On the course profile of the calendar year, summer is a sweeping descent, and autumn is the start of a long, twisty climb. As we near the bottom of that descent we sit up, stretch out, take a drink, and maybe rummage around in the jersey pockets for a little snack before the leaves change, the brisk winds begin to blow, we zip up our jerseys, and we drop back into the little ring for the grind ahead. All of this is to say that I too will be sitting up for a bit and will be largely absent from this blog until after the cherished holiday known as the “Labor Day Sales Event,” at which point I will resume my Sisyphean existence in earnest:
Please note I said largely absent, and that you shouldn’t get too comfortable lest I burst back in unannounced to flog some new Outside column (pro tip: you can read all my columns here) or announce some sort of “pillow” sale:
Why is “pillow” in “quotes?” It’s very disconcerting.
Anyway, barring any scenario along those lines I’ll mostly be in a state of extreme deflation during which I will retreat into myself like a valve stem into an aero rim, so if you saunter along during that time don’t be surprised to find it eerily quiet.
In other news, further to my recent post about Biden’s wild beach ride, “Leroy”–a cherished reader who has been commenting on this blog for as long as I’ve been writing it, which is both flattering and concerning–shared with me this letter to the New York Times:
Yes, helmetless riding (on sand!), if it continues unchecked, could spell the end of this great nation. Fortunately Tom Goodman of New York, horrified by the graphic image of a ball-capped Biden on a bike in his morning paper, has taken it upon himself to write a sternly-worded missive. I bet he even called his family to the breakfast table so they could see for themselves this wanton act of recklessness. In this sense I must admit I can relate to him, since I too get outraged over shit nobody else cares about and subject my own family to it all the time. I wonder if Tom Goodman’s family roll their eyes at him the same way mine do when I go off on rants about how there’s nothing particularly new or interesting about gravel bikes.
Of course there’s only one thing that imperils our future more than helmetless bicycling, and that’s climate change:
As we all know, thanks to the “climate emergency” there will be no tennis on the planet Earth in 10 years. Now, I’d certainly never question the dogma that we’re all doomed, but maybe this whimsical GPS art will buy us some time:
Faced by the threat of the climate emergency, some people recycle more, or turn down the central heating thermostat a notch. Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope and Arianna Casiraghi drew a 600-mile wide GPS bicycle across Europe. While accompanied by their dog.
I know what you’re wondering, and the answer is yes, they did quit their jobs for this:
The couple gave up their jobs as physics researchers to undertake the 4,500-mile cycle trip through seven countries, a route painstakingly planned to plot the outline of a giant bicycle over the continent.
According to scary-looking graphics on the Internet (they’re using more red on the weather maps now, I love that!), the situation is really quite dire. So how will this help? Well, people might remember they have bikes or something:
“If people see the image, the message we want to put across is: please do remember that you probably have a bicycle somewhere, and it would be nice if you could use it a little bit more, rather than a car, for short journeys,” said Casiraghi, who met her husband when they were both doing PhDs in Nottingham. “At least think about using a bike – it’s enjoyable, and it’s great – cheaper and healthier.”
I dunno, seems like they could have just tweeted that, but I guess I’ve come up with flimsier excuses to fuck off for a bike ride.
And with that, off I fuck! Thank you very much for reading, ride safe, and if I don’t see you before Labor Day enjoy the last scraps of summer!
Yours and so forth,