Click here to view my ride on Strava.
Of course, I can't fault you for suspecting that the above scenario is mendacious. But what am I supposed to do? After all, I'm a semi-professional bike blogger, yet my reality is at odds with my vocation. (Assuming you consider dictating bike-themed wiseassery to a touch-typing helper monkey while you wait for your Froot Loops® to get all nice and soggy a "vocation.") What am I supposed to do, tell the truth? How do I admit that I don't have a "douche cave," and that my apartment is so small that I have to take both wheels off my bicycle in order to close the bathroom door? Am I supposed to confess that there is no trailhead mere yards from my home (though I do live in fairly close proximity to a subway station, several manicurists, and a halal butcher)? Do I come clean about the fact that I don't even use Strava, and that if I did last weekend's ride would only look like this?
Then again, it was snowing, and I also got some windburn on my inner thigh, so I suppose it was technically an "epic."
At this point you may be wondering, "If you like to ride your bike and go bicycle cycling so much, then why do you live in New York?" Well, quite frankly, there's more to life than just great weather and easy access to beautiful rides. There's also a little something called "culture." See, New York City is one of the great cities of the world, and while it may not be a cycling paradise we also have stuff like theater, and art, and music. Do I avail myself of any of it? No. Could I afford to do so even if I wanted to? Also, no. Would it be cheaper and more enjoyable to just live in some other city with great riding and visit New York City once a year for an "epic" first-class luxury culture binge? Yes.
But I'm not just talking about "high culture." (I mean "high culture" in the academic sense, not in the Wednesday sense.) There's also the culture that comes free with living in a vibrant and dynamic city. For example, yesterday I boarded the subway with one of my 17 children. (I'd have taken the Big Dummy, but I believe in sparing children from the sorts of "epic" riding conditions that result in crotchal windburn. Also, kids love choo-choo trains, even ones that smell like pee.) As it happens, on this particular trip we were fortunate enough to share a car with an insane preacher. (Yes, I realize that all preachers are technically insane, but in this case I'm using it as shorthand for the ones who don't restrict their insane behavior to churches, temples, mosques, and mental hospitals.) As the door closed behind us and escape was no longer possible, the preacher began to shout at top volume about the following subjects, in no particular order:
--How we all need to stop being evil;
--How men need to stop "going with" men and women need to stop "going with" women;
--How women need to stop raping little boys and men need to stop raping little girls (same-sex child rape was, oddly, not among his concerns);
--China, Israel, the United States, and the complex nature of global politics;
Put a suit on this guy and he could have been a presidential candidate--that's how crazy he was.
So, sure, I could move to some other part of the country, but there's nothing quite like the look of delight on your child's face as a deranged individual screams about baby rape.
Speaking of public transit, there's a centuries-old saying coined a few months ago that goes like this:
"If it rains, take the bus."
--Guy who hated my book
Well, "Serial Retrogrouch" informs me that now you don't even have to wait for it to rain in order to take the bus, thanks to this brilliant new invention:
Really, I'm not sure why you wouldn't just opt for a Brompton or a Dahon or some other folding bicycle. Sure, I suppose some people are overly self-conscious about looking like a circus bear while riding, but it's certainly no worse than showing everybody your stripy underpants:
Meanwhile, from elsewhere in the world of cycling innovation comes this wrist-mounted rear view mirror, which is being funded via the "Kick Starter" and about which I learned from the inventor himself:
So why a mirror on your wrist instead of on your handlebars or your helmet? Well, to quote the film "Modern Romance" on the subject of wrist wallets, the inventor seems to feel that "It's better to keep it on your wrist." Nevertheless, I must say I have some reservations about this product. In particular, notice the arm motion necessary to use the mirror:
Which just happens to be the same as the hand signal for a right turn:
Or, the hand signal for "flexing your guns," depending on how you execute it:
Clearly then, when using the wrist-mounted mirror, the potential for misunderstandings between cyclists and motorists abound:
(Signaling a turn? Flexing his guns? Asking for the time? About to flip you off? It's anybody's guess.)
Moreover, the gestures vary from person to person. Consider this rider:
Who appears to be making the universal signal for "foffing off:"
Just imagine the consequences when the driver of that pickup beeps his horn at you, you raise your wrist-mounted rear view mirror to see what the fuss is about, and before you know it Cooter's coming after you with an adjustable wrench because he thinks you're throwing him the old "wanking" sign:
Or, consider this scenario, which is even worse:
Trust me, the last thing you want to do when you're wearing full Fred gear and being tailed by an impatient driver is to make the international "tiny pee-pee" sign:
That always ends badly.
Worst of all though, moving the rear view mirror to the wrist greatly limits your creative cockpit expression. Consider the following cockpit spotted recently by a reader in London:
This is the Crown Jewels of cockpits, and what you can't see are the Yeomen who flank it on either side:
The reader was also kind enough to point out that this cockpit has appeared on this blog before, though in that instance the antennae were lowered into the "submissive" position:
Like wine tasting, cockpit-spotting is something of an art, and if you're a beginner you might find yourself confused by such an exquisitely complex setup. To that end, here's a tip: start by following the brake cables, which are really the key to understanding the functionality (or lack thereof) of any cockpit, and which I've color-coded here for your convenience:
See how the brake levers are mounted precariously on the auxiliary stalks? Notice also the handlebar-mounted bottle cage, as well as the downtube shifter which adds a subtle flavor note of retrogrouchery. However, it's the stem (or stems, I count at least four) which are at the heart of this cockpit's beauty:
Just imagine being able to gaze upon this as you ride:
I'd never be able to move my wrist mirror from it.