Monday, June 22, 2009

Smear Campaigns: Nasty Ads and Greasy Grips

I freely admit that I am a person of many weaknesses. For example, an infraction as minor as a misplaced brake lever on a bicycle is enough to render me apoplectic, and that's no way to go through life. Also, far from being lactose intolerant, I never met a cheese I didn't like. And as any cheese addict knows, once you begin to chase the "fragrant dragon," you are eternally in its thrall. Yes, your life becomes one of cheese binges, blackouts (or as we cheese addicts call them, "moldouts"), hours spent looking at "cheese porn," and of course excessive mucus production.

Additionally, my lack of fortitude includes an aversion to images of bodily harm. Fictionalized movie gore is not a problem for me, but actual video of, say, surgery makes me wince. I'm especially sensitive to this sort of thing in the morning, which is why I was quite displeased to see this cycling-related awareness campaign shortly after waking up and switching on the local news:


Honestly, it was nearly enough to put me off my bowl of camembert and milk. I realize that the point of this campaign is to be thought-provoking and to shock motorists into realizing how vulnerable the cyclist is. However, I can't help thinking that something like this is liable to backfire. If anything, it seems like the message is that cycling is really dangerous and that you should drive a car instead. Actually, as I watched I just assumed that AAA was behind it.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this campaign, though. When it comes to PSAs, the graphic scare tactic is in vogue. In addition to the cyclist-on-the-gurney one, the local news station also regularly shows anti-smoking ads produced by the Department of Health. These generally involve images of doctors squeezing ricotta-like tar from the aortas of dead smokers, or of carcinomas, or my personal favorite, the one of the woman who lost most of her fingers to cigarettes. (I'm not sure how it happened, but perhaps she kept trying to smoke her fingertips.)

However, while I find all of these ads repulsive, I can at least understand the smoking ones. They're simply trying to scare you into not smoking. In the bike ad though, they're trying to scare you into not running over cyclists, which seems sort of indirect. Despite circumstantial evidence to the contrary, I'd wager that most drivers already don't want to run over cyclists. And on top of that, these ads also make the simple act of cycling seem excessively dangerous. It's like "Clockwork Orange" where they try to cure Alex of his violence and the accidentally make him hate Beethoven too.

Of course, as I said, I am fundamentally a weak person, so I'm probably just overreacting. However, I still think it's strange that there appears to be a bike salmon on the "Safety Tips" page of the Look campaign's website:


Oh well, at least she's not smoking.

It would seem then that we're going to have to leave the job of making cycling seem pleasant and appealing to the rest of the media. Fortunately, they're doing so with aplomb, but unfortunately they also often overshoot "pleasant and appealing" and venture into "dainty and precious." Take a recent article in the Australian design magazine Artichoke, a scan of which was recently forwarded to me by a reader:


I agree that bicycles and everything about them is simply "lovely." And of course nothing's simpler and lovelier than fixed-gears, which naturally figure prominently in the piece since design-y people love fixed-gears:

Like many, Mick Peel started riding a fixie after growing tired of his road bike and the necessary upkeep and expense. As the director of fashion at RMIT, it is not surprising that he was draw to the aesthetics of cycling. Where other cyclists admire the elegance and simplicity of steel frame bicycles, Peel is also interested in the details--to this end he creates beautifully finished leather saddles that are the envy of many.

As soon as I read this I headed straight to Mick Peel's site and checked out his custom ass pedestal work:

While I couldn't help thinking that this particular saddle looked like something you might find on a cheese plate next to a pile of Wasa crackers, I was also inspired--so much so that I decided immediately to start my own saddle-reupholstering business. In fact, I've already finished my first project, and I'm extremely pleased with how well it turned out:


I call this the "baked potato" colorway, though I also offer a "leftover crudité" option (plastic wrap) as well as "fromage" (wax paper). Also, for a small upcharge I'll extend the covering to beneath the seatpost clamp, which creates a smooth transition reminiscent of the Uni:



However, no sooner did I jump on the custom saddle trend then a reader forwarded me this set of brass knuckle bullhorns:


These are obviously even better than the original brass knuckle grips since they're integrated into the handlebar itself for additional stiffness, weight-savings, and finger-breaking potential. They also made me realize that a bike isn't truly one-of-a-kind unless it's got a custom saddle and a custom handlebar. Really, these days you've got to customize your bike from your moose knuckles all the way to your regular knuckles if you want to walk into the bar with your head held high. As such, I realized I was going to have to expand my new saddle business to include handlebar products as well, which is why I'm proud to introduce my latest product, the BSNYC/RTMS Grip-In-A-Can:

As everybody knows, Ourys are totally over and bare bars with no tape or grips are all the rage among fixed-gear riders. However, sometimes you still want to add a little color to your bars without sacrificing slipperiness, and that's when you slather on my Grip-In-A-Can (shown here in the blue colorway):

Not only is Grip-In-A-Can easy to apply, but it also won't cause unwanted side-effects like tackiness or increased control. Instead, you'll feel like you're wrangling an eel on every ride. Now that's dangerous--and danger equals "street cred:"


Best of all, once you swing your leg over your bars and dismount, you can use the residue on your hands to flatten down your ironic mullet or wax the ends of your handlebar mustache. Plus, it even works as a chamois cream as well as a general all-purpose lubricant.

You'll be doing the five knuckle chuckle in no time.

109 comments:

Anonymous said...

donkey

Pete said...

'm here

Anonymous said...

up there
bkf

Anonymous said...

knuckles to this!

Mr Donkey said...

wins again

Anonymous said...

5 knuckle shuffle!

stuggy said...

Top 10?

stuggy said...

Yay, top 10!

Surly Bastard said...

Top ten. I'll take it. Boom.

ken e. said...

pack fill

rezado said...

Stupid internet.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

Woot! Woot!

Anonymous said...

You'd get more for the saddle if the foil were shiny side out.

mikeweb said...

Got too much grease on my tyres.

Other Side of the GW said...

And to think all this time I was using a baked potato colorway as a background on my fish tank.

But Snob, actually this could be quite useful in NY. What with all the bike salmon, if you catch one you could remove the colorway on your saddle and use it to bake one of those salmon.

Of course, if you smoked you could also smoke said salmon.

Kurt Vonnegut is King said...

Snob said:

"...I still think it's strange that there appears to be a bike salmon on the "Safety Tips" page..."


Other cities of the civilized world occasionally have two-way streets. That cyclist is not so much a spawning salmon as a free-ranging trout, choosing to swim willy-nilly wherever she pleases. Quite legally, I might add.

hillbilly said...

man, i'm never gonna upgrade at this rate.

ant1 said...

Snob, how much time does that saddle shave off a 25km TT?

Mongo Pusher said...

Top 20!

NatMc said...

top ten and i read it!

NatMc said...

dammit.

Anonymous said...

BSNYC,

While I am usually delighted to see misinformation in your columns, as a brother fromageophile I hasten to correct one enduring misconception. Consumption of dairy products has no affect on mucus production. Granted, this is coming from the biased scalawags at DairyAustralia, but I thought I would mention it nonetheless.

Rantwick said...

"Five knuckle chuckle?" Is that a real expression? I have to go look it up now. Nice post snob.

mikeweb said...

Gruyere!!

Rantwick said...

Ahah! That's what I was afraid of.

mikeweb said...

Monterrey, Jack!

mikeweb said...

Fetaaaahhh...

Anonymous said...

sweet berber carpet...

Pulverized Concepts said...

It's important to save money on cycling by making the move to fixed gear from derailleurs so you can spend it on weird clothes and cheap beer.

MINGUStheMECHANIC said...

My wife and I stared at that commercial this morning on NY1 wondering what it was going to evolve into, it made her nervous and she was about a second away from asking me to take the train with her, I narrowly escaped pointing to my crumple zone and big air bag.

The psa reminded me of a commercial that aired in the late 90's in the middle of a "wednesday" telling me "if you thought it was dry this year wait till next year" any one remember that ad?, now that spot really freaked me out.

Michael said...

I think KVIK at 1:47 could be correct in that this could be a 2-way street and the purported bike salmon could, in fact, be exercising his/her legal rights to ride with traffic. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see, behind the rear wheel of the featured cyclist, yet another bike headed in that same direction as the accused salmon (or perhaps it's a "school" of fish doing the annual spawn. I think we'd need to either identify the season the photo was captured and research the spawning habits of this particular species, or the intersection that it was captured from.)

In a semi-related development, it'd rule if I had a job and didn't waste my afternoons attempting to dissect the legitimacy of accused cycling salmon.

kale said...

I hear Wasa's dropping their new spelt line soon. Just in time for the summer bike salmon run to their spawning picnic grounds.

Way to keep your ear to the streets on the cracker game, Snob. I gotta go slay some Chèvre right quick.

Astroluc said...

Nasty grips and greasy ads:

And what's with these people who complain of the co$t of roadbike upkeep? In my experience the most expensive thing about roadbikes, aside from the initial investment, is "upgrade-itis"

Can these people not turn a $4 spokewrench or a 3$ screwdrivwer themselves?

oh yes, they must be related to the drivers who are unable to operate a simple directional whilst traversing out urban roadways.

top 30??

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear the bike snob is keeping up his dairy intake unlike the many pro riders these days who seem to be breaking (or braking, in fixed gear spelling) their bones due to low carb / low dairy / high phosphorus diets.

Isolation Helmet said...

I was so inspired by today's post that I went out to the garage and used hose clamps to attach my fingers to the bars. Of course tightening the clamps on my left hand after my right was connected took some time but I really think that the look is worth the trouble.

Pulverized Concepts said...

And bad tattoos.

hillbilly said...

you wanna see someone run up a tab (and gush nauseatingly over Rapha) go to velodramatic.com

grog said...

FOIL THIS
AYHSMF

rightsaid kev said...

In addition to a steel bike I hope said designer is palping a taint-of-steel while riding around on an embossed leather saddle.

hillbilly said...

I don't necessarily disagree that she may not be salmoning (actually I don't think she is even moving), but what do "other cities" have to do with an ad by the NYC blah blah blah. I doubt they would use a street in St Louis for their ad.

Smellvin said...

I think La Tur, a lovely triple cream cheese, would make a great finger lickin good grip.

Kurt Vonnegut is King said...

You're right, hillbilly. That was kinda weak on my part. I only skimmed the post and somehow thought the ad was talking about a civilized city - not NYC.

But I do stand by the two-wayness of the avenue in question.

jon said...

When I want to make pizza I put my bike on the ole rollers, get up to speed, and then the GF pushes a giant block of mozzarella into the spokes.

Gives it a smoky undertone.

hillbilly said...

I do appreciate the contrarian approach, just gotta keep you honest.

d. fofonov said...

Your posting making me remember days of old when Babushka would take large wedge of cheese and fry it for breakfast. Making gallbladders crying for pity it is breakfast of GC winners and not for wooskii.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Kurt Vonnegut is King,

I based my salmon assumption on the traffic in the background and the cyclist in the foreground but on closer inspection I see they very well could be on the bike path next to the street. If so I stand corrected. Clearly at this point I am haunted by salmon to the point of paranoia.

In any case, I'm still disturbed by the gurney ad.

--BSNYC

CommieCanuck said...

Phil Ligget sez:

Before using grip-in-a-can, get on your knees and get a good amount of saliva on those bars. One tip I use is to think of Tom Boonen.

bikesgonewild said...

...wow, snob...talent begets fucking talent...

...free artistic tip:-- to highlight & compliment yer formidable "baked potato colorway" project, i'd suggest bits of 'designer' gaffers tape...a full spectrum colorway is offered...

...yellow 1"x1" squares for butter & 1/4"x1/4" squares of green for chives...mmm, mmm, now yer cookin' up some real practical art, baby...

...duchamp & oldenberg got nothin' on you, sir...

Luck E. Seven said...

Dear Mr. Snob,

Thank you for shipping my Grip-In-A-Can so quickly. I was in a grip malaise until I received your product. I really like the exciting new "White Lith" colorway, as it matches my ghost bike-inspired whip! Now the world is mine to have AND to hold.

I think my favorite thing about GIAC is that it is totally custom. No two riders experience the grip the same way. In fact, I have tried letting my friends form my grips. When I ride, it's kinda like having a whole new bike, or tossing left handed. So cool!

Your product worked so well on my handlebars that I tried it on other contact spots as well. That's even better!! I have completely filled my toe cages with the White Lith GIAC and now keep a healthy slathering on my saddle. Now I ride so fast that I can hardly stay on the bike!

Thank you Mr. Snob for changing my life with GIAC. It's the smoothest!



A

Mr. Donkey said...

For me, I can't watch any video that involves bike crashes.

Kick to groin. Hilarious
Pinata mishap. Hilarious
Funny pets. Hilarious
Etc. Etc

Bike accidents ring to close to home. I don't want to see what will happen to me if I wreck, especially with my fingers snug inside a set of brass knuckles. Bye, bye fingers.

As per the cheese, I highly recommend Cashel Blue Irish Farmhouse Cheese. More mild than other blues.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the definitive custom saddle comes from Sheldon Brown:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/real-man.html

jolene said...

dont yous that as lubercant suprise boy howdy

wishiwasmerckx said...

I was poised to finally out the Snob by running his fingerprints through the FBI database, but, alas, they are too obscured by blue GIAC to get a usuable image.

Moose kunckle, heh, heh. Photo please.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:52pm,

Really "feeling" the granite "colorway" on that.

Luck E. Seven,

Thank you for the unsolicited endorsement! You're going to love the new "keirin" model. While technically not NJS (it's more like JB, as in the adhesive), it's got more grip than Jobst Brandt's Avocet on an Alpine descent.

--RTMS

yogisurf said...

Those saddles might hurt the yarbels, if the rider has any yarbals, my enunich brother thou.

Anonymous said...

"Like many, Mick Peel started riding a fixie after growing tired of his road bike and the necessary upkeep and expense."
Yeah right, this is type of guy you see riding his bike no handed because he's busy downloading a new "app" (make that noise that sideshow bob makes here)to his iPhone that pinpoints the cheapest PBR drafts in town.

CommieCanuck said...

Ask me about new and improved GIAC "OXY"

GIAC is the greatest invention since this.

(hint, it really has nothing to do with limp noodles)

Renders Fenders Moot said...

Saganaki.

OPA!

frilly said...

Hillbilly--Upon closer inspection this could be a street in downtown St. Louis. Y'know we have a lot of greenery and our share of salmon. However, replace the guy in track pants sitting on the median with a homeless person babbling incoherently at anybody in the immediate vicinity. And if smell-o-vision is being used, there would be the distinct scent of urine wafting from the nearest sewer. Additionally, everybody in the picture would be wearing as little clothing as legally possible, attractive or not, cuz its a 100 degrees outside.

Or at least thats what I observed on my ride yesterday.

hillbilly said...

Yeah, I was a bit confused by the guy sitting there as well....and perhaps it isn't NYC, seeing as there is no rain in the picture. The lack of crazy peds talking on cell phones standing in the middle of the road to hail a cab and then screaming at the cyclist for, well, I suppose riding in the road, makes me think maybe it isn't NYC after all.

Kurt Vonnegut is King said...

When I was a kid, I pissed away many an autumn day fishing for salmon (honest). I spent sunup to sundown peering down from a train bridge trestle overlooking a fast flowing river, hoping to spot the schools as they came upstream to spawn. Armed with 40lb test, a Swedish Pimple lure, and my father's enormous polarized fishing glasses, I was laser-focused on that water like a kid on a Playstation. I would ride home at the end of the day, with my fishing rod taped to my top tube and the day's catch slung over my shoulder.

Once home, the act of closing my eyes resulted in an unshakeable vision of flowing water and shadowy creatures I couldn't quite see.

When you say you are haunted by salmon, I know of what you speak. For I too, once hunted them for sport.

mjarvede@hotmail.com said...

I ride with knuckles and they are great for finger support. Like your new product, I just grease the holes for quick exit in the case of a crash.

bikefriendlytowns said...

ya scary vid. not real helpful in promoting cycling. i thought the london awareness video was way better
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahg6qcgoay4

Beavis said...

"I just grease the holes for quick exit..."

huh huh hhhuh huh

Velosipeds said...

As a Latvian and a cyclist I am taken aback at Mick Peels's inspirational seat. I am not sure if Opa who passed a away earlier would roll over in his grave. We Latvian's get weirded out by strange bicycle seats. Maybe he was not even dead.

Ak Kungs!

Anonymous said...

RTMS,

Not to be nudge, but watch that blue CITGO stuff with that sisal mat. The Missus will not be pleased.

Ronsonic said...

The image in the upper left corner of this page disturbed me. I have a fear of the Furry invasion in all it's manifestations. Here we see the corruption of BMX punks, youths who would otherwise grow up to a life of petty crime and occasional auto theft being seduced by the wickedness of a cute chick and some anthropomorphosed monstrosity.

http://www.uniseats.com/expert_seat.htm AKA: http://tinyurl.com/mdzbdd

Every page on this site is polluted with this disgusting imagery. Shame on you Snob for promoting such evil.

Anonymous said...

Snob sighting?

Mad Jack McMad said...

Munster and Belgian beer!

(actually, this somewhat explains my performance of late)

Boom Shanka.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:58pm,

Yes, that's me training for my attempt at the hour record. Note shoe covers in the leopard colorway.

--BSNYC

bikesgonewild said...

...gonna market a new product...

...awesome new ***greasy wipes***...
..."long day of hangin' out w/ yer fixie crew & finding those un-taped bars are a little tacky n' sticky from spilled pbr n' chronic smoke ???...whip out a new greasy wipe in red, white, blue grease or our original 'sheldon' brown formula & put the sheen & slippery factor back on yer bars"

...i will be looking for dealers, soon...

CommieCanuck said...

no, no, no...that's the Cosby Kids dumb donald's hour record attempt.

His coach was Mushmouth.

"Donna,ubbi dubbi 12 seconds off at the quata time".

bikesgonewild said...

...whoops...forgot to finish my statement...

..."..."...

Wes said...

Finally Snobby, someone who takes worse photos than your own. Mick Peel, standup, you have turned purple to white.

Oh, and 2001st!

Anonymous said...

Good work Snob! That Baked Potato Colorway Saddle Reupholster (BPCSR) makes me want to know what happened to the chives and sour cream.

Surly Bastard said...

If you take to the street with that beautiful foil wrapped ass pedestal you might consider a little more foil to match ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW1Grq1r3l0

Anonymous said...

no less than two typos in this post. and you call yourself a fromagophile,

Dongoose said...

I'd do the brass knuckle bars, but then you wouldn't see my "DUMB FUCK" knuckle tattoos.

Anonymous said...

i'm gonna buy stock in JB WELD.
better yet,
i'm gonna JB WELD myself some street cred.

bikesgonewild said...

...dongoose...choice comment...

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Sheldon's "real man" saddle.

leon astray said...

i like the knuckle sandwich.

perhaps they should handcuffs to make sure they cannot leave the bike during a crash.

Gulbis said...

The custom bicycle saddle in leather: The Navy Goth by Mitch Peel looks more a lLettish dildo of some sort to me.

Gulbis said...

...Lettish...

Anonymous said...

You're forgetting the BEST PART!

Greasy grip area = a reason for narrow bars!

When a stupid trend is ridiculed into being reasonable, magic has just taken place.

FINALLY! A self-fulfilling prophecy that's also self-serving!

AFP

Anonymous said...

Ya know...that GIAC also makes an awesome protective coating which will prevent that scraping we see in the PSA. Just slather the GIAC all over your body and you will slide right off any car making impact with your fixie and you!

Norman said...

s/chuckle/shuffle

dipwad (for other 1980s appelations . . . oh, whatever, go to hell. Child.)

Landon Donovan said...

Baked potatoes should never, ever be wrapped in foil. Pierce with a fork and bake on a bed of salt or just on the oven rack for about an hour at 400.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tuberducation Landon...

Snob - your hour record attempt also has a sweet AYHSMBesque message on the rear disc.

Luck E. Seven said...

NJS JB GIAC?! A must have.

I want so much grip that my shrink will come see ME. Doh!

Keepin' the TESTI in testimonial...



A

leroy said...

Apres mois, le fromage.

What, not gouda enough?

Too late, feta accompli.

Sorry, don't know what's wrong. After reading that post, I just can't get a grip.

Anonymous said...

I couldnt help but notice the spelling mistake on the screenshot taken of the Look safety website.

While I laugh heartily at the use of the term "bike salmon", and this obviously makes me childish, why is it ok to overlook the spelling mistake, especially with the advent of spell check.

I guess its because an entire blog could be dedicated to our destruction of the english language.

Nice post snob, entertaining as ever.

Cadd said...

Just love your writing style.

benson said...

haha i love that saddle of yours i cracked up so hard cus i wasnt expecting that
good job man

Butthead said...

Huhhuh you said greased holes huh uh huh hhuhhuhuh

ant1 said...

so close...

ant1 said...

Can I resist?

ant1 said...

I'm afraid not.

ant1 said...

ant100st!

Luck E. Seven said...

Luck E. Seven101st!

Not quite the same ring, Ant.


A

neighbor said...

new cheese store on flatbush at 6th ave across from the fake taco place its pretty good but pricey...

hillbilly said...

whoa! ant100st! i like it, this is a special day!

cyclotourist said...

Humboldt Fog is simply the best: http://www.cypressgrovechevre.com/cheeses/section_3.0.html#humboldt_fog

Humboldt green is nice too.

Wickham said...

"Best of all, once you swing your leg over your bars and dismount, you can use the residue on your hands to flatten down your ironic mullet or wax the ends of your handlebar mustache." This is hilarious.
my blog
http://wickhamsbiking.blogspot.com

Jason said...

"Instead, you'll feel like you're wrangling an eel on every ride. Now that's dangerous--"

I just woke up my wife laughing... thank you.

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