This morning I headed out on the Rivendell for the first time since my vacation:
Not only is the Rivendell the ultimate Sneaker Bike, but it’s also the perfect bike for this juncture in my life: nimble yet comfortable, practical yet pretentious, and, most of all, in no particular hurry. That’s not to say you can’t go fast on this bike, because you totally can, but it is to say that you don’t really give a shit about going fast on it, which is quite liberating, and a state to which all of us should aspire.
The bike is so liberating, in fact, that on this morning’s ride I attained something close to relaxation. Indeed, I was so laid back that I stopped in a park I’d never noticed before that offered a splendid view of the New Jersey Palisades across the mighty Hudson River. Fortunately, lest the landscape lull me into a state of complacency or–heaven forbid–happiness, there was a sign nearby to ensure that I maintained the requisite level of anxiety:
It’s absolutely crucial in the 21st century that we’re confronted with models and projections predicting doom at every turn. See, if I don’t stop driving The Car The Bank Owns Until I Finish Paying Them Back (you’ve only got me for one more month, fascist bully boys!), or if I fail to bring a reusable bag to the supermarket, all of downtown Yonkers (which is where I took this photo) will be underwater. This will be an incalculable tragedy for the future inhabitants of the luxury waterfront apartments they’re currently building there, and the once-proud city that not gave the world not only the elevator and Jon Voight, but also served as the inspiration for a Neil Simon play that eventually became a movie that wasn’t as good as either “Brighton Beach Memoirs” or “Biloxi Blues” will be transformed into some sort of third-rate Atlantis.
Anyway, irritated by the sign, my first instinct was to dismiss it:
But as I wheeled my Rivendell past it, I couldn’t help noticing that the bicycle’s truly “epic” cockpit gave the sign some much-needed context:
It’s all too easy to ignore bar graphs, but when you consider that our coastal cities are really only five or six comically long Nitto quill stems away from becoming aquarium decor, then the enormity of the situation really begins to sink in:
If the image of Neptune wielding his trident in a post-global warming dystopia doesn’t horrify you, then perhaps the specter of some sort of nighmarish seafaring retrogrouch brandishing a massive quill stem will.
Think the Gorton’s fisherman–who, come to think of it, looks like he may shop at the Rivendell website:
Also, certainly living in a state of perpetual anxiety is nothing new; before viruses and global warming, it was nuclear weapons that were going to do us all in. While my exceedingly comfortable bike might suggest otherwise, I’m not old enough to have been alive for the real Cold War highlights such as the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, like millions of Americans, I did watch “The Day After” with the understanding that this was absolutely the fate that awaited me (I would have been the same age my older son is now, come to think of it), and I even participated in what surely must have been the school last air raid drill in the United States, in which our math class was briefly interrupted so that we could crawl under our desks and prepare to die. So really I should be used to it by now.
Finally, speaking of slowing down, after mocking Strava and then embracing it I’m sort of back to wondering why I’m bothering with it–especially when I’m using it while riding a Rivendell. It’s simply incongruous, like an Amish person using an electric toothbrush. But then, as I’m about to delete the app, Strava informs me that I’m a “Local Legend” on some segment or another:
I guess this is a consolation prize for those of us who are too slow to actually get a KOM, though to me it really just says, “You’re a boring loser who does the same ride every day.” Or, to put it even more simply, “You suck.”
Tell me something I didn’t know.