Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ride to Work, Work to Ride: Living the Dream

As the Giro d'Italia continues, so too does my Giro-themed blog-shaped object over at the "Giro Insider" section of the Universal Sports website. While I've enjoyed "curating" that blog, I also defer to the real sports journalists whose coverage of the race is certainly much more insightful than mine. It's also far more entertaining--albeit unintentionally--for a reader has forwarded me this recent headline from the Bicycling magazine website:

This may very well be the most inadvertently obscene sports headline since "A-Rod goes deep, Wang hurt"--especially when you consider the accompanying photo and Vinokourov's suggestive champagne bottle placement.

In particular, he says that "The roads in Holland are not suitable for cycling." This is highly ironic, since here in America nary a day goes by without some cycling advocate invoking Holland as a bicycle utopia, and one can only imagine what Lastras would think of Portland, our nation's cycling crown jewel (or at least ironic Burger King cardboard novelty crown). Additionally, Lastras then uses Holland's alleged cycling unsuitability as a launch pad for an attack on globalization, at which point I can only assume the reporter simply walked away while smiling and nodding politely.

Speaking of bicycle advocacy, the 31-day reign of terror and smugness known as "Bike Month" continues, and in San Francisco today is "Bike To Work Day." (San Francisco "Bike To Work Day" comes eight days before national "Bike To Work Day" because it's very hilly there and the riders need a head start.) While I plan to celebrate "Bike To Work Day" ironically by taking the day off and driving to the beach, dozens of people everywhere will no doubt briefly consider riding to work before suddenly realizing they don't own bicycles and simply getting to work the same way they do every other day. As for those who do already own bicycles and ride them to work every day, they'll wonder what the point of a "Bike To Work Day" is and instead fantasize about literally being able to "Bike To Work"--or, in other words, to ride a bicycle for a living.

Of course, one way to do this is to become a bicycle messenger, but not everybody has the physical strength, mental fortitude, and keen fashion sense it takes to pick up an envelope from one building, put it in a $200 bag, and then bring it to another building as far as half a mile away. Sure, some people find the image of the messenger "romantic," but then again some people find ball gags and clown costumes romantic, and if you're the sort of person for whom couriering holds no allure, you may instead be taken by the life of Frank van Rijn (which runs quite counter to the notion that Holland is not suitable for cycling):

I was visiting the webular site Trackosaurusrex recently when I found this video. Despite being thinly-veiled propaganda produced by the Brooks saddle company (who employ notorious gangster Eric "The Chamferer" Murray and who don't want you to know they make their saddles from the flesh of "Freds" abducted from charity ride rest areas), I enjoyed watching it because I was compelled by van Rijn's enviable lifestyle. Basically, he visits interesting parts of the world on his bicycle and then writes about his travels (this is just about the best example of a "dream job" I can think of) and in addition to Part 1 above you can watch Part 2 below:

Evidently, Brooks is flush with capital due to the vast numbers of "hipsters" who now purchase their saddles and put them on their designer "fixies," so in an attempt to burn off some of this excess cash they're making more and more videos about themselves. This particular film is of course a pretense to ask van Rijn the following question:

Interestingly, he never seems to actually say how many Brooks saddles he's gone through, though I'd at least have asked him if he's ever found himself in a situation in which he's had to boil and eat his seat to stay alive. Besides setting him up for the obvious Brooks question, the filmmakers also ask van Rijn other questions as "filler," such as:

Apparently, in van Rijn's estimation the most dangerous roads in the world are in Mexico, which will no doubt comes as a surprise to the brakeless hipsters of Williamsburg who insist that the most dangerous place to ride a bike is that small section of Bedford Avenue where the Hasidim had the bike lane removed.

Here's another question:

The answer to this question is "yes"--apparently, van Rijn almost died in Death Valley. That's a shocker. It seems to me that you should probably expect to almost die in Death Valley, just like you should probably expect to encounter cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory.

Eventually, the filmmakers start getting desperate, because the questions become painfully obvious:

Does somebody who visits beautiful and exotic places by bicycle and writes books about his travels for a living really need to explain that he passes the time by riding his bicycle and seeing and experiencing beautiful and exotic things? This is like asking the Dalai Lama what he fantasizes about while he meditates, or like asking NWA what they were thinking about when they wrote the song "Fuck the Police."

Other questions just seemed totally random:

Or gratuitous:

Or fatuous:

Or simply disgusting:

I won't spoil the end of the film, but it does involve a broken camera and a barrage of Dutch expletives.

Speaking of expletives, a reader has forwarded me a PDF of a conclusive study which explains "The Roots of Driver Behaviour Towards Cyclists." I'm not exactly the academic type and have trouble understanding these sorts of things, but from what I can tell it includes what very well may be the first-ever flowchart for driving like an asshole:

Apparently, "driving like an asshole" is a "collabo" among attitude, perceived behavioural control, and subjective norm.

If, like me, you're the sort of person who has trouble expressing concepts in flowchart form, you may be more comfortable using haiku. In yet another of the bike-themed attention-seeking gambits that have come to characterize "Bike Month," the Sierra Club has announced a "Bike-ku Contest," and apparently your submission can win you a Breezer something-or-other:

I'm pleased to share with you the haiku I have composed for my Scattante:

Trusty Scattante.
Naughty thief
cut off your cock...
. But I fixed it.

You can keep the Breezer, Sierra Club--the joy was in the act of creation.


Anonymous said...

big greasy fart

mikeweb said...


Anonymous said...

i even read it, before i soiled my underpants.

Anonymous said...

that was my first real comment.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Astroluc (Find me on Tumblr and Instagram @Astroluc) said...

living at work, working to live... riding the dream...

mander said...

Top 10, and I had plenty of time to lol at "How long was the sickest skid you ever busted".

mike said...

I ride a fixed gear.
Dumb hipsters mock me because
I have a front brake.

Anonymous said...

hairless, pink and starts with "V"

jj said...

hey snobby,
link to "a PDF of a conclusive study which explains "The Roots of Driver Behaviour Towards Cyclists." is broken.

Mr Frugal said...

I've got to stop reading this blog whilst eating. I nearly choked to death after reading the video captions. You be very funny today!

Anonymous said...

I love slipping into pink!

Greg Heil said...

ha, big greasy fart.

top 20.

What is all of this "top whatever" business anyway?

ant1 said...


mikeweb said...

Vino slipped into pink earlier, but now his team is being pink-slipped after the TTT disaster.

hillbilly said...

mikeweb ladies and gentlemen!!

Shu-Sin said...


Anonymous said...

ant1 blows donkey

Anonymous said...

Brakes and Bottle Cage
Out of style and sneered at, but
...I like to ride far

A cheap theft deterrent is filling your stem and top cap bolts (and seatpost binder) with hot glue.

its enough to keep the petty thieves away, but easy enough to remove when you need to at home.

I know someone who uses solder, but thats a bit more work to remove.

hillbilly said...

ever notice everyone talks about bike culture, but noone ever talks about community? my andy rooney observo for the day.
oh, and vino looked pissssssssed.

Rob W said...

LA is in Santa Barbara - he just tweetdecked a copy of the new book:

ant1 said...

snobby - "fantaze"?

Rob W said...

ah was MellowJohnny's snap and not Lance's. Related but somehow less cool.

And soz for no linkage on http I didn't insert the proper tag - w/e

Shaun said...

slipping into pink
long sick skids cause ass cancer
haters suck my balls

ant1 said...

anon 1:07 - donkeys, with an s. asses too sometimes.

Koba said...


Tommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keith Hearn said...

Yup, it's BTWD here is sunny California. I saw about 5 times as many people on bikes this morning compared to my regular commute. During my 16 mile commute, I stopped at no less than 3 "Energizer Stations" where people were handing out food and drinks to exhausted commuters. I think they had CPR trained personnel standing by, just in case.

I work for a popular search engine, and we expect to get about 1000 people riding in today. Everyone who rode in was given a little 9-LED light with a handlebar mount with the company's name printed on it "Popular Search Engine(tm)". Without the mount it's a nice little flashlight. I've got much better lights for the bike, but this will be useful for walking the dogs at night. They're even handing out "I biked!" stickers so we can radiate smugness all day.

Udder said...

FYI: Haikus are no longer made in Japan. They've been outsourced to China and now sport ugly welds.

3 toed sloth said...


Anonymous said...

In the OC, BTWD is next week, because we're to cool to do anything at the same time as the rest of the world.


g said...


That's all I got.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I busted some sick skids back in the day when I was rockin a coaster brake and bananna seat.

Fred said...

Oh great, I'm riding a charity ride this weekend. So in addition to the indignity of being dropped by the middle-aged woman on a purple hybrid with googly eyes on her helmet, I've got to worry about being scalped by a bearded ninja from Brooks "dark ops" division while I wait in line for the portapotty?

Sorry for the run-on sentence. I'm understandably upset.

Isolation Helmet said...

Riding into San Franciscoway this moring from Fairfax I was handed an epic breakfast burrito as I turned onto the Mill Valley bike path.

Epic burrito breakfast on bike to work day. I got no new waterbottles this morning though.

ringcycles said...

Fred: Having just read Cormac McCarthy's "The Road", I'd definitely keep one eye on the helmet mirror at all times.

Anonymous said...

skeet skeet skeet bubbly
vino slips into the pink
sick skid in chamois

Isolation Helmet said...

Snob forgot to tell you I just received my copy of your old school paper thingy in the mail from amazonia.commerce and look forward unrolling the parchment for a few laughs in the near future.

wishiwasmerckx said...

I prefer objective norms, or Norms on barstools at Cheers, because subjective norms are just too...well, subjective.

Fred said...

Thanks for nothing, ringcycles. I'm not feeling any better. Where's Frilly?

Anonymous said...

I guess I was a day early, I resubmit my haiku from yesterday:

from fixed to free
I shall flip flop
for fear of the dreaded
ass polyp

Yours in christ,

Buster Ryhme

VBW said...

Top 45th...

Fire, people. I'm on fire.

Chris said...

I smugly rode 1.5 miles this morning from Piedmont to the Oakland Ferry on my ironic 6.7 inch travel mountain bike (it's the new fixie I swear). Thus I rode and ferried to work. The regular ferriers seemed a little put out that the usual two bike had grown to around 50. But as we all saved the planet everyone transcended the inconvenience and had a jolly good time. Somehow I missed out on free pancakes, no doubt they would have been epic.

Anonymous said...

Many of the roads the organizers chose in the Netherlands were not wide enough for a pack of pro cyclists to go through without putting dents in their precious cabrĂ³n frames and snapping their plastic toy forks, that's what Lastras wanted to say.
Suitable for city riding? Sure!

Systematically and mercilessly analysing the sexual lives of pro cyclists. Nice post, Snob. May the pink be with you.

acquiesce808 said...

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA -- oooh, i wet 'em! i heard that Dre often worked in flow-chart form to write lyrics but Eazy-E preferred outline form. this clash of styleways ultimately caused a rift between them.

3G said...

insane in the membrane

leroy said...

Ant 1 too kind for
So I say for him.

acquiesce808 said...

also, i was at a popular "book seller" and picked up your book. then promptly dropped it on the floor, bending the corners. although their loitering policy is quite lax, they are very strict with the "you break it, you buy it." whateva! fortunately, the stickers were unharmed. look for the spoke cards created from them to drop on craig's list SOOOOON.

Anonymous said...

sorry day late with this one: Snob - thank you for pointing out that cyclists ride, drive, walk, etc. In fact, no doubt a$$hole drivers have friends, kids, relatives, that are on bikes at times and they themselves may walk on rare occasion.

Anonymous said...

I'm no mate for Vino.
He had slipped on the pink.
My left clit seems to slip.

Having trouble clipping in & need to get it adjusted. Waiting 'til after my charity century Saturday. Just wondering if that Brooks missive applies to Wilma's also.

Hey Fred!

Anonymous said...

anon 1:07 thanks for the tip. had my seat and post stolen last week. So in the last 12 months here in the nyc that makes 2 bikes and 1 seat and post. But I've never had my cock-pit pilfered. I suppose it's just not quite as tantalizing as the snobs.

Anonymous said...

Why would you "cover" the Giro if there's no chance to give lance a hand job?

mikeweb said...

I second that anon 1:07. I've considered doing something like that and thought of solder or hot candle wax, though the wax would certainly melt away in hot sun. Hot glue seems like the perfect material.

acquiesce808 said...

@michael b -- i'll second that. read first, then eat luch (unless lunch involves milk, then it's not quite as painful).

Ezra said...

It is true. Riding brakeless gave me ass cancer. USE YOUR BRAKES!

southpole said...

hm the way i understood it is V is wearing pink because he came out. (rainbow colors already reserved for something else in the cycling context i believe)

Salty and Sore said...

Seattle sunshine..
Take your Cleavage to Work Day!
Eyes avert quickly.

Oops! this was for bikes.
Bikefully great day for

David said...

Loved the poem, Snob, but technically it's not haiku--it's a senryu. Haiku and senryu are similar in form, but haiku are about the natural world. Senryu, in contrast, deal with artificial objects and human concerns. A cloud shaped like a fixie rider failing to stop before he hits a tree--that might make subject matter for a haiku, if you emphasize the cloud. But to make a perfect haiku, you'd have to leave out the fixie altogether. Which might not be a bad idea.

Fred said...

Stroking his long beard,
A Fred nervously glances.
The green bush rustles.

Is that haiku, or should I have emphasized the bush more?

Salty and Sore said...

Thanks, David!

I guess I wrote both.

Salty and Sore said...

To that other Anon1:07-

Have you met Greg1:01? You too will get along great! He doesn't really care for being on top, apparently. I hope your okay with that.

yofilly said...

"Do you use a whisk or a hand mixer?"


rezado said...


innerlighter said...

gents on Bike To Work
dreams of slipping into pink
following Frilly


Miss Muff said...

Never uderestimate the power of female sexuality. I just experienced multiple orgasms from watching Bill O'Reilly's show, and I don't even like the bastard.

ringcycles said...

Bike to Work Week woes
Forgot to mount my "wheel brows"
Was that a puddle?

wishiwasmerckx said...

I am relatively confident that Frilly is a woman of virtue, and not the pincushion everybody on this site makes her out to be.I am just glad that she possesses a sense of humor over the awful things we say about her here.

Anonymous said...

WIWM, you are right, but then again, I'd tap that.

Fred said...

False portapotty
Many enter, few depart.
Wilmas are prey too.

I'm sorry I ever said Frilly might be Larry Craig in drag. That was out of line.

Salty and Sore said...


You did? Yikes.

Frilly's not a drag. She's a true queen, in whose presence I am humbled.

Anonymous said...

Portland crashes.
Minneapolis ascends,
slips into the pink.

Loren said...

brooks are taint heaven
all you fixters suck my balls
goodbye low prices

thegock said...


Anonymous said...

big greasy fart smells
on top of the heap it floats
PO-DI-UM stenches.

Anonymous said...

"Bike Ways" knuckle tats
tighten reflexively.
No brakes fixie crash!

Anonymous said...

"NOBR AKES" knuckle tats
tighten reflexively.
No brakes fixie crash!

Anonymous said...

"NOBR AKES" knuckle tats
crushing epic burrito.
Anal cancer starts!

Anonymous said...

Flow Charts:

leroy said...

My dog disses me.
Too cool to ride domestique.
Hairy legged ingrate.

He says my haiku
Has the feel of seppuku.
But what does he know.

Anonymous said...

smell bike seats
to find a woman
slip in pink.

Hughes said...

i've got a knot in my back that's killing me. seriously. i laid down on the floor on top of a golf ball and tried to shove it the fuck out. that didn't really work, so i went to the bathroom of my hotel room. lucky, i guess, cause they put me in a handicap room so there's all these stainless steel bars all over the place that i can crank my back into.

that worked a lot better than the golf ball.

cyclotourist said...

All you haters suck
my deep V rims. Rip Torn's Mug
Shot sure looks sad.

cyclotourist said...

Dammit, stupid syllables.

Anonymous said...

I like riding.I go to work by bick and return by bick too.
Nicepostinggoodluck. Thanks for sharing.

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd! Haiku?
It is a stretch for this hick
I'd prefer sonnets

Anonymous said...

3 year reign of terror and smugness: How long have you been writing this blog? Its getting old. Byebye.

Anonymous said...

Innerlighter, funny you should mention that. I was on a ride Sunday morning when I heard one of the guys in back say, "I'm just going to slip in behind this young lady here." Sure you will. Taking off from the next intersection, for sure he was at least 4 bikes in front of me.

wiwm--wish I had your confidence. Bwah-ha-ha-ha!

Salty-Eyes avert quickly. *chortle*

Katie Ferguson said...

Glad to see being famous hasn't ruined your sense of humor. This was hilarious.

Seattle_Mike said...

Thanks for posting the Frank van Rijn videos .. I didn't know about him even though I was in Holland for 5 years (bicycling too). Pity I can't find any English translations of his books.

Auction said...

The regular ferriers seemed a little put out that the usual two bike had grown to around 50.Auction

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Anonymous said...

iPad Bicycle / Motorcycle Mount

The new Apple iPad has Steve Jobs, the highest paid in a decade! However, the Apple iPad is lacking, rumors have it they are improving their designs rapidly! What the new Apple iPad lacks in most is a mount, something to secure the Apple iPad while on the go.

I am a big fan of going green, by riding my PEDEGO electric bicycle more. However, the only things I have really found out there to secure the new Apple iPad is a jacket, talk about all that heat! Recent E-Bay ads have slowly reached more and more options, as demands increase. I tested a bicycle mount, the only one I have found so far. I was the only bid, I think perhaps because the word is not out there yet. I have never seen anything like it before. It mounts onto your bicycle handlebars. My Apple iPad is uncrushed, undamaged, and works great on my bicycle. I now have a GPS, a Speedometer, music, the weather, the news all on the go on my bicycle. I could not ask for a better mount! I am impressed with this design. This design also allows me to turn my apple iPad 360 degrees, as well as access all the ports. Checking out e-Bay as “iPad Bicycle”, “iPad Mount”, the seller is TPFIINC.

fixie bikes said...

i guess ive ridden alot of kilometers.