Some Trippy Shit!

I didn't know they had bike messengers in Bogota, Colombia! In a freakin' Cinelli no less! Again the audio track has been disabled by youtube for some copyright b.s. so play this to another mashing song! Peace.

Alleycat in Amsterdam

Youtube disabled the audio track due to copyrights. Just open itunes and put on your favorite mashing song!

This Just In: Leave of Absence Announcement! (and Friday Fun Quiz!)

(The Lone Wolf recedes into the distance, as photographed by a reader.)

As another week draws to a close and we embark upon the Memorial Day weekend I am also embarking upon a short leave of absence, during which I will be attending to matters of personal life "curation" well beyond the purview of this blog. This leave will commence as of the end of this post, and it will continue until Monday, June 7th, at which point I will return with regular updates.

During my absence, I would humbly point out that you can always read my book, the obviously-titled "Bike Snob," which is available wherever fine books are sold. (They keep my book next to the fine books so they look even finer.) Otherwise, by way of blogular webular sites, there is always Cycling Inquisition, All Hail the Black Market, or, for the ultimate in bawdy and ribald cycling blogs, The Erotic Misadventures of Mario Cipollini. Also, if I have anything pressing to share in the meantime (such as the publication of a Universal Sports Giro blog or the latest news in my helper monkey Vito's ongoing battle with head lice), I may do so by means of my Twitter social networking account.

I look forward to returning to this blog on June 7th, as well as to meeting some of you at my Book-Related Appearances (or BRAs) in a few weeks' time.

In the meantime, I'm pleased to 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 see dangling keys and pretentious skidding.

Thanks very much for reading and ride safe. See you on June 7th.


1) Cockpits are Saddles 2.0.

2) In the recent bike messenger episode of "Judge Judy," who won: the plaintiff, or the defendant?

3) What's the best part of "training" indoors?

4) Where are you most likely to find a "human fingerbang?"

***Special "Hipster" Behavioral-Themed Bonus Question***

What are these "hipsters" doing?

Midnight Oil: How Can We Sleep When Our Beds Are Burning?

I'm as critical of "social networking" as anybody. At its best, though, it is at the heart of an emerging "mass consciousness," and it may even herald a new era in which "community" transcends geography. For example, as I make my way through the morass of humanity that is New York City, I can know at a glance what people in Portland are thinking. And when it comes to riding bicycles, you can bet dollars to Voodoo donuts that they are thinking about how great it is to live in Portland:

Well, isn't that nice? I hear you can also lick the lamp posts while you wait, and that they taste like peppermint sticks. I read this "Tweet" yesterday evening just after completing what is commonly known as a "reverse commute," meaning that I was riding into Manhattan while most people were riding out of it. In a sense, I was a commuting "salmon," and from this head-on vantage point I marveled at the determination and outright aggression with which many people rode. Indeed, it's almost inconceivable that such a "Tweet" could ever issue forth from the iPhone, BlackBerry, or other handheld device of a New Yorker. When I stop for people trying to cross the street, the horns start blaring, the guy on the brakeless fixed-gear runs into me, and the pedestrian looks at me like I'm a moron.

In any case, as I descended the Manhattan Bridge bike path, I marveled at the clumps of cyclists on the ascent, heads down and fighting for the imaginary KoM points on offer at the top of the span. Nü-Freds attacking in my lane looked me dead in the eye, daring me not to swerve and make way for them. This photo I took at the foot of the bridge should give you just some idea of how serious New York city commuting can be:

Note the rider on the left, equipped with track bike and inverted "transients/homeless"-style drop bars. He is racing for the coveted Manhattan Bridge bike path holeshot, but he's not going to get it if the guy riding a ten speed and wearing a "The Nation" t-shirt can help it. They'd both better be careful, though, because I'd bet scheckels to suicide levers that the rider on the road bike behind them is about to launch an attack. Meanwhile, a pedestrian is walking confidently in the bike lane, and despite the fact that I have the right of way it's he who looks nonplussed. I'm sure if I stopped for him Portland-style, he'd just give me the finger.

Of course, hustle and/or bustle is in many ways an unavoidable component of living in a big city. At the same time, though, it's worth noting that the so-called "bike culture" seems unable to police itself. In fact, so negligent are we in this regard that Judge Judy has had to step in and pick up the slack. This is the "bike cultural" equivalent of martial law. Not only has Judge Judy taken on a case involving a "bike salmon," but she's now taking on "fixiedom" too. As you've no doubt seen by now on blogs like fixed-gear freestyle impresario and streetwear enthusiast Prolly's, two bicycle messengers recently went head to fashionably-coiffured head over a burnt mattress and a missing "fixie:"

Here is the bicycle in question:

Here is the plaintiff, Christopher Villanella, showing Judge Judy his sweet hand tattoo:

A rose tattoo by any other name would be as poorly executed.

Here's the defendant, John Foraker:

He's explaining to Judge Judy that his own hand tattoo is pending completion of his "forearm work."

Notice they're both wearing their best "formal flannels" for the occasion. Anyway, Villanella and Foraker are bike messengers who are roommates in Brooklyn--or at least they used to be before Villanella's mattress was set on fire and his fixie stolen, both of which he blames on Foraker. Incidentally, it's worth noting that, while bicycle messengers trade on the notion that their work is difficult and dangerous, the truth is it's really only riding your bike around all day, and if you're a person who likes to ride your bike it's really quite pleasant. The difficult part of being a messenger is the voluntary part, which is the partying and self-adornment. Getting paid to ride your bike is easy; drinking all night, being hung over, and spending all your money on intoxicants, tattoo ink, and bike parts is difficult and takes its toll. Villanella and Foraker are a case in point--or at least they will be in a few years. As of now they still exhibit the soft edges of the recent post-collegiate transplant.

The first matter in the case is Villanella's burned mattress. Foraker claims the two were arguing, the argument got physical, and they knocked a candle from the nightstand onto the bed:

Now, an astute prosecutor would no doubt point out that the number one cause of burning candles being knocked over onto beds is not roommate arguments; it is in fact sweet, sweet lovemaking. Submitted as evidence: "Turn Off The Lights" by the late, great Teddy Pendergrass, complete with lyrics.

If there were also traces of scented oil in the bedding then this is an open-and-shut case.

Villanella, on the other hand, claims he wasn't even there, much less being slathered in burning hot oils to the strains of a lush Gamble and Huff arrangement. Instead, he says he smelled smoke from the other room and found the mattress had been torched:

Foraker, who is a study in childish facial expressions, flashes his best look of indignant "hipster" incredulity:

Here is the mattress, and indeed the burn pattern is rather revealing:

Surely no candle could have caused this, and at this point we can dismiss both physical altercations and lovemaking sessions. Instead, the burn marks point towards either an ill-advised attempt to rid their home of bedbugs, or else a tragic marijuana-smoking "wake and bake" accident. Speaking of their home, both Villanella's and Foraker's parents were no doubt watching this episode, and as soon as they saw the sorry state of their children's quarters they no doubt offered to increase the monthly check if they promised to move to Park Slope, or at least send the maid over to clean it up for them.

Next, we move on to the matter of Villanella's missing bike. Foraker claims that he was heading into Manhattan in order to see a band play, but his bicycle had a flat tire. So, he elected to borrow Villanella's bike, which was subsequently stolen:

This is actually a pretty solid argument, since I have no trouble believing that it would take Mr. Foraker well over an hour to repair a punctured inner tube. By the way, here is Foraker's best look of "hipster" bafflement. This is exactly how he looks at his bike when it has a flat tire:

Villanella, on the other hand, claims that Foraker took his bike and sold it:

He says that after the bike disappeared, Foraker was even throwing a bunch of money around. (I would imagine this involved suspicious high-rolling "hipster" behavior like ordering that 15th PBR and upgrading his knuckle tattoos from regular to bold face.) Villanella also claims his bike is worth $3,500, and that he even "handbuilt it with the shop owner." Here he is handing the receipt to the bailiff:

"Yeah, that's a pretty expensive bike," he observes:

While I have trouble believing that a De Bernardi track bike is worth $3,500, I don't have any trouble at all believing that Villanella paid $3,500 for his De Bernardi track bike. Like many new fixed-gear riders, Villanella ascribes almost mystical significance to the process of putting together a bicycle. This is evidenced by the manner in which they will often use the word "build" as a noun (as in "Nice build!")--or, like Villanella, say that he "handbuilt" his De Bernardi. In truth, we're talking about "assembly," and when it comes to fixed-gear bicycles this really involves nothing more complicated than bolting a few things to a few other things. Sure, building a wheel from scratch is challenging, but otherwise it's basically just tightening some fasteners. One wonders if the "fixerati" also say "Nice build!" when they see a piece of fully-assembled piece of Ikea furniture, or say they "handbuilt" their lamp because they screwed the lightbulb in themselves. (This is not to downplay the significance of "curating" your lamp by choosing a bulb with the appropriate wattage, of course.) In any case, here's Villanella's receipt from the shop:

At this point, I headed over to the website of the shop in question to peruse some of their other "builds." It was indeed a "tarck" de force. Here's a "handbuilt" Pista Concept:

Here's a nice hair build:

If there's not already a combination hair-and-fixie salon in Brooklyn, there really needs to be.

Here's Villanelli himself, using an obscene variation on the "doucheclamation point:"

And what have we here? It's our good friend Mr. Foraker, perhaps throwing some dirty money around by treating his young ladyfriend to a "tarck" bike shopping spree:

It even looks like they "handbuilt" a bike for Floyd Landis:

Meanwhile, back in the courtroom, the mountain of evidence is building:

And it's about to topple over onto Mr. Foraker. Here he is displaying the classic "overwhelmed hipster" look as he attempts to perform the rudimentary mathematical calculations that would yield the value of his own bicycle:

Note that he looks upward in an attempt to distract Judge Judy with the intricacy of his neck tattoo.

Unfortunately for Foraker, Judge Judy is not impressed with his "neckwork," his designer haircut, his nimble face, or indeed any of it, and she decides against him. There are a number of lessons all of us can learn from this poignant episode of "Judge Judy." Among these are the value of friendship, the importance of fire safety, the fleeting nature of material wealth, and of course the tender romance of a shared shower. Most importantly, though, we've learned that these two hapless bike messengers are already long overdue for their own sitcom:

Not only does life imitate art, but it also tends to parody itself.

Code of Living: Choose Your Faithway

Further to yesterday's post, in which I mentioned a reluctant driver forced to ignite gasoline in order to haul over 3,000 pounds of floor tile, some readers questioned whether the tile was responsibly sourced--or if indeed the floor needed to be re-tiled in the first place. Well, you can rest assured that everything was kosher (or "smug," which is the "green" equivalent of "kosher.") In response to a comment on the Streetsblog post, the thoughtful livable streets advocate and flooring enthusiast had this to say:

InDaDrops: The ceramic tiles were made in an energy-efficient factory that uses is able to use low-temperature process due to the tile being made with over 55% recycled glass. There factory is located only about 2 miles from the church basement where the floor was to be installed, to support a computer hardware recycling program. So, there were not additional trips for the tile to make to go first to a distributor and then to a retail store. The factory also features a parking lot made of crushed, discarded tile instead of using asphalt.

When you say “leave the floor the way it was”, that was not viable. The previous condition included moldy carpet laid over old vinyl tile which itself stank, was falling apart and covered in carpet adhesive. Underneath the vinyl tile was an old asphalt-based adhesive that was itself difficult to remove, although some mortars could be used to put a new floor over top it.

I also used a bike to haul away some the old floor waste to the landfill, including one load with a total weight of 540 lbs:

In other words, "Take that!" Energy-efficient factory? Recycled glass? Church basement?!? Clearly, you'd have to wake up pretty early in the morning to catch this guy not being environmentally sound--and even then, he'd probably lambaste you for not waking up on an environmental mattress or underneath an eco-friendly duvet cover. King Midas famously turned everything he touched into gold, wheras Mark Stosberg is sort of the anti-Midas, only touching things made from recycled refuse. He is not merely "green;" he is an über-green laser beam that strikes at the hearts of wasteful consumers like a lightsaber of self-righteousness. Plus, he does it all aboard a recumbent:

Before you judge, know that his recumbent is made from over 65% recycled helmet mirrors and SPD sandals, and that the remainder is made from eco-friendly resin-impregnated woven beard hair.

As for the rest of us who occasionally find ourselves murdering the Earth by riding grossly inefficient upright bicycles or by relieving ourselves at the Starbucks restroom because we cannot "hold it in" long enough to find a public composting toilet, we would do well to heed Mr. Stosberg's example. It's simply not enough to be "green;" you've got to be extremely green. Fortunately, you can now give your "greenness" a significant boost in horsepower, thanks to the engineers at Extreme Green Cycling:

I am very wary of any company whose actual motto is "We recommend you wear a helmet!" It's only slightly better than saying, "Dude, you are so fucked." This is like Pepsi saying, "Goes great with insulin!," or Jimmy Dean sausages using the slogan, "We recommend an angioplasty!" Secondly, if anything, Extreme Green Cycling is more of an "un-greening" service, since the bicycle was significantly greener before it had a gasoline-and-oil-burning two-stroke motor bolted to it. Apparently, this 70cc motor gets 100mpg and will do 30mph, which is mildly impressive until you consider that a 49cc Honda scooter gets the same mileage, goes faster, uses a four-stroke, and actually comes with safety features such as lights. Sure, it's more expensive, but it quickly pays for itself when you find that Cat. 4 roadies will actually pay you to "motorpace" them so they can "train" for the local training race. ("Training to train" is the very essence of amateur competitive cycling.) I'm guessing the company's helmet motto comes into play when you hit 45mph on a downhill and try to stop your 60lb leafblower with the "front linear pull brake and rear coaster brake."

Still, motorized bicycles do have considerable "curb appeal," as evidenced by this video:

A gasoline power-assisted bicycle means never having to quit smoking.

Of course, if you still want a motorcycle-esque bicycle but don't want to be an affront to the Earth by burning fossil fuels, you can always bolt a motorcycle front end to your mountain bike, as spotted by a reader in Philadelphia:

Now as ever, the poor unfortunate mountain bike remains the Rhesus monkey of bicycles. Who will stop the vivisection?

Meanwhile, like mountain bike molestation, the Giro d'Italia continues unabated (as does my Universal Sports Giro d'Italia webular blog). As you may recall, the Giro started in Amsterdam this year, and it so happens that regurgitator of popular culture Mike Giant was there too. Moreover, he continued to push the boundaries of art and creativity by writing a bunch of cycling-related words really big on a wall:

Mike Giant @ Mediamatic Timelapse from CFYE .com on Vimeo.

Aesthetically, this is pretty much exactly what teenagers have been doing on their desks and notebooks during math class for decades. In terms of content, it's the creative equivalent of the gratuitous keywords you find in Craigslist postings and eBay auctions. I suppose all this makes sense in the context of "bike culture," whose members seem determined to equip it with a great big "Buy It Now" button.

Still, it should come as some comfort that cyclists are now part of a coveted marketing demographic, for now more than ever being part of a marketing demographic means you matter. Not only is this demographic coveted by companies as diverse as bicycle manufacturers, streetwear companies, and banks, but it is also coveted by an industry that is (at least ostensibly) totally against coveting--and this industry is religion. Not only have we seen the advent of "fixionaries" (both Mormon and non-Mormon), but when I visited Portland I also visited a "bike chapel." Now, a reader informs me that another church in Woodside, CA is also welcoming cyclists:

See? It says so right on the sign, cleverly designed to "synergize" with the Tour of California:

This is an encouraging indicator that cyclists may be beating homosexuals in the race to legitimacy in the eyes of "God," though if you're a homosexual cyclist I'm not sure which trumps which in terms of your being "welcome." (Please check with your denomination of preference or local house of worship as to their individual policy on your worth and validity as a human being.) Still, it's clear that religious marketeers need to streamline their "pitch" if they really want to appeal to cyclists. They need to tap the awesome marketing power of crabon, and replace promises of eternal salvation with claims of lateral stiffness and vertical compliance. "This year's God is 2.5% lighter and 7.8% stiffer than last year's model." Most importantly, the Judeo-Christian sects really should move quickly to add an 11th commandment, since the Commandments have been 10-speed since like forever.

Of course,the Jews are the fixed-gear riders of the religious world in that Jesus has about as much appeal to them as a derailleur has to a "fixter." Furthermore, despite the whole "Hipsters vs. Hasidim" conflict it appears that even the ultra-Orthodox have begun to adopt "messenger chic." Moreover, it's proving to be quite a turn-on to the ladies:

Absolute badass frum hotties - m4w - 25 (Norstrand and Fulton St.)
Date: 2010-05-26, 8:18AM EDT

3 of you on sunday evening. Atleast one of you whistled at the frum guy on the bike with his messanger bag, remember?. I'm sure to hand me your digits (assumed from the way you guys were staring at me). Sorry, I couldnt stop my bike. Besides being chased by angry cabbies, I was rushing to catch minche among other things.

Please whistle again. We need to talk about those short skirts and exposed sexy legs you ladies featered. What an utter shande (of me, not to embrace them)!

Put in the subject line. Todah!

While I get the gist of the post, much of it is indecipherable, and I can only assume he is using some sort of code. I wonder if his bicycle had aerobars with payos, like this example spotted by a reader:

(All You Haters Unfurl My Aero-Payos)

Sometimes the speeds afforded by aerobars can actually shred your bar tape, which I'm sure is the case here.

Meawhile, in the secular world of hipsterdom, people do not identify the like-minded by curly earlocks, secret codewords, or magical undergarments. Instead, they use tattoos:

tattooed eating an apple - w4m - 27 (Grand St Williamsburg)
Date: 2010-05-25, 5:21PM EDT

Yeah right, shot in the dark-
but I saw you about an hour ago walking down grand eating an apple (?) Like 3pm?
I almost stopped you because I thought you were my ex, but when i got closer i realized your tattoos were different. Awesome you're not my ex, sweet that you're just as hot.
I was on my bike and riding back to work, so I couldn't stop but I wish I had the nerve to holla.
You were wearing shorts and a Tshirt a fitted and had sunglasses on. You're tattooed up to your jawline and had less tattoos on your legs than arms. short dark hair.
If I don't get a response from every dude in wb i'll be shocked. But you're definitely way hotter than the rest.

The fact that the poster was only able to tell this person apart from her "ex" by his tattoos indicates that we have reached a new level of superficiality in which our individuality truly is only skin deep. Indeed, people are essentially now just dating tattoos. The real danger, though, is that even the tattoos are becoming indistinguishable, and now pretty much the only way to tell people apart in Brooklyn is by actually reading their knuckle tattoos. (They are basically now just "hipster" serial numbers.)

Thank goodness for genital piercings--they may be the last "hipster" defense against inadvertent infidelity.

Weight of the World: Shouldering Burdens, Rationalizing Decisions

Cycling is more than the act of simply riding a bicycle. Also important is the way you handle and interact with your bicycle at those times when you are not riding it. For example, even the safest and most capable rider will lose his or her bicycle if he or she does not know how to lock it effectively. Also, we must occasionally maneuver or carry our bicycles while on foot--crowded sidewalks, elevators, and staircases are just a few places in which deft off-the-bicycle handling can be essential.

Cyclocrossers and the pretentious (in other words, everybody in Portland) refer to the act of lifting a bicycle in order to clear an obstacle as "portaging," but to the rest of the world it's simply "carrying." (Or, if you're a kosher cyclocrosser, you may "schlep" your bike over barriers and worry about whether your frame has adequate "schmutz clearance.") Whatever you call it, graceful off-the-bike bicycle handling is a hallmark of the seasoned cyclist. This is why it should come as no surprise that the Lone Wolf handles his bicycle with poise:

(Rare Lone Wolf bike portage, as photographed by a reader at the Tour of California)

Indeed, the Lone Wolf hoists and shoulders his Lotus as confidently and capably as Yo-Yo ma returns his cello to its case, or as a Benihana chef holsters his cutlery. Sure, this is not a "traditional" cyclocross "portage," but the "special occasion Lotus" is not a traditional bike, and the true cyclist knows to adapt his carrying technique to the individual characteristics of the frame. Most importantly, he has positioned the drivetrain away from him so as not to besmirch his Golden Fleece, and, as always (and as pointed out by a commenter yesterday), the USA logos are positioned more-or-less horizontally and legibly.

This considerable savoir portage on the part of the Lone Wolf is in stark contrast to the lack of refinement exhibited by the gentleman behind him:

Notice that he has positioned his bicycle lengthwise in front of him in what is known as the "stockade technique:"

(From the Iron Age to the Irony Age: The horrific punishments of yesteryear are the whimsical "photo-ops" of today.)

Obviously, the "stockade technique" is a poor one as requires the "portager" to turn sideways in order to pass through doorways or walk through crowds. Of course, upon closer inspection it looks as though this particular portager is actually in the act of photographing the Lone Wolf, and it could be that, in his excitement and haste, he allowed the bicycle to migrate in front of him. Still, it's doubtful that anything could compel the Lone Wolf's bicycle from changing direction, for it points forward as unerringly as the needle of the compass or the javelin of the olympian. Indeed, it slices through crowds like a red-hot razorblade through a scoop of cottage cheese, and should anybody be foolish enough to walk straight into it the Lone Wolf would undoubtedly lift him by the head with his aerobars and move him gently aside:

One might even ask whether the preternatural ease with which the Lone Wolf hoists his bicycle represents the hoisting of American competitive cycling to a level equal to--or perhaps even above--that of European cyclesport. I don't feel it's far-fetched to claim that the Lone Wolf is the very embodiment and spirit of the Tour of California, and I also think he's way, way better than that lame Tour de France devil guy:

One is a ham who inserts himself into the proceedings in an unrefined display of ego and self, whereas the other moves stealthily and ethereally, drawing attention not with garish garments and grotesque mannerisms, but rather with the very strength of his character. Or, to put it another way:

Alas, to be torn between the conflicting inner voices of self and selflessness is in many ways the basis of the human condition:

Speaking of doping, while the cycling world continues to pick at the finer points of the Floyd Landis Affair like obsessive nosepickers digitally spelunking in the darkest recesses of their sinuses, I find myself lamenting the state of our society. Really, regardless of whether or not you believe Landis's claims, what is at the heart of this whole doping issue anyway? Some tiny injections? The occasional blood transfusion? A testosterone patch applied surreptitiously to the "pants yabbies?" Really, in the context of human history, this barely qualifies as doping--it's "woosie" cheating. There was once a time when doping meant eating the heart of your dead enemy in order to gain his strength. There was once an age when, in pursuit of victory and power, men would conspire with the forces of darkness. They would form covens; attempt to summon demons; even commit human sacrifice. Correspondingly, the penalty for such "doping" was not suspension; it was torture and death. Men were burned; drawn and quartered; crucified; left to suffer and die of exposure as they slowly bled.

This age, of course, was the 1950s, and the UCI sentenced over 10,000 riders to death during this black period. It was also a time when fixed-gear riders didn't twiddle around on "woosie" gears; they used big, burly, hairy gears, like the 96-tooth chainring on this 1951 Schwinn that was forwarded to me by a reader:

Sadly, the auction for this bicycle has ended, for simply straddling such a bicycle would infuse the rider with more testosterone than a thousand Floyd Landis scrotal appliqués. It's also too late to win this ancient "cross frame:"

Expect to see the winner of the auction riding this ironically at this year's SSCXWC, and/or your local "tweed ride."

Anyway, in a certain sense has not this modern "woosie" doping infiltrated nearly every aspect of life? Certainly the doping cyclist is cheating, but what about the journalist who relies on Adderall in order to file his report on time or indeed even maintain interest in his subject? What of the incessant television commercials for drugs with soothing names that promise to assuage the mild anxiety we all feel (due largely to Adderall-fueled journalists relentlessly machine-gunning us with minutiae from every dark corner of the world) at the small expense of our regularity and sexual potency? Is the combination of drugs and the Internet not uniting all of humankind in a worldwide circle jerk of meaningless dialog and information consumption, while a well in the Gulf of Mexico hemorrhages oil and blankets us all in the sludge of our own indifference and self-absorption?

Well, maybe. But maybe we all have our own personal "breaking points," at which we all break down and "cheat." For the athlete, this might mean refreshing himself with a banned substance, and for the dedicated smug-monger this might mean (horror of horrors) using a car:

Yes, apparently the fact that it makes sense to use a motorized vehicle to move thousands of pounds is a newsworthy revelation over at Streetsblog. Rest assured, though, that the reluctant driver made absolutely, positively sure that driving was the right course of action before doing so, as he explains on his own blog:

Each 12 inch ceramic tile weighed 4 pounds and we needed 850 of them. That’s 3,400 lbs in tile alone. The floor project would also require about 12 bags of mortar at 50 pounds each. That brings the total weight of the project to 2 tons now— 4,000 pounds, before we even add the grout.

Of course, I calculated what it would take to carry all this on my bike. The tile alone would take 17 trips at 200 pounds per trip.

I decided cargo biking wasn’t practical for this job, but I still had the opportunity to have most of the material pass through my hands. I helped load and unload much of the 50 pounds bags of mortar, and two car-trailer loads of tile. By the end, I felt well acquinated with the full impact of 4,000 pounds. I could feel in my bones the amount of energy it took to move that material.

And for a least a moment, I appreciated cars for this. They were far better for carrying 2 tons of materials than a bike would be.

Obviously he makes a good point about how silly and wasteful it can be simply to transport yourself in an otherwise empty car over a short distance. At the same time, though, this is smugness doubling over on itself, and I can't help but be stunned by the amount of thought he puts into making a decision that, for pretty much anybody else, would be common sense. Is he really that guilt-ridden that he must demonstrate mathematically that it was OK for him to drive? Moreover, having driven, must he then take the additional step of pointing out how it was OK for him to drive in order to re-tile his floor, but that when everyone else drives they're wrong? ("I'm renovating my kitchen. Why are you driving?") Most importantly, did he wear a disguise while behind the wheel, or after running the numbers was he bold enough to risk being caught by his fellow "livable streets" advocates in flagrante automotivo?

Again, I certainly agree that many people could stand to put a bit more thought into their vehicle choice, though I don't think there's a person alive who could successfully rationalize purchasing this bicycle (which was forwarded to me by Colorado Multisport):

For $60,000, the least it could do is portage itself.