Well, that happened to me yesterday in Brooklyn when I passed this guy while riding a folding bike:
Keep in mind I was already buzzing from an earlier moment of profound coolness, during which I was powering over some cobblestones in DUMBO on my diminutive clown bike and bucking ridiculously like a cartoon cowboy. Just then, as if to underscore the absurdity of the situation, my smartphone began piping a Slayer song into my headphones. Suddenly I was able to view the scene from the perspective of my 15 year-old self, and I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry, so instead I just started flicking lit cigarettes at myself.
And yes, sometimes I ride a folding bike helmentless while listening to headphones at a sensible volume, but only because I'm a wild thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie who thrives on laughing in Death's face. Sure, it's dorkily dangerous, but it's not nearly as dorky or as dangerous of jumping out of a plane in a "wingsuit:"
I'm currently pitching a Hollywood action movie franchise called "Sky Freds" in which a rogue team of Navy SEALs leaps from planes in wingsuits and then unfurls folding bikes like this one:
Yikes. That is one Fredly foldie.
As dorky as folding bikes are though (and they are dorky, really dorky) I had something of a revelation yesterday as I passed rider after rider on fixiebikes. (Every year I think the fixies are finally over for good, but every spring they seem to come out of hibernation. Either that, or people from other places who still ride fixies keep moving here.) Here was that revelation:
Fixies are way dorkier than folding bikes.
Not only that, but folding bikes do everything fixiebikes are supposed to do, only better. You know how a fixiebike with its stupid narrow bars is supposed to be some minimalist urban scalpel with which you can carve your way through traffic as you modulate speed with your legs thanks to your zenlike connection to your pawl-less drivetrain? Yeah, right. The typical fixiebike rider still wears a poorly-disgused "Oh shit!" expression as his "My Little Pony" bike compels him inexorably through intersections, his feet tied to his pedals and all manner of Kickstarter accessories dangling from his designer utility belt. Then, when he finally gets to where he's going, he's forced to execute some stupid "hipster high-lock" maneuver:
Until inevitably (and mercifully for the rest of us) it gets stolen, prompting a plaintive plea on Craigslist.
The folding bike on the other hand really is an urban scalpel in that its tiny wheels and odd geometry allow you to easily wend your way through car traffic. Plus, there's the element of surprise, since at any moment you can fold it down in a matter of seconds. It's the ultimate two-wheeled assault weapon, like an incredibly dorky pair of nunchucks.
In other news, the sporting press is captivated by Taylor Phinney's Tirreno-Adriatico ride the other day, during which he rode by himself after getting dropped and was subsequently eliminated:
Look at it this way: Taylor Phinney may be young, but he's not that young for a professional cyclist. At 22, people still like to tout him as an up-and-comer, but keep in mind that Peter Sagan is only one year older than Phinney and he already got up and came, winning like twenty stages of the Tour de France last year. Of course, there's a reason for that, which is that Peter Sagan is on drugs. He has to be. In fact, I'll bet even his drugs are on drugs. Meanwhile, if we're to believe Taylor Phinney, he won't even take caffeine pills. This is a problem, because basically as an American cyclists he has three options:
1) Start taking drugs like everybody else and enjoy stellar successes until the inevitable disgrace ensues;
2) Remain an up-and-comer until he reaches that age where people can't call you an up-and-comer anymore and instead just avoid making eye contact with you, like what happened with Tom Danielson;
3) Evolve into one of those TT specialists and make up for your lack of results in other areas by growing quirky facial hair in a transpartent attempt to remain relevant, like Dave Zabriskie.
And yes, I realize Taylor Phinney has had some great results on the track, but the road is really all that matters from a career standpoint, since being a really good track racer is like being really good at bridge. Sure, it takes a lot of talent, but the only people who notice you are old people and nerds. I've been to a bridge club and I've been to a velodrome, and they're eerily similar. Road racing on the other hand is more like professional poker: full of sleazebags, but at least it's potentially lucrative.
But while Taylor Phinney is no longer that young for a pro athlete, he's still very young for an actual human being, and considering the character strength he's displaying it just seems wrong to me to encourage him to continue along the professional poker road to ruin when he could instead fulfill his tremendous promise by laying the foundation for an actual career. Look, I worry about the boy, and I can't be the only one urging Taylor Phinney to at least consider finding something to fall back on--you know, just in case the pro cycling thing doesn't work out, which it hasn't for any American ever.
Hey, it's never too early to cash in your hopes and dreams in exchange for a life of soul-crushing stability, and a dentist makes a very comfortable living, that's all I'm saying. And you still get to make the biking on the weekends.
Of course, for those of you who don't want to listen to reason and dream of becoming a pro cyclist, you can always follow these "Top 5 Tips To Make It As A Pro Cyclist" from the ORICA GreenEDGE team:
If you're unable to watch for some reason, here's a quick "cheat sheet:"
Tip #5: Have that "fire in the belly." (Obviously that's street slang for taking drugs.)
Tip #4: Be a team player. (Don't tattle on your teammates for taking drugs.)
Tip #3: Set goals, and don't become complacent when you reach them. (One way to remain a step ahead of the competition is by taking drugs.)
Tip #2: Work hard, because there are no shortcuts in cycling. (Wink, there are, they're called "drugs.")
Tip #1: Love cycling, because when you love it, it's easy. (Everything's better on drugs.)
Oh well, there's always dental school.