The Whitest Place in the Universe

Yep. Whiter than this.

I live in Madison, Wisconsin.  The Whitest Place in the Universe.

How do I know this, you ask?

Simple.  A couple of days ago, I saw a recumbent bicycle.  Okay, that’s pretty white, but not that remarkable.

Hold on.  There’s more.

It was a tandem recumbent bicycle.  Now we’re breaking new ground.

But wait! It continues.

The two, mid-fifty-ish people on this extremely honkified contraption had headset radios for communicating with each other.

Now, my friends, we have broken through to a whiteness that is whiter than pure, unrefracted light.  Space and time were warped by this dazzling whiteness.  Dogs howled.  Birds fell out of the sky.  Parents shielded their children from the intense, burning whiteness.  The very stars were moved from their courses. I believe, as I stood there, that I could hear God weeping.

So again, I say: I live in Madison, Wisconsin.  The Whitest Place in the Universe.

19 thoughts on “The Whitest Place in the Universe

  1. Thanks for my first laugh of the day (“extremely honkified contraption” started it).

  2. Um, not to burst your apparently shiny bubble, but is it okay if I interject at this point that the only person I know who owns a tandem recumbent bike is a black guy from Arlington?

  3. Sad to say, there’s a part of me that would really, really love to have a tandem recumbent bike with headset radios. It would be one way to get Mr. BuggyQ back on a bike (lazy bastard. One little knee injury, and the whining reaches epic proportions! 😉
    But I say this knowing full well that I am, in fact, blindingly white myself.

  4. The first time I saw a recumbent bicycle was in Madison, WI and at the time, a black man was riding it into campus.
    An observation: While Madison has a much more (ok, overwhelmingly) white population than New Orleans where I now live, no one in Madison has done a double take on me because I’m brown. Down here, most white folk look at me like I’m some kind of oddity, despite that black people come in all shades (including white) down here and UM HELLO Creole?

  5. okay, I’m going to be a fly in the ointment. It’s a cute post, Jude.
    That said, it’s pretty short-sighted to make fun of folks on recumbent bikes. Most people ride them because it’s the only bike they can ride because of their weight, or a back injury, or simply because they are more comfortable, AND they actually want to get the exercise.
    There are a lot of people out here (and I’m one) that work hard to exercise, despite obstacles. And one of the biggest, if not the biggest for some, obstacles is ridicule by other, more fit, or less-injured, individuals who enjoy taking potshots at the overweight and/or unfit simply for being overweight/unfit and on top of that, ALSO ridicule them or complain about them when they DO come to the gym, show up in aerobics, swim at the pool, ride their recumbent bikes, or otherwise try to get the exercise they want, enjoy, and need.

  6. i just drove thru madison a month ago and compared to milw, way more colors for OUIsconsin. try a southern gated community for utter whiteness.
    what you are observing is ‘elites’ in their natural habitat.

  7. Hey, I ride a recumbent tricycle, fer chrissakes. Sometimes, I even wear a bluetooth headset for my iPod and phone while I ride along the beach and. . .uh. . .er. . .
    Awww, shit. . .

  8. I kind of figured something like this would happen. 🙂
    Yeah, I could have said “The Yuppiest Place in the Universe,” but it just wouldn’t have been as funny. And people from the Twin Cities would have been all “Nuh-uh, what about us?”
    And, yeah, I encourage everyone to get out and move. But this was one of those amazingly upper-middle-class sights I see around here that, after five years, I’mstill not accustomed to. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to seeing that level of disposable income.
    Anyway, I’m glad most of you were somewhat amused.

  9. Well come out to Oregon’s Willamette valley, land of bicycle friendly communities, and you’ll see that kinda thing all the time, not so much with the headsets though ;-). You’ll even see some bikes that have seats for 5 riders. Those look ungainly to me but it sure looks like a nice family outing.

  10. Hmmm, I’m gonna go ahead and second (or third, or whatever) those who weren’t quite hysterical over the “whiteness” part of this piece. I’m white. I don’t know anyone who owns or rides recumbent bikes (though, because of my bad back, I should perhaps try). I live in a pretty darm diverse area (perhaps you’ve heard of NYC?). And this struck me as racist – not funny. You figured “this” might happen…and it did…but you posted it anyway and then seem to shrug your shoulders – “it wouldn’t have been as funny”. Yes, you could have said “yuppiest”, or something else, but you didn’t. You called out their race and tied it to their bike and their geographic location and tried to make it into a funny observation. I…just wish you hadn’t.

  11. I went ahead and asked my black friend what he thought, specifically if he thought recumbent bikes were white people toys, i.e., does it belong on
    His reply:
    “It does seem something native to your people, yes.”

  12. Virgo: There are overweight people everywhere who want exercise sans ridicule, but I think the recumbent bike phenom is exclusive to cities that are bike-friendly. I’d be killed on a recumbent bike here in NOLA because no one would be looking for a vehicle so close to the road.
    Spocko: *blush*

  13. I can’t ride a bike anymore. I have been seriously considering looking at a bent, though — maybe a bent trike. I have a five-mile-each-way commute. If I could do that on a recumbent instead of via Internal Combustion Engine, ‘twould be all to the good.
    Unfortunately I live in the middle of one of the least bike-friendly towns on the planet. Which is a real shame because we also have three universities.

  14. Great post. I’m black and a serious rider. I did the Marin (CA) Century yesterday and saw just the bike/riders you speak of. And Marin is definitely one of the top 10 white-ist counties in America. The bike I saw cost upwards of $20K (w/o the headsets). Awww…shit…

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