Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Turn, Turn, Turn: To Every Thing There is a Barspin

We've all heard the old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Obviously, this is completely untrue. Take Miles Davis, for example: he went from this to this. Mario Cipollini also changed a lot over the years, most notably with regard to his hair, which started out curly but increasingly sought close contact with his scalp as the years passed. And let's not forget Renée Richards and Rene Russo, both of whom were born male but now live happily as women.

However, this saying is true with regard to fixed-gear freestyling. You may have seen that old Thomas Edison video of the guy doing tricks on a fixed-gear bicycle back in 1899, since it's been making the rounds again recently. (In fact, you may even have seen it on this very blog.) Indeed, it's plainly obvious that most of the fixed-gear freestyle repertoire was already solidly established before 1900, including the so-called "elephant trunk skid:"




Well, it turns out that, when it comes to the fixed-gear scene, lame tricks aren't the only things that have precedent in the 19th century. I'm pleased to report that I recently uncovered an early edit of this historical piece of film complete with the original title card and spirited soundtrack, which proves that the fixed-gear freestyle filming style was also pioneered by Thomas Edison well before the great odometer in the sky rolled over to 1900. Observe:




Yes, everything old is new again and so forth--including "Angel of Death" by Slayer, which few people realize was actually a 19th century folk song.

Still, it's all too easy to dismiss cycling as a bunch of recycled styles and gimmics. For example, even Thomas Edison himself probably never imagined that one day we would ride ingenious bicycles of titanium, which can be disassembled with simple tools and carried on great flying tubes in the sky. Just imagine how amazed the great inventor would have been if he had watched this video, in which Sloane Peterson from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" assembles a Ritchey Breakaway road bike in a matter of minutes:


Maybe it's the hotel room setting combined with all the insertion and gentle twiddling, but I must say I couldn't help sensing some romantic undertones. The truth is, bicycle assembly just doesn't look like that in real life. I was ready to dismiss this as a coincidence, until I discovered this alternate "quiet storm" version:



"Get it together" indeed. Clearly this is just the bike for your next hotel rendez-vous. Just walk in and out with a suitcase and nobody will ever know.

Speaking of romantic imagery, BKJimmy recently forwarded me this picture of the Mavic Diminutive Frenchman tenderly teaching serial retrogrouch and uber-curmudgeon Jobst Brandt how to drive a tractor for some reason:

It's sort of like "American Gothic," except they're in the Swiss Alps, there's a garden gnome, and they both look exceedingly pleased and very much in love.

It may be though that their joy stems in part from the fact that they're driving the tractor with Mavic's EZ Ride pedal system:


Yes, it's about time that someone introduced a magnetic shoe/pedal interface. According to one review, "You can’t pull up on the pedals, and you don’t need to twist out of them, but the interface is sure to be more secure feeling than a platform pedal for most riders." So basically then it's like riding a platform pedal with chewing gum stuck to the sole of your sneaker. I just hope Mavic put the magnet on the pedal and not on the shoe, or else you're liable to get stuck to a manhole cover at a red light. In the best case scenario, you'll be late for work; in the worst case you'll just get run over, leaving only a shoe behind. Then maybe some bike activists will come along and paint it white as a memorial for you.

But while the idea of a city of "ghost shoes" is certainly a depressing one, there's still a lot to look forward to in cycling--particularly the Tour de France, otherwise known as the Grande Boucle. (That's French for the "Big Boucle.") This year's Tour certainly promises to be an exciting one, partially because the organizers have announced they will be banning radios from two stages:

A lot of cycling fans feel that riders' reliance on their directors' instructions has made for boring racing, so this should be an interesting experiment, though at the same time one might argue it's also a little gimmicky. In a certain sense, they're almost "novelty stages"--especially when you take into account some of the other less-publicized experiments in this year's Tour:


Yes, in addition to the two radio-free stages, stage 16 will be held entirely without bikes, forcing the riders to run or speed-walk. This is a mountain stage too, and it comes right after a rest day, so you can expect a major shake-up in both the polka-dot jersey competition as well as the GC (especially for those riders suffering from bunions). Shoe selection will be critical. Not only that, but the penultimate stage to Mont Ventoux will be held without performance-enhancing drugs (in honor of Marco Pantani's drug-free Ventoux win in 2000), and that in turn will be followed by a completely pants-free final run into Paris. Here's a route map to give you a better idea:

Incidentally, stage 21 is not the first pants-free stage in the Tour's history. It was actually first tried back in 2003, but with limited success:



Lastly, I'm afraid I have a bit of bad news to report. Stevil Kinevil reports on the epicly-titled "Guys Who Cut Their Own Hair" blog that someone has hurled a brick through the window of Mission Bicycles's new store:

I hope you will join me in denouncing this craven act of vandalism. I interviewed the Mission guys back in 2007, and they were as forthright and gentlemanly as anybody I've ever met. (Sure, I didn't actually meet them, but whatever.) Furthermore, while I may not be in the market for the sort of bikes they build, if I were I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to trust them in making my ideal "colorway" a reality. But by far the most disturbing thing about this crime is that it was probably committed by someone who feels fiercely protective of the fixed-gear "scene," which is completely ridiculous. Firstly, Mission started way back in 2007, and fixed-gear culture didn't even close its doors to new members until March of 2009. Sure, that's only a couple of years, but two years in fixed-gear years is like ten regular years. Secondly, as the Thomas Edison video proves, the only people who have any right to feel proprietary about the "scene" are people who were there from the beginning--which was 1899, or over 550 years ago in fixed-gear years. So unless the guy who threw the brick was wearing pantaloons and was really, really old, he might as well have just thrown the brick through his own window instead.

Let he with an antebellum birth date hurl the first brick.

94 comments:

Anonymous said...

first place from canada SJH

Anonymous said...

donkey

John M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Fuck you guys are good!

Anonymous said...

Second

Mr. Donkey said...

oh. close.

Lost by a nose.

Anonymous said...

Top 10!!

rezado said...

I cut the cheese.

mikeweb said...

top 10?

Anonymous said...

Woot! Woot!

Test Tickle said...

balls.

Luck E. Seven said...

Bike polo is the new Wiffle Ball.



A

ant1 said...

ant1st!

UCI race official said...

Anonymouse don't count.

Be logged into Blogger/Google already.

Or hell, at least spend the 3 seconds it takes to type in a name... (the second button above 'publish your comment'...)

hillbilly said...

i have mikeweb on the podium!!!

brilliant, laughed heartily, and glad to hear the big boucle is headed in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

BOO-YA!

mr.complaint said...

Did she say "...take your time and make sure you have it down. The more you do it the faster you'll get."?!

What would Barry do?

innerlighter said...

really? top 20?

sufferist said...

here I am....

Anonymous said...

top 20.

Anonymous said...

Since getting married I "do it" at least once a year and I am getting faster - if not better...

grog said...

They have gnomes in the Alps?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous are the only comments that count.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Ah, Antoine, plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, n'est ce pas?

bk jimmy said...

That's crazy--in the 1899 Edison bike-tricks movie you can hear a Fresh Direct truck idling nearby!

Test Tickle said...

Thank the heavens for Rick Rubin...

Although, maybe you could have used pre-Rubin, like Hell Awaits for the pre-WWI footage, and then, for an example of the new breed of fixters, used post-Rubin Reign in Blood era tunes.

...just slayin'

mikeweb said...

So the final TdF stage the riders will be wearing helmets but no pants?

Reminds me of the old Gordie Howe quote from the Johnny Carson show:

"So Gordie, when you play hockey, why do you wear a cup, but no helmet?"

"Well Johnny, that's because I can always pay someone to do my thinking for me"

ant1 said...

sorry about the long link, but I found the new AYHSMB:
http://www.guyswhocuttheirownhair.com/blog/detail/do_something_nice_for_yourself_and_well_do_something_nice_for_you/
I think it describes the whole fixter scene fairly well.

Rantwick said...

I'll antebellum you, whipper snapper! You want a brick? I'll give you a brick...

wishiwasmerckx said...

I watched the Ritchey video, and I am pretty sure that I don't want to descend or sprint on a bike where the downtube is attached to the bottom bracket by way of a clamp!

innerlighter said...

Wow, notice Sloane's technique "inserting" the "post", as though she was really enjoying it. I hope she heeded the suggestion to use lube.

leroy said...

Is it just me or does anyone else feel dirty after watching someone put together a bike in a hotel room?

Good thing there wasn't a Barry White soundtrack.

I just can't spend the rest of the afternoon humming "You're the first, the last, my everything."

People will talk.

Anonymous said...

all you haters suck glen danzig's bricks

ant1 said...

(atlanta's own) Brick rocks!

or rocked, I guess.

Twist of Cain ... OH. said...

yeah, what he said....

Mr. Donkey said...

I'll have all the haters know that the UCI race official at 1:36 is an impostor!

I've been before many a UCI magestrate (as evidenced at my link - that's me and my ride on our way to the stand).

My donkey style has never been outlawed and I won't be Obree'd.

Winning is winning. Podium is podium. I'm not going to cover my ass or change how I ride out of embarrassment or false pride.

ant1 said...

That's a nice ass.

Surly Bastard said...

Today's post was just too funny.

Ronsonic said...

OMG, seatpost insertion shot. All the way and then back to the minimum insertion line. Oh, baby make sure it's in right. Again! Arrghhh how do I make youtube loop.

mikeweb said...

Snobbie,

If you're considering that EZ Ride system, you might want to think again. That tell-tale 'X' pattern will make you easier to track on your many trips to and from the cheese shop.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for July and your Tour coverage!!!

rezado said...

The tour de france would be the most watched sporting event in the world if all of the stages were "no pants" stages. I know I am not going to wear any pants the whole time the tour de france is on. Hopefully it will catch on.

Udder said...

I guess Bernard Hinault intimidated the TDF race organizers to ban radios by threatening to throw them off the podium stage.

Anonymous said...

She forgot to use the Chain Condom and got lube all over the carpet.

http://www.velonews.com/article/93096/wrenched-and-ridden-the-chain-condom

leroy said...

"yet I'm lost in a-a-a a dream."

Dang, can't get that bike video out of my head.

grog said...

I was intrigued by the multi-tool in the quiet storm version, but was disappointed it's use was not demonstrated. Bzzzzzzzz. Does it include a nipple wrench?

Anonymous said...

They don't wear pants
In the southern part of France.

hillbilly said...

thanks a lot Leroy, now it's in my head.

hey, where is the product review we were promised?

tristan said...

edison is such a hipster

(i bet he was into lightbulbs *before* they lit up)

d. fofonov said...

English is confusing language.

Are you meaning:

Fuck, you guys are good?

Fuck you, guys are good?

Fuck you guys, are good?

or

Fuck you guys are, good?

I am telling that each permutation is having different meaning.

Not to be insulting but English is fucking stupid language. Am thanking you for your assistance im my learning.

CommieCanuck said...

Harvey Milk had the same problems as Mission cycles in San Francisco in the 1970s. Bike riders are the new gays. We need a parade, and a spokesman other than Tom Boonen.

Those videos are HOT..couple me baby, couple me.

yogisurf said...

Damn, Snobby, when I saw the added tool in the ‘quiet storm’ version, I had to watch it to the end….just hoping. Also, I hope the MDF and Mr. Brandt use appropriate protection when doing Swiss folk dances on the tractor. We’ve all seen the Seinfeld where Jerry’s girlfriend discloses what she got from riding on a tractor.

Doug said...

Not wearing pants is older than the Fixie craze. Hell I've been reading this blog pants free since it began, and that feels like longer than the Fixie craze.....

bidderspade said...

They should add a schluffing stage too.

frilly said...

Not so sure I'm in favor of a pants-free stage. Shocking I know. There's just something so mesmerizing watching those sponsor names bob up & down on their backsides.

J'aime le Tour!

hillbilly said...

talk about naked, frilly, you got the team fatty email with all of our names exposed?! mon dieu!

CommieCanuck said...

..entire TDF stage without drugs...

hilarious.

Where does he come up with this stuff??

london dungeon said...

they should throw a brick at the affinity shop. a danzig brick has got more street cred than a non-pursuit pursuit frame any fucking day of the weak.

CommieCanuck said...

The giro is planning a saddle-free stage next year.

1 in 5 riders don't seem to mind.

Anonymous said...

Want to touch the heinie, sooooo sweet.

mikeweb said...

CC, Snobbie's special Grip-in-a-Can will come in handy for that stage...

Fred said...

Cindy Whitehead rode most of the '86 Plumline MTB race with a broken-off seatpost. Talk about bad-ass.

Anonymous said...

That hotel room video gives a new meaning to "quick release."

frilly said...

Yes I did hillbilly! But you got it also--so we're both uncovered. So glad I used my private e-mail.

Lets play a little game. Send me an e-mail (to the address on the list) if you think you can figure out who I am. I'd give you a hint but I can't think of any that won't give it away, except maybe I'm firmly entrenched mid-pack. If you have questions to narrow it down, ask away.

Oh, and I know who you are! Ha Ha!

hillbilly said...

Damn, I can tell you're not bluffing by the usual response I get from women, ie, "ha ha"

ant1 said...

get a room

hillbilly said...

I'm a married man, I wouldn't know what to do with a room.

I never did have a good comeback to that....

ant1 said...

come on, snobby just posted a video explaining exactly what to do in a room, make sure both holes are lined up and insert seat post, or something.

frilly said...

*Damn, I can tell you're not bluffing by the usual response I get from women, ie, "ha ha"*

Now I really am laughing. That is sad but funny nonetheless.

And, relax, Antoine. Just having a little fun.

ant1 said...

Frilly - I'm just bored and trying to stir up some comments.

Anonymous said...

French people smell like ass. How's that for stirring things up?

Anonymous said...

Methinks Bike Snob forgot to take his Ritalin.

ant1 said...

Pretty good, just a little too late as I'm about to head home. And people around the world have spent more money on french perfume than all other countries perfumes combined (and no, I have no data backing this up), so either A. people want to smell like ass, or B. you've only sniffed french people ass, try a different body part next time.

Fierce Panties said...

Throwing a brick through a fixed gear boutique window is the new breaking the headlights of SUVs with a nine iron.

bikesgonewild said...

...some people just wanna smell ass...then they whine about it...

...go sniff a different part of the aroma-ways olfactory chart ...

urchin said...

As a former bike pornographer of note, I have to say that Ritchey video blows out anything I could have come up with. I was particularly intrigued by the slack-jawed stem gazing into the distance on the floor.

And that frame's not held together with a clamp. That's obviously a crabon fibre cockring...

What have I become..

NPJ

Gay Israel said...

hate to burst your bubble snob but 1899 is solidly post the bellum.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Gay Israel,

Yes, but if you were born in 1899 that makes you a "noob," since the scene was clearly in full swing by then. All the "OGs" were born antebellum and acquired their bike-handling skillz and street cred from riding velocipedes and p-fars.

--RTMS

John Z. said...

hahaha. What a great article! You hit it on the head. I'm tired of showing up to an alleycat race with the fixie kids and having those punks eyeball me because:

1. I have the sense to wear a helmet.
2. my bike has derailleurs.

(in their defense, they do pick fun themes for races, something that UCI hasn't picked up on)

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i need answers dammit said...

why doesn't the girl in the video just let the helper monkeys assemble her bike?

jackoffnickleassson said...

you cunt handle the truth!

leroy said...

So my musician friend Jim is watching this really suggestive video of an attractive woman putting together a bike in a hotel room.

He's getting real uncomfortable because there is a wholesome elderly couple next to him watching the same video.

Poor Jim is beginning to squirm because the video is real explicit; nothing is left to the imagination.

Chain rings are unwrapped, a seat post is lubed and inserted and wheels are released multiple times.

The whole time the elderly couple just sits smiling politely.

Finally, Jim can't take the awkwardness any longer. He turns to the couple and explains "I'm only watching the video because I did the soundtrack."

To which the wholesome grandmotherly member of the couple replies, "Don't be embarrassed dear, we're only here because that's our bicycle."

Wait a second, I think I got that wrong.

Now I remember.

It was a different movie and the couple explained that that's their german shepherd on the screen.

Dang, it's hard to focus when you've got a Barry White tune stuck in your head.

gringo said...

I´m with the brickthrower. Theres something about bike shops that look like architecture studios that gets my brick-arm wound up.

leroy said...

Was it just me, or did that bike assembly in the hotel room video give anyone else the urge to spend last night at the IKEA checking out the assemble-it-yourself chairs?

Tom Cruise said...

Did you order the Code Red?

veloben said...

Nice to see Patrick O'Grady get a mention.

Anonymous said...

The Jobst Brandt description "serial retrogrouch and uber-curmudgeon" never gets old. :)

Anonymous said...

you missed the real "guys who cut their own hair" story:
http://www.guyswhocuttheirownhair.com/blog/detail/be_a_good_little_boy_and_run_out_to_get_your_mama_some_smokes/

what on EARTH is the theory behind those bars!?

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