Friday, 30 September 2011

Tip 83: Spit on yourself

The biology of saliva, phlegm and snot is clear to cyclists: Cycling makes them happen. (Tips et al, Nature, Vol 12, pp.1264-1289, 2011)
The physics are a whole nother matter. Generations of cyclists remain mystified by why - when you spit out into all that fast moving air - it is so rarely whisked away, and so often splattered all over you.

BONUS TIP: The sociology of phlegm splatter could be a whole journal.
When you stop to buy coffee and don't know you have spit all over you, it's ok. Post-ride, when you realise you have been riding for team snot-rocket, emotion surges through you.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Tip 82 : stop and help

If you see someone up to their armpits in chain grease and confusion, be a good samaritan.

Did you know the Samaritan were a detested underclass? Social outcasts out of the era, expected to be no good ( just like the modern hipster).
BONUS TIP: That's why it's so amazing the Good Samaritan stopped to help that guy carry his cross that day. The good samaritan put the cross in his pannier, and dinked Jesus all along the road to Damascus. Jesus forgave the awful pedalling technique, and they snacked on loaves and fishes, at their last supper together.  Later they parted ways forever. although the Good Samaritan was sure he saw him again on the road three days later.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Tip 81: Talk Bike

Being a cyclist is joining a secret society.  A link exists from you to every cyclist you see on the roads.
This is how that link is exercised:

  • Ask them how their ride was;
  • Tell them about the one dickhead driver that came out of nowhere;
  • Listen to them complain about the noise their chain makes;
  • Remark on this lovely weather.

BONUS TIP: Contemplate this: can an edifice of profundity be made from bricks of inanity?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Tip 80: Ride sauced

At .05: Consider the application of drink driving statutes to two- wheeled vehicles.
At .10: Consider riding with no hands and/or bunny hopping road furniture for lols.
At .15: Consider riding with one eye closed, so there are no longer two of every car you pass.
At .20: Consider whether, if the pros can ride and eat without stopping; you might be able to ride and spew.
At .25: consider how impressive it would be if you rode home nude, like Mario Cipollini.

BONUS TIP: UBIs - or unidentified beer injuries - are the police, judge and eventually the 12-step program for the habitually pissy cyclist.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Tip 79: Veer into a parked car

Cycling affords a tremendous way to see your city and it would be a shame not to stop and smell the roses.
If you peer off into the distance long enough, however, you will cease to hold your line.  Perfectly stationary objects will jump out at you, and you will find the end of your handlebar has become irredeemably tangled with a parked car.
BONUS TIP: Hold your head high, as though mortifying embarrassment is as preposterous a concept as Scientology, put the car's wing mirror back in place and ride on.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Tip 78: Get merged on.

In the big game of Quidditch that is urban cycling, Malfoy-esque motorists throw Harry Potter invisibility cloaks onto anything that doesn't have four wheels.
You might be the nimblest Seeker Hogwarts has ever seen, but when those big metal beaters we call cars unexpectedly join you in your lane, you will consider hopping off your broomstick.

BONUS TIP: When you catch the death-eating car driver at the next intersection, let loose with
a few of your most powerful curses.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Tip 77: Rock helmet hair

Half horizontal, half vertical, unpredictable and very sweaty, helmet hair is so desirable because it is a direct metaphor for sex.

BONUS TIP:  When Garnier drop their new "Stackhat" range of styling products this spring, everyone will have the look. Get it before the trend spreads and the backlash begins.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Tip 76: Make someone go "woah"

Many people think a bicycle is like a merry-go-round horse: great fun but not much chop for travel. 
Arrange to meet one of them somewhere far away. Rock in wearing jeans and a knit, and hang your helmet on the back of the chair.
They'll go: "Wait. You *rode* here? woah!"

BONUS TIP: At the end of the event you will have to defend yourself from many offers of putting your bike in a car and being driven somewhere. 
Your duties are two-fold. First, decline all offers, feigning indifference to the weather's inclemency. Second, do not crash on the way home. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Tip 75: Put your lights in your pockets

Forget the effect on your slinky silhouette, you can't leave those Knogs on the bike. 
You're going to have to put them in your pockets or they'll be gone before you're down the block.  Jam them in there with your phone and wallet, and if it looks like your pants have the mumps, so be it
BONUS TIP:  If they accidentally turn on later when you're on the dance-floor, it will look like there's a whole other disco going on in your pants. Can that be a bad thing?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Tip 74: Get stupid

Riding a bike can be just like drinking liquor.
You feel amazing, right up until you do something you regret. Something you would never do.
A dangerous affair involving a  police car, a pile of traffic cones and a girl you just met while lying in the gutter. Something that makes you wake up with a dry mouth, a sick feeling and a hungry guilt monster gnawing at your viscera.

BONUS TIP: Make some pledges you'll never be able to keep:
"I'll never go that fast again."
"I'm gonna wear a helmet, every time."
"I think it's time for a high visibility vest."

Monday, 19 September 2011

Tip 73: Ride through a head-wind

If your ride to work feels like slow-motion, it sometimes isn't the sisyphean nature of the day ahead holding you back.
The head-wind you face need not be the prospect of filling spreadsheet cells A1 to Z99 and determining the matrix product of the array, but a literal one caused by the coordinated relocation of large number of gas molecules.
BONUS TIP: Relish the opportunity to ride right through the middle of a big fucking metaphor.  On the way home you will have the wind at your back, but if the road rises up to meet you - on a bike - you've screwed up.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Tip 72 : Stand for speed bumps

The genetics of the human race are imperilled.
iPhones, powerlines and those glow in the dark stars nine-year-old you stuck all over your bedroom have filled our living environment with enough radiation to have us all riding recumbents within a generation.
You're not going to wear lead undies, but there is one thing you can do to preserve the integrity of your gametes: protect them from impact by standing for speed bumps. 
This is especially true if you prefer boxer shorts or go commando.

BONUS TIP: Grab some mad air as you go over the speed bump, and if there are any suitable parties observing, you may just increase your chances of passing on those genes.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Tip 71: Make a weird noise

When a taxi door swings out at you in traffic you probably imagine you'll say something sharp, like 'Watch out fuck head!' Or something clever, like 'Are you inviting me in?' as you narrowly sweep past.
Most likely though, you'll say 'aannnfgghrr' and ride away feeling like you just emulated a mating baboon.

BONUS TIP: Do not succumb to the temptation to elaborate the baboon impression. Do not throw faeces. Neither should you rub your swollen red behind on their passenger window at the next traffic light.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tip 70: Register your dissatisfaction with the local bike-share scheme

Why not take a bike?
Because the law says I need a helmet, and I don't #@%&ing keep one in my top pocket!

BONUS TIP: Urban Riding Tips does not condone destruction, Melbourne. Contact your local MP, or more effectively - just keep not using them.  Something's gotta give.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Tip 69: Take your bike on a train

You'll be popular as a subway rat - and twice as nervous - as you ride the escalator and try not to let your big steel frame run down the masses.
Squeeze into the carriage and manouevre to that one spot where you're not blocking either door, then hold onto the ceiling with your outstretched fingertips.
BONUS TIP: Keep your helmet on until you get to your station. Those dirty glares could turn to violence any moment.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Tip 68: Disappoint a bike shop employee.

They are like Big Puppy Dogs, and the prospect of you buying a bike is like the prospect of a walk. Browsing round the shop, talking geometry and composite materials is like waving a lead and bouncing a tennis ball.
Before long they're drooling uncontrollably and bounding round, trying to sell you anything, anything - a Trek Madone? this used cruiser? a ladies' cargo recumbent?
When you walk out that door without laying down your MasterCard don't look back, or you'll see the saddest eyes in the universe.
BONUS TIP: Shop guy is no poodle push-over. He is smart like a border collie, and if you try this too often he will poo on your front lawn.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Tip 67: Fall off for no apparent reason.

One fine day, absolutely nothing will be enough to topple you off that still-uncomfortable perch on the Brooks you paid so much for.  As your carbon triangles skitter away across the black-top like a shuffle on a shuffleboard, you'll be lying on your back seeking perpetrators.  Was it the gentle zephyr, the most peripheral pedestrian, or a half-stoned koala in a near-by gum tree?
BONUS TIP: Don't bother people with this non-story. Falling off your bike is not a magic trick and the lack of explanation will not intrigue.  If you don't concoct a big fat lie full of cause and effect, the narrative vacuum will fill up fast with derision.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Tip 66: Feel abnormal

You've just emerged from a big meeting and stand by the road shaking hands with important men in very fine suits. They stand on the side of the road looking for taxis. 
Your bike is right there, but you suddenly feel an absence of pride in it, the presence of a sort of weirdness.  Is this shame? 
Do you take the four steps to where your bike is locked and mount it, or wait til they have gone? What will people think?
BONUS TIP: Revel in bike-shame while it lasts. Way things are going, it's something the fixie-buyers of today will never experience.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Tip 65: Start a bike blog

The stream of party invites, the blow and ingratiating SMS's from network executives are obviously transient.
But if you invest the money you make wisely (I commend to you a balanced portfolio keeping at least a mill in Chris King headsets) you can drop the annoying writing-of-posts part after mere months and buy a yacht with a teak velodrome foredeck.

BONUS TIP: If Wildcat Rock Machine can get a book deal, well, the publishing industry must be giving them away. Or Something.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Tip 64: Take the lane!

And then bore the whole fucking universe to death with your bullshit manifesto.
BONUS TIP: Like whiskey for breakfast or farting in a lift sometimes taking the lane is a tremendous response to a tricky situation. Doesn't make it any sort of basis for a radical ideology though.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Tip 63: Sweat

Park your bike and ride the lift up without changing your clothes.
You feel warm but tell yourself you are socially acceptable.  That sprint over the last two kilometres is forgotten.
Inside your climate-controlled office, you swifly turn red and sex-like.  Your shirt sticks to your spine, your face feels hot and your lips are salty.

BONUS TIP: When you go to the morning meeting, put on your jacket to hide the dramatic armpit stains from the women in marketing.  
Soon your entire body is clammy like a diptheria patient.  Before its your turn to speak, your eyebrows will fill with drips that fall on and ruin the notes for your presentation.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tip 62: Carry something awkward

Sometimes you need to do cargo.
Unless your commute is to work as a double bassist in the symphony orchestra you're gonna struggle. Practice in advance of the unexpected.
Perhaps go by bike to fetch a new bath, buy a dozen cases of beer at the store, or ride your record-breaking squash to the county fair.

BONUS TIP: If you can carry more than 1000 bananas by bike, make sure you record the event and upload it to YouTube, because you are "hangin' with a cool bunch," as they say.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Tip 61: Perfect riding temperature

Winter afternoons, spring evenings, summer 4am. Especially when there is no traffic.  The air flowing over your forearms is like mothers milk. 

BONUS TIP: Go slow.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Tip 60: Tear your trousers in your chain

Here's how it goes - you're wearing Daffy Duck socks, so you forego the rolling up of suit pant that normally exposes such a beautifully defined calf. Instead you throw caution to the wind. An unpropitious gust immediately blows that fine fabric back between the teeth of the cog and the grip of the chain. Putain de merde!

BONUS TIP: The size of the tear that results is a fair power meter. If the rent proceeds to the thigh, you may well be Cadel Evans. Thanks for reading, Cadel.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Tip 59: Have your bike stolen

If your love is taken from you too soon - in the phase where you lock up both wheels and fall asleep with it in your arms- when you return to the lamp post and find your D-lock in twain you are likely to fill a page with florid despairing verse and fling yourself from the roof of a Ray's Bikes outlet.
Later, you pass full days without even thinking about the machine you swore devotion to. At this stage, if the shadow-dwelling hacksaw man absconds with your ride, you won't be half way through the cab trip home before thinking about what you'll replace it with.

BONUS TIP: Tell yourself you'll buy a cheap commuter you can afford to have taken. Once in the bike shop, you'll wonder if you can afford not to get a SRAM red set up.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Tip 58: High visibilty vest

I'm a dork. I'm a big fat dork.

BONUS TIP: Dorky dork dork dork.

Tip 57: Browse for a new bike

On eBay, gumtree, craigslist, you can ponder what it would be like to have a whole new cycling identity.
Ride a $45,000 sculpture made exclusively of carbon atoms taken from the ankles of Milanese catwalk models and grafted together by a direct descendant of Michaelangelo himself.
Or spend $29 on a Huffy that has clearly been left in the rain since it was last ridden in 96. "tiers need sum air - othrwise perfct!"

BONUS TIP: A bike been ridden "once" has been ridden >50 times.  Small scratches on the downtube are major structural weaknesses.  A 2009 model is a 2004 model.