Coming and Going: Socks, Cups, and Belts

In these high-tech days of "electronic mail," "instant massages," and "telephone calls," going to your physical mailing box can be an experience fraught with stress and anxiety. Sure, an email can contain a nasty virus or a Nigerian scam, but at least you don't have to actually touch or smell anything. On the other hand, your analog mailbox can contain pretty much anything. It could be an unexpected financial windfall, or it could be a notice from a collection agency, or it could just be a note that says "Eff you blog boy" that's been lovingly seasoned with anthrax.

Fortunately, yesterday was a "best case scenario" for me down at the old mailin' hole. In addition to the small packet of "Wednesday weed" that I had mailed myself from Amsterdam, it also contained a pair of socks. And these weren't pre-worn, funky, unlaundered socks from strangers like I usually receive, either. They were brand-spunking-new collectable foot sockings still in the original packaging!

The socks, as you may have figured out by now, were from the excellent Cycling Inquisition blog, and you can get some here along with other body part coverings. Best of all, they have the blog's URL right on the foot part!

That's so when you're chatting on the group ride and you want to tell someone about that awesome blog you read, and they ask for the URL, but you can't remember, all you have to do is just whip off a Sidi and stick your foot in their face.

Also, as far as I know, they're fully compatible with the new All Hail the Black Market kits:

So be sure to promote one or both of these great blogs on your next ride. (As for this blog, it's far from great. Anyway, as you can tell from my new bikes I'm officially going "full douche" now, so I'm no longer calling this a blog. Instead, I now refer to it as a "cycling-themed electronic prose manifestation.")

Or you can just stick with the Primal Wear, whatever works for you.

But wait, there's more! In addition to the socks, there was something else in my mailbox. Something special. Something imbued with feminine mystique. Something that came in a small pouch labeled "Diva," which you can see here in the clutches of my helper monkey, Vito:

I opened the pouch and gently removed the object inside with trembling fingers, and the music of Juliana Hatfield began to play as if from nowhere. Then, Vito grabbed it from me and put it on his head like a hat:

Still, I was at a loss. Was it a collapsible silicone shot glass? Was it something you'd use to perform a hydraulic disc brake overhaul? I then thought about the process of bleeding brakes, and that's when it hit me:

It was a menstrual cup!

You may recall that some time ago, I mentioned a blog called "Sustainable Cycles," chronicling the adventures of two women who had embarked upon a project to "Bicycle Down the West Coast, Meet Women, Talk about Menstrual Cups, and Live on $4 a Day:"

Well, not only did they appreciate the mention, but the also asked me if they could show their gratitude by sending me my very own menstrual cup.

Um, fuck yeah!

At this point you may be wondering, "What use could you possibly have for a menstrual cup?" Well, firstly, there's this. Secondly, there's the big, big savings:

Over a lifetime, the average woman spends about 2000 dollars on single use pads and tampons, creating an enormous truck-load of trash. Menstrual cups are made of non-absorbent latex or silicon and last for up to 10 years: quite a deal for $35 dollars!

And there's your custom bicycle frame.

In all seriousness, it makes me feel all tingly inside that two people are not only touring by bicycle in order to promote something they believe in, but that they're doing so with good cheer and in good humor. Then again, that inner tingling could just be a sign that it's menstrual cup time. Either way, it's a refreshing alternative to the usual touring logs in which people boast about their mileage, document the minutiae of their bicycle set-ups, and generally suffer from the delusion that their cycling vacations are on par with the exploits of the great explorers.

By the way, the menstrual cup they sent me is made in Canada, which I guess means that not only is American manufacturing truly dead, but that we also technically can't refer to the United States as "Canada's menstrual cup."

Speaking of monthly cycles, it would appear that my one month testing period for the Avenging Disco Belt-Drive Bike is now at an end, which means it's time to pack it up and send it back to these guys:

The bike, as you may recall if you didn't bother to click on the above link, is the Base Urban something-or-other, and the month I had with it passed too quickly--not because I loved the bike (frankly I did not), but because I spent like half that time in Europe. I did use it last night to transport myself to a social engagement, and here's what it looks like with a "filth prophylactic" on the seatpost:

From a commuting standpoint, the cleanliness of the drivetrain is undeniably attractive. (By the way, the belt is now mostly quiet, except on inclines, when it makes a sound pretty much exactly like derailleur rub.) Other than that, the bike was a bit like a roommate you go out of your way to avoid. It's shaped like a road bike but doesn't perform like one, so for recreation you'd naturally opt for a road bike. At the same time, it's shaped too much like a road bike to be comfortable or practical for commuting, which meant it was a struggle not to simply reach for my trusty Scattante. Then there's the frame. I mentioned the untenable eyelets, and I also noticed that, due to all the wacky stuff going on in rear dropout land, I experienced repeated heel strike:

In fairness to the bike, I am highly duckfooted, but I've never experienced that before on a bike without panniers:

By the way, in case you're wondering, yes, those are rubber slip-on shoes shaped like Vans with no laces. The father of 17 children, I have given up on fashion long ago. And yes, I'm also wearing a rubber shirt shaped like an unbuttoned Oxford.

In any case, I'd like to thank the belt drive people for lending me the bike, as well as the Gates people for helping me sort out the initial noise issues. And once the bike is on its way home, that means I will have one less bike to juggle, though juggling bikes is a lot easier than juggling fire and knives on rollers, as in this video:

This man may be the world's deadliest Fred:

Though he really should upgrade those blades to crabon. He could always use the "spokes" from an old set of Spinergys.

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