Flipping the Script: Upside Down and Against the Wind

This past Friday, the nationwide celebration of smugness that is "Bike To Work Week" culminated in "Bike To Work Day." In New York City, this meant that thousands of commuters distilled poor cycling to its very essence, and legions of weaving, wobbling, and salmoning people on bicycles made their way across the cityscape like balls in a pachinko machine. Here is a diagram of perhaps the most egregious cycling maneuver I witnessed on this black day, which the rider executed so swiftly that I did not have time to withdraw my camera and photograph it:

I am represented by the gentleman in the chicken suit pirouetting on a Surly Big Dummy, for that is the bicycle I was riding at the time. There is also an SUV to my right, and as you can see both of us are proceeding in the correct direction, side-by-side, on a one-way street. Suddenly, a man on a bicycle emerged from the intersecting street ahead, turned left, and slipped through the space between me and the SUV (passing mere feet in front of the car). As he passed, I noticed that his bicycle also had a rear-mounted child seat, inside of which was an actual human child.

Like many people, I occasionally ejaculate while cycling. (I also occasionally use the word "ejaculate" in the verbal and completely non-sexual sense.) This was such an occasion. "Be careful!," I found myself ejaculating, stunned as I was by a craven act of salmonry that put the life of a young child at risk. (It was, to anyone with a normal sense of what constitutes danger, a frightening thing to behold.) As the man hurtled past me and continued towards one of the busiest traffic circles in all of Brooklyndom he returned a very sarcastic, "Thank you!," as though he had been doing nothing worse than letting his child drink a Mello Yello and I had told him that soda isn't good for you and he should instead choose something natural without additives, preservatives, or artificial flavoring.

Of course, I don't know that this person was actually participating in Bike To Work Day, and the presence of the child suggests that they were instead engaged in recreational activity. Then again, it could be that the people who come up with the official "Days," with only 365 to allocate to a constantly mushrooming number of causes, have decided to combine "Bike To Work Day" with "Endanger the Lives of Small Children Day." Perhaps the man was even taking his small daughter to the machine shop in which he works and was about to station her, unsupervised, at the lathe. ("Here's what Daddy does. Now you try! Daddy's going to get a drink at the bar.") In any case, both father and child were wearing helmets, so in the eyes of some the father was behaving responsibly. (In America, where the first question in the wake of a tragedy is "Was he wearing a helmet?", a "safety kippah" sanctifies even the worst cyclist.)

Much later, I also came across this interesting juxtaposition:

As you can see, the city has installed lime green bike lanes, the by-product no doubt of some "sweetheart deal" with a paint manufacturer stuck with thousands of unsold gallons of "Margarita Sunset." Next to this particular bike lane is a horse trail. For some reason, though, the horseback riders seem to prefer the bike lane, and I'm bothered less by the presence of the horses themselves than by what they leave behind. At least, I assume it's the horses--hopefully cyclists have not started relieving themselves in the bike lane.

Incidentally, I mentioned the Surly Big Dummy, and here is the one I am currently borrowing, loaded with parcels on Bike To Work Day:

While I avoid work as assiduously as possible on Bike to Work Day, Endanger the Lives of Small Children Day, Penguin Awareness Day, or indeed every day, I did at least put a bicycle to work on Bike to Work Day, and that should count for something. (Also, the boxes are full of live penguins, so I had that covered too.)

Speaking of lawless behavior and bicycles, it seems that two Kazakh amateur cyclists have been "arrrested" in France for smuggling performance-enhancing drugs:

An "arrrest" is like a regular arrest, only with pirates.

"Drink driving," as I understand it, is what people who spell the word "tire" with a "y" call "drunk driving," though at first I thought maybe Haussler had been caught driving one of those stupid Red Bull promotional vehicles in violation of his various sponsorship agreements:

Apparently, Haussler was distraught after being forced to abandon the Tour of California due to knee problems, though if anybody should be drowning his sorrows in drink it should be Levi "Letle Viride" Leipheimer:

Alas, after winning the Tour of California for the past three years, Leipheimer's mild reign of terror is finally over, and he's surrendered the diminutive race to overall winner Michael Rogers in the way a person giving up a small terrier might reluctantly turn the leash over to the new owner. However, unfortunately for Rogers, his win was overshadowed by the presence of an esoteric, shadowy and compelling figure. No, I am not referring to Floyd Landis (though he was there too). I am referring to the Lone Wolf:

Here he is at the time trial in Los Angeles, knowingly lowering his glasses to regard the photographer:

And here he is letting loose a mournful howl, as spotted by another reader:

Either that, or he's simply standing under some bleachers and enjoying some overhead crotch shots. (Either way, though, I suppose he's "barking at the moon.")

Meanwhile, the world of fixed-gear freestyling has literally been turned upside down. Yes, fixed-gear freestyle impresario and streetwear enthusiast Prolly reports that a fixed-gear freestyler in Japan has finally "slain" a backflip:

Here is actual video of the first-ever confirmed fixed-gear backflip, which will doubtless be remembered forevermore as the "moon landing" of the fixed-gear "culture:"

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of all this is just how unremarkable fixed-gear freestyle continues to look when compared with other forms of trick riding, even in the very video in which the backflip takes place. Somehow, it's like watching Neil Armstrong step off the lunar module and onto the parking lot of a mall in New Jersey.

Speaking of turning things upside down, a reader recently reminded me of the H-Zontal, which you may have seen on other fine webular sites such as All Hail the Black Market:

The H-Zontal is of course an upside-down recumbent, and it's the perfect choice for the cyclist who wants to feel as though he or she is humping, getting humped, or simply snorkeling on dry land. Most remarkable, though, is the rare glimpse the inventor affords us of that revelatory moment when inspiration strikes:

I got the fantastic idea of conceiving the H-Zontal bike when I was riding against the fierce wind. It was a terrible experience ! I had to lean ahead and as you could imagine I had difficulties to breath, and I had my back aching. Therefore, I needed to stand up and to face once more the terrible wind.

Clearly, the inventor of the H-Zontal bike is a mime:

Anyway, here is video of the H-Zontal bike in action:

Riding face down and finding your way with a series of mirrors seems even more difficult than fixed-gear freestyling, though it looks only marginally more ridiculous.

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