This Just In: Leave-Taking and Decision-Making

Firstly, I should let you know that after today, I will be taking a short leave from this blog. This means I will not be posting here again until Monday, May 23rd, at which point I will resume regular updates. However, please note that I will continue to update my daily Giro d'Italia blog during this time. Also, rest assured I will not be using this leave frivolously, and among other things I plan to finally complete my search for some lugged spokes for my artisanal porteur bike. (It's gonna be total "NAHBS bait.")

Secondly, in yesterday's post I mentioned I will be at the Göteborg Cycel Festival on June 11th, and a number of people subsequently pointed out that I misspelled the city name "Göteborg" by somehow sticking a gratuitous "r" in there. I have since corrected it, and I apologize for the error. At least one person wondered why I didn't just use the anglicized name "Gothenburg," though I think the answer to that is pretty obvious: I wanted to use the umlauts. Also, by way of an excuse, please keep in mind that I'm a product of the American education system. Our schools have only been racially integrated since like 1998, and you can still get sent to the principal's office for implying we may be descended from monkeys, or that condoms are not heathen devil bags. So if you think we actually learn how to spell the names of cities in other countries you're crazy--and also a godless communist, at least according to what I learned in social studies.

Still, I feel terrible, and so as a punishment-slash-learning exercise I made myself write "Göteborg" correctly 100 times. Sadly, though, my attention span is just as tiny as it was in ninth grade, and I kind of got carried away thanks to the umlauts:

As you can see, I can't spell or draw, which is why I eventually became a bike blogger. For further punishment, I assigned myself a five-page report on Göteborg, which I plan to cut and paste entirely from Wikipedia.

Speaking of international incidents, I got one of those spammy scam emails this morning, and I noticed that the scammers are now using some sort of key word technology to customize their missives:

I'm sorry for this odd request because it might get to you too urgent
but it's because of the situation of things right now, I am stuck in
Cardiff,Wales where i came to purchase some bicycle. I was robbed at
the park of the hotel where I stayed,all cash,credit card and cell
were stolen away from me but luckily for me i still have my passports
with me.

I've been to the embassy and the Police here but they're not helping
issues at all and my flight leaves today but i am having problems
settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let me leave
until i settle the bills.

I need a quick loan?? promise to refund it back once i get home.

I knew immediately this was fake for one simple reason:

It's Cardiff, Whales. Duh.

Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the "some bicycle" part. Does the scammer mean "some bicycle" as in "I have to go to Cardiff to pick up some bicycle I just bought on Craigslist?" Or does he actually mean multiple bicycles, as in "Me want to buy some bicycle?" This is an important distinction, because if it's the latter than I'm pretty sure the scammer is my 9th grade English teacher and I should probably report him to the authorities.

Meanwhile, here in Canada's fannypack, a reader informs me that New York City's affable neighbor Philadelphia is like totally stepping up their bicycle enforcement just like we are (they're so cyuuute! I just want to pinch that little Liberty Bell of theirs):

The main difference though is that the police are apparently making a point of ticketing motorists and cyclists--and they're not calling the cyclists "jerks:"

Police officers on bikes and one patrol car will circulate through Center City between 12-4pm educating pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists about the rules of the road and enforcing traffic laws. Brochures have been developed tailored to each user that summarize the rules and will be handed out to walkers, motorists and cyclists. Motorists and cyclists who put others in danger will be ticketed.

I like the part about ticketing "cyclists who put others in danger." If that were actually the basis for ticketing it would be almost impossible to get one while cycling. This is the fundamental irony of American cycling--maintaining the pretense that bicycles and cars are the same and should thus be subject to the same punitive schedule.

What's even more ironic is that a poor student like me who can't even spell rite actually published a book, but isn't that what makes America grate? In fact, my publisher, Chronicle Books, is now publishing more bicycle-themed titles, and I just received a couple of them in the mail. One of these is "I Love My Bike" by Matt Finkle & Brittain Sullivan, and while I apologize for my poor photography I can assure you the book itself boasts top-shelf aesthetics. (Sure, I could learn how to take better pictures, but I didn't become a bike blogger to work.) It's also pretty much exactly what I imagine the Bard College yearbook must look like:

"I Love My Bike" is a series of portraits of people with their bikes, and it's sort of a "who's who" of hipster transplants who have moved from "uncool" cities to "cool" ones:

There's also the requisite Ironic Hipster Nudity (IHN):

As well as a little bit of Fred content, if you're into that sort of thing:

Again, please don't think the poor photos are indicative of the book, and I can assure you that the book inspired the disembodied hand model above to not only say, "Bike, bike, bike!" repeatedly but also to slobber all over most of the photos. I will say I was sort of offended that nobody asked me to be in the book, and while my "fixie" is not even remotely "tight" enough, I would have at least liked a shot at being the token Fred--though from the looks of that last photo the guy they did find totally nailed it.

Meanwhile, a reader has forwarded me a MSN photo gallery of celebrities on bikes, complete with snarky commentary. While some of the images are truly ridiculous, I thought some of the commentary was unwarranted. Consider this one:

"Matthew Broderick embraces the nerdy dad look as he bikes around New York."

"Nerdy dad look" seems a little unfair, he just looks like a regular guy on a bike to me. Sure, he's riding off the sidewalk, and I suppose he does look a little nonplussed, but if you had to endure people shouting "Hey, Ferris!" at you for 25 years you'd be pretty ornery too. And somehow, Matthew Broderick is a nerd, yet they're OK with Ewan McGregor, who looks like he just got dropped from the tweed ride:

"Could anything be cuter than a well-dressed Ewan McGregor biking with an adorable little poodle in his basket? We think not."

Go figure.

Still, it's easy for the media to point and laugh at celebrities on bicycles, since here in Mexico's mullet we're supposed to travel in ludicrously expensive automobiles once we've attained a certain level of success. Or, if you do ride a bike, you've at least got to be unbearably smug about it, as in this video which was forwarded to me by another reader:

My favorite moment is either 1:27, when the guy with no lights gets so overcome with smugness that he goes all Leonardo-DiCaprio-on-the-bow-of-the-Titanic with an "epic" doucheclamation point:

Or 1:46, where the Freds look like they're about to cry:

Anyway, be sure to donate to People for Bikes, so they can make more cutesy videos.

Lastly, before I take my leave for the week, I should share with you some more submissions to the "There Will Be Action Wipes" contest:

Please keep in mind that I'm no longer accepting submissions, and when I return I will set about choosing the winners--though, as you can see, I've got my work "curated" out for me. Here's a lovely collage from Rantwick:

Here's a symbol that evokes mysticism, and comes from an unlikely source:

Bike Snob, please wade with me through this, my magnum opus:

* Triangular schematic evokes triathleticism, triathletic food pyramid (beginning at the top: drink, bar, wafer, cube, shot, and gel)

* Cephalic ovoid approximates ideal airfoil shape of polystyrene/cranial composite while simultaneously symbolizing the Interstellar Tridorkian Fred Delivery Device (ITFDD or, colloquially, "Subaru Baja") beaming the retro-Fred and his alien ferrous alloy technology to earth

The broad strokes of this work may also be interpreted by the casual observer as representative of Tridorkian reproductive apparatus, specially evolved to withstand grueling half-centuries astride a Selle Italia Turbo saddle. Due to the time-travelling nature of the Tridorkian people, this motif also informs the symbology of the Illuminati.

Thank you for your consideration.

Noam Chomsky

I'm pretty sure it's actually him, too.

Here's one that's far more prosaic, though no less delightful:

Bold. Simple. Classic.

Here's one that the submitter was considerate enough to furnish in both "NSFW:"

And Larry King-ified form:

And here's one based on the infamous "" advertisement in Bicycling:

Which is a work of unparalleled subtlety:

I hope to have acquired some sort of handle on the submissions when I return next week.

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