Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Consumer Innovation: Putting the Solution Before the Problem

Ever since the end of the Tour de France, cycling fans have speculated as to which team winner of no stages Alberto Contador would join next year. Theories ranged from the mundane (he would stay with Astana) to the untenable (he would abandon cycling altogether, move to Bondi Beach, and take up professional surf lifesaving). Well, after over a week of half-assed guessing, the speculation is over, and Contador has finally revealed that he will join Bjarne Riis's team. From the look of it, they're both quite pleased:

In fact, their countenances bely the sort of spiritual ecstasy generally reserved for those who practice asceticism and suspend themselves with flesh hooks:

I suppose that getting one's hooks into a Tour de France winner amounts to more or less the same thing.

Meanwhile, in other cycling news, a company called "Pants'Fix Trousers Solution" (apparently "trousers solution" is clothing tech jargon for "belt") have asked me to introduce their new "Pants'Fix holder" and new "belt opening system" to my "audience:"


Hello guys,

I would like to introduce you a new brand with design products.

Pants'Fix has patented a few diffrents products worldwide as the Pants'Fix holder (very useful for bikers) and a new belt opening system.

Now we would like to put the accent on our new belt collection the 26 Inches ,belts made with a new openning system and bar tabe available since Monday.


We would be very happy if you introduce it to your audience.

As a sarcastic person with a crappy blog about bikes, I'm occasionally asked to promote people's products, events, causes, or grievances, and while I don't often do so I'm making an exception in this case, only because I think Pants'Fix's revolutionary belt closure technology and colorways are going to change the way we think about pant suspension and retention. Consider this World Champion-themed pant waist securing device:
Now you too can be the World Champion of Keeping Your Pants Up--and you can wear a World Champion wrist-adornment solution to match:

(UCI-themed belt and matching FredStrong bracelet)

Sometimes, however, a belt is simply not enough, which is why Pants'Fix are also working on a suspender set (or "vertical trouser solution") for added security and peace of mind:

(The egg now withdrawn from her posterior, Mindy expresses relief.)

I'm surprised that the "bike culture" has not widely adopted suspenders (or "braces" if you're British or, even worse, have an affinity for ska music and Lambrettas). Having already resurrected the "fanny pack," the suspender seems like the next logical step, since it's yet another useless accessory (unless of course you need to hoist seriously heavy garments, like firefighter pants) that can be made from nylon or recycled inner tubes. Plus, they can also feature lots of pockets to store your overpriced artisanal bicycle tools. Sure, Showers Pass does make a pair, but they're not full-on utility suspenders. (Incidentally, in addition to having suspenders, Mork from Ork wore tight-fitting clothing and aged in reverse, thus setting the template for all of "hipster culture.")

Anyway, it's clear that Pants'Fix have done for accessing one's pants what Look did for foot retention, and really the only problem is finding a bicycle to match. One possibility is this Cinelli MASH Histogram 1 of 3 in existence special "collabo" limited edition colorway trackular fixed-gearified bicycle up for auction on eBay, which I saw recently on fixed-gear freestyle impresario, streetwear enthusiast, and master angler Prolly's blog:

The bidding starts at $3,000, but I recommend exercising the $5,ooo "Buy It Now" option, since you don't want to miss out on the opportunity to be one of only three people in the world with a bike this ugly (Landshark owners excluded):

If the picture's not enough to make you want this bicycle, then the description should finish the job:

Up for sale is a beaaaaaaaaaaaautiful fully built out ( parts listed below ) Cinelli x Mash Histogram Fixed Gear Bike purchased from Project Space Gallery in LA and shipped to NYC where it was built out by the famous Chari & Co bike shop. This has been featured on almost every design and bike blog and magazine and there are only 3 in existence, this being the only 55cm one. This has been ridden but literally under 10 miles, around 7 to be exact. I WILL ship anywhere in the world but it, it will be professionally packaged at the UPS store and sent out. Please contact me before bidding with any questions about shipping quotes. I'm located in downtown NYC and pick up is absolutely acceptable ( and preferred ). Payment is due with in 48 hours of the end of auction via paypal or wire transfer.

I was especially impressed to see that it had been "built out" by Chari & Co., since that's better that simply being "built," and is the kind of serious language usually reserved for porches and home extensions. Plus, while you may not be able to bid with total confidence, you can at least bid with optimism, since the seller is a solid B+ eBayer:

Speaking of the superfluous tooling trend and stuff you can keep in your suspenders pockets, yesterday I mentioned the Monkey Like Shiny 15mm U-lock socket, and I'm still trying to figure out the point of a tool that only works in conjunction with a U-lock:

In an attempt to understand, I visited the manufacturer's blog, where I learned that it's because it weighs less than a Craftsman wrench and that I "don't have to carry it:"

In a world filled with mini-tools and multi-tools and "peanut butter wrenches" and small socket wrenches you can attach to your keychain, it seems odd to use a Craftsman wrench of all things as the portable tool size and weight standard. Stranger still is the claim that "you don't have to carry it," which implies it somehow hovers alongside you as you ride. Either that, or they simply mean that you're free to leave it at home, which is also true of the Craftsman wrench, or really of any of the other myriad tools in existence. Really, the only difference between this tool and those is that the Monkey Like Shiny is the only one that is entirely U-lock dependent. Still, they have won the hotly-contested Sears hand tool weight war, so if you're a department store "weight weenie" then this is probably the tool for you.

I do of course realize I'm in the minority, and that the "bike culture" at large is delighted by innovative trouser solutions and aftermarket U-lock add-ons and quirky tools and designer bags and holsters in which to carry them, and that many people find it thrilling to ride around the city in a state of total preparedness rivaled only by rescue workers and people responding to gas leaks. Tiny tools in particular tap into the "urban cyclist's" deepest fantasy--which is of course that he or she is a secret agent of the streets who has been outfitted with all sorts of gadgetry and special weaponry by Q. Increasingly, they look like survivalists with a lot of disposable income.

Granted, special weaponry can come in handy sometimes, especially in New York City traffic, which Portlander Heidi Swift recently declared feels "borderline suicidal:"


Of course, it feels considerably less suicidal when you're used to it, which is why many New Yorkers feel the need to increase the suicide factor a bit by operating their iPhones while riding opposite the bike lane in heavy traffic and towing what may or may not be a cooler containing a human organ:

This sight is so common in New York City that it didn't even distract the gentleman on the sidewalk from petting his imaginary cat.

By the way, as I mentioned not too long ago with regard to "Bowery Bikes," I find it ironic that so many New Yorkers seem to want to emulate the functionality, ubiquity, and unremarkability of cycling in Amsterdam by purchasing costly Dutch bikes when we already have our own functional, ubiquitous, and unremarkable bicycle in New York City in the form of the "old mountain bike." Here's a good example:

It turns out you can simply carry your stuff around the city on a bicycle without spending a lot of money or being "chic," and people have been doing it for a long time. Plus, as a bonus, both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal will even pretend you don't exist.

But things are changing quickly in New York, and with the recent installation of the Flushing Avenue bike lane in Brooklyn the Great Hipster Silk Route is now almost entirely bike-friendly:

Oddly, the more bike-friendly the city gets, the more popular the expensive "survivalist" look becomes. One wonders what will become of New York City cyclists if we no longer have to fight for our lives.

84 comments:

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Nogocyclist said...

Podium

Anonymous said...

How CLose????

shoegazer said...

Heyya!

mperrone said...

Solutionize!

streepo said...

Rats!

Surly Bastard said...

Fingerbaning top ten?

Bad Lawyer said...

That's a Spanish thing, winning a Grand Tour without winning a stage, isn't it?

Surly Bastard said...

Damn dropped the G.

Anonymous said...

Eros Poli!

Anonymous said...

Did I squeeze in?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I was busy letting out my imaginary cat.

Bad Lawyer said...

When my cycling activities reached a level of obsession I took a couple of classes at the LBS to learn how to fix a flat, re-pack a ball bearings and my pre-beefy bottom bracket, true a wheel (which I never figured out), and so forth. Doing all of this stuff meant I had to acquire a bunch of bicycle dedicated tools which for the most part I've never touched. But I notice that the catalogs always have new shit I don't need. Innovation is great. Lots of shit I don't need, can't wait till Le Course en Tete is on Blu-Ray.
BL

ant1 said...

ant1st!

ant1 said...

nice work PP

ringcycles said...

You can't fool us, BSNYC. I imagine that there is a rude boy somewhere in your past that skanked to the beat. So, pick it up, pick it up, pick it up, now.

ti said...

Hasn't the "bike culture" already adopted suspenders in the form of bib shorts? Truly revolutionary!

-ti

Rail to Trail said...

"One wonders what will become of New York City cyclists if we no longer have to fight for our lives."

Danish?

Desert Rider said...

Only tools I ever hope to carry are tire removal levers and a pump.

Regarding yesterday's post, Southern AZ has more variety, yeah Tucson.

http://outsideonline.com/travel/travel-ta-arizona-tucson-road-biking-sidwcmdev_150675.html

Jefe said...

Since I can fix little else aside from my bike, an abundance of bicycle tools fills all my male needs for unecessary hardware, and they are much cheaper than circular saws and power tools.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Artis
anal

ervgopwr said...

Jefe,

Agree there, everytime I start to consider amassing various tools for motorcycles etc, I think how I only really need 3-4 for ALL my bicycle maintanence needs.

And even then, when riding, I only want to carry the smallest of essentials.

TOOL MULE

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, love. We'll still have to fight for our lives. SUVs and Access-A-Ride vans aren't going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

A more apropos name for the Cinelli would be the Hysterectomy. Just saying.

H

innerlighter said...

I'm imagining the "Raimbow" belt around Stallone's head in a gay post-Vietman action movie.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

meh

frilly said...

Contador did win, didn't he? Screw Bob Roll--I hope he chokes on his hater tots.

And I for one can not wait to see AC and FabC riding together.

Muy caliente/oh la la, all on one team. *sigh*

Ernest Hemingway said...

the old man and the imaginary cat

leroy said...

Sorry I'm late.

Wardrobe malfunction.

Does anyone know where I can get an innovative pants retention system? I think I just made a poor impression on a visitor from Portland observing NYC bike riders.

Did I miss anything?

Airai said...

I don't understand that new bike lane on Flushing. When they started repainting the road I thought they'd do the sensible thing and add a lane in each direction on each side. Was I suprised when they brought out the Jersey barriers and made this little two lane bike trap. Anyone know who to talk to at DOT?

Anonymous said...

Porsche

Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

Rivendell sells suspenders,
http://www.rivbike.com/products/show/suspenders/22-391

J-Bird said...

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't need a special tool to fix those embarrassing "gas leaks."

mikeweb said...

"...and pedestrians appeared shocked when we failed to blow through red lights."

Yes, I perplex many pedestrians too. I also yell profanities at a select few of them.

Kovas Palubinskas said...

You "don't have to carry it," because it's in your suspenders.

Anonymous said...

you can never have too many bike tools or tools on bikes for that matter, just take a ride around nyc any given weekend and listen to the roadies scream "on your left!" every effing 30 seconds. Enough already, I know you're on my left. and by the way, there is no reason not to slow down on a busy narrow crowded bridge. loosen your chinstrap and let some blood flow to your helmet holder and you may figure that out. thanks

Dirk Hofman said...

Ah yes, you know I'm going to pass you on your left, so you ride on the left side of the lane. Then, when I pass you on the right, you yell that I didn't say "on your right".

BUTT BRED

Cognorant said...

Thanks again Snob, for giving voice to the sarcasm that I feel but cannot express.

Although I did pretty good the other day when the jackass on the POS ten speed with the bars turned up said to me..."Hey...I thought the Tour De France was over" I said "yes, but it looks like the Tour De Ignoram just started". He had no reply.

Mark R said...

I prefer not to say anything when I'm passing people and instead just run them into the barriers.

Cool The Kid said...

I think one of the tenets of cycling in NYC is to take the path of least resistance... you'd have to be a fool to plot a touristy bike tour. Mmm mmmm riding through Times Square at night, yes, great idea

wheelie cunneely said...

I was quite sure Conti was gonna leave cycling to capitolize on his signature move, and sign a contract with Vivid Entertainment to make Finger Bang vol.1 & 2.
"get on your Pyreneeth, y thmile like and empenada"

leroy said...

Cool The Kid --

Riding through Times Square at night is a perfectly fine idea. I commute home that way many nights.

It always reminds that NYC is one of the friendliest cities in the U.S, Shucks, we even have a five-story tall neon Mr. Peanut in Times Square just to smile and wave at folks.

In Portland, you'd have to drop acid to see something like that.

Salty and Sore said...

[excuse the long post--really I am in a better mood than yesterday, I swear!]

Dear pants'fix,

Thank you for taking the time to consider us, the BikeSnobNYC ...er.. Audience, for your newest line of Trouser Solutions. Indeed, one cannot claim to wear the 'pants' in our ersatz family without an ability to keep them, at least, somewhere higher than one's knees. I do hope you are offering our dear liege the kingly sum that is most proper.

In truth, many of us choose to wear lycra cycling products while we're astride, and I'm a bit saddened that the 26 Inches line does not include a version for half-shorts. (If I may digress for a moment, I suppose this is another argument in favor of bib-shorts, in that, your product can be laced through, much like a chain lock through spokes.) Back to the point, until such time, that your product is available for half-shorts, I will continue to rely on the curve-hugging properties of the fabric to hold my lycra shorts in place.

Since you have invented and patented a new belt opening system, I'm hoping you will soon produce an online video for proper manipulation and disembarkation from it. (Online video is 'Instruction Manual 2.0', if you were wondering.) While a portion of a belt's appeal is its fashion ability to keep one's pants in the desired location, another part is to serve as a gateway to the 'junk'. A belt that hinders access to one's package creates a woeful situation indeed.

Lastly, I'm curious. What does the term, "26 Inches", represent.. exactly?

Again, thank you for your thoughtful consideration. I look forward to hearing of your future developments in trouser-keepitude.

Sincerely,
-Salty

Salty and Sore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
xyxax said...

I've welded my u-lock key to the front skewer so that without ever having to carry it around, I can lock my...oh forget it.

mikeweb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikeweb said...

@ leroy & Cool the kid,

I have little choice but to ride thru Times Square as I work a 1/2 block away. But I shun the bike lanes through there. I'll take my chances with rivers of yellow cabs any day versus hundreds of tourists walking around while staring straight up in the air.

leroy said...

Mikeweb --

And you've seen the gigantic neon Mr. Peanut, right?

Just need to make sure it isn't another one of those pesky flashback hallucination thingies.

Prolly said...

You should see the sailfish we hooked on Friday!

bikesgonewild said...

...belt & bracelet...

...couldn't be gayer...("not that there's anything blah, blah, blah...")...

...hmmm...well, actually, maybe there is something wrong w/ that...not the "gay" part, just the belt & bracelet part...

...just sayin'...

sarliaee said...

man petting invisble cat. can we have a whole series of invisible pet themed blogs please. That was rich.

Anonymous said...

This blog is like on crack.

bikesgonewild said...

...assessment of "pants'fix" system upon further review...

...'bwahahaha !!!'...

..."...belts made with a new openning(sic) system and bar tabe(sic...wtf ???)..."...
...maybe i should be more accepting...this could be the new 'euro-spelling'...

...but that "new belt openning system" they're touting has been around i believe, since moses used it to keep his robes from draggin' in the mud when he was playing 'crossing guard' by the seashore...

...& "their new "Pants'Fix holder" ???...now that is a piece of work...far be it from me as a bsnyc/rtms 'audience' member to reveal the workings of such a travesty but i'll weigh in once again with a hardy 'bwahahaha'...

...what mirth, what joy, what comedic relief their product introduction has given me...why, today's 'flesh hook' suspension may bring no spiritual ecstasy...

...i believe, bwahahaha, i'm already there...

Anonymous said...

Prolly... I went to your site for the exciting prospect of sailfish. Where is it? All I saw was barracuda... which by the way is most certainly *not* nasty eating, contrary to the blog entry. Depending on where you're fishing though, check it for ciguatara before consuming.

Anonymous said...

But where is the fakerjack axe holder accessory that should come as standard with the belt?

What She Said said...

Obviously, "26 inches" is the measurement around those malnourished French hips.

I doubt that would be a very satisfying ride, even if it were magically equipped with a Gruber assist...

Anonymous said...

Once again you hit it right on the head of the nail w fixiedouches slowly morphing into the schneiders of the bike path with overly cumbersome tools and their respective holsters to carry such specialized boutique tools.I believe a new market has been created with $200.00 retro cycling gloves, expensive gay pride belts,and uber cool and as uncomfortable as ever Brooks saddles to fool the newjacks.A sucker is born every minute.

ken e. (loves a comfy saddle!) said...

if you're gonna carry a huge piece of metal around it might as well do more than one thing. the last time i took a wheel off to lock a bike was more than two decades ago... just sayin'

LOCK CRAP
DONT CARE

thanks as always bike nerds, giant neon peanuts for everyone!

ken e. (loves a comfy saddle!) said...

if you're gonna carry a huge piece of metal around it might as well do more than one thing. the last time i took a wheel off to lock a bike was more than two decades ago... just sayin'

LOCK CRAP
DONT CARE

thanks as always bike nerds, giant neon peanuts for everyone!

ken e. (can't type) said...

double post. dumb ass, sorry!

Anonymous said...

Of all the tools that might be found on a bicycle, the most extraneous tool of all is the hipster.

Poignant... pretentious for 'possibly the least dumb thing I've said today'. ce

Anonymous said...

Shed culture is where the real tools are at. ce

TonyB said...

Leroy,
Still laughing about the need to drop acid to see a 5 Story, neon Mr. Peanut in Portland. I fear what I'd have to do to see one in the hinterlands of Central PA.

Anonymous said...

Well, rural Ohio may not have had Mr. Peanut, but it did have the surreal sight of "Touchdown Jesus" - until recently.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_Kings_%28statue%29

Dweezle said...

There's alot of rainbow pride in this post. Flat brimmed caps and BJs for everybody!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Anon 1:23-
"Schnieders of the bike path"
Thats pretty funny!

Kick Ass said...

I'm just happy to be included.

Now all of you grab your pant yabbies

washington irving said...

WTF!! Why are bikes political chess pieces?

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/co-gov-goper-maes-hickenloopers-bike-love-is-a-un-plot.php?ref=fpblg

CommieCanuck said...

You guys want to see the ultimate asshole? check out Councilor Rob Ford on bikes

This guys want to be Mayor of Toronto. I went to school with him, he never graduated grade 11. He got elected because his father gave him the seat and they used the same signs, the morons in his riding still think they are voting for his Dad.
Rob is one fat fucktard.

gene99 said...

So commie hockey puck: Fucktard turn you down for a date? Job?

gene99 said...

I’d like to hop on Heidi and do some careful weaving and lane creation. I’m sure after some good old NY aggression I can make her precariously heightened senses throb and pulse to a nearly suicidal rhythm. I’ll even wear my helmet (and nothing else). Just don’t tell her I’m the guy petting the “cat.” (Not that there’s anything patently illegal with that, right?)

ant1 said...

CC - "but it's their own fault at the end of the day" that douche is one fat fucktard, as someone wiser than myself once said. can't wait til he gets a heart attack. you know, cause it'll be his own fault at the end of the day.

Jefe said...

Get him a nice greasy hamburger.

durty said...

"tiny tools in particular tap into the 'urban cyclists' deepest fantasy"...Man I can't believe you resisted the tiny tool hipster joke there.

Samuel Durrett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug said...

Yeah Frilly! Tell it like it is!
And BTW, the blue collar fixie tool is a Craftsman 15MM stubby, available at your local Sears store. Real cool and chrome. Fits in a cell phone pocket. USA made.
Less than 9 bucks.

Willow said...

Just found your site and I've wasted hours drowning myself in your life. Thanks! Just watched the Fixie video and, I'm sure I'm wrong, but I swear I've seen that 70's retro orange bike somewhere...

michael said...

Airai:

I truly envy you, since apparently you live somewhere so hospitable to cyclists that you have the nerve to complain about the particular way in which a _two-way_, _physically-separated_ bike lane was installed.

I wish that my city was willing to invest seriously in cycling-friendly transportation infrastructure at all. Here, even when the mayor gets hit by a cab while on a bike (while riding in one of our few bike lanes), and what happens? Not a call for physically separated lanes or for drivers to share the road. The result is a speech about the need for _cyclists_ to be more attentive and careful while riding in traffic.

Count your blessings.

Roller shoes said...

so cool post,thank you for share

Pinhead said...

to be hand polished by the same finishing shop that worked with Somerville bicycle legends Merlin and Fat Chance
by the same machinists that cut titanium parts for Independent Fabrication and Seven Cycles. in the same building that housed Merlin Bicycles
All this on the same planet where the dinosaurs used to roam. BTW, where are they now?

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mackenzie said...

Socket wrenches are the greatest tool. You should always carry one with you while riding.

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