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It’s Simply too Cold to Ride…

I woke up this morning, it was -4.  Record cold yet again.  I wrote, earlier this year, that I figured we would be paying for the last two winters which were fairly mild.  I was not mistaken, this winter has been tough so far….

On the plus side, at least the trainers work.

Happy New Year, friends.  Here’s to another, hopefully happy, safe, and fit 2018.

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I Gotta Buy Me Some Bitcoin!  The One Economist Who got Me to Change My Mind…

Paul Krugman says Bitcoin is a more obvious bubble than the housing market crash.  I thought the same thing… till I found out what he thought.

Anyone who knows anything about economics knows you do the exact opposite that which is recommended by the Pulitzer Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman.

UPDATE:  My friend, and fellow cyclist who actually reported on the market for many years commented that, for once, Krugman might be right on Bitcoin.  I really have no desire or plans to buy Bitcoin, this post is more to point out the humorous “Do the Opposite of Krugman” rule.

Is Pinarello’s Marketing of their New eBike Sexist or Do some People need to be Angry to be Happy?

I read a neat post on an uproar over Pinarello’s marketing ads for their new road eBike.  First, some backstory.

Last year, in the off-season, my cycling buddy Mike, my wife and I would regularly go out for dirt road rides on our mountain bikes.  Every once in a while, Diane would join us on her cyclocross/gravel bike.  I have a Specialized Rockhopper 29er, my wife has an almost identical Trek Marlin 29er.  My buddy, Mike has an older Stumpjumper 26, a hand-me-down from a friend.  My wife wanted a gravel bike so she would have an easier time keeping up with us, as Diane did.  I suggested against the idea, because if she got used to taking it easy on a gravel bike while we were on mountain bikes, that would adversely affect her fitness next season – at some point she would have to play “catch up” and catching up always sucks.

Gravel Bike

Mountain Bike

Back to the Pinarello kerfuffle… My wife would buy that Pinarello tomorrow, if we had the cash, for the exact same reason.  Hell, I’d think about buying one to keep up with our 24 mph average A Group for the same reason [ED. I wouldn’t, because I’d likely be excoriated for being a wuss].  I have to stay on track though, I don’t want to mess up the narrative….  Yet.

Along comes Pinarello and their new eBike, the Nytro.  Their ad campaign featured a young lady who wants a Nytro so she can comfortably keep up with her boyfriend and his cycling buds [ED Exactly like my wife, ahem].  The other side of the ad features an older fella who works too much to train but with a Nytro, now he doesn’t have to miss a Sunday ride with his buds.

Pinarello got my wife and me right – though in all honesty, I have my normal friends to ride with.  I don’t need an eBike to ride with the A guys (and yes, every one of the regulars in the A Group is a male of the species.  I only know of one woman who can ride with them.  She’s a pro).

So, the question is, is Pinerallo, who marketed almost exactly to my wife and I, sexist for doing so?

My wife absolutely does not want to work hard enough to keep up with us boys.  So if Pinarello’s marketing is sexist, my wife would have to be as well.  If anyone thinks my wife, because she wants to ride with us but would like a little assist with an eBike, is a male chauvinist, it’s because they are one of two things: ignorant or stupid.  Pick one, or be bold and go with both.

In this age of faux outrage, masquerading as care for real issues, I grow tired of the chattering masses who take umbrage with human nature and the differences between men and women and try to use those differences as a means to prove sexism.

It seems increasingly more common that some people simply have to be angry to be happy.

Observe:  Is Pinerallo sexist for marketing to women who would love an extra assist to keep up with the boys on Wednesday night, or are those who are angered by the ad campaign sexist for picking on Pinarello and for believing that women who want the assist are lazy for not wanting to train hard enough to keep up in the first place?  Touchè.

My money goes on the latter.

Unfortunately, my problem is that I’ve taken that latter tact with my wife.  She’s so close to fast enough to hang with us.  With a little more effort and willingness, she’d be right there.

Hey, isn’t that sexist?  In my case, I’m a sexist either way just because I was born a male, but that’s the point.  In truth and reality (neither of which actually matter), it’s simply how this works.

The simple fact is, you (especially if “you” is a male) can’t win, and the whole narrative is designed that way.  On the one hand, you have real sexism – all one needs for proof is the implosion of Hollywood (which I’ve been watching with glee, those pompous, arrogant @$$holes).  On the other, you’ve got this faux sexism that is used to bludgeon someone just for the sake of hammering them.  Call it bullying – I think that’s the new buzzword of the decade.

As I’ve also shown, for those who claim faux sexism, you can flip the narrative on them – you just have to be quick enough to do it and that ain’t easy.  For real, no BS sexism, the narrative can’t be flipped.  There is no justifying Charlie Rose walking around butt naked in front of female colleagues – you can’t flip that narrative, the behavior is just plain wrong.  It’s that fake narrative that we can work with.

The trick is to first reject the premise of the narrative in the first place; in this case, “Pinarello is sexist for suggesting that women need an e-assist to keep up with the boys”.  Pinarello didn’t suggest that at all, the hucksters added that to the narrative to justify their angry reaction (that’s the rejection of the premise).  What Pinarello did was offer an option to women who don’t feel they can or want to keep up with their spouse or boyfriend on a bicycle.  They offered the same option to men, if you were paying attention.

The trick is flipping the narrative:  “Claiming that women simply aren’t willing to work hard enough to keep up with the boys is sexist, and that means you’re a chauvinist.  You need to stop that sexist shit that permeates our society and gives men cover so they believe they can abuse womyn as a result.”  Women often simply have different priorities, and what really works for society is men and women living in harmony – if that means a spouse buying an eBike to keep up, who cares?  The important thing is the couple gets to ride together – whether the wife or the husband is the stronger cyclist.

Bob’s your uncle.

Just hopefully not a pedophile uncle.

The Great Bicycle Helmet Debate:  To Wear a Helmet or to Not…

The human head is said to have the same consistency as a watermelon when it hits the pavement…

That is a photo of my friend’s helmet.  While we were riding at what they consider a leisurely pace up to Otter Lake, the A guys were doing their weekly Saturday hammerfest to the west of us.  Their ride is one of those where they will tell you ahead of time, “Don’t show up hungover and bring your good legs”.
The man who normally wears that helmet is a better, faster cyclist than I am.  Hell, he’s better and faster than you too.

The point is, the guy knows how to ride, and well.

On that Saturday ride, there was a slight surge coming up to a stop sign, followed by a slowdown.  One of the front guys slowed a little faster than the rest of the group anticipated which brought the group together too quickly.  One of the guys darted left to miss a wheel and hooked my friend’s front wheel.  My friend went down, hard.  He broke his hip, which really sucks.  On the other hand….

Zoom in.  On the other hand, his wife won’t have to change his diaper for the rest of his life because his brain isn’t mush because he was wearing that helmet.  No brain injury was found after a CAT scan.

If you pay attention to the great helmet debate, you will be inundated with faulty arguments masquerading as reasons to avoid helmets, about torsional impacts and blaming the helmet for making injuries worse from the “helmets are unnecessary” side.  Most of these arguments will be made from a theoretical point of view by engineers and/or mathematicians and/or the ignorant masses who follow them.  They’ll even say wearing a helmet causes more accidents or increases their severity because if people didn’t wear helmets, they’d ride more like sissies (the old “remove airbags and weld a 4″ knife blade to the steering wheel to improve driving skills” argument).

I suggest speaking to someone a little more “hands on” than a theoretical mathematician.  Try a Sheriff’s deputy, a firefighter, EMS technician or, if you need some letters before or after a person’s name, a doctor – preferably a neurologist.  Each and every one, without fail (especially those relegated to the scraping of brains from the road after accidents) will recommend you wear a bicycle helmet.

As to the whole torsional argument, if you look at that first photo, you can see the skid mark in the helmet.  My friend had no neck injury.

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t instances where a helmet would add to an injury – there certainly are those rare cases, but it’s like the great seatbelt debate.  For every one instance wearing a seatbelt caused harm, there are hundreds where having one on saved the motorist (or where not wearing one killed the motorist).  For every one instance where a helmet added to the severity of a bike accident, there are hundreds where the helmet saved the wearer from a catatonic state, diapers, and drooling on themselves for the next decade while their body rotted inside out – and it literally doesn’t matter how slow you’re going.

My friend’s season is done, not life as he knows it.  He’ll spend the next several months recovering, but he will be back.  There’s no doubt, if he hadn’t been wearing that melon armor, he’d be looking at a much longer recovery period… or worse.

To wrap this post up, I do want to make one thing clear:  I do not advocate for government bureaucracies making a bunch of rules and regulations regarding how bicycles are ridden and whether or not helmets are worn….  Bicycle helmets, like motorcycle helmets, should be the choice of the rider – in every case.

I just happen to be a person who won’t leave home without his melon protector.  Ever.  Not wearing one is too stupid for me to even grasp.  I would be without three friends if we weren’t so adamant about always wearing them.  Three of my friends, dead or drooling.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no debate.

A Bike Ride can Fix ALMOST Anything….

The billboard on the bike shop says, A bike ride can fix anything.  

Ummm… close.  I like the saying, of course, because a bike ride fixes a lot for me.  It fixes obesity, it fixes my enjoyment of food, it fixes my melon committee, and bikes definitely assuage my need for a midlife crisis hobby (a bike ride ticks every box).  There are things a bike ride can’t fix though.

A bike ride can’t fix stupid, that’s for sure, and there seems to be more than enough of that to go around lately.

A bike ride can’t fix cancer, but it sure will help on the front end.  A bike ride can’t fix Alzheimer’s, again, except on the front end…

Nuances aside, I look at what is right in the notion that a bike ride can fix anything:

A bike ride will definitely fix a bad day, there’s no doubt about that.

20170704_081028

Dangers

http://wp.me/p4YeO9-3aQ

“Everything is dangerous, my dear fellow.”…

The bane of my existence is the politician who, in the name of public safety, seeks to legislate the fun, or the taste, out of life…. for the good of the people.  

Apparently they need some Oscar Wilde…  Not too much though, because ronically, Wilde made the mistake of thinking Venezuela, in modern times, was the answer to life’s problems.  It sounds good, I’ll be the first one to admit.  The one inescapable problem is this:  If you don’t have to work, who in their right mind would?!  And therein lies the rub, and why Socialism always implodes under its own weight.  Always.

Wilde once wrote that the way to deal with poverty was to make poverty impossible.  Ask the dumpster divers in Venezuala how that’s working.  By trying to make poverty impossible, Socialism makes poverty inescapable.

Click the link above to discover the rest of the quote.

I Performed Minor Surgery…. On Myself.  Um, because Nobody else would let Me Operate on Them.

We were down in Florida, Panama City Beach to be exact (it’s like Daytona, only not quite as nice.  If you’ve been to Daytona Beach as an adult, you get the joke).  We were sitting in our rented beach house (which was admittedly, awesome) watching some late evening TV when I felt something dig into my back.  I reached back to scratch it without even thinking and got a beach burr stuck to my finger.  I picked it out of my skin, walked over and tossed it into the garbage can.  No biggie.

When I sat down, I felt an itch in the same spot the burr was dug into my back.  I reached back to scratch it…. and got a barb stuck just underneath my fingernail.  Good Lord, did that suck!

I tried to dig it out with some tweezers but just couldn’t get at it.  Then my mother-in-law tried.  Unfortunately, she took a stab at it and pushed it deeper into my finger, deep enough I couldn’t see it anymore.  That was about 31 days ago.  Now, if you paid attention in school, you probably learned that the body is amazing at pushing foreign objects out, so I decided to let the body do its thing…. As of last week it still hadn’t worked its way out yet and my finger was starting to ache so bad that I was having a tough time operating my left shift levers on my bike.  My middle finger was infected.  Bad.

Interestingly, when I was a kid my little brother got something stuck beneath is toenail at camp and never told my mom about it.  It got so infected he almost lost his big toe.  Seriously.  I had a feeling I was going to be in trouble if I didn’t get to the doctor.  I also remembered that my brother was in the hospital for a week while they drained his toe.

What has two thumbs and doesn’t have a week to sit in a hospital?

This guy.

In a last-ditch effort before I went and saw a doctor, I snuck in a few minutes early at the office, sterilized a pocket knife and some nail clippers and went to town.  I won’t get too into the descriptions but there was puss, blood and pain.  In the end, I dug that little bastard out though.

This is a week later:

I’m finally pain-free after a month.  

Now for the disclaimer:  On this hand, what I did is exceptionally stupid according to the powers that be.  If I’d screwed up just a little bit, I could have lost my main salute finger or worse.  As well, if I’d let that infection go much further I could have really been in trouble.  I should have let the pros handle it.

On the other hand, I won’t have to come up with $10,000 for my deductible either, so that’s a win either way.

Humorously, on somebody else’s hand, I’m thinking back on my post the other day, about the wussification of men who can’t even change a car tire….  A pocket knife and fingernail clippers.