Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bikeist Madness is Here!

I have to admit, loyal readers, that I've been having a hard time focusing on bikes and the blog this week.  We are on the eve of March Madness -- the single best annual sporting event in the world and second only to the World Cup when it comes to sports tourneys.  I'm sure this opinion will elicit a few jingoistic responses, but there is simply no argument -- nothing is huger than the World Cup.  It's main drawback, though, is that it happens only every four years.  Meanwhile, March Madness brings its rollicking awesomeness to our flat screens like clockwork each and every year.  Hmm, there may actually be an argument to be made that when you stack four years of awesomeness up against one World Cup, the NCAA Tournament might just win out.  Would the World Cup be as popular if it happened every year?  Perhaps not.  These are the quandaries that keep your Bikeist up at night . . .

So, what does any of this have to do with biking?  Only everything!  Haven't you heard, Warren Buffett is giving a way one quintillion dollars to whoever manages to pick every game in the tourney.  With my immense knowledge of college basketball and unworldly analytical skills, I'm pretty much a lock to take Buffett's money.  Can you just imagine all the the Bikeist could do to make the world better for bikes and biking with that much dough?  Wait, um, wait a minute.  A member of my crack research staff just tapped me on the shoulder to point out that the prize is not a quintillion dollars.  Apparently, that's more money than actually exists or ever existed.  Buffett has offered only one "billion" dollars to the winner (aka Me!).

So, what's the "quintillion" all about.  Ohhh!  My crack research team is now telling me that the odds of anybody picking all the games correctly are one quintillion to one.  How much is a quintillion anyway?  It sounds like a number Dr. Evil made up.  They say that it = one billion billions, that's a 1 with eighteen 0's after it:


Wow!  That's a big number (especially when I increase the font)!  I remain undaunted, though.  If life could somehow defeat the odds to crawl out of the primordial ooze and evolve over and over again to produce the amazing higher life-form that is currently typing these words on his MacBook, then anything is possible.  Who cares if nobody has ever picked every single game correctly -- I'm feeling lucky! (Click HERE to see why Forbes magazine says I'm delusional.  Silly Forbes . . .)

Well, while a billion dollars isn't quite a quintillion (or remotely close), it's still more money than I'd know what to do with.  What's the first thing I'd do with the money?  Did you really need to ask that question?  Buy a new bike of course people!  Have you been paying any attention at all?  But, what bike to buy?  Again, Forbes comes in handy as a source of what filthy rich people squander their money on (I had better start practicing!):

I could get this one for a mere $101,000 and still have $999,899,000 left to change the world:

Yes, it is, indeed, a gold-plated bike, with gold plated spokes and wheels as well.  It also comes with 600 Swarovski crystals built in.  It is, of course, made by a French company - "Auramania."  They can have it.

Then there is this one, which (world-renowned low-life) Lance Armstrong rode to (a revoked) victory in the 2009 Tour:

It is adorned with the wings of hundreds of butterflies -- presumably pulled off the living creatures one by one by Lance himself.  This is widely considered to be the most expensive bike ever sold.  It went for $500,000 at an auction -- before Armstrong was disgraced, of course.  I'm guessing it's re-sale value has taken a hit since then, however.

This Trek Madone, adorned with 100 diamonds in the shape of a "7" to commemorate Lance's 7th stolen Tour victory, went for $75,000 at auction:

Starting to see the incredible monetary incentive to cheating kids?  If Lance hadn't been caught, the industry/market that surrounded him might have actually made a Quintillion.

For a mere $30,000 I could get one of these from Beru, a company that specializes in systems for Formula One race cars:

This bike (which would 100% illegal for pro cyclists) has a dozen computerized monitors built in that track all aspects of the bike and rider's performance.  Torquing too much on one pedal?  It will tell you.  Need to downshift to maximize efficiency, it will tell you.  You're a hopeless Fred for whom no amount of technology could possibly squeeze another half MPH out of any bike -- it will seize up and kindly ask you to dismount immediately.

Seems that none of these bikes are for me.  So, what to do?  What I think I'd really do is re-trace the steps of the author of one of my favorite books, "It's All About the Bike."

The Author, a Brit, and a true "Bikeist," details his quest to obtain the perfect custom made, steel (of course) bike to suit his body and riding habits.  He lays out his quest part by part, first giving the history of each part and how it contributed to advancements in bike technology, then takes the reader to the factories and workshops where the very best parts are crafted.  In true Bikeist fashion, he uses humor and a self-deprecating approach to lure the reader along for the ride.  Highly recommended people!  Anyway, the first thing I would truly do with my billion, would be to reach out to Robert Penn and ask him to accompany me around the world to act as my consultant for building The Bikeist's perfect, forever, touring bike.  If he asked nicely, I'd probably bring my buddy, Chris, along as well since he knows more about bikes than anybody I know and it would probably be fun to watch him argue with Penn about what should go into my "perfect" bike.  This is going to be so much fun!  I just can't wait to get my hands on that billion dollars!

Oh yeah, and the next thing I'll do is quit writing this blog.  Who needs a non-paying job when they have a billion dollars?  :)

Oh, and Go Aztecs!

Last game of the day today -- be sure to tune in and cheer on our hometown team!

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