© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Inspect closely the hose of any hardcore and regular velocipedist and you will find his ankle cuffed. Held firmly in place by clasp or tie or tiny bent teeth the leg-cuff serves one main purpose: to keep the pant-leg from fouling in and being soiled by crank or gear or spoke. In the course of their duty the parts of a bicycle that spin accumulate grit and grime and soot and dirt, which swim in a soup of chain-grease that upon contact instantly impregnates clothing with tenacious and tar-black patterns removable only by excision. Furthermore, when a loose pant-leg catches on the teeth of a gear-wheel it can bring the rider's legs to such a sudden stop that their momentum unbalances and unships him, an undesirable event that results in bruised egos, skinned elbows, and cracked skulls. During his life this author used to laugh upon seeing individuals wearing the bicycling cuff, until he himself ruined a few pairs of pants and nearly crashed more than once due to his clothing getting caught on protrusion, nub, or gear-wheel. Now, he cuffs both legs. (The cuff on his right leg he sewed together using a discarded Velcro clasp and the reflective tape from a bloody safety vest he found in the woods during hunting season; the cuff on his left leg is battery-operated and at night flashes a bright red light.) The only disadvantage to cuffing the pants while riding is that people will laugh and point and wonder what the balls one is up to, which is a small price to pay for improved safety and the knowledge that one will arrive in pants soiled only by the tears of the traffic-jammed drivers one passed along the way. Huzzah.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Moving the body from place to place on a velocipede has many advantages over using a motor vehicle, or walking. To ride bicycle, to mash velocipede, is to issue a clear and open declaration of one's physical exuberance, hurtling, sweaty proof that one is in both good health and high spirits. During one's travels, one learns the rhythm and character of a region's unique micro-climates, so that the brow gets cooled by a secret breeze and one can weather the noon-time heat in a cool and shaded grove. The bicyclist searches without pause for routes he can ride that lack cars, whose roads are newly paved, or those that are superior to the traffic-choked byways frequented by slave's charioteers, the drivers of cars; so long as he keeps looking, his town provides unique views of treasures previously overlooked and beauty previously ignored. He explores secret places he would likely never chance upon in a car while covering more ground than if he were traveling on foot, and the smogsled requires neither metered parking nor paid attendants. The only exhaust vapor created during cycling is one's own vital breath, and the only waste heat produced drips as sweat from the ruddy and invigorated skin. He sleeps well at night knowing that he dragged himself across the phaltscape burning only the fuel found in his tender guts.
As a silent propulsion system, bicycling resembles the Russian caterpillar drive of Hunt for Red October myth but where the Commies used fusion-powered, the velocipedist puts to work his piston-like legs and stout heart. To move the body from place to place without a nuclear reactor takes time and effort, and bicycling is time spent in honest effort. Dust off your wire donkeys, ye lazy carbuncles, and display your independence from want one pedal-stroke at a time.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
Avé, dear reader, & welcome. Come, let's explore the tools of a velocipedist. Her most basic elements are the following: a stout and fearless heart, that central muscle primed and pumping proudly, pulsating without palpitation betwixt her gently heaving breasts; fed by her blood and quickened with the hot action of honest labor are her brains, which analyze, sort, and weigh the options facing her before commanding her body to tilt this way or that, to zig or zag, to shift gears down or up, or to abandon her smog-sled altogether and roll tumbling onto the nearest patch of grass; then come her senses – mostly those of hearing and sight – with which she takes in the landscapes flashing by, which feed the brain and give it data to chew on and react to. On the periphery lie other elements, lesser but by no means indispensable, namely: a loud, no-handed whistle; a quick, sharp shout; a firm pair of close-toed shoes; a kit containing all the tools she might need to fix her wire-donkey on the fly; an ankle cuff to tie her pants away from the whirring links of chain; some form of protection for her cranium; patches of reflective material prominently placed to make her presence known at night; and lights to cut a swath through the shadows' gathering and alert others to her hurtling passage. With these few tools the smog-sledder transects the phaltscape (asphalt landscape) silently and cleanly, skimming across the planet's surface using only the food in her guts as fuel, discretely voided wastes her only measurable exhaust. So come, now, my hearties, and grab you bike, partake of its wonders, there's so much you'll like.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
blog updated Fridays, usually
I bicycle, write, surf, and the rest.