Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tempting Fate: Look Ma, No Hands

(A reader's AYHSMB vanity plate in the eye-catching Massachusetts "colorway.")

Bicycle photography is a rule-bound art form, governed as strictly as any haiku or sonnet. Consequently, bicycle photographs generally include certain elements: among these are the drive-side shot; the Obligatory Robust Bottom Bracket Shot (or ORBS); and the "Wow, I'm a genius, I built up a fixie with a straight chainline" shot. However, my personal favorite is the "disembodied hand" shot, which I mentioned in yesterday's post.

The disembodied hand shot is my favorite precisely because it is whimsical and improvisational, and consequently an antidote to the contrived stuffiness inherent in most bicycle photography. This is why I occasionally catch myself slavering over disembodied hand porn, and why I was pleased to receive this example from a reader:

Sure, intentional disembodied hand parody shots like the ones I mentioned yesterday are entertaining, but nothing is as satisfying as the real thing--especially when it's in the classic Michelangelo "Hand of God" style:

("All You Deities Finger My Fixie")

Speaking of disembodied hands, another reader forwarded me this interview with a top hand model, whose manner of speaking is so ethereally lilting that she seems to be hypnotized by her own gesticulations:



"I can make a full-time living off about five inches," she reveals to Katie Couric while her hands twist slowly like shwarma on a skewer:

This is quite impressive--even more so than adult film star and total über-Fred Jack Lawrence, who also makes a living off of a single appendage, though presumably with a few more inches:



But still, nobody tops Adam, who managed to father the entire human race with little more than a centimeter:


Put that in your hand and model it, Ellen Sirot.

In any case, if you enjoy disembodied hand shots you owe a debt of gratitude to the fixed-gear "culture," whose obsession with photographing their crappy bikes has resulted in a veritable disembodied hand bumper crop. However, I'm not sure this makes up for the rest of their excesses--though you've got to give them a disembodied hand for continuing to find increasingly stupid things to do with what are essentially very limited bicycles. First there was the awkward herky-jerkiness of "fixed-gear freestyling," then there was the senseless knee abuse of long-distance fixie touring, and now there's the utter mindlessness of "hill bombing," as evidenced by that guy on the Stelvio, as well as these riders in San Francisco:

Potrero Hill Bombing from Lester Lyons-Hookham on Vimeo.

In it, we see a rider who looks less like an actual "hipster" than he does someone who has dressed up as a stereotypical hipster for Halloween:

Next, this parody of a hipster rides down a hill, skidding occasionally in order to scrub off speed and to show off his Daisy Dukes:

The object being, of course, to blow a stop sign and experience the thrill of almost being hit by a car:

I'm not sure why you'd make a video like this and put it on the Internet unless your goal is to figuratively urinate on the graves of every cyclist who has ever been killed by a motor vehicle through no fault of his or her own. Presumably they're working on a sequel in which they take one of those "epic" fixed-gear trips to an impoverished country in order to burn a bunch of food and money in front of the villagers. Anyway, you'd think that if your favorite pastime was riding down hills and skidding to a stop you'd at least put some thought into tire choice, but even this seems to be beyond them:

You'd also think that, in a city like San Francisco, climbing hills quickly would be the true measure of cycling prowess, but I guess water and stupidity always find their own level.

Now, I'm not one to wish crashes on people, but I can't help thinking that cycledom might be better off if these riders were to fall of their bikes and vow never to get back on again. Nothing serious, mind you--just enough to dent their fixies and their pride. Speaking of which, while I languished in the shed last week, the New York Times published the following article on just that, only with "Traditional Freds" instead of the "Nü" variety:

In it, the writer chronicles the events leading up to her own traumatic crash:

My crash came 8.9 miles into a 100-mile ride (of course I knew the distance, because of course I was watching my bicycle computer). My friend Jen Davis was taking a turn leading; my husband, Bill, was drafting — riding close behind her. I was drafting Bill when a slower rider meandered into his path. Bill swerved and I hit his wheel. Down I went.

Clearly this was a "clusterfred" of the highest order, but I'm not sure we're getting the whole picture and I think this testimony still requires some Johnny Cochran-esque cross-examination. Setting aside for the moment the fact that she was staring at her computer instead of watching what was going on around her, I'm not sure how, if she was drafting behind Bill as she claims, his swerving would cause her to hit his wheel. The only plausible explanation would be that they were attempting an "echelon," a maneuver that no Fred should ever attempt. In fact, I'm not even sure most Freds should attempt regular drafting, given that they're generally rapt by their various computers and gizmos like crows are transfixed by shiny things, and in addition to cars staying three feet away from them they should probably also stay three feet away from each other:


The only objects that move more erratically than Freds on Pinarellos are hummingbirds and UFOs.

Meanwhile, when I'm not browsing disembodied hand porn you can be reasonably certain I'm looking at ZBCs, or "Zany Bicycle Cockpits." Sure, the contest is long over, but fortunately for all of us ZBCs will continue to bloom on bicycles like flowers of absurdity. Moreover, the ZBC is not confined to the tinkerer's shed, and can even be found in the realm of elite competition. Consider this pair of hydraulic brakes, modified to work in tandem with road levers and documented by Cyclocross magazine:

Where there's a will, there's a kludge.

Lastly, I was pleased to receive from another reader what may be the most "epic" fixed-gear video to date:



Helps put all that hill bombing in perspective.

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

first eel!!!!!

Product said...

Something here

Anonymous said...

podium?

Anonymous Coward said...

Top Ten!!

Anonymous said...

yo

Shu-Sin said...

fell off my bike and couldn't get back up... i'm still down...

10,000 Aches said...

The skinny tires are paying off in the snow!!

Ed said...

Top Ten

Anonymous said...

top ten, where's my BJ?

D. Hawerchuk said...

top ten, whaaaat?
Even took time to read.
Even took time to forward the AYHSMB plate to three friends in Boston.
Weak showing by the sprinters indeed.

le Correcteur said...

Damn! Just missed the top ten!

Lantern Rouge said...

Sat up and rolled in with the pack.

le Correcteur said...

The best line, snob, and a great one at that:

"The only objects that move more erratically than Freds on Pinarellos are hummingbirds and UFOs."

But otherwise, maybe this feels a bit unfinished? Some more shed time for you?

le Correcteur

grog said...

Pull my finger . . .

JahKnow said...

cough

crosspalms said...

"Dedicated to all those who believe ridding fixed is an identity."
Freudian slip? Anyway, hats off to Xenia (warrior princess...)

ant1 said...

ant1st!

jacob said...

"put that in your hands and model it"

awesome work, golf clap

but being of the urban backwoods toughy type, I would be more inclined towards these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSL4cmFW_GU

Bikey-Leaks said...

Snob,

Even as we approach this season of Crusmas when we celebrate the hatching of Lob, the all-mighty Crustacean who was boiled for our sins, one of your disciples hath forsaken you. He has comitted internetcourse with a not-so-svelte blogulist during your awayness. I wish I was able to remember his name.

I am not the stupid engine said...

Why does the ny times hate cyclists, and publish such acts of stupid.

samh said...

"I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five." - Henri Desgrange

This fixie "edit" is s u p e r b !

Anonymous said...

in SF you rarely go uphill. if you know how to get around. unless you live on a hill.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

"it’s not if you crash, it’s when."
When I'm reclined on my bent I'm much closer to the ground. Makes crashing more tolerable. This I know from experience.
I'm also inclined to theorize that because of the laid back position of the recumbent rider he/she is less likely to launch head first endo style in the event of a crash. This scenario often resulting in the all to common cycling injury the broken collar bone.

Anonymous said...

That disc brake setup is bike porn at its best. Gotta go rough up the suspect now..

db said...

...but I guess water and stupidity always find their own level.

Same epiphany hit me this weekend. I was in Las Vegas, nowhere near a bicycle.

Shaun said...

I wonder how that über-pretentious hand model would feel about getting a set of "knuck tats" inked into her silky, uniformly-toned, and flawless skin...

HAND JOBS

hillbilly said...

HILL BOMB

mikeweb said...

Snob, everyday you present us with a nugget of golden wisdom. This is today's:

"I'm not sure why you'd make a video like this and put it on the Internet unless your goal is to figuratively urinate on the graves of every cyclist who has ever been killed by a motor vehicle through no fault of his or her own."

Stay thirsty my friend.

Cav Not said...

No sprinting for me; working on my base miles for the next cat 6 racing season.

Anonymous said...

The second most offensive thing about that goofy hill-bombing video is the use of Syl Johnson's "Concrete Reservation" as a soundtrack.

Chris said...

I believe those are not called daisy dukes... They're called "jorts"

Banned in DC said...

BSNYC,
the good news is that I got a new job. The bad news is that my new job, a prominent publisher on Bryant Park, has your blog on their list of banned sites...

studioe said...

Perhaps Snobby's aversion to recumbents lies in the fact that he cant slather over any disembodied hands, since they balance on their own....at least the trike version.

Anonymous said...

I guess an HJ from the hand model would be out of the question.

Anonymous said...

I like the "my tire is totally fucked dude" outtake from the hill bomb video. The video is not inane enough, we need an even more pointless outtake. I wouldn't mind seeing some of these hillbombing douchebags bite it. A little Darwinian selection would probably have a postive social impact, particulary in the land of the epic burrito.

GenghisKhan said...

Yeah, I'd be much more impressed with SF fixed hill climbing, but hey, the DDs are certainly nice!

xyxax said...

And so, with global warming, vast expanses of frozen arctic stupid will melt, causing coastal stupid levels to rise, inundating population centers with it torrents.
Didn't we just have an election?

Grump said...

No banana for your helper monkey today. He forgot to proof-read your work.

"riders were to fall of their bikes"

At least there were no "teh" in there.

MyWorld said...

Love it-at the end: "Dedicated to all those who believe RIDDING fixed is an identity".
Yeah, what you said.
Otherwise a charming video.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:04 said...

" in SF you rarely go uphill. if you know how to get around. unless you live on a hill. "

That's like saying the best way to be a boxer is to avoid fighting.
Best way to deal with hills is to man up & switch gears.

Quicksquirt McHurt said...

I'd hit it.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

ok - where does the AYHSMB plate live?

...I'm in Brookline - we need to ride together!

Anonymous said...

"Here in the ghetto its just a bad situation / call it what you will its just a concrete defamation"

-Cue rider after sundown with no lights, breaks, or helmet - its like the guy was freebasing irony & somebody gave him a bike.

Its a good thing track bikes are ratio'ed for flat surfaces, otherwise the guy might have actually been going fast.

Anonymous said...

WOMAN: Hmm..

GEORGE: What?

WOMAN: (Looking at both his hands intensely) Your hands.

GEORGE: What about them?

WOMAN: They're quite exquisite!

GEORGE: They are?

WOMAN: (Mesmerized) Extraordinary! Have you ever done any hand modeling?

GEORGE: Hand modeling? (Shakes his head 'No')

WOMAN: (Fishes a card out of her purse, then hands it to George) Here's my card. Why don't you, uh, give me a call? (Walks off)

Anonymous said...

[Setting: Jerry's apartment]

(George is holding up his hands for Jerry to see)

JERRY: (Shrugs) I - I don't get it.

GEORGE: Me neither!

JERRY: What is it?

GEORGE: I don't know.

JERRY: They're hands!

GEORGE: This woman just set me up for a job!

JERRY: (Gets up, and displays his own hands) Well, what about my hands? I don't see how your hands are any better than my hands.

GEORGE: What, are you kidding? (Points at the flaws of Jerry's hands) The knuckles are all out of proportion. you got hair over there - where do you get off

comparing your hands to my hands?! This is a one-in-a-million hand. (Points to his own hand)

JERRY: Well, that's what comes from avoiding manual labor your whole life.

Miss Muff said...

I'm doing a senior thesis for college and I need to rate the size of your cocks. Adam would get an F. The gay porno guy would get an A. Photograph yours on your IPhone please and test it to me.

I really need the input.

innerlighter said...

I noticed that the "Hill Bomber" intently avoided crossing over even the tiniest bit of the limit lines at each intersection he blew through. Is this finally a glimpse (not that we really want one) into the hipster rationale? "Oh, you don't have to stop if you don't pass over the white line."
This would be like the dorks that think it's okay to cross on a red light by pulling the right turn/u-turn/right turn maneuver.
You've got a lot of work to do Mr. Darwin.

meh

hillbilly said...

whatever happened to the OC?

Anonymous said...

I got some manual labor for the hand model.

Anonymous said...

"I can make a full-time living off about five inches,"....."My hands look good naked" -Ellen

"I am not going to go professional, I am just doing my pornstar thing" - Jack

What a dirty dirty blog.

ervgopwr said...

She is the shiznit.

Love the names, Bike Snot. You should sign off for one day like that.

Sheldon Bruwn, RIP.

Anonymous said...

"clusterfred"- I love it

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed she can make a living from such ugly hands, just showing them.
Show me what those hands can do to my chamois filling and I might be impressed.
Meanwhile, I call BS on your hand-beauty claims, lady!?

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

g said...

I had that same car in black. Had to take both wheels off and wedge the rear drop-outs behind my head to get my bike in there, but DAMN was it fun to drive.

jza said...

So, is getting an HJ from a hand model the equivalent of bedding a gymnast?

Needs more lotion said...

Getting a hand job from a tug-o-war champion is the equivalent of bedding a gymnast. Getting a hand job from a hand model would be the equivalent of bedding a vagina model, I guess.

frilly said...

Little long to be Daisy Dukes--there's no cheek showing.

Heidi Fleeiss said...

A Whore by anyother name is still a prostitute.

(pg 796 - "My Life as a Whore" - H. Fleeiss

g said...

Turns out that if you popular search engine "Daisy Dukes" and click on the images, you probably will be dating a hand model for about 10 minutes. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Concerned 2.0 said...

Sad day for Canada...

Don Cherry is coming out swinging against bikers for Rob Ford, the ranting Toronto mayor. Guess I am now a "left-wing pinko" according to Don. http://www.torontolife.com/daily/informer/ford-focus/2010/12/03/coachs-clamshell-don-cherry-to-introduce-rob-ford-at-first-council-meeting/

Ill keep on enjoying our nice smug bike lanes in Vancouver. Have fun Toronto! Oh wait...I might have to move there next year

bikesgonewild said...

...as a hockey commentator, the ever stylistic & verbally bombastic don 'grapes' cherry is always entertaining whether one agrees with him or not...

...but donny's 'foot in mouth' whilst having his 'head up his ass' comments in support of rob ford at the toronto city hall induction ceremonies makes me question whether he's finally lost touch with reality...

...maybe 'grapes' thinks he should be invited to be a canadian senator like the ever popular ex-maple leaf left winger, frank 'big m' mahovalich...

...love ya, donny but frank is respected for his quiet, classy demeanor...you, not so much...

Anonymous said...

A: that hipster stole my Halloween costume idea

B: "Never Ride Again"'s "triathlete" friend is obviously not an athlete and sounds like she would hardly qualify as a triathlon participant if one stupid crash causes to abandon one third of her activity of choice for multiple years.

C: maybe "Never Ride" should quit half wheeling her husband and we wouldn't have streets littered with idiots like her.

Coathangrrr said...

Climbing hills in SF on a fixed gear is way, way easier than going down. No one ever loses control going up a hill and the reduced loss of power from a fixed gear helps a lot. Remember, there aren't a lot on long hills here, just a lot of hills.

Anonymous said...

I have drop bars and disc brakes and my frame is a tranny!!!!!!!!!! fucking awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwesome

Anonymous said...

Coathangrrr....the difference in efficiency between a fixed and free drive train is tiny. The inefficiency of a low cadence due to inappropriate ratio is not.

g-roc said...

Xenia's awesome, even if her parents like pretentious names. I guess the message is fixed gears are for kids.

R-GTI said...

g, I live in Boston -- Dorchester. It is a sensationally fast car. A dorky bike rack is plenty helpful for bike portage. I'd be happy to ride anytime.

bikesgonewild said...

..."...fell off my bike & vowed never to get on again"...

...sad, stupidly fucking sad...

...the few times i've ever taken a serious tumble from my bike (dislocated shoulder count ???) i'm lying there, hurting like a bitch & my two thoughts are: (1) - "jeez, i nope my bike is ok" & (2) - "fuck, i hope i'm not off the bike for long"...

...but then again, i'm a cyclist as opposed to somebody who thought it might be 'cool' to have a bike...

leroy said...

The Xenia video is epic!

PawnShop said...

Based on a casual survey of my data repository, a girl named Xenia is four times more likely to grow up and become a Russian nude glamor model than a girl named Diva, but a girl named Diva is 100% more likely to become a bona fide porn actress.

bikesgonewild said...

...interesting, pawnshop...i like to keep it respectful & legal, so "how long we talkin' here ???"...

...just wonderin'...

Anonymous said...

Coathangrrr said... Climbing hills in SF on a fixed gear is way, way easier. . .

Talk to us in 20 years after your second knee surgery.

Captain Vancouver said...

Seriously, "Carts of Darkness" at nfb.ca is the Jacob Marley view into Hannukah-Future for your hill bombers.

David Henderson said...

This post was.... The hand model clip was as if a Seinfeld episode had become real life, and Jack Lawrence........ yep, he's actually a biker turned porn star.

erik k said...

innerlighter... the "cross on a red light by pulling the right turn/u-turn/right turn maneuver." is totally legit! I love that move.

bikesgonewild said...

...erik k...nice to see you make an appearance, amigo...hoping all is grand...

...the ol' right - u - right will get you a ticket if an officer of the law witnesses it...

...but we've all done it at one time or another...

Anonymous said...

What? A comment that I originally posted yesterday and tried reposting today has been deleted again! So, it seems that it didn't just disappear due to a glitch and has been intentionally removed. It didn't include anything that Google might take offense to, such as Larry King looking at a wet turtle, so I can only assume that Snob has removed it, but why?

My short comment included a link to the website of a certain lugged steel frame bicycle manufacturer because one of their larger sized bikes has two top tubes and in the picture there are two disembodied hands holding the bike up. I pointed out that a rule of disembodied hand photography is one hand per top tube. I know, comic genius.

If there is some legitimate reason why a fans comment has to be deleted, why not offer a brief explanation, so we know what the mysterious ground rules are. A simple gesture like that and everybody's happy again, otherwise I'm left wondering what the big problem is.

I thought this blog was a bit of fun and creativity that happened to land Snob some success, not a thing primarily driven by advertising concerns. There is currently a vacant position in my shed set aside for a nice randonneuring/light touring bike, but I wouldn't buy a bike from a company that was so ridiculously petty as to be concerned with my insignificant contribution here, no matter how frilly their lugs are or how good their steel smells. Why would a company advertise on Bike Snob if they were that uptight.

Hopefully it turns out that I am just Schizophrenic, imagined posting the comment twice and then created this little conspiracy theory to support my delusion, that would be far more palatable. ce

g said...

R-GTI, thanks for the invite, but I am in Palm Beach and I don't think I'm willing to make the trek to ride in the snow. Esteemed Commenter Daddo One was looking to ride and am sure got your post. Loved the car, but got a ticket going 143 in a 45 and, alas, have it no more. How does that thing ride in the snow?! Mine was about 3" off the ground and would spin if you hit the gas on cold tires.

ce, I saw your mention of the post yesterday and, while I didn't see the link, I do notice it's now gone. The voices in your head are right. Maybe you should talk to Leroy's dog, he seems to have it figured out.

Howard Cosell said...

Down goes retard! Down goes retard! Down goes retard!

Anonymous said...

Thanks g. Your corroboration should reassure me, but what if I invented you too. ce

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 12/8 7:40pm aka "ce,"

I've never deleted a comment that wasn't obviously robot-generated spam (this includes people posting my actual name when I was still taking great pains to remain anonymous, so strong is my Julian Assange-esque belief in not moderating comments), so if it's any consolation, yes, you're going completely insane.

Either that or else G--gle/Blogger have some automatic new spam comment-filtering algorithm that is not working very well.

--BSNYC/RTMS

Brett Favre's helper monkey said...

Miss Muff,
Sadly I have no iPhone, and my wife wouldn't let me borrow hers, even after I explained it was to help a college student. She was rather testy about it. Instead, I used my digital camera but couldn't get far enough away to fit everything in. So I took several photos and stitched them together in a panoramic view that includes part of the downtown skyline and our scenic lakefront. Very picturesque. Of course it's a very big file now, so I'll have to zip it or stuff it before sending it off. What's that address again?

Nick said...

Re. the "Fixing" video. Can't cyclists do anything without folk music? They're as bad as lesbians.

Fabio said...

It's not just the New York Times who are now framing cycling as bad/dangerous/whatever. Now that it's gone from underground revolution to being in mainstream media consciousness they have to yield to their car dealer advertisers and do something about this growing problem.
Here's from the Vancouver Sun. Now that Vancouver has a cycling friendly mayor and has two dedicated separate bike lanes downtown, they have to create some controversy out of it:
http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Dutch+cyclists+caught+wheels+their+success/3915563/story.html

Didn't Ghandi say "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." It looks like we're at the "fight" stage in the car-culture influenced media.

Anonymous said...

Panties!

Tex said...

For the slower kids: the "Fixing" video is a parody. A damn fine parody, too!

Raresparky said...

Made me spit on my iPad!

JacoStillLives said...

no lights, no brakes, no helmet, no problem!

Anonymous said...

"Talk to us in 20 years after your second knee surgery."

See, it's the down hill that gets you on that one. Or if you ride without a brake. Going uphill doesn't screw your knees.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I know I'm really late to post on this one. I'm in Malaysia right now, so I'm actually posting this like next week. In any case, in no real order:

1) I have also posted comments lately (one twice) that didn't appear on the blog. I suspect this is a computer or network problem and not the invisible hand of the RTMS.

2) That kid Xenia rocks. I want to hang with her.

3) The day Don Cherry learned to talk was a sad day for Canada. It's just been getting worse ever since. I say we put him on a fixie and let go at the top of a big, trafficky hill.

-- A Cranky Canadian

ps - hit "publish" 10 min ago and this still hasn't shown up, so I'm going to try again. Sorry if it shows up twice, unless that pushes Anon 7:04 over the edge, in which case, ha.

Anonymous said...

Oh and I forgot to say that the NYT writer who never wanted to get on her bike again apparently is paid to whine. She writes these pieces for the Times that basically detail the physical complaints caused by her triathleteness, and her attempts to learn how to fix them. Seriously. I read them the way I imagine RTMS reads Sasha Frere-Jones's stuff in the NYer, teeth grinding but unable to look away.

Russ Campbell said...

Another D.E.H. image that just came across my bow: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amanaplanacanalpanama/5087034555/in/faves-austinhorse/

FDB said...

"Dedicated to all those who believe ridding fixed is an identity".

Word up.

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Fixie Bikes said...

I don't think i could ride up hills like that.