Menace to Propriety: Sharing the Road

In yesterday's post, I mentioned an enraged woman who was buzzed by either an "asshat" or a person wearing an asshat. Sadly, we may never get to hear the asshat's side of the story--though if he was wearing lycra and riding fast on a road bike in Prospect Park at midday (instead of in the early morning when actual sanctioned road races take place) then we can probably infer that he's a "Classic Fred." (As opposed to a "Nü-Fred," in which case he would have been doing the same thing on an IRO with really long bullhorns while wearing a skateboard helmet and a Kryptonite lock around his waist.) Still, it's impossible to know whether or not he'd be contrite. Generally, "Classic Freds" do not admit wrongdoing, and instead prefer to shout "On your left!" to children on training wheels and parents pushing strollers as their baggy Primal jerseys flutter imperially in the breeze. However, some menaces do feel remorse--so much so that they seek absolution in the online confessional that is the Craigslist "Missed Connections." Here's one example:

woman i knocked over on bianci 5th ave 13st - m4w
Date: 2009-08-08, 10:16AM EDT

i hope you see this or tell someone your story who reads this and tells you. i am still feeling very bad and sorry for almost running you over today on 5th ave by 13th street and making you fall over on your bike. I didnt see you but thats no excuse it was totally my fault and you were so sweet and nice about it which makes me feel worse. you had every right to curse me out or slap me and you just stayed posative and nice. Please if you find anything wrong with your bike just let me know i will pay whatever cost to fix it or at least let me make it up to you somehow.

I'm not sure what the poster almost ran over the cyclist with but I'm assuming it was a car. Also, without even looking at her bike I can tell that there is something wrong with it, since it's in dire need of an "h." However, not all menacing drivers are praising cyclists for their "posativity." In fact, some people think cyclists are the real menace:

This searing letter to the editors of the Kennebec Journal and/or Morning Sentinel is nothing short of of incendiary, and the author's anger is both palpable and rubbable. Indeed, she's so enraged that she actually says joggers and cyclists are as big a problem as Canadian tourists. (I believe that last week the Kennebec Journal published another letter entitled "Canadian Tourists are Eroding Our Moral Fiber and Possibly Eating Our Children.") This is because joggers and cyclists not only cause "passing traffic to gawk at them," but also because they cause drivers to "turn out for them."

Ordinarily a letter like this might make me angry, but in this case it just seems quaint in a New Englandy kind of way. First of all, if people in this part of Maine are gawking at joggers and cyclists to the point that it's making them late to work then they're obviously pretty naive. (Presumably they're also gawking at Canadians, though if I saw one eating a small child I suppose I'd gawk too.) Speaking of naiveté, take this headline, which ran right next to the letter:

Now there's a shocker.

Also noteworthy was the accusation that joggers and cyclists are causing drivers to "turn out for them." Now, I always thought that "turning out" was what a pimp did when he put a woman to work for him--even Wikipedia agrees. So when the author of the letter says that joggers and cyclists make drivers "turn out for them" does this mean that they're actually driving the members of this community to lives of prostitution? If they are then I guess she has a right to be upset. One morning your neighbors are driving to work, then they see someone wantonly running in a pair of Sauconys or wearing a Primal jersey and riding a Trek 1000, and next thing you know they're in the parking lot of a Dunkin' Donuts selling handjobs to Canadian tourists. Certainly then "curating" a sternly-worded letter to the editors of the Kennebec Journal is in order, lest the place turn into some degenerate cesspool of sex, Canadians, and fitness.

Still, she should think "posatively" and be thankful that she doesn't live in New York City. Another reader recently informed me of a photography project called "A Girl's Bike."

If you're the sort of person who is liable to be driven to gawking and prostitution by cyclists then the streets of New York should be sufficient to turn you into a character from "Dolemite."

Most importantly, the letter writer should also learn how to "Share The Road," as recommended by what may very well be the most contradictory licenseplateway ever minted by any one of the 50-ish United States:

The reader to whom this belongs assures me that it is not a vanity plate and that the letters were in fact randomly generated by the state of Oregon. Still, I'm sure you'll agree that the fact that an Oregonian license plate actually depicts a bicycle with a derailleur is top-shelf irony. Actually, derailleurs seem to be vanishing everywhere. Just a few years ago, it was difficult to find a frame with horizontal dropouts or track ends. Now, it seems like everywhere you look--whether it's your LBS, eBay, or Craigslist--someone's trying to sell you a track bike. Really, finding a frame that will accept a derailleur is almost as hard as finding a seller who will accept low balls:

Honestly, I don't understand why the seller is making such a big deal. If someone wants to buy the frame, what difference does it make how low their "pants yabbies" may hang? High and tight, low and pendulous, or completely nonexistent--none of these qualities should have any bearing on the transaction. In fairness to the seller, though, it's possible he's had problems in the past with buyers returning the frame for inadequate testicular clearance. However, to them I say "caveat emptor." (That's retail-pretentious for "All You Buyers Mind Your Balls.") Plus, they can always install a top tube pad:

I haven't been seeing quite as many top tube pads recently and was beginning to think they'd gone the way of the flop-and-chop, so I was pleased (and by "pleased" I mean "horrified") to find that they're still not only readily available but also highly customizable. This particular top tube paddery assures you that one of these things will make your bike "protected and fanciful" and that they are not "just for the 'hipsters'"--despite the fact that being "protected and fanciful" is what hipsterism is all about. Plus, if this bike doesn't belong to a hipster then I'll eat a Brooks saddle:

Ugly! pads are $20, with a $3 upcharge for "Hella Ugly!" and a $1.50 premium for a "lock loop." (Presumably the lock loop will foil top tube pad thieves, who are notorious for both their velcro expertise and their complete inability to operate scissors.) However, if this is too expensive for you, you can also purchase one for $12 from Republic Bike--just in case your Urban Outfitters special isn't already colorful enough:

Or, you can just try to purchase this "one of a kind" fixed-gear which was forwarded by a reader, and which features a leather top tube pad and random sterling silver bits to augment the crappy parts:

This should make a nice gap bike while you wait for your Aurumania.

Speaking of balls, not too long ago I read in VeloNews that basketball player Deron Williams would compete against Floyd Landis in a time trial:

I was amused to note that Landis would "school Williams on the intricacies of a time trial," and I wondered if that schooling would involve demonstrating the proper application of a testosterone patch to the scrotum. Well, apparently not, because the competition took place this past Friday, and it turns out it was Williams who actually "schooled" Landis. Here's Williams in "Classic Fred" attire:

Even though Williams had a head start, Landis's loss should ensure that his name continues to be followed by the word "Ouch" long after he leaves his current team:

Really, the only way for Landis to redeem himself for this loss would be if Williams were to now test "posative" for performance-enhancing drugs. Well, that, or if Shaquille O'Neal were to also beat Lance Armstrong in their own upcoming novelty race. This way there would be headlines reading "Shaq Shucks Schlepping Shacker" and everyone would forget about Landis due to all the awful puns. Ouch.

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