Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Big Picture: Taking It All In

One benefit (or drawback, depending on how you look at it) to traveling by bicycle in New York City is that it gives you an opportunity to see the latest in cycling fashions. Naturally, these fashions vary from group to group: roadies are infatuated with white; commuters continue to opt for windbreakers, khaki pants, and reflective everything; and the fixters now seem to be dressing like old-timey newsboys:



The only explanation I could come up with for this mode of dress was that the rider was on his way to a "tweed ride," but none were scheduled in New York City on the day I took this photograph (at least as far as I know). While the London Tweed Run had already happened, perhaps he was in training for its itchy, moth-eaten cousin, the San Francisco Tweed Ride, which had yet to take place. Incidentally, organizers of "tweed rides" claim that they encourage more people to ride bikes by proving "that cycling is not just a sweaty sport, but a social and/or cultural activity" and advocating "elegance not exertion." This is ridiculous. If someone is too self-conscious to wear lycra they're certainly not going to be any more comfortable with looking like they're on the way home from a Grover Cleveland rally. Really, it's just substituting one freakish wardrobe for another. As a case in point, consider "tweed ride" participant Gary Fisher, who looks like he just tunneled his way out of some kind of psychedelic Gulag:

He's less an ambassador for cycling than he is an ambassador from the planet Psilocybin Freakout.

Speaking of crimes against humanity, a number of readers (including esteemed commenter Leroy) have informed me of a high-profile bike theft. (And no, I'm not talking about Lance Armstrong's time trial bike. That "theft" was clearly part of a viral marketing campaign by the Great Trek Bicycle Making Company. You can expect Peter Falk in full Colombo garb to deliver it to Armstrong on the start ramp at the Solvang TT. Also, it's interesting to note that news outlets are now basing entire articles on Twitter discussions, thus inching ever closer to total uselessness.) No, I'm talking about the University of South Florida professor who was caught on video stealing a bicycle for a "nearly homeless" friend:


In a heartfelt plea, the professor had this to say:

Earlier this week I gave a man who does odd jobs for me permission to use a bicycle that was parked at the center. I acted out of compassion for this nearly homeless man; but I failed to consider that the bicycle belonged to someone on our Alzheimer’s team. The bicycle was reported stolen. It has, however, since then been returned to its owner. USF police are investigating as is standard procedure. It was a terrible lapse in judgment on my part; I have no excuse. I can only say that my intention was never to bring harm, alarm, or disruption to anyone.

Frankly, it's easy to see why Professor Rao was compelled to steal the bicycle. Near-homelessness is a problem which has reached epidemic proportions in this country, and I'm sure he could no longer sit idly and watch yet another American fall victim to it. Incidentally, "nearly homeless" means that you have a home but you just don't like it very much. This is different from "fully homeless," which is what Chad Gerlach was. As such, it's completely understandable that Rao would decide that helping a "nearly homeless" person warranted leaving a graduate student "completely bikeless." Also, camera surveillance on Professor Rao and the "nearly homeless" man continued even after they left the loading dock, and what ensued was shocking to say the least:


Still, as sordid as this all looks, it's important not to rush to judgement until you've seen the big picture. Sometimes actions that seem wrong actually make sense when you consider them in the grand scheme of things. Conversely, sometimes things look all right from up close, but it's not until you back away from them and take in the wider view that you realize they're actually horribly wrong. Take this bike from the Seattle Craigslist, forwarded by a reader:


The crank looks decent enough (even if the purple chainring bolts are a bit over-the-top);



The Phil Wood rear hub and White Industries freewheel are also both highly-regarded components;



And while they might be a bit "upmarket" for a GT, how bad could the whole thing look?

This bad:


I'm ordinarily not that bothered that much by clashing colors, but there's something about the way anodized colors can clash that's especially offensive. It's the visual equivalent of chewing on tinfoil. Obviously though the seller doesn't feel the same way. In fact, he's so taken with the color scheme that he's left the bars bare so we can savor the cockpit in all its purple-and-blue glory:



This is complemented by the singleator, which looks like it's actually feeding the chain to the hub:



For me, it evokes a squirrel eating:



If you're considering this bike, please note that the seller is not including the cranks or the freewheel, as he is saving them for his new build. Personally, I won't be offering, since overall I find the bike too whimsical and I'm really in the market for something more "serious:"



New Build Giant Bowery Fixie - $2000 (NYC)
Reply to: [deleted]

Date: 2009-02-16, 9:31PM EST


Total New Build Giant Bowery.. Easton C70 Fork,, Durace Track Crank and chain Thompson Seat post ,,Thompson Stem ,Velocity Rims ,,PHIL WOOD hubs New Specilised tires and Toupe specilised seat ,pro design handle bars with both front and rear brakes this is a awsome bike only for the serious size med


718 208 [deleted]


Serious indeed--it's a grave individual who can hand over $2,000 for a Giant Bowery and maintain a straight face. It's as serious as near-homelessness.

116 comments:

Climbin'J said...

Polka-dot jersey!

that guy said...

Podium!

Anonymous said...

Me n Lance circa 99.

hillier99 said...

Top 10!

Anonymous said...

Yeah boyzzz...

Anonymous said...

Woot! Woot!

Wrench Monkey said...

Huh? Wha' happened?

Anonymous said...

top 10

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

Podelay-hee-hoo

brettok said...

I just had a seizure

1st real comment

RM said...

eeh. 13.

Graeme Whitehouse said...

top ten!

Graeme Whitehouse said...

bummer almost!lol

Anonymous said...

Top 15 Yeah !

WWW. Traveler said...

A daily museum of bad bikes.

ant1 said...

Snobby - What's the difference between a serious size medium and a regular size medium?

Team Rider 3 said...

Today, Dr. Spalm.

Tomorrow, an Open Letter to BikeSnob.

Team Two Wheel Blog

Rider 3

CommieCanuck said...

Shit. I knew this was going happen. Zinn writes how to anodize aluminum at home and then that GT appears.

Just in time for Easter.

Anonymous said...

kind of car does the professor drive ? maybe some(every)one wants to borrow it ....

Jason said...

This shit is priceless. Thank you.

Epidermal Graffitti Lover said...

People wearing clothes from the Grover Cleveland era are disgusting. Don't they know that they're supposed to be covered with tattoos and/or wearing professional sports uniforms or the costumes adopted by marginalized members of society that shop in thrift stores?

Anonymous said...

All You Haters Suck my Ironic Cheese

Udder said...

That GT is heinous. What kind freak would that set up fit?

dwight moody said...

That GT screams. "I stole several bikes and recombined them for resale."

RB1 said...

that thing about the squirrel is too damn funny.

leroy said...

So one summer, I was in Tibet and caddying for the Dali Lama and at the end of the round, he was going to stiff me.

So I says, "Hey, Lama hey, how about a little something for, you know, the effort, you know?"

And he says "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but someday, someone known as BSNYC on a thing called the internet will refer to you as an "esteemed commenter."

So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

Only problem is, when I say "I'm esteemed," people just assume I'm doing a bad Ricky Ricardo impression.

Go figure.

brettok said...

I always preferred the Grover Washington era myself...

bikesgonewild said...

...luroy...chew got son 'splainin' to do...

RM said...

I go to USF, my professors are great, but there are a lot of other depts. on campus that have serious administrative issues.

There is almost no job security for them and tenure is damn near impossible, the turn over of professors is so quick I could have easily been through 5 or 6 grad advisers in the year and a half I've been there.

Anyways, gotta get back to my tweed run.

RM

aunt suzie said...

aunt1st!!

RM said...

Not trying to defend the guy, just a little inside on the madness that is USF.

smartypants said...

Or how about the plain-old Grover style of dress?

RM said...

Don't steal bikes!

CommieCanuck said...

I just dress like Grover.

It's warm.

James said...

I'm very pleased to see the $2000 Bowery make it's way here. I had an email drafted to you with the link, but decided that your attention to detail would catch this delightful recession special. Luckily I was right.

CommieCanuck said...

ok luroy, bet chew kip away from de Cabana club? okayyyy?

kale said...

Kalloy UNO seatpost - that really brings me back to those crazy full bars that came with the Timberline, etc. - yellow and blue spatter paint job, Onza stickers, and Araya wheels.

At least it's still got the original headset. That's gotta be worth the $300. Notwithstanding, they cost about $275 (with GripShift!) back in the day.

kale said...

http://www.ecovelo.info/2008/08/08/gallery-bobs-gt-mtb/

grog said...

All you squirrels suck my nuts.

grammar nazi said...

usf - i think you mean either insight, or perhaps inside information, but a 'little inside' makes no sense, except maybe as some sexual innuendo

smartypants said...

@nazi 2:41:

Perhaps you should change your title to "linguistic prescription nazi." But at any rate, you should really learn about capitalization ("I") and punctuation (periods) if you're going to try to correct others in the comments sections of the interblog.

grammarian said...

quite right

worm irks said...

Henceforth, when I see a singleator, I will be reminded of a cute squirrel having a snack. Happier days ahead!

Whoops, time to take my serious size meds.

Anonymous said...

2nd
yeahh!!!

Anonymous said...

Which team on Tour de Cali has the giant Wu-Tang "W" on the back window of their chase car?

grammar nazi said...

Your point is well taken, but I would like to say in my own feeble defense that I was actually trying to be helpful, not just a contrarian.

kale said...

Funny, I'm always reminded of a derailleur when I see a singleator. Can't be right all the time.

Michael Ball said...

Intermediate sprint!

horace greeley said...

grover cleveland fucking rocks, my friend. the only dude cooler was james polk.

daft taft said...

uh-oh, i was afraid this might happen....now you've pissed off the cleveland groupies....

bikesgonewild said...

...grammatik-nazi, haben wir möglichkeiten zur korrektur ihrer frechheit...

...nur sagen...

...ah, sorry...("we have ways of correcting yer insolence...

...just sayin' "
)...

flynn said...

kale- nearly derailleur

innerlighter said...

Note to seller of the GT;

I have a Members Only jacket I'll trade you for the bike.


meh.

Anonymous said...

not about your post, but about expensive rapha stuff: http://bikeportland.org/2009/02/11/rapha-collaborates-on-3500-three-piece-cycling-suit/

smartypants said...

Damn those cholera and their complex cascade of notable regulatory protiens (Tcp/TcpH, ToxR/ToxS, and ToxT) for sending Polk to the grave at a relatively young age.

Anonymous said...

grammar nazi said...
Your point is well taken, but I would like to say in my own feeble defense that I was actually trying to be helpful, not just a contrarian.


So we should buy stock now? but there is so much uncertainty in the markets.

bk jimmy said...

If someone is too self-conscious to wear lycra they're certainly not going to be any more comfortable with looking like they're on the way home from a Grover Cleveland rally. Really, it's just substituting one freakish wardrobe for another.

Exactly! That would be like if the Puritans, after coming to the Americas to escape religious persecution, had gone on to treat others oppressively.

That's why I read this blog: the constant reaffirmations that our world is governed by logic and consistency. Keep up the good work!

MINGUStheMECHANIC said...

I need more entertainment snob, whats with the short entry especially after taking a week off?

-I second the Polk nomination, far too under appreciated.

-SmartyPants does your smiley come from Ghost in the shell? I can't seem to place it.

Anonymous said...

I hOpe U aINt TakKin' ShITT abOUT GrOVEr ClEeVlanD HigH!!

Doug said...

Maybe near-homlessness is like folks who claim first comment on your blog but end up second or third, maybe he cheated on his wife and he's guessing he'll still have a home when he gets back?

bk jimmy said...

Hey Snobby - concerning the squirrel, is it possible you're not just free-associating but rather remembering the Dura Ace components from that post a while back?

Shram said...

rear derailleur??? I don't even know her...

sorry

Anonymous said...

It's the visual equivalent of chewing on tinfoil.
(!!!)

Anonymous said...

That guy may have a doctorate but there is no way you should be calling him a professor. Professors make about $60K a year and actually teach. That guy is an administrative dean, essentially one of the overpaid and incompetent hedge fund managers of the academic industry.
Or at least, he WAS an administrative dean.

jolene said...

i did finnish my own blog ricky was busy tellin me how i should shut the fuck up with my mouth before he an red stick somehting in it that might make the librarn more angry than a nutira in heat undernethe chiffarobe we gots in the back near the old bobcat hes got there

http://shelleytherepublican.com/category/cyclists

boy howdy

bikesgonewild said...

...jolene...hot damn but that 'shelley the republican' chick makes ricky look like a towering intellectual genius...

...just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

'Shelley the Republican' is a spoof, right? Even Republicans aren't that stupid...

BikeSnobAustin IV said...

Anon 1:16

U n Lance doin' the 99??!

I've spent the last 3 hours in the showers at Mellow Johnny's and I didn't smell y'all.

BikeSnobAustin IV said...

Circa '69 on that last comment.

bikesgonewild said...

...sacatomato cops just recovered a certain famous time trial bike...

...news at 11:00...

Fierce Panties said...

Dearest RTMS,

"Speaking of crimes against humanity." Isn't that a little dramatic?

You weren't talking about crimes against humanity. Bad fashion is not a crime in this country.

Bad fashion is humanity's crime against me.

Or perhaps you were making a historical olde-timey jab at Grover Cleveland's labor policies. He was heavy handed with workers by using federal troops to crush strikes.
That's a crime against humanity.

Everyone who died in the Pullman strike of 1894 was dressed like an olde-timey-newsboy and I hope that their deaths can be some of some solace since there is no contemporary punishment for these modern day fashion crimes.

wishiwasmerckx said...

1894? Fierce panties, you sure know how to hold a grudge.

bikesgonewild said...

...@ 1:52pm (i'm left coast) i reported that the cops were in possession of "the bike", a full 25min before 'velonews' made a mention of it on their 'live feed - race report'...

...that does not in any way imply i had anything to do w/ the original disappearance of said bike...honest...i meam really...i am in fact, a free man at this time...that is a fact, at least so far...

...btw, i will be having a components sale this weekend w/ two 'sram red' gruppos being offered...

...call me...

Andy Pandy said...

Given proximity to the AToC BGW I believe you have become what is known as a "person of interest" and that does not apply to your celebrity status afforded here.

PS I am looking for a semi aero wheel set , campag set up if you happen upon one

Lindsay said...

Speaking of a Giant Bowery...In my Chicago online biking community (chainlink.org), a sad user reported her bike stolen and a commenter found the stolen bike on Craigslist a day later!

bikesgonewild said...

...no problem andy pandy damn hey someones banging on the front door oh oh i gotta get outa here fast so it might be a few weeks see ya later bye...

Skid Mark PDX said...

If the bike came with bolt-on dropouts why not make some "track ends" out of stainless and bolt them on?

I guess a chain tensioner is 'good enough".

And judging by the amount of slack I think a half-link or sprocket or chainring 1 tooth bigger/smaller would have sorted out the chain tension issue.

Whatever, good enough. If you can't sort out basic shit like this, just go buy a bike off the shelf.

Anonymous said...

Another great thing found on the chainlink here

sprider said...

BGW, your avatar looks very familiar, I just saw it in my new favorite cycling movie. Is that really you?
Gonna be hard to beat the stolen bike rap if you're that famous.

red neckerson said...

you fellers are purty smart around here at least you thinks you is so tell me this

me ricky and jolene went to cracker barrel you know its one of those menace a troy things i been reeding about in jolenes cosmos so for dessert i buys some necro wafers and some are reel tasty like the yeller or orange or the choclate ones and others tast like french fried shit like the licker ass ones

so anyways im wondering it seems to me like necro would sell a lot more of those wafers if half of them didnt taste like shit

bikesgonewild said...

...sprider...damn...

...klunk...er, zat was the sound of a big cell door closing...

sprider said...

Pretty cool, that explains why you seem to be hip to virtually every (every virtual?) cycling blog.

bikesgonewild said...

...between you n' me, the reality is, i'm just a schlub who enjoys riding bikes...& have done so for many years...

Anonymous said...

squirrel...eating...i peed my pants

smovlov said...

http://www.jitensha.com/eng/whtsnew_e.html

Anonymous said...

eek near homelessness

Jason said...

http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/1036539823.html

Ronzoni said...

A little more inside.

USF is near a part of town called "suitcase city" that fully lives up to its name. You simply can't travel through the area without seeing someone walking along dragging all his or her worldly possessions. "Nearly homeless" is sort of the neighborhood norm. As is crack.

Now I wouldn't presume to assume anything about the relationship between a respectable, middle-aged, university employee and a near homeless guy who needs to steal a bike to run some errands.

panino said...

I know I'm about 60 posts too late, but what is a singleator?

Cam said...

While you're covering Bizarre bike thefts, you might want to check out this James Clayton situation brewing in Austin:

Police in two states say James Clayton befriended cyclists with expensive gear, then stole from them.

That one you got up there is pretty terrible though. I'm frequently offended by people who don't understand that bikes aren't possessions of little consequence to the people who use the seriously, be it for commuting or competing.

Panino: A Singleator is Surly's chain tensioner for bikes with derailleur hangers.

southpole said...

armstrongs bike is back.

ZaskarLE said...

Extra Extra...This just in!!!

MIT researchers have designed a new prototype "dinner plate" (pie plate) green Motor!


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29259226/


Enjoy!

ZaskarLE said...

Quote from the article:


"By this spring the GreenWheel team hopes to pass out more than a dozen different GreenWheel configurations to both hard-core bike messenger types and novice riders."

ZaskarLE said...

Fixie sticker clears Memphis Airport....man I love TN


http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/dpp/news/021609_Sticker_Causes_Memphis_Airport_Scare

CommieCanuck said...

Southpole, it wasn't Pharmstrong's bike, it was Brajkovic’s bike.

More about the three-day return from the dead here.

kale said...

Zaskar-

I've avoided parking my bike pretty much anywhere with a security guard. I fear I'll end up in Guantanamo for my "This bike is an ethnic cyborg with a machine gun that will deflower and impregnate your daughter" sticker.

southpole said...

Commie:
hm... that link warns me it contains porn (probably bike porn, though) and i'm at work but is that that former governor of illinois reduced to cycling (on stolen bikes)? (i'm in europe and not so familiar with US interior politics so i may get the names wrong...)

but actually i wonder why they need bikes at all at the tour of california. i had a look at the etapes yesterday and there is clearly more driving/flying involved than cycling, looks like they didn't even try to connect them...

Anonymous said...

I'll lay some blame on Brad Pitt as he knows he's an influential role model.

The ghosts of those French newsies may be coming to get you, Bike Snob.

Heck, newsboys are kinds of bikes and fit the Depression-era fashion motif fairly smoothly.

You can take of the cap and roll down the pants quickly and pretend to fit it with the crowd.
Lycra requires a cover-up such a long silk robe, preferably embroidered with the anarchy symbol and Jazzs (no apostrophe) Not Dead or something.

Or sweatpants.

leroy said...

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree
Where ALF the former sitcom ran
through crackhouses
measureless to man,
down to a sunless sea."

I dunno. Just doesn't seem to have the same zip as the original.

Back to the drawing board.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Old Navy sweatpants.

pollyanna said...

i agree with the last anon

pollyanna100!

Bill said...

damn, even using a fruity nom de plume didn't help, and esteemed commenter snuck in ahead of me...oh well, least it was a beautiful commute this AM

leroy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/bik/1040967265.html

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/bik/1040963606.html

couple gems from LACL,

NudeRanch

kale said...

Leroy-

All it takes is some talk of sweatpants, and you quote Rush lyrics?

kale said...

We are the Priests of the Temples of Cycling
Our great computers fill the handle bars
We are the Priests, of the Temples of Cycling
All the gifts of life are held within our saddlebags

Look around at this world we've made
Snobbery our stock in trade
Come and join the Brotherhood of Merckx
Oh, what a nice, contented world
Let the banners be unfurled
Hold the Mug Shot proudly high in hand

hillier99 said...

Lantern Rouge!

leroy said...

Oh dear, Kale, Rush lyrics?

A bit too bawdy I'm afraid.

We have to keep this classy for Mr. Neckerson. We don't want the fair Jolene to think he runs with a rough crowd.

So, no Olivia Newton-John lyrics about an ALF star and "a place where nobody dared to go, the love we came to know" in Xanadu.

And we must refrain from Marquez puns about Love in the Time of Coleridge.

When in doubt, just ask yourself if the reference could appropriately be passed between chappies on a Tweed ride without incurring a sharply raised eyebrow.

Good taste is never out of style.

Lantern rouge, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Leroy-

Thank god it was ONJ and not Rush lyrics...

Ben said...

That's Paul Francis Gadd, not Gary Fisher.

Anonymous said...

further info re: Dr. Abdul Rao the bike thief - I have it on good authority that most everyone in the admin/professor ranks thinks he's a complete asshat.

Also, he makes close to $400,000 a year. Couldn't he just have driven his "luxury SUV" over to one of the pawnshops on Fowler or Fletcher Ave??

yogisurf said...

LOL. Moth eaten, itchy cousin....

I checked out the pics, one tweedster is rocking/rubbing/rolling/riding a spoke card that says "TWEED". Classy folks, looks like they are having fun.

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