Monday, December 22, 2008

The Fast and the Spurious: Acting Tough

If you're a cyclist, you're almost certainly moved by the above image. Part bicycle, part recumbent, a dash of paddle boat, a pinch of baby carriage, and all class, the PPV represents a vehicular might-have-been, and this ad is a glimpse into the past which paradoxically reveals to us a future that sadly did not come to pass.  Sure, some might consider this a bullet dodged or at best an evolutionary dead end, but the fact is that the PPV deftly combines the advantages of a car (couples can sit abreast for mutual crotchal access) with those of a bicycle (uses no gas, makes you sweaty).  Of course, it also does away with the speed and relative efficiency of both, but that's a small price to pay.  In an alternate reality this strange sidecar without a motorcycle very well might have become the dominant form of transportation, just as Steve Guttenberg might have become more successful than Tom Hanks, or Joe Piscopo might have reigned supreme over Eddie Murphy, or Campagnolo Icarus might have reduced Shimano XTR to an historical footnote.

Tragically though, in our reality bicycles and cars have come together in a much more objectionable way.  Instead of groovy people doing groovy things to each-other at slow speeds beneath the dashboards of their groovy PPVs, we have this:

I suppose it's only natural that the car customization subculture would merge with the fixed-gear subculture.  After all, both are about doing cartoonish things to your ride that make it look fast but actually slow it down.  Still, it's tremendously disappointing to see bicycles mixed up in something like this--it's kind of like seeing a really smart person from high school turn up in a porno film.  And even worse than seeing bicycles alongside customized Civics is seeing them alongside Ruckus scooters.  That's like seeing the smart person from high school in the porno film getting mounted by a small animal after the human actors have finished.  By the way, you'll note at the bottom of the flyer that they need models for this wretched event.  So if you have a tramp stamp and are interested in dating the sorts of people who are really into speakers, have Bluetooth headsets grafted to their ears, and still live with their parents so they can afford the lease on a BMW then be sure to drop them an email.

So now that fixed-gears and customized cars are cozying up under the same giant flat-brimmed cap of cultural vapidity, the next step can only be that bicycles will become just another vehicular accessory.  In addition to ground effects and a rear wing the custom "whip" will be incomplete without a Yakima rack, a few fixed-gear freestyle bikes on the roof, and some spare decorative Aerospokes in the wheel forks.  Now that gas is getting cheap again and the car dealerships are desperate, I have no doubt we're on the cusp of a horrible future where people drive around our nation's cities, roll up under the elevated expressway, circle the wagons, crank up the sound systems, unload their bicycles, and "session" vigorously for an hour or two before re-racking them and hitting the nearest Wendy's.  (Though I suppose this isn't all that different from what freeriders do already.)

And I guess we're not too far from that as it is:

Hey, don't get me wrong.  As I've said before, there's nothing wrong with owning both bikes and cars.  There's also nothing wrong with using your car to transport your bike.  (Or, if you drive a Smart, with using your bike to transport your car.)  However, there is something slightly incongruous about driving around with a bicycle as ostensibly urban as a brakeless fixed-gear strapped to your trunk.  It's a little bit like having your parents drive you into the city so you can do some graffiti.  I wonder if that Subaru is also brakeless.

Of course, while some fixed-gear riders are cozying up to cars, others are becoming increasingly antagonistic towards them.  Indeed, one of the few things fixed-gear riders share in common these days is the desire to seem tough.  I was shocked and appalled to learn of a fixed-gear bias attack that recently took place in Atlanta:

I had to do a four-hour DJ gig that night at a bar in midtown full of young professionals, so I got back to my apartment (sampson street, studio disco, old fourth ward) at maybe 330 or 4am.
As I tried to turn into my parking lot, there were a group of guys drinking and doing trackstands etc. in my parking lot. It took a long minute or two for them to move so that I could get to my parking spot 50ft. away from where they were. Evidently I grazed one of them. I didn't feel anything as I rode by them, but when I parked my car I was surrounded by guys bashing out my windows/headlights/mirror etc. When I got out of the car I was then attacked, and the individuals demanded money from me. At this point I didn't even know I hit anyone- I thought these guys were just robbers. I took a few punches from the guys before realizing what was going on.

Serious props to the guy that HIT ME IN THE HEAD WITH A U-LOCK as I tried to head around the corner of my building.

The only thing more pathetic than a bunch of adults drinking and riding their bikes around in a parking lot is a bunch of adults doing so at 4:00am.  Furthermore, no matter what type of cyclist you are and no matter how ridiculous you think all other types of cyclists are, I think we can all agree that one of the greatest things about the bicycle is the freedom of mobility it provides.  To then squander this freedom by riding around in a parking lot is like saving your virginity until you're 30 only to give it away in a public restroom for $19 and a pack of Juicy Fruit.  For all the times I've been enraged to the point of physical violence by drivers telling me I don't belong on the road, this is one time when such a driver would actually be right.  Why would anybody want to be in a parking lot on a bicycle?  Why would anybody want to be in a parking lot at all?  Even drivers don't want to be in parking lots.  They park their cars and they get out.  Parking is the worst part of driving, and not having to park is the best part of cycling.  Unless you're either having a clandestine meeting with Bob Woodward or turning tricks for Juicy Fruit after having been kicked out of bathroom at Wendy's, stick to the roads. 

But fixed-gear riders (and of course triathletes) aren't the only cyclists guilty of unwarranted acts of aggression.  Even cyclocrossers can get excessively cross.  By now you've no doubt read about the recent brawl at Cyclocross Nationals that resulted in a bunch of damaged Richard Sachs bikes:

I can't help but think that this event was staged and that these bikes were targeted specifically.  In the movies when there's a car chase they always make straight for the fruit stand or the crates full of chickens for maximum damage and visual effect.  Similarly, here the participants wound up in a pile of handmade custom bikes instead of falling onto some of the Redlines or Jamises (Jami?) or Surlys that were doubtless also in the vicinity.    I mean, this was a 'cross race.  It's not like a road race where you can't blow a snot rocket without hitting a $6,000 bike.  Sure, it was a National Championship, but it's still remarkable.  Plus, when you factor in all the pit bikes, at a cyclocross race you've actually got at least a 50% chance of falling on a crappy bicycle.  I only hope Richard Sachs figures out that the whole Jonathan Page heckling thing was just a red herring.

I also hope Sachs was smart enough to equip his bikes with Crankskins:

Sure, they wouldn't have protected those fancy Joe Bell paint jobs, but they at least would have protected those crank arms.  And really, when it comes to bicycle components only your actual pedal surface is less worth protecting.  Because nothing says "I ride my bike" like a scuffed crank arm, and that's something you don't want to tell the world.  These should be a tremendous hit with the fixed-gear riders, who can finally customize their cranks to match their Scions.

Lastly, it appears that the only way I'm going to stem the tide of submissions to the Great BSNYC/RTMS Fyxomatosis Parody Contest (presented by Boston Whaler Boats--The Unsinkable Legend) is to set a firm deadline.  And that deadline is December 31st, 2008.  After that, I will choose a winner who will receive not only the pie plate, and the beer cozy, and the elk's tooth, and the chainring, and the smock (if you want it), but also a genuine Boston Whaler decal, courtesy of Bluenoser:

But be warned--if you've got a boat in need of a decal, you're facing some stiff competition.  And I mean crank arm stiff.  Like this one, from Erik K:

Sure, Erik says he's submitting only on the condition that he be ineligible to actually win the contest, but that was before he knew about the decal.

There's also this one from another highly-valued commenter:

As well as this literal take on the ordinarily not-safe-for-work Teabags on Top Tubes, in which the Earl and the Lady are getting down (albeit with strings quite literally attached):

And of course this one, which puts the "seepage" in sepia:

If nothing else, these should underscore the importance of using Crankskins at all times.


Anonymous said...


Sprocketboy said...


brettok said...

I was trying to find the way to "The Truth Hurts" and ended up on this damn podium...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow, I made podium!!

- big fan in minn

Anonymous said...

# 6? = Toppermost of the poppermost

Anonymous said...


Pulverized Concepts said...

UNEMPLOYMENT! Wave your check from the podium!

Anonymous said...

did i actually make the top 10? does any care

Anonymous said...

sorry, anyone. meh.

red neckerson said...

fuck yeah

Russ said...

I hate it when real products are funnier than made-up ones. Crankskins? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

Um, so, can I get them for nine-speed Dura-Ace?

Anonymous said...

Woot! Woot!

Commiecanuk said...

The Sachs trampling was actually staged by the good folks at Litespeed.
As we may remember, Litespeed started to target the rich, stupid, couch potato demographic a few years ago with this moronic infomercial.
They proved that titanium was the best frame material when run over by a pickup truck. Vertical compliance? Torsional rigidity? that's all gay.

As per Friday's redneck materials testing lab video, you don't need to spend valuable time in college to learn engineering, all you need is a pickup to run over things.

Thanks DeVry!

Critical Ass said...

I would really like to smoke some marijuana and then take a PPV for a spin.

Mutt said...

top 15! YEEE HAAAA. I think.

Commiecanuk said...

Crankskins website.

Finally, a break from all that animated flash and spell checking that goes into modern websites.

As usual with these types of things, the greatest protection is abstinence and going to church more.

Critical Ass said...

...oh yeah, and for all the LADIES, there's a new OC video featuring shirtless air drumming

Commiecanuk said...

(note the Crankskins site author owns a 'graphic company' in upstate NY, hence, the moonlighting)

Anonymous said...

top 20?

Bill said...

well, damned if there aint, CA.....i've reached saturation, i'm numb, that didn't terrify me...which terrifies me.

Cognorant said...

If you want real drama and ironic humor go to the original posting of the guy accosted by the fixters in the parking lot. Read the comments & find the one from the guy who apparently wasn't drunk off is ass and driving through a parking lot. I don't know what really happened (and we'll never know)but I would say a lot of people should have been arrested and should just calm the F#%ck down in the first place. Sounds like a good place for natural selection and thinning of the herd.

Bill said...

why did i ignore the word LADIES!? you were even thoughtful enough to capitalize it. i knew my lack of attention to detail would cost me one of these days!

Anonymous said...

"same giant flat-brimmed cap of cultural vapidity"

Tilted, I hope...

bikesgonewild said...

...delightfully tasteless submissions...yer gonna be busy sorting out a deserved winner, amigo... :-- cross nats...while it took pages brother in law to respond to the heckling, in order for there to be an actual fracas, cale mcaninch rates as 'dipshitus supremeus' for trying to interrupt a live interview by loudly imposing his personal & probably alcohol fueled, views on the crowd...

...just sayin'...

Commiecanuk said...

Ooooo... from the makers of Crankskins...Bottleskins!.

Included skin themes:


This will revolutionize water bottles as we know them.

T. McKay Battles said...

I just read the article on the rumble in the 'cross this morning while I was waiting for the new BSN post. I think the photograph of the guy being pushed, arms aloft, into a pile of bicycles while everyone around just looks on slightly confused is the best part.

Commiecanuk said...

From Velonews:

Cyclists teammate Jim Farasy got involved, as did Page's wife, Cori, who slapped a headlock on one of the guys. "I saw my brother getting the crap kicked out of him; I had to do something," she told VeloNews.

Jonathan Page has his sister-in-law come to his defense in a brawl(note, he never left the booth).

Cycling is such a he-man sport.

erik k said...

yes, snob your right the decal is tempting.

Jim said...

Wekfest - isn't that a party in Buffalo comprised mainly of beer and beef sandwiches in au jus, with horseradish?

Sachs Scuffle - consider the possibility that the fight wasn't legit, but staged by every poor bastard on Richard's waiting list, outraged that Richard would be out riding around at KC (and bloody hammering the field) rather than hobbled and chained to his tube bending machine, trying to clear up the waitlist.

Campagnolo Icarus - what, the names Campagnolo Gallipoli, Campagnolo Sisyphus and Campagnolo Catastrophic Injury Coverage were already taken or something?

Pfaff said...

Wow, take a look at the cross fight picture in full size on the velonews site and it gets even better.

The gentleman doing the pushing is sporting a nice pair of overalls and hiking/construction boots (most likely CAT brand)that are untied. I think that's photographic proof that red neckerson was involved.

And the onlookers look even more confused than they were previously thought to be.

Also, I do believe that there is a redline bicycle directly to the left of the skirmish just waiting to be trampled and end up on craigslist, yet their trajectory carried them towards the pile of 50 or so custom steel bikes.

Pfaff said...

here's the link to the full size pic:

leroy said...

I was wondering what was so wrong about seeing someone you knew from high school in a porno until I got to the part about after the other actors had left.

That would be wrong.

Very wrong.

And hey, didn't your Fyxomatosis rules say no photoshopping?

Honestly, the list of gripes for the traditional Airing of Grievances at this year's Festivus celebration just keeps getting longer and longer.

Surly Bastard said...

Juicy Fruit!

Commiecanuk said...

You know, this could have been avoided with a few kickstands. All this because it's uber cross chic to leave a $4000 bike on the ground, ya just don't care. When will people learn? please..think of the pretentious brazers.

The woman in the blue cap is the local Sachs dealer, shouting "push left! push left!".'s Campagnolo Catastrophicco Super.

red neckerson said...

anyway me jimmy bob joe bob billy bob and ricky we wents out last night and found some lit up raindeers and we arranged them so two raindeers were humping and both the raindeers had antlers which meens they was fagggot raindeers and we took pictures and smeared vasoleen on the lens so theyd look reel artistic and were going to take them to the photo center at walmart and if they look cool were take them to the pubic libary and get them scaned and send them in for yor dumass contest

Anonymous said...

Red, you outdid yourself!

Udder said...

You could fill the hold up the nose cone area with steroids.

Matt! said...

Over the wknd I came across two different people who have each made an embarrassing appearance on your blog. And I'm 3000 miles away!
Another gem of a post with a number of quotables!

Anonymous said...

Top 40!!! Thanks Rick!!!

tajblues said...

Has the eroticism of “crank skins” been completely overlooked? I am terribly disappointed. I assume cranks are only erotic when unprotected.

Beefy McManstick said...

Not surprising that this little tiff happened in Hotlanta. BTW, Snobby, you're similes--yes, they are similes, not metaphors--are top-notch today!

Bill said...

that scuffle is obviously just pr hype, i mean, really, reported by frothingham?

shmaltz herring said...

Speaking of chewing gum with short-lived flavor, those Cranskins look like a stick of Fruit Stripe.

Anonymous said...

I think Richard Sachs' histrionics about the damage to the bikes is somewhat overblown. I mean, aren't cx bikes supposed to have some scratches and dings on them? Repaint? You tellin' me Joe Bell doesn't send a little bottle of paint along with the frame? That'd be like spending the night at the Waldorf Astoria and not getting a mint on your pillow!

E. Gantry said...

Repaint and skin no more.

ant1 said...


worm irks said...

"I never threw a punch, I threw him, and he landed in the Richard Sachs fleet. If it wasn't for the collateral damage to the bikes, this would all have been put to bed," he said.

Americans and their collateral damage. You rock the planet.

Surly Bastard said...

Lucky those 'cross hooligans (?)' didn't interrupt Katie F-ing Compton's interview. Sachs would still be cutting his bikes and frames out of their no-good asses.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Snobby, you're similes--yes, they are similes, not metaphors--are top-notch today!

Are we expected to trust the differentiation of simile/metaphor to a poster who has yet to master the your/you're usage?


Anonymous said...

Pleased to meet you also. Although I gotta tell ya, I'm a Campy girl. And 170 please, not 165.

Critical Ass said...


Do you think a 175 would give you pedal strike?

Anonymous said...

Frilly's metaphor isn't lost on me! 170mm = 6.69" - a dimension rife with sexual inuendo!!!

fibdem said...

@Frilly, once you've had a Caramba double-barrel you'll never go back to those toothpicks.

Anonymous said...

Kick stand on a cyclecross bike??? get real! Obviously, commiecock doesn't do real riding...except to the corner liquor store.

Canadian Trawler said...


you said I was the one

Anonymous said...


Gee, I can't imagine why...

broomie said...

I don't think Dunlavy is actually a triathlete. We are far too overtrained and nursing too many overuse injuries to be in any shape to beat up anybody. Besides, its hard to fit beatings into a tight training schedule. It takes more than riding a TT bike to make one a triathlete. Just like riding a Yeti would not make me a MTber, I'd just be a dork on the wrong bike.

Anonymous said...

Trawler, you didn't send that picture in?

That would be a shame cuz I'm finding that glimpse of treasure trail to be quite intriguing.

Anonymous said...

"It takes more than riding a TT bike to make one a triathlete."

No, you have to ride it badly, fall frequently and not know how to perform the simplest of repairs.

southpole said...

if i understand correctly
the subaru with the fixies on the rack is at the IRO factory at the moment. and IRO makes very urban bikes in middleburg, PA, the village furthest away from any city in the northeastern US. so the picture is somehow coherent.
(i wonder if IRO has a test track with typical urban obstacles)

Andy Pandy said...

Frills , it would seem that your dance book will be full to the brim over the Xmas period. And it is not just size that matters , it is how you use it... a 172.5 at 110 rpm will beat the crap out of a 165 at 160 rpm or a 185 at 30 rpm etc etc etc.

Anonymous said...

Global warming? How many people are thinking that Al Gore is acting in the same fashion as the person who claimed the titanic was unsinkable. Do you think God would choose a hypocrite like Al Gore to be his prophet?

Anonymous said...

AP, true enough, there is cadence. I'll be sure to request SRM's in the future.

Love the legs in the last picture.
Not so much so the underwear.

Trawler, you are the one. At least in your time zone.

Canadian Trawler said...


Beat the crap out of??

Souplesse and finesse... please!

Andy Pandy said...

Culture from the far flung regions. A correct cadence married to the right crank length and a smooth stroke will do the job every time. Better ????

GenghisKhan said...

Yikes, but you have an, ummm, creative, shall we say, following! I wonder if any of 'em (us?) are registered with the local PD... I'd hate to see the images you didn't post!

innerlight said...

I'm pretty sure the fixies on the back of the Subaru are a prototype system for dispersing the impact of Access-a-Ride vans.


Canadian Trawler said...


Rather verbose, but you're getting the idea.

Souplesse...simple, elegant, says it all.

red neckerson said...

id rather watch a hurd of electric raindeers shove there antlers up each others ass than listen to you yankees talk nasty to each other cant you get on craigs list or something

Canadian Trawler said...

that would be herd of reindeer

Pulverized Concepts said...

Middleburg, PA. Scene of one of the weirdest evenings of my bizarre life. How Tony ever ended up there is a mystery to me.

Russ said...

red neckerson needs a blog. Or a mimeographed newsletter.

AMRcyclist said...

Great start of the week, for you.

brettok (1:52),
That was classy!

Critical Ass said...

Here's the latest news from the PPV scene in Cedar Rapids IA (my hometown):

Mark said...

E. Gantry,

"Repaint and skin no more"


Anonymous said...

Trend of the future?

wishiwasmerckx said...

Did anyone else notice how strangely silent Ant1 has been about his precise whereabouts at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday night in Atlanta?

wishiwasmerckx said...

The best part of Velonews's cfoverage of the Cyclocross brawl was Patrick O'Grady's commentary. He wrote:
"The overfed, undereducated, mouth-breathing chest-thumper who strips to his pee-stained boxers, paints his man-boobs in team colors and prances around ...barking like a baboon, hoping to finally get started on that 15 minutes of fame."
And that, my friends, is the most apt description of this comments section I have ever read. Harsh, but he knows us well.

okto said...

"The only thing more pathetic than a bunch of adults drinking and riding their bikes around in a parking lot is a bunch of adults doing so at 4:00am. "

The only thing that sounds more awesome than drinking and riding bikes is doing to at 4AM.
Homeboy needs to experience the zen of drunken bike-fu.

bike snob mpls said...

legend of drunken basturd,
'kicking some-ones ass in a parking lot, that sounds like the work of the axe gang', it reads better in a dubbed kung-fu movie voice

Anonymous said...

just watched the shirtless air drumming of oc on youtube. frightening...

Chris said...

"Why would anybody want to be in a parking lot on a bicycle? Why would anybody want to be in a parking lot at all?"

Sadly, this is how we crit racers spend most weekends.

This is genius, btw ;
"To then squander this freedom by riding around in a parking lot is like saving your virginity until you're 30 only to give it away in a public restroom for $19 and a pack of Juicy Fruit."

Anonymous said...

TOP 85!!

Anonymous said...

I resent that comment, wishiwasmerckx, my man boobs are kept fully in check with my handmade coconut shell brassiere which is painted in team colors!

Anonymous said...

why do all these d bags want to be the first commenters

Anonymous said...

so a holes can bitch about it

iLiKEBiKES said...

Funnily enough I saw Steve Guttenberg last night as Baron Hard-Up in the Bromley Churchill Theatre production of Cinderella. He gave a spirited but thoroughly inept performance and was the one low spot in an otherwise excellent show.

Mary, Joe & Lil Jay said...


Rimskins sounds like something made of latex (or sheepskin for retrogrouches) to reduce E. coli transfer, and other contagion.

Thoughts about the year past:
Will deep-vee message rims become cheap enough to become a significant challenger to the political message/advertising promotion tee-shirt?

And we think red neckerson has a blog already. Ricky isn't a listed contributor, of course.

I hope the BSNYC red neckerson can inform us and send a link. Please?

A Christmas Wish:

Please - for the future of our community - let's see if we can put the brakes on all the hating of stoppers and lever-squeezers. If they can stop, can't you?

And back-pedal from all the hating on the brake-free.
It isn't a loss of braking, it's a gain of freedom! Admit it. You like freedom, too.

But the ceasefire is only good for Christmas Day!

Finally, now that it's beyond solstice, the northern hemisphere's recent change of attitude and the perennial leadership of Sol reminds us to join in the spirit of the season, and:


May it be merry and bright.
(And a wave of the check to Pulverized)

bluecolnago said...


nullbomb said...

nothing wrong with that car thingie, man! This is how you transport your fixed gear bike in Thailand: ;-)

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