As for the rest of us, we spend most of our lives groping blindly, like adulterers searching desperately for our underpants in a darkened bedroom when we hear a car pulling into the driveway. If we're lucky, we may accidentally lay our hands on something that doesn't burn, sting, or zap us. We may not be able to fully comprehend it in our blindness, but we can generally sense its contours, and it may even be enough to help us orient ourselves and impart some sense of direction to our wanderings.
For some of us, this object is a bicycle, and I can credit my riding on, maintenance of, and appreciation for this machine for the precious few truths I've managed to discover about life, such as:
--You can buy status, but sucking is immutable. After a certain point, upgrading only makes you suck more ostentatiously;
--Time is elastic. A 20-minute ride can infuse your entire day with joy. Likewise, an hour on a tri bike in a mankini can feel like an enternity of humiliation and torture;
--"Steel is real," but other materials are not. This is why a speeding Buick will kill you, but an aluminum Audi A8 or a carbon fiber Formula 1 car is completely harmless. By extension, "fixies" are Zen, which is why a Buddhist monk wins Monstertrack every single year;
--The things you own end up owning you. I learned this when an old mountain bike I had tried to sell me on Craigslist.
All of this is to say nothing of what the bicycle has taught me about myself. It has revealed to me my physical and mental limitations (many), my talents and abilities (I can blow saliva bubbles), and helped me to discover my calling (mobile human-powered sperm collector). It's even allowed me to forge profoundly rewarding friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime (but only when used this way, of course). Nevertheless, there's still one glaring problem I have with the act of bicycle cycling:
It's too hard to see me when I'm doing it.
Fortunately, a reader has informed me that one entrepreneur has come to the rescue by manufacturing the brightest cycling jersey the world has ever seen. And when I say "seen," I mean it in the burn-the-eyes-right-out-of-your-head-like-you're-staring-at-a-solar-eclipse-through-binoculars sense of the word. Here it is:
Sure, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "That jersey may make me look like I'm a domestique on Team Starburst® Fruit Chews, but I've seen louder and more seizure-inducing jerseys." Oh yeah? Well, as they say in the streetz, you better check yourself before you wet yourself, because look at this:
Did you see how "electric blue" guy just disappeared in the shadows cast by the trees? He was like a ninja, whereas the other guy in the See Me Wear flourescently flambullient freakout jersey stood out like an anti-ninja, or a blacklight poster, or a circus clown who's been injected with luminescent dye and then set on fire. So visible is this jersey that I now only wear my now-outmoded "3 Feet Please" jam when my See Me Wear is in the wash:
Not only is the "3 Feet Please" not bright enough, but I also need to purchase a new jersey if I ever venture into Canada:
By the way, speaking of washing, don't ever put your See Me Wear in a standard washing machine. The fluorescent dyes coupled with the intensity of the radiant light will destroy most household appliances in short order, and for that reason you should always clean yours ultrasonically.
Also, even though you'll be eminently visible, you still shouldn't ever ride your bike at night:
You'd think that it would be after dark that the retina-searing properties See Me Wear jersey would really come into their own, but apparently not. I guess the makers subscribe to the "If it rains take the bus" philosophy of cycling.
Meanwhile, one rider who's not having problems with visibility is the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork, who of late has been making the bike show rounds. Not only did a Tweeterer spot him at the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show:
But a reader in the employ of the Electra bicycle producing concern (purveyors of fine Fauxendells such as the Ticino) has also spotted him at the Shanghai Bicycle Show, both here:
Sure, these aren't the best exhibits anybody has ever seen at an Asian bicycle show, as that award would almost certainly go to the infamous "Testicles Relaxing" display:
Nevertheless, I find the TTTSWRFFTPTD's eternal presence reassuring, so to know that he was selling two products simultaneously at a single bike show allows me to maintain what little faith I have in the universe. In fact, the TTTSWRFFTPTD is well on his way to becoming the international symbol for cycling, just as this is the international symbol for radiation or this is the international symbol for triathlon, and if I can scrounge up an appropriate prize I may very well hold a contest for the person who best renders him in international symbol form.
Speaking of prizes, in closing, I should mention that you can help support a good cause by entering a drawing for a Pereira singlespeed 29er mountaining bicycle:
As someone who once finished in the top-200 (barely) of an ironic singlespeed mountain bike world championship, I know a thing or two about singlespeed 29ers. (Actually, I really only know one thing, which is that I suck at riding mountain bikes.) Still, this doesn't change the fact that you might as well enter. After all, you might win, and who wouldn't want to suck ostentatiously for only $10?