So as a person who strives for good moral character, I was very pleased to learn of this book from a reader in the Netherlands (which is that country bordering Holland) who is justifiably concerned about our own national character here in the United States:
"Originally published in 1910, Alfred Rochefort's HEALTHFUL SPORTS FOR BOYS is an optimistic 'Can Do!' prescription for the kind of vigorous, competitive, yet thoroughly wholesome boyhood that for more than two centuries has reliably bred great American men of character, courage and good common sense. In our 21st Century, 'post-modern' era of video games, virtual reality and 'couch potato kids,' Rochefort's vision of active boys creating fun with their own minds and muscles is a reminder of everything great about boys and about America, and a Clarion Call to a new generation to 'get up and get great!' -- Before it's too late!"
I could not agree more, and I'm glad to learn that my firm belief in camping/boating/swimming/cycling/skating/sledding/sleight of hand magic septathalons is not only validated in print but also taps into a heritage that is nearly 100 years old. I'm also glad that "Rochefort's vision of active boys creating fun with their own minds and muscles" was published way back in 1910 and that he's probably no longer among us today, because if he were his vision would almost certainly have landed him in prison by now. I suppose the narrowness of his vision is why there's not also a girls' version of this book, though I suppose if there were it probably would have involved a lot of ribbon tying, fabric mending, and doll hair brushing.
If still you're not ready to buy it, this sample chapter on the Amazon entry for this book should be enough to convince you. It starts thusly:
KITES: WHERE FOUND; HOW MADE;
THEIR PRACTICAL USES; CLOSELY RELATED
TO AEROPLANES– A GREAT SPORT
Spring winds favor kite flying. This is another world-wide sport, and it was popular with old and young in China – the land of the kite – at the time when the Egyptians were cutting stones for the pyramids. Everybody knows, or should know, what the great Ben Franklin did by means of a kite, though the kite through which he learned the nature of lightning was of a model that is not often seen at this time. This was the old bow kite, the kind that every beginner learns to make, and which needs no detailed description here.
Ah yes, I'll never forget learning to fashion my own bow kite as a child, nor the character-building beatings that ensued when I flew it incorrectly. I can only imagine what "Healthful Sports For Boys" has to say about cycling. Rochefort's feelings on Campy vs. Shimano are no doubt as compelling as they are insightful.
Unfortunately, not everybody is as morally upstanding as I am. The city, and indeed the world, is rife with bike thieves. In fact, I just received this plea from yet another victim:
I have never written you before, but I have been an avid reader since the beginning. I am reaching out to you today because my bike was stolen. I know you can't post something every time some jackass gets thwarted by the bike thieves, however in seeing the attached picture of my bike you will see it is close kin with the ironic orange julius bike-- and that may (hopefully) pull at your heart strings
yes it is a "hipster bike" with the white deep V's and the white ourys- sans brake. however it is just my city bike- my commuting bike and I love it with all my heart. I raised it from a trash heap in southern california nursed it back to health, and the rest is history.
it was stolen on broadway in front of the Shakespeare and co book store between west 4th and washington place
The frame is an orange celo europa road frame from the 80's
It had risers with white oury grips and the front brake which is in this photo is no longer there. The wheels were white velocity deep v's the rear hub was a phil wood.
There aren't alot of these around. And being an orange and white "hipster bike" it should be easy to spot.
Thanks for your help
- joe gunn
Ps. I'm willing to pay a handsome reward.
I'm posting this because not only would I like to see this person get his bike back (and if you have any leads, please send them directly to the victim at firstname.lastname@example.org because I can't be bothered) but also because his plea did indeed tug at my heart strings. That's not because this bike shares anything with my own IOJB, though. The two couldn't be any more different. Not only does the IOJB have a surfeit of brakes, but it's also not even remotely orange, which is a crucial component of its irony. No, it tugs at my heart strings because I too was raised back to health from a trash heap, and I'm also orange in hue. Most importantly, though, the victim promises a "handsome reward." And that can mean only one thing: he's prepared to give whoever finds the bike former "Wonder Years" star Fred Savage:It doesn't get much more handsome than that.
But the most important gift a theft victim can give his fellow cyclists is knowledge, and I strongly believe that when you post a cry for help you should also explain how your bike was locked (or wasn't locked) so that at least others might learn from your misfortune. As it turns out, Mr. Gunn's bike was locked, however it was locked to a scaffolding. And unfortunately scaffolding can be unbolted. Mr. Gunn knew this, but then he made his second, fatal mistake--he figured it would be fine because he would "only be five minutes." And as soon as you think that to yourself, you've lost your bike. When it comes to bike theft, always remember that five minutes is four minutes and fifty-nine seconds too many. Which is why this Craigslist posting is irritating:
Firstly, the lock's only as good as the object to which it is secured. Secondly, even if you didn't lock your bike at all, you can still blame bike crooks. One doesn't have to have read "Healthful Sports for Boys" to know that it's wrong to take something that belongs to someone else. The smug nature of this posting leads me to believe not only that it was written by a Kryptonite employee, but that perhaps Kryptonite themselves are behind many bike thefts in the same way that anti-virus software makers are probably creating all those computer viruses.
Then again, people do lock their bikes poorly, as you can see from this picture sent to me by a reader in San Francisco:
Then again, there are other ways to lose your bike besides getting it stolen:
Missing!!! Redline Conquest Pro!!! (Bike Kill!!!)
Reply to: email@example.com [?]
Date: 2008-10-29, 4:03PM EDT
I crashed my bike on the way home from Bike Kill knocked myself out and had to be taken to the hospital in a ambulance. Unfortunatly they left my bike on the side of the road.
The bike is a black redline conquest pro with white bar tape and a silver arione saddle. It has oval handlebars with a fsa stem and seatpost. It is set up 1x9 with dura ace components a mavic front wheel and shimano rear wheel.
If you know anything or have seen this bike please let me know!
I'd hate to make assumptions, and I'm sorry to hear that this person had to be taken away in an ambulance, but since he was coming from Bike Kill I think we do at least have to consider the possibility that he was blind drunk. Also, riding a cyclocross bike with Dura Ace components and an Arione saddle to Bike Kill is kind of like going to see a GG Allin show in a Calvin Klein dress and trying to catch his feces in your Louis Vuitton handbag. Then again, none of this makes the loss of his bike any less tragic. (Well, maybe just a little less tragic.) In any event, if you have any leads give Dave a call, because again, I can't be bothered. Much like the author of this post:
Speaking of cyclocross, I was reading HTATBL recently, where I came upon these:
Now I admire Sacha White's framebuilding skills as much as the next person, but I have to say he really missed the mark here. Not only are these expensive, but they're obviously terrible for racing cyclocross. You've have a hard time even riding a bike in these things, much less dismounting and remounting it at speed. They're not even compatible with clipless pedals! The only use I could possibly see for them is standing around in the mud. And of course you can just as easily do that barefoot for free. (At least that's what I do.)
Indeed, we certainly have grown soft. Whither Alfred Rochefort?