Well, as it happens, Eric "came 'round for tea" this past weekend, by which I mean he placed his chamfering knife to my throat and uttered words to the effect of "Finish the tour or Ima fucking kill you." This changed my outlook considerably, and in a few short hours I will be sealing myself in a bike box under Eric's watchful eyes and then sending myself via UPS to Portland, OR, where I will be at the following places at the following times:
Tuesday, April 10
916 NW 21st Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209
7:30pm talk and booksigning
Powell's City of Books
1005 W Burnside
Portland, OR 97209
I hope you will join me, if only to help me pick the packing peanuts off of myself. Then, after that, it's on to the following cities:
You can find additional details here. Also, my gruelling touring schedule will have the unavoidable consequence of impacting my blogular posting schedule, but I will do my very best to keep you apprised ahead of time as to when I will or won't be able to type words into this thing. Also, I implore you to follow my Twitter, only because I'm liable to get lost or confused in these strange cities and I may need to reach out to "the Twitteroni" for assistance and/or bail money.
Speaking of being a homebody, this past weekend I found myself at home and in front of my television, and so I was able to watch the Paris-Roubaix bicycle race. Paris-Roubaix is of course the one that's really bumpy, and it was won by somebody named Thomas Booning. Booning won with "panache," which is the French cycling term for doing that really cool "leaning on your forearms during a solo breakaway" thing:
Pro tip: if you want to pull off this look while on the bike, just pretend you're browsing the Nashbar catalog in the bathroom while experiencing a slightly uncomfortable "movement."
Also, if you watched the race on NBC Sports Network (previously Versus, née OLN), this is pretty much all you saw, because they began their coverage well after Booning made his decisive move. While it's tempting to criticize NBC for sparing us from any extraneous racing drama that didn't consist of Booning simply riding all by himself, at least they had the courtesy to stick with him all the way to the finish, and this says a lot about the network's dedication to cycling. Sure, Paris-Roubaix may be the Queen of the Classics, but as far as most Americans are concerned it's really just that girly thing that's on before "Babe Winkelman's Outdoor Secrets."
I'm not sure what kinds of secrets Babe Winkelman actually shares on his show because I didn't stick around to watch it, but I'm guessing it's stuff like this:
("Pssst! If you shoot an animal in a vital organ, chances are pretty good that it's going to die.")
My rudimentary understanding of TV programming is that one show is supposed to lead the audience into another, but I suspect there's about as much audience crossover between Paris-Roubaix and "Babe Winkelman's Outdoor Secrets" as there is between "Californication" and reruns of "The Golden Girls."
By the way, if you want to practice your "panache" in the bathroom and you don't have a Nashbar catalog handy (which is highly unlikely if you're a cyclist, since merely thinking about riding a bike is enough to land you on their mailing list), you can always use an issue of "Bicycling" instead:
thumbing toeing through the latest issue of "Bicycling.")
"What's your ideal cycling weight?," asks the article above, and then invites you to find out by using various "self-assessment" formulas like these:
Now, it may very well be true that "Every extra pound you carry above your ideal weight makes you 15 to 20 seconds slower for each mile of a climb" as the article claims, it's also true that the typical cyclist reading "Bicycling" on the toilet has about as much to gain from losing a little bit of weight as someone with $14 in the bank has to gain from switching to an account with a slightly higher interest rate. Really, if your cycling life is somehow not complete without taking written tests, you're probably just better off riding your bike and then taking a practice GRE. At least then you can enjoy your dinner.
Meanwhile, on a more serious note, if you've been wondering why drivers in New York City who kill cyclists almost never get in trouble, here's your answer:
As you may have suspected, it's because "society" says that the right to drive is more important than the right to remain alive:
“We as a society have chosen to drive these big cars,” said Joe McCormack, an assistant District Attorney for the Bronx. It’s his job to prosecute traffic crimes. “And we also as a society have chosen not to criminalize every single small mistake that just has a dramatic consequence because your driving a car,” he said.
Now, this doesn't mean it's impossible to get in trouble for killing a cyclist with your car. It just means you have to be doing a whole lot of illegal crap all at once:
In a 2009 case, a driver who had just sold heroin to an undercover officer was fleeing the scene when he struck and killed a cyclist. He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half to 15 years.
Now that's multitasking.
However, killing someone while breaking only one law simply isn't enough, even if that law exists to keep people from being killed:
“There are times where the factual situation that is presented to us doesn’t rise to a crime,” McCormack said. “And it’s important to realize that the reason it doesn’t rise to a crime is that society has made that decision that it doesn’t want it to be a crime.”
This confirms something I've long suspected, which is that "society" is mentally unfit and really shouldn't be allowed to make decisions.
And if this weren't bad enough, a reader has informed me of this bicycle:
Not only is it a total Nü-Fred dream chariot:
But it's also "breaking necks all over nyc:"
Custom Cervelo P3 size 58. It’s in great condition and has no dents or dings, custom paint job in lexus starfire white pearl (color code 077 profesionally applied). This is a one of a kind bike, currently breaking necks all over nyc, bid now and you can enjoy it in your city.
As Grant Petersen would surely tell you, if you're bike's breaking necks, you might want to go with a taller stem.