, so it would be wrong of me to say somebody else is missing the point. At the same time, though, I do think people who become hyper-focussed on certain elements of the sport do sometimes miss out. This goes for me too, by the way. As cyclists, we're a very anal species, and we need to be careful not to get too obsessive. We need to look out for each-other! That's part of the reason I often make jokes about getting hung up on your equipment, or on training, and why I try to make light of our tendency to take this whole thing too seriously. Because getting too obsessed with training or upgrading or being overly fastidious about your bike is a great way to waste time, energy, and money that could be better put towards enjoying yourself on your bike. We need to let go sometimes and remember to have fun.
BKW: Shouldn't it be enough that if a cyclist is having fun, then they must be doing it right?
BKW: What does cycling in heaven look like?
BSNYC: New York with better weather.