Whilst on an early morning velocipedinal jaunt yesterday I encountered this assemblage of detritus:
The golf shoes, the children's toys, the record player... A family's finished basement had clearly regurgitated its contents onto the lush and verdant lawn, and it was a perfect timeline of suburban life, and the cycle of obsolescence, and the fleeting nature of recreational dalliances outgrown.
And at the centerpiece of the tableau was this moving piece of art:
I'd have taken it home with me but I was Fred-cycling and I didn't fancy the notion of riding all the way home with a giant framed poster under one arm.
It would have wreaked havoc with my aerodynamics.
Indeed, this forsaken portrait served as a poignant metaphor for the relationship between pro cycling and its fans, especially on a weekend that saw the maillot jaune of the Tour de France doused in urine by a spectator:
“They threw it into my face and said dopé, like that,” Froome told ITV.
"It’s extremely wrong and on so many different levels, and I’m extremely disappointed about that. It’s not in the name of sport."
I couldn't agree more. Furthermore, I strongly believe anyone caught throwing any kind of bodily fluid at a rider should be subject to the immediate administration of a "hot carl." (Or, as they call it in France, a "charles chaud.")
Nevertheless, I don't think it's appropriate to blame the media, as Froome is doing:
"I think a lot of the reporting on the race has been very irresponsible and I blame those individuals for that. Those individuals know who they are," Froome continued.
This has nothing to do with reporters asking legitimate questions about Froome's athletic performance and everything to do with the fact that the vast majority of sports fans are mentally unhinged to begin with--especially the ones who are willing to travel to the ass-end of France and stand on the side of a road for nine hours just to watch a bunch of Freds ride by for fourteen seconds.
It's not fair to blame free speech for the actions of the mentally ill, like back in the '80s when they tried to blame everything on the rock and/or roll music:
Yes, while Al Gore was busy inventing the Internet, his wife Tipper was advancing the cultural agenda of the religious right. Funny how everyone forgot about that, isn't it? The PMRC was so evil that it took Dee Snyder, Frank Zappa, and motherfucking John Denver to stop it. (Thank "god" they never recorded together, as that might have warranted censorship.) Then Al reinvented himself as a left-wing environmental warrior, and the whole episode was melted ice cap water under the bridge.
Anyway, the point is that if you're a reasonable person it's not particularly difficult to simultaneously question Froome's performance and refrain from assaulting him with urine while he's working. Indeed, it's important if not essential to remain skeptical in the 21st century, since you never know when a champion may be counterfeit--and the same goes for bicycles and components:
“The wheels just kind of fall apart,” said Chad Moore, the global brand manager for Mavic, a long-established wheel maker based in France. “It really just becomes an enormous safety issue for consumers.”
Wow, that sounds terrible.
Does the same thing happen to the fake Mavic?
By the way, like everything else in cycling, it's all crabon's fault:
Counterfeits of prestigious bike brands have a long history. But in the era of steel or aluminum frames, the deception was usually obvious even to an unskilled eye. The frames were usually substantially heavier than those they were imitating, the workmanship immediately obvious as inferior.
Alas, now it's virtually impossible to tell the "genuine" outsourced misshapen plastic lumps from the counterfeit ones--except for the price tag, of course:
“There’s such a big gap — $400 a pair compared to $2,000 a pair for wheels — I’d be surprised if buyers didn’t know that they’re counterfeit,” she said. “I would hope that the more educated ones would realize that the quality is not the same.”
Actually, the more educated riders wouldn't buy a $2,000 wheelset or a $400 knockoff, since they know that for the price of a counterfeit crabon wheel that will self-destruct you can build one out of metal that will last roughly forever.
Here's something else educated riders know, which is that helme(n)ts generally don't do much to keep you from impaling your neck on a wrought-iron fence:
The 41-year-old man was riding northwest in the bike lane of Woodward Avenue shortly before noon when he hit a pothole near Stockholm Street, fell, and hit his head, cops said. He rose to his feet, only to stumble at the sidewalk and fall again, this time skewering his neck on the fence in front of 380 Woodward Ave.
Wait for it...
Paramedics "managed to extricate him" and drove him to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in stable condition, according to an NYPD spokeswoman. The spokeswoman said she did not have information about whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet. A witness the Daily News spoke to called the crash's aftermath "the most gruesome, weird thing I have ever seen."
Wow. I was surprised to read that in this particular publication. Even the original Daily News article doesn't mention helme(n)ts, and the tabloids hate bikes!
Nevertheless, various people on stupid Twitter defended the helme(n)t speculation, pointing out that the rider may have skewered himself because he was disoriented after sustaining a blow to the head.
Firstly, if you run into a pothole and hit your head, you're going to be pretty goddamn out of it regardless of whether or not you're wearing a hunk of EPS on your head. Secondly, if anything, it's probably better in this situation not to wear a helme(n)t. See, at least with a bare head you might be knocked out cold and stay where you are, whereas with the brain bucket you're able to get back on your feet, at which point you stumble around like Frank the Tank until you fall into a swimming pool--or onto an iron fence as the case may be.
Speaking of helme(n)ts, Stevil of All Hail the Black Market both alerted me to and wrote about the following article concerning Seattle and its stupid helme(n)t law:
Yes, it would appear that over half the cycling infraction tickets in Seattle are the work of one cop busting people for not wearing plastic yarmulkes:
Last year, Mulkey wrote a little more than half of all cycling-infraction tickets issued in Seattle. Most of those were for noncompliance with the county’s helmet law.
Amazing. A city where marijuana is legal, yet you can't ride a bicycle without strapping a buoy onto your head.
Only in America.
By the way, lawmakers are always putting forth helme(n)ts as a panacea for all cycling injuries, but has anyone fully explored the connection between helme(n)t law enforcement and child molestation?
But since that year, nearly 2,500 bike-helmet tickets have been issued in Seattle. Officer Mulkey and two other officers — Eric Smith and Kenneth Ashurst — wrote two-thirds of the citations between them. (Smith, now “retired-in-lieu-of-termination,” was charged with child molestation in 2014.)
If every time we get hurt while riding people ask, "Was the cyclist wearing a helmet?" then I say that every time a police officer writes a ticket we get to ask, "Was the officer a child molester?"
It's only fair.