(Jason points to a pygmy three-toed sloth, which is incredibly rare in those parts.)
So buy a hat, and I guarantee you'll win your next bike race, unless someone else crosses the line first.
*[Disclaimer: I just made that up. He may have won thousands of races for all I know.]
Speaking of bike races, poor Alberto Contador goes down hard in an alleged eating mishap and breaks his tibia yesterday and all anybody cares about is his stupid bike:
Yes, Freds everwhere are obsessed with how Contador's bike broke and why, as though a plastic bike breaking in a crash were in any way unusual. If anything it would be unusual if the bike didn't break. In fact, here's a picture I took at the last curvy-type handlebar race I attended:
However, there are questions surrounding the crash. Did Contador crash once or twice? Was he going uphill or downhill? And did the frame break as a result of a crash, or did the broken frame cause the crash? Now the Freds have put on their detective helments, and Specialized are playing the old cup-and-ball game. First it was this:
Specialized, Tinkoff-Saxo’s bike sponsor, initially denied reports that Contador’s bike had broken at all, either resulting in or as a result of the crash, or via some other externality. The company first stated that a bike had fallen off the roof of a car. That story was then amended — it still involved a car, but instead stated that Nicolas Roche’s bike had been run over earlier in the stage. This broken bike was the start of the rumors, it said.
We have spoken to Alberto’s brother as well as his personal mechanic (Faustino Muñoz) and the mechanic who was at the scene (Rune Kristensen), and contrary to some early, unconfirmed reports, frame failure was not involved in Alberto’s incident today. Nicolas Roche was involved in a separate incident today and while his bike was laying on the road it was run over by a car causing it to break, potentially giving rise to the initial inaccurate reporting,” the original statement read.
But the photos do not lie. Contador is #31, and his race number is on the broken frame. The Roche incident relayed in this statement may be entirely factual, but it is clear that Contador’s bike broke as well.
Or would you believe...this?
Specialized later corrected itself again, stating that Contador’s bike that had been run over.
But wait a minute! No, this:
However, a fourth version of events has since come to the fore, and it’s the most plausible yet. According to Specialized’s Giampaolo Mondini, one of Contador’s frames was broken while it was still on the roof. Following Contador’s crash, the team car had to rush to his aid and clipped the Belkin car as it passed, destroying the bike.
Or perhaps this:
“What happened next is that the team car tried to get recover position and get up to him, passing all the other team cars in doing so. The road was really narrow and the second bike on the roof ended up touching those on the Belkin team car. It was going pretty fast and the frame broke on top of the roof due to the impact,” Mondini told CyclingTips.
Okay, so let me see if I have this straight: Roche and Contador were fighting over a bike, at which point it snapped like a wishbone, though only because it was weakened after falling off a roof rack and getting run over by the entire race caravan. Contador got the big half of the wishbone, which meant his wish for a broken tibia was granted. Ordinarily, the bicycle would have survived all of this, except that Contador's brother had accidentally broken the bicycle himself earlier in the season, but he didn't want to get in trouble, so he secretly glued it back together like in that "Brady Bunch" episode where they shatter the vase after playing ball in the house.
But the big question is this:
What happens when Contador limps into his local Specialized dealership and asks for a replacement because he was "just riding along" in the Tour de France and then his bike broke? Well, no doubt they'll refer him to his owner's manual [warning: PDF], at which point he'll learn he's screwed, because you're not supposed to use a high-performance road bike that way:
• INTENDED: To be ridden on paved roads only.
• NOT INTENDED: For off-road, cyclocross, or touring with racks or panniers.
• TRADE OFF: Material use is optimized to deliver both light weight and specific performance. You must understand that (1) these types of bikes are intended to give an aggressive racer or competitive cyclist a performance advantage over a relatively short product life, (2) a less aggressive rider will enjoy longer frame life, (3) you are choosing light weight (shorter frame life) over more frame weight and a longer frame life, (4) you are choosing light weight over more dent resistant or rugged frames that weigh more. All frames that are very light need frequent inspection. These frames are likely to be damaged or broken in a crash. They are not designed to take abuse or be a rugged workhorse. See also Appendix B.
See that? The bike's only supposed to give "a performance advantage over a relatively short product life," and I'm sure we all can agree that three weeks is a really long time for a bike race. Furthermore, "a less aggressive rider will enjoy longer frame life," which would explain why Levi Leipheimer always had such good luck with Specialized bicycles. Most importantly, this:
These frames are likely to be damaged or broken in a crash. They are not designed to take abuse or be a rugged workhorse.
Wow. Likely to be damaged or broken? Not designed to be rugged workhorses? Sounds like an ideal bicycle for the world's toughest sporting event.
Now read that all again and think about the fact that Cat 4 weenies pay up to $10,000 for these things.
You have to give the Scarlet S credit though, because they certainly make it clear these bikes are a lousy investment.
By the way, at this point you may be tempted to point out that I myself own a Specialized bicycle, as does at least one of my seventeen (17) children. However, you should keep in mind that I'm covered under the "less aggressive rider" clause. As for Wildcat IV, future heir to this blog and the entire Rock Machine fortune, that's a different story:
Apart from some half-assed parental supervision he violates pretty much that entire paragraph every time he rides.
As for that Rock Machine fortune, it now includes this this signed Robert Mapplethorpe photo I just bought for $5,000:
At this rate I'll be living under the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland with nothing but this photo and a Specialized frame, like a more Fredly Navin R. Johnson.
In other news, here's your Hypnotic Kickstarter GIF Of The Day:
So basically the child's bike is the new entrepreneurial frontier, and the competition is so fierce they're now dicking around with the tricycle. Why does everything have to be "optimized" like this, and what's the big hurry? Let the kid pedal around on a regular tricycle for chrissake. At this rate I expect a Kickstarter some sort of intrauterine balance bike that you insert shortly after conception.
I'm not sure which is more futile: an attempt to re-engineer the tricycle, or the eternally quixotic quest to make helments convenient. Here's the latest example of the latter:
Hi Kickstarter! We are coming to you with an elegant solution to a practical problem for the style-conscious urban cyclist: where do you put your helmet when you are not on your bicycle? Whether going on a date or heading to a business meeting, there are simply moments when having a helmet with you should not be part of the visual conversation.
I have an more elegant solution:
Don't wear the helment.
Descending at "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" speed on your plastic Fred Sled? By all means, wear the matching plastic hat. Heading across town to a date or a business meeting at an average speed of 9mph? Skip the helment if you feel like it, you'll be fine. The American Spirit the typical urban cyclist sucks down in front of the reclaimed bar at happy hour is a thousand times worse than going helmentless. Plus, the police don't give a crap about you either way, which is why they're using tragic subway deaths as an excuse to goad safe streets advocates on Twitter now:
But it's okay because he's sorry now:
I truly believe he's sorry, because he's obviously a lover, not a fighter:
He's subsequently protected his Tweets, presumably so only Sarah Silverman can read them now.
She's a lucky woman.