You'll note that Hamilton is not wearing the cycling-specific sunglasses pro riders usually sport. Instead, he's wearing a big pair of oversided celebutard shades. Closer inspection reveals that they are from Prada, a company which, to my knowledge, does not make cycling-specific clothing or accessories:
This raises some interesting questions. Surely, regardless of how you feel about product placement, endorsing products for money in sports is pretty straighforward. And while I'm sure there's some shady stuff going on here and there, for the most part it doesn't give off that beguiling, underhanded vibe product placement sometimes does, since everybody knows exactly what's going on. It's odd, then, that some enterprising optics manufacturer has not paid to put its glasses on the prime, freckled real estate which is Tyler Hamilton's face. Why is this? Are they afraid to associate themselves with his tarnished image? Or is Hamilton simply obeying the unwritten cultural rule that you have to wear giant designer sunglasses in public once you've been involved in a major scandal? Or, is Prada paying him to wear their glasses? I suspected that perhaps Tyler had forgotten his own sunglasses and had to borrow a pair from his wife, but he's also wearing what look like a different pair of Prada glasses here. In any case, if Prada are in fact taking baby steps towards sponsoring cyclists this is an interesting development. The've also found a good angle. "Prada: eyewear for the cyclist with something to hide."
Meanwhile, the Great Trek Bicycle Making Company keep hitting publicity paydirt. Everybody knows Craigslist is the throbbing artery through which the Zeitgeist pulses, and it now seems that the Trek SoHo is perceived as a rare bicycle:
This is a major coup for Trek, because nothing gives a bike more street cred than rarity. So move over, Bridgestone XO-1. The SoHo's coming to collectible country. And it's not even a collabo!Of course, the real appeal of the rare bicycle is the notion that riding one confers individuality upon you. But the truth is you don't need a rare bicycle to be an individual. All you need is a message, which we saw some time ago in this photo forwarded to me by accomplished photographer Sucka Pants:
Well, it would appear that the bicycle to which this wheel was attached was insufficient to contain its owner's boundless individuality. So strong is was his aversion to haters, and so intense was his desire for them to suck his balls, that he went ahead and hand-fabricated a new frame around the wheel, complete with asymmetrical seat stays and an integrated bottle opener between the top tube and downtube, as you can see in this photo which was forwarded to me by a reader:
Different bike, same message. I like to think that as his cycling journey takes him from bicycle to bicycle over the years, he'll always somehow manage to incorporate the lime green "All you haters suck my balls" rear wheel. Even when he becomes old and inflexible and needs to ride a Rivendell with one of those three foot long Nitto quill stems.
And as far as testicles themselves go, when it comes to bicycles they're not just things for haters to suck. They can also be used to lay claim your bike, according to the proprietor of the website Teabags on Top Tubes:
Here's the basic premise, you have bikes you love, whether it be racing bikes, bitch ass fixie rides, or zoo bomb freak bikes. And, you want to show people how these bikes are yours and no one else should lay hands on them. So, I bring you teabagsontoptubes.wordpress.com.
Take your balls out and slap them on your top tube and mark your territory. Better yet, go ahead and bag your buddies bike. Yep, I know, how could this not have been thought of before.
Out of respect for decency I've censored the above image, but if for some reason you're compelled to see the original (which is obviously not safe for work, or indeed for much of anything) then go ahead and click here. Frankly, this site has opened my eyes, if only because I think I've finally discovered an acceptable use for a top tube pad. Until this guy is safely in police custody, I intend to place one on my own bike whenever it's left unattended. However, once I return to the bike I will immediately remove and incinerate the top tube pad, since it's strictly a sanitary measure. Think of it as kind of an "ass gasket" for your bike.
And speaking of haters, controversial words are being spoken in the world of fixed-gear cycling that have the potential to tear the entire "culture" asunder. I recently received an email from the publisher of an Estonian magazine called Sahtel, informing me that they've published an interview with MASH SF members Jonathan Burkett and Garret Chow, and these comments immediately leaped out at me:
Strong words indeed. It would appear that MASH is disowning the fixed-gear freestylers. I must say it's somehow satisfying to see the new guard revert to the ways of the old guard so quickly. While I think most of us would agree that BMX tricks are indeed better performed on a BMX bike, I also think it's worth noting that while "track bikes were not meant to be ridden in that manner" they were also not meant to be ridden on the road. That's why they're called track bikes. (And that's why one of the interviewees seems to be spending more time on his road bike.) But I suppose three years is enough time to appropriate a type of bicycle, ride it in a certain way, and then dismiss others who ride that same bicycle in a different way. It's sort of like wearing sneakers on your hands and then making fun of people who come along and wear them on their hands backwards. Indeed, if the cycle of "edgy to stodgy" in the fixed-gear "community" is only three years long, the Apocalypse must be close indeed.