Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Grail Fiction: The Quest for the Holy Kludge

Webster's dictionary defines "portage" as follows:

por·tage verb \ˈpȯr-tij, pȯr-ˈtäzh\ : to carry an object in a smug fashion while riding a bicycle : to carry a bicycle in a smug fashion [I portage my children to Montessori school in a bakfiets.]

And when it comes to portaging, nobody portages like Portlanders, as we saw from yesterday's prehensile posterior shot:

Further to that post, a number of erudite readers were not only able to confirm that the cargo was a paperback book, but they were also able to identify the title and author of the befouled tome:

I was not familiar with this book, having received a paltry and culturally insensitive public education which focussed mostly on the so-called "literary canon," but I did look it up on a popular user-edited online encyclopedia and I learned that you can call it a "Grail fiction," but only if you're politically incorrect:

Ceremony has been called a Grail fiction, in that the hero overcomes a series of challenges to reach a specified goal, but this point of view has been criticized as Eurocentric.

I wonder if it's also "Eurocentric" to stick it down your pants. In any case, I was glad to learn this, for should I ever find myself in Portland again and encounter a paperback portager I would hate to inadvertently put my Sidi in my mouth while trying to be friendly:

"Hey, I see you've got a copy of 'Ceremony' in your ass--I love Grail fiction!"

This would surely result in some serious eye-rolling, if not actual arrest by Portland's famous Smugness Patrol. The Smugness Patrol are sort of like the Hell's Angels, only they're considerably more wan, and they won't hesitate to bind your hands with sustainable jute twine, throw you in a bakfiets, and "portage" you to one of their solar-powered safe houses for a little "reeducation." In fact, the only literary crime in Portland worse than calling "Ceremony" a work of Grail fiction is riding an Ikea bike while portaging a Tom Clancy novel in your crack. I wonder if we'll soon start seeing literary theme rides in Portland--I'm imagining hundreds of people riding artisanal porteur bikes, their pants brimming with post-modern criticism and landmark works of the Harlem Renaissance.

Meanwhile, here in New York, this May is gearing up to be the most Fred-tastic Bike Month the city has ever seen. Indeed, one scant week after the Five Boro Bike Tour, we will also play host to the "Gran Fondo New York:"

BACKGROUND: Gran Fondo is a challenging, 100+ mile bike race, a concept stemming from Italy. You can think of it as a marathon on bicycles. In NYC, there are long-course bike tours or short-course criterium races. Here is where Gran Fondo New York is different: it is a long-distance challenging ride that appeals to competitive racers and recreational cyclists alike...The Gran Fondo New York course will take the 8,000 cyclists from New York City to New Jersey across the iconic George Washington Bridge with stunning views of Manhattan.

When you take 8,000 "competitive racers and recreational cyclists alike" and send them all up to Bear Mountain on the same day, the result can only be an "epic" Fred orgy of Caligulan proportions, and future generations will surely marvel at the millions of empty CO2 cartridges that will be left behind. (The typical Fred expels an average of six C02 cartridges before managing to successfully inflate his tire.) By the way, in addition to being a qualifying event for the 2011 Amateur World Championship in Belgium, the Gran Fondo New York will also be part of the UCI's new Fred World Cup series, along with Levi's Gran Fondo and any amateur cycling event that incorporates the word "Roubaix" in its name. Here's some more information about the Fred competition from the Gran Fondo New York's FAQ:

Of course, the winner of the UCI Fred World Cup is distinct from the UCI Fred World Champion, who gets to wear this jersey:

Becoming a Fred World Champion is an emotional moment that will fog up the helmet mirror of even the steeliest and most hirsute-legged cyclist.

Speaking of the importance of equipment choice, no less a personage than CommieCanuck has alerted me to these heated road bike grips that will warm the heart and hands of any Fred:

As you can see from the accompanying photo, these are the ideal accessory for the cyclist who is quite comfortable riding in short sleeves, shorts, and dainty tri-style ankle socks in the dead of winter but who still finds his hands getting just a tiny bit chilly. Really, if they wanted their website to look ridiculous they should have just used the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork:

He's in a blizzard but his hands are toasty warm, thanks to the hand-thawing power of heated grips.

Even more vexing to me than riding in summer attire while employing heated grips is this "Quillinator" from Soma, which I "Tweeted" about yesterday but still can't get out of my mind:

Now, I love a good cockpit, but this is ridiculous. I can see wanting to take a somewhat kludgy yet inexpensive shortcut to using a threadless stem on an old bike by spending $10 on a threaded-to-threadless adaptor, but under what circumstances would you want to spend $120 to make your threadless fork accept a quill stem? Are people really that attached to their old stems that they're building new bikes around them? And if they are to the extent that they're ready to spend over $100 to do it, is it really that hard to find a threaded fork and headset? What's next, a p-far conversion kit so you can un-safety your safety bicycle? Then again, I guess it's very tempting to take your new frame and fork, hit Craigslist, and grace it with an elegant cockpit like this:


All it needs is a pair of heated grips to warm that disembodied hand. I wonder if it would be possible to equip a bicycle with a threaded-to-threadless adaptor and a Soma Quillinator--now that would be serious "Cockie" material.

But the Quillinator is positively straightforward compared with the philosophy behind Nonetheless clothes:

Nonetheless is a purpose-driven menswear line designed for the urban traveler. You can move from your daily travels and seamlessly live life without compromising mobility, performance, or tailoring. Every piece is environmentally sound with touch points that provide a fluid pathway of considered pieces based on the 'less is more' philosophy.

Just what cycling needs--another Outlier. Clearly the graphic designers of America's gentrified neighborhoods will not tire of spending lots of money on drab clothing anytime soon. What does "purpose-driven" mean with regard to clothing, and what is an "urban traveler?" Is that the same as a douchebag? Besides a straightjacket or a suit of armor, is there really that much clothing that doesn't allow you to "move from your daily travels and seamlessly live life?" Is "touch points" the same as "pants yabbies?" What is a "fluid pathway of considered pieces?" Does that mean all their clothes match because they're similarly bland? Honestly, the only part that makes sense is "less is more," since a single shirt will cost you $188. Then again, I suppose they need all the meaningless turns of phrase, since if you delete them you're left with the following:

Menswear. You can move.

Says it all, really.

Fortunately though the website also contained a testimonial that consisted of much more prosaic language:






“ I am wearing both the Dispatch Rider Pants and the Trench Shirt right now. Loving them immensely in this weather. The shirt sheds this rain like no ones business and the pants dry so fucking fast it’s ridiculous. I hate undeserved compliments but shit. Both are amazing."--Drew

So there you have it, the Dispatch Rider Pants "dry so fucking fast it's ridiculous." This is great news for anybody who's incontinent, so feel free to dispatch urine into your Dispatch Rider Pants with impunity.

Meanwhile, for those who prefer to "portage" a change of clothes to work, I recently received an email from the makers of the "SuitSak," and they wanted me to share this compelling video:



Apparently, the actor borrowed a bicycle from someone who was roughly two feet shorter than him:

His tights, on the other hand, must belong to someone who's at least two feet taller than him, judging by the "epic" crotch saggage:

Or maybe he just likes to have plenty of room for his pendulous "touch points," as well as at least six or seven books.

Finally, he borrowed David Byrne's (who doesn't have a car) giant suit for the closing scene:

Yes, corporate profits will go up, UP, UP!!! if you use the SuitSak.

Between environmentally sound, purpose-driven menswear with touchpoints that provide a fluid pathway of considered pieces, and the SuitSak, it's a wonder anybody manages to simply get on a bike and go to work at all.

113 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey now!

CommieCanuck said...

booya

Anonymous said...

third

Never Knows Best said...

Crack-book crackdown!

Anonymous said...

booya

Anonymous said...

cool beans

Anonymous said...

Up there for HUGGY today

poole said...

top ten....

After anon gets disqualified I'll be podium...

SLAM said...

I just might get top ten

Anonymous said...

books and butts...Hank moody rules!

ringcycles said...

Wow commie canuck. All this snow sure seems to be your best conditions for sprinting.

SLAM said...

I-Pad is betted than paperback, it has a vibration setting. But Paper back has better sweat/period absorbtion.

Anonymous said...

Sunny & 70°

CommieCanuck said...

The Suitsak is a Canadian invention, featured on "Dragon's Den" on CBC in Canada. The investors thought it was a stupid idea with zero market potential.

I say, wear lycra to business meetings, show them who has the biggest balls.

Anonymous said...

The butt crack would be a great place to keep a camera too (As per this bbc story).
www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12334486

CommieCanuck said...

My sprinting has improved in bad weather because of my new heated saddle. Once yer yabbies are toasty, no need to worry about other body parts.

hillbilly said...

CERE MONY

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Doug said...

Hey, I dropped my virtual chain! Why didn't you guys wait for me?

Anonymous said...

Loaded post - phew!

Anonymous said...

This sucky blog excites my touch points.

Anonymous said...

Epic threaded post today, snobby.

RSGAT said...

If a person has room at the office to change into his suit, why doesn't he just keep a bunch of suits there and avoid the daily schlepping?

crosspalms said...

"touch points that provide a fluid pathway"

...yep, I'm pretty sure I've got one of those around here someplace

Kenny Banya said...

"I say, wear lycra to business meetings, show them who has the biggest balls."

Gold C.C., GOLD!

Comment deleted said...

I hear cranberry juice is really good for the fluid pathway.

OBA said...

I'm going to put a threadless-to-quill extension on my threaded-to-threadless conversion on top of my NVO adjustable threadless shim system. Then I'm going to take the F train because there's 5 feet of snow in the bike lane.

Anonymous said...

It's not sensible using a quill stem in a threadless fork - they're generally thinner-walled tubing. Or crabon fribé.

hey nonny mouse

Anonymous said...

Native American fiction? That's what she said. http://juliasegal.tumblr.com/post/2960102651

mikeweb said...

This has to be an unprecedented BSNYC moment: CC gets a mention in the post then lays down the law at the cyber finish line.

Anonymous said...

AYHSMsuitsak

Anonymous said...

The seed of my suitsak will father a shoal of tweeded salmon.

ringcycles said...

Hey Corporate Commuter Tool; MC Hammer called, he wants his bike AND his pants back. Oh, but make sure to put the front fender back on before you return it, eh.

I am a cold cockpit engine said...

Why does everything have to have a philosophy?

Just design, build, or curate clothes that are functional, and dont suck.

Seems like the engineers at Tange-Seiki have way to much time on their hands to be building such stupid shit.

By the way why does Soma get to put their name on it if somebody like Tange-Seiki designed, curated, or collaboed it?

Why is it not the Tange-Seiki cockpiterator?

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Who is Nonetheless's target market, and where did they find an 'urban' winery?

Did 'Drew' bike there? He must have pressed and washed his shirt. He looks 100% fred in that shot, 0% cyclist.

Marcel Da Chump said...

That Portland book portager chick has got me reaching for my touch points.

Martin Erzinger said...

"my yabbies are toasty"

Fucking priceless.

My yabbies are always toasty, all I have to do is it the butt warmer button on my new Mercedes.

I must be king, I am not all covered in shit (or slush)

Peasants.

Anonymous said...

Tri-dork wears some ugly ass shoes. Can't be UCI approved?

Anonymous said...

http://www.grist.org/article/2011-01-31-dont-fear-riding-a-bicycle-fear-sitting-in-that-chair

Wooooosies.

CommieCanuck said...

I'm going to put a threadless-to-quill extension on my threaded-to-threadless conversion on top of my NVO adjustable threadless shim system.

That would be great with my Campy 11-speed to 5-speed adaptor with downtube shifter conversion.

OLDE SKLE

Grump said...

Gran Fondos.....Where do I begin.

A "bike race" for people who are afraid to enter a bike race.

Will all those flapping T-shirts cause the Earth's rotation to slow?

Anonymous said...

just wanted to point out that Nonetheless seems to have a very eloquent and informative page explaining just what, exactly, a touch point is: http://www.nonetheless.cc/pages/touch-point

CommieCanuck said...

This has to be an unprecedented BSNYC moment: CC gets a mention in the post then lays down the law at the cyber finish line.

To be fair, I have no illusions of passing the doping test, I was goofed up on Pot Canadienne, mix of BC bud, Canadian Club Rye, cheese curds and maple syrup, all mixed up in a used milk bag.

xyxax said...

seamless = naked 2.0

Anonymous said...

"...and what is an "urban traveler?" Is that the same as a douchebag?"

You really are a funny guy.

Anonymous said...

Snob has overpriced clothing... Tilford has automotive repair tips.

Which one is more useful? You decide.

Anonymous said...

An Herban Traveler seems more like an asshole than a douchebag.

"The Urban Traveler is an invite-only microenvironment that brings together our friends and family of like mind."

MBW said...

Is there something that A'ME isn't telling me about a duck's butt? Their ad copy would suggest that a DUXBUTT is the most watertight thing ever.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, Nonetheless is even douchier than Rapha.

URL said...

An open question to the bsnyc blog commentators: is there anyother blog that posts daily and that I would get as much enjoyment out of as I do this blog?

crosspalms said...

Sign me up for that Gran Fondue. What kind of cheese do they use?

Anonymous said...

Either I am deluding myself or must be a genius because I commute by bike and move fluidly throughout my day wearing 8 dollar shirts from goodwill.

Anonymous said...

URL,

No, not even close

wishiwasmerckx said...

52 comments, a couple dozen grammer Nazis waiting to pounce, and I'm the first to point out that it's spelled "focused," and not "focussed?" (Unless, of course you are from across the pond...)

streepo said...

TSTY YBYS

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice job Commie.

I'm too busy at work this week to sit around waiting for Snob's post to drop with the rest of you losers.

Now I'm all about epic fred orgies of Caligulan proportions but alas the UCI doesn't allow bikes of the recumbentway. So I hope everyone has a blast sitting on those wedgies for a hundred miles.

streepo said...

@Crosspalms:
Gruyere, of course

g-roc said...

I'm shredding my library card. Then, I'm going to burn the pieces.

grog said...

What are your favorite touchpoints on Groundhog Day?

Marcel Da Chump said...

Bear Mountain. Rode up there in May of '79, sophomore year high school on a Huffy 10 spd, wearing jeans and a t-shirt. No food, no water for an 80 mile roundtrip ride. Six riders started only three made it. When I got to Bear Mountain I ate a bowl of chili, rested a bit and then took the
best crap of my life. Sorry if I gross anyone out, but it was that memorable.

Anonymous said...

@WIWM 2:14,

"grammer" ... "grammER"?

That is all.

URL said...

Anonymous 2:12

Yeah I thought so but I can`t believe it! There must be. All I hear about are people blogging and getting movie deals from their blogs and 12 year old fasion bloggers and I go to these blogs and I run through them in five or ten minutes and "I`m like": thats it?

& then I come over to bike snob after months of hearing about it from a trusted friend but was hesitant because of my bias for the word blog and so now I am back logged (love the word log!) with "older posts" to read which I may never get to because the freshness of the daily posts is soothing enough.

So it`s not like I`m short on reading material (because I prefer to read on paper) but just to put it in to context with all the blog talk and what people expect and get out of these blogs theyre reading I wouldnt mind finding atleast one blog out there that I could compare.

Though really I don`t care but have a kind of Cat6 curiosity if there is anyone better?

7sp said...

The quillinator is actually a half-way good idea. Bear with me:

The advantages of threadless is ease of manufacture/installation and weight. The advantage of threaded is adjustability (and possibly looks). With a clamp that both locks the headset as well as the stem in place, you could use an expanderless thinwall quill; thus combining the best of both.

Anonymous said...

the gran fondo will be epic. However, I don't want to be mistaken for a Fred. Snobbie do you shave your legs or use a dipilatory?

Anonymous said...

< a couple dozen grammer Nazis waiting to pounce >

...there's irony in there somewhere...

hey nonny mouse (across the pond)

Anonymous said...

Ce n'est pas la pot canadienne, c'est une recette pour le poutine.

Oldentard said...

Either today's post was really funny or I am coming unhinged.

Unhingeder.
More unhinged.
More better unhinged.

Oh what the hell.

Congratulations, Commie Canuck. I wonder who will play you in BSNYC the Movie?

Bobby said...

Sir Snob, as always, an excellent scathing missive on your part! I particulilarly like the phrase "befouled tome", simply genius!

Perhaps a copy of "Portnoy's Complaint" would be a more suitable "yabbies" text?

I looked at the heated grips, did you notice that the complete price, with charger, battery, and installation hardware all conveniently omitted from the initial price, is a cool $350?

Headlongintomyownurine said...

I made a fluid pathway in my pants once while urban traveling. Luckily they were dark pants and no one noticed.

David said...

Drew may be stylish in his overpriced clothes, but he has no idea what to do with an apostrophe. If he had only spent more time with a Silko novel in his pants, he might have absorbed by osmosis some esoteric knowledge of punctuation.

Jasper said...

Not just the funniest daily blog around, but also some memorably witty commentators in the peloton too. Compare that to the numb-nuts who comment on, ahem, Yehuda Moon...

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:37, check your arteries before you assert your cleanliness. Price out a couple bypass surgeries before you upgrade that ride.

Least classy "king" ever.

Quicksquirt McHurt said...

Touch points? Fluid pathway? I had to change my underwear by the third paragraph today.

Anonymous said...

Did somebody say "poutine"?

Best junk-food ever.

samh said...

Commie, good find, eh.

Public Service Announcer said...

WARNING: Be advised that reading BSNYC may induce wetness. We therefore recommend the Dispatch Rider pants.

bubba said...

I'm going to buy a threadless fork, then get a Quillinator for that, then get a threadless adaptor for the quillinator and then put a threadless stem on the adapter.

Anonymous said...

ASSG RAIL

HOTG RIPS

GROI NSAG

Suit Sack Love Shack said...

My plain old ordinary pants are a fluid pathway, and they didn't cost some stupid amount of money.

SUIT SACK

Anonymous said...

My sack suits me

Anonymous said...

GFNY wants the snob bad! I suggest the FoM prize be a full-range stem conversion kit including a threadless-to-quill and a quill-to-threadless stuffed into the lovely primal tux jersey.

my2hands said...

Are they meeting in a basement?

The city of Saint Louis just shut down due to the unexpected onset of an Ice Age.

my2hands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!
One thought re super expensive attitudinal clothes; if they're made here in Amurrica, the avg retail cost of trousers is gonna be approx $90.00 on the low side; if the same item is made in Asia, 1/3rd that. So as much as I too like to mock pretentious clothing (and I'm not a China basher exactly) it is someone dependent upon where it's made; LA and NYC factories are relatively decent. I've been to lots of garment factories, and pretty much only buy stuff made here (and more Fred-dom...I can sew). Outlier...not so great / but Swrve, despite the name...excellent stuff, made here. But up there in price.

When they stop making the stuff in the original place, and then outsource it to China, like the Moleskine notebook company did, and don't change the price either to reflect their lower costs...shameful all around.

Alison said...

Your first photo has me taking a sidelong look at some of the paperbacks I've picked up at a used bookstore...

db said...

today was "ridiculously fucking funny." eventually, my girlfriend might get tired of me reading it aloud to her between laughs...

I Go Around and Around said...

I will be in the aforementioned Fred orgy. I was dared. See y'all on the road. I'll be the guy who is slowest.

I hear there will be climbing. Which gear do I use for that? I was hoping it would be downhill both ways.

If a Bear Mountain somethings in the woods, does something something hear something som... oh nevermind.

AdorkableGeek said...

I suppose Señor Snob you've already registered for the Gran Fondue?

Anonymous said...

You're spot on about graphic designers: we are a smug bunch.

xyxax said...

@ I Go round and round:

I've got the Fondue penciled in on my Fredule;
I will wear a bandoleer of CO2 cartridges.

see ya off the back!

Fred of the Mountain 1st prize: permanent chain tattoo on inner right calf.
Runner-up: same tattoo on outer of left calf.

Anonymous said...

Scientific studies at credited institutions yield the following results of those studies: crotchal sagging in tights results from tights being too tight, not from their being too large. It has to do with the inseam/leg diametre limiting vertical placement on the subject.

Minimalist Girl Scout said...

knock! knock! knock!

- door opens -

"Hello, would you like to not purchase some virtual thin mint cookies?"

Anonymous said...

You are a true word smith!!

Smith said...

Word.

Tommy Terrets said...

FUKN FUNY

Og LoneWolf said...

And that's why I don't buy used book. Thank you!

fTW

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice the fucking hilarious image on the Nonetheless site of a dude tricking on a fucking BMX bike wearing $600 worth of clothes? I mean, yeah there are a lot of road bikers who have more money than sense, especially the ibanking fred variety... But if BMX biking is now going to be something yuppies buy their way into with personal BMX trainers and "Barspin Resistant Sherpa Wool dungarees" I am going to get a recumbent.

Jed said...

I usually leave time for one other blogger with excellent writing skills and a wry sense of humor. Jeff Kay at The West Virginia Surf Report. www.thewvsr.com

Jed said...

I prefer hardcovers over paperbacks. They absorb less of my embrocation. If rapha makes my nipples hard, there is no telling what nonetheless can do for my yabbies. Lots of creature comforts on the docket today.

Anonymous said...

How about this cockpit?

I Go Around and Around said...

@xyxax

My inner calf's been riding my inner child for years and it's been all uphill for them.

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

I'm waiting for people to start sending in pictures of themselves portaging Snob's book. I would but I haven't got a copy. Although, I might as well buy it now as I imagine it will be studied as part of the English curriculum when my boy is old enough for school.

ce said...

NutSack is designed for safely portaging nuts home from the wholefood store. My NutSack has touch points.

xyxax said...

hmmmm.
perhaps "medial aspect of the soleus proximal to the medial malleolus" would have been less ambiguous.

My inner child drops me like lint.

Anonymous said...

Graphic Designers of America's Gentrified Neighborhoods, aka Fey Hipsters Over Thirty, thank your understanding of our lifeway touchpoints.

Anonymous said...

extra funny today!

Spence said...

Nice job, Bike Snob!

Snot-nosed Penis said...

@wishiwasmerckx:

The word "focussed" is an equal variant spelling and preferred by The New Yorker magazine which has a top notch editorial (including proofreading) staff.

Across the pond has nothing to do with it, it's a perfectly acceptable spelling.

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http://www.vibesconnect.com/gamespots/blog/Millions-of-Chinese-families-a,66739

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Fixie Bikes said...

that's not where books belong. :<

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