The Indignity of Summer: It's Always Dorkiest Before the Fall

The Laborious Day Weekend is now behind us, and so too are the languid days of summer. Here in New York City, those leisurely afternoons spent sipping Piña Coladas and lying in hammocks while being sprinkled with the refreshing discharge from a nearby open fire hydrant as a quasi-sane homeless man plays Jimmy Buffett songs on a kazoo for nickels are already just a memory. Instead, all across the region schoolbooks are being stuffed into backpacks, important documents and tuna fish sandwiches are being placed into briefcases, and housepets are receiving detailed instructions for the daycare of small children. The summer houses have been boarded up along with our hearts, and so shall they remain until the first crowbars of next spring. Sure it's still warm and sunny, but that's only because the summer doesn't know it's dead yet.

Personally, I couldn't be happier about all of this. (Well, I suppose I could be happier, but it would require the judicious application of chemicals.) Just as culling the weaker animals breeds a hardier herd, and pruning eventually yields a fuller bush (both in terms of landscaping and personal grooming), so too does the thinning effect the colder months have on the numbers of cyclists ultimately benefit us all. Indeed, it is during the dog days (or, if you prefer, dachshund days) of summer that cycling absurdity reaches its apotheosis, and were it not for the coming autumn the entire display would no doubt collapse on itself like a human pyramid of drunken clowns.

Of course, where there are clowns there are clown bikes, and I recently encountered the most circus-like fixed-gear conversion I've seen since the "golden age" of the artform (which arguably occurred in 2007, when no bicycle with horizontal dropouts was safe from fixifiation):

This particular conversion was a brakeless "vintage" Specialized Hardrock, and its tentative pilot was flying it at roughly nine miles per hour. I snapped the above photo moments before he reduced his speed to five miles per hour so he could use his iPhone (which had a shattered screen) while riding, and you'll note that Andy Samberg's Nonplussed Doppelgänger is also taking in the scene as I pass:

Andy Samberg's Nonplussed Doppelgänger is distinguishable from the real Andy Samberg by his heavily pleated pants, as well as by his briefcase, which contains important documents and a tuna fish sandwich.

In any case, I passed the rider as he dragged his finger across his spiderwebbed touchscreen, but we were eventually reunited at a red light, where I managed to capture the bicycle in profile:

Though outwardly callous and sarcastic, underneath it all I to try to practice compassion, and so I looked deep within myself in an attempt to understand what might compel someone to "curate" a bicycle like this. Unfortunately, looking within myself is usually about as rewarding as rummaging underneath the cushions of my sofa, in that doing so usually yields little more than a handful of loose change and (if I'm really lucky) a few candy corns of indeterminate age. I suppose he could be making a misguided attempt to fit in with the "cool people" of Williamsburg, though his wardrobe has much more in common with Andy Samberg's Nonplussed Doppelgänger than with the denizens of Bedford Avenue. Really, the only thing I could conclude for sure was that this was the ugliest conversion since the Spanish Inquisition.

So vexing was this bicycle to me that I continued to ponder it for many blocks. Why render a Specialized Hardrock brakeless and then pick your way gingerly through some of the heaviest traffic in the United States? It seems about as logical as converting your work boots to flip-flops and then venturing out into a blizzard. Soon though I was interrupted by my musings when I encountered a woman standing in the middle of the bike lane with three dachshunds:

(Wiener dog-wielding bike lane loiterer.)

I apologize for the poor quality (even by the meager standards of this blog) of this photo, but I can assure that she not only made no attempt to move out of my way but also smiled at me as I passed. I briefly considered explaining that I had just taken her photo not because I thought her dogs were cute, but because I thought she was an idiot and planned to humiliate her on the Internet, but ultimately decided not to bother. I also briefly considered executing a cyclocross dismount and simply hopping over the dachshund barrier, but I was riding an Electra Ticino and wasn't confident in my ability to "portage" it correctly. Coincidentally, just at this moment I looked across the street and spotted a drive-side "portage" in progress:

Note the fanny pack, which is so formidably large as to require an auxiliary shoulder strap:

I realize that some people would say that this is not in fact a fanny pack, and indeed the "what actually constitutes a fanny pack" argument is as heated and controversial as the abortion debate. When it comes to the former, I'm a staunch conservative, and I believe that any bag worn entirely below an imaginary line drawn across the midsection of the back and featuring a waist strap should be considered a fanny pack. I realize this is the personal accessory equivalent of insisting that life begins at conception, but I believe what I believe.

Another thing I believe is that people should not walk in the bike lane, especially when the entire sidewalk is clear:

While some people might find the sight of a shapely young woman sashaying down the street beguiling, I only find it irritating, for superficial beauty cannot mask the ugliness beneath. Also, I'm confused by her shoes:

Just as I couldn't understand the Hardrock conversion, I could not understand why she whould choose to walk in the bike lane when there was a perfectly good sidewalk just a foot away (though perhaps the fact that both the Hardrock and the pedi-salmon featured a purple and orange "colorway" might be of some significance.) The only explanation I could possibly come up with was that she was trying to offer me a "frogurt" hand-up:

On closer inspection, though, the cup was empty, so I guess she was expecting a roving busboy to throw it away for her.

This pedi-salmon's behavior (note the traditional bike salmon over his shoulder) was also mysterious to me:

Judging from his outfit, he must have been in search of his golf ball:

I'm sure one day these two pedi-salmon will meet, and together they'll walk arm-in-arm in mutual self-importance down the bike lane of life:

Speaking of self-importance, as most people know by now, unsettling man-child Jared Leto bought himself a "tarck" bike recently at a New York City bicycle-themed boutique, and he seems to have begun salmoning on it almost immediately:

Either that, or he's in the process of shooting his next movie, "Time Traveler from the Planet Douche."

At nearly 40 years old, one might think that Leto would feel a bit self-conscious looking like a teenager trying to master elephant trunk skids while his friend records him on a Flip camera. At the very least, he should be engaging in more age-appropriate forms of bike-dorkery. Consider George Clooney, who a reader informs me was recently riding a mountain bike in basketball attire:

That kind of dorkery is timeless.

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