Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Indignity of Bike Month: (What's So Funny 'Bout) Cleats, Love and Understanding?

If you're a cyclist, you may also be a fan of professional cycling, in which case you're no doubt following the Giro d'Italia. (It's like kind of like the Tour de France, only there are different jersey "colorways" for the various classifications, and it seems kind of like it was directed by Federico Fellini since it gets pretty "bawdy.") For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Giro and its rich, saucy, and delicious history, I have gone through the considerable trouble of posting a handy "FAQ" on my Universal Sports Giro d'Italia-themed blogular presence. These easily digestible factoids should serve as handy conversation-starters the next time you find yourself around the kinds of people who get way too excited about "vintage" Cinellis, wine, and Rapha. In the interest of taste, I did leave out the question "What's pink, hairless, and starts with the letter 'V'?," but if you really must know you can click here for the surprisingly safe-for-work answer.

Speaking of sports that are very popular internationally but only embraced by a small yet passionate number of Americans, "celebressenger" Austin Horse (also known as that guy who raced a Mercedes) is leading a ride this Saturday from Manhattan to the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, where you can watch The New York Red Bulls play professional "soccer" (that's what we call "football" in America, since we have our own kind of football that involves more man-on-man humping) against the Seattle Sounders, who are named after the 1970 novel of the same name, written by William H. Armstrong:


This actually sounds like a very enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon if you're a soccer fan, which is why I am sharing it with you. I, however, am not a soccer fan (I only like watching people kick balls when it's done for cheap laughs) so I will not be attending. (I will instead be attempting to cultivate a pretentious appreciation for the sport of cricket, which I will then bore people with at social events and ultimately play ironically in Williamsburg's McCarren Park.) By the way, true to the "woosie option" law I mentioned yesterday, there are two course options on the Red Bull Arena ride, though I assume Austin Horse will not lead both of them--unless he is either extremely fast, or omnipresent.

Incidentally, Austin Horse is also a sometimes-Outlier clothing model (yes, today's messengers wear $180 pants), which I mention only as a gratuitous segue (not to be confused with a "gratuitous segway") to this picture I recently noticed on the Outlier site:

"Yep, just taking my fixie to the beach." I've long wondered why the "fixerati" persist in taping only the upper portion of their bars (or, as I call it, the "dog's erection" taping style). This picture, though, may finally have answered my question--it must be seasonal, and they do it so that their bars match their legs. To test this theory, I'll have to wait until autumn and see if full bar taping returns with full-length pants.

Speaking of leaving things uncovered, I unintentionally seem to have touched off a helmet debate with yesterday's post. Alas, I should not be surprised, since helmet debates are like erections--sometimes dormant, but always ready to pop up at even the slightest provocation. Consequently, any mention of helmets on the Internet is the equivalent of an inadvertent "nipple slip," and then people start pitching "pants tents" in the comments. I shan't (not to be confused with "shant") continue to "flan the fames" of this debate, but I do feel I should clarify that my intention was not to call into question the efficacy of helmets. It was only to say that I think the way the writer of the Globe article posthumously castigated someone who has died a horrible death was extremely distasteful--especially considering the circumstances. I've since heard from a number of people who, unlike the writer of the article, actually know what happened. As a commenter yesterday pointed out:

Anonymous said...

The city may claim not to know the cause of the Boston accident, but as someone who saw it happen, a helmet would NOT have helped. Dude got hit bike tire stuck in the train tracks (which run right in the road), bus came flying around the corner and annihilated him as he tried to get loose. He really wasn't doing anything reckless.

May 11, 2010 4:53 PM

Says the Globe writer, "A helmetless rider is an arrogant rider." But what do you call a rider whose wheel is stuck in some train tracks? Perhaps the writer should publish another article about how we're all arrogant and irresponsible for not commuting on full-suspension 29ers. I'm sure he won't, though, since he's undoubtedly moved on in search of more deaths over which to gloat.

Anyway, there is new evidence that the risks of brakeless riding far outweigh those of helmetless riding. Moreover, even wearing a helmet will do nothing to mitigate this risk. A reader has sent me the following post from a fixed-gear forum somewhere, and I'm sure you'll agree that it is nothing short of revelatory:

o... this mite be too much info for you guys but i went to the doctor and have some info that i should probly share since you guys ride fixed.

i went to the dr. for stomache issues (gas pains and constupation) it has been happening since i started riding and i think it is from riding brakeless. he asked what my activities were and about my diet. after explaiing how to ride fixed and how you dont need brakes because you are basically one with the bike/road and lock up your legs to slow or how you can pedal backwards, but not like the bikes you ride when you were kids etc... he said it is causing too much straining on my insides and that is why im having trouble going to the bathroom. he said that over the long term it will could cause me to get pollups(?) which are what cause cancer. ass cancer is definitely not worth it. USE YOUR BRAKES!

This link between brakeless riding and "ass cancer" is the medical breakthrough that every worried parent of a budding "fixter" has been waiting for--in fact, it would not surprise me in the least to learn that the poster is at the center of a vast parental conspiracy. One likely scenario is that they've been slipping Immodium in his food and colluding with his doctor on this highly spurious diagnosis. (I'm a staunch brake advocate, but even I refuse to believe brakelessness causes cancer. This is even more of a stretch than when the PMRC tried to blame popular music for teen suicide.) Alternately, it could be that this was actually posted by a worried parent posing as a fixed-gear rider. In any case, until it's published in the New England Journal of Medicine or the Lancet, I'm going to stick to my assertion that the best reason to use a brake is to keep from crashing into stuff.

Meanwhile, we're not even halfway through "Bike Month" and, frankly, I don't know how much more of this I can take. Really, it seems as though the "mainstream media" is only interested in using it to play up the eternal (as in eternally tedious) "drivers vs. cyclists" debate. Here's another example which a number of people brought to my attention:

Sure, "sharing the road" is an important issue, but between these articles and the various interviews I've done recently it seems like the only way anybody seems able to frame any discussion of cycling is in terms of "drivers vs. cyclists," or "cars vs. bikes." Have we as Americans officially reached the point where we are no longer able to understand anything unless it is presented to us as a war, or as some "epic" struggle between the forces of good and evil? Is nobody aware of the fundamental irony that many of us drive and cycle and walk and use public transit and fly? (Notice I did not mention Amtrak--you'd have to be insane to travel that way.) Is it that hard to confront the fact that the real enemy is not the mode of transport but the idiot operating it? Do people become similarly heated over issues like "whisks vs. hand mixers?" Can I hope to one day live in a world in which people respect each-other's humanity, and in which the helmeted driver of a convertible car waves to the helmetless Dutch bike rider, and the motorcyclist embraces the Rollerblader, and the hang-glider salutes the boater, and the newspapers of America stop fighting their inevitable death by trolling for comments in the form of recycled "car vs. bike" stories, and the sun shines on shared roads, and we all join together to feast on the "epic" burrito of compassion, and joy, and mutual respect, and, as Don Cornelius used to say, love, peace and soul?

Almost assuredly, the answer to these questions are: Yes; No; Yes; Probably; and Fuck No.

In the meantime, it would behoove all of us ("behoove" means something that causes you to grow hooves) to remember the true spirit of "Bike Month," which is, of course, all about health, respect, safety, fanny-packs, and gigantic "Fred" rides. After all, as cyclists our lives are not a renewable resource--unless you shop at Jenson USA, in which case, as a reader informs me, you can buy a brand-new cyclist for $279.99:

Unfortunately, though, it turns out this was something of a bait-and-switch, since I tried to buy the cyclist for my helper monkey, Vito, and it turned out he was actually not only $9,999.99 but also unavailable:

In the end, I wound up buying a house-branded one from the secret website. He's somewhat "Fredly," made by Tektro, and only cost me $39.99 after I entered the coupon code "bikedork."

Of course, if you've just bought a brand-new cyclist on the Internet, you're going to want to accessorize him, and the first thing you should do is get him some shoes. As it happens, you can get some pretty sweet deals on Craigslist right now. In fact, the proprietor of "Keirin Culture" informs me that some sellers are even including "clits:"


Cannondale not for you? Another reader informs me the seller also has Shimano:

Just keep in mind that there are different kinds of clits--the SPD clit is small and recessed, whereas the Look type is large, red, and sort of triangular. Generally, mountain bikers have the former, whereas roadies tend to have the latter. Indeed, you can learn a lot about cyclists from checking out their clits.

120 comments:

Shu-Sin said...

BIG BANG!

mikeweb said...

Tre

thegock said...

PODI UM!!

Astroluc said...

podium?

g said...

close!

Astroluc said...

damn...

Anonymous said...

PODIUM!!

Jefe said...

Top ten?

Adrian said...

Peloton!

Red neckerson said...

Aw fuck

streepo said...

meh

landis in 06 said...

10

Anonymous said...

LOLZ

landis in 06 said...

or 13 depending on how you look at it

mikeweb said...

Hmm, no last minute update on the pink color-way jersey holder today?

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Fiskins said...

LIQU IGAS

Anonymous said...

Snobby, check your "it's" in the first paragraph.

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

le correcteur said...

top 20, barely?

mikeweb said...

Snob, did you also do the photo captions for the 'Giro mania' pictures? They have that certain j'ne c'est qua. ant1/cc/etc., please don't taze me if that's spelled wrong (which it probably is).

g said...

"(gas pains and constupation)"
Doesn't this just mean that if you ride brakeless, you'll stink and be full of shit? Hard to argue with that, really.

Jefe said...

BSNYC, I thought I put you on notice to give helmets a rest. Now you want to "stir up" the whole wisk vs. mixer debate? Have you never surfed the gourmet blogs? Those people are crazy and they will come after you.

p.s. Of course bike shoes have clits. We men just can't find them.

OBA said...

ASSC ANCR

PawnShop said...

Whisks. Definitely whisks. Love nipple slips.

Prevents ass cancer. Does this mean that brakes will increase in cost, due to an FDA approval requirement?

Anonymous said...

Snob, this is quite possibly your best post ever. From Ass cancer, to Fuck no, to big red triangular clits.

Salud!

ant1 said...

PawnShop - do you have stats to back that up?

Anonymous said...

from fixed to free
I shall flip flop
for the fear of
an anal polyp

Basso said...

Yesterday:

VINO PINK

Today:

VINO STNK

BUTT CRCK
DUDE HUMP
MUTT JUNK
RAIL RECK
STOM ACHE
BRKE CYST
ROAD CLIT
BIKE DORK

Now, where's my helmet.

LIQI GASS

leroy said...

Golly, I think I just settled the helmet debate.

I got to the end of BSNYC's book and asked my dog where he thought I should put the stickers.

He to told me to stick them where the sun doesn't shine.

So clearly, they have to go under the helmet.

I'm glad we got that settled.

Shu-Sin said...

ass (in print and image), spontaneous erections, canine erections AND clits all in one day! i think you are intentionally trying to excite us all, men and women. quick someone post a comment that will un-excite us.

JTK said...

SHOE CLIT

b-rad92 said...

Fuck yea. That was me who can't poop.

hillbilly said...

i'm hurting myself trying to come up with an egg beaters joke. somebody help

grog said...

so when i tightened my helmet strap, i suddenly had a brain fart, which is way better than ass cancer.

Charles said...

Rhymes with Delores......

TheTye said...

who else is going to be riding with the Tour -o- California??? (besides me :) )

Crystal said...

i see that i'm one of the few that doesn't write something completely senseless on your site... anyways, you can't check out a male cyclist's 'clit', he wouldn't have one... just saying...

db said...

Mulva?

Anonymous said...

the ass cancer discussion:

http://www.phlbikes.com/comments.php?DiscussionID=4011&page=1#Item_26

ringcycles said...

"every time I feel it slipping away, makes me want to cry...."

Anonymous said...

Fixed Clit or Floating?

John said...

large red triangular clit + lunch at desk = Vindaloo on monitor

You got me!

TheTye said...

Ah, Crystal.

I see you are trying to transcend senselessness to reach silly pointlessness. well done.

stupid rick flair said...

awesome: "Is it that hard to confront the fact that the real enemy is not the mode of transport but the idiot operating it?"

Anonymous said...

SENZ LESS

PawnShop said...

ant1:

Weedo neeno stinking stats! It's whisks!

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!

ringcycles said...

pink hairless riders, nipple slips, and bike shoes with clits? Somewhere a coppenhagen cycle voyeur has sprung his frame pump.

waxmouth said...

Snobbus:

Whiskus melior est quam hand mixerus.

Caput infractum peor est quam helmetus.

3G said...

KTCH NAID

rezado said...

Snob,

Didn't you race a mini? How come no one knows about that?

FLAN YUMM

Anonymous said...

Go Sounders!

Shaun said...

I once had a terrible accident on account of a loose clit. Be careful out there.

J-Bird said...

Damn! I knew something was wrong. My shoes don't have any clits.

ruskerdu said...

This is what the sounders are actually named after

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urethral_sounding

ant1 said...

Mrs. Fatty had an issue where her clit got stuck in her pedal during her iron(wo)man. sounds painful.

Anonymous said...

Whisks are for woosies.

ant1 said...

Whiskey is for real men.

Paul Bowen said...

Snobbers, one of your great posts I have to say; loving the Giro blog posts too.

Bad Lawyer said...

Great job in the Blog-way at Universal Sports, Snob.

Anonymous said...

how the hell is he a sponsored athlete?

Koba said...

the Red Bulls scarf thing is a perfect example of morons at work. In Europe, soccer is a winter sport, so the fans wear scarves to keep warm. In N. America, soccer is played in the summer so fans wear scarves because they can't create their own culture and instead settle for simulacrum - which they mistake for 'authenticity'

that said, BSNYC stickers on my clit

Salty Seattle said...

Warning to those thinking of buying those shoes-

Once you're familiar with all that your new clit can do, it can be hard to leave the house.

Anonymous said...

Man clits are real
Those pussies are all over fixlandia
Like fresh water mussels
They are not the ones you want to eat

Daddo said...

um...we (men) don't have trouble finding clits - you're confusing the shoe part for the place where it is best to observe the Giro each day- the "G-Spot"

two different things ... one of which is as plain to find as the the bottom of your shoe and the other which can be debated on to the extent where its very existence may just be mythical

Salty Seattle said...

Shu-Sin @1:23-

What if I actually called it my "Vinokourov"?

Salty Seattle said...

rezado-

Close!

It was a Smart Car. I'd link if for ya, but I'm not any good with the search tool.

Salty Seattle said...

Anon 2:11-

Yes!!

Go Sounders!

ringcycles said...

Whisks all the way. Anyone worth their James Beard collection knows that hand mixers are for woosie Rachel Ray wanna-bees, already addled by Betty Crocker boxed recipes.

All You Haters Taste My Famed Flan!

wishiwasmerckx said...

If I ever catch wind of you using a hand mixer on eggs, I will whisk myself to your city, ride brakeless to your house, and kick your fucking ass.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Clitoris jokes? My, you are a cunning linguist.

WMdeR said...

"Do people become similarly heated over issues like 'whisks vs. hand mixers?'"

Yep. I used to wait tables at a not-quite fine-dining restaurant where I'd get asked if the hollandaise was made with a hand whisk or with a mixer.

M.E. said...

LICK CLIT

TAST GOOD

Yeah. . . .

hackneyed sojourn said...

Thanks for taking our Globe writer to task, he certainly deserved it. More importantly though, did you know your book has sold out in our fair city's largest book store(Borders DTX)? Clerks are now sending would be buyers in cars scurrying about our city to other locations in the midst of helmetless cyclists they can't respect-- somehow I know this wasn't what you intended. You've got to call your people, or better still, now that Vito's back, put him in charge of distribution.

Anonymous said...

Marge Schott?

dodohed said...

how about this:
The Interdepartmental Bureau of Bicycle Enforcement Agency
Like Bike Rangers. They could have cool unis and armbands with swastikas in a crankarm/pedal type of motif.
Poach a one-way: straight to car washing work camp for you.

Anonymous said...

ahhh, now I understand why sometimes my bike shoes can be painful and irritating.

Bilbo Baguette said...

as a baker, I am always prepared for a good whisk vs. handmixer argument. Who has time or drawer space for one of those electric powered thingamajigs?

Anonymous said...

Brakeless Fixie Rider = Poser.

Salty Seattle said...

Anon 4:45-

That means you're doing it wrong.

Allow me to introduce you to your fellow commenter, M.E@3:55.

George Not Hincapie said...

Clits on shoes!? Let's not pussy foot around that discussion...

Anonymous said...

funny how those explicit labels only made me want to own the album more

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Snob the laugh-per-paragraph meter is pegged. I don't know how you do it but keep on.

SD friend said...

best final paragraph i've read. do they have amtrak on the east coast also? it really is slower than riding by bike

Anonymous said...

I've been bike commuting for 15 years and got laid off last week. How's that for Bike To Work Month?

Sigurd said...

As a physiotherapist, I was fascinated by the M.D's diagnosis. Certainly, using ones legs to execute a fixie "brake-skid" (or whatever the hell it's called) requires fair abdominal action to stabilize and position the pelvis and hips, as well as the lower back etc. This would increase intrathecal pressure, i.e. compress the internal organs. How this would actually impair their function is in question, but it's probably possible in individual cases --- sadly, an epidemic is too much to hope for. Overindulgence in bad food and cheap beer is a more likely culprit. And hey, Crystal - you're so smart and sophisticated, and not shy about sharing your insights. Tell Cindi, Candi, Lindy, Mindy, Brad, Chad and Biff you posted and got lots of nice feedback.

Luke said...

Has anyone noticed Vande Velde's look of madness in all those crash photos? It has been haunting me for days! His sneer is reminiscent of a Batman villain's:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/93rd-giro-ditalia-gt/stage-3/photos/120167

Fred said...

That doctor obviously did not receive his training in Europe. Any wannabe Eufemio can tell you that the fixter kid is suffering from a condition known as Liquigas. You can tell a sufferer in the peloton by the quiet "fizik" he emits.

It's not cancer causing, but it is a greenhouse gas.

cyclotourist said...

BUYS ANDY
BUYC LITS
FRED CLIT

Cat 4 said...

CLIT CRIT

Is there such a thing?

Dr Spock said...

VdV got a brand new collarbone made entirely out of titanium carved from an old Eddy Merckx frame they had hanging around the operating room. That'll put him right as rain!

n8k99 said...

off the back...

the best laptop battery said...

Hello,I am new here!
happy to share your blog!
I like go to work by bike,I think it is good to my health and save energy

Salty Seattle said...

Hey Spammers!!!

Go away please.

theshepherdsdog said...

99

cyclotourist said...

SPAM FREE

Century ride, but just a metric.

Salty Seattle said...

Way to go, Tourist!

The KOM is yours.

Nice lead out, SheperdsDog!

Done working late tonight. Whew!

cyclotourist said...

I owe it all to the domestiques. Hella' good team we make. West Coast time it's still the martini hour.

rasananda said...

I like understanding ! Those people and they will come after you.

P & S said...

Please accept this humble cliterature

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justine said...

i live on the "other" side of bushwick and i ride a bike with 21 speeds, brakes, and a helmet. at times peers have dismissed my bicycle (when your JOB is restaurant delivery, and your bike has a flat and its too late to get a tube to fix it, and my bike is the only one you could borrow and you say NO because its not, what, HIP?) i started talking to a lot of cyclists starting years and years ago, and confronting the debate of fixed, single speed, brakes, no brakes, freewheel, etc... most of the people i've known who stopped riding fixed no brakes is because of knee damage that requires surgery and doesn't ever really go away. most of the people i've known personally or through friends who have died in bicycle accidents were riding without brakes. helmets sure help, but when i got plowed by a van ten years ago and knocked my teeth out a helmet didn't help me. also neither did brakes, because this was just an asshole who was looking one way driving another. anyway, just wanted to say its not going to be cancer that kills you riding a bicycle, its carelessness. BE SAFE.

Anonymous said...

"Is it that hard to confront the fact that the real enemy is not the mode of transport but the idiot operating it?" Sounds awfully like "guns don't kill people, people kill people," and I'm hoping you don't believe that nonsense. I think the mode of transportation is a big part of the problem, especially when that mode of transportation is dominated by gigantic SUVs. A 6000lb block of fast moving, truck-shaped metal is inherently dangerous, no matter if the operator is an idiot or not. Just like a brakeless 18lb block of fast moving, fixie-shaped metal is inherently dangerous. The inherent danger of automobiles is the whole idea behind separate bike lanes--separate the modes of transportation, at least a bit and depending on how they are designed.

Anonymous said...

LADY BITS

sully said...

WOOO look at me Im 110 on the podium1!! get a life.

Bryan said...

Huh?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126174777

Stupid Name said...

http://gothamist.com/2010/05/12/bike_lane_battle_spreads_to_upper_w.php

Bike lane madness. Let the killing begin.

CK said...

So if the brakeless riding causes cancer and the tight jeans are squiching their pant yabbies then the fixeraty will eventually become extinct...sounds good.

Dave said...

You realize that hipsters riding brakeless fixies are probably also smokers. The thrill of risking ass cancer AND lung cancer is going to prolong the whole brakeless fixie thing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for not making "dog's erection" a hyperlink.

William A. said...

What are the options? Taking transit. After this article I through away my pass and am buying a hummer.

http://www.vancouvernewsblog.com/2010/06/skytrain-can-injures-elderly.html

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