You Didn't Know
The 'Golden Age of Bicycling' never existed. Cyclists were in fact routinely
dismembered and left to their own devices if they were even caught singing
'Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do.' Only the foolhardy attempted
the second verse.
He was waiting for me, a faintly amused smile on his face, arms
crossed, nonchalantly showcasing his heightened sense of balance with
an impeccable trackstand. Still blinking, I offered my hand. He shook
it without wobbling a millimetre. He had a grip of steel, a frame of
titanium. His hand felt curiously frictionless, like teflon. His lycra
looked so slippery that even sitting still he seemed to be moving at
Maybe I don't worry too much about time because it doesn't exist. "The
unreality of time's passage has been near the top of the philosophical
agenda from the outset," writes Paul Davies in his book About
Time, must reading for anybody with a bit of, well, time on their
hands. Davies outlines some of the difficulties physicists have with
the subject and alights on Zeno of Elea, who argued that motion itself
was impossible, "since at any given instant of time an apparently
moving object is in fact static." Never mind time. When I ride
my bike am I even moving?
Mile three: I notice that Freddy has his stick out and is threatening
Larson. "A little friendliness never killed anyone!" he is
keening in that high voice of his. He plunges the stick into Larson's
front tyre spokes but refuses to let go - it's his favorite stick -
so they both go down in a tangle of flesh and cro-moly.
And God said to Himself, Let us create man, because cycling is too much
fun to keep to Myself, and so He created man, him did He create, create
did He him do. And God put man in paradise, and commanded him, Glideth
upon the earth anywhere thou wisheth, except for that big hill over
there. For on the day thou goeth down that hill, thou shalt surely die.
the Desk of S. Claus
This morning there was a letter waiting for me on my desk from Hamleys,
that big toy store in London. They want to merge with my operation.
It's a very polite letter. They say they wouldn't dream of a hostile
takeover of Father Christmas. The PR would be horrendous. But there
was an edge of steel behind the seasonal pleasantries.
to the Editor
This idea occurred to me in the oddest way, as do all of my inspirations.
(Need the reader be reminded that Leo Szilard, the true inventor of
the atom bomb, captured his muse whilst waiting for a light to change,
crossing a street in London?) No, I did not see a lightbulb, this is
a simple layman's device to explain a 'flash of insight'.
I have butterflies in my stomach. Real ones. That's all cook was able
to catch before liftoff from Wiltshire. Fred8urkle99x7lp2 took delight
in pulling their wings from their bodies and giving me significant looks.
Lincoln may have had 'em rolling in the aisles with his comment that
a person's legs should be long enough to reach the ground, but his observation
was nothing short of profound. Let's face it: if you can't reach the
pedals, you're not going anywhere.
Ah, Nora. I still remember that stolen night in Rome: 'I frutti proibiti
sono i piu dolci,' she whispered after a romantic tandem ride along
the Via Veneto, to which I replied 'But I'm not forbidden my love, this
ring I wear represents a contract null and void, I just can't get it
off,' and she laughed, the way she does, and tugged playfully at it,
then a bit harder, until she was gritting her teeth and really pulling
now - it hurt like hell but that's love, it sometimes hurts like hell.
WHEELBASE. The shortest distance between
two axles on the same bicycle in a Euclidean universe. Standard advice
is that long wheelbase models are ideal for touring, because of the
extra stability they impart. A unicycle has no measurable wheelbase,
ergo it is not recommended for touring.
and the Case of the Stolen Bicycle
Several weeks passed without word from Baker Street. Even my emails
went unanswered, save for a polite autoresponse. Or perhaps it was just
my impatience which prompted such unkind thoughts. Oh, I admit it. I
was an emotional wreck. I'd heard stories about what can happen to stolen
bicycles that would make a grown man weep. It seemed that I'd caught
my own Jezial bullet.
I race along these passages, expertly navigating in the cool dark reasonable
earth, laughing at the stalactites and stalagmites, until I get tired
or the bike slips off the piles of venerable Codes. Sometimes
I don't stop pedaling in time and lurch forward into the mushroom garden,
my front tyre digging up more pallid nutrition, crashing into the soft
insulation of the Fourth Estate. For days afterwards I'll be extracting
slivers of the Daily Mail or Evening Standard or yes,
even Observer from my long Moses beard. I weave them together
to try and make a different, new, transendent sense of it all, but it
never seems to work.
"You put a hub gear on that frankenstein bike of yours, and I
don't like hub gears!" he roared. "This is just the beginning.
I'm going to wire every hub gear I can lay my hands on. It'll be like
Guy Fawkes Day every day. Hahahahaha! By the way, nobody gets off that
tandem, or I'll blow it up."
Trek: Critical Mass
around for awhile, accustoming themselves to the novelty of exercise.
Usually they just teleported themselves whenever they had to walk more
than a few yards. "Why, it's better than sex, Jim," exclaimed
Winter is icumen in,
Cyclists sing Goddamn,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
The end of the world is nigh! Don't worry, it won't affect you personally.
Avoid cats, catnaps, catsup (ketchup is fine), cats-o-nine-tails, etc.
Felines per se aren't the problem. A failure to mind the gap between
perception and reality causes heartache