Let's talk about me.
Firstly, as I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to be in Philadelphia this Thursday and I hope you'll join me. I'm really excited about this, because there are so many things I love about Philly: cheese steaks, cracked bells, uh, other stuff... Also, some people call Philadelphia "the sixth borough," which makes about as much sense as calling GG Allin the fifth Beatle.
(It would have been pretty awesome to see GG Allin running around bleeding and making doody during this.)
Secondly, Boston. It's a city in Massachusetts where all the American history happened. It also has a bike shop called Landry's, and I'll be in that bike shop on Saturday, May 18th. There will even be a ride. The details are here. The event is being curated by Esteemed Commenter Daddo One, so if you have any questions I'm sure he'd be happy to answer them. (Though please observe proper etiquette by incorporating the word "scranus" into your question.)
Anyway, now let's move away from the subject of me and instead explore the subject of myself. This past Saturday I participated in the Rapha Gentlemen's Race. Here's what it looked like:
As I mentioned yesterday, Selene Yeager (aka "The Fit Chick") invited me to join the Bicycling magazine team for this ride. I have no idea why she did this, since Bicycling is staffed entirely by fit cyclists with ready access to cutting-edge crabon gewgaws. Given this, tapping a slovenly blogger for your team is like retrofitting stem-mounted shifters to your Di2 bike, or like asking GG Allin to sit in with your string quartet.
Nevertheless, I accepted the invitation because I am a Fred, albeit one in the autumn of Fred-dom. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross famously outlined the five stages of grief, and similarly there are four stages of Fred-dom:
This is when you're an utter dork who's like totally super-stoked on bikes and you fall all over yourself because Shimano figured out how to squeeze another cog onto a wheel and you do stupid stuff like wake up at 4:30am to do hill repeats so you can crash out of a Cat 4 race;
This is when you're like totally too cool for school and you're keyed in to what the current proper sock height is and you think you're the opposite of a Fred when in fact you're just a Fred who has figured out that the key to roadie-dom is color coordination and acting like you have a frame pump up your ass;
This is when you're totally cynical about bikes and think the epitome of marketing gimmickry is Shimano figuring out how to squeeze yet another cog onto a wheel;
This is where you come full circle and return to dorkdom, but now you covet Rivendells and think Grant Petersen makes a lot of sense when he says it's totally fine to ride in underpants.
Presently, I'm hovering somewhere between Stage 3 and Stage 4 in that I've pretty much given up on racing and leg-shaving, but I still like to put on stretchy pants and clicky shoes and ride a bike with those curved handlebars like what they use in the Tour de France. Rides like the Rapha Gentlemen's Race are especially seductive when you're in this in-between phase because it doesn't matter that your USA Cycling license has expired and it requires stuff like wide tires, compact gearing, and large saddle bags, yet it's still Fredly enough that you can ride a crabon frame and you don't ever have to unclench your sphincter completely.
Anyway, in the days leading up to the ride I fitted my bike with wide tires and compact gearing and a large saddle bag and I practiced riding up and down hills, and as the appointed day drew closer it became clear from the weather forecast that it was going to be a perfect day to engage in the act of recreational bicycle cycling--and indeed it was. The temperature was a lovely 66°F, or [dothemathyourselfifyoucaresomuch]°C. The brooks babbled. The sheep bleated. The cute little houses were all cutesy. The ornery locals cursed when they went to the local café and like 100 smelly people in Lycra were lined up out the front door, emptying the fridges of water and the shelves of jerky. It really was a stupidly great day to be out on a bike, and it felt less like a 130 mile race and more like a great excuse to be out on your bike all Saturday with a bunch of other like-minded people.
The only blemish on the day was the guilt you feel when you're the weakest person on the team and you know you're holding everybody else back. (When I say "you" I mean "I.") At first, as I sat there letting my impressively fit teammates do all the work, I rationalized it. "Of course they're much stronger than me, they work for Bicycling and they get to ride bikes all day." Then it occurred to me that I also work for Bicycling and that my only other responsibility in life is typing the word "scranus" repeatedly and uploading images like this:
It was a humbling realization.
The other challenge was eating disgustingly sweet energy foods for eight hours, and by the end of the ride I felt like Brundlefly:
As for photos, I didn't take any since 1) I was too busy riding; and B) Rapha documented the fuck out of the day as usual so really what's the point? I'll just wait for the video. But here's a picture of our team at the finish, looking like a bunch of people who got too drunk together the night before and are trying to avoid eye contact:
(Photo courtesy of @gregkaplan_)
Actually, it was the most fun I've had on the bike in quite a while, and I'm very grateful to them for letting me tag along.
I like to think that every team needs its own personal yo-yo.
OK, enough about me. Let's talk about Martin Amis!
("Yes, let's do.")
Remember how he moved to Brooklyn and he was all taken by the good spondee? Well, it appears that the spondee has already gone bad:
He finds it terribly transactional and, ironically given he was viewed as a literary hipster, he views the Brooklyn hipster scene as populated by conventional posers,” says my man on the street corner. “He doesn’t go out as much as he did and has developed a reputation as a curmudgeon.”
I can't help feeling bad for the guy, and I really wish he'd consulted with me because I could have saved him a move. Brooklyn is to conventional posers what spondee is to...well, I still have no idea what spondee is. Also, this:
His dissatisfaction is encapsulated by a recent exchange with a local Brooklynite who was congratulating Amis on being upper-class. Came the reply: “I am not upper-class. I am a bohemian.” That’s just one adjective one can use about Amis.
What was he thinking? He's going to meet two kinds of people in Brooklyn: young liberal arts graduates who think creativity is taking a butchering class and uncovering yet another forgotten 19th century facial hair configuration, and slightly older people who are on the ascendant in their careers and are making the transition to "full douche"--and all of them are going to resent Martin Amis. They guy's old and successful for chrissakes! Why didn't he just move to Park Avenue? Not only would all the dowagers find him roguishly bohemian, but "Park. Ave." has great spondee.
At the very least he should have moved to Brooklyn Heights proper. That way he could have joined in the latest bike share lawsuit:
“This is the epitome of governmental bullying,” said attorney Steven Sladkus, who is suing on behalf of two clients in Midtown, including the Milan condos on East 55th Street.
Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. It's even more absurd than firearm background checks!
At this rate, the DOT will probably scrap the program but leave the docking stations there and repurpose them as pedestrian plazas:
At which point someone will file a lawsuit because the benches are uncomfortable.
It's always going to be a pain in the ass for someone.