Yes, welcome to America, where shelf space once reserved for increasingly shitty bikes is now being re-allocated to plastic motorized cars larger than actual economy cars from the 1970s, and where the "Li'l Asshole™ My First SUV" is rapidly replacing the bicycle as the child's first experience with vehicular locomotion. If you've ever seen one of these rumble into the neighborhood playground and observed the shitshow that ensues as kids beat the crap out of each other over who gets to ride in it, you begin to understand the dick-waving "Me first!" clusterfuck that is is commuting and life in general. It's depressing, though I guess it's never too early to get Junior used to the American way of life, which is sitting on your rapidly-spreading ass and trolling for attention and respect behind the wheel of your bank-owned symbol of independence™ and freedom®.
Anyway, needless to say I bought six of those bad boys, and they're currently sitting in the garage of my McMansion with bows on them.
Of course, if you want a more "pussified" gift, you could always go with a hat:
(Frame-by-frame representation of what hat looks like when you hurl it as a deadly weapon.)
Or a book and a hat, or even just a book, which is autographed by Yors Truley:
Yors Truley is of course the Swedish literary sensation and author of the Nobel prize-winning novel "Alla Ni Haters Suger Min Pung."
So give the gift of me, and with any luck we'll all manage to limp to the end of this year together and make it to 2014, at which point the whole sad cycle of slowly eroding optimism will begin anew.
Meanwhile, we got the snowing this weekend, and I managed to slip out for a bicycle cycling ride before the snowing really started to accumulate:
(Forlorn hydrant holds my bicycle aloft with its sad, stubby arms.)
Years ago, back when this blog was worth reading, the above bicycle was assembled in this guise:
(A bicycle whose owner has not yet come to terms with the fact that he wants a Rivendell.)
It was my everyday commuting bicycle, and for reasons I can't recall I referred to it as the "Ironic Orange Julius Bike." Then I hastily converted it into an approximation of a single-speed cyclocrossing bicycle for some race or another and that's the way it's been ever since. In the meantime, my Scattante (RIP) assumed the role of commuter:
(The subject of much derision, the Bose (RIP) stopped working almost immediately and now resides in the trash.)
Now I just do my best to avoid commuting.
Anyway, I maintain that a single-speed cyclocrossing bicycle, while fun, is just about the most useless bicycle it's possible to have--but, as it so happens, there's an utterly flat 25-mile unpaved trail that starts pretty much in my backyard and is virtually 100% Fred-free (though I did get bitten by a dog there), so who's useless now?
So the moral of the story is, always buy that cheap metal frame with canti studs, even if you can't put a derailleur on it, because if you've got an ample spare parts bin you can have fun with it about twenty different ways.
It's also worth noting that I'm getting old. Not too long ago I would only use the most tiny, pert, just-got-out-of-a-cold-pool saddlebags, and now look:
See that? I'm not even remotely self-conscious about riding around with the big, saggy, swaying, old-Jewish-man-in-a-steamroom saddlebag setup.
In ten more years it should be rubbing against my rear tire.
(The saddle bag, too.)
Oh, by the way, at no point while riding my single-speed cyclocrossing-inspired bicycle did I dress like a giant hot dog:
I'm just lame like that, what can I say?
Though I like to think I'm not as lame as a bike dressed as a table (or a table dressed as a bike, because what's the difference really, they're both equally useless) as forwarded by a reader:
(It's only eighteen hundred and fifty dollars.)
Come Ride With Me
Take your table on a ride-along! Wherever the party might move, this innovative design rolls with the punches - and carries your cocktails in tandem. Made from a vintage bicycle and topped with panels of rustic wood, this bespoke table by Tyagi Schwartz uses a kickstand-inspired design to create a moveable statement piece. A warmly weathered seat and handlebar rise from the tabletop and the richly weathered finish brings industrial charm to any room. Made in Brooklyn, NY.
At this point, even Portland is like, "Fuck you, Brooklyn."
And lastly, while we wait to find out just how fucked cycling will be under our new mayor, our outgoing one is now going to outsource his urban planning to the rest of the world--for free:
And that includes our bike lane fairy, Janette Sadik-Khan:
Ms. Sadik-Khan, the transportation commissioner, said that mayors are routinely startled to learn how little money and staffing are required to create the bike lanes, pedestrian plazas and slower-speed zones that have remade New York City’s streets under Mr. Bloomberg.
“You can make these changes quickly and inexpensively,” she said, adding that “the success we’ve had here can be tailored and replicated in other places.”
This is great news for all you other cities out there, and if you want lots and lots of green paint to ride on before you get run down by a motorist who is allowed to get away scot-free, you know who to call.
Throw in a bullshit bike table or two and you've got your own Brooklyn.
Good luck with that.