What Happens When You Consume: Asses For You and Me

This past weekend was full of Tour de France-tastic action, or at least it was in France. Here in New York City the action was both awkward and three-fold, in that it came in the form of a "triathlon"--specifically the Nautica New York City Triathlon. While this year's event seems to have been more successful than it was in 2008 when the competitors were attacked by stinging jellyfish, it was not without its problems, and something like a dozen (that's pretentious for 12) competitors suffered "heat stroke" as well as "exhaustion:"

(Isn't "exhaustion" the point?)

Fortunately, everybody is okay, but I can't help blaming the organizers for not moving the swimming part to the end of the event when it would be considerably more refreshing. Sure, sending thousands of tired and heat-addled people into the Hudson River after running and riding might be tantamount to mass murder, and those who survived would probably not be in optimum condition to defend themselves against the inevitable jellyfish attacks, but the fact remains that there's nothing quite like the restorative properties of a cool dip in the ol' swimming hole. (Or, in this case, the ol' fetid PCB trap.) Just ask Radio Shack team physiologist Allen Lim, who makes his riders swallow expensive tiny thermometers instead of just asking them, "Are you hot?" Anyway, if the organizers are really that worried about it, they can just hand out water wings in the transition areas.

Meanwhile, Saturday's Tour de France stage was won by the always-dynamic Alexandre Vinokourov, seen here in his famously mindbending Alexandre Vinokourov jersey:

Vinokourov is arguably the most exciting rider in this year's Tour, and his exploits on Stage 13 earned him the red number of the most aggressive rider. Not only that, but word has it that Vino also presented himself with yet another Alexandre Vinokourov jersey in an elaborate podium ceremony at the team hotel. This means that, as of today, he has spent an unprecedented 348 days in the coveted "Maillot Moi" for most solipsistic rider.

Speaking of the Tour de France, one of the main problems with it is that most of the products the competitors use are also available to the public--including of course the bicycles. This means that even the sorts of people who are felled by heatstroke on 25-mile rides can equip themselves just like the pros, leaving them with few tangible reminders that they are not like the pros at all. (Unfortunately, my "You Suck" power meter designed for this purpose has proven to be a poor seller, as have my "YouSuckStrong" rubber bracelets.) Indeed, the only thing that reminds some people of their limitations is the wall they hit (physically, mentally, or just plain literally) when they attempt to exceed their own abilities.

Moreover, some people aren't content to simply use what the pros use; they need to use stuff that's better than what the pros use. Unfettered by UCI weight restrictions, budgetary concerns, or common sense, they are free to build the grotesque crotch candy of their dreams. Not too long ago I wrote about one such bicycle that I saw on PezCycling News, and so I was intrigued when I noticed that the same reviewer has now gotten himself a custom Cyfac:

The "a" in Cyfac is for "artisanal," so you know it's good--so good, in fact, that you can actually have them put "your personal pallet on board." This is terrific news for the drowsy or anybody suffering from narcolepsy, for you can finally own a bicycle with a top tube-mounted hobo bed:

I understand Cyfac will also offer crabon fribé bindles in 2011.

I admit I had a difficult time reading the review, since it focused heavily on topics that have little to do with cycling, such as color choices, "puckered" tubing, and the frighteningly intimate fitting process complete with lurid arrows:

I will spare you a discourse on bike fitting, but I will point out that the penis is not a contact point--unless of course you're having sex with the bicycle instead of riding it, which as I read the review I was beginning to suspect might be the case here. This was reaffirmed to me when I learned that the reviewer "had to hand rub the levers a little:"

Yes, when you finally get those brand new SRAM Red levers, simply rub them until the finish matches your Cyfac or you experience the less-touted SRAM design feature known as "hands-free release," whichever comes first.

Meanwhile, perhaps as a reaction to this sort of high-end cockpit component fondling, some riders are dispensing with much of the cockpit altogether. Consider this bicycle, which was spotted in Philadelphia by a reader and which features no handlebars and a stem wrapped in bar tape:

At least he's "running" a brake, though what this really needs is something that deters you from attempting to ride it in the first place, such as a sharp spike on one of the "contact points." (Though this might actually encourage some Cyfac owners.)

Meanwhile, another reader spotted this unique brake lever placement:

This lever seems as though it would be very difficult to use, unless it's meant to be actuated by the forearm when riding in the drops. Equally unique is the placement of the "hipster cyst:"

Since it is clearly not oriented to illuminate the bicycle from either the front or rear, I can only assume it serves as a spotlight for the forearm-actuated brake lever:

Clearly, there are plenty of mind-blowing bicycles out there, and if some of them are set up less-than-ideally, it could be because their owners are not listening to their "burros." Consider this Craigslist posting, forwarded by yet another reader:

In particular, note the following paragraph:

For those of you who live in Brooklyn and are between the ages of 20-35 remember that it is required by your burro that you own and ride a old bike. I will include the bike lock pictured on the ground in the first shot. Also I would be happy to ride the bike over to your place to drop it off if you live near a subway stop that will get me home. If you'd like to see it in person or give it a test ride please email me so we can set something up. Any questions? let me know.

I can only infer from this that it is now de rigeur in New York City to own a donkey, mule, or similar pack animal and to consult him for style advice. This makes perfect sense in the age of the designer axe, and it would not surprise me if donkeys were to become the new fixed-gears. Not only do the custom saddlery options far exceed what is possible with a Brooks, but donkeys also look great tethered in front of the local faux dive bar:

Before long, all the bars in Williamsburg will have hitching posts, and instead of arguing about the necessity of lockrings the hot topic of discussion will be whether donkeys need horseshoes.

As for the particular donkey pictured above, he looks rather nonplussed--though that could simply be because the bicycle he's looking at is not old enough.

automotive ,automotive news ,automotive magazine,automotive industry outlook 2012,automotif,automotive magazine automotive ,automotive news ,automotive magazine,automotive industry outlook 2012,automotif,automotive magazine