Boared to Death: And The Cockie Goes To...

During the work week, commuting by bicycle in Manhattan is fraught with frustrations and obstacles.  Gridlock, dead bodies, and people from New Jersey are just a few of the maddening things that will impede your progress.  Also, thanks to a collaboration between the DOT and the DEP, every third Thursday we now have something called "Puma Streets," in which thousands of live pumas are released into the urban environment.  Once freed, they tend to pounce from lampposts onto the heads of the unsuspecting.  There you are, emerging from a deli with a cup of hot coffee, and the next thing you know you've got a large cat of prey clinging tenaciously to your scalp.

Of course, by late Friday afternoon they've usually got most of the pumas rounded up and gassed, but that doesn't mean weekends don't bring their own problems for the bicycle commuter.  For example, large portions of the avenues are often closed for street fairs:

New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world, and apart from a soda larger than 16 ounces or a decent burrito you can purchase anything you could possibly imagine here at pretty much any time of the day or night.  Pick any city our country in the world, and if you can't actually visit it there's probably a neighborhood in New York City that's the next-best thing and only a bike or subway ride away.  Nevertheless, the city persists in closing random streets at random times and snarling traffic so that people can sell you gyros and bootleg Yankees caps.  I'm not sure why this is, since it seems like closing a three-star restaurant so you can host a pop-up McDonald's in it, but I just assume it has something to do with the mafia.

Then, once you've circumvented the street fairs, you're bound to get trapped in some kind of charity activity, which is what happened to me when the breast cancer walk took over my bike lane:

Moments after I took this photo the straggler was pounced upon my an errant puma, but I successfully scared it off of her by applying shorts blasts of air to its face with my mini pump.

Yesterday also saw the running of the Bike MS ride, and while I certainly respect the cause I also knew the area roadie corridors would be even more congested than usual, so once again I sought refuge in the wilderness.  It's now been over a year since I've taken delivery of my Engin all-terrain style bicycle, and every ride on it makes me happy that I did:

In fact, the bike makes me so ridiculously happy that it's the only all-terrain style bicycle I've been riding since I got it, and so yesterday I decided to ride my other bike with the clicky gears and the bouncy fork instead:

It's a lot of fun getting on a shifty bouncy bike after spending a lot of time on a non-shifty bumpy bike.  Then again, it's also a lot of fun to ride a non-shifty bumpy bike after spending a lot of time on a shifty bouncy bike.  It's like when you eat some salty delicious chips, and that makes you want some ice cream, and then the ice cream makes you want the chips again, so you go back and forth and back and forth and get stuck in a salty/sweet feedback loop.  Then, you wake up four hours later, shirtless and with your face stuck to the sofa cushions.

Don't act like it hasn't happened to you too.

Speaking of feedback, on Friday I posted this cockpit contest submission:

Which I like very much because: 1) it's refreshingly simple; and A) it reminds me of a wild boar:

Before the whole "Puma Streets" thing they used to release wild boars into the subway stations.  The trick was to get them to charge at you and then step away at the last second so they'd either get run over by an approaching train or else get electrocuted on the third rail.  I can still remember that burnt-hair-and-bacon smell when someone managed to pull off the latter scenario.  Mmm, delicious.

Anyway, in addition to posting the picture I included a poll:

Apparently, 1,035 people think the wild boarpit shouldn't win.  However, one person does think I should "just pick a fucking winner already:"

At first I was insulted, but then I realized that "sh3rp4" was absolutely correct, and that I could conceivably wind up sitting on this contest for months or even years.  Therefore, I am picking a winner, and here it is:

I sincerely apologize to the 78% of people who disagree with my choice, but I secretly enjoy being contrary, and also this is what happens in an electoral college system.  Congratulations to the winner, and I will be in touch sometime in the coming months or years to arrange delivery of your Knog prizeways.  (You will be getting Knog Blinder USB-rechargeable lights, which I love, but which are bright enough to blow your face off, so always wear sunglasses while handling.)

McQuaid was defiant over questions regarding assertions by Floyd Landis and others that the UCI had accepted a $100,000 donation from Armstrong in 2002 in exchange for concealing a positive drugs test at the 2001 Tour de Suisse.

“There is no connection between the donation to the UCI and a test covered up, because there was no test to cover up,” said McQuaid, who added that the federation would accept donations from athletes in the future. “We would accept it differently and announce it differently than we did before.” 

In other words, the UCI doesn't shit where it eats.  Rather, it finishes eating, lets someone else pick up the check, and then leaves a great big steamer for a tip.

And with that, the sport of cycling is now totally clean.  Nicely done, everybody.

Also, you know what has absolutely nothing to do with doping and professional cycling?  Cyclists who are injured or killed by motorists.  Nevertheless, for some reason the New Yorker decided this was a suitable illustration for an ostensibly humorous piece about the whole Armstrong debacle:

See that?  The guy on the bike's getting mauled by a car!  Hilarious.  Ah, cyclists.  So vulnerable.  So hapless.  I love urbane humor.

Meanwhile, you may recall that some time ago I mentioned Stradalli, the bicycle company with the most cumbersome URL in the industry:

And the company who uses models like this:

To sell crabon bikes to people like this:

Well, a reader informs me that they've offered Lance Armstrong a job:

Armstrong has been influential in the adoption and development of carbon race frames, as well as other components and accessories. He has changed modern cycling and today many of his design contributions are part of the racing norm. Stradalli Cycle has made an official job offer to Lance Armstrong for an undisclosed amount. His response is not yet known.

Of all that's happened over the past few weeks somehow this is the one that really drives things home.  Getting a job offer from Stradalli after you've lost all your sponsors and wins is like getting a $50 gift certificate to Bed Bath & Beyond after the bank has foreclosed on your house.

Lastly, moving on to the happier world of romantic comedy, Hugh Grant has apparently moved to Portland:

Ballet, bell helmets, bicycles, bridges - m4w - 34 (SE Hawthorne - Bagdad Theater)
Date: 2012-10-16, 9:29PM PDT

You: beautiful blonde bicyclist outside the Bagdad theater. Great smile and sense of humor, with a keen sense of direction. Me: brown hair, black bike, befuddled. I (sincerely) asked you for directions to a good bike route heading west from the Bagdad Theater after OMSI Science Pub: The Physics of Ballet. You may have thought it was the lamest pick-up attempt ever, which it was, because I didn't realize I was picking up on you at the time. During our chat you noticed we had the same Bell helmet. "Twins!" I said, because I'm selectively clever. When I proceeded to follow your directions, you soon caught up with me, and I jokingly called you a stalker. You pointed out that I'm the one that started the conversation with you. Then you had to go south while I continued west. Well, I'd like to continue our conversation, even though I'm clearly a bit daft and need directions on how to flirt and be flirted with, as well as to the nearest bike route. I can always use another reason to peddle across the Hawthorne bridge. Let's add some trips to that bike counter that was recently installed. 

I'm pretty sure that in Portland misspelling "pedal" as "peddle" can get you banished to Washington state.
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