This means two (2) things:
A) No post tomorrow or Friday but I'll be back on Monday, November 28th with regular updates;
2) This morning I headed out on the WorkCycles to run some pre-holiday errands like the wonderful host I am. Yes, even a cynic like me can't help feeling a bit of holiday cheer when I roll out into the crisp morning in search of goodies, though I suppose a lot of that could be attributable to my morning vodka. But whatever the reason for my high spirits, my first stop was Party City, where as always I cursed the developers who built this stupid shopping center without adding a single bike rack:
It's a soulless affair, even by shopping center standards, but you'd think they could have added at least one goddamn bike rack somewhere in that giant courtyard instead of making me walk all the way from the curb. I mean come on, most places have at least one token bike rack, even if it's intentionally too close to a wall or something so you can't use it. Meanwhile, the whole goddamn structure is basically a parking lot with some shitty stores on top of it--which you need of course when you're spitting distance from a subway.
Anyway, at Party City I got plates and stuff because fuck washing dishes.
Next, I went to get dessert:
Not just any dessert either, but UNQUESTIONABLY THE WORLD'S FINEST CREAM CHEESE CHEESECAKE!
If there's one thing I can't stand in a dessert it's ambiguity.
See, that's a dessert that makes itself known. No ribbons and doilies there. When you walk into a party and drop a DELUXE pizza box full of the world's balls-out best cheesecake onto the table (squashing six or seven cronuts in the process) everybody knows you mean business.
It's even Kosher. The fucking thing is unstoppable.
(I might also have gotten a carrot cake at Lloyd's, but the line was already almost to the corner.)
Anyway, if you're a terminal Fred or Frederica, Thanksgiving also means fretting over those holiday pounds and spending the following day doing "guilt burpees"--or else lighting out for that #BlacktopFriday ride. Yes, in today's fast-paced world it's all too rare that the whole family has the day off work and school, so why not take advantage of it by abandoning them and posting pictures of your lame-ass road ride on Instagram? Who knows? You might even get a "kudos" on Strava!
1. Have a great activity title
The title is one of the first things people will see in their feed. To come up with a good name, think about what stood out in your activity. Did you stop for donuts? Was it really hot? Maybe you got a new pair of shoes? Anything is better than “morning ride.”
I'd suggest "SuperFred BigMuff's Wank-Tastic Hill Repeat!," I can't see how you'd lose with that one.
In other news, as a reader pointed out yesterday, a coroner in Australia is calling for expiration dates on bike components:
The story behind it all is incredibly sad, but here's the upshot:
Coroner Lisbeth Campbell found Mr Stanton's riding, maintenance of the bike or previous minor prang had no bearing on the crash and instead pinned the failure of the carbon fork on a fatigue fracture in the aluminium steering tube.
The coroner determined the crack could not have been picked up by Mr Stanton or the technicians that had serviced his bike less than two months earlier and deemed it an "inclusion flaw" from the manufacturing process.
Now the coroner has recommended Standards Australia investigate a mandatory safe life for bicycles components such as the front steering fork, depending on the material and manufacturing process.
Upper safe life limits are routine in the aerospace industry, which uses many of the same materials found in high-end bicycles, Coroner Campbell said.
This is highly unrealistic for any number of reasons but it is rather sobering, and I couldn't help thinking that the alloy steerer on the victim's Trek sounds like it could be of the same vintage as the one that took George Hincapie out of Paris-Roubaix, since it sounds like his bike was going on 10 years old and this happened in 2006:
The article also mentions the victim had had a "previous minor prang" (which it discounts as a factor in the failure for some reason) and Hincapie had also crashed before this occurred.
Anyway, seems to me there's not much sense on imposing a "mandatory safe life" on bike parts, but there is probably sense in replacing your fork after a crash.
(And you can leave your smug comments about your 100% indestructible steel bicycle here.)
Somewhat less tragic is this story of a Chicago alderman who was felled by a squirrel, which a friend alerted me to yesterday:
Howard Brookins Jr., the alderman for Chicago’s 21st ward, had publicly spoken out about a toothy menace plaguing the city’s garbage carts: urban squirrels, which in Brookins’s view were “aggressive,” and aggressively damaging the trash cart lids.
He now has another reason to dislike the rodents. One recently sent him to the hospital with a skull fracture in a “freak bicycle accident,” as the alderman wrote on Facebook.
Firstly, as many of you pointed out yesterday, the Washington Post's not mentioning whether or not the rider was wearing a helmet in the context of a bicycle crash (which resulted in a skull fracture no less) is unprecedented. Indeed, it can only mean one of two things:
1) He was wearing a helmet but it didn't work and heaven forbid anybody impugn the Almighty Helmet (though the easy solution there is to add something about how the injury would have been much worse without it, "A helmet saved my life," yadda yadda yadda);
B) They're freeing themselves from the tyranny of helmet propaganda thanks to their brilliant contributors.
Secondly, the victim seems to be highly misinformed concerning the nature of squirrels:
Brookins was biking along Cal-Sag Trail on Nov. 13, when a squirrel darted into his path. The squirrel cut Brookins’s bike trip short by wrapping itself in the spokes of the alderman’s bicycle. The alderman flipped over the handlebars and landed with such a severe impact that he fractured his skull, broke his nose and knocked out a handful of teeth, the Chicago Tribune reported. A woman who passed by called 911. Brookins was only able to leave the hospital Thursday.
“I can think of no other reason for this squirrel’s actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge,” the alderman said to the Tribune on Monday. He told the newspaper a full recovery was expected to take months.
Really? No other reason? That's exactly what squirrels do! If you're riding and a squirrel doesn't try to ensnare itself in your spokes then something is seriously wrong. I have no doubt the very first pennyfarthing ride in history was ended prematurely by a squirrel:
("Holy shit, what's that giant round thing? Some kinda hamster wheel??? I GOTTA GET IN THAT!!!)
Seriously, if you see a squirrel and he doesn't immediately try to dive bomb your front wheel then he's up to something far more insidious--like maybe he's about to signal to a friend in a tree to drop a sixteen-ton weight on your head:
("Wait for it...")
In any event, I wish him a speedy recovery, and he might wanna think about replacing that fork--though we're going to be stuck with "suicide bomber" squirrels at least until Trump unveils his new vetting policy.
And with that, I'm off. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, or if you're not American enjoy pointing and laughing at us as we stuff our faces in the shadow of our inevitable doom, and I'll see you all here back on Monday.
Yours and so forth,
--Wildcat Rock Machine