Organized Rides: Choose a Temperature and Add Smugness to Taste

Are you smug?  Do you own a cargo portaging-type bicycle?  (If you answered "yes" to the first question then you probably also answered "yes" to the second question.)  After voting tomorrow, do you have a bunch of time to kill?  If so you can head over to Bicycle Habitat in Brooklyn and help portage ("portage" is pretentious for "schlep") supplies out to Far Rockaway, and here are the details:

Not sure if you heard, but we had a gigantic fucking storm here and there are a lot of people still without power who really need things.  Ordinarily I'd be tempted to point out that you can carry more stuff faster by car, but when you consider  that the wait for gas is still something like 20 hours long it suddenly starts making a lot more sense.

Of course, if you prefer your organized rides to be less smug and more warmer, you could always ride the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia in Miami along with Mario Cipollini, as forwarded to me by a reader:

Here's Cipollini himself posing with his "XXX trophy:"

The XXX trophy is given in recognition of extraordinary commitment to unprotected sexual intercourse, and its distinctive spiral shape is meant to evoke the syphilis virus:

By the way, given the recent doping shitstorm (which seems even more comically insignificant now when juxtaposed with a real storm), the organizers are going out of their way to point out that Cipollini "has never been linked to doping:"

Gran Fondo organizers say they can’t promise a costumed Cipollini (who, it should be noted, has never been linked to doping). But they hope to deliver a challenging ride on Nov. 11 with all the passione of the Giro and Italian cycling, which is to aficionados of the sport unequalled in style.

Even though he totally has:

"I am completely astounded at what the newspaper Repubblica published today," Cipollini declared. "It is absurd to me that my name is mentioned in this arbitrary way in something I now nothing about. Personally, I do not know doctor Fuentes and I have never had any contact to him."

The Tuscan is now ready to take legal action "to protect his image".

I don't know which is more laughable: the notion that Mario Cipollini rode as a professional from 1989 to 2008 without ever doping, or that it's even possible to sully an image which is arguably the smarmiest in all of sports.  Really, the only way being linked to a doctor could hurt Cipollini's image would be if that doctor was prescribing him with erectile dysfunction medication.  And speaking of erections, this gran fondo is perfect for Cipollini for two reasons:

Where other gran fondos offer steep climbs, Miami’s substitutes usually-stiff winter winds.

Yes, Cipo hates climbing, and he's also unusually stiff--though if he remains that way for more than six hours he needs to call Dr. Fuentes.

Of course, if you hate warmth and sunshine, you could do the exact opposite of a gran fondo in Miami by riding a "fat bike" to the South Pole, as forwarded to me by another reader:

Here's footage of Eric Larsen showing off his fat bike skillz:

I love few things more than riding a bicycle, but, to paraphrase Gary Larson, there are certain ways nature says "Do not ride," and even just watching this gave me seasonal affective disorder and made me want to drink myself into a stupor.

By the way, as the same reader points out, fat bikes are now poised to replace cyclocross bikes (which replaced track bikes) as the hottest two-wheeled fashion accessories going, and he even forwarded catalog pictures to prove it:

I'm sure someone will point out that the model isn't wearing a helment:

Though arguably the snow is enough to break her fall and the worst case scenario is that she'll wind up like this:

(Four minutes into a typical fat bike Fred ride.)

Which is why I'm launching a Kickstarter for a fat bike shoe with a heel that flashes red when it's inverted.  That way, the search party is more likely to spot you from the helicopter.  (My original prototype actually fired a flare, but more often than not it misfired and simply sent a flaming projectile straight into the rider's crotch.)  Currently I'm using the product name "Fat Bike Dork Foot Beacon," but I may refine that if we actually make it to market.

Speaking of survival tactics, still another reader has sent me this article, in which an RAF pilot explains why drivers don't see you when you're on a bike:

Basically, for all intents and purposes, you really are invisible:

When you move your head and eyes to scan a scene, your eyes are incapable of moving smoothly across it and seeing everything. Instead, you see in the image in a series of very quick jumps (called saccades) with very short pauses (called fixations) and it is only during the pauses that an image is processed.

Your brain fills in the gaps with a combination of peripheral vision and an assumption that what is in the gaps must be the same as what you see during the pauses.

Since if you don't fall into one of these "saccades" then the driver doesn't see you.

This is useful information for both cyclists and drivers.  However, do keep in mind that it's coming from an RAF pilot, and therefore it's only applicable to British people.  Here in America everybody's awesome and sees everything at all times, just like in "Top Gun."

Of course, in the unlikely event that you do get hit by an American driver while you're on your bicycle (and by "unlikely" I mean "probable"), rest assured there will be a thorough investigation--provided you pay for one.  That's where Robson Forensic comes in, to whose services I was alerted by Leroy's dog:

Not only do they get to the bottom of what happened, but they even furnish attorneys with diagrams of old crappy ten speeds so that attorneys can be conversant in bicycle terminology when they talk to clients:
Which results in conversations like this:

"So you're saying that after the car hit you the...let me see here...'rim' resembled a 'taco,' the so-called 'chain ring' tore your pants, and the uh...'saddle' became lodged deep in your posterior.  Do I have that correct so far?"

A saddle by any other name would feel as painful.

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