Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The BSNYC Year-End Bike Porn Extravaganza!

(Vespa and Ghost Bike in Park Slope, Brooklyn)

I'm not the sort of person who makes New Year's resolutions.  Frankly, I think they're pointless.  Actually, they're a lot like white bar tape in that they might seem like a good idea but in practice they only last a couple of weeks before getting sullied.  However, many people persist in thinking that they can change themselves after a night of heavy drinking.  And if you're a folk singer whose resolution is to become a bike messenger in 2009, you're in luck:


Messenger Bike and Lock for Acoustic Guitar or best offer - $80 (Midtown)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2008-12-28, 8:57PM EST

Messenger bike for sale or trade. Bike needs new pedal and possibly tires that aren't bald. Comes with pretty tuff lock. I used this bike as a messenger for a few days. Brakes work fine. Steers well. Did the job, but didn't want to throw any more money into fixing it. Good deal if you have some pedals lying around and know how to work on bikes. Take a look at the picture as what you see is what you get. I bought the bike for $60 and the lock for $50 this december on craigslist. Lock is solid. Chain is a little short, but I always found a place to lock it up. You might like this bike. Let me now. Thanks.

It would appear that this person spent a few days as a messenger, only to decide that he (or she) is better suited to the life of a folkie.  I love a good lifestyle swap, and I'm heartened by the notion that as 2009 rolls in so will a new messenger, while at the same time a freshly-minted folk singer will hop a freight train and roll on out.  I'd also love to be present at the exchange, since it very well could prove to be an historical one.  After all, we are in the midst of a recession, and the timing couldn't be better for a new Woodie Guthrie or Bob Dylan.

Indeed, the times may be a-changin', but some things never change, and I'm confident that in 2009 you'll still be able to buy expensive secondhand Pistas.  Like this one:



Custom Bianchi Pista - $750 (Chelsea)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2008-12-29, 12:23PM EST

Frame: Bianchi Pista 55cm
Custom Painted Gloss White

Fork: Chrome threded 43mm Rake

Headset: Tange Threaded Custom Polished

Stem: Nitto Jaguar Steel 90mm

Handlebar: Nitto B123 Steel 37cm
Cateye NOS Cloth Tape Brown

Crank: Sugino RD Track Cranks 165mm

Chainring: TA Specialties 48t 1/8"

Bottom Bracket: Sugino 68x103 Sealed Bearing

Pedals: MKS Sylvan Track
MKS Steel Toe Clips w/ Leather Cover
MKS Toe Straps

Chain: KMC S10 1/8 Track Chain

Cog: Shimano Dura Ace 16t Cog and Lockring

Seatpost: Kalloy 27.0

Saddle: NOS Turbo Brown Suede

Wheel: Formula Hubs 32H Solver
Sun MA13II Rims Double Wall High Polished
DT Spokes with Alloy Nipples

Tires: Vittoria Rubino 700x23c Black/Black

http://velospace.org/node/15976

Bikes was assembled over the span of the summer. Well over $1300 invested, was never ridden and still resides at the bike shop where I work as a mechanic. Due to a recent move I can not have this bikes in my apt. My loss is your gain.

The only flaw is a small dent in the top tube due to the handlebars
but hardly noticable because of the paint.

Email if you would like to come by to see the bike.

$750 may seem like a lot for a used Pista--even if it's been upgraded and supposedly hasn't been ridden.  However, keep in mind the seller has somehow spent $1,300 dollars on it.  This is a frightening sum, and it's hard to see where the money went.  I suppose some of it went into the custom white paint job, which is kind of like paying extra at a restaurant to have the flavor removed from your food.  He would have been better off wrapping the frame with 1,300 singles and clear-coating it.

Fortunately, if you feel like going down to Washington, DC, you can spend a little more than half that for a little more than half a Pista:



Biachi Pista Respectable remains of a bike jacking - $400 (Dupont Circle/Adams Morgan)
Reply to: [deleted}
Date: 2008-12-29, 9:22PM EST

One moment of thoughtlessness and my bike's now half gone. After moving from Boston to DC, I don't have as much use for it now, so I'm passing on what's left instead of fixing it up. What was stolen is the fork, front wheel, bull horn handlebars, pedals and a front brake. I actually have the headset--I replaced the original when I first got the bike bc the guy who sold it to me forgot to ship the part with the bike. He mailed it out later and now I have it to toss in. The condition of what remains I'd put at a 6 or 7. Most notably, there's some superficial rust damage on the chain and back bolts. I never left it out in the rain and generally wiped it down, so I'm confident that this is just surface stuff. The picture's kinda crummy, so I'll add that the Pista striped logo was removed by the previous owner and replaced with a eagle on the bottom bar. The eagle decal is pretty weathered/worn down. There's also a sticker on the front. Wheel is in good shape. For dimensions I've measured the inside of the frame: vertical bar: 19" horizontal bar: 20.5" bottom bar: 23.5" I can provide more and better images upon request. Thanks for your interest!

$400 negotiable...really negotiable.

I have to admit I'm impressed that the thief actually took the time to cherry-pick the bike the way he did.  I suppose removing the entire front end is just a matter of unbolting the stem and top cap, but the fact that he also took the time to swipe the pedals is unusual.  This Pista was less a victim of "jacking" than it was of embezzlement.  Of course, it is DC, so maybe the thief was a politician.

In any case, December 31st is more than just the last day of 2008.  It's also the last day for submissions to The Great BSNYC/RTMS Fyxomatosis Photo Parody Contest (presented by Boston Whaler Boats--The Unsinkable Legend).  And just in case you've forgotten what's at stake, let me remind you that the winner will receive: a pie plate; a beer cozy-elk's tooth combo pack; a Fyxomatosis chainring; a Boston Whaler decal; and some crappy t-shirt for a booby prize.

Speaking of boobies, I've been so inspired by the photos I've received that I've decided to submit my own.  I hereby present to you the "Spoke Breast:"

The bicycle in the photo does not belong to me, but I will neither confirm nor deny ownership of the novelty mammary or the paper umbrella.  If this image is causing your most recent meal to retreat back up your alimentary canal and eject itself onto your keyboard, perhaps this sepia version will be more agreeable to you:



Naturally, though, I'm not eligible to win my own contest.  (Nor, as the cycling world's worst photographer, am I even capable.)  Another person ineligible to win (despite being an accomplished photographer) is Andy of Fyxomatosis, who has also sent a submission:

It appears this model has incorrectly placed his novelty mammaries beneath his frock instead of in his spokes where they belong.

On the other hand, this submission (via the proprietors of this blog) is extremely eligible, and I must say it's got an excellent shot at the prize:


Most of these submissions are also eligible, and I present them in no particular order:


Eligible (despite having been taken 20 years ago);



Eligible (and considerate--wearing your wheels to bed totally makes the sheets all gritty);




Eligibility status pending (as this has apparently also appeared on Fyxomatosis) though in any case worthy of honorable mention; 



Eligible (and perhaps the most achingly beautiful plate photo ever taken);




Eligible (and crotchal);


Eligible (yes, that is a Cannondale track bike mounting a Giant mountain bike as a Trek road bike looks away with a Mavic wheel bag over its eyes in a vain effort to pretend it isn't happening);



Eligible (and some of the finest coiffures I've seen outside of Hairy Situations in Austin);


Eligible (and a refreshing lo-fi alternative to Prolly's Merckx porn);



Eligible (and an excellent use of the Washington Monument's phallic properties);


And eligible (though I think that water's photoshopped).

If your submission has not appeared, this does not mean it is not under consideration, or that it won't appear at a later date.  It may simply be due to the fact I haven't had a good look at it yet.  But rest assured I will be donning my judging smock in the coming days, and in due course will announce a winner.  In the meantime, I will be donning my drinking smock (a Hefty lawn and leaf bag in which I've made head and arm holes) and staying as far from Times Square as possible.  In the meantime, enjoy the holiday.  I'll be gone as of the typing of the period at the end of this sentence, and will return on Monday, January 5th with regular updates. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Putting It Away: Storing Bikes and Storing Calories

In many ways, my holiday recess was unremarkable.  As I do every year, I constructed my seasonal altar, which consists of a rotating dais atop which I place a Christmas tree, a Menorah, a Kwanzaa kinara, a Festivus pole, and a few Hanukkah bushes which serve as underbrush and give the whole thing that lush, bucolic feel.  Then, I put on my favorite holiday-themed album: Twisted Sister's "A Twisted Christmas."  By this point the air in my home is so thick with seasonal spirit that it's enough to make you choke.  (The cloying stench from the "Glistening Snow" Glade Plug-Ins I place in every single household outlet also help.)  Since I can hardly breathe, I then use an electric air pump to inflate the pool, which I fill with egg nog.  Finally, my friends, family, and loved ones (this amounts to two people) arrive for the traditional nog wrestling.  The whole thing's over by 8:30, leaving the rest of the evening free for me to clean up and watch Werner Herzog movies ("Aguirre, the Wrath of God" is my "It's a Wonderful Life") while consuming the rest of the egg nog.

But in one crucial way, this year was much different than years past, because I got a present:



I plan to share this present with you in the coming days, but right now I'm still sitting under the shadow of my Holi-dais in my pajamas amidst the various packing materials and making "vroom-vroom" noises like a child who's just opened a gleaming new toy fire truck.

Speaking of bizarre behavior, it would appear that VeloNews technical editor Lennard Zinn has finally gone crazy:


Protecting stored bikes

Dear Lennard,
I am storing two of my three high end bikes for the winter months (a 
2008 Cervelo SLC-SL and a Specialized Tarmac SL). The third I 
will be letting the Northeastern winter weather take its toll on 
while continuing to ride in the elements.

Is it prudent to apply a light 
sheen/coat of some type of oil or wax to the bikes — saddle, tires, chain, the carbon, the works — before storing them? My main 
goal is to preserve their bright color and shine, prevent 
rust and oxidation, and keep the tires from cracking and/or dry rot. Also, these bikes are stored hanging from the wall by their saddles.
Neither is over 15 pounds; both hang with their front ends maybe one and a half feet lower than the rear. Does
this put any undue strain on the frames?
Maurice

Dear Maurice,
If I had your concerns, I would cover the frame, fork, saddle, tires and bar tape with 303 ProtectantThat will protect the leather, rubber and clear coat. For the metal parts, I guess you could put oil all over them, but it seems like it will be gummy with dust next spring. I'd be more inclined to use soft car wax. And don't worry about hanging the bike by the wheels; it won't hurt your frame.
Lennard


Lennard's advice to Maurice on winter bike storage is irresponsible at best, and potentially fatal at worst.  First of all, Maurice does not specify the make and model of the third bicycle he will continue to ride this winter, but no matter what it is if you're going to make a sacrificial lamb of any bicycle in your fleet you should always choose the Specialized.  Pampering a Tarmac over the winter is like putting a two liter bottle of Dr. Pepper in your wine cellar.

Secondly, everybody knows you should never hang a bicycle by its wheels.  The bicycle wheel is one of the universe's greatest mysteries.  It is a rolling paradox and a structure that defies the very laws of physics.  While it is perfectly capable of carrying both bicycle and rider over all types of surfaces*, it will fail catastrophically if used to support the weight of the bicycle alone in a hanging scenario.  If you must hang your bicycle, suspend it by the frame only using fishing line.  Be sure to use multiple lines anchored at various points of the frame, and make sure the bicycle itself is completely level, as the slightest tilt can allow lubricants to collect and pool at the bicycle's lowest point.

*Unless it's a pre-built wheel from Mavic, in which case it will explode.

Also, it is essential that the wheels are kept turning constantly, since if they aren't the bearings will dry out and seize.  I am working on a motorized wheel turner specifically for this purpose, but until then the best thing to do is keep a high-powered fan trained on the bike at all times.  This will slowly turn the wheels, and will also keep dust from alighting on the bicycle.  (Dust is not only unsightly, but it can also destroy your bicycle's finish, which is why bike mechanics refer to it as "the silent killer.")  This will also obviate the use of any waxes or oils, which can eat through your carbon fiber frame over time.  (You should also never use oil and wax on your chain, since it can erode your chain stay.  Instead, you should only lube the chain of your carbon fiber bicycle with powdered graphite.)  To prevent tire dry rot, spray them with water every three days.  Use a spray bottle set to "mist."  Be sure to carefully dry the rest of the bicycle with a piece of soft cloth immediately after spraying to prevent corrosion.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, make sure to work your way through the gears at least once a week.  Failing to do so can cause the cables and derailleurs to seize.  Moreover, while not in use you should always keep the drivetrain in the small/small combo, as this places the least amount of tension on the derailleur springs.  Allowing the derailleurs to rest for prolonged periods in any other position will wear them out prematurely.

Sure, all of this is much more time-consuming than actually riding the bike, but anybody who's ever simply left a bike in a corner for a couple of months knows that it's no way to store a bike and that it will collapse upon itself in short order.

But when it comes to collapsing, there's one thing that isn't collapsing at all, and that's the fixed-gear trend.  Indeed, the Fixed-Gear Apocalypse is still a long way off, since a reader informs me that Seattle's alternative weekly The Stranger has pronounced the fixed-gear trend dead:

Everybody knows that the opinions expressed in alternative weeklies are worth the price of the papers themselves, and since these alternative weeklies are generally free then their opinions are worth nothing.  Furthermore, The Stranger obviously doesn't do much fact-checking, because if they did they'd know that the people responsible for the fixed-gear fad generally don't ride their bikes at all; instead, they customize them and pose with them for photographs.  I mean, all they have to do is look at "Rain City Fix," which was made right in their backyard!  Just take a look at the video.  I doubt anybody broke a sweat, much less a bone.

Then again, it's entirely possible that The Stranger is being ironic.  After all, it is an alternative paper, and irony is the new sincerity.  Just ask Cadel Evans, who's apparently "dropped" a new ironic energy bar, a picture of which was forwarded to me by a reader:


This energy bar is as packed full of irony as it is nutrients, since it shows Cadel wearing the yellow jersey next to the word "Winners."  (Though in fairness to Cadel the packaging probably depicts his 2006 Tour de Romandie win and not some imaginary overall Tour de France victory.)  I wanted to learn more about Cadel's foray into food, so I employed a popular search engine, which led me to this:



Cadel raises the bar

RECENTLY returned to Oz and now hanging out in Barwon Heads with his wife Chiara, Cadel Evans continues to explore methods of gaining an edge on his rivals before his fifth Tour de France in 2009. Earlier this year he was keen to join forces with a company specialising in nutrition so he could learn more about it. Before he could say "yellow jersey", Winners, a Richmond-based mob that has previously teamed up with Collingwood, offered Evans the chance to help out with an energy bar recipe. And so it came to pass that "Cadel's Mountain Mix" hit shelves of major Australian supermarkets complete with Evans' head on it. Email correspondence between Evans (while he was still competing this year and based in Europe) and the manufacturer led to a creation of oats, cranberries, currents and peanuts. The addition of the nuts (full of revastrol they tell us) is being called "interesting" by the bar manufacturers. It came about after some French research showed that mice supplemented with revastrol were found to have energy-charged muscles, low heart rates and could run twice as far as mice that were not supplemented.

Frankly, I'm not impressed.  Firstly, if the French really want to see some fast mice, they should give them drugs, not peanuts.  Secondly, Cadel's energy bar only has four measly ingredients.  Thirdly, it's cruel to perform tests on mice, even if those tests simply involve feeding them peanuts.  My food product, on the other hand, isn't tested on any animals, and it also has a whole paragraph full of crap in it.  Yes, that's right.  It is my distinct pleasure to announce my new BSNYC/RTMS Energy Substance:



The BSNYC/RTMS Energy Substance is gloppy in consistency, which means it's halfway between a food and a beverage.  You can keep it in your water bottle (thin it with olive oil for best results) or in your jersey pocket, whichever you prefer.  (Squeeze packets will be available.)  My substance will give you the energy you need to stay right in the bloated middle of the pack.  And speaking of bloated middles, just check out these ingredients:


Ingredients: Water, cream, parmesan and romano cheese (part-skim milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), butter (cream, salt), soybean oil, modified corn starch, sherry wine, enzyme modified egg yolks, salt, sugar, whey (milk), autolyzed yeast extract, disodium phosphate, xanthan gum, garlic powder, spices, natural flavors.

As you can see, the BSNYC/RTMS Energy Substance contains everything you need to get you through that grand tour, charity ride, or morning commute.  It sticks to your ribs like Cadel sticks to the wheel in front of him.  It also goes great with linguine, and even makes a fantastic tire sealant.  

Lastly, before I run off to play with my new present, I'd like to remind you one last time that tomorrow marks the deadline for The Great BSNYC/RTMS Fyxomatosis Parody Contest (presented by Boston Whaler Boats--The Unsinkable Legend.)  I'll be back tomorrow to share the latest submissions with you, and to wish you a very meh-rry new year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This Just in: I Break for Holidays!

With the holidays upon us, it is now time for me to don my black skinsuit, slither into my teardrop-shaped aero coffin, fold my hands over my chest, and have my longtime Polish soigneur Thadeusz carefully tighten the Allen bolts on the coffin's carbon fiber lid (with a torque wrench, of course), thus sealing me in until this whole unfortunate mess is over.  (I will stress though that it's a coffin and not a recumbent!  The wheels are simply to help Thadeusz roll me into the basement.)  So this means I'll be signing off as of today.  However, I will be back on Tuesday, December 30th to remind you once again of the contest deadline (see yesterday's post) as well as to administer a general upbraiding.

In the meantime, I'd like to take you on a short virtual tour of New York City, which at the moment is cold and icy.  I'm still trying to figure out a practical way to render a "scratch and sniff" blog post, but until I do you'll just have to make do with audio.  (It is New York City, though, so if you want the full sensory experience you could always try reading this in the bathroom.):

Here is the Manhattan Bridge bike path (looking towards Manhattan), which the city could not be bothered to clear.  To experience what it was like to ride walk across it yesterday evening:

1) Launch a new browser window;
2) Play this;
3) Minimise the window;
4) Stare at the photo.

For the not-safe-for-work version, say the "f-word" repeatedly while you watch.  Also, it's interesting to note that cyclists in New York rarely greet each-other while riding; however, they do wave and say hello when they're pushing their bikes on foot.  New Yorkers are only friendly under duress.

Once you arrive in Manhattan, the streets themselves are clear and thus perfectly rideable.  However, the city did take pains to make sure any protected bike lanes remained uncleared.  Here's one that is a block of ice.  I present to you two ways to virtually enjoy this bike lane:

1) The Sincere Way

1) Launch a new browser window;
2) Play this;
3) Minimize the window;
4) Stare at the photo.

2) The Ironic Way

1) Launch a new browser window;
2) Play this;
3) Minimize the window;
4) Stare at the photo.


New Yorkers have weathered financial crises, terrorist attacks, blackouts, poor performances by their professional sports teams, and draconian trans fat laws.  However, one thing we can't seem to weather is weather.  The sort of light dusting of snow that would hardly compel a Minnesotan to change out of his or her bikini is enough to halt our subways, cause massive vehicular pile-ups, and drive people into their homes with the Sunday Times and a week's supply of bagels.  And forget about riding bicycles.  Of course, the upside of this weather-wussiness is there's plenty of bike parking at those new sheltered bike racks, which you can't even get anywhere near on a nice day.  (And the bikes that you do see have obviously been there since June, when their owners came to their senses and moved back to Marin or wherever everyone in New York seems to be from these days.)  Here's what it was like at the one in Union Square yesterday evening:

1) Launch a new browser window;
2) Play this;
3) Minimize the window;
4) Stare at the photo.

Yes, people visiting New York for the first time are often surprised by how much it sounds like a swamp.  (They do expect the swampy smell though.)


Having finished my business in town, I returned to Brooklyn.  Since the Manhattan Bridge was frozen solid and I was unable to purchase a pair of studded tires at the Whole Foods in Union Square (I was instead thrown out after I smashed a jar of gourmet chutney in a fit of anger) I decided to try my luck with the Brooklyn Bridge.  While that too was a mess, it was at least rideable, since tourists are more important than cyclists so the city actually bothered to put down some salt.  (Richard Sachs is building me a custom lugged bicycle-mounted salt spreader, but I won't have it for another seven years.)  Here's what it was like on the bridge:

1) Launch a new browser window;
2) Play this;
3) Minimize the window;
4) Stare at the photo.

All things considered, it could be a lot worse here in New York for us cyclists.  Sure, nobody clears our bike lanes, but at least the police don't rock/run Aerospokes:



Penultimately, before I go I'd also like to put on my trend-forecasting hat (it's the one with the propeller on top) and declare that the hot new fixed-gear component for 2009 is going to be wooden handlebars, as you can see here:

We've seen these before, and it's nice to see another builder following suit.  Oddly-shaped wooden bars are a perfect choice for the dilettante fixed-gear rider since they: 1) don't allow for brake levers; 2) don't allow for grips; and 3) have the potential to splinter before you ride hard enough to actually need a brake anyway.  Sure, I know many people tout the strength of wood, and I'm sure there are people out there who will explain that a well-built wooden handlebar is more than strong enough for this application, and that wood has served us well as a building material for thousands of years, and that the Amish flew to the moon and back in a wooden spaceship, and so forth.  Well, that all may be, but I still don't buy it.  Retrogrouchery is one thing, but primitivism is something else entirely.  Plus, I visited this guy's website and noticed a disturbing inconsistency:


Having a handmade handlebar and a pre-built Cane Creek wheel on the same bike is like making your own pie crust and then stuffing it full of Jell-O.  Furthermore, if this person expects his customers to trust wood as a material, he should display some real confidence in it himself by using other wooden components as well, such as wooden rims.  Actually, the only way he could really convince me that he truly believes wood is strong enough for cycling would be if he were prepared to put his money where his crotch is by using a wooden seatpost.

Until then, I'm not buying--even if he does eventually offer a beaver-chewed finish option:


By the way, speaking of beavers, it's worth noting that this photograph is one of the few that is actually more obscene in sepia, since in this case the sepia tone serves to highlight the double entendre:



Lastly, before I take off my trend-forecasting hat and seal myself in my carbon fiber sarcophagus until the 30th, I'd like to share this bold new innovation from Toronto, which comes courtesy of a reader:

Fixed gear bike. - $500 (Annex)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2008-12-20, 9:46PM EST

I put this bike together just a few weeks ago. Fresh paint, new chain, pedals, wheels/cog/lock ring. It rides very very quietly and smooth. The horn is incredibly annoying and awesome.

It's like aroma therapy in a cup.

If you'd like more photos or have questions just email me. Asking $500. (very negotiable)




A Reverse-Mounted Brake Lever (RMBL) and a Fork-Mounted Bulb Horn (FMBH) are both signs that, when it comes to fixed-gear innovation, it may take more than just some beaver-chewed bicycle components to compete with our neighbors to the north.  I'm not sure what the Canadian dollar is worth these days, but I'm also not sure it matters since this disaster isn't worth 500 units of any currency on Earth.  (And that includes the wood shavings left behind by beavers and traded for goods and services by certain indigenous peoples in parts of North America.) 

At any rate, many thanks as always for reading and for commenting.  (I'm flattered by all comments, even the negative ones.  They're like presents beneath the spiky, toxic evergreens of bitterness that are my posts.)  Ride safe, and see you on December 30th.


--BSNYC/RTMS



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.