Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mechanical Gaslighting

 *Note: I began writing this post way back in May, when the incident took place*

 According to The Great Wikipedia, which will surely be known as the greatest intellectual of our time:

"Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity."

For women in relationships (I'm being sexist here), gaslighting is often found in the form of the asshole (hopefully ex) boyfriend who, when confronted with an emotional response to his actions, will say that you are a crazy bitch/if you really loved me you wouldn't think like that/you're remembering that whole situation wrong.

It can also be seen when your car mechanic tells you that the weird noise you hear is just you overthinking things, and that everything is fine.

I know, it seems crazy - a car mechanic trying to tell you that you DON'T need a repair? In what world would that happen?

Well, dear readers: it would happen in a world that exists in Massachusetts. Where the following scenario plays out:
 1. Mechanic A tells you that the alternator they replaced for you just a few months prior is faulty; and under warranty, will be replaced for free. Yay!
2. Appointment #2 for replacement alternator is made, but Computer Operator makes a mistake and schedules an oil change. Thus, replacement part is not ordered.
3. During appointment #2, Mechanic B realizes the mistake, sees that the part is not ordered, knows that the work will be done for free, and decides that the whole thing is just plain inconvenient for him because his time is valuable.

What followed from this scenario was a volley of words, where both Mechanic B and Shop Owner tried to manipulate me into thinking that I didn't really need that new alternator. In doing this, they first threw Mechanic A under the bus.

"That was X who told you that. Y has been doing this for 25 years."


When I questioned the noise I was hearing, the weird high-pitched ringing noise that initially prompted me to get the the car looked at, that's when the gas lamps got LIT UP YO.

First, the shop owner tried to Dad me. Dadding occurs when one person explains to another the intricacies of how something works. Normally this is perfectly acceptable and in fact welcome (to me at least), but in Dadding, the explanation is irrelevant, excessively long and demeaning. The Dadding in this case took the form of an explanation of how an alternator charges a battery. Thanks. That's great.

Now available in Finnish!

Second, both the shop owner and the lazy mechanic tried to convince me that the noise I was hearing was All In My Head. Yes. That I just was thinking about it, so I was focusing on it, so I was making a big deal over something that had always been there. That the car I'd had for eight years had always made that sound.

This actually happened.

Now here's a lesson for you ladies. STICK TO YOUR GUNS. A different, more timid version of myself would probably just acquiesce. Think, "yeah, these guys are experts, maybe the car is just older so it sounds different, or maybe I really am just over-focused." But I didn't. Because I was visibly angry by this point, I demanded the new alternator and received it amid a threat of, "well, we'll see about that noise."

I was fairly certain that the mechanic was going to break something in revenge for my demands, but it didn't happen. He installed the new alternator and pulled the car out of the garage. I turned the key in the ignition.

Instead of hearing the weird high-pitched ringing sound I'd been hearing, I heard a familiar noise -- the purr of my car before the faulty alternator. A soft relaxing hum. The sound I knew.

Triumphantly, I exited my car and poked my head into the shop. "Hey. The noise is gone. Looks like that worked. Thanks."

So, ladies and gentlemen. Monro Muffler at 326 King St. in Northampton offers inexpensive oil changes and other maintenance. Prior this this very odd incident, I never felt screwed over. I always felt that I was treated in a straight-forward and honest way, and I was glad to be building a rapport with the shop owner and mechanics.

But now? Nah. Fuck off.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Something About Bikes

Are you shocked? You're shocked, right?

I set my alarm this morning with the greatest of intentions - to hop on my sleek metal horse and ride a pleasant and productive 25 miles to pick fresh veggies for the shop. Last night, as I drifted and drooled into sweet unconsciousness, I visualized a bright yet crisp morning. Birds would twitter, bees would hum, butterflies would flit into my swiftly spinning spokes and I would softly apologize to their remains....

Then the alarm went off and my eyeballs told a different story: one of New England in the morning on the verge of fall, all gray sky and wet wet wet. And since 80% of my Reasons For Riding involve pure pseudo-hedonistic pleasure, I instead made a little extra coffee and decided that maybe I would be productive in another way.

And then I remembered, "Oh yeah, I have a blog." And HERE WE ARE!

Anyway. I'm back in school full-time (they call it full-time even though it is far from that) for the first time since 2005, and I'm doing it differently. I'm doing something called "eye contact" with my professors and fellow students, which means I'm doing another thing called "attending." I'm even raising my hand and answering questions, and contributing to discussions. I can't believe I still get butterflies everytime I use my voice, but I know that if I just. keep. doing. it. I will probably feel completely at ease with my speech one day, hopefully around age 65 when I'm on the verge of retirement.

Ahahahahahahaha retirement. Now THAT'S a kneeslapper!

I'm also reverting back (sic) to something I never did (hence the sic), which is riding my bike to school. I am doing this for a few reasons.
1) I live close enough to campus that the time spent waiting for the bus, walking to the bus stop, riding the bus, and walking from that bus stop to class is more than the time it takes for me to ride.
2) It's still nice enough outside (well, usually) that riding is fun.
3) It's uphill one way and downhill the other, so I get to experience a varied range of emotions.
4) I look cool on my bike.
5) UMass has a great network of bike paths 

Let me address these last two un-points, for the tens of... ten readers out there who will surely relate.

4) Actually, I look like a freak. Helmets never look cool, but they especially look un-cool when you have an abnormally small head. If someone yelled at me, "You dick!" I would surely yell back, "Yes, I am aware that when I wear my helmet I resemble a penis, thank you for noticing as well!"

I mean... come on.

Helmets look even more un-cool when the unspoken rule of riders at UMass is that No Matter What, You Never Wear Your Helmet. Even though the bus drivers are 18 years old and drive like they are 16, even though 75% of humans are too preoccupied with their iPhone to notice you, even though commuters drive through campus like it is Calcutta, you must Never Wear Your Helmet.

Unless you are the guy with a long mane of curly reddish blonde hair that explodes beneath your blue turtleshell. Guy, I notice you. Not in that way necessarily because you are probably 19 and I'm generally not into super-skinny gingery dudes, but in a 90% platonic way. I notice you.

I add to the motif of freak by wearing fingerless riding gloves (my hands go numb within the first mile without them), dark aviator shades, and a very serious facial expression. Oh, and sweat marks, too. Patrick says that I probably already have a nickname. He suggested that it is likely "Old Lady On The Bike." Thanks, Patrick.

But whatever. When you hit 30, you start giving zero fucks about others think, especially others who are 2/3rds your age and probably have 2/3rds the life experience.

5) Amherst has a bikeway, and I have the option of riding it on my way to school. UMass has a bikeway as well. There's even a nifty green sign to tell you it is a bikeway. The problem of this bikeway is that it is also a sidewalk.

You know how there are rules of the road? Like, drive on your right, pass on your left (at least in America)? Well, the rules apply to walking as well. So when you're walking within a gaggle and you approach a person (or perhaps a different gaggle) walking the opposite way and in your direction, you condense toward your right. Assuming opposite-walking-gaggle does the same on their right, all will be peaceful with the world.

Unfortunately, the youth of America has not learned this, making the sidewalks/bikeways of UMass occasionally intolerable clusterfucks of backpacks, iPhones, and dilly-dallyers.

An actual image of UMass sidewalks. Well... no.

Has everyone installed an iPhone app called "Sillywalk" that makes one unable to get from A to B in a straight line? Seems like it.

(Someone even did a school project about this issue SEVEN years ago, with points that all still apply. Except the point about North Pleasant being the best, because now it is under construction and a literal death trap [yes I mean literal literally]. Here's the link to the project.)

Anyway. Number 5, combined with your usual half-conscious drivers of guided missiles (also known as cars), make Number 4 seem necessary. As long as there are others students besides me in existence (pretty likely), I will never go sans helmet on UMass campus. The probability of a crash is so high that I expect my next blog to be titled "Back to the Emergency Room."

But despite Number 5 and its offspring, Number 4, I will continue to ride into UMass for as long as the temperature stays reasonably mild. Why? Because it is practical, time-wise. Because it is saving me money at the gas pump. Because it means that for 10 miles roundtrip each day, I am not contributing to CO2 emissions. Because it is exercise, and exercise keeps us all healthy.

But above all, because riding a bike is really goddamn fun.

(This is a sort of lame ending, but the sky is clearing. So, peace out.)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hi, my name is Jen, and I'm...

Things I'm bad at:
1. Blogging

Things I'm good at:
1. Not drinking

Today, 6/6/13, marks the fifth anniversary of my sobriety. Five years ago, it went something like this:

Jen: <on fifth beer> ramble ramble ramble ramble nonsensical ramble
Kim: Uh-huh, yes.
Jen: ramble ramble ramble sad ramble
Kim: Mmm, yes, I see, and how does that make you feel?
Jen: <on sixth beer> ramble ramble ramble
Jen: You know, I don't think I want to do this anymore.

The last thing I ever drank. I know. Obscure.

My memory of that evening is incomplete, and certainly more poignant than I have chosen to express it. But the jist of it is this -- nothing happened. I didn't crash into a telephone pole or another human being. I didn't fail out of school. I didn't get fired. I didn't get arrested for peeing in an alley or fighting in a bar. There was no "rock bottom." There was no intervention. The adage that you have to hit bottom before you can go up is a mistake, and frankly, problematic thinking.

The truth is that all these things could have easily happened. Due to a combination of luck, chance and stealth, I eluded the "worst case scenario" for the hundreds of poor life choices I made. I did, however, do many many stupid things. I feel shame for many of these things still today, and I am sorry to the people I hurt, whether directly or indirectly.

Drinking was, of course, not all doom and gloom. I fear that I sound like I lack conviction when I say that drinking really was fun sometimes. It wasn't always at the expense of others, and usually nothing terrible happened. It would be dishonest to say that I don't look back fondly at the late night swims and hot tub hopping, Drunk Jenga, or trespassing on the ruins of people's homes in post-Katrina Mississippi. I am thankful that I had these moments.

Getting "capped" in 2005, a common prank of sorts in my awesome college apartment.

I think it is important to my future sobriety to acknowledge this truth. It means that the decision to quit the sauce comes from a place of clarity and honesty, and not from desperation. I don't need to lie to myself to justify my abstinence. If I did not acknowledge this now, the feelings of nostalgia could potentially evolve into a need to recreate those feelings. So there's that.

And here I am today, five years after making that decision in a state of "slight to moderate buzz." If you're curious (and if you've read this far, I'm guessing you are), many things have changed for me.

1. I'm learning how to feel real feelings, and respond to them. During my heavy drinking days, I repressed many emotions which would occasionally explode in an emotional crying fest where I revealed TMI, or perhaps just punched the bathroom tile (a chipped knuckle will slowly heal itself, until you punch it again). In the first few years (yep, years) of sobriety, I found myself crying almost every day, like I was in a chronic state of PMS. This has tapered greatly in the past year, and I've begun to figure out how to react to events in an emotionally appropriate way.

2. I'm learning how to be social, without the social crutch. This is an ongoing process. It can be difficult to explain to relative strangers that I-used-to-drink-way-too-much-so-now-I-don't-drink-at-all. I've found that some people are actually threatened by this, fearful that I will unfairly judge them (I don't). I sometimes wonder if people feel I will see through them or expose them as something that may or may not be (I won't). But I no longer walk into a bar and crave a drink. I don't feel the pressure to celebrate with booze, or relate with booze. I give thanks to Beck's for making a non-alcoholic beer to help ease this transition.

3. The domino theory of smoking and drinking. I smoked at least a pack a day from ages 17 to 25, and by at least, I really mean that. Two packs was not beyond the realm of possibility. Today, this is unthinkable, and probably impossible. Nicotine addiction is strong and I've lit up after "quitting" probably three dozen times, so I am hesitant to say "I quit smoking." But getting off booze has helped create a new mentality and new norms.

4. I bet I'd be wicked broke. Cigarettes and booze cost money. I'm not rich now, but I'm not wasting my salary on that shit any more.

5. Simple calorie math. In my five sober years, I've continued to consume a bazillion pounds of chocolate, french fries, and pizza, but I have lost over 20 lbs. Years of consuming an additional 1000 calories of alcohol per evening caused me to gain weight, but I theorize that it also kept my metabolism high as my body tried hard to stay at a normal weight. This accidental weight loss has encouraged me to be more active, and I truly enjoy the physical activity I shied away from for so many years.

There are more, but five is such a nice number.

Before I end this, I should probably acknowledge that scary word. ALCOHOLIC. You can define an alcoholic by their activity, but also by their genetic predisposition. An alcoholic brain responds to the drug in a different way from the general populace, from that first taste. Over time, the brain changes, adapts to alcohol, so that alcohol becomes more or less a necessary part of brain functioning. When you see a drunk making a fool of himself, or sitting in the corner drooling on his shirt, take heart -- he feels normal now. An alcoholic feels weird when sober, not quite him/herself. When the alcoholic can drink again, the feeling is one of intense relief. That all is right in the world again. I know this because I know that feeling, because I am an alcoholic. Now I'm just a better one than I used to be.

And I don't do shit like this anymore:

I parked drunk and ran over a duck. When I discovered its lifeless body the next day, I did what any normal human being would do: write a suicide note and stick it underneath him for anyone walking on the sidewalk to see.  Now you know. 


Thanks to my boss at the Publix Deli, Stacey Waldrop, who pulled me into her office in 2003 or 2004 to show me her medallion from AA to celebrate her third year of sobriety. She was the first person who ever showed concern for my habits, and also the first person to whom I ever admitted my problem. Not that it stopped me from doing a power hour on my breaks.

Thanks to my Mom for banning any amount of alcohol greater than a six pack from the house when I briefly lived with her after college and before AmeriCorps.

Thanks to my boss Karl at Angler's Alibi in Alaska, for being an asshole as well as an alcoholic. He showed me exactly who I did not want to be during the first few months of my sobriety.

Thanks to Kim for always being there.

Thanks to you, reader, for the encouragement.

Back to liiiiife... back to reality....

So, I... I uh... I took a long break from his blog. An unreasonably long break.  I deem it unreasonable because my non-writing time was likely longer than my writing time. I'm sure I could go back and look, but that would be too much work. I'm asking enough from myself by writing at all, let alone researching past blogging behavior, so just chill out.

It's tough* to write about one thing. You know those people who have a real and true PASSION? Like, they learn everything there is to know about the Lusitania (I've noticed, Ren), or Transformers (Hi, Jimmy), or some other obscure thing? I'm very very much NOT one of those people. I get bored or antsy. I say to myself, "ooh, I'm going to read this interesting article about jet propulsion" and within 10 minutes I've moved onto bleaching the shower curtain**. This is not due to the inherent boring-ness of jet propulsion. I could be researching something I think is extremely awesome, like Billboard #1 Hits from 1991. Or I could be DOING something fun, like playing frisbee or gin rummy. The point is this:

No one single thing is so awesome for it to occupy most of my free time and energy.

Or in Latin, nulla solus res est tantus uh.. yeah. Prime example. Latin is awesome. But I don't have the energy to read it and write it and eat it and breathe it. It's not a passion.

I'm passionless. I'm sure a handful of people could have told me this already.

So writing a blog only about biking, bike fixing in particular, can never work for me. It's a futile endeavor. Even if fixing up bikes became my most favorite thing in the whole wide world, I wouldn't do it all the time. If I decided to force myself to become passionate about fixing bikes, I would eventually rebel against myself and purposely purge myself of all learning. "Uhhh derrr if I break my tire can I attach a basketball instead?"

(Wait... that could be awesome.)

So I might continue writing stuff here. Or I might not. I might write about bikes. Or I might write about any one of the following things:
1. Alcohol  (coming soon)
2. Time travel
3. Tattoos
4. Materials science
5. List making

So stay tuned. Or not!

*tough for me, not tough for the millions of other humans who can pick a theme and stick to it

**actually happened

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Break Me Off A Piece Of That....

Stuff I've Been Doing Besides Writing In This Blog


You see, while summer is certainly our "slow season" due to the exodus of a few tens of thousands of college kids (and god, it's so great when they go home), there is still plenty of stuff to do, and we still need bodies in the shop.

Bike Riding

Obvs!  I went on rides with actual people, including a really spectacular nighttime ride down the country roads of Amherst and Hadley in search of lightning bugs.  We saw many, and I lost count at "six trillion four million nine thousand and two".  I also rode my bike down some super bumpy and hole-y dirt roads for the first time, in the dark of night so as to make it just that much more difficult, and my bike proved once again that it excels most in versatility.

Wart Killing

Like 99% of the population (that's just a really good guess, I'm sure), I have warts.  Not a ton. I don't look like a monster from the Paleolithic, or even a witch who's fucked up and brew or two.  Just a few.  But they are unsightly and annoying.  So, being a product of scientists (Mom -- microbiologist; Grandpa -- embalmer), I created a spreadsheet and methodically applied various home remedies for certain amounts of time to each little bastard.  Then I charted the results.  You'll get the details after I write an entry for the American Medical Journal, but in short?  TEA TREE OIL.  While I suspect the virus is still lurking within, TTO knocked the lumps off by body within 12 hours.
Going Places

 Including Maryland.  This is pronounced Mare-il-land, Merry-land, or Mare-uh-land.  See next paragraph.


 Sweating as in "should I bother showering?"  I know summer is supposed to be hot.  It's one of the things that makes it the very best season of all (Kanye even said that summer is the best season of ALL TIME).  But I've lost an awful lot of water this year.  What if we collected our sweat, desalinated it, purified it, and drank it?  There's the solution to our water shortage. 

Dahlia Obsessing

I grow dahlias.  Prize-winning dahlias.  Well, I mean, I haven't won prizes, but my tuber supplier Dr. Dahlia sure has.  Blue ribbons, all up in that shit.  Last year, my plants were incredible.  Tall, with giant blooms the size of my head (I have a small head, but this is still big).  They are growing a bit slower this year, but I'm hoping this means that the energy will disperse moreso into the flower and not the stalk.  No sign of buds yet.  I'll keep you posted.

 Wikipedia Hopping

 You know how it goes.  The PBS documentary mentions something that piques an interest (in my case this is often some related to aerodynamics), you look it up, you don't understand what you're reading so you reference the internal links, which leads to some "related topic" you are also curious about, and then all of the sudden you have 16 browser windows open and you are furiously learning about human hirsutism as a function of ethnic group.

Eating Go Berry

It's just... the best.  Sweet.  Tart.  Refreshing.  Simple.

And.....Not Writing

Here's what happens.  I dont write to "get it out" as one of my fellow writing friends does.  I write when I'm feeling happy, excited, silly; when I have stories to share, tales of weave, insight to unfold.  But, when I'm feeling down, blue, tired, stressed, annoyed, bored... all those times when I have something to "get out," I do the opposite.  I hold these things inside for fear of causing an epidemic of bad feelings.  I don't want to infect anyone, let alone my friends.

So when those moments of joy are fleeting, it is difficult to express them accurately and without feeling like a fucking liar.

But now the moments are not so fleeting.  The headaches have stopped because I am not grinding my teeth in my sleep.  I'm just plain happier.  I want to tell you what 'm doing, and I want to make you laugh.  So now I can write again.

'Til next time, Suckaz!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spectual Healing

I warned you about this one, 'cause I'ma break it down for a minute right here, yo.

These are my bike specs, with the English translations that I wish I had understood before I bought the bike.  I'm only putting in the stuff that might be relevant to the average consumer, or maybe the average curious consumer.  None of the stuff about which shifters and which derailleurs come with it, because the truth is, you probably don't have a preference unless you own 10 different bikes and compare and contrast them on a regular basis.  I also include none of the stuff you don't need to know unless you plan on rebuilding it.

Should you decide to buy a new bike, or an old bike, or maybe if you want to sell a bike, these are the things that matter most.

If you find this stuff boring, it's cool.  I get it.  And I respect your decision.  Thanks for reading.  Scroll down the the end of this post for a consolation prize.

2011 Specialized Tricross Sport a.k.a. My Still Unnamed Bicycle

Bicycle Type:  Cyclocross.  I've already talked about what this is.  There are lots of different types and subtypes, but the more common (and relevant) ones are:
Road: Curly handlebars.  For use on paved roads.  Can go really fast.
Hybrid: Flat handlebars. More comfortable than road bikes, not as fast. Good for commuting, riding in city, all-purpose riding.
Mountain: For, you know, riding up and down mountains. Built for sturdiness.

Size:  56 cm.  Size is measured from the center point of the top tube (your seatpost goes into this tube) to the center of the bottom bracket (where the pedals revolve around).  Size is really, really important. It really matters.  Seriously, size matters (okay, I'm done).  It's also complicated to figure out, but if you have a tape measure and a friend who promises not to molest you, you can use this great website to get an idea.  Or, you know, just try out some bikes at your local bike shop.

Frame: Premium Aluminum.  There are positive and negatives with any type of materials.  Some are crazy expensive.  Some are not.  Some are light.  Some are not.  All will work.  It just depends how much you care about weight vs. cost.  For example...
Fork:  Carbon.  The fork is the big metal piece that attaches the front wheel to the rest of the frame.  In general, carbon is light-weight.  This is good, because the lighter a bike is, the easier it is to ride up a hill.  You generally pay more for it, but in return, you get a faster, smoother ride.

Brakes:  Tektro CR-720 wide canti.  There are a few different styles of brakes.  "Canti' means "cantilever."  Super Crazy Awesome Bike People really care about the different styles and really really have preferences, but me, well... as long as they work, I'm cool with it.  Also, my bike has two sets of brake levers for the different positions my hands might be in.  This is convenient, I guess, but overall unnecessary for me.

Saddle:  Riva.  It came with this thing, but I got rid of it very soon after I tried riding 15 miles on the PAIN TRAIN.  My ass bones are far too wide for this one  Saddles are important.  Later on, I'll talk more about them, and how they relate to your vagina.  Or testes.  (Probably vagina.)

Chainrings:  50 x 39 x 30.  The size (in cm) of the rings attached to the pedals.*  Bike People care about this because different sizes affect your range of "speeds".  The important thing here is that there are THREE NUMBERS, meaning there are THREE RINGS.  It is a TRIPLE CHAINRING.  This means that you have more range of speed on your bike.  It also means that it is more complicated to fix, and adds more weight than your usual double chainring.  It also means you are more likely to experience annoying "chain rub", which happens to Your Lady Bike Mechanic pretty often.  It's not as dirty as it sounds.

*edited because this is wrong. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. That number is the number of teeth in the ring. Thanks, A.T.!

Pedals: Cage.  My feet go into little holsters.  This took a little getting used it, but now I love it.  I generate more pedal power, and I feel like I am physically attached to my bike.  I'm like a transformer.

Tube: Presta.  Your tube is inside your tire.  It's where the air goes.  When you get a flat, it's because something worked its way through your tire and punctured your tube.  Different tubes have different types of valves.  Schrader tubes are the old school kind which you will still often find on a bike. Presta valves are thinner.  This is important to you because each time of valve requires a different bike pump.  You don't wanna buy the wrong one.  And it is really important to keep your tires pumped.  Ya dig?

Headset: Threadless.  Threadless headsets are more common now, but are more difficult to adjust, i.e. do not try this at home.  This makes it ever more important to get a bike that fitz you well.  (I'm leaving in that "fitz" typo because it looks awesome.)

...and there you go!  You've made it through!  I hope you found this educational, or at the very least, tolerable.

And as promised, here is your consolation prize:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Peel My Love Like The Onion

 I did not write this.  I merely copy and pasted from here.

This is something you should know about me:  I like satire.  I like humor.  And I like it to be tasteless, disturbing, cringe-worthy (ironically, that word is, in itself, cringe-worthy), and all sorts of other -less and-ist words. 

This article is quite tame on the nasty-o-meter, but it is funny, and since it is relevant to this blog, I get to repost it.


Bicycle-Safety Tips

Warm weather is just around the corner, and soon it will be time to dust off those bicycles. Here are some tips for safe riding:

  • Always use hand signals when turning at intersections. There's nothing motorists pay more attention to than hand signals from bicyclists.
  • Leaving your bike out in the ice and cold all winter may cause serious damage. But it makes a nice subject for the cover illustration of a short-fiction quarterly.
  • Always wear a helmet. If this makes you uncomfortable, think of the helmet as a crown and yourself as King Dorko.
  • Placing your feet firmly on the pedals of the bike will help reduce the "Wheee" sound emitted from your mouth while going downhill.
  • Insist on a bicycle made of solid matter. Liquid and vapor bikes are a passing fancy; argon frames are particularly shoddy.
  • Taking your bike in for a professional tune-up is a great way to waste $25.
  • Be sure to wear your seatbelt, even if just biking down to the corner store.
  • Fat-bottomed girls may be riding today, so look out for those beauties, oh, yeah.
  • Visibility is crucial when biking. Ride with a lit highway flare in each hand.
  • Every three to four weeks, lightly oil the chain. Then dip it in flour and fry it for a real taste treat.
  • As soon as you buy a bike, talk to your friends about how great Shimano crank sets and STX hubs are.
  • Does your city have adequate bike paths? If not, consider bitching about it to your local government for the next 40 years.
  • If rich, spoiled Francis Buxton steals your bike, go on a hilarious and heartwarming journey through the American Southwest to get it back.
  • Bike safety can never be stressed enough. If you doubt this, try stressing it as much as you possibly can. It won't be enough–guaranteed.