In yesterday's post, I mentioned that commuting by bicycle can be a battle. Well, that was certainly the case for me this morning. As I rode smugly along in the bike lane, duly obeying all the local ordinances (at least those pertaining to operating bicycles--I may have been rocking a Cone of Smugness but I only wear pants on special occasions) and silently congratulating myself for palping wheelbrows, I noticed a bike salmon approaching me head-on. Simultaneously, a taxi driver decided that now would be an opportune moment to pull over into the bike lane--so opportune, in fact, that he couldn't even spare a second to make sure nobody was there. As such, I found myself bound by parked cars on my left, a merging taxi on my right, and a moron of the order Velo-salmoniformes coming at me head-on.
At that moment, I knew that I was going to have to punch something. My first choice of course would have been the bike salmon, but there was really no way to do this since he was still a few feet away. So instead I settled on punching the taxi repeatedly, until the driver finally realized he was about to crush me and came to a stop. I lost track of the bike salmon at that moment, but I can only assume he either hopped onto the sidewalk or else leaped into the air, his white underbelly glistening in the soft light of a rainy morning. The driver was apologetic, but nonetheless I informed him that I was going to have to photograph him for my project. Here he is in the process of raising the window and quickly putting the taxi in "drive:"
And here he is alongside the guy I mentioned in the Times article:
I'm sure you'll agree the project is coming along nicely.
I wish I could say that this was my only brush with disaster in the last 24 hours, but unfortunately that is not the case, because yesterday evening I also found myself watching a few minutes of the "The Jazz Singer," starring hirsute schmaltz-monger Neil Diamond. As it happened, I tuned in during some kind of love montage, and I was amused to note that at one point Diamond and his love interest ride by on a tandem:
This was followed by the infamous Bangladeshi riot scene:
After which came one of the most tender depictions of lovemaking ever captured on celluloid:
Incidentally, Neil Diamond has a pretty impressive set of eyebrows. He may have looked pretty wobbly on that tandem, but I bet he could fix the hell out of a bike:
In more recent cycling news, Italian national champion Filippo Simeoni has returned his tricolore jersey in protest of his team's exclusion from the Giro d'Italia. Morever, Simeoni also believes that Lance Armstrong may be behind the snub, since they've got an ongoing feud and Armstrong did cockblock him on that Tour stage back in 2004. I suppose if this is true then it's somewhat troubling, though it's also pretty hard to take the whole thing seriously after all these years. Really, at this point Armstrong and Simeoni are less conspirator and victim than they are Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in "Grumpy Old Men." I'm hoping that one day somebody makes a movie about the Armstrong/Simeoni feud, if only because Simeoni's hotheaded Italian outrage would make for some great hijinx. Just add Paul Kimmage as the pesky journalist (think the Ed Rooney character in "Ferris Bueller's Day off") and you've got comedy gold!
And fortunately for Simeoni, if he gets so fed up that he decides to leave the sport altogether, he can always get a job as a "biking concierge:"
This sounds like a perfect gig for Simeoni, since according to the article nobody has actually used this particular hotel's biking concierge yet, so he'd have all day free to sit around smoldering and plotting his revenge. This would also make a great movie--the story of a bitter and twisted Italian biking concierge in an Irish hotel could potentially be the "There Will Be Blood" of cycling movies.
Speaking of mounting pressure, the world of cycling is all abuzz recently with talk of compression garments:
This is actually a rare instance of fixed-gear riders being well ahead of the curve, since they've been wearing "compression garments" in the form of tight jeans for years:
While many have dismissed tight jeans as a fad, the truth is that the compression helps blood circulate blood to the heart. This may not translate into better cycling performance (at least as employed by the "fixters"), but it does allow them to reap maximum benefits from their American Spirit cigarettes and cheap canned beer. Unfortunately, this in turn can lead to premature aging, as you can see in the photo above.
And compression garments may not be the only thing triathletes and "hipsters" share; a reader in Seattle has spotted further evidence of the triathlon/hipster crossover in the form of this "hipsterized" Specialized Transition:
Meanwhile, a reader in the UK may have spotted a new trend in theft-prevention:
At first glance, the diminutive purple cable lock looks better suited to securing a teenage girl's ponytail than it does to securing a bike. However, upon closer inspection, a grave warning is visible:
Upon contemplating this message, the thief realizes that, if he steals this person's bike, then this person will be forced to ride his other bike: which is of course the thief's mum. And even the most hardened criminal does not want his mum to be ridden by a stranger. Thus, the stencil is indeed mightier than the lock.