Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beyond Category: Shock the Monkeys

As I mentioned yesterday, after reading a rave review of the Bianchi Super-Oltre Über-Record Road Bicycle Cycling Machine, I decided I had to have one. Well, I'm pleased to announce I've already taken delivery of my new "steede." Made of special high-modulous or huge-mongulous or whatever-you-call-it-ulous crabon fribé, it is the best cycling bicycle that has ever been made on this or any other planet ever. Here is a picture of it in my living room:
Here's a picture of it in front of the cafe where all the roadies hang out:

And here's a picture of it on top of the hardest climb I've ever done, propped up against a sign that says: "ELEV. 296 FT."


Obviously, the first thing you notice about this cycling bike is that it boasts cutting-edge technology and innovation. Just take a look at this branding:

See, what Bianchi have done here is completely re-engineer the head tube badge and transfer it to the underside of the downtube. This enlarged badge results in branding that is up to 250% more laterally obvious and over 300% more vertically apparent, as measured by the German magazine "Marke Hure." ("Marke Hure" has the most accurate testing methods in the cycling industry, and they test logo effectiveness on highly-calibrated monkeys with disposable income--the closest thing to actual roadies occurring in nature.) While this downtube-mounted oversized headtube badge may not increase actual performance, it will give you a much-needed morale boost as you are passed on sub-300 foot climbs by riders on less expensive bicycles.

But the innovations aren't just skin deep--they even go as far as the copy on the Bianchi website:

A result achieved thanks to the carbon frame fabricated through the innovative X-Tex technology, that increases rigidity while limiting the weight. To push your limit far beyond.

If you're wondering what "X-Tex" is, I consulted a popular search engine and can report to you that it's apparently "Great for use in oil / water separators, stormwater and wastewater filtration systems and water 'polishing' applications." Naturally, these superior filtration qualities also make it ideal for building bicycles. Plus, the highly-calibrated monkeys with disposable income at "Marke Hure" say that "X-Tex" is over 300% more delicious than "Tex-Mex."

At this point you're probably thinking: "Holy crap, did the engineering geniuses at Bianchi come up with all of this themselves?" Of course not. Like all ridiculously expensive bicycle cycles, this was a "collabo:"

In collaboration with specialized companies, Bianchi simulated a structural analysis on carbon products aimed at obtaining, during the design phase, the elements necessary for the correct development of its products.

In other words, it probably came out of the same Taiwanese factory as every other crabon bicycle--though I'm sure the downtube-mounted oversized headtube badge was all Bianchi.

None of this is to say there's anything wrong with Taiwanese bicycles, it's just that $11,000 seems a bit much for some quasi-Italian flair regardless of how "super" the Record is. With that kind of scratch, you could pay eccentric steel-sniffer Dario Pegoretti to make you a frame and experience what it's like to be shouted at and belittled by a true artisan. Of course, buying a custom bike comes with its own set of problems, not least of which is finding appropriately artisanal baubles to bolt onto your artisanal frame, but fortunately one reader tells me you can get a $150 bottle cage that is like a "Samurai sword:"

Yes, it's exactly like a Samurai sword except it's way smaller, isn't sharp, and holds bottles for Freds instead of killing people. I suppose anything hand-crafted in Japan has to be likened to a Samurai sword in the same way that anything made in Italy has to reference "passion," but since this is essentially just a utensil I'd argue it's less like a Samurai sword and more like an overpriced chopstick.

Meanwhile, also further to yesterday's post, a commenter asked:

Anonymous said...

care to comment on the absurdity of limiting bikes to 10mph on the Golden Gate bridge for "safety"?

And then linked to the following article:

(Safety-minded Fred has left the reflectors on his Litespeed.)

If you're unfamiliar with the Golden Gate Bridge, it is a bridge that links the city of San Francisco and the profoundly smug county of Marin, and it also happens to remind me of a Samurai sword, albeit a really big one that spans a large body of water. Anyway, I heard about this proposal during my leave of absence last week, and I would agree that a 10mph speed limit is absurd. However, having ridden over the Golden Gate Bridge a number of times, I would also say that it's like someone took all the most annoying elements of the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and George Washington Bridges and forced them onto a single path. Freds, tourists, wobbly triathletes... You haven't experienced fear until you've been approached head-on by an oblivious tourist on a rental bike, weaving as he simultaneously smokes a cigarette and attempts to take a photograph of one of the towers, while you brace yourself for a collision that could send you hurtling into the icy waters below. Apparently, though, the owner of the rental bike company resents this indictment of his customers:

Jeff Sears, owner of Blazing Saddles, a bike rental company whose advertising urges visitors to "Bike the Bridge," said it's wrong to demonize a class of bike riders or imply that they shouldn't be allowed access to the span.

"It's not fair to label one group as needing to meet some sort of safety standard of bicycle knowledge to be able to bike across the bridge."


What? How is that not fair? Sure, they shouldn't ban tourists on rental bikes, but I think it's perfectly fine to "demonize" them. Saying it's not fair that they should ride safely is like saying, "It's not fair to need some sort of special knowledge to prepare and serve the potentially deadly Fugu fish." Perhaps Jeff Sears should also open up a bunch of amateur Fugu stands along the span, staffed by idiots with Samurai swords. If the tourists don't kill you, the snack foods will.

But of course the real victims here are riders of tallbikes and unicycles--which, as Cyclelicious reports, could be banned altogether:

Besides the 5 MPH and 10 MPH speed limits, Alta recommends a ban on tallbikes and unicycles because they might tip over the bridge safety railings and fall into the Golden Gate...

That would be a crushing blow to the many thousands of people in Mill Valley who commute into San Francisco every day by unicycle and tallbike. Personally, I think we can reach a compromise, which would go something like this: You're allowed to ride a unicycle or similar circus contraption over the Golden Gate Bridge, just as long as you refrain from juggling while on the span.

But if there's one thing we need less than more tourists on rental bikes, it's more fixed-gear videos--though I do make an exception for filmmakers who push the boundaries of the artform, as in this short film that was forwarded to me by a reader:

FIXED from Tim Whitney on Vimeo.

As you can see, it's sort of a "conceptual meta-edit," and it stars a guy with a pompadour:


Who is being pursued by hipsters with nunchucks:


One of whom has a set of knuckle tattoos which may or may not say "Walk Hard:"

Decidely more traditional and pedestrian is this entry, which I saw on the Trackosaurusrex blog:

Official FIXATION Trailer from Alex Trudeau Viriato on Vimeo.

It touches all the bases, including the crucial explanation of why riding a fixed-gear is a metaphysical experience:

"The bike is aaalways moving. Like, you are the bicycle when you're on a track bike. You're part of it. Your legs are what defines what's happening with the bicycle."

If the bike is aaalways moving, how does he explain the incessant trackstanding? And maybe he's the bicycle when he's on a track bike, but some of us manage to ride our bicycles while simultaneously retaining some sense of individuality and autonomous thought.

There's also the person who answers his own rhetorical question:

Q: "What's it like to be fixed gear, clipped in, riding through traffic in LA?"

A: "I gotta say it's a complete rush."

I will admit that he had me rethinking at least one "fixie" stereotype. Previously I had thought all urban fixed-gear riders were studiously scruffy Bard graduates, but this one looks like he should be playing football for Princeton circa 1932.

Yes, of all the fixed-gear videos I've seen, none of them captures that perfect combination of self-importance and mallification quite like the ones from Los Angeles do. You might remember the film "To Live & Ride in L.A.," and I'm pleased to report that the makers have actually sent me an honest-to-Lobness "press release:"

To Live & Ride in L.A. has been widely received as the freshest movie on fixed-gear culture since Rowe's Fast Friday. Shot entirely on the streets of L.A. To Live & Ride in L.A. has been called an "authentic look into the what, where, and now of aggressive urban biking" by URB Magazine. The film was chosen as official selections at both the 2010 Hawaii International Film Festival and the 2010 Los Angeles Bicycle Film Festival and has toured the world on a screening circuit that included stops in Melbourne, Shanghai, Taipei, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Perth and Adelaide, Australia.

Frankly, I'm not impressed by anything that claims to be the "freshest movie on fixed-gear culture" since the last supposedly "fresh" movie on "fixed-gear culture." That's like saying "Ernest Goes to Jail" was the freshest inept-hillbilly-goes-someplace movie since "Ernest Goes to Camp." Still, that's not stopping them from releasing "exclusive content" like this:



In this particular video, the rider does a footplant and gets like four inches of air:

Now that's what I call "fresh."

By the way, this is the same rider who said "riding an aluminum track bike is more like doing tricks and producing a square feel or something like that and then the steel one would draw a circle."

Between his circles and Pegoretti's smells I'm starting to think these people must drinking LSD-tainted water from their Hattori Hanzo bottle cages.

80 comments:

dcdouglas said...

Podium!

SLAM said...

me me me!

Tim Joe Comstock said...

I can get used to this

writeintent said...

Damn; thought I'd be podium!

Dakotaboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcel Da Chump said...

so wanted to motorboat the podium girls

ringcycles said...

Not dead yet!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Laying down on the job again!

Dan said...

nunchucks FTW!

Astroluc said...

in like Flynn

samh said...

ALL YOU MONKEYS DISPOSE OF MY INCOME.

O-dog said...

WHAP!

Surly Bastard said...

Top thirteenish or something and I watched that whole damn video.

The Mayor of Drunkingham said...

The color of the Golden Gate bridge isn't red, as most would assume. It's actually called 'International Orange'. It's also pretty good to jump off of, apparently.

mikeweb said...

Yerp.

Colin said...

Did anyone else notice that in fixation, in the shot just showing the bottom bracket and crankset, the chain isn't moving even though the guy is pedaling? It happens around 1:20.

mikeweb said...

Gotta say the 'bidon' they have in that $150 bottle cage looks like the kind you can buy for 49 cents at the 99 cent store.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Astroluc said...

I'm seriously considering my own fred-tastic video "drop" ... it'll be called "unfixed" and will lament on the "Zen" like concept of coasting.

mikeweb said...

**spoiler alert**

The bicycle gang bangers in 'FIXED' all get blown up at the end.

I agree that one is interesting, even cool and it kept my attention. Not the typical, "Look at me! I'm doing a hillbomb/ lame wheelie/ track stand/ breaking 5 traffic laws at once on a track bike" viddy.

BTW, check out Tim's other video, 'Enjoy yourself'. Folks dancing around in their underwear - that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Sean Martin said...

Chubby Boob Nerd Crew!

Natascha said...

The naked chick in the thumbnail of the Chronicle article was a nice touch

Scott said...

Steve Tilford is a slumlord, and the best you got is an overpriced Bianchi?

Andrew Bailey, M.D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcel Da Chump said...

Lest we forget April is Poetry Month:

so much depends
upon

a fixed gear
bike

glazed with bong
water

beside the young
hipsters

ant1 said...

"Bianchi simulated a structural analysis"

much more PRO than actually doing one.

David said...

The Bianchi promises "To push your limit far beyond"? If only Captain Kirk had thunk of that! Beyond what?
Why, beyond PANTIES!, of course.

PhilboydStunge said...

Dang Snobby, you're getting all high brow. I had to look some of those words up in the dictionary!

The Pogonologist said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

David said...

Fixed gear and freestyle don't go together. You need a freewheel to be truly freestyle.
MARCEL, cool WILLIAMS allusion!

Tony King said...

San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles... Just like The Kings/Maloofs', Fixation has no love for Sacramento. :_(

leroy said...

You can't ride that Bianchi on a road in NYC without a bell.

Buy it if you can afford NYC traffic tickets. Forget it if you signed the DOT's or TA's Subjugated Cyclists' Re-education Oath of Transportation Appeasement ("SCROTA").

As for me, I think I'll leave my SCROTA unsigned and my bell on my saddle bag.

Aaron said...

Completely off subject... but have you seen the guy that only has 15 things?

Marcel Da Chump said...

Thanks, David. I'm waiting for someone to "drop" some Pound or Eliot.

Master of None said...

"Fixed is a lot more fun...there's a lot more tricks you can do." Hm. Sounds like every other fixed gear rider. That is to say he's in serious denial about why he rides fixed. Read "...a lot more fun..." as "you look slightly cooler to people who don't know anything about cycling" and "a lot more tricks you can do" as "you have more excuses as to why you're so slow."

Twistyface said...

Alex Trudeau Viriato says:
"The bike is aaalways moving. Like, you are the bicycle when you're on a track bike.
You're part of it. Your legs are what defines what's happening with the bicycle. And that's why I have cartoon boobies on my cardigan"

bikesgonewild said...

...poetry, smoetry, marcel da chump...when you're talkin' about 'motorboating podium girls' are you talkin' front or back...

ken e. said...

FUNI MNKI
SHRP SWRD

mikeweb said...

Better a Golden Gate bridge at 10MPH than a golden shower at 15MPH.

mikeweb said...

Natascha, meet recumbabe. Recumbabe, meet Natascha.

bikesgonewild said...

...if you don't do more than 10mph whilst pedaling most days on the golden gate bridge, you won't have enough inertia to counter the cross winds & you'll fall over...

...just sayin'...

...jeff sears of blazing saddles should only rent out 'Bianchi Super-Oltre Über-Record Road Bicycle Cycling Machine's with a huge one day insurance rental agreement & then tourists would show more concern whilst riding the bridge...

..."...careful dear...if these bikes get damaged, it could end up costing us more than sending our daughter to bard college for a year..."...

BikeSnobNYC said...

To Whose It May Confirm,

I'm being told this blog is not accepting anonymous comments today. Apparently this is a Blogger-wide problem and supposedly the nerdy overlords at G--gle are on the case. So if you've been trying and failing to leave insults for me I sincerely apologize, and hopefully anonymity will be restored soon.

Sincerely,

--The Management
(BSNYC/RTMS)

bikesgonewild said...

...re: the golden gate bridge - this is for real...

...all they really need are a few warnings painted on the sidewalk saying "stay to the right - pay attention"...yes, post a few up on signs so there's not a legal issue but paint the warnings right on the riding surface...

...speed limit = revenue generator X one more stupid restriction...

...the real problem is people who don't pay attention to their surroundings, not cyclists who use the bridge to commute regularly...

Marcel Da Chump said...

bgw,
considering it's a threesome, the permutations will give my Evinrude a good workout.

mikeweb said...

...the real problem is people who don't pay attention to their surroundings, not cyclists who use the bridge to commute regularly...

bgw, I'd say that applies just about everywhere the rubber meets the road.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't somebody out for a brisk jog/ run also break 10MPH? Assuming joggers are allowed on the GGB at all...

LK said...

I've been on that safety orange bridge and couldn't even see it.

Where's BGW when you need him?

bikesgonewild said...

...@marcel da chump...may your podiums & evinrudes come together to delight your life on a regular basis...me ???...they gave me a broom...an engraved broom but a broom, nonetheless...

...@mikeweb (hi, mikeweb !!!)...people do run & jog the bridge & for the most part everything is copacetic...foot traffic is supposed to stay to the bay side (east) & bicycle traffic is slated for the ocean side (west) but there's always somebody willing to throw a monkeywrench into the works...that & short attention spans create problems...

...@lk...that is a fact...there are times when that bridge all but disappears in the fog...btw, as someone pointed out, it's 'international orange', please...

...when the bridge was constructed, they looked at various paint schemes to make it stand out in the fog & one idea was large black & yellow squares...nice...

Shundo said...

Having just come back over the bridge myself in a stiff crosswind which makes me feel like I am going to tip over the rails even without being on a tall bike, I go with Bikesgonewild @4:28 - the worry is that people aren't paying attention, whethere they are wobbling on a rental bike or meandering on foot. And the west side is only accessible at the weekend, and they are just going to close it completely for four months, right in the height of tourist season, so we will all be stuck on the east side. I'm going to buy myself a loud whistle again

Marcel Da Chump said...

bgw,
thanks, brother. If I run outta gas, I may have to borrow that broom.

bikesgonewild said...

...@shundo...normally (whatever 'normal' is, but i digress), the west side would be open for bicycle traffic during the week days as a lotta people actually do commute across by bike but as happens, when they're working on the west side, it can be closed...

...depending on the project, they can be reasonable enough to open that side in the late afternoon for the return cyclo-commute...

...i once was riding back from the city @ mid-afternoon & due to bridge work, i was rerouted across to the east side with the foot traffic & it was a huge fucking deal...1.7 miles of slow torture & moronic idiocy...

...there are ALWAYS those that wanna make a point of letting you know that they do not like you being on a bike in their proximity...

..it was crowded, i was basically inching along in places, "excuse me, on your right/left, thank you"-ing my way along & yet there were plenty a' fools that hadda let me know that i was on 'their sidewalk'...

...& despite my occasional on-line vitriol, i honestly am a pretty good 'bicycle ambassador'...sometimes, it just doesn't matter...

bikesgonewild said...

...jeez, marcel da chump...if you exhaust yourself with those podio-chicks, i may have to sweep up your remains...

Tim Joe Comstock said...

@ Bike Snob 4:27...So this is what it will be like in a Blogger Only World.

Hah! "Don't Be Evil", indeed. While I enjoy it here with the Elite, life just ain't fun without the hoi polloi to poke fun at...the nobodies and the nonny mice...sigh.

OK, where do we report to get a big funny-shaped "B" stamped on our heads?

HEAD BADJ

bikesgonewild said...

...btw, bsnyc/pdx/sfo/rtms...nice 'bincky' bike...

...enjoy !!!...

bikesgonewild said...

...i should also mention, as regards your comment "...the Golden Gate Bridge,...is a bridge that links the city of San Francisco and the profoundly smug county of Marin..."...

...smug, amigo, is applicable to other people in other places...

...here, 'we' have evolved "smug" into "prétentieux" which is french for 'pretentious', in case your not smug or pretentious enough to fully understand that...

wishiwasmerckx said...

A new addition to the BSNYC lexicon: "DTMOHTB." The downtube mounted oversized headtube badge.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Speaking of today's topic, there is a terrific documentary about Golden Gate Bridge suicide jumpers. It is called "The Bridge," and it is available online.

On a pretext, the filmmakers convinced the US Park Service to allow them to film the bridge 24/7 for an entire year.

It is a harrowing work of film.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Wishiwasmerckx,

Yeah, that's a heavy one.

--BSNYC

Jerome said...

From the Bianchi website:
"Carbon Fiber

Known for its use in aerospace and racing industries, carbon fiber traces its underlying technology to ancient Egypt, where the first known composite material was invented: a type of brick made up of clay mixed with crushed straw."

I guess it's time for a "The Ten Commandments" anniversary model?

ce said...

The "To Live & Ride in L.A." screening circuit included Adelaide? Wow, now I am impressed.

Velo Shitstorm said...

Snobster, before you pull the trigger on this Bianchi maybe you would consider as I do whenever making a significant velo purchase The Ralpha Quotient. Which is, exactly how much clothing would I have to buy to equal the cost of this bike.
In another blatant BSNYC piggy back let me show you the math;
www.veloshitstorm.blogspot.com/2011/04/put-books-away-time-for-pop-quiz.html

Gnarlynickb said...

Oh, man, fixed-gear freestyle is so idiotic, I'm puking. And Michael Scott's gone. And this stupid wedding. My world is falling apart.

ktrueman said...

WARR IORS

Stephen Shurak said...

I've avoided all fixed gear freestyle videos to this point, but for some reason tonight I hit the play button. And I was shocked to see such badass riding being done on a fixie. Keo Curry, pushing the limits of everything I though possible on a bike.

In all seriousness, this is what fixed gear freestyle is? I learned all these tricks the summer after high school on a bmx i found in a creek. is it noteworthy to bunny hop or spin your bars because your locked into the back wheel's momentum, or because of how awkwardly large your frame is? if you ollie on a skateboard with bindings did you really ollie? did this post sound better in my head.... kinda.

antirawker said...

CHUBBYBOOBSWAG!!!!!!

Twistyface said...

As you may have heard, on the 'old school' side of the pond, there is a high society wedding going on: the Mayor of London has bought the happy couple a tandem (!).

Wonder if it will be fixed??

Ronan said...

I once knew a girl who was the village bicycle. Just like a track bike, always moving on. Except, I seem to remember she had a derailleur...

Anonymous said...

The Forth bridge has mixed paths on both sides; there is a painted white line which is intended to separate pedestrians and cyclists, but both wander....

It's not as big as the Golden Gate, but is still a popular jumping point.

hey nonny mouse

Passione Italiana said...

Caro Bike Snob,

I deeply regret to inform you that your new cycling bicycle is merely an inferior product that Bianchi exports to gullible Americans.

Only the discerning Italian home market is worthy of the best product ever manufactured, the Bianchi OLTRE Nero Limited Edition.

A single look at its exclusive chromatic combination and Campagnolo BORA™ ULTRA TWO™+ QR Carbon Ti X-Lock special Road wheelset suffices to establish conclusively that it is much faster than your new bike.

Condoglianze!

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

Comment?

plutocrat said...

Troubling, there no disembodied hands in any of those action shots of your new bicycling machine.

No triple front chain ring either. Did you walk to the top of the 296 ft. mini-Zoncolan?

Anonymous said...

streetwear loserville.

EssDee said...

Loved the Princeton football ca. 1932 observation. Spot on. And you know who would jump right on the overpriced-accessories bandwagon if Brooks started making old-school leather football helmets for cyclists.

Also, as an SF resident, I think there should be a 10mph MINIMUM for cyclists, and not just on the bridge. Now that I mostly commute by car or public transit, and I have come to resent fixie-hipsters even more. As some of you may be aware, the city of San Francisco is not entirely flat. I hate getting stuck on an uphill behind some skinny-jeans-wearing, ironic-facial-hair-sporting douchebag* who's weaving all over the road because his diet of Red Vines, PBR, and American Spirits doesn't provide him with enough strength to pedal harder than the average Big Wheel rider.

Grr.

*Probably Summer's Eve Hint of Musk, bought at the dollar store, for extra ironic value.

Meknow said...

Fixed footplants - awesome. It looks like your standard isse 70's skatepark in th background. Guess dude got tired of riding around and around in circle "near" the "coping."

profile cranks though, equally scary

Anonymous said...

Here what i found -> vision correction

prolix said...

It is one of the model that The bike comes with almost new schwalbe marathon tyres, perfect for commuting / touring, retailing at $80 eachBikes Melbourne

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Fixie Bikes said...

Love the tooth paste theme'd color scheme.

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