BSNYC Road Dairy: Belated Birthdays and Happy Returns

(The road takes its toll, by Erik K)

Sunday, June 13th, marked the third birthday of this blog, one it shares with the artist Christo, the Brazilian statesman José Bonifácio de Andrade e Silva, and both Olsen twins. While I tend to ignore my own personal birthday since I had very little to do with my own conception, I do like to celebrate my blogular birthday since not only was I involved in its conception but I did it all by myself. In that sense, this blog is really the result of too much mental "foffing off" on the part of its "curator," but nevertheless I am very proud of it.

This year, though, I actually forgot my own blogular birthday, so preoccupied was I with (among other things) preparing for my BRA tour, which reached its conclusion in Portland, Oregon yesterday evening. Even so, the warm reception I have received from readers in the cities I have visited has been the greatest present for which a blog could ask (apart from pictures of fluffy animals with funny captions on them or photos of mishaps accompanied by the word "FAIL," of course, which blogs like most of all). It was something I never would have imagined three years ago, and something I can scarcely believe even now. So voluminous is the clump of my gratitude that I can scarcely express it, and as I type this it feels as though it is stuck between my heart and my fingers like a hairball in a freerider's CamelBak tube. (Hydration tip: don't let your cat sleep in your CamelBak.)

However, as much as I have enjoyed my tour, I am also looking forward to arriving home this evening and to eventually returning this blog to a state of normalcy in which it does not need to compete with BRAs for attention. Meanwhile, though, until such time as I repatriate and once again take up residence back on my side of the Big Skanky, I still inhabit the BRAniverse, and the past few days have been stuffed with BRAs like the "intimates" section at JCPenney. For example, the morning after Thursday's San Francisco BRA, I traveled south in order to visit the "plex" of a company famous for its popular search engine.

I expect this visit to be uploaded to the company's popular video sharing website soon, but in the meantime I will say that not only do they have a beach volleyball court:

But they also have restrooms stocked with more feminine hygiene products than your local Rite Aid:

Also, nobody does any discernible work at this "plex," and after my BRA they simply wandered around in the sunshine enjoying their abundant corporate amenities and congratulating one another on being the future.

Later that day, it was on to an intimate gathering at the Barnes & Noble in San Jose:

Cunningly, Barnes & Noble held the event right next to the children's section, which made me a bit self-conscious inasmuch as my slideshow contained at least two photos of a semi-nude woman as well as use of the word "motherfucker." I was also repeatedly interrupted by periodic in-store announcements summoning various employees to the register.

Following the Barnes & Noble appearance I joined the San Jose Bike Party at the request of my handler:

There were all types of bicycles and riders, including an abundance--indeed, a surfeit--of "fixies," as well as more flat-brim fitted caps than I've ever seen assembled in one place:

Furthermore, some if not all of these "fixies" arrived in the back seats of convertibles:

"One Less Car"--as soon as this guy finds a parking space.

I felt very uncomfortable at the San Jose Bike Party, chiefly because my bike's colorway did not match my hairway:

Also, many of the participants rode bicycles that featured the worst elements of customized motor vehicles (such as the ability to blast really bad music) while omitting some of the better ones (such the ability of the vehicle to drive quickly out of earshot):

Other participants were simply happy to get into their aerobars and make repeated attempts at the land speed record for child "portaging:"

While some people were simply content to "party" on foot:

("Screw the bikes, we're walking.")

As night fell, some of the "fixie" riders started getting way too proud of their road rash:

Being proud of crashing in any ride (much less one that moves at 4mph and is led by a guy on a recumbent with a Lite-Brite mohawk) is sort of like showing off injuries you sustained while trying to use a public restroom.

I did get to see the "Bukkake or Die" bike though:

I know what "bukkake" means, and I know what "die" means, but I'm not sure how they go together, nor do I understand how the rider keeps finding himself in situations in which he must choose between the two.

All the while, people were screaming "Bike Party!," and it reaffirmed for me the first rule of group rides, which is: "Avoid rides on which participants call out the name of the ride during the ride." This is the equivalent of shouting out "Grocery shopping!" while you're "hitting up" the Safeway. Notice professional cyclists don't shout "Paris-Roubaix!" while they power over the cobbles--though I would like to see the people from Rapha yelling "Epic ride!" as they crest another picturesque summit.

Shortly after this, three people to whom I will forever remain extremely grateful spirited me away, and early the next morning it was onto Seattle, where I stared down the semi-plussed expressions of a sizeable crowd:

After the slideshow, Bike Works gave away some prizes, and I took my revenge on Seattle by vandalizing their books with a Sharpie:

I also met a woman who allowed me to take a photo of her tattoo, which I once posted on this blog:

Then, some of Seattle's smuggest, clad in their best wool knickers, took me to get a burrito:

But not before spiriting me away into the forest:

Smug Pacific Northwesterners love to spirit people away into the forest, though I can't say I mind since I appreciate lush flora and in particular I greatly enjoy looking at "fern porn:"

It's like a pteridophyte bukkake film.

Incidentally, speaking of cresting summits (I was a bit earlier), I've noticed that, on non-competitive rides containing mixed types of bicycles, you can always expect the track bike rider to try to be first over the climb:

I suspect they're a bit defensive and are trying to prove a point.

Here are the burrito wranglers, whose company I greatly enjoyed, in the act of savoring their burritos and barely tolerating my company:

Then, on the way back to my quarters, I managed to fall off my bicycle while attempting the simple act of taking a photograph.

The next day it was on to Portland, which shall be the subject of a future post. In the meantime, I thank you once again for attending (assuming you did), and I look forward to my return trip.


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