Back to Front: Getting On Terms Again

("Kahdeksan-Sarvinen Hirviö," spotted in Finland)

One thing that happens when you prepare for a big move is that you go "off the back" in terms of keeping abreast of the news, and so I now find myself in the position of having to draft off of the team cars and claw my way back into the peloton of current events.  For example, apparently we're about to go over some sort of "fiscal cliff," which doesn't really concern me anyway because I'm fucking loaded.  Also, last week saw the running of the World's Smarmiest Fred Ride, officially known as the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia. The point of this ride was to settle once and for all the question of who's more unctuous--Italian bicycle racers:

Or Italian race car drivers:

Though ultimately the only way to settle that one is to poll the area prostitutes.  (Or at least swab them and bring the results to a lab.)

One thing's for sure though, which is that human beings don't get more unctuous than this guy:

They say that the Lion King is so greasy that a laying on of hands from him actually creates a clear spot on your flesh.  It's like he's a donut and you're a brown paper bag.  This is what you look like before an encounter with Cipo:

And this is what you look like after:

And all they did was shake hands.

By the way, while in Miami, Mario Cipollini and Danilo DiLuca also filmed the pilot episode of their new TV drama series, "The V Squad:"

They play a pair of rogue gynecologists who are on the wrong side of the law but the right side of the mons pubis, and their manager pitched it to Cinemax as "Burn Notice" meets "ER" meets "Miami Vice" meets a sexual harassment suit.  Rumor has it that the casting agent actually wore rubber gloves to the audition.  It's already getting lots of buzz, and Danilo DiLuca in particular is being touted as the "poor man's Duchovny."

Speaking of being "off the back," it's been awhile since I've ridden a bicycle recreationally for more than an hour, which means any attempt to do so now in a group setting would result in my being dropped in fifteen seconds rather than my usual forty.  Nevertheless, I look forward to resuming my bicycle cycling activities just as soon as I finish unpacking, which should be sometime this spring.  Fortunately, I now live within easy striking distance of the better cycling routes in the area, which should put to rest once and for all the sordid rumor that I have moved to Queens.  In the meantime, I'm taunted not only to my proximity to these rides, but also by emails inviting me to partake in events like the "Deloitte Ride Across Britian:"

Deloitte Ride Across Britain 2013 from Threshold Sports on Vimeo.

Presumably there are bike bloggers in the world who can just decide to go to Britain and Fred around for nine days, but I am not one of them.  And even if I was, I tend to shy away from rides that involve tents:

In theory I like the idea of camping.  In practice, I like walls and ceilings and televisions and speedy Internet connections and flushing toilets that I can access without first having to go outside.  This is because I am what true woodsmen call a "simpering wussbag."  In fact, I haven't camped since my "teen tour," which is when they send a bunch of kids from the New York suburbs away for the summer so that they can point and laugh at the rest of the country.  (In case you didn't know, we think you're hilarious.)  Plus, if some guy with a shirt that says "crew" on it is going to pitch your tent for you and everything, why not just go all the way and stay in a hotel?  Then again, I guess it's as good an excuse as any to carry your Best Made axe with you, and maybe if you ask the guy in the crew shirt nicely and slip him a fiver he'll go cut something down with it for you.

Anyway, the Deloitte Ride Across Britain goes from John O'Groats to Land's End:

I'm not really familiar with British geography, but I'm pretty sure both of those are mail order outdoor clothing catalogs.

Of course, the hallmark of any Fred ride is the abundance of  crabon componentry:

As well as the distinctive rollout:

In an elite-level bike race the riders roll out gracefully and engage their pedals with a near-simultaneous "click."  In a Fred ride, they struggle and heave themselves onto their bicycles in various ungainly ways, like a bunch of seals making their way onto a beach.

Still, seeing a pod of Freds migrate across a vast distance is one of the most spectacular displays in nature:

Especially when they change position to relieve the incessant pressure on their taints:

Which, as it happens, is also inspired by seal behavior:

("Hey Fred!  Quit biting my moves!")

Nine days later, the Fred pod reaches its breeding ground, the fists punch the air, and Morgan Freeman ceases his soporific narration:

By the way, wardrobe disparity is another hallmark of the Fred ride.  In an elite-level bicycle race the competitors wear more or less the same amount of clothing.  In a Fred ride the attire will vary from full tights and heavy jackets to shorts and sleeveless jerseys and everything in between.  This is because roughly 75% of the group is unable to gauge the weather correctly and is therefore profoundly uncomfortable for most of the ride.  It's not unusual during one of these rides to see an overdressed Fred who has been forced to shed layers and is sporting a fanny pack bursting with more clothing than most riders even own, while directly behind him is another Fred who is woefully underdressed and in the early stages of hypothermia.

Anyway, the best part of the ride is when the Freds get to justify their ultra-light crabon bikes by lifting them over their heads:

Don't try lifting a steel bike triumphantly after nine days of bicycle cycling.  You could be killed.

Lastly, in other Fred news, a reader tells me the latest company to employ the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork Bret is Sportstiks stick-on tridork numbers:

Here's a closer look:

Though I think they could have found a better model:

But what do I know about marketing?
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