Friday, December 4, 2009

Dear PooBah: Reader Mail

It's Friday and time for reader mail.

I thought I would start with some comments generated from yesterday's post which generated a bit of a stir.

Comment #1:
shamblefort said...
"There is a thread on that has a bunch of people complaining about how the BFF ran the show. Worth reading!"

Dear Mr. Shamblefort,
After reading your comment, I realized how completely ignorant I was to the Bicycle Film Festival (BFF)project and its relationship with Bike Polo tournaments worldwide, so I spent some time reading the reference you supplied at  It sounds as though much of the controversy of the BFF surrounds certain demands they place on tourneys they co-sponsor and then, more particularly, with the founder and director of BFF, Mr. Brendt Barbur, pictured here:

There are lots of interviews with Mr. Barbur online, and even more accounts of interesting interactions people have had with him.  One online interview with Barbur at Pedal Pushers Online reveals his initiation in the world of cycling advocacy:

According to this interview, Barbur was an actor living in California when he was hit by a bus while riding his bike, and decided to go activist on the non-cycling community at large by forming the BFF which he says is most important in "impacting Urban Bike Culture."  The interviewer, Gary, asked Barbur to define Urban Bike Culture, to which he replied, "I think it is people who ride daily in there [sic] life, let's keep it at that."  It's always good not to be too specific about anything when tyring to identify with a demographic.

Back over to the league of bike polo's still active forum thread on the BFF, opinions on the guy and the BFF's involvement in tourneys sway widely but seems to reflect the following.  American bike polo tourneys have not shared many positive sentiments, but he is apparently loved in London and Paris.  One particular instance reported by League member "anniegetyourbike" describes how a very slovenly drunk Barbur repeatedly forced himself onto her after the Austin BFF in 2008 and then verbally chastised her when she refused him.  Other reports describe how Barbur wanted to relocate the location of certain tourneys to take place in front of giant movie screens to help build enthusiasm for the film portion of the events.  And then there are the stories of the shady financial dealings. 

So what explains the European love for him?  Perhaps it is a cultural familiarity with his gregarious flare and sexual predatorial whimsy.  There is, after all, something to be said for being confident and possessing the ability to establish one's own territory to be a good leader.  Take, for example, this photo of him I copied from the aforementioned Pedal Pusher interview in which he is actually lifting his leg and urinating on someone else's bicycle that was chained to a post he had previously claimed as his own, not unlike what the alpha male of a pack of wolves would do.

The caption on the photo would have us believe otherwise, however, stating "After the interview, Brendt mounted his single-speed and showed the proof in his convictions by riding off into the rainy NYC streets."  Ah yes.  Nothing proves one's convictions quite like riding a single-speed in the rain.  I'm surprised small childern and women didn't gather in the rain-soaked wake he left on that city street and offer up a solemn prayer for the future of the lone-cycling cowboy that is Brendt Barbur, as he rode off in pursuit of promoting bicycling advocacy and drunken sexual harassment.

Thanks, Mr. Shamblefort, for the head's up.

Comment #2:
Janese Heavin said...

Actually, my story began with this:
"It’s just too early to tell whether efforts to promote nonmotorized transportation in Columbia are working, advocates say. Early counts, though, show a mixed bag of results."

The line you referenced about fewer using the altered site was actually a sub headline written by my editor.
Just wanted to clarify.
-- Janese Heavin

Dear Ms. Heavin:
Thank you for reading my commentary, and also for your clarification.  You are correct in that I selectively lifted the most controversial component of your piece for discussion purposes.  I did so because it is the phrase that seems to be drawing the most ire from the non-cyclists in our community.  As premature examination of incomplete studies can often be misleading, so too can selective referencing.  But perhaps your editor should have chosen a sub-headline of, "More data required" to reflect your most accurate opening line of "It's just too early to tell whether efforts to promote nonmotorized transportation in Columbia are working..."

And GetAbout Columbia needs to conduct some real scientific observation with some accurate statistical analysis to determine the truth of the status of bicycle commuting in Columbia.

Dear PooBah,

I just received my recent edition of Paste Magazine, which is dedicated to a bunch of "Best Of" lists for the rapidly ending decade.  In it is an article on the evolution of the hipster over the past 10 years.  Check out how far hipsterdom has evolved by 2008:

2008: THE WILLIAMSBURG:  He thoughtfully hangs shutter shades in the deep-V of his white tee, and he's often seen walking his fixed-gear bike around town while texting with his phone.

Do you think this extrapolation of the theory of evolution holds up to Darwinian scrutiny?

Dear Marvin,
One of the pillars of the theory of evolution is that the teleological advancement of a species occurs through mutations.  Many mutations are bad for the species and result in the demise of the changed individuals.  But some of these mutations are coincidentally good for the species and allow them to better adapt to their environment, thus resulting in more survivability, hence the phrase survival of the fittest.  The important thing to remember is that all species have outside pressures on them from predatorial organisms.  It's tough to know for sure just by looking at a species what the survivability chances are.  After all - on paper, bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly.  But I'm guessing that if our 2008 hipster above keeps sporting that hat and moustache and doesn't learn to ride that bike really fast, instead of just walking it around town, he's in for a Wild Kingdom-style ass whoopin' that could mean certain extinction.

Dear PooBah
The photo you used yesterday of Fast Freddie Rodriguez really bothered me.  I hate to think of him being groped from behind by some lecherous young woman.  I work with a lot of women.  Do you think someone could sneak up behind me like that???
Yours, Fearful

Dear Fearful-
You could only be so lucky.  No seriously, relax.  The birds do it, the bees do it, even educated fleas do it.....Hell, even bananas do it.

Dear PooBah-
I was just recently in Belgium and went into a gracery store to pick up some beer.  You will never believe what I saw:  Tom Boonen pate called "Fresty Fresh".  What is this world coming to?

Dear Disturbed,
That's not nearly as disturbing as what I found on my toast this morning.......freeking Erik Estrada,

Pedal on!

1 comment:

  1. Brendt got punched out by someone at BFF Paris 2008, and BFF Paris 2009 was a flop (other than the bike polo tournament).