Prize Fighting: Knuckle Down to Win

If you're reading this blog (which you obviously are), there's a good chance that you also read Fat Cyclist. And if you do read Fat Cyclist, you know that this has been a time of great difficulty for him and for his family. Since starting my own blog I've been very fortunate to get to know a number of people in the cycling world, and few have been as gracious and supportive as Fatty. On a number of occasions he has offered me unsolicited help, which I've generally repaid by remaining aloof and elusive, as is my wont.

As such, I wanted to show Fatty how much I appreciate him and how much I regret my own sorry behavior. My first thought was to get a Fat Cyclist knuckle tattoo. However, in mocking it up I couldn't figure out how to fit it on my hands, and this was the best I could come up with:

But then I had another idea. Fat Cyclist often runs contests on his blog; in fact, I was even a prize in one of these contests. (Arguably this was the second-worst prize Fatty ever offered, just ahead of the time he gave away a non-running 1987 Chevrolet Chevette.) As such, I figured I'd doff my cap to him by running a contest of my own in his honor. Unfortunately, I don't have access to the sorts of prizes Fat Cyclist gives away, like new bikes and exotic vacations. However, I did rummage around in the BSNYC/RTMS supply closet and found a few items which some people might want.

As far as the contest itself, I figured I'd invite people to create their own Fat Cyclist tribute knuckle tattoos. This can take any form you'd like. You can write something on your own knuckles. You can photoshop something onto a picture of knuckles. You can even draw a picture of a tattoo of someone with a Fat Cyclist knuckle tattoo. Honestly, I don't care what it is as long as it:

1) Somehow involves Fat Cyclist;
2) Somehow involves knuckle tattoos;
3) Is an image or video that people can look at on a blog.

I'm also setting a firm deadline of, oh, sometime next week-ish...? As for the prize list, it's marginally less impressive than what you might win in the Cat 5 field of your local office park crit, but at least it's all free:

1st Prize

A Rapha (!) Lion of Flanders t-shirt in the Mapei colorway (and in the large sizeway) which has never been worn;

2nd Prize

A pair of front and rear Knog Beetle lights (cousin to the "hipster cyst") which are still in the original packaging;

3rd Prize

A BSNYC/RTMS Lounging Smock (choice of large or medium sizeway) which has never been worn and is not for sale.

Here they are arrayed on the BSNYC/RTMS Test Sisal in all their meh-nificance:

Even if you're not impressed by any of these prizeways, hopefully people can at least have some fun and consider this contest a way of showing Fat Cyclist their appreciation for all the great blogging he's given us. And in the meantime, please visit his blog and send him your best.

Oh, one other thing: any entrants who actually get a real permanent subcutaneous Fat Cyclist knuckle tattoo will be automatically disqualified. As fond as I am of Fat Cyclist, I must say that I think getting a Fat Cyclist knuckle tattoo is an extremely bad idea. In fact, it makes this guy's knuckle tattoo seem sensible in comparison:

I have nothing but respect for those in the nursing profession, and that of course includes male nurses. However, a male nurse with a knuckle tattoo is sort of like a Rivendell with a set of crabon aero bars. Furthermore, if you're going to get a knuckle tattoo that says "Rock Star," you should at least be an actual rock star. If people aren't making plaster casts of your penis then you probably don't qualify--and messing around with the orthopedic supplies during your lunch break doesn't count. Most importantly, wondering what your boss is going to think about your knuckle tattoo on Monday is antithetical to both rock stardom and knuckle tattooing. It's like the Hell's Angel who's afraid his mother will ground him for smoking cigarettes.

Speaking of confused people, a number of readers have forwarded me this story about a firefighter who shot at a cyclist:

Attempting to kill people for engaging in unsafe behavior is the sort of ├╝ber-irony to which the hipsters of Williamsburg can only aspire. Perhaps the firefighter had just come from a building inspection where, after finding a number of fire code violations, he simply doused the place in kerosene and set it ablaze. I suppose we should at least look on the bright side and be thankful he's not a sex-ed teacher. One can only imagine the sorts of punishments he'd mete out to people who fail to wear protection in bed.

Marginally less ironic is this "Lone Wolf" knuckle tattoo, to which a number of readers have alerted me:

I applaud the fact that this person doesn't "need anybody to survive," and that he lives "outside the pack, the worlds bullshit society." However, I do find it slightly vexing that this particular Lone Wolf requires tattoo validation. We've all heard the philosophical riddle: "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Similarly, if a Lone Wolf has a knuckle tattoo and no one is around to see it, is there any point getting the tattoo in the first place? Apparently not, since while he doesn't need anybody to survive he does need to upload his knuckle tattoo to an online gallery so they can see his tattoo. This is like telling your parents that you don't need them, storming out of the house, and then storming back in and asking to borrow $75.

Really, the true Lone Wolves do not need to label themselves, because if you're fortunate enough to encounter them you'll know it even without knuckle tattoos. More importantly, they transcend labeling. Take one of cycling's most notable Lone Wolves, spotted enjoying a burrito by a reader not too long ago:

I've mentioned in the past that Californians have a penchant for telling "epic" burrito stories, and while some of them can be quite tedious this particular burrito story truly qualifies as Homeric, since not only is the Lotus TT bike in the picture, but the USA logo on the front wheel is perfectly and heroically aligned like the shield of a great warrior. Of course, you don't "palp" a bike like that every day, which is why the Lone Wolf has also curated this wind-cheating daily rider, photographed by another reader:

Here's a spy shot taken during a pit stop (presumably before commencement of wind tunnel testing) which offers a clearer view of both the fairing and the under-saddle water tree:

But most telling is this photo, courtesy of Gary, which indicates that we may be seeing a Lone Wolf x Radio Shack "collabo" in the near future:

Note the "Now Hiring" sign on the door. Could we see the Lone Wolf riding for the Shack alongside Lance Armstrong in 2010? Even though a true Lone Wolf "collabiates" with no one, the fact is that the Lone Wolf also depends on his Discman (Lone Wolves hate iPods), and Radio Shack is now offering low, low prices on portable CD players. ITTET, that may be too sweet a deal to pass up.

Indeed, the only things more alluring to Lone Wolves than Discmans (Discmen? Discpeople?) are bar ends. A reader in Germany has recently forwarded me this configuration, which is an engineering and curatorial marvel:

In the right hands (or the wrong hands, depending on how you look at it), bar ends become Lincoln Logs of Insanity--of, if you prefer, Erector Sets of Madness. While ordinary cyclists simply choose a set of handlebars that are comfortable and perhaps even go so far as adding a clip-on accessory, the bar end enthusiast asks himself (or, occasionally, herself), "Where are my hands most comfortable?," and then answers simply, "yes." Here's a slightly different view of this particular setup, which reveals that this bicycle has at least two pairs of brake levers:

Yes, it's comforting to know that if your hands eventually do migrate to the forwardmost set of bar ends that you don't have to clamber back down the ladder in order to stop yourself:

Actually, it very well could be that this bicycle belongs to the Hindu deity Kali. If only I had that many knuckles, I'd tattoo them with the most "epic" burrito story the world has ever heard.
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