This Just In: I Bid You "Aduh" Until 2010

Last Wednesday, I mentioned the fact that I worship the Lobster God. While the notion of an all-powerful crustacean may seem like little more than a flimsy basis for an ersatz religion ("ersatz" is pretentious for "fake"), it turns out there is some philosophical validity to the concept. In gathering information with which to "flesh out" (or more accurately "shell out") my new religion, I turned to a popular search engine and discovered an essay called "The Organism as the Judgment of God: Aristotle, Kant and Deleuze on Nature (that is, on biology, theology and politics)." Titles don't really get much catchier than that (Kant and Deleuze? You can't lose!), and so I began to read. As it turns out, God is indeed a lobster:

If you find all of that confusing, the author goes on to simplify the concept later in the essay:

Organisms occur in at least two registers: one strictly biological, the other political. But it is the same abstract machine of stratification, the same Lobster-God operant in any register from geological to social as the way to appropriate matter-energy flows from the Earth and build a layer that slows down the flow and funnels a surplus to a transcendently organised body. The abstract machine of stratification is biological and political at once. The geology of morals set forth by the Lobster-God is bio-political organisation.

Also, lobsters have claws.

Admittedly, though, this essay is pretty dry, and the Lobster God I worship is a bit more succulent. I prefer to believe the Lobster God is the all-powerful orchestrator of the great "Space Miracle," which took place when the Lobster God opened the Barbican Shoulder Bag of Infinity with the Pincer of Creation and the entire universe spewed forth from its leathery folds. Or, to put it another way, we are all merely fleas on the Dachshund of Time:

All of which is to say in a very roundabout way that the Lobster God appeared to me in a dream recently (I fell asleep watching "Atonement") and commanded me to take leave of this blog until Monday, January 4th, at which point I will resume regular updates.

In the meantime, though, I invite you to ponder this image, which was forwarded to me by a reader:

In the interest of rendering the photograph "safe for work," I was forced to add some garments. (You'll note that the originals are hanging from the handlebars.) If you're wondering why the crotchal region of the "virtual" garments is so sizeable, this was necessary in order to fully obscure the volume of the "secondary coif," which, like the primary one atop her head, was considerable. Should you wish to view the original photo as the artist intended, it is here.

Lastly, if you've been losing sleep because you're wondering what the hot new bike fashion trend will be for 2010 (and not because you've been having nightmares about lobsters as I have), you can finally rest easy. Another reader recently forwarded me a Craigslist posting confirming something I've long suspected, which is that 2010 will be the Year of Rust:

55cm Broakland Pipe-Bomb Track Frameset - $1100 (potrero hill)
Date: 2009-12-23, 12:35PM PST
Reply to: [deleted]

For sale is a raw (unpainted, uncoated) Broakland Pipe-bomb frameset in size 55. Included in the sale is the frame, fork and Chris king threadless headset. The frame is perfect with no dents or cosmetic issues.
There is surface rust which I have been letting take over slowly and deliberately. It has seen a little over a year of use as a city whip.

Rarely do you see this much thought go into a track bike. From the Paul dropouts to the three different types of tubing. It is designed for both 700c front or a 26" for a little more aggressive handling and barspinzzz. Light and stiff, equally at home on the track or the street. Designed and welded in the bay! Why buy some NJS cast-off or alloy Cinelpropistadolan made-in-china rig when you can rep the local forces at work?

Although this ad is just for the frame set, if you want it I will throw in a Tange carbon seatpost that complements the look of the wound up very nicely. I'm sure I have an extra 107bb I can include. I have a bunch of track parts kicking around (Including the build in the last pic) so if you're looking for more than the frameset, I can make a deal. Otherwise, go to Montano Velo in Oakland and spend your hard earned dollars.

Check here for more info:

Feel free to email with any questions aside from low ball offers. Thanks for looking!

The cycling world has seen pre-rusted designer bikes before, but it's clear from this post that the trend has now taken hold on the "street" level. I also spotted a fashionably corroded bicycle in downtown Manhattan not too long ago:

Of course, it is the very nature of rust to "take over slowly and deliberately," so it's a bit ridiculous for the Craigslist seller to take credit for cultivating (or "curating") the rust. Then again, it is also human nature to rationalize the onset of the inevitable, and the sorts of people now riding intentionally rusty bicycles will soon also claim to be "greying out" their hair, or intentionally fading their tattoos, or even "wearing their breasts lower." Given this, the seller would do well to entertain the "low ball" offers he's now refusing, since what appears to be a genital defect could actually be a personal fashion choice. Maybe the buyer is simply letting impotence take over slowly and deliberately.

And with that I shall cede to the inevitability of the passing of yet another year and let this blog recede into the din of holiday revelry. To some this din is the cheerful sound of celebration, and to others it is the dissonance of a million fleas vainly crying as they cling desperately to the back of the Dachshund of Time. (To me, it is simply the soothing sound of sloshing about in a bathtub full of eggnog.) In any case, I'm deeply grateful for having had the opportunity to (hopefully) amuse you this past year, and I look forward to returning on Monday, January 4th. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the holidays, ride safe, and in all endeavors be like unto both rust and the Lobster: Slow and deliberate (and reddish in hue).


Passing the Mantle: The End of the Aughts is Nigh

I'm not a fan of arbitrary deadlines, which is why I'm not really into the whole "New Year" thing. Change is a cumulative process and it consists of subtle gradations; it's not something that happens annually at the stroke of midnight. Nonetheless, just as the bicycle industry releases new models every year, we undertake "resolutions" as though we can change ourselves in annual increments. Ultimately, whether it's a bike or ourselves, the result is the same: we wind up with a bunch of hastily-applied "improvements" of dubious value which will most likely be phased out by the time the next model year rolls around.

Still, it's human nature to create reference points and plant metaphorical staff gages in the river of time, and so as the new year approaches we find ourselves reflecting on all that has passed. For example, Team Columbia-HTC owner Bob Stapleton is looking back on the year in cycling. Not only is he saying that Lance Armstrong's return has been good for the sport, but he's also saying that Armstrong is "passing the mantle" to sprinter Mark Cavendish:

There's certainly no doubt that Armstrong "is embracing" Cavendish, as we have at least one piece of photographic evidence:

Moreover, it's fairly high up on the Non-Sexual Man-Hug Intimacy Scale (NSMHIS), as you can see from this enlarged detail:

The NSMHIS starts with the fully-clothed handshake-and-back-pat combo and goes all the way up to the nearly-naked and oiled group hug, complete with crotchal contact:

However, while Armstrong clearly embraces Cavendish, Stapleton seems to be taking some liberty here, because while plenty of respect is in evidence I don't recall Armstrong actually officially "passing the mantle" to him. Sure, Armstrong may have passed a bit of saliva and perhaps some mucus to his shoulder, but as far as I can see no "mantle" actually changed hands. Of course, just because I didn't see it or can't remember it doesn't mean it didn't actually happen--I don't remember falling asleep in a bathtub full of eggnog while wearing a Santa suit on Christmas Eve either, but that's where I woke up on Christmas Morning. So I poured myself a cup of eggnog (I managed to salvage most of it from the tub) and headed off into the wilds of the "Internet" in the hope that I could find the actual Armstrong-to-Cavendish mantle-passing ceremony to which Stapleton had alluded and in which Amstrong declared Cavendish "Me 2.0."

My first stop was VeloNews, where I found a one-on-one interiew with Armstrong's director, Johan Bruyneel:

If any mantles had been passed, Bruyneel had nothing to say about it, though VeloNews not only misidentified Bruyneel as Axel Merckx but also misspelled "Axel" as "Axle."

Since the cycling media was clearly unreliable (a mistake like that is like adultery in an elevator--wrong on a number of levels), I figured I'd go directly to the source. It turns out Lance Armstrong maintains an online account with a popular social networking site, and he uses this account to share information with others. If Armstrong had officially passed the biggest-name-in-the-sport mantle to Cavendish he would certainly have mentioned it here. However, he didn't, though I did learn that he's apparently training in Hawaii:

If you've ever wondered what sets Lance Armstrong apart from other professional cyclists, it is his seemingly bottomless capacity for suffering. This, more than anything else, is the basis for his success. While anyone else would certainly find riding a bicycle around Hawaii in December to be tedium of the highest magnitude, to Armstrong it doesn't even seem like work. In fact, he almost seems to enjoy it.

At this point I was beginning to suspect that perhaps Stapleton had made up the whole "mantle" thing, but I figured I'd check back in with Cyclingnews to see if there was any more about it. There wasn't, though it does turn out that Floyd Landis may sign with Rock Racing:

By now I had forgotten all about "Mantlegate" and was instead overwhelmed by feelings of concern for Landis. Signing with Rock Racing is an even bigger warning sign than selling all your bikes on Craigslist, which Landis also did recently. While the listings have since expired, I did have the foresight to capture images of them through judicious use of "technology." Here is the ad for Landis's road bike from the 2005 Tour de France:

And here is his time trial bike from the infamous 2006 Tour from which he was eventually disqualified for supposedly applying a testosterone patch to his perineum in a scandal that was subsequently referred to as "Grundlegate:"

As disturbing as it is to see Landis attempting to jettison bicycles with such distinguished pedigrees through channels ordinarily reserved for things like stolen SE Drafts, kittens, and solicitations for sexual encounters in elevators, it was also in a certain way a bit of a relief and a rare taste of glamor (albeit, well, tainted). After all, the Tour de France is a much more compelling and exotic backdrop than the moldy bathtubs to which the Craigslist shopper is accustomed:

Specialized Carbon S-Works Frame 58cm - $650 (Basically New)
Date: 2009-12-27, 8:31AM EST
Reply to: [deleted]

58cm Specialized Carbon S-Works Roubaix frame only, comes with S-Works carbon headset and seat post collar, no fork, basically new (used twice - looks brand new with no blemishes or scratches anywhere). Originally retailed for $2800 , now a super low $650!!! Pro-level frame. Send a contact number if your interested.

I'm not sure why the seller chose to photograph the frame in the bathroom, though I would imagine it's either because the rest of the house was even more frightening, or because he was about to slip into the tub with the frame and a few gallons of eggnog.

Speaking of luxuriating in bathtubs with your bicycle, I was reading and enjoying the issue of Rouleur that came in my holiday gift basket when I encountered the following description of an old Gios racing bicycle:

As I write this, I have one in front of me, and it is a thing of peerless equilateral beauty. The tubing is seminal Columbus SL, the welds absolutely spotless and absolutely human. The blue itself is perfection, a tactile, dreamy azure--unmistakably Italian, unquestionably America. The lowercase Gios Torino decals on the down and seat tubes, each flanked by an understated Italian tricolour, are simply immaculate, simply right. [...] The bar tape is white, and the rake and chrome of the fork is the very essence of discretion, of judicious, considered design. [...] This, in the vernacular, is to die for, a gorgeous object that happens to be a bicycle. This is a 1973 Gios professional.

It's not surprising to me that the author should describe the tubing as "seminal," and I wonder if he will be similarly eloquent in the emergency room when he's forced to explain to a doctor how his genitals became stuck in the seattube of a 1973 Gios professional. It will probably be some sort tall tale about a stolen seatpost, a misplaced pair of pants, and a long ride home, and I'm sure he will be relying on the fork's considerable discretion as he spins it. I'm also sure that, once extracted, his member will be even more purple than his prose.

Also in the same issue of Rouleur was this ad for a Brooks Barbican shoulder bag declaring it a "Space Miracle," which as far as I can tell is like a regular miracle but in outer space:

I also thought "Space Miracle" was David Bowie's follow-up to "Space Oddity," so I was surprised to see it referenced in a decidedly terrestrial bag advertisement (or "advert" if you're British or pretentious). It turns out I was wrong about the album (that follow-up was actually "The Man Who Sold the Testosterone Grundle Patch"), but I'm still pretty sure that's Moby modeling it. I just hope he doesn't try to pass his "mantle" into that frame, because it could take a space miracle to get it out again.

Wednesday Competition of the Knowledge of the Bicycle Snobs NYC! (And Announcement of Short Recess.)

Even though I worship the Lobster God (I'm totally off the Chicken God, He answered none of my prayers), this does not mean that I can't observe Christmas. In fact, an important part of Lobster God worship is using other religions' holidays as an excuse to not do stuff. (This holiday parasitism is actually one of the holy Three Pincers of my faith, alongside sloth and cheese consumption.) For this reason, I will not be posting tomorrow or Friday, and will instead be deeply immersed in observing the Three Pincers until Monday, December 28th, when I will return with regular updates. (At least until New Year's Eve and Day, which I will also probably use as an excuse, even though Lobster God New Year is actually celebrated on February 29th, or what crustacea apostates call "Leap Year.")

Another thing my benevolent and delicious Lobster God allows me to do (praise and melted butter be unto thee, o Lobster God!) is accept gifts on regular Christmas, even though Lobster Christmas is not until what you infidels call "Arbor Day." (Arbor Day was Earth Day 1.0.) However, my Lobster God does require me to gloat over gifts (gloating is a sacrament), so I will now gloat over this seasonal holiday gift basket I received from the good people at Rapha:

Actually, Rapha just sent the Rouleur stuff--I made the seasonal gift basket myself using wilted celery, potatoes, and an old "compact disc." (I read how to do it in Martha Stewart Living.) The little book is the latest issue of Rouleur, and the big book is the "Photography Annual." It's full of photography as you would expect, and in the spirit of the season I've garnished it with Stoned Wheat Thins and vegetarian bacon (both staples of my helper monkey, Vito's, diet):

(All You Haters Covet My Gift)

Having gloated, rather than leave you with nothing I will now present you with a short quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right you'll know, and if you're wrong you'll receive a consolation prize in the form of "Christmas in Hollis."

Happy Holidays (or happy holiday avoidance depending on how sardonic you are) from my "family" to yours, and ride safe if your regional weather pattern allows. Thanks very much for reading and emailing, and I'll see you on Monday the 28th.


2) What's going on here?

--Rigorous shirt testing
--Rigorous bra fitting
--Rigorous knuckle tattoo-planning

(Fixed-gear freestyler pulls off the elusive tight-pants-palp-to-tire-pressure-check.)

3) Bad news for fixed-gear freestylers! Milwaukee, WI is on track to ban:

4) Where? Why? How?

5) Not only does this Philadelphia Craigslist ad feature a disembodied hand, but it also features a:

"Dura-Ace features and feel but with a tad more weight--and a lot less money."

6) This is a quote from:

***Special "Units of Measurement"-Themed Bonus Question***

"CC" stands for "cubic centimeters" and is commonly used to measure engine displacement in motorcycles.


Guy smiley over here

hehe, I'd be smiling too!

The New Spin: From Fixed to Broken

If you're a "serious" cyclist (meaning you don't enjoy it), you are aware that we are currently in a period called the "off season." This is a crucial time in which industrious cycling squirrels collect their nuts of fitness and technique, which they then crack open in May and use to not beat their competitors. It's also a time to ride a bicycle that they enjoy even less than the one they ride during the regular season. Cyclists are eternally searching for the bike equivalent of those Reebok ass-toning sneakers. Like a delusional religious sect, they believe that somewhere there is a magical bike, and that simply touching it is the equivalent of riding a thousand miles on a thousand Colnagos while "palping" an EPO suppository.

Until recently, that magical bike used to be the fixed-gear bicycle. For years, the "serious" cyclist would spend the winter "training" on a converted road bike, thus reaping the improved spin, fluid pedal stroke, increased stamina, restored virility, male pattern baldness reversal, and assorted other benefits that supposedly came with it. But then, the fixed-gear fad happened. Suddenly, "serious" cyclists could no longer reason that they were partaking of some secret training knowledge that had been handed down from pro to pro for generations; nor could they reconcile the fact that all these new fixed-gear cyclists weren't somehow becoming superhuman cyclists even after prolonged contact with the fixed-gear drivetrain. Thus, they abandoned this practice and left it to the plebes, but not before totally laying waste to its credibility like a thatched hut in a Vietnam Zippo raid:

This is truly a shocking reversal. Once an essential training tool, the fixed-gear bicycle now has "no place in a serious road cyclist's training routine," and it's been relegated to the scrap heap along with toe clips, downtube shifters, and smiling. Not only is the fixed-gear bicycle no longer helpful in building fitness, but it's actually the very antithesis of riding a bicycle, since "Your muscles aren't required to act." This might come as news to you if you've ever pedaled one up a hill or even along a flat surface, but then you're probably not a "serious" cyclist. What the "hipsters" are mistaking for "Zen" is in fact sloppy inefficiency. "You can keep your little toys," says the roadie. "We're moving on."

So what is the new fixed-gear (or ass-toning sneaker) in the roadie cosmology? No, it's not the single speed mountain bike. Chris Carmichael tried pushing that one a few years ago, but it never caught on with the roadies. (Rumor has it that a few tried it, but they either had fun or died, and in either case they were never heard from again.) The new roadie secret training weapon is the totally fun-proof PowerCrank:

If you're unfamiliar with PowerCranks, they're basically regular cranks that are broken, and for the small price of your cycling enjoyment (and $900) they may give you a slight advantage over your Cat 4 adversaries if you use them correctly. They will also teach "your muscles to fire in absolute perfection and coordination," which is a sensation of orgasmic bliss that makes that whole fixed-gear zen thing feel like a middle school dry-hump in corduroys.

PowerCranks have been around for a long time, but now that there's an actual roadie edict to abandon fixed-gears and take up PowerCranks the results will surely be profound. Of course, when I say "results" I don't mean race results--nobody will notice a bunch of club racers placing in the high-50s instead of the mid-50s. No, the real effects will be felt in the world of "urban" cycling. Until now, the fixed-gear rider could enjoy that naughty feeling that he or she had stolen something from the roadies and was "pissing them off." Now, though, it's as though the sibling has said, "I don't want this toy anymore, take it," or the parent has said, "Wanna smoke? Here's a carton, and don't leave the closet until you've finished it." In either case, the fixed-gear is bound to lose what little mystique it still has--until they themselves move on to PowerCranks, PowerCranks become the new fixed-gear, people wax philosophical about how their "muscles fire in absolute perfection and coordination" when they ride their PowerCrank bike to the bar, and the cycle begins anew. (At that point, roadies will take up the dandy horse.)

But as roadies chase the dragon of fitness, and urban cyclists chase the dragon of cool, and PowerCranks become "Fixed-Gear 2.0," it's important to remember the real victims--the fixed-gear bicycles themselves. Who will ride them? (Well, apart from track racers, but not only are they small in number, but they're also just weird--like triathlete weird.) Unfortunately, the answer to that question may be "nobody." Even now it appears that people are getting off fixed-gears faster than a helmet thread gets off-topic. A reader even informs me that some fixed-gear owners are now preserving their bikes and trying to rent them as props:

BIANCHI Pista Concept Available for Photoshoots, Movies etc... (Beverly Hills)
Date: 2009-12-19, 8:28PM PST
Reply to: [deleted]

I am offering my newly built 2008 model Bianchi Pista Concept for rent. This is the most desireable Fixed Gear bike out there! Everything on the bike was custom built. It is in immaculate condition. After i completed building the bike i decided id rather not ride it but display it as a piece of art. This bike gets looks and compliments wherever it goes. I am offering the bike for Photoshoots, Movies, Commercials etc... The bike is in working and rideable condition. Please only email me if you would like to further discuss rental opportunitys, I am not interested in selling the bike! ALSO Cinelli Vigorelli available, inquire.

While I feel compelled to point out that neither the mass-produced frame nor the mass-produced components on this bicycle were "custom built," I also think this is a sound business decision and that the seller should continue to build his stable. Thanks to Al Gore and this whole "green" thing there's tremendous pressure on Hollywood studios to put bikes in their movies, so there's almost certainly a big future in bicycle prop rental:

Production Coordinator: "Hi, we're filming a movie and we need a bicycle for the main character. He lives in LA, bit of a douche, breaks up with girls via Twitter, and is really into hats."

Hollywood Bike Rentals: "Say no more, I have a Cinelli Vigorelli that would be perfect."

Production Coordinator: "Great. Actually, it's a buddy comedy, and he's got two friends. One of them's sort of a pretentious fop with an extensive vinyl collection who's really into wine and cheese, and the other's a dorky Zach Galifianakis type who works in IT. He's a virgin and the movie's about his friends trying to get him laid."

Hollywood Bike Rentals: "OK, we'll I've got a Rivendell for the fop, but unfortunately the recumbent's already being used in an episode of 'The Office.' You might try Ed Begley, Jr."

Besides that, there's also the vast world of reality-based television. Another reader recently informed me of a new show (albeit Internet-based) called Pedaling. From what I can tell, it's a "collabo" among Specialized bikes, Capo Forma clothing, and Whole Foods, and it features people riding around and eating:

There's even a Zach Galifianakis type:

I guess the recumbent still wasn't available.

Looks Good

Here's the trailer of a short film written, directed, and photographed by Hart Ryan Noecker. Looks quite decent.

'NYX' Trailer from ••ANTIPHON•FiLMS•• on Vimeo.

You Must Be Crazy: Strength of Conviction

As you may recall, last week ended on a controversial note, and a few readers were angered at my characterization of the imminent Williamsburg naked bike ride protest as "ill-advised and potentially embarrassing." As one reader said:

So theists and snarky bloggers get to determine the rule of law in Brooklyn? Direct action is bad because you went to Bard? Your hipster hate is getting a bit stale, no?

I would just like to clarify that I hate nobody, hipster or non-hipster, as my belief system does not allow it. (I believe that all humans are merely eggs lain by an all-powerful Chicken God, and when the Mixing Bowl of Truth descends from the heavens we shall be cast into it, poured into the Non-Stick Pan of Tribulation, and finally granted eternal life in the Omelette of Revelation.) Moreover, I have nothing against Bard College, which according to Wikipedia houses "the largest zine library on the East Coast" and as such is nothing less than a national treasure. Most importantly, I obviously do not get to "determine the rule of law in Brooklyn," because if I did not only would Aerospokes be illegal but failure to worship poultry would be punishable by plucking.

In any case, as usually happens with bickering, it turns out it was all for naught since a snowstorm hit and nobody got naked after all:

This underscores a fundamental requirement of outrageous protest, which is that if you say you're going to do something crazy you need to at least follow through with it. Unfortunately, though, "following through" is not exactly the strong suit of the so-called "hipster." Meanwhile, they've pitted themselves against the Hasidim, whose very existence is pretty much based on crazy behavior, and who have been following through with this behavior reliably for a really long time. All the "hipsters" had to do was take their shirts off and ride for a few minutes, yet their adversaries have been not doing stuff on Saturday, dressing like weirdos, and taking diet advice from "God" for centuries. Not only that, but the Hasidim even stuck to their crazy behavior when they were threatened with death, while all the "hipsters" were really facing was the prospect of cold nipples. Really, trying to compete with the Hasidim in this regard is like challenging Michael Jordan to a game of H-O-R-S-E. If the game is being crazy, you just can't win.

Fortunately for the "hipsters," in the larger sense they have already won, since the world of craziness in which the Hasidim live is a small one, and both sanity and a gigantic new bike lane can be found just a few blocks over. In fact, one city official calls it "the Cadillac of bike paths," which is perhaps the dumbest description for a bike lane I've ever heard. It's sort of like calling the boiled chicken "the suckling pig of Jewish cuisine." At least he didn't call it "the Mavic R-Sys of bike paths," which would mean that it was full of land mines.

I visited the shop's website in order to see if they really don't sell fixed-gears at all, or if they do sell them but only reluctantly (sort of like how Victoria's Secret will probably sell a man lingerie for his own use, though probably not with the same degree of enthusiasm), and I'm still not certain. Of course, it seems to me that it is fairly easy to sell fixed-gear bicycles that are not daredevilist hipster chariots with no brakes, though I have a feeling that it may be the Times and not Lit Fuse bicycles who are making this distinction. Either way, a Brooklyn bike shop that won't sell fixed-gears is like a San Francisco taquería that won't sell burritos, and we've reached a paradoxical new age where a bike shop now seems orthodox and old-fashioned for insisting on selling only bicycles that feature modern technology.

I do hope the shop succeeds--not because I'm against fixed-gears, but because I'm for local businesses. Similarly, I hope the "Hipster vs. Hasidim" controversy is over--not because I'm on a particular side, but because the outcome is rarely conclusive in matters like this and regardless of which side you're on you just wind up seething and angry. It's far more pleasant to follow the world of professional cycling, where (barring positive drug test results) the outcome of the races is clear, and where choosing a team to root for is as simple as picking out a pair of underpants in the morning. (In both cases, some people need to be assured of cleanliness, while others are satisfied by a quick smell test and a cursory visual inspection.)

Unfortunately, at the moment being a cycling fan is difficult. Sure, cyclocross season is in full swing (or "portage") in Europe, but following it closely still requires finding strange websites and listening to Flemish commentary. In this country, all the coverage is centered around road racing, but all the pro roadies are doing now is breaking in their new chamoises and conducting "team building" exercises (mostly a form of hazing involving practical jokes using last season's chamoises) at their various training camps. This is not exactly exciting, though I did notice something interesting at Astana training camp in Italy:

It would appear that Contador is considering finally abandoning his trademark "fingerbang" in favor of the more visually stunning and symbolic "pretending to hold up famous landmarks" gesture. And as if this illusion wasn't mind-bending enough, a pigeon is in turn pretending to hold Contador up in the air with his beak while a delighted bystander (or bysitter) looks on:

Also, judging from Contador's uniform he appears to still be using last year's chamois, though it's a good thing he's not actually on last year's team too. If he were, instead of "team building," he and Lance Armstrong might be actively attempting to sabotage one-another. As it is, this is already happening in Oakland, as you can see in this Craigslist ad which was sent to me by a reader:

Bike assassin=0, Me=1 (oakland downtown)
Date: 2009-12-14, 12:14AM PST

Me: Super cool, normal guy
You: Trying to kill me

Not to brag or anything but I have a lot of friends. I'm cool. I'm likable. I haven't wronged anyone in any serious way... recently. So imagine my surprise when I get on my bike after your average ugly christmas sweater party only to find that my brake cables have been cut. This was some serious spy stuff - the brake cables (which are really strong!) were cut cleanly enough to give out right when I got out into traffic.

Fortunately, I was able to stop without any problems (phew!).

Question 1: Who are you?

Question 2: What the hell were you thinking?

Question 3 Did you cut the cables on the wrong bike?

Question 4: Is this some weird way of flirting? (if so, I'm taken, but flattered)

Question 5: What does YOUR bike look like?

All kidding aside, I could've died. Please refrain from life-threatening gestures. I'll graciously accept such alternatives as: slashing my tires, stealing my wheels, or simply me taking you out for a beer.

I hope this is an isolated incident and not some sort of sabotage trend that is going to work its way eastward. I also hope this isn't the work of some sort of violent brakeless fixed-gear cabal who are determined to undermine the efficacy of caliper brakes by prompting failures like this worldwide while distracting us with sexy girl calendars:

Actually, the rider on the left seems to have had an accident. I wonder if her bike was sabotaged.

BSNYC Hot Friday Quiz Action!

Here in the New York City metropolitan area we sit shivering on the cusp of a cold and possibly snowy weekend:

Ordinarily, I'd be dismayed by this outlook, but in this case I'm pleased since I'm hoping the weather will thwart (or at least torture) those planning to partake in this weekend's ill-advised and potentially embarrassing Williamsburg bike lane naked temper tantrum. Unfortunately though, it will probably only encourage them. The sorts of people who think that foisting their unsightly figures on others will actually turn anything but stomachs probably also think doing so in a snowstorm somehow enhances their "street cred," and they've also been conditioned by their parents and their liberal arts colleges to believe that the only thing between themselves and what they want is the creativity of their own complaining.

In other news, in case you've been sick with worry these past 24 hours, you can rest assured knowing that Anne Hathaway is okay:

Things were touch-and-go there for awhile, but fortunately she was protected from that hulking, menacing, pink and purple bicycle by her diminutive German luxury sedan. Meanwhile, the rest of the press has picked up on the story that the cyclist was a paparazzo, which the police concluded due to the fact that he was carrying a camera:

This only shows how ignorant the LAPD is with regard to cycling, for it's common knowledge that all fixed-gear riders carry photographic equipment at all times so they can keep their friends and the world apprised of the ever-changing "colorways" of their bicycles. In this case, the cyclist was probably on his way to a Fixedgeargallery shoot when the accident took place. In fact, in this post-crash interview, the cyclist says he didn't even know who Hathaway was, which means either the police are wrong or he's an exceedingly poor paparazzo:

I can't help suspecting the former.

That said, I'm pleased to send you off into the cold with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right you'll feel as smug as a naked protester, and if you're wrong you'll see a failed elephant trunk skid.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe this weekend, and most importantly, ride clothed.


1) Triathletes are now using:

2) 'Tis the season to be:

3) 'Tis the season to be:

4) Could Portland's reign of self-righteous terror be over? Alarming figures reveal that:

"Consider also that the steely glare of Nordic women may appear cross to other cultures, but when you know it [all too well] you are aware that it may contain a dozen different emotions and expressions. It is disarming and quite fantastic."

5) Where can you find this rationalization for Nordic nonplussitude?

6) "Now that's a fixed incentive!" This bike* is:

*(via Prolly)

7) What is the Knuckle Tattoo 2.0?

***Special "Yeah, That Seems About Right" Hipster Plaything-Themed Bonus Question***