An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Are cyclists litterbugs?

"I'm guilty of every sin but littering."--Soul Coughing

I have to admit that over the years I've become a bit jaded about littering. Maybe it's all the trucker piss-bombs I've had to bunnyhop on shoulders and ditches of the dirty Midwest for the better part of three decades. Years of scanning the shoulders for treasure like ditch-porn or conetop beer cans also maybe predisposes a fellow to a lighter shade of self-righteousness. After a while, the garbage just becomes a part of the scenery. That's kinda sad, I admit, but after a while you realize that it's maybe penny wise and pound foolish to worry about 12-oz bottles of redneck urine, when the Military Industrial Complex is busy spewing gajillions of toxic, atmospherically fatal cough-cough into the ecosphere, and a billion Chinese and Indians, eager to become the new Middle Class, can't wait to buy their first two-stroke Tata deathcrib.



On a long road-ride this past weekend with my pal Markney, we spent a lot of time riding along the mighty, muddy, trash-bedecked Mississippi. (This is by far the ugliest time of the year here in the True North -- when every stratum of snow-encased shit is now compressed into a single dirty wet layer with not even a fig leaf of cover. As far as you can see into the woods, there someone has been with a ziplock bag, a bottle of Mountain Dew, or a soiled pair of boxer shorts.) The backwaters and billibongs really were choked with plastic soda bottles and garbage bags, but the river was high and fast, and carrying it all away, I suppose, to the great plastic convergence flotilla in the Far Beyond, big as Texas.




Now tolerating garbage and contributing to it are two different things, and even though my personal patron saint Ed Abbey was known to toss his empties without so much as a peep from his well-lubricated and generally fire-and-brimstone scorched conscience, you know he lived in a different time, before there were 5 cent deposits in California, Utah, Delaware, Maine and a whopping 10 cents in Michigan!

There are two times when cyclists are notorious litterers. During races, when it's a first rate pain in the ass to extract a power gel or a fart bar or beef stick from your pockets and then get the gooey bastard off your finger like a massive booger or cockleburr -- always sticks to the rescue finger, then back and forth forever -- much less get it safely deposited back in pocket. I admit now that I too do it in certain high-volume races taking place on a massive two or three lane course at which there are entire teams of trash pickers bringing up the rear with their little spears and sacks -- and also by the way, karmically speaking, I'm a guy who frequently picks this shit up if it happens to be underfoot or at hand and I'm in a non-racing heart rate zone. Roadies are terrible about throwing water bottles, something I've complained about in the past -- not so much due to the actual sin of littering, but the sin of basically handing a shit sandwich to observers, passersby, pedestrians standing on their idyllic front lawns carved out of corn fields -- to watch the funny clown brigade go by pedalling there clever little machines, only to have a rain of BPA fall on them, leaking cytomax and eventually killing their livestock by sharding up in their intestines.

The other time is Homie Fall Fest, though of littering at this event I am pretty much blameless, and my mess bag still stinks like spilled flat malt liquor to prove it, and I just found a tall boy of PBR still enshrined in the cage of my singlespeed.

Anyway, all of this comes up because some clever folks over at Bike Hacks have created a handlebar bag made out of a plastic trash bag and rubber cement, which looks pretty nifty, but if my experience tells me anything, you don't want to fill this thing with urine-soaked and turd-infested kitty litter. I don't think it'll hold, so you may as well just pour that directly onto your shoeless feet on the cold floor of the basement, as I do.






Seems a shame to throw away a perfectly good tape measure though.


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