Monday, October 03, 2005

POTUS and Peloton One

I hate the acronym SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States). Sounds like the singular of know, if you had two. I also dislike POTUS (President of the United States) because it really sounds way too much like CLETUS. Not some acroynm, just the name. It conjures up pictures of hillbillies and doofy, southern cops. And I hate my subscription to Bicycling magazine. I used to like it, back when it was about training plans and gear ratios and ride diets and the like. But now it's about $7,000 bikes, equally expensive peripherals, bike messengers, mountain biking and sex (they had a sex issue and The Liberator (nsfw) is frequently featured in the ads). Absolutely yuppified beyond recognition over the last several years. I'd just not renew, but I had a habit of renewing it a few times a year whenever there was a discount, so I think I'm locked in until about 2009.

Which brings me to a rather nauseating intersection. The big feature in this issue is the editors ride with POTUS. This is exactly what you'd expect it to be: an editor's letter about how riding bike is not a political statement (despite Critical Mass [dead site, but mailing list options] and Riding Tall Bikes for Christ), a discussion about whether to wear or enshrine "Peloton One" commemorative socks, a bit of spin casting POTUS' riding as a valid way to "escape his daily grind", and a glowing review of how the President can "hang".

How can you not be inspired to ride with an article that begins:
"An alpha rider, often a guy, will start talking slightly louder than everyone else about what route to take and what pacing should be like. He's the one who rolls out first. And chances are, if you try to pass him, he'll get mad."

...and then goes on to discuss POTUS' weeks of vacation, his gift of a bike from Trek, his gift of a bike from Lance Armstrong (yes, one ridden in the Tour), his commercial tree venture, his designation of the editor of Bicycling as "Bicycling Guy" (I once had a friend with the nickname "T-shirt Boy", which is just about as original, but was a much funnier story), and his designation of the ride group as Peloton One and the ride as Tour de Crawford.

There's also his simulataneous bragging about a.) his likeness to a mythological hero, b.) his depth of knowledge about myth, and c.) his kickin' ability to continue on against all odds: "...Achilles' Hill, a scree pile POTUS named when he fell trying to clean it and cut his heel. 'Took three stitches when I got back, but I finished the ride...'" There's the jokes, advertent or inadvertent in the light of the UN I Have to Pee memo, "About this time, Sal Ruibal of USA Today asks the President for permission to take a trailside leak. Permission granted." And don't forget, "No one is allowed to pass the President, he notes with a half-smile. Then he adds, 'This is not a race.'" I'm sure that's just as much of a joke as him being friendly and then giving Alexandra Pelosi the cold shoulder in Journeys with George. He may sound like he's joking, he may act like he's joking, but he's dead serious about his masculine line in the sand.

On a positive note, our community stands to get a sizeable chunk of cash in the Transportation Bill for trail pilot programs (about $25 million), courtesy of Jim Oberstar (though no mention of him is made in Bicycling - it's spun as an interest of POTUS) and the US Chamber of Commerce says bikes are actually outselling cars this year. As for me, I'm going to give up my subscription to Bicycling when it expires and focus on buying Eryn an air hockey table with whatever funds I can scrape together. She learned to play today (albeit, the slowest game of air hockey you've ever witnessed), and I have yet to read an article about POTUS and air hockey.

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