Forever In Your Debt: Putting the Car before the Horse

Firstly, I'd hate to do this, but I heard there's some video of a mountain biker getting hit by a an antelope in South Africa. However, I can't seem to find it. If you have any idea where I can watch it please click here. Thanks very much.

Speaking of things that are all over the Internet, you've probably heard by now about that GM advertisement telling college students to "stop pedaling" and to "start driving," as reported by BikePortland:

The cynical view of the American educational system is that it exists solely to make sure you graduate with sufficient debt to ensure your indentured servitude to "the Man" for the rest of your life. I know I had barely hung the obligatory John Cleese "Silly Walk" poster in my own dorm room when I was visited by a phalanx of sorority pledges who, in order to gain acceptance into the sisterhood, had to sign up their fellow freshmen for WhateverBank™ MasterCards. You've got to admire the brilliance of that bank--harness the awesome power of college students' burning desire for social acceptance in order to create a free marketing army who will in turn create thousands of new cardholders for you. Presumably, those sweatpants-clad pledges from Syossett now work on Wall Street, and the stoned freshmen with the towels stuffed under their doors who said "Yes" to the cards are now the Occupy Wall Street protesters, jobless yet still paying off the buckets upon buckets of buffalo wings they paid for with those stupid cards.

Given this, it's hardly surprising that GM would employ a similar peer pressure-driven tactic to sell cars. Sure, entering the nonexistent job market with a student loan and a car loan is like going on one of those "epic" Rapha ride with no food, water, or chamois cream, but at least you won't be some loser who commutes by bicycle. Really, the pitch is so predictable that I can't even bother to be irritated by it--it's no more offensive than those stupid Chrysler ads. What is irritating though is that they don't even have the "pants yabbies" to stand by it. Instead, they're falling all over themselves and apologizing on Twitter:

Yeah, I'm sure they're "looking forward to sharing the roads." Essentially, GM have succeeded in turning the outraged Forces of Cycling Smugness into a free focus group who are now unwittingly helping them re-draft their college ad campaign. It should be a matter of days before a new ad with a driver smiling at a woman on Dutch bike comes out, and they start giving away crappy trunk racks and Denali road bikes with the Chevy Cruze.

In so doing, my intent was to make light of the irony that, in Portland, a mobile bike shop-slash-rolling party is probably commonplace. (I know, high-larious, right? Jokes are even funnier when you explain them.) What I did not mean to do was cause offense to the entrepreneur himself, though unfortunately it appears that I may have done so:

If anyone takes the time to look through my Kickstarter campaign, they will find that in exchange for their contribution, I am offering some pretty solid incentives that are worth at least as much as the contribution itself. I’m sorry, Mr. *****, if my business plan offends your sense of what is proper and good. I suggest you do not contribute to my project.

I am not offended at all--not only do I wish him all the luck in the world, but I also have no sense of what's "proper and good" anyway. (Years ago, I accidentally flushed my moral compass down the toilet, and I have yet to purchase another one because I'm waiting for the crabon version.) I might have felt bad about all this and apologized, but then I noticed something. Before I mentioned his campaign he had raised precisely zero dollars, but since then he's raised seventy-five USA Fun Tickets, which I'll just assume came from someone who saw his campaign on this very blog:

You're very welcome, don't even mention it.

Still, it's just this sort of unpleasant misunderstanding that causes me stress--almost as much stress as needing to have today's "hottest wearable items." And when it comes to hot wearable items, nothing is hotter or more wearable than a dork-tastic pair of glasses that tells you your "wattage:"

So what inspired someone to invent "Fred-vision?" Well, it was a moment as sublime as when that kumquat fell on Sir Isaac Newton's head:

Sport-iiiis inventor and founder of 4iiii Innovations Ian Andes had an “aha” moment when running (yes, on foot). His wristwatch Garmin told him he was running seven-minute miles, a significant milestone for him, and while fixating on his watch, he tripped over a curb and injured himself badly. Similarly, riders doing intervals or other hard efforts can be assured they are working at the proscribed level without losing view of any obstacles they may be quickly coming up on.

Now, you might think the conclusion he should have drawn from this "aha" moment was that he's a gigantic dork and should probably just enjoy running instead of staring at his watch. However, that's just why his "aha" was so brilliant--it's because he realized people want to enjoy cycling just as much as he enjoys running, which is to say not at all. Instead, they want to "work at a proscribed level," and what you might call "scenery" they call "obstacles." Therefore, they buy devices like this, which help you cope with those days when you're forced to ride outside because you can't train at home:

I have no idea what these glasses actually cost, but I'm sure it will be a lot, so if you're looking to save money just get one of those P-touch label makers, print out a sticker that says "You're an enormous geek," and place it on the inside of your sunglasses. As for the audio component, just download this to your media player of choice and play repeatedly.

But for the absolute hottest in wearable items, look no further than road bike shoes with no cleats, as forwarded by a reader:

Just keep in mind this is more of a casual look, and for formal non-walkability you should always go with a pair of ice skates.

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