Cine-meh: Have Fixie, Will Travel

Well, it was another beautiful day yesterday, and this meant that the streets of New York City were teeming with tentative riders on fixiebikes.  There's no surer sign of spring than the re-emergence of the fixiebike pilots, their bicycles unsullied by the grit and grime of winter, their pristine designer backpacks still smelling faintly of the mothballs in which they were stored, and their feeble riding skills blunted even further by months of inactivity.  But what they may be lacking in ability they more than make up for with their renewed vigor and vitality, and they'll race you off that stoplight with the enthusiasm of a dog humping a shoe.

Of course, the seasonal uptick in fixiebike riders means increased demand for certain goods and services, among these being bike tune-ups they don't need, updated hip pouches to fit the new contours of their upgraded smartphones, and crucial tattoo sleeve embellishments.  It also means they need fresh entertainment to get them fired up for the commute home, and to that end the Stelvio-bombing, SUV-motorpacing guy is preparing to "drop" a new video called "Asmawa" about how he went "hillbombing" in Africa and inspired a nation:

ASMAWA – Seabase in Eritrea (Official Teaser) from YUHZIMI Ltd. on Vimeo.

Here's what "Asmawa" isn't:

ASMAWA is not just a film about “Euro-boy” riding brakeless down a mountain road in Africa.

And here's what it is:

It is more the story of a pure-hearted athlete who discovers a new world – not least within himself.

Indeed, so pure of heart is this athlete that he deigns to give the noble gift of himself to the humble people of Eritrea:

("I already heard from people that he is here.")

I'm sure the Eritreans will tell tales of his cycling greatness to their children, and to their children's children.  Either that, or they'll tell the story of the rich idiot who destroyed a $60 rear tire during a single descent in a country where the annual per capita income is a little over $300.

(Or, you could use a brake.)

In addition to teaching these poor people about the merits of conspicuous consumption, this pure-hearted athlete also teaches them about the pleasure of "risky business:"

Through meeting people I then also had the opportunity to ride through the streets of Asmara with the Eritrean national team. When I jumped the red lights they wouldn’t follow and stayed back yelling after me. After a while they then followed and took pleasure in some risky business. That was fun. 

I'm glad he encouraged them to loosen up, though I wonder if maybe their reluctance has something to do with Eritrea's abysmal human rights record:

Human rights in Eritrea are viewed as poor.[1] Eritrea is a one-party state in which national legislative elections have been repeatedly postponed,[2] the judiciary is weak, and constitutional provisions protecting individual freedom have yet to be fully implemented.[citation needed] Security forces are responsible for unlawful killings. Observers in the West accuse the Government of Eritrea of arbitrary arrest and detentions and of detaining an unknown number of people without charge for their political activism.[citation needed] Freedom of speech and the press are severely constrained while freedom of assembly, association, movement, and religion also are restricted.

When this pure-hearted athlete runs a light in Europe he probably gets a fine which he then bills to his sponsor, Red Bull.  However, when an Eritrean runs a light he probably sits in a jail cell for 17 years.  Still, I bet Eritrea is a better place to ride a bike than New York City, where truck drivers run you over and drive away and then the NYPD hides the evidence.

Indeed, if there's one gift that both Americans and Europeans have to give to the world, it's the gift of being heedless, self-important douchebags who fart money:

(Pure-hearded athlete farting money.)

By the way, if you're wondering what riding brakeless track bikes down hills is all about, here's your answer:

How did the downhill from Asmara to Massawa challenge you physically and mentally?

103 kilometers through unfamiliar territory, 60 kilometers of that steep downhill, it really takes it out of you. When I ride I never put my feet up, I control the speed by skidding, many times. My state of mind is so different when I’m on my track bike. I have to be clear and focused; it’s not like a regular road bike. You can’t just let the bike roll and enjoy the environment. Riding fixed, brakeless, for me means being 3 seconds ahead. Foreseeing and assessing the contingencies requires a hundred percent attention for that very moment and beyond. Physically I recovered very soon after but it took me at least an extra day to be mentally present again.

I don't know about you, but I really hate enjoying my environment.  I also hope the film covers the extra day of vapidity that the pure-hearted athlete apparently experienced after riding down that hill due to the fact that thinking a whole three seconds ahead is so mentally taxing.  Then again, I have a feeling that it will be difficult to distinguish it from his regular state of vapidity.

Of course, the fact of the matter is that most of us have our own daredevil dreams whether we admit it or not, and I am no exception.  Recently I found myself watching this video, and I realized that my ultimate fantasy is to one day become a Mavic Test Fred:

I was particularly impressed by the "riding through the sprinkler system" test:

Which was the most rigorous process I'd seen since the "diminutive Frenchman" test:

Naturally, if you're going to become a daredevil cyclist then you need an appropriate wardrobe, and nothing says "daredevil" like a Rock Racing "cycling waistcoat:"

Worn shirtless, of course:

Going sleeveless may not be UCI legal, but it's douchebag mandatory.

But what if you're not a daredevil at heart yet you still want to undertake an "epic" cycling adventure of self-discovery?  Well, you can always follow Huck Finn on your bike, as in this project I saw on the Kicking Starter:

Evidently this trip was not only funded but also happened already, and it was made "primarily by bicycle" even though they drove roughly twice as much as they rode:

Here’s the plan: Leave Houston to New Orleans June 15th and make it to Hannibal by June 30th. The proposed trip is approximately 1000 miles. Our original plan was to bike the entire way, carrying with us everything we needed but we realized the cost of panniers and other bike equipment would put the project out of our reach. So, we plan on driving from campsite to campsite, making it a rule to drive less than 100 miles a day and then doing our daily exploring and looking for pictures on our bicycles. We plan to bike about 50 miles a day. By traveling by primarily by bicycle, we will be able to see what one normally misses when traveling by car or by air– the "in-between", the quiet stretches of nothing, the lonesome truck stops, the Mom and Pop diners and the tiny changes in the terrain and vegetation. This type of touring is conducive to frequent stops and spontaneous interaction with the locals. The only reason we are taking the car is to have a “home-base”, not to cover miles.

There also was a daredevil component, since the trip involved spontaneously reenacting scenes from Huck Finn for total strangers:

In addition to straight documentary work, Logan wishes to connect and communicate with the people along the Mississippi in order to find how he relates to them. He has chosen several key moments in Huck Finn that he wishes to spontaneously reenact with the people we meet on the way. No planning, props limited to what’s around them.

I can't imagine how pretending to be a young delinquent and a runaway slave while riding bicycles in the Deep South could possibly go wrong.

In any case, as I mentioned, this trip actually happened already, and if you invested in it you're no doubt thrilled that it yielded some pretty awesome photos of their breakfast:

They should go to Etritrea next, I hear the eggs are fabulous.
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