Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Changing Tides: No More Lonely Nights

America (Canada's placemat) is a wonderful but confusing place, and one of the more complex aspects of life here is our relationship with the bicycle. This relationship can be summarized thusly: "We hate it." For example, when Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declared that the government would give bicycles increased consideration in transportation planning, the announcement was received with an enthusiastic "You're on drugs." Even in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where people with six-figure incomes volunteer at the food coop so they can have ready access to organic vegetables, the new bike lane on Prospect Park West has met with vehemently turtlenecked opposition:

("There's a bike lane in Park Slope and now my grandson wants a fixie!")

Americans are equally dismissive of the sport of professional cycling, though admittedly this is a bit more understandable. Basically, pro cycling has evolved into a game of waiting for blood test results, and at this point you'd probably get more sporting enjoyment out of hanging around your local Quest Diagnostics lab and gambling on what kind of diseases people have. This is not to say that it can't be exciting at times; for example, Alberto Contador's tainted meat explanation was not only entertaining, but it has also caused shockwaves of indignity throughout the Spanish cattle industry. Even Contador's own butchers deny his claims--though they do stand by him anyway since the guy buys a lotta steak:

Frankly, I'm not so sure Spanish meat is all that clean. In fact, when I enlarged the image above I noticed this:

That would explain everything.

Meanwhile, the World Anti-Doping Authority wants the UCI to start testing riders in the middle of the night so they can nab riders who may be taking drugs with a short detection window. Naturally, many riders are against this, though Mark "The Man Missile" Cavendish doesn't have any problem with it:

Cavendish further went on to explain that if any "sexy" testers wanted to slip into bed with him in the middle of the night and "find out what I'm really on" that they were more than welcome. He also provided his HTC mobile number, his travel agenda for the next six months, and a self-taken photograph of himself wearing a green jersey and nothing else. Another rider who says he has no problem with late night doping control is Riccardo "The Cobra" Riccò:

However, he may have misunderstood the question somewhat.

In any case, given the strong anti-bicycle current, it's only a matter of time before the current bike bubble we're experiencing deflates like a clincher with a pinch flat, those new bike lanes are rescinded, and the few remaining cyclists are left to "rim it" in the gutter whilst being "buzzed" by SUVs. I'm already making my post-bike bubble provisions, and plan to liquidate my entire "stable" of bicycles so that I can move on to the Next Big Thing--which I probably don't have to remind you is artisanal axes. On Monday I mentioned the launch of "Base Camp X," an urban tool vendor for urban tools, and after browsing their offerings I'm pretty sure this is the way I'm going to go:

In particular, I've got my eye on the "Leviathan" (this also happens to be what Mark Cavendish named his "man missile"), which costs $525:

While this might strike you as expensive, keep in mind that it's totally in keeping with the normal rate of price "douche-flation" over the past ten years. Plus, more importantly, it comes with a colored handle that you can match to either your outfit or the décor of your artisanal cabin. The "Leviathan" is going to look great in my Williamsburg loft leaned up against the decorative woodpile next to my non-functioning vintage potbelly stove--though I will probably heft it occasionally and admire the way my poorly-developed forearm muscles almost bulge beneath my designer sleeve tattoos, and the way the light from my energy-saving bulbs glints off its utterly pristine head. (Coincidentally, "pristine head" also happens to be Mark Cavendish's idea of "night time doping controls.")

Speaking of being "overblown" (which Mark Cavendish insists is not possible), a reader recently forwarded me this compelling piece from the Rapha website:

While I was disappointed that a story on a clothing website titled "A Tale of Two Cycling Cities" did not start with the line "It was the best of pants, it was the worst of pants," I did marvel at the following passage:

A similar liberty with dress codes applies, also. In London, we are tribal and class-conscious: what we wear when we ride around town is a statement, either deliberate or by default, about who we are and where we're pegged in the social hierarchy. I get dressed to ride in London, my appearance on the bike as important as my appearance when I get off it as my destination. I eschew lycra and obvious bike gear, especially anything that smacks of dayglo functionality. Equally, I avoid baggy, flapping clothing; I aim for a trim, tailored look. Even though I ride a fixed, I am careful to avoid the solecism of seeming to pass myself off as a messenger. At the same time, I dress "up" a little, wearing a tie, say, in order to distinguish myself fogeyishly from the self-fashion-consciousness of the Old Street stylists.(Riding a bike in low-slung jeans - how is that even possible?) But I look forward to when it gets cold enough to start wearing my prototype Classic Softshell Jacket, with its now slightly dicky zip and worn-through thumbloops. It's a look that, I hope, says I'm a serious cyclist, but not so serious that I'm trying too hard. And there's always a message about class encapsulated in all that: I'm identifying as metropolitan middle-class, but of the knowing, dissenting, ironic subset thereof, and - god forbid - nothing like a not-know-any-better bourgeois.

Given the amount of thought he puts into his wardrobe I'm amazed he can ever leave the house before noon. I guess some people put on their pants one leg at a time, while others put them on in a state of contemplation and as a bold expression of one's perceived place in the social hierarchy. While I fall into the former category in that my criteria for donning pants involves little more than a sniff test followed by a cursory inspection for crotchal holes that might inadvertently cause me to reveal my "pants yabbies," this rider clearly resides in the latter and thus attains levels of "pants curation" to which few of us can even aspire.

Also, he said "dicky zip."

Speaking of avoiding "the solecism of seeming to pass myself off as a messenger," if you too want to avoid this solecism you should be sure not to try to pass yourself off as Craig Etheridge, who is the World Champion Bike Messenger of the World, the rightful wearer of the CMWC Red Beard of Glory, and now the subject of a local news piece that was forwarded to me by a reader:



As you can see, Etheridge is being hailed as a hero in his hometown of Seattle, and I was pleased to see that whenever he leaves a building after completing a delivery he is mobbed by sexy young groupies:

(The woman on the left is naked underneath that coat.)

Rumor has it that Etheridge enjoys "night time doping controls" with a different "tester" every night.

Anyway, I wonder if, now that "the Americana backwoods revival" has supplanted "messenger chic," we will have to seek out people like logrolling champions to emulate instead. I also wonder if we'll have to forsake our Rapha in favor of an equally pretentious maker of bespoke woodsman's garments. Most importantly, I wonder if I'll have to get rid of my "fixie"-themed art collection (as forwarded by this reader):

Hopefully, given the animal content, it will be deemed appropriately rustic.

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Snob, always a good read!

Anonymous said...

Nonplussed.

Anonymous said...

nice

streepo said...

yeeaarrrghhh!!!

ringcycles said...

top 10, meh, but I'm not a witch!

RANTWICK said...

WooHoo! Yeah! What place am I in?

le Correcteur said...

Top ten! I'm doing well this week; must be those drugs I'm taking!

Anonymous said...

The world's greatest messenger has, gasp, "breaks" and gears. Oh my, fixies are so last year.

me said...

Top 10. Great column Snobby!

3G said...

dicky zip!

Astroluc said...

F5 = Fail

crosspalms said...

Albuterol Clentador is still really fun to say

grog said...

wacky

Anonymous said...

top 14 bitches

hillbilly said...

you have an axe to grind?

Anonymous said...

i can't take craig the world champion bike messenger of the world serious with that voice of his.

my dicky zip also has worn through thumb holes, but not from riding my bike if you know what I mean. I don't.

Anonymous said...

The woman on the left, naked under her coat, also appears to be a time traveler.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

"...even more astonishing is that Craig became the World Champion while recovering from his sex-change operation. An "asterisk" that will take years to outdo.

Anonymous said...

badouche!

yofilly said...

"I'm identifying as metropolitan middle-class, but of the knowing, dissenting, ironic subset thereof, and - god forbid - nothing like a not-know-any-better bourgeois."

Can we shorten that to dork?

Anonymous said...

doodche!

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Shu-Sin said...

the CMWC Red Beard of Glory guy looks rustic enough that if he dropped his bike and picked up an ax, he's be a poster-child-hero for the woodsmen's revival, too...

ervgopwr said...

When you go depart with the whips of your stable be sure the big "dicky zip" dummy makes it to me.

DIKE ZIPP

I am not slightly dicky engine said...

"slightly dicky zip and worn-through thumbloops"

I think that says everything about Rapha.

Perhaps they should put that on a giant billboard, and wait for the u-lock beatdown to folow.

Anonymous said...

Did you really say Clint-adore?

J Alfred Prufrock, commuter said...

It grows cold … It grows cold …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers pinch-rolled.

Velo DC said...

sniff test? hey, i do the same thing!

http://velodc.blogspot.com/2010/08/wilderness-pouch_31.html

PawnShop said...

Come to think of it, AxSnobNYC does have a nice ring to it.
ARTS ANAL

ant1 said...

ant1st!

PawnShop said...

'Dayglo functionality'
WTF?

Anonymous said...

"pristine head" also happens to be Mark Cavendish's idea of "night time doping controls." -almost sprayed coffee from this one. Good stuff.

mikeweb said...

Dicky zip? Didn't I see that in a Ben Stiller movie? Sounds like a painful way to ride around....

wishiwasmerckx said...

"Is that the frank or the beans?"

wishiwasmerckx said...

As a certified member of the upper class, I resent all this social-strata/anti-elitist baloney. Hey, I put on my crown the same way you do...

wishiwasmerckx said...

DIKY ZIP!

Warren said...

"He was masturbating"!!!

Anonymous said...

has the impending collapse of the bike bubble been reflected in the chris king headset index? Should I start shorting all my stockpiled headsets?

Anonymous said...

Yep, all cyclists should be very bummed: Jim Oberstar, House Rep from Minnesota and the chairman of the House Transportation Committee lost. Oberstar was a bicycle advocate and had our back on the committee. God knows what the Republicans will come up with--probably the dude with Tourette's (oh, wait, his NAME is Tourette) who hates Ray La Hood. Great.

Will Handsfield said...

So do the makers of the Leviathan Ax(e) send Tennessee Hickory to New Zealand to be then handmade into ax(e) handles, attached to a steel head, then returned (presumably by airmail) to the United States to be sold in boutique shops in NYC?

If only there was some place in America where hardwood trees and steel production were in close proximity...

Darrin said...

If you test positive for dope then your a doper!

yogisurf said...

Klit, the One Fixed Love artist, apparently likes it a new animal head every night. Nice art work.

Udder said...

I believe Mark Cavendish is known as "The Manx Missile", not "The Man Missile."

He may well have a "man missile" but that's an entirely different matter.

Neil said...

You're really riding Cav today...

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

From the results of Election Day, I gather that the VTO (vehemently turtlenecked opposition) is now in charge... I for one welcome our turtlenecked overlords.

T. S. Elliot said...

I'm glad someone still gets down on my shit.

Anonymous said...

"Udder said...
I believe Mark Cavendish is known as "The Manx Missile", not "The Man Missile."

He may well have a "man missile" but that's an entirely different matter."

I think it was a play on words, you tit (get it?)

Anonymous said...

To brand or not to brand; that is the question ... - a Rapha solioquy

crosspalms said...

and for the Rapha party, to brie or not to brie...

CAMPIONE CYCLES CALGARY said...

I am surprised bad lawyer has not yet rejoiced at the availability of a jacket with a dicky zip. Here in Canada, (America's faux-hawk) lawyers still dress up in robes and dickies when appearing in the Court of Queen's Bench or higher. Kinky? No, not at all.

Perhaps Rapha is moving to a cycling jacket that converts to barristers robes. That could be pretty cool. One could chase pro-cyclists from the lab to the courthouse while displaying confidently one's position in society.

https://peacock.rainyday.mb.ca/cgi-bin/productshow.pl?database=gaspard;currency=CA;productNm=162

Keith Hearn said...

Anyone else notice that the Lion-headed fixie rider's bike has the drivetrain on the wring side?

Anonymous said...

The wring side? Does it have a Graeme Obree-style washing machine bottom bracket?

Enough internets -- I've got to return to composing laundry-themed operatic trilogy, entitled "The Wring Cycle".

CommieCanuck said...

America's old people have spoken:
They want increased medicare.
They want a higher military budget.
They want to cut taxes and reduce spending, but not on medicare or the military budget.

Fuck single mothers and the homeless. And bicycle riding lefties. and those people who do all the work who talk funny and have funny names.
Ayn Rand Paul will fix everything now.

crosspalms said...

yep, fix with a "u"

Anonymous said...

That Rapha text is makes me feel icky inside.
Also, the new backwoods revival hipster thing at least allows you to yell the following at them:(I like to shout it at the kids in the bar wearing red and black flannel jackets):
"Hey fella, you're gonna be late for deer camp!!"
Also, note that the ultimate in pretty girls to the backwoods hipster is the "wood nymphette with deer antlers attached". There are many examples of this kind of girl portrayed in annoyingly cute art found on Etsy.

Anonymous said...

yo, the guy in the Rapha article goes on to say that stopping at a red light on your bike makes you an "inexplicable fool".

lolz.

i'm guessing he a) never rides crosstown or b) is the world Frogger champion

Anonymous said...

CC @4:48 -- how un-American of you. You must be some kind of Commie!

Oh, wait ...

Sarah P said...

The "Leviathan" is going to look great in my Williamsburg loft leaned up against the decorative woodpile next to my non-functioning vintage potbelly stove--though I will probably heft it occasionally and admire the way my poorly-developed forearm muscles almost bulge beneath my designer sleeve tattoos, and the way the light from my energy-saving bulbs glints off its utterly pristine head.

Sorry to copy/post such a long one ....perfection ! I'm saving it, if that's ok with snobby.

Indy Falconheads said...

"It's a look that, I hope, says I'm a serious cyclist, but not so serious that I'm trying too hard."

DUDE- You wear Rapha! That's trying WAY TOO HARD.

Jay-sus!

AMR said...

BSNYC,
Nice interview on Life Matters (ABC Australia).
Keep up the good work!
Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Better axes, both Swedish hand forged: Gransfors Bruks and
Wetterling.
You want to curate some 58 Rockwell? then get one of those.

The Snow and Nealy are a little too soft. If you want to stay with USA made then try Council, very reasonably priced.

yyz113 said...

black flag t; so alpha
furry fixster?
fixster furry?

D. Hawerchuk said...

Speaking of Rapha....
They're now teaming up with Paul (Fred) Smith to make an absurd amount of money from tremendously tacky gear.

http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/3221-rapha-and-paul-smith

"The range has been created for all-day riding with the direct input of Sir Paul himself. 'The freedom of the open road,' a motto in Sir Paul's own handwriting, is embroidered on key pieces. Anything sold in £ frightens me.

samh said...

Laying the Cavendish smackdown today! OH SNAP!

stiveaux said...

I liked the world champion messenger. Faux messengers take note: he uses a derailleur.

Anonymous said...

Hi. My name is Loydfay Andislay. Several years ago while in France Satan, the Devil stole my conscience. And She won't give it back.

So I'm looking to buy a used conscience. I'm willing to pay 250,000 euro and I'll throw in 1,000 litres of Richard Virenque's Magical Mystery Climbing Juice plus an exclusive photo of Lance Armstrongs reproductive facilities. We're talking a shelled spanish peanut and two frozen peas here people.

Vegas said...

Oh c'mon, what's the big whoop? The Mary Kay ax(e)s AND the I-wanna-Ralpha gear are still cheaper than t-shirts:
http://laist.com/2009/01/21/mostexpensivetshirt.php

crosspalms, that's the first I've seen of that AC moniker. Thanky, I literally lol.

And Hawerchuk, if you click on the flag, top right, you can change moneyways along with languageways.

leroy said...

Loydfay Andislay --

You're not fooling anybody. Everybody knows if it were a genuine Armstrong photo, there'd only be one frozen pea.

cyclotourist said...

TRY2 HARD

leroy said...

Is it just me or does anyone else think we've witnessed history toady?

Years from now, students of humor will ask where you were on the day the parenthetical Cavendish attribution took its rightful place in the pantheon of comedic tropes beside the "that's what she said" device.

I'm all vehklempt.

cyclotourist said...

DICK YZIP

bikesgonewild said...

...artwork by a guy named 'klit'...

...sounds like a 'pussy' to me...

...just sayin'...

Zippy Dick said...

I am not a cook!

Dippy Stick said...

You are a quart low.

Lippy Hick said...

Gol dang libary won't let me an Ricky in no more. Comminist basterds.

bikesgonewild said...

...it seems the chap who left 'best brand' to start 'base camp x' was having philosophical differences with his old pals because he felt that if you're going to fleece your customers by selling overpriced shit, then you should go for 'the golden fleece' & really overprice your shit...

...hard to believe either company will survive for long but then again, p.t.barnum as a philosophical visionary, was more of an axe salesman than a clown...

Trippy Chick said...

And so then, maaan, he got all sortsa pissed off when I asked to borrow his silk hanky again.

Lizard Labs said...

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Anonymous said...

The R-Sys* crisis will be forgotten by history when it is overshadowed by the terror of the Dicky Zipp. ce

*R-Sys is pronounced "Arses"

CommieCanuck said...

Exactly what kind of fucked-up research are you doing?

Anonymous said...

I actually thought the info-tainment fluff piece on "The World Champ Messenger" was pretty cool.

Yeah, yeah; a non- negatron, "get off my lawn", snarky-snark comment - just not feeling the mean streak today, I suppose.

Thanks for putting a smile instead of a smirk on my face, Snobby.

TIT- ANIS said...

Riccò has sponsor names on the sleeves of his suit?
When does it end?

Bourgeois closeted clothing ashamed of its identity? Self-hating will not serve you well.

Udder said...

"Udder said...
I believe Mark Cavendish is known as "The Manx Missile", not "The Man Missile."

He may well have a "man missile" but that's an entirely different matter."

"I think it was a play on words, you tit (get it?)"

Not everyone gets sarcasm. Is "tit" a play on words too?

Thesis writing said...

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ervgopwr said...

getting ready for the quiz

courierdad said...

Change in the bike world is incredibly quick, I just saw a Zefal artisanal ax strap at the LBS!

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Fixie Bikes said...

I wonder if the spanish really like pig ears.