Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Indignity of Summer: It's Always Dorkiest Before the Fall

The Laborious Day Weekend is now behind us, and so too are the languid days of summer. Here in New York City, those leisurely afternoons spent sipping Piña Coladas and lying in hammocks while being sprinkled with the refreshing discharge from a nearby open fire hydrant as a quasi-sane homeless man plays Jimmy Buffett songs on a kazoo for nickels are already just a memory. Instead, all across the region schoolbooks are being stuffed into backpacks, important documents and tuna fish sandwiches are being placed into briefcases, and housepets are receiving detailed instructions for the daycare of small children. The summer houses have been boarded up along with our hearts, and so shall they remain until the first crowbars of next spring. Sure it's still warm and sunny, but that's only because the summer doesn't know it's dead yet.

Personally, I couldn't be happier about all of this. (Well, I suppose I could be happier, but it would require the judicious application of chemicals.) Just as culling the weaker animals breeds a hardier herd, and pruning eventually yields a fuller bush (both in terms of landscaping and personal grooming), so too does the thinning effect the colder months have on the numbers of cyclists ultimately benefit us all. Indeed, it is during the dog days (or, if you prefer, dachshund days) of summer that cycling absurdity reaches its apotheosis, and were it not for the coming autumn the entire display would no doubt collapse on itself like a human pyramid of drunken clowns.

Of course, where there are clowns there are clown bikes, and I recently encountered the most circus-like fixed-gear conversion I've seen since the "golden age" of the artform (which arguably occurred in 2007, when no bicycle with horizontal dropouts was safe from fixifiation):

This particular conversion was a brakeless "vintage" Specialized Hardrock, and its tentative pilot was flying it at roughly nine miles per hour. I snapped the above photo moments before he reduced his speed to five miles per hour so he could use his iPhone (which had a shattered screen) while riding, and you'll note that Andy Samberg's Nonplussed Doppelgänger is also taking in the scene as I pass:

Andy Samberg's Nonplussed Doppelgänger is distinguishable from the real Andy Samberg by his heavily pleated pants, as well as by his briefcase, which contains important documents and a tuna fish sandwich.

In any case, I passed the rider as he dragged his finger across his spiderwebbed touchscreen, but we were eventually reunited at a red light, where I managed to capture the bicycle in profile:

Though outwardly callous and sarcastic, underneath it all I to try to practice compassion, and so I looked deep within myself in an attempt to understand what might compel someone to "curate" a bicycle like this. Unfortunately, looking within myself is usually about as rewarding as rummaging underneath the cushions of my sofa, in that doing so usually yields little more than a handful of loose change and (if I'm really lucky) a few candy corns of indeterminate age. I suppose he could be making a misguided attempt to fit in with the "cool people" of Williamsburg, though his wardrobe has much more in common with Andy Samberg's Nonplussed Doppelgänger than with the denizens of Bedford Avenue. Really, the only thing I could conclude for sure was that this was the ugliest conversion since the Spanish Inquisition.

So vexing was this bicycle to me that I continued to ponder it for many blocks. Why render a Specialized Hardrock brakeless and then pick your way gingerly through some of the heaviest traffic in the United States? It seems about as logical as converting your work boots to flip-flops and then venturing out into a blizzard. Soon though I was interrupted by my musings when I encountered a woman standing in the middle of the bike lane with three dachshunds:

(Wiener dog-wielding bike lane loiterer.)

I apologize for the poor quality (even by the meager standards of this blog) of this photo, but I can assure that she not only made no attempt to move out of my way but also smiled at me as I passed. I briefly considered explaining that I had just taken her photo not because I thought her dogs were cute, but because I thought she was an idiot and planned to humiliate her on the Internet, but ultimately decided not to bother. I also briefly considered executing a cyclocross dismount and simply hopping over the dachshund barrier, but I was riding an Electra Ticino and wasn't confident in my ability to "portage" it correctly. Coincidentally, just at this moment I looked across the street and spotted a drive-side "portage" in progress:


Note the fanny pack, which is so formidably large as to require an auxiliary shoulder strap:

I realize that some people would say that this is not in fact a fanny pack, and indeed the "what actually constitutes a fanny pack" argument is as heated and controversial as the abortion debate. When it comes to the former, I'm a staunch conservative, and I believe that any bag worn entirely below an imaginary line drawn across the midsection of the back and featuring a waist strap should be considered a fanny pack. I realize this is the personal accessory equivalent of insisting that life begins at conception, but I believe what I believe.

Another thing I believe is that people should not walk in the bike lane, especially when the entire sidewalk is clear:

While some people might find the sight of a shapely young woman sashaying down the street beguiling, I only find it irritating, for superficial beauty cannot mask the ugliness beneath. Also, I'm confused by her shoes:

Just as I couldn't understand the Hardrock conversion, I could not understand why she whould choose to walk in the bike lane when there was a perfectly good sidewalk just a foot away (though perhaps the fact that both the Hardrock and the pedi-salmon featured a purple and orange "colorway" might be of some significance.) The only explanation I could possibly come up with was that she was trying to offer me a "frogurt" hand-up:

On closer inspection, though, the cup was empty, so I guess she was expecting a roving busboy to throw it away for her.

This pedi-salmon's behavior (note the traditional bike salmon over his shoulder) was also mysterious to me:

Judging from his outfit, he must have been in search of his golf ball:

I'm sure one day these two pedi-salmon will meet, and together they'll walk arm-in-arm in mutual self-importance down the bike lane of life:

Speaking of self-importance, as most people know by now, unsettling man-child Jared Leto bought himself a "tarck" bike recently at a New York City bicycle-themed boutique, and he seems to have begun salmoning on it almost immediately:

Either that, or he's in the process of shooting his next movie, "Time Traveler from the Planet Douche."

At nearly 40 years old, one might think that Leto would feel a bit self-conscious looking like a teenager trying to master elephant trunk skids while his friend records him on a Flip camera. At the very least, he should be engaging in more age-appropriate forms of bike-dorkery. Consider George Clooney, who a reader informs me was recently riding a mountain bike in basketball attire:

That kind of dorkery is timeless.

93 comments:

AYHSMB GUY said...

Podium

TRASH TALK said...

Second?

SEE ABOVE said...

SWEEP!

Anonymous said...

"That kind of dorkery is timeless." But the hotness behind him is totally acceptable.

Paul Bowen said...

Top 10 behbeh!

Welcome back Snobbers.

streepo said...

I sharted in my shants

Anonymous said...

principal dix

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

Top 10! Hungover from hanging with Stu and Andy.

I am the meh engine said...

"but because I thought she was an idiot and planned to humiliate her on the Internet, but ultimately decided not to bother"

Priceless meh attitude only possible after labor day.

samh said...

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Hans said...

Top eleventeen.

Bad Lawyer said...

Welcome back, Snob

ant1 said...

ant1st!

rainer said...

Top 20 AND I read the post!

ochikiro said...

If you found that Hardrock disturbing, gaze at my '91 Gazelle Field Cruiser Pro on my commute through the country side.

Stupid Name said...

"Also, I'm confused by her shoes:"
Her toe nails seem to match her exposed bra strap, and her shoes seem to match nothing. She obviously is of vast intellect, and thinks that she is on the sidewalk.

George C however has good taste in women who have sensible mountain biking shoes.

Sigurd said...

Top 20!

57TH
INGS

mikeweb said...

Welcome back!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to fetch my tuna salad 'sammy' from the mini-fridge.

Anonymous said...

wait, what? clooney looks perfectly normally attired to cruise around town on a mtn bike. if he was wearing a helmet, that would look dorky. wearing lycra would be kind of dorky, too. am i nuts?

[disclaimer: i myself am a dbag roadie who switched to fruit prunch flavored drinks since it matched the red on my bike / kit]

aD said...

BVNE PYMD

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

No Comment.

Anonymous said...

Clooney is on a Colnago mountain bike. Does the European exoticism of his bicycle make up for the American grotesquery of his backward-hattedness?

Anonymous said...

Come Clean, BSNYC:
Didja like going to Burning Man?
Was that you pedalling around in your birthday suit on the old Schwinn ballooner decorated with crepe paper and glued-on Disney charactors?

RANTWICK said...

Sweeet post snob, really.

Do you have any advice for me as a serious dork? I have some kind of problem because I often find myself engaging in drive-side portagery and sadly I wear a fanny pack (of the most classic variety) too. But at least there's a reason for that.

Anonymous said...

RE: Fixie riders & age

When track bikes exploded years back it seemed to be emulating the messenger crowd, age range mid 20's to late 30's (my guess).
Last year I started seeing really young kids, like 13-15 BARTing in - I live in Oakland - with their rides, huge spanking new messenger bags, key chain clipped to wallets, all the trappings.
I thought that if fixed gear bikes became associated primarily with adolescent suburban boys, it might signal the end of the movement. Apparently aodlescent suburban boys is what people want to look like now.
Does Justin Beiber have one yet?

Anonymous said...

@ ochikiro

Sweet ride. Gonna doe some single-speed 'cross on that?

hillbilly said...

welcome back

PawnShop said...

Meh.

Welcome back, RTMS.

The ironically named Felix Salmon has put forth a unified theory of New York biking. Executive summary: ride on the street like you belong there.

Salina Lyn said...

I think I'm most confused by the toes. Ew! Why would she choose to expose them to the world? Why? WHY!

Anonymous said...

speaking of Burnig Man, I was driving along in my automobile down from up high on 80 and I spied no less than a dozen returnees with various B-Man bikes on rooftop racks, on priuses, driving like douchbags (lane changing, merge lane passing, etc.etc. very much B-Men.

ringcycles said...

The male pedi-salmon appears to be no golfer but the common brisk exer-walk dork, the female pedi-salmon looks to be holding out her empty frogurt as a form of douche bait (need a refill, babe?). The chance of them dating is about as great as the chance of Jared Leto writing the next great American novel, or of George Clooney dating Joan Rivers.

PawnShop said...

the ugliest conversion since the Spanish Inquisition.

You could be on to something here. My first thought was "ugly bike less likely to be stolen". Then I see the cut down Brooks is on a QR seat post.

JUST UGLY

I am Teriffic Man said...

Crack kills.

f said...

you're just jealous because 'George,' as you refer to him, is most adored for his 'reflectivity,' which the peons will notice he has mastered on the cycle...

and the ped-salmon are actually utilizing the shock-absorbing qualities of asphalt rather than destroying their lower appendages by continuous concrete walking.

your servant in hell

Anonymous said...

Is the ground 'hot lava' to fixed geared riders?
The reason I ask is that I watched what I believed to be a neu-Fred desperately trying to perform a track stand in front of a line of cars in an intersection. Only to give up mere seconds before the light changed and he was thus blocking traffic.
The entire time he was focused on the ground and seemed extremely disappointed that he 'dabbed.'

RANTWICK said...

@ I Am Terrific Man - See? See? I hate crack.

Anonymous said...

What you call a fanny pack obviously the start of a new fashion trend - the male bustle. Once the weather cools down and utilkilt goes over the top of it any guy can pack a fanny of fashion.

xyxax said...

As much as I am happy to see the arrival of fall and the thinning of the cycling herds, I am more ambivalant about it driving those god-awful sandal-boots (boodals?) back into the closet or, preferably, a dumpster. Because it means the 10-month UGG season is upon us.
May lob have mercy.

Anonymous said...

"time traveler from the planet douche" funny. I'm sure Leto will put some serious miles on his new whip and that that the abundant clearence afforded by the ridiculously narrow handle bars will come in handle as he bombs NYC traffic. big up to Leto for keeping it real....stupid.

grog said...

the Snob-stickers from the back of the book will stick even to non-ferrous materials, like fruit punch.

mikeweb said...

From the 'Unified Theory':

And while the majority of bicyclists don’t ride on the sidewalk, most of them do happily sit right in the middle of the pedestrian crosswalk. There’s no culture in New York of bicyclists giving way to pedestrians, and of stopping behind the crosswalk where they’re meant to stop. Instead, when they want to cross the street they do exactly what they do when they’re walking, and go as far as they possibly can without being run over by traffic. In doing so, they can get in the way of dozens of people just trying to walk across the street

Just this past Saturday, almost home from a 'Muffin run' to Nyack, I stopped at the red light at Atlantic & Hoyt. I stopped before the crosswalk and prepared myself for the what seems like 1/2 hour wait for the green light at that particular intersection.

After half a minute, another cyclist rolls up and stops almost directly in the middle of the intersection. I watched for a while as a few walkers and a dad pushing a stroller maneuvered around this guy.

I say, "You do know there's a crosswalk there, right?"

"Oh yeah, totally!"

"Okay, just checking."

I suppose if I was in a surlier mood, I might've continued on:

"So, I just wanted to thank you."

"Thank, me..."

"Yeah, you know."

"For what?"

"For doing your best to make sure that everybody thinks all cyclist are assholes."

Panzer Plan said...

Some real classics in this post which almost required me to change RMBs (Rapha Merino Boxers). However, the young lady in your favorite footwear is walking in between the curb and the bike lane.

alanfleisig said...

Andy Sandberg's non-plussed doppelganger seems decidedly pleased to meet you. Maybe that accounts for the stare. Or the pleated pants. Or both...

Anonymous said...

That frogurt woman should just write "Entitlement"across her forehead.

With the roadie crowd the herd dosen't thin out until it gets cold enough for the rider's who don't own a pair of tights or kneewarmers to drop out of sight.
Then in January we have a further reduction.

Anonymous said...

She was in the walker's expressway.

Blog Salmon said...

Is that Lehto or Virenque circa '98?

So where is Clooney in that photo?
All I can see is Elisabetta (properly attired).

frilly said...

That neon orange nail polish is so 1980's. Yet another approriated hipster trend.

Dave said...

Not for nothing, but I would dress in a clown suit or even shants if Clooney's partner would ride with me.

hillbilly said...

frills, what up w/ your boy Andy? Don't get me wrong, I approve of the drinking, but...actually, never mind.

Anonymous said...

I have better thing to do than post in the comments of your blog. I'll be busy rating my posessions from 1 to 100, eliminating 101-1988. haha suckers...

Anonymous said...

When confronted by the self-important (at least 100 times per commute here on Chicago's Norh Side) I comfort myself with the thought that these "jagoffs" (our version of "douchebags") conduct their entire lives in this manner, and thus have miserable existences.

Quicksquirt McHurt said...

I'd hit it.

Anonymous said...

So riding is really about fashion after all?

gregoryyy said...

I want to comment on Planet Douche,but,the sight of those toes...oh those scary scary toes....

sweat-soaked wool said...

Cross-sartorialism develops skills for being comfortable for any situation not matter how you are dressed. And seriously, those peds were not in the bike lane, they were in the one-foot shoulder next to the curb. You know, the liquid garbage and urine sluice-way. Let them get those toes exposed.

frilly said...

According to Bjarne, thems the rules. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu.

Seems a bit like sour grapes, though, doesn't it?

graciela. said...

I hate all feet so seeing that close up of the lady's boot sandals just about made me gag. Ew!

Crap, Leto is almost 40? That get up is extra sad then.

Bleevo said...

jeez that salmon-ped girl is really somethin'.

Anonymous said...

Rather than documents and tuna sandwiches, it looks like ASNPD has a bowling ball in his "briefcase".

CommieCanuck said...

"That neon orange nail polish is so 1980's. Yet another approriated hipster trend."

Sigh. People...people, you just don't understand the new "Speed walking" trend sweeping urban areas.
Fueled by copious amounts of caffeine, if she were to run into someone on the sidewalk at that speed, F=MA, carry the 2, answer: sure fiery death.

The orange toes are safety orange, because she's walking on the road. The sandals are made by Zipp, and designed to keep the Achilles tendon warm, the main site of speed walking injuries. Thus, the tight dress, and lack of breasts -these are all built for speed.

It's the only true minimalism.

(are we still talking about that?)

Same with the other guy, the ibuds are to keep his ear's from popping due to the negative air pressure, and his whole profile is aero-enhanced bulges, again, I refer to Zipp's website for the obvious wattage savings.

You can't know cutting edge until you've seen cutting edge.

CTTN EDGE

Shu-Sin said...

the guy with sandwich in breifcase is wearing an ASNPD and a PAIP (Plussed Appendage In Public)...

Anonymous said...

man screw the hardrock conversion for ugliness don't chari and co realize that jared leto's abomination is the worst advertisement for their shop imaginable, which will cause thousands of hipster trust fond dollars to go elsewhere? it's like having Nickelback endorse skinny jeans, or Train do a PBR ad.

LK said...

I can't wait until winter.

Anonymous said...

such a fashionista! bike snob nyc cycle un-chic critique?

SUBCONSAILOR said...

I despise the warrior sandals...
She MUST defend SPARTAAAA!

LK said...

Commie - you were scooped last week.

http://nyti.ms/9LHiDr

Anonymous said...

george clooney is excused from ridicule because he has a really hot older(older to me) chick with him.

Anonymous said...

In all those pictures, only that first guy on the specialized had a helmet...

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah I'd love to give her a frogurt hand-up.

Starrrt wearing purple, wearing purple ladadadada

Anonymous said...

Dear Snob and Snob acolytes

Is there a relationship between the fixed gear craze and the mortgage crisis, the credit crisis, and the recession?

I notice they seemed to have peaked around the same time and same place, 2007/2008 New York City, but were they driven by the same feelings? The same philosophy of life?

What is the relationship between Williamsburg and Wall Street? Were the basements of Lehman chocked full of be-bearded linux hax0rs who pretended to work at organic yogurt shops when they actually commuted to the belly of Dick Fuld's America??

Just curious, thank you.

Anonymous said...

What's with all the snarky douchebag attitude over @ Chari & co anyway? I mean come on, you assholes work in a bicycle shop, get over yourselves!
Bah! You all are nothing but a pack of bitchy, uncreative, trend following spoiled posers so what is really the difference.

Anonymous said...

it looks like Skankzilla Von Uglyshoes was walking in the bike lane & moved over a bit to avoid an oncoming Snobby. The guy in the golf gear shits his pants for pleasure.

White is the absinthe of color said...

Jared Leto's white chain makes me sad. I mean... how the Hell do you keep that thing white?
Replace it?
Daily maintenance?
Sani-White?
Pedro's Ice Wax with titanium dioxide?

Anonymous said...

Sometime back I posted in these pages that the term "douche" was being overused and had become tiresome.
But when I see the photo of Jared Leto, no better term comes to mind.

Dickinthepleats said...

ASNPD had a boner! Shoulda packaged it as a DITB (dick in tha box).

PediSalmons should be squirted with water bottles to push them back onto the sidewalk.

Tweeder said...

Penny-farthing sighting:

http://www.engrish.com//wp-content/uploads/2010/09/love-you-he-was.jpg

Can't understand the turn of the century colloquial English caption though.

Esteemed Commenter Daddo said...

I have a white chain on one of my bikes - if you keep it clean, it just stays white

Anonymous said...

@ anon-e-mouse: sup wid all dat?

Willie Mammoth said...

Once again, you Sir have hit a home run. I bet that guy broke at least two clubs his last round of golf... and Leto- seriously dude. Seriously. Where to begin...

João Faustino said...

What's up with Jared Leto and his bleached blonde hair, looks like he's back to his Fight Club look, someone needs to call Edward Norton to put him through the ringer again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0p7TS7I728

cyclotourist said...

Clooney rides Italian.

Anonymous said...

you do realise that in english speaking countries other than amerikia "fanny" means vagina, so a "fanny pack" would be a receptacle for tampons maybe? - a dorky looking thing you strap round your arse is generally called a "bum bag"!

stream of nothing said...

I have missed your world of timeless dorkery, welcome back.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:07 am: in the u.s. a "bum bag" is a satchel at the end of a stick that is carried over ones shoulder.

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Anonymous said...

A straight through bike lane to the left of a left turn only lane? Really? And you're riding in it instead of to the right of the left turn only lane? The wiener dogs are walking in a place that's unsafe for cycling anyway.

ClooneyHater said...

I never miss a good opportunity to let people know that I don't like George Clooney.

Heather said...

I work at a bike co-op in Tempe and nothing hurts my heart more than to see the vintage bikes get converted to crappy fixies. I have a 72' Schwinn Varsity and I try to keep it as stock as I possibly can. It may not be track ready, but it's a tank and will last me forever.
Also, while those pedestrians are annoying, try skateboarders and, even worse, longboarders in the bike lane. I make sure to holler "BIKE lane!" at them every time I pass one by.

Velo DC said...

It's called a Wilderness Pouch:

velodc.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I suddenly have respect for George Clooney. I love that he's riding a mtn bike down a city street, and that he's dressed in what he must feel comfortable in. He looks like he's being himself, which is an absolute relief in a city of pretty little fashionista wanna-be's in aviator glasses riding spanking new fixies -- barf!

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fixie bikes said...

Hey look chinatown!