Early Birds: Putting the "Pro" in Procrastination

"A stitch in time saves nine;" "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today;" "Today's epidermophyton floccosum is tomorrow's tinea cruris"--all of these are popular sayings that warn of the dangers of procrastination. And nobody is more aware of the dangers of procrastination than professional cyclists, who must begin working towards their seasonal athletic goals and fleshing out their positive test result excuses many months in advance. Moreover, while it's never too early to start training, it's also never too early to start putting your foot in your mouth, which is why I was pleased to see that Andy and Frank Schleck of the LAY-oh-pard Trek professional bicycling pro cycling team are already sizing up their potential Tour de France rivals:

For his part, Andy Schleck sees his chief rival as Ivan Basso, though he also cites Denis Menchov and Cadel Evans:

"I think that the main rival will be Ivan Basso. Denis Menchov and Cadel Evans will be there too," he said.

In other words, on the Schleckian feline rival-rating scale, Basso gets a full five snarling LAY-oh-pards:

While Menchov rates four:

As does Evans:

On the other hand, the Schlecks were dismissive of both Carlos Sastre and Alexandre Vinokourov:

Two riders that both brothers discounted as yellow jersey hopefuls were Carlos Sastre and Alexandre Vinokourov.

When asked about the Kazakh, Andy said, "Honestly I don't think he can do it. I believe the climbs are just too hard for him. I think he can win stages, take yellow, but he cant' take it to Paris."

I was surprised to see them write off the solipsistic Vino, a dynamic and unpredictable rider who surely deserves more than a mere half a LAY-oh-pard:

Though it is hard to argue with their assessment of Sastre, whose Schleckian ranking of three (3) fierce pussies (pronounced "fee-AIRSE poo-SAYS") will certainly strike most cycling fans as being fairly accurate:

Speaking of fierce pussies, according to local media the reign of terror that is the Great NYPD Bicycle Crackdown continues unabated, and since we're now living under martial law I've been riding with the sort of docility not seen since Carlos Sastre's last Grand Tour performance. This might make me a "woosie," but the "epic" horror stories are already pouring in and I have no intention of doing anything to arouse the ire of the police, like these people have:

One of them even wound up in jail:

On Wed. January 5th I was stopped riding my bicycle on Grand and Roebling without Back reflector and headlight. In panic and outrage at a ticket for laws I haven't heard about, I made a mistake to continue riding. Police car hit my bike into the snow. At that point, I took out my wallet and offered an id. Police officer screamed "now you are going to jail." Without Any other explanation, he twisted my arm to the point of pain. I started screaming, trying To call attention to the violance. However, I did not fight back or run, just tried to resist My arm being broken. More policemen twisted both of my arms and pushed me on the Ground, face down into the garbage bags. At that point I realized they wanted my hands for Handcuffs behind my back. However I was never told that and had no idea how handcuffs operate, Having never been handcuffed in my live. After this, I was taken to the precinct and spend 24 Hours in jail. Jail had 15 women in about 15 by 20 room with floor space for 10 matts, an open toilet, no soap, dirty floors and matts that were not disinfected and dirty, cockroaches, mice, and rats. There was a sign on the wall "soap avaialable upon request." However, upon request, the guard said that there is no soap and the sign was just put up for inspection.I was released on a half a year Hold, found not guilty and given one day of community service I don't exactly know why. To complete The picture of the police actions against me, I would like to add that I am a 33 year old woman, 5.1 in height, who has never been arrested before. After this I am not so sure about ride safely....

I'm as outraged by this story as anybody, but at the same time I think that every adult in New York City needs to know two things about riding bikes:

1) You need to use lights on your bike at night;

2) When the police pull you over to give you a ticket, regardless of what kind of vehicle you're piloting, stay put and take the ticket. It's still only a piece of paper at that point, and there will be ample opportunity later to appeal the summons, put the entire system on trial in traffic court, and share your indignity with other sympathetic souls on Streetsblog. Giving the police any kind of excuse is like dropping your chain when Alberto Contador's around--you can be sure they're going to use it against you, and you can also be sure they'll come up with some sort of half-assed rationale for it afterwards.

Still, while this cyclist may have tempted fate, it's a depressing tale, and if any good comes of it hopefully it's that other riders will at least manage to avoid the same fate. By the way, if you haven't already figured it out by now, "Bike Friendly NYC 2.0" works like this:

1) The DOT paints big green lanes for you and hands out free bike lights;

2) When you fail to use those lights, the NYPD throws you in jail.

Absurd perhaps, but I suppose there's a cruel logic to it. Even so, it's getting hard to tell whether, as a cyclist, the city loves me or hates me. I wish they'd make up their mind already, and if they hate me I'd be more than happy to leave if they would pay for my relocation expenses. Actually, the city could probably transplant the entire cycling population to Portland for less than they're spending on this bizarre cycle of punitive coddling. Somebody should put some sort of spreadsheet in front of the mayor.

The real tragedy though is that this harrowing story is unlikely to deter the legions of hipsters who ride lightless and brakeless in New York City, since her description of the jail cell sounds exactly like their apartments in Bushwick (right down to the ironic "soap available on request" sign), and the only difference is that they're spending $1,500 a month to live in them.

Meanwhile, in other unfortunate cycling news, a number of readers have informed me that an astronaut was recently injured in a bike accident:

When a "normal" person gets hurt, the first question everyone asks is, "Is he OK?" However, when a cyclist gets hurt, all anybody wants to know is, "Was he wearing a helmet?" so I'm sure some smugmonger will use this photo against him:

Clearly Kopra is one of those "rocket chic" astronauts who prefers to go without a helmet--as is his right--and I wouldn't be surprised if he even participates in the occasional Jules Verne-inspired "tweed mission:"

("Rocket chic" astronauts prove it's possible to look fabulous while visiting the Moon in their Dutch city capsule.)

Only total astro-Freds wear spacesuits. In any case, here's wishing Kopra a speedy recovery.

But while space travel may be impressive, it's nowhere near as amazing as time travel, and you may recall the "time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork" who recently appeared in a Perform pain reliever ad in VeloNews:

Well, he's apparently been flitting about the space-time continuum like a Portlander prancing around a cyclocross course, for a reader informs me he's also promoting the 2011 Grand Rapids Triathlon:

And if that weren't astounding enough, another reader called "Tito the Helper Monkey" spotted him in an ad for prescription sunglasses in this morning's The Advertiser, a newspaper in Adelaide, South Australia:

Is there anything this guy can't sell, and are there any laws of physics strong enough to prevent him from doing so? I used to think time travel was impossible, but when I saw that last ad I felt like Madeleine Stowe in "12 Monkeys" when she sees Bruce Willis in that World War I photograph, and it would not surprise me in the least to see him turn up in some pennyfarthing ad from the 19th century. Even more amazingly, it seems as though "fixie" riders may also be attempting to unlock the secret of time travel, for another reader recently forwarded me the following video:

City of Rewind (Jakarta Fixed Gear) from Rudy Satria on Vimeo.

Clearly, he believes that by straddling the bike backwards while riding it he can reverse the passage of time and travel back to the 1980s when his disgusting DayGlo palate was socially acceptable and didn't make everybody want to throw up.

Meanwhile, yet another reader forwarded me the following entry from the Seoul Cycle Design Competition which suggests that other riders are attempting to unleash the tremendous cycling potential of "Bird Fooking:"

In the designer's own words:

”BIRD FOOKING" is alternative carrier. Your favorite bag is to carrier. Put it on your free position. And,you can fook anything,bag,umbrella,drink bottle, and so on.

Sure, this makes little sense, but honestly, who hasn't tried to fook a bottle at one time or another?

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