Monday, December 20, 2010

BSNYC Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide: Putting the "Pro" in Procrastination

With only five more shopping days left until Christmas, you may find yourself looking for that last-minute gift idea for the cyclist in your life. To that end, I present this brief and hastily-"curated" gift guide for your shopping convenience. If a cyclist is not absolutely thrilled by any of these gifts, then he or she simply isn't doing it right.


A New Wheelset

As any cyclist what's on the very top of his or her wish list and the answer will almost certainly be "A new wheelset." In case you're wondering what a "wheelset" is, it's just a pair of wheels that costs too much. As for wheels, those are the round spinny things that make our bikes roll, and in order for our bikes to roll good our wheels need to do three things:

1) Be round;

2) Have bearings (or, in Craigslist parlance "berrings") that are reasonably smooth;

3) Be round.

All of these qualities are very easily attainable using components that are readily accessible and affordably priced, and assembled correctly your wheels will be round, have bearings that are reasonably smooth, and be round--plus, as a bonus, they'll also be both durable and lightweight. However, "readily accessible," "affordably priced," and "durable" are all abhorrent to cyclists, which is why most of them spend thousands of dollars to downgrade their wheels almost immediately. Of course, the question is: "Which wheels?" Yesterday's exotica is today's "training" wheelset, and last year's "staggeringly expensive" is this year's "reasonably priced," so it's vital when purchasing wheels for the Fred in your life to get the Wheel of the Moment. Also, they have to have a cool name that looks cool in giant cool letters on the rim. That's why, for what's left of 2010, you can't go wrong with "Mad Fiber:"

I know what you're thinking: "Mad Fiber?!? That sounds like a breakfast cereal for constipated rappers!" (I can see the commercial now: "This cereal has Mad Fiber!," exclaims a delighted Lil Wayne as his thunderous bowel movement positively demolishes his toilet.) However, Mad Fiber isn't cereal at all; it's a pair of wheels that are "lighter, faster, stronger, better wheels optimized for athletes who are passionate about performance." How do we know this? Well, not only are they made with "Aerospace Engineering Rigor:"

(Guy in sweatshirt holds Mad Fiber wheel while his friend inserts a generic cartridge bearing, just like how NASA builds the Space Shuttle.)

But they're also "optimized:"

(Carbon is actually "optimized," not marginalized, victimized, or criticized as it is in other wheelsets.)

And, best of all, there's no rider weight limit:

This is vital, because it means even the most bloated, over-fed cyclist can "run" them. Actually, the biggest problem facing the bicycle industry today is engineering a carbon fiber wheel that can support the considerable heft of the typical "Fred," who stands to gain absolutely nothing from it in terms of performance yet insists on owning the stuff anyway. It's like Victoria's Secret having to design a line of sensual lacy undergarments for a bunch of Hell's Angels. In any case, Mad Fiber claim to have done this, and to have answered the following question:

What if? Rather than using carbon fiber to replicate wheel components originally made of metal, what if wheel design was optimized to realize the maximum potential of carbon fiber?

Actually, when you do that, I'm pretty sure you wind up with an un-true-able rolling gimmick, like this:

Though admittedly Mad Fiber have significantly reinforced the price tag with an all-important extra structural decimal place.


A New Bike

Are you the owner of a corporation or small business looking to make an empty gesture that evokes trendy ideas like "sustainable transport" and "supporting a healthy lifestyle?" Do you like the idea of a tax write-off and instant press? Do you use the terms "bikes" and "riding toys" interchangeably? If so, why not give the gift of a crappy bicycle?

Sure, shipping thousands of one-size-fits-few bicycles from China to America where they will spend the next 20 years slowly rusting in the garage next to that old treadmill isn't all that "sustainable," but then again if all you did was give your employees a gift certificate that let them purchase their own bikes locally you wouldn't get local news footage like this:

Cheap bicycles are already poised to overtake pens, keychains, and windbreakers as the most popular form of corporate-branded giveaway junk in America, so be sure to act now while they still have some cachet.


A Giant Neck Sweater

If you have a friend, loved one, or family member who's a "hipster," here's something you may not know: "Hipsters" are highly susceptible to neck chills, especially when they're riding their bikes. They may not use brakes, and they may have no use for bar tape, but as soon as the mercury plunges below 65 degress they will wrap up their necks like they're Michael Hutchence about to auto-erotically asphyxiate themselves. This is because they're constantly assaulting their throats with American Spirit cigarettes and cheap beer, which means even the slightest chill can induce week-long "Ratso" Rizzo-like coughing fits. So don't let your favorite hipster get cold this holiday season. Instead, go to your local bike shop boutique and buy them a giant neck sweater:

As you can see from the above photos, the hipster neck grows cold way before the rest of the body, which is why he's wearing a giant neck sweater with just a flannel shirt. Plus, hipsters also love being the world champion, so be sure you purchase a neck sweater that includes the coveted "dork en ciel:"

("I'm the world champion of having a warm neck!")

The giant neck sweater--it's like a doggie sweater for hipsters!


A Giant Neck Tattoo

If you have a friend, loved one, or family member who's a "hipster," here's something you may not know: "Hipsters" love neck tattoos. A neck tattoo is like a regular tattoo, only it's more authentic because it's worn on the neck, as the name suggests:

Prior to the advent of the neck tattoo, the knuckle tattoo was the authentic hipster tattoo of choice. However, there are two problems with knuckle tattoos: 1) Too many people have them now so they've officially become "uncool," like tribal bands and "tramp stamps"; and 2) They limit the number of characters in your message to multiples of five. Neck tattoos, on the other hand (so to speak), are still unusual enough among people with liberal arts educations that they will attract a second look at the bar.

However, you should keep in mind that, even though you can technically incorporate any text you want into a neck tattoo, there are informal rules that govern what constitutes an acceptable "hipster" neck tattoo message. Since putting a tattoo on your neck is a big commitment, the message should have an inverse relationship to this level of commitment and be something indifferent or even inane. This underscores how daring the "hipster" is, and how blithely he or she approaches important decisions. Appropriate neck tattoo messages include:

"A-Okay"
"Whatevs"
"Meh"
"My parents sent me to Sara Lawrence College and all I got was this stupid neck tattoo."

So make sure to get your favorite hipster a neck tattoo now, while they're still edgy enough to evoke prison. (Or at least a state-run institution, like UC Berkeley.) It's the perfect permanent undershirt for that giant neck sweater.


Something to Make Cycling Less Enjoyable

There are a lot of problems with cycling, but probably the biggest one is that it's tremendously enjoyable. It's cheap, it's easy, and there's only a simple machine between you and the road. Over the years, people have come up with many ingenious ways to make the whole endeavor less enjoyable and more "serious." Some use electronic monitoring devices that constantly inundate them with data that quantifies their poor performance; others remove the brakes from their bicycles so they have to writhe and backpedal and skid to a stop. But few of these methods are as absurdly sublime as PowerCranks.

PowerCranks are like ordinary cranks, only they're far more expensive, and they don't work. Here's a compelling video which shows PowerCranks in action:



The key to PowerCranks is that they allow you to pedal with both legs on the same plane, so that you look like a kangaroo in a hurry:

This can result in tremendous performance gains for amateur cyclists, though these gains are more mental than physical. This is because, for some reason, mediocre cyclists think that doing something pointless and inconvenient during the "off-season" will somehow allow them to to dominate their hobby next year. And what could be more pointless and inconvenient than riding on broken cranks? Basically, the more irritating the training tool is to use, the more effective it is, so at this rate I expect PowerCrank unicycles to be the hot "training" set-up for 2011.

Of course, PowerCranks do have tremendous physical benefits to athletes who compete in sports that are based on producing power while keeping your legs together, like sack racing:

I for one would be thrilled if sack racing were to replace the cycling leg in triathlons, if only because the remount porn would be even more entertaining. Watching people attempt to straddle pro-level time trial bikes is amusing enough, but watching them struggle and flail as they attempt to step into $2,000 carbon fiber potato sacks would be positively sublime.

So this Christmas, give the roadie or triathlete in your live the greatest gift of all--the gift of inconvenience.

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fist!

Nogocyclist said...

Not last

Nogocyclist said...

I would have made it sooner if my bike scarf did not get in the spokes. Man, did it hurt, too!

streepo said...

Third!!! Without stopping sel-abuse!!

Anonymous said...

top 10!

Anonymous said...

Douchebag

Anonymous said...

Snob got a mention from Yehuda Moon

Anonymous said...

topteneel!

Anonymous said...

HELLO

JahKnow said...

really top 10?

thegock said...

SACK RACE

Anonymous said...

DOMI NATE
YOUR HOBY

ken e. said...

come on!

crosspalms said...

Can I get one of those $2000 carbon fiber potato sacks from BestMade?

Drew said...

In the future neck tats will be huge (stretched) at assisted living facilities/nursing homes.

Ratso Rizzo said...

We will see about the cough when I gets me to Florida.

cyclotourist said...

SACK RACE

g-roc said...

Yeah, saw the shout out from Yehuda. Yehuda's comments today generally confirmed why I enjoy that comic better if I skip the comments section. They were generally negative or indifferent toward the Snob.

dmg said...

Not only are the neck sweaters absurd, but they also cost over $100!!!!!

shoegazer said...

sublime sacks

Anonymous said...

LOVE the Giant Neck Sweater. Whatev(er) will these idiots take to wearing next?
My frau and some of her friends are wearing these this season, but a) they are women, for God's sake, and b) they purchase them at boutiques which sell fashion accessories for women.
Have not seen them on douXX (sorry) 'hipsters' here in Lower Canada yet, but I suppose it's only a matter of time. We've quite a few such individuals polluting my workplace, but those I see are still walking their 'fixies' to Starbucks etc. while wearing capris and/or sporting faux-Bedouin neckwear (perhaps the latter fashion has died in the U.S.??).

Podium Slut said...

Volume III page MDCCXlII ; "Confessions of a Podium Slut" by Podium Slut


Alberto is larger that Mario. Much much much larger. Metrically speaking of course.

Dick Power said...

Is that R. Seaman triathlete fully named Richard (aka "Dick") Seaman?
I thought so. Those PowerCranks people have a sense of humor.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

"A-Okay"

hillbilly said...

GIFT THIS

wishiwasmerckx said...

Damn, Snob, you have been ON FIRE of late!

Some English Premier League teams have actually banned those neck-scarfs for on-field wear by players -- true fact...

I am a very light engine. said...

I think it means Weight limit- No Rider.
It has a weight limit of 0 lbs, not infinite weight limit.

It is like that running bike with the wheels in the front and back.

Give those Ikea bikes to the masses.

Martin Erzinger said...

I think you should give them smelly new Mercedes.
Bicycles are intrinsically dangerous.
Snore.

samh said...

There are obviously a few triathletes that read Yehuda Moon.

Bike Riding Pinko said...

At least the Ikea BSO looks like it has 36 spokes.

Personally, I have another 2criteria for my wheels - be strong and be servicable. Generally means 32+ spokes.

Brian said...

Spell check -- "life" instead of "live" in the last sentence.

ken e. said...

"not that there's anything wrong with being a overly critical self-righteous douche bag..."

sounds to me like the yehuda moon comments people are well-practiced ball suckers, with a little work we could have a acronym here.

AYMC SMCF

Eric Lowe said...

I thought the "neck-sweate" was a "Snood"

Stephen Taylor, Endurance Coaching Fitness, Training said...

I used to resent the abuse heaped on triathletes on this and similar media...but I have come to accept it as true.

Mount....FAIL!

wishiwasmerckx said...

I prefer sports that are based on producing power while keeping your legs apart.

Along those lines, after "Dancing with the Stars" morphed into "Skating with the Stars," I set up a pitch meeting with the network. It did not go well...they seemed to have no interest in my proposal for "Fucking with the Stars."

I figured if you have computer access, you have already seen most of their cooches anyways, getting out of limos and so on, and this would be the next step in logic...perfectly blending the objectification of women as sex objects with the ascendency of porn and the race for top ratings and sponsorship dollars.

Oh, well...lotsa great ideas were before their time...

David Henderson said...

The main problem with the Mad Fiber Wheelset is that they are not expensive enough. Instead try the Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate Wheelset which retails at a mere $2999.99
I see that I need to add "A Giant Neck Sweater" to my list.

Anonymous said...

"they will wrap up their necks like they're Michael Hutchence about to auto-erotically asphyxiate themselves"

This may just be the funniest thing I have ever seen in print.

Cycle Jerk said...

"sack"... tee hee

Anonymous said...

(I can see the commercial now: "This cereal has Mad Fiber!," exclaims a delighted Lil Wayne as his thunderous bowel movement positively demolishes his toilet.)

Lots of good nuggets today, Snob, thanks!

brother yam said...

Snobbie,

Your partner in Bromance, Stevil, has declared the term "hipster" to be dead. We need to come up with a replacement. I proffer the Olde Englishe term Douchbagge.

Anonymous said...

Lanterne Rouge!!!!

Kenny Banya said...

"I know what you're thinking: "Mad Fiber?!? That sounds like a breakfast cereal for constipated rappers!"

Gold Snobby...GOLD!

Matt said...

You'd better watch it, Snob, that sack racing photo is going to rekindle the viscous should-we-wear-helmets-while-sack racing debate. I mean, c'mon folks, in Amsterdam like 40% of trips are by sack and they don't wear helmets! And have you seen CopenhagenSackChic? Those babes are hot, at least from the waist up.

Frank Eeckman said...

the main advantage of powercranks is that they are an excellent theft deterrent. Nothing deters thieves like that broken look of two crankarms hanging down.

Anonymous said...

good comedy... those power cranks are awesome... if you look real closely in the video (secs 0.10-0.15) as she passes the other rider - he takes his right leg off his pedal and dangles it along side his bike... "look two legs at once is faster than one leg" - aww infomercial marketing at it's finest...

Anonymous said...

Sack racing is huge in Mongolia...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/5977077/Ashrita-Furman-holder-of-the-most-Guinness-World-Records-in-the-world.html?image=4

I like ikea said...

There are only 5 ikea bikes on e-bay?

I guess the employees intend on keeping them, no matter what you elitest custom single speed bike weanies think.

A present is a present, I recall something about not looking a gift hipster in the mouth cause they don't have any money for seeing the dentist.

I swear that is how the story goes.

Quincy M.D. said...

Snob,

David Carradine was the auto-erotic asphyxiation. Hutchence was a plain ol' depression suicide.

ASSS PHYX

Dave said...

Hey wasn't Michael Hutchence from New Zealand?

Auto-erotic asphyxiation. Talk about a New Sensation!

dux said...

boring drivel today. near miss.

Dave said...

Since suicide is a sin, does that mean Hutchence had the Devil Inside?

Anonymous said...

I thought it is mad fibre?

Anonymous said...

"Though admittedly Mad Fiber have significantly reinforced the price tag with an all-important extra structural decimal place."

Well put Snobbie, well put. You are on fire this holiday season...

g said...

Loved the write today, Snob. Was very, very glad to see this wasn't an Snobatical announcement. I rue that day....

Not that I don't believe Power Cranks' Dick Seaman, but won't just riding your bike consistently for 6 months raise one's fitness enough to improve speeds 2-3 mph?

Shaun said...

@Quincy MD 2:32 PM

If "auto-erotic asphyxiation" refers to choking one's self out while beating off, that's what Hutchence did.

Quincy M.D. said...

Shawn,

The New South Wales Coronor, Derrick Hand does not agree with you.

From Wiki,

"Hand had specifically considered the suggestions of accidental death and autoerotic asphyxiation but had discounted them based on substantial evidence presented to the contrary."

HAND STND

Anonymous said...

Auto-erotic fixie what?

Anonymous said...

"This can result in tremendous performance gains for amateur cyclists"

As any junior sports coach will tell you, just about any training method will produce "tremendous gains" for an amateur athlete, as opposed to 'not training at all'.
Performance gains for intermediate athletes are achievable through sensible training methods.
As for advanced athletes, only a wholistic approach of sound training methods and performance *ahem* enhancing ingredients -namely clen steaks- will set them apart from the pack.
You don't need SchmowerCranks to do well in the TdF or Milan-San Remo. You just need to devote your life to it and be vicious.

Anonymous said...

Dick Seaman was an Englishman who raced for Mercedes in the 1930s; died in a fiery crash at Spa.

But I degress.......by some degree.

hey nonny mouse

Douchebag McDougal said...

Haud yer wheest.

Anonymous said...

My mom made my neck sweater

Martin Erzinger said...

http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/11/news/the-explainer-is-having-a-mercedes-an-affirmative-defense_149196

Mr. Magoo defense?

Damn Right, peasants.

Squirty McDouche said...

What the fuck is James Carville doing selling broken bicycle parts?

g said...

Why is it when I read this:
"wheels need to do three things:
1) Be round;
2) Have bearings (or, in Craigslist parlance "berrings") that are reasonably smooth;
3) Be round."

I immediately thought of this:
"Hedley Lamarr: Qualifications?
Applicant: Rape, murder, arson, and rape.
Hedley Lamarr: You said rape twice.
Applicant: I like rape. "?

marcel da chump said...

You sound like Holden Caufield. Keep doing your thing.

bikesgonewild said...

..."...it means even the most bloated, over-fed cyclist can "run" them...who stands to gain absolutely nothing...in terms of performance..."...

...why must this devolve into a personal attack, bsnyc/rtms ???...i'm honestly trying, ok ???...

Anonymous said...

I wonder what three events "R. Seaman" competes in...

Anonymous said...

ha, the scarf is $105, yet you can get a fully functioning and improperly assembled adult tricycle for $200 from walmart.

The girl in the short skirt said...

My panties!

Portlandpeopleeater said...

I'm holding out for matching leg warmers to the neck scarves. A complete set. And to complement the revealing of the neck tattoo after removing the neck scarf, ironic ankle tattoos.

Anonymous said...

If you didn't see it earlier (it is after all about 2 months old) check out the Best Of Craigslist

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/tal/1984502593.html

which I think is just begging to be analyzed by you.

Jesse Smith said...

"they will wrap up their necks like they're Michael Hutchence about to auto-erotically asphyxiate themselves."
"About to.."? Take a closer look at his jeans in the photo of him on the right.
Make that the past tense.

superfred said...

Last!

Anonymous said...

"skank stamp" aka "ass antlers"

Anonymous said...

has anyone else seen this?

http://www.yehudamoon.com/index.php?date=2010-12

from the comments it seems the snob is "out"

Hairy-legged roadie said...

This post had more than a DRV for scare quotes, but you got a couple of my least fave items: "wheelset" and to "run" a wheelset.

I don't know what's worse: roadies and their insatiable bling acquisition, or fauxhemians and their pretense of being above conspicuous consumption while being such enthusiastic fashion victims.

Anonymous said...

Ahem! I believe the correct term for a neck sweater is a "snood." Common Winter accessory worn by sight hounds:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CZF9NGrQWH4/THXbd1TNW5I/AAAAAAAABLY/gwI8K8s-iZk/s1600/Purple+Snood+with+Grey+Accents_1.jpg

Kind of reminds me. My bike is showing a lot of stem and it's December. Does anyone make a stem-cozy?

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Misleading Title said...

It's still not Friday.
I expect a make-up Wednesday and Thursday post when you return from immersion.

segway for sale said...

I bought one of those neck sweaters and I really could not get on with it as it really restricted my performance

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Fixie Bikes said...

I'll have to agree with you on the whole being round thing.