Friday, July 31, 2009

BSNYC Fried "A" Fun Quiz!

(Submission by CommieCanuck)

If you're still planning to submit an entry to the BSNYC/RTMS Fat Cyclist Knuckle Tattoo Tribute Contest, please be aware that I am officially setting a deadline of Sunday, August 2nd, and any submission sent after that date will be ineligible for a prize. And speaking of prizes, I am extremely pleased to announce that in addition to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes already on offer, there is now also a Special Super Deluxe Über Grand Prize. Indeed, it turns out that the good people at Chris King Precision Components are not only fans of Fat Cyclist (they don't really like me, but whatever), but they also work to raise cancer awareness through their "Pretty and Strong" program. As such, they've generously (and totally unsolicitedly) offered to further flavorize the prize bouillabaise with a Chris King bottom bracket in the "Pretty and Strong" pink color:




And a "Pretty and Strong" t-shirt in the "hippo" animalway:

Just imagine the envy mixed with excitement your friends will feel when you insert that shiny pink bottom bracket into your robust bottom bracket junction. For maximum effect be sure to use plenty of lube and install it while wearing the t-shirt without any pants.

So to recap, the prize list for the BSNYC/RTMS Fat Cyclist Knuckle Tattoo Tribute Contest is now officially as follows:

3rd place

A BSNYC/RTMS Lounging Smock

2nd place

A set of Knog Beetle lights

1st place

A Rapha Lion of Flanders t-shirt

Special Super Deluxe Über Grand Prize

A "Pretty and Strong" bottom bracket and t-shirt from Chris King

Thanks for all the great entries so far. I will try to amass them all in a single place for public viewing before announcing the podiumway.

Having presented you with a dizzying array of prizes, I am now presenting you with a dizzying array of questions in the form of a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right you'll probably know, and if you're wrong you'll see an ad for Penny Farthings Pantyhose.

Thanks very much for reading, emailing, and commenting. Ride safe this weekend, have fun, and don't put anything in anybody's flower box unless they specifically ask you to do so.


--BSNYC/RTMS



1) These wooden handlebars are:

--"a one of a kind work of art."
--"not intended for full weight support or to be ridden with."
--"only intended to be used as an aesthetic improvement or for display purposes only."
--All of the above






3) A fixed-gear "curated" by a "Wednesday weed" enthusiast is likely to feature:






4) According to the "Homegrown Evolution" blog, the scythe is to the weed wacker:







5) This fixed-gear Schwinn Varsity, currently for sale on the San Francisco Craigslist, is:







6) You can now apply your knuckle tattoos with a Campagnolo front derailleur.






7) Why is this man in the bike lane?

--He is about to purchase a bike from a passing bicycle vendor
--He is superstitious and is afraid to walk under scaffolding
--He is superstitious and is afraid to wear socks with his loafers
--He is a doofus





8) Why is this man in the bike lane?

--He's trolling for "flower box"
--He gets better cellphone reception in the bike lane than he does on the sidewalk
--His shorts are too wide for safe sidewalk passage
--He is a doofus



***Special "Do Not Put Anything In My Flower Box" Bonus Question***



"It's schlongtacular!" Where can you see this fully naked man?

--A print ad for Optygen endurance supplement
--A "Bicycling" magazine online feature about outrageous cycling fans at the Tour de France
--Graham Watson's premium "members only" page
--The 9th Avenue protected bike lane in New York, NY

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bicycle Marketing: Survival of the Beefiest

(Martha knows great bloggers...and Great Head.)

As you can see from the image above, the BSNYC/RTMS Fat Cyclist Knuckle Tattoo Tribute Contest has heated up and is yielding some stunning submissions. In fact, some of them have rendered me more slack-jawed than Martha Stewart after a 90-minute "hike" around Great Head. However, incredible imagery doesn't only come in the form of contest submissions. Here is a photograph that has absolutely nothing to do with the contest, but which is awe-inspiring nonetheless:

(Taking it lying down.)

The above photo was taken by a reader and comes from the wilds of Canada (actually, the area could be perfectly civilized for all I know, but I just think every part of Canada is "the wilds"--except for the French-speaking parts, which are "Les Sauvages") and as you can see it depicts an actual AYHSMB recumbent. While the AYHSMB rallying cry does have its origins in the fixed-gear "culture," it has subsequently been adopted by the recumbent community as well, since recumbent riders arguably receive more derision than fixed-gear freestylers, off-road unicyclists, freeriders, and men who don't bother to lift the toilet seat before urinating when they visit people's houses combined. Also, it's certainly more fitting, since the recumbent position is far more conducive to receiving testilingus from "haters" than perhaps any other style of cycling.

Speaking of rallying cries, I recently discovered a phrase that could serve as an appealing alternative to AYHSMB, which is "Do Not Put Anything In My Flower Box:"

First of all, unlike AYHSMB, this phrase can be used unironically by those without testicles. Secondly, whereas AYHSMB is confrontational and implies physical contact with your adversary, DNPAIMFB simply calls for your adversary to steer clear of you altogether. Lastly, while ball-sucking is completely lacking in subtlety, putting something in someone's flower box is about as gentle (and fragrant) a metaphor for coitus as any I've ever heard.

The truth is that the world of cycling can be an overly masculine one: too many balls, not enough flower boxes. Take for example the new Gary Fisher road bike, which features a downtube that is "the largest that Fisher or Trek has ever created:"

Honestly, is this really a selling point? Just how large does a downtube need to be? Can you mount twin water bottle cages side by side? Still, many riders will doubtless be seduced by the notion of having a huge downtube swinging back and forth between their legs when they're out of the saddle in that "town line sprint" they're always referring to in the bicycle reviews.

Of course, a great big swollen downtube is worthless if it's not jammed into a "beefy" bottom bracket, so Trek/Fisher have wisely leapfrogged "beefy" and gone right to "robust:"

While crabon fiber is certainly a good material for building race bikes, it also has a dangerous downside. No, I'm not talking about the fact that it can break--after all, steel can break too. I'm talking about something even more dangerous, which is its ability to be molded into all sorts of crazy shapes. This allows bike designers to make all their most engorged phallic visions into reality. If road bikes keep swelling up this way one day you're going to go to Interbike and see a big carbon fiber penis with wheels--though arguably that's what a faired recumbent is already. Maybe that's where all this is going. Once the big bike companies have us all riding bloated bikes, it probably won't be that hard for them to convince us to lie down on them too. It's a recumbent conspiracy, and its insidiousness is matched only by its dorkiness.

That said, The Great Trek Bicycle Making Company and Gary Fisher deserve credit for the "Race Utility" concept, since in addition to making a giant downtube and bottom bracket junction they also took advantage of the opportunity to build some tire clearance and fender mounts into the frame. It's good to see that it's not all about getting us to collectively mount their huge downtube; at least they're offering some practicality, too, and I was genuinely pleased to see it. Still, I think it is important to be wary of "beefy bottom bracket" marketing, since a pair of fender mounts or a few more millimeters of tire clearance will improve the quality of your ride far more than some extra downtube girth or bottom bracket robustitude. In fact, this is a perfect opportunity to try out a new phrase:


Speaking of reviews of bikes with beefy bottom brackets, you may recall that not too long ago I reviewed a Look 566 road bike. Well, I noticed recently that no less a cycling publication than Cyclingnews recently reviewed the very same bike:

Not only that, but they pointed out pretty much the same thing I did, which is that if you're going to build a road bike that "does it all" you might as well include some versatility (or "Race Utility" in Trekspeak) too. Here's what Cyclingnews had to say:

We would have expected a bit more clearance for chubbier, sportive-friendly tyres (25s or maybe even 28s) and single mudguard eyelets also wouldn't hurt – performance is never compromised with slightly larger tyres, and the likelihood of a 566 Origin owner doing a wet brevet/grand fondo/sportive is high.

Of course, they also couched this criticism in the conclusion that the bike is "lively, quick and light for how its specced." (Saying something is "light for how its specced" is kind of like giving someone a discount by charging them 100 cents instead of a dollar; the bike weighs what it weighs, no more and no less.) Furthermore, the reviewer was somehow able to discern that the "squared and twisted chainstays stiffen the ride and soften the bumps." I'm not sure how you'd know that without trying another Look 566 with round and straight chainstays, but then again I'm not a real bike reviewer. Amazingly, though, this has not prevented someone else from sending me a road bike to evaluate, and I plan to "drop" a review in the not-too-distant future. Here's a preview of the bottom bracket shell, in case you're interested:

"Sutured" is the new "robust."

Meanwhile, fashionmonger Marc Jacobs is skipping over beefy bottom brackets and instead harnessing the awesome marketing power of p-fars. Here is the current window display at his store on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village:


It would appear then that he is moving away from the knuckle tattoo, which I saw recently adorning the Marc Jacobs bag of one fixed-gear rider not too long ago:

Yes, in order to truly understand what's hip you've got to "take it to the streets." And one thing that's certainly not going out of style in New York City is expensive yet poorly-locked track bikes. A reader recently sent me this photo, which depicts a Vivalo that is simply an unbolted wheel away from becoming someone else's:

Basically, the owner is saying, "Help yourself to my bike, but just leave me the front wheel." I realize many people are drawn to track bikes for their air of "urban cool," but maybe they should acquire the street smarts first, then get the fixie.

Another thing that's "blowing up" right now is TWS, or "Texting While Salmoning:"


As well as the triple trends of "vintage" road bikes, skater helmets, and white tires, manifest here on a single bike:


Really "feeling" the tricoloreway. Here's another "vintage" bike, though this one's day-glo:

That's a horse of a different colorway.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Distractions: Head-On Collisions

("Radio Clash Shack" by BKJimmy)

Firstly, I'm pleased to report that the BSNYC/RTMS Fat Cyclist Knuckle Tattoo Tribute Contest is off to a rotund and jiggly start. Already the entries are pouring into my mailbox like PBR down a thirsty hipster's gullet. Submissions so far include this naked bike ride knuckle tattoo/body painting freakout:


This creative belt-buckular insertion of the letters "Y" and "C:"


This phonetic spelling of "clydesdale" which at first I thought was an homage to some Scandinavian pro cyclist:


And of course this eerily compelling lobster claw tattoo (claw tattoos are the knuckle tattoos of the crustacean world):

While these are just a few of the excellent images I received, I find it noteworthy that none included "weird style diktats," though I'm sure at least one or two riders in the first submission are sporting them. In any case, thanks to all who submitted so far, and I'll do my best to make a decision, announce the podiumway, and distribute the prizeways sometime next week.

Speaking of distribution, in an age of media saturation it can be extremely difficult to get your message across to the general public. Furthermore, purchasing advertising space can be costly. This is why many people in New York City and elsewhere advertise their enterprises on the rear windows of their SUVs. One example is of course the great Clem Lue Yat (you can see his SUV here) , otherwise known as the "Eddy Merckx of Hairweaving." Another example is "Pure Romance by Sochy," which I noticed recently while on my commute:

Naturally, whenever I see an advertisement on a tinted window, I make a mental note of it and follow up as soon as I find myself in front of a computer. (Or under a computer if I've been drinking.) As such, I headed to Sochy's site as soon as I possibly could, and I must say that I'm extremely glad that I did:

While I was getting the feeling that this website was part of some pyramid scheme akin to Matt DeCanio's "Stolen Underground," I also must admit that I was a bit curious about the "Girs Night IN," which apparently involves "sensual lotions, exciting adult toys, and much more!" So I pressed on:

So it would seem then that once you start your own "Pure Romance business," you basically gather all your girlfriends together, probably get them drunk, and then proceed to sell them sex toys. So it's like an x-rated Amway, or like a Tupperware party with more likelihood of masturbation. I was curious to know more about who was behind this company and what exactly they sold. It didn't take me long to find out. The CEO of Pure Romance is Patty Brisben, and among other things she sells products that are designed to tighten the vaginal walls:

At this point, I found myself troubled by two things. Firstly, Pure Romance is clearly supposed to be something for women and by women. So why was there a shifty-looking man behind the wheel of the Pure Romance by Sochy Mitsubishi? Does he think this may be his key to becoming the next Hugh Hefner? Secondly, one of the reasons people keep crashing into things with their cars is that they're too distracted by their phones. This is why New York State has banned texting, playing games, and browsing the "innenert" while driving. Now, within minutes of punching in the URL for Pure Romance by Sochy, I was deeply immersed in a strange and sensual world of "Like a Virgin" vaginal wall tighteners and c-rings with clitoral vibrators. Had I been driving and looking at all of this on my cellphone, I would almost certainly have run down scores of pedestrians by this point. This raises the question: are these tinted window ads almost as dangerous as the phones themselves? Can any driver be expected to resist the siren call of pink letters against a black background? And of course, most pressing of all: does size matter?

The truth is that as cyclists we're often sharing the road with drivers who are highly distracted, and it's important to keep in mind that every driver you see may be practically drowning in anal confusion. Even worse, the driver may actually be asleep. Here's someone I saw recently who was not only sound asleep behind the wheel but was also vigorously sucking his thumb:

At least he was pulled over. Had he fallen asleep while in motion, by the time I heard the slurping sounds it probably would have been too late.

In any event, after browsing the Pure Romance website I badly needed to clear my head. However, wasn't quite ready to leave the world of femininity and soft hues. As such, I picked up a copy of my favorite non-cycling publication, Martha Stewart's "Living," and the very first thing I turned to was a two-page Lexus ad. Here's the left page:


And here's the right:

As I've said before, I have nothing against cars. We need them. I like them. Still, I occasionally find car advertisements offensive, and this was one of them. When you look at an advertisement, you can be sure that every single detail in it has been carefully chosen for a reason. Unlike a typical snapshot, in which things can wander into the frame, when it comes to ads there are no accidents. And it's no accident that there are two bicycles in this ad; in the foreground is an old KHS mountain bike leaning against the wall of the garage, and in the background is a child's bike resting against the house. To me, the message is clear: bikes are kids' stuff. They're meant to be left in the suburbs with the children while the grown-ups get in their cars and drive into the city. At most, they're something to play with on the weekends. Yes, the roads and urban centers of the real world are no place for a bicycle; instead, ITTET you need a $40,000 SUV to navigate them safely. Sure, a bloated and swollen "crossover vehicle" with a V6 is a lot more car than you need to simply drive yourself to work, but don't worry--it's a hybrid, so you're helping.

While the ad had made me angry, it had also at least distracted me from all that eroticism, although that distraction was short-lived. Soon I found myself reading about Martha's hikes near her summer house in Maine:


All this seemed innocent enough, but then I read this:

What kind of magazine was this?!? I thought Martha taught you how to do stuff like make attractive decorative slip covers, yet here she was talking about ninety-minute oral sex "epics." Then I turned the page and looked at the "map." Maybe I was reading too deeply into things due to the time I had spent on the Pure Romance site, but I couldn't help thinking that the Great Head trail map looked a lot like a "diktat:"


It wasn't just me, either. Celebrity Tweeter Dennis Hopper also confirmed my suspicions:


Hey, don't get me wrong: Martha can explore Great Head all day long as far as I'm concerned--just as long as she doesn't do it while she's driving.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Prize Fighting: Knuckle Down to Win

If you're reading this blog (which you obviously are), there's a good chance that you also read Fat Cyclist. And if you do read Fat Cyclist, you know that this has been a time of great difficulty for him and for his family. Since starting my own blog I've been very fortunate to get to know a number of people in the cycling world, and few have been as gracious and supportive as Fatty. On a number of occasions he has offered me unsolicited help, which I've generally repaid by remaining aloof and elusive, as is my wont.

As such, I wanted to show Fatty how much I appreciate him and how much I regret my own sorry behavior. My first thought was to get a Fat Cyclist knuckle tattoo. However, in mocking it up I couldn't figure out how to fit it on my hands, and this was the best I could come up with:


But then I had another idea. Fat Cyclist often runs contests on his blog; in fact, I was even a prize in one of these contests. (Arguably this was the second-worst prize Fatty ever offered, just ahead of the time he gave away a non-running 1987 Chevrolet Chevette.) As such, I figured I'd doff my cap to him by running a contest of my own in his honor. Unfortunately, I don't have access to the sorts of prizes Fat Cyclist gives away, like new bikes and exotic vacations. However, I did rummage around in the BSNYC/RTMS supply closet and found a few items which some people might want.

As far as the contest itself, I figured I'd invite people to create their own Fat Cyclist tribute knuckle tattoos. This can take any form you'd like. You can write something on your own knuckles. You can photoshop something onto a picture of knuckles. You can even draw a picture of a tattoo of someone with a Fat Cyclist knuckle tattoo. Honestly, I don't care what it is as long as it:

1) Somehow involves Fat Cyclist;
2) Somehow involves knuckle tattoos;
3) Is an image or video that people can look at on a blog.

I'm also setting a firm deadline of, oh, sometime next week-ish...? As for the prize list, it's marginally less impressive than what you might win in the Cat 5 field of your local office park crit, but at least it's all free:

1st Prize

A Rapha (!) Lion of Flanders t-shirt in the Mapei colorway (and in the large sizeway) which has never been worn;

2nd Prize

A pair of front and rear Knog Beetle lights (cousin to the "hipster cyst") which are still in the original packaging;

3rd Prize

A BSNYC/RTMS Lounging Smock (choice of large or medium sizeway) which has never been worn and is not for sale.

Here they are arrayed on the BSNYC/RTMS Test Sisal in all their meh-nificance:



Even if you're not impressed by any of these prizeways, hopefully people can at least have some fun and consider this contest a way of showing Fat Cyclist their appreciation for all the great blogging he's given us. And in the meantime, please visit his blog and send him your best.

Oh, one other thing: any entrants who actually get a real permanent subcutaneous Fat Cyclist knuckle tattoo will be automatically disqualified. As fond as I am of Fat Cyclist, I must say that I think getting a Fat Cyclist knuckle tattoo is an extremely bad idea. In fact, it makes this guy's knuckle tattoo seem sensible in comparison:

I have nothing but respect for those in the nursing profession, and that of course includes male nurses. However, a male nurse with a knuckle tattoo is sort of like a Rivendell with a set of crabon aero bars. Furthermore, if you're going to get a knuckle tattoo that says "Rock Star," you should at least be an actual rock star. If people aren't making plaster casts of your penis then you probably don't qualify--and messing around with the orthopedic supplies during your lunch break doesn't count. Most importantly, wondering what your boss is going to think about your knuckle tattoo on Monday is antithetical to both rock stardom and knuckle tattooing. It's like the Hell's Angel who's afraid his mother will ground him for smoking cigarettes.

Speaking of confused people, a number of readers have forwarded me this story about a firefighter who shot at a cyclist:

Attempting to kill people for engaging in unsafe behavior is the sort of über-irony to which the hipsters of Williamsburg can only aspire. Perhaps the firefighter had just come from a building inspection where, after finding a number of fire code violations, he simply doused the place in kerosene and set it ablaze. I suppose we should at least look on the bright side and be thankful he's not a sex-ed teacher. One can only imagine the sorts of punishments he'd mete out to people who fail to wear protection in bed.

Marginally less ironic is this "Lone Wolf" knuckle tattoo, to which a number of readers have alerted me:

I applaud the fact that this person doesn't "need anybody to survive," and that he lives "outside the pack, the worlds bullshit society." However, I do find it slightly vexing that this particular Lone Wolf requires tattoo validation. We've all heard the philosophical riddle: "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Similarly, if a Lone Wolf has a knuckle tattoo and no one is around to see it, is there any point getting the tattoo in the first place? Apparently not, since while he doesn't need anybody to survive he does need to upload his knuckle tattoo to an online gallery so they can see his tattoo. This is like telling your parents that you don't need them, storming out of the house, and then storming back in and asking to borrow $75.

Really, the true Lone Wolves do not need to label themselves, because if you're fortunate enough to encounter them you'll know it even without knuckle tattoos. More importantly, they transcend labeling. Take one of cycling's most notable Lone Wolves, spotted enjoying a burrito by a reader not too long ago:

I've mentioned in the past that Californians have a penchant for telling "epic" burrito stories, and while some of them can be quite tedious this particular burrito story truly qualifies as Homeric, since not only is the Lotus TT bike in the picture, but the USA logo on the front wheel is perfectly and heroically aligned like the shield of a great warrior. Of course, you don't "palp" a bike like that every day, which is why the Lone Wolf has also curated this wind-cheating daily rider, photographed by another reader:


Here's a spy shot taken during a pit stop (presumably before commencement of wind tunnel testing) which offers a clearer view of both the fairing and the under-saddle water tree:


But most telling is this photo, courtesy of Gary, which indicates that we may be seeing a Lone Wolf x Radio Shack "collabo" in the near future:

Note the "Now Hiring" sign on the door. Could we see the Lone Wolf riding for the Shack alongside Lance Armstrong in 2010? Even though a true Lone Wolf "collabiates" with no one, the fact is that the Lone Wolf also depends on his Discman (Lone Wolves hate iPods), and Radio Shack is now offering low, low prices on portable CD players. ITTET, that may be too sweet a deal to pass up.

Indeed, the only things more alluring to Lone Wolves than Discmans (Discmen? Discpeople?) are bar ends. A reader in Germany has recently forwarded me this configuration, which is an engineering and curatorial marvel:


In the right hands (or the wrong hands, depending on how you look at it), bar ends become Lincoln Logs of Insanity--of, if you prefer, Erector Sets of Madness. While ordinary cyclists simply choose a set of handlebars that are comfortable and perhaps even go so far as adding a clip-on accessory, the bar end enthusiast asks himself (or, occasionally, herself), "Where are my hands most comfortable?," and then answers simply, "yes." Here's a slightly different view of this particular setup, which reveals that this bicycle has at least two pairs of brake levers:


Yes, it's comforting to know that if your hands eventually do migrate to the forwardmost set of bar ends that you don't have to clamber back down the ladder in order to stop yourself:

Actually, it very well could be that this bicycle belongs to the Hindu deity Kali. If only I had that many knuckles, I'd tattoo them with the most "epic" burrito story the world has ever heard.