Hungry for Justice: Meating Your Fate

Subsequent to the "dropping" of the controversial Alberto Contador "meatgate" verdict on Monday, reactions from the sporting world have been many and varied. Some pundits say Contador's punishment is draconian, others say that disqualification is too good for him, and still others (at least in America) say, "Alberto who? You mean people get paid to ride bikes?" But one man in particular isn't taking this verdict (metaphorically) lying down. Instead, he's (metaphorically) standing tall by (literally) lying down and not eating anything--for justice!

That's right, Professor Einstein here is apparently "goin' hungry" and refusing to feast until his favorite "fingerbanger" is free. Of course, Contador's claimed ingestion of a tainted steak is what got him in this whole mess in the first place, so I'm not sure if the irony of this protest is accidental or intentional. Either way though, it's clear that Contador's inimitable riding style is like Prozac for the peckish professor:

“He brought me out of the depression I was suffering with, I could only get over it when I used to watch him racing in the afternoons on the TV. I was very ill, but in my house they knew that each afternoon they had to put me in front of the television and let me watch Contador, and that that helped me to move forwards,” he said.

Now, I understand how distressing this must be for the professor, but I'd hate to see any harm come to him and so I'd ask that he at least consider the potential healing power of 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans:

(Evans mimes the act of eating to encourage the professor)

The consummate patron of the peloton, Evans is already en route to the professor's house in Spain, where he will solemnly promise to win the queen stage for him while wearing an Alberto Contador mask.

Speaking of being robbed (which the professor maintains Conatador was), yesterday I mentioned bike theft, which prompted one reader to leave the following comment:

Anonymous said...

Isn't putting some of the blame of the victim of a bike theft for poor lock quality or too expensive a bike kind of like blaming a rape victim for dressing too sexily? Seriously, bike thieves are scum and they have no excuse for stealing others property regardless of how enticing it might be. You seem to be saying that we all have to ride shit bikes to work and carry 7 different locks or it's our own fault is someone takes our bike. someone's been hitting the wednesday weed a little early.

February 7, 2012 2:11 PM

I think there's only one instance in which it would be appropriate to compare bike theft with the utterly despicable crime of rape, and that's if someone were to actually rape you while taking your bike. Otherwise, equating the two crimes is borderline cringeworthy. If anything, saying people in the city should take due care when locking their bikes is more like saying people in the country should make sure to secure their garbage can lids in order to discourage raccoons, since in both cases you're dealing with crafty animals motivated only by basic survival instincts. And yes, I do think Americans need to come to terms with the fact that we should be riding shitty bikes to work, for the same reason most of us realize we shouldn't paint the house while wearing our best suit. (This is my best suit.) Most importantly, anything designed to be portable--whether it's a bicycle, a laptop, or a "smart phone"--is going to be easily stolen, and failing to take the proper steps to protect it is to grossly misunderstand the workings of both physics and human nature.

Given all this, probably the most theft-resistant bicycle would be a really crappy recumbent.

This is certainly not to defend the actions of bike thieves, nor to excuse the theft of even a completely unsecured bicycle. However, the difference between your bicycle being there and being gone when you emerge from your manicure or your boil-lancing appointment is often maddeningly thin. For example, consider this bicycle, spotted in Portland by a reader:

Oh, come on now:

Then again, this is Portland, so maybe the owner thinks the thief will be sufficiently deterred by the unsightly nature of a non-integrated fork crown mated to an integrated head tube.

Meanwhile, the above bicycle is positively theft-proof compared to this Langster:

Which employs the cunning "lock making contact with the pedal" technique:

Though I shouldn't judge, for I too have completely missed the frame while locking on at least one occasion:

Of course, that bicycle was the Base Urban belt drive disco freakout bike--which still ranks among the worst non-department store bikes I've ever ridden--and it's entirely possible that subconsciously I wanted it to get stolen.

Sure, in an ideal society we would not be plagued by bike theft, but obviously any society that produces atrocities like serial murderers or the TV show "Glee" is anything but ideal. Given this, the onus to protect our bikes lies mainly with us--even though the law is technically on our side. The same thing goes for car doors--technically and legally it's the drivers and passengers who should be paying attention, but in practice avoiding them is up to us. And moronic ideas like this one (forwarded by another reader) are certainly not helping:

Here's the inspiring story of how the world's biggest idiot came up with the world's dumbest idea because he was too stupid to simply turn his own watermelon-shaped head:

It has likely happened to all of us: we're casually opening the door of a car when another car or bike comes whizzing past, nearly hitting the door because they didn't see it opening. Instructables user milesfromnelhu recognized the problem and decided to fix it by spray painting a warning strip on the inside of the door.

By this point in the article I've already formed a pretty clear picture of Instructables user milesfromnelhu, and that is of a slow-witted lummox who goes around spraypainting anything that confuses him. I'm reasonably sure he's also fallen into his own toilet at least a few times because he's forgotten to put the seat down, and that he's since spraypainted the rim of the bowl in a sad attempt to obviate the problem. And equally if not more stupid is the author of the article itself, who also offers this by way of explanation:

As the above picture shows, milesfromnelhu suggests painting the inside of the door that oncoming traffic is going to see first so they're warned of the door opening. It's true you should be looking in your side mirror before popping open the door, but it doesn't always happen.

Amazingly, there are people who are actually so dumb that the simple act of checking a mirror isn't even voluntary--rather, it's just something that either happens or doesn't happen depending on whatever impulses happen to be passing through their primitive nervous systems at the moment. For these human jellyfish, existence is merely a series of involuntary reflexes--a lifelong procession of jerks and spasms. Most horrifically, pretty much all of these people also have drivers' licenses, and they operate their vehicles in an infrastructure that has been purpose-built to protect them from any legal ramifications. Consequently, we're forced to do all their thinking for them, and to do the work of actually avoiding them while they're pointlessly spraypainting the doors of their crappy cars.

Of course, you could always install a custom cockpit that will serve as sort of a frontal "crumple zone," such as this one which was forwarded by yet another reader:

(The aerobars buckle and rotate upward on impact)

Or, maybe the bike salmon aren't so foolish after all, since their angle of approach at least means the car door will probably close on impact, hopefully trapping the driver's limbs in the process. This could be why the New York Times has literally used a bike salmon as the very picture of personal health (as forwarded by still yet another reader):

Just spraypaint yourself orange and salmon away.

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