Cubicles and Cockpits: When Every Day is Bring Your Toys to Work Day

Do you live in or around Minneapolis, Minnesota?  Do you have little or nothing to do tomorrow afternoon?  Would you like an opportunity to tell some smartass bike blogger from New York exactly where he can shove his new book, which Janet Maslin of The New York Times has already called "fucking awesome"?  Well, if you answered, "I can't hear you, I was cleaning my ears with a mini-pump and it got stuck" to any of the following questions, then come here tomorrow and I'll try and help you extract it:

Tuesday, March 27
4:00pm ride
Midtown Bike Center by Freewheel Bike
2834 10th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 238-4447

Then it's on to these places on these days, and you can find additional details here:

Wednesday, March 28th:

Madison, WI

Thursday, March 29th:

Chicago, IL

Saturday, March 31st:

Austin, TX

Sunday, April 1st:

Boulder, CO

After that I visit the west coast as well as the New Amsterdam Bike Show, but we can deal with that all later.  And while I'm on the subject of book tours, I should also mention I now have the details concerning my visit to London, and my first transatlantic BRA will take place on Thursday, May 10th starting at 5:30pm (or 17:30 if you're pretentious, European, or in the military) at the following location:

49 Old Street 
London EC1V 9HX
020 7253 1025

And then finally I'll be in Italy for this:

Whew!  I get tired just cutting and pasting it all.  In any case, my tour is generously sponsored in part by Brooks England LTD., and for those of you who have asked the answer is, "Yes, Brooks saddles are in fact edible."  (Assuming of course your name is Bear Grylls.)  Also, I apologize for all the self-promotion, and I can assure you that once all of this is over this blog will revert to its normal and preferred state of being a disembodied presence with no discernible author floating languidly in cyberspace.

Moving on, this past weekend was the Red Hook Crit, and I visited the race for the first time since its inception.  Despite having been misquoted on the matter by some stupid online magazine, I've always liked the Red Hook Crit, and the only reason I'd never actually gone was because it takes place late in the evening.  Sure, I only live a short bike ride away, but the only place I like to be after 9:00pm is on a couch in front of a television.  Of course, now that I have a bakfiets with both a couch and a television on it, I'm finally able to partake in all this "nighlife" I've been hearing so much about.

The race was very well-attended and enjoyable to watch, even if the outcome was decided pretty early in the race.  (Local racer Dan Chabanov rode away by himself for an emphatic win, despite the presence of something like six MASH guys, who are evidently less adept at chasing than they are at branding.)  I will not molest you with pictures of the race because: A) I'm a really crappy photographer; and 2) there are already like a million other pictures on the Internet; but I will say that it basically looked like a whole lot of young white people standing around a cruise ship terminal at night, and it also didn't look anything like this:

In any case, my visit to the races was marred by only one incident.  Right near the venue, we were riding through an intersection with the right-of-way, when an oncoming car ran a stop sign and drove right into our path.  Then, the driver of the car pulled up next to me and rolled down his window.  I was expecting some sort of misguided insult, but amazingly he smiled and asked me directions to the bike race.

Before I knew what I was doing I found myself answering him, and astoundingly he kept pressing me for more details.  ("So, like, is it actually inside the cruise ship terminal?")  Then I remembered he was a complete asshole, and so I cut him off and told him, "You know, next time stop at the stop sign."

You can probably guess his indignant reply: "I did stop at the stop sign."

If you ride a bicycle in America you've almost certainly encountered this sort of brazen dissembly, and while it's stunning to be lied to by the person who just almost ran you over, it's even more disturbing when you stop and think that they have total license to do so.  This is because, if they actually do run you over, they will then tell the police and the insurance company that of course they stopped at the stop sign, and that they didn't see you, and that you "came out of nowhere," and that you were probably riding the wrong way down a one way street because like who do these "bikers" think they are anyway?  And if you're lucky enough to be able to speak after an "accident" like this, good luck trying to get anybody to believe anything to the contrary.  I mean, who do these bikers think they are anyway?

Nevertheless, I remained civil throughout this encounter, but he was wearing some stupid aging hipster fedora hat and I hope it's a vintage 19th century job that's slowly giving him mercury poisoning.

Speaking of bicycle cycle racing, this past weekend was the mellifluously-titled Ghent-Wevelgem, and once again Mark "The Man Missile" Cavendish totally Sky-ed it:

A nine-rider group stayed away much of the race, but the real story was a split in the field with about 35 km to go. World champion Mark Cavendish (Sky) was left behind in a chasing group and tried to bridge the gap on his own, but never saw the front of the race again.

Oy.  Next thing you know he's going to have Bradley Wiggins hair:

(Bradley Wiggins models his look on the band Oasis, who have also made a highly successful career of falling well short of people's expectations.)

By the way, if you enjoy following professional bicycle cycling then you probably also enjoy "bike porn," and a reader has recently informed me of a new bike porn subgenre, which is called "workplace bike porn:"

Yes, that's right, it's pictures of awesome bikes in awesome workspaces:

The idea of The Work Cycle is to share showcases of various workspaces to demonstrate how the Work Cycle is being successfully integrated into the daily office grind, both as a form of inspiration, as much as it is a celebration. It’s not just about clever and innovative storage solutions though: bikes propped up wherever they'll fit is just as interesting and arguably an even bigger embrace! We want to see a focus on the whole space and how the Work Cycle fits in. And nothing says we’re bicyclists and proud like a couple of Vélos propped up in the meeting room!

Or, if you prefer, it's an entire website dedicated to the joy of riding a designer bicycle to a designer job.

Now, I'm a strong believer that riding your bike to work can improve not only your day but your life.  In the case of this particular website though I find claims like this to be highly spurious:

Work cyclists rave about good health, freeing up time and the development of the social culture that comes with it. 

Really, is this why the people who work for the companies featured in this site are so happy?  Or could it also have something to do with the fact that they make lots of money working in sun-drenched loft spaces in fashionable neighborhoods making pretty pictures with Apple products all day?  I'd be willing to bet that, at most of the offices pictured here, the guy who rides his vintage road bike to work and his co-worker who commutes via classic Porsche are both equally happy and sickeningly-self-satisfied.  Consider Weiden + Kennedy, the advertising firm in Portland:

Yes, your workday can be this great, too.  All you need is a big salary, a high-end race bike, and an employer who encourages you to work in flip-flops:

But this lifestyle isn't limited to make-believe cities like Portland, OR.  It's also readily available to people in the real world.  For example, you could go to work for Zago in New York City:

I had no idea what Zago was, so I visited their website and I still don't know:

In our interconnected world,branding is the means to bring vision to reality, to communicate and shape meaning, to nurture and preserve interactions. Companies and organizations need to consider the myriad options and shifting array of opportunities that confront their audience. 

Unceasing competition for attention requires choices and behaviors that transform the very nature of communication itself.

In a world where consumption merges with activism and content becomes commitment, our economy is no longer ruled by isolated transactions but is ever more subject to the impact of interactivity.
In this ever-changing environment branding is how relationships are fostered, transformed and improved.

Though I'm assuming what it means is that you show up to a Tribeca loft at about 10:30-ish and lean your vintage bike against an exposed-brick wall:

After which you spend the rest of the day alternately drinking $8 coffees and masturbating in an open-plan workspace.

Oh, and if you work for a company like this in Amsterdam you should have the decency to keep it to yourself.

Dutch people do not get to brag about riding their bikes to work.  That's just sandbagging.

When The Work Cycle features a Subway franchise or a local post office then I'll be impressed.  Until then, it's just another designer circle jerk.  One thing's for sure, though, which is that if we do see some everyday "workplace bike porn" it's sure to include some sweet "cockpit porn," like this example spotted by a reader in Oshkosh, WI:

It's tough to see the details due to the size of the picture, but this appears to be a variation on the famous "puppeteer" setup:

(A Fred who rides a "puppeteer" setup is actually called a "Geppetto.")

And if "cockpit porn" isn't hard enough for you, how about some "freak bike porn?"

(Forwarded by yet another reader.)

How do you sell a piece of history?

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