How to do the cyclocross:
1) Spend multiple thousands of dollars on a gimmicky plastic bike:
We were a bit surprised, though, to see how quickly the bolt within the decoupler loosened. It took about five hard rides before we heard a noise and found that the bolts were not tight. The plastic cover, too, worked loose almost immediately and cracked. It’s a decorative piece, so no big deal in terms of functionality, but aesthetics matter when you’re paying this much for a bicycle. Once tightened, the decoupler didn’t work loose again.
2) Tweet "#crossiscoming" all August;
3) Do three (3) races before you get burned out on all the driving;
4) Hang up the bike by Halloween, dodgy decoupler and all;
5) Congratulate yourself on another ass-kicking CX season!
Or, you could just skip all that and take up competitive cargo biking. After all, why ride around in a field for 45 minutes when you can pretend you're saving the world instead? To this end, for the fourth consecutive year Portland once again played host to the Disaster Self-Importance Trials:
So I thought, what can I do?”
Well, after much consideration, it appears he decided to organize an event where people ride around Portland portaging Cheez-Its:
Are Cheez-Its even legal in Portland?
I can't believe that they are.
Look, I love the bikes, and I especially love the cargo bikes. At the same time I think it's important that we be honest with ourselves and acknowledge the fairly limited utility these things have when the shit really goes down. For example, here in New York City we've had our share of disasters--terror attacks, blackouts, hurricanes, that time the Shake Shack closed--and while a bike will certainly make your own life a whole lot easier when the subways are shut down for a few days they're not exactly the most effective option when it comes to full-scale disaster relief. Consider the unfortunate soul trapped under a bunch of rubble after an earthquake. What do you think is going to be more helpful in that situation: some heavy motorized equipment, or a guy in sandals on a cargo bike carrying four or five boxes of Cheez-Its?
I mean sure, he'll appreciate the snack while he waits for the crane truck, but still.
This isn't to say I don't appreciate what they're doing here. After all, a bike can mean the difference between life and death, and their website makes some very good points. Still, isn't this less about helping other people and more about being a "Catastrophe Fred?" Disaster cycling is all about self-preservation, and in a real emergency situation the cargo bike is going to be all about saving your own ass, or at best the collective asses of your family--which the organizers do at least acknowledge with this event:
Family Category Rider (~15 miles, ~20lbs cargo + your kids)
The Family class are families that are ready. With kids in tow, their cargo will take care of their needs; going the distance to make sure their family is safe! In the notes, please tell us how many kids will be on your bike and you’ll get a time bonus per kid!
How many points for cooking and eating the family pet?
I'd also have liked to see a "Looting the Trader Joe's" category, but in the absence of that the "E-Assist" category will have to do:
E-Assist Category Rider (~30 miles, ~125lbs cargo)
The E-Assist class will cover more ground and haul more cargo (125 lbs) since they come with a built in booster. Riders who can prove (with a picture) that they have an off-grid charging option will get a time bonus. Bike path legal e-assist bikes only please.
Ooh! I've got just the thing:
Like disaster cycling, the Wheezy was born of necessity, and the hardship of a grueling 3.7 mile commute:
Nobody should have to pedal that far without assistance.
Anyway, the Wheezy bolts rather conspicuously to your rear axle:
And you can even bring it into the office with you, where your co-workers will just assume you have to drop your lawn-edger off for servicing during your lunch hour:
By the way, why even bother with the bike in the first place?
Wouldn't it make more sense just to ride the Wheezy by itself?
I think this guy just reinvented the Segway.
In other news, World Champion Peter Sagan demands your respect:
“I want maybe more respect in the peloton,” he said. “The respect in the group is like nothing. If I speak with the old guys [about] when Cipollini was in the group or somebody like that, there was lots of respect in the group.
“Now it’s like, ‘if you don’t brake, I don’t brake’ and we crash. It’s very bad mentally in the group now. I don’t know if I can change this – it’s a big step.”
Oh please. Sagan was born in 1990, what the hell does he know about how things used to be in the peloton? Anyway, there's a difference between respect and fear, and everybody knows Cipollini governed by the latter:
You didn't give Cipollini plenty of room because you respected him. You gave it to him because he was so unctuous, and if you got too close you'd hit an oil slick and go down.
Lastly, speaking of danger, a reader informs me that there's an attack owl stalking the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda, MD:
Bill Hamilton, principal natural resources specialist for Montgomery Parks, said the barred owl is living somewhere along the trail just north of River Road “and has been threatening users with aggressive behaviors which have included striking individuals from behind.”
I was amazed to see no advisories about wearing a helme(n)t when cycling on the Capital Crescent Trail, though you should be sure to hide your ponytail:
Hamilton said tucking ponytails into a hat or verbalizing a human presence while on the specified section of the trail “may help to reduce the chance of attack.”
And obviously don't wear one of these:
We haven't seen avian violence like this since the goose that hated pie plates: