The Schwinn-Shank Redemption
While the use of prison labor is questionable in any context, about 20 inmates in a South Dakota state penitentiary are reportedly happy to be taking part in a program that puts them to work fixing up old bikes for disadvantaged kids. No word in the media on whether the program is voluntary or not, but given prison wages, there’s probably not much difference in compensation. Now if only there were a program to teach the kids how to stay upright in all that wind.
The other kind of bicycle flasher
Police in Clinton Township, Pa., have been on the lookout for an alleged serial flasher who has been accused of cycling past women and revealing, unsolicited, his naked cycling self. Faced with multiple reports, authorities have been getting serious, if misguided.
Police detained several men matching the suspect’s general description. But none turned out to be the suspect, police said.
Look, another guy on a bike! Pervert!
Portrait of a fatal bike-accident victim
Statistically speaking, who’s most likely to die in a cycling accident? No, not sitting presidents. Instead, it’s middle-aged men (between 30 and 49) who have been drinking, riding on high-speed roadways. Researchers in New Mexico reviewed 10 years of state records in a two-year study and came up with some not-quite-fun-but-still-useful stats: Cyclists are more likely to be killed than injured in a crash that happens in the early morning or evening; twice as many fatalities occur in cities versus rural areas; and men are about 10 times more likely than women to die in a bike crash. There are more where that came from. “As we look at the gas/oil crisis, with more people using their bicycles for transportation, we need to think about safer roadways for bicycles,” said report coauthor David Sklar. “Unfortunately, streets are pretty much designed for motor vehicles — they’re not designed for pedestrians, for bicyclists, for everybody together.”
Turns out motorists don’t have a monopoly on expensive transportation. Who knew? (Well, anyone who’s tried to buy a bike just like Lance’s, of course.) But The New York Times, tapped in as it is to the proclivities of Manhattan’s bourgeoisie, ran a piece last week on the growing market for custom-made boutique bikes headlined “You Paid How Much for That Bike?” The article describes the life and times of a few of Manhattan’s well-heeled custom-bike lovers and collectors, and the companies that pander to them. For the curious, the most expensive bike mentioned is a time-trialing bike selling for $23,000. If any wealthy cyclists are into charity work, I know a poor nonprofit employee who has been eyeing this bike for years. It’s a steal at about $8,000. Pretty please?
Like Chariots of Fire, with less running
Cyclists in North America this December will have one more entertainment option this winter (aside from cycling in weather or, Todd forbid, indoors): going to see the based-on-a-true-story feature film The Flying Scotsman. In 1993, Graeme Obree, a Scot with no previous racing experience to speak of, broke the one-hour cycling record while riding a bike he designed and made from old washing-machine parts. We, as viewers, MAYTAG along as Obree SEARS the competition. No $23,000 bike required.