Monday, 3 August 2009

Colliding with Fate: Love is a Many Splendored Colorway

Today is Monday, which means that as the clock palped midnight last night (or this morning, depending on how you look at it) the deadline for the BSNYC/RTMS Fat Cyclist Knuckle Tattoo Tribute Contest was upon us. I'm pleased to announce that not only did I receive a surprisingly large number of excellent submissions before then, but that I've also managed to upload them to this popular online photo sharing website, so I hope you'll take the time to browse and enjoy them before I announce the winners. Just a few highlights include:

The "Schleckosaurus;"

A delightful LeMond, hops, and Hopper whimsy;

and these cleverly risqué "moose knuckle" tattoos.

As you can see, curating a contest of this magnitude is going to be no easy feat. In fact, I was so moved and entertained by these submissions that I very well may need to deepen the prize list and add a few more steps to the podium. (By the time I announce a winner it's possible that the podium may actually look more like a Devo hat, or even a game of Q*bert.) In the meantime, thanks everybody for the great submissions. I'll be announcing the winners soon. Also, if you sent in a submission and you don't see it on the entry page, be sure to let me know. (Organization is not the centerpiece of my groupo.)

Of course, if you meant to put a submission into my inbox and I never received it, it's always possible that you put it in somebody's flower box by accident instead. As you may recall, last week I posited that "Do Not Put Anything In My Flower Box" could potentially become a new rallying cry--sort of a combination"Flower Power"/"We're Not Gonna Take It" for the 21st century. Well, I recently found myself back at the very flower box on which I had noticed the slogan, and I was dismayed to find that the sign was gone and a construction crew had put things in and around the flower box anyway:

Just days ago I had been inspired by this defiant and unspoiled flower box, and now here it was covered with construction debris and surrounded by gasoline and power tools. Saddest of all though was that the original sign was gone, only to be replaced by one reading "Men Working Above." Indeed, it's at times like these when taking a stand can seem futile, and we are tempted to just surrender to the oversized crabon fiber tubing, and the beefy proprietary bottom brackets, and the deep-section rims, and the great hulking SUVs idling in the bike lane of life. However, we do have a choice. Sure, life can be cruel, but there is also more to it than "kill or be killed"--or even "kill or be humped." There's also serendipity, and sometimes the friction of struggle can create the flame of love:

i crashed into you on my bike - w4m - 28 (38th and 5th Ave)
Date: 2009-08-01, 8:53AM EDT

I was riding my bike north on 5th Ave, you were crossing the street with about 30 other people on Friday when everyone was getting off work. I was speeding through the red light, i tried to brake but I crashed into you, I said "fuck", you said "bitch" then I noticed you were hot. Get in touch.

It's inspiring to think that, in the instant after the collision, their eyes met and they experienced love at first sight. Perhaps soon after this they met for a date, though the guy may have had to ingest his meal through a straw since his jaw was probably wired shut after the crash. But then the wounds will heal, and only love will remain. Either that, or one of them will give the other an STD:

Speaking of flower boxes, I recently noticed that the New Yorker's latest caption contest is also box-related:

Once again, the best caption is glaringly obvious:

Either that, or he's getting changed in there, which he wouldn't have to do if he was properly attired for a "hipster triathlon."

In any case, even though the woman who authored the Craigslist post is clearly a very poor cyclist, it is worth noting that in some ways the bicycle can serve as sort of a particle accelerator for life. If indeed love does blossom as a result of this encounter, it could only have happened on a bike. Had the woman been on foot, she would never have gotten in the collision, and had she been in a car she would have certainly killed the guy outright. Yes, on a bicycle you move quickly enough to experience much more than you would on foot, but not so fast that you miss it all. This is even true if you ride a Trek District with a belt drive:

I was extremely pleased to spot a Trek District in the wild. As I've said before, squeaky, neglected chains are a tremendous problem in New York City. This is because novice cyclists tend to be afraid of their drivetrains, and as such they usually avoid contact with them altogether, like young children eating around their vegetables. Sure, I could do without the orange rims, but if that's what it takes to get potential cyclists to open their flower boxes to a bicycle that won't irritate me with its noisy chain then so be it. And if bicycles grow quieter, then it will be that much easier for all of us to continue experiencing the world around us without distraction, and to notice things like Tom Boonen's Chevy Tahoe:

At least, I'm pretty sure it's Boonen's:

Though I suppose it could also belong to Laurent Fignon.

Really though, the best way to notice things is to both ride a quiet bicycle and to stop at red lights. Sure, you're a little less likely to have a collision with a potential mate, but it a city like New York intersections are a great source of entertainment, especially in the summer. In the few moments it takes for a light to change from red to green you're treated to a dazzling procession of humanity, and it's a lot more entertaining to watch people than it is to hit them. Also, you get to keep up with the latest styles, like this t-shirt in the "Devil Wears Prada" colourway:

I find it interesting that streetwear enthusiasts are now opening their flower boxes to "chick lit"-themed clothing, especially chick-lit that was subsequently made into a Meryl Streep movie. Personally, I'm looking forward to fall, when the new "Julie & Julia" hoodie drops. Sure, the long sleeves will hide your spiderweb tattoo, but when you're rocking "Julie & Julia" gear you don't need to show your ink to look tough.

Speaking of mischievous Prada-palpers, designer eyewear enthusiast Tyler Hamilton is apparently preparing to "drop" a new coaching business:

I was sincerely saddened to learn of Hamilton's struggle with depression--a struggle which ultimately cost him his riding career. Hopefully, Hamilton has given himself ample time for recovery, and is not leaping into a new venture too soon. Otherwise, your Tyler Hamilton coaching session might literally end in tears. Sure, it might start out positively enough, but by the end you and your depressed coach could find yourself curled up together on the sofa in front of the TV, eating pints of Ben & Jerry's and crying while watching "Postcards from the Edge."

So you might want to think before you hire Hamilton to be your coach, or really before you hire anyone at all. It only takes one person to ride a bike (unless it's a tandem, of course). Cycling's more than just coach or be coached.


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