(Jackalope makes a "booty call," by Erik K)
If I believe anything, I believe that rubbing books is fundamental. So I've been enjoying "The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon" by John Joseph, given to me by Stevil Kinevil of HTATBL, who foolishly left a $50 bill in the book which he's not getting back. (I already used the money to buy six pieces of Purple Haze cheese from Artisanalcheese.com. Granted, I bought it because I thought it was a strain of marijuana, but nonetheless, it was delicious and surprisingly smokable.) One thing about the book is that it reminds you just how much New York has changed over the years. Streets that were once the domain of drug dealers and thugs are now practically brimming with artisanal cheese. This was further underscored by my commute this morning. For example, people are no longer urinating on the streets. Instead, they're urinating tidily in plastic bottles and leaving them out for collection:
Also, graffiti taggers are promoting the eating of wholesome vegetables:
But it's not all bottled urine and greens. The streets of NYC are still full of malicious robots programmed with insatiable nun-lust:
Meanwhile, elsewhere, the abuse of barends continues unabated, as you can see from this photo, taken by a reader in Washington state:
There's an unwritten rule that prohibits the use of barends with riser bars. Obviously, this is mostly an aesthetic concern, and riders should simply do whatever makes them comfortable. But while I certainly believe in comfort and multiple hand positions, there is also such a thing as too many hand positions, as you can see here. Also, theoretically, there's really no limit to the number of barends you can install on a bicycle, since you can install one at the end of another. Really, the only limit to the number of barends you can put on a bicycle is how many barends you have at your disposal. Even with hipster cysts, you'll run out of room eventually--unless you keep putting hipster cysts on your barends. In any case, sometimes rules exist for a reason, so go easy on the barends (or hipster cysts) before someone mistakes you for an elk with Christmas lights tangled in your antlers and tries to make a trophy out of you.
On the opposite end of the handlebar spectrum are these, forwarded to me by another reader:
I like handlebars that tell you where to put your hands, which is why I was such a big fan of the Cinelli Neo Morphe. I also like that these bars take into account today's knuckle-tattooed riders. And they're not just cashing in on a trend, either. It's obvious they know their customer, since the hand placement markers are only at the top of the bars. For "fixters," the drops are strictly off-limits, and are simply vestigial structures meant to keep their bikes looking "tracky." I'm surprised they didn't add something to the drops like "High Voltage: Do Not Touch."
Of course, custom painted bars don't allow for practical things like grips or bar tape, which are anathema to many of today's riders. But not everybody's leaving their bars naked. Some are actually wrapping bandanas ove their bar tape, like this rider, spotted by this reader:
Clearly, this commuter means business. Not only is he in the big ring on his triple crank, but he's also opted for the HED Jet wheelset. Once those doors open it's going to be like the opening prologue of the Tour de France. I'm sure in his mind there's a Frenchman counting backwards: "quatre...trois...deux..." I only hope he doesn't take a nose dive when the clock strikes zéro and the doors open, because there's probably no start ramp outside of those doors and he's liable to end up lying on top of a twisted mass of shattered carbon and bent Taiwanese aluminum.
You'd think that ITTET people might be passing over the overpriced wheelsets and instead rubbing simple, economical, and durable wheels that cost about a quarter as much. Not so. In fact, a number of readers forwarded me this image, which shows that the fixed-gear expensive front wheel wars continue to rage unchecked:
I don't know which Lightweight wheelset that front wheel comes from, but the cheapest pair on Competitivecyclist.com costs $4,500. Using wheels like that for amateur racing is stupid enough; taking one of them, putting it on your track bike, riding around town in canvas boat shoes on what appear to be $19 Wellgo pedals (with the reflectors still on), and ending up at a fake bike shop is nothing short of a wolf jump. If you want to show the world you have too much money, why not just use your ATM card as a spoke card and paint your PIN on your deep-section rim? You might as well add your SSN too. That way people can steal the identity you're trying so desperately to forge.
Speaking of theft, you might also think that ITTET people might make doubly-sure their bikes are locked up properly. After all, circumspection is free. (And a lot less painful than circumcision.) However, this is clearly not the case, as evidenced by these photos, taken by a reader in Williamsburg:
While the rider has taken great pains to secure both wheels, he's unfortunately missed the pole altogether:
While the hard-anodized rim and colored tire combo might be enough to deter Jobst Brandt (Jobst Brandt is the world's most outspoken opponent of both hard-anodized rims and silica tires), I'm relatively certain most thieves would ignore his warnings of decreased durability and simply make off with the whole bike sandwich.
Lastly, if you've been on the fence about buying the hillbilly-hipster-gun-cult-beach-sex-fixed-gear-conversion bike, a number of readers have alerted me to a new product that might make up your mind for you. Yes, drinking 40s while you ride has just gotten a lot easier thanks to the new Advent Gigunda cage:
The Advent Gigunda cage is a hipster's dream come true, as it provides yet another reason to not put something in your messenger bag. With your Kryptonite chain around your waist, your beer on your downtube, your keys hanging from your belt or bicep, and your phone, iPod, and other accessories safely holstered, you can rub your messenger bag the way it was intended to be rubbed--as a flat decorative shawl-like cover for your shoulders.
Rub your bikes safely this weekend, and watch out for jackalopes and/or callbacks!