Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bike Biology: Cow Conundrum

Randonneuring allocates time for thought and discussion of the really great issues of our day. One such question fomenting of late concerns the gender of the metal Holstein cow on the Raleigh brevet series.

Perhaps you have an opinion on the matter. If so, here is a one-question, multiple-choice test designed as an opportunity to show off your Cowology 101 knowledge. Possible answers include those tendered by our local randonneuring intelligentsia on blogs and listserv.

Directions: Pick the one best answer. Make sure you read the question carefully.

Question: The Holstein cow in the above pictures is a . . .
 Answer: A. bull
                B. cow
                C. bull-cow
                D. cow-bull
                E. cow belle

An inquiry on the topic arrived here at the Research Trailer Park. As “resident biologist,” it was my duty to map a strategy for determining the gender of l’objet d’art in question. After some thought, I arrived at a three-pronged approach: 1) data gathering, 2) library research, and 3) field work.

Luckily, randonneurs KeithS and MikeD had already done the difficult leg work, literally, supplying me with the above photos of the metal Holstein cow. I then summoned RTP’s IT unit to begin phase two. I couldn’t determine whether the group’s unbridled enthusiasm was due to the fact that it might have a hand in solving one of the truly pressing questions of our time or whether it was due to the fact that it provided motive for hacking the world renowned French library data base Bibliothèque Opérationnelle Vérification Internationale Network (BOVINE).

In less than a brazilionth of a second, IT received a lead which they forwarded. It seemed that the answer to the burning question might be found in a treatise located right here on the RTP campus in the rare-book trailer.

Sure enough. The clue was on the very first page of a bootlegged copy of an entrance exam located inside a cardboard box marked MooU.

Here is the clue:

As some have suggested on the listserv, Holsteins are generally born with horns, both bulls and cows. But a field trip was necessary to confirm this fact. So it’s off to Siberia. Some of the guys in the office were willing to chip in for a one-way ticket. Really considerate guys I work with!

Here are some nice-looking horned Holsteins in Russia in the milking parlor.

Irina here is tending her ma’s cow. Issue settled.

I hope this has been educational. To assess how much you’ve learned, you might try your hand at the application question. You will probably want to carefully view the next two photos offered at different angles before answering.

Question: Why are some bicycles referred to in the feminine even though they are outfitted with bull-horn handlebars?

Let’s ride!


skiffrun said...

I'm going for the answer that leads to the least scrutiny of my control card by RBA "Uncle Alan" before he signs said card.

Sara Huston said...

The cow's name is Millie, BTW. :)