(Saddle-humping fixed-gear sex art with fascist overtones by Krzysztof)
Firstly, I long ago swore an oath that I would not let my personal non-cycling hobbies contaminate this blog. However, when you're a carcake-spotter and you see a formation like this you can't resist sharing it with the world:
Yes, the carcakes are often at their best two days after a snowfall, when the stragglers are just starting to dig their cars out and the snow has had a couple of nights to freeze. This car's got a neck curtain on the trunk, a nice-sized arctic ice shelf on the roof complete with widow's peak in the front, and even a snowhawk on the hood. It looks like a paparazzi shot of Antarctica just as it's stepping out of the salon.
Secondly, a number of people seemed to take offense at the fact that I took a few swipes at the NAHBS on Monday. This surprised me, and I'd like it to be known that I have nothing but respect for these master craftspeople and their handiwork. In an effort to make amends and as a gesture of goodwill, I've taken some inspiration from Barry Wicks and made the NAHBS a "mix tape." Check out the cover art:
It's short but I think they'll enjoy it. Here's what I put on it:
1) As an homage to the traditional framebuilder's material of choice, and as a symbol of the fact that it's in the midst of a resurgence--nay, a revolution!--the mix starts off with this.
2) But the NAHBS isn't all about steel. There's also titanium, and everybody knows that the ride quality of titanium is sublime to the point of being mystical. So, even though it might be a bit predictable, I went with this.
3) While there are custom framebuilders who work in aluminum, the true lug-slobberer knows that the ride of an aluminum bicycle is impossibly stiff, and that they fail catastrophically in weeks. This classic conveys both aluminum's jarring ride quality and short life.
4) Then I put this on, because it's the most beautiful song ever written and it makes me cry.
5) This one's a shout-out to Serotta.
6) Finally, NAHBS always features lots of singlespeeds and fixed-gears. So, as a tribute to the Zen quality of both, I finished the mix with that John Cage composition that's just four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence.
I hope they like it.
But while North America's custom framebuilders have not been idle, neither have the Forces of Evil. Readers from far and wide have been forwarding me signs which can only portend one thing: the Fixed-Gear Apocalypse.
In Skagit Valley, Washinton, one rider has come upon an infernal farm that is giving away alpacas. Not many people know that the "Book of Fixed-Gear Revelation" is actually encoded in Jobst Brandt's gripping classic, "The Bicycle Wheel." Using my Ovaltine secret decoder ring, I've extracted this text, and it warns that "in the fifth year of the exhibition of the bicycles wrought with hands, the Alpacas shall be freed, and they shall lay waste to the land." It then goes on in mind-numbing detail about stress-relieving and the evils of paired-spoke technology, but clearly free alpacas are a bad sign, and I have no doubt that they will turn on and devour their new owners.
No sooner had I received this information than another reader informed me of the existence of a fixed-gear recumbent:
As the "Book of Fixed-Gear Revelation" states, "To the decimated land shall come a rider who reclines while in motion. His feet shall come before him as like unto a breech birth. His helmet shall bear a mirror, but he shall coast not." Sounds like a fixedcumbent to me.
But perhaps most horrifying of all were these photos, forwarded to me by another reader:
It seems that a drought has forced these poor koalas to seek water from humans. I have absolutely no doubt that this drought has been caused by demon Alpacas who are already becoming a scourge upon the land. Notice how the koala gratefully hugs the merciful geared rider's leg:
If the sight of cuddly little koalas coming forth from the wilderness to seek human aid doesn't horrify you, then maybe this will: these photos were taken in Brooklyn.
Koalas aren't the only things suffering, either. The Fixed-Gear Apocalypse has also laid waste to at least one professional road racing team, and yet another reader informs me that the now-defunct Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team is selling off its equipment. This would appear to come as good news to former United rider Ivan "The Cuban Missile" Dominguez:
Until you realize that he's being forced to model bib shorts:
In the end, our only hope may be anti-fixed-gear vigilantes. The Alpaca-hastening, tight-averse, bumblebee bike-riding proprietor of 718 Cyclery has forwarded me this photo of a Pacific mountain bike equipped with a fire alarm and an extinguisher. My guess is the owner has equipped it this way because he is certain that Armageddon is at hand:
This bicycle also is very much in the spirit of the Finlandia bike:
It could be that, after the Apocalypse, low-end mountain bikes and cockroaches will be the only things to survive.
That and cheese.