Squirrely You Jest: Blight-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed

(Fall is a nice time for to riding the bikes.)

As the changing leaves and the commercials for huge retail sales have no doubt reminded you, the holidays are approaching. So, in the spirit of the season, I have a heartwarming and delightful story to tell you. In fact, if you're a parent or educator, you should gather the children and read this out loud to them. Here we go!

Once a time upon, there was a squirrel named Perry. Perry the squirrel lived in the forest in a hollow tree. His was a happy life, and he enjoyed doing all the things happy squirrels do: climbing tall trees, frolicking in the tall grass, and foraging for larvae and maggots. When Perry went about his happy life he always whistled a happy tune--except when his mouth was full of maggots. It's very difficult to whistle with a mouth full of maggots.

Anyway, one day Perry decided to visit his friend, Sally. Sally would sometimes let Perry visit her in her hollow tree for some frolicking, and she had a refreshing way of not placing too many demands on Perry or insisting that he spend the night. So Perry loaded his little squirrel bindle up with nuts, berries, and maggots and set out for Sally's place.

As Perry scurried over to Sally's for some tail (click here for NSFW squirrel tail action) he listened to the birds chirping and the brook babbling and he whistled a happy tune. Soon though he came to the treacherous part of the journey, which involved crossing the big open place where the noisy metal machines went. Perry hated crossing the big open place, but he loved Sally's fluffy tail, and sometimes the prospect of getting some tail can make a squirrel do things he wouldn't ordinarily do. So he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and ran across the big open place.

Perry had made it across the big open place many times before. But not this time. This time, he managed to avoid the noisy metal machines, but just before he made it to the other side he got caught in the fork crown of a Fred's Orbea and died:

The end.

The image above (the squirrel, not the smiley face) comes courtesy of Esteemed Commenter Daddo One, so if you're offended you can blame him--or, you can blame Jens Voigt, who brags on Twitter about saving mice but in this case was nowhere to be found. What's the matter, Voigt? Mice are worth your attention but squirrels aren't? This rodentism will not stand! Most of all though, you can blame the rider, for had he been riding a bicycle with adequate squirrel clearance this might never have happened:

Yes, if you're riding a bike with short reach brakes it means you hate nature and you might as well go get yourself a Hummer.

In any case, while not all of us are squirrel friendly, if you're reading this blog you're probably bike friendly, and as it happens I recently received the following email:

At Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY the cycling coach of the well awarded team has come up with a symbol to promote awareness to bicycle friendly place. Coach Grigsby has created a symbol that universally would tell cyclists they can come there if they need water, have an emergency, use the phone etc. It's simple and helps the cycling team. Can I send u one to help us get this universally recognized symbol out of Columbia, KY and into the world?

Evidently if you're "bike friendly" you're supposed to place this sticker on your home, which makes it sort of the cycling equivalent of a Mezuzah. However, unlike a Mezuzah, this particular talisman is less about protecting the home than it is about telling wayward cyclists that they may seek succor in your abode. (And when I say "seek succor" I mean that in the innocent way and not in the way Perry the squirrel was seeking it--though "gimme some succor" is a charming pick-up line.) Most of all, though, it means that cyclists are allowed to totally foul your bathroom.

I only wish they'd contacted me when they were still in the design phase, because you may recall that some time ago we already decided upon an international cycling symbol:

This symbol is both bold and versatile, and while the "bike friendly" part is implied it can be easily modified in order to convey a more specific message:

Of course, it hardly warrants mentioning that the international cycling symbol is based on the ubiquitous time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork Bret:

Wait, sorry, wrong image:

And you'll no doubt be pleased to know that time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork Bret sightings continue apace--including this one, sent to me by a reader, in which the image of the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork Bret is writ large on the side of a van:

You'll note that the've changed his t-shirt from yellow to red, but that's our Bret. As for the van itself, I'm not sure of it's purpose, though I'm assuming you're allowed to "make" in there.

In other news, last week I mentioned Campagnolo's new electronic component group, which is now at the heart of a journalistic controversy. As far as I understand it, what happened was that Cyclingnews and BikeRadar technical editor James Huang wrote an article about the group, after which Bike Rumor basically plagiarized it and then offered an awkward apology:

Tyler (Editor) - 11/10/11 - 4:49pm
Dear readers,
If you’re reading this for a second time, you’ll notice that it’s been completely rewritten. There are some additional features like individual component weights, battery specs, etc. It’s a much better, more comprehensive article.
Our first iteration inappropriately used information from a competitor’s article. We were not invited to the official launch in Italy and in our excitement to get the news out used poor judgement in how we went about it. For this we are very sorry.
It is not, nor has it ever been, our intention to build this site on the backs of other peoples’ efforts. We take this matter very seriously and have made changes to our own internal policies. We look forward to continuing to provide great original content and, when appropriate linking to others in the appropriate manner and giving credit where credit is due. BikeRadar, Bicycling, Road.cc and Road Bike Action, among others, all have excellent first hand coverage that adds to this story and we encourage you to check it out.
Tyler Benedict, Editor/Founder

Oopsie. Amusingly though it would appear that Bike Rumor has since come to terms with the fact that they can't compete journalistically with the tech geek "big boys." Instead, they're embracing extreme retrougrouchery by plundering museums instead of rival publications:

Bike Rumor should be safe here, since any articles written about this baby are long in the public domain. I'm looking forward to their next piece, which will be a similarly detailed look at this new "quick release skewer" technology all the velocipedists are buzzing about.

Meanwhile, speaking of theft, a deranged Australian is on the loose in New York and is stealing bicycles:

Sure, some might argue that the phrase "deranged Australian" is redundant, but either way the brigand pictured above has hornswaggled a well-meaning Yonkersian out of his bicycle:

Date: 2011-11-15, 4:59AM EST
Reply to: [deleted]

The man you see below agreed to RENT MY BIKE FOR one day (Last Saturday, 10/22) and agreed to return that same night

He never called or emailed me and and the bike has not been returned. I called him and left him a bunch of voicemails, texts, and emails.

All i took was his expired Australian Ids and NO cash deposit. The NYC address he gave me is not even a real location.

BEWARE OF THIS MAN! He is a thief that still has my Fuji mountain bike, Schwinn helmet, and bell u lock.

His name is Thomas Anthony Ward

He is about 6'1 tall

I'm actually reasonably sure I've seen the thief before, though back then he was calling himself "Russell Crowe:"

What's more, Mr. Crowe does have a known affinity for urban mountain biking:

Presently, he's my number one suspect.

Speaking of mountain bikes, the bar end is the DNA of the home-"curated" cockpit, and here is an elegantly minimalist example forwarded by a reader:

Complete with top tube pad, multiple reflectors, and singlespeed pie plate, it looks fast just standing still:

If Bret had a "beater bike," this would be it.

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