Proper Attire: Safety First

Good mornafterning!  (That is the 21st century time zone-independent salutation we all agreed upon at the International Blogging Summit this past weekend in Piscataway, NJ.)

This is Fred racing:

And this is Frederick racing:

("On your markings, prepare thyselves, Frederick!")

Did you know that people still participate in Frederick racing today?  Well, it's true.  However, if you're a failed Fred who's flirting the notion of sandbagging in the high-wheeler class, you should keep two things in mind.  Firstly, there's no crabon in Frederick racing; and secondly, it's dangerous.  In fact, it's so dangerous that a reader informs me a woman was injured in Baltimore when she fell from her pennyfarthing during a Frederick race:

The good news is that, yes, she was wearing her helment.  The bad news is that she missed her helment but still hit her head

Police say 54-year-old Alison Torpey of Louisville hit her head just below her helmet in a fall from her "penny farthing" bicycle.

This injury defies the laws of cycling physics, which state that a bicycle helmet is a force field that will protect you from any form of injury--though I will concede that it's possible she wasn't wearing a helment specifically designed for pennyfarthing use:

This sort of helment is ideal for any sort of rigorous physical activity, whether it's riding a pre-safety bicycle or subjugating a continent.

In any case, I'm raising a period-correct recovery beverage in her honor and drinking to her speedy recovery:

All sporting Fredericks know that Bile is the source of Speed, and that a Robust Liver is the Wellspring of Victory.

Also, it could have been a lot worse.  For example, she could have collided with this custom "trail cutting bike," as forwarded by another reader:

Custom trail cutting bike (Auburn)
Date: 2012-07-25, 6:09AM EDT

I have for sale a custom trail cutter/ daily commuter. It is based on a folding bike frame so you can take it inside or get through a tough hole in a trail. The custom front chainsaw trail cutting tool is great for off road. it also has a dual use for commuting because it powers the front wheel making hills a breeze. It also comes with a sturdy rear rack to haul heavy loads on. 

The bearings have recently been serviced and the tires are good. it has a new chain on the bike but the saw chain should be replaced soon. 

I wish I could keep it but the wife says she is tired of the neighborhood kids wanting to ride it. No lowball offers i know what this thing is worth. 

I'm fairly certain that bike was stolen from Ketchikan, Alaska's bike share program.

Of course, if you're in the market for something a bit more modern to replace your pennyfarthing or chainsaw bike, you should look into the offerings of a company called "Stradalli:"

I'm assuming Stradalli is Italian for "straddle," and they also make components:

(Model displays plush forearm padding, as well as a pair of handlebars.)

Though keep in mind a typical Stradalli rider is less likely to be dressed like this:

And more likely to be dressed like this:

Nevertheless, it's a lot safer to fall off a Stradalli than a pennyfarthing--especially if you have ample bosoms to cushion the blow:

("Oops, I fell off my Stradalli again because it had no pedals and I was wearing heels.  Now sleep with me.")

By the way, the URL for the official Stradalli website is ""  This is very bad news for Bicycling, because they were actually planning to re-launch the magazine as "Carbon Road Bike Bicycle Cycling" in 2013.

Also, you may suspect that the Stradalli models aren't actual cyclists, but that's not true.  In fact, after the shoot they all went out for a group ride, and you can even see it on Strava, as forwarded by yet another reader:

I hope this person never, ever grows up.

Speaking of women in bikinis, still yet another reader informs me they're now stealing bikes in Brooklyn:

REWARD FOR BIKE STOLEN BY WOMEN IN BIKINIS!!!: Gray Women's Trek (Khim's Grocery, Myrtle Ave, Clinton Hill)
Date: 2012-08-15, 1:26AM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

At 5:49 on Saturday, June 30, a group of women in yellow bikinis, black swimsuits, and white coverups were shooting a skateboarding video with a group of guys in front of the MetroPCS/Post Office on Myrtle Ave, between Grand Ave and Steuben St, near the Pratt Institute campus.

As they were walking past the Khim's Grocery Store on Myrtle Ave, an overweight African-American woman in her early 20s wearing a white cover-up dress stole a bike.

The video footage and photos of the entire group, including the face and body shots of the thief, have been turned over the police, who have begun their investigation.

If you know the women in these photos, please be in contact through this email or call 911. You may remain anonymous. If the bicycle can be "found" and safely returned to its owner, charges will not be pressed against the young woman who stole the bike. 

BICYCLE IDENTIFICATION: The bike is a gray women's TREK 7000 model, with a white wire cup holder on the leg bar, and a black Kryptonite lock on the handlebar. A close-up photo of the bike is attached (note that neither the yellow extension bar nor the dog were on the bike at the time of the incident). 

Here's the bike that was stolen, complete with lock on handlebars, zany canine-portaging apparatus, and nonplussed dog:

Here it is on the sidewalk, with the lock still cunningly sitting on the handlebars:

And here's one of the Bikini Bandits simply helping herself to a bike:

It's enough to make you lose faith in humanity--assuming of course you're laughably naive.  Plus, while the thief certainly shouldn't have taken the bicycle, maybe she has dreams of becoming a model for Copenhagen Cycle Chic.  Sometimes you've got to seize those opportunities, even if you have to stomp on a few faces on the way to the top.  That's why I'm starting a new blog called North Korea Cycle Chic:

Yes, even still yet another reader tells me that women in North Korea are finally allowed to ride bikes again, so I figure now's the time to put on my Pith Helment of Opportunism and pounce:

By the way, if you're wondering why women weren't allowed to ride bikes in North Korea, it's because it "wasn't regarded as feminine:"

Perhaps another sign that North Korean society is changing, Chinese media is reporting that women are being allowed to ride bicycles for the first time for almost 20 years.

Cycling for women was banned in 1996 because it wasn't regarded as feminine by the male dominated North Korean regime.

Well, North Korea Cycle Chic is going to change that perception once and for all:

They'll be modeling Stradallis in no time.

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