What bicycle cycling enthusiast wouldn't be thrilled to receive a box from Chris King? Beaming, I wondered what manner of precision-engineered bike booty it might contain. A headset? A pair of hubs? Maybe even a headset? Excitedly, I ordered my trained box-opening hamster to go to work, and when Nestor was done working his incisors I lifted the lid, only to reveal...coffee:
I do appreciate the gift, but it's difficult to describe the sort of deep disappointment you feel when you open a box from Chris King and find a bag of coffee. I imagine it's the same way you'd feel if Peta Todd came to your house, asked you demurely if she could "show you something," and then slipped off her shoes and made you examine her bunions. Then again, I suppose there are people out there who would actually prefer that scenario:
I would ask that you please not hold me personally liable for concepts, words, and scenarios that already exist elsewhere on the Internet such as the one above.
At this point you're probably disgusted by the fact I'm complaining about having received a lovely bag of coffee (not to mention the whole "bunionfucker" thing). I suppose this disgust is warranted, but I maintain I complain ("maintain I complain" is almost mellifluous enough to make up for "bunionfucker") far less than the average American bicycle cycling enthusiast. For example, it is still very much in vogue to complain about the Tour de France coverage provided by what is now NBC Sports and commentated upon by Phil Sherwen and Paul Liggett, but you won't hear me doing it:
(Paul Phigglett and Peter Sherwood checking out each other's bunions, via Cycling Inquisition)
Basically, among the chief complaints regarding this coverage seem to be:
--The coverage doesn't show the whole stage;
--The one with the gray hair can't keep the riders' names straight, and the one with the dark hair alternates between constant explanations of the concept of "drafting" and mind-numbing facts about castles and cathedrals;
--Both of them fixate on American riders like Levi Leipheimer, Dave Zabriskie, and Tom Danielson, who together are about as interesting as an earthenware tea set.
Sure, these things may be true, but I don't mind. Firstly, I suppose there are people who may want to watch an entire Tour de France stage from start to finish, but there are also railfans who like to stand around all day watching trains, and I'd argue that both groups are straining the fragile membrane that exists between boring behavior and psychotic behavior. Secondly, as someone who is completely unable to remember names or facts of any kind, I'm amazed that either of these guys do as well as they do, especially considering the length of the event and their combined age of 217. Thirdly, somehow Leipheimer and Danielson have managed to dupe the cycling world into thinking they still have potential, and Zabriskie has managed to dupe it into thinking that speaking really slowly constitutes a personality, so you can't blame Pigglett and Sherman for playing along. Most of all though, I don't like any other sports, but I've watched them, and almost all of them are vastly more intellectually offensive. What's dumber, having to listen to an English guy screw up a name occasionally, or having to watch this?
By the way, in all his years of commentating, to my knowledge Phil Liggett has only made one racist flub, which I'm sure is a record unparalleled in all of American sports broadcasting. Also, I have a policy of not including "spoilers" in my blog, so all I'll say about today's stage is that Thomas Voeckler won:
And here's the rest of the top ten:
1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 4:46:26
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:00:03
3 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:07
4 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:23
5 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:30
6 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:02:44
7 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
10 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
I'd hate to say I told you so, but at 48th overall and over a half an hour behind Bradley Wiggins, Dmitriy Fofonov is ideally positioned to win this Tour.
Speaking of complaining, plenty of New Yorkers have been complaining about our imminent bike share system, but that hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of the smugerati, and I recently received this email from Transporation Alternatives:
How will I use Citi Bike? With difficulty, because sadly I don't live anywhere near Gentrification Zone One:
Citi Bike will roll out with stations in Manhattan south of Central Park, Long Island City and in Brooklyn north of Atlantic Avenue, all the way up to Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
Nevertheless, I too am excited about it, and I'm also excited that the city is lowering the speed limit to 20mph in certain parts of town:
Mayor Bloomberg and NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced an expansion of the city’s Slow Zone program, which lowers speed limits in selected areas from 30 to 20 mph and implements low-cost traffic-calming measures like speed humps.
I'm not sure how much difference changing the numbers on the signs is going to make, since it's pretty much impossible here to get a speeding ticket as it is. Then again, the low-cost speed humps should help, because nothing is more relaxing than a cheap, quick hump, and once you're finished you're usually content to just roll down the windows and cruise. Perhaps in addition to speed humps the city will experiment with other traffic-calming techniques, such as the ones contained in this article that was forwarded to me by a reader:
For example, consider this approach in Vancouver:
In West Vancouver, Canada, traffic safety groups painted holograms on the ground so that as cars approached, a child appeared to rise from the ground. (Never mind that detractors have said the holograms could cause cars to swerve and hit something real.)
I'm guessing it was highly effective, since pretty much everyone in Vancouver is completely stoned almost all of the time and are thus highly susceptible to holograms.
On the other hand, New Yorkers tend to be pretty jaded regardless of their intoxication level, which is why the holograms should be more arresting. Sure, typical New York drivers have no problem running down a child, but they're sure to stop for a spectral naked recumbent rider:
Also, I understand that in the more gentrified parts of Brooklyn, reckless drivers are going to be reproached by an animatronic Martin Amis:
Yes, speeding is bad spondee. Or is it good spondee? To be honest, I still have no idea what spondee is. At this point I've just decided that it's the same as "karma," which is another word people like to use despite not really understanding its true meaning.
Meanwhile, in other bike share news, another reader tells me the Bank of England was going to establish a sort of emergency bike share of six bicycles to use "in the event of a full-scale financial meltdown:"
I understand economics even less than I understand spondee, so I have no idea what any of this means.
In the meantime, here in New York cycling is more popular than ever, which is why we're now experiencing a bike parking shortage, as I've learned from yet another reader:
Rock Center Bike Jam - w4m - 38 (Midtown West)
Date: 2012-07-10, 11:39PM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]
Rockefeller Center - When I saw how full the bike rack at 48th and 6th was Tuesday morning I knew getting my bike in there would be a challenge. What I didn't know is that it'd be a problem for you too. When I retrieved my bike after work I found your note written on the back of a Sovereign Bank ATM receipt. "You jammed me in. Took 20 min to get out." All in capital letters. In pencil. And perhaps what struck me most is how you corrected your spelling from "jambed" to "jammed". And when I read it I thought, "Huh, which is it? Like a door jamb or like strawberry jam?" And I feel really bad for blocking you in. It was so hard to find a spot and I honestly didn't mean to inconvenience anyone else. I'm not sure how I'm going to get my bike parked in the morning (Hello, Rock Center? More bike rikes? Please?) but I will certainly be more careful about others' bikes in the future. So thank you for the note. And also, I think we might be meant for each other. ;)
I can't help thinking that the crisis might be alleviated somewhat by people being willing to walk more than half a block to find additional bike parking. But I guess people would rather pile their bikes on top of other bikes and then leave notes, as I observed recently:
Yes, a note makes it all OK:
Full? Lot? Now that's good spondee.