Long a staple of race bike photography, the disembodied hand really came into its own during the fixie craze, when legions of overzealous fixie owners (in retrospect, was there any other kind of fixie owner?) sought a way to hold their bicycles upright for the obligatory Fixed Gear Gallery photo shoot.
Since then, Internet bicycle photography has evolved, and innovative bicycle owners continue to discover new ways to present bicycles in photographs without, you know, just leaning them on something. Take, for example, this email I received from a reader:
This is how you do a backdrop for a bike sale
Yes, that's a disembodied pair of legs holding up a black shroud, and it's very disconcerting.
By the way, I have very clear memories of shopping for a new road bike in the '90s and going to a shop that sold Kleins, because in the '90s that's what you did--you shopped for Kleins in between grunge concerts and Tae Bo workouts. To this day, whenever I see a Klein, I remember the salesperson who insisted I needed to choose one bicycle over another because it had a better bottom bracket. Not a better frame, not better wheels, not even better shifters. It wasn't even a different bottom bracket interface. (Yes, some Kleins had press-fit bottom brackets in those days, and "Octalink" was probably becoming a thing, but none of the bicycles I was looking at had any of these features.) No, the square taper bottom bracket cartridge itself was theoretically better than the square taper bottom bracket cartridge on a different bicycle, so I needed to base my decision entirely on that.
Obviously I laughed him off, and instead bought the bicycle with better inner tubes.
Here's another email from another reader with a similarly poignant subject line:
You know, I often myself riding a cargo bike loaded entirely with bike crap, and it's always sobering to realize you're in a total feedback loop of self-serving bike-dorkery, like the snake eating its own tail:
Actually, "self-serving" isn't really accurate. Using one bike to carry another isn't especially self-serving--unlike asking strangers to buy mountain bikes for you and your family, as forwarded by yet another reader:
HI, we are a family of 4 looking to get back in shape. I always loved mountain biking when younger. I am ready to take it back up and my wife and two children are wanting to as well. Hoping to purchase entry level Trek, Specialized or comparable bikes that are going to last from our local bike shop. We are hoping to raise enough to purchase the bikes and necessary accessories such as helmets. All donations welcome and very much appreciated. Help a family get in shape and spend some much needed quality time together. Thanks for viewing have a great day.
There was some idiot commenting on yesterday's post under the handle "MTBSnob." Maybe he can buy these people some bikes, and then show them how to angle the brake levers.
Whatever they end up with, I only hope they have really good bottom brackets.
In other news, if you live in New York City, you might be interested in attending the following:
This Wednesday night, Vaccaro & White will host a SAFE BIKING IN NEW YORK FORUM. Details below.
HOW CAN BIKE RIDERS PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM ACCIDENTS
RIGHTS & ADVOCACY - A Forum with Steve Vaccaro & Adam White
5BBC Social Meetup
DATE: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
TIME: 6:15 PM
LOCATION: Westbeth Performance Center, Manhattan
Drivers know when they get into an accident they exchange insurance
information. But the growing number of bike riders don’t know what to
do if they are in an accident. What should bikers know to protect
That question and other essential information for New York City bikers
will be provided at a forum on Safe Biking in New York on April 30,
6:15 p.m. at the Westbeth Performance Center, 55 Bethune Street,
This actually sounds both useful and important, and I should totally go myself, even though I totally won't. As it is, my basic understanding of my rights as a cyclist in New York City is as follows: people are allowed and indeed encouraged to run me over while I'm riding my bike, so I don't have any "rights" per se. However, if I'm lucky enough not to die and the driver doesn't flee the scene there is a small chance I might be able to get some money out of it.
Also, when I talk to the driver's insurance company (assuming the driver even has insurance), their primary concern will be whether or not I was wearing a helment, even if absolutely nothing happened to my head.
If you end up attending the forum let me know if I've got it right.
Speaking of injury and pain, Team Sky says its riders don't use Tramadol for performance enhancement, which means they probably do:
Team Sky has reiterated its stance on the painkiller Tramadol following reported claims from former rider Michael Barry that he used the drug while racing for the team.
Barry told The Times newspaper that "Tramadol made me feel euphoric, but it’s also hard to focus. It kills the pain in your legs, and you can push really hard.”
Translation: Tramadol gives you what certain politically incorrect people refer to as "retard strength."
By the way, the patron saint of "retard strength" is Jens Voigt:
Anyway, Tramadol is not on the banned list, and it sounds like "lots" of riders are using it, which makes it the asthma medication of the 21st century:
Tramadol was included on the WADA "monitoring programme" in 2012 for "possible in-competition abuse" and its status is under review, meaning it could be added to the WADA Prohibited List for 2015. WADA has acknowledged that the drugs has been found in lots of anti-doping tests it carries out.
It would also explain a lot of the crashes you see:
It is widely suspected that some teams allow their riders to train and race while using the drug despite the risk it can lead to dizziness and so cause crashes.
In fact, Tramadol use may very well be rife in the amateur ranks as well:
Let's just hope triathletes don't start using this stuff.