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:
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.