Groundhog Day

As everybody knows by now, Biden bought Boris a Bilenky:

When I first saw the story on the Social Medias, I just figured the Gummint spent an absurd amount of money on a custom bicycle, so like most people on the Social Medias I made a flippant comment without reading the actual article:

Then I read the actual article:

Stephen Bilenky wasn’t sure what to think when he got an email from the U.S. State Department on May 23 asking whether he could make a bike — in less than two weeks.

That was a big request for Bilenky Cycle Works in Philadelphia’s Olney section, a small business whose customers may have to wait at least six months for a bicycle and sometimes up to 18 months, depending on how customized.

What’s more, the budget was just $1,500. Prices for the 75 or so bikes Bilenky makes annually start at $4,500.

WHAT?!? $1,500?!? Less than two weeks?!?!? I was lend to believe that when the government needs something it grossly overspends for it!!!

Should not then Old Man Bilenky get to bill the US State Department $200,000 for this Langster homage? I mean he could certainly use the money. This is the same person who’s forced to put on cyclocross races in a junkyard!

A windfall like this could be all they need to move that race somewhere classy, like the parking lot of a Denny’s.

But then someone on the Social Medias pointed out there are limits on gifts when it comes to heads of state, and nine seconds of research on my part yielded this:

Still, that doesn’t impact what the president can spend on the gift, and while there’s probably some rule about that too, I did not find it within that nine seconds of researching. Therefore, until some Foreign Policy Fred tells me differently, I’m going to conclude that Biden took advantage of Old Man Bilenky in order to get Boris a sweet deal on a custom bicycle, which is absolutely disgusting.

And I’m not even going to address the fact that London is flat and wet, yet the bike is equipped with a large cog the size of a dinner plate and no fenders:

Speaking of bikes made in Philadelphia, my Artisanal Singlespeed from Engin fits that description, and I spent some time on it yesterday:

Not only did I survive over 30 miles on a singlespeed (which is the equivalent of like 90 miles on a geared bike, if you multiply the number of pedal strokes), but I also encountered the dreaded “Land Beaver” and lived to tell the tale:

How many of you can say you’ve stared Death right in the eye?

This encounter was all the more poignant as it took place on the 14th anniversary of my blog, though I confess I didn’t realize it was my Blog-O-Versary until I read about it in the comments afterward. Either way, as the Whistle Pig fixed me with its gaze and no doubt prepared to gnaw my face off, my life flashed before my eyes–including one of the most embarrassing moments I’ve ever experienced. Once upon a time I was a regular speaker at the Philly Bike Expo, and generally this meant prattling on in some room at the Convention Center or something. However, in 2017, organizer Bina Bilenky asked me to do something a little different, which was to speak at an “Industry Party” she was throwing at a bar after the show, and this is how it turned out:

I was probably still traumatized when I wrote that because I make it sound way less embarrassing than it was–even moreso than the time I raced against a Smart for a car magazine back in 2008:

Not only did I have my bib shorts half off for some reason:

But I totally risked getting right-hooked by a Saturn:

And then terrorized a bunch of white-collar workers by not yielding to them in the crosswalk:

Though the video is an important historical document in that it shows how little bike traffic there used to be on the Williamsburg Bridge:

And that was rush hour!

Anyway, it was all worth it, because 13 years later Grant Petersen now sends me kickstands.

Now that’s what you call a bike-blogging career.

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