Norse Sense

Every moment I spend on Twitter I lose a little bit of my soul, and while squandering another chunk yesterday I came across this PSA:

If you can’t be bothered to watch it, basically the Viking is about to go into battle and he doesn’t wear his helmet, so his fellow Vikings engage in some anachronistic helmet-shaming and convince him to put it on:

While entertaining, it’s also monumentally stupid. For one thing, I refuse to take my “life hacks” from a culture that divided its society into Jarls, Karls, and Thralls, which sounds like some kind of Scandinavian comedy team:

[“We will making you laugh.”]

Secondly, riding a bicycle has very little to do with pillaging–with certain exceptions, of course:

By all means, if this is your approach to bicycling, go ahead and don an iron helmet, and maybe even a spiked codpiece while you’re at it. As for the rest of us who aren’t still acting out against our mommies and daddies, we probably don’t need to look to the Great Heathen Army for our sartorial cues.

Speaking of comporting oneself in a dignified manner, I undertook an over-the-bridge ride on the Platypus today:

It’s been about a month since I put this together, and at this point any changes I’d consider making are minor. For example, a week or two ago, my dainty little leather saddle bag attempted to kill itself:

So I replaced it with the black saddle bag you see above, which isn’t quite precious enough for this rolling lug-fest. So at some point I’ll probably class it up with some Sackville foppery.

I also love the basket, but I need a cargo net:

I used to have lots of them, but now I don’t have any, which is a situation I need to correct.

Then there are the handlebars:

I love them, and I often find myself using the whole bar. For example, this area comes in quite handy when you’re accelerating:

For this reason I should really wrap them with something, like this specimen from the Rivendell site:

[Photo borrowed from Rivendell without asking.]

That’s a really nice Platypus, by the way–which I realize sounds dirty, but really isn’t:

The funniest part of that scene isn’t even the “Nice beaver,” it’s the completely innocuous “Let me help you with that.”

But yeah, at some point I should get around to wrapping the bars.

As for parts, the Dura Ace shifters work perfectly well, but the Silver shifters I have on the Hilsen are even better:

What makes them better? Well, the Silvers seem more precise, and also the shape’s a little nicer. Then again Rivendell installed the silvers and I installed the Dura Ace, so it could just be that I suck at working on bikes. Either way, the difference is fairly minor, and in no way would it be worth replacing them. (Though if you’re building a bike and starting from scratch, go with the Silvers.)

Also, having been brainwashed by Grant Petersen, I do also prefer the RapidRise on the Hilsen–and I’m talking about derailleurs:

Not yeast:

Though, like the shifters, I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to replace it.

Finally, I still have to put on the “good” kickstand, though it’s really hard to motivate yourself to do kickstand work once you’ve already got one on there that works.

As for life without a top tube (or a high top tube you can’t swing your feet over while you’re still in the saddle anyway) it’s extremely liberating:

For longish pavement rides I could do with something a little lighter and slicker than the Bruce Gordons, but it’s good knowing they’re there.

Anyway, as I ply the roads and paths I could not be less Viking-like:

In fact, I even contained my rage when I had to take a detour in order to access my favorite trail owing to the Superbowl of Dogs:

I know it’s hard to believe, but yes, life around these parts really is this glamorous. Dog shows and serial killers who talk to dogs, all on the same trail!

Glad I’m not the only one who spent the day in the sit-up-and-beg position.

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