Not being a Facebook user I am blissfully ignorant of the manner in which word travels on that platform, but I have certainly witnessed the "too lazy and/or gullible to tell fact from fiction" phenomenon firsthand. Indeed, I myself am guilty of creating at least one falsehood now regarded as fact. It all started in 2008, when I made up this quote:
Give me good books, good conversations, and my Trek Y-Foil, and I shall want for nothing else. –George Plimpton
I thought nothing of it because, after all, look at George Plimpton:
Now look at a Y-Foil:
As tempting as it is to imagine Plimpton riding around the Upper East Side on a Y-Foil sporting a wicker handlebar basket with a baguette in it, it seemed fairly obvious to me that my fabricated quote was well within the realm of parody.
Also, the Y-Foil came out in 1998, at which time Plimpton was 71 years old.
Nevertheless, somebody bought it. Not just anybody, either, but the editor-in-chief of the Paris Review:
And since then a quick Googling reveals it's now entered the canon of actual quotes:
I deeply regret posthumously and inexorably associating George Plimpton with one of the most horrendous bicycles of the 20th century, but sadly once these things get absorbed into the culture there's simply no way to undo them, as Richard Gere and his imaginary ass-gerbil know all too well.
Oh sure, it's easy to blame the Internet, but the medium is largely incidental. This is as old as human communication itself. Consider another load of bullshit called "The Bible." It's mostly the fake news of its day, yet millenia later we're still living by it and fighting wars over it. And hey, look at that, we just elected a president who campaigned on banning Muslims. Whaddya know.
Maybe that's why Gandhi said this:
Or was it Bachman Turner Overdrive?
I get confused.
Then there was the time I tweeted this:
I thought that was even more ridiculous than the Y-Foil thing, but people have asked me if it's true.Greetings from sunny California. Very excited for my Rivendell talk at 4 and very surprised Grant drives a Ferrari: pic.twitter.com/q3tbEBPiOC— Bike Snob NYC (@bikesnobnyc) June 18, 2016
(If you meditate on any image today, let it be Grant Petersen driving the California Coast in a Ferrari with a Y-Foil on the trunk rack.)
In other news, remember how my WorkCycles FR8 (shown here with my smallest human child for maximum pathos) was stolen from outside of my largest human child's school?
I didn't even bother to raise the seat.
Nevertheless, I realized yesterday that my procrastination was getting ridiculous, and I was also missing my own WorkCycles and its more generous proportions. So I brought the bike into my makeshift workshop and performed a diagnosis. The most obvious symptom was that the tires had been punctured in what I imagine was a final "Fuck you" from the thief or thieves after they had failed to open the wheel lock, but closer inspection revealed a considerable flat spot from when they'd dragged the bike away:
It's tough to see from my shitty photos, but it looks like they went at it with a deli slicer:
Also, they were considerate enough to stab the tires in the sidewall:
I thought at least one of the tires was salvageable, but inflating it revealed this was not the case:
Sure, I might boot it or something if this was just a neighborhood beer-getter, but tempting a blowout on a bike used to portage two (2) children is sub-par parenting--especially when I'm already a sub-par parent who doesn't lock his bike and enjoys helmetless familly hillbombing sessions.
Fortunately I had a spare set of 26" slicks in storage from when I still owned a tiny-wheeled mountain bicycle, so I set about installing them:
The great thing about the WorkCycles is that everything's enclosed so you don't have to worry about your pant cuffs and you can leave it outside. The bad thing about it is that tire changes are kind of a pain in the ass, though they're at least facilitated somewhat by the handy removable dropout design:
I also fully admit I have yet to fully wrap my head around how you open the chain case, so in the spirit of laziness I just removed the end piece and worked around it.
Once I'd changed the tires it was mostly just a matter of aligning stuff here and snugging up fittings there, and I'm pleased to report that the Smugness Flotilla Mark II is back in action:
Alas, the tires I had were merely 1.5s, but while it may look a bit unsightly I think they'll do the job just fine. Also, the brakes could use a bleed but that was the case before the theft anyway.
Lastly, my wife's WorkCycles is the "Secret Service" model, and I just learned today there's such a thing as a Secret Service bicycle officer--and apparently even they can't escape shitty drivers (unless it was a deliberate attack, but here in the USA we know nobody uses cars to do bad things):
Naturally I'm wishing the officer the best, but the revelation that the Secret Service has a bike division raises many interesting questions, including but not limited to:JUST IN: Secret Service bicycle officer struck on 17th St. near the White House; Transported by ground, current condition unknown - WUSA— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) November 17, 2016
--Are they a highly-drilled squad with awesome bike-handling skillz?
--If so, when's the movie coming out?
--And of course, most importantly, #whatpressureyourunning?