Ooh, That Smell: Feast or Forage

Yesterday I mentioned the controversial outcome of the recent Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships in San Francisco, which has the tattooed and be-shanted contingent of the "bicycle culture" up in expensively inked arms. (I realize that expression refers to the other kind of arms but it always makes me think of someone who's so upset that they've got their arms up in the air in dismay.) Inasmuch as this is now a bonerfied controversy (I realize it's actually "bona fide" but "bona fide" means "genuine" and you can't fake an erection) we can now expect it to follow the Official Controversy Lifecycle, which unfolds thusly:

1) A bunch of people put their arms up in the air because they think somebody disrespected something that gives them a boner;

2) They come up with an easily Tweetable name for the controversy that involves the suffix "gate," or, increasingly, the prefix "#Occupy;"

3) They get bored of it, put their arms back down, and resume playing with their boners.

At present, we're still in the midst of Phase Two, though there seems to be some controversy within the controversy as to whether to refer to the whole mishigas as "Raphagate," or as the slightly more Tweetable "#OccuWuss." Either way, hopefully we can resume our onanism and move on to Stage Three soon. One way of expediting this process is by taking an online poll, since online polls are the confessionals of the Internet. So let's all cast our votes on Raphagate, or #OccuWuss, or whatever you want to call it, herewith:

Should the Rapha SSCXWC winners forfeit?

Now let's put our arms back down and pick up our our boners again.

Moving on, owing to the considerable volume of my Thanksgiving repast I recently found myself with sufficient bathroom time to read the Food Issue of "The New Yorker," and in it was an article about a new culinary trend called "foraging." Foraging is exactly what it sounds like, which is to say it's picking wild crap and eating it. If it helps, think of foragers as "bucolic freegans." Like any trend, it's something people have been doing forever but have only recently seen fit to intellectualize, and it inspires incredible sentences such as this:

A few weeks later, when Paterson and I went truffling with an obliging local carabiniere named Bruno Craba and his two truffle terrier mutts, one of the dogs surrendered so helplessly to the intoxicating smell of semen that the tubers emit--known to foodies as the truffle umami--that she swallowed half a truffle the size of a tennis ball before presenting the rest of it to her master.

So how do you get your food? Do you order it in a fancy restaurant? Do you buy it in the supermarket? Do you co-opt it in your local food co-op? Do you harvest it from your backyard, window box, or community garden? Well, however you get it, get over yourself, because it's positively prosaic compared to setting off with a guy named Bruno and following some dogs around until they cough up something that smells like jizz.

It's especially remarkable to me though how similar food and cycling are. Both fulfill basic needs (food gives us fuel, cycling gets us places) and are so inherently simple as to be boneheaded, yet in certain circumstances both can be legitimately transcendent. As a result, both compel people to "bullshittify" them endlessly in an attempt to come up with a formula that evokes that transcendent experience again and again. By riding fixed-gear bicycles, people once hoped to experience the sensation of "Zen" with every trip. And by rooting around for fungus that smells like cum, people apparently seek the truffling equivalent of "Zen," which thanks to "The New Yorker" I now know is called "truffle umami."

This can only mean that fixed-gear truffle foraging is the next trend on the horizon, and the semen-drenched Zenlike state that will result in a successful "truffle run" will make "hillbombing" seem about as pulse-raising as doing your laundry.

Still, I suppose it's comforting to know that people still forage, just as it's comforting to know that people still walk. These are timeless behaviors, like caring for our offspring and playing with our boners. Granted, the days of ambulatory humans may be numbered thanks to sedentary lifestyles and junk food-induced diabetes, but for now we're still doing it. That's why I can only get so irritated when I see things like this on the Manhattan Bridge bike path:

Sure, as a cyclist I'd like to think that there could be at least one thoroughfare reserved exclusively for bicycles, but as long as we can walk this will never be the case. Yes, it's irritating, but our urge to wander anyplace our feet will take us is what makes us human, and when you take that away from us you take away our humanity. Whether we live in the forest or in the most populous city in America, we need to be free to follow the heady ejaculatory aroma of the "truffle umami" wherever it may take us:

("Mmm, do I smell semen?")

This is why cars can be so unsettling--they're private vehicles that cost lots of money, yet they trump our innate desire and ability to wander. Even cyclists and pedestrians can share a thoroughfare if they each make a bit of an effort, but the relationship between cars and pedestrians is non-negotiable. You either get in a car, or you get out of the way. Now, I'm not anti-car by any means, but as it is if you're not in your car you become an animal who's expected to scamper away, and if you're in one you become an asshole:

The douche biker on Dean - w4m - 27 (Brooklyn)
Date: 2011-11-28, 11:32AM EST
Reply to:

To the asshole biker who spat on my BMW near Dean and Classon this morning. That car cost more than your life and your stupid bike. I hope someone runs you over and breaks both your legs. If I realized you spat on my car and not the ground I would've been happy to do it myself. You're such a bitch to wait until I was stopped at a light behind some cars to do it. Scared of a 5'1 girl? Kill yourself.

Now, I don't condone spitting on cars, but I'm going to take the cyclist's side here. First of all, it's not like he pulled down his shants and made a "truffle umami" deposit on her hood. Secondly, maybe she almost hit him--and even if she didn't, what's some spit on a car anyway? It's a giant hunk of metal that lives outside. Birds crap on it. Cats sleep under it. Kids hang out on its hood when you're not looking. Nevertheless, the first rule in American social interaction is Don't Touch My Car. And regardless of whether or not you spit on a car, most drivers don't like you when you're on a bike because:

1) You are what you "own" (or, as is more often the case, lease from a bank);

2) The more money you spend on a vehicle the more human rights you have.

3) Anybody smaller and smarter than you deserves to be punished.

I only hope one day the driver of that BMW wakes up, smells the semen, and realizes she's been duped out of her own humanity by a motor company and a bank. She should go foraging for a soul.

Speaking of being duped, an unfortunate Williamsburger was recently duped out of a high-end blinky light:

short black hair wed night at the woods - m4w - 27 (S 4th)
Date: 2011-11-24, 4:42AM EST
Reply to:

You left right at closing time, and the bouncer, the bartender and barback all told me that you walked out with my $40 bike light that I absent-mindedly set down on the table right before walking out myself.
As soon as they told me, I rode off to ask everyone I could find coming from the woods if they had taken it. No dice.
FYI, I made it home safely.
You should also know that you stole from someone who:
doesn't have money to drink, which is fine because alcohol would be fatal while taking
this medication to treat Hepatitis C, which costs $50K,
which is why I'm so broke. But fuck it, I'll take being broke over being dead.
Anyways, enjoy your karma.
what are you thankful for?

I think we may have just found the "Hipster Job." (That's "Hipster Job" as in Job from the Bible, not "Hipster Job" as in freelance graphic design or making $7 coffees.)

Lastly, speaking of bicycle accessories, a reader in London recently spotted this mysterious top tube-mounted canister:

I have no idea what purpose it serves, but given the front disc brake perhaps the owner has fabricated a truly "epic" master cyclinder for massive rider-catapulting stopping power.

Either that, or it's a fixed-gear truffle-foraging bike.

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