Thursday, July 24, 2014

Le Tour: Keeping It Classy

For awhile I was regretting not following the Tour de France television coverage, but now I feel like this is all I need:
I could watch that all day long.

In fact, I think I will.

["Jeeves?  Cancel my waxing appointment!"]

In other Tour de France news, in addition to being dopers, it appears the riders are also filthy racists:

(Yeah, I realize it's only one guy, but I'm going to go ahead and impugn the entire peloton, because why not?)

Here's what happened:

But on Tuesday, words were some of the loudest elements of the day. After the stage ended in Bagnères-de-Luchon, a report emerged that indicated Switzerland’s Michael Albasini called Kévin Reza, the only black rider in the race and one of few in the sport, a “dirty negro,” according to Reza’s general manager at Europcar, Jean-René Bernaudeau.

Reza, was not amused, nor was his team's manager:

Reza, he said, was upset after the stage, and that the comments were “unacceptable, inadmissible,” reported France’s Sud Ouest website. “I do not tolerate racism,” Bernaudeau said. “After doping it is the other scourge of the sport.”

Uh, I'd argue that racism is a way worse scourge than doping.

For his part, Albasini denies making the comment:

Albasini said he was racing on the limit, working to drive a then five-man break that had some 45 seconds on the main field. He was frustrated with what he saw as Reza’s lack of contribution to the effort. “I wasn’t happy, and I was angry. I said to him some words that maybe I shouldn’t have, but none of them were racist.”

He also said, “[Reza] came up and asked what I said. I said it again, I didn’t choose nice words, but that’s how it is when you are on your limit, but there were definitely no racist comments. I told him, how nice it was to have one guy on your wheel when you are going full gas, so I don’t understand how it came out that I was saying something racist.”


So why hasn't Albasini been thrown off the Tour?  Well, because: A) The Tour de France is morally bankrupt; and 2) He attributes the "misunderstanding" to the peloton's frustrating lack of ethnic homogeneity:

Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) also cited the international flavor of the peloton as a reason for what he characterized as a misunderstanding.

“You know there are many languages spoken in the bunch, I don’t speak English perfectly, I speak a little bit of French, not perfectly, [Reza] doesn’t speak my languages. That can happen, a misunderstanding.”

Yeah, see?  He didn't call Reza a "dirty negro."  He was merely saying, "Dirty knee.  Grow?," which in cycling slang is a polite way of asking a rider to pull through.  (A "dirty knee" is a wheelsucker, and to "grow" is to take a pull.)  The correct response is of course, "No, I cannot, I must remain neutral like Switzerland and sit on your wheel like your country's banks sit on Nazi gold," but instead he got all huffy, and there you go.

By the way, I'd like to preemptively apologize to the people of Switzerland for my remarks, because they are a proud group who have been downtrodden for far too long:

(Swiss bankers discuss the unique hardships of living in a country with the highest nominal wealth per adult in the world.)

Honestly, some of my best friends are Swiss [disclaimer: I know no Swiss people], and I love your useful knives, your hole-riddled cheese, and your comically oversized alpine horns:

And don't go pointing out that Albasini is from the Italian part of Switzerland or anything like that, or that it's patently unfair to lump all Swiss people together, because a dirty Swiss is a dirty Swiss, everyone knows that.  Really, they're almost as bad as the Canadians--and speaking of Canadians, here's one who wants $8,000 to ride his bike off his roof so that he can buy a truck:

I don't see what could possibly go wrong, especially since he's clearly thought of everything:

Risks and challenges 

If I biff it I may need the pledge money for medical bills haha

Wait a minute!  They don't have medical bills in Canada!  I bet he's actually an American posing as a Canadian, he's already tried and failed to ride off his roof, the hilarious footage of said failure is now in the can, and so now he's trying to raise money for his medical bills.

That's a cunning financial scheme of nearly Swiss proportions.

Meanwhile, here's another cyclist looking to raise money for the world's fastest Trans-European Fred Run:

Here's the route:

I may have to launch my own Kickstarter for a documentary that simultaneously follows both of these athletes as they prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually for a pair of wildly different cycling feats that are, underneath it all, equally pointless.

Lastly--and I am very late to this--someone in Portland really hates blinky lights:

I'm pretty sure I know what Knog is going to name their next light now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Misshapen Lumps

Further to yesterday's post, in which I mentioned this guy:

A commenter would like you reassure you that he's merely an "outlier:"

Tame Dog Hawk Machine said...

Dear everyone, the Tattoo n Tzitzit guy does not represent Zoobomb as a whole at all. Actually he's kind of an outlier.
If you're in Portland, come see what we're all about!

JULY 22, 2014 AT 8:10 PM

In other words, he wants to reassure you that, should you choose to try Zoobomb, you're unlikely to encounter any Jews.  Whew!  Also, you can be sure that if any Asians show up they'll immediately be outed as undercover police officers:

(Boy, that was awkward, wasn't it?)

And remember, Keep Portland Weird!

*[But not like, you know, ethnic weird.]

Moving on, in its ongoing attempt to become Portland East, Brooklyn continues to neuter itself, and the latest symptom of this is genteel motorcyclists leaving passive-aggressive Post-it notes for other motorcyclists:

Seriously, that's not enough room?

I see nothing to complain about.  Get back to us when you pick your bike up off the street for the fourth time after some incompetent parallel parker knocks it over with their SUV.  When I owned a motorcycle people used to sit on it to eat lunch--until I joined the Satan's Helpers, that is.  After that, nobody messed with me.

Another symptom of Brooklyn's transmogrification are these ugly and misshapen bicycle sculptures, which I passed recently as I trawled the Manhattan Bridge on a Citi Bike looking for hot Cat 6 action:

I'm not sure what they're going for here, but my best guess is it's supposed to represent what you'll look like after a run-in with one of Brooklyn's many homicidal drivers:

Though if they were looking to create a really shitty version of Storm King then I'll say they nailed it:


In any case, my shivers of disgust gave way to trembling anticipation as I mounted the approach to the Manhattan Bridge, and I knew the Cat 6-ing was going to be good because people in Evel Knievel helments were detangling their headphones:

I had chosen a goodly steed at yon Citi Bike stable too, because the transmission held onto gears 1, 2, and 3 without popping out again:

When it comes to Citi Bike gearing, one outta three ain't bad, two of three is pretty darn good, and unfettered access to all three is almost unheard of.

(By the way, if you're wondering what's on my wrist, it's hair.  And if you're wondering what's buried in the hair on my wrist, it's some kind of "smart watch."  See, I once missed a text while riding my bike, and now I'm legally required to wear that electronic monitoring bracelet until I die.)

Some people mistakenly think Cat 6 racing is all about sheer power, but the fact is that bike-handling is crucial, especially when you have to circumvent "foot salmon:"

If you're unfamiliar with the Manhattan Bridge, the north side is entirely for bikes, and the south side is entirely for pedestrians, but the pedestrians don't want to have to walk all the way across Canal Street (for which I can't entirely blame them), so they're just like, "fuck it."

This means the Cat 6 racer's bike-handling skills have to be sharp.  Really sharp.  Like Peter-Sagan-on-Adderall sharp.  Fortunately, I happen to possess just such a skill set.  That's why when there's a cyclist in front of me, another coming towards me, and a pedestrian in the far left, I'm able to slip right through the crack:

Get it?  Crack.

The only thing sharper than my bike-handling is my wit.

A full 45 seconds later I was still laughing at my own joke--until I was attacked by a Fred or Fred-Like Object with a jersey that said "beard" on it:

It was on!  I attempted to screw on my "race face," but unfortunately I had left it in my other pants.  And no sooner had this registered with me than I heard the words every Cat 6 racer dreads--"On your left!"--at which point I was overtaken by a neon specter from the past:

He then proceeded to open a gap on me faster than an ice-cold can of Coors Light on a hot day:

Despondently, I looked out over the Big Skanky, which I understand a certain commenter went swimming in this past weekend:

I then thought about how we had a huge amount of rain last week, and how when that happens the local waterways fill up with untreated sewage, and then I threw up in my mouth.

Soon I crested the span and hit the downhill, where I spotted the clear winner of the day's best-dressed award:

I mean, come on, let's have some credit where credit is due.  His kerchief matches his socks for chrissake!

(They're green because he's leading the points competition.)

Furthermore, it was pretty hot out , and even though he was riding in a blazer and on a climb he was as dry as a one-liner.  Meanwhile, I was wearing a t-shirt and going downhill, yet I was sweating like a Zoobomber in a minyan.

Yes, Team Citi Bike acquitted itself well yesterday:

Look at that speed!!!

It must have been a double-points day or something, because the pace was relentless:

Then, I caught my twin adversaries, Beard Fred and Beer Fred, at the bottom of the bridge, but like the pro Cat 6 racer that I am I kept my distance so they wouldn't know I was racing them:

By the way, did you know they're making helments in the Citi Bike colorway now?

I don't know if that's on purpose or not, but it sure seems like it.

Really, the only low point for Team Citi Bike yesterday was this guy, who totally botched the remount and got dropped by CETMA Rack Guy and Shirtless Guy:

Shirtless Guy will not be winning any sartorial awards for yesterday's stage, this I can assure you.

Meanwhile, this guy was not only wearing a shirt, but he was also wearing every single fixed-gear fashion accessory ever invented, right down to the fanny pack and the star tattoo:

There are two things you can always count on in this town--a fixie rider having a star tattoo, and an SUV parked in the bike lane in front of the bike shop:

Here's an inadvertent "selfie" of Your Humble Blogger:

Yes, I ride around New York City taking pictures with my smartphone like an idiot, and if you're wondering how a Citi Bike brakes coming off the Manhattan Bridge when you're only using one hand, the answer is, "Not very well at all."

Still, I do it anyway, and the only thing I enjoy more than taking pictures of cracks while Cat 6ing is taking pictures of other people taking pictures:

I like to think somewhere somebody also took a picture of me taking a picture of that person, so please let me know if one pops up on Instagram.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Firstly, the New York Times ran a nice little story about the Tour's Lanterne Rouge:

I haven't been watching the TV coverage, so I have no idea if Phil Liggett has used any cringeworthy terms to describe his ethnicity yet.

Secondly, Alexander Vinokourov doesn't want to talk about the past:

“2007 is in the past and I don’t want to return to that topic,” Vinokourov said flatly, before pointing to Astana’s membership of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) as a sign of its good faith.

"Instead, I'd like to bypass 2007 altogether and go straight back to 1978, which is the last time my outfit was fashionable," Vino added:

(Vino played Whitey the Pimp in the 1976 cult blaxploitation film "Dolemite II: The Human Tornado.")

In other news, Woody Allen designed a bike, and he's already raised well over $300,000:

("May I interject one statement at this juncture? And I don't mean to be didactic or facetious in any way.")

According to Woody, this perfectly ordinary bike embodies a "new concept in cycling."  Check it out:

Okay.  The bike looks fine.  But how is this in any way a "new concept in cycling?"  I mean sure, it is made of an exotic material called "aluminum," which has never been used for bikes before.  This "makes the frame lightweight:"

Which is essential when fleeing to the safety of your Brooklyn brownstone after you scuff somebody's Jordans:

By the way, I don't know about you, but after a hard ride I always chug a carton of orange juice:

Another way this bike is completely different (at least according to the director of classics such as "Manhattan" and "Annie Hall") is that it has a comfy seat, upright handlebars, and three speeds--a combination which no bicycle company in the history of bicycle companies has ever attempted:

And, in a bold example of innovation that could only come from a clarinetist of Mr. Allen's stature, the bike is equipped with a coaster brake only:

See, some companies selling comfortable upright bikes with three speeds give you both a coaster brake and a handbrake for the front wheel.  However, the Priority does away with the extra stopping power, which you'll appreciate when you're coming off one of the East River bridges and immediately merging with heavy automobile traffic.

And of course it's got a belt drive:

(That's a lotta chainring bolt spacers.)

"One of the most unique features of our bike is the belt drive.  Harley Davidson started using belts in their motorcycles in the '80s and has never looked back."

Harley Davidson should not be held up as a paradigm for anything except their uncanny ability to speak directly to the sad leather-clad yearnings of middle-aged lawyers whose idea of an "upgrade" is amplifying the sound of flatulence as they ride.

But Woody really crossed the line with this one:

Theft Deterrent - We know you’ll fall in love with Priority, and we want to do anything we can to keep our bikes with their proud owners. By using bolts instead of quick releases, Priority makes it more difficult for thieves to disassemble parts. You'll still have to lock up your bike, but bolts are a precaution Priority has taken to make theft more difficult.

Oh come on now.  What bike like this does feature quick releases?

Actually, I can think of one, and it's the Priority:

(Pretty sure that's a quick release.)

That's an ethical mobius strip akin to the plot of 1989's "Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Lastly, a reader tells me the Wall Street Journal has published an article about "Zoobomb," complete with short film:

In which you'll see that participants begin their ride with a cry of "!!!"

I have a strict rule whereby I don't take part in any event in which people shout the name of the event in unison.  This is because I have an inherent fear of "groupthink," and know there's a very fine line between "Portlandia" and "Dystopia."

Here's the Zoobomb "monument:"

When I first saw this pile of crap in person during a visit to Portland some years ago, I thought it was an aesthetically objectionable Tower of Tetanus.  However, as a parent, I now understand the Portland city government's rationale here.  See, I know I shouldn't let my kid leave his toys in the living room, but the fact is that I'm kinda lazy and I don't want to deal with the whining, so I do anyway.  And that's exactly what's going on here.

Also, check this out:

Tattoos and tzitzit?  Only in Portland:

He's either the World's Hippest Orthodox Jew, or he saw those things on a visit to Brooklyn and thought they looked cool.

Lastly, carrying your helment on your head with the straps unfastened is the lowest form of helment portaging:

(Charity ride chic.)

Though they may just be trying to emulate the ever-so-trendy payos look.