Ground Beef: Crash Course in Bottom Bracket Interfaces

With the possible exceptions of the Mr. Softee theme and crotchal fungus, there is no surer sign that summer has begun in earnest than the start of the Tour de France. And there is no surer sign that the cycling media wants to entice laypeople with their Tour de France coverage than when they start rolling out the "crash porn." For the non-cycling sports fan, the idea of following the multiple competitions of which the Tour is comprised over a period of weeks has about as much appeal as actuarial science, so the thinking with "crash porn" is that they'll at least consider tuning in to see one of those "woosies" in Lycra they like to buzz with their SUVs take a spill. Here's some gratuitous "crash porn" from Versus:

As well as from Bicycling magazine:

As a cyclist and a cycling fan, I'm somewhat offended by "crash porn." Sure, crashes can be dramatic, and they're undeniably a part of the sport, but using carnage to sell the Tour seems a bit short-sighted to me. At best, watching the Tour de France for the crashes is like watching the Academy Awards in the hopes that you'll catch a "nipple slip"--it's just not a very good use of your time, and if that's all you're going in for you'll probably be disappointed. If you want to see crashes, go to a Cat 4 race, and if you want to see nipples, watch actual pornography. In any case, there's already a sporting event based entirely on carnage and "nipple slips," and it's called the Superbowl.

Really, if the cycling media wants to reduce the Tour de France to its most visceral components and burn off all subtlety, nuance, and good taste in the process, they might as well just do post-stage analyses of the riders' dirty chamoises. In fact, I'm surprised they haven't already, since judging from this Craigslist post I found in the comments to yesterday's post there appears to be a brisk market for that sort of thing:

Bib-Shorts; Owned, worn & signed by Lance Armstrong!!! - $3000
Date: 2010-06-30, 9:16AM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

Would you like to be one of the few to own Lance's actual bib-shorts. Owned and worn by Lance, I got them through a friend of his, then had them signed. Also had them sent to have the signature Authenticated to solve any question of legitimacy.
Be one of the few to have an item owned and signed by a legend.... Who is still racing and about to do another Tour De France!

$3000 is starting bid, will close with best offer..... These will be on ebay by next week if not sold on CL.

The disgustingness of owning somebody else's used bib shorts aside, this stomach-turning post raises more questions than it answers. Firstly, the seller claims that he "got them through a friend of his, then had them signed," and I wonder what friend of Armstrong's is distributing his shorts. Does Kevin Livingston loiter around the laundry hamper at Pedal Hard and pilfer the clothing of notable clients? Secondly, the seller says he "then had them signed"--though apparently not in person, since he subsequently "had them sent to have the signature Authenticated to solve any question of legitimacy." How, then, did the seller get the shorts back to Armstrong, and what was Armstrong's reaction when his own filthy shorts came back to him for signature like some sort of soiled, smegma-ridden boomerang? And where is this signature authentication service, and did they also authenticate the residual pubic hairs? (If the signature is Armstrong's but the pubes belong to, say, Roberto Heras, does this increase or decrease the value?) I particularly appreciated the caveat that "the shorts will be on ebay next week if not sold on CL," since I now know which websites to avoid in coming weeks. This probably won't happen though, since I fully expect them to be snapped up by Paul Kimmage before then, who will probably send the skid marks to a laboratory for analysis. In any case, $3,000 is pretty steep for a pair of used shorts, and if you want Lance Armstrong's dirty laundry you can just get it from Floyd Landis, who seems to be giving it away for free.

Speaking of using porn to sell things, bicycle manufacturers continue to evoke the salacious appeal of the oversized bottom bracket, and French company Look has apparently unleashed the most swollen and robust bottom bracket the world has ever seen:

So "beefy" is the mighty BB65 that it will only accept the "Zed2" crankset, which means that no matter what you're riding right now your crank is too small for this bicycle. That's right--now that the Look 695 has "dropped," if you're riding anything else you have a tiny crank. Until you "upgrade," your diminutive unit can never hope to fill a BB65--even if it is big enough for Cannondale's "Hot Box" (forwarded to me some time ago by a reader):

All You Haters Sandwich My Hot Box.

Best of all the 695 is available in two "stiffness options:"

That 15% reduction in stiffness you'll feel on the regular 695 is equal to the erection-reducing effect one (1) Larry King:

(Larry King: an elastomer insert for your libido.)

Incidentally, Larry King has just announced he is officially retiring in order to censor pornographic images full-time.

But what do you do if you have an older Look that suddenly feels all "noodly," like it's been subject to upwards of four Larry King Stiffness-Reducing Units (or LKSRUs)? Well, without the BB65 interface there's no way it will ever be adequately stiff, but you can still attempt to"improve" matters via judicious application of "upgrades." Consider this promotional video for the SRAM Omnium crank from New York City fixed-gear boutique Chari & Co.:

SRAM OMNIUM CRANK from chariandconyc on Vimeo.

In it you'll find this compelling testimonial:

"This bike that I'm riding now gets me to and from work most days...I spend a lot of time riding into the city every day over the Manhattan bridge. These cranks together with this frame is the stiffest thing I've ever ridden."

Because when you're riding a race bike back and forth to work every day in sneakers, you need all the stiffness you can get to beat that guy on the hybrid.

Still, there are times when you need a high performance bicycle even if you're not racing. For example, every bit of stiffness counts when you're sprinting away from a bank after robbing it:

Cunningly, the thief disguised himself as a "secret website" catalog model:

Instead of blaming the thief, I blame the cruel society that drove him to it. It was probably a "Dog Day Afternoon" scenario, except instead of funding his partner's sex change he needed the money for a costly bottom bracket interface "upgrade."

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