Fake Meat & the Impossible Bike
First of all -- There is no such thing as "Turkey Pepperoni". There is also no such thing as "Cauliflower Crust", and there is no reason to make believe that either of these things exist -- Because they do not!! Oh sure, you have seen them printed on boxes in the freezer case, but they are no more real than a Bunny with a basket full of free-range eggs. If it's Turkey, then it's not a Hot Dog, and it's decidedly not a Sausage... It's not even better for you, so get over your smug bias. Fake meat and new combinations of ground stuff to create a kinder gentler Burger, is a false prophet. Beware your false god!! The combination of bizarre ingredients to make fake versions of known staples, mixed with some Vegan Cheese will not make "Pizza" -- For it is God's will that Pizza is "this" and substantially not "that"... Pizza may rumble your stomach with bad gluten, Spike your Lactase, and make your fingers swell with sodium but it is made just that way, and any sufficient deviation from what it is at it's core, would not result in "Pizza". Tofurky is no more Turkey, than Champagne from Spain. Call it Cava or Brut, but sparkling wine is not Champagne. ...And a Chrysler is no more a Porsche, than a Peloton is a Bike.
If it's constituents deviate so far from the original that the semblance of what remains is so substantially fraudulent, then 'IT' (the thing) deserves a new name. So... You may call Cauliflower Crust, "fake crust made from significantly processed vegetable matter, with other binders, with some spices". Likewise, Meat is Meat, and Fake meat is just Fake stuff masquerading as Meat, and not "Meat". When I dress up as Spider Man, I still fail at the web-spinning, and A kid dressed as Hulk is not a menace. Meat is best described as animals, typically mammals and fish which were once alive, but now are dead, and they require cooking to keep you from getting sick. We can eat meat if we choose, and we can bandy about the topic of synthesizing that same experience, just as we create the idealized version of ourselves online, bearing no resemblance to the "real thing"... But if it is not you out there with a fake meat stick in your mouth, then who is it?
Fake Meat is not dead animals, and should have a new name or category such as Soylent, A Ground and Processed slurry of Goop. Maybe Goop is a good neutral word for "Fake Meat".
A question comes to mind about fake meats, and the bleeding edge penchant to push rusty iron oxide, and creepy chemistry to a level whereby Goop shapes, Bleeds and Grills just like ground up Animal. When you have to make it bleed to convince the carnivore to eat it, then perhaps we've gone too far.
I asked a friend the other day, if Peloton was so popular -- Then, why don't you ever see those people with that silly white peloton window decal on their Range Rover, riding on the street or bike path with a real bike? (psst...!! I'll give you a clue, it's all fake, that's why). Truth be told, the same SUV nearly crushed 5 cyclists this morning on the bike route, and never thought that they may have something in common. They don't!
Is it not a lil-bit disingenuous for people who would bother to fly a Peloton flag on their Range, to never ever ever ride a bike outside? I know you will say that you have a Peloton, and that you ride your bike on sunny days mid-May. But because you use the Peloton, in all of it's pretentious glory to stay fit... it doesn't make the meat more real, nor you a cyclist. We know it, and I think that you do as well.
I think that if you were to ride outside half as voraciously as you worship your wattage on an LCD screen, then you would certainly know not to drift 5000 pounds of steel into the Bike Lane at rush-hour. When you compare your FTP to some fake douche in Salinas, you are perhaps sharpening your edge, as you dig ever deeper into your own fictional digital chasm. Your online persona (your digital self) is a lie.
Have a big bite of fake cheese pizza and tell yourself that it's healthier. Slice a slab of Tofurky on some quinoa, and seize the health benefits of this epically long ingredients list. Ride in your basement and tell your friends that you are a cyclist. Post a 12 year old picture of your digital self on-line and tell the world that you are free, and compelling. The new dialog on-line is to speak in superlatives. We freely exchange comparisons of ourselves with others who worship the same fake resume'. If it makes you feel better, then -- By all means... take a bite.
I try to draw a distinction between wearing what I'm told, and choosing who I am. When I see a brand taking flight, and everyone diving into the big pool of sameness, I try to abstain. When a friend says, "Hey have you seen that one show on Netflix, or that one current movie", I reflect their enthusiasm, and file it away in a potential "to-do list", but I don't race to share the same bath water.
Remember Nordic Trak? this gadget came from the same incubator as the Roller Blade, and soon both ended up under the bed, and then beside the dumpster. What sustains requires a bit more effort. I have the same bike built for me in 1989, and several have joined the same stable, and I generally wear-out my shoes and clothes. Nothing I own boast a big brand-name, save for some bike kit, I use exclusively for that sport. I am not a bill-board, and I am not a fashion maven, but I know that some things in clothes and sport sustain, and their relevance spans decades. What is to come of the Peloton, this un-hideable fashion emblem which occupies the spare room? What does one do with it, when the new model is released. If it were a phone, you could stash it in your top dresser drawer. But not the Peloton. How many pair of shoes have Peloton sold? How many people buying the same got them from a bike store?
Wednesday I asked my local Bike Shop Manager, "How many shoes they sell to Peloton users"? He said that, "...Most of our shoe sales are for stationary bikes". So, let's pause, and I'll let that sink in.
I asked him how many stationary bike users may have bought or are contemplating buying a new bike?
He couldn't think of any that came to mind, "Although many...," he said, "Gesture toward some sexy new bike, and say", "I like this one, gripping the handlebar"... maybe in the spring...". Of course you do!, it's expensive, and quite sexy, but we all know this is not for you; and that if you bought one, as with that Hand-bag from TJ Maxx, it would remain at home deflated and dusty, beside it's new shoes. This bike will never kiss the streets, that your SUV rolls down daily. But bike shaming is like any other form of shaming... for those who know the truth, it may take but a glance or a word, to coax the sinking feeling that perhaps that Peloton straddling the dining area is idle far too often.
And soon you would chastize Peloton flag bearers as I do. The current lunacy to see oneself through the lens of what other people are doing, or pretending to do whilst hiding behind a screen is so deeply entangled with your fake meat that we don't know how deep we've waded out before we begin to struggle against the tide. Fake meat and your False Self have one principle analog, and that is, that the real thing is better.
We are all a bit lonely, true -- but the new penchant for fake stuff and simulated lives will do us all in in the end. Your Peloton will suffer the same fate as the Nordic Trak, only someone will need to help your super fit self carry it to the curb. Here is another clue -- If it takes two people to move it, then it's not a bike.
It seems that it was only a few weeks ago when Sparse green still blanketed some sunnier spaces, but alas it's chilly now, and February, (the Dark Month) looms large with the lunar new year. I asked a kid from the clubhouse where he rode this week, and he said, Nah... "I dont bother riding on the street anymore, I just ride my trainer". Hmm. So That is one of those situations where you either call him a "big-dumb-ass", or you just keep your mouth shut, and drink your espresso. I didn't want the let-down to discover that what he said was true and like a dystopian drama, everyone was being born a-new from pods which incubate the new VR version of oneself. That everyone like aliens in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, is a "Sim" and everyone is really just food for a larger more fake organism. I wanted to have my coffee and cling to the nostalgic ideal of free-range, grass-fed, Cage-free, and cavalier. Funny when you consider that we demand "free-range" from our Chickens, and eggs, but not from ourselves. So -- Go ahead and cower in your chrysalis, and enjoy the silence of your own doomed obscurity, and binge on another three seasons of some shit, but done complain when you are eating fake pizza, with fake meat, on your fake bike, reading fake news, and watching fake exercise buddies, push fake wattage, when what you really need is a char-dog and fries after an epic session with some friends.
Yesterday I rode my trainer with Rouvy in VR Mode and a few others came on-screen and quit early. I thought "Man!!, I'll bet that dude can't hold that pace", and then in a flash they disappeared from my VR rig. I gained 3 miles on someone ahead of me, and 4.6 on someone who came in later behind me, and I finished the session of 6-12 percent grade climbs thinking I'd done quite well. My metrics for my enthusiasm stemmed from my completing the course that everyone only rode one quarter, and the other feel-good came from my ability to gain several miles on others who seemed to be riding well. Then, when it all ended, and I'd expected to place well, I was shocked to find that my time on the course was double the "Best Time". I'm no elite athlete, and even could be considered an old hack, but if someone can finish that climb in half my time, and i've not cut my wrists yet, it's only because I keep telling myself that those other Avatars "Cannot possibly be real". Just as you don't want a porn-star as your mate, you know in your heart that you can't keep pace with the fakes, and shouldn't let it demoralize you.
Today is snowed again, and my urge to ride melted in a mucky mess, or slop and road salt. I will however ride my trainer, but that guy who holds the "half my time" record for that mountain course, is fake. They must be..., right?
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.