Friday, April 29, 2011

BSNYC Friday Superbowl of Ultimate Frisbee!

You know, last time I checked, this was America (or, if you prefer, Canada's cross-threaded bottom bracket shell)--a proud and independent nation that bows to nobody except for the Fortune 500 and China. So you can imagine my consternation when I woke up this morning and turned on the television, only to find that pretty much all of our fine cultural exports (actually, I think TV programming may be our only export at this point) had been pre-empted by a couple of Australian royals getting married. This would never have happened if Jessie Ventura were still governor of Minnesota, and I only hope this country can get back on track before we're all driving kangaroos and speaking Vegemite. Anyway, if I wanted to watch nuptials all day I'd hang out around Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and watch people getting their wedding photos taken.

In other news, while I generally avoid "geeking out" over bike stuff on this blog, I find myself compelled to share that I have just made a significant Smugness Upgrade to my Surly Big Dummy by installing an Xtracycle PeaPod LT child-"portaging" seat. Here is my Smugness Flotilla as it looks now:

(Everything about this bike screams "Smugness Noob.")

I know child seats are extremely trendy right now and a lot of people are "running" them on their track bikes just for the good looks, but I can assure you that I actually own a real human child. In fact, yesterday I took my human child on his very first bike ride, and I'm pleased to report that we both enjoyed the endeavor tremendously. Doubtless there are Portlanders who are reading this and scoffing at me for waiting this long and for not duct-taping an infant car seat to my SnapDeck and "portaging" him immediately from birth, but these are coddled people who don't know black ice from black beans, and I preferred to wait until the weather was fair and the kid was no longer small enough to use a helmet as a crib.

Anyway, here's another shot:

Speaking of child-"portaging," I am very much a novice in that department, and the experience was profound. Fixed-gear riders speak mystically of a "zen" experience in which they are "totally connected to the bike." Similarly, in riding with a human child, I felt transcendently judgmental and was "totally connected to the Smugness." Whereas ordinarily I only notice the most egregious infractions by other road users, with a child on my bike I could now detect them with superhuman accuracy. If a driver five blocks away failed to signal, I knew it; if a car passed me going a single mile-per-hour over the speed limit, I felt a tingling at the nape of my neck; if a stray cat so much as looked at me askance, I fingered my can of Puss-B-Gon and braced myself for impending attack. (Though arguably if you want to drive "pussy" away then an Xtracycle with a child seat on it is all the repellent you need.) I felt more self-righteous than I ever had before, and when I realized that this is how the average person in Portland feels every single day the revelation nearly blew my mind.

Here's the PeaPod LT from the back:

Notice it looks almost exactly like Dark Helmet from "Spaceballs:"

And here's a closer view from the front:

My human child was very comfortable in it and it was very straightforward to set up and use, though I confess I did find the foot restraints disconcerting, but only because they made me think of an electric chair. Still, it's better than the kid going all Nü-Fred fakenger and kicking out some driver's side-view mirror. Really, the only problem now is I have less non-human hauling capacity, which means if I want to carry lots of non-living crap again I need to purchase more Xtracycle accessories, thereby getting sucked into a sickening Smugness Upgrade spiral from which there is surely no escape.

Speaking of no escape, New York City is so profoundly bicycle-unfriendly these days that even people who can't ride their bikes safely because there are no bike lanes don't want bike lanes, as evidenced by this article which was forwarded to me by a reader:

Do we in Bay Ridge really hate bikers? Are we primitive antediluvians who reject any mode of travel not propelled by a combustion engine? Of course not!

Biking here is great, especially along the Shore Road Narrows Promenade. Spectacular! I have two bikes, but find it impossible to ride safely along local avenues because they were not constructed to accommodate designated bike lanes in the first place!

Right, that makes sense. There are few things sadder than a self-hating cyclist. Plenty of streets weren't designed to accommodate cars either but nobody seems to have a problem with both driving and parking them on those streets. By the writer's logic, we should all be living like Amish people and navigating by candlelight since the city was not originally constructed to accommodate electricity either. It's amazing how selective people are when it comes to reconciling the present with the past. During the Revolutionary War the British came to Brooklyn and beat the crap out of us in the Battle of Long Island, but I bet Charles Otey was still wearing his tiara this morning and kvelling over the royal wedding like every other schmuck in America.

Anyway, from kvelling to kvizzing, I'm pleased to present you with a kvizz. As always, study the wildebeest, think, and click on your ostrich. If you're right you'll know, and if you're wrong you'll see a mini recumbent, forwarded by a reader.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and may the Smug be with you.



1) In addition to a 10mph bicycle speed limit, the Golden Gate Bridge District Operating Commitee is also considering a ban on:

2) This image is from the Rapha website.


(via Ant1)

("I pledge allegiance to the flags...")

3) Which of the following is not a part of the New York City Department of Transportation's "Bike Smart Pledge?"

--"Yield to pedestrians"

4) The makers of the all-wooden "SplinterBike" intend to:

5) If a water bottle is called a "bidon," then a rider with a bicycle-mounted wine bottle should be called a "bidouche."


6) Why is this person wincing?

7) The Travel Channel has announced that it is replacing bicycle messenger reality show "Triple Rush" with the popular Internet series "Pedaling."


***Special Time-Traveling T-Shirt-Wearing Retro-Fred from the Planet Tridork-Themed Bonus Question***

Thermal imaging helps detect:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beyond Category: Shock the Monkeys

As I mentioned yesterday, after reading a rave review of the Bianchi Super-Oltre Über-Record Road Bicycle Cycling Machine, I decided I had to have one. Well, I'm pleased to announce I've already taken delivery of my new "steede." Made of special high-modulous or huge-mongulous or whatever-you-call-it-ulous crabon fribé, it is the best cycling bicycle that has ever been made on this or any other planet ever. Here is a picture of it in my living room:
Here's a picture of it in front of the cafe where all the roadies hang out:

And here's a picture of it on top of the hardest climb I've ever done, propped up against a sign that says: "ELEV. 296 FT."

Obviously, the first thing you notice about this cycling bike is that it boasts cutting-edge technology and innovation. Just take a look at this branding:

See, what Bianchi have done here is completely re-engineer the head tube badge and transfer it to the underside of the downtube. This enlarged badge results in branding that is up to 250% more laterally obvious and over 300% more vertically apparent, as measured by the German magazine "Marke Hure." ("Marke Hure" has the most accurate testing methods in the cycling industry, and they test logo effectiveness on highly-calibrated monkeys with disposable income--the closest thing to actual roadies occurring in nature.) While this downtube-mounted oversized headtube badge may not increase actual performance, it will give you a much-needed morale boost as you are passed on sub-300 foot climbs by riders on less expensive bicycles.

But the innovations aren't just skin deep--they even go as far as the copy on the Bianchi website:

A result achieved thanks to the carbon frame fabricated through the innovative X-Tex technology, that increases rigidity while limiting the weight. To push your limit far beyond.

If you're wondering what "X-Tex" is, I consulted a popular search engine and can report to you that it's apparently "Great for use in oil / water separators, stormwater and wastewater filtration systems and water 'polishing' applications." Naturally, these superior filtration qualities also make it ideal for building bicycles. Plus, the highly-calibrated monkeys with disposable income at "Marke Hure" say that "X-Tex" is over 300% more delicious than "Tex-Mex."

At this point you're probably thinking: "Holy crap, did the engineering geniuses at Bianchi come up with all of this themselves?" Of course not. Like all ridiculously expensive bicycle cycles, this was a "collabo:"

In collaboration with specialized companies, Bianchi simulated a structural analysis on carbon products aimed at obtaining, during the design phase, the elements necessary for the correct development of its products.

In other words, it probably came out of the same Taiwanese factory as every other crabon bicycle--though I'm sure the downtube-mounted oversized headtube badge was all Bianchi.

None of this is to say there's anything wrong with Taiwanese bicycles, it's just that $11,000 seems a bit much for some quasi-Italian flair regardless of how "super" the Record is. With that kind of scratch, you could pay eccentric steel-sniffer Dario Pegoretti to make you a frame and experience what it's like to be shouted at and belittled by a true artisan. Of course, buying a custom bike comes with its own set of problems, not least of which is finding appropriately artisanal baubles to bolt onto your artisanal frame, but fortunately one reader tells me you can get a $150 bottle cage that is like a "Samurai sword:"

Yes, it's exactly like a Samurai sword except it's way smaller, isn't sharp, and holds bottles for Freds instead of killing people. I suppose anything hand-crafted in Japan has to be likened to a Samurai sword in the same way that anything made in Italy has to reference "passion," but since this is essentially just a utensil I'd argue it's less like a Samurai sword and more like an overpriced chopstick.

Meanwhile, also further to yesterday's post, a commenter asked:

Anonymous said...

care to comment on the absurdity of limiting bikes to 10mph on the Golden Gate bridge for "safety"?

And then linked to the following article:

(Safety-minded Fred has left the reflectors on his Litespeed.)

If you're unfamiliar with the Golden Gate Bridge, it is a bridge that links the city of San Francisco and the profoundly smug county of Marin, and it also happens to remind me of a Samurai sword, albeit a really big one that spans a large body of water. Anyway, I heard about this proposal during my leave of absence last week, and I would agree that a 10mph speed limit is absurd. However, having ridden over the Golden Gate Bridge a number of times, I would also say that it's like someone took all the most annoying elements of the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and George Washington Bridges and forced them onto a single path. Freds, tourists, wobbly triathletes... You haven't experienced fear until you've been approached head-on by an oblivious tourist on a rental bike, weaving as he simultaneously smokes a cigarette and attempts to take a photograph of one of the towers, while you brace yourself for a collision that could send you hurtling into the icy waters below. Apparently, though, the owner of the rental bike company resents this indictment of his customers:

Jeff Sears, owner of Blazing Saddles, a bike rental company whose advertising urges visitors to "Bike the Bridge," said it's wrong to demonize a class of bike riders or imply that they shouldn't be allowed access to the span.

"It's not fair to label one group as needing to meet some sort of safety standard of bicycle knowledge to be able to bike across the bridge."

What? How is that not fair? Sure, they shouldn't ban tourists on rental bikes, but I think it's perfectly fine to "demonize" them. Saying it's not fair that they should ride safely is like saying, "It's not fair to need some sort of special knowledge to prepare and serve the potentially deadly Fugu fish." Perhaps Jeff Sears should also open up a bunch of amateur Fugu stands along the span, staffed by idiots with Samurai swords. If the tourists don't kill you, the snack foods will.

But of course the real victims here are riders of tallbikes and unicycles--which, as Cyclelicious reports, could be banned altogether:

Besides the 5 MPH and 10 MPH speed limits, Alta recommends a ban on tallbikes and unicycles because they might tip over the bridge safety railings and fall into the Golden Gate...

That would be a crushing blow to the many thousands of people in Mill Valley who commute into San Francisco every day by unicycle and tallbike. Personally, I think we can reach a compromise, which would go something like this: You're allowed to ride a unicycle or similar circus contraption over the Golden Gate Bridge, just as long as you refrain from juggling while on the span.

But if there's one thing we need less than more tourists on rental bikes, it's more fixed-gear videos--though I do make an exception for filmmakers who push the boundaries of the artform, as in this short film that was forwarded to me by a reader:

FIXED from Tim Whitney on Vimeo.

As you can see, it's sort of a "conceptual meta-edit," and it stars a guy with a pompadour:

Who is being pursued by hipsters with nunchucks:

One of whom has a set of knuckle tattoos which may or may not say "Walk Hard:"

Decidely more traditional and pedestrian is this entry, which I saw on the Trackosaurusrex blog:

Official FIXATION Trailer from Alex Trudeau Viriato on Vimeo.

It touches all the bases, including the crucial explanation of why riding a fixed-gear is a metaphysical experience:

"The bike is aaalways moving. Like, you are the bicycle when you're on a track bike. You're part of it. Your legs are what defines what's happening with the bicycle."

If the bike is aaalways moving, how does he explain the incessant trackstanding? And maybe he's the bicycle when he's on a track bike, but some of us manage to ride our bicycles while simultaneously retaining some sense of individuality and autonomous thought.

There's also the person who answers his own rhetorical question:

Q: "What's it like to be fixed gear, clipped in, riding through traffic in LA?"

A: "I gotta say it's a complete rush."

I will admit that he had me rethinking at least one "fixie" stereotype. Previously I had thought all urban fixed-gear riders were studiously scruffy Bard graduates, but this one looks like he should be playing football for Princeton circa 1932.

Yes, of all the fixed-gear videos I've seen, none of them captures that perfect combination of self-importance and mallification quite like the ones from Los Angeles do. You might remember the film "To Live & Ride in L.A.," and I'm pleased to report that the makers have actually sent me an honest-to-Lobness "press release:"

To Live & Ride in L.A. has been widely received as the freshest movie on fixed-gear culture since Rowe's Fast Friday. Shot entirely on the streets of L.A. To Live & Ride in L.A. has been called an "authentic look into the what, where, and now of aggressive urban biking" by URB Magazine. The film was chosen as official selections at both the 2010 Hawaii International Film Festival and the 2010 Los Angeles Bicycle Film Festival and has toured the world on a screening circuit that included stops in Melbourne, Shanghai, Taipei, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Perth and Adelaide, Australia.

Frankly, I'm not impressed by anything that claims to be the "freshest movie on fixed-gear culture" since the last supposedly "fresh" movie on "fixed-gear culture." That's like saying "Ernest Goes to Jail" was the freshest inept-hillbilly-goes-someplace movie since "Ernest Goes to Camp." Still, that's not stopping them from releasing "exclusive content" like this:

In this particular video, the rider does a footplant and gets like four inches of air:

Now that's what I call "fresh."

By the way, this is the same rider who said "riding an aluminum track bike is more like doing tricks and producing a square feel or something like that and then the steel one would draw a circle."

Between his circles and Pegoretti's smells I'm starting to think these people must drinking LSD-tainted water from their Hattori Hanzo bottle cages.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Knee-Jerk Reaction: All Out of Proportion

I'm in the market for a new road bike. Do I need a new road bike? Of course not. However, as a bicycle cyclist I know that riding the undulations of consumer trends is even more important than riding the actual bicycles. So, even though my current road bike is almost exactly like the new road bikes, and even though like most non-professional road cyclists I'm profoundly slow, it's essential that I spend many thousands of dollars on a new "steed" that reflects the subtle changes in head tube diameter and decal design that drive the bicycle cycling industry.

But which bike to choose? Well, there's a bewildering array of road cycling bicycles available today, and even though most of them come out of the same factory it can be very difficult to decide which one best expresses my own unique brand of sucking at bike racing. Therefore, I found myself in quite a quandary--until I remembered that I write for the world's leading bike magazine, which is, of course, "Bicycling." So I reached for the latest issue, in which I read the following words about a road bicycling bicycle cycle called the "Bianchi Oltre Super Record:"

On my second ride, climbing a small hill, I stood and smashed on the pedals. The Oltre leapt forward as if shocked, so I kept going. The bike craved the speed, asking me for more. For three hours, I kept pushing. The Oltre carved corners, mowed down rollers and zipped through long straightaways. On dirt sections, the whip-thin seatstays helped me float over washboards and winter potholes. It's no surprise that in Italian the name of Bianchi's top-of-the-line road model means "beyond."

No sooner had I finished reading that paragraph than the $11,000 (!) which this cycling bicycle costs practically leaped out of my pocket, grabbed me by the "pants yabbies," and dragged me to my LBS. I mean, this bike sounded perfect. The truth is, like most roadies, I actually hate cycling, so the idea of a bicycle that does most of the work for me is very appealing. Also, $11,000 isn't actually that much money, since the review specifically mentions that the bike also "mowed" stuff. That means I won't have to buy that $11,449 John Deere X748 Ultimate Tractor I've also had my eye on, so when you really think about it I'm actually saving $449 bucks! (In case you're wondering, I plan to spend that money on a Garmin, which might help me finally tell my ass from my elbow.)

I wonder if they'll have a Bianchi Oltre Outre Super Duper Deluxe Record (presumably at a stand equipped with an artisanal Fred drool-collecting vessel) at the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show, which takes place in New York City this coming Saturday:

I'm not sure why people find the retro-grouchey "New Amsterdam" appellation charming. I suppose they forget that, back when New York City was Dutch, it wasn't full of bicycles--actually, it was full of slaves. There's nothing charming about that. Anyway, the promotional email I received concerning this event said that the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show "kicks off Bike Month NYC 2011," and given the current cycling climate here in New York this should be the most awkward and uncomfortable Bike Month to date. At best, Bike Month NYC 2011 will evoke that one Thanksgiving just after your parents announced that they were divorcing, your brother showed up with a prostitute who kept excusing herself from the table to "use the bathroom," and your sister reported she just flunked out of Bard. (Obviously this is a fictional scenario, since it is completely impossible to flunk out of Bard.) I wonder if any of the exhibitors will get ticketed by the NYPD for rolling their bikes across the sidewalk and into the venue, or for not having lights and bells on them, or for handling them without wearing "helments." Other cities may treat bike shows with a certain degree of respect since they're sources of revenue, but in New York City a bike show generates about as much tax revenue for the city as a single Carrie Bradshaw wannabe shopping at Barney's during her lunch hour, so I expect the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show to be received about as warmly as Critical Mass.

Meanwhile, cyclists who oppose bike lanes like to claim that "the Man" wants to herd us all into them like they're some kind of "bicycle ghetto," and while I used to scoff at this I'm beginning to think there may be something to it. Via the Twitter, it seems like the latest phase of the NYPD's "bicycle crackdown" involves ticketing cyclists for straying from the bike lane:

Sure, it's not quite as bad as the old "block the bike lane and then ticket cyclists for leaving it" flim-flam, but it's still pretty irritating--especially since it's not illegal. Nevertheless, I do think we need to have compassion for the individual officers. I'm sure these directives are coming from somewhere "on high," and I'm also sure at least a few of these officers joined the force with an honest desire to "serve and protect," only to become disillusioned when they discovered only three avenues were open to them:

1) Ticket people on bikes for not doing anything wrong;
3) Escort celebrities like Puff Daddy or P-Dandy or Fluff Daniels or whatever his name is now:

That last one really must sting, especially when you consider Muff Caddy's fortune is built at least in part on producing drug dealing primers like the "Ten Crack Commandments."

Then again, maybe ticketing cyclists does qualify as "serving and protecting" the general public, for according to the New York Post* 24% of cyclists don't stop at red lights:

*I am no longer linking to stupid New York Post bicycle articles since I don't want to contribute to their website traffic; instead I will simply reprint these articles in their entirety.

Bicycles built for boors
April 26, 2011

New Yorkers take it as a given that far too many bicyclists are clueless, boors or bullies -- and City Hall's ill-considered decision to cede them wide swaths of municipal boulevards has reinforced that conviction.

It seems that three-fifths of bikers are willing to obey traffic laws -- and the rest are still ripping around town like hell on wheels.

A week-long Post investigation in cycle-friendly SoHo found that more than 40 percent of bikers at one location blew through red lights -- imagine that! -- and committed other serious moving violations, too.

Observing the 7,182 cyclists using the well-worn bike lanes at Lafayette and Prince streets, Post reporters found:

* 1,759 bikers ran red lights (24 percent of traffic there).

* 1,111 rode the wrong way or swerved in and out of bike lanes (15 percent).

* 81 rode on the sidewalk (which is illegal for adults).

Those violations are no joke -- there were close scrapes and near-collisions every 15 minutes during the week.

But police handed out not a single ticket -- despite the 2,951 violations The Post witnessed.

All that came in an area where Mayor Mike and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan remade the roadway in an effort to make streets safer.

But the fact is that bikers are indeed boors -- and Sadik-Khan's sacrifice of miles of city traffic lanes for their benefit hasn't made them any better behaved.

Bike activists (hey, New York has all sorts of activists) claim cyclists have been the victims of an unjustified NYPD crackdown lately.


If you ask us, the cops can't crack down hard enough.

They need to keep it up.

The spuriousness of this "investigation" aside, I'd say 24% non-compliance is actually pretty damn good, especially when you consider that roughly zero percent of motorists observe any of the stop signs in my neighborhood, and that, during a seven-second walk signal on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, at least two or three cars will typically blow through the red at full speed.

But yes, by all means, let's crack down on the cyclists. Apparently the Department of Transportation agrees, since, as I mentioned yesterday, they want us all to take a "Bike Smart Pledge:"

At the very least, they could furnish us with a more realistic oath. I propose something like the following:

I want to help keep cycling in New York City remedial. I pledge to:

1) "Rock" a crabon front wheel that costs more than the rest of my "tarck" bike;

2) Pen an impassioned screed on Craigslist when aforementioned "tarck" bike is stolen while I'm getting drunk in a stylized dive bar;

3) Make sure at least 25% of my posterior crack is exposed at all times;

4) Hire a coach to help me upgrade from Cat 5 to Cat 4;

5) Wear a full-face helmet and body armor when riding my downhill bike on Prospect Park nature trails.

I'm proud to report we're already at near-100% compliance.

At any rate, if asking us to take a "pledge" weren't ridiculous enough, the DOT is also embarking on a "Don't Be a Jerk" cycling PSA campaign:

Now, there are certainly some really bad cyclists out there, many of whom might qualify as "jerks," but for the most part these really bad cyclists are just hurting themselves. And yes, while the cyclist who runs a red light and gets killed by a car is ultimately responsible for his fate, I think calling him a "jerk" is in rather poor taste. At the very least, as an entity that should be looking out for people, I don't think the DOT is in a position to be calling anybody a "jerk." Maybe I'd be okay with it if they insulted motorists too, but I went to the DOT's website and all I found there was advice on how they can park and avoid traffic. That's just unfair. If we're going to have insult-based PSAs, they should cover everybody, and the invective should be commensurate with the amount of damage the vehicle is likely to cause. This would mean that if cyclists are going to get "Don't Be a Jerk," then motorists should get something like this:

Sure, it's a bit harsh, but I've also never heard of a cyclist losing control of his bicycle on the 59th Street bridge and plowing into a check cashing place.

Speaking of Craigslist, Prospect Park, and plowing into things, as the spring arrives in New York City the "missed connections" become increasingly "flambullient:"

Beautiful Goddess in the park - m4w (Prospect park)
Date: 2011-04-26, 10:53PM EDT

I was riding my bike tonight in prospect park, getting my sweat on, and there you appeared: A vision of Olympus, you beautiful black Goddess. I nearly crashed my bike into the jogger a few feet ahead of you trying to crane my neck back to get a better look at you. Your round ass was God's best work for whatever decade you were born.. I'm guessing it was the 70s. Your voluptuous breasts were mouth watering. You were walking with someone else.. they looked like a pile of dead raccoons next to you. You had long hair.. I think it was extensions of some sort. It has been nearly an hour since my encountering you and all I can think about is motorboating your ass cheeks. My God that ass was madness...madness I tell you!

I wonder if this is what the DOT means about being a jerk.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Travels Channelled: Emerging from the Fog

If you visited this blog last week, you may have noticed that there were no new posts. This is because I was not in New York and sitting in front of my typewriter like I usually am. (I have an analog-to-digital converter that lets me blog via typewriter for added pretension.) Instead, I was far away in an exotic Land of Smugness.

Before you leap to conclusions, I should point out that this Land of Smugness was not Portland, OR. No, the place I visited was so smug it made Portland seem like Bensonhurst. In fact, within 24 hours of arriving in this Land of Smugness, a complete stranger accused me of bad parenting. This has never even happened to me in Park Slope, which is to parenting as Portland is to cycling, and you'd think the people in this Land of Smugness had never seen a baby playing with a steak knife before. (I wouldn't normally let him play with the cutlery, but he's very edgy since he quit smoking.)

For all its smugness, though, I must say that the bicycle cycling was nothing short of spectacular. I very much enjoy the pastime of bicycle cycling, though I'd nearly forgotten that since I've spent the last few months looking over my shoulder waiting for the cops to bust me for hanging my pocketbook from my handlebars. (I paid over $2,000 for my Givenchy Medium Antigona and I'll hang it wherever I darn well please thankyouverymuch.) Here, however, it was just a few turns before I was bicycle cycling climbingward along exotic dirt trails that were enshrouded in mist:

I hadn't been in a low-visibility situation like this since that time I went to visit awesome Indonesian smoking baby.

Up, up, up went the trail as I continued to climb:
At one point I even saw strange creatures frolicking in the fog:

I couldn't identify them--I know nothing of wildlife and suspected they were either mountain lions or gila monsters--but whatever they were I was reasonably certain they wanted to kill me.

Finally, I reached the top of the climb, and after rummaging through my Givenchy Medium Antigona and reapplying my make-up (ha--"waterproof" mascara my "pants yabbies") I began a long and serpentine descent that finally ended on a mysterious shore:

I set about exploring it, and only then did I put two and two together and realize that the creatures I had seen earlier must have been futuristic ape-people:

"You maniacs!," I cried as I fell to my knees. "You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to Hell!"

But my despair was short-lived, for I suddenly remembered that I had a packet of Bugles in my handbag and their crunchy deliciousness was all I needed to regain my composure.

Finding my cycling bicycle, I returned to the dirt trail and began climbing again, but this time I didn't stop until I was well above the awesome Indonesian smoking baby's cloud:

At this point I felt like I was a million miles (or 1,609,344 kilometers, if you're Canadian or pretentious) away from civilization, and I actually worried that I might not be able to find my way back. But my fear was short-lived, because 15 minutes later I was standing in a driveway with both a Porsche Cayenne and a Prius in it, and 5 minutes after that I was paying way too much for an espresso.

I suppose I'd temporarily forgotten a fundamental rule of modern wilderness survival, which is this: If you're in an area where there are ocean views, it is physically impossible to be more than five miles away from a Whole Foods.

That's the sort of thing they teach you in the Long Island Boy Scouts.

Besides death-defying wilderness prime real estate exploration, I also undertook another expedition during which I "got rad" with none other than radness-monger Stevil Kinevil of All Hail The Black Market. Here is a picture I took of him "getting rad:"

It turns out that Stevil Kinevil is so evil that, when you obscure his eyes, light emanates from his nipples.

Also, speaking of being evil, even though we were in the woods we still managed to find a graffiti mural to stand in front of while we did some urban-style glowering:

I'm glad we found this, but even if we hadn't I always carry an emergency graffiti mural rolled up in my bag. So, had we been forced to, I would have unfurled it and nailed it to a couple of trees and we just would have stood around glowering in front of that one instead. By the way, here's my emergency graffiti mural:

Maybe I can get Mike Giant to make me an "AYHSMB" version, though I don't think he's able to write anything that's not his own last name.

Anyway, when we weren't "getting rad" or glowering we were mixing cheap beer with expensive energy foods:

I should add that it was like 10:30am.

As far as the rest of my travels, I won't trouble you with the details, though at various points I saw people training for bike polo:

This struck me as being sort of sad--training for bike polo seems like the equivalent of a frat boy practicing his shotgunning technique with cans of seltzer.

I also saw a cargo bike that makes my Surly Big Dummy look like a fixed-gear freestyle bike:

As you may know, the U.S. Department of Transportation recommends that any two-wheeled vehicle weighing more than 100lbs should be equipped with handlebar grip tassels, and I'm glad to see that, like most Harley riders, the owner of this bike takes that recommendation seriously.

I even saw a track bike and an ElliptiGO sharing the same rack:

I sincerely hope these two riders are friends, and if so I can't wait to see the inevitable hillbombing "edit."

Most significantly, though, at no point did I miss New York. However, thanks to my "smarting phone," I did receive buckshot blasts of information that assured me it was remaining completely idiotic in my absence. For example, as you probably heard, avid bicycle cyclist Robin Williams got a ticket for riding a track bike on the sidewalk--though the cops let him off when they realized he was the guy from "Cadillac Man." And if this wasn't stupid enough, the NYPD then redoubled their bicycle cyclist ticketing efforts, citing Mr. Williams as the cause:

Meanwhile, the DOT continues to pander to the public's bizarre misconception that bicycles are deadly by asking bicycle cyclists to take a "Bike Smart Pledge:"

I endorse and engage in all of these behaviors, but I will take a "Bike Smart Pledge" just as soon as the DOT asks motorists to take a "Drive Smart Pledge." In the meantime, they can take this pledge, a can of Pledge, and a DVD of "Mrs. Doubtfire" and stick it in John Cassidy's "walnut glove compartment."

Lastly, as you may have heard by now, bicycle cycling messenger show "Triple Rush" has already been removed from the Travel Channel's schedule:

As I mentioned on Friday, I actually enjoyed the show, though I'm sure the Travel Channel pulled it because someone pitched them a hot new show about someone who Rollerblades all over the world eating the anuses of endangered species. (It will be called "Rare-Ass Roller.") Sadly, I think the only hope for "Triple Rush" is if the producers can convince the Travel Channel that messengers themselves are endangered species--though that could be something of an "out of the frying pan, into the fire" scenario, since then the messengers would be fair game for the "Rare-Ass Roller."

Or, maybe they could get Robin Williams on the show, since he apparently has total cycling immunity.