BSNYC Friday Second Helping of Meat Loaf!

Last the other day, I was at a bar in Manhattan. A bar is an establishment that serves alcoholic beverages--and, if you know the secret word, Fruity Pebbles, which is what I was enjoying. At the table next to me was a group of people whom I would characterize as "duders." You know the type: polo shirts, haircuts, open-handed pointing... At one point I even poked my head outside to see if they were filming a Michelob Ultra commercial down the street, because it would not have surprised me to learn that they were starring in one.

Anyway, I couldn't help overhearing their conversation (that sort of thing tends to happen when you're eavesdropping on people), and I noticed they were talking about Portland.

"Duder, have you ever been to Portland?," asked one of the duders.


"It. Is. Ridiculous. It's like Brooklyn times a thousand."

I couldn't help being saddened by this exchange. Sure, Portland's ridiculous, but it's quaintly ridiculous. Endearingly ridiculous. Adorably ridiculous. The kind of ridiculous that makes you want to pick it up by its ironic mullet and scratch it behind its dirty, plug-filled ears. More importantly, Portland is also our country's Great Bicycle Experiment, and therefore I feel very protective of it. It's a society based entirely on cycling and self-righteousness, and even after the bespoke bicycle industry crashes and Portland becomes a modern-day ghost town, people will surely study it for decades to come.

Equally irritating was the comparison to Brooklyn. I suppose if you've only been to Williamsburg then there are some similarities, but go to Crown Heights and then tell me Portland is a thousand times Brooklyn. I'm pretty sure if a West Indian and a Hasidic Jew were spotted in the same place and at the same time in Portland that it would make the front page of The Oregonian.

Needless to say, this has yet to happen, so in the meantime you'll doubtless continue to see more cute, bike-related news items coming out of Stumptown, or Smugtown, or whatever they're calling themselves these days. For example, one Portland bike shop is now sponsoring a non-racing team:

Sure, plenty of bike shops sponsor non-competitive events such as charity rides, but how many of them are creating a rolling Boy Scout/Girl Scout troop?

The program isn't set up for the Ambassadors to simply ride around as usual. In exchange for these perks, Ambassadors are expected to live up to their name. Check out the list of Ambassador Commitments that come with being a member of the team:

- To stop and offer assistance to fellow cyclists.
- To follow all rules of the road and set the standard for exemplary riding behavior.
- To carry their Road-Aid kit with them on all rides.

Seriously, how cute is that? They even swear a little oath:

We are the 21 Ambassadors. We believe that riding a bicycle is more than just the sum of its parts. To ride a bicycle is to be part of a community, to share a common experience, as much as it is about good health and helping environment. This is a community that we love and support, a community that we all help to grow pedaling through the cold wet winter mornings, the long carefree summer nights and everything between. We believe that as a community we should support each other in bad times as well as good. We, the 21 Ambassadors are here to help you. When tires flat and spokes break, when chains fail and gears groan, when you need a hand we hope to be there to assist. We dream that your bike will always run flawlessly, that the world can be perfect, and yet, until all the stars align, we hope to help with what we know how to do, getting you and your bike back on the road.

That is just so a-freaking-dorable I could plotz. They're like snuggly little Guardian Angels!

Of course, it's impossible to read something like this and not take a good long look at yourself and your own record of helping people. Like any cyclist I've helped my share of fellow cyclists. However, like any cyclist I've also abandoned other cyclists to their fate--though I always had a good reason. In fact, just yesterday I was crossing a bridge, and I got stuck behind a woman who was trying to remount her bicycle and continue riding. Something was wrong with her drivetrain, and every time she started pedaling her chain would skip wildly--and it was only exacerbated by the fact that she was going uphill.

Now, ordinarily I might have helped her. However, at the top of the span was a man who was clearly her partner or spouse, and instead of returning to help her he simply stood there looking exasperated.

Sure, I could have stopped and done what her boneheaded companion would not, but to what end? Clearly this man is of reprehensible character, and she should leave him as soon as possible. In fact, this little bridge episode could be the incident that finally compels her to do just that. Were I to fix her bicycle, however, who knows how long she will continue to stay with him? By providing the assistance her partner was witholding I'd merely be prolonging the inevitable, and thus doing her an extreme disservice.

Sometimes, it's best to let nature take its course.

Speaking of helping the helpless, while enjoying some pizza recently I watched a gentleman pick up an ailing pigeon:

I'm not sure what happened to the pigeon, but perhaps it was hit by a car, for you can actually see a car in the background in the act of running the red. Also, you might notice that in the foreground is another pigeon. It's comforting to think that this gentleman is taking the wounded pigeon home, where he will rehabilitate him (and diaper him), and that the other pigeon is coming along out of concern for his wounded friend. Maybe the second pigeon is even carrying little pigeon insurance cards and will call the wounded pigeon's relatives with a little pigeon cellphone. That's what happens in Portland, anyway.

On the other hand, it's somehow less comforting to think that the pigeon will somehow wind up as pizza topping:

Either way, I'm sticking with the plain slices. Also, one thing's for sure, which is that it's hard out there for a pigeon:

That remains the greatest non-pornographic photo I've ever taken in my life.

With that, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right you'll be spared the horror, and if you're wrong you won't.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and ride altruistically.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

(Tour de France runner-up Andy Schelck was heavily criticized for wearing a jacket and tie during the decisive Stage 20.)

1) Andy Schleck recently claimed he is a lackluster time triallist because he subscribes to the "Slow Bike Movement."

2) Fill in the blank: "San Francisco loves ______."

3) This maneuver is called

4) Why is this disembodied hand fondling a beard?

(Best Made: When only the douchiest will do.)

5) Faux-outdoor doucherist boutique Best Made Co. is now selling extension cords.

("What comes after 'Premium Rush' again? Is it Plaid Rush?")

6) The forthcoming feature film "Premium Rush," a thriller about a New York City bike messenger, has run into trouble because:

(Hmmm, maybe they're not so similar after all.)

7) The protagonist of the book "Ultimate Rush" is actually a Rollerblade messenger in San Francisco.


***Special Entrepreneurial-Themed Bonus Question***

(Richard Branson always wears his splace helment.)

Which of the following Kickstarter projects has met its funding goals?

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