Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Über-Conformity: Death Before Individuality

While life can often seem chaotic and inscrutable, the truth is that much of it can usually be broken down into easily identifiable stages. For example, mythologist and canned soup magnate Joseph Campbell established the "Hero's Journey," which consists of "Separation, Transformation, and Return" (or something like that). This is the template followed by pretty much every narrative hero ever created, and it simplifies everyone from Jesus to Beowulf to Luke Skywalker. Similarly, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross neatly summed up the entire process of mourning with her famous "Five Stages of Grief," which are: Denial; Anger; Bargaining; Depression; and Acceptance. (These, incidentally, also happen to be the "Five Stages of Purchasing a Specialized Bicycle.") Even pop-cultural trends can be explained as a series of "stageways," and almost all of them follow the following process in their evolution: Identification; Appropriation; and Conformity.

Consider the fixed-gear trend for example. "Back in the day," all sorts of people rode fixed-gear bicycles, and they thought little of it. Some raced them on tracks, and others trained on them in winter. There were messengers who used them to deliver packages, and there were frugal commuters who simply cobbled them together from spare parts. While to some extent these people were united by their choice of drivetrain, it was mostly Just What They Rode. And as people used to say "back in the day," big freaking deal.

But then, certain people realized that they liked the way certain fixed-gear bicycles looked in conjunction with certain pants and certain bags. So, having Identified something they liked, they set about Appropriating it. The process of Appropriation involves establishing a set of rules, or what a reporter once called "weird style diktats" (frontal Aerospoke, key carabiner, knuckle tattoos, and so forth). These rules are put forth by means of internet bicycle galleries (Fixedgeargallery, Velospace), various blogs (too numerous to mention), and, most importantly, videos (MASHSF and the various facsimilies), so that people in the hinterlands with no direct exposure can see what the whole thing is supposed to look like in motion, and so the participants can establish their credentials. Finally, once the whole trend is documented, detailed, and labeled like a butcher's chart, the Conformity begins. Companies know what to sell, trend-aspirants know what to buy, and everybody's happy.

Consequently, the fixed-gear trend (like any trend) is highly ordered and regimented, and the videos that come out of it follow style guidelines as strict as those governing any sonnet or limerick or sitcom. Consider the latest "trailer" that recently "dropped" all over the non-coasting Internet:

To Live & Ride In L.A. OFFICIAL TRAILER from TRAFIK on Vimeo.

Ever since urban fixed-gear cycling entered the "Conformity" phase, every city in America and beyond has taken turns "stepping up" with a video that shows that they too know how to be like everybody else. San Francisco had "MASHSF" and "Macaframa," New York had "Empire," and now Los Angeles has "To Live & Ride In LA." And while each new video seems to outdo its predecessor, unfortunately it only does so in terms of its inanity. Consider the bold claim this trailer makes in its opening seconds:

Do they really ride the most dangerous streets in America, or do they simply make regular streets dangerous by riding like complete idiots? While I haven't actually seen the entire feature, I'm guessing the latter scenario is more accurate, since the claim is followed by people riding brakeless into busy intersections:

And riding brakeless on the freeway:

And riding down hills brakeless into busy intersections:

Any street is the most dangerous one in America if you ride it like a raging schmuck. Just wait until I "drop" my own "fixie" video, in which I ride up and down the tarmac at JFK while doing elephant trunk skids and almost get hit by a Scandinavian Airlines 747. Streets are for "woosies." 2011's going to be all about 'da "runway cred."

Anyway, just as the fixed-gear trend has followed prescribed stages, so too has my reaction to these sorts of videos and the riding they portray. First, it made me Angry; then, I found it Comical; and now I only feel Sadness. Yes, the sight of somebody riding straight into an intersection in the absence of anything real to rebel against is imbued with pathos--even a suicide bomber believes in something. (Terrorist organizations and religious cults are eventually going to figure out how desperate these "fixie" riders are, and they're going to send representatives to wait on the other side of these intersections during filming. "Just risked your life for no reason? Here, read this pamphlet!") This pathos is even more profound when you consider that he's doing it while his friend who has no actual creativity makes a video of it, presumably so they can screen it at the funeral as a final indignity to the family. But I suppose people with cameras who lack creativity and the people willing to die for them is what L.A. is all about:

Indeed it is. L.A., the land of cultural suicide bombers.

But this film presumably doesn't bother to examine the implications of this behavior, for it's all about "living fast:"

"We will be cutting lights, we will be bombing traffic," promises this rider. He won't be thirsty, though, because he's wearing a CamelBak:

"Thass how we do it," exclaims another rider, neatly summing up the sickening undercurrent of cultural appropriation and conformity that permeates this entire filmed endeavor:

So what's really so wrong with all of this? Is it the riding, which undermines the popular perception of a mode of transport against which people are already prejudiced? Is it the jeopardy in which the participants place themselves? Is it that fixed-gear freestyling and wheelies are so inherently boring that footage of it must be interwoven with near-death encounters just to make it watchable? No, I think it's something even more insidious. Sociologists have tried to scare us with the notion of the "super-predator," a generation of amoral and incorrigible juvenile delinquents. While this is debatable, I do think we're living in the age of the "super-conformist," a desperate generation of 20- and 30-somethings willing to surrender themselves to any pop-cultural phenomenon with an easy checklist, whether it's minimalism, or fixed-gears, or any "[insert commodity here] culture." And we all know what happens when conformity goes too far. Consider the disturbing overtones of this image, which was forwarded to me by a reader:
(The Aerospoke is apparently the "hipster" Swastika.)

It's only a matter of time before they discover and appropriate those old Skrewdriver logos just like they did with the Misfits.

Meanwhile, another reader has forwarded me a completely different sort of video, in which an entire family undertakes an "epic" bicycle journey from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/video.



Here is the "epic" matron:


And here is the "epic" family:

It's worth noting that the mother is in New York while the rest of the family languishes in a small Peruvian village, ostensibly so that she can pick up a new wheel for her bicycle. She implies it's some sort of wheel that would be difficult to obtain in Peru, so my guess is she's flown here to pick up a used Aerospoke she found on Craigslist. In any case, it's almost certainly the most "epic" wheel pickup and/or excuse to get away from the rest of the family I've ever seen.

Speaking of "epic," yet another reader has informed me of this "epic" bike theft, in which the thief drove a truck through a bike shop window, got stuck, and made his escape on a Giant time trial bike:

According to the article, it was a Trinity Advance, which looks like this:

With any luck, the thief is a triathlete, in which case he will be easily apprehended during the running portion of his getaway.

146 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hell to the yeah!

Anonymous said...

top ten?

Anonymous said...

Yea baby

Anonymous said...

Half-man, half-awesome!

Anonymous said...

Podium

Cool The Kid said...

Top tizzle. Time to read

Anonymous said...

Anon is on fire

A. Contador said...

WHA

Anonymous said...

..maybe not so awesome..

agent detroit said...

top ten bitches!

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Anonymous said...

Too bad "Anonymous" does not count, congrats again to A. Contador.

stovtop said...

huf huff, sigh, I'm in ...

ervgopwr said...

eff-LA

#14

Koba said...

canadian podium

mediumtriguy said...

dropped off the back

Anonymous said...

Grammar check:
(Terrorist organizations and religious cults are eventually going to figure out who desperate these "fixie" riders are, and they're going to send representatives to wait on the other side of these intersections during filming. "Just risked your life for no reason? Here, read this pamphlet!")

Either three letters are or one word is misplaced above.

I am the multigeared (sometimes) engine said...

Death before derailleur.

These guys must really hate little things.

Somebody better get their priorities straight.

Meh

Dirty Jugs said...

Before Mr. Screws-The-Bottle-At-Both-Ends!

luciferyellow said...

Oh man, Skrewdriver, The Misfits, Aerospokes, and Elisabeth Kübler-Ross... an EPIC post!

Anonymous said...

Ha - cuz triguys can't run - thas funny

Slappy said...

Rode by the Family on Bikes when we were passing through the north side of Yellowstone in 08. Sure was rad how lovely the bike tour was for a whole family. The kids were the usual well spoken energetic interesting home school types touring everyday, and the parents were at peace making snacks. I did some work on the tandems' disc brakes, they had done a warm up tour of mexico and america but without disc's) sure would love to take my family on an adventure of that magnitude some day

old hipster said...

Yeah, it's annoying, but is it any different from 20 yrs ago? You presumably went to L'Amour's and CB's.

In fact, back then there were even poser messengers on fixed gear bikes.

Matt said...

Either that, or if he's a triathlete he'll crash on that TT bike as soon as he has to turn.

CXXIII said...

Top form. Good show. Yip.

ervgopwr said...

Um, is anybody else very disturbed by the aerospokenazibird?

I'm all for the 'appropriation' of silly images for repurposing 'cause you can't think of something original...but this one's a bit out there.

Anyway, as is usual, those with the fear of the unknown are those that willfully choose to remain ignorant. Would they use internal hub wheels? Same difference.

Anonymous said...

Pretty spot on analysis of the risks of being thoughtlessly trendy.

Years back, I had a similar discussion with friends about fascism being a real possibility for the type of person who follows "the next big thing" without any real consideration. It seemed, back then, merely academic, interesting only because fascism requires that kind of mindset.

Nowadays we as a country seem headed in that direction (and I'm not pointing fingers at either political party) in that very little debate is centered around policy and its effectiveness. Rather, the narrative is always framed by the media as "Us vs. Them."

BikeSnobNYC said...

old hipster,

I did indeed, and I do recognize most of my outlook is shaped by being "old." But if I weren't crotchety about it I wouldn't be doing my job as an old person.

--RTMS

samh said...

I'm sure Rip Torn would be proud (or at least drunk).

Anonymous said...

Another two-wheeled group beat the fixters to the Code of Conformity thing: Harley riders.

Anonymous said...

VERT SPST

PROF 4ALL

PASS EPOS

Todd said...

As a Los Angeles resident, I can't thank you enough for laying waste to that stupid trailer.

Bad Lawyer said...

My friend's garage was broken into and his wife's inexpensive Giant girly-bike was taken while his expensive road bike was untouched. Her husband, my friend nearly caught the culprit, but since this happened in the early hours of the morning my pal had no shoes or much other apparel, so he mostly just glimpsed the young male thief.

My friend's wife called me for advice on replacing her girly-bike and of course I suggested another girly-bike, since that's what she happily rides. But she was curious why his expensive road bike was undisturbed. I pointed out that the thief lacked the shoes. She thinks I was talking fashion when I was talking pedals.

Anonymous said...

Well said.
The brake-less fixed gear mob are indeed potential (or perhaps actual) fascists. They lack a moral compass and judgmental competencies. They just follow the leader (i.c. the trend). The Milgram experiments has warned us before.
Fixed gear people are almost just as bad as bankers, religious fanatics, conservative politicians and other terrorists (with and without facial hair)

OBA said...

"Five Stages of Purchasing a Specialized Bicycle." ....[SLOW CLAP]

Bravo!

Anonymous said...

WOW...best post ever!!!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

No conformity for me thank you. Thats why I ride a recumbent. Anon 1:33 - The Harley riders are a hoot! They pull up in a roar with all the leather and chaps, light up their ciggies and whip out their smart phones and start texting away. What a bunch of poser douches.

ringcycles said...

yes, riding with a raging schmuck can be seriously painful. But I hear that cortisone cream and a round of antibiotics works wonders for, Oh, wait, it was "riding it like a..." Sorry, my misread, carry on.

Drew said...

Haven't people always been conforming to trends? I don't think this is a new phenom.

For example the hippie trend from the current baby boomer generation comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

first?

Anonymous said...

The chuckles of the "5 stages of purchasing a specialize bicycle" turned to anger quickly when I watched the "to live and die in LA" trailer. As an angelno bicycle commuter and activist pushing for bicycle tolerance on the streets of L.A. I find that it's idiots like those shown in the trailer who piss off the drivers and community leaders in L.A. making cyclists looks like complete a-holes. The FGF poster summed them up quite well.

Anonymous said...

All Skrewed Up! Great band, before one of the guys hijacked the name and played music of a different kind.

Anonymous said...

U MAD?

Blaiser said...

Top 40-something.

Maybe I'll try being a Mennonite.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

Best post in moons.

Nogocyclist said...

If I was to steal a bike, I don't think I would choose one that is so unique it would be spotted by the first officer you pass.

Not like you see 20 or 30 bikes that look anything like that time trial bike every day.

Anonymous said...

"they ride the most dangerous streets in America"

More like,

They write the worst ads on Craigslist in America........

Tex said...

Reminds me of that hilarious episode of South Park from a while back, with the leather-and-noise Harley riders. You can watch it on line.

James B. said...

I ride my bike to work everyday 30 miles rt in L.A. Thanks for pointing out what was on the tip of my tongue about that trailer.

PS

I have a Steamroller, Mission backpack, small Kryptonite U-Lock, Knog lights, Chrome hip pouch, etc. etc. etc. I do however "run" single speed with two brakes and a helmet!

g said...

I have to give it up for that family. As a pup "back in the day" we family truckstered it from CT to Disney in Florida and it nearly cost my brother his life. There's only so much shit a mom will put up with apparently. Based on that experience, I can honestly not blame the epic mom for bailing on the fam to head to NYC for a "Break". It was probably either that or dig some shallow graves in the Peruvian jungle.

FRGL CMTR said...

I prefer the original Nazi cycling stuff to ersatz rip-offs:
Toni Merkens (Dirty cheater!) and youth cycling medal

Too bad Albert Richter didn't escape those Nazi bastards.

And God bless Gino Bartali for his efforts!

Anonymous said...

Snob,

It seems like a huge (and unfair) stretch to lump in the bike-touring Vogel family with the fashionistas you are skewering. I've been following their tour for a couple of years, and it does seem to me that their journey truly is "epic," or at least it would be to me.

The reason that Nancy Vogel flew to NY to get a wheel (a touring wheel, not an Aerospoke) is because they needed to replace a 700C wheel in a country where those components are rare (most bikes in South America are on 26-inch rims). They looked at importing the parts they needed, but by time they added shipping, duties, etc., it practically paid for a flight home to pick up the wheel plus a bunch of other stuff they needed and/or wanted. It's not uncommon for bike tourists to get stranded while waiting for parts, and/or pay huge fees to have them sent in (you could argue they should have used bikes with 26-inch wheels, but in 2 years of touring I think this was the only mechanical problem they couldn't solve locally).

Is that too much bike-related detail? Usually you're more careful in picking your targets, not sure what the Vogels did to set off your sarcasm meter.

BTW, this week they're in Bolivia, and are doing some charity work for Bolivian kids with cancer. There's a link on their website for donations.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

yes, when you ride your bike in the douche styleway, it is only a matter of time before someone throws a hot cup of coffee at you.

leroy said...

On Thanatos did Kubler-Ross
A morbid shopper's guide decree
Where costs of S Works Tarmacs ran
Through stages measureless to man
But known to cognoscenti.

Anonymous said...

there's something specific to the car culture, 2-D reality that is L.A., that does make it the scariest place to ride a bike.
I lived there for a while, and all my cred, for growing up and riding the streets of nyc, went out the window. or through the window. the boulevards are wide, and everyone is forced to drive. and they suck.. There's no place to hide.. there is no safety. Sections of L.A. look feel and taste like Williamsburg... kombucha pours freely in the streets. If there was anywhere in the world that it would be okay to ride brake-less, I would think that would be the place. There's nothing else to do, or live for. Did Vincent Gallo sell off his bike for stardom. or maybe he just couldn't hang ten down the hills of silver lake.

Chris said...

Brilliant post.

That little Nazi style poster sums up the idiocy. What the hell is wrong with gears? Fixie riders claim gears are expensive or require maintenance and yet I've had the same dérailleur for 9 years and change my cables once a year.

Because of that massive investment I can climb hills at weekends, prevent knee injury and enjoy coasting downhill.

Desert Rider said...

"We will be cutting lights, we will be bombing traffic,"

-just a thinning of the herd...

Anonymous said...

Best post in months, great work, thanks.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:31pm,

Where did I say anything bad about them? I simply included them in the post as a contrast to the "fixie" video.

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post -- an exceptionally potent mix of hilarity and well-deserved scorn. Thank you.

I'm off to comb my beard, align my helmet mirror, and head off for a not-so-epic ride on my derailleur-equipped machine. Take that, conformistas!

Drew said...

Chris, I'm going out a limb to say that you don't ride your bike as much as messengers do, so your maintenance wouldn't be nearly as much as theirs. Also, most downtown areas are relatively flat, they’re not climbing hills. I know a messenger that races cat ½ and he uses a geared bike for training and for racing (obviously), but he doesn’t need it and prefers to ride fixed during his job. His bike is cheap so less likely to get stolen, it gives him better traction in the winter than a geared bike would, it’s less likely to seize up in -30C weather than a geared bike (and I have seen a geared bike seize up in the winter), plus it provides training benefits – especially for his track cycling – that a geared bike just doesn’t do. You get a better pedaling style, cadence, and strength for the few hills he does climb in a day. He’s a strong cyclist so he might even pedal up hills at a higher cadence than you do and you can just gear down. Plus a couple hills a day will not ruin your knees… it’s not he’s not using a 90” gear nor has the knees of a 60yr old.

I’m sure there are many people out there riding fixed gears that are posers just following the trend. There are also reason to riding fixed and people who simply enjoy it. I’m fine with making fun of them I think BSNYC’s posts are hilarious, but some people seem to take it a little too seriously. Brakeless is dumb I agree, and many messengers are reckless and set a bad example for the rest of them. Just because they have a bad rap though and you associate them with fixed gear bikes does not make fixed gear bikes a dumb idea.

Anonymous said...

at 2:08

you sound like you collect sneakers and caps, chain smoke, and dj at crappy "fixie" events.

U MAD?

Anonymous said...

The fixed gear is what the braided man belt was to a pair of Doc Martin's was to a pair of Girbaud jeans was to a wallet attached to your pants with a giant, chrome chain while wearing a Black Flag t-shirt under your jean jacket.

RTMSstencil said...

Drew at 1:59
I am no historian, but I think its safe to say the current brand of stupidity flourishing in the Fixie mindset is unsurpassed in all of cycling.

Anonymous said...

Snob,

You wrote, "Where did I say anything bad about them? I simply included them in the post as a contrast to the "fixie" video."

I'd invite you to re-read your own post. You didn't position them as a contrast to the fixie riders, you lumped them in as another example of "epic" cyclists (note your use of the ever-ironic quotation marks in your original).

Just re-read it; you were belittling them, not contrasting them.

The Vogels have put themselves out there as semi-public figures (they have a website, blog and Facebook page), so I guess they're as fair targets of criticism as anyone. I just don't know why you chose them as a target.

Love,
Anonymous (again)

hillbilly said...

4loko

Chris said...

Drew, I'm not talking about people who make a living as bike messengers. I don't judge people who are experts in their fields.

I mean the dozens of people I see everyday who somehow feel they are more "urban" because they ride a 1990s Pinarello track bike and yet can't change a tube, chain or adjust saddle height.

I don't ride as much as professional couriers but do chalk up a respectable 5000 miles a year. I also go on tours at weekends where elevation gain is often above 1000 meters. Last weekend was a good example. As I was coming down a hill I saw a guy in cut off jeans, no helmet and Converse Allstars pushing an expensive looking track bike up the hill. What's the point in that?

Whereas I can cover over 100 miles on an "epic" mountain bike ride and see amazing countryside, most fixie riders could not even make the first incline.

yogisurf said...

I'm going to have commute extra-polite as these $#%@ movies 'drop'.

Show 'em whooosis boss, Snobby. Go head-on with the 747, not on the jetway, but the runway.

dux said...

Truth will out..... I blame the economic situation.

If more of these clowns had jobs and some actual income they would have automobiles, most likely
some sort of Honda on steroids.
Down times for employment have brought the idiots
into financial distress. Less gears and no brakes are the result of less money. Oh, and no need to learn to maintain and adjust all those greasy parts.

As for the fixed gear fascists. Excellent parody by a
very talented artist to put the smoke up the fixie
posses butt.

PawnShop said...

@leroy:
that was ... beautiful!

NOSA RCSM

grog said...

overwhelming philosophy and supercilliousnous.

mikeweb said...

44! -er, years, that is.

PawnShop said...

anon@2:42:
If there was anywhere in the world that it would be okay to ride brake-less...

It would be called a velodrome.

FALL UP

Salty and Sore said...

slowly... crawling... back...

Publius said...

Specialized?...Or that SRAM Red bunk all over TDF bikes they pay pros to break and drop chains with?...Buy into the dominant meme, even if it blows.

Anonymous said...

I have mt. bikes and I commute on a fixed gear road bike. It's simple and makes you a stronger and more skillful & aware rider I love geared road bikes btw too just can't afford one right now though.

Stupid Name said...

" a film about living fast"

followed by

"a film about living stupid"

Wow, can I be in that film, my mommy thinks I drive responsibly?

Anonymous said...

This weeks posts are hilarious and meaner than ever.
Thank you.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous (again),

I did re-read it (even though I wrote it in the first place and know what I meant) and I noted the following:

"Meanwhile, another reader has forwarded me a completely different sort of video..."

"Completely different" would imply contrast to me.

--RTMS

le correcteur said...

Leroy at 2:41pm,

Posts like this--literate, funny, and verging on metrically correct--are why I don't just read Snob; I also read the commenters! Hurrah, sir!

I am the "not trendy" engine said...

Did anybody else get an e mail titled "Interbike eNews - The Growth in the Urban/Fixie Category"

"The Growth of the Urban Cycling Category
Urban cycling content especially written for this edition of the Interbike eNewsletter by Urban Velo Magazine


In the past few years urban cycling has seen an explosion in participation, catapulting the fixed gear bike from one seen rarely outside the velodrome to the generic bicycle featured incountless newspaper articles. Early on the scene was undoubtedly fueled by messenger culture and aesthetic, but has since grown beyond its insider roots and into the mainstream consciousness.

Truly a lifestyle market, the savvy shop can not only outfit riders with the latest in bike style, but with a significant part of their wardrobe as the casual nature of urban cycling apparel crosses over to everyday use. People are being turned onto bikes for the first time in countless numbers through the current fixed gear trend and upswing in urban cycling in general—serve their needs now and gain a loyal customer base that will grow their cycling obsession with your shop.


Emerging Urban Market Categories
Commuter

Fixed commuters are looking for the clean lines and simplicity of a single gear drivetrain, but with fender mounts, two brakes and perhaps a more upright position.

Street Track

Traditional track bikes rule this category, with tight clearances and a total lack of braze-ons typical. These are your local alleycat participants and non-racer fast guys, and tend to be influential in their parts choices.

Entry Level

Sub-$500 bikes that come with brakes and can go either fixed or free allow new riders to find their niche. As they put in the miles, these riders are likely to grow with the shop that steers them in the right direction when it comes to those first crucial upgrade purchases.

Boutique

These are finicky buyers where money seems to be no object, NJS stamps, vintage track components and molded 3- and 5-spoke wheels are just some of the things consumers are after.


Bike Polo - A Future Market?
Two of the largest sectors of the bicycle market, BMX and mountain bikes, wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the ingenuity and enterprising spirit of ordinary cyclists who endeavored to create their own niche. In the past few years, hardcourt bicycle polo has grown in popularity to the point where tournaments attract players from thousands of miles away. It’s also begun to attract serious sponsorship, notably from companies like Knog and Brooks. And a handful of companies have begun to produce polo-specific parts, such as Velocity with their Chukker wheelset and Eighth Inch, who makes a polo mallet."

Super MEH, the single speed "revolution" is over.

I am sorry to see that Kubler-Ross has been dead for a long time. I believe acceptance is the new meh.

I am the "not trendy" engine said...

"The Growth of the Urban Cycling Category
Urban cycling content especially written for this edition of the Interbike eNewsletter by Urban Velo Magazine


In the past few years urban cycling has seen an explosion in participation, catapulting the fixed gear bike from one seen rarely outside the velodrome to the generic bicycle featured incountless newspaper articles. Early on the scene was undoubtedly fueled by messenger culture and aesthetic, but has since grown beyond its insider roots and into the mainstream consciousness.

Truly a lifestyle market, the savvy shop can not only outfit riders with the latest in bike style, but with a significant part of their wardrobe as the casual nature of urban cycling apparel crosses over to everyday use. People are being turned onto bikes for the first time in countless numbers through the current fixed gear trend and upswing in urban cycling in general—serve their needs now and gain a loyal customer base that will grow their cycling obsession with your shop.


Emerging Urban Market Categories
Commuter

Fixed commuters are looking for the clean lines and simplicity of a single gear drivetrain, but with fender mounts, two brakes and perhaps a more upright position.

Street Track

Traditional track bikes rule this category, with tight clearances and a total lack of braze-ons typical. These are your local alleycat participants and non-racer fast guys, and tend to be influential in their parts choices.

Entry Level

Sub-$500 bikes that come with brakes and can go either fixed or free allow new riders to find their niche. As they put in the miles, these riders are likely to grow with the shop that steers them in the right direction when it comes to those first crucial upgrade purchases.

Boutique

These are finicky buyers where money seems to be no object, NJS stamps, vintage track components and molded 3- and 5-spoke wheels are just some of the things consumers are after.


Bike Polo - A Future Market?
Two of the largest sectors of the bicycle market, BMX and mountain bikes, wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the ingenuity and enterprising spirit of ordinary cyclists who endeavored to create their own niche. In the past few years, hardcourt bicycle polo has grown in popularity to the point where tournaments attract players from thousands of miles away. It’s also begun to attract serious sponsorship, notably from companies like Knog and Brooks. And a handful of companies have begun to produce polo-specific parts, such as Velocity with their Chukker wheelset and Eighth Inch, who makes a polo mallet."

I am the "not trendy" engine said...

"The Growth of the Urban Cycling Category
Urban cycling content especially written for this edition of the Interbike eNewsletter by Urban Velo Magazine

In the past few years urban cycling has seen an explosion in participation, catapulting the fixed gear bike from one seen rarely outside the velodrome to the generic bicycle featured incountless newspaper articles. Early on the scene was undoubtedly fueled by messenger culture and aesthetic, but has since grown beyond its insider roots and into the mainstream consciousness.

Truly a lifestyle market, the savvy shop can not only outfit riders with the latest in bike style, but with a significant part of their wardrobe as the casual nature of urban cycling apparel crosses over to everyday use. People are being turned onto bikes for the first time in countless numbers through the current fixed gear trend and upswing in urban cycling in general—serve their needs now and gain a loyal customer base that will grow their cycling obsession with your shop.


Emerging Urban Market Categories
Commuter

Fixed commuters are looking for the clean lines and simplicity of a single gear drivetrain, but with fender mounts, two brakes and perhaps a more upright position.

Street Track

Traditional track bikes rule this category, with tight clearances and a total lack of braze-ons typical. These are your local alleycat participants and non-racer fast guys, and tend to be influential in their parts choices.

Entry Level

Sub-$500 bikes that come with brakes and can go either fixed or free allow new riders to find their niche. As they put in the miles, these riders are likely to grow with the shop that steers them in the right direction when it comes to those first crucial upgrade purchases.

Boutique

These are finicky buyers where money seems to be no object, NJS stamps, vintage track components and molded 3- and 5-spoke wheels are just some of the things consumers are after.


Bike Polo - A Future Market?
Two of the largest sectors of the bicycle market, BMX and mountain bikes, wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the ingenuity and enterprising spirit of ordinary cyclists who endeavored to create their own niche. In the past few years, hardcourt bicycle polo has grown in popularity to the point where tournaments attract players from thousands of miles away. It’s also begun to attract serious sponsorship, notably from companies like Knog and Brooks. And a handful of companies have begun to produce polo-specific parts, such as Velocity with their Chukker wheelset and Eighth Inch, who makes a polo mallet."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for delivering the humor daily...You need to make a cycling video...

g said...

It means contrast? Now, all those Monty Python segues make so much sense!

red neckerson said...

holy fuck

Anonymous said...

Not trendy's portion on bike polo reminded me of something I read on Refinery 29 (a fashion site). I guess Dockers sponsored some bike polo match recently. Freaking Dockers, not even a bike/parts maker. Guess everyone is jumping into the craze.

bikesgonewild said...

...like red, i don't know where it begin...

L.A. Food Urchin said...

As someone who lives and rides in LA, and echoing Angelino posters above, those guys in that video are like the Tea Party of LA bike culture: privileged group-thinkers, on the fringe and crazy-dumb.

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

Solid!

bikesgonewild said...

...what a bunch of clap-trap, warren...

...if you truly love riding your bicycle, it has no fucking bearing on your age whatsoever...

...you're talking about a minority group of young & dumb (we, most of us, were there once) scene stealers who, if they're lucky, will get to live & ride & have a future...

...i made it this far, now in my 60's 'cuz i love cycling...in my 20's, my cycling nickname ???...'hogwild'...

...not much new under the sun, son...

...just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

"But I suppose people with cameras who lack creativity and the people willing to die for them is what L.A. is all about."

Hacking through the Snob's verbal overgrowth and arriving at the clearing, the sunlight; cherishing it, and while basking, forgetting the pain of getting there.

Warren said...

In all honesty I think you are right about much of this BSNYC. However your critique of how dumb and sad the "scene" is really only one click away itself from being just as cliche. The old guy saying this is dumb, silly, and not getting the excitement. Even that isn't fresh anymore and perhaps that is what scares me the most. Everything is cool and can be seen as stupid in the same breath when looked at. Can we get genuinely excited about anything anymore?

In the end it is about the kids I think. You bring valid points. However the young people have genuine positive excitement about this stuff and that is worth so much more than being ba hum bug about it in the end. Look at all the comments of everyone rallying around a collective hate session you've organized on people that are having a good time on their bikes. What does your swastika look like? But I know this is what you do and we enjoy it.

Charlie Didrickson said...

Birth control on wheels...

BikeSnobNYC said...

Warren,

You're absolutely right, and I said as much in an earlier comment. I will say though that in the case of this particular "scene" a lot of the participants aren't really "kids" at all, which is part of why I find it funny.

--BSNYC

AsTallAsRyan said...

Not to be a nerd, but SAS does not fly 747s.

AsTallAsRyan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ervgopwr said...

Whoa, snobs up late. Hey-oh!

Time to leave here and ride my tark bike in its intended location. The velodrome. In San Diego. In the summer.

sarliaee said...

back to the good old days, giving fixies hell and generally acting like an angry old fart. good to have you back. That minamilst stint became tiresome.

ringcycles said...

@red neckerson; blue flashing lights outside your place right now? the costa contra p.d. must have emailed the viper county sheriff already? Something about that crime scene description, I figured you must have signed up to do the local charity triathlon.

Perry said...

Best...post...ever.

Different Anonymous said...

@BSNYC 4:36

While I'm usually on your side over thin-skinned commentators, the constant use of "epic" (specifically in quotes) combined with your historical attitude toward the word and your comments on the mom's New York trip read like snark to me as well.

Anonymous said...

Somebody get that man a PBR

Oldentard said...

Never change, laddie. By the way,
you left out Theodore Roszak.

Rantwick said...

I know I'm late, but Snob, that was a smokin' good, right to the point post. Thanks.

I just can't wait for the fad to end so my very practical fixed gear won't be "ugly" any more.

imnxcguy said...

Excellent column, BS. That was REALLY enjoyable reading.

Anonymous said...

just another reason to run hipsters over

Anonymous said...

i just set a poster in the same face of akzidenz used in that LA bike trailer. Dammit.

mander said...

Out-fucking-standing post RT.

George Not Hincapie said...

Absolutely, without debate, your finest work.

George Not Hincapie said...

Tell me, what does it look like from up there?

George Not Hincapie said...

Bet you didn't even know it was happening.

Anonymous said...

Snob u r mean. Now I will go back to crying about my love for cycling I found through my fixie. u douche

frilly said...

Happy Birthday MikeWeb!!! Big, big kisses!

xxxooo

Now Snobby, easy on Specialized. I find the Dolce to be an amazing anti-depressant.

the bike dork said...

I live and ride 30 miles a day to and from work in LA and have never seen any of those guys in the video. I am glad that I can keep up with what is really going on in my burg by reading your blog. I almost never see any fixed style type bikes, and when I do I cry out for bar-spinz, yet have never seen it done. You all just wait for the dope-assed commuter vid that is about to drop...

Ronsonic said...

Does it mean anything that the Waffen Aerospoke blogger brags on that site about helping place a giant "Coexist" display in response to the "ground zero mosque" kerfuffle.

Jason said...

Wait, the shop put pedals on a display bike?

UM said...

great great post. but snob, you're center of gravity was definitely NOT with the epic fam or the tri robber. Keep it fiery the whole way through!!!!

Grumpy said...

LOL at the Trek tagline:

GIANT TRINITY ADVANCED SL: PROFESSIONAL GRADE, FOR EVERYONE

The article says it's "Valued at a minimum of $6000".

Gee, I must be doing something wrong if *everyone* can blow 6K on a triathlon dandy-horse.

Anonymous said...

Scandinavian airlines have not operated the 747 for decades. Also they are based out of Newark, mostly using Airbus A330s.

Ante said...

Fantastic Snob! great post!!!!

Anonymous said...

blah, yeah. well, sorry, i also wanted to mention the fact that SAS do not rub 747's. they go french.

Anonymous said...

I was going to write a comment saying how this was one of my favourite posts of all time (or at least during the Weiner Snout Epoch while I have followed the blog), despite it losing a little purpose during the Epic Family paragraph. I was even going to throw in a little hipster hate for good measure, but then I saw that similar sentiments had already been expressed in about 104 other comments today (most of the remaining comments regarded Scandinavian Airlines technicalities - bust size requirements for air hostess applicants, or something). However, before I put shaky old finger to keyboard I looked again at the comments section with my new understanding of trendmorphology, and realised that I was old-man-nose-hair-deep in the atrophying Conformity Stage of the BSNYC comments scene.

While typing this I have been spiralling down to earth through the layers of emotion that cloud the moment of coming to terms with this troubling reality. In fact, the initial Anger had only just subsided when I wrote the airline hostess gibe above, an extremely brief and feeble manifestation of the Comedy stage, and just now, describing my comedic expression as feeble while throwing in heavy, solemn words like 'Manifestation' is the manifestation of the presently unfolding Sadness stage. Hmmm, what next? Mr Snob didn't happen to mention what feeling comes next. Wait, something is stirring... I have an urge... to undertake vigilante action... with a trade sized tube of Krazy Glue. If this feeling doesn't dissipate real soon people are going to start finding their notebooks glued shut. ce

Anonymous said...

...something) and with my new understanding of trendmorphology I realised...

That would have read better. Emotion clouding mind.ce

Anne said...

Am I the only one who thinks that the parents of the epic family are misguided in dragging two boys away from their peers and the requisite non-purposeful activity of the young just because their they got sick of teaching and wanted to push their children toward some world record?

The Greatest Generation said...

Why don't you all quite yer' panzie-assed grousing and check out what we saved the world on. Hell, we invented cyclocross when we needed to get a communique across enemy lines during the Battle of the Bulge. Fucking commie fairies.

www.theliberator.be/militarybicycles.htm

Buffalo Bill said...

Anne,
Yes.

Anonymous said...

fuck it LA was late to the game, so they still excited about dieing.

Anonymous said...

@ Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

"yes, when you ride your bike in the douche styleway, it is only a matter of time before someone throws a hot cup of coffee at you."

August 24, 2010 2:32 PM


LOL Genuis. Makes every comment here obsolet, incl. mine :D

Mike said...

"While life can often seem chaotic and inscrutable..."

Woof. What a line.

The author should've started, "It is often said," "Since the dawn of time," or better yet, "What I did on my summer vacation:"

I have a theory of writerly progress (that I may have stolen): [1] From kid - teen, you're shit. Can't write at all. You look back on it and wince. [2] You go into higher education, and learn new words and pretentious references inappropriate for everyday conversations -- becoming, as Nietzsche would say, a "learned lout." HA! ... The point being, you have no command of your new language, and sound like a twat during this time. [3] The sweet spot. You know all kinds of more practical shit in addition to what the professors/gurus/mentors had rammed into your little apricot brain; but more importantly, you can speak both knowledgeably and plainly.

People tend to revert to 1 before hitting 3. The author could go either way. Unless he/she is over 22. Then it's done.

But if only it were that simple! I'd guess (guessing, because knowing would mean reading more of these posts) the author knows better, and is going for the pretense-irony shtick. Really, though, this ironic pretense is just preciousness and pandering for overly-specialized subcultural circle jerks.

Nothing makes you a bad writer faster than APPROVAL.

Anonymous said...

Mike: you are boring.

Roadblock said...

HA! I love this review. I admit at first I was just as offended at that TRAFIK tagline but now that I see this I LOVE it! Everyone out there keep on hating on LA! We got too much sun and fun out here to give too much of a damn... Don't come out and have a blast with us and don't ride in great weather with cute bike girls and tanned thighs all around.

Only thing is, the drivers here don't know you exist and they roll like imbeciles so yeah you right we're forced to ride like complete idiots just to get seen. Plus 3/4 of the people that ride here are from your cities... thanks for all the new friends! See you soon....

Anonymous said...

http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/bik/1929785031.html

Anonymous said...

SO much info: I live one town up from Danville, sight of stolen Giant TT - it did not have any pedals, so ironically the thief WOULD be running... sorry to be late, have been reading BikeSnobNYC, The Book.

marketingheart said...

BSNY you are missing a great commercial opportunity to create and lead the fascist fixie cult. Establish your HQ, seduce the cute ones, fleece the lot of them, arrange a Jonestown-style reduction program then charge massive appearance money for public speaking and 60 Minutes.

Its about time this 'good blogger went bad'.

(btw, the Jonestowners called their last act 'revolutionary suicide.' Somebody should mention to the traffic bombers that on the whole revolutionary suiciders don't seem all that cool).

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fixie bikes said...

There's nothing epic about that matron.

Alex said...

Oh lord, these guys definitely lack any judgmental competencies.

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