Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tip 173: Enjoy good value.

Cycling is theoretically free. Although having to buy three bottles of gatorade g series [Prime, Perform, Recover!] for every single race, commute, or trip to the shops  means it ain't as free as it was.  :(
The reality is you can only orbit so far from the cash register at the local bike shop before crippling mechanical or status issues send you back into the well-exploited mine shafts of your bank account.
When it comes to cycling a penny saved is a penny earned.  Take bargains when you see them.
BONUS TIP: Bargains are only sometimes socially palatable.
Some things it's better to pay more for:
“This painting cost $25,000. It's an original McCubbin.”
“Our dinner bill was $400! Can you imagine!”
Other things you get plaudits for buying low: a Prada skirt at 90 per cent off; a room at the Hyatt for just $60 a night; a tray of mangoes for just eight bucks.
In trying to figure out which category the Aldi bike falls into, consider that a 21-speed for $99 has much in common with a $400 dinner. Before long they are both going to turn to shit.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Tip 172: Talk back to a cop

If you ask the cop who pulls you over if he wishes he ever gets to do proper police work, if his kids are proud of him, and whether he's always been such a dick, do it in the knowledge you've not just kissed your chances of leniency good-bye, you've buried them in the concrete foundations of the big road project your fine will help fund.
BONUS TIP: If you're out on a lightly-trafficked by-way you may take some big bruises home as a reminder of the merits of having a big mouth.
“The cyclist appeared agitated at that time, your honour, and when he lunged at me I used the baton in the manner set out in my training to minimise the threat to my person.”
“Case dismissed. Complainant to pay the state's costs.”

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Tip 171: Knit your bike something warm.

Bikes have feelings. As much as the anthropo-centric dominant paradigm will deny it, they feel joy and pain as we do. Maybe more.
They hate those cold mornings like the devil himself. But with no mouth, a bike has no way to express their objection to the cruelty visited on them by so-called “higher” beings.
It takes a giant empathetic heart, a true cyclophile, to understand how a bike feels, and to knit one, purl one until their bike is swaddled in finest cashmere.
BONUS TIP: On the road side, locked to a loop, your bike will suffer crushing social stigma if the knitted accessory looks too dorky. Give close consideration to whether they have the chops to ironically rock a “nanna sweater” before making them one.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Tip 170: Start a new job.

After you've filed your resignation letter, lived through those glorious last few weeks where you tell yourself repeatedly "all this will soon be over," and given your old boss a few new rules to live by on the way out the door, you will have to find a new job.
Such are the demands of our how-soon-can-we-buy-the-ceo-a-new-private-jet? society.
Pick a job and apply for it, abundant with hope the middle-management will be kindly, the email system won't be Lotus Notes and you'll get ball point pens that cost more than 39 cents.
On your first day, get the bus. Go look at where you can park your bike. Is it secure? How will you get ironed garments to your destination? Is there a locker? A shower? Will you have to see your colleagues naked? Can you shmooze your boss while he rubs himself with a $400 Egyptian cotton towel and you dryyourself on your socks?
Then pore over the map and choose which way you will get there. Choose a route that looks direct and safe and commit it to memory.
BONUS TIP: You will never ride that way again. Every day, a crazy taxi driver, a frightening incline or a cavernous pothole will make you take a different left, or an earlier right, or start the whole thing on the path along the river instead of going down Brunswick St because goddamn it risk profiles rise inexorably with constant exposure to low-level consequences and bugger how come I always get thorns in my tyres when I ride through the park and why is this light-cycle so antagonisingly slow and if those school-run mums' SUVs got any bigger they'd need Heavy Rigid licenses and high vis shirts...
After about 15 years, you'll can expect to have your route to work figured out. Of course, by then the robots will be doing your old job at a tenth the cost, and you'll be sitting at home weeping as you nuzzle your bike's top tube for comfort.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Tip 169: Hate on gravity

Humans hate gravity. They do most anything to defy its iron law and laud those who soar highest: the Wright Brothers, Yuri Gagarin, Superman. Those caught breaking the law get hit with the full weight of planet Earth.
Road cyclists are discouraged from seeking flight. But they can defy gravity while still keeping a few square centimetres of rubber on the road.
Lean in to a turn. The straight line between you and the ground will be full of a whole lot of air. It may be the best feeling in all of cycling.
BONUS TIP: Whenever you ride, you should wear a three-piece suit like Orville Wright, a cape like superman and a big bad helmet, like Yuri Gagarin.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Tip 168: Get chased by a slavering hound.

Many things dogs like - such as rolling in decayed possum, sniffing other dogs genitals, and pooing in public with a funny little smile on their face - reveal their total absence of aesthetic sense. So when a dog determines you worthy of the chase, you are right to feel aggrieved.
This is $450 bucks worth of Rapha, I've been working on these legs, and this haircut comes from the same guy who styles Guy Sebastian. So take your furry little head and your cute wet nose and piss off, you troglodyte!

BONUS TIP: With dogs, the dullards, these argument have no traction. They'll chase you with the same savage determination they put into tearing open a rubbish bin, making everyone who sees the pursuit wonder if you wash.

Tip 167: Wave to the crossing guard.

Your ride is kind of like facebook. You have friends on your ride you would never have in real life. The man with the weird moustache who is the crossing guard at the local school gets a daily salutation. The lady sweeping the footpath in front of the medical apparatus shop gets a wave. All manner of human flotsam that bobs along the waves of traffic gets a polite nod or a hello.

BONUS TIP: Among the flotsam, some of these people are drowning. The 21st century is a shipwreck that has disgorged gasping hordes into the cold deep infinity of community-free modern life. Grab hold of a few before they sink beneath the surface.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Tip 166: Answer back a drunk pedestrian.

  • I would be pleased to sample some of your tasty beverage, but I'm in rather a rush just now.
  • While flattered by your error, I must advise I am not Lance Armstrong.
  • I assume you are referring to the seat post, and you are quite mistaken - it finishes at the seat.
  • I do have a drivers license, I just prefer not to use it.
  • While flattered by your error, I must advise I am not Kathy Watt.
  • Thanks, but I prefer to keep my pink bits covered up.
  • 100 psi, or 6.89475729 bars.

BONUS TIP: Shout questions at drunk pedestrians. Here are some to keep em guessing:

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Tip 165: Turn out the lights on a parked bike.

When you see the flashing lights parked on the street you can continue on your way, minding your own business.
Just like all the other solipsistic fuckers that are ripping the beating empathetic heart from this town and nibbling absent-mindedly on its slippery exterior.
Or you can reach in there among the brake cables and D-Locks and spider webs, feel around for the little on-off switch and push it.
If you do take the latter course, you will be full of grandiose feelings and warm thoughts about yourself for a surprisingly long period.
Do it more than once in one block and you'll conclude you are to charity what Russel Brand is to celebrity, and consider submitting yourself for an Order of Australia in next year's Australia Day honours list.
BONUS TIP: Everyone who sees you will conclude you are one of those yucky bike-fiddlers, and consider submitting your name to the cops.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Tip 164: Front basket.

For when you need to transport something aesthetically pleasing or status enhancing, they invented the front basket. Ideally suited to moving potted flowers, esp. petunias, or rather pricey bottles of Dolce d'Alba, they are a poorer choice for buying 64-packs of cheap scratchy toilet paper. BONUS TIP: Bikes are neither kangaroos nor VW beetles, in which frontal storage appears not to affect direction finding awfully. On a bicycle with a loaded front basket the direction you are going in at any moment is one you chose quite some time ago. This means before you crash, you know it's going to happen. If this seems to be happening, unburden the front basket by reaching in, uncorking the Vino and consuming. You won't save yourself, but it would be a shame to let it waste.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Tip 163: Tell someone their lights aren't working.

When the cyclist in front of you disappears in between the bright white flashes of your front light, you automatically assume they are just a cycling desperado. One of those strobe-lit ninja-riders enthusiastically edging ever closer to death.
But when you catch them at the traffic signal and stand there, mentally tut-tutting in a patrician fashion, you notice there is a red flasher hanging there on their seat-post, dull and darkened like a 7-eleven never is.
You rustle your messenger bag, or do a little throat clearing to get their attention, then politely advise re: the inert status of their light emitting diodes.
There will be an awkward pause after they advise that they have run out of battery. Don't tell them they should have charged it up. You're not their mum.
BONUS TIP: Unless in fact you are their mum, don't reach out and check if they're lying by testing the on-off button. That puts your hand awfully close to their behind and that could get you sued, arrested, slapped, or beaten to death (depending on how far from the legalistic cocoon of the inner city you have this chance encounter).

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Tip 162: Clean off filth.

When the weight of the bike is two-thirds crud, when you don't have to wear long pants to work because everything below the knee is permanently stained black, and when your rear cassette resembles a termite mound, it may be time to clean off the filth.