In the past 24-ish hours, I've received a tremendous number of emails alerting me to the "dropping" of a new cycling-themed music video. It's already been posted on a number of blogs and websites, and seems to have gone what they call "virile" in Web parlance. The video is called "Performance" and features "MC SpandX," and just in case you haven't seen it yet I'm "embuttering" (that's Web parlance for "putting") it below:
Unlike that awful "Hugo and Treats" video this appears to be entirely satirical, and it's full of winking commentary. For example, while MC SpandX boasts about his superior fitness and expensive road bike and adopts the swagger of the "serious" roadie, he is in fact "palping" a triple crank and those pedals that are flat on one side and clipless on the other:
Moreover, they're bolted to a Tirreno frame which appears to still have the warning sticker affixed to the left chainstay:
And in perhaps his most knowing nod to "Classic Fred-dom," he's "curated" an ensemble which includes both half-shorts and the jersey of the Australian National Champion:
These are all clever touches (to say nothing of the fixed-gear rider's ultra-narrow bars and visible posterior crack) and I'd like very much to laugh at this video along with everyone else. However, as I watched I couldn't help thinking something was amiss. First of all, the inexpensive Tirreno road bike is used interchangeably with a Dura Ace-equipped Cannondale in the same greenish colourway:
Moreover, the video is called "Performance," and Tirreno is a Performance Bicycle house brand. It seemed suspicious to me that MC SpandX kept switching between the Tirreno and the Cannondale with Dura Ace, as if he somehow wanted us to subconsciously equate the Tirreno with a more expensive bicycle. Also, pretty much everything else MC SpandX is "rocking" in the video can actually be purchased from Performance too--right down to the Forté crabon fork. And what about MC SpandX himself? Surely a rapper this talented would have "dropped" something before this, but consulting a popular internet search engine revealed no additional information about him--though I did discover an "MC Lycra" who makes a guest appearance along with Priya on Bindha Aujla's "Yaar Kure (Twerk It)." (Hugo and Treats really should think about remixing this one.) It's almost as though his persona is completely fabricated.
At this point I was pretty much convinced that what I was watching wasn't independently produced comedy that references Performance in jest, but is instead an insidious bit of "virile marketing" wrought by Performance itself. After all, this wouldn't be the first time they've done something creepy like this. Finally, I watched the video again in slow motion, and my worst fears were confirmed. This thing's lousy with subliminal messages like a recumbent rider's beard is lousy with donut crumbs. For shame, MC SpandX. Look at this fraction-of-a-second blip touting Performance's end-of-summer blowout:
Or this gratuitous insertion of some Nashbar coupon codes:
Or this bit of mail-order trash talk:
In fact, by the time the video was over I'd received an email confirming that I'd just bought 16 of those distressingly phallic Spin Doctor "chain" cleaners (seen in use here) and a single irregular Pearl Izumi lobster mitten, despite my having no recollection of ever placing the order.
In any case, since this video is already well on its way to phenomenonia, hopefully I've at least managed to break the spell and people can continue to watch and enjoy without also falling victim to Performance's twisted scheme.
Speaking of twisted schemes, there are nefarious people in New York City who endeavor to steal saddles, which means that if yours is the centerpiece of your groupo you may need to go so far as to lock it. Indeed, I recently encountered what very well may be the most securely locked saddle I've ever seen:
When you take more time and effort to lock your saddle than you do the rest of your bike it may be time to re-evaluate your component choice. I'm all for comfort, but not at the expense of efficiency and practicality, and between the heavy saddle and the Kryptonite chain this person is carrying around like 20 pounds just to rest his own ass. But while the bicycle is bloated in the posterior department it is withered and anemic elsewhere. Note the undernourished bars:
Yes, making your bicycle a rolling showcase for your saddle comes at a price, and that price is a saddle/lock combo that weighs as much as a triple-chainring Tirreno. However, you do get pride of place in the saddle hierarchy, and for some people that alone is worth it. Note how these riders have parked in right-to-left ascending seat-cachet order with the stock Pista saddle at the bottom, the vintage Italian saddle in the middle, and the classic leather at the top:
Of course, you don't need to carry around a giant Kryptonite lock solely for your saddle. You can also use two u-locks, as in this photo which was recently forwarded to me by a reader:
Yes, that's way more convenient.
Still, people love Brooks saddles--so much so that Brooks has "collabiated" with a wallpaper artist (because nothing says "cycling" like "wallpaper") to make this thing, which I saw recently on fixed-gear freestyle impresario and collabophile Prolly's blog:
Apparently the wrinkles are supposed to represent the topography of Alpe d'Huez, though they really just look like buttsweat-induced creases, and at first I glance I thought this one was pre-distressed from the factory. In fact, I recently stumbled upon this YouTube video of a Brooks saddle-distresser on her way home from work. Unfortunately, it seems certain fetishists have learned that Brooks saddle-distressers tend to possess certain physical attributes, and as such they've taken to loitering outside the factory with video cameras.
Here's some more Brooks love. This photograph from the Brooks site was taken moments before this couple was tragically crushed to death beneath the weight of their own loaded touring bikes:
On a quiet beach at night, nobody can hear you whimper--especially when your chest is compressed by 60lbs of pannier and the nose of your B17 is crushing your thorax.
Still, Brooks saddles certainly make more sense for touring than they do for urban riding. In the city, you're much better off going with something cheaper. However, there is such a thing as too cheap, as you can see from this photograph, also forwarded by a reader:
Sure, you may not need 20 pounds of lock:
But you do need a lot of electrical tape.