Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Mail: A festival of shite - defined by your bicycle.

We start off today's session of Friday mail with a letter written in as a comment to Wednesday's post wherein I described the act of commuting to work by bicycle as a "shit sandwich"....tasty on the outside (representing the rides to and from work), and a wee bit nutty on the inside (the day to day grind).

Dear Poobah,

The bits in between the bread can be a festival of shite, but somehow, no matter how bad things get, we humans seem to cope much better if we can define it...

I hope this helps you, 'cos personally, I'm having a Bristol 7 of a Friday!!
Last Dog
Last Dog-
Thanks so much for your letter.  I agree, defining and categorizing every piece of minutia certainly makes me feel better about most things.....which is why my sock drawer is so incredibly well managed.  However, I'm sorry your day is a Bristol 7....The only advantage I can see to that kind of a day is that at least it passes quickly with little effort.  Mine, on the other hand, is definitely shaping up to be a Bristol Type 1 Day..."Seperate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)."

Dear PooBah,
My 16 year old son has been begging me for a motorcycle of the Japanese crotch-rocket variety.  I've been very reluctant to give in to him, so I bought him a bicycle instead.  He absolutely refuses to ride it however and claims that he will never get a date by riding a bicycle to school.  I'm not so keen on him dating yet, anyway, so don't think this is much of a tragedy.  Yet, he needs a method to get to school.  I consider myself a pretty handy guy, and a rather hip dad, so decided to modify his bicycle into this.
Do you think he will like it?
Robert H.

Whether he likes it or not is irrelevant.  You've accomplished your two primary objectives: 1) He now has transportation to school and 2) He will not be dating anyone in the near future.  The rest is his problem and you get the COMO CYCO Dad of the Year Award.

Dear PooBah,
I have been contemplating getting a fixie due to the simple elegance of having a bicycle unencumbered by gears and derailleurs.  But I'm very worried about the stigma now associated with them related to the whole "hipster scene."  Are there other options for getting a bicycle that is stripped down to the bare necessities?
Thanks a bunch!
Taylor T.

Firstly, you shouldn't worry so much about what others think about you.  If you're a fixie lover, embrace it and be proud.  There are worse things to be called than "hipster" a "pedophile" or "dog-killer" or a "tea-bagger."  What a minute - did the "tea-baggers" change their name to "tea partiers?"  Anyway - if you really want to show up the hipster crowd with a bicycle that achieves new levels of simplicity, while possessing a machine that is simple to own and operate, consider this little number

Dear PooBah,
I've been doing a lot of training in the mountains lately to become a better climber.  But recently I've started to develop some knee pain that is starting to nag at me.  I'm worried this could be an issue with bike fit and am concerned that perhaps my bike doesn't fit me well.  I've attached pictures of it and of me so that maybe you can help me figure out the problem.
Thank you!
Gina Y.

Most knee pain issues can be attributed to seat height.  If the pain is in the front of the knee, try raising your saddle a bit, if it's in the back, try lowering it.....And although it's a long shot, you might also try spinning an easier gear when climbing.

Dear PooBah,
I really want to get into time trialing but am intimidated by the expense of all the special equipment.  Therefore, I've been scrounging ebay quite a bit lately.  Just this morning, I came across a sweet helmet that I think will work just perfectly for me.  Can you take a peek at it and let me know if you think it would work?
Thank you-
Kelly F.

Try sending another photo, please.  I can't seem to see the helmet in the picture you sent me.

Dear PooBah,
I have a pet hamster.  I'm very worried that he is suffering from boredom.  I made an elaborate habitrail system for him to enjoy, but he he just lazed around the food bowl, acting disinterested and listless.  Then my sister dropped one of her Barbie's toy bicycles into his cage and the next day I caught him doing this.
What is going on?
Thank you.
Lyle M.

Don't worry.  This is just his "himster" phase.  He will outgrow it.  Until then, make sure your sister doesn't put any PBR in his waterer or slip some of Barbie's jeans in there...if so he will try to squeeze into them, and I'm guessing he's not trained enough to keep his little Bristol Type 5's out of them yet.

Dear PooBah,
Thank you for your helpful tip last Friday regarding learning marital arts utilizing household items as a way to cross train for cycling! My new found skill of 'magazine self defense' has not only helped me attract women, but also helped me defend myself while riding in the group rides. Why, a rolled up copy of Glamour helped me fend off weaving triathletes while attending the Thursday night group ride last evening. Speaking of the Thursday group ride, I had some downtime while waiting for our illustrious leader, Mr. Brinker to wave the checkered speedo which officially starts the ride, and came upon this video on my phone.

After watching this, I have come to realize that such interactions between tri-athletes and roadies might be a univeral truth, and thus exist outside of the COMO bubble as well.  Do you think that tension will always exist between the groups? 
Buck Russell

Great question.  Yes, it does appear as though some very real differences exist between the so-called "TriGeeks" and the "Roadies".  While one group prides themselves on excelling in solitary, weaving fashion, the other tends to travel in packs and gets fearful while alone.  And as one group prefers to ride nearly naked, baring the skin on the upper arms, upper thighs, mid-drift and ankles regardless of the climactic conditions, the other likes to have these areas covered, even in sweltering heat.  One group maintains a list serve and issues up thousands of emails a day through which members are exceedingly and constantly congratulated for achieving their personal goals, while the other group has a list serve that hasn't been updated since Clinton was in office, and messages are sent sporadically only to taunt other members and refer to the miniscule size of their genitals.  Thus, the sprawling drama has unfolded with two opposing factions, not unlike the Romeo and Juliet allegorical musical of West Side Story.  There were the Jets and the Sharks, and never did the two see eye-to-eye until they finally came together through love (and a really homoerotic knife fight between a bunch of dudes in really tight pants)....But no - I speak of a love like that between Tony and Maria.  I wonder if such a relationship exists in COMO-VILLE that could tear down the barriers? 

Who is brave enough to cast aside their aerobars, or mid-calf socks to reach across the double yellow line, I wonder?  Maybe the knife fight would be better?

Have a great weekend, everyone.  Thanks for reading.  See everyone Sunday evening at Cycle Chic!


  1. The Bristol Stool Chart reminds me of the scene in Austin Powers when Austin, Bazel and Falicity Shagwell are in the lab and Austin pours himself a cup of what he thinks is coffee.

  2. Triathletes everywhere, hold my hand and sing with me...... "There's a place for us. Somewhere a place for us. Peace and quiet and open air, wait for us..... somewhere".

    Bristol 1 through 7! This is what I almost produced when I saw that giant chain ring. I've GOT to get one. That's awesome!