Friday, August 31, 2007

Fixedgeargallery: Significance vs. Frivolity

Today is an auspicious day in the world of fixed-gears. In case you live in some kind of media Hoover, today marks the unveiling of “The Riddle” bike. What is “The Riddle” bike? Well, it’s only the most important fixed-gear ever. Just check out the owner’s intro, which reads like an Academy Award speech and a PhD dissertation had a baby.



The owner explains that “The Riddle” represents his “own personal interpretation of diaspora cultures as they exist in this day and age... and the celebration of life.” Yes! But this is more than just a rolling work of art. I don’t think I’m hyperbolizing when I say that “The Riddle” bike is the messiah of fixed-gears. Anyone who’s agonized over what color top tube pad to buy, or whether his chain should match his Ourys, or whether to go with a Brooks or a vintage Turbo, should hang his head in shame. Your bike is simply a tribute to your own vanity. “The Riddle” bike is a tribute to humanity. You’re grappling with issues of appearance; this guy is grappling with our existence on this planet. Plus, this guy designed this bike on a one-year sabbatical. A one-year sabbatical! I certainly can’t approach that level of dedication. Granted, I once took two weeks off to shop for a pair of bib shorts, but to be completely honest I spent a lot of that time watching TV.

Ordinarily I’d make some comment about the bike lacking a brake, but in this case I don’t think“The Riddle” bike should be fettered with anything that would impede its forward progress. I will say this to the owner however—do not ever lock this bike up outside. If you do, you’ll probably come back out to find Bono gnawing at your U-lock, or Bob Geldof simply humping it.

Owner of “Riddle Bike:” congratulations and respect. Ride and enjoy. Seriously. The rest of you: over the long weekend, think about how meaningless your bikes and lives are. And I don't exempt myself from that.



On the other hand, on the very same day, we have this:



Yes, it's a bikesdirect special photographed in front of a washer/dryer. The juxtaposition of this with "The Riddle" saddens me. "The Riddle" boasts "Pan African colors inspired by Marcus Garvey." This bike has glasses frames and polaroids for spoke cards. Oh, and a front Aerospoke that appears to have been polished with the same cleaning agent as the linoleum floor on which it sits. Seriously, after "The Riddle" bike, the longer I look at this thing the angrier I get. Could the owner have put less thought into this? Couldn't he have at least dragged it outside? There are three bottles of detergent visible in the photo, for chrissakes! And, this was the first bike on the list today! "The Riddle" was like fifth down.
Way to bury the lead, Fixedgeargallery.

87 comments:

JackH said...

Nice pedal/front wheel overlap on 'The Riddle'. He'll be meeting his forefathers sooner than he thinks methinks...

fish-e said...

jonny makes nice frames. the lengthy 'statement', I call'em disclaimers, but this guy is an exclaimer of rare degree. coffee & funny cigarettes at the keyboard make for word vomit.

Phillip said...

i ride a fixed gear, yet i cant get enough of your blog, hilarious...

Anonymous said...

http://hupunited.blogspot.com/2007/08/one-less-what.html

thought you would appreciate this post

Tony said...

Man, I feel sorry for Jonny. That must have been some kinda client.

Anonymous said...

Toe overlap on a track bike?!? Never! Dude's a goner...toast...roadkill!

It's a conspiracy against the fixed gear diaspora!

Anonymous said...

The greatest riddle of all is whether to run 52x16 or 52x12.

Anonymous said...

I met Jonny at the NAHMBS a couple of years ago when he won the track bike trophy with one of his bikes. He's a very nice guy and a talented framebuilder. I couldn't agree with Tony more, this guy must have been some kind of customer. I did enjoy the 'year to choose the parts of a fixed gear', and then seeing Sugino 75's with a King HS, Nitto stem/bars, and the Phil hubs. Way to rack your brain on that one.

Cheers!

Matt in Seattle

Prolly said...

Jackh, did I miss something? I don't see hardly any overlap...

I have about 1" on one of my rides and it's only an issue if you're an idiot.

todd said...

That second bike is so ugly the turd I was about to drop just crawl back up my lower intestine.

bikesgonewild said...

...hope 'jonny cycles' built a strong frameset, i mean, what w/ it carrying the weight of the ages & thousands of years of culture, on it's back...

...'sa lot for one little old bike...

KP said...

"the messiah of fixed-gears" Wow. I think I just heard my fixed gear quoting Homer Simpson with an anguished cry of "Save me Jebus." Keep up the good work!

fggffs said...

Yet another bike where the owner has taken too long to git er done.

FFS OK OK so it took a year before green tresostar tape came up on Ebay. Its not like you spent a year travelling the fricking globe in search of it.

Brian said...

That bike is a waste of money rivaled only by the waste of bandwidth used for that airy, lugubrious, and plain old nonsensical posting. Any chump with a Visa could've build a rig like that, and it almost makes the clown with the Windsor look wise for saving some dollars in the process. Tell you what: Take another sabbatical, and ponder other ways to convey your ego.

lainer said...

That bike is a waste of money rivaled only by the waste of bandwidth used for that airy, lugubrious, and plain old nonsensical posting. Any chump with a Visa could've build a rig like that, and it almost makes the clown with the Windsor look wise for saving some dollars in the process. Tell you what: Take another sabbatical, and ponder other ways to convey your ego.

100% truth.

lainer said...

oh wait, in my haste i forgot to add that i'd change one word: "built" to "bought" cause i'm sure all buddy contributed to the fabricating process was a huge pain in the ass.

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MRussell said...

i wonder if the owner of the riddle gets laid with that line of bs. I can just picture him rolling up to whatever hipster spot is happening for the next 15 minutes and extolling this line of bs to a couple of disinterested hipster chicks.

It's a freaking bike.

Jim said...

Jim said...

There's not much I can say about the Marcus Garvey bike, other than at long last I've found somebody who is more verbose, more full of 5417, and more of a waste of a fine liberal arts degree than myself. Very nice looking bike, some good (albeit conservative) component choices, but Holy Jeebus in Cofidis Kit on a Garishly Painted Colnago, you'd need rubber boots and a shovel to get through that writeup. The Riddler? If this guy actually was the Riddler, he would have bored Batman to death.

The owner of the second bike, of course, should be beaten. That, or strapped into a chair with eyes held wide open, Clockwork Orange-style, and forced to listen to the Riddler discourse on why Marcus Garvey would have favored Phil hubs. Rebuild-ability means self reliance? Because an entire (and wholly derivative) world view could be based on Phil hubs (why is it called Phil-osophy, anyhow)? Because at Sheldon Brown's shop, the black Phils are in a separate (and many would say superior) parts bin from the White Industries hubs?

Frankly, I didn't know they could stack bull puckey that high; it's an amazing accomplishment. If this guy isn't on tenure track at Columbia, he deserves to be.

flubberator said...

FGG is at its saddest when its contributors feel the need to rationalize their "creations".

think long and hard: does spending $2000 on a custom one-speed non-coasting brakeless bike make sense? really, does it? are you *that* into the actual practice of riding such a bike? every day?

each paragraph reflects another mental weight beating down upon the ego. soothe those thoughts of "AM I WORTHY?" and "WHAT HAVE I DONE?!" with some crap about " a zen-like-connection" to the bike and "utilitarianism." But it won't last long-- and soon you'll be posting your beloved bike on craigslist hoping to make 50% back on your investment. Good luck w/ that.

jhnmrk said...

wtf people. you cannot deny that the riddler is awesome. i defy you.

ryank said...

The other bike is like the Hipstermobile.

Polaroids? Are you kidding me?

I was at the bar last night, and the table behind me was all hipsters...taking pictures of each other...with a Polaroid camera.

Listen, people. There's a reason why the damn things aren't used anymore. It's called PROGRESS AND TECHNOLOGY.

Okay. Sorry. It's the end of the week and I'm on a little bit of an anti-hipster kick. Seeing polaroids just unearthed something inside me.

quaffimodo said...

it's not hideous. big fucking deal.

Anonymous said...

the riddle bike is awful. what a waste of money. i'll take a UJB off of ebay any day.

shannon said...

OMG! The Riddle!

The Riddle is too, too much! Never perusing FGG myself (just don't have enough time between polaroids, i'm sure you understand), I'm indebted that you front-paged the result of what was certainly an arduous and will-testing sabbatical.

Thankfully, this strong fellow pulled through (with ego fully intact, no doubt), and the result is perhaps one of the most hee-larious posts ever (and really, you didn't have to do much).

The Joker and his Riddle....it's great!

P-lip said...

I challenge anyone to find a finer, more precise, more meticulously built bike than anything that comes from Jonny Cycles. He's a genius, his bikes are fantastic, to the person who bought it, congratulations, you've got a better riding bicycle than most people ever will.

Brian said...

p-lip,

How many bikes do you own? How many Johnny Cycles? Would you have even heard of Johnny Cycles if it weren't for FGG? Sure this guy's got a great rig. No question. But at what cost, and WHAT THE HELL FOR? What is 'utilitarian' about a $2000 fixed gear with no brakes? Want to deal in absolutes? Here goes: I'll bet you never see this bike gets locked up outside anywhere. I'll bet it'll never be a commuter bike. I'll bet it'll never have a scratch, and never even have a fairing to live up to whatever the cost of the build. Why do you think the dude begs to 'publish' his manifesto justifying the over-the-top "the messiah of fixed-gears"? Sweet god! This is a $2000 fashion accessory, and I can't help but speculate that the 'connectedness' he feels with this bike lies not in his soul, but in his wallet, a mirror, or while catching a glimpse of himself skidding in a reflection of a coffee-shop window somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Ryank: Bro, please lay off the Polaroid hate. Sure they're out dated and photographic instant gratification is now the domain of the digi-cam, but try giving your friend your digi-cam when you take a fun photo. Just like bikes, it's not the Polaroid's fault that hipsters are using it as a chain wallet or a trucker cap. The Polaroid has no say, and should be spared your barbs.

Anno: You clearly don't know what you're talking about. That bike, whatever story someone wants to attach to it, is a finely crafted artisan object. It's not easy to hand build a bike frame, and you don't make millions by doing so. So hate on the story and the owner all you like, but marginalizing a craftsman's trade is not really necessary.

Cheers!

Matt in Seattle

Anonymous said...

That being said, you're right on the money Brian.

Matt in Seattle

mander said...

Ohhhhh lol

GhostRider said...

Elusive green Tressostar tape? Well, crap in a HAT! I present to you:

http://www.velo-orange.com/trclhata.html

$3.25 a roll, bitches...and no waiting for this elusive, mystical stuff to appear in the dark hallways of Ebay.

Wow, that descriptive diatribe is the biggest bunch of horseshit I've read all week. Ugh. And then the guy had the audacity to misspell "Artisan" in his missive. Ugh AGAIN!

Anonymous said...

hey bikesnobnyc, did you by any chance go to art school?

just a shot in the dark.

Anonymous said...

you guys are a bunch of elitist assholes. all of you.

so what, the guys in to his bike, he could also be buying 25,000 giant SUV that not only gets 8 miles per gallon, but it hits kids riding their bikes in the streets. on purpose.

riding bikes is not a trend, it is a counter culture that should welcome all participants. there are people dying and you people are talking shit about a pretty sunset.

faggots.

Anonymous said...

Anon,

After mulling over your piss-poor vocabulary and fingernails on the chalkboard grammar, not to mention your guilt-inducing bigotry, I came to this conclusion:

Thanks for the perspective, dipshit!

Anonymous said...

I think if this thread surpasses the length of the description about 'The Riddler', then, and only then would we be 'Elitists'.

Anonymous said...

One last thing, Anon:

Riding bikes is not a trend, great point. However, dressing up track bikes is.

Anonymous said...

I like how Anon 8:19 says we should all accept everybody, regardless of their choices, then uses "faggots" as an insult.

Anonymous said...

The riddle bike screams one word...
Desperate.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 8/31 8:11pm,

Nope, not even remotely, though I'm actually flattered you'd wonder.

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

He's not doing the bike shop that offered him "technical and component information" any favors. i'm sure running a brake-less bike with a 52x14 will be a real treat to stop in a hurry. good luck finding that 12 tooth track cog too, he might need some more technical information after he wrecks and needs to replace some parts.

misc. said...

I must be getting old.

Nowadays, hipsters strike me as frivolous and piss me off.

Ronald said...

I've had varying degrees of toe overlap on track bikes I've used for work over the years-the latest being quite pronounced indeed-and it's yet to cause a problem;you feel a brush and you're through-it never, ever stops the front wheel or anything dramatic like that!Don't understand the fuss you guys keep making about it!Totally agree with you on the stupidity of his gearing-I run 46x17-street riding is all about rapid acceleration and decelleration!

Ronald said...

Of courseI've never seen such pompous verbosity used to describe a bicycle!I thought I could crap on!!!I got nothing on this bloke!He isn't even drunk!(except on his ego!)Still-gotta say the Riddle is one of the VERY few nice bikes on FGG these days-even if it is a rolling cliche!Final word-anyone who runs an expensive race tyre on the back of a brakeless street fix doesn't really ride it!!!!

Anonymous said...

i hope that he takes his riddle to Nigeria and goes phishing . . . "hello friend, i have millions of dollars in a bank account. can you help me with a small transaction? what a waste of space on FGG

Steve said...

anon:

how can we ALL be "elitist assholes"?

ponder that please

brian:

how goes the run for the preznitcy?

lmk

Anonymous said...

To the Riddle:

(in Eric Cartman's voice) HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

The Riddle needs to get over himself, quickly. Or pull his head out his ass.

Anonymous said...

I think "the hour" is supposed to refer to Graeme Obree, who used BMX parts and washing machine pieces to cobble together his bike that broke the world hour record.

Alex said...

You would think after writing such a long description of his bike, that he would have at least proof read it. Reads like it was written by a 7th grader with downs.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 9/1 7:32am:

Ah yes! That didn't occur to me. If he did that on purpose that's pretty funny. Though I think shooting it outside a laundromat would have been more visually pleasing.

--BSNYC

JD_1 said...

So maybe Obree is the inspiration behind all of these awful flop and chops. Saw a guy on a Bianchi pista with no brakes yesterday, except not in Williamsburg--instead in a distinctly boring Southeastern city.

I think it has jumped the shark hipsters...

Oh and I have an NJS 12t track cog, unused--why the hell would you ride a 12

Anonymous said...

bike snob, why are you being a pussy now? no matter how great a bike is you are supposed to tear it apart! puss!

tommy said...

anon @ 10:20,

I would say you are missing the point, and to re-read, but I have a good feeling no matter how many times you read the post it will still go over your head. Which is a shame, because you are missing out on some very timely, funny commentary.

bike snob,

After reading the riddler's essay on the bike, while definitely humorous I was at the same time a little disgusted at the excess, especially when considering it is a brakeless fixed gear for city "riding". But I want to be open minded about the purchase and concluded that at least I should give him props for being completely open about his ego, indulgence, contradictions, etc. (maybe not intentionally). I am sure there are a lot others like him doing things just as ridiculous but try to cover their tracks to try to make it come off as something else.

flubberator said...

But it won't last long-- and soon you'll be posting your beloved bike on craigslist hoping to make 50% back on your investment. Good luck w/ that.


very well put!

Mr. Riddler:

Whether you meant it or not, you can now extend your bikes depth of philosophical meaning to include humor, ridicule & entertainment for thousands including many in those continents you traveled to - you are giving back to your sources of inspiration!

Unregistered Coward said...

I'd be curious as to what the Riddle would look like if the originator was of another nationality / ethnicity.

Anonymous said...

i dont know what is worse, the original
substance, bsnyc's labored, biased, overworked deconstruction, or the
commentaries by the regular readers
who obviously have very little to do
with the time they ultimately waste
reading this crap. Let's face it--most blogs
and bloggers suck ass.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 9/2 6:06pm:

I don't know. Good question. And to complicate it, where does being the 55th person to comment rank?

(By the way, sincere thanks to everyone who takes time to read this crap and to comment--even if it is just to say it sucks ass.)

--BSNYC

bikesgonewild said...

...9/2, 6:06pm...
...your erudite reproach of the article "the riddle" & it's responses, proves that your satirical nature may transcend the ability of the bikesnob himself...

...comedic genius such as yours is truly in need of a more worldwide appreciation...absolutely hilarious...

Anonymous said...

Anon 9/2 6:06,

Your post is reminiscent of the two - strike curve ball that froze Carlos Beltran in the NLCS last year;

Everyone but you saw BikeSnobs response coming, but you!

I would have responded sooner, but I had things to do yesterday!

bikesgonewild said...

...9/2, 6:06 pm...
...ah, gosh, dude, seems i made a mistake in giving you credit for both an intellectual prowess, as well as a highly developed sense of satirical humor, that you don't, in fact possess...
...oops, my bad...

Brian said...

Steve:

I can't begin to describe the surrealness of riding the waves of agreement on the ripping lines of internet mediocrity.

To paraphrase; It's totally bitchin'.

To paraphrase further, I entirely do believe this 'riddler' cat is still an utter ass-clown.

Art said...

I'm surprised he didn't write anything about that fork. Extra short legs and a crown carved out just enough to fit a 23mm must have some deep symbolic meaning. Nobody would do that just for the hell of it, right?

Joel said...

The short fork is a standard element on the Keirin track frame.

Why someone would want to use that geometry on a street bike - let alone adapt it for some one obviously much taller than a Kierin rider - is another issue altogether.

Matty said...

The more I read this blog the more I love it and hate cycling. Hooray!

Anonymous said...

Bike Snob!

Sorry if this is a bit OT but, being that you are well on your way to becoming a net bike-guru I wonder if you’d answer a question from a totally lame novice biker?

I’m a totally lame biker and have no intention of riding in traffic or up mountains, I do however enjoy dawdling along the many pretty bike paths that my city is blessed with.

The crux of my problem is that after having been bikeless since childhood I got caught up in the “fixed gear” hype and, totally misunderstanding the whole thing, ended up buying a real cheapskate one-speed Chinese bike. This bike weighs about the same as the type 96 tank and I have an asthma attack going up disabled ramps.

I need some gears, but eighteen gears just sounds too overcomplicated to me. I’m thinking of buying a six-gear ladies bike. As well as a fear of traffic I have a fear of bruising my nuts on cross bars and absolutely no shame about being perceived as totally gay to people passing me on £500 mountain bikes who only use them to go to Trader Joe's to buy croissants for breakfast on Sunday morning.

Would a six-speed be up to the task of taking on modest inclines at average speeds?

Great blog even for the occasional cyclist BTW

Regards!

Crapbiker

Stevil. said...

Simply put, its statements like this;

"Granted, I once took two weeks off to shop for a pair of bib shorts, but to be completely honest I spent a lot of that time watching TV."

that make us such huge fans. You crap prettier words then the ones I labor over for a week.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Crapbiker,

You might talk to local cyclists and ask for shop recommendations in your area. A good shop should be able to match you up with a bike that's appropriate for your kind of riding. I'm only able to tell you what's wrong with people.

Stevil,

Thanks! I only endeavor to tell the truth.

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

Of course! That’s what I’ll do…

Thanks Bikesnob!

Crapbiker

Chris Sims said...

It's interesting how my daily ride has stirred up some 'contraversey'... doh!!! yet another failed spell-check!

-Peace-

Chris

BikeSnobNYC said...

Chris,

Good to hear from you! Don't pretend to be surprised at the controversy. You knew what you were doing!

Keep riding,

BSNYC

andy said...

"The Riddle", "The Hour"? Is this part of the fixed gear scene to name your bike?

Scott said...

The photo of the length of the chain of "the riddle" is actually a nice pic, but man, this guy is a real tool.. he just goes on and on...

JimmyNick said...

So ... Snob's a journalist. I've always assumed he was too smart for that. Then I saw this line:

Way to bury the lead, Fixedgeargallery.

Giveaway.
Secret's safe, though: I'm commenting on a post that's 2 mos. old, so no one will see it.

Anonymous said...

I saw it!

Anonymous said...

I saw it a year later. I think that perhaps BSNYC is smart enough to use technical lingo outside his field to fool you into thinking he's dumb enough to be a journalist.

As for The Riddle, I would like to acquire the bike as a tribute to Alexander Calder, to add more evidence to his (perhaps apocryphal) assertion that you can spray paint anything flat black.

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I like how only the lady who sent him the custom decals gets the exclamation mark, but not the other people who provided parts and expertise.

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