Junglee Love. It's Driving Me Mad. It's Making Me Crazy. (That's from a song they play on the radio, I didn't come up with it.)

Life is hard here in the urban jungle.  (Pronounced "junglee" like Werner Herzog says it.)  First, I wake up to the din of the cityscape.  Then I drink some puréed bacon and scarf a fistful of coffee grounds.  Needless to say, after that I need to visit the restroom, and a short hour and a half later I head out the front door.  Within minutes I'm on this:

Which turns into this:

Which leads me to this:

From toilet to trailhead, I'd say about 90% of the ride is on car-free paths.  Then, once I hit the trailhead, it's generally only four or five more minutes until I become one with the landscape by landing hard upon it:

I took this photo immediately after I finished cursing, and if you're wondering what caused the crash, I was undone by a laughably tiny obstacle followed by a series of overcorrections which culminated in my falling over like an idiot:

Once I found my woodland legs though it was a lovely morning of cavorting on the mist-enshrouded hillside:

But that's only because I left the bike where it was, removed all my clothes, and frolicked about on foot like a hirsute wood nymph until I was shot with a tranquilizer dart by animal control.

Also helpful was my newly-enhanced wider cockpit:

The new handlebars didn't hurt either.

Speaking of bicycles, people have them, and some of those bike owners like to do the cyclocross on them, and some of those people have the kinds of cyclocross bikes that have no derailleurs and only one gear ratio, and those people generally like their exploits to be photographed and filmed extensively, even more so than the rest of us, and that's why they had the SSCXSSWCCXWC in Los Angeles this past weekend.  I couldn't be bothered to look up the photographs, so here's a Pippi Longstocking costume, which is exactly the same thing:

For the most part, single-speed cyclocross racing is people riding around in skirts and really high socks. That's all you need to know.

In any case, apparently next year's SSCXWCSSCXCXCZ is going to be in Philadelphia next year, which is tremendously goaueiiensnzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.............

I literally actually literally totally fell asleep on my keyboard as I was typing that, though in fairness to Philadelphia this is the most exciting thing that's happened to them since the Continental Congress--not to mention the fact that the outfits will be almost exactly the same:

Not only do singlespeed cyclocross racers and founding fathers share an affinity for high socks and wigs, but both groups are also 100% white.

Of course, if the founding fathers were around today they could have adopted the Declaration of Independence by PDF, which would have saved them a trip to Philadelphia altogether.  Yes, email is a miraculous miracle, which is why I read mine occasionally, and when I do I am delighted to find messages like this:

Hi Bike Snob,
Nice rants
I'd like to know what do you think about these wooden hats... eeeerrr... helmets


Stefan A

Hello, Stefan, thank you for writing.  Firstly of all, it's spelled "helments."  Secondly, I think I've actually mentioned these wooden helments before, but frankly I can't be bothered to check because honestly who even reads this crap anyway?  So here's the video for the first time or again as the case may be:

So what do I think?  Here's what I think.  I think I'd rather wear a salad bowl on my head.  Not only do they come in wood, but if you get the nesting variety you can dial in the perfect fit:

Whereas with the wooden helment you need to go to work on it with a power sander before you can ride around looking like George of the Junglee:

(Actually, I don't think George of the Jungle wore a helment, so presumably this is for Fred of the Jungle.)

According to the guy who wants your money so he can whittle these for you, the big selling point is that they're more environmentally friendly than styrofoam helments.  Well, you know what's even more environmentally friendly?  Wearing nothing on your head at all!  How much could you possibly love the environment if you need to cut down a tree before you're willing to get on a bike?  As the saying goes, there's no such thing as a complimentary breakfast.  Here's how it works: If you want personal safety at all costs, fuck the environment and drive a tank while wearing flame-retardant body armor.  If you want to tread as lightly on the Earth as possible, ride a home-grown bamboo bike naked.  And none of this bamboo-with-crabon-fork-and-components crap, either.  That's like calling yourself a vegetarian because you put avocado slices on your bacon cheeseburger.  No, I mean the full-on Gilligan shit:

In fact, at that point you could go with a car or a bike, it really doesn't matter:

By the way, if you're unfamiliar with "Gilligan's Island" because you're under 100 years old, it was a thinly-veiled Marxist allegory masquerading as a fatuous TV show.  Also, adolescent boys everywhere were stunned and confused (and in some cases aroused) by the episode in which it was revealed that sexpot Ginger was actually a man.

But the biggest problem with the wooden helment, even more so than the quasi-environmental aspect, is the way it looks:

I like to think I'm above superficial matters like appearance.  At the same time though we are animals who live in a society, and it's foolish to deny that appearance is an important part of human interaction.  So, while it may be acceptable to wear bits of the forest on your head in a "state" like Oregon, the simple fact is that you can't go around in a real city like New York with a hollowed-out stump on your head that looks like a chipmunk is going to pop out of one of the vents at any moment.  Well, I mean you can, but it's going to adversely affect your life.  People won't hire you.  They won't rent you an apartment.  It's even dangerous, because while you may think you're safer if you fall of your bike, you never know when someone's going to mistake you for a human game of Whac-A-Mole and hit you over the head with a mallet.

Worst of all, something like this has the potential to set the cause of cycling as transportation back at least 20 years.  It's hard enough for people to wade through the morass of bicycle marketing, so once they've actually gotten a bike you can't then tell them, "Oh, one more thing, you have to wear this wooden turtle shell on your head so you won't die."  That's going to be a deal breaker, and their next stop is going to be the Hyundai dealership.

Lastly, on the subject of helments and clothing, Giro makes them, and they're also going to be making some new cycling clothes that look pretty much like regular clothes, and they're so excited that when they were in New York last week they added me to their list of people to talk to about the clothes in person.  So we went to a fancy restaurant in Manhattan, where they can't throw me out because my brother's pretty much in charge of the whole place and if he tried it I'd tell on him:

Once seated and furnished with designer alcohols, we played a serious game of "male model poker:"

The clothes actually looks really nice, but you can't truly judge a cycling garment until it's spent at least six hours on your scranus (if it's pants) or your nipples (if it's a shirt).  I'm still not sure why they wanted to tell me about these clothes though, since I'm currently working my way through team clothing I over-ordered back in the late 1990s and have a good 1,500 more forest falls to go before I need to re-stock.

Also at that very same restaurant on that very same day I had lunch with some other blogger and his wife.  (Yes, I camped out in a fancy restaurant all day talking about clothes and blogging like a metrosexual Cliff Clavin.)  This blogger says he's fat but is actually pro cyclist skinny, probably because, unlike me, he does not drink at lunch.  He's also doing good stuff for good causes, so help him.

Once finished with my meetings, I plopped my salad bowl back on my head and went home smelling like vinaigrette.

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