Bikes and Beatitudes: The Salmon on the Mount

(Cavendish's mechanic scratches "my balls," via Cycle Jerk)

It was with tremendous excitement yesterday evening that I prepared to watch the second stage of the Amgen Tour of California. First, I took the phone off the hook. (I have a lanyard on my cellular telephone so I can hang it on a hook, kind of like soap-on-a-rope, but it tends to dangle in front of the television so I always take it off the hook when I watch.) Then, I donned my California-style viewing costume--vintage Jams; adhesive topless sandals; and of course a snoutful of zinc oxide. Thusly attired, I next unwrapped the "epic" burrito I had had FedExed to me from a place in Los Angeles called "Campana del Taco." (All in, I paid $150 for the burrito. Sure, it was a bit cold and soggy by the time I received it, but my "burrito dealer" assures me it's just like the ones the real Latino gangsters eat.) Finally, I was ready, so I switched on the TV--only to find that the coverage had been rained out and the venerable Versus commentary team of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had essentially been caught with their pants down by the weather:

(Phil and Paul in flagrante delicto, via Cycling Inquisition)

"Curses!," I exclaimed as I angrily hurled my novelty cocktail at the wall. The whole point of moving the Tour of California to May (at least as I understood it) was to take advantage of better weather and, ultimately, keep Lance Armstrong dry. (A dry Armstrong is a happy and marketable Armstrong.) So, the fact that it was raining on the second day struck me as being highly ironic. However, if I wanted to watch ironic bike racing I'd be watching the Single Speed World Championships and not the Tour of California. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got, and so to calm myself down I made another novelty cocktail and threw that one against the wall too. I mean, really--the least Liggett and Sherwen could have done was re-enact the race with finger puppets:

(All You Viewers Watch Our Puppet Show)

The cute one with the trunk is Levi Leipheimer, and the one you can't see lying on the floor with a broken collarbone is Thor Hushovd.

After my outburst, though, I found myself feeling guilty--and from feelings of guilt it's just a short trip to religion. "Is my anger due to the fact that I have a hole in my soul?," I asked myself. "And is this soul-hole in the shape of Jesus Christ?" Then, I looked down at my burrito, which I had torn apart in a fit of rage, and that's when I saw His face.

You would think that I would have had the presence of mind to actually take a picture of Jesus Christ appearing to me in a burrito, but alas I did not. I did, however, recently manage to take a picture of a person wearing a chrome helmet and riding a bicycle while accompanied by a small dog, so it will have to suffice:

Anyway, the picture's not really important, and those of you with true faith will surely not require a worldly photograph in order to believe in the power of the Lord to appear in Mexican food. As for the rest of you doubters, rest assured it looked pretty much like this:

(All You Doubters Nibble My Revelation)

Of course, I know what you're wondering, and the answer is, "Yes, I did eat the burrito, and yes, it was delicious."

Thus full of the Holy Spirit (which under different circumstances I might have mistaken for refried bean-induced flatulence) I thought back to yesterday's post and in particular to Christ Cycles. As it happens, one reader yesterday drew my attention to this Christ Cycles model, resplendent in short skirt, visible garters, and chest tattoo:

When you undergo a spiritual transformation as I have, the first thing that happens is that you lose all sense of irony. In fact, an inability to recognize irony is the very definition of a religious person. However, had the Lord not removed the scales from my eyes and had I still been dwelling in ignorance and darkness, I might have noted with amusement that the Christ Cycles photo gallery is almost indistinguishable from the fixed-gear-themed "softcore porn" site "TheFiXFiXFix:"

In the absence of actual nudity I defy anybody to find a difference. In fact, TheFiXFiXFiX even ventures into religious territory:

(In lieu of a Crown of Thorns, a Schmatta of Polka-Dots.)

She looks like a naughty lady Jesus, marching up Mount Calvary in order to sensuously crucify herself on a fixed-gear cross of trendiness. (Inasmuch as it is possible to crucify oneself, of course. As Neil from "The Young Ones" once sagaciously pointed out, the problem with crucifixion as a form of suicide is that "there's no way you can hammer in the last nail.") Really, though, the dirtiest thing about this photo is the drive-side "portage," which makes cyclocrossers act all mad but which secretly turns them on.

Alas, whither goest I, full of righteousness yet bereft of humor? To which "crew" might I indenture myself? Which master might I serve as a disciple? Perhaps I could be "down" with the "Nagoya Fixed Gear" Crew:

Ultimately, though, I decided they were not the crew for me. Even though they've clearly surrendered to fashion and consumerism:

They still haven't taken conformity "all the way" by surrendering to Jesus Christ.

By the way, it looks like the hot new trend in fixed-gear cycling is to ride with a floor pump:

As you may recall, the "Five Fearless Fixed-Gear Pilots" did the same thing:

(Riot helmet in lieu of brake allows rider to stop self with head.)

I guess when you spend lots of money on giant designer bags you need to come up with innovative ways to fill them.

Anyway, I would like to see the Nagoya Fixed Gear Crew embrace the Lord along with McDonald's, since fast religion and fast food go together like "tarck" bikes and Aerospokes. I'd also like the entire fixed-gear video-making world to agree on a universal soundtrack--and that should be Glenn Frey's "You Belong to the City," since the schmaltzy, contrived, faux grittiness of the song is much better suited to the urban cycling aesthetic and attitude. Just watch the Nagoya Fixed Gear Crew with the new score and I'm sure you'll agree.

In the meantime, I suppose I may need to look closer to home to find suitably righteous riding partners, and I may also have to look beyond the world of fixed-gear cycling. Indeed, I may need to "get down" with "Wheel Power." While some people believe they're saving the environment by riding a bicycle, the "Wheel Power" riders think they're actually saving souls:

Here they are receiving "mad props" from none other than Jerry Falwell:

Apparently, the riders of "Wheel Power" have traversed the United States multiple times without a major accident. "We give God the glory for protecting us," says founder Judy Bowman, putting an end to the so-called "hemet debate" once and for all. She also says that "we wear the bright neon to be that bold testimony," providing perhaps the first-ever scriptural basis for garish Fredly cycling vestements. She even claims to have "saved" the "Bush Man of Fisherman's Wharf" in San Francisco, whom I had never heard of but who is apparently something of a local celebrity:

I was edified to learn that a man who shakes a bush at tourists is making between $300 and $400 a night, drives a BMW, and has a child attending Stanford. This is what's great about America--a land in which, with God and assiduous shrubbery-shaking, anything is possible. It's also no surprise that Judy was attracted to the Bush Man, for of course the Bible speaks of a "burning bush." (Supposedly this was an actual burning bush and not a metaphor for the itching and discomfort of pubic lice.) Really, given all this it's not hard to see how religions get started. First some lady tells a bunch of people how she rides a bicycle around and harasses people waiting on line at Walmart and how she converted some guy who sits in a hedge all day, and a thousand years from now people are worshipping the Bush Man of Fisherman's Wharf and that Naked Cowboy guy in Times Square as prophets and killing each other for not wearing Primal jerseys.

Just thinking about it makes my bush hurt.

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