Water Water Everywhere: The Revolution Will Be Thirsty

Like anything else in cycling--bicycle choice, wardrobe, body hair "curation," and so forth--watching the Tour de France is not a simple matter. Rather, the manner in which you follow the race is a profound statement about your sophistication as a cyclist and fan. For example, if you want to put yourself forth as a true connoisseur, you're not supposed to watch the Tour on Versus. Instead, you're supposed to say stuff like this in a world-weary fashion:

"Ugh, Phil and Paul are so insipid."

"Too many commercials."

"You know, those vivid HD pictures actually distort the color of the yellow jersey. In real life it has much more of a 'dehydrated urine' tone."

And so forth.

So what's the acceptable way to follow the Tour in America if you're a savvy cycling fan? Well, on obscure European Internet feeds, of course. Tell people you're watching the Tour on Versus and you're a dork; tell them you're following a pirated feed of a Belgian cable public access channel in which a 87 year-old retired kermesse racer sits in front of a black-and-white TV in a pub and and gives inebriated commentary entirely in Flemish and you're an expert.

Also, you get additional Tour expertise points for the length of the URL, and if you want the link to that Belgian feed here it is:

Trust me, you'll find it riveting. Really, following the Tour this way is what the fixed-gear bicycle used to be before it became mainstream: a major inconvenience that serves as a stamp of authority.

But no matter how you choose follow the Tour, I think we can all agree that getting your cycling news from ESPN is like getting your wine at the gas station or your historical facts from Sarah Palin. This is why the recent "ESPNGate" incident in which their on-air personalities douches mocked the Stage 9 crash was anything but surprising. If you were fortunate enough to miss it I summed it up on the Bicycling.com website, and if nothing else the whole affair makes those incessant Weezer/IZOD/Verizon/IndyCar marketing orgy "collabo" commercials on Versus seem infinitely more palatable.

By the way, if you're the sort of person who watches the Tour on obscure Internet feeds (or uses the word "retrofit"), another way to bolster your image as a cycling expert is to tell people how they can use your bike when you sell it to them, as in this ad which was forwarded to me by a reader:

Guess what? When you sell a bike the buyer gets to do whatever he or she wants with it, no matter how stupid it is. If someone wants to turn this into a fixed-gear tall bike and ride it back and forth past the seller's house while dragging all those Campy Super Record parts behind it like "Just Married" cans then I say, "Go for it." In fact, I'd love to see an "edit" of just that, so if someone wants to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary $1,500 I'd be happy to contribute.

Unfortunately though I only have so much money earmarked for self-indulgent grassroots art projects, which means if I were to donate to the Merckx owner-baiting tallbike "edit" I might not have enough left to help this person record banjo songs about water:

As the artist explains:

We all emerged from the water and are more than 2/3 made of this. We hold within our skin a reservoir that allows our life to exist. We mirrors to each other, we carry and amplify vibrations, we are mediums of growth and can be museums of pollution and stagnation. Symbolically, water holds the creative visions of our dreams and ignites conductivity for change.

In other words:

Yes, water is essential for human life. We drink it from plastic bottles:

And we use it to dilute far more important resources, such as oil:

Therefore, she is making a theme album about water:

I am recording an album dedicated to manifesting global health and wealth. I’ve written eight songs that embody and explore aspects of my connection with the water within myself and my environment. Through this fundraiser I will raise money to make and share this music. I am creating a new channel through which currency may flow.

She also tours with a group called "The Pleasant Revolution," who travel by bike, and by the looks of things I'm guessing her "connection with the water within myself and my environment" does not include showering in it:

Nevertheless, she explains, if you support her album "you will be supporting a bike-touring music culture:"

That's right, there's now a "bike-touring music culture." As you can see above, this "culture" is in fact wholly self-contained smugness bubble consisting entirely of musicians who power their equipment by bicycle during performances. There's absolutely nothing extraneous or unnecessary--like, for example, "personal hygiene," or even "an audience."

See, in the bike-touring music culture, audiences are regarded with contempt. Not only do they consume precious resources such as water, but they also force the band itself to consume additional water since the cyclists have to pedal that much harder in order to power the generators. Therefore, members of the bike-touring music culture avoid doing things that might attract an audience, such as showering or being in any way entertaining. This allows them to remain completely audience-free.

The only catch is, not having an audience means there's nobody around to give you money in exchange for providing them with entertainment or even water to consume at your shows. This is where Kickstarter comes in, and, as the artist says, "I need your support to make this project happen."

Give it to her, or she will hypnotize you with her eyes.

If you're a contrary Earth-hating resource-wasting fascist, you may be asking, "So why do I have to underwrite the water album?" Well, first of all, feathers for your hair cost money--it's not like they just fall from the sky and float gently to the ground. Second of all, this is Uh-merica, and even people who wear feathers in their hair and love water don't give their services away for free. If you want something for nothing, you're going to have to go to a communist country like Canada, where a reader tells me they're actually giving away bike lanes:

Wow, free health care and free bike lanes? If they ever get running water up there I may have to move.
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