Gear: Fulcrum Racing Quattro Carbon wheels


I've got friends who seem to buy bikes more often than I buy running shoes (and I buy a decent amount of running shoes). I get the whole N+1 theory, and there are certainly bikes I'd like to buy, but instead of purchasing a whole new package, I decided I'd upgrade my current frame a little at a time.

Twelve years ago, I purchased my first decent road bike: a Fuji Roubaix 1.1. I studied up, talked to local shops, and then was fitted for it at a locally-owned store that I trust. Then...I moved to NYC. After less than a month in Brooklyn, my bike was stolen. When I went to the police, they essentially laughed and told me that professional thieves can pop a U-lock in between 2 and 8 seconds (they showed me how). Professional thieves? I was heart-broken: my first NYC scar. I bought an all-black $500 Fuji Feather single-speed with zero bells and whistles to commute on, and a $90 Kryptonite lock. I used my bike for transportation only. 

After a few more years in the city, I decided to look into road bikes again. I tested several out, but really just wanted my Roubaix. I found a Fuji dealer in Manhattan and they got me my bike. I vowed never to let it out of my sight: never to lock it at all. If I had to go indoors anywhere, I carried it on my shoulder. I started doing some bigger rides up 9W and with the local Rapha club


When I moved to Colorado, though, that's when I really started biking. That's when I fell in love with big, long climbs. I live between Fort Collins and Boulder, which means access to some of the best roads/hills in the Front Range. I met some great people via Strava, and got some advice on parts. Over the past several months I've added the following: SRAM Force Outer Ring, SRAM Powerglide Inner Ring (34Tx110mm), Shimano Ultegra RD-R8000 Rear Derailleur, Shimano Ultegra CS-8000 11 speed cassette, Fulcrum Racing Quattro Carbon wheels, Specialized Power Expert saddle. This setup is like a new bike, but with the frame I've come to, and continue to love. I can't recommend the Fulcrum Racing Quattro Carbon wheels enough. Fully carbon wheels are insane. Basically, no matter what bike you buy, unless you're spending more than I did on my last car, you're probably going to get crappy wheels: it's how bike manufacturers save/make money. Straight up: the wheel upgrade is the best thing you can do for any bike. 


If you're anywhere near the Marlborough Chelsea Gallery, stop by before June 20th. Tony Matelli's "Garden" is on display and it includes several eyebrow raising sculptures. The centerpiece(s) are in the back room and, you might not be able to stay very long. They are a pair of painted cast silicone human figures: a man and a woman, on their heads. The figures are SO REAL that you're sure they're going to move their eyes, or flip onto their feet and ask you why you're looking at their naked bodies. They're so real that you can see the lines where their socks certainly were, just moments before you entered the room. The gallery press release suggests that their being upside down is reminiscent of the distress of a flag flown upside down; there is certainly distress in the room. There's also the question of how and why we've become so uncomfortable dealing with personal space, and bodies, and rules. Both the man and the woman are safely average. Nothing worth gawking at--neither would make a head turn on the street, with clothes. Yet there's something about looking at these pieces--these people--that makes you feel like you're invading: like you've walked in on something you shouldn't have. 


This past weekend, 30 or so people gathered at 383 West Broadway in SoHo to smoke cigars and catch up. This is the site of the now permanently closed OK Cigars, where guys (and a few gals) had been smoking, and (more importantly) becoming friends for the past 17 years. The building has sold, and H&M or some other big box store will take over soon: it's tough making a living in retail in New York City. But locally owned places to gather are important for New Yorkers--vital; whether it's a cigar shop or a barbershop or a deli or a running store: New Yorkers find THEIR place, and then visit it religiously. I would argue that community is treasured most in big cities: we want to be part of something small and significant amid the chaos. So when those places close up shop, or get bought out by something bigger, customers take it personally. People--maybe especially New Yorkers--have a need to tell their story. This happened to me today, this is what I'm working on, this is where I've been and what I've seen. And if shop owners and workers are smart, they'll listen, and care: they'll learn something. Jackrabbit Sports joins the ranks of locally owned stores, where people stopped by just to chat and laugh, that has been bought out by a bigger entity. Maybe all of the conversations won't end: maybe some of the employees who went through 3 months of training in order to talk about the biomechanics of feet will stick around. But probably, this store won't remain a religion; probably, the customers will find a new place to have community.  


Fort Frances' new EP, No One Needs To Know Our Name, is only 7 songs (well, 5 songs: 2 of them are unplugged variations): only 24 minutes, but well worth playing on repeat. Lead singer-songwriter David McMillin graduated from DePauw University as an English major, as did most people worth hanging out with. "Anonymous" seems especially fitting for NYC, but it's probably fitting no matter where you are. So much of living in a packed, packed city is trying to get away: escaping within the chaos. "Oh, let's be anonymous: we can hide, hide, hide, hide away from the world, from the world..." No one in NYC wants to give up on NYC (necessarily) but we sure as hell all want to get away from it: we want to find the cafe and the bar and the park that's only ours. "These Are the Mountains Moving" isn't for NYC: it just takes you to the mountains--to Montana or Colorado or wherever you've met mountains that move you--home. The percussion in these songs is great. The piano and the brass and the lyrics are great. This is great. 


Speaking of Pulitzer Prizes...Gregory Pardlo read at Book Culture last night, with several other authors from Four Way Books. Pardlo is instantly likable and honest. He read from his prize winning collection, Digest. Of his poem, "For Which It Stands," he told the audience that when he and his wife decided to have a baby, they had to admit to themselves that they didn't know their own roots very well: that they needed to take some trips to where they had come from, so that they could adequately teach it. Pardlo is funny, too: he doesn't take himself too seriously; or, he encourages us all to just be a little more real with ourselves. These poems are full of growing up: what it means to learn a few things the hard way. They're full of pop-culture and familiar places: superheroes, and literary heroes, and ordinary men.