Happy Old Year

January 1, 2017 § 16 Comments

It’s a brand new year. Except it’s not. It’s more like a brand old year. The same old pig wearing a fresh coat of lipstick. January first is a day of promises, mostly broken ones, exaggerated ones, ones extracted against your will, ones that were made in haste and will be repented at leisure.

Nothing will happen in 2017 that hasn’t happened in some other year, and for everyone who shrieks, “Trump!” I give you Caligula.

2016, for all her faults and misdeeds, was a great year. I wish she would come hang out with me some more; we’d be the only two sober people at the party having an actual conversation while everyone else slobbers through an impenetrable fog of hard liquor and nonsense. There were some amazing bicycling milestones in 2016. We’re grateful she left us with them because they’re going to continue giving pleasure in this grand old new year.

Brad Wiggins’s completely legal, unsuspicious package of Fluimucil that might have been a “letter from his wife” led to his early retirement and an investigation by Parliament. This is a gift that will continue to give much laughter in 2017, especially as Brailsford and the whole bus full of liars continue to contradict each other and make the previously preposterous claims even funnier. Look for the Bradley Wiggins Grand Fondue any day now, managed by Thorfinn Sasquatch.

Mechanical doping, a/k/a motorsports, have thankfully killed the anachronistic activity of pedaling a stupid bicycle. With a power source on the bike, lots of electronics, and ever refined engineering, the bicycle officially became a motorbicycle. Now we can have the perfect excuse for every time we get dropped, and after the frustration reaches a certain point, can buy a motor for ourselves. It’s like the loss of privacy or the death of the First Amendment. No one really cares anymore as long as we have football on TV.

Four days a week. At the tail end of 2016 I finally figured out that not only is more less, but a lot less is a lot more. I finished the year with only about four days and twelve hours of riding per week, and rode just as shabbily as I did when I rode 12,000 miles. Verdict: lots of time to do other stuff, and twelve hours of hard riding is about the right amount of misery.

SRAM e-Tap. This stuff works and is wildly expensive and worth every penny if you don’t really care that much about rent or health insurance. It’s a great way to further conflate athleticism, dedication, effort, and ability with purchasing power so that eventually they become one.

Mallorca. I went there last year, it was unspeakably awesome, and I’m going back this year. Motorbicycling is more fun in foreign countries with friendly people. If you’ve been hesitating on taking a big bike trip to a famous place, 2017 is the year to pull the trigger.

Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch and Robert Chapman. At the tail end of 2016 the Boys’ legal problems potentially got bumped up to a class action status, which will drive many of them into bankruptcy if the suit succeeds. In 2017, bizarro Robert Chapman will provide laughs and guffaws as he falls off his surfboard again, gets injured, and sits on the sidelines writing hate screeds about biker gangs as an anonymous Internet troll in his mom’s basement.

Palos Verdes Estates BMUFL signage. Last year was an amazing experience in how much a handful of PVE nutjobs hate bicycles, and how the city council does, too. In a couple of weeks we’ll be launching the first of our year-long educational campaigns, to get the BMUFL message to those Palos Verdes Estates residents who aren’t insane, which is almost all of them. More pizza and good times as we educate with our BMUFL and hand-made signage throughout the city.

Another booze-free 365.25 days. 2016 brought another year of clarity and daily hard choices: Sober or drunk? Bike or drink? Sober won out every single day, bringing with it some good, some bad, and a lot of appreciation for those who are fighting the fight, as everyone has always fought it, alone. The clear light of day can be awfully harsh, but it’s better than the thick fog of drunkenness and regret, at least for me, and maybe for you, too.

Success of others. I had friends and family get their Ph.D.’s, win big court cases, survive cancer, overcome family convulsions, kick ass in bike races, go from neophyte to hardass cyclist, get married, have kids, get great jobs, travel to Myanmar, segue from bike racing into the “real” world, publish books, get recording contracts, retire, become grandparents, lose religion, lose weight, become sober, become advocates, fall in love, start businesses, reach out to those in need, and leave the world, even if it’s just their tiny corner, better than when they found it.

And it’s that last part, leaving it better than when you found it, that’s the only New Year’s resolution that matters, or that ever has.



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