The bicycle is many things. A means of sustainable transportation, a way to have fun, a form of exercise, a way to cart your belongings. Beyond its direct practical uses though, the humble bicycle also does much to improve the communities which choose to use it. Bike use improves local environments, reduces inequality, facilitates the development of community, reduces health disparities, and enables people to feel joy.
These last benefits of bicycling are the ones focused on by Italian radio hosts Massimo Cirri and Sara Zambotti, who have recently started a petition to have the bicycle nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. As the BBC reports, Cirri and Zambotti claim the bicycle is “an instrument of peace.” It does not cause wars – such as those frequently fought over oil – and is “the most democratic means of transportation available to humanity.”
It's true, the bicycle does reduce inequality and facilitate the development of community. However, it also does this:
When Albert Einstein's theories made the atomic bomb possible he famously said "If I had known, I would have become a watchmaker." One imagines John Kemp Starley, inventor of the safety bicycle, would have expressed a similar sentiment had he lived to witness the sport of triathlon. Certainly if the Nobel Committee sees this video then you can kiss that prize goodbye.
Plus, even if the bicycle did somehow win the Nobel Prize, I'm sure Mike Sinyard would somehow find a way to claim it for himself:
He probably bought the "Nobel" trademark in the same back alley where he picked up the rights to "Roubaix."
Even so, there's no denying the transformative power of the bicycle, and there's also nothing like the surge of adrenaline you experience when you stand before a rack of well-oiled Citi Bikes, like I did yesterday:
It's a thrill akin to the moment before the starting gates of a horse race burst open in an explosion of hooves and horsepower:
My hands trembling, I selected my steed, and within moments I was locked in mortal combat with brace of bearded, shoaling Euros on rental bikes:
Dispatching them, I next found myself on a collision course with a salmon on a fixie, and it doesn't take a Nobel laureate to figure out who swerved first:
The Citi Bike is the ideal bike for facing off against salmon, because the front rack looks like a battering ram, and if that's not enough to intimidate them then all you have to do is dismount and ghost-ride the thing right into them like a blue torpedo.
As you can imagine, my legs were burning by now, so I recovered by drafting off of one of my unwitting Citi Bike teammates who just happened to be carrying a skateboard:
Here's a rider who appears to be following official NYPD protocol for an obstructed bike lane, which is to dismount and remain in place until such time as the motorist gets around to moving the vehicle:
Can't go leaving the bike lane, you know, you might get a ticket.
Anyway, after recovering in the slipstream I unleashed my final attack on the ride's Cima Coppi, which was of course the bike lane on the Manhattan Bridge. As I glanced over my shoulder to make sure I'd dropped my competition (which of course I had), I noticed this rooftop film shoot:
I'm just going to assume it's an action movie set in the cutthroat world of New York City Cat 6 bicycle racing.
Lastly, if you can't stand having to inflate your tires from time to time, your troubles may be over thanks to the "self-inflating inner tube:"
PumpTire is a new self-inflating inner tube, which uses a cunning peristaltic pump action (more on this below, in case you're like us and don't use words as big as 'peristaltic' that often) to regulate and maintain pressure automatically as you ride.
Yep. They said "cunning peristaltic pump action." Unfortunately, in so doing they just opened themselves up to a lawsuit, since cunning peristaltic pump action is a proprietary Cipollini sexual technique:
("You gonna hear from my layers. I mean lawyers.")
Somebody give that man a Nobel Prize.