Ride to Work, Work to Ride: Living the Dream

As the Giro d'Italia continues, so too does my Giro-themed blog-shaped object over at the "Giro Insider" section of the Universal Sports website. While I've enjoyed "curating" that blog, I also defer to the real sports journalists whose coverage of the race is certainly much more insightful than mine. It's also far more entertaining--albeit unintentionally--for a reader has forwarded me this recent headline from the Bicycling magazine website:

This may very well be the most inadvertently obscene sports headline since "A-Rod goes deep, Wang hurt"--especially when you consider the accompanying photo and Vinokourov's suggestive champagne bottle placement.

In particular, he says that "The roads in Holland are not suitable for cycling." This is highly ironic, since here in America nary a day goes by without some cycling advocate invoking Holland as a bicycle utopia, and one can only imagine what Lastras would think of Portland, our nation's cycling crown jewel (or at least ironic Burger King cardboard novelty crown). Additionally, Lastras then uses Holland's alleged cycling unsuitability as a launch pad for an attack on globalization, at which point I can only assume the reporter simply walked away while smiling and nodding politely.

Speaking of bicycle advocacy, the 31-day reign of terror and smugness known as "Bike Month" continues, and in San Francisco today is "Bike To Work Day." (San Francisco "Bike To Work Day" comes eight days before national "Bike To Work Day" because it's very hilly there and the riders need a head start.) While I plan to celebrate "Bike To Work Day" ironically by taking the day off and driving to the beach, dozens of people everywhere will no doubt briefly consider riding to work before suddenly realizing they don't own bicycles and simply getting to work the same way they do every other day. As for those who do already own bicycles and ride them to work every day, they'll wonder what the point of a "Bike To Work Day" is and instead fantasize about literally being able to "Bike To Work"--or, in other words, to ride a bicycle for a living.

Of course, one way to do this is to become a bicycle messenger, but not everybody has the physical strength, mental fortitude, and keen fashion sense it takes to pick up an envelope from one building, put it in a $200 bag, and then bring it to another building as far as half a mile away. Sure, some people find the image of the messenger "romantic," but then again some people find ball gags and clown costumes romantic, and if you're the sort of person for whom couriering holds no allure, you may instead be taken by the life of Frank van Rijn (which runs quite counter to the notion that Holland is not suitable for cycling):

I was visiting the webular site Trackosaurusrex recently when I found this video. Despite being thinly-veiled propaganda produced by the Brooks saddle company (who employ notorious gangster Eric "The Chamferer" Murray and who don't want you to know they make their saddles from the flesh of "Freds" abducted from charity ride rest areas), I enjoyed watching it because I was compelled by van Rijn's enviable lifestyle. Basically, he visits interesting parts of the world on his bicycle and then writes about his travels (this is just about the best example of a "dream job" I can think of) and in addition to Part 1 above you can watch Part 2 below:

Evidently, Brooks is flush with capital due to the vast numbers of "hipsters" who now purchase their saddles and put them on their designer "fixies," so in an attempt to burn off some of this excess cash they're making more and more videos about themselves. This particular film is of course a pretense to ask van Rijn the following question:

Interestingly, he never seems to actually say how many Brooks saddles he's gone through, though I'd at least have asked him if he's ever found himself in a situation in which he's had to boil and eat his seat to stay alive. Besides setting him up for the obvious Brooks question, the filmmakers also ask van Rijn other questions as "filler," such as:

Apparently, in van Rijn's estimation the most dangerous roads in the world are in Mexico, which will no doubt comes as a surprise to the brakeless hipsters of Williamsburg who insist that the most dangerous place to ride a bike is that small section of Bedford Avenue where the Hasidim had the bike lane removed.

Here's another question:

The answer to this question is "yes"--apparently, van Rijn almost died in Death Valley. That's a shocker. It seems to me that you should probably expect to almost die in Death Valley, just like you should probably expect to encounter cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory.

Eventually, the filmmakers start getting desperate, because the questions become painfully obvious:

Does somebody who visits beautiful and exotic places by bicycle and writes books about his travels for a living really need to explain that he passes the time by riding his bicycle and seeing and experiencing beautiful and exotic things? This is like asking the Dalai Lama what he fantasizes about while he meditates, or like asking NWA what they were thinking about when they wrote the song "Fuck the Police."

Other questions just seemed totally random:

Or gratuitous:

Or fatuous:

Or simply disgusting:

I won't spoil the end of the film, but it does involve a broken camera and a barrage of Dutch expletives.

Speaking of expletives, a reader has forwarded me a PDF of a conclusive study which explains "The Roots of Driver Behaviour Towards Cyclists." I'm not exactly the academic type and have trouble understanding these sorts of things, but from what I can tell it includes what very well may be the first-ever flowchart for driving like an asshole:

Apparently, "driving like an asshole" is a "collabo" among attitude, perceived behavioural control, and subjective norm.

If, like me, you're the sort of person who has trouble expressing concepts in flowchart form, you may be more comfortable using haiku. In yet another of the bike-themed attention-seeking gambits that have come to characterize "Bike Month," the Sierra Club has announced a "Bike-ku Contest," and apparently your submission can win you a Breezer something-or-other:

I'm pleased to share with you the haiku I have composed for my Scattante:

Trusty Scattante.
Naughty thief
cut off your cock...
. But I fixed it.

You can keep the Breezer, Sierra Club--the joy was in the act of creation.
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