Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Leaving The Irony On: So Much for Sincerity

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was on the hunt for unironic bicycles. Consequently, a few readers were kind enough to forward me photos of their own sincere rides. These bikes were indeed a breath of fresh air, and you can believe me when I say that my thanks is as sincere as their steel, practical, and functional bikes were boring. Ironically, however, on the very day that I announced my search, I came across three of the most ironic bicycles I've ever had the misfortune of encountering.

The first I saw in person yesterday morning on the Manhattan Bridge as I headed into its eponym. As I ascended the span, I passed by a rider going the other direction on what appeared to be a brakeless freewheel Brooklyn Machine Works Gangsta Track and accompanied by a large dog on a leash. Naturally, this was the one day I didn't have my camera on me. (I hadn't felt like lugging the tripod that morning, and the rider probably wouldn't have held still for the 15 or 20 minutes it would have taken me to make a proper daguerrotype anyway.) As if to taunt me, fate saw to it that I was passed by the same rider with the same dog again that very evening. (At least this time I was able to inspect the bike more closely to confirm that it was indeed freewheeled and as brakeless as I was cameraless.) Of course, it only dawned on me later that the dog probably serves as the brake--a revelation that almost knocked me right off my bike. Only Cesar Millan himself could actually use a dog to modulate his speed, and while I don't think the rider was him I can't swear that it wasn't, either. In any case, I'm sure you'd agree that a bike with a dog for a brake is extremely--almost sickeningly--ironic.

Later, I received an email from a reader about an article in the New York Post (home of Andrea Peyser, ironically).


(image by commiecanuk)

In the article, the Post presents its six bike picks, one of which is mind-bendingly ironic:

I think I speak for all of us when I say that I'm sick and tired of these messengers and Williamsburg hipsters on their ironic track bikes with bar-end shifters, cantis, triple cranks, long-cage derailleurs, and 36-spoke wheels.

But without a doubt, the bike that takes the ironic cake (which is of course a big pan of lime green Jell-O) is this one, forwarded to me by an intrepid reader:

You've heard of the TTMBL. You've even heard of the SPMBL. However, it's highly unlikely you've ever encountered the FLMBL (Fork Leg-Mounted Brake Lever). I'm not sure what reason one could possibly have for setting up a bike in such a fashion--besides, of course, the pursuit of pure, unadulterated irony. I suppose it could be that the rider gets so aero that he or she actually grasps the fork legs, and as such likes to have a brake close at hand. Or, judging from the Oury on the downtube (how did that even get on there?!?), this rider could be doing some extremely complicated tricks that involve having one hand on the downtube and the other on the fork. (In the few years that fixed-gear freestyling has taken off, it hasn't really progressed beyond wheelies, barspins, and chainring grinds, but this could be a sign that things are finally changing just in time for it to go out of style.) Personally, I'm contemplating exploring the possible aero benefits by mounting integrated shifters on the fork legs of my road bike. I'm also hoping to one day meet the inventor of the FLMBL, just so I can shake his or her bloodied, spoke-butchered hand.

But let's say you've got an ironic bike--like a Guiseppe Saronni Colnago road frame that's been converted to a brakeless fixed-gear. Where do you put it when you're finished vigorously displaying its irony around the neighborhood at 7mph?

Well, if you're the sort of person who likes limited-edition sneakers and also rides your high-performance race bike in said sneakers, you mount it on a $275 bike rack designed by someone who feels that "the aesthetic of something is more important to me than how well it works."

Because remember: you spent a lot of money on your bike because of the way it looks, not because of the way it works. Why would you hang it on something cheap and functional?

104 comments:

Anonymous said...

podium

Anonymous said...

Whoo hoo!!!

ice cube said...

podium!

Peter said...

gitty

O ' Bama said...

celebrity here

Anonymous said...

new PR!

ken said...

yes!

nolucker said...

8????

Anonymous said...

Top ten like Svein!

Anonymous said...

My guess would be that he sawed clean through the downtube, worked the Oury grip onto it, soldered the cut, then slid the Oury up to hide the weld.

Anonymous said...

I think the FLMBL is operated with the rider’s foot. This makes it a FOFLMBL.

Anonymous said...

Mazal Tov!

ice cube said...

Why would you hang it? Doesn't gravity keeping it from floating away work well enough? The Sharper Image crowd will love it. "The accessory for the cyclist who has everything"

mary poppins said...

your early!

frilly said...

Snobby are you out west again? Say hi to bgw for me.

I'm glad that ffmbl is in NY. Scary.

ice cube said...

275 AND UP? I made one of those in woodshop but we called it a spice rack!

stoned/drunkmountainbikerstorytopper said...

when that "rack" gets past its utilitarian lifespan, you could always mount two more legs, across from the originals, turn it over and use it for a camping chair ... or a cutting board for slicing bagels prior to the commute.

ice cube said...

Maybe Zed and Maynard can use it for the spiders they catch.

areUpake? said...

not that I am supporting the FLMBL but perhaps said rider lives in an area where the law states that a bike must have a brake (like here in portland) this rider is too cool to have a functional brake so he/she decides to mount this. Now when to cops pull him/her over he/she can be like "No officer, I have a brake right here ... although I can't show you how it works" and hence a new level of irony is revealed

Norman said...

mY tARc kbyke has a coturd carnk and a alumum rack
.

On the bcak!
hTe rack, taht si!

Mongo Pusher said...

If you buy the Teak-wood option,(impervious to ironic sweat) it comes with freestylin' Topsiders.

Anonymous said...

this 1st post/podium routine is soooooooooooo fucking tired and stupid

Norman said...

I meant to post that my fixed gear commuter bicycle has cottered cranks and a rear rack and it frequently carries about half my body weight in groceries. It has a front brake and I play polo on it (sometimes). Is it so sincere that it has wrapped around and is finally ironically unironic (anironic? inironic? obamironic? I can't seem to find a good analogy for the construction on this one. Latin? Hellenic? Russki?)?

ant1st said...

First!

Cool The Kid said...

What would truly blow my mind would be if the FLMBL operated the rear brake... talk about a total mind freak

Methinks said bike owner cut his brake line too short

Next innovations I see could be leverless brake actuators (you would pull back on it like a horse's rein) or straight up cable-less brake actuators (you grab the brake to stop). I like the latter as it cuts out the middleman, allowing you to become one with your bike while still keeping a keen eye for safety.

Bikeslob 80220 said...

Snob - Why do you find it so odd that a freewheel SS has no brakes? Didn't you ever watch the Flintstones as a kid? With the right shoes, you can bring that baby to a dead stop within about half a block.

If you're so aero that you need your brake lever on the fork, why not just ditch the bars altogether? You can just weld some BMX trick pegs to the fork crown and use them for turning corners.

Anonymous said...

Fuck a triple crank B. Just get off and walk, you'll go faster anyway.

Fuck a long cage derailleur. My commuter is very functional, yet ironic. 2X9, bar end shifters. 36hole deep-v's with 28c michelins. Monster truck everything.

P.S. If you can't hop a curb, pop a wheelie or ride down stairs, you have no business calling yourself a cyclist. You are just a guy that rides bikes occasionally.

brien said...

I once saw a BMX kid with a brake lever mounted to his seatstay. Stunning.

leroy said...

Ahh irony is back!

Of course, it never really left.

Ms. Peyser's little opinion piece in The Post about the carnage caused by bikes on Sixth Avenue, overlooked the news item from a few months earlier about the cyclist killed on Sixth Avenue when he was doored into traffic.

And of course, the Post is the home to Ms. Peyser's co-editorialist, Steve Dunleavy who wrote a piece a year or two ago declaring war on cyclists and pitying the fact that he hadn't killed the "kamikaze messenger" he almost doored while getting out of cab. (It also turned out that Mr. Dunleavy was none too careful checking his facts for his little rant.)

Mr. Dunleavy, it is said, was once injured by a city snow plow when he emerged from a bar and passed out in a snow drift.

How ironic. Or was that moronic? Goodness, I get those two confused.

Ahh The Post. Why yes, I'll take their word on bikes. Especially when they steer Lance Armstrong wannabes to a Fuji instead of a Trek.

A little Dunleavy synopsis with links from the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/columnone/la-na-bike7-2008may07,0,2063990.story

roomservicetaco said...

"the aesthetic of something is more important to me than how well it works."

Utterly fantastic. Did Fernando Lamas write that?

Mark said...

For a minute there, I thought with that grip on the downtube was some sort of friction apparatus that you might have to pump and down in order to brake. Something of that nature might be called a CTCMBL or Choke-the-Chicken-Mounted-Brake-Lever.

Since when do messengers (and hipsters) ride with gears?

Anonymous said...

As for the FLMBL, I'm going with site specific implied irony which obviously misses the mark and becomes a sincere example of stupidity.

Anonymous said...

thanks Anon 115, Thus Spake Zarathustra has just been rendered obsolete

Anonymous said...

I would think that somebody who values aesthetics over function would design a bike rack that looked somehow attractive.

Oh, wait...it's made from $50 dollars worth of teak! That is totally worth $275!

Also, ironic bikes are totally over; we need to move on to sarcastic bikes or perhaps laconic bikes.

JPB

bikesgonewild said...

...featuring the new '09 surly 'denial'..."it has brakes, no it doesn't...it has gears, no it doesn't...all at the devilishly low price of $666...i'm andrea peyser & i approve this bike, no i don't"...

...& anon 1:15pm...fabian cancellara just called & said"who is this bitch w/ his 'If you can't hop a curb, pop a wheelie or ride down stairs, you have no business calling yourself a cyclist. You are just a guy that rides bikes occasionally.'...i didn't see him racing the tour & then winning a gold & a bronze medal at the olympics...sounds like a guy who "just rides a bike occasionally" to me"...

...just sayin'...

SD said...

I have a bike that has plenty of utilitarian parts, that make it useful for doing stuff on\with, and I like to make sure people are aware of this, so I can feel superior.

Anonymous said...

I use a hook, I paid about a buck for it.

Prolly said...

I think I know that BMW with the "freewheel" and in actuality, it's a coaster brake...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, well Eddie Merckx can do sweet pop-a-wheelies and bomb stairs.

Just sayin'....

SOMEBODY PUT LA TETE EN COURSE ON VIDEO.GOOGLE ALREADY!!!!

Rip Torn's Wedding Photo said...

What wasn't evident from the picture of the Surly (confusing a Long Haul Trucker for a Steamroller is hard to do) was that the cantilever brakes are disengaged and the rider uses a peloton of geese as a brake. Also the rider wears a spork on his belt.

That's pretty hip...

Mr Jangles said...

Oy vey, enough about the podium posts already, it's just harmless fun.

Anonymous said...

Because a $1.50 wall hook is just too functional for today's fashionable rider.

Self-appointed expert on the subject said...

Bikeslob 1:14...you're onto something there.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Isn't buying teak a little like wearing fur in today's environmentally-sensitive times?

Jim said...

The NY Post thing ("Headsetless Bike Found in Bottom Bracketless Shop") might be ironic, but I don't think the Long Haul Trucker could possibly be an ironic bike. The only way any Surly is ironic is if you are a new Cat 1 in town and you show up to a group ride on your beat old Surly, khaki shorts, T-shirt and bike sandals, and commence to whoopin' and a whompin' the local hot ride. And I'm not really sure whether that is ironic, or legitimately stylish. Maybe if you're so good that you beat the crap out of the hot ride on your Pugsley, with the huge tires, it's ironic.

Jim
- Hangs his Crosscheck on a $1.50 hook. Not capable of beating up the local hot ride on it though.

Anonymous said...

I'll make you one for $25 dollars and $275 shipping. 30 minutes with a chop saw and drill and its in the box and out the door. sucka!

Strayhorn said...

Wow, that website for the rack was too precious for words.

I'm betting it was done by people who swiped their code from alistapart and then spent the rest of their billable hours playing video games.

Enhancement Smoker said...

Anon. 1:42 -- you stop with a hook? AWESOME!

SD -- sweet Doyle photo for your avatar.

Otis said...

That is a crap bike stand. People that need cool bike stands, are so cool they run tubulars. If you run tubulars you need a stand that holds the bike with the wheels off the floor, so when the air runs out overnight you do not get mishapen tires. Gaaaaa!

Strayhorn said...

jim saidL Hangs his Crosscheck on a $1.50 hook.

Now I'm confused - I thought the primary reason a non-wrench bought a Park workstand was to hold the bike in a stylish fashion when it wasn't being ridden.

Somehow I didn't get the memo on the hooks. I just lean mine up against the counter in the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

My bike stand is a larger-than-life-size sculpture of the Virgin Mary, carved out of a single mahogany trunk. I gently lay my bike in her outstretched, cradling arms and tuck it in with a teddy bear sporting a bandana and tight jeans.

Virgin Mary sculptures are the new $1.50 hook.

JPB

veloben said...

What no peg for a helmet? How ironic.

Like 'if you don't have a wall' mounting option.

SD said...

smoker,
The Doyle picture is in honor of Doyle stopping by to correct spelling last week.

I just lay my bike in the middle of my clearing in the forest.

bikesgonewild said...

...nice, jpb...i use a a lotus-flower bedecked, 3 ton, carved stone buddha...by setting the bicycle over his supplicated hands, gautama's third eye shines forth through the main triangle...need i say more ???...

...& i use 'bodhisattva's ***dharma bum*** chamois creme' as i ride my bicycle on the road to enlightenment...

...just bein'...ommmmmmmmmmmm...

ant1st said...

my bike keeps itself upright, and I use it to prop up various stands and hangers I've gotten over the years. Ironic, I know, but hella useful.

Anonymous said...

BGW,

Please tell me you had to think about that one for awhile!

Your schwartz is bigger than mine.

JPB

areUpake? said...

anst1st - are you riding a bigwheel? Don't worry, your secret is safe with me, besides I heard that after the alpacalips bigwheels will be the new fixed gear!

wishiwasmerckx said...

My bike now stands upright on its own, but it took months of crate training and obedience school to teach it to do so.

Jim said...

Strayhorn writes: Now I'm confused - I thought the primary reason a non-wrench bought a Park workstand was to hold the bike in a stylish fashion when it wasn't being ridden.

I can't help with your confusion, but the hook is my prosthetic testicle, from back in the pre-Lance days. Back then, we had bikes with cottered cranks. Tires weren't hollow then; nope, you got all the rubber, they didn't cheat ya and fill em half up with air. Bicyclists could ride their bikes up and down stairs, and even on upside down stairs that goes up perpetual like, kinda like ya see in one a them paintins. Irony was what the feller from China did to yer shirts. And all the prosthetic testicles was made from hooks.

Yep, them were the good old days.

Yokota Fritz said...

Brakeless freewheel in San Francisco video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH5W1Z23wPg

Anonymous said...

I am baffled by this:

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/794336357.html

Anonymous said...

THEORY: The Oury grip on the downtube looks lined up with the brake lever. So when the wheel turns about 75-degrees to the left, you lock the front wheel.

Maybe this is some type of no foot way to lock the front wheel when doing tricks?

Anonymous said...

I think I hate whimsical more than ironic.

TheRubb said...

good to know that Ted Shred is a "Teddy Bear" on the inside.

Maybe Natural Selection makes a comeback?

Dog Sled Snob Alaska said...

We use dogs as brakes all of the time, it is such a bitch to slow down on ice. Also mighty handy for acceleration as well

Andy Pandy said...

Hey Frills given you are on the prowl for a new crush, why don't you slip on your kitten heels and come out for a nice cup of tea with the OC. He needs to get out and socialise more so it could be a win win if you know what I mean... just helpin

Gerchof Sirdribeldik said...

$1.50 American does not sound to be very much money to pay for hooker, if I am understanding what you are drifting.

Andy Pandy said...

Hey Bikes, are you Counting down to Ecstasy with all of that Ommmmmmmmmmmmm - ing . And I prefer “Doctor Wu’s” Wonder Goo when I have a “Fire in the Hole” if you get my drift

Anonymous said...

the great part 'bout them dog brakes is when they wear out ya just roll on down to the pound and git yurself another 'un. jus don't be gettin none of them wiener dogs cuz ya won't even get home.

Anonymous said...

Spitz is SO much cooler than Phelps. Phelps wears that slip 'n' slide fun suit (which is douchey) and he doesn't even have a 'stache.

george said...

the colnago is beautiful the owner is a tool!

pathlete said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MG said...

"Because remember: you spent a lot of money on your bike because of the way it looks, not because of the way it works. Why would you hang it on something cheap and functional?"

Absolutely... more money than sense in action. I have a limited edition Dahon Hon Solo single speed bike w/ lace wood fenders... such a ridiculous bike but it looks so cute! More money than sense.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Anon 9:50, if we are going off-topic on the Olympics, has mankind ever before witnessed perfection the likes of Misty May's ass? This settles the evolution/creation debate once and for all. Random mutation simply cannot account for such a treasure. Misty May's ass is proof that G-d loves us and wants us to be happy!

pathlete said...

Nuclear charged pie plate eating three-winged goose discovered vacationing among the bluehairs in Florida. A certain sign of the Alpacalips.

http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&vid=b7cd6a92-c7fd-4aa7-bc17-1ed22300f0de&playlist=videoByTag:tag:viral:ns:Gallery:mk:us:vs:1&from=MSNHP&tab=m137&GT1=42003

Anonymous said...

merckx,

If God wanted us to be truly happy he would have stuffed some boobs in that bikini... just sayin.

frilly said...

andy pandy-thanks for the "help" but I'm already having enough issues. I was getting caught up on cyclingnews & read Astana is not coming to the Tour of Missouri. Not that it matters cuz apparently Horner broke his collarbone. But then I also read that Rock racing is going to be here which means those skank R&R girls are going to make daily distractions. So I still won't get my socks. Damn.

Andy Pandy said...

Can just picture you in a Road Rash Skull and Cross bones jersey with miss matched pink Pez sox and kitten heels. Those skanks and AC do not stand a chance.

chris said...

What gives with the no-brakes thing? Its like stupid is the new chic. And if its not bolted to your bike it don't count. Dog whisper with a death wish is more like it.

bikesgonewild said...

...jpb...actually, the good ones just come outa the blue...

...when i go lookin' for something special ???...that's when i get into trouble...

...andy pandy...'ecstasy' is a drug, 'nirvana' was a band & any 'enlightenment' i seek is just to keep myself ahead of the curve so that this 'vida miseria' doesn't send me over the fucking edge...

...but thanks for asking, guys...

Ry'on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ry'on said...

Haha, thanks for the traffic today on the bike stand piece. Glad some people enjoyed it/had a laugh.

That was the only lock and keys around, we just threw it on the rack because it was a last minute shoot. Its meant to be for a helmet.

Oh ya, sorry so many people who comment here to retarded.

BVV said...

You missed the irony of the description of NY Post bit with the 6 bikes. It says something about bike for anyone that is a novice to someone training for the New York Triathlon. Isn't that the same thing?

SD said...

Ry'on-

"Oh ya, sorry so many people who comment here to retarded."

Well spoke to you!! HA HA!

Commiecanuk said...

Oh the tears...looking that Sarroni Colnago butchered into a fixie is just wrong. Like hearing that Monica Bellucci is getting sex change.

BTW: just been in Cambridge/Boston and the fixie situation is out of control there. Pistadex? fuck that. These guys wouldn't sneeze on a pista, they need a $4000-carbon-fiber-converted-to-a-fixie -with CF trispokes-dex.

and of course, 2/3 had no brakes. Given that the local Boston drivers, affectionately known as "Mass-holes", methinks the nation's brighest and best ..are..not.

man with spike in head said...

Oh ya, sorry so many people who comment here to retarded.

Ralphy said...

"the aesthetic of something is more important to me than how well it works."

Translation: "I put loads of effort into looking cool but don't do anything worthwhile."

The bike stand kinda represents its makers, at least.

frilly said...

Oh AP, I have on the sweetest pair of red patent leather kitten heels today that would be perfect with those pink Pez socks.

tex said...

I doubt that anyone here is retarded enough to pay $300 for that silly bike hanger thing. At this "last minute" photo shoot, they had a bike but no helmet? A little dain bramage, maybe? Also, as a person who builds things, I can't help wondering how long that thing would hold up with a bike hanging in it. What kind of warranty does this come with? I guess when the arms fall off, you could just screw a hook into the teak or whatever.

Commiecanuk said...

frilly said...

Oh AP, I have on the sweetest pair of red patent leather kitten heels today that would be perfect with those pink Pez socks.

Oh..prove it.

leroy said...

Ry'on --

Aren't we supposed to lay off the Teak because of a denuding the rain forest thing?

I'm so confused. Hope you can help clear that up.

The doctors told me if it makes me feel better I can tell folks I'm not slow, I just have a relaxed brain.

frilly said...

Okay CC. I took a picture taken with a cell phone so the quality is meh. But, I don't know how to post it.

Commiecanuk said...

Question for the grammar police who frequent this blog comments section: if I'm about to run down two or more pedestrians to certain death, do a scream "DIE!DIE!" or is it more appropriate to scream "DICE DICE!" ??

Frilly, yes you do, you tease.

frilly said...

Wow. A little harsh, perhaps.

AnnaZed said...

Oh ya

Is that like booya or oh yeah like "yes"?

just askin...

John said...

For people that dont like the rack: do you sleep with your mattress on the floor? do you just sit on old buckets and rest your food on your lap? are milk crates holding up your lap
This is a very simpy designed, well constructed rack that is handcrafted and not pushed out in the thousands by some walmart subsidiary.
The rack, to me is a piece of furniture, not a "bike accessory", if you live in a cramped apartment that has limited space, why is it unreasonable to want to hang your bike? and if you want to hang your bike, should you no prioritize both function and aesthetics?; and how much function do you need for something that your bike hangs from (not exactly technologically challenging), so what is wrong with an aesthetically pleasing piece of furniture?
the price reflects the cost of real wood and an actual person spending their time to construct (if you want cheaper - im sure a multinational corp can stamp some out produced by children that cant afford food)
I think its a shame Matt Jensens rack is looked at critically, its just a shame it is hanging such an ironic bike.

Rudy Martinez said...

What are deigns?

"the aesthetic of a word is more important to me than how well it is spelled."

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone..
a found a great place to find nice products at cheap rate at [url=http://50off.reviewazone.com/]discount coupon[/url]
Have Fun

dinoibo said...

Sesli sohbet Sesli chat
Seslisohbet Seslichat
Sesli sohbet siteleri Sesli chat siteleri
Sesli Chat
Sohbet Sesli siteler
Sohbet siteleri Chat siteleri
Sohbet merkezi chat merkezi
Sesli merkezi sesli Sohbet merkezi
Sesli chat merkezi Sohbetmerkezi
Sesli Sohbet Sesli Chat
SesliSohbet Sesli chat siteleri
Sesli sohbet siteleri SesliChat
Sesli Sesli siteler
Seslimuhabbet sesli muhabbet
sesli sohbet sesli chat siteleri
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslisohbet seslichat
seslikent sesli kent
sesli sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli chat sesli chat siteleri
seslisohbet seslichat

costa rica vacation said...

Hello I want to congratulate to them by its site of the Web of the excellent looks like entertained and very good very to me it elaborated.

Green Parks said...

Hello.. Firstly I would like to send greetings to all readers. After this, I recognize the content so interesting about this article. For me personally I liked all the information. I would like to know of cases like this more often. In my personal experience I might mention a book called Green Parks Costa Rica in this book that I mentioned have very interesting topics, and also you have much to do with the main theme of this article.

Anonymous said...

The article was very interesting and informative for me. weight loss Read a useful article about tramadol tramadol

ekle paylas said...

nice blog Thanks for sharing. voicesohbet was really very nice.
sesli chat siteleri sesli sohbet
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslichat seslisohbet
sesli siteleri chat siteleri
sohbet siteleri sesli siteler
voice sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli sohbet seslisohbet
sohbet siteleri sesli chat siteleri
seslichat sesli chat
herkesburda herkes burda
sohbetmerkezi sohbetmerkezi

Anonymous said...

It was very interesting to read about this in your article. blood pressure Read a useful article about tramadol tramadol