Riddle Me This: Lost and Found

Today is Wednesday, and we all know what Wednesday means.

It's Riddle Time!

Here goes:

Q: What has no fenders, a kickstand, and is bedazzled by a man who does not own a car?

A: This!

That's right, a reader informs me that you--yes, you!--can win this fantabulous glitter-encrusted sparkly bicycle that has been personally festooned by everybody's favorite carless bicycle advocate. Note that, as per the above-referenced post, you do NOT have to be present to win. Also note that carless bicycle advocate David Byrne does NOT own a car. In fact, implying that he does, or even joking about the idea of David Byrne driving a Dodge Caravan filled with braying soccer brats watching "Spongebob Squarepants" DVDs and throwing Chicken McNuggets at each other, automatically disqualifies you from the raffle.

Sure, a sitcom starring David Byrne as the patriarch of a typical suburban family would be extremely entertaining, but the truth is he would never drive a minivan, nor would he "hit up" the fast food drive-thru, nor would he allow children to do something as vacuous as play soccer when there are obscure ethnic musical instruments that they could be learning to play instead. At most, David Byrne might visit a food truck on his folding bicycle and purchase some organic kimchi. But that's as close to supporting the evil fossil fuel-burning infrastructure as he's likely to get.

Just ask alterna-warbler Thom Yorke if David Byrne thinks jokes like that are funny. He learned the hard way:

David Byrne: a man who has principles, boundless creativity, and a djenbe drum in his bathroom. But not a car.

Anyway, so let's assume you win the raffle, manage avoid using the "c" word (no, not that one, guttermouth) in Byrne's presence, and become the new captain of the Rhinestone Express. Sure, you may think you're in smugness heaven, but I can assure you that your life will not be all peaches and cream--or djenbe drums and kimchi for that matter. You still have to deal with real world stuff, like bike theft. Sooner or later your bike will get stolen, and then you have to compose a heartfelt "stolen bike" post on Craigslist. Just make sure you include all the pertinent information:

Was your bike stolen? (anywhere in NYC)
Date: 2011-07-07, 3:08PM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

I comb through CL everyday looking for rare bikes. Most of the time I find garbage bikes way over priced but, a lot of the time I see people putting in pleas for someone to give them a tip on their stolen bike. Here's my questions for you NY.

Where was your bike stolen?
How? Cut the lock?
What type of lock?
What time of day/night?
What type of bike?

Once saw this chubby hispanic dude scoping bikes across the street from Bembe on South 6 and Berry. I can tell he was a bike thief because he had a rare track bike very poorly painted over. Nobody in their right mind repaints a rare track bike with rattle cans and doesn't bother to save the headbadge.

Before you get your panties in a bunch about this post. I am Hispanic myself so be EZ.

I admit I did get my panties in a bunch--not because of the "Hipsanic" part, but because of the part about how "nobody in their right mind" would repaint a rare track bike. If he saw that bike on South 6th and Berry, then he saw it in Williamsburg, and nobody in Williamsburg is in their right mind when it comes to bikes. People in Williamsburg have been doing ridiculous things to bikes for years now. Nobody in their right mind puts a $1,000 crabon fiber front wheel on a $300 Bikesdirect special either, but it's certainly not stopping them. Really, spray-painting a Colnago is sensible in comparison.

I do agree it's always a good idea to include details though, but don't forget to mention what color mini u-lock skin you were "palping" when the theft occurred:

As stupid as I find the idea of u-lock customization, that text really made me cringe. Maybe I should stop using the "h" word.

Probably less crucial though is describing the race of the supposed thieves in ALL CAPS:

STOLEN BLACK SPECIALIZED by BLACK guys - $500 (Gramercy)
Date: 2011-07-11, 8:13PM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

Saw you three standing there at 20th Park should have double checked the lock to know I missed the frame! Bonehead move! You just made $500 if you see this or anyone knows the bike 58cm large frame all black 2006 Specialized Crossroads Comp Pro disc brakes front fork shock. VERY GOOD condition! It's worth about $500 less the all blacked out front rim you don't have. Meet in Union Square. Cash no questions asked so I can return the $900 replacement Specialized I just bought. Hit me up quick CASH right now CASH money..

Sometimes it's OK to laugh at bike theft victims, and I'd say that this is one of those times. I'm not sure that seeing three people standing near the bicycle you failed to lock properly means they stole it. However, if they didn't take it but they saw who did, I'm pretty sure they're not going to tell you now. Good luck returning the "$900 replacement Specialized" too, I'm sure the shop will be happy to take it back.

Meanwhile, speaking of futile searches, I was pleased to see the return of the famous "Fire seeks Ice" post from one year ago:

Fire seeks Ice for rematch 1 year later, WSH Bikepath - m4m
Date: 2011-07-12, 10:40PM EDT
Reply to:

Well my friend, It has been a little over a year since that FATEFUL DAY but I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN.

I HAVE NOT SLEPT A WINK THIS ENTIRE TIME! Instead I ride the West Side Highway Bike path looking for you, 24 hours a day - 7 days a week, on a CONSTANT vigil hoping to put this challenge to rest.

Lend me your ears, my friend, so that I may refresh your memory of the events that occurred May twenty first in the year two thousand ten:

7pm, zipping down the west side hwy bike path I started to notice some persistent ticking noises. Moments later I heard breathing noises that seemed awfully close, I instinctively turned my head and found you practically riding my ass. I eased my pace to let you pass, but when you didn't I cranked it up a little to leave you in the dust. To my surprise you came flying by me like the wicked witch of the west on your black and silver speedmachine.

As you passed, our eyes locked in slow motion and IT WAS ON. I noticed we were bizarre-o-world cyclists; you on your black and silver bike and white t-shirt and me on my white and gold bike and black t-shirt.
We raced faster than a unicorn on rollerblades that was grinding on a lighting bolt, and as I passed you for the last time we said our first and ONLY words, I said "Opposite bikes" and you fired back in an intense and raspy voice; "FIRE AND ICE".

When I told my sister about our silent bromance she wanted to know which one of us was Fire and which was Ice. I speculate that I am fire because my bike is white hot and your bike is Black Ice. Either way we must face each other ONE LAST TIME for a rematch in which only one of us will make it out alive.


Actually, he's not the only one looking, and here's another poster who may have had a run-in with Ice...or at least Ice, Ice Baby:

young biker tanned blonde rastas - m4m - 23 (East Village)
Date: 2011-07-10, 11:59PM EDT
Reply to:

hey man, sunday afternoon riding your bike in the east vil by astor place, you have blonde rastas, had them up, no shirt on were tanned, you looked funking cool as shit.
hit me up, we crossed eyes by 9th and 3rd and i was with a girl, lets get a beer talk about life.
if this works ill believe in Jah.

Or, it may just have been Ras Trent. Either way, I would also have liked to see the following added:

Works every time.

So what's the answer? How do we stop the cycle of bike theft, and assumptions based on race, and "epic" Cat 6 challenges between the forces of good an evil? How do we instead raise cycling awareness as well as money for new bike racks? Well, with "nerd rides," of course:

A reader alerted me to this, and I'd like to know how you distinguish a "nerd ride" from pretty much any organized ride. Are we supposed to believe that tweed rides, and charity rides, and Critical Mass, and so forth are not nerdy? I browsed the photos that accompanied the article and I saw absolutely nothing to set this ride apart from pretty much any given day in Portland. Calling this a "nerd ride" is like calling an alleycat a "hilpster ride" or a recumbent ride a "beard ride;" it's just assumed and therefore redundant.

Mind you, I say this as a total nerd, since what other kind of person would need a gigantic smugness flotilla to "portage" a single kid and some random crap? Meanwhile, some people manage to get the same "portaging" capability out of a cheap mountain bike:

I happened upon the above bicycle recently, and my smugness was piqued by the home-made rack--fashioned, as it turns out, by a handyman operating under the name of "FixItBrooklyn:"

I was impressed by this, and if I were him I'd abandon the handyman stuff and open an artisanal hand-fabricated bike rack curation shop in Williamsburg. This is just the sort of authentic-looking thing people there would love to put on their bikes and use to not carry anything.

Elsewhere in Brooklyn, I also happened to spot a LAY-oh-pard fixie:

All it needs is a handmade rack--and perhaps a matching u-lock skin.

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