Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cropped Out: Delusions of Fredness

As I mentioned yesterday, on Saturday I attended the New Amsterdam Bike Show. In addition to contending with treacherous stairways and ogling stylized Dutch-style bikes in a variety of colorways, I also got my daintily manicured hands on a copy of the June issue of "Bicycling." "Bicycling" is a magazine about bicycle cycling, and a magazine is sort of like a blog or a website, only it's printed on paper and you have to pay for it.

Ordinarily, I have to go to the dentist to read "Bicycling," and even then the issue is usually eight months out of date. (You can date an issue of "Bicycling" by finding the most expensive bicycle in it, measuring the "beefiness" of the bottom bracket in millimeters, and then dividing that figure by the number of rear cogs. In fact, sometimes this is the only way to tell the issues apart.) However, this time someone from "Bicycling" actually gave--gave--it to me, and not only was it "hot off the presses" (that's magazine publishing lingo for "new"), but I didn't even have to have my teeth drilled to get it.

This is because the June issue of "Bicycling" is the debut of the magazine's official redesign, and they want the bicycle cycling world to know it. Here's what the cover looks like:

Nice font, right? And not only have "Bicycling" redesigned the magazine, but they've also made it interactive. As you may have noticed, it says "flip open" in the upper right corner ("flipping" is the paper equivalent of "clicking"), and when you follow the instructions you see this:

That's right, it's two more Freds, making a total of four (4) Freds! That's a Total Fred Increase (TFI) of 100%.

Clearly "Bicycling" means business with this redesign.

But redesigning a magazine isn't just about increasing the cover's Fred Load-Bearing Capacity (FLBC). It also extends to the words and pictures on what publishing professionals call the "inside" of the magazine, and "Bicycling" have "dropped" an "edit" to show you what they've done. Basically, what I think they're trying to say is that the magazine is now less "Vanity Fair" for Freds, and more "Rouleur" for Freds.

In all seriousness, I do think "Bicycling" have done an excellent job with the redesign, and with each successive bathroom visit I'm enjoying the June issue more and more. However, this wasn't the reason I was excited to see it. No, I've been eagerly anticipating this issue because it's the one in which they announce the "Editors' Choice" winners, and since I was one of the testers I really wanted to see some Fred-tastic pictures of myself in crabon-testing action. (In case you care, which I'm sure you don't, my favorite bike in any category was the "Giant Defy Advanced 1," despite the fact that it's name is a full sentence long, and probably because it had 25mm tires whereas most of the other bikes had 23s.)

Now, as you know, as an anonymous blogger whose identity is a closely-guarded secret, I take great pains to obfuscate any and all of my personal details. However, even I have my vanities, and when "Bicycling" told me that on one of the test rides we'd be photographed I resolved immediately to be "ready for my close-up," as Norma Desmond said in "Sunset Boulevard." This was because, as an awful bike racer, I knew that appearing in the world's largest cycling magazine by circulation could very well be my last-ever chance to experience anything even remotely resembling competitive glory.

Or, to put it another way, I wanted some "face time" in Fred-dom's periodical of record.

But there was one problem: "Bicycling" told me that on photo day I had to wear non-team kit. However, I didn't have any non-team kit, since all my cycling clothing is from my stint with Mapei when I played a vital role in their 1996 Paris-Roubaix podium sweep:


I actually crashed out of the race before it even started when I collided with a frites cart on the way to the sign-in, but I still like to think that they couldn't have done it without me.

Anyway, the problem remained that I had no non-team cycling clothes. Generously, "Bicycling" offered to lend me an outfit from their closet, but I cringed at the thought of what Primal monstrosities might lurk in there, and there was no way I was going to be immortalized in dentist offices all over Canada's dickey in a "Tribal Fire" jersey.

Therefore, it became clear what I had to do. Say what you will about their overblown marketing copy, and their studiously "epic" videos, and their even more "epic" pricetags, but if you want to look good on a road bike you're not going to fail with the Rapha. Actually, that's not true. You can fail pretty spectacularly with the Rapha:

(His wardrobe is so "epic" it's making him queasy.)

Nevertheless, I was desperate, so just before departing for Austin I allowed my inner fop his head and obtained a complete Rapha ensemble: socks, shorts, jerseys, armwarmers, the whole schmear. And when photo day arrived, I removed each item from its special Rapha puch and put it on with the nervous excitement of a prom-bound teenager donning his first rental tuxedo. Then, I practiced my "epic" expressions in the bathroom mirror. (Hint: After much experimentation, I finally figured out the best way to attain a Rapha-esque wince is to let your mouth hang slightly open, think about your favorite food, and then concentrate on letting the saliva pool in the bottom half of your mouth without spilling it.) I have to say, the clothing was really nice. Like, surprisingly nice. Finally, it was time to mount my Focus Locus Hocus Pocus or whatever crabon bike I was "testing" that day and roll out with the "Bicycling" crew.

I should add that we were photographed constantly by this guy:

Whether it was eating our morning Cocoa Puffs, inflating our tires, stabbing at our "smarting phones," or even actually riding the bikes, nothing escaped his omniscient lens.

So as the road unfurled itself in front of me and I savored the perfect fit of my jersey and the taintal caress of my arguably overpriced but undeniably comfortable chamois, I just assumed it was a certainty that somewhere in "Bicycling" would appear a glossy photograph of me in full Fredly flight. Instead, imagine my surprise when the only picture of me was this:

Actually, I'm not even sure it's me, but there is the white Rapha arm band which signifies my membership in their "Army of Douche," and my head's also more or less level, which means I'm probably still focussing on not spilling my drool pool.

Of course, I am as Fredly as anybody, and the fact that I'm disappointed over this photo when it's right next to an entire page of my own writing perfectly underscores the Fred psychology--which, to fall back on a cliché, is to fail to see the forest for the trees. Why enjoy the ride when you can fuss over your power meter? Why enjoy amateur bike racing when you can pay a coach to help you take it more seriously? Why be satisfied with ten speeds when you can have eleven? And so forth.

Also, at one point, a urinal auto-flushed so hard as I stepped to it that it overflowed and someone else's urine sloshed all over my Rapha socks:

Now that's "epic."

Still, I'd rather be doused in urine while wearing Rapha then humiliate myself while wearing in a polar bear costume:



I'm not sure if this "protest" does a greater disservice to cyclists or to the polar bears themselves, but either way it's one of the most horrifically cringe-inducing things I've ever seen. If these people really want to pretend to be polar bears while making a point they should go find a rapidly-melting iceberg and film their last days on it Timothy Treadwell-style. As it is, if you're wondering why the NYPD is picking on us so much recently, this is probably part of the reason.

Lastly, I have just received an exciting press release about the "Sanitov CB:"

The Sanitov CB (cargo bicycle), is the product of a cultural meeting between traditional Chinese bicycle design and the functionalistic, Danish design approach. The Bicycle is of a traditional Chinese cargo-bicycle infused with the latest technological Know-how and Scandinavian minimalism.

The Sanitov CB is sophisticated built from the best materials we can find. The Design includes, matching full leather handles and saddle, high quality stainless steel and aluminum frames and rack, a world innovative GPS Tracker-system and a battery-driven engine. The built-in battery-driven engine facilitates the function when going over long distances or when transporting heavy goods; a supplement ensuring the convenience and usability of the bicycle in all situations.

Wow, sounds impressive--except it turns out it's not a bicycle at all. Actually, it's a trike with a cart on it:

I wonder how many polar bears you can "portage" with it.

71 comments:

Kenny Banya said...

GOLD?

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Kenny Banya said...

GOLD!

Kenny Banya said...

HAIL BNYA

Anonymous said...

Fourth...

Anonymous said...

too easy. with a full stop and everything.

TheTye said...

Der... dumb podium comment

OBA said...

Portage this.

Anonymous said...

panties!

wishiwasmerckx said...

Rounding out the top ten?

old hipster said...

How is it possible to make a team without owning any cycling apparel? Did you train in cutoffs and a t-shirt? Did you immediately throw out all your non-team gear in a fit of exuberance at being accepted onto one of NYC's most middle-of-the-road squads?

samh said...

Taintal caress.

JDL said...

faux polar bears dancing to disco inferno.

burn baby,

burn

wishiwasmerckx said...

I don't just own that Mapei jersey; I own the whole kit. It routinely gives me my cycling "turnabout is fair play" moment, as when motorists see my fat ass in that Mapei monstrosity, they almost invariably travel off into a roadside ditch.

Anonymous said...

Ladies!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

What the fuck is a fondo?

mikeweb said...

This comment is sophisticated built from the best words I can find.

mikeweb said...

What the fuck is a fondo?

Duh, obviously.

Marcel Da Chump said...

hey, hey Rapha boy! ( say it, like Ed Norton ).

Chilly Willy said...

I dunno, this post left me feeling a little frosty...

specq said...

Your magazine dating formula could result in some issues apparently traveling backwards in time at the 10spd to 11spd boundary.

Neil said...

mmmm, Chinese danish.....

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

If you think dancing polar bears are an embarrassment to cycling in NYC just wait until 06/11/11...

http://bit.ly/Bi7aY

Anonymous said...

Fondo my taint.

I actually like the "new" Bicycling magazine. There's less of the quickie web-page-in-print items and more writing.

But, it did take me a while to find TRMS's bit. Maybe they'll give him a bit more space, too?

I'll extend my subscription if they print the phrase: AYHSMB.


Balls.

crosspalms said...

"Scandinavian minimalism" includes GPS system and battery-powered engine. Cool. Will the upgrade include a power cord for my iPad?

Bad Lawyer said...

Funny post, Snob, by the way speaking of testing I'm random testing as well as part of my return from Morgantown (great bicycling cycling country had that been permitted.) That cropped urinal pic looked alarmingly familiar.

I'd love to know the stats on Bicycling (the mag's) various redesigns.

Test positive.

Anonymous said...

Snob,
I always like what you do and stuff. Today was going great, but then you put up that P-bear crap. It is bad, just horrible.

WOWW BADD

Buffalo Bill said...

Those polar bear impersonators (imbearonators?) seem to be under the impression that polar bears eat ice. I've met a few actual polar bears and they I can tell you they were more interested in eating me.

And not in a good way either you perverts.

Terre Haute Karl said...

"taintal caress"
How oh how can I work this into a conversation?

ant1 said...

sanitov? sounds like a russian porta-potty on wheels.

Anonymous said...

Steve Tilford crashed this weekend and he says you haven't called to check on him. What gives?

Jasper said...

Exactly Ant1 - imagine that contraption overflowing onto your pristine Rapha sock colourways.

Anonymous said...

Lob bless those well-meaning times up kids, but they antics certainly inspire an odd combination of embarrassment, depression and all- consuming rage. I'm not sure if I want to give them a hug or take a flame thrower to the whole bunch.

ringcycles said...

I don't know Snobbie,

Some of those polar bear babes were kind of cute. Plus they like to frolic in fountains and give away ice cream.

Turns me on more than getting sloshed with urine in a public restroon while wearing dandy socks.

But to each their own (fetish)

Twistyface said...

@ Buffalo Bill: Well done on the 'imbearsonators'!

Anonymous said...

Snobby - I take offense at your non-team apparel issue. For some of us, our entire cycling couture consists of the $5 bin at the leigh valley velodrome swap meet. You get some great 2nd hand team stuff there.

BTW - it is this weekend. You'd sell a lot of books there.

grog said...

All seriousness aside, I'm epically queasy.

Twistyface said...

It's a pity that the photoguy didn't capture your 'face of pain' when you got a strangers tinkle washing over your new Rapha socks - they would have almost certainly have used it in their marketing.

Anonymous said...

Snob - did you palp the Rapha manpris ?

wishiwasmerckx said...

Snob, should you test positive for Clenbuterol, you have a built-in excuse that the trace amount was absorbed through your Rapha socks during an unfortunate urinal malfunction at a Bicycling Magazine fred-fest.

Your amateur standing will be restored post-haste, and Mr. Fingerbang himself will cite your case during his proceedings before the CAS.

Anonymous said...

TINY MOTR
WEDS WEED
CANT WAIT

PUFF PUFF

Marcel Da Chump said...

That Polar Bear Ride was just an excuse to take Ecstasy. I recognize those trippy dance moves anywhere.

crosspalms said...

Isn't Fred Ness in Scotland?

RABSAB. Ride a bike; save a bear.

Anonymous said...

I felt my bestiality within stirring when I watched that video....Like the Halloween my girlfriend dressed as a puppy. Polar babes.

g-roc said...

I still recoil in horror at the day of Cosmo's hostile take over of Bicycling Magazine. So, they've been sold to Model Railroader then? Thinking back to the good old days when Bicycling was good is a little like when SNL was good. They weren't. Likely, back in the day, I was more fredly and less of a retrogrouch and fit the demographic. I should have saved a copy to test my hypothesis.

I am the cold engine said...

Dutch bicycles are not good, they are just big. When will the biking equivalent of the hummer come out?

Eleven is not better than ten.

Speaking of polar bears, we have not heard recently from commie canuck.

Is it possible that he has been exiled by the new government to Canada's comb-over known as the yukon?

Stupid Name said...

Upgrade Now

No more excuses

I must obey the new Bicycling magazine.

I must buy more shit that I don't need, and an incredibly expensive replacement to the bike I currently have.

I must buy from bicycling advertisers.

Resistance is futile

Stupid Name said...

'The Bicycle is of a traditional Chinese cargo-bicycle infused with the latest technological Know-how and Scandinavian minimalism."

meh

crosspalms said...

Are you seeing many of these around town?

Anonymous said...

I miss Style Guy. Does anyone know what he's up to now?

Anonymous said...

Breaker Breaker I want one of those Sanitov CB's Good Buddy.

I'm starting to think that might be the REAL Kenny Banya.

PISS SOCK

HaHAHa somebody stop me I gotta million of 'em

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!

Anonymous said...

I would purchase a copy of "Bicycling" magazine if they promised every month on the cover to help me get better in the sack.
But they don't. So I say screw'em and always go for Men's Health instead.

M.N.D.
(Metrosexuality's Not Dead)

LK said...

"Infused"? Like a tea bag?

How about Hipster Pickup Truck?

Anonymous said...

The next step for Bicycling is to redo their shitty website.

dfwm said...

Fred is dead

The Cat Whisperer said...

All you haters portage my baby seals.

The Cat Whisperer said...

Dead baby seals.

Bad Lawyer said...

I actually loved that Mapei racing jersey. As I recall, and correct me if I'm wrong but the Mapei squad rode these beautiful Colnago's with a similar geometric colorway. For awhile Mapei dominated European racing.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Bad Lawyer,
I just dug out an old copy of WINNING MAGAZINE, the July '95 issue with Lance on the cover winning the TOUR DUPONT and on page 11 there's a picture of Tony Rominger in that Mapei kit and that sweet, matching Colnago winning The Tour of Romandy.

leroy said...

On 9/11, I was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

I made sure to ride across yesterday and today.

Felt great.

Sen. Larry Craig said...

I could moisten your socks with my wide stance, you know.

Meet me at La Guardia, mens restroom terminal D.

Anonymous said...

The whole danged country went over to the dark side this very same day, and this will probably soon by eliminated or profitiized-er, priveitized- but it was a nice try in the city that tries to be NYC. http://www.thestar.com/news/article/985048--bixi-launches-with-a-spin-in-the-rain?bn=1

Bobby said...

Snob, I have a plan. Change the spell checker at Bicycling to accept "crabon" for every "carbon", and the new magazine copy will be absolutely Fredtastic! Go ahead, we've got your back. I'll let you know when the coast is clear, I'll signal you when Bill is enraptured with the Rapha catalog or the latest Rouleur.

Knight's Oil said...

Sanitov CB sounds like a god name for an functionalistic urinal.

Bad Lawyer said...

tip of the borsolino to Marcel...

Stranded said...

Scandinavian minimalism? What the hell is that? and why would it be better than, say, Chinese minimalism? or Korean minimalism? or Lilliputian minimalism?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that these days magazines are always breathlessly extolling you to even grea feats with little to no effort? "Climb stronger, how to watch the tour (wtf?), then ride it"

I know you want to, but can't say it Bike Snob, so I will. The mag is junk.

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Fixie Bikes said...

Eventually everyone runs out of excuses, no?