Before I start jabbering on about my how I think cyclists should behave whilst on their cycles, I have a question. If anyone at all has an answer to this, please tell me:
What, apart from cooked yams, smells like cooked yams?
No, this is not a riddle. It’s an honest I-don’t-know-the-answer question. And the reason I ask is: Every day, as I ride my bike to work (Microsoft Redmond campus, in case you don’t know), I turn off East Lake Sammamish Parkway toward Marymoor Park, riding through a small warehouse-style business district. Part way through — every single day — I am hit by the strong smell of cooking yams. Is it really possible that there is a yam-cooking factory in one of these warehouses? Or does the smell come from something completely non-yam-related, that only happens to smell like yams? For example, is it possible that in one of these warehouse-ish buildings they’re making chemical weapons or shoe soles, and a certain stage in the manufacture of said weapons/shoe soles gives off a pleasant cooked yam smell?
Or is it possible that two separate companies, making their two separate products, give off two separate smells, the confluence of which is the cooked yam smell I experience?
I am flummoxed.
Also, I find myself giggling every time I type "cooked yams." There I go again.
Please allow me to demonstrate my ability to prattle on about nothing at all
Interesting non-fat/non-cyclist-related tidbit. Somehow, yesterday, my brain got the definition of "fungibles" screwed up. I was treating it as if "fungible" was a term food scientists used to measure a food’s mouth-feel. E.g., Burger King’s french fries score higher on the fungible index than McDonald’s, due to the way they’re double-fried and injected with lard.
Turns out, though, "fungible" is a word for an object that can be used like money — to barter with for example. E.g., chickens used to be fungible.
So, as I wrap up this little anecdote — which is turning out to be considerably longer than I originally anticipated — I have some questions and an observation:
- "Fungible" is fun to say (even more fun than "cooked yams"). Really, it’s a shame it has such an obscure use. If the definition of fungible were "an object crucial to enabling or enhancing the fun quotient of a specified activity," I think you’d be hearing "fungible" in everyday conversation. E.g., "Don’t forget to bring Doritos and a frisbee to the picnic, Joe. But leave your banjo at home. It’s not fungible."
- How did I manage to get "fungible" to mean "qualitative measure of mouth-feel in food research" in my brain? I’m not just going senile, I’m going nuts.
- Is there a word for "qualitative measure of mouth-feel" that’s used in food research? I’d like to know. Also, how can I get started in the field of food research? I’d like to bring the "cake shake" (see previous post) to market.
OK, now on to the cycling etiquette bit.
Whether you’re on a bike for a quick ride or for 100 miles, you’re eventually bound to pass — or be passed by — another cyclist. I, of course, am the right person to give advice on how to handle those encounters.
- If you pass an unaware cyclist: When passing another cyclist, there’s a good chance she does not know you are behind her. If you say "Hi" as you go by, you may startle her, prompting her to fall off her bike (I have in fact actually caused a bike accident this way). If you ring your bell, you may startle her similarly. If you ride by without saying anything, you will be thought of as inexplicably rude. What should you do? Yell "TRACK!" and blow by as impressively as possible.
- If you encounter a cyclist coming from the opposite direction: Cyclists are required by law to aknowledge one another, primarily to express solidarity and a shared love of the sport. You don’t have long, but try to convey, with a simple gesture, "Hey, we’re both on bikes and are therefore morally superior to the people currently in cars." But you’ve got to be casual about it. If you are riding in an upright position (mountain bike, cruiser), it’s fine to lift your hand and wave. If you are on a road bike and have your hands on the hoods, lift the fingers of your left hand, without removing the hand from the hoods. If you are in the drops, a simple bob of the head will suffice.
- If you encounter a cyclist on a recumbent bicycle, in either direction: Spurn him. Do not aknowledge, and do not return aknowledgment if offered. Recumbent cycles are nothing more than a desperate plea for attention, and by aknowledging him, you become an enabler. Above all, do not express appreciation/admiration/interest in the recumbent cycle.
- If you pass someone during a race: Do not say, "How’s it going?" because the honest answer the person you’re passing would have to give is, "Not as well as I previously thought." Instead, say, "Looking strong, dude," because it makes you sound generous, while at the same time implying that if your vanquished foe is looking strong, you are looking even stronger. It’s all about psychology.
- If you are passed during a race: Don’t give an excuse belittling your opponent’s accomplishment (e.g., "My spleen hurts."). Instead, say, "Rock on, dude." It makes you sound like a good sport, not to mention a hep cat.
This, of course, only covers how to handle other cyclists. I will cover how to handle pedestrians and motor vehicles another time. Maybe.
Next up: The history of the fat cyclist’s dieting techniques
Today’s weight: 183.4