Back in the Saddle: The Unwatched Pot Boils Over

As you may have surmised from the fact that you're reading this now, I have officially returned from my leave of absence. During my leave, I attended to the birth of my child, and while I always make best efforts to divorce my personal affairs from this blog, I will share three facts about my new roommate: 1) He is of the male genderway; 2) He weighs exactly one (1) baby; and 3) He is both vertically and laterally compliant. Also, I would be remiss if I failed to point out that childbirth is truly one of life's greatest miracles--though my "taint" is freaking killing me.

Moving on, I'm also pleased to report that, while my Universal Sports Giro d'Italia blog has concluded along with the Giro itself (spoiler alert: Basso won), I have been hornswoggled into "curating" yet another extracurricular blogular undertaking. This time, I will be a "guest blogger" for the website of the celebrated independent Portland bookseller Powell's. My first post will "drop" sometime today, and the BSNYC/RTMS x Powell's "collabo" will continue until Friday. (I recommend sipping chamomile tea with a raised pinkie as you read my Powell's blog for the full "indie" bookstore experience.)

Meanwhile, in the past week the State of the Cycling Union seems to have slipped beneath "weak" and is now hovering somewhere between "fissiparous" and "moribund." For example, I was amazed to find that this whole "motorized doping" thing seems to be gaining traction, and that it has even made the New York Times:

Granted, this is less indicative of the sorry state of cycling than it is of the sorry state of mainstream journalism, since it appears that the Times is now getting it's cycling sporting news from Boing Boing. One prominent voice in this "controversy" is retired professional Davide Cassani, who, at 50 years old, claims that one of these surreptitiously motorized bicycles would allow him to win a stage at the Giro d'Italia. Clearly, Cassani is making a bold gambit to become to hidden motors what Greg LeMond is to EPO. I personally feel that professional cycling is yet again being singled out unfairly. If the world of sports were truly fair and balanced, people would be just as assiduously investigating rumors that Michael Phelps secreted a Gruber Assist in his anal cavity at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. (Frankly, his claims that those bubbles were caused by flatulence doesn't exactly hold water.)

Similarly shocking to me was just how bad things have become in my own hometown, and I suppose even I have become acclimatized to the absurdity like a lobster sitting in a pot of water on a low flame. Indeed, it took this horrifying Streetfilms "NYC Bike Month Montage" for me to realize that the local "bike culture" has begun to boil over:

This is not to say I didn't learn anything from the video. In fact, I was quite surprised to discover that Streetfilms "curator" and smugmonger-in-chief Clarence Eckerson Jr. may be a closet "freerider":

Granted, he appears to be about 75lbs lighter than the typical long-travel bicycle enthusiast, and he doesn't have a goatee or tribal tattoo, but with the sunglasses and helmet he still looks suspiciously like one of those people you see at the trailhead at Cunningham Park in Queens inflating the tires of their dual suspension bikes with compressors before removing them from the trunk racks of their Xterras.

I was also horrified to learn that at some point New York City played unwitting host to a "David Bowie Dance Ride:"

This is simply something that should not be allowed to happen, and I suspect even the most ebullient Portlander would wince at the prospect. There's just no reason for David Bowie and cycling to come together. In fact, as far as "coming together" and David Bowie are concerned, that's something best left to Iman--and quite possibly Mick Jagger. Still, this evidently did not stop people from dancing in the streets:

Here's one participant who appears to be sporting some kind of nicotine patch on her forehead:

Perhaps she's trying to wean herself off of her addiction to public humiliation.

But Bike Month in New York City isn't just about honoring aging rock stars--it's also about powering fans:

And eating sandwiches:

And still more dancing:

I was also quite pleased to get some "backstory" on a controversy I once covered on this blog. You may recall the woman who boasted about dropping a bunch of recreational cyclists on a leisurely group ride while wearing high heels:

Well, apparently this ride has become the stuff of day-tripper legend, because here's one of the victims recounting the details of that "epic" sightseeing excursion, and it seems he rather enjoyed the beating:

Evidently she's like a dominatrix of Fred-dom.

Indeed, Streetfilms has left no stone of New York City bike-dorkdom unturned, for it even includes scenes from the "New York Bike Jumble:"

I've never attended the "Bike Jumble," partially because it seems like the Craigslist "bikes for sale" section come to life, and partially because I find the word "jumble" off-putting. It just sounds too "folksy" to me, and I avoid "jamborees," "knees-ups," and "hoedowns" for the same reason. However, I now realize I may have made a mistake, because as much as I hate "jamborees" I love watching "hipsters" scrutinize things, and it appears that the "Bike Jumble" featured this in abundance:

There's nothing quite like the woodgrain veneer of expertise over the particle board of cluelessness that is a "hipster" mulling over the inevitable purchase of a lifestyle item. Almost as satisfying though is watching "hipsters" scrutinize maps:

("We better go that way if we want to stay where the white people are.")

Fortunately for them, it's becoming increasingly difficult to escape the growing Brooklyn Gentri-verse, even by accident.

Still, we do not live in a world of absolutes--though I do believe some things are "either/or" propositions. This is especially true when it comes to attire, and ties and bandanas are a perfect example of this:

It's fine to wear a necktie, and even fine to wear a bandana, but under no circumstances should the two ever be worn together. (The same is true of baseball caps and overcoats, flip-flops and wool caps, and of course sleeveless jerseys and arm-warmers.)

Most distressing of all, though, (at least to me) was the fact that I appeared in the video:

Thank goodness I had the foresight to remove my bandana and necktie.

Anyway, after watching the "Bike Month Montage" I needed something to assuage my nerves. As it happens, my collaborator on this NPR piece recently sent me some "vintage" bathroom reading:

I'm sure you'll agree that's a really sweet pie plate. (The spoke protector on that Schwinn isn't too bad either.) Of course, like anybody, I only read vintage Playboys for the vintage articles, and this one had a feature on the "Bike Boom:"

Not only does it include Raleigh Twenty folder and a fine 10-speed:
But it also includes a Bob Jackson track bike:

Alas, who knew back in 1971 that the track bike for track racing would go the way of the full pubic bush?

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