Hey, don't get me wrong--frankly, I'm enjoying the antics. For example, thanks to Lance Armstrong's celebrity status and his flambullient Twittering, we get to watch him do schtick with Ben Stiller:
Not only that, but because George Hincapie is friends with Lance Armstrong and is also a member of the Twitterati (or a Twit-tard if you're one of those anti-Twitter people) we learn that Stiller also took some time to swing by and "rub one out" on the Columbia team bus:
At least, that's what I assume we are to infer from this Tweet:
But Armstrong and Hincapie aren't the only riders who get to pal around with celebrities. Word in the media hovel (that's where they stick the "journalists" on the Tour now that Twitter has rendered them irrelevant) is that GC hopeful Cadel Evans also received a famous visitor in the form of actor Albert Finney. However, by all accounts Finney had no idea who Evans was, and simply stumbled onto the Silence-Lotto team bus in search of a bathroom while complaining loudly about some bad Niçoise salad. After Evans directed the Academy Award nominee to the rear of the bus, Finney disappeared for 40 minutes, finally emerging and prompting Evans's teammate Matthew Lloyd to exclaim, "Someone just set off an ass bomb in there!" This may account for Silence-Lotto's relatively poor TTT performance.
But perhaps the best aspect of the Twitter de France is that we now get to be in on the riders' inside japes. It's just like being on the team! For example, Columbia rider Mick Rogers posted this photo of Mark "The Man(x) Missile" Cavendish:
Along with the following comment:
While I was dismayed that Gumby wasn't a choice, Hincapie was clearly still "fired up" from the Ben Stiller encounter and offered a somewhat un-PC reply:
Even though this was obviously just a harmless "Pulp Fiction" reference, an enraged Fumy Beppu upbraided Hincapie for his insensitive word choice:
I must admit he has a point.
Yes, nowadays the fun doesn't end once the riders cross the finish line. Really, in some sense it's only once they've had their massages and start pawing at their Blackberrys, iPhones, and Palm Pres that the real fun begins--and that's to say nothing of all the pantyhose play. Speaking of suggestive imagery, a reader has forwarded me yet another example of cycling-inspired fashion design:
While Louis Vuitton was going for the "gentleman butterfly" look, it appears that Armani's take on cycling is more "amphibious Chippendale." If anything, this is a perfect example of why there are so many ill-equipped and clueless cyclists out there. Basically, fashion designers see cycling and misinterpret it, and then fashionistas follow that misinterpretation and we wind up with a bunch of bike-salmoning Beautiful Godzillas (who, as the above photo indicates, can be male as well). And if all this weren't bad enough, we also have people out there on the streets giving other riders stupid advice:
You said I should trim my handlebars... - w4m (East Village)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2009-07-08, 1:12AM EDT
I was riding my bike up Ave A. You rode up behind me on your bike and said I should trim my hot pink handlebars before I kill someone. I stopped at 7th to go to Niagra you rode on. Wanted to say, "hey boy!"
I'd be very interested in hearing an explanation as to how a pair of untrimmed handlebars--hot pink or otherwise--might kill somebody. I guess this is why everybody's riding around with ultra-narrow Frida bars now. Somewhere along the line some urban myth must have swept through the "hipster" community that wide bars can somehow be deadly. Perhaps someone knew someone who knew someone whose ultra-wide, unplugged risers took a core sample out of a pedestrian's midsection like a cheese sampling plug. I'd think if anything it's the trimmed handlebars that would be deadly, since they encourage you to enter spaces that are too narrow and you're liable to get squashed between a pair of buses. There's a reason a cat's whiskers are wider than its face.
Even more disturbing was this post, which is truly a tale of "epic" cluelessness, and which starts thusly:you left me bleeding on the sidewalk - m4m - 26 (front st near jay st)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2009-07-06, 2:49PM EDT
hi. you are a white or asian man in your 30s or 40s who drives a biggish gray SUV-like vehicle. additionally, you are a frothing circus pail of congealing sputum. i wish i could be more specific, but the circumstances of our encounter caused me to be less than fully detail-oriented. specifically:
Like so many "I was the victim of an evil car" stories, I was bracing myself for the moment when the rider proves himself to be an idiot. Sadly, I didn't have long to wait:
The fact that this person was riding on the sidewalk--in the dark on a holiday no less--automatically invalidates everything that comes after it. This is like beginning your story about getting bitten by a dog with, "OK, so I'm throwing pennies at this pit bull and..." Yet amazingly, it gets worse:
- i was riding my bike on the sidewalk at precisely 11pm, July 4
- in front of me was a driveway leading to the garage door of a walled parking lot
- presumably without seeing me, you pulled into the driveway and stopped, obstructing my path at a later-than-ideal point in my trajectory
- i braked hard and flew over my handlebars, about a yard or two short of your car
- you exited your car, told me you would be right back, and then re-entered your car and drove into the parking lot
- more bleeding
- feeble moaning and staggering about
- you exited the parking lot, saw that i was still there, and immediately yelped, "oh, you're fine! YOU'RE FINE."
- and with that, you strode rapidly away
(-- that sort of confused me)
(-- because, i mean)
(-- we're both human beings, presumably)
(-- one of us was copiously bleeding on a sidewalk from the face and hands and knees, and in demonstrable want of help)
(-- the other was not)
(-- maybe i'm wrong about the human thing, and you are in actuality a robot)
(-- it is also possible that you are just pure scum)
(-- literally, a well-dressed ambulatory colony of scum with a nervous honking voice like a goose)
- eventually i said something like, "uh. wait? please wait."
- i said it a couple of times because you seemed not to hear me at first
(-- unfortunately my speaking voice was not at its clearest, because i had broken a finger, and also because of the blood)
(-- and also i was probably a little startled that you were being such an incredible twatcrust)
- you yelled again that i was just fine
- and quickly disappeared from view
- you craven bottle of ape vomit.
fortunately, your parking garage is equipped with a surveillance camera. my intentions now are to find you and bleed on your stuff. please help me in my quest! love, a cyclist
Not only was this person riding on the sidewalk, but he didn't even hit the car. Rather, the car simply pulled into the driveway and stopped, at which point the sidewalk rider "braked hard and flew over my handlebars." This is not an easy thing to do--it involves a very delicate balance of going really fast (on the sidewalk) and being a really bad rider. While I suppose the fact that the driver left the scene means he's probably a bit callous, and while I hate to see people get hurt, the truth is you'd have to be a pretty merciful soul to help someone who was tearing along on the sidewalk and then hit the pavement at the very sight of you, and whose injuries are not even remotely life-threatening. Arguably such a situation falls into the "Totally his problem" category.
Actually, in this sense it may actually be better for clueless cyclists to ride brakeless fixies--at least as far as their own safety is concerned. If this rider had been on such a bike, instead of grabbing a fistful of brake he probably would have locked up his rear wheel and skid right into the car. Then, the sheet metal and the bike's fork would have absorbed much of the impact, and at worst he'd simply wind up splayed out on the hood. (This is called a "hipster crumple zone.") Of course, this would then open up the possibility of the driver administering the physical injuries the rider managed to avoid, but that's another issue entirely.
Yes, the complicated truth is that sometimes introducing something sensible (like a brake) to the stupid only makes things worse. At a certain point it just provides additional opportunities to screw up.