So how excited are you about the Tour de France?
Are you this exited? [Holds hands close together.]
This excited? [Holds hands farther apart?]
Or THIS excited? [Severs both hands at the wrist, throws them to either end of the room to indicate a very large amount of excitement.]
And yes, I realize it would be very difficult to sever both your hands when you only have two in the first place, so keep your nitpicking to yourself.
As for me, I can measure the size of my excitement with a micrometer, and that measurement is "zero." Nevertheless, the TdF Hype Machine is beginning to crank itself up, and ASO has released a series of videos in which the riders implore us to leave them alone:
Oh, save it. You freaks get paid to ride your bikes! Do you know how lucky you are that there are people who still get excited about this dumb sport after all the crap you guys have pulled over the years? You don't get to ask us for anything at this point, so spare us the precious Fugazi "Don't slam dance at our shows" routine. Anyway, how many times have we all heard how great the Tour de France is because the fans get to be so close to the race? How about you guys watch out for us? Aren't crowds an integral part of the sport, like weather and terrain? Does the wind stop blowing? Does the rain stop falling? Do the mountains lay down in your path? No they do not, so nor should the Dutchman in the sequined mankini who hasn't showered in eight days and smells bad enough to knock out one of those cows painted in the maillot à pois have to trouble himself with maintaining a respectful distance.
Don't like it? There's always track racing. Or better yet, take up bowling.
Anyway, I liked this Marcel Kittel video better:
Come on, who hasn't wanted to do that?
Speaking of things that are making me crankier than they should lately, I recently received an email that had the words "Bluetooth-enabled bell" in the subject. The first thing that popped to my mind was some idiot reaching for his phone in order to ring the bicycle bell that's already right next to his hand, but in fact the intended use is only slightly less superfluous:
We have a project that we thought fits well with Bike Snob NYC. It’s a bike bell designed to help find your bike when parking it in bike-friendly cities like Amsterdam. You can check it out here: http://frolicstudio.com/portfolio/24hfrolic-bell/
It’s part of a little something we call 24h FROLIC where we collect problems and whenever we have some downtime we grab one of them and give ourselves 24 hours to solve it by building a working prototype.
You know, the world would be a much better place if design douches would use their downtime to take a refreshing nap instead of cramming every waking moment full of bullshit. (Wow, I think someone needs a nap! [Indicates self with thumbs.]). Anyway, here's the video:
So basically, what happens is these guys keep a "white people problem" box in their white people office:
Which, presumably, they stuff full of "problems" like these:
"My city is too bike-friendly."
"My progressive government provides me with too many services."
"My Kurt Cobain cardigan itches me a little."
Then, when they have some "downtime," they create these little projects for themselves in an exercise they call "24h FROLIC:"
In other words, it's like the show "24," but for the kinds of people who work in minimalist offices designing things nobody needs. In light of this, I'd call it something else:
But this is why I am not in the field of design and brand consultancy, and instead specialize in shitty imaging, half-assed blogging, and product annihilation.
So anyway, these guys made a bell you can ring from a distance:
So you can find your bike in Amsterdam's famous Train Station Bicycle Clusterfuck:
Sort of like that stupid "panic button" on your car key fob, which nobody in the world uses, except when it's raining and you're unloading a shitload of groceries and the fucking thing goes off by accident:
("I never use the panic button on my car key fob because I don't own the car that would necessitate having a car key fob in the first place.")
Oh, fob you.
Okay. So let's say finding your bike in the Great Amsterdam Velo-Clusterfuckolopolis is as difficult as they say it is. Well, odds are you're not going to forget you left the bike at the station, so that narrows things down considerably. And as far as where exactly it is in the parking area, why not just take a picture of where you left the bike with the camera that's already in your phone? That's what I do with THE CAR THAT I OWN when I go to the mall or the airport.
("I took a picture of my car, too. Would you like to see it?")
Sure, Dave, let's see the picture of your car:
("All right, here it is.")
Yeah, okay, Dave. Nobody saw that one coming.
Anyway, the reason you don't take a picture of your bike instead of fitting your bicycle with a remote-controlled Bluetooth-and-GPS-enabled bell is that it's not FROLIC-ing otherwise:
See, this is FROLIC-ing:
The functionality of this bell depends on nobody else having one, so it's entirely self-defeating, because if it became popular all you'd have is bells ringing all over the place after the train arrives, and everybody would be walking around dazed in a Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy-esque dream sequence.
Sort of like Portland.
Anyway, I guess in some ways it's a clever little gadget, but I believe staunchly in the complete separation of bike and smartphone, and if I really had a problem remembering where I parked my bike I'd sooner borrow a big orange flag from my friend with the recumbent* than use a Bluetooth-enabled bell.
*[Just kidding, I don't have any friends, even the recumbent riders won't talk to me.]
Lastly, here's a whimsical epistle that appeared in the Times recently:
Autumn brought a roseate grin to the messenger of magic as the agency’s receptionist handed over the goods.
Icicles hung spearlike from buildings in New York City in January when the courier, like a miniature Mad man, slid across the ice-caked sidewalk and shot up the elevator to beat the clock and hand-deliver the divine words.
This raised two questions for me:
1) What powerful psychoactive drug is this person on?
2) Anytime the newspaper mentions bike messengers they're either terrorizing pedestrians all over the city or else they've gone extinct. SO WHICH IS IT?
This piece does perfectly capture the New York mentality though, which is that we hate things intensely and claim that they're ruining the city, and then when they finally go away we lament their disappearance and complain that whatever's responsible has ruined the city.
And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right then fantastic, and if you're wrong you'll see how to hand signal.
Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and put a bell on it.
--Wildcat Rock Machine
1) Mohinder Singh's hopes and dreams are being crushed by:
--The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's draconian restaurant letter-grading system
--Rampant luxury condo development
--A swiftly-rising tide of uber-rich douchebags with fickle tastes and an aversion to affordable Indian cusine
2) The new robot car from a popular Internet search engine company has:
--No steering wheel or brake pedal
--A top speed of 25mph
--A cute face that even the most diminutive cyclist can hump into submission
--All of the above
3) This sidewalk Citi Biker is about to get crushed to death by a shark.
(Child killing time before he's old enough to lease a Hyundai.)
4) In America, when it comes to teaching a child how to ride a bicycle, the preferred learning tool is:
--A pair of training wheels
--A balance bike
--A self-balancing bicycle
(Touching or scratching the face is often a sign of lying.)
5) Ryder Hesjedal has announced that, after retiring, he will open a training facility called "Rasmussen's Basement" in his native British Columbia.
(The Cipollini RB1000's beefy bottom bracket transmits power from the rider directly to the road, while Mario Cipollini's own "bottom bracket" transmits HPV directly to your genitals.)
6) Which is not an actual quote from the PezCycling News review of the Cipollini RB1000?
--"The massive full-width box section downtube creates one of the stiffest bottom bracket junctions I’ve ever ridden – and it’s awesome!"
--"...one of the stiffest bottom end’s I have ever ridden."
--"There are LOADS..."
--"The next-best thing to riding Cipollini himself."
7) This "leading neurosurgeon" eschews helments in favor of:
--Cowboy hats and cowboy boots
***Special Inverted-Underwater-Ice-Bikes-Are-The-New-Fat-Bike-Themed Bonus Video!***
Why did they bother with the "blooper" reel? The whole fucking thing is a blooper!