Exhume to Consume: Survival of the Flushest

Do you like "bi-keen?" Of course you do! It's inexpensive, healthy, and clean. When you get around your gentrified neighborhood by means of "bi-keen," you feel good--not only because it's fun, but because you know what you're doing is helping to save the Earth. Like, you know those people who go to awful countries and give vaccinations to starving children? You're as good as they are, if not better! How many CGI polar bears have they saved recently?

But you know what the best thing about "bi-keen" in Uh-merica is? It's that, when you do it, you're just a traffic cone!

You know how, when you're driving, you're theoretically not supposed to run into the traffic cones, but if you "accidentally" do anyway nobody's really going to give you a hard time about it, even if the traffic cone flies out into traffic, gets run over by a bunch of other cars too, and is mangled beyond recognition? Well, here in Canada's underbite, it's the same thing if you hit a cyclist! Somebody from the Village Voice sent me this article awhile back, and I didn't really have the stomach to look at it, but now I have and I feel compelled to share it even though it merely serves to reaffirm our collective status as road furniture:

...even though the ditched car was found within 24 hours, a 1990 Nissan Maxima abandoned two blocks southeast of the accident scene, the police would never make any arrests. And that the detective assigned to the case would tell James, as the victim has consistently recalled for months, that the vehicle owner claimed he'd lost his keys at a local bar that same night and walked home—and that without an eyewitness putting him in the driver's seat, there was nothing that could be done. When James or Michelle asked what drinking establishment the auto owner had patronized and whether the police had questioned anybody there or if there were any clues in the car, the officer would become dismissive. They eventually stopped calling. According to the official police complaint, the unidentified hit-and-run driver's highest offense would be categorized a misdemeanor, which seemed preposterous, all things considered.

See, car sales are an important economic indicator, so it's really important that we don't make it too difficult to obtain them or burden their owners and lessees with too much responsibility. That's why, when someone gets mangled by your car, you can make up a story about how you got wasted in a bar and lost your car keys and then someone else "borrowed" your car to go run down a cyclist. I wonder if I could shoot somebody and then tell the police I was drinking and accidentally left my gun on the bar. Either way, if you're a sub-Canadian like I am you should feel comfortable knowing that, provided you're a consumer of durable goods (especially durable goods like cars, which also require you to buy lots of that non-durable good known as "gasoline"), your freedom and safety are guaranteed.

If, on the other hand, you're a cyclist and you don't contribute to the robustness of the economic indicators that encourage investment in our financial markets, and you should one day find yourself lying beneath one of these economic indicators in a bloody clump, then you really should have been wearing a helment. Because if they take the car owner's license away, he won't be able to buy another one to replace the one your head so inconsiderably dented, and we'll never get out of this pesky recession.

Of course, what "the system" (which naturally I don't need, along with your "society," which is why I used to draw anarchy symbols on my desk in school) fails to realize is that cyclists are also good consumers. In fact, I'd argue that we're some of the best, and if we were actually afforded protection and allowed to live out our full lifespans we'd eventually mature into gushing revenue streams ourselves.

See, bicycles too are durable goods (at least according to Sheldon Brown, and at least the non-crabon ones anyway) and when you buy one you need all manner of soft goods such as clipless sneakers, stretchy technical jeans, complicated luggage, cycling-specific fanny packs, t-shirts with clever cycling references on them, and of course tattoos, though I'm not sure if those are technically durable goods or soft goods. Yes, "urban cycling" has truly come into its own--so much so that a reader tells me there will be a whole "Urban Yard" at this year's Interbike:

As far as I can tell, this "Urban Yard" will be a miniature indoor climate-controlled Williamsburg (or Mission District, or [insert your local trendy neighborhood here]) and with its abundance of "urban cycling and culture magazines," visiting it should be remarkably like an appointment at a hipster dentist's office. (Hipster dentists ride Serotta track bikes with riser bars.) Naturally, as the "bike culture's" answer to Abercrombie & Fitch, Chrome will also be in attendance, and I deeply regret that I will be continuing my streak of 100% Interbike non-attendance because nothing is more edifying than experiencing "an incredibly dynamic landscape of products and lifestyle identities." Actually, there should be a sign that says that when you head over the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn:

As inviting as this sounds, just remember the veneer of bike-friendliness only runs as deep as that lime green paint, and the streets beneath still belong to the cars.

Speaking of veneer, do you find yourself craving the artisanal smugness of alternative frame materials such as wood and bamboo, yet unable to break your addiction to the lateral stiffness and vertical compliance of sweet, sweet crabon? Well, now you won't have to, because another reader tells me you can buy a faux wooden crabon road frame on a popular Internet auctioning site:

It's laterally faux and vertically deciduous.

Or, if you want an inherently contradictory bike that misses the point in a more roundabout way, you could get one of these belt-driven two-speed "fixies" to which I was alerted by a reader in Denmark:

Oh, how we consumers want it all: vintage, yet reliable. Simple, yet modern. Fixed, yet geared. One speed for the fast, another for to make with the tricking. It's fascinating to see how desperately some people will cling to the notion of a fixed-gear despite their clear need and desire for qualities that fixed-gears simply don't have, and to see how ridiculous the bikes become in the process. They want to be riding regular geared bikes but they just can't let go.

Meanwhile, here in Canada's chamois, gears have been the new fixed for quite some time now, and the tide has turned so strongly against them that you can now by a "Thruster Fixie" at Walmart, as spotted by the august (like the Caesar, not the month) commenter Leroy:

Yes, we are a nation of labelers, and rebranding is our art:

To survive long enough to see your "lifestyle" become a brand name: that is Immortality 2.0.

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