Living Fierce: Unleashing your Personal Best

As much as I enjoyed my visit to Gothenburg, there is nothing quite as comforting as familiarity. I take solace in the predictable, and my life here in Uh-merica is just that. For example, I know that when I wake up in the morning, the sun will rise. I also know that this sun will shine on monkey feces, since my helper monkey, Vito, likes to relieve himself on my bedspread in the middle of the night. Mostly, though, I know that people in Portland, OR will continue to love beer and bikes, which is why this article on BikePortland should come as no surprise whatsoever:

Yes, it's well-known that putting a bunch of frames in any Portland establishment can double business overnight. This is not limited to bars, either. Even the Multnomah County Health Department is embracing the "put a bike on it" approach. Did you know that, because of low screening rates, less than 40% of colorectal cancers are found early? Well, by installing bike-themed colonoscopy stations all over the city they expect Portlanders will flock to have their colons examined with endoscopic tools fabricated by the city's top framebuilders. These stations will be staffed by United Bicycle Institute student volunteers:

(A UBI student inspects a patient's "bottom bracket" for polyps.)

When it comes to cancer, early (and artisanal) detection is they key to prevention.

Also, apparently Portlanders can't even get through a pint of organic beer or an order of organic french fries without being tempted to perform bike maintenance, which is why the BikeBar has "loaner tools:"

"Hold that thought--I really should service my hub bearings. Can you watch my organic seven-grain stout?"

But clearly the most important amenities are the "'Plug Out' exer-cycles that you can spin and generate electricity while you wait for your order." This is a stroke of genius on the part of the owners, since it simultaneously preys on Portlanders' compulsion to pedal bicycles at all times as well as their borderline pathological need to feel good about themselves, thereby ensuring that the establishment never has to pay a single utility bill. Now that's how you harness the power of smugness.

Meanwhile, when it comes to bicycle-themed entrepreneurship we New Yorkers are woefully behind. However, there is the odd flicker of brilliance, such as this Kickstarter pitch from a Brooklyn man for a bicycle "break" light:


Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this device. For one thing, as far as I can tell, the light only works when you use your brake, which means you're still cloaked in darkness in a non-braking situation. This dovetails into the second problem, which is that nobody uses brakes anymore anyway. If he invented some sort of tire that shoots sparks when you skid then perhaps he'd be on to something. As a bonus, such a tire would open the door for brakeless riders to immolate themselves should they attempt to skid in the vicinity of a fuel spill.

Still, I was inspired by his somewhat disjointed story about how he was inspired to invent the brake light, which is basically that he got into an altercation with a cyclist after nearly running the cyclist over. This reminds me of the Festivus origin story in its sheer negativity. Also, it should go without saying that the kid in the tie-dye is awesome:


His thumbs don't go down for two and a half minutes:


His visage is also nothing short of mezmerizing:

In fact, I haven't been so entranced since my encounter with the Nonplussed Journalist:


His gaze was so persuasive that, despite my initial skepticism, I'd somehow ended up pledging $20,000:

We also now have the exact same haircut, though for the life of me I can't remember going to the barber.

Speaking of brakelessness, a reader recently forwarded me this video of a "midnite crit" in our notion's carpital:

DC Midnite Crit from In The Crosshairs on Vimeo.

I'm always excited to watch a NĂ¼-Fred on-the-bike slapfight, and I knew the competition was going to be fierce when I saw how much trouble some of the participants have with putting on their helmets:


While others forego helmets altogether and opt for the time-honored "windblown butt-cut" look:


The riders tear through corners at a moderate clip, making sure not to use their drops lest they inadvertently pick up speed:


As for the course, "It's about a 10-mile, 10-lap course...crit style, no one gets dropped:"

This explanation puzzled me for two reasons. Firstly, since when does "crit-style" mean no one gets dropped? I can assure you that people do get dropped in crits, and in fact I've been dropped in every single crit I've ever entered. Secondly, at almost no point in the video are any two riders anywhere near each other, which technically means that everybody got dropped--except for the winner, of course. Really, this is less a "crit" than it is a "hipster ITT."

Speaking of the winner, he gets a trophy, and then scowls like a man who knows just how badass it is to beat a bunch of people who don't know how to put on their helmets:

Like tying your own shoes or doing your own laundry, winning trophies is impressive when you're a young child but becomes less so with each passing year. However, in the hipster community all of these feats are sources of great pride until you're well into your 30s. In fact, some say winning a trophy in no-drop crit is the first step to becoming a GNC fixie model, as forwarded to me by a fellow Tweeterer:


Fixie crits may be the new triathlon.
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