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of the race each messenger is handed a manifesto, which is a list of 10-15 check points. At each check point, each rider is required to get something or perform some act. After all the check points are met, it's a mad dash to the finish. With a start in Manhattan, and the finish line in Brooklyn, riders found themselves in and out of porn shops, cemeteries, government buildings and tourist-ridden hell holes. It's obvious that a certain level of street smarts is mandatory if you have any intentions of finishing one of these. About an hour later, the first group came riffling over the finish line spewing stories of cab-driver angst, the rush of hooking the back of trucks across the Manhattan Bridge and a hundred other near-death experiences. Clearly the beginnings of urban folklore. After it was all said and done, the winner of the day got a plane ticket to the world championships and last place got a set of jumper cables (everybody in-between received some signature of merit for just showing dirty teeth). So shines a good deed in a weary world. We're talking about a networked nationwide underground scene that rewards its participants for being in top physical shape, as well as shells out prizes to those with the biggest spirits. As I look at what our society awards our top athletes, and how sports marketing plans are designed to feed on the weak self-esteem of sport participants, I can only hope that this holy grail of networked Olympiads somehow sheds some light. Not only is the bike a great athletic piece of steel in the cities, but it's also a way to save your mind. Once my friend Woo and I were sitting on the corner of Market and 2nd Street in San Francisco watching a gridlock of cars aggravate one another as they inched their way through the intersection. We sat there slinked over our bikes and he says to me in a mom~nt of unemphasi~ed reality, "You know, the streets can t get any wider. II It seemed to make sense. Then his face really tweaks, and he squeaks out, "And the buildings? They can't get any skinnier." And for being such a simple statement, it's something that I wonder if anybody has really thought about. Streets can't get wider. Buildings can't get skinnier. Which means that this shit is only going to get worse. But the beauty of riding bikes in any city is this : You don't care. The overcrowding is inevitable, and you have a way to deal with it. It's that simple. No anti-car activism necessary here. To sit and preach about how bikes will radically resurrect our society is too hippity-dippity for me. When I see those bearded types who are convinced that bicycle transportation is on the horizon for everybody, I cringe. That doesn't work. Riding bikes is not for everybody. Change is a scary thing to the masses, and we are a car culture. And let's not forget that, for the most part, we're also a bunch of lemmings. I don't expect the average Joe to put a .45 slug into the engine block of the family Chrysler. The way I see it, after 30 years of questioning the establishment I don't find it alright to sit with the rest of the cattle in traffic. In fact, with alternative culture claiming the way it does these days, shlepping along at a snails pace in traffic seems contradictory to youth culture in general. To sit on your ass in a car surrounded by crusty power suits who have surrendered themselves to traffic is hypocritical. I find it a warped sense of what is "normaL" It surprises me tha~ so many young people tolerate It. Get out. Get the cobwebs off the two-wheeled hoopty wedged in the hall closet. Pump the cracked old tires up enough to float your fatty and go ripping out the door. As you coast down the street rearrange the beer shoved down your pants, keep your rolled-up pants from sucking into your rusted out chain and realize how large Evil Knievel really is . Pull up any place you damn well please and relish in the glory of living in the Telly Savalas part of your life . YGou've always had it thElr,:, it's about time you revisited. et on your bll\.e . •

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