Jul 26, 2010

Awash in Colporteurs and Other Irritations

Pardon the bitchy post, but...

Like most of us, I suspect, I came off of a great weekend only to be confronted by the slow moving onslaught of minor annoyances and irritations that is known by most as "Monday". No one event was significant, and yet the cumulative effect of these mood suckers leaves me cranky and tired.

Colportage, and those those that engage in colportage (the eponymous "Colporteurs") seens to have overrun Nicolet Mall lately. The booming voice of preachers rises from the mall to the windows of offices 10, 12... 15 stories in the air. Leafleteers press pamphlets and cards on innocent people heading out to lunch (who usually drop them on the ground, where they blow into the street and swirl behind the buses), and young people button-hole passers-by, wanting to talk about "protecting the Boundary Waters" on literally every corner (and by "talk about", I mean "get you to donate").

Add to that noise the steady stream of minor disappointments and angst's that result from working with people, rather than machines, and it's enough to make you want to go home a little bit early...

Acting on that impulse, I was confronted by the final insult - yet another Biker-Wannabe chugging around on an ancient Varsity. She had the look nailed; shants, sleeve tattoos on the arm and leg, a bohemian-chic, customized bag over her shoulder. No harm there, so what's the insult? A chain that has permanently landed in the "small/small" gearing combination that seems to be so popular with these people.

I don't fault the gear inch selection - that's a comfy combination in a lot of situations, but the unblinking, remorseless cross-chaining, and lack of shifting (or chain lube for that matter) is unforgivable. It confirms a total lack of understanding the capabilities of a bike and enough apathy and indolence to not care. It's style over substance - "I am on a bike, so I am cool right?".  I weep silent tears for these poor neglected chains and shake my fist at humanity for allowing people like this to go unpunished (okay - that's a little hyperbolic, I will admit, but in every jest there is a grain of truth).

On a brighter note, I connected another very nice young person to a decent bike tonight and she is THRILLED. I showed her how to shift, too, so if I ever see her on the roads I won't be disappointed.

Perhaps there is some hope in this universe after all.


  1. Yo, Snak Shak, nice blog. And good writing. I didn't know about it before today. Blanc here. Was out of town for a few weeks, then had a face-melting sinus infection. Back on the Stealth Voodoo for just a few more days before heading up to the UP for some back woods riding. Will swap out my Schwalbes for some Small Block Eights that I keep around for just such occasions.

  2. Greetings, Blanc. Riddle me this... How come your screen name is "Blanc" (French for "white") but your bike is "noir" (French for "black").

  3. Longish story. I'll tell you one day at the bike rack. It wasn't planned, but now I just sort of go with it.