Thursday, July 26, 2007

BSNYC Absentee Reader-Share of the Day #6



(Sold for over $800--to Ronald McDonald.)

BSNYC Absentee Reader-Share of the Day #5






BSNYC Absentee Reader-Share of the Day #4





BSNYC Absentee Reader-Share of the Day #3





(Okay, this one's just funny.)



BSNYC Absentee Reader-Share of the Day #2







BSNYC Absentee Reader-Share of the Day #1

Sick to death of the sun-softened New York City streets, I am leaving town and taking an undeserved yet long-awaited vacation as of today. Until August 6th, people will be free to wantonly post their bicycles to internet galleries unmolested. (By me anyway.)

One thing that has been both a blessing and a curse so far is the assortment of hideous bicycles that people have been emailing me. I'm grateful that they are compelled to share, though many of these bikes haunt my sleep.

During my vacation, I'll post some of the more baffling and disturbing of these bicycles. I'll spare you the descriptions and include only the photo for you to contemplate, and a link where applicable. A number of them are from eBay. (Sadly, I think all the auctions have ended.) All of them speak for themselves.

Here's the first, more to come while I'm gone. (I'm not kind enough to spare you completely.) Thanks for reading everybody, and thanks those of you who have emailed bikes. I'll resume full updates when I get back.

--BSNYC




Fixedgeargallery: The Monied Interloper

Fixedgeargallery is full of endearing (if often misguided) first-time budget builds. While these tend to lack brakes, handlebar tape, and attention to detail, there is still a certain charm in the owners' enthusiasm, and one hopes their nascent love for cycling (whether fixed or free) will continue to grow. And even the NJS vanity bikes often at least display a little youthful exuberance.
Occasionally, though, somebody dripping with money decides to wander into the party with a little bit of crotch-candy, casually flaunting it as if to say, "Here's a little conversion I threw together out of odds and ends." This is one such bike:


Or in human form if you prefer:




Nuzzling what appears to be a covered luxury car of some kind, this bike looks like a pastel-clad investment banker leaning against the mantel at a country club. Just another bauble for someone with a house full of mirror-polished toys that nobody else is allowed to touch. "Oh, this old thing? Why, that's just my rain bike." I wonder if after rainy rides, as the owner rolls into the garage, he is greeted by a fleet of footmen, three of whom immediately begin cleaning the bicycle, two of whom strip the rider from his kit and dry and powder him, and one of whom lifts the cover from a silver charger laden with post-ride chèvre and grapes or pepper-crusted yellowfin tuna. "Recovery canapées, sir?" Exhibiting a precious bicycle like this on Fixedgeargallery is like being 50 and drag-racing high school students in your Porsche, or like putting the moves your son's hot girlfriend. And coming across a picture like this is about as pleasurable as coming home from a day in coal mine and finding a postcard from your rich friend in on a cycling holiday in Tuscany.

Messr. Serotta should hire this Nishiki to caddy for him--it's the Danny Noonan to his Judge Smails:








Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Put Up Or Be Quiet: Would You Still Ride?

On a recent commute, I was waiting at a red light (I do occasionally stop for them) and was joined by three other commuters. As the light changed we passed somebody who, upon seeing four bikes together (my word!), asked loudly in an irritated tone: “What is there, a marathon today?”

Such moments hurt my brain so badly that it’s almost enough to make me stop riding. (Well, not really.)

But I do think that each and every one of us has our own personal breaking point at which we’d give up cycling. I’m not talking about injuries or anything like that. I’m talking about having to put up with something so inconvenient, awkward, or embarrassing that it would be enough to drive you to something else. And I think this breaking point is different for each of us.

While we all like to think we're above caring about how we look or what we ride, we're also conveniently never required to put ourselves to the test. Following are some scenarios to contemplate. Read each one, suspend your disbelief, and ask yourself, “Would I still ride?” Be honest with yourself—nobody else has to know. Some of these scenarios aren’t so bad (in fact, many may already be riding this way), and some are, objectively speaking, awful. So read on and discover your limit.

Would you still ride if:

You can only ride on pavement.

You can only ride offroad.

You can only ride in USA Cycling-sanctioned races. That’s it: no commuting, no training (indoor or outdoor), no recreational rides of any kind.

You can only ride in charity rides. (Shortest route only where distance is optional.)

You cannot change any item on your bicycle (including inner tubes, though they may be patched) for two years.

You only have three choices of jersey (all XXL): a maillot jaune, a Mapei jersey, or this jersey from Primal Wear:





You can only ride tubulars. (Yes, even on your mountain bike. 650s and Dugasts allowed.)

You can only ride a full downhill rig with 25mm slicks (regardless of terrain).

You can only ride one of those trials bikes with no seat.

You can only ride a beach cruiser with speedplays and full CSC team kit.

You can never wear a helmet.

You must always wear a helmet, but it has to be a replica of the one Greg LeMond wore in the Champs-Elysees time trial in the ’89 Tour de France, and it has to be the wrong size.





You can only ride in flip-flops on flat pedals with no foot retention system of any kind.

You can only ride a fixed-gear bicycle with no brake and a 14x50 gear.

You can only ride the above with flat pedals, pennyloafers, and no foot retention system of any kind.

You can only ride a keirin bike that has been modified to run disc brakes and a singlespeed freewheel. Otherwise the bike must be entirely NJS.

You can only ride against traffic (including criteriums, road- or off-road races, or in velodromes)

You can only ride one of Sheldon Brown’s wacky bikes

You can only ride a tandem.

You can only pilot a tandem with Sheldon Brown as your stoker.

You can only pilot a tandem with Sheldon Brown as your stoker and reading aloud from seminal works of science fiction through a megaphone.

You must ride a different bike each day. That bicycle will be the first bike that randomly comes up when you log on to velospace each morning. (Right now it happens to be, unbelievably, a dual-suspension Schwinn Homegrown)

The same as above, but instead you must ride the first complete bike that comes up on eBay when you search for “road bike” and select “ending soonest.” (Right now it happens to be a 58cm carbon Felt road bike with Dura Ace. But tomorrow’s another day.)

You can only ride a Rivendell with a 3’x5’ billboard affixed to it that bears a photo of Grant Peterson and the words, “Your handlebars should be higher than your saddle!”

You can ride any bicycle you want, provided it is equipped with a dynamo hub powering a phonograph that plays old Edith Piaf records. (This should be particularly amusing in a cyclocross race.)

And the ultimate test for those of you still standing: you must ride a recumbent.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Worst of NYC Craigslist Bike Ads #14 and #15

Well, the riders in the Tour aren't the only ones on drugs. There's clearly some serious substance abuse among the local riders selling their bikes on Craigslist as well. If you're looking to open a bicycle freakshow out in Coney Island before it's redeveloped, here's a brace of audaciously-priced bicycles that will round out your Stable of Horrors:

Cannondale Road Bike [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/brx/bik/381118601.html]
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2007-07-24, 1:29PM EDT
Cannondale Road Bike, Color white, New Tires, Brakes, Grips, Chain, etc. The bike just had a tune up 2 weeks ago. Runs in excellent condition/ very fast. Selling the bike w/ the stand, bike mini carrying pouches, speed o meter and Air pump.
For Sale $1500 negotiable.
Interested Call: [deleted]
Open to Serious Buyers
OK, this asking price is stunning, though it's negotiable of course. You have to love that boneheaded negotiating tactic--start with an absurdly high asking price in hopes of negotiating down to a ridiculously high selling price. He must be a NYC realtor. Then again he may be on to something--anyone dumb enough to even consider this bike at that price probably can't read the word "negotiable." Another hallmark of the Craigslist scrap-metal purveyor is mentioning the name of the color and then further explaining that that's in fact the color of the bike, as in: "blue in color," or "red in color." Here he says it's "color white." Thanks, just "white" would have been enough. People like this generally go on to say something about how the bike "runs," and this one's no exception. Bikes don't run! Cars run. Motorcycles run. People who have bought crappy Cannondales on Craigslist run after their bike falls apart and they have no other way to exercise. Then again, this bike does come with what appears to be an ammonia bottle on the downtube, in addition to a pair of simply mind-boggling handlebars. These bars were either built by Shiva the Destroyer or a very sentimental Irishman. If you buy this, just be careful not to get your head stuck in there.



--dabikejack--Vintage Peugeot Road Conversion - $350 (East Village) [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/381111244.html]
Reply to: see below

Date: 2007-07-24, 1:19PM EDT
White, vintage Peugot Road conversion. Fixed or free wheel (flip-flop hub). 22 inches/48cm. Bull horn handlebars, leather saddle, black rims, yellow tires. Very good condition. For pickup, but will ship or deliver at additional cost.
Call Shane: [deleted]

$350? Come on. This is the most pathetic thing from France I've seen since Christophe Moreau. And who the hell is actually going to want this thing shipped to them? If this showed up at my house I'd move.

BSNYC Marketing Report

I think we're all in agreement on what cycling needs most. More races? Nope. Better roads? Uh-uh. Safe places to park our bikes? Absolutely not. No, what we need are more sponsorship dollars! And as a service to potential advertisers, I've compiled a primer on the three most popular forms of urban cycling to help them decide where to most effectively paste their messages. Hopefully we'll see lots more logos soon!

Road Cyclists

If you’re like most business owners, you’re thinking, “Gee, I’d really like to spend the money to sponsor a local racing team despite the fact that it will offer me no meaningful exposure or return on my investment. But my company’s logo and/or color scheme is just too darn ugly to expect anybody to wear it!”

Wrong on both counts!

Firstly, you don’t need to spend any “money” to sponsor a local road team. You see, for road cyclists, wearing your company’s logo on their kits (whether your company is the Discovery Channel or the local urologist’s office) is in and of itself a status symbol. You don’t have to actually pay the riders to wear the logo. Just offer something—anything—in return so they can justify it to themselves. 10% off on a urinalysis should do it.

Secondly, if you think your logo is too ugly, think again! These people want to look like professionals. Have you ever seen a pro road kit? Those things will make you go cross-eyed. And amateurs will do whatever pros do. Whether it’s spending $2,000 to ride the same wheels as this year’s Giro winner, injecting their own dog’s blood, or wearing a uniform that’s still completely visible after you’ve closed your eyes, these people will do it. (And that includes emblazoning your logo across their asses. Just imagine your urology clinic’s name on an amateur cyclist’s posterior. You’ll be up to your vas deferens in customers!)

(Yikes! They'll wear it though...a urologist's dream team.)


Fixed-Gear Cyclists

The urban fixed-gear scene is growing faster than any segment of the cycling population. As such, it is a potential sponsorship goldmine. Imagine an army of billboards, criss-crossing the trendiest neighborhoods in America at nearly walking speed and parading themselves in front of the most coveted marketing demographic in existence.

“But why would these soldiers on the hemmoraging edge of chic want to wear my stodgy logo?,” you may ask. Well, because they need money. When you’re a freelancer riding a brakeless $2,500 keirin bicycle with no health insurance living in one of America’s most expensive cities, you need cash for bike upgrades.

And as the canvases on which these riders express their uniquely individualistic urge to ride what everyone else is riding, these bicycles are ideally suited to carrying advertisements. Imagine a top-tube pad printed to look like a hero with the logo: “Subway. Eat Fresh!” Or a 40mm Deep-V rim covered with the URLs of soon-to-be released blockbuster films. Or an Aerospoke custom-painted to look like a Pizza Hut stuffed-crust pie.

Given many of these riders’ propensity for doing trackstands and lazy figure-eights in front of trendy clothing boutiques, restaurants, and bars, your sponsorship money will double itself overnight. Not to mention provide many a needy 20-something with gold-anodized handlebars.


(Your logo here! Or here...or here...or here...)

Triathletes

Many advertisers are too quick to dismiss the effectiveness of the “it’s so hideous I can’t look away” ad placement. Now, that’s not to say you should set up a sandwich board at the scene of a grizzly auto accident, or advertise in some repulsive periodical like “Boil Lancing Monthly” or “Bicycling.” But it does mean you should occasionally think outside the bento-box when it comes to marketing.

Which is where triathletes come in. While nobody likes to see a middle-aged investment banker in a crop-top and a pair of shorts he got from an old “Laugh In” go-go dancer riding a time trial bike with a lunchbox on the top tube and a straw sticking out of the handlebars, as humans inexorably drawn to gaping at the horrific we often cannot look away. And while these riders tend towards clothing so immodest that it makes road cyclists look like professional golfers, their pointy aero helmets and disc wheels offer sizeable surfaces on which to plaster your message. If you dare. (Note: PSAs and charity advertisements work best here. Visual horrors tend to put people in a repentant frame of mind.)

(This will scare your ass into making a donation.)

I hope this has helped you to reach a decision. We look forward to cashing your checks.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Clash of the Mono-Cog Titans: Fixedgeargallery vs. Velospace

If you own a potential internet showbike, probably the biggest question on your mind (after what color Deep Vs to get) is: "Where should I post my pictures?" Well, the two biggest online runway shows are arguably fixedgeargallery.com and velospace.org. To help you decide where to submit your photos, I have decided to pit the two against each-other. They will compete in six categories, which will determine the overall winner:

The "Why Bother Posting This?" Competition


Between what I've seen online and what I've seen on the streets, the old Peugeot is probably the single most commonly converted bike out there. This one, with the requisite bullhorns and Brooks saddle, has little to distinguish it from the herd. Except perhaps the color-coordinated water bottle.



This bike is ugly enough to have been an extra in "Beetlejuice."

Winner: Velospace


The Naked Handlebar Competition


Naked risers. No grips, no brake levers, no clips on the pedals. A solid entry indeed. (Bonus points for matching the bike to the patio furniture.)


Proudly, the bull elk surveys his territory, his mighty antlers sending a clarion call to the rest of the males: "This pond is mine."

Winner: Velospace

Unrideable Geometry Competition

This contortionist's dream raises many questions. Chief among them is, "Why do people put bullhorns on everything except bikes that actually call for them?" The full poker hand of spoke cards, designer top tube pad, and front Hed tri wheel are all bonuses. This bike in motion is doubtless an MC Escher print come to life--eternally descending, yet remaining level. Heavy.
Unfortunately no bike was able to compete with the Velospace bike. So instead I present this gorilla, the only beast capable of riding it comfortably.
Winner: Velospace

Hellbent for Leather Competition

With its leather bar wrap, matching Brooks saddle and Burberry top tube pad (!), this old chap is an Anglophile's delightfully naughty dream. Despite the spoke card, this bicycle evokes images of fox huts, bowls of bread pudding, tweed hats, and sexless nights with prudish spouses. If this picture were to come to life, an old Rudge would open up that turquoise door and invite it in for tea.



This bike is more of a cowboy's mount. I can see the owner riding it in a Stetson and urging it along by gently swatting its rump with a lariat. Maybe he'd occasionally rope a BMX or something. And with Bicycle Polo an apparent hit, could Bicycle Rodeo be far off? Still, it's not quite as evocative as the Bob Jackson.
Winner: Fixedgeargallery

Best Cheap Tart Competition


This simple Pista with the caked-on blue eyeshadow and patterned cocktail dress looks like a teenager from Flushing who's sneaked out of the house for a night in the city. And just like Mom and Dad can't stop a willful teenager, the rider can't stop this bike. No brake, no straps, no problem.
Best Bianchi Pista Concept Competition
The spoke card and ATACs on this bike suggest the owner intended to build a dedicated track bike but chickened out at the last minute. And are the $400 Easton carbon bars better without tape, or was there just not enough money left in the budget?

"My bike is race-ready and attractive--albeit in a tube-of-toothpaste sort of way. How can I make it look more special? I know! I'll put some gold crap on it! Yeah, that's better. Now it looks like a marathon runner wearing a rope chain."
Winner: Velospace
Final Result: Velospace takes it, four to two! Step it up, Fixedgeargallery!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fixedgeargallery...of celebrity doppelgangers

In our celebrity-obsessed culture, it's inevitable that bikes sometimes reflect the brightest stars of the pop-culture firmament. Here are some examples:



This bike screams "Molly Ringwald" all the way. Same color scheme, same time period, same dowdy accessories and same awkward stance.

"Let's Get Physical"



This is the polar opposite of the Molly Ringwald bike. Purple fade, bandana, spokey-dokeys...this bike wants to be in an aerobics studio. Let me hear your body talk!



With its careful color coordination, trendy "hardcore" accessories, skater aesthetic, and diminutive stance, this bike could be any one of the members of fake punk band Good Charlotte. (Or Blink 182, or Sum 41, or...)


Deliverance




When I stumbled upon this picture on Fixedgeargallery it chilled me to the bone. A lonely bike in shadow on a muddy river bank. Something terrible is about to happen. I sense a couple of rusty old Schwinns missing some spokes lurking in the trees. This bike is definitely the Jon Voight character, though. If it were Burt Reynolds it would have a top-tube pad.


"Good Times"


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Worst of NYC Craigslist Bike Ads #11, #12, and # 13

If you’re looking for entertaining and/or insightful Tour de France and general bike racing commentary [past and present], go here, here, and here. If you're looking for the muck that congeals on the bottom of the fetid public pool that is the NYC bikes for sale section of Craigslist, stay right here. Watch out for Legionnaire's disease:


Trek Singlespeed - $200 [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/377327854.html]
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2007-07-19, 10:45AM EDT

Large frame 24" or 61 cm --for someone over 5'10"
in good condition, small paint chips, very little rust new seat, bar ends, and chain tensioner. (see pics) Bike is big, light and very fast... email me to ride,

do not be short, you will not like it

The admonition to the vertically challenged is offensive. What’s not to like about being short? Are you some kind of heightist? Or are you sharing personal experience?

Anyway, nobody of any height will like your bicycle. $200?!? Your picture of that bike is worth more than the actual bike. That is not a singlespeed—it’s a piece of crap that’s missing its derailleurs. Please move it so I can have an unspoiled view of that brick wall, which is infintely more attractive.

Wanted- track tri-spoke or aerospoke front wheel velocity rear - $1 (Lower East Side) [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/377276082.html]
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2007-07-19, 9:17AM EDT
looking for a couple things for my latest project:
-tri-spoke front wheel (100mm spacing)
-aerospoke front wheel (100mm spacing)

-unmachined white velocity rear wheel (or just the rim)

-track cranks. (something that fits my campy BB)

let me know if you have any of these. will buy or trade. i have a canon digital slr cam that im def willing to barter!

WILL ONLY DEAL LOCALLY.

Here comes another one, ready to trade the birthday present from Mom and Dad to build his trendy dream bike... Okay, firstly, that's more than a "couple things." Second, that’s cool if you want to build your bike according to “The Urban Fixie Checklist,” but putting the word out on Craigslist is like being a beautiful woman and going to one of those “Men $20, Ladies Free” nights at a club, or like being a vegetarian at a Dim Sum restaurant. You’re going to be offered a whole lot of disgusting things you don’t want. I'd shop elsewhere.



Boutique MTB crankset - Curve - $50 [original URL: http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/377132735.html]
Reply to: [deleted]

Date: 2007-07-19, 12:07AM EDT

Curve 175mm 94BCD 5-arm mtb crankset. Kept as a spare, pretty much brand new. Crank arms only. I dare you to find another pair. $50

For $15 more, I can add a brand new Ritchey 42t ring + singlespeed crank bolts and make it a singlespeed crankset.

You dare me? How dare you! And you know what? I'm immature enough to take a dare so I did a little searching online. You're right, I couldn't find anything. But that's not a selling point. Rare and "boutique" are not smart choices when it comes to MTB cranks. And sometimes things are hard to find for a reason. If they are truly desireable collectibles take them to eBay.

Well, At Least More People Are Riding...Right?


When confronted with something like the above (sent to me by Stevil Knievel of Howtoavoidthebummerlife, who seems to know exactly how to push my buttons), we often can't help feeling angry and offended. And of course maybe it's not a trendy track bike that does it for you. Maybe it's an ultralight road bike straight from the pages of Bicycling buckling under an overweight guy in a full CSC kit, or a freeride bike with more travel than JFK airport on Thanksgiving being piloted on pavement by a guy in full body armor. Whatever. You can't help it. You get angry.

But, if you're a better person than me, you check yourself. Instead of criticizing them, you take a breath and say, "Well, at least more people are riding these days."

Really though? I mean, intellectually I know that's a good thing, but there's also that part of me that screams, "No, it isn't!" It's the same part of me that says it's OK to have another drink, or to pull off and let the guy behind me close the gap instead. And deep down most of us can't help occasionally feeling like cycling is ours, and that people need to fit our criteria and pass our tests before they can be cyclists too.

Of course as humans we have a conscience and most of the time manage to keep our baser instincts subdued. Nonetheless, here are some things (courtesy of youtube) that won't let me completely accept the fact that it's a good thing that more people are riding, no matter how hard I try:

Intoxicated Bike Polo

Apart from the fact that no horses are suffering, I see nothing to feel good about here.

Crackpot Inventors

It's bad enough that bike companies keep trying to trick us into upgrading with overpriced and underperforming technology. We don't need guys like this entering the fray with their ridiculous contraptions. Despite the focus group of Scottish schoolboys, I don't see a future for this particular design.

Euro-style Coddling and Handholding

Yes, I know America is evil and Europe is a wonderful place full of free medical care, polyglot people, and progressive thinking where nothing ever goes wrong. And I know I should like something like this--after all, it would allow more people in hillier regions to ride bicycles. But I'm not sure we should ever have this here because I'm not sure America can handle it. Just wait until the day you see somebody on a Colnago or a track bike with a 49/15 gear using one of these things. Or someone on a Costco bike eating a bag of McDonald's on the way up. You won't think it's so cute then.

PSAs

This well-intentioned PSA from the NHTSA has some helpful tips for the novice cyclist. But there are also some things it fails to address. Like the minivan straddling two lanes carrying a family of 17, all speaking on cellphones. Or the car service that has no qualms about running me down if it will save a few seconds getting to his next fare. Or the dreaded Hummer from Jersey. The kind and gentle environment this film depicts does not reflect what many of us encounter every day. Sometimes laws need to be broken and the cyclist needs to be on the offensive. I fear if new cyclists venture out into the world armed with only the knowledge from this film that they'll be picked off one-by-one, like newborn sea turtles getting snatched off the beach by birds.

Bad TV

My friend (yes, I do have one) recently told me about the TV show "Double Rush" from 1995. I think they only aired the pilot. You may already have seen this. If you haven't, here's the pitch: "Taxi" meets "Cheers," set in a New York City messenger company office. Complete with laugh track and typical sitcom banter, this is funny for all the wrong reasons. And while the opening sequence and the casting is impressive, a very real danger of more cyclists out there is that somebody might be tempted to try something like this again.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Great Moments In (Local) Cyclesport


The Tour de France is in full swing. As I’ve said before, I have no intention of commenting on the race. However, as the exploits that will become tomorrow’s legends and scandals unfold, I think it is important to remember that the roads of France are not the only backdrop for excitement. Countless dramas unfold in every local race as well. Here are just a few examples of beautiful moments of triumph and defeat taking place in our own backyard that rival anything in the Tour:

--6:00am, Prospect Park, Brooklyn. A rider on a $900 wheelset rolls up to the registration area with a $2,000 wheelset strapped to his back. We can only imagine that later today he will put on a suit to go to the grocery store and then change into a tux to do some barbecuing.

--A nine-man team wearing matching kit and riding custom-painted matching bicycles with SRMs discusses tactics as they line up to start in one of the lower category races.

--Lap three. A few riders go off the front. From the rear of the pack a rider just barely hanging on summons his last bit of breath to bravely shout, “Close that gap!” He is then dropped.

--A rider on a carbon-fiber Pinarello risks his fingers to adjust the hockey puck-sized computer sensor on his wavy Onda fork. He is apparently more concerned with closing gaps in his training data than with closing gaps in the actual race. He nearly takes out three other riders but manages not to sacrifice a digit to his bladed Zicral spokes. Reconnected to his life-giving data stream, he resumes not racing.

--On the big-ring “climb” during a lull in the action, a rider inexplicably blows up, sits up, and moves backwards diagonally, nearly taking out half the pack in a 7/10 split.

--A rider with no visible race number adjusts the volume on his iPod.

--The group laps one of the lower-category fields just as they are finishing. The matching nine-man squad has begun their leadout, jettisoning their water bottles in perfect synchronicity. However, as the two fields combine, there is some confusion as to which field should be neutralized. After the race, the protests will continue well into the afternoon. At stake for the lower category riders: pride, fulfillment of sponsorship obligations, and a tin novelty medal on a red, white, and blue nylon ribbon. At stake for the higher category riders: lunch money.

--One lap to go. All places up the road in a breakaway. A rider demands a bottle from his teammate and proceeds to shower himself like the Maillot Jaune on Alpe d’Huez. But the joke is on him. The bottle is filled with Cytomax.

--The guy on the $2,000 wheelset punctures and is out of the race.

--The marshals whose job it is to keep the park road clear have gotten impatient and gone home. A guy on a hybrid gets the scare of his life when 80 riders in lycra suddenly appear around him, screaming at him to “keep right.”

--Final lap. Five riders go down in the sprint for 19th place. $5,000 worth of carbon fiber shattered.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bicycles and Their Counterparts In Nature

Most of us at some point or another find it necessary to delude ourselves into believing there's some kind of order and symmetry in the Universe. Whatever. But one interesting aspect of this is the Platonic Ideal. Now, I don't think every piece of crap here has some perfect counterpart in some other world we can't visit. But I do think that every bicycle I see has some perfect living counterpart out there in the natural world--a non-bicycle doppelganger. Here are some examples: