Friday, 17 February 2012

Tip 186: Find a bike festival sprawling all over your normal cycling route

You're trundling along, thinking about the day's events, or the answer to 11-across, or how embarrassing your pedaling technique is, and then you see it: tents. People. Vegan food and bright lights. Shills and men on stilts. Thronging throngs of people in loose knits. A healthy living / bicycle festival has taken over the park you ride your bike through. In an irony so delicious you could bottle it and sell it as a celebrity-endorsed marinade, you are forced to dismount your bike and walk. BONUS TIP: What that irony-sauce would go well with is a serve of hare Krishna curry they sell at gigs like this. Lock your bike and go seek them out. On the way, buy a calico bag with all proceeds going to bikes for Zambia. And look: free One Less Car stickers! See what they did there?  

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Tip 185: Allow an inopportune flat tyre to put you on the path to emotional ruin.

It's 5.55pm, and you said you'd go buy a bottle of wine before meeting your lover at a restaurant approximately 14 km from here, at precisely 6.30pm. Don't be late, they reminded you. Do not be late.
You're doing the maths in your head. There's a Dan Murphy's on the cross road on the way there. If I take my bike right inside and buy whatever's in the bargain bin at the front, I can be in and out in five minutes.
That leaves half an hour to cross town, meaning an average speed of 28 km/h. I can do it, you say to yourself as you roll up your drive-side pant leg. I can do it. Maybe not with respect for all the road rules, but I reckon I can do it.
You're ruminating on whether you will have stopped sweating before the dessert course as you unlock your bike.
You grasp the bars with intent, and throw your leg over, foreseeing the tremendous Cadel-sur-Galibier-esque effort that will be required to make it happen.
But when that first pedal stroke powers you forward, the city echoes with the sound of rim on concrete, heads turn in horror, and you realise at the same time as everyone else that you've got a flat. You will never make it. You are in deep shit.

BONUS TIP: Call and admit to your lover you haven't gone shopping for tubes since 2004? Blow an insane amount on a taxi? Try to get a bus and hope the driver is Sandra Bullock from Speed? Lie on your stomach, pound your fists on the concrete and wail?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tip 184: Shoulder your weapon.

Maybe it's a gutter, maybe its a landslide caused by persistent shelling of a hillside by hostile forces - sometimes on uneven ground you got to get off your bike.
You can push it like a sissy, or you can lift it.
Now, pushing it like a sissy is fine – great even – if you have the word sissy tattooed all over your face. In comic sans.
Lifting is where you prove that you've got the guns, and/or that you bought a bike as light as the finest macaroon.

BONUS TIP: Don't hoist it like a mate had fifteen beers with you then asked you to help move a couch.
Raise it like a Marine hoists the body of his brothers killed in combat in another meaningless war: crisply, reverently. And with a growing hatred for authority. A hatred that will incubate a slow burning desire to never own another machine that burns the oil his comrades died protecting, to grow a beard, move to San Francisco, stop voting, get some tattoos and ride everywhere.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Tip 183: Wink madly cause you got a bug in your eye.

You may think you're hot, riding around with your Frogskins tucked stylishly into the top button of your Chambray shirt, but when some filthy, winged thing from the Order Diptera is drowning in your lacrimal fluid, scrabbling its horned feet against your lens as you attempt to extinguish it's vital essence by mashing it with your eyelashes, you'll feel pretty shit. As will any pedestrian enticed by your mad winking to step out onto the road.

BONUS TIP: You and the angry pedestrian might feel bad, but spare a thought for the hundred-odd larvae back at the bug's house waiting for mum to get home and make her famous dung-and-germ pie. They'll be waiting a long time. A long hungry time.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Tip 182: How not to get skinned alive.

You roll through the traffic lights just before the big uphill, and there's a couple of dudes rocking lycra up ahead. You drop the hammer just as their thoughts turn to suffering. As you hear them clicking down through their cassette, seeking solace in a nice easy ring, blast by them like a foul hot wind from the north. 
Your legs will hurt but don't show it. Keep your upper body still so it looks like you're cruising.
As you crest the hill, resist the urge to turn round and blow them a big sloppy kiss.

BONUS TIP: If you suffer such a shortage of humility, it will be punished: Later that day the lycra warriors will track you down, knock you out of your swivel chair, pin you to the floor of the open plan office, close your spreadsheet without saving, then remove your skin and ride off wearing it fluttering behind as a tattered red cape.

Tip 181: Why *is* steel so insistent about how it's real?

Of all the bicycle-fabrics, steel seems to be the most unsure of its itself, existentially.
It's always proclaiming how "real" it is.  As though the metal whose name stands for toughness would float away ethereally if we didn't know how goddamn present and corporeal it is. Is Carbon mythological? Is Aluminium a fairy-tale? Is @titanium a fake account?
Steel must have some deep-seated issues.  What I hear is that it used to be iron, but isn't it funny you never hear about it talking about where it came from?

BONUS TIP: When you think about it, people will tell you something's steel, but how do you know? especially once it's painted, but even when it isn't.
Sure its shiny and grey and it rings a little when you rap it with you knuckles, but how do you know for sure what everyone says is steel is steel?
Maybe it is a grand conspiracy to trick us into buying something we don't even know what it is! Maybe we've been riding round all this time with our eyes closed saying steel is real cause people told us steel is real, but that's just what they want us to think!
Mmm, deep, man, deep. Pass the bong.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Tip 180: Get your cables hooked around someone's handlebars when you park near them.

Pull your bike.
It's stuck somehow.
Pull harder.
It's still stuck.
Stupid ...fucking... ngh... maybe if I jiggle it
Are my pedals stuck in their spokes? No? Is my bike still locked? No? THEN WHY CAN”T I FUCKING MOVE IT?
WhY! ngh WON'T! ngh YOU! Ngh FUCKING! Ngh GET OUT OF THERE ngh nnngh nngh!?!?
OH! OH! It's those mother blasted cables!
I swear to god I disown my own fucking viscera if I am not gong to get this satan-worshipping shit-spawn machine unhooked off this stupid useless bastard's piece of shit bike.... Aaaand, there you go. phew.

BONUS TIP: To help calm yourself, once the bike is free saw off their handlebars, set fire to your bike, blow up the bike loop that started the whole conflagration then blow off your own head.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Tip 179: Nearly get hit by a falling tree.

Powerful riding sweeps through the city creating a mighty wind. Before which the reed bends and the mighty oak creaks.
Ride powerful enough, for long enough, and you'll cause the city's established trees to uproot themselves and tumble, with a surprisingly load roar, and in seeming slow motion, right into the bike lane.
BONUS TIP: Exaggerate both the girth of the trunk, and the proximity. By the time you tell this story for the second time, you'll have nearly died and got a bird's nest stuck in your 'fro.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Tip 178: Embrace the low effort world of shabby-chic.

Sometimes it's nice to let your beard grow. Rather than stressing about shaving and all.
Fuck the high-effort, high expense world of modern fashion and just let yourself go. It's a minimalistic, environmentally-sound approach
Let your nose hair grow down into your moustache, while your vegemite stains join together until your wardrobe is all dark brown. It won't affect your self esteem unless you decide to let it.
Once you've reached a comfortable equilibrium, start to relax other socially-dictated “standards”.
Don't grease your chain, don't clean your downtube, don't dry off your bike and don't clean off the spider webs.
It's all just an capitalo-aesthetic conspiracy to make you spend more dough on the giant shiny carousel that is the modern bike industry.
BONUS TIP: Well, it worked for Joaquin Phoenix right?

Monday, 6 February 2012

Tip 177: Carry an impressively large number of beers.

Passers-by will make eye contact with you, and give you the nod.
If this has never happened to you, you haven't carried enough beers yet.
Once you've balanced a cold couple dozen on your handlebars, you're in the club.
Then when you see someone balancing a slab or better yet, a keg, on one thigh as they pedal up the sunny road one saturday afternoon, you'll give them the nod.
Good job! the nod says. Good work matey. Good one.
They'll feel good. You'll feel good. It's a good club to be in.
BONUS TIP: If you drop your slab, the rules of the club say you have to lick up the spilt beer.
Get your tongue into the cracks in the concrete. Try not to lick the broken glass - unless there's beer on it.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Tip 176: Ride in bare feet.

Seven skin layers, each more tender than the last, guard the fragile red inner world from the hard grey outer world.
Unless your pedals are made of slipper, and unless your power output is more candle than 100-watt globe, the grip on your pedals will bite the tender foot flesh like a turtle nips a curious finger: vigorously.

BONUS TIP:  In this world of carbon soled shoes, pearl izumi elite thermal toe covers, and all manner of capitalo-podiatry, getting the wind into that yucky green-grey region between the toes can be as liberating as getting out on the bike in the first place.
Not only does it dispel the fungi, it evokes the wanderlust and simplicity of a bygone era, when unemployment was stubbornly high, it never rained and all the townfolk did was ride steel bikes up and down the main street, making eyes at the young people they'd have to marry to get to know.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Tip 175: Kick a cat (by accident, of course).

At night, feline senses are tuned to somewhat to possums, a little to rubbish bins, but mostly to other cats they need to fight in glorious sepia slow-motion to win back the love of their life. 
They pay no heed to the gentle hum of Vittorias rolling on asphalt as they patrol the night like ninjas.
So don't worry when a fast moving kitty screams out from under a front fence and gets tangled with your foot at the bottom of your cadence. 
It's just another tribulation they can build into their narrative of redemption.

BONUS TIP: It's an adequate device for the cat masses, but the Scorceses; Coppolas and Von Triers of feline cinema eschew the silent swift bicycle as narrative element. 
Too much deus ex machina; too much like lazy plotting. 
True cat tragedy involves falling from serious height and mysteriously landing on your back...

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Tip 174: Learn about the awesome power of brands.

Brands. What are they?
Some dead French guys name and a picture of a crocodile. A greek god and a thingo. A couple letters in a particular font.
Somehow the brand has things in it that rub off on us.
Like what?
We do not know. We don't want to know. Instead we talk about stitching, fabrics and engineering.
How does it rub off on us?
By getting the product. Get the product.
Which brands work best?
Which brands cost most?
Is cycling itself a brand?
Aahahahahahaha! LOLSIES! Mwahahaha. Yes.

BONUS TIP: If you want to feel hotter than Joan of Arc and more popular than David Hasselhoff circa 2009, show your nous for cycling brands. Here's the secret hidden trick to all of everything. You don't need to be cycling to deploy the awesome power of brandpower!
Wear a Shimano hat to mow your lawn; put a BMC bidon on your desk; and get Huffy tattooed up your inner fore-arm. People will go batshit crazy for you.