(Woke up on the fire escape again, poured myself a bowl of Froot Loops, put my feet in it to cool my bunions, fired up the old computer, and saw this.)
I'm so ufcked.
Actually, I'm not ufcked at all. You're ufcked. That's because as of this morning I had already received something like a hundred entries into the Free Folding Boing-Boing Bike Competition and more continue to come in, and the reason you're ufcked is that there's no way I can handle that sort of workload. Instead, I'll probably be completely lazy about judging the contest like I am about everything else in my life (I've been using the same Brita filter since 1992, which has gotten so nasty I just drink out of the terlet), and whoever wins the bike probably won't deserve it.
Just to give you a sense of the size of the responsibility of work I'm about to shirk, here's just one entry (and I just assume anybody who has entered the contest assumed that their email might eventually be published on the Internet) and as you can see there is a lot to consider:
My name is Alex Smith and I live in the Skagit Valley of Washington State. I recently gave up living and working in downtown Seattle to move out into the county and farm (www.AlkiFarms.com). I don't have a TV, so I guess my favorite TV show is the Simpsons, although I haven't seen a new episode in years and I hear it sucks now.
When I lived in Seattle, I got my bike (a fixed gear that I built mostly from donated parts) stolen from my workplace, and this is how it happened: I walked into the building with my bike, since we had a bike locker indoors, but instead of putting my bike inside the locker I went to change and left my bike leaned up against the wall. This was my standard practice, since our receptionist was about 30 feet away. From what I understand, 2 men came in and asked the receptionist for applications while I was changing, and when I came back to lock up my bike, it was gone and so were the two men who asked for applications. I learned at that moment that people are generally assholes and shouldn't be trusted. And that it is always a good idea to lock up your bike, even in a building with security guards (security guards are, after all, people.)
I need a folding bike because, living in the county, I wind up driving a lot and on varied terrain for anywhere from 3-15 miles at a time. A folding bike would be perfect because it stores and locks well, and clearly I can't trust my bike to lean against a wall for 5 minutes in any environment.
If and when I receive this bike, I will continue doing what I am now, which is farming on a small scale and working to break our dependence on fossil fuels for food production. Even if I don't get this bike I will continue to do this, but I think that my daily trips to our farm will do more to help humanity than another person's daily trips to their job at Starbucks.
PS September 15 is my birthday, so this would be a killer present.
PPS Not to be a beggar and a chooser, but I do not currently own a helment, so if there is any way you could include one with my free gift, it would be greatly appreciated.
I'm afraid it's highly unlikely that Alex Smith will win the bike. In his (I'm just assuming Alex is a "his" because I'm a phallocentric genderist, though I suppose Alex could just as easily be a "her," and now you're starting to see why judging a contest is so hard) favor are the following:
--He has the courage to quit his job and follow his dreams;
--He seems to have learned from his experience;
--He admits to driving a car, unlike that liar David Byrne who drives his Hyunai Sonata while wearing a fake mustache;
--It's almost his birthday which would give this contest what we in the bicycle marketing industry like to call "synergy."
Unfortunately he also receives a number of demerits for the following reasons:
--The "Skagit Valley" is clearly a made-up place that does not exist, like "Candyland" or "Boulder;"
--He doesn't own a TV or display sufficient respect for the medium;
--He doesn't attempt to overcome his unfortunate lack of TV ownership by watching TV shows on his computer (it is 2012 after all);
--He seems to think he's more important than someone who works at Starbucks, even though the Starbucks employee may use his or her job as a springboard to something far more important to humanity than farming, like curing cancer or producing a really good TV show;
--He got greedy and asked for a free helment.
Therefore I may have to move this one into the "Too Smug" folder and move on. This should in no way discourage Alex Smith from his noble endeavors, nor should it dissuade anyone else from entering. It's merely a glimpse into what a fickle douchebag I am, if that was ever in doubt, which of course it wasn't.
Further gratuitous evidence that I'm a douchebag is that yesterday when I should have been reading contest submissions with my bunions in a bowl of Froot Loops (doctor's orders) I was instead engaged in the pursuit of semi-recreational bicycle cycling. It wasn't all frivolous though, because I did manage to capture a unicyclist on "film" as he exited the Manhattan Bridge into Manhattan:
Before you criticize me for failing to hold my smarting phone horizontally, I should point out that I am an Artist, and as an Artist I render the world as I see it. And I see the world through the eyes of a lonely and frightened little child peering at it from between the slats of a fence, which is why I film it with the smarting phone held vertically. It's also the psychological explanation ast to why I'm a giant douchebag.
Additionally, it's worth noting that the unicyclist actually manages to drop me going through the turn, and there is perhaps no greater sign that you suck at cycling than being out-cornered by a unicyclist. (Though in my defense I was doing my best not to crash into somebody while riding with a smarting phone in front of my face, even though the ensuing video would have been HILARIOUS.)
Anyway, as I rode I thought about cycling, which is not surprising because that's what I was doing at the time. I also thought about red lights and whether or not I should stop at them. For me, there are four (4) categories of red lights:
1) The kind you'd be an idiot to run because if you do you'll almost certainly die;
2) The kind you'd be an asshole to run because pedestrians need to cross;
3) The kind you feel like an utter schmuck for waiting at because there is absolutely no danger, you're not inconveniencing anybody, and even elderly people on nearby park benches are imploring you to "Just go, wussbag;"
4) The kind you're forced to run because it's actually more dangerous to wait for the green. (Yes, these exist.)
Of all of these, the #3 type is probably the most vexing, especially when the NYPD is doing one of its trademark "crackdowns," since those are the ones they seem to enjoy enforcing the most. At least there's a little "street cred" in getting a ticket while running a light of the #1 type, whereas when you get fined hundreds of dollars for slowly rolling through a #3 light you feel the way you do after you open your wallet after a night of heavy drinking or you pay to see a John Travolta movie.
In any case, when there's a crackdown in the air I do make a point of waiting at #3 lights (or at least checking carefully to make sure it's not a trap), though I do feel like sort of a sucker for doing it when even the police ride isn't stopping:
The above light was halfway between a #2 and a #3, and according to their jerseys the riders in blue were police. (You probably noted the date yesterday, and I'm guessing it was a memorial ride of some kind.) In a great show of solidarity with their cause and respect for the law I came to a smooth stop and waited for them to join me, at which point I planned to give them a fraternal nod and bask in their approval of my law-abiding ways. Instead, they ignored both me and the red, which made me feel like a total sap. Then an elderly lady on a bench called me a "Wussbag," and so I ran the light too and was back on my way.
Of course, even a recreational ride has a "purpose," and most of us set out with some sort of destination or goal in mind. Maybe it's some panorama we want to admire, or some mighty climb we want to conquer. As for my ride, the purpose was to stand at this intersection and giggle for a solid 45 minutes, and that's exactly what I did:
Goals, schmoals. Suck on that, Strava.
It's also important to include some "bike porn" in a ride report, and so I invite you to salivate over my mighty spacer stack:
(Believe it or not that isn't my seatpost.)
And my subtly "kludgy" derailleur:
(A braze-on-to-clamp-on adapter and a clamp shim. It's like wearing platform shoes with lifts.)
Also note that the derialleur is properly dirty. A lot of novice cyclists think you're supposed to clean your bike, which is exactly what makes them novices. Any experienced cyclist knows a coating of crust forms a protective layer over components and can extend their service life tenfold, whereas constantly cleaning stuff just wears it out. Consider that Werner Herzog movie, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams:"
The cave paintings in that movie are like 30,000 years old and look like they were painted yesterday, precisely because they were totally neglected. You think they'd look like that if some Frederick were down there every week hosing them down with a pressure washer? Nope. They'd be "upgraded" and made of crabon fribé by now.
Speaking of prehistoric man, by using DNA evidence scientists have been able to create a portrait of the man who made the above painting, and it turns out he looked like this:
(Primitive man in crude sealskin loincloth.)
Though you may know him as the Pissei bib shorts model, as forwarded to me by The Mighty Joachim:
Also, art historians now believe at least some of those cave paintings may represent the world's first "collabos:"
In the ensuing years, this primitive form of man eventually became extinct, though some theories hold that they merely intermarried with homo sapiens sapiens:
We may never know.