The good people at Bicycling Magazine are currently conducting their Readers’ Choice survey, the results of which will appear in their March 2012 issue.
It is very important that you go and take that survey. Right now. Your very future — and my ego — may depend on it.
“Why does your ego depend upon it?” you ask, completely ignoring the part about your future, because you know that I am prone to hyperbole.
One Very Important Question
The Readers’ Choice survey starts out innocuously enough, asking you what your gender is — though, laughably, the options are limited to a mere two. It then goes on to asking you about what brands of bikes you own, how many people you’ve introduced to cycling, what you do when you get a flat tire, and so forth.
The whole thing takes about three minutes, and it’s good clean fun.
But. But. When you get to the final question — question 20 — the survey takes a turn for the utmost seriousness:
“From each pull-down menu, choose the cyclist you’d most like to ride with,” you are instructed. And there, in the very last drop down menu — Personalities — you will find the following:
Enlarged to show detail.
Yes, there — tucked unobtrusively as one of the middle options, as if they wanted to hide it — is “Fat Cyclist.”
No matter what else you do in that survey, you must select this option. Not to gratify my vanity and ego — although that is also a good and sufficient reason for you to choose me — but because the other choices are all completely horrible.
I shall explain why.
I have never met Frankie Andreu, but by all accounts he is a nice guy. He’s a former pro and a sometimes-commentator for pro cycling events, so he undoubtedly has some great stories to tell.
But you absolutely, positively do not want to ride with him.
For one thing, he’s 45 years old. Which means he’s currently in the throes of a serious mid-life crisis. And when you combine a mid-life crisis with Frankie’s best-known role in the pro peloton — that of a super domestique — you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Frankie will almost certainly be looking to reinvent himself. To resolve unfinished business. To scratch an itch that’s been there for 22 years.
To, in short, never ever ever let anyone finish ahead of him, ever again.
So he would ride you into the ground. He would point at every sign, every telephone pole, and yell “intermediate sprint!” and then take off, leaving you in the dust. When you caught back up with him, he would laugh at you and say, “That’s another one for me! 29-0!”
And he would demand you call him “sir.”
Also, bear in mind that Frankie was once the director of Rock Racing. And while it is admirable that he quit, the fact remains: he was once the willing leader of the most absurd pro team in the history of the universe.
For that he must be punished. Forever.
And finally, you don’t want to ride with Frankie Andreu because you’ll have to tell people you rode with someone named “Frankie,” and everyone will wonder why you’re talking about going riding with a six-year-old.
Bike Snob NYC
You do not want to ride with Bike Snob NYC (BSNYC to his friends). For one thing, he will demand that you ride with him in New York City, where you will most assuredly be t-boned, run-over, mugged, and have your bike stolen.
In that order.
During the first five minutes of the ride.
Furthermore, because BSNYC is very protective of his privacy, he always wears a mask when riding. This would not be such a big deal except that mask covers his mouth and makes it almost impossible to understand what he is saying. Your conversation would go something like this:
You: Hey, I really like your blog. How do you manage to write 9,000 words per day?
BSNYC: wart mmm hmmmprlf munkffm vurrtle.
You: I beg your pardon?
BSNYC: WART MMM HMMMPRLF MUNFFM VURRTLE!!!
Believe me, after a while that gets tiresome.
But that’s not even the main reason you do not want to ride with BSNYC. The main reason you don’t want to ride with him is because the following day, he will write about you.
And then you’ll never be able to leave your home again.
There is absolutely no reason you would not want to ride with Phil Liggett. The fact is, he is incredibly smart and has an infinite number of great stories to tell. He’s friendly, and a strong rider.
But you should still not choose him in this survey. Why? Because Paul Sherwen isn’t even listed as an option.
If Phil wins, it’s going to get back to Paul. And then Paul’s going to get depressed, and then he’ll start to sulk. On air. Like this:
Phil: And there goes Leipheimer! Ever since he got that new hairpiece he is riding like a man half his age!
Phil: Excuse me, Paul? Did you say something?
Phil: Well, what do you think of Leipheimer and his new hair?
Paul: I don’t know, why don’t you go and ride with him and ask? I understand you’re very popular and people want to ride with you.
Phil: It’s been three years since that silly survey, Paul. Are you still upset about that?
Paul: Leave me alone.
For the sake of Phil and Paul’s relationship, as well as for the sake of continued excellent on-air commentary, please do not vote for Phil.
Consider this for a moment: Bob sat right beside Al Trautwig for like three Tours. And he never took the opportunity to punch him in the throat.
For that crime, Bob must pay.
Also, if you slight him in some way, he’ll intentionally mispronounce your name for the rest of your life.
TdF Devil Didi Senft
Leaving aside the impossibility of pronouncing the consonants “nft” together without sounding like you’ve suppressed a sneeze, there are three very important things you should know about Didi Senft:
- He never showers. On principle. Teeth brushing is right out, as well.
- He does not know how to ride a bike.
- He will ask you to loan him $50, but he has no intention of repaying you.
So, really, that leaves me. You’ve got to choose me by default.
But that’s not the only reason to choose me as the “personality” you would most like to ride with. No indeed.
If we rode together, you see, I would bring snacks. Your favorite snacks.
If there were a headwind, I would pull my share of the time, and possibly even more often.
I would regale you with entertaining stories. I would practice those stories ahead of time, honing my storytelling craft for your maximum enjoyment.
I would listen with rapt attention to your stories, and ask many follow-up questions, to show that I was paying attention and would like to know more.
I would express interest in your tattoo, and would not ridicule it, at all.
I would show you my favorite rides. The ones so good I don’t even talk about them in this blog.
So. Please. Go and take that survey, and choose me. For your own good.
PS: In question 7, be sure to choose Other, and write in “Honey Stinger Waffles.” Because it’s true.
PPS: In question 20, in the “Elite Men” drop-down, be sure to choose “Levi Leipheimer,” or he says he’ll beat me up.