Bike Month, y’all

May is National Bike Month, and May 12-16th is Bike-to-Work Week. So this is the perfect weekend to dust off your Schwinn and put your puppies to the pedals. We, the blogging 3/5ths of the Merc staff, vow to bike too and from work every day this week, no matter the weather. Also, Norm de Plume will attempt, riding no hands with his iBook, to blog LIVE from his morning commute. We submit, to that end, the following check list:

Tires: Pump those suckers up until your thumb won’t dent ’em. This increases your fuel efficiency, which is great when your fuel happens to be the Wheaties you ate for breakfast because, in case you hadn’t noticed, the price of Wheaties just keeps going up.

Seat: Without a seat, you will find your bike to be Spanish Inquisition-uncomfortable.

Reflectors, lights, and bright clothing: Visibility is a plus, especially when biking around bleary Monday morning drivers, and of paramount importance if you bike in anything approaching dawn or dusk, which can be extremely dangerous, possibly even worse than night.

Ankle clips, or, roll that cuff: Nothing says “Look at me, I rode my bike to work!” like a rolled-up pant cuff . . . or chain-grease-blackened trousers. Sure, people will assume you’re riding to work because you got a DUI, but wait’ll they notice all the attention you get for sweating profusely in your cubicle. “OMG! Are you having some sort of attack?”

Toe clips: Greatly increase your efficiency. As George Clinton is fond of saying: “Get up for the down stroke.” Plus, if you’ve never seen someone fall sideways while trying to disengage their clip-in pedal shoes, it’s hilarious.

Helmet: As Mrs. Janni, the nice Polish/English lady who owned the world’s largest collection of egg cups admonished me after my second concussion: “Protect that noggin!”

Brakes: Check! This is Cincinnati! Unless you’re a fixed-gear hipster with grotesquely overdeveloped upper thighs that could stop a Metro, but even then, if you’re riding fixed-gear, we recommend a second application of the previous item, to be worn over the first. Dorky looking? You bet. But don’t forget, you’re so hip on that fixie you might make dorky the new hip. Speaking of fixed gears, check out this fixed-gear cyclist shot by Thomas Edison in 1899. -Ed Scripsi

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