The Indignity of Returning to New York: Soliciting

They say the road changes a person.  Now, I don't know if this is true, and that's mostly because I just made it up.  However, I do know the road changes a person's bike.  For example, since embarking on my Wildcat Rock Machine "Enlightened Cyclist" World Annoyance tour, my detachable travel chariot has acquired a fancy Brooks saddle:

The saddle wasn't actually chamfered when I got it, and it's only that way now because the notoriously mercurial Eric was about to forcibly chamfer my jawline and I held the saddle up in front of my face in a desperate act of self-preservation.  (My schlubby, unshaven appearance seemed to enrage him because it reflected poorly on Brooks, and so he was going to teach me a lesson about personal grooming.)  He did, however, succeed in nailing my head to the floor.

He's a cruel man, but fair.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the bike, a BRA attendee gifted me these pink and green spacers:

You can be sure I installed them at the very first opportunity, with the express purpose of emphasizing my gross excess of steer tube and offending the "stem-slamming" enthusiasts:

Incidentally, the saddle on the bike appears to be "slammed" as well--though horizontally rather than vertically:

There's no bike porn quite as sad and depraved as ill-fitting bike porn.  It's the cycling equivalent of foot binding.

By the way, when I assemble my bike after a flight, the first thing I do is make sure all the "grears shit well," as in this Craigslist post which was forwarded to me by a reader:

Date: 2012-04-13, 8:05PM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

Selling my Trek Fuel SLR full suspension mountain bike.

Frame size is 18". I think it should fit someone between 5'2 - 5'7

Hand built in the USA (very rare). Today except for carbon bikes all trek bikes are made in China.

Tested this morning and all grears shit well.

Rear Shock - Fox Float Racing Shox
Front - Manitou

Has high end shimano XT & LX components.

Send me your best offer with Contact phone number. 



Let me know if you have any questions. 

I'm glad the seller wants to meet in "a public place for safety," because you do want help to be able to reach you just in case the grears start shitting all over the place while you're testing them.  This is even more important if you happen to be testing a bike with electronic shitting:

Speaking of flying with your bike, the second leg of my book tour officially ended yesterday with my L.A. BRA (not to be confused with my L.A. Gear, which I continue to wear proudly to this day).  Actually, I'm still in LA as I type this, though this is going to change momentarily when I board my final aeroplane for at least a couple of weeks.  I'm looking forward to returning to a life of normalcy and irritation in Brooklyn.  For example, shortly before leaving town, I went to lock my Big Dummy up to a Brooklyn bike rack, only to find it occupied by a backpack.  Right next to the backpack was its owner, a representative of Planned Parenthood, who was busy soliciting passers-by for donations or signatures or whatever it is they're looking for.

Now, at the risk of starting the political equivalent of a helment debate, I'm all in favor of "sexual and reproductive health."  However, between the backpack and the Planned Parenthood guy there was no room to park my bike--and it's a bike rack, not a soliciting rack.  Therefore, I asked Planned Parenthood guy if he could move his stuff, which seemed like a reasonable request.  Plus, there appeared to be plenty of room for the backpack on the Planned Parenthood guy's actual back.  Despite this, he reacted to my request with a look of irritation, and then simply moved the backpack to the other side of the rack in a rather perfunctory fashion:

He also continued to stand rather close to the rack, forcing me to sort of awkwardly squeeze in between the rack and him order to lock up:

Now, I understand that he wanted to guard his backpack since it was probably full of valuable Planned Parenthood literature.  At the same time, nobody actually wanted to take any of the Planned Parenthood literature he was offering, so it seemed to me as though any pamphlet thieves would be doing him a favor.  Also, this being Park Slope (arguably the smuggest neighborhood in Brooklyn), it's worth nothing that, while nobody would actually stop for Planned Parenthood guy, they would nevertheless take great pains to explain as they walked on by that they supported everything he was doing.

This sort of mobile excuse-making, it seems to me, is the political equivalent of riding by someone with a flat tire and shouting, "Yeah, I'd stop and help you but I'm in a really big hurry!"  Sometimes it's actually more polite to simply ignore them.

Anyway, I should also mention at this point that I was with one of my 17 children, and there was a certain irony that his Planned Parenthood activities were interfering with my actual parenting plans.  (Then again, perhaps advocating for contraception in Brooklyn's cradle of smugness was a shrewdly calculated act on his part.)  In any case, when we emerged from the place of business which we had intended to patronize, he was still hovering over my bike:

He also looked not just a little bit nonplussed to see me:

Though in all fairness, I'm not sure if that's because he didn't like me, or simply because people continued to ignore him:


There's precious little time for signing petitions when you're late for your shift at the food co-op.

In any event, I look forward to returning home, at which point I'll share with you some highlights of my travels, including the answers to such burning questions as:

How do tall bikes stop for red lights?

How does an Ass Saver work?

And how to I reach my full human potential?

I'll address all of these and more just as soon as I manage to escape Mr. Hubbard's clutches.
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