Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Clothes-Minded: You Are What You Wear

One of life's greatest challenges is finding a balance between adhering to your own beliefs and imposing them on others. Whether it's spirituality, or diet, or choice of drivetrain components, it's important to keep in mind that what works for us may not work for others. And while we may choose to don a cone of smugness from time to time and broadcast our own opinions, it's important not to force that same cone upon another's head. Still, it's human nature to share our beliefs, so if you're inclined to do so at least consider turning dogma into entertainment by taking various cones of smugness and juggling them, like this person I recently spotted on Houston Street:

Speaking of smugness, few media outlets juggle it as flambulliently as NPR, and as some commenters noticed yesterday I make a brief appearance yesterday on "All Things Considered," which you can listen to below if you're so inclined:



Incidentally, it's not easy to get onto NPR due to their stringent smugness guidelines. Knowing this, I arrived at the interview clad head to toe in Obama paraphernalia and carrying WNYC ECOBAGS® Tote filled with organic produce purchased at the Park Slope Food Coop. However, NPR's Smugness Inspectors discovered that in 5th grade I had voted for David Berenbaum in the election for Class President. While my decision was motivated solely by his promise to lower the price of chocolate milk in the school cafeteria, apparently he was also a staunch conservative with a strong pro-life stance, and it was only after the Chief Inspector strapped me into an Aeron chair and did something unspeakable to me which he called "deprogramming" that they finally allowed the piece to air. In any case, thanks very much to JoElla Straley for letting me participate in her report, and thanks to NPR for the crippling fear and sleepless nights.

But while all I contributed to the report was fluff and a voice which one reader called that of an "arrogant nerd," someone who's actually somewhat credible also made an appearance, and that person is New York City Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Under her reign of terror, the city has added many new bike lanes, and in the NPR piece she cites bike theft as a major reason more people don't ride to work. As I've said before, I think fear of bike theft is mostly a flimsy excuse not to ride, though I do admit it is a problem. Consequently, at least some New Yorkers are taking the matter into their own hands:

This is incredibly disturbing. The attempted theft and ensuing beating is one thing, but the fact that messengers are now brunching in the East Village is incontrovertible proof that we live in troubled times. Fortunately, though, they have not been so softened by Eggs Benedict and $9 Bloody Marys that they will allow somebody to get away with stealing their bikes. While the incident was captured on video, unfortunately the thrilling footage has since been pulled from YouTube. Now, I don't condone violence, but having watched the video I do think the messengers were merciful and fair in their treatment of the thief. Sure, they landed a few punches, but they mostly just pushed him around, and the fact that he was able to walk away means he got off easy. However, I did manage to get a screenshot of the video shortly before it was pulled, and it does reveal a flagrant face mask foul:

At least the thief was wearing a helmet.

Nonetheless, I stand by my semi-serious assertion that what we cyclists need is not greater protection from bike theft, but rather an overall relaxing of the dress code. Theft will continue to exist no matter what we do, but there's no reason we shouldn't be able to ride our bikes to work because our bosses require us to meet some arbitrary standard of appearance. If you listen to the morning traffic report, it's full of car accidents, stalled trains, and general mishaps. Really, commuting is a battle--people actually die getting to work. Yet we feel compelled to maintain the illusion that the whole endeavor is dignified, as though battling for your life on the streets is somehow more civilized if you do it in khaki pants and wingtips. But the truth is that a "business casual" clusterfuck is still a clusterfuck, and there's no reason we should all have to pretend we didn't travel to get to work.

Then again, I suppose pretending is the point. Take the young woman I saw this morning on a Lower East Side stoop:

At first glance she might appear to be recovering from a long night of partying, substance abuse, and general misbehavior. However, it turns out she was actually the subject of a photo shoot, and there were something like eight people working to make her look this way:

Presumably, these people are spending a lot of time and money to make someone look "tore up" so that they can sell this studiously "tore up" look to other people. This way, we can look fashionably "tore up" on the weekends before we even leave the house. Not only is looking "tore up" in this context socially acceptable, but it's also expensive. Yet at the same time, we're not allowed to look "tore up" when we're commuting and working, even though these are things that often actually do tear you up. If anything, I say you should be able to wear your crappy clothes to work and save the nice stuff for the weekends, even if you work in an office. Or, you can just walk around in a shirt in the "Rawr!" colourway, like this guy who I also encountered this morning:


Unlike the brunching messengers, he's got his tail tucked neatly between his legs:

Perhaps his bike just got stolen.

But while I believe in embracing the fact that riding a bike in the city can make you look somewhat rumpled and dirty, other cyclists prefer to push the whole faux dignity thing even further by doing "tweed rides," like this one which was forwarded to me by a reader:


And still others prefer to make a statement by foregoing clothing altogether and simply getting naked. Take the recent Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride for example:

A reader send me the above photo which he kindly pre-sepiaed, though since it was still unsafe for work I took the additional step of censoring it with images of both Larry King and the Opinionated Cyclist. (The only thing more frowned upon in our society than showing up to work in rumpled, sweaty clothing is showing up to work in rumpled, sweaty clothing and looking at pictures of breasts and penises.) Still, my censorship does not hide the most disturbing aspect of the photo, which is that the rider is not "palping" a saddle:


Another reader was kind enough to forward me actual video of the event. Here's some unsafe-for-work footage of the roll-out, which is decidedly more "Penga!" than "Venga!"



Indeed, the only thing more satisfying than watching a fixed-gear rider dab during a trackstand attempt is watching a pantsless fixed-gear rider dab during a trackstand attempt:

You may or may not also find tire inflation more satisfying when it's performed without pants, depending on your sensibilities:



And while it seems that all of Philadelphia disrobed in order to ride their bikes, it's ironic that pornographic actor Jack Lawrence prefers to ride his crabon wonderbike while fully clothed in team Discovery USPro Championship kit, as forwarded to me by Stevil Kinevil of AHTBM:



I guess when your job requires not wearing pants you actually relish the opportunity to wear them in your free time. However, he clearly still likes things that are long and uncut:


Nonetheless, he prefers to save the "wood" for the workplace--unlike this rider:


I guess he prefers to keep both hands on his wood while he rides:


And while it's becoming increasingly common to see a fixed-gear with wooden handlebars, it's still relatively rare to see one with a bento box:

Still, I have yet to see a bike with both wood and a box--though I'm sure there's a website for that somewhere.

115 comments:

Anonymous said...

Woot! Woot!

mikeweb said...

I'm naked

Anonymous said...

Shredddddin'

mikeweb said...

Farrar again!! Until today, that is...

landis in 06 said...

cycle porn

Pontius Pilate said...

Virtvs probata florescit.

HAIL CZSR!!

-P.P.

Anonymous said...

Naked 2nd

Mad Jack McMad said...

Taking my pants off right now.

Boom Shanka.

Anonymous said...

HCFVS

Greg Mu said...

I am a pair of shorts

Anonymous said...

11th!

Strayhorn said...

"Tweed" rides? Let me edit that for you: Twee rides.

Much better.

hillbilly said...

beautiful....couldn't agree more, which is why I am happy I work in a place where everybody dresses like shit.

mikeweb! 2 straight!

ken e. said...

fuck!

Astroluc said...

I cycle without pants, oh wait...

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

the only jumping of the shark i notice with you is that you are getting mighty cozy with sadik-khan, who is ok in my book, and psw from transalt....what's next? a david byrne lovefest?a collabo with "brooklyn by bike?" on one of her "tweetups?"

hillbilly said...

Taking a cue from Cadel, I'm crying that I was shoved off my line. (although, in fairness to him, does he have a teammate at the Vuelta???!!)

bikesgonewild said...

...think that "bro" was wearing a kids 'mutant ninja turtle helmet'...

...his bike thievery style wasn't very 'ninja-ish', he was lookin' kinda 'turtle-ish' under those blows & he's one lucky fuck those guys didn't really 'mutate' his sorry ass...

..."don't steal bikes, bro !!!"...

Mark from NYC said...

I love the constitutional debate during the Philly Naked Ride video... If you're going to debate someone on the limits of free speech, try the naked hairy hipster on a bike... That'll make for a profound debate.

Dan said...

David Byrne is giving a free talk about bike commuting here in Austin. Presumably elsewhere, too, presumably clothed.

mikeweb said...

Yes!! The Larry King-ized picture is using the fabled Larry King Miami mugshot from the 70's!

These are amazing days my friends...

Anonymous said...

More smutty jokes than the 7th grade locker room.

mikeweb said...

Hmm... check out Jack Lawrene's seatpost - is he compensating for something?

Uhh, probably not...

kane said...

Saddle-less naked riding. Ouch.

The Parkinsons said...

When I was five years old, I learned how to ride a bike on a saddle-less hunk of junk coaster bike. I did it all by myself, no Daddy running behind me holding me upright and no training wheels. To this day it was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life.

I pedaled out into street and was immediately welcomed to the real world of cycling: "Get out of street!" "You want to get killed?" Then came the catcalls about how I shouldn't sit down.

Stopping a coaster brake bike without sitting down ain't easy, especially when you have, lets say... 42 seconds worth of biking experience under your belt.

Test Tickle said...

who told the nudist beach goers (who are always disproportionately more penga) to hop on their bikes?

LESS PNGA

MORE TITS

balls.

Slappy said...

ah well, they should have drilled some remembrance holes in his hands and feet for crime atempted..

flaco said...

That video was staged. almost without a doubt. "I remembered I had my phone?" please. and no blood, and they just let the guy go?

Anonymous said...

The Bianchi with the bento box has a flat

grog said...

"I was born this way"

NAKD BIKR

rezado said...

RAWR

Anonymous said...

hate the new ads. they're all in my space.

Anonymous said...

FUCT WEED

Anonymous said...

I have several bikes. I wish I could lock them up say, in the city and have a dinner or see a show. The thing is, I drive in because nobody would ever steal my car, yet my bikes would all be stolen fer sure (one at a time).

=one more car.

Anonymous said...

http://savethelegs.com/index.php/who-is-bikesnob-nyc

bikesgonewild said...

..."tore up" as a "look", huh ???...

...try "torn down" by the bronx's sophia ramos from her cd "her majesty"...

...listen to this chick sing & you'll know what's really "hip" in nyc...

...just sayin'...

yogisurf said...

Great wrap up....Bike riding P#$r Star, Boxes and Wood.

Test Tickle, re yesterday, I'm just along for the ride. I bike everyday and love to laugh. BSNYC points out ironies and oddities in cycling and lo-and-behold, I fit the bill for some of them. BSNYC did a bit on the ridiculous looking Selle SMP saddles…yes, I ride 4 of them. I haven’t bought bike socks in 2 years, but I still have 3 drawers full. BTW, Yogi was my Dad’s nickname in the 1940’s. And I do hate bike lane salmon. That was a great joke ad on the rusty, $950 Peugeot.

ant1 said...

Snob - American Apparel, eh? I see your good taste is not limited to the cycling world. Thanks. I'll be sporting it this weekend at http://24.fastermustache.org/.

mikeweb said...

In so far as Janette Sadik-Khan goes, she has some great ideas, but some of these seperated bike lanes aren't it. don't get me wrong, they're great for people who ride around at 10 MPH or less and in a bolt upright position.

I do use the Grand St. one, but when using 9th avenue I avoid that one like the plague. Those car vs. bike vs. pedestrian signals at the intersections are like throwing a walker a biker and a car into a blender and pressing puree. That and when using a non-seperated bike lane, I like the option of glancing back and swinging to the right around a car that's making (or likely making) a left turn in front of me.

But all this said, it's only my opinion and I understand that the goal of these bike lanes is to get more people on bicycles. Now if she would work a little harder on educating the people on bikes about how to correctly use the bike lanes. Like about going in the right direction would be a great start...

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to get a second Krypto, so Ill always have one handy to wail on bike thieves even while my bike is locked.

Test Tickle said...

Yogisurf- No ill intentions on my part. We are all here to laugh ... and hopefully can laugh at ourselves in the process. After all, we're cyclists, therefore we ALL look stupid to someone....

RSTY PUGT

balls.

Mike D said...

I liked the part where you said "dis guy" on NPR.

Anonymous said...

... a flat and riding fixed with no foot retention.

Doug said...

naked bento box action from the snob today!! Missed ya!

Fritz said...

then the NPR lady says...

"He can dream"

LOL

red neckerson said...

if them npr commies knew the truth being that you is a republican they wood have beet the shit out of you rite then and there for being so intolerant

Shram said...

awesome NPR bit Snob. Daytime talk shows are not far behind. Work it brother.

Just wondering, which part of "arrogant nerd" do you disagree with? Don't get me wrong, I and most of us commenters probably fit that bill.

Listen at the very end of the naked video: "wow man, wow". Yep.

jolene said...

haw aint nobody taring me up without eatin my bento box

Anonymous said...

funny, you really take it a lot easier on people when you are on the radio. saying the guy was "handy" reminds me of when you were on that brit's radio show you were insisting you were a fan of the opinionated cyclist.

gentlemansbike said...

wood and a box

http://www.rivbike.com/images/products/full/0000/2773/P1010003.jpg

bikesgonewild said...

..."aint nobody taring me up without eatin my bento box"...

...damn, jolene...we all love eatin' 'em, girl but we just like ta know where that box has bento !!!...

...if ya know what i'm sayin'...

leroy said...

Well now honestly, keeping the NPR inspectors at bay couldn't be easier.

You just tell them you make your own chamois cream from recycled mayonnaise.

Then offer to share.

Anonymous said...

BGW, as they say, once you get past the smell, you've got it half licked.

Astroluc said...

Shram,

I would not describe myself as an arrogant nerd, I prefer the term arrogant geek

...and on that bombshell

Udder said...

It's just like a bunch of hipster posers to stage a "Naked Ride" where hardly anyone is naked.

bikesgonewild said...

...anon 4:21pm...lol...

...but hey, fresh, that's empowering stuff...lead a man all through the darkness 'til the light o' dawn...

kale said...

"Nerdvoice"

there's a nerdvoice in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
you.

Shram said...

geek > nerd > dork

kale said...

geek : dork :: BSNYC : Opinionated Cyclist

Astroluc said...

NERD RAGE

GEEK FURY

those are some gnuk-tatz I could get behind.

Daddo said...

I ride to work and get all sweaty but I solve the problem by getting naked before sitting down at my desk

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

What's all this talk about 'work'?

mikeweb said...

geek:dork::recumbant:tandem recumbant

Which reminds me, I saw a tandem recumbant in CP on Labor day. I was a little disappointed that the riders weren't a little more intimately positioned like tandem lugers are.

Erik said...

Bicycle dress code goes waaaay back:

1898 dress code issue

Anonymous said...

Check out this "cool" helmet!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0018COXUW

sufferist said...

Daddo: You should try to hook up with that porn guy. He's naked alot too. You two might have something in common, beyond your love of bikes. Kizmet? I think so....

cynical anorack said...

spare us from ironic nudity

mikeweb said...

Now that I could watch the "naked" bike ride without risking getting fired, I have a question: since when did naked mean wearing underwear?!?

I mean seriously, about 75% of those people have their underwear or even a regular pair of shorts on! Was it cold that day?

Meh-titude...

Anonymous said...

My biggest problem with bike commuting is the horrible fact that I sweat profusely with the slightest exertion -- showers and lockers would be nice, but impossible.

Kapitan said...

I didn't get wood looking at that "naked" bike ride.

naked ride referee said...

The only article's of clothing allowed in a naked bike ride are: gloves,socks,headbands,scarfs(including boas),capes,and mardi-gras or halloween masks.

Salty Seattle said...

Oh..Ooops! I'm sorry.

Did I get any on you? It's okay; I remembered tissues this time.

Anonymous said...

I really wanted to watch the video of the bike thief getting pummeled. I've had bikes stolen from me and I've always dreamed of catching someone in the act of trying to take mine ---and how I would pummel the crap out of them. And that's what those guys did. I found it on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/6475675. But honestly, I just feel sick from watching it. I feel bad for the guy - however he ended up stealing bikes - probably addicted to heroin or he's just a idiot - and to get caught by some aggressive bike messengers too? He's pretty lucky really - they seemed to let him off easy. But nonetheless I got no satisfaction out of watching it. I'm glad they caught him and didn't lose their bikes, and he definitely deserved a beating, but the whole thing is just sad.

jwpacifist said...

New youtube post:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD7AN9SUO40

Fierce Panties said...

Vigilante bike thief justice reads like a scene from the Ox Bow Incident. What is it about these waify hipsters that makes them obsessed with U-lock street justice. More street cred no doubt.

Are we going to see hipsters beating down jaywalkers and people who don't pay their parking tickets? Why stop at fix gear theft?

God bless the Bicycle Thief! One Less Fixie!

bikramyoganj said...

You were away so long I forgot my password! Glad your back as it adds a smile to my face reading your blog. I will be in VT biking for a week so I will miss you then too. A

Johnny Wad said...

PORN KING

Anonymous said...

The end cap closeup may be the snobbiest gotcha ever

Seattle Plastic Surgery on Lake Union said...

If by 'Aeron chair and did something unspeakable to me which he called "deprogramming"', you meant that it was a seat-less Aeron chair, and you were ball-flogged James Bond-style by Ira Glass, then I'd like to hear more about the experience...

chewbacca said...

that npr clip sounded mysteriously like squiggy from laverne and shirley and not the bike snob, but who am i to say...

Choy said...

Hey boo boo.
The "Street Justice" video can be viewed here: http://vimeo.com/6475675

bikesgonewild said...

...chewbaca @ 12:22am...

...lotta water has flowed beneath the bridge since the last bsnyc/rtms interview i recall hearing...maybe from england or denmark if i recall...

...but...i listened to this n' though "dunno if that's the same voice i remember hearing"...

...now, i certainly could be wrong & i've admittedly been wrong plenty of times before but...

...hmmm !!!...i'm palping a ponder-izm.........

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:23,

I know what you mean about being disgusted watching the beatdown video. Unfortunately, I just lost a wheelset on saturday night (due largely to my own ignorance admittedly -- thinking my quiet, semi-suburban Portland neighborhood shouldn't require drastic locking measures) and so found myself able to view that thing a couple times without much guilt.

Have always considered myself a die hard pacifist though, and so feel a bit guilty for being able to watch said video "without much guilt" if that makes any sense.

I know it's been said a zillion times, but bike thieves fuckin' suck.

Death Race said...

Snob now that i know what your voice sounds like everything has changed. I have to accept you are american...and yet still humerous, an oxymoron im not willing to accept just yet.

Life by the drop said...

Thieves suck to begin with but those asinine messenger fuctards should be locked up for that action. Lynch mob mentality and brutal public on-the-spot "justice" is for mindless shitheads with no self control. You think that guy walks away and says to himself.."hmm...'don't steel bikes bro'...yeah...good advice, I'll never steel a bike again". I hope someone uses that video to track down and prosecute those assholes. What if they had the wrong guy? What if they thought they saw someone stealing their bike and then accidentally grabbed someone else? People are wrong all the time...ALL THE TIME!! That's why we have police and a justice system. All of those shit fucking dickwads deserve to get thrown right in jail. With a fair trial that is. "Don't steal bikes bro.." What a bunch of morons

gENESIS p oRRIDGE said...

I have to wear a suit in the office. I leave it in the office with my work shoes and cycle to work bringing shirt, underwear and socks with me, then I change when I get there. Is that unacceptable in some workplaces?

Death Race, are you serious? Curb, Seinfeld, Sanders, Simpsons, 30 Rock - do these names mean nothing to you or do you not find them 'humerous'? If the former, explore and enjoy; if the latter, I can't help you!

LAFF RIOT

ringcycles said...

Jack Lawrence is the John Homes of Neo-Freds. Right down to the waterbottles.

ringcycles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beebe said...

Por vous, Snobby!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/fashion/10bikes.html?ref=nyregion

Anonymous said...

All those locks and the couldn't prevent a front flat. Or carrying all those locks caused the pinch flat.

ronan said...

what's up with the guy on Houston?

CommieCanuck said...

REd, I object to the term "commies", for the staff at NPR. In the heady days of communism in the USSR, people that boring were sent to Siberia to get a life.

I'll be on NPR next week under my real name of Mike Schweaty, talking about my new Schweaty Super-Stiff top tube. The woman interviewing me acknowledged the vertical compliance and raved that she could ride my Schweaty stiff top tube all day...

...ok, enough.

mikeweb said...

About the NYT bike fashion article:

"Eventually, fashion companies closed the loop. Acne, for instance, now sells a stylized version of the $749 Pista — available in pink for women — for $2,300."

A fashion house named Acne?

"Hello, Herman Miller? Yes, I have a new chair design for you. I call it hemmorhoid".

CommieCanuck said...

I hear Acne is merging with Pustule cosmetics.

The Hemorrhoid? Doesn't Specialized make that saddle?

Anonymous said...

I think Spandex should be outlawed.

sufferist said...

Then only the terrorist will have spandex.

hillbilly said...

look right, look left, head down.......

hillbilly said...

100

thank you very much

fingerbangin'

ant1 said...

ant101st!

bikesgonewild said...

...npr + bsnyc/rtms = "you are what you air"...

bikesgonewild said...

...btw...life by the drop...yadda, yadda, yadda...

...."hmm...'don't steel bikes bro'...yeah...good advice, I'll never steel a bike again"."...but duuude...like i thought steel was real !!!...

..."What if they had the wrong guy? What if they thought they saw someone stealing their bike and then accidentally grabbed someone else? People are wrong all the time...ALL THE TIME!!"...if yer gonna comment, follow the fucking story...the guy was bent over the owners bike w/ a cordless drill trying to drill out the fucking lock...plain enough for ya !!!

..."That's why we have police and a justice system. All of those shit fucking dickwads deserve to get thrown right in jail."...again, follow the thread...the police in 999.99% of bike theft cases do NOTHING...therefor there is no DETERRENT...these guys were offering a form of deterrent & believe me, they went pretty easy on that moron......

..."With a fair trial that is."...awww, aren't you just a fair minded little peach...

Anonymous said...

FRME PUMP

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8e4341rRJ4

dmc said...

that is one well locked pista

Chris said...

Fashion Police.... keeping Lone Wolf impostors from prowling since 1987.


http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/funny-pictures-duck-is-member-of-fashion-police.jpg

Hacky Sacker said...

When you saw the juggler, were you on your way to Whole Foods to buy yourself a kombucha?

Anonymous said...

Don't Steal Bikes, Bro video still at

Don't Steal Bikes, Bro the Video

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