One of the things that upsets people about tattoos is that they wrongly think the wearer is trying to appear tough. That is not always the case, as you can see here. There's nothing tough about a triple road crank--you might as well just get a tattoo of a walker. Then again, I did count the teeth on those chainrings and came up with some interesting results. It's difficult to be sure since you can't see all the teeth clearly, but I think that's a 36-tooth granny ring and a 56-tooth big ring. Maybe this is a statement of toughness after all. That would mean this isn't so much a regular road crank with a bailout gear as it is a regular compact with an extra-large big ring for some serious gear-mashing on the flats. This is quite macho, but not exactly a great way to work on your souplesse. Coach Brinton would be appalled.
This tattoo of an exploded front hub diagram is another example of a bicycle-related tattoo clearly not intended to convey toughness. It's simply a handy reference. If you've found yourself running to your computer or rummaging through your instruction manuals during seasonal overhauls, you know that it can be tremendously inconvenient. This way you don't have to interrupt what you're doing--especially if you tend to work shirtless. I'm actually planning a really sweet back piece for the same reason. It's the installation instructions for a set of Planet Bike fenders:
Not only do I work shirtless, but I also work under a mirrored ceiling.
This one's not bike-related at all, but it is inspiring. I actually thought it was a prison job until I read the bit about how the wearer actually sought out the font. I was also interested to learn that a knuckle tattoo consisting of two lines of text is called a "double decker." But my favorite thing about it is that each hand also makes sense individually. The right hand says "Hope Roma," which probably means she's a fan of the Roma Football Club and hopes they win, and the left hand says "Less Ntic," which is clearly an abbreviation for "Less Antics." In other words, she's not going to stand for any more foolishness from anybody. Lastly, the "toxic love" digit serves as a warning to any potential partners that a condom is definitely in order.
But while I was impressed by all of these tattoos, the fact is that yesterday I saw a bicycle that impressed me more than a thousand knuckle tattoos on 8,000 knuckles. (Or 1,000 double decker knuckle tattoos on 4,000 knuckles. Or 1,000 smiling knuckles.) It is my pleasure to present to you the Finlandia Swiss Cheese Bike:
I had no idea Finlandia were about to "drop" a bike, but they've clearly done so with a resounding thud. It's the cheese-themed bike sure to be smelled around the world. As you can see, all the components are Finlandia too: the saddle; the stem; the bars; and even the hubs:
This is one of the few bicycles on which I actually support pie plate use. Note that the wheel uses Finlandia spokes, which are no doubt proprietary and difficult to find. Even if the chance of the Finlandia derailleur finding its way into the spokes is extremely remote due to its inherent Swiss precision, it's still not a chance worth taking. Nor would you want to incur any damage that might necessitate replacement of that sweet Finlandia rear derailleur cable housing.
As pleased as I was to see the Finlandia bike, I was also dismayed that it was locked so poorly. I was also surprised this morning to find that bike polo players apparently leave their mallets unattended:
It's tempting to think that you don't need to bring your polo mallets inside with you, since: 1) Who really wants a bike polo mallet anyway?; and 2) If someone does want a bike polo mallet, they're going to show up to use it at the same game as the person they stole it from and get fingered almost immediately. (Possibly by the "toxic love" finger to boot--and without a finger cot.) Still, though, it's risky. Firstly, people will steal absolutely anything. Someone might actually steal it so that he can use it to smash a car window in order to steal something else actually worth having. Secondly, one of the grade-schoolers who got bullied off the playground by the 20- and 30-something polo players might snag the mallets for revenge and start a vicious game of "keep-away." So if you see some kid getting chased by a bunch of graphic designers on fixed-gears, you know what happened.
Indeed, it's a dangerous world out there. So dangerous that some cyclists feel the need to carry weapons. I was surprised to learn from a reader recently that high-end online retailer Competitive Cyclist is actually selling weapons.
You may or may not be in the market for a $2,995 BMC Team Machine frameset. Either way you've got to admit that, in a world of poorly-written bicycle catalog copy, Competitive Cyclist stands apart, if only because it's probably the only retailer on whose site you're likely to find a reference to Bill Evans. Compare that to, say, the Secret Website, where you'll find copy like this:
Don't let this one get away! From "The Bike" a name that embodies the principals of this bike - comes the Fixie. The Fixie has a 6061 aluminum frame with a chromoly fork and 48x16 gearing. Promax front and rear brakes are perfect for those who havent perfected their skid yet. 700c alloy aero rims built with 32 14g spokes give you a bombproof wheelset to handle anything the urban jungle can throw at you. Weight: 22lbs.
I'll forgive them for the lack of apostrophes since everybody knows the Secret Website buys discount keyboards that don't have them. (Apostrophe keys are a luxury, not a necessity.) However, not all the apostrophes in the world could impart sense on a sentence like: "From 'The Bike' a name that embodies the principals of this bike-comes the Fixie." What does that even mean?
At any rate, I was simultaneously amused and frightened by the way in which Competitive Cyclist also employed its florid prose to sell pepper spray, since underneath it were some scary sentiments. For example:
I would love nothing more than to visit the home of Competitive Cyclist, where I imagine we could put on Bill Evans's "Portrait in Jazz," sip some wine, and then pop off a few rounds. However, I'm also deathly afraid of someone who is "comfortable with the idea of pointing a gun at an unwelcome human inside our home." Don't get me wrong--if someone breaks into your house you've got every right to point whatever you want at them, whether it's a gun, or a knife, or a blowdryer set to "high," or even a moldy zucchini. No, what freaks me out is the "comfortable" part. To me, that doesn't imply self-defense; it implies a sneer and an "I've been waiting for this." Moreover, who's to say what "unwelcome" means? Trust me, if you have me over I can wear out my welcome pretty quick. I'd hate to step out of the bathroom after urinating without botherering to pick the up the toilet seat only to find a muzzle in my face. (Though a blast of pepper spray might be warranted.) Also:
I have to say, I never expected to read the phrase "they know lethality" on a bicycle mail order site. This makes me suspect that there's a secret section of the Competitive Cyclist site where paranoid militiamen can outfit themselves with weapons for the coming race war. Plus, I know they say it won't discharge accidentally, but what if you're on a group ride, reach into your jersey thinking it's goo, and blast yourself in the face with it? You can do pretty stupid things when you're anaerobic. Or what if you get a flat and mistake it for a CO2?
Then again, when someone tries to jack you for your Finlandia bike it can pay to be prepared. And pepper does go well with cheese.