Few things are as rewarding as helping to embroider an idea onto the cultural fabric. As such, I was very pleased to receive from a reader a piece of art incorporating the beloved "All You Haters Suck My Balls" rim.
In these troubled times, we need an inspirational slogan to rally around, and I feel that "All You Haters Suck My Balls" may very well be that slogan. Yesterday, a number of commenters even suggested emblazoning it on merchandise, and indeed the artist who sent me this image also suggested that I register the URL. However, I refuse to do either. Firstly, the slogan doesn't belong to me. I like to think it belongs to all of us, though technically it belongs to the person who first expressed it on his lime-green rim with twenty-three vinyl stick-on letters. (I can't help imagining that, as he applied the second "L" in "balls," he shivered slightly with the dawning awareness he was doing something great.)
Secondly, our culture is far too commodified as it is. As soon as anybody expresses any interest in anything, someone else comes along and tries to package it and sell it. Worse yet, all too often we are willing to buy, as though an idea isn't legitimate until we've paid money for it. And that's simply not true. The AYHSMB sentiment is priceless, and as soon as you affix a price to it you cheapen it, no matter what that price may be. And I refuse to participate in the cheapening of "All You Haters Suck My Balls." Instead, I choose to meditate on it. If you find yourself with a free moment today, close your eyes and imagine actor Morgan Freeman's voice intoning the mantra "All You Haters Suck My Balls." I think you'll find it surprisingly transformative.
Unfortunately though, it may be naive of me to think we can share a slogan when we can barely share the bike path. I came upon this distressing accident report yesterday on Craigslist:
Bicycle on Bicycle on Runner Collision, West Side HWY - 35 (Midtown West)
Reply to: pers-[deleted]
Date: 2008-09-22, 4:11AM EDT
Me, riding North on West Side bike path, white helmet, black jersey.
Other cyclist, red jersey or helmet, big guy going South in North-bound lane. Dude, are you OK? You nailed me! I turned around after a sec and I think you were gone. I realize that it was crowded, but if you are going to pass people by straying into the oncoming bike traffic, you better be able to pull it off. Also, you didn't stop to see if I was OK. I hit a runner jogging next to me!
Runner, jogging next to me. You were a mean super bitch! I just got hit head on by another rider! What the fuck is YOUR problem? Yes I bumped into you while trying not to do a faceplant on the pavement. You acted like I raped your baby. I apologized and asked if you were OK. You gave dirty looks and huffed and put your precious earbuds back in. Homework: be nice to a random stranger tomorrow.
I'm not sure why VeloNews felt that Ekimov's non-return to the peloton was newsworthy. Certainly nobody actually thought he might actually be coming back in the first place. I mean, that guy's old. In fact, if you check his Wikipedia page you'll see he actually won a stage of the Tour of Pangea. I suppose next they'll track down Lance Armstrong's eighth grade social studies teacher and find out if she's considering putting the knitting needles down and returning to the chalkboard. I heard that after a lengthy discussion with her cats they all decided it was the right thing to do.
Of course, the real breaking news is out on the streets. A reader has forwarded me this vexing picture of a bicycle which appears to be in the process of evolving (or devolving) into a fixed-gear:
This is a fascinating find, and is in many ways the equivalent of spotting a yeti or a sasquatch--it's a bridge between two related species. Yet it also bears hallmarks of the platypus, in that it also has traits of completely unrelated species. Take a closer look at this diagram:
The 700c rear wheel and the lack of a brake indicate that this bicycle is on its way to fixed-gear country. This would appear to be reinfored by the fact that it's an older Klein, and as such is equipped with rear-entry horizontal dropouts, which is not nearly as sordid as it sounds and makes it ripe for fixed-gear conversion. The flop-and-chop bars also speak of a fixed future. However, one loses the fixed-gear scent when one comes to the levers. Certainly nobody would invest in costly STI levers if they were thinking of going fixed. Yet if this is the case, why no rear brake? I mean, sure, you probably couldn't get the brake pads to line up with the 700c rim, but in that case why not go back to the original 26" setup? Perhaps this bike is not evolving, and is in fact an evolutionary dead end--kind of like the Neanderthals. Alas, we may never know.
Personally, though, if this bike is on its way to becoming a fixed-gear I would stop and reverse the transformation if I were the owner. That Klein is a vintage mountain bike, and vintage mountain bikes are all the rage. Indeed, an old Breezer recently cracked the $10K barrier on eBay (without even meeting the reserve!):
But how to hydrate yourself on your new/old mountain bike? Sure, bottles are period-correct, but they're so unwieldy. Why not be a rolling anachronism with the CamelBak RaceBak?
A reader recently brought this to my attention, and while I have absolutely no problem with hydration systems in principle, in practice they frighten me. In this case, it's partially the copy: "You've got a hydration hose just inches from your face, there are no dodgy moments...," it says. Well, I'd argue if you've got a hose just inches from your face then things have gotten quite dodgy indeed. Plus, I have an irrational fear of carrying fluids on my body. Not only because I feel like a giant blister, but also because I fear it hastens evolution and that really scares me. Even though there's no scientific basis for this fear, I still think that if people continue to wear hydration systems we'll ultimately be born with them. Aero gear scares me for the same reason--it's only a matter of time before somebody somewhere is born with a completely hairless, pointy, faired head.
Don't get me wrong--I'm not a techno-phobe. I'm perfectly fine with the fact that the Internet is becoming our collective memory and consciousness, even if that collective consciousness does contain a disproportionate number of YouTube videos. I guess I'm just fine with the mind changing but not the body. I think that (for the most part) we've got a nice balance of hair and smoothness, and of teeth and no teeth. I just don't want us getting all Pillsbury Doughboy-ish.
Then again, CamelBak may be wisely banking on a Dune-like future. The RaceBak is eerily similar conceptually to the "stillsuit" Kyle McLoughlin wore in the movie, in that both are basically suits filled with water:
Except at least the CamelBak thing doesn't involve drinking your own pee. That could be why Sting opted for the winged codpiece instead:
Like the Klein above, I can't decide of hydration systems are evolution or devolution. All I know is, I'm scared.