(Statue of Liberty, moments before being arrested for flag-burning.)
Where 47% of our citizens are government leeches who are too lazy to earn themselves millions of dollars:
(Leech with opposable thumb holds sign.)
By the way, I didn't sit around waiting for the government to pay for me to go to some fancy art school just so I could make pictures of leeches holding signs. Instead, I taught myself how to make leech art, and that's called "gumption." (Or "moxie" if you're an "ethnic.") Generous government incentives for self-taught leech art businesses are also the reason I'm now making millions of dollars and paying single-digit income tax.
Still, we're not as bad as Canada, where something like a quarter of the population doesn't even believe in a god (and that includes the God, which is of course the Succulent Lobster on High), and where if you're bleeding to death the socialist government will squander its precious financial resources in order to provide you with superfluous "doctoring." You can rest assured that when I visit Canada next week I'll be holding my nose the whole time, and if you want to join me in deriding the Red (Maple Leaf) Menace here's the schedule:
Moving on, if you've ever been in a bike race, you know that some races start out slowly, while others are "ballistic" right from the gun. Well, yesterday I announced the Second Biennial Cock-Off contest (formerly the "Second Bi-Annual Cock-Off" contest, until a commenter pointed out I was using "bi-annual" wrong), and it definitely belongs in the latter category. Already the cockpits are proving to be blisteringly insane, though this one may have taken the holeshot:
It was spotted by a reader in Belpasso, Sicily, and here's a close-up of "the goods:"
Trying to make sense of this cockpit at a glance is like flipping "Finnegans Wake" open in the middle and starting to read (actually, it really doesn't matter where you start "Finnegans Wake" since it reads like a pair of squirrels were having sex on a typewriter), so here's some insight from the photographer:
The guy has a solar panel system on his handlebars, along with tire-generators to power his GPS, camera, and lighting system. Not sure if you can see from this photo, but he also has a license plate that says "Stephano" - which I assume his name. The guy came to ask me some friendly questions about why I was taking pics of his bike - and all I could reply was that I was in awe.
I too am in awe. Note the toggle switch, halogen light, old-timey bulb horn, and analog compass:
As well as the auxiliary "hipster cyst:"
Presumably a hedge in case there isn't enough Sicilian sunshine to feed those thirsty solar panels:
This cockpit is a rolling Sicilian message, and the message is that Stefano is a mad genius. This is going to be a tough cockpit to beat, but it's still early, and any number of GC contenders are still liable to emerge (and other cycling clichés).
Meanwhile, back in "Uh, Merica?," a reader informs me that Duckie from "Pretty In Pink" managed to crash himself in a triathlon:
The incident occurred when he was riding down a hill and suddenly discovered that, like most triathletes, he had absolutely no idea how to ride a bike once it starts going faster than seven miles per hour:
"I don't know what happened... I was bombing down a hill, having a great time, on an awesome bike, and, uh, wheel got all wobbly, got away from me, and I was like, 'Whuuuh!'"
"Whuuuh!" indeed. Duckie then went on to congratulate himself for wearing a helment instead of chastising himself for not wearing the full body armor that should be mandatory in all triathlons. Fortunately, he wasn't seriously injured, and he ultimately escaped with just some road rash:
(Duckie displaying his bandages, otherwise known as "triathlete's arm warmers.")
In any case, it sounds like Duckie was a victim of "speed wobble," and I wouldn't be surprised if aerobars with roughly three feet of headset spacers under them were a contributing factor. If nothing else, it's also a reminder that I'd sooner ride a bicycle on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway than get anywhere near a triathlete:
The above photo was forwarded to me by a reader who does not know the source, but given that it was taken by someone driving a car we can pretty much rule out David Byrne.*
*(Reader has since obtained the source.)
Anyway, while triathletes continue to fall all over themselves, still another reader tells me that Portlanders are catching air on fully-loaded bakfietsen ("bakfietsen" is pretentious for "bakfietseseses"):
As a Surly Big Dummy rider who has been screamed at by one of my seventeen children to go "Faster, faster!" as we were passed easily by an elderly woman on a Bianchi Milano, I can say quite confidently that all the participants in the "Fiets of Parenthood" are obviously on the EPO.
Of course, it's every parent's dream to scream at a child, "If you're so fucking fast why don't you chase Grandma down?," though you don't want them to turn to Craigslist in search of a race frame and stumble on something like this:
This ad comes from still yet another reader, and while I was frightened by the photographer's feet:
I was doubly horrified when, upon closer inspection, I noticed a third foot:
Is the seller naked? If so, does the tertiary mystery foot indicate he has a naked photo assistant as well? Or does the seller himself have three feet? I don't know, and I don't want to know, though I do think "Tertiary Mystery Foot" may have been a Jim Jarmusch film.
Lastly, from even still yet another reader comes an eBay auction for an exquisite rare pie plate that comes with some shitty old bonus derailleur:
I plan to buy it and build an astonishing steampunk monocle around it.