(Larva. And what appears to be bird feces.)
I've been parking the bike outside lately, so who knows how long the little fucker was clinging there. In fact, I'd just ridden the bike a half hour before, and I doubt the cicada crawled onto the tire, out of its shell, and then oozed off in that short amount of time. More likely, the crisp, vacated little thing has just been spinning round and round on there for days until I finally happened to notice it.
It's currently Hot As Balls™, and the cacadas are belting out their cacophonous staccato cry from their throbbing abdomens. I've been hearing that sound every year for my entire life, and it means the "dog days" are upon us. It's the sure sign that summer's thrilling promise is essentially over and you're just going to bake listlessly in the heat until school starts again. (The dreadful back to school feeling never leaves you, even when you don't have to go to school anymore.) The cackle of the cicada fills me with a wistful dejection--especially when it mixes with the sound of lawnmowers, as it did where we lived when I was a kid, and as it does where I live now. "Suburban ennui," I suppose you could call it. It especially reminds me of the kid in day camp who would put cicadas in his mouth, let them crawl around on his tongue, and then bike their heads off. He's a veterinarian now, I G--gled him.
He might even be your veterinarian.
(Dr. Meh-ngele, DVM)
Besides boyhood memories, cicadas also evoke the idea of cycles, and cycles can be either inspiring or depressing, depending on your mood when you're thinking about them. For example, the whole chrysalis-to-butterfly thing usually makes people happy. (Unless you're Jame Gumb.) But as I contemplated the familiar cicada larva shell and the hopeless life cycle of this stupid insect, I thought about my own life cycle as a cyclist, from exuberant child to BMX racer to adult Fred to crusty, brittle old crank who rides a Brooks:
As I stood there and stared, I realized I was looking at myself:
Yes, this is me, and it's a more accurate rendering than any smartphone "selfie." Hunched over the bars, hollow inside, resigned eyes looking hopelessly forward in a look of pain that transcends Rapha-esque suffering and attains actual despair... This, I realized, is who I am:
Then I flicked the little fucker into the street and went home.
Hey, you know what else is a hollow shell? The Tour de France:
It was another incredible display of strength by Froome, who one by one dropped all of his rivals until he was alone with teammate Richie Porte and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff). With 7.5km to go, Froome jumped and Contador could not respond, and the maillot jaune holder set off in pursuit of Quintana, who had attacked on the lower slopes.
I know we're supposed to believe that this dominant Ventoux performance is different from all the ones that came before it, but the wheel of Tour de France history is littered with the crusty shells of past champions, so when you're a crusty shell like I am it's increasingly hard to make the investment. Really, it's just awkward at this point, as Jason Gay's last Wall Street Journal column articulates well:
You know your sport's in trouble when the nicest thing people can say about it is that it has pretty scenery. I give it ten years before they dispense with the riders altogether and the Tour de France just becomes this:
In other news, remember Old Man Budnitz and his overpriced line of singlespeed hybrid-style bicycles for douchebags?
You know, the guy who says stupid stuff like this?
On the other side of the equation, a bicycle is crap when it is made without love by crap corporations run by crappy, cynical people. A big bicycle corporation knows with precision that their brand new crap aluminum frame will creak and rattle after just a few weeks.
Okay. Mine creaked immediately. Nicely done.
Well, a reader forwarded me the following story, which offers a window into Old Man Budnitz's "creative process:"
After awhile he approached us with an idea of helping him build a bike company under his own name. He wanted us to make him replicas of the bikes we had already made with the potential to go over seas and have them massed produced. As you can imagine we felt like this wasn't the best idea for our company and went against why we build these bikes with our own hands here in Colorado in the first place. Nothing against bikes made out of country and in Asia as many are high quality and almost all are handmade by skilled workers. It just sounded boring and not our style. So we told him we weren't interested. Mr. B however is a man with money and the means to do as he pleases so he took our bikes had them replicated(kind of) at another American bike company and now has some being produced over seas.
Classy...though Old Man Budnitz has a different explanation:
People have been asking where we found original inspiration for our bicycles.
Above is the 1946 BSA Paratrooper folding bicycle — the twin-cantilever design we use has actually been around for almost 100 years.
Twin top tubes serve an important function, combining vertical flex with horizontal stiffness. Modern frame tubing (and materials such as cro-moly steel and titanium) have allowed us to fine tune the ride of each of our models differently.
Swedish Army versions of this bicycle also served as inspiration for our No.2 Paratrooper Limited Edition, currently for sale on our site now.
Yeah, right. Either way, I sure hope Old Man Budnitz builds plenty of "vertical flex" into his douche chariots, because you're going to need it to dampen the grand mal seizure-like "douche chills" you'll experience while riding it.
Speaking of douchebags, remember the guy in the Daily News who said Citi Bikes are bad because more people get killed on bikes than in mixed martial arts tournaments?
("More people get killed by public transit than in cockfights so we shouldn't have the bus."--This Idiot)
Well, the New York Post has out-stupided their tabloid arch-rival by a factor of ten by skipping the physical trainers and going right for the underwear models:
“I don’t like the mix of buses and taxi and bikes altogether. Who’s going to get hurt? Me!” Alessandra Ambrosio (center) said Wednesday during a cancer-research fund-raiser at SoulCycle studio in the West Village.
The Brazilian bombshell said she rides her bike in LA but wouldn’t dare rent one in the Big Apple.
“I’m just a little concerned with safety, being on a bike with crazy cars in the middle of the street. I like sports away from traffic,” she said.
She feels safer riding a bike in LA? Like Los Angeles LA? Wow.
Anyway, I fear the tabloids may have reached the outer limits of both relevance and lack of intellect when it comes to asking people for their opinions on Citi Bike, because if they haven't then this is the next logical step:
Lastly, longtime BSNYC/RTMS/WCRM sponsor Knog is having a contest and they want you to know about it:
"Facebook competition time - Yay!...or more appropriately, Tres bien!
The Tour de France is in its centennial year and as a fitting tribute Knog have put together a one-off Tour de Knog cycling kit for one lucky punter to get their hands on. This kit includes; a set of Blinder Road lights, a Knog cycling Jersey, cycling cap, patch kit, spare patches, 12-tool kit and a Milkman lock.
All you have to do is head over to the Knog Facebook page and click on the competition link to enter.
Bon chance mes amis!"
Now you know, so there's no excuse not to win.
(Unless, like me, you're not on Facebook.)