When The Car Is Away The Bikes Will Play

Some ideas that seem stupid are merely ahead of their time. One such item is the “Outlaw Hoodie,” which featured an integrated mask, and which I included in a hooded sweatshirt round-up way back in 2007:

Sadly this garment is no longer available, having vanished in this mists of time along with so many other symbols of fixie excess. However, in recent days the Outlaw Hoodie been popping into my head frequently, for obvious reasons. Ironically, when the designers first conceived it they no doubt figured the mask would serve merely to protect people bold enough to ride in temperatures lower than 65 American Freedom Degrees, or to hide infected lip piercings. Alas, if only they’d hung on until the pandemic hit, they’d be poised to cash in on the fact that sweatshirts with integrated masks are sure to become the blue jeans of the 2020s.

Meanwhile, if you’re parched for good news, drink deeply of this story about a bike shop that’s doing brisk business:

A few months ago if you told me the streets would be free of cars and bike shops would be thriving I’d have thought you were describing a utopia. Now here we are and it totally sucks ass. Still, I am genuinely happy for anyone able to stay in business right now, and I’m doubly so for bike shops.

Indeed, I myself flatted while astride my Rivendell yesterday morning, and as luck would have it I was mere yards from a bike shop. While I did have a tube with me and repaired the flat myself, I was glad to find them open so I could replenish my supply of spares. Granted, the shop didn’t carry tubes with lugged valves, which are of course the only ones suitable for a Rivendell. But at least these will get me home, and thanks to social distancing nobody will get close enough to notice.

Then again, Rivendell aficionados are a vigilant bunch, and they’ve been known to employ Crime Suppression Surveillance Vehicles to police new owners:

I know this because the other day I was stopped by someone in seersucker who leaped from behind a tree with a yardstick and fined me $20 for not having my bars high enough:

That stem is practically slammed by Rivendell standards. Ideally I should be able to fit at least three more bells and a coin dispenser on there:

Hey, you never know when you’re going to come across a payphone. (If you don’t know what a payphone is, it’s like the quill stem of telecommunications.) Also, if you get fined for a violation of the Rivendell ethos you can pay always pay your fine in quarters.

But the real hero of the video is the reporter, who gamely rides a bike for the shot even though it is readily apparent that she is abjectly terrified:

I like to think that this moment will kindle a love of cycling for her, but realistically I know she’s just happy she got through it alive. Indeed, the same thing goes for the country as a whole. Everybody’s riding bikes all of a sudden, and it would be fantastic if they stayed in the saddle when all this is over, but I can’t help suspecting they’re only doing it because it’s either that or house arrest.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s not house arrest that’s forcing people onto bikes. It’s streets full of cars that are forcing people off of them. Maybe one day we’ll strike a balance.

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