Although both the books I reviewed yesterday are nice to look at, I must say that both of them lack gripping narratives. Sure, looking at pictures and reading descriptions of those pictures is both fun and informative, but sometimes you need a good old-fashioned ripping yarn in which to lose yourself. I'm talking about the kind of book you pick up in the bathroom and before you know it you've missed two days of work. Well, this article, forwarded to me by a reader, could very well be the basis for just such a book (and, in turn, a blockbuster movie) if some shrewd publisher or studio is paying attention:
When I first saw the headline, I immediately thought it was Andy from Fyxomatosis, but it actually turned out to be a guy called Yair Kellner. By the way, the Brisbane Times sure has a knack for attention-grabbing headlines. No sooner did I start reading about the naked Aussie than I was almost diverted by this:
However, I had no time for equine tales of testiclular mastication, and continued reading about Mr. Kellner. It turns out he was competing in the Iditarod Trail Invitational, which is one of those ridiculous endurance races in Alaska. Kellner was riding his Pugsley or whatever other kind of hipster bike those guys use when he fell into a frigid creek. At this point, soaking wet and freezing, he got naked. By the way, a good rule of thumb as you go through life is to always get naked in the event of an emergency. I do it even if I'm not involved in the emergency myself. For example, when that plane landed in the Hudson back in January, the first thing I did was take off my pants. I'm not saying it helped, but it certainly didn't hurt, and it's a good habit to get into just in case.
Anyway, the next day he made some crampons out of his pedals and climbed a hill. I'm not sure he had to climb the hill, but when you're in a life-threatening situation it's always a good idea to undertake an unecessarily dramatic task so that it will make good reading if you survive. Also, the article doesn't specify, but I'm assuming he was still naked. Even smarter, Kellner left a trail of orange Gatorade wherever he went. This serves two important purposes: 1) it helps the rescuers find you; and 2) it provides an excellent product placement opportunity for the movie. He also rationed his cheese and energy bars (the article doesn't specify the brand of energy bar, presumably because product placement negotiations are still in progress), holed up in a cave he built out of snow (I assume he used some of his cheese for mortar), and made signals for planes out of his bike's reflectors--which just goes to show that dorkiness can in fact save your life. I'm a little unclear on the timeline, but I think the whole ordeal lasted three days. At any rate, he got rescued and he's doing just fine.
So let's recap. If you ever find yourself in a life-threatening, person-against-nature ordeal with dramatic literary and theatrical potential, do the following:
1) Get naked;
2) Undertake a task such as climbing a mountain, digging a tunnel, or descending into a live volcano;
3) Maximize branding opportunities by incorporating popular products into your struggle to survive.
This should not only get you through unscathed, but also build additional financial value into the experience.
By the way, Kellner wasn't the only person to have a tough time at the ITI. Jill Homer, author of the Up In Alaska blog, got frostbite on her toes. (Click here if you want to see frostbitten toes. Click here if you want to see puppies instead.) Now, I'd hate to make assumptions about an event in which I did not participate, but I have to say it sounds like the ITI totally and completely sucks.
I also have to say that, while I respect both Yair Kellner and Jill Homer for their extreme hardiness, I also think they're a dangerous influence. They're skewering people's perception of cold. It's bad enough you can't complain about the cold in New York without hearing from this guy in Minnesota. Now you can't complain about it because you didn't lose a toe or build a snow cave on the way into work. But that's not right. Just because someplace is colder doesn't mean it's not cold here too. Similarly, just because this thing exists doesn't mean I can't say this bike is ridiculous too. We must maintain some standard of sanity!
Speaking of both getting naked and of fixed-gears, I have to say I was puzzled by this bike:
Before it was stripped, this particular Langster had a special themed paintjob. Why then would you go out of your way to purchase a bicycle with a special themed paintjob only to strip all the paint? I suppose it's possible it was a gift. Either that, or maybe the bike heard there was a fire somewhere and so it decided to immediately shed its paint and get naked.
Fortunately though, when it comes to purchasing a colorful fixed-gear you have more choices than ever before. Some dubious outfit called Republic Bike now allows you to not only to purchase a fixed-gear bicycle online for $344, but also to pick all the revolting colors yourself. Here's the "colorway" I chose:
If you're wondering why the bike's so cheap, it's because it's, well, made out of really cheap stuff:
Hi ten? High five! And once I get my dubious copy of a real bike, I will submit it to a dubious copy of a real site--I'm of course talking about my favorite fake Fixedgeargallery site, Thefixedgeargallery:
I've mentioned Thefixedgeargallery before, but they've really stepped up their game. They even have dubious movies now! I particularly enjoyed this one, mostly because of the music:
In fact, after I finished watching it, YouTube recommended another dubious video I enjoyed even more. In a way, it was strangely reminiscent of the Yair Kellner ordeal, since it also involved a gripping narrative about a person whose ride takes an unexpected detour which involves getting naked (don't worry, the video is relatively safe for work):
Not only does the film tell a great story, but it's also informative. Mandy is rocking an unusual outfit, which she explains she custom-fabricated in order to keep cool during rides:
That's right, you're looking at the world's first pair of modular crotchless cycling shorts. Forget marketing--this is the kind of grass-roots innovation that's ultimately going to move this industry forward.
That and getting naked.