("Tri" sticker. Translation: "One Less Good Bike Handler.")
As promised last Friday, I have finally chosen the winner of The Great Fyxomatosis Photo Parody Contest (sponsored by Boston Whaler Boats--The Unsinkable Legend). Yes, what began as a simple gimmick to deflect attention away from the bounty Fyxomatosis placed upon my head has since become something of a moral proving ground for me in that it's forced me to make one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make in my life--more difficult even than such timeless dilemmas as choosing between Campagnolo and Shimano, or between "aluminium" and "crabon," or between using a compact crankset or a triple. (As for the last dilemma, you surrender your dignity either way, but it's all a question of how you surrender your dignity. Do you do it surreptitiously or with panache?) And my decision was made no easier by the fact that, after I'd decided upon a winner, I received an email from Slappy, who claims he sent me the following image well before the contest deadline:
As impressively absurd as this was, I resolved to stand by my decision. And one look at the Flickr page of entries should be sufficient to convey just how difficult my decision was. There were many strong (dare I even say "fierce") contenders, such as:
Thealphastate's "Lady With Pista Concept (And Crotchal Dumpling)";
Part 1 and part 2 of a gripping medical drama involving Hipster Cyst diagnosis and removal (which I've accidentally presented above in reverse order but which I'll play off as having been intentional by claiming I did it out of consideration for any native readers of right-to-left languages) complete with dialogue bubbles;
And of course this. (Those aren't dialogue bubbles.)
However, in the end, I kept coming back to one photograph that was so expressive, so incredibly obscene while at the same time completely innocuous, and so creative in its use of anthropomorphic bicycle components, that I decided I simply had to award it the prize. And that photo was Urchin's submission, which I like to call "Forking":
While I stand by my decision, my deepest regret is that I could only choose one winner. In fact, I actually spent most of the weekend watching "Sophie's Choice" and sobbing. And so, as my tears of joy mingle with snot-bubbles of regret, I hereby award the following prizes to Urchin:
The pie plate (but not my Rapha silk cravat, which you wouldn't want anyway, considering what I've been using it for);
This beer-cozy-and-elk's-tooth fun-pak, courtesy of Stevil Kinevil of HTATBL, GWCTOH, and most recently the new spokesperson for the NDC (National Dairy Council);
A Fyxomatosis chainring, courtesy of Fyxomatosis (a "Fyxomatosis" is a growth found on many fixters and is usually the result of riding slowly in trendy neighborhoods without wearing sunblock);
And, perhaps best of all, an actual Boston Whaler decal, courtesy of Bluenoser, which should look quite sporting on the oversized downtubes found on many of today's bicycles.
Also, if you want a smock, you can have one, though I will have to break up the kit.
So just email me and I'll coordinate the sending to you of a great deal of crap as a token of my appreciation for your photo of one bicycle fork and stem orally pleasuring another bicycle fork and stem's metaphorical "dumpling."
Speaking of forks, a reader recently forwarded me the following photo, taken in Hermosa Beach, CA:
What caught the photographer's eye was the fact that both of these expensive bicycles (a Seven and an Orbea) were not locked in any way. This does seem foolhardy to say the least, though in fairness to the owners I don't really know anything about Hermosa Beach (apart from the fact that it's the "Beach Volleyball Capital of the World" according to Wikipedia), and I suppose it's possible that it's one of those "roadie safe zones" like Nyack in New York where people can simply leave their overpriced road bikes outside the cafe unattended because the local inhabitants are either completely disinterested in bicycles regardless of how much they cost, or if they are interested in bicycles their own bikes are much more expensive than the garbage that trickles in from the city so they wouldn't deign to steal it anyway.
No, what struck me even more than the locklessness was the abundance of spacers on the Seven:
I've got nothing against spacers. Frankly, you do what you need to do to put your handlebars where you want them. But this is a Seven. If you're unfamiliar with Seven, they're one of those companies with a philosophy. And this philosophy is:
“One bike. Yours.” This isn’t simply a slogan. It represents the heart of our philosophy about who we are and what we do. And nowhere is this philosophy more apparent than in our manufacturing.
At Seven, each craftsperson focuses on only one bike at a time. Yours.
Unlike most bikes, which are produced on an assembly line or in batches—destined for a warehouse or a shop’s inventory—your Seven is created specifically for you. One machinist. One welder. One finisher. One bike. Yours. Literally.
If every Seven bicycle is built specifically for each rider, then how come every time I see one the steer tube looks like it belongs to someone who bought a small Giant TCR but should have bought a large? They look like they're wearing neck rings. And this is a relatively mild example. Yesterday I saw someone riding a Seven with about ten spacers beneath the stem, as well as a good five more above the stem for good measure. You'd think the sorts of people who are picky and rich enough to buy a custom titanium road bike would also be picky enough to want a bike that looks like it actually fits.
Then again, as Urchin has shown us, there is such a thing as fork porn. Maybe people are into the fork-wearing-a-turtleneck thing. At least it hides the hickies.