The Sun Can't Burn Your Wings When It's 7 Degrees


Today I headed out for a little spin on Ol’ Foodie, which what I’m now calling Ol’ Piney when it’s in “road mode,” since it looks like a food delivery bike:

Certainly not the most attractive bike, but lack of a front fender aside it was absolutely perfect for a post-blizzard ride:

I wonder if the bike would be any less ugly with proper fenders on it:

Maybe a tiny bit.

I’d certainly be a lot cleaner, that’s for sure.

Anyway, speaking of post-blizzard rides, this past Saturday I invoked my Citi Bike exemption and rode one of their azure bank-branded beasts all the way from Astoria, Queens to Brooklyn Heights, which is a distance of something like eight (8) miles.  If you’re wondering why this is remarkable, it’s because not only was the blizzard a mere two days old, but also because it was like 15 American Degrees out:

(“So it was really hot out is what you’re saying.”)

The reason for the ride, as I mentioned Monday, is that this guy I know who used to be a pro bike racer had invited me to a screening of this documentary:

Here’s that ex-bike racer, by the way:

He invited me on Saturday morning and the screening was that very evening, indicating to me that I had been an afterthought.  On one hand, I considered this an affront to my status as the world’s greatest bicycle blogger.  On the other hand, I had to admit that even the people I consider my closest friends only invite me to stuff as an afterthought, so what’s the big deal?

Plus, shouldn’t I be grateful?  After all, imagine a life so glamorous that Lance Armstrong–a two-time Tour de France stage winner no less–invites you to film screenings.  Then imagine you’ve got to ride this bike for a year:

As you can see, it all cancels itself out.

Most importantly, my wife and I had already been planning to leave the kids with my mother for a bit that day and go have a drink or something, and the screening meant we’d have an excuse to do that at the douchey Brooklyn hotel where the screening was being held instead of at our usual spot down the street from her place in Queens:

And so I graciously accepted.

You know, because of the drugs.

Anyway, the plan was that I’d bring the kids over to my mother’s while my wife went into Manhattan to ride a bike inside, then we’d meet in Brooklyn for the screening.  Some things in life never change, and one of those things is lying to your mother about how you’re going to get someplace.  See, there’s a Citi Bike station right on her corner now, but if I’d told her that’s how I planned to get from her place to Brooklyn when it was 15 degrees outside she’d rightfully attack me with a wooden spoon.  So instead I told her I was taking an Uber, but as soon as I got outside I made for the Citi Bike dock like a teenager sneaking a cigarette and set out into the frigid post-blizzard wasteland.

About 50 frigid minutes later (Citi Bikes handle pretty well in the snow I must say) I arrived in Brooklyn and rendezvoused with my wife, and after thawing my insides out with a Jameson we headed over to the hotel and ensconced ourselves in the screening room:

Judging from the conversations and the wardrobes these were mostly film industry people, none of whom I recognized, though there was no mistaking the countenance of Neil deGrasse Tyson when he walked in:

Sadly he didn’t do the “I’m going to blow your mind!” hand gesture as depicted above, but his presence sent a ripple through the audience regardless.

As for the movie itself, here’s a summary:

  • Fred (the director, Bryan Fogel) rides the Haute Route
  • Fred decides he’s going to dope for the next edition, ostensibly to prove how easy it is to circumvent WADA protocols, but you can’t help suspecting it’s because deep down he just wants to
  • In seeking a consultant, Fred winds up working with Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, head of Russia’s anti-doping lab and instrumental figure in their doping program–just as the house of cards is collapsing
  • Fred brings Rodchenkov to the US and winds up getting a front-row seat to the ensuing shitshow as the doping program is exposed to the world

The story of Rodchenkov and the doping program is fascinating.  However, the transition from “Fred’s gonna try doping” to “international intrigue” is a bit jarring.  Also, Fred could have done a bit more to coax out some of the subplots.  Or at least that’s what my wife and I thought, and we’re genuine New York intellectuals whose opinions on these sorts of things matter.  I’m sure I’d have been more into it if I’d have watched it at home, but I’d be lying if I said it’s the sort of thing you want to watch in a theater on a Saturday night.

Oh yeah, Fred also totally blows his doped attempt at Haute Route when his Di2 system runs out of batteries, so quibbles aside it’s probably worth streaming the movie for that moment alone.

Anyway, after the movie we were softened up with some complementary wine, and then we were shown to a conference room where you’d think someone was kicking off a presidential campaign:

Ironically though the person to whom Armstrong confessed his doping may have done just that the following night:

If you had told me 30 years ago that one day Oprah Winfrey would be running against incumbent Donald Trump I’d have said, “Yeah, that sounds about right,” and then cranked up the Dayglo Abortions again.

Anyway, inasmuch as my wife and I were enjoying a rare night away from our seventeen (17) children we were disinclined to stay for the entirety of the Q and A, even if we were thrillingly close to the back of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s head:

I will point out though that Armstrong has now reached the point where, when he makes sly references to his own doping, the crowd laughs knowingly and appreciatively, like when aging rock stars winkingly mention their debaucherous pasts.

In other words, while there’s still all sorts of lingering resentment among bike dorks, it’s fair to say the mainstream culture has pretty much forgiven him.

In any case, we eventually slipped out and made for the bar:

And when it finally came time to leave and collect the children I made good on my earlier promise and called an Uber because, you know, seven degrees:

Which is too hot for cycling, obviously: