(My new book, which is officially out.)
B and N? Why not?
iTunes? Holy crap, we live in the future!
Your local independent bookseller? Abso-freaking-lutely.
A Walz cap combo? Coming soon, baby!
And so on.
Speaking of your local independent bookseller, if yours is Little City Books in Hoboken I hope to see you there this Saturday:
Look at that, there's a whole other city right next to ours with a subway and everything, who knew?
Anyway, my book could not possibly be more essential, for yesterday I was browsing our little kiddie tablet with the youngest of my 6.022140857 × 10 23 children when, to my utter shock, this popped up:
Yep, that's Bret all right:
And as much as I admire his preternatural ubiquity it's horrifying to think that the next generation of "connected" children will grow up thinking this is what a bicycle is. So as far as I'm concerned the only solution is to pour as much sensible advice as possible on top of this conflagration of misinformation, so that one day we may extinguish the flames of velocipedal ignorance forevermore.
Though I must admit I'll take Bret's brand of goateed time-trialling over this contraption any day:
Yes, for too long our arms have been idle, or at best performing unnecessary tasks such as braking or controlling the bike. Now they have been freed from the tyranny of uselessness by the TwiCycle:
No longer will the left hand not know what the right hand is doing, because it will be helping to pedal the bike along with the right hand, praise Jesus!
This does pose some linguistic problems though, since of course "pedal" comes from the Latin root Ped, meaning "foot," so you can't really pedal with your hands now, can you? Meanwhile the Latin word for hand is manus, so I guess technically you could call it "manipulating," but that implies being skillful, which nobody who would opt to ride such a contraption could possibly be. Perhaps then it's simplest just to replace Ped with Man and call pedaling with your hands "manaling," which coincidentally is one letter away from what it looks like you're doing when you're riding this thing:
See how when you're manaling hard you're bent over with your shoulders heaving rhythmically like you're churning buttermilk?
Of course you do.
By the way, I could very well be wrong, but that looks a lot like the Fred Stretch on Key Biscayne just over the causeway from Miami. If you've ever been there it makes makes complete and utter sense that the TwiCycle was born there, since it's just that sort of flat, monied monotony that allows the mind to wander into horrible ideas like this one.
I also enjoyed the FAQ:
Do I always have to use both legs and arms?
You can use only legs… only arms…or any combination of those. The arms drive the front wheel and the legs drive the back wheel completely independent of each other. Also the handlebars can be locked in position turning TwiCycle into a normal bike.
Sorry, nothing could turn that into a normal bike.
Plus, as I understand it the "Q" in "FAQ" is supposed to mean "Question," but some of the FAQs aren't even Qs at all, they're just confrontational statements:
Watch when that chain gets caught in the front wheel!
Watch when the back chain gets caught too!
The front wheel drive mechanism is no different to a normal rear wheel mechanism and this has been tried and tested for a 100 years. The risks are the same as for any other standard bicycle.
It's alarming that anybody designing any kind of a bicycle is unaware of how much more disastrous it is to lock up the front wheel than the rear. If 100 years from now that stupid front wheel derailleur doesn't get stuck in the spokes and send someone flying over the bars then we can talk.
Anyway, later on in the FAQ they do start asking Qs again, only those Qs are now directed towards the Q-er, which is exactly the opposite of what an FAQ is supposed to be:
Is this meant to make cycling easier? Literally see no point in this?
The point is to exercise your ARMS and upper body which you can’t do with a normal bicycle.
Also great for climbing hills as you can take over with arms once your legs get tired.
Another benefit is extra speed and in a mountain bike version better traction!
TwiCycle is currently one of the very few sports which allow FULL body exercise. There is no muscle on your body that you can’t put to use.
They really should have called this section "FDRITFORQ" (or Frequent Defensive Retorts In The Form Of Rhetorical Questions).
Given this sort of nonsense it's hard not to conclude that all the good bike ideas were used up 50 years ago, but believe it or not here's a Kickstarter for something I actually kind of want:
My first thought was "Great, just what the world needs, more crabon," but then I watched the video. Apparently you just clip this rack onto any road bike here:
And you're ready to go:
Hey, if that works like they say it does I'd certainly find lots of good use for it on the old Fred Sled. Clearly I'm not alone either, because there's 28 days to go and already people have funded the fuck out of this thing:
Seems like this crabon Fred rack could be just the ticket for taking advantage of Amtrak's new carry-on bike service:
Cyclists who long to ride amid the mountain air of New England this spring and summer will soon have an easy way to get there.
Beginning May 1, Amtrak will offer carry-on bike service, allowing passengers to ride in designated cars outfitted with bike racks on its Vermonter line, which operates each day between Washington, D.C., and St. Albans, Vt., with stops in cities including Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, Conn., Springfield, Mass., and Essex Junction, Vt.
I must say the idea of taking a train up to Vermont for a day or two of cycling sounds extremely appealing to me, though what with my ∞ children the chances of my doing that anytime soon are fairly slim. Sure, there was a time when I had no kids and little responsibility and could have lit out on a moment's notice, yet instead of taking awesome bike trips I frittered away all my time and money clinging to the back of the pack in amateur bike races. What the hell was I thinking?!?
Let that be a lesson to you.
Anyway, here's how the train works:
Cyclists who wish to use the service must arrive at their station a half-hour before boarding time. Train cars with bike service will have “bike-friendly” stickers on them, and there will be instructions in the rack area about how to load the bikes. The front wheel of each bike must be removed to fit it into the space, and extras, like panniers and saddle bags, must be removed as well before you add the bike to the rack. An Amtrak crew member will be on hand to help.
There are some sweet gravel roads in Vermont as I understand it, so I hope that Amtrak crew member has been trained in the intricacies of disk brakes and Boost 148.