Location Location Location: Looking for a Softer Ride

A few days or weeks or years ago or whatever it was, I mentioned an article about how young people no longer move to New York City and instead move to adorable pocket-sized theme cities like Austin and Portland. This makes sense. Given that the average American now graduates from college with something like $500,000 in student loans, why add to all that stress by moving to a "real" city when instead you can live someplace where the most difficult decision you need to face is which craft ale to order or whether you should have the burrito or the fish tacos?

Anyway, after reading the aforementioned article I figured I just needed to come to terms with the fact that New York is officially "over"--until this past Friday, when I came across another article saying that more people are moving to New York than are moving away from it:

I was confused by this until I realized that the people they're talking about aren't the young people, they're just, well, people, like Dr. Ira Leviton:

“I was lucky enough to be born in New York City,” said Dr. Ira Leviton, 52, who lives on the Upper West Side, “and I’ve stayed because it’s the most fascinating place in the world, the easiest to get around thanks to its public transportation, and there’s more to do — and more things to do — than any place else.”

So basically, what's happening is that young people aren't moving here, but older professionals who have already "succeeded" in more boring places are. Plus, the older professionals who were here already aren't taking their money and moving someplace nicer. Instead, they're staying put. This would indicate that the city is entering into a period of "social calcification," which is a polite way of saying it's getting "old and boring." I mean, I'm sure Dr. Ira Leviton is a lovely person and a top-notch ear, nose, and throat man or whatever his specialty is, but at the same time a city full of Dr. Ira Levitons does not exactly make for a terribly dynamic city. What it does make for is a city full of banks and expensive restaurants and luxury housing. That's pretty much what most of Manhattan is at this point, and Brooklyn is rapidly following.

Of course, I don't exclude myself from the "social calcification" process, and I recognize that I'm very much a "calcifier" in that I contribute absolutely nothing to the cultural fabric of this great metropolis. At least Dr. Ira Leviton savors the city and finds it fascinating. I find it irritating and spend all my free time either riding my bike away from it or just watching TV. Sure, I could leave, but I'm not even creative enough to figure out where to go and how to reinvent myself, which basically just makes me an urban yokel. Even the purveyor of artisanal mayonnaise contributes something to the cultural fabric, even if that something mostly just amounts to some overpriced schmutz.

Of course, the other problem with "social calcification" is that, if the city loses its youthful dynamism, what does that mean for cycling as transportation? In many ways the shift towards a bicycle infrastructure was powered by all those young "transplants," so without them we could become a town full of John Cassidys and dentists riding their Serottas in circles around Central Park. In other words, New York City "bike culture" will be reduced to riders of crabon bikes and the people who steal from them--as in this recent news story in which a crabon thief was trailed and filmed by a concerned citizen:

Apparently the concerned citizen knew the bike was stolen because it had no pedals and the price tags were still on it, but to me it was the drive-side "portage" that was the real giveaway:

Did you know that in Portland you can receive a summons for "portaging" or otherwise transporting your bicycle from the drive side? Well, it's true. In any case, the drive-side "portage" is a clear indication that the person knows very little about the proper operation of a bicycle, so it's logical from this to conclude that he's either a thief or a triathlete. And in either case, the course of action is the same: separate the suspected thief or triathlete from the bicycle immediately.

So the concerned citizen called the police, who did just that, and in the process managed to clip a cyclist with the car mirror:

I got a ride in an unmarked car to the taqueria where the bike was sold. On the drive over, we came within inches of hitting another car, and actually did hit a bicyclist with the car mirror. The bicyclist didn’t fall off or get hurt, so we left her swearing and making faces at us as we drove off.

I suppose it's inappropriate for the police to do something unequivocally good for the cycling community such as recovering a stolen bicycle. Therefore in this case they made sure to at least hurt somebody during the recovery process, and it's oddly comforting to see that they take such great pains to keep the karmic balance intact.

Speaking of triathletes, a reader has forwarded me a veritable treasure trove ("veritable treasure trove" is pretentious for "shitload") of "Softride porn:"

So where's the saddle? Well, thanks to the plush crabon suspension properties of the Softride bar you don't need a saddle. Anyway, the above image is just one that accompanies this ad on Craigslist:

I acquired this bike some time ago and find it sitting in my closet, taking up space, and collecting dust.
I called Softride customer service and spoke with some old sales reps that could give me some information on the the Softride bicycles, since they ended production in 2001. They could not give me much information on this specific model. It is definately the classic power v carbon frame, but there were so few of the "Ironman" models made that they had no clue about it. He recommended I hang it on a wall as it is extremely rare.
I have inspected the bike for carbon damage and it appears to be completely fine. I have posted about 50 pictures of the bike, several of which show close ups of the small paint defects.

This bike needs pedals and a seat in order to be ridden, the tires/tubes and brake pads are like new.

Size: Adjustable The seat can be moved up, down, forwards, backwards, and can be tilted to achieve a wide range of positions. This bike would accommodate a wide height range of riders.

- Shimano 600 Group
-- Shifters
-- Hubs
-- Headset
-- Crank
-- Bottom Bracket
-- Brakes
-- Levers
Scott aero bars (one of the first models)
Syntace TT/Tri base bar (one of the first models)
3TTT Stem
Mavic CXP 21 rims

Bike condition is 9/10, if not better.

As a New Yorker, I was amazed that some people's closets are so big that they can fit entire Softrides in them. I'd also agree that the seller should hang this bike on a wall--not because it's "extremely rare," but because this bike is the rolling equivalent of a pair of clown shoes, and anything that keeps somebody from riding it is probably a good idea. That is one salacious "beam shot" though:

Revealing "beam shots" are to Softrides as gratuitous chainline shots are to singlespeeds and "fixies."

But while you may or may not find Softride "beam shots" exciting, pretty much everybody gets excited about Jens Voigt. Yes, people love pro cycling's affable Germanic masochist, and Freds practically wet their chamoises with every one of his pain-themed utterances. Oddly, though, while Voigt has no problem doling out punishment on the bike, his cat is apparently not allowed to kill mice:

That's just bizarre. Killing a mouse is the only thing of value a cat will ever do for you. Moreover, it's also a totally "sustainable" method of pest control. Saving a mouse from a cat is a useless act disguised as charity--sort of like donating money to junior development when you renew your USA Cycling license.

Of course, we all have our peculiarities. I get touchy about cats and mice, while others get touchy about sub-par falafel:

I think you could probably get shot fairly easily in the Middle East even without the falafel.

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