A most hypocritical purchase

I’m such a hypocrite. I don’t even strive for consistency. I strive so little for consistency I could fairly be accused of actively striving toward its opposite. There is such wonderful integrity to my quest for hypocrisy that structuralist thinkers can easily steam from the ears and explode in my company, rather like this:

Let the liar’s paradox be inscribed on every poststructuralist’s tombstone! Two days after writing disparagingly of the bike touring community, I have taken possession of a bike some would call the quintessential emblem of that cycling genre, after the Rohloff. As of today I am the proud nerdy owner of a Bike Friday Tandem, designed to pack on the plane, or into the boot of your car and take to the park to ride round the oval.

But as a substitute for the machines it is designed to pack into, the Bike Friday Family Tandem is an utter disgrace. Just consider its design from a thief’s point of view. With one allen key you can make the bolt cutter method look slow, pulling the bike apart from around any collection of U-bolts, then reassembling in minutes and riding off leaving the locks as they were. (Don’t be fooled by the length of the of the Bike Friday Tandem assembly video. They really don’t take an hour and twenty-two to assemble). .

Purely on the strength of thieveability, the Bike Friday Tandem must rank as the least practical example of the least practical kind of bike generally for urban transport, the tandem. It does little for my crusade for safe bike routes through cities; barely more I’m afraid than the latest edition of Effective Cycling, (the stupidest book to come from America since the Angel Moroni sent Joseph Smith looking for gold plates in New York—my apologies to all Mormon cyclists).

You would not catch Michael Colville-Andersen dead on a Bike Friday Tandem, or Roelof Wittink from the Dutch Cycling Embassy. These things are more American than Dresden (in 1945), about as tasteful as art since Duchamp, and as gainly looking as Bradley Wiggins. Trust me, I’m holding back. In the past I’ve said worse.

But there’s just something about the Bike Friday Tanden that meant I just had to have one, like a house on a hill with shocking access by bike. (Stay tuned for that dirty secret in a forthcoming post).