***I’ll be absent the week of February 21st for “Winter Recess.” You’re also excused from any and all appointments and responsibilities. If you need documentation, just forward me a note and I’ll sign it.***
Last week I shared my video on why I don’t wear a bicycle helmet. Then, yesterday, King County, WA (which includes Seattle) repealed its mandatory bicycle helmet law:
Not everybody’s happy, though. For example, here’s a doctor who’s concerned people might do the unthinkable and dare to approach a bicycle without first donning a foam hat:
Sure, society could stop taking all its cues from worried emergency room doctors who see the absolute worst of everything, but then we might start thinking it’s okay not to wear protective equipment at all times during the course of our normal day, and we can’t have that, can we?
Of course we can’t.
Nevertheless, let’s just say for the sake of argument people had common sense. If that were the case we’d view cycling across a wide range, with “Normal Cycling” (no special equipment needed) on one end, and “Abnormal Cycling” on the other (all sorts of gear required)–the apotheosis of that latter type perhaps being the Race Across America, or “RAAM” (so what does the “M” stand for exactly?), during which your body starts to fail you in strange and unexpected ways. Remember “Shermer’s Neck?”
Goldstein completed the race in just over 11 days despite dealing with Shermer’s Neck, a painful condition that afflicts many ultracyclists who spend upwards of 22 hours a day hunched over their bikes and makes it difficult to keep their head up. Eight days into the race, Goldstein’s team kept her on the road by braiding tape in her hair and tying it to her heart-rate monitor or bra to keep her head pulled back.
Certainly aerodynamics are important when your RAAMing your way across America, though you’d think if total neck failure were such a problem they’d sacrifice the wind-cheating position and ride Rivendells.
Unfortunately, RAAM is a total freakshow, which means it’s not particularly useful when it comes to inspiring people or promoting equipment. (When we see pro cycling, we secretly imagine we’re just like the competitors; when we see RAAM, we might as well be watching dialysis.) This may be why endurance cycling is becoming more hip and palatble, and why FKT (Fastest Known Time) attempts seem to be a thing now. For example, consider randonneurist and tire impressario Jan Heine, who established an FKT in the fancy dress category not too long ago:
Jan Heine way sits too prim and properly on the bike–if you think he doesn’t know the exact angle of his elbow bend at all times then you’re fooling yourself–and ironically it makes me almost as uncomfortable as looking at someone with Shermer’s Neck.
However, the Undisputed King Of The Hip Modern-Day Freak-Bikers is of course Lachlan Morton, who is going to be going for a new FKT by riding around some island:
Morton is taking on his latest adventure Friday – a push at setting a new FKT on the “Camí de Cavalls,” a 185km mountain bike route circling the coast of Menorca.
The Australian all-terrain explorer will pedal around the multi-surface route circumnavigating the Balearic island in a race to top the current fastest known time of 10 hours, 55 minutes, 8 seconds.
Lachlan Morton is somewhere between Jan Heine and RAAM on the Abnormal end of the cycling spectrum, and is another one who should probably just get a Rivendell, given his shoe choice:
Though obviously his sponsor Cannondale would never allow it.
Anyway, clearly this FKT thing is all the rage, so I’m pleased to announce my upcoming attempt to set the Fastest Known Tome for riding around Rat Island:
Though I’ll have to do it before it becomes an “Eco Retreat:”
Though totally submerged during storm surge high tides, the rocky outcropping of Manhattan schist is actually a viable build site. The designers behind the Rat Island Eco Retreat concept envision a series of prefab gabled cabins with large glass facades overlooking the sound, with decks and docks to accommodate small boats and canoes. The zero-energy buildings will run on solar and wind power with rainwater collection systems.
In case you’re wondering, “eco retreat” is hospitality industry jargon for overpriced fuck-huts.
Presumably you’ll be able to hump to the sounds of Rikers Island inmates burying bodies on Hart Island, then canoe over to City Island for the best deep-fried seafood the Bronx has to offer:
Now that’s a vacation!