Well, later that day I received an email from the owner himself. It turns out that I've actually referenced another bicycle of his on this site as well:
In the case of the earlier post, I wasn't being particularly dirisive (for me anyway). I was simply comparing Fixedgeargallery and Velospace and therefore juxtaposing two Pista Concepts. But I do admit that the comment about the BMC came off a bit harsh. And, understandably, the owner felt compelled to point out that I had in fact mentioned him twice and that he had not expected to be singled out for simply riding his bicycle to a bicycle race. Not only that, but another reader felt compelled to comment on his behalf as well:
The fixster with more money than sense was actually racing that frame at Kissena on Super Sprint Sunday - with lovely carbon fiber track bars. Frankly, I think it's cool that it doubles as his ironic coffee bike.
You actually commented on something of his before - carbon track drops with no tape on them. It turned out that they were special carbon bars with integrated grip texture in the carbon. No wrap needed. You got a hard-on for this guy or what? Two strikes!!!
I'd hate for anybody out there to think that I've got a vendetta going against anybody. (Or, worse yet, a "hard-on.") I mean, the truth is that I do have some vendettas going, but they're all against either quasi-celebrities like Michael Ball or just things that irk me like pie plates and people who lock their wheels and skid in front of you on the bridge bike paths. I didn't mean to single this particular guy out. As such, I think he deserves an explanation.
Most importantly, as I said earlier, the "more money than sense" line was a bit harsh. But, in my defense, it is technically true. Let's take a look:
"Sense" is hard to quantify. Different things make sense in different circumstances. A radiation suit doesn't make sense at the beach, but it does in a nuclear power plant. (Or at the beach at Coney Island.) Similarly, a BMC Track Machine might make sense at the track, but it's probably not the most sensible bicycle for street use, and that's how I saw the bike being used. I've created a Sense-o-meter to illustrate this:
The top bicycle is a sensible city bike, and the bottom bicycle is Theo Bos's Koga Miyata. As a city bike, the BMC ranks closer to the Theo Bos bike than to the city bike. Obviously, if we were talking about olympic velodrome use, this would be inverted. But since the bicycle was being used on the street, this is the scale that I applied.
The BMC Track Machine costs about $1,800 for the frameset (depending on where you buy it), and as such ranks pretty highly on the Money-o-meter. It is represented by three dollar signs.
So we've established that the BMC is not the most sensible city bike, and we've also established it's pretty expensive. But does that mean the owner has more money than sense?
Money Vs. Sense
Putting the Sense-o-meter and the Money-o-meter side by side and plotting a line between the two points at which the BMC appears on each, it would appear that the BMC track machine is indeed more expensive than it is sensible given the circumstances in which it is being used:
Of course, I don't think the real issue is that I wrote inaccurately. I think it's that I wrote glibly. Simply saying he's got more money than sense doesn't take into account myriad other factors. Still, I don't think what I said was so bad. I happened to commute on my road bike this morning, and if I were to apply the Sense-o-meter and the Money-o-meter to myself for my commute I'd definitely have more money than sense today too, and I'd begrudge nobody for saying so. All the same, I suppose when I posted the BMC I could have said something velo-politically correct like, "This person is exhibiting an inverse relationship between bike cost and practicality for the occasion," but you've got to admit that's a little cumbersome.
The other thing that bears mentioning is the commenter's observation that the BMC is an "ironic coffee bike." The owner corroborates on his own blog that he did indeed have ironic intentions. This would not be the first time I've missed fixed-gear irony. I also apparently missed it when I got mad about that King Kog photo, which they went on to explain was actually intended as a joke. I'm actually concerned that I seem to be missing so much irony, since I'd like to think I have a decently-functioning sarcasm detector. I suppose the reason I'm having so much trouble is that I just don't expect the irony to be so darn expensive. I mean, I understand Judah Friedlander wearing a $10 World Champion hat, but $1,800 is a lot of scratch for some irony. Then again, I guess that's just more irony. Also, the owner was surprised I singled him out on the site, yet his bicycle was in fact a rolling ironic statement. My grip on irony is clearly tenuous, but to me that would imply he'd want the ironic statement to be noticed. Wow, this is getting confusing. I may need to take a class or something. In any case, I just hope he rides and enjoys his bicycle, whether it's in sincere mode or ironic mode, depending on bar choice.
While I'm on the subject of fixed-gear irony, I'm not sure how much is intended in the following video, which is a promotion for a new book called "Rain City Fixed:"
I've actually been in touch with the person who put this book together, and I congratulate him on finishing it and wish him the best of luck. I do admit I'm sort of baffled by the "bike culture's" compulsion to preen and model and to photograph itself and its fashions and thereby emulate some of the more disappointing aspects of the larger culture, but I'm sure someone out there can tell me what I'm missing. I'd hate to put my cycling shoe in my mouth two days in a row.