It's the perfect stocking stuffer, as is a tub of chamois cream:
Indeed, my words and this chamois cream have a lot in common: they're buttery smooth, they're soothing when applied to the scranus, and they've both been tested on animals*.
*[Just kidding, as far as I know Assos chamois cream is not tested on animals, though I did test my book on animals by reading it to the cat**.]
**[The cat coughed up a hairball at around page 96.]
Not only that, but River City also mentioned my book in the Willamette Week:
I've got to admit I'm pretty intrigued by that beehive and am thinking it could make a great Festivus gift for the kiddies. Beekeeping seems like a wholesome hobby and I see no reason why I shouldn't set up a hive in their bedroom. In fact I visited the maker's website and they even offer a complete starter kit:
Speaking of lit-ritch-ur, today is Mark Twain's birthday:
(Mark Twain was just a pen name, his real name was Mark Goldfarb)
And to mark the occasion I highly recommend reading his account of learning to ride a bicycle, which is the source of this oft-used quote:
Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.
Not only is it highly entertaining, but he describes the sensation of riding a bike better than anybody else has since, and this was only 1884:
The bicycle had what is called the "wabbles," and had them very badly. In order to keep my position, a good many things were required of me, and in every instance the thing required was against nature. That is to say, that whatever the needed thing might be, my nature, habit, and breeding moved me to attempt it in one way, while some immutable and unsuspected law of physics required that it be done in just the other way. I perceived by this how radically and grotesquely wrong had been the life-long education of my body and members. They were steeped in ignorance; they knew nothing--nothing which it could profit them to know. For instance, if I found myself falling to the right, I put the tiller hard down the other way, by a quite natural impulse, and so violated a law, and kept on going down. The law required the opposite thing--the big wheel must be turned in the direction in which you are falling. It is hard to believe this, when you are told it. And not merely hard to believe it, but impossible; it is opposed to all your notions. And it is just as hard to do it, after you do come to believe it. Believing it, and knowing by the most convincing proof that it is true, does not help it: you can't any more DO it than you could before; you can neither force nor persuade yourself to do it at first. The intellect has to come to the front, now. It has to teach the limbs to discard their old education and adopt the new.
Now cycling writing is just bike reviewers telling you a $10,000 plastic Fred Sled "goes where you point it."
Indeed, you could argue that the refinement of the bicycle is the very enemy of art. Consider, for example, that if Twain had had access to a modern-day gravel bike this passage might never had been written:
Stones were a bother to me. Even the smallest ones gave me a panic when I went over them. I could hit any kind of a stone, no matter how small, if I tried to miss it; and of course at first I couldn't help trying to do that. It is but natural. It is part of the ass that is put in us all, for some inscrutable reason.
Instead he'd have bored us with some crap about how the Cannondale Slate ($4,260 with Force group) is equally at home on the tarmac and the trail and gives you the confidence to rail those corners like a monkey in a mining cart.
And would his spills have been half as entertaining if he'd had the false sense of security you get from wearing a helmet?
Though I suppose this is the 19th century equivalent of getting heckled for not wearing one:
He was full of interest and comment. The first time I failed and went down he said that if he was me he would dress up in pillows, that's what he would do.
"The victim was not dressed up in pillows," the newspapers would say.
Oh sure, the safety bike was a welcome innovation, and without pneumatic tires we wouldn't be able to obsess over #whatpressureyourunning, but it should be clear to everybody now that bike innovation topped out years ago and now they're simply grasping at windmills and tilting at straws. For example, does anybody really need magnet pedals?
Apart from mountain unicyclists, of course:
Note how all-terrain unicyclists flail their arms like they're being attacked by a swarm of invisible bees.
Still, I wouldn't try these in New York City, if only because the streets are littered with bits of metal and your pedals would look like this in short order:
Also, they already ran a Kickstarter like two years ago that didn't get funded.
In other news, a reader forwarded a groundbreaking study with a shocking conclusion:
Yes, believe it or not, when you add bike lanes and stuff cycling becomes safer:
The odds of cyclists being injured in an accident in Boston have decreased significantly in recent years as the city has made a slew of changes to promote bike riding and improve safety, a new study from Harvard University researchers has found.
The study, published in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health, found that there was a 14 percent reduction in the odds of being injured in a cycling accident for each year from 2009 through 2012.
And when you add more cyclists then cycling becomes safer still:
“There is a concept of safety in numbers that several studies have evaluated and we touched upon briefly,” said Pedroso. “The concept is based on the fact that with increased number of bicycle riders there is increased cyclist awareness by vehicles. This improved awareness results in reductions in vehicle-cyclist accidents.”
If you didn't know better you'd think that adding bike lanes and encouraging people to ride is more effective than making people wear helmets.
And here's a frustrating fact:
■ The odds of injury in accidents involving car doors are 225 percent higher than other types of accidents. “This is an interesting finding because it shows that if we expanded on strategies that separated bicycles from cars that we may have a significant impact on overall injuries,” Pedroso said.
Yes, of all the crap we deal with out there on the roads, we're most likely to be taken out by some asshole who can't be bothered to check before flinging open their fucking car door.
Drivers are so lazy they don't even put any effort into hitting you.
Lastly, on the subject of safety, race organizers are taking bold new steps to keep riders from getting hit by race vehicles:
"This decision responds to two-pronged objective: The first being to improve the safety conditions for the riders with a smaller peloton on roads equipped with more and more street furniture," read a statement released Friday by the ASO.
Wait, the road are crowded so they're going to reduce the number of bike racers instead of the number of race vehicles? Aren't the bike racers why people follow the sport in the first place? Isn't this like "improving" Lucky Charms by reducing the marshmallow count to three per box?
I guess we can look forward to an all-ITT format for the Tour de France by 2025.