Slightly Jarring: Warning Signs

Yesterday, I mentioned for the 219th time that I'll be in Hamilton, Ontario, Cadania later this week.  (I'll be doing a guest stint as a teacher's assistant for an intro to psychology class at McMaster University.)  However, what I did not realize was that Mario Cipollini himself will be just a few "kilometers" away in Torontee, and he'll even be leading a "guided bicycle tour" of Ontario's wine region:

(Ontario?  Wine region?  Who knew?)

Join the “Lion King” Mario Cipollini on a guided bicycle tour of the scenic roads surrounding Ontario’s wine region with varying tour lengths to suit every rider.

Sadly I'll be back in the United States of America by then, because I would give almost anything to witness the "epic" spit-take Cipo will do when he samples some of that fine Canadian wine product.

Meanwhile, here in New York, cycling is raising the sorts of questions about "race, class and access" that make Portlanders terribly uncomfortable:

In particular it explores the inextricable association many people make between "biking" (pronounced "bi-keen") and "hipsters:"

"In no way do bike lanes cause gentrification," he says. "But when you only put bike lanes in neighborhoods that have been or are being gentrified, then people feel like, 'OK, that's gonna happen to me now. White yuppies in spandex going up and down those lanes.'"

This perception rests in part on the ubiquity of resentment of "hipsters," whom many blame for making New York less affordable. Sites like generally indict cyclists as part of the influx that is ruining the culture of Brooklyn and the city as a whole. "Here comes offbeat Ursula; the 18 month Brooklyn veteran cruising down the street on her rusty Schwinn (just not in the bike lane she fought for) in her clay stained granny dress from her pottery making hobby job," read one recent posting.

It should go without saying that not all cyclists in New York City are clueless hipster transplants (plenty of those clueless hipster transplants ride vintage mopeds and not bikes), but even so that was pretty damn funny.

Of course, the article does address some important questions and offer some compelling insights, though the greatest irony is that something as potentially cheap and accessible as riding a bicycle should even be fraught with these sorts of questions in the first place:

But wherever it goes, the presence of a bike lane doesn't mean residents can use it. They also need bikes.

"You would expect cycling to be a cheap mode of transportation everybody should be able to afford," Buehler says. "So you should see pretty much everybody on the bike because it's the cheap, inexpensive thing to do."

Only in America do people think cycling is too expensive for poor people.  Then again, this is the land of the $5,600 Budnitz city bike:

In fact, you may be amused to learn that the Budnitz people, either emboldened or enraged by my frequent mentions, have just furnished me with a Budnitz "Model No. 1" to test, of which I took delivery only this morning:

To my mind, the question is not whether a titanium Lynskey frame with high-end components rides nicely when you're cruising around town.  Rather, the real question is how long you will get to keep that bike when the town in which you're riding it is New York City, where even your fixie will wind up looking like this if you're not careful:

Granted, I don't intend to take any gratuitous risks with the Budnitz, though I do intend to treat it like the city bike it is supposed to be, and hopefully it remains in my possession for the duration of the testing period.

Speaking of luxury items, I recently received an email with the following subject line:

Like a Brooks Saddle- The Holdster

And the following text:

I'm writing to tip you off to a leather product we're launching on Kickstarter out of Burlington, VT: the Holdster Mason Jar Mug.  The Holdster suggests a vintage lifestyle, and appeals to people's desire for a durable, urban and stylish aesthetic.  We think it's a great product.

Which directed me to a Kickstarter campaign for this:

How is this like a Brooks saddle?  Yes, I realize it's made out of leather, but so are a lot of things.  A Brooks saddle is a useful component that lets you sit on a bicycle, whereas the Holdster is a superfluous leather jar bodice.  Or, as the inventors put it:

The Holdster converts mason jars into sexy, leather-bound mugs. Your beverage has never looked so good.

I'm not sure why people who hate gentrification fear bike lanes when in reality it's people drinking out of leather-clad Mason jars that they should be dreading.  There are two sure indicators that you can't afford to live in your own neighborhood anymore, and they are:

1) White people drinking out of jars;


2) Old-timey hanging store signs:

Obviously the second indicator doesn't apply to actual small towns where old-timey signs are just normal, but in New York City every one of these hanging signs might as well just say "You can't afford it."  This suddenly dawned on me the other day when I was riding home from the city and I noticed that every single establishment between the East River and Prospect Park had a sign like this, and that "the new folksiness" had finally succeeded in rendering over half of Brooklyn completely unlivable for anybody not in the Budnitz bike demographic.

Anyway, the leather jar holder thingy seemed as silly to me as--well, as silly as drinking out of a jar, but apparently I'm in the minority, since they've already raised almost $23,000:

At that rate they'll have a store in Brooklyn with an old-timey hanging sign outside in a matter of months.

But people don't just hate cyclists because they're jar-sucking gentrifiers.  They also hate them because of the "affect heuristic:"

I tried the heuristics for awhile but I didn't like them, and ultimately I just went back to the regular hydraulics.

Mostly though, people just hate cyclists because they read stupid articles like this in the Wall Street Journal:

I can't help feeling like I've seen a similar article somewhere before.  I also can't make any sense out of much of it:

Identifying Gear: You can spot Roadies by their Lycra uniforms, which usually include tight black shorts and neon jerseys with pockets in the back. Other telling marks are clip-on shoes and serious expressions.

What the hell is a "clip-on shoe?"  Is that like a clip-on tie?  I do like how they work in the subtle product placement, though:

They ride sleek bicycles with curved handlebars called drop bars, like the Cannondale CAAD10 3 Ultegra ($2,450, ), which is made of aluminum instead of pricier carbon fiber. Roadies value the lightness because it lets them "feel" the road while providing a "supple" and "exciting" ride.

They also really nailed it with the cyclocross illustration:

He must be competing in one of those cyclocross triathlons.

Lastly, I was intrigued to note that is conducting a poll to determine what term they'll used for 650b wheels (which are the new 29-inch wheels, which were the new 26-inch wheels, which were...):

You can pick whatever you'd like, but I'm going with a write-in:

Yes, so-called "650b" will always be "demi-ballon" to me--even though I'd never even heard it until I looked it up on Sheldon Brown earlier today.
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