1) I went all the way to Austin. Texas, no less! Once there, I braved heat, trucks, and the sort of smarmy politeness from strangers that I always encounter when I leave New York and which I'm never sure is sincere or not. To do so and not post about it would be like incurring a wound and not lifting the bandage and showing everybody you know.
2) I am supportive of any new bike shop, even if it is part-owned by a celebrity and doesn't really need my support. I'm even supportive of Chari & Co., who also had an opening party this past weekend in New York City, and I wish them nothing but success. (Even though the pictures I see kind of make me sick.) So I figure a new shop in Austin that's actually well-stocked, well-staffed, and worth a visit merits a little attention. I mean, it's no Dah Shop, but it's pretty sweet. After all, where else can you not only buy bike stuff but also look at Tour de France memorabilia and modern art, drink gourmet coffee, and take a free shower all under the same roof? Just add a retired cyclist in Nikes pawing at you and you'll know exactly what it's like to be Ashley Olsen.
3) A "two-part episode" may smack of shark-jumping, but until I actually do a holiday post that starts with "A Very Special BSNYC" and involves all of us learning valuable lessons about love and togetherness I figure my skis still haven't left the water.
4) My anonymity affords me little opportunity to bask in the limelight, so I figured I'd take the opportunity to explore the way the rest of the freeloading, product-grubbing, propaganda-parroting cycling press lives.
So come with me as I take you on a virtual night on the town in Austin.
The sign's to let you know what's inside. The camera is to keep you from stealing. I would advise against any shoplifting attempts. This is Texas and they shoot people for that.
As I was with an entourage and intended to imbibe I left the bike behind and engaged a driver. Also, there was a thunderstorm. Austin's fixed-gear community was undaunted, however. I guess they only put their bikes in the car when it's dry.
As a cycling blogger of some renown I had some other appearances to make before attending the Mellow Johnny's opening. Here at Tsunami I signed stickers and read aloud from a selection of Commiecanuk's comments. Three people showed up, but only to use the bathroom, and there was chips and salsa. I guess that full-page ad in VeloNews was a waste.
Inside the shop. Way in the background is a big arty thing by Raymond Pettibon and some other guy I can't remember because he didn't have anything to do with Black Flag (I don't think). A little to the left of that is the Naked bike which won "Best in Show" at the NAHBS. There are plenty of photos of it elsewhere so you don't need more from me. I'm not sure if the bike in the foreground with the kickstand has a story, though it may be Five Boro Bike Tour winner Lawrence Orbach's training bike. I'm the guy standing behind the camera with a broken heel.
Can you feel the hot breath of the Apocalyptic Alpaca on your neck? If so, that's because you can actually buy a top-tube pad from Lance Armstrong. Yep, MJ's has plenty of fixed-gear bikes and accessories. Behold the dreaded "Wall of Fixies!"
I was surprised that MJ's was carrying Caloi, though this was the only one they had in stock. They wouldn't let me test ride it either. Oh, by the way, if you visit Mellow Johnny's, don't lick the bikes. Gary Fisher tried it and got his crazy ass thrown out.
What says "party in a bike shop" louder than drinks on a pedal display case? Those Speedplays weren't the only things with lots of float. I too was getting pretty loosey-goosey.
Lance Armstrong's climbing bike from the 2005 Tour de France.
Mock gas tank is triple-butted for weight savings.
The Austin heat was oppressive and I had a nice set of sweat earrings to go with my heels, so I adjourned to the courtyard with my entourage in search of relief. I didn't find it, but I did find the beautiful people of Austin. Well, people of Austin anyway. Hey, I am from New York. I'm used to better-looking crowds.
Since the crowd wasn't really cutting it for me, I figured I'd try to correct things with margaritas. See that? The crowd looks better already.
Here's two more Austin porta-potties. I think they were feeling a little out of place since they weren't mixing in with the rest of the guests. They did relax enough take off their Cones of Smugness, though. I went over to talk to them since they didn't seem to be having that great of a time. And thanks to my innate charm and the miracle of the MargaritaCam...
...those porta-potties became party-potties!
My mouth was now dry from the gravel, so I headed back inside to freshen my drink. On the way to the margarita machine, I was confronted by the shop's dark overlord, his starred-and-striped bat wings spread out menacingly over his minions.
My freshened drink, moments before I toppled headlong into a rack full of Mellow Johnny's bib shorts.
Righting myself, I headed over to chat with Lance. I spoke to him for about 15 minutes before I noticed he had his back to me, and for another 10 minutes before I realized he was in fact a headless mannequin. I don't shame easily, though, and I wasn't really embarrassed until I noticed that I also had about six pairs of bib shorts hanging off of me.
By this time it was beginning to dawn on me that I had had too much to drink. I looked at the wall and grew dizzy. There was only one Maillot Jaune up there, but I could have sworn it looked like seven! This, coupled with the bowl of gravel I had just eaten, was making me nauseous. So I remembered something the mannequin had told me: "If you're going to puke, make sure to do it on Chris Carmichael." So off I went.
I couldn't find Chris Carmichael, but I did find the bathroom. Here's the view as you walk into it. I can assure you this was not helping the state of my stomach. By the way, there are free showers in the bathroom. I did not avail myself of them, though I do think it's a great idea. In Texas, that is. In a more liberal state public showers would doubtless get a little out of hand.
OK, time to leave. Unfortunately, while I was in no condition to walk, there was no way I was going to demean myself by traveling via pedi-cab. So I looked for an alternate means of transportation...
...and found it in the form of this Oakley Death Tank. If you own a car and had it parked anywhere on or around Nueces St. last Saturday night, I owe you an apology. Don't worry, though. The damage should buff right out.
And that's the end of that. I'd just like to send out a sincere thank you to the people at Mellow Johnny's. If you find yourself in Austin be sure to check it out. Just go easy on the margaritas.
Oh, and Oakley people, if you're looking for your Death Tank, try Barton Springs Pool. Because that's where I woke up.