Fully Loaded: A World Gone Bananas

In Tuesday's post, entitled "Hate Muffins," I mentioned so-called "hipster bystanders" on fixed-gears and the London riots. Well, I've since learned from the Tweeter that, in Bristol, at least one fixed-gear rider was not content to stand idly by while the rioters ran amok. Instead, he transformed himself into a skidding-and-Tweeting Edward R. Murrow, and as such he is now being lauded as a hero:

Not only did he risk his own safety, but he also rode up hills:

Supported by several friends around the city, Piers cycled the often hilly streets around the epicentres of the unrest – St Pauls, Stokes Croft, Cabot Circus and Broadmead – on his custom-built bike, covering about 35 miles in under two days and putting out over 200 bulletins and requests for information.

Granted, as a club DJ he might technically be more of a "duder" than a "hilpster," but the fact remains that he provided a valuable service during what must have been a very frightening time. Also, he rode 35 miles in under two days, which is more than most fixed-gear riders manage in a year. Rapha should present him with half a jersey.

Meanwhile, here in New York City, life has been considerably quieter--at least for those of us who don't work on Wall Street. So, given the relative placidity coupled with the fact that we're finally experiencing some non-sweltering weather, I resolved to actively appreciate my good fortune by launching my Smugness Flotilla and journeying to distant shores:

(My Smugness Flotilla, docked on the banks of the Big Skanky.)

Since acquiring the Surly Big Dummy well over a year ago now, it has proven itself indispensable to me by not only facilitating family-style excursions and "portaging," but also by working in tandem with my fundamentally lazy nature. For example, awhile back I made a trip to the beach, and I have yet to unload my folding chair and beach umbrella:

Sure, I considered unloading them at one point, but then I figured "Why bother?" I don't even know it's there when I'm riding in the same way an elephant doesn't know there's a bird sitting on his ass, so it seems easier to just leave the stuff there until next time I go to the beach. Plus, you never know when you might want to create a little impromptu poolside scene next to some fetid puddle somewhere, and if I should suddenly get stuck in a downpour I can just open the umbrella and hunker down under it until the rain stops.

Also, it should go without saying that I always travel with a messenger-style diaper bag and a big bunch of bananas:

In short, at any given moment, the contents of my Big Dummy will allow a small family (complete with helper monkey) to subsist for days. Of course, the obvious downside is that I'm a robust target and therefore total looter bait--at least until I install the key fob-activated smokescreen, which will allow me to go from this:

To this:

By the time the smoke clears, I'll be gone.

Either that, or I may just hide it and myself under camouflage tarp that's painted to look like a dollar store that has already been looted.

Anyway, given the sublime pleasure that leisurely family-style cycling can be, I can't help bristling when I read something like this, which was forwarded to me by a reader:

Yes, it's a letter to the editor from someone named Janet, and she hates cyclists:

I will say it out loud; I hate bicyclists! And, after a brief survey, I know I’m not alone.

There's certainly room for debate when it comes to municipal issues such as bike lanes and so forth, but when someone just hates cyclists because they hate cyclists then they forfeit their right to rational discourse. You simply can't fight this kind of stupidity with reason--it's like trying to verbally coax your shoelaces to untie themselves, or showing your dog a PowerPoint presentation about why he shouldn't eat his own feces. Sure, in the real world Janet deserves to be treated with as much respect as anybody, but when it comes to an exchange of words and ideas she does not warrant respect, intelligent answers, or indeed any sort of explanation. Instead, I believe situations like this call for "idiot diplomacy," and I will answer her many questions using this protocol:

Maybe it’s the outfits, or maybe it’s the attitude. Share the road? Safe passing law? That’s great for them, but what is my recourse?

Good question, Janet. Your recourse is exactly to go fuck yourself. Sure, this may sound harsh, but fucking yourself is fun. And, better yet, the more time you spend trying to fuck yourself, the less time you spend trying to fuck us. It makes the roads safer for everybody.

I pay licensing fees, registration fees, and passed a test to use the road. And the cyclist requirement? None. So when they ride three abreast, halting the flow of traffic, or, without warning, decide to ride the center of the road, whom do I call?

I'd try either 1-800-FUK-SELF, or any of the few remaining people in your life who are still willing to listen to your moronic braying.

They rarely follow traffic signs or use hand signals, and yet it’s my fault when we nearly collide?

Yes, it is, because you're an idiot. And you're lying if you say you've never seen a cyclist use this hand signal.

Why not require all cyclists, both home-grown and visiting, to pass a road test, register, and post a license?

Because it's stupid, and you're stupid. Anyway, cyclists do have to pass road tests, register, and get a license--when they buy cars.

Why don’t we tax them? Then we would truly be sharing the road. Until then, go ahead and call my plate in; I unfortunately have no recourse.

Wow, I must have a really shitty accountant, because I've been paying taxes for years. Can you please point me to the statutes that exempt me from taxes because I'm a cyclist? Could you also point me to the various laws that exempt cyclists who also own cars from licensing, registration, tolls, and fuel costs?

Also, here's another question: When you walk into a crowded room, is there an actual audible sucking sound when you cause the average IQ to plummet like an out-of-control hillbomber?

If you don't like people being exempt from taxes, go bother a religious organization instead of people who like to ride bikes. Who do you think has caused you more problems in this world: cyclists, or "God?"

Speaking of hillbombers, the opposite of hillbombing is climbing, and maybe it would become more popular with the brakeless set if it had a catchier name, like "hillhumping." As it happens, someone called Manuel Forspeed recently "Tweeted" a hillhumping "edit," and then dared me to find anything funny about it:

Here's the video:

A Manual for Speed: Driveway Time Trial from manualforspeed on Vimeo.

Well, Manuel, given that my sense of humor stopped maturing sometime during middle school, I find the idea of a 30-second video that consists entirely of someone bobbing up and down while panting to be extremely funny. He's like totally humping that hill. Also, it's kind of funny that you can see a reflection of Manuel sitting in a hatchback in the rider's sunglasses, which spoils the sense of isolation:

I won't bother to point out the glasses-under-the-helmet strap thing, though, mostly because it's a petty critique in that if I climb anything steeper than the hill in Prospect Park I look like I've been lost in the Florida Everglades for three days. And that's to say nothing of the hill in this video, which would probably cause me to sit on the pavement and sob with a giant snot bubble in my nose.

Anyway, he looks much better than football playing person Tom Brady, who another reader informs me prefers to wear both his helmet straps behind his ears:

Maybe he was confused as to whether the glasses go over or under the straps, so he just figured he'd do neither.

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