Journal of Dr. Prescott, Part II: Peculiar Infrastructure and Activities

09.9.2008 | 6:54 am

29 April, 7114

I believe the natives of this isle are beginning to trust me, for today they showed me around their isle. They have have paved concentric circles around the isle, using a sun-baked mixture of sand and tree resin as a road surface. They then use their bicycles — more about these in a moment — to ride around the isle.

The purpose of this activity is unclear. At first, it appears to be a clever, simple means of conveyance: lightweight, easily maintained, and reasonably efficient. However, When I ask natives where they are going on these bicycles, they frequently describe a route, instead of a destination. To my dismay, the routes they describe often arrive at the very point from which they left!

What does this mean? I have several theories, none satisfactory.

Are they patrolling for marauders? Is this a social interaction — via a perfunctory nod or wave — with others on the isle (note to self: investigate why only some natives wave to others, while many remain studiously aloof)? A political commentary? A mating dance? A religious ritual?

More indecipherable even than riding bicycles for great lengths of time with no destination other than the point of origin is the manner in which they ride. Some ride alone, for hour upon end. Some ride in packs, protecting what appears to be the alpha native of the group. Some ride single file and cannot seem to make up their mind as to who should lead; no sooner does a native get to a command position than she drops back to the rear of the line. Baffling.

Perhaps strangest of all, a very few of their number seem to take pleasure in first taking a swim, then riding a their bicycles, then running a great distance. Perhaps these are the mentally ill of the society. Or the outcasts. Or the criminals, being punished for their societal trespasses. Regardless, these natives are looked down upon by the others on the isle. I have learned that until recently were ejected from society, turned out from the village, and left to die, although in recent times they are treated more humanely, in the hope that they will someday come to their senses.

Their road is more than a practical way to simplify getting from one point to the other. The natives seem to regard it as a boundary. “Why,” I have asked them, “do you never stray from the road into the beautiful forest beyond?”

“There is nothing but the road,” the native will often reply, denying the very existence of their surroundings. Or perhaps they will ridicule me with what they regard as an equivalent question: “Why do you not eat pig offal?” When I say I don’t because it is repugnant and would do me no good were I to try, they will smile and say, “Precisely.”

I believe they worship their bicycles. Before each ride, they go through a ritual. They replenish the bicycle’s air. They wash and polish the bike, kneeling as they do so. Finally, they apply ceremonial ointment. The air of reverence and expectation is as touching as it is primitive.

Before — and sometimes after — their bicycle ministrations, the natives will often go to a bicycle church. There, they will describe how their religious rites have gone awry. A priest — witch doctor? — will lay hands on the bike, healing it. The native will offer thanks and some of their currency (those horrible foodlike bars of which I have earlier spoken) in exchange.

Who is this god to whom they pray? “Edam Urrix,” they say, the prime mover of their world.

The name strikes me as familiar, somehow. Perhaps it is because I, too, am fond of that particular kind of cheese.


  1. Comment by Don | 09.9.2008 | 7:08 am

    Yea! First comment…
    OK, I MUST be missing something, right?

  2. Comment by Scott | 09.9.2008 | 7:17 am

    Applying ceremonial ointment, do they call that spalming?

  3. Comment by Lowrydr | 09.9.2008 | 7:31 am

    Move over J. Verne, Tolstoy there is a new gun in town. Keep it coming Fatty. Oh yea, now look what you’ve done… Podium, yeah!


  4. Comment by Chad | 09.9.2008 | 7:34 am

    edam urrix! Bow Down!

  5. Comment by whumpus | 09.9.2008 | 7:41 am

    Doing my part towards the evolution

    I took my 2.5 yo daughter on a bike ride through the neighborhood. She used all the correct paceline hand signals and even called “Car Back!” every time a car was coming.

    I got all misty with pride.

  6. Comment by Lana | 09.9.2008 | 8:02 am

    Why all the hate for the triple sported? I swear we all aren’t that bad! Heck, some of us even know how to ride and everything.

  7. Comment by anneb | 09.9.2008 | 8:07 am

    The mentally ill of society?

  8. Comment by Rob L | 09.9.2008 | 8:11 am

    hahahahah this is frickin brilliant!

  9. Comment by Joshua Duggan | 09.9.2008 | 8:16 am

    If you don’t have anything nice to say…yada yada.

    But, I gotta say these stories aren’t doing much for me. I did laugh at the pig offal line though. :)

    I’m glad others are enjoying them, though.

  10. Comment by rich | 09.9.2008 | 8:26 am

    Good stuff Fatty!!
    Entertainment with my morning coffee…perfect!

    Win Susan!!

  11. Comment by Hamish A | 09.9.2008 | 8:35 am

    I lost a little of my afternoon coffee over the keyboard when reading the ‘air of reverence’ line. Thanks for another good chuckle :-)

    WIN Susan! And keep these coming Fatty (please?)

  12. Comment by spkell | 09.9.2008 | 8:40 am

    religion. Of course.
    Still to come: the dirty hairy ones who do ride off the road emerge from the woods? what strange rituals might ensue? malted, bitter post-ride hydration? even more posturing and bike worship with bitter disputes over minor (even indistinguishable) differences in technology all while pretending to be “above” such things?

  13. Comment by bikemike | 09.9.2008 | 8:55 am

    i am from the future and i’m really getting a kick out of this story.

  14. Comment by Alexia | 09.9.2008 | 8:56 am

    LOL was looking forward to the second installment this morning!

    I used to prefer having an actual destination rather than just riding or running in circles, but now I rather appreciate both! I like riding to the store or just riding to ride…

  15. Comment by JAT in Seattle | 09.9.2008 | 9:08 am

    All you haters can suck my,… oh wait – wrong blog.

    Seriously though, if, indeed you don’t have anything nice to say (or witty and cutting, i suppose) why say anything at all? This is Fatty’s blog and he can write what he wants.

    I’m waiting to see how this explorer from the future describes their urination rituals…

  16. Comment by leroy | 09.9.2008 | 9:20 am

    What, no mention of the sucking in the gut ritual, the stuffing of the face with an avocado sandwich or the flat coke imbibing?

    If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect this was fiction.

    But I saw a special on this years ago on the Discovery Channel. They even got the natives to dress up to promote the show.

  17. Comment by db | 09.9.2008 | 9:21 am

    Is there a recumbent tribe?

  18. Comment by KanyonKris | 09.9.2008 | 9:21 am

    Dr. Prescott,

    We received, with great interest, your second report.

    The behavior you described is indeed perplexing. Our best sociologists have put forth several theories that have received heated debate but no consensus – thus we can offer you no guidance.

    The mechanically inclined of The Society are building a replica of the bicycle machine, per your description and sketches, and we expect to be testing a prototype in only a few days hence.

    The rescue ship has left port and is sailing to your last known position with all possible speed. And even though it may take days or weeks to find you, rest assured that they will continue searching until you are found.

    Fair well,

    James Jameson et al
    The Society

  19. Comment by The D | 09.9.2008 | 9:26 am

    I can’t wait ’til our intrepid explorer happens upon the TT variant of the species.

    Have you ever tried to explain a skin suit or an alien-head helmet to someone who thinks bikes are kids’ toys?

  20. Comment by getinlost | 09.9.2008 | 10:15 am

    Dr. Prescott, is there evidence of a tribe that has an aversion to turning right?

    I have heard of strange tales of steeply banked oval shaped tracks where only one direction of travel is permitted.

  21. Comment by Ian Hopper | 09.9.2008 | 10:22 am

    I can’t decide which is funnier, the article or the comments… If I’d had coffee in my mouth when I read this the keyboard would no longer be operating due to coffee in the circuitboards… BWAAAAAHAHAHAH!

  22. Comment by Swedoz | 09.9.2008 | 10:33 am


    Is pre or post caffination preferred?

    Clothes worn – only pink and orange?

    Do they worshop carbon or steel or some mystical material as yet undiscovered.

    Drooling over the next episode.

  23. Comment by Anne | 09.9.2008 | 11:09 am

    I think so readers just need to relax and go with the flow. Brillant work, Fatty! Looking forward to part 3.


  24. Comment by Anne | 09.9.2008 | 11:09 am

    Okay, learn to proofread before submitting – that should be “some readers”

  25. Comment by Maria | 09.9.2008 | 11:23 am

    Behold Atlantis! I often wondered if such a place exists. This is such a good read Fatty. Can’t wait to read more.

  26. Pingback by Journal of Dr. Prescott, Part II: Peculiar Infrastructure and Activities | Randomblog blog | 09.9.2008 | 11:30 am

    [...] Journal of Dr. Prescott, Part II: Peculiar Infrastructure and Activities Posted by admin on September 09, 2008 random 29 April, 7114 [...]

  27. Comment by cyclostu | 09.9.2008 | 11:31 am

    The recumbant clan has no doubt developed large and unwieldy beards by this point. The beards may double in function as a flag in the wind to alert other riders and traffic to their presence. Alas, time has not allowed for them or their “bikes” to look any cooler. Even in the future, they still look silly.

  28. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.9.2008 | 11:39 am

    just for the record, Fatty, I did notice that 7114 (the dateline of the article) is hill, spelled upside-down. In a leetish sort of way.

    For the record, Fatty disses triathletes as a general principle. Because they do really hard stuff, but it isn’t fun. A bike ride can be hard, and exercise, and fun. A triathlon can be hard and exercise.

  29. Comment by Triatheletes? | 09.9.2008 | 12:03 pm

    Triathletes are just an easy target.
    Why suck at 3 sports, when you can be good at 1?

  30. Comment by Badder | 09.9.2008 | 12:21 pm

    I can’t wait to here how our Dr. Prescott explains Shot Bloks and Sports Beans.

  31. Comment by Jay | 09.9.2008 | 12:24 pm

    db, I believe those whose riding position is similar to their sleeping position have been ostracized to a greater degree than those who swim, ride, and bike. A previous explorer reported that the natives no longer even consider them to be of the same species.

    Edam Urrix be praised!

  32. Comment by MTB W | 09.9.2008 | 1:18 pm

    Uhhh, I feel really stupid – I don’t get the “edam urrix” reference. Other than my own slow wit, great piece! Can’t wait to see how those dirty, hairy riders emerge from the depths of the forests.

  33. Comment by Lowrydr | 09.9.2008 | 1:25 pm

    db, I think you need to take a new look at that statement. If you turn a “bent” rider 180 degrees forward they are in the drops. So picking them out of a crowd becomes harder. Maybe a naturally evolved camouflage. And you forgot the run part of your tri.

    Edam Urrix be praised!

  34. Comment by Lowrydr | 09.9.2008 | 1:26 pm

    Sorry, I meant Jay not db.

  35. Comment by dougg | 09.9.2008 | 1:29 pm

    I’m wondering about the tribe that broke from the main tribe a few years ago and now practices masochism? I think they are know as the SS tribe.

  36. Comment by El Gato | 09.9.2008 | 2:05 pm

    Shun the non-believers! Shun the non-believers!

  37. Comment by spkell | 09.9.2008 | 2:07 pm

    MTB W @ 1:18:
    must be a mountain biker thing: i don’t get it either.

  38. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.9.2008 | 2:25 pm

    So, this IS the religious/scar story??

  39. Comment by graisseux | 09.9.2008 | 2:26 pm

    “Edam Urrix” is definitely NOT a mountain biker thing.

  40. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.9.2008 | 2:29 pm

    spkell & MTB W:

    Look up the name of the greatest road racing cyclist in history (not merely the greatest Tour de France rider) and say his name quickly while looking at the words Edam Urrix.

  41. Comment by MTB W | 09.9.2008 | 2:38 pm

    Ahh, the “a” in edam was throwing me. I really must increase my coffee intake to more than 1 cup a day. Thanks clydesteve.

    dougg – haha! Yep, SS = masochist.

  42. Comment by KeepYerBag | 09.9.2008 | 2:39 pm

    Dr. Prescott,

    If they offer you any green crackers DON’T EAT THEM!!

  43. Comment by conejita | 09.9.2008 | 2:51 pm

    I’m sure you’ve already seen this and I’m not sure how true it is, except it is on fox news…but Lance is coming out of retirement for ‘09 Tour de France?!?!?!?!?

  44. Comment by FlatsMan | 09.9.2008 | 3:59 pm

    My Tribe hates a devil called Shirimanoo and worships Campy Anolo. We dislike riding with a strange strong animal the TriGeekus allovertheroadus.

  45. Comment by Grant | 09.9.2008 | 4:00 pm

    Some of my best friends are triathletes… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Keep it coming fatty! Good stuff.

  46. Comment by ann | 09.9.2008 | 4:11 pm

    Absolute MASTER of methaphorical expository prose.

  47. Comment by Triflefat | 09.9.2008 | 4:46 pm

    Hello. Doctor Prescott. Are you receiving this?

    I am thinking of replacing my pedals/cleat system and am anxious to ensure I don’t end up on some evolutionary cul de sac.

    Who won the race? What shape are those protruberances?

    (And how do those misfits run with them?)

  48. Comment by Travis | 09.9.2008 | 5:57 pm

    likeing it……were is the fixie tribe? all tatooed up and intoxicated? i can see them running around a fire with a recumbent tied the stake…

  49. Comment by hp | 09.9.2008 | 6:06 pm

    freakin’ genius you are Fatty

  50. Comment by AMR | 09.9.2008 | 6:27 pm

    I’m concerned that Dr. Prescott isn’t responding to any of the comments. Perhaps we are all too far in the past now.
    If, by the very slightest of chances he can read this, I fondly offer him;

    Midnight Rider ~ Beware of mysterious entities like polar bears, inhabitants known as the Others, and an unseen creature that roams the jungle. Also, you should look for a metal hatch buried in the ground that you can enter into and wash your dishes. Think about a raft. Good luck!

  51. Comment by SHOT | 09.9.2008 | 6:29 pm

    LANCE IS BACK! Read all about it:

  52. Comment by Barbara | 09.9.2008 | 6:43 pm

    And another of their gods, Lans of the Strong Arms, arises from the dead to save the tribe!

    He is so awesome he has no need for clothing! See

  53. Comment by bubbaseadog | 09.9.2008 | 6:53 pm

    im not sure about this i think you might have wasted time you could have been ridin or grocery shopping i found it much ado about nothin. do you really think lance can come back or is he just gonna put fear in the spanish hearts.

  54. Comment by Rokrider | 09.9.2008 | 6:53 pm

    Quick, somebody get me a screenwriter. I’ll start working on the financing.

    Working title: “Lord of the Chainrings”

  55. Comment by Drachen | 09.9.2008 | 7:02 pm

    I’m concerned with how ‘The Society’ is writing to Dr. Prescott even though it is apparent that no ships have traveled back and forth between the two..

  56. Comment by Lizzylou | 09.9.2008 | 7:07 pm

    The rain cleared right before I had to leave work and ride home… I shall pray to Edam Urrix AND Grigel Mount and thank them for this blessing.

  57. Comment by Don | 09.9.2008 | 8:07 pm

    I get the whole metaphorical yada yada, what I don’t fully understand in the why…

  58. Comment by Tomato | 09.9.2008 | 8:53 pm


    Joie de velo.

  59. Comment by Anonymous | 09.9.2008 | 9:01 pm

    check out “profession” by isaac asimov, which is a very different story, but has a few similar ideas

  60. Comment by pat | 09.9.2008 | 10:06 pm

    dude lance is back what about them apples

  61. Comment by co | 09.9.2008 | 10:26 pm

    HA! I just finished “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (my third attempt in as many decades to get past the initial library scene – this time successful, thank heavens!) and I say – bravo FC!!!

    today (plus post 1 of Dr. Prescott) you have made a Good in the world!

  62. Comment by Iain | 09.10.2008 | 3:19 am

    Can I just try and get some of you to grasp the concept of creative writing – loving it fatty!

    All hail Edam urrix

  63. Comment by Paul | 09.10.2008 | 4:01 am

    it’s beautiful, Fatty.

  64. Comment by fuzzy | 09.10.2008 | 4:28 am

    Fatty, you are a bit of a wag!

    keep it coming.

    WIN Susan :-)

    luv n’ stuff.

    Fuzzy in the UK

  65. Comment by Di | 09.10.2008 | 6:57 am

    “‘There is nothing but the road,’ the native will often reply, denying the very existence of their surroundings.”

    I’ve got it! Dr. Preston is their savior and will offer a period of enlightenment called, quite simply, “Singletrack”!

  66. Comment by one of you | 09.10.2008 | 8:29 am

    TriGeekus allovertheroadus? ahahahaha. good stuff FlatsMan

  67. Comment by KanyonKris | 09.10.2008 | 10:21 am

    Drachen – Carrier Pigeon.

  68. Comment by TigerMouth | 09.10.2008 | 11:04 am

    Ha ha. Very clever.
    Now that you have fantasy island out of your system, can you write something amusing about Lance’s comeback?
    I’ve been checking a couple of times a day since the rumors started, but nothing. It’s the kind of anticipation I experienced as a kid the week before Christmas.

  69. Comment by spkell | 09.10.2008 | 11:11 am

    righto: had it been nedov errend, I would’ve been on it.

  70. Comment by Drachen | 09.10.2008 | 4:55 pm

    the Carrier pigeon would be a one way service though would it not? meant to find their home base but unable to return to the orginal sender?

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