Thursday, May 31, 2012

Self-Preservation: There's No "Me" in Smugness

Hey duders!

Somewhere in the snowy wilds of Canadia, where the men are moose, the women are hosers, and the back bacon runs free, one solitary man is still upset that I pretended to think that Ryder Hesjedal is from the United States, for I recently received the following email:

Nope, i can assure you that you really dont know how to tell a joke. Just stating something absurd is not telling a joke. There has to be a hook beyond the pretence? of ignorance. You may want to review your semi-pro rating. Hopelessly amateur may be closer to the mark.

I enjoyed this tremendously, since indignant emails about inconsequential matters are my favorite form of prose.  As a bonus, this one even features the old question-mark-after-the-misspelled-word-that-the-author-couldn't-be-bothered-to-look-up, which we in the semi-professional writing trade call the "lazy-man's spell check."  In any case, if he doesn't like absurdity for absurdity's sake I only hope he never sees a Steven Wright routine, because he'll be hunting-and-pecking away at indignant emails for the next ten years.

Speaking of false claims concerning one's nationality, the good people of Portland (or, more accurately, its environs--or at least Oregon) have been duped by a wily Australian (or, more accurately, Faux-stralian) bounder and grifter:

Here's how the elaborate caper "went down" (to employ the hardboiled language of police procedurals):

An Australian man on a bike tour through Oregon has learned first hand how supportive and compassionate our community is.

On Sunday, Salem resident Chad Butler was on his way home from participating in the Sisters Stampede mountain bike race when he came across a man from Darwin, Australia named Ian (no last name given) whose rear wheel had been badly damaged after being hit by a van.

Naturally, upon hearing that a person with a bike was in trouble, the smug people of Oregon all put on their helping pants:

After offering to help Ian himself, Butler then made an appeal for others on the OBRA list to step up:

"I'm hoping I can help him find a heavy duty 700c touring wheel. Being that he's currently without the ability to access his bank, I'm willing to be his benefactor, but I'm hoping to find a killer deal amongst our loving OBRA community. Bring it on guys. This fella started his bike journey here in Toronto and has pedaled his way all the way to Oregon, a mecca of U.S. cycling, only to find bad luck. I think we can change it around."

To be a recipient of this kind of assistance is to be, in an odd way, a victim.  Sure, people are coming to your rescue, but they're mostly coming to your rescue to further inflate their bloated sense of how wonderful they are, so what you really are is sort of a smugness piñata being bludgeoned with kindness and bike parts.

As it turns out, though, this man was no unwitting piñata.  He was in fact a professional huckster and confidence man who knew all too well how to extract the sweet, sticky nectar of smugness from the people of Oregon.  Indeed, after BikePortland published the original story, commenter after commenter logged on to share similar encounters with the same individual.  There was this one:

This probably sounds crazy. I am 99% sure that the "Australian named Ian" from today's front page story isn't who he says he is...

I ended up helping him fix a flat tire (he said his hands were pretty useless since his Golden Glove boxing days), and he laid on a sob story about someone stealing his wallet from his bike trailer, and having to wait for cash to be forwarded before continuing his journey (sound familiar?). I lent him $20 as he left camp, and he took my address to mail me payback. I left camp shortly after, and passing through Ashland saw his bike parked outside a bar. I walk in and he is drinking and playing video poker!!

And this one:

This sounds all too familiar to me as well. I helped out a similar fella probably 9 or 10 years ago (same small stature same penchant for tale telling) claimed he had toured all over the country and had actually stopped at Specialized bike's headquarters where he became fast friends with Ned Overend whom he fondly referred to as "Nedley". I actually drove him to a shop in Salem from the side of I-5 where he had his wheel repaired and since he had no money I ponied up the ten or so bucks with the promise that he'd pay me back. Never saw him again until (I think) now...

And this one:

Wow! I ran into this guy at Standish-Hickey in August 2010 in the middle of a tour to SF. The guy showed up with a can of Budweiser, a copy of USA Today ("rubbish" he called it) and said he'd been robbed in Eugene (bags stolen while he used a gas station restroom) and was going to high-tail it straight down 101 to the Australian embassy. He was wearing dirty old bike shorts (in fact, he was generally covered in dirt) and had a cheap 4-man tent without a fly.

Best of all, this huckster doesn't even have to bother to look the part of the long-distance bicycle tourist:

(When not grifting, "Ian" plays Homer J. Simpson at children's birthday parties.)

This is because the Religion of Smugness expressly prohibits its members from inferring anything from someone's appearance, even if it's in their own self-interest to do so.  This is why they get taken by people who claim to be riding from the North Pole to Tierra del Fuego but look like they've just hastily slipped on an ill-fitting jersey in the bathroom of a greasy spoon.

Of course, one might argue that it's always better to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I'm not so sure.  Maybe I'm just a cynical New Yorker, or maybe I'm just a plain old-fashioned misanthrope, but if I were approached by a man who looked as though he's just had a hot date with a hot open turkey sandwich and who spun a baroque tale of misfortune in an ersatz Australian accent I suspect I might be disinclined to help.  Then again, I'd probably also be disinclined to stop and help if I were to witness a zombie attack, which is what a reader tells me other cyclists failed to do in the case of that horrific face-eating incident in Miami. (And yes, if you're reading this outside of the United States, it's officially come to face-eating here in Canada's Dockers.)  Anyway, here's what happened:

In the Herald video (, a naked Eugene walks west on the sidewalk alongside an off-ramp of the causeway. A bicyclist speeds past Eugene just as he turns to something in the shade, in an area obscured by the tops of palm trees.

After a couple minutes, Eugene rolls Poppo's body into the sun and begins stripping off his pants and pummeling him. Later, the footage shows Eugene pull Poppo farther up the sidewalk. Though the view is partially obstructed by the mass transit rail above, Eugene appears to hunch over and lie on top of Poppo.

The footage shows a bicyclist slowly pedaling past the men about halfway through the attack, followed by a car slowly driving on the shoulder of the ramp. Cars regularly pass by the scene from the beginning of the attack, but their view was likely obstructed by a waist-high concrete barrier.

Two more bicyclists cross the scene before a police car drives the wrong way up the ramp nearly 18 minutes into the attack.

Notice how the article implies the cyclists simply ignored the attack while at the same time providing a ready-made excuse for the drivers, as though people who ride bikes are somehow worse people who drive cars.  If anything, though, this horrible tale underscores our shared humanity regardless of what sort of vehicle we operate.  The truth is that, whether we're straddling our crabon Fred chariots or tapping at the gas pedals of our bloated SUVs, we're all unified in our compulsion to get as far away as possible from two naked men writhing underneath an overpass.  It's one thing to stop and ask a stranded cyclist if he needs help fixing his flat or offer a stalled motorist the use of your cellphone; it's quite another to stop and try to ascertain whether two pantsless people are making love or just eating each other alive.  You can call this self-preservation instinct mercenary if you like, but I choose to find it oddly comforting.

But while cyclists may shy away from zombie attacks, they have no inhibitions when it comes to telling other cyclists what to do.  In particular, cyclists love to bark orders at each other, and one of the most popular orders is the admonition to "Hold your line!," which I heard recently in Prospect Park:

There I was, piloting my smugness chariot and taking great pains to ignore any zombie attacks or hapless Australians that might be hiding in the bushes, when I heard those words: "Hold your line!"  At first I thought they were directed at me, which was perplexing since the long wheelbase of my smugness chariot makes any kind of weaving almost impossible.  But then the riders pictured above appeared, and I realized that one of the Fredericas (possibly the one with the pink hot pants) was yelling at the guy on the hybrid.  This seemed wholly unnecessary, for not only was there plenty of room on the park roadway, but hybrid guy also appeared to be adhering to his "line" quite linearly.  Really, telling strangers in the park to "hold your line" is for the sort of people who need a "tactile signal" to tell them where their handlebars end.

Most of all, though, I was disappointed because both riders were wearing fanny packs, and I'd like to think that there's a greater sense of community and respect among people who wear butt-pouches.  Given the amount of derision they're subjected to, you'd think they'd at least look out for each other.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Share Me a River: There Is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

Firstly, subsequent to yesterday's post, I'd like to thank all the people who took the time to comment, Tweet, and email in order to let me know that Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal is in fact a Canadian.  I'd also like to let you know that, believe it or not, I was already well aware of this.  Indeed, attributing the wrong nationality to Hesjedal was what we semi-professional bloggers call, in our oft-inscrutable jargon, a "joke."  If that was unclear, it could be because I'm not very good at making jokes, or because Canadians have difficulty interpreting humor--or, most likely, a combination of the two.

In any case, I only hope Bradley Wiggins doesn't win the Tour de France, since I don't think cyclesport could handle three anglophonic countries who are incredibly touchy about their sole Grand Tour winners.  (Canada and Australia are more than enough, thank you.  The mildest ribbing of Cadel Evans is enough to put a snot bubble in even the toughest Bruce's nostril.)  Fortunately Bradley Wiggins is about as likely to win the Tour de France as Peta Todd is to get a breast reduction, so we should be safe there for the foreseeable future.

Secondly, speaking of "whinging" (as they say in the Land of Wiggins), nobody whinges more profusely than wealthy Brooklynites, who are now complaining that they will lose free car parking spaces to bike share stations:

That's right, parking for dozens of public bikes may mean that one less Brooklyn Heights resident can park an Audi for free:

“Parking is so scarce in Brooklyn Heights, anytime parking has been taken away it causes big concerns,” said Brooklyn Heights Association director Judy Stanton.

New York City cyclists are often stereotyped as a bunch of simpering lefty hipster transplant wussbag David Byrne disciples.  This is patently unfair, for in reality it's only true of something like two-thirds of our cycling population.  New York City drivers, on the other hand, are the real wussbags.  No other group complains more, has more, or expects even more for nothing.  Who spends all that money to live in Brooklyn Heights and then whines about the lack of free parking?  They might as well complain that the city isn't building them free swimming pools.  Just deal with it, or else hitch up your "pants yabbies," open your wallet, and pay for a space.

Then again, I suppose we should feel bad for the people of Brooklyn Heights, since they've been hit hard by the recession and the median sales price for homes is all the way down to $2.6 million:

The median sales price for homes in Brooklyn Heights for Feb 12 to Apr 12 was $2,662,500. This represents a decline of 39%, or $1,700,000, compared to the prior quarter and a decrease of 5.8% compared to the prior year. Sales prices have depreciated 19.3% over the last 5 years in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn. The median sales price of $2,662,500 for Brooklyn Heights is 432.50% higher than the median sales price for Brooklyn NY. Average listing price for homes on Trulia in Brooklyn Heights was $1,283,140 for the week ending May 16, which represents a decline of 1.8%, or $23,378 compared to the prior week and an increase of 15.8%, or $174,730, compared to the week ending Apr 25. Average price per square foot for homes in Brooklyn Heights was $1,035 in the most recent quarter, which is 222.43% higher than the average price per square foot for homes in Brooklyn.

By the way, real estate in Brooklyn Heights costs $1,035 a square foot, which means that if residents had to pay market rates for the street parking they currently get for free then they'd be looking at well over $180,000 a space--and that doesn't even account for the air rights above their giant SUVs.

Speaking of perks for drivers, besides the free prime real estate the other big one is that if you kill someone while driving you're pretty much guaranteed not to get in any trouble, even if you were doing something illegal at the time.  That's why New Yorkers are outraged--about dangerous cyclists:

A reader forwarded me the above poll results from yesterday's news, and it's reassuring to know that 88% of my neighbors seem to think I'm more dangerous to them on my bike than I am in my car.  (And yes, I do have a car.  But David Byrne doesn't, so it all evens out.)

Speaking of dangerous cycling, you probably are a dangerous cyclist if you have trouble figuring out where your handlebars end, and yesterday I mentioned the following quote from "Bicycling" magazine:

"Two layers of bar tape at the end of each drop creates a tactile signal that alerts you when your hands are getting close to the end of the bar."

Well, if that's not enough of a "tactile signal" for you, you could always try something like this, which was forwarded by another reader:

19.5 inch Georgena Terry Symmetry/Shimano 12 speed road bike - $250 (Greenwich, CT)
Date: 2012-05-29, 10:30AM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

This is a vintage 19.5 inch frame Georgena Terry Symmetry 12 speed road bike with Shimano components in very good condition for sale for $250 cash at time of pick up in person in Greenwich, CT. Please call Blake at (203)722-____. 

Is that tactile enough for you?

Not only are the levers ideally placed to "alert you when your hands are getting close to the end of the bar," but they're also perfectly positioned for the ensuing panic stop--that is, if you can manage to squeeze them.  As it is, you'd have to do a push-up to actuate the brakes, and it's doubtful that anybody who would ride a bike like this has the upper body mass necessary to pull that off.

[Also, this bike is in Greenwhich, CT, so if you're a Brooklyn Heights resident who's enraged by the threat of bike share stations encroaching on your parking, you should really think about moving there.  It's a bargain compared to Brooklyn Heights with median home sales at just over a million dollars, it's an easy commute, and you'll even get your very own driveway.]

Or, if you want something with more of a professional pedigree and don't need the "tactile signal," you could go with this bike, forwarded by yet another reader:

giant pedigree road bike - $100 (lake saint louis)
Date: 2012-05-29, 6:47PM CDT
Reply to: [deleted]

For sale sale 1 very fast Giant pedigree road bike. It is the model Wayne Gretsky rode in tje 1998 Tour De Spain. Both tires are flat and if you touch the chain you will get grease on you. The brakes squeeked. So I oiled them they dont seem to work very good. May need adjustment. Bike has unlimited speed, the faster you move your legs the faster the bike goes! Never been on any ramps or popped wheelies. Would be perfect for some hipster to ride around on while listening to an ipod. Price is firm, seeing how I havent seen one like this for sale before. 

I'm fairly sure Wayne Gretzky never even rode in the Vuelta.  Someone should really send the seller an email.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Out of the Loop: Basking in Victory, Basting in Oil

Until a couple of weeks ago I was traveling extensively in order to promote my second book, "Smilla's Sense of Snow."  If you've ever had to travel for work, you know how stressful it can be.  I, on the other hand, have no idea how stressful it can be, because I don't have a real job.  Instead, traveling for a non-job means I've officially lost my grasp on the few remaining tethers that anchored me to the semblance of a respectable existence, and I now float aimlessly through life like a distracted zeppelin.  Grooming, for example, is but a memory, and I now look and smell like a forgotten garment you might come across at the bottom of a long-neglected laundry hamper.  (Perhaps because that's where I've been finding my own outfits lately.  My philosophy is that if you can't remember the last time you wore it then it's technically clean.)  Concepts like "time" and "appointments" are now just meaningless constructs.  And I've also like totally lost track of the sport of professional bicycle cycling.

I certainly have no regrets when it comes to abandoning lame stuff like "haircuts" and "being on time," but I do lament the fact I haven't been following pro bi-keen.  In particular, I seem to have completely missed a hum-doozy of an Italian Giro, which I'm the last to learn was won by Rider Hejedal Ryder Heyjadahl Winonadal Ryder this guy:

Words can't adequately express how elated I am that this, the greatest of all the Italian Giro Tours, was won by an American cyclist from the United States of America.  That's why, in lieu of words, I prefer to convey my swollen sense of national pride by means of this video, which features a dead drug addict singing some song about a star-fangled bandana:

In retrospect, that sweatsuit was a desperate cry for help.  (As, arguably, are all sweatsuits.)

Anyway, this is a great moment in sporting history, and to find another American from the United States of American Giro of Italy winner you have to go all the way back to 1930 and Luigi Marchisio:

("Howdy, partner.")

A good ole boy from the Texas bayou, this Amish Shaker Mennonite parlayed a hardscrabble life as an Orchard Street kosher pushcart vendor during the waning days of the Wild West into a career as one of the finest professional cyclists the state of Philadelphia has ever produced.

Yes, they just don't make 'em like Luigi Marchisio anymore.  After him, they broke the mold--or, more accurately, they sold it to a factory in Taiwan and now use it to stamp out $10,000 clumps of plastic called "S-Works."

Meanwhile, in other Giro news that I missed but everybody else already knows about, a guy clad only in his underpants wound up with his very own Farnese Vini team bike:

The above video was forwarded to me by a reader, and from what I can see he was helping out with a wheel change:

After which the team car just drove off and left Underpants with the bike.

By the way, I shouldn't have to remind you what kind of bikes Farnese Vini ride:

(Cipollini showing his "O" face.)

It's a cosmic inevitability that if you wander around Italy wearing only your underpants, sooner or later you're going to end up alone with a Cipolli.

Speaking of Cipollini bikes, this is not just some sort of rubber-stamp branding exercise like so many other bike companies created by former pros.   No, Cipollini is so "hands-on" that most of his employees have already filed restraining orders, and his bikes use proprietary technology developed by "The Layin' King" himself.  For example, it's long been known that Mario Cipollini's profoundly oily complexion was a key factor in his speed, and that's why each Cipollini bike is lovingly hand-basted straight from the factory:

(After this come the breadcrumbs.)

I'm also assuming Cipollini himself came up with the corporate slogan:

("The Champion, The Power, His Tool")

Which he obviously "borrowed" from this:

Though it's certainly better than the second choice, which was "What's Italian, slathered in oil, and won't be there in the morning?"  And while we're on the subject of rhetorical questions, what's the complete opposite of a Mario Cipollini?

This is true for many reasons, not least of which being that David Byrne doesn't own a car, whereas Mario Cipollini not only owns a car but also does unspeakable things to passengers in its back seat.  Byrne is also highly unlikely to start his own crabon bicyle company, for, as he tells the New York Times, he much prefers the communal smugness of bike share:

As well as the "exhilaration" of in-line skating:

There’s an exhilaration you get from self-propelled transportation — skateboarding, in-line skating and walking as well as biking;

Incidentally, here's David Byrne Rollerblading:


This is a familiar sight on the West Side Greenway--or it would be if most people who encounter it aren't so horrified that they then leap into the Hudson River to their deaths.

Also, Byrne explains that New York's bike share program will be accessible to people of all races and income levels--but only by accident:

New York’s program will have some advantages over the Paris and London programs. New York’s high-rise housing projects are scattered throughout the city, so neither they nor their inhabitants will be excluded from the covered bike-share program area. The ugly tendency to segregate by race and class will be, in a small way, mitigated here. By bikes!

Really, this is a major issue here in New York.  Sure, we do our very best to only provide cycling amenities to the forces of gentrification, but the problem is that they're never all that far from the other people they recently displaced.

By far though my favorite part of this piece was the feeling of smug satisfaction I experienced when David Byrne actually used a term I created:

I rode down the protected bike lane on Ninth Avenue; it’s definitely a lot more relaxing to ride in these than it is to negotiate naked New York streets, though you do have to watch out for salmon-cyclists who ride against the flow of traffic.

Yep, that's right, I coined the expression "negotiate naked."

Speaking of being naked, do you feel that way if certain parts of your bicycle don't match certain other parts, or if they match other parts but not the right other parts?  Well, if you answered "Of course not" then you'll be as baffled by this item in the latest "Bicycling" as I was:

I was still trying to work out whether or not the above was satire when I read this at the bottom of the very same page and decided that it was:

"Two layers of bar tape at the end of each drop creates a tactile signal that alerts you when your hands are getting close to the end of the bar."

If you're the sort of rider who needs a "color code" and who depends on "tactile signals" to keep you from grabbing thin air instead of your handlebars, then you may want to give up cycling and explore the "exhilaration" of in-line skating instead.  Or, you could just get your bike "professionally assembled," like this one which was forwarded to me by a reader:

Giordano Libero Men's Road Bike - $400 (Potomac, Rockville, Bethesda, NIH)
Date: 2012-05-27, 9:56PM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

100% Positive. No scratches. Brand New, professionally assembled 25-inch Men's Road Bike.
Test ride for 15 miles. Gear shifts smoothly.
Unfortunately, I'm moving back to California, so I must sell this recently bought bike soon.
Welling to negotiate a better price.

Scoff if you will, but it does adhere to the "color code" chart, which means it passes muster as far as "Bicycling" is concerned.

Of course, if this bicycle is too flashy for you, you could also get a more classic ride, like this one which was forwarded to me by another reader and is "made from parts:"

If your bike is made from anything, it should definitely be parts.

Friday, May 25, 2012

BSNYC Friday Cursory Visual Inspection!

If you're reading this from some other country, you should know that here in America we're about to begin the Memorial Day weekend.  This means that on Monday we'll all be busy barbecuing and enjoying big, big savings at Memorial Day sales and generally failing to share the road with each other in the usual fashion.  It also means that I won't be posting on Monday, May 28th, but I'll be back on Tuesday the 29th with my usual mix of naked pictures, irascible commentary, and delicious casserole recipes.  (And probably also a severe sunburn.)

Of course, if you're reading this from some other country, like France, you're not going to miss me on Monday anyway since you're probably too busy watching stuff like this:

The above video was forwarded to me by a reader, and I particularly enjoyed the "fixie weigh-off:"

Though for cinema fixité it's hard to beat this sweet New York City "edit" (forwarded by another reader) that I suspect may have been directed by M. Night Shyamalan:

I'd hate to spoil the surprise ending, but HOLY CRAP THE GUY WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME!!!

This profoundly chilling and evocative film gave me the chills, though admittedly they were mostly "douche chills."

And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz.  As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer.  If you're right you'll know it, and if you're wrong you'll see some post-ride recovery advice.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and may your Memorial Day vegetarian barbecues taste only slightly of cardboard.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

("The Levi Effect:" Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery After Watching)

1) According to the producers of "The Levi Effect," when they approached their subject about making a documentary his response was: "Really, you think so?  I dunno, man, I think I'm kinda boring."


(Dave Zabriskie explaining to Levi Leipheimer that, if you grow a zany moustache, people will mistake your boring personality for laconic cool.)

2) Levi Leipheimer is kinda boring.


3) According to "Bicycling" magazine, the most bike-friendly city in the United States is:

--Minneapolis, MN
--Portland, OR
--Davis, CA
--Vancouver, BC

4) According to the League of American Bicyclists, the most bike-friendly state in the United States is:


(Might as well just use this.)

5) According to a recent study, use of chamois cream can lead to breast development in males.


6) Which is not a selling point for the above bicycle?


(Remember fixies?)

"Because the constant rotation of the pedals encourages you to have a better rhythm and flow while you ride, I feel that the bike is more of an extension of my body than I do with a geared bike," Guity says. Without the ability to coast or stop quickly, riders must anticipate their moves well in advance, relying on a complex technique of leaning forward onto the handlebars and skidding the back wheel.

7) The article in which the above passage appeared was published in what year?


***Special Perils-Of-English-Cycle-Touring-Themed Bonus Question***

When cycling in the tranquil Cotswolds countryside, beware of:

--Furious ninja women

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Right," Said Fred: Footloose and Jersey-Free

In yesterday's post, I suggested one should not wear the "mayo jaune" of the Tour of France race leader  unless one is in fact the Tour of France race leader.  I would now like to retract that statement.  The fact is that wearing any jersey--even one reserved exclusively for the most bestest cyclists in the world--is vastly preferable to wearing no jersey at all:

In the world of roadie fashion, there's Fred and then there's Right Said Fred, and this particular look is distinctly the latter.

There is one exception to the "any jersey is better than no jersey" rule though, and that is of course classic Primal Wear:

The above jersey was of course a part of Primal's wildly popular "Lophiiformes" series, because nothing goes together quite as well as cycling and ichthyology.

Speaking of Freds, it's well known among physicists that Fred "Woo-Hoo-Hoo-Hoo!" speed is 46mph:

Sadly, Freds Down Under (or "Frumundas" for short) might never know the joys of this magical velocity, for a Melbourne City Councillor wants to impose a bicycle speed limit of 20 so-called "kilometers" per hour:

Why?  Because he was almost hit by a cyclist who ran a red light:

Cr Ong said he was almost struck by a cyclist moving at speed recently. ''The other day when I walked out from town hall I nearly got run over from a cyclist who shot through a red light as I was crossing Little Collins Street right in front of town hall.''

Maybe I'm missing something here, but isn't the problem that the cyclist ran the red light?  If so, I'm assuming that's already illegal in Melbourne, which means that no additional legislation is necessary. Really, imposing a speed limit because someone ran a red light is like raising the sales tax to combat shoplifting.

I suspect what may really be going on is that Australia is determined to usurp the United States from its position as the most "cycling-challenged" nation in the world.  However, they're going to have to get up pretty early in the morning if they want to do that--even earlier than they do now, which is like a day before us, since I think it's already Friday there.  Sure, Australia may have mandatory helmet laws and politicians proposing speed limits and newscasters who think cyclists "door" themselves on purpose, but here in Canada's chamois we just suspend students when they try to ride their bikes to school:

Yes, even the support of the police and the mayor wasn't enough to absolve these kids from the mortal American sin of slowing down motor vehicle traffic in an uptight suburb of a place that barely qualifies as a city:

"It was causing a problem, they were taking up a lane of traffic,' said Pennington. So it was an inconvenience for parents, teachers, but it was also a safety risk," said Pennington.

The students notified Walker Police and had an officer and Walker Mayor Rob VerHeulen escort them. But but Kenowa Hills High School principal, Katie Pennington says she was not informed. She says the bike ride caused a traffic back-up and created a safety hazard.

Also enraged was the Reverend Shaw Moore from that similarly uptight town in "Footloose," who had this to say:

"Even if this was not a law, which it is, I'm afraid I would have a lot of difficulty endorsing an enterprise which is as fraught with genuine peril as I believe this one to be."

Fortunately, wherever teenagers' rights to ride bicycles and/or dance is threatened, there's always one person ready to come to the rescue:

Incidentally, I'm surprised self-conscious and brake-dependent Nü-Freds haven't adopted Kevin Bacon's subtle behind-the-fork caliper positioning.  

Here's how it happened:

A man rode up, hit her in the face and pedaled away with the device — all without hitting the brakes.

“She said she was on the phone and was trying to be aware and was holding the phone pretty tight,” said a man who talked to the woman immediately after the robbery but did not see it. “He hit her in the face. He didn’t even stop.”

He didn't even stop?!?  How rude!  If only there were a bicycle speed limit in place then this crime would never have happened.  Hopefully a local politician will get right on that, because speeding cyclists are far more dangerous than people who watch TV while they drive:

I encountered this person while riding through Brooklyn yesterday, and while the reflections from the window make it difficult to see, the driver's eyes were glued to a TV screen placed discreetly by the gearshift:

I guess this is what the police mean when they say "no criminality."  After all, he'd never kill someone on purpose.  He'd just do it because he was watching TV.

By the way, on that same ride, someone almost let his dogs go pee-pee on my Scattante:

Sure, I don't have proof that he would have allowed it, but he did seem to be nudging the larger dog towards my wheel with one of his flip-flops, and I'm reasonably sure that if I had arrived a second later I would have caught it in flagrante urino.  Indeed, people let their dogs urinate on bikes all the time, which is why you should never leave yours parked with a baguette on it:

The above was forwarded to me by a reader, and it is easily one of the dumbest "portaging" systems I have ever seen:

Though I would enjoy it if Nü-Freds abandoned the messenger bag in favor of self-mummification.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's Wednesday! Hold Onto Your Pants.

Okay, who's the asshole who ran over Michael McKean?

Also, who's the septuagenarian who wrote that headline?  McKean transcended "Lenny" decades ago--that's like calling Jerry Seinfeld the guy from "Benson."  Of course, this being a car-on-pedestrian incident in New York City, you can guess what comes next:

No criminality was suspected in the smash-up, according to police.  Two other people were taken to the same hospital, although the extent of their injuries was unknown, officials said.

This is not to say the police didn't do any detective work.  In fact, they did question one suspect, but they were satisfied with his alibi and released him:

(David Byrne to police: "I don't own a car.  Ipso facto, I could not have hit Lenny.")

In any case, you have to suspect somebody did something wrong somewhere when two cars manage to take out three humans, a mailbox, and a trash can:

Pedestrian struck on West 86th St and Broadway - 2 cars collided and smashed into the man and then hit the mailbox and trash can.

Clearly, McKean brought this misfortune upon himself, for as a native New Yorker he should have known better than to stand on the sidewalk.  (I'm assuming he was on the sidewalk, unless the mailbox, the trash can, and McKean were all playing stickball in the middle of Broadway.)

Anyway, I'm sure you will join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.

Meanwhile, in recreational bicycle cycling news, the Sportive Cock has issued a press release letting the world know they will be offering a replica yellow jersey in honor of their sponsorship of this year's Tour of France:

According to the announcement:

The greatest champions, from Louison Bobet to Jaques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx to Bernard Hinault, have worn the Le Coq Sportif Yellow Jersey.

And this is precisely why you should not wear one.  Certainly the act of road-oriented bicycle cycling is  replete with "weird style dick tats."  However, while we may mock those who transgress them, the truth is most of the "dick tats" are meaningless, and mindless adherence to them can be more laughable than the transgressions themselves.  Go ahead, put your glasses under your helmet straps.  Wear half-shorts and tri-dorkulous ankle socks.  Slip on fifteen LiveStrong bracelets and let your leg hair grow wild and free.  None of these things really matter so long as you enjoy the ride.

However, riding around in the coveted maillot jaune may be a fridge too far.  There's just something about wearing other people's prizes that transcends dorky and goes right to "special needs."  It's sort of like walking around and carrying a stranger's bowling trophy with you.

Of course, you may disagree, and as far as you're concerned it may be perfectly acceptable to ride around in the jersey of the Touring of France race leader.  Hey, what can I say?  To eaches his or her owns.  We all have our own pet peeves.  Moreover, now that we're all "on the line" and using personal home computers and cellular telephones with push-button dialing and applications that help us find the nearest sandwich boutique, there are entrepreneurs constantly springing up on the Internet who want to help us address our pet peeves, no matter how minor or non-existent those pet peeves might be.  For example, do you have a problem with your bicycle constantly rolling away from you?  No?  Well then you're not going to want to give money to the inventors of the Spokebug:

Yes, it's the Spokebug, the superfluous little dingle for people who haven't come to terms with the fact that they need a bike with a kickstand:

Simply flick the Spokebug into the "on" position and you can accomplish exactly the same thing you can do with a small stick.  Not convinced?  Me neither.  Still, here's the video to further dissuade you:

I particularly enjoyed the sepia-toned quasi-old-timey slapstick video featuring some schmuck who really ought to just get one of those newfangled "kicking stands" they sell at Rivendell:

In fact, from the looks of that bike I'd be stunned if it didn't already have a kickstand and they had to take it off just for the video.  I also look forward to their next Kickstarter pitch, which will of course be for an electronic warning system that reminds you when you've forgotten to disengage your Spokebug.

Still, while Kickstarter may be just a Craigslist for would-be entrepreneurs, it's far more refined than eBay, where a reader discovered this:

Granted, as a semi-professional bike blogger the above outfit actually qualifies as "business casual" in my workplace, but if you're going to pose with your bike on eBay you should at least take the time to put on some pants.  Then again, titillating would-be buyers with his "treasure trail" could be his idea of salesmanship, and this seems even more likely when you peruse the copy:






It also puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.  By the way, that pictures certainly does show all bike parts--and then some.  I'm also beginning to suspect that the bike has been "keeper in his room for six years" because the seller hasn't left his room in six years either, and he's been inside and pantsless since at least 2006.

I look forward to his Kickstarter debut, when he pitches a crotchal equivalent of the Spokebug that keeps you from popping out of the fly of your boxer shorts.