Additionally, my lack of fortitude includes an aversion to images of bodily harm. Fictionalized movie gore is not a problem for me, but actual video of, say, surgery makes me wince. I'm especially sensitive to this sort of thing in the morning, which is why I was quite displeased to see this cycling-related awareness campaign shortly after waking up and switching on the local news:
Honestly, it was nearly enough to put me off my bowl of camembert and milk. I realize that the point of this campaign is to be thought-provoking and to shock motorists into realizing how vulnerable the cyclist is. However, I can't help thinking that something like this is liable to backfire. If anything, it seems like the message is that cycling is really dangerous and that you should drive a car instead. Actually, as I watched I just assumed that AAA was behind it.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this campaign, though. When it comes to PSAs, the graphic scare tactic is in vogue. In addition to the cyclist-on-the-gurney one, the local news station also regularly shows anti-smoking ads produced by the Department of Health. These generally involve images of doctors squeezing ricotta-like tar from the aortas of dead smokers, or of carcinomas, or my personal favorite, the one of the woman who lost most of her fingers to cigarettes. (I'm not sure how it happened, but perhaps she kept trying to smoke her fingertips.)
However, while I find all of these ads repulsive, I can at least understand the smoking ones. They're simply trying to scare you into not smoking. In the bike ad though, they're trying to scare you into not running over cyclists, which seems sort of indirect. Despite circumstantial evidence to the contrary, I'd wager that most drivers already don't want to run over cyclists. And on top of that, these ads also make the simple act of cycling seem excessively dangerous. It's like "Clockwork Orange" where they try to cure Alex of his violence and the accidentally make him hate Beethoven too.
Of course, as I said, I am fundamentally a weak person, so I'm probably just overreacting. However, I still think it's strange that there appears to be a bike salmon on the "Safety Tips" page of the Look campaign's website:
Oh well, at least she's not smoking.
It would seem then that we're going to have to leave the job of making cycling seem pleasant and appealing to the rest of the media. Fortunately, they're doing so with aplomb, but unfortunately they also often overshoot "pleasant and appealing" and venture into "dainty and precious." Take a recent article in the Australian design magazine Artichoke, a scan of which was recently forwarded to me by a reader:
I agree that bicycles and everything about them is simply "lovely." And of course nothing's simpler and lovelier than fixed-gears, which naturally figure prominently in the piece since design-y people love fixed-gears:
Like many, Mick Peel started riding a fixie after growing tired of his road bike and the necessary upkeep and expense. As the director of fashion at RMIT, it is not surprising that he was draw to the aesthetics of cycling. Where other cyclists admire the elegance and simplicity of steel frame bicycles, Peel is also interested in the details--to this end he creates beautifully finished leather saddles that are the envy of many.
As soon as I read this I headed straight to Mick Peel's site and checked out his custom ass pedestal work:
While I couldn't help thinking that this particular saddle looked like something you might find on a cheese plate next to a pile of Wasa crackers, I was also inspired--so much so that I decided immediately to start my own saddle-reupholstering business. In fact, I've already finished my first project, and I'm extremely pleased with how well it turned out:
I call this the "baked potato" colorway, though I also offer a "leftover crudité" option (plastic wrap) as well as "fromage" (wax paper). Also, for a small upcharge I'll extend the covering to beneath the seatpost clamp, which creates a smooth transition reminiscent of the Uni:
However, no sooner did I jump on the custom saddle trend then a reader forwarded me this set of brass knuckle bullhorns:
These are obviously even better than the original brass knuckle grips since they're integrated into the handlebar itself for additional stiffness, weight-savings, and finger-breaking potential. They also made me realize that a bike isn't truly one-of-a-kind unless it's got a custom saddle and a custom handlebar. Really, these days you've got to customize your bike from your moose knuckles all the way to your regular knuckles if you want to walk into the bar with your head held high. As such, I realized I was going to have to expand my new saddle business to include handlebar products as well, which is why I'm proud to introduce my latest product, the BSNYC/RTMS Grip-In-A-Can:
As everybody knows, Ourys are totally over and bare bars with no tape or grips are all the rage among fixed-gear riders. However, sometimes you still want to add a little color to your bars without sacrificing slipperiness, and that's when you slather on my Grip-In-A-Can (shown here in the blue colorway):
Not only is Grip-In-A-Can easy to apply, but it also won't cause unwanted side-effects like tackiness or increased control. Instead, you'll feel like you're wrangling an eel on every ride. Now that's dangerous--and danger equals "street cred:"
Best of all, once you swing your leg over your bars and dismount, you can use the residue on your hands to flatten down your ironic mullet or wax the ends of your handlebar mustache. Plus, it even works as a chamois cream as well as a general all-purpose lubricant.
You'll be doing the five knuckle chuckle in no time.