The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Encounters in the Bike Lane

Remember that race walker who got caught taking the EPO?  Yes?  No?  Don't care?  Well, either way, he's now apologizing (probably in hopes that he'll walk on the criminal charges):

"I made a huge error," Alex Schwazer says. "And I can only repeat, I'm sorry."

At a news conference in Bolzano in northern Italy, Schwazer wept and at one point buried his face in his hands. His manager and a lawyer participated in the news conference.

After this moving apology for getting caught engaging in the humiliating act of race walking in the first place, he then went on to address the actual doping:

"I couldn't say no to this decision to do doping for the 2012 Olympics," he said.

He denied getting the performance-enforcer from Michele Ferrari, the Italian doctor who in 2002 was banned by the Italian Cycling

Presumably, after being banned from professional cycling, Michele Ferrari moved on to the only sport that's even dorkier, which is race walking.  Unfortunately though it looks like the authorities are on to him, which means from here he'll probably move on to dog shows.  (I'm not sure how you dope at a dog show, but it probably involves giving Dachshunds Viagra to make them appear longer and harder.)

By the way, race walking may look utterly ridiculous to the uninitiated, but to competitors like Schwazer it's a sport full of beauty and grace:

"The race walk was making me nauseous," he said. 

If it's any consolation, the race walk makes the rest of us nauseous too.

Alas, stories like these can make you lose faith in the integrity of sport, but for every doofus who's putting a glide in his stride and a dip in his hip by artificial means there's an inspiring tale which rekindles your love of humanity.  Consider this man, who has ridden from China to London to see the Olympics:

A ride this "epic" makes those Rapha gentlemen's races look like a bunch of foppish gnats buzzing around a fruit stand, and as they grimace in contrived black and white this guy just smiles beatifically:

So how does he feel after riding for two years and through sixteen countries just to see the Olympics?

So instead he spends most of his time entertaining the ladies of London in his lavishly-appointed human-powered bachelor's pad:

("If this rickshaw's a-rockin', don't come a-knockin'.")

Yes, he's made quite a name for himself in London, and in addition to putting enough notches in his bedpost to make Mario Cipollini blush, he's also gotten to party with many celebrities--including Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins:

Actually, that's not Bradley Wiggins.  That is in fact notorious London huckster and master of disguise "Jimmy the Shapeshifter," who over the years has duped hapless tourists into thinking he's everybody from Winston Churchill to Russell Brand:

(Dame Judi Dench?  Look again--that's actually Jimmy!)

I know this because last time I was in London he convinced me he was the Queen and I gave him fifty bucks for what turned out to be a false knighthood.

Anyway, from London, Chen Guan Ming is off to Portland, OR, where he'll simply ride up alongside local cyclists and laugh at them:

For any Portlanders who don't speak Mandarin, chances are what he's saying is, "Ooh, you sell soup from a bike.  Well I rode 37,000 miles just to watch beach volleyball."  Ultimately though he'll probably stay there and open a shop, and before you know it rickshaws will be the new cargo bike.

Meanwhile, in other Olympic news, Slate is answering questions nobody is asking:

What are those solid-looking wheels track cyclists use? Why don’t all cyclists use them?

Um, what do you mean, "Why don't all cyclists use them?"  Of course they do!  Disc wheels are perfect for casual riding:

Especially when you get them for free:


I build this bike almost entirely for free. Wheels free, Frame free, Cranks Free...only paid for the seat post, stem, bars, and grips. BOOSH!!

"Boosh?"  Isn't that French for "mouth?"  While it's tempting to conclude statements you've made on the Internet with doucheclamation points such as "BOOM!" or "BOOSH!," it's generally gratuitous, since readers can almost always tell what you've written is fatuous or inane even without them.

Anyway, while people have been riding slowly around the city on disc wheels for years now, last night I discovered that the new fashion trend in urban cycling is the sequined cape:

By the way, before you jump to any conclusions, what you're mistaking for a Really Shitty Photograph is actually Art. BOOSH!!!

Speaking of doucheclamation points, a Harvard windshield decal comes across as a doucheclamation point after a driver overtakes you and then cuts you off in the bike lane:

Though that's nothing compared to getting hit by a driver on a protected bike path, as a reader spotted on the bikeway approach to the 59th Street/Queensboro/Ed Koch/Etc. bridge in Queens this morning:

In a sane world a person who drives onto a bikeway and hits a cyclist would be arrested, but I'm sure in this case the only thing the cop gave him was directions.  

And yesterday, another reader was actually hit from behind when a driver decided he'd rather use the bike lane than wait in traffic.  Here is the aftermath:

Fortunately a police officer arrived on the scene and meted out quick justice by telling the victim that there would be no investigation because he wasn't killed, and that he would not be ticketing the driver because he didn't actually witness the incident.  Instead, after nearly murdering somebody, the driver and his voluminous man-breasts were simply sent on their way.

By the way, presumably the police officer was joking when he said there would be no investigation because the cyclist wasn't killed, because we all know that even if he had been killed there would be no investigation either.

Anyway, as you ply the bike lanes of New York, keep any eye out for "Tits" McGee, his accomplice Officer Pants Yabbies, and the Blue Delivery Van of Death (actually, all delivery vans are vans of death):

Also watch out for Scandinavians in Ray Bans:

Date: 2012-08-09, 11:33AM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

You: Slicked back scandinavian with the ray bans, a dandyish black bike and a seriously insufficient sense of safety
Me: Girl you crashed the fuck into 

Get at me. Let's hit up the ATM. We can do this the hard way, or the easy way. 

You broke my finger and my bike a little THE FUCK. I HATE YOU! DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE WITH YOUR BIKE. 

I wonder what happens when the police arrive on the scene of a bike-on-bike collision.  On one hand, they must want to ignore the victim, but on the other hand they must want to punish the scofflaw cyclist brutally and out of all proportion to his crime.  They must experience a mental grinding of gears akin to shifting a car without using a clutch, followed by complete cognitive breakdown.  

Or, more likely, they just ticket both cyclists.  Because that would make a lot more sense.

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