Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Vexed Files: Time Travelers and Lotus-Eaters

If, by no fault of your own, you live in either the UK or Australia (or a non-North American UK Commonwealth nation, such as Tuvulu, which I understand has a very vibrant "bike culture") I'm pleased to let you know that the Hardie Grant edition of my book (I forget the title--"Bike" something, I think) should be available from your bookseller of choice as of like yesterday. Also, if you live in Australia and listen to the radio, you may have heard my Australian radio debut on the ABC Radio National show "Life Matters." (I did the interview last night, but due to the time difference I believe people in Australia were actually hearing me two Wednesdays from now.) In any case, if you missed it, you can listen to it here; or, if you don't care, you can watch this instead.

Meanwhile, closer to (my) home, today is Election Day, and like any civic-minded person I woke up early and visited my local polling place. I must say that, for a so-called "democracy," our electoral system is a disgrace. For example, the ballot I was given was inordinately confusing--I mean, I couldn't even find the part where you vote for President! Obama's name was nowhere on the ballot--it was just a bunch of nobodies and weird offices nobody's ever heard of, like "Governor." But I couldn't find Arnold Schwarzenegger's name either, even though he's the Governor of America (Canada's food-besmirched bib), so in the end I just voted "C" for everything, like I did on the SATs. (Unless I saw a picture of a pot leaf, then I voted for that.) Then, just when I thought I was done, I turned the form over to the other side where there were supposed to be a bunch of "propositions" and saw this:

Like seriously, WTF? I should just find myself a nice dictatorship to move to and be done with it.

Speaking of elections, I recently announced the winners of The First (And Last) Annual BSNYC/RTMS Cockpit of the Year Awards (or "Cockies"), sponsored by the Just Coffee Cooperative, and the results are already causing controversy. I recently received an email from the "Boston Bike Drummer," who had this to say:

Dear BikeSnob,

I am extremely disappointed with your decision to remove my bicycle, the one with the bucket drum from the running for best "Freestyle" Cockpit setup, and have expressed my discontent on my own bike blog. I ask that my cockpit be reconsidered. Here's a much better photo of my cockpit.

Sincerely, Boston Bike Drummer.

The cockpit to which he is referring is this one:

And was in fact submitted by the very same person who submitted the profoundly vexing "???," which ultimately took second place:

In my defense, the reason I ultimately eliminated the "Boston Bike Drummer's" percussive cockpit was that I didn't think it was fair to allow a submitter to field two finalists, and I ultimately decided that "???" was the more compelling submission. And while the "Boston Bike Drummer" does make a compelling case, I ultimately stand by my decision--though the results might have been different had he submitted this video:



Or maybe not. Either way, the only thing it's safe to say at this point is that democracy doesn't work.



Meanwhile, on a more positive note, I was amazed to learn that the "Cockies" actually made the news--albeit in Bozeman, MT:

I was moved by Mr. Haraldson's kind words, especially after being taken to task by the "Boston Bike Drummer," and had I known he held me in such high esteem I almost certainly would have rigged the election so that he won first prize, so desperate am I for approbation. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this article though is that the Bozeman Daily Chronicle would run it at all, and clearly there must be very little happening in Bozeman. Honestly, this is one step up from "Local Supermarket Receives New Shipment of Prunes." Fortunately though (at least from a news perspective) there seems to be a lot more going on today, for not only do they have an election to cover, but ace reporter Daniel Person has also gotten the sensational "scoop" on a possible brucellosis outbreak:

In fact, it would appear that brucellosis is spread by elk, which means that if the owner of the "Antlers Sur L'Herbe" bike hasn't been wearing latex gloves while riding he could be in serious trouble. In any case, I trust the Bozeman Daily Chronicle will keep us apprised, and I'm proud to at least be tangentially involved in a possible pandemic.

Meanwhile, you may have heard about that supposed time traveler who was spotted yakking on a cellphone in a Charlie Chaplin movie from 1928:



Since this video surfaced, people have been offering numerous explanations. Some say she was using an old-timey hearing aid; other say she was hiding from the camera; still others say she was scratching a brucellosis-induced ear itch contracted from her pet elk. I, however, think it's very likely she is actually a time traveler. In fact, a reader recently forwarded me a photo from the New York Times that inadvertently reveals a nonplussed bicycle commuter emerging from the particle accelerator at CERN:

One moment you're salmoning down a New York street, and the next you're sucked through a wormhole and pop out of a tube somewhere near Geneva, Switzerland. As scientists continue to play around with particle accelerators like a bunch of "hipsters" customizing their "fixies" these kinds of accidents are only going to become more common, and I'm relatively certain that's what happened to the cellphone lady too. It also explains why Fire is Aerospoke 2.0:



By the way, you'll notice that since the wheels were Ksyriums the filmmakers had to add the fire; if they had been R-Sys wheels they would have exploded all by themselves.

Speaking of unsolved mysteries, not too long ago I posted this picture of Canadian cyclist Tara Whitten, which was forwarded to me by a reader:

While it seemed clear to me that she was kneeling in obeisance before the Holy of Holies, the Lotus of the Lone Wolf, some readers suggested it was not in fact the "Tarck" of the Covenant since the decals didn't match. However, I've subsequently received the following photo, which proves conclusively that the Lone Wolf's steed has indeed undergone a ritual re-decaling:

Incidentally, the reader who sent me this photo was visiting the United States (or Canada's flabby jowl) from Poland for the first time in his life, only to encounter the Lone Wolf himself. That's like going to the Apple store to buy your first iPod and getting served by Steve Jobs, or like buying a LeMond directly from Greg LeMond. (Though The Great Trek Bicycle Making Company claims that last one wasn't all that rare.)

He must have traveled via CERN.

84 comments:

Anonymous said...

Winner! Where's my axe?

Anonymous said...

Weeeee!

For Once in my life said...

I'll make top ten!

Anonymous said...

Polish Podium

10,000 Aches said...

I guess I'm not a leader of the wolf pack...

Anonymous said...

Top 10Zzz!

Anonymous said...

top ten!

TrekLess Fred said...

LONE WOLF

RANTWICK said...

Top Ten?

g said...

Back and to the left. Back... and to the left. Back........and to the left.

I think that the fact that she seems to just disappear should be just as vexing as the fact that she was talking on a cell phone. If she gets a signal all the way back in 1929, I surely want to switch plans to whatever she's palping. I can't walk down the hall in my own house without dropping a call.

Desert Rider said...

Needs more cowbell.

RANTWICK said...

Return of the "Canada's" this and that gag! Yay!

Anonymous said...

With the spate of movies released recently showing Boston's gritty reality, I'm surprised these drumming cyclists weren't called "faggots" by some coked-up townies and beaten to a pulp.

samh said...

We don't get a BRA in Bozeman so we need to make up our own BSNYC/RTMS stories for the newspaper.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Not just any cellphone- a trans-dimensional communication device. Obviously there was not any cell towers or related infrastructure in the 1920s.

samh said...

Not sure why I didn't let the interviewer quote me as saying something about BSNYC's "ignorance and lack of humor" instead of "wit and intelligence". Next time I guess.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one to notice that in that 1929 cell phone video, the zebra strangely becomes an elephant?

Anonymous said...

If you know Boston, the drumming hipsters are riding on Comm. Ave. by Boston University. If they rode in the another direction, say towards "Southie", past a few bars, yeah they would be wearing those buckets, and the cymbals thrown like frisbees!

Anonymous said...

If you know Boston, the drumming hipsters are riding on Comm. Ave. by Boston University. If they rode in the another direction, say towards "Southie", past a few bars, yeah they would be wearing those buckets, and the cymbals thrown like frisbees!

Anonymous said...

If you know Boston, the drumming hipsters are riding on Comm. Ave. by Boston University. If they rode in the another direction, say towards "Southie", past a few bars, yeah they would be wearing those buckets, and the cymbals thrown like frisbees!

What election? said...

French Hipsters Discover Fire

What EVER!!! said...

I LIKE TURTLES!!!!!

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

Drummer rides past my house (yes, I live near BU) often.

I can never help yelling "play dude, play!" from my porch or window.

Anonymous said...

First!

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

Snob,
The English "Bloke" accused you of "Cruising Around New York".

Really?

wishiwasmerckx said...

Lob is my copilot.

hillbilly said...

It seems to make people really, really happy to remind others to vote.

Udder said...

The Lone Wolf better watch it, he may get fined by the UCI for swapping team livery decals.

Also, I think there is a connection between Ted Turner's diseased elk and Alberto Contador's tainted meat excuse. I'll alert Pat McQuaid.

crosspalms said...

Voted this morning, saw a lot of ??? on the ballot but no Antlers sur l'Herbe.

Anonymous said...

As much as I would like to believe it, there is no way the woman in the film is using a cell phone. You can barely get a good signal around the corner from your home, let alone one in the time-traveled past BC (Before Cellphones).

H

Anonymous said...

Researchers at LHC use bikes to get around the tunnel... it's 27km in circumference.

Anonymous said...

So, the hipsters are now setting themselves on fire? I guess Darwin was right about survival of the fittest.

Indy Falconheads said...

I appreciate the restraint NYBS demonstrated in regards to Montana jokes.

Bozemanites should be glad there isn't much to report.

Bad Lawyer said...

weird frogs

Anonymous said...

Obviously, the Drummer guy was venting his Boston Red Soxes hate the New York Yankees rage. Why can't we all just get along?

cycle

Wayward Son said...

A purist could drum only on a designer bucket with revival axes. What a faker.

I am lost in time engine said...

Don't fuck with the time space continuum. We have enough problems without messing with the past or the possible future.

People with drums on their bikes who live in Boston, and whiney, forget them.

Life is short.

Anonymous said...

the boston bikedrummer is by no means a hipster, quite the opposite in fact, he's my friend and we ride around all the time.

not a hipster.

:D

Quicksquirt McHurt said...

I'd hit it, especially if she signed it first.

grog said...

The Grand Cockie is awarded to a unique cockpit and as evidenced in his viddy, there were two drum-cocks, therefore not unique. FAIL.
Vote for Bruce, early and often.

Anonymous said...

Hello people. I'm Tyler Hamiltons chimera. I'm here to tell you not only did I get the looks and the brains, but I also ended up with the bigger soschwanzstucker. I'm talking immensely immense here.

Poor Ty.

de dux luxe said...

Artisanal toothpick whittlers demand delight, tonight.

DogShot said...

Seriously, every time I look at "???!" I see something more. In this era of "Just say no to derailleurs" via tarck bieks and singlespeeds, that piece of art is rocking 3!!!

Fred Clydesdale said...

i used to work at the bozeman daily chronicle, and believe me the elk bike's entry into the contest would indeed be considered major news, unless someone had pictures of kittens that day, or someone got food poisoning down at the pickle barrel.

leroy said...

I'm proud of of you BSNYC.

A less serious author would have asked the interviewer if he knew the GEICO gecko and if 15 minutes could really save one 15% on one's car insurance.

OBA said...

The Lone Wolf Does Not Perspire!

J-Bird said...

Wit and Intelligence??? Now that IS funny.

PawnShop said...

The time I met Lemond, he tried to sell me his house. I told him no, 'cuz the top tube was longer, and the seat angle shallower, than I prefer. Revenge was mine, at last...

Anonymous said...

As a drummer and cyclist I have to like the boston drumming cyclist.I since moved to L.A and would suggest more people following suit.Since the drivers are even more out to lunch than boston I would suggest a piccolo snare no more than 4 inches deep and a cymbal as obnoxious as a 20"china cymbal to cut through the din of ipods,talk radio,chastsing of passenger children and infrastructure road improvement noise.They'll definitely hear you coming and going.Stay tuned for my prototype.

ervgopwr said...

DRUM COCK
COCK DRUM
BADA DUMM TSHH

southpole said...

anon 1:30 - true, we particle physicists have been "bombing" our accelerator tunnels ever since they got too big to fit in a lab. check this picture from the late 80s taken at the ep collider HERA in hamburg (germany), 6 km circumference:
http://www-zeus.desy.d/img/hera_tunnel.gif

Anonymous said...

LEGA LIZE

bikesgonewild said...

...just got off the phone with that chick in the old video...

...she said charlie chaplin is a goof but he's hung like an elephant...

...chicks dig him...

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

SteveL from Bristol Traffic said...

CERN has its own bicycle fleet, staff can borrow them to get around, and lots of safe bicycle parking. When I worked there as an undergrad I'd commute from the shed we lived in in Switzerland to the office in france France, buy beer there and cycle back over the border for lunch carrying half my beer supply, go back to france for the afternoon's work and then come home with the rest of the beer. That way when stopped by the swiss customs people I was under the quota.

That bike might be "down the pit" for people to get around the beam area itself, electric cars being a luxury for management and important visitors. The nice thing here is that it may force you to exercise, but the 27 km ring is always above freezing, never rains, and more fun than a spinning class.

bikesgonewild said...

...is it true that when you ride the 27km ring at 'cern' you're traveling at the speed of light ???...

wishiwasmerckx said...

BGW, besides that, Hitler completely killed off the "Charlie Chaplin" moustache trend forever.

bikesgonewild said...

...wishiwasmerckx...

...hey, that's ONE good point for ol' adolph...

southpole said...

bikesgonewild: of course not, you can't reach the speed of light remember? but we get pretty close, especially when we slay fixies with burning tyres on the race tarck usually meant for particles.
but seriously the region around cern is the most dangerous region for cyclists on earth i'm aware of, almost every other week a cyclist gets hit by cars due to the total assholeness of the local population racing on the straight road and close-by border escape route like Steve describes. the customs are inactive now allowing quick get-aways, and the concept of NOT trying to murder road users not in German SUVs is totally alien in the Geneva/Gex region.

Huh? said...

Isn't there anything in the Geneva Convention about that? Holy cow!

bikesgonewild said...

...southpole...if an untrained proton needing superconducting electromagnets cooled by liquid helium to give it a sense of direction can reach 99% of the speed of light, then why couldn't the well trained swiss & world TT champion, fabian cancellara wearing a camelbak (for his cooling purposes), not beat that proton, one-on-one by actually traveling @ the speed of light ???...

...TT = time trial or time travel ???...

...just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

Physicists on bikes, what could go wrong?

Anonymous said...

Tyler Hamilton's chimera here. I have apparently irreversibly damaged my septum. My years of snorting uncut EPO, HGH, shark testosterone and Park Tool CL-1 synthetic blend chain lube angel dust have caught up with me and I, apparently am paying the piper.

Hey piper! Do you take canadian currency at par?

Author deleted said...

comment was deleted by the posting

bikesgonewild said...

...the world famous theoretical physicist & cyclist, 'berto einstein suggested that the basis for his "theory of relativity" came to him whilst cycling...

Robert Carr said...

I always wonder if the Lone Wolf has ever realized the scope of his popularity and following. I've met him once at a race in LA, prior to his appearance on this blog. I was simply intrigued by his bike and obviously it's hard to miss. Perhaps he is deserving of a one-on-one, Barbara Walters style interview at some point.

Martin W said...

"Tarck of the Covenant"? Solid gold right there.

"Guppy" Honaker said...

Hey Bike Snob! First, congratulations on your book. Woo hoo! Second, glad you voted and are getting the word out. Yeah, what's up with the President not being on the ballot? Tuvulu, never heard of it, but glad they're a biking people!

- David

Top 10 Aloe Vera Juice Benefits
Holistic Nutrition and Health

Anonymous said...

cell phone lady not being able to actually talk due to infrastructure problems but how about time travel itself is problematic...hmmm.

jus sayin' as they say...

Anonymous said...

Tyler's Chimera here.

Just got back from India

Got the operation

As a matter of fact I'm blowing me own self while I'm typing this messagggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg!!!!!

tedsfiles said...

Nice work, maaate! Good luck with the election. May the best pollie win.

Anonymous said...

grayson lost. dang. so sad for u folks. not that it matters really but ouch. u thought obama bad.... jes wate fukas!!!!!!~!

The True American said...

@tesfiles,

The elections here are mixed. It looks like the socialists are going to win the senate and the people are going to win back the house.
The other elections, mainly governors of the individual states, are going in favor of the citizens of the United States.
All in all the socialist (democrats) have done very poorly.

leroy said...

Dear True American --

You are neither.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

In Eleven Dimensional Hyperspace everybody is named Bruce. ce

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sherpa said...

could the lone wolf have more than one lotus? (loti?)

i mean, maybe one is a beater.

David said...

Tarck of the covenant? To get that one, you have to either be an NYC Jew or be an old fart who remembers Harrison Ford and Greg LeMond being household names at the same time.

Vegas said...

Even though Hardie Grant says there's a resurgence in the two-wheeled contraptions' popularity, apparently there isn't a resurgence in correct spelling. Or is "bycicles" like "colour", it's just how the Brits do it?

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Fixie Bikes said...

who would have thunk that so much mechanics goes into a bike.