Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Signs of Victory: What it Takes to Win

(I assume I'm interpreting that correctly.)

I am not much of a sports fan. Generally speaking, I only pay attention to sports that I enjoy doing, which means the only ones I follow are professional cycling and pumpkin tossing. As far as the latter goes, the discipline reached its pinnacle in 1998 when the Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator hurled a pumpkin over 4,400 feet, and sadly it's been a sport on the wane ever since. Professional cycling, on the other hand, only gets more exciting every year. First, Louis "Birdie" Munger became the first person to win the Tour de France on a pennyfarthing in 1887. (His time was six years, two months, 25 days, three hours, and four minutes--seconds had not yet been invented.) Then, Eddy Merckx won the World Championships in 1967 on a "safety bicycle," the first time such a contraption had been used in competition. Shortly thereafter, at the 1990 Giro d'Italia, Mario Cipollini became the first-ever rider to contract and (thanks to a hastily-administered penicillin shot) recover from a sexually transmitted disease in the course of a single Grand Tour stage. And today, cycling fans in the United States rejoiced over the news that sprinter Mark "The Man Missile" Cavendish will once again compete in the Tour of California:

As cycling fans already know, the Tour of California used to take place in February, but organizers have moved it to May in order to draw a deeper field by attracting riders frightened of contracting the STDs for which the Giro d'Italia is now famous. It's always exciting to see a rider of Cavendish's caliber pay a visit to US soil, though barring that I suppose his coming to California is the next best thing. (At least it's not Canada.) Of course, Cavendish's fearsome sprint is only a small part of his appeal, and the most exciting thing about him is that he's perhaps the greatest victory-saluter the sport has ever produced. Just a few of the salutes he's invented include:

"The Optician"

"Is there something on my glasses or am I really this awesome?"


"The UPS Man"

"Hi, ladies. Care to sign for this package?"


"The Phone Sex"

"I'm gently thumbing my nipple. What are you doing?"

Word has it that Cavendish is hard at work designing a series of California-themed victory salutes which we will unleash along with his sprint at this year's race. These may or may not include: juggling six oranges he's been secreting in his chamois; carefully weighing the pros and cons of marijuana law reform; and the preparing and subsequent consumption of an actual "epic burrito."

While "purists" may balk, as a cycling fan I'm a firm believer that the victory salute is an essential component of racing, so much so that I think points should be on offer. For example, if two riders are within a few points of each other in the Tour de France "green jersey" competition (not to be confused with the NORML-sponsored "green jersey" at this year's Tour of California, which will go to the last rider to sign in every morning), then I think victory salutes should be taken into account. If Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd are running neck-and-neck on the final stage, and Hushovd wins on the Champs-Élysées, yet on the prior stage Cavendish has managed to produce one of his trademark bizarre psycho-sexual salutes, then he overall should still go to him.

But there's more to pro cycling than victory salutes; there's also compelling names, and my most favoritest name has long been Dmitri Fofonov, because his last name sounds sort of like "foffing off," which in turn sounds like a euphemism for "tossing your pumpkin." Fortunately, a reader informs me that Fofonov is now back in the peloton after a drug suspension and has joined Astana:

Yes, foffing off can be rejuvenating--provided it's done in moderation. Incidentally, Astana is also home to the anti-Cavendish, Alberto Contador, whose "fingerbang" victory salutes are as repetitive as Cavendish's are imaginative.

(Contador receives emergency mid-race treament.)


(Fortunately, it's not his fingerbanging arm.)

Hopefully, Contador does not incur some sort of repetitive stress injury this year from all that fingerbanging, though I suppose that's something you're more likely to get from too much Fofonov.

Speaking of road racing, awhile back I mentioned the Reynolds RZR something-or-other crabon fribé "wheelset," which costs $6,000. So proud are Reynolds of these things that they purchased the URL "theworldslightestwheel.com" to flog them, presumably because "theworldsdouchiestwheel.com" was taken at the time. Anyway, it seems as though James Huang has gotten his hands on a pair, and shockingly at no point does he refer to them as "hoops:"

When you pay $6,000 for bicycle wheels, you get the same thing you get when you pay $600, or even when you pay $150, which is a couple of round things that roll and atop which you will still suck at bike racing if you already sucked at bike racing. However, you do get to say you have the "world's lightest wheel," and you also gain access to the exciting world of "Swirl Lip Generator(TM)" technology:

I wanted to learn more about the "Swirl Lip Generator" and if it was indeed something I wanted, but all I could find was this tube of lip gloss from Victoria's Secret:

At five tubes for $20, I was easily able to afford enough "Swirl Lip" technology to smear all over every "wheelset" I own. Furthermore, I still had $5,980 left, which I proceeded to spend on women's underpants. Admittedly, though, I didn't have "N.A.C.A." spokes. N.A.C.A. stands for "National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics"--which was dissolved in 1958:

The name, however, lives on as a name for a sort of air foil, which as far as I can tell means that Reynolds have made bold new use of cutting-edge 1958 airplane technology. So presumably, for $6,000 you will have a wheelset so light, so swirly, and so aerodynamic that it will transform your bicycle into a swirling, gravity-defying, cash-sucking vortex. If a diamond is the product of the extreme heat and pressure that exists below the surface of the Earth, then these wheels are the direct result of the intense desperation emitted by amateur racers all over North America.

Whither uber-curmudgeon and serial retrogrouch Jobst Brandt, a man so formidable that his stare alone produces over a million Diminutive Frenchman Units (DFUs) and can crush a Reynolds RZR like a pair of skinny jeans crushes a pair of "pants yabbies?" Well, a number of readers inform me that he recently granted an interview to the website "Cozy Beehive," and here is an excerpt:

It's refreshing to read something like this, especially just after reading about a pair of $6,000 Fred-rollers. If Brandt were truly market-savvy, he'd "drop" a $6,000 crabon fiber edition of his book complete with N.A.C.A. cover. My guess is it would be a huge bestseller.

Meanwhile, in the world of "outlaw urban" cycling, it seems that the humble alleycat is dead and the new trend is simply piggybacking onto other sports. A reader recently forwarded me this video of the "Wolfpack Hustle" holding a race on the course of the Los Angeles Marathon (and there's also a race report here):

WOLFPACK HUSTLE: LA MARATHON CRASH RACE from Warren Kommers on Vimeo.

Said one rider in the video, "This is the only opportunity all year to ride our bikes unobstructed. No traffic, no lights." As far as I know, there are both sanctioned road races as well as velodromes in southern California, though I suppose it was implicit in his statement that you should also be able to do so while carrying designer messenger-inspired luggage. Anyway, if this whole "hipster" athletic parasitism thing continues to take off, expect to see match sprints at your local bowling alley soon.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Salmon Defense: Against the Current, Down the River

As you may have read elsewhere on the "World (except for Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam) Wide Web" (or WEFSABCNKCEIUSTTVWW for short) by now, the Wall Street Journal has officially run out of legitimate news and was consequently forced to publish an article about my "identity." This marks a first for me, since while I often appear in the Journal it's usually because I've engineered yet another ruthless corporate takeover, so this was a refreshing change of pace. You can read the full article here, and it looks like this:

Besides revealing my actual name (which, incidentally, is "Ace" Brophy as many have speculated) the article also includes a salacious full frontal cockpit shot:

Seeing my painstakingly reconstructed cockpit in a widely read publication was a triumphant moment for me, coming mere weeks after the prior iteration of my cockpit was ruthlessly abducted on the mean streets of Greenwich Village and right in front of a public library. Also, I even got mentioned on the local news by the Canadian guy who reads the newspapers to us every morning (I believe in Canada this is what's called a "shout-oot"), though unfortunately he mispronounced my first name. (How you can mispronounce "Ace" I don't know, though I suppose the fact that he's Canadian might have something to do with it.)

Anyway, I want to thank Jason Gay for taking the time to write a kind article about me, the people quoted therein for taking the time to talk to him, and the Wall Street Journal for deigning to publish it. I also want to un-thank and revile the Wall Street Journal's rival newspaper, which got wind of the article just before publication and attempted to execute a last-minute "cockblocking" maneuver yesterday wherein they ran some half-assed piece of their own. Most of all, though, I want to thank everybody for reading so far, and for hopefully continuing to do so. Obviously, in a few days I will reinvent myself and switch the focus of this blog entirely to gardening, but until then I remain,

Very truly yours,

Moving on to far more important matters, while the mainstream media was busy "outing" some low-ranking member of the "doucherati," a high-ranking judge made a landmark legal decision that may very well negatively impact the world of cycling forever. So significant is this decision that it makes the whole New York City Critical Mass parade rule thing look about as important as the "Fixie Crew's" decision to buy cockles at Whole Foods. I am referring to a case that recently aired on the television show "Judge Judy" ("Judge Judy" is the Supreme Court of the eating-Cheetos-on-the-sofa-all-day set) in which a driver (the Plaintiff) is suing a cyclist (the Defendant) for running into his car:



As it happens, this video was actually forwarded to me by a friend of the Defendant, and I watched it with interest. Here's the Plaintiff, a 23 year-old named Justin Stern, who claims a cyclist hit his car and whose spectacles-and-no-tie ensemble marks him as a "doucherati" aspirant:

And here's the Defendent, the 20 year-old and mellifluously-named Clark Harney, decked out in formal beige for the occasion:

Anyway, at first it seems that this is going to be just another case, but then Harney does something that will soon change the world of cycling irrevocably: He blames the collision on the fact that he was forced to take evasive action when he encountered a "salmon" in the bike lane. Here is Harney's digital (that's "digital" as in finger-based) reenactment:
And here is the actual "salmon" that Harney is attempting to finger:

(Indignant salmon does not find Harney's fingering pleasurable)

To my knowledge, this is the first time that somebody has attempted to invoke the so-called "Salmon Defense" in such an auspicious venue, and such a defense is sort of like a CO2 inflator in that you'd better be sure everything is air-tight before you use it or else it's a total waste. Sadly, Harney's case is not air-tight, and the CO2 cartridge of his defense instead explodes in a burst of gas and careens wildly about the court. Here's Judge Judy gesticulating dismissively with her thumb:

Here's a nonplussed Harney, whose caption has been downgraded from "Bike Rider" to "Admits he couldn't see what was coming:"

And here's the salmon again, looking shifty, scheming, and untrustworthy like all her kind:

In the end, Judge Judy rules that Harney must pay Stern a whopping $1,900 to cover the repairs to his car, which prompts me to wonder what kind of damage a diminutive-looking fellow like Harney could have possibly inflicted on a big hunk of metal. It seems to me you'd have to be riding a Surly Pugsley (complete with handlebar-mounted battering ram) at Mark Cavendish-like speeds to break the $1,000 barrier, and I doubt very much that Harney can unleash a sprint anything close to that of the "Man Missile." But while I smell corruption (as well as a hint of salmon) I am more concerned about the fact that Harney has effectively squandered the "Salmon Defense." Had he argued his case more effectively and the judge ruled in his favor, a legal precedent would have been set and the rest of us could successfully blame everything on salmon too and they'd become our all-purpose legal scapegoats (or scapefish). Instead, thanks to Harney's hapless finger gestures, we now can't use the "Salmon Defense" at all. I guess we'll just have to blame everything on Rollerbladers now.

Meanwhile, no sooner had I recovered from this miscarriage of justice than I learned that scientists have discovered a new breed of human beings who can drive and talk on the phone simultaneously:

Apparently, these preternatural multitaskers are called "supertaskers," and they're real-life superheroes who can perform incredible acts of schmuckery like placing calls while driving and accepting calls while driving. Unfortunately, even though "supertaskers" only make up 2.5% of the population, the remaining 97.5% of the population will now also conclude that they are "supertaskers" and, like that guy with the yogurt franchises, continue to drive around endangering the rest of us. First, salmon are allowed to run with impunity; next, you get hit by some yogurt slinger on his cellphone who taps a bevy of "experts" to testify in court that he's a medically certified "supertasker" and that he was not responsible for crushing your hopes, dreams, and bones into so much walnut topping.

But there is still hope for cyclists, and fortunately, famously car-centric Los Angeles is continuing to become more bike-friendly. First, the LAPD Chief declared his commitment to protecting cyclists. Then, the city entered into the embarrassingly ebullient "demeaning yourself" phase of its cycling evolution by playing host to a "Tweed Ride," as forwarded to me by a reader:



If you're unfamiliar with the concept of the "Tweed Ride," it's basically when a bunch of people ride their bicycles around a city while dressed as Victorians. Here's one "Faketorian" drinking from a period-correct paper cup:

Here's another piloting what appears to be a Giant Revive:

His fellow "Faketorians" call him "Captain Anachronism."

So amid all this faux-gentility, one might be tempted to ask, "Whither street cred?" Well, here it is, and it can be yours, thanks to this Craigslist ad forwarded to me by another reader:

This bike is apparently all you need to be the "Fixie King:"


It's also got a lengthy, formidable, and borderline "epic" pedigree:

MAKE ME AN OFFER FIXIE KID.

IM FRICKIN OVER IT, BUDDY, AND SO NOW IS YOUR CHANCE. EVERYONE WANTS THIS BIKE AND IF THE MONEYS RIGHT ITS YOURS.
MY MESSENGER PALS HAVE OFFERED ME BIG BUCKS COUNTLESS TIMES FOR THIS THING AND IVE ALWAYS TURNED EM DOWN, BUT I NO LONGER GIVE A RATS ASS ABOUT TRACK BIKES.
SCORE FOR YOU, YOU TIGHT PANTS ELECTRO SHOW PBR CHUGGING GIRLS HAIRCUT COKE SNORTER.

THIS BIKE HAS BEEN RACED ALL OVER THIS FREAKIN PLANET AND WON MORE CRAP THAN I'LL EVER BE ABLE TO GET RID OF. IT BEAT THE FASTEST MESSENGER IN NEW YORK (THATS RIGHT ROOKIE, IM TALKIN ABOUT FELIPE. LEARN IT. LIVE IT. KNOW IT.) IN THE FOURTH OF JULY SPRINTS AND HE WAS ON ACID AND I WAS JUST DRUNK SO THERE YA GO, COOL GUY, ITS FAST.

RIDDEN IN THE WARRIORS RACE, NYC., WINNER, BEST COLORS.

RIDDEN IN HALLOWEEN ALLEYCAT THROWN BY SQUID, NYC. TOOK MUSHROOMS, PUKED. GOT PART OF MY COSTUME IN A QUEENS BOULEVARD HOOKERS' MOUTH.

RIDDEN IN KYOTOLOCO. WINNER, TRACKSTAND. WINNER, FREESTYLE, WINNER, FOOTDOWN. WINNER, BEST OUT OF TOWN.

RIDDEN NACC, HOUSTON, TX, 2ND PLACE, TRACKSTAND

RIDDEN IN GLASGOPOLOCO, GLASGOW SCOTLAND. WINNER, 1ST OUT OF TOWN. WINNER, FREESTYLE. WINNER, TRACKSTAND. WINNER, BEST OUT OF TOWNER. WINNER, FARTHEST TRAVELLED. WINNER, OVERALL POINTS.

RIDDEN TO THE BAR. ALL OF THEM.

NEVER EVER EVER EVER RIDDEN IN CRITICAL MASS.

KHS AERO TRACK ALUMINUM TRACK RACING FRAME 57CM AND FITS LIKE A 54- 55 (SLOPED TOP TUBE, GENIUS. IT'LL FIT ANYONE WHO CAN RIDE A 53 TO A 59.),IN ORIGINAL RED COLORWAY WITH ORIGINAL LOGOS AND ACTUAL BIKE MESSENGER STICKERS PLACED LONG AGO BY AN ACTUAL WORKING WORLD TRAVELING ALLEY CATTING RACING MULTIPLE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS AND NACC ATTENDING 6 YEAR VETERAN SF BIKE MESSENGER,
ULTEGRA HEADSET BECAUSE IT CAN STAND THE ABUSE, SMART GUY. YOUY CAN RE-TUNE YOUR VINTAGE C-RECORD ONE EVERY DAY OR RUN THIS ONE AND NEVER TOUCH IT. AND ITS LIGHTER SO YOUR ARMS CAN LIFT IT, SINCE YOUVE NEVER WORKED A DAY IN YOUR LIFE AND YOU HAVE A HANGOVER.
CAMPAGNOLO 165 MM BMX CRANKS FILED TO PREVENT BREAKAGE BY A REAL ACTUAL GENUINE BONA FIDE WORKING NON ROOKIE O.G. VETERAN SAN FRANCISCO BIKE MESSENGER (NOT JUST DRESSED LIKE ONE) SO THEY WILL NOT BREAK NO MATTER HOW HOT YOU GET TRYING TO IMPRESS THAT FIXIE CHICK IN YOUR ROOMMATES FRIGGIN ALLEY CAT.
BRIGESTONE KEIRIN FORK, GREY COLORWAY, RACED ON THE KEIRIN TRACK, PURCHASED AT BRIDGESTONE KEIRIN FRAME FACTORY, KYOTO, JAPAN.
CAMPAGNOLO SEALED CARTRIDGE BOTTOM BRACKET. ONCE AGAIN, YOU CAN JACK WITH YOUR C-RECORD ONE EVERY TIME YOU WANT TO RIDE, OR RUN THIS ONE AT A WEIGHT INCREASE OF 6 GRAMS AND NEVER HAVE TO TOUCH IT AGAIN. YOUR CHOICE, BIKE EXPERT.
GOLD KEIRIN CHAIN. BLING FRIGGIN BLING.
UNOBTANIUM SEAT POST COLLAR. PHYSICALLY LIGHTER THAN AIR. ACTUALLY REDUCES WEIGHT OF BIKE BY 3 GRAMS.

THIS THING IS SET UP HOW A REAL MESSENGER SET IT UP. I KNOW BECAUSE IM THE ONE THAT BUILT IT, NOT VALENCIA CYCLERY, AND NOT CAUSE I HANDED EM 5 GRAND OF DADDYS MONEY AND SAID MAKE ME LOOK COOL.
AND SO NOW YOU CAN TAKE THAT MONEY THAT YOUR DADDY GAVE YOU FOR ART COLLEGE TUITION AND BUY THE BIKE THAT IS GUARANTEED TO GET YOU UNPROTECTED SEX IN THE BATHROOM AT THAT FIXIE HIPSTER BAR ON 16TH.

I GOT WHEELS AND TIRES AND SEATS AND SEATPOSTS AND PEDALS AND STEMS AND BARS AND ALL THAT OTHER CRAP LAYING AROUND SO IF THE MONEYS RIGHT I'LL LET YOU SET THIS THING UP AND I'LL EVEN ASSEMBLE IT FOR YOU SINCE YOUVE NEVER TOUCHED A WRENCH IN YOUR LIFE. CAMPY CAMPY CAMPY. ALL THAT CRAP IS PHIL WOOD AND KEIRIN AND CAMPY AND IT'LL GET YOU NOTICED ON VALENCIA.

SO THATS IT. YOU FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH YOU WANT THIS THING, ADD TWO ZEROS TO THE END OF THAT TO GET CLOSER TO REALITY AND EMAIL ME.

WILL SHIP.

KEYWORDS: TRACK, FIXIE, FIXED GEAR, COKE PROBLEM, ELECTRO, MOPED, VALENCIA, CAMPAGNOLO, PHIL WOOD, PABST BLUE RIBBON, HAMMS, TECATE, POPS BAR, DELIRIUM, BENDERS', ZEITGEIST, THE PHONE BOOTH, THE MAKE OUT ROOM, PERIOD BLOOD, JAY REATARD, MESSENGER, FAKENGER, POSER, ART SCHOOL, FREIGHT BAGGAGE, TIMBUKTU, SINGLE SPEED, CHOPPER, BOBBER, NIKE, REEBOK, PASTEL, ALL OVER PRINT, HIP HOP, HUF, UPPER PLAYGROUND, RETRO, TIGHT PANTS, TRANSVESTITE, ANTI HERO, ALEY CAT, MESSENGER, BIKE RACE, BICYCLE, WICKED RAD, AWESOME, SICK, HOT, SWEET, SEXY, TITS, BUTT LUBE


Not only will this bicycle make you the "Fixie King," but it will also give you at least three STDs. You might be better off sticking with Walmart.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bolts and Nuts: The Making of a Classic

This past weekend saw the [insert number here]th edition of the Ghent-Wevelgem professional bicycling race, which is a bicycling race in which professional bicyclists bicycle their bicycles from Gent (or "Ghent," or at least the vicinity of Ghent) to Wevelgem. Ghent, as you probably know, is in Belgium, and Wevelgem is a mythical land of faeries and imps and an autonomous city-state kind of like the Vatican or Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The race took place on Sunday, and the winner, Bernhard Eisel, had this to say:

The George he is referring to is of course George Hincapie, who came in fourth and who was himself a winner of Gent-Wevelgem back in 2001. One can only imagine how harrowing it must be to look between one's thighs and see George Hincapie coming; in fact, the last person to look between her thighs and see George Hincapie coming was former podium girl Melanie Simonneau, who subsequently married him and bore him a child. I'm sure there was a moment of horror in those final kilometers during which Eisel imagined the same fate for himself. Here he is moments before looking between his thighs:

And here's what he probably saw when he did:

In the end, this image probably gave him the final kick he needed in order to win. As for Hincapie himself, nobody knows for sure what he saw between his own thighs, but if I had to guess I'd say it was probably that oil painting of his own disembodied head watching him win a Tour de France stage atop the forbidding Pla d'Adet:

Subsequently, he got caught in the seemingly endless feedback loop of Hincapie watching Hincapie watching Hincapie (watching Hincapie, assuming you can see the Pla d'Adet-winning Hincapie reflected in the Oakleys of the disembodied head-Hincapie), and this eternal cycle of narcissism could very well have cost him his second Gent-Wevelgem win.

In any case, with Gent-Wevelgem down and the Tour of Flanders (also known as the "Round Van Floundering") coming up this weekend the "Classics" season is well under way. Of course, the Classics are classic in the classic sense of the word, meaning "recognized or established," or "memorable," or "a very good example of its kind." However, it's also worth noting that the word "classic" has evolved over the years, and now it's also synonymous with "funny," as in, "Did you see that guy in the chicken suit get kicked in the nuts by that other guy in the clown wig? That was classic!" (This despite the fact that no classical painter ever rendered such an image--at least to the best of my knowledge.) In this newer sense of the word, the Classics aren't classic, but they do have some classic moments, like in 2006 when The Great Trek Bicycle Making Company played a practical joke on Hincapie by outfitting his bicycle with a set of detachable novelty handlebars:

One Trek engineer to the other: "Did you see George's handlebars come off during a critical moment in one of the most important races of his career? That was classic!" Hopefully, we won't see too many classic moments befall our favorite Classics riders this year (at least not ones that result in serious injury), and they will all remain intact until the start of "Epic" season, which is when all the big stage races start.

Speaking of classical things, there's probably nothing less classical than a Walmart fixed-gear bicycle (or, more accurately, "fixed-speed," which I assume is their way of saying it's a singlespeed that looks like a fixed-gear), though reading the indignant comments of some of the "Fixerati" on various forums and blogs has been totally classic:

Personally, I could not be more pleased. As was the case with the Republic/Urban Outfitters bike, this is yet another blow to the carefully-constructed identities of the people who discovered track bikes in 2005 and are now trying to "save" them. Even better, unlike the overpriced Republic (not to mention the fact that that Specialized now charges over $700 for the privilege of experiencing the "purity" of a Langster), at $150 the Walmart bike actually looks like it might be a reasonable deal. Really, much of the "bike culture" seems to be about displaying your rarefied tastes and retail savvy ("savvy" in terms of finding the cool things to buy, not saving money), so anything that wrests fixed-gears or track bikes or singlespeeds or "fixed-speeds" or whatever you want to call them from the "bike culture's" smug grasp and thoroughly "uncoolifies" them is all right by me. Plus, best of all, you can customize the Cachet with stuff you find in the other departments:

That shower curtain rod will make a tight set of risers for fixed-gear freestylin'.

Anyway, any "Save the Track Bike" types who consider the Walmart bike an affront to their "lifestyle" should consider the fact that the fixed-gear bicycle has already long been cemented in the popular consciousness as a symbol of "hipster" excess, and they have only themselves to blame. Consider the book "Look At This F*cking Hipster," which is derived from the blog of the same name:

(Hint: replace the "*" with a "u" for the actual title. I know, crazy, right?)

The book officially "descends" tomorrow ("descends" is pretentious for "drops") but I recently obtained a copy thanks to my status as a member of the "doucherati" and I noticed it has a whole section on fixed-gear bicycles:

Granted, it's a short section (like three pages) but it's also a short book. Ultimately, I think all of this is an indication that the "hipsters" and the "People of Walmart" are increasingly one and the same (Isn't a "hipster" really just a "Person of Walmart" who moved to Brooklyn last month?), and this is a good thing since it helps reaffirm the fact that "coolness" is an illusion. I will admit, though, that while I'm happy about the Walmart "fixed-speed" I'm disgusted by Walmart's line of prefab sheds:

See, "back in the day," if you wanted a shed you had to build it by yourself. Plus, it took time to learn about the scene and to become down with "shed culture." Now, though, all you have to do is go to Walmart--who has totally ruined the shed scene just like Target ruined "gazebo culture." So to Walmart I say:

All You Haters Store My Lawn Care Equipment.

Still, I don't mean to say that if you want a bicycle you should buy it at Walmart. In fact, as we all know, $150 can easily become $300 or more if the bicycle or its assembly is of poor quality. Plus, if you're the type of person who feels compelled to make your bike "legit" through customization with vintage parts, it's going to take something really, really vintage to legitimize this baby. Not just any Brooks will do; you need the world's crappiest Brooks, which was forwarded to me by a reader:

Here's the compelling description:

This thing's so old it doesn't just have "street cred;" it's got "dirt road cred:"

Eric "The Chamferer" Murray was probably still playing with his chamfering knife in his bassinet when this thing was chamfered.

However, if you really want to feel special on your bike, even a lugged steel NAHBS special is insufficient. No, the truly sophisticated cyclist rides an art bike made of wood, like this one which was forwarded to me by another reader:

"Did you see that doofus totally nail himself in the nuts trying to get on his wooden bike? That was classic!"

Friday, March 26, 2010

BSNYC Friday Fun Quiz!

Crossing the Manhattan Bridge and heading into the city yesterday, I was passed by a rider on a brakeless Pista. As the rider began his descent, I noticed he had stopped pedaling, which seemed strange as he had clearly been riding a fixed-gear. He then placed the thin sole of his diminutive canvas boating shoe on the tire of his rear wheel, at which point I realized he had dropped his chain and was now trying to slow his speeding bicycle. Apparently, though, the "footjam" was not as effective as he had hoped, so he then started dragging both feet on the pavement Fred Flinstone-style. Here he is, clearly mashing his "pants yabbies" on his top tube in the process:

Eventually, he managed to finally get off the thing, and as I passed him I simply pointed to my own bicycle and said, "Brakes."

Ah, yes, brakes--those marvels of engineering which manage to function independently of the bicycle's drivetrain. Of course, they do tend to spoil the "clean lines" of your bicycle, and they can also make you look like a "woosie." I'll admit that the rider above looked really cool and elegant as he desperately struggled to save himself by dragging his feet and squashing his genitals --the whole thing was totally "zen." I wonder why he didn't simply use his gigantic empty messenger bag to stop, since it seems to me it would have functioned rather well as a parachute.

Also, it's one thing to lose your chain when you have like 100 yards of car-free pavement to figure out what to do; it's quite another when it happens on the city streets, where you're liable to get clobbered by a "Mitzvah Tank." This is the time of year when the Hasidim take to the streets in their Winnebagos, and found myself behind this one shortly after I witnessed the chain-dropping:

Notice that the driver is regarding me in a chillingly nonplussed fashion:

I was quivering with fear like a glob of gefilte fish gelatin on the gas tank of a v-twin motorcycle.

Speaking of religion, a little while later I encountered Jesus Christ, who was blocking my access to the Great Hipster Silk Route:

Apparently Jesus, who has taken the form of a truck on the occasion of the Second Coming, was having difficulty completing a right hand turn. Notice too that the local Jews are rather nonplussed:

In fact, it would not surprise me in the least to learn that the maroon Toyota Camry station wagon belongs to them, and that they are obstinately refusing to move it lest the would-be savior of humanity complete his journey to the modern-day Jerusalem that is Williamsburg, transform like Optimus Prime, and start gathering a flock of "hipster" disciples.

Anyway, like many "devout" Christians, I finally just decided to go around Jesus, after which I soon encountered another obstruction in the form of a film production:

I don't know what they were shooting, but I do know from the nearby canvas chairs that it featured Martin Short:

As a longtime Martin Short fan, it pained me deeply to learn that he had a hand in this obstruction. Falling to my knees, I prayed for the Lord Optimus Christ to lay waste to the production's fleet of rental trucks, but sadly my prayers went unanswered.

So now, I will pass the misery on to you in the form of a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right you'll gain favor in the eyes of the Lord Optimus Christ, and if you're wrong you'll see the lamentations of the damned.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and beware of Mitzvah Tanks and Transformer Messiahs.

--BSNYC/RTMS






1) My ironic intern, Spencer Madsen, actually exists.

--True
--False




2) "Apocalypse Yesterday." The $150 Mongoose Cachet "fixed-speed" bicycle is now available at:

--Walmart



3) Why should you never hire a "hipster?"





4) Which of the following is not available from the new bicycle vending machine in Williamsburg, Brooklyn?

--Lights
--Locks
--Brake Pads
--Yarmulkes







6) Former USPRO Champion Chann McRae has taken up:
(Individual pursuit world champion Taylor Phinney may need to scale it down--literally.)

Miniature velodromes may be the future of track cycling.