Monday, May 9, 2011

The Price of Meh: How Low Can a Fred Get?

This past weekend was an auspicious one in the world of riding road bikes as quickly as possible, for it marked the start of the Giro d'Italia, which is a three-week bicycle cycling race that takes place in Italy. I'm pleased to announce that this race is off to a flambullient start, for with only two stages down we've already gotten to see both a Mark Cavendish temper tantrum and at least one close-up of Mario Cipollini, whose tanned and unctuous visage looks uncannily like a freshly-oiled Brooks. (Cipollini has actually been known to exploit this resemblance for lascivious purposes, as you can see in this unsafe-for-work video.) Also, as I mentioned on Friday, I'm "covering" the Giro for the "Bicycling" magazine website, and they've even devised a special graphic to accompany my missives:

Not only was I pleased to find that "Bicycling" did not exhaust all its considerable design prowess with their "epic" redesign, but with a few minor tweaks I will also be able to repurpose this image when I launch my new sandwich blog:


Some might call that stealing, but I prefer to think of it as sustainable logo recycling.

Meanwhile, closer to (my) home, yesterday the Gran Fondo New York took place, and by the looks of things it was a total "Fred-pocalypse:"

I was sequestered on my own side of the "Big Skanky" yesterday, but when I look at this image all I can see are thousands and thousands of profoundly disappointed mothers.

Speaking of absurd contests and stunning graphics, you may recall that on Friday I also announced the "There Will Be Action Wipes" contest:

Well, subsequent to this announcement something of a Twitter frenzy ensued (by "frenzy" I mean one or two people exchanged Tweets), and the upshot of all this social networking is that, in addition to winning actual Action Wipes, you can also win a Liz Hatch video courtesy of Cyclefilm:

That's a £12.99 £7.99 value! (£7.99 is roughly equivalent to US$978.00). Now, I'm not going to tell the winner what to do with a pack of Action Wipes and a Liz Hatch DVD, but whatever you decide I suggest that you keep it to yourself. In the meantime, the contest entries have been coming frequently and often, like a person with a pack of Action Wipes and a Liz Hatch DVD. Just some of the submissions I've received include this public restroom door-worthy example:
This simplified rendering, complete with "flavor saver:"

(Via "Pseudo Rhys")


And this bold imagining which shows the proposed international symbol for cycling in situ and even incorporates some Action Wipes product placement:

As for the slogan, this should not imply that Action Wipes are not safe or gentle enough for a baby's butt--they certainly are, because they're not moistened with toxins, caustic acids, and recycled developer recovered from old photo labs like some of their competitors' wipes.

Of course, not every submission adhered strictly to the "international symbol for cycling" requirement, but while this may cost them overall victory it does not make them any less artistically valid:

One day, this will hang from suburban bedroom walls all over North America, right next to the Justin Bieber posters. I feel strongly that the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork would make a wholesome and inspirational role model for "the youth"--much more so than those fixie riders with their rapping musics and their designer sweatshirts, and even more than professional cyclists with their unfinished tattoos and their doping scandals.

This is not to say that doping is the exclusive domain of the professional--far from it. When it comes to emulating the pros, some Freds do not stop with the crabon wheelsets and the power meters, and some even go as far as to taste the forbidden nectar of the performance-enhancing substance. In fact, a reader recently informed me that one such rider, journalist Andrew Tilin, has written a book about his experiences as a doping Cat 4:

Tilin started doping in January of 2008, and his results as of that date will be nullified. So what were those results? Well, you can see them here, and they basically amount to a bunch of mediocre finishes in his local races. Evidently, even with the aid of performance enhancing drugs, Tilin was unable to reach the podium in a single Cat 4 race. I'm guessing his goals were more journalistic than they were competitive, but even so, if he needs to dope in order to be a lousy Cat 4 than he should probably give up cycling, in the same way that someone who thinks the Grateful Dead suck even after smoking a bunch of "wednesday Weed" should probably quit trying to be a Deadhead.

But such are the perils of Fred-dom, and as much as the bicycle can be a tool for self-discovery and actualization, so can it lead you to your own demise. Who among us has not either known or indeed been a Fred who got sucked into the delusional spiral of training, and spending, and upgrading, all at the expense of personal relationships, professional advancement, and happiness? In this regard the bicycle can be a malevolent seductress, and a siren leading us to perdition. This is not limited to the traditional Fred, either, and the so-called "NĂ¼-Fred" can also fall victim. Consider this video, forwarded by a reader, about a rider preparing for the Red Hook Criterium:



Evidently, the filmmaker is aiming to become the hipster Bud Greenspan, and amazingly he has raised over $1,000:


Here's the pitch:

This is a story about one rider's journey towards his first-ever Red Hook Crit. Frank Warren, owner of the Breukelen Coffee House in Crown Heights, is a passionate amateur cyclist who dreams of making a podium finish and cementing his name on the fixed gear circuit. But running a successful business while training for the biggest race of his life is a difficult balancing act. Can he do both?

It's depressing that fixed-gear self-glorification has come to this, a movie that asks the question: "Can one man balance a job and a hobby?" Plus, he's not even having fun:

"I wanna win. I'm not doing this for fun."

Then again, maybe I'm missing the point of the film. Maybe it's a parody. Or, maybe it's actually about being in complete and utter self-denial. To wit:

"This ain't no hipster shit."

No, not at all. I'm looking forward to the sequel to this movie, in which a freelance graphic designer attempts to balance his grueling 20-hour workweek with his burning desire to never, ever miss a single happy hour.

Speaking of Kickstarter, it is rapidly establishing itself as a real incubator for gratuitous cycling accessories, and I recently learned via the Tweeter that someone is working on a pair of titanium salad tongs that doubles as a bike lock:

On one hand, this could be a failure since hipsters can't stick it in their back pockets. On the other, it could be a huge success, since when you arrive at a barbecue you can easily remove your own frankfurter from the grill. Either way, if this ever makes it to market, they should make sure to include at least one disembodied hipster hand, as forwarded to me by yet another reader:


Now that's choking your Cinelli.

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

::Breakdances::

Anonymous said...

::Cha-Chas::

Anonymous said...

::Takes Bow::

Anonymous said...

Top10

Anonymous said...

NICE SIGN

Jasper said...

Early doors

Buffalo Bill said...

Choking my cinelli onto the podium?

Buffalo Bill said...

Well, top ten anyway.

Bad Lawyer said...

top ten?

eurasian_war_vet said...

holy cr@p!

$75 for a Cinelli anchor disguised as a stem? Really?

I've got a few of those in the parts bucket. I had no idea there were idiots paying more for the stem than when it was new.

Bad Lawyer said...

Is the Liz Hatch video nsfw? As long as I can mute the audio, I wants....

Anonymous said...

Top Eleventy!

yogisurf said...

Middle of the Pelton

Clark said...

So the guy has basically re-invented the first Kryptonite lock? The design that Kryptonite abandoned in favour of the U-lock design. I wonder if he knows this.

It's not a lock but Park Tool makes a barbecue set that look like bike tools.
http://www.cheapbikeparts360.com/products/park-tool-barbeque-tool-set/

Anonymous said...

Now I want a hotdog.

CHOK CNLI

Anonymous said...

this ain't no hipster shit

streepo said...

I've had that Grateful Dead experience. Worst waste of a high ever.

Anonymous said...

Nothing funny today, sorry snobby. Fucking heart broken over Wouter Weylandt...

Kenny Banya said...

Early!

grog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

sorry to put a downer, but have people seen that Wouter Weylandt from Team Leopard (funny spelling wouldn't be very funny right now) died?

mikeweb said...

Pettacchi cut me off!

And then 20 other people did.

Twistyface said...

I was going to say something about Petacchi being a nuisance at the breakfast buffet ("those eggs belong to me"), but then I heard the terrible news about Wouter Weylandt: a tragic loss.

xyxax said...

My mother was disappointed long before yesterday's ride.

Anonymous said...

His pedal touched a side wall when going approx. 50 mph, he died near instantly.
Poor guy, 26 years old. RIP.

mikeweb said...

A sad and terrible day in the cycling world today. Thoughts are with Weylandt's family and friends. RIP.

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace Wouter Weylandt.

Marcel Da Chump said...

RIP Wouter Weylandt.

OBA said...

If only someone had thought of using fixed-gear bikes in a competitive sporting context before!

Matt said...

I do wonder why Kryptonite doesn't make a titanium U-lock. It would weigh a third less than steel and be extremely hard to cut. They could charge about $400. Soma makes an aluminum one which is lighter but of course easy to cut through. It does come in different anodized colors though so is totally worth it.

ringcycles said...

Ted King has the best advice for today "Flipping the off switch on twitter now. Prayers going where they need to go. Go tell someone you love them and mean it"

Ride safe everyone.

Anonymous said...

Giro Snob. Used to get them on a Thursday but it was more inverse; "At least ah'm no' ge'in' ivryhing aff the broo, unlike some folks!". Taking pride in not being a total scranner (whilst also point-scoring!).

(note for non-native speakers:- the first ' in "ge'in'" is a glottal stop).

hey nonny mouse

(got hit & run the other night; nothing broken but feel a bit second-hand...)

grog said...

Hmm. Sad news.

Bad Lawyer said...

One of the genuinely profound facets in the pursuit of cycling is the fragility of life lived on two wheels. As you all know on a bicycle, a flatted tire, a distracted motorist, an unperceived flaw in the road and the resulting crash can kill or cripple. Someone else said it very well last year on this blog, there is a very thin tissue separating the cyclist from this dimension and some other.


Superb young athletes in the prime of their lives experience and participate in something sublime most of us can only dream about. I hope that in his short life Wouter Weylandt lived his life fully and without the regrets that accrete with age. God bless the cyclists.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

No comment, just a moment of silence.

Rocky Mountain Chuck said...

Another moment here.

Anonymous said...

Nice G(y)ro reference, Snobster.

RIP Wouter. This is a day of mourning. We are all human beings.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please clarify this for me: The Red Hook guy - is this some hipster shit?

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

JScott said...

Everyone feel free to donate! Cause you know, making a movie takes a bit more money (and talent) than writing anonymous comments on a blog.
Love, the female filmmaker

wishiwasmerckx said...

Hey J. Scott, if you are asking us, the "commentariat," for money, it is probably not a good strategy to remind us of how much more talented you are than we are.

Just saying...

bikesgonewild said...

...sad day in the cycling community...

...r.i.p. wouter weylandt...my heart goes out to his family, friends & teammates...

...i feel gutted knowing his young wife is 5 months pregnant...

mikeweb said...

@BL & bgw:

Very well put.

Fred said...

As an actual Fred, I'll never know what it feels like to ride a bike like Wouter Weylandt. But now I know what it feels like to lose someone like Wouter Weylandt. And I don't like it.

RIP, Wouter. May your road run long, free and fast.

MoThra said...

I rode the local trails near Boulder, CO on this first warm weekend of the year. I can still hear the squeaky chains, see the vertical bar-ends and cotton T-Shirts tucked into black lycra shorts. Had to re-calibrate my Fred-Meter afterwards. Methinks it would have exploded at the New York Gran-Fondo.

Charlie Didrickson said...

This ain't no disco.

crosspalms said...

Sad news about Weylandt.

I Go Around and Around said...

I was one of the atomic sub-particles in the Fred-pocalypse on Sunday. Gran Fondo-ista. Timed climbs were pretty wicked but I cleaned all of them, and my times were upper half of my age group and the entire field. My mother would have been proud of that. It's the other things I've done that are the problem.

Then this morning I sat down to recovery with coffee and the Giro on Internet stream and saw Wouter Weylandt lying on the pavement - until the director realized at about the same time every single viewer must have realized that Weylandt was dead or dying and they cut away. God rest his soul.

Man it was a great morning yesterday. Sun was shining. Great day. Every day is just a great great day.

Anonymous said...

i don't claim to be a talented filmmaker or a talented anonymous commenter, but the film looks great to me.

Anonymous said...

@Nonny Mouse
Sorry to hear about your hit and run

Marcel Da Chump said...

I Go Around and Around,
Thanks. I needed that.

J Scott, Eat Me. said...

As the name reads.

domotion2011 said...

Fred- dom is to Bicycling like BSNY is to a good # 2 in the morning, "the best part of most peoples day" even though today was stinky

Cognorant said...

JScott,

Really? You're going to judge this entire audience on a pimp that BSNYC has just done on your work?

Cause what a lot of the industry has realized is that BSNYC gives them something that ordinarily they pay dearly for... exposure! Someone in your industry should know that. Maybe you should take a tiny bit of your oh so talented, busy, movie making time and read/understand that sometimes there's a little more depth and substance to the people and content than you might first observe. Maybe you can lend some of those qualities to your making of movies and you won't have to have to be tortured by all the bad press.

Just sayin...

Burt Reynolds 531 said...

JScott, I wish I had a nickel for every poser that... oh, wait. I do have several million nickels for each of the... oh never mind. More important things are going on.

That's sad news about Wouter Weylandt. Rest in peace, Wouter.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't watching the Giro (was at work all day). The comment about the television footage, however, reminds me that I watched Ayrton Senna crash and though "that doesn't look good..."; something similar, I presume.

hey nonny mouse

Concerned 2.0 said...

Snob, thanks for writing what I couldn't put into words on your Giro Blog. RIP Wouter Weylandt

http://bicycling.com/blogs/thisjustin/2011/05/09/giro-ditalia-stage-3-tragedy/?cm_mmc=Twitter-_-Bicycling-_-Content-Blog-_-GiroSnobWW

Master of None said...

Looks like our buddy Kevin from way back has a cousin in Canada (America's daunting tattoo artist).

Ed said...

Would that be a Bicycle Racing Cycling Race... or a Bicycle Cycling Racing Race?

leroy said...

Lantern Rouge.

I hope Wouter's family finds comfort.

Bad Lawyer said...

Lovely evocative meditation, Snob, at your Bicycling Giro BLog. And, on all points so true.
BL

Anonymous said...

How low can a Fred get.... How Low can a Punk get?

Nice Bad Brains Reference. I see I'm the only one thus far to catch that...

Cynical, Foul Mouthed Goofball said...

This ain't no hipster shit.

Anonymous said...

I like your blog and enjoyed your book, but telling people that they should not wear a helmet is pretty stupid advice. You can so what you like, but I think you should keep that advice to yourself.

Bike Locks said...

Bicycle racing is good occasions for the bicycle riders. It is very interesting topic for me. Game is to be part of our life.

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Fixie Bikes said...

cycling is hardcore