I haven't been watching the TV coverage, so I have no idea if Phil Liggett has used any cringeworthy terms to describe his ethnicity yet.
Well, it came down to the wire, but in the end he didn't disappoint:
@bikesnobnyc You called it. During the Paris circuit, Phil referred to Ji Cheng as a "Chinaman." I'm not making that up.Oy.
— Bob Cesca (@bobcesca_go) July 28, 2014
Moreover, after this, Liggett enthused at great length over Queen Victoria's upcoming Diamond Jubilee, to which he had just received an invitation. Here he is getting ready for the affair with his date, Mary of Teck:
Liggett must now complete cultural sensitivity training in the off-season, so you can expect him to use the more acceptable "Chinaperson" in Tour de France 2015.
Secondly, remember how the Oregon Manifest was doing this thing where they were inviting gentrification all-star teams from the five most gentrified cities in America to create the "ultimate utility bike?"
Well, let's pretend for the moment that the ultimate urban utility bike doesn't already exist, and that you can't easily buy it from at least 15 different companies. I realize this is hard to do, because everyone from Bikes Direct to WorkCycles are ready and waiting to sell you a city bike, and all you've got to figure out how much you want to spend. Really, in 2014, it's about as difficult to find the "ultimate utility bike" as it is to find a Subway franchise.
Let's also pretend that "ultimate urban utility bike" is even an objective thing, because all cities are the same, and furthermore all the people in those cities are the same and lead exactly the same lifestyle. You know, this lifestyle:
So is that Chicago? Portland? San Francisco? Chicago? New York? Well, no matter which city you picked, you were correct, thanks to the insidious global monoculture!
(Except for the warzones and the really, really poor ones, but those cities don't count.)
Okay, so now you've got the proper context for this contest: it's a parallel universe in which everyone wears plaid shirts and expensive denim while drinking hand-roasted coffee, yet somehow practical bikes don't exist. Fine. Well, it's in this imaginary vacuum that these five bikes were born:
Not what you were expecting, was it? You probably expected more fenders, and perhaps also a few more upright, swept-back handlebars. HA! Wrong!
Welcome to Designtown, baby.
At this point I've only watched the video for the New York City bike, which does answer a pressing question, namely:
So what happens when you take a framebuilder who makes some pretty nice bicycles and team him up with a pack of design douches?
The answer, of course, is that this happens:
"Hey, wait a minute!," I can hear you protesting. "That's a Vanmoof!"
Uh, no it isn't. Sure, it's got the Vanmoof's trademark uncircumcised baguette frame, but the Merge also takes its cues from Inspector Gadget, which is why it has numerous tricks up its top tube. For example, it has this crappy ineffectual retractable fender:
At least I assume it's a fender, though perhaps it's some sort of measuring tape to keep track of tire wear, or else some kind of lizard phallus.
In addition to the doofy filth prophylactic, there's also an ineffectual retractable lock:
As well as a retractable USB charger:
I'm not sure why this is necessary, inasmuch as anyone who would ride a bike like this lives, works, and drinks within two or maybe three Brooklyn ZIP codes, which means they're never on the bike for more than 20 minutes at a time. But hey, I guess USB chargers are the pump pegs of the 21st century.
Oh, and don't forget the retractable rack:
(At last, the murphy bed comes to bikes!)
No retractable avocado slicer though:
Really, they should have skipped all the retractable crap and just turned that ridiculous top tube into an avocado cannon.
Or, here's another crazy idea: Why not just make a bike where the fenders and rack are there on the outside all the time? Under what circumstances do you really need to hide any of these things? Even in New York City nobody's stealing fenders and racks. Plus, name one thing retractable that hasn't worn out or broken on you eventually. (Fine, my vacuum cleaner power cable still retracts, but that's about it.) Even the automotive industry has realized retractability is stupid, which is why you no longer see power antennas and pop-up headlights--though presumably everyone involved in the production of this bike is too young to have seen all those Fieros with only one open headlight pathetically winking at everybody back in the '80s.
And if nothing else, why introduce more opportunity for noise? I really hope there's a long-term test to see if all that stuff starts rattling in there, and if so here is my pledge:
If, after one year, this bike does not sound like a subway panhandler shaking his change cup, then I promise I will finally take it seriously.
They should have just submitted a Citi Bike.
Speaking of Citi Bike, it looks like it's being saved by the real estate industry:
REQX Ventures, an affiliate of real-estate giant Related Cos., is close to hammering out an agreement that could enlarge the footprint of Citi Bike to upper Manhattan, into Queens and further into Brooklyn over the next few years, these people said. The number of bikes would nearly double, from 6,200 to about 12,000.
Real estate giant? I'm not sure what to think. On one hand, as a member of the Citi Bike Cat 6 Racing Team, I'm glad to see the system may finally expand and improve. On the other, once the entire city is covered in these blue dots the hyper-gentrification of New York City will be complete and we'll all be moving to Philadelphia:
This is especially bad news for the people of Philadelphia, who will then be forced to move to Camden, NJ:
Lastly, a reader informs me that serial groper Mario Cipollini was recently spotted in Paris, where he was two-fisting man-boobs:
Retirement has done little to dull Cipollini's prodigious libido, and in fact there's evidence on his website that he may have undergone enhancement surgery on "Li'l Mario:"
Hey, it's never too late in life to get yourself a new "tool."