I dreamt last night that my new bike was ready to be picked up. In the dream, two of my buddies from NJ were in town visiting, hanging out and drinking at Redhook when my cellphone rang -- it was Fabien saying the bike was ready to be picked up. My friends had listened to me tell them all about this bike for probably far longer than they cared to so they didn't mind taking a drive across the lake to pick it up.
We get to the shop and immediately something is wrong -- the bike shop folks decided to gift-wrap my bike. It was completely covered in green wrapping paper with little puppy dog drawings on it. "This is odd", I said to my friends. It may well have been due to the pitchers of Copperhook Ale we consumed earlier, but they were already doubled-over laughing at me.
As I began to unwrap the bike, my heart rate quickened, and contrary to Geoffrey the Giraffe's advice, it was my smile that turned upside-down. The monstrosity concealed beneath the wrapping paper was not of human origin. It was not fit for mountain biking. Not fit for road biking. And, quite honestly, could very well burn your retinas if you looked at it for too long.
For starters it was not an unpainted, beautifully polished titanium. It was brown. Dog shit brown. With fluorescent green accents. My beautiful hand-built wheels with mango hubs were nowhere to be seen. In their place were a set of wheels arguably stolen from the spare props closet on the set of Mad Max. First of all, were plastic disc wheels. Not disc-brake wheels, but complete discs. Dishes, if you will. Solid wheels without spokes. Only, unlike the aero-wheels triathletes use, these were anything but aerodynamic. That had all sorts of plastic spikes and molded-on chains and skulls bulging from them. My mind immediately dreamt of the faintest gust of wind blowing me completely off Porcupine Rim.
As I continued to tear away the wrapping paper -- now with about 1% of the excitement I had just minutes earlier -- it became obvious that the bike had none of the styling or shape of a normal mountain bike, let alone the Mooto-X I so coveted. If anything, this bike resembled one of the LightBikes from Tron. The pedals were not in the center of the bike, at the bottom bracket, but were actually splined through the rear hub. You want a single-speed? This bike has no gears at all. No chain either. The pedals were fixed to the rear hub.
Then there was the handlebars. Or should I say bar? The bar had been cut in half -- there was no handlebar extending out from the stem on the right-hand side of the bike. It was at this point that I looked at the guy in the shop and asked him to please explain how this bike is meant to be ridden. He proceeded to lay down over the bike. Not sit on the bike, but literally lay down on it with his chest lying on the top-tube. He explained that you're designed to tuck your right arm behind your back "for aerodynamic purposes" while you gently steer with the left.
My Mad Max meets Tron bicycle was designed for oval-track racing.
It's funny how sometimes in a dream you don't argue or stand up for yourself or question something as obviously ridiculous as this situation. You just accept it as your lot in life and try to make the best out of it. My friends were laughing -- scratch that, they were more or less howling at me by this point -- so hard they both had tears streaming down their cheeks and were on their knees pounding on the floor. I felt tears welling up for a different reason altogether. I asked the only question that made sense in a time like this.
"Do I at least get a pack of Marlboros with this bike?"