Crossing the Manhattan Bridge and heading into the city yesterday, I was passed by a rider on a brakeless Pista. As the rider began his descent, I noticed he had stopped pedaling, which seemed strange as he had clearly been riding a fixed-gear. He then placed the thin sole of his diminutive canvas boating shoe on the tire of his rear wheel, at which point I realized he had dropped his chain and was now trying to slow his speeding bicycle. Apparently, though, the "footjam" was not as effective as he had hoped, so he then started dragging both feet on the pavement Fred Flinstone-style. Here he is, clearly mashing his "pants yabbies" on his top tube in the process:
Eventually, he managed to finally get off the thing, and as I passed him I simply pointed to my own bicycle and said, "Brakes."
Ah, yes, brakes--those marvels of engineering which manage to function independently of the bicycle's drivetrain. Of course, they do tend to spoil the "clean lines" of your bicycle, and they can also make you look like a "woosie." I'll admit that the rider above looked really cool and elegant as he desperately struggled to save himself by dragging his feet and squashing his genitals --the whole thing was totally "zen." I wonder why he didn't simply use his gigantic empty messenger bag to stop, since it seems to me it would have functioned rather well as a parachute.
Also, it's one thing to lose your chain when you have like 100 yards of car-free pavement to figure out what to do; it's quite another when it happens on the city streets, where you're liable to get clobbered by a "Mitzvah Tank." This is the time of year when the Hasidim take to the streets in their Winnebagos, and found myself behind this one shortly after I witnessed the chain-dropping:
I was quivering with fear like a glob of gefilte fish gelatin on the gas tank of a v-twin motorcycle.
Speaking of religion, a little while later I encountered Jesus Christ, who was blocking my access to the Great Hipster Silk Route:
Apparently Jesus, who has taken the form of a truck on the occasion of the Second Coming, was having difficulty completing a right hand turn. Notice too that the local Jews are rather nonplussed:
In fact, it would not surprise me in the least to learn that the maroon Toyota Camry station wagon belongs to them, and that they are obstinately refusing to move it lest the would-be savior of humanity complete his journey to the modern-day Jerusalem that is Williamsburg, transform like Optimus Prime, and start gathering a flock of "hipster" disciples.
Anyway, like many "devout" Christians, I finally just decided to go around Jesus, after which I soon encountered another obstruction in the form of a film production:
I don't know what they were shooting, but I do know from the nearby canvas chairs that it featured Martin Short:
As a longtime Martin Short fan, it pained me deeply to learn that he had a hand in this obstruction. Falling to my knees, I prayed for the Lord Optimus Christ to lay waste to the production's fleet of rental trucks, but sadly my prayers went unanswered.
So now, I will pass the misery on to you in the form of a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right you'll gain favor in the eyes of the Lord Optimus Christ, and if you're wrong you'll see the lamentations of the damned.
2) "Apocalypse Yesterday." The $150 Mongoose Cachet "fixed-speed" bicycle is now available at:
4) Which of the following is not available from the new bicycle vending machine in Williamsburg, Brooklyn?
(Spotted by a reader.)
5) What's wrong with this setup?
--No pipe end caps
--No Teflon tape on threads
--It's on a bicycle and not under a sink
--All of the above
6) Former USPRO Champion Chann McRae has taken up:
***Special Miniature Velodrome-Themed Bonus Question***
(Individual pursuit world champion Taylor Phinney may need to scale it down--literally.)