We’ve had a lot of laughs here. Yes, it’s been controversial at times. Sure, there have been arguments. However, I think in the end we’ve all been able to come together in the spirit of mirth beneath the giant technicolor Parapluie d’Amour that is the cycling community.
But today we need to get serious.
For the last however long it’s been I’ve dedicated a small sliver of my life to pointing out bike-related foibles and transgressions, and I like to think I’ve made a little bit of a difference. But as hard as I try and as vigilant as I am, I just can’t change the world. In December, I happily reported that only 3.3% (or four in 120) of the most recent Fixedgeargallery submissions were sporting top tube pads. Unfortunately, as of today, that percentage has increased to 5.8% (or seven in 120). And one of them was even soaked in blood:
Personally, I consider any top tube pad an affront to decency. And I find a sanguineous one especially offensive, regardless of whether the blood was the result of a crash, the manifestation of Fixed-gear Apocalypse-related stigmata, or even the aftermath of the rare but documented phenomenon of man-struation. So I find myself coming to grips with the fact that, despite my best efforts, instances of top-tube pads seem to be increasing. And this would appear to mean that, while a man-pon can stanch the man-strual flow, I cannot stem the top-tube pad tide.
Am I discouraged? Yes. Will I be thwarted? No. Will I acquiesce? I don’t even know what acquiescence is—literally! (Sounds liquidy.) Instead, I will turn my attention towards a more insidious and disturbing trend that has manifested itself in recent weeks: Top Tube-Mounted Brake Levers. (Or TTMBLs.)
TTMBLs belong right up there with WMDs, PCBs, STDs, SBDs, and OPPs on the list of acronyms to be avoided at all costs. Certainly we’ve seen them before, but their appearance was sporadic and seemingly random. Now though it appears they may be coalescing into a bona-fide trend.
In the same 120-bike sample that yielded a TTP index of 5.8%, I counted two TTMBLs:
Interestingly, it would appear that owners of Schwinns are most at risk of developing TTMBLs.
If I were a doctor, and this were a fixed-gear colonoscopy, then I just found two growths. I’ve also just tested them, and by God, they’re malignant! So what must we do, you ask? The answer is simple. We must do as the doctor would do: nip them in the butt.
(Forgive me for being graphic, but I told you this was serious.)
Of course, the real question is how do we excise them? Well, as we all know, legislation won’t do it. Look at drugs, or at teen smoking and drinking. When you tell someone they can’t have something they just want it more. Fear and guilt won’t work either. After all, Catholics still masturbate—they’re just really furtive about it. No, the only thing that will work is peer ridicule. The person with the TTMBL must be made to feel like a freak and an outcast. Only when they understand the sheer stupidity of their brake lever placement will these riders relocate them to the handlebars on which they belong. They need to know that there are much better and more enjoyable reasons to reach between your legs. (Just ask any Catholic.)
It's incredibly important that we remain positive in the face of a potential epidemic. As one porn star says to another right before the big threesome scene, "Together we'll lick this thing!"