Thursday, July 14, 2011

Water Water Everywhere: The Revolution Will Be Thirsty

Like anything else in cycling--bicycle choice, wardrobe, body hair "curation," and so forth--watching the Tour de France is not a simple matter. Rather, the manner in which you follow the race is a profound statement about your sophistication as a cyclist and fan. For example, if you want to put yourself forth as a true connoisseur, you're not supposed to watch the Tour on Versus. Instead, you're supposed to say stuff like this in a world-weary fashion:

"Ugh, Phil and Paul are so insipid."

"Too many commercials."

"You know, those vivid HD pictures actually distort the color of the yellow jersey. In real life it has much more of a 'dehydrated urine' tone."

And so forth.

So what's the acceptable way to follow the Tour in America if you're a savvy cycling fan? Well, on obscure European Internet feeds, of course. Tell people you're watching the Tour on Versus and you're a dork; tell them you're following a pirated feed of a Belgian cable public access channel in which a 87 year-old retired kermesse racer sits in front of a black-and-white TV in a pub and and gives inebriated commentary entirely in Flemish and you're an expert.

Also, you get additional Tour expertise points for the length of the URL, and if you want the link to that Belgian feed here it is:


Trust me, you'll find it riveting. Really, following the Tour this way is what the fixed-gear bicycle used to be before it became mainstream: a major inconvenience that serves as a stamp of authority.

But no matter how you choose follow the Tour, I think we can all agree that getting your cycling news from ESPN is like getting your wine at the gas station or your historical facts from Sarah Palin. This is why the recent "ESPNGate" incident in which their on-air personalities douches mocked the Stage 9 crash was anything but surprising. If you were fortunate enough to miss it I summed it up on the Bicycling.com website, and if nothing else the whole affair makes those incessant Weezer/IZOD/Verizon/IndyCar marketing orgy "collabo" commercials on Versus seem infinitely more palatable.

By the way, if you're the sort of person who watches the Tour on obscure Internet feeds (or uses the word "retrofit"), another way to bolster your image as a cycling expert is to tell people how they can use your bike when you sell it to them, as in this ad which was forwarded to me by a reader:

Guess what? When you sell a bike the buyer gets to do whatever he or she wants with it, no matter how stupid it is. If someone wants to turn this into a fixed-gear tall bike and ride it back and forth past the seller's house while dragging all those Campy Super Record parts behind it like "Just Married" cans then I say, "Go for it." In fact, I'd love to see an "edit" of just that, so if someone wants to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary $1,500 I'd be happy to contribute.

Unfortunately though I only have so much money earmarked for self-indulgent grassroots art projects, which means if I were to donate to the Merckx owner-baiting tallbike "edit" I might not have enough left to help this person record banjo songs about water:


As the artist explains:

We all emerged from the water and are more than 2/3 made of this. We hold within our skin a reservoir that allows our life to exist. We mirrors to each other, we carry and amplify vibrations, we are mediums of growth and can be museums of pollution and stagnation. Symbolically, water holds the creative visions of our dreams and ignites conductivity for change.

In other words:



Yes, water is essential for human life. We drink it from plastic bottles:


And we use it to dilute far more important resources, such as oil:


Therefore, she is making a theme album about water:

I am recording an album dedicated to manifesting global health and wealth. I’ve written eight songs that embody and explore aspects of my connection with the water within myself and my environment. Through this fundraiser I will raise money to make and share this music. I am creating a new channel through which currency may flow.

She also tours with a group called "The Pleasant Revolution," who travel by bike, and by the looks of things I'm guessing her "connection with the water within myself and my environment" does not include showering in it:

Nevertheless, she explains, if you support her album "you will be supporting a bike-touring music culture:"

That's right, there's now a "bike-touring music culture." As you can see above, this "culture" is in fact wholly self-contained smugness bubble consisting entirely of musicians who power their equipment by bicycle during performances. There's absolutely nothing extraneous or unnecessary--like, for example, "personal hygiene," or even "an audience."

See, in the bike-touring music culture, audiences are regarded with contempt. Not only do they consume precious resources such as water, but they also force the band itself to consume additional water since the cyclists have to pedal that much harder in order to power the generators. Therefore, members of the bike-touring music culture avoid doing things that might attract an audience, such as showering or being in any way entertaining. This allows them to remain completely audience-free.

The only catch is, not having an audience means there's nobody around to give you money in exchange for providing them with entertainment or even water to consume at your shows. This is where Kickstarter comes in, and, as the artist says, "I need your support to make this project happen."

Give it to her, or she will hypnotize you with her eyes.

If you're a contrary Earth-hating resource-wasting fascist, you may be asking, "So why do I have to underwrite the water album?" Well, first of all, feathers for your hair cost money--it's not like they just fall from the sky and float gently to the ground. Second of all, this is Uh-merica, and even people who wear feathers in their hair and love water don't give their services away for free. If you want something for nothing, you're going to have to go to a communist country like Canada, where a reader tells me they're actually giving away bike lanes:

Wow, free health care and free bike lanes? If they ever get running water up there I may have to move.

96 comments:

Anonymous said...

First
SomerSlam

PawnShop said...

Meh.

Anonymous said...

i turned my self inside out for this cat 6 podium

Anonymous said...

Bromptoneer!

ken e. said...

rain city!

Mr. Kavanah said...

I am number 6.

Anonymous said...

Boner!

Anonymous said...

I could have been first, but I was like 'yeah whatever'...

le Correcteur said...

Top ten! The drugs are working!

Anonymous said...

top ten!

crosspalms said...

I'm following the TdF on an obscure bicycle cycling-related magazine website.
Phlegmtastic...

pebes said...

whaddap, like, water is , like, life. ok?

Anonymous Coward said...

Rigoberto Uran

Anonymous Coward said...

Best quote from the kickstarter water project, "I will be paying the musicians fare wages." I guess she expects it to rain those days.

Anonymous said...

In other news, Huffington Post has a feature on the most hipster-ish colleges, which includes a pix of a Colorado College bike racer (who might be a Christian Hipster!). Weirdly, Bard is omitted.

Anonymous said...

Would y'all believe I watched a TdF stage with commentary by Phil Liggett, today for the first time? (usually watch it on Eurosport, but had to catch up on some past stages through torrents).
British sports commentators always sound like boring old farts, and this man is no exception.
And damn, do they have a hard time pronouncing the names of riders and French villages. I say. Blimey!

crosspalms said...

If a hipster college can't even spell Beard right, it doesn't deserve to be on the list

Kenny Banya said...

I'd love to see someone go Cinzano on ESPN's Michael Smith. I'm surprised I even heard about it...perhaps one of their seven viewers is a cyclist.

Anonymous said...

I don't have Versus and the online reviews of the "All Access" subscription were horrible, so I was reduced to finding obscure foreign feeds online (actually, I managed to find the Australian feed, which featured none other than Paul and Phil). Sure enough, this was blocked after a few days and I don't know Flemish, so I just gave up and starting reading about it on Bicycling.com.

mikeweb said...

Less Eddy Merckx fixie conversions, or Ima fuckin' kill you.

The Cheat said...

Snobby, since you told us about that flemish internet Tour de France feed about 10 minutes ago I've watched it for like 5 hours and have not seen one bike go by. What gives?

The Cheat

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I actually enjoy hearing about the French chateaus found along the tour route.

When is the last time you heard anything at all culturally relevant on espn?

ESPN SUCK

Anonymous said...

As for the notion that cycling is drug-addled and cartoonish, we all know that there is no drug use in mainstream American sports like baseball and football. There’s also nothing cartoonish about backyard dog fighting, golf-club-wielding spouses, “sexting,” or shooting yourself in the leg at a nightclub.


Classic. Chapéu, Wildcat Rock Machine!

JMac said...

I bet if she hooked up with the Tree Mourners (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFUDEmMjC-c&feature=related)
she could do a better job of "healing the waterways" of the earth.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Decades ago, the bike shop owner I bought my PX 10 from threatened to throw rocks at me if I used it to bike messenger with...haven't even locked it to a pole or bike rack since.

Chris said...

In all fairness, Ottawa bought Toronto's Jarvis lane and installed it on Laurier

Enrique said...

Your advertisements seem pretty hipster-centric these days Snob

RB1 said...

i suppose i should have been paying closer attention, but that video had BANJO MUSIC in it. Truly awful. Should have had a big red warning sticker on it or something.

Anonymous said...

damn, if I posted instead of reading I would have made top 10. What a rookie mistake.

leroy said...

More banjo songs about water or Ima ....

Oh never mind.

Fish do the most scandalous things in water.

Who wouldn't want to sing about that?

Anonymous said...

I hate to differ with you Snobby but anyone who'd touch that Eddy Merckx should be shot. Damn, you don't buy the Mona Lisa so your kid can draw on the canvas. I know you see bikes as utility vehicles but I've always felt the good ones are high art.

cycle

(I told my wife recently that I just a man by the quality of the drive train on his road bike)

Anonymous said...

Hello Eben, it's me Zodiac speaking.

Haw, scared you I bet. I just had to write to let you know that Sean O'Neal at AVClub stole your Charlie Rose schtick.

http://www.avclub.com/articles/a-naked-and-nsfw-paz-de-la-huerta-provides-a-compe,58936/

Guillaume Désy said...

Uh-merica?? should'nt it be Hummerica?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:34:

What does it mean when you see
SunTour?

Chazu said...

My Merckx is covered in sweat stains from long uphill slogs, and I'm "running" Shimano components and Time ATACs on it.

Yeah, I know... "gasp!"

And I'm not even talking about my bike, I'm talking about the guy locked in the basement. His first name is "Axel" or something. Says his dad is looking for him.

So shoot me.

Anonymous said...

I like banjos, and I think that girl is pretty cute. Not complaining mind you, but you could do worse than a banjo playing cutie.

John said...

I have to agree with the seller. Anyone who takes an angle grinder to the cable stops and derailleur hangers on that Eddy Merckx and then rattle-cans the frame should be taken out and shot like a rabid dog. I've long thought that the hipster fixie conversion fad was just a way of clearing the used market of useful bikes.

David Byrne said...

I invented "bike-touring music culture", we just used roadies and trucks and buses, but no cars.

Oh yea, there are too many commercials on Versus/NBC, and who cares anything about espn.

The point is that it was better when it was only versus. NBC/comcast could fuck up a wet dream.

dcee604 said...

I have running water up here in Vancouver, BC..but you can't move into my apartment, it's too small.

wishiwasmerckx said...

As you might guess, I own three Eddy Merckx bikes, one of which is converted to fixed gear. However, before you get too judgmental, given a half an hour and some basic tools, it could be restored to its full and original Super Record glory. (All Campy except for the Alfredo Binda toe straps.)

I agree with Mikeweb. Respect the artistry and quality,or else buy something cheaper to destroy through conversion.

ringcycles said...

Kenny; rather than have ESPN suspend Michael Smith, I'd like to see him required to race a dozen Cat. 5 crits. Then again, that might naturally provide enough Cinzano treatment without even trying to put a pump in his spokes.

Chaz said...

Steephilltv.com is the best place to watch Le Tour and all UCI races.

http://www.steephill.tv/tour-de-france/#live

Ian said...

Rob Ford has made Toronto a pretty embarrassing city to live in. While other cities around the world continue to improve and build bicycle infrastructure, our mayor prefers to make the streets more dangerous. He was even bold enough to say that cyclists deserved to be hit when they share the road with cars. (see video, ~4 years before he was elected)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nySs1cEq5rs&feature=related

wishiwasmerckx said...

P.S., complain all you want about the Versus coverage, but I quite distinctly heard Paul Sherwin describe a rider as having reached deep into his suitcase of courage.

You normally have to listen to NPR to get poetic commentary like that, my friend.

Ian said...

er... previous comments related to the Jarvis bike lane post.

Anonymous said...

Reading some of the posts above, sometimes I get the feeling that not even Mr. Colnago, Bianchi, etc. had that kind of affection for the inanimate objects they created.
It was just a way to pay for the grappa and hookers.

Charlie Didrickson said...

Ima get me that Eddie Mercxxk and make a unicycle driven one mand water floatin'banjo band orcheestra outit.

On yer left...

Anonymous said...

I get my Tour info from www.letour.fr; can't watch or listen because I'm at work all day, so read about it when I get home.

I went to watch some stages a few years ago; the French press give road number, town and junction information so that you can choose where to watch (or plan your journey should you wish to avoid it!). Really good fun.

hey nonny mouse

grog said...

I do not and will not subscribe to ESPN. Douchebags have a nice day at the guillotine.

BAST ILLE
ESPN DUCH

Chazu said...

Now I feel I should add that my Merckx was 'crafted' 'back in the day' by 'artisanal' bike builders in Tennessee.

Belgians just don't know how to work with titanium yet. That will change as soon as they ramp-up their defense/aerospace spending.

Should be any day now.

The Tashkent Error said...

Ugh, but Phil and Paul ARE so insipid. Also, senile, can't pronounce 99% of riders' names, tend to lose contact with what's actually happening in the race all the fucking time, are unbearably obnoxious and generally annoying. I try to avoid them like a bubonic plague...

Anonymous said...

sorry I am a day late with this but FYI:
Michael Smith is a disgrace to your network and especially after his tone deaf response to his initial comments should be doing live commentary on Mexican Wrestling from Guadalajara where:
1)at least they for the most part won't understand him which would be a good thing considering the profound nature of his utterances
2) Have a good chance of being shot or kidnapped and brutalized by a Mexican drug gang or corrupt police official (although after reflection I am not sure that those 2 things are different). This would maximize his chance of re-equilibrating his Karma after his appalling comments . REALLY you guys should be able to do better than him. All of our (cyclists) memories of this event will be slow to fade and the ESPN name will be indelibly attached short of some more definative outcome (firing , drawing and quatering ,impaling well you use your best judgment.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

crosspalms said...

I think the revolutionaries should try Handel's Water Music on the banjo

g-roc said...

Wow, who knew I used to be sophisticated? I used to watch TdF in some random language because I was too cheap to upgrade my cable channels so I could watch a 3 week race. As soon as Eurosport unblocked their English feed I lost a bit of sophistication. I'm finally getting the Phil & Paul Meh-xperience this year (for $3.95). They'd do well to stop trying to dumb it down for their American audience.

Anonymous said...

Live TdF feeds:
http://www.livescorehunter.com/Livescores/Live-Video-Streaming-Cycling.php

wishiwasmerckx said...

My big criticism of Phil and Paul is that they apparently do not keep a start list on the desk in front of them. The TV screen shows the number of the rider who crashed or attacked or dropped off the back, and they either never give us a name or else give us a wrong name.

They certainly don't turn themselves inside out to provide us with immediate and accurate information.

Bill Smith said...

Go ahead and make fun of the bike-touring music culture, but why all the comments about not showering? You're punching below the belt.

Crowhill said...

Please help us bring a bike lane to Franklin Ave in Brooklyn by copying the text below into an email, signing it and emailing it to chca@crowhillcommunity.org

CREATE A DESIGNATED BIKE LANE ON FRANKLIN AVENUE

We, the undersigned support Crow Hill Community Association’s proposal to convert the 2 existing traffic lanes on Franklin Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Eastern Parkway to 1 lane of vehicular traffic and 1 designated bike lane. This would make traffic conditions on Franklin Avenue safer for pedestrians as well as create a secure thoroughfare for cyclists continuing on Franklin to Crow Hill/Eastern Parkway/Prospect Park from the designated Franklin Avenue bike lane that currently exists north of Atlantic Avenue.

NAME

ADDRESS

crosspalms said...

Looking forward to the ESPN clips where Michael Smith laughs at
a) football players getting concussed
b) batters getting beaned
c) any athlete being carried off on a stretcher

domotion2011 said...

word to mouth. Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

BNJO MUSC
DLIV RNCE
SQUL PIGY

Etherhuffer said...

No one would punch below the belt as that is the most odiferous area of the non-bathed.

J Scott, Mouthhugger. said...

As a long time fan of PTI, and Around The Horn. I sent and email to the media giant. Voicing my concerns for the unprofessionalism. Did a body good.

Rock Machine Wildcat.

John said...

@anon 2:12 - I'm sure the detroit factory workers didn't have much affection for their products, but there are still people who would react strongly to seeing someone intentionally ruin a 1955 Chevy Bel Air.

Maybe shooting's a bit much. Applying an angle grinder to a proportionate amount of body protuberances would suffice.

Dr. Feel Good said...

Wreck the Merckx with a conversion if you must, but please don't abuse the Campy! And as for tour coverage, Phil and Paul rule. I mean, you didn't watch John Madden becuase he was insightful, you watched him because he was entertaining. I can see bib numbers and rider moves; I get it. But the commentary about the locations, past tour info and the quintessential Phil "massive" (or the fact that he knew the name of the dog which had caused a crash) is pure entertainment.

Anonymous said...

recumbent conspiracy theorist...When did french chateaus become "culturally relevant" again? I'd say it's been roughly 300 years for most of them. In fact, when was the last time the Tour was culturally relevant (at least in America)? Damn you Lance, Daaaaaaammmmmmnnnnn youuuuuuu! ESPN is awesome, french chateaus suck.

Jasper said...

Wow, so much in here today. First of all, as a cheapskate, I just turn to Cyclingfans for a variety of dodgy Eurosport feeds, and you can curate a foreign language one if you feel the need.

Second, I thought I heard the nice woman in the video say she wanted to provide sound healing. With a banjo? How is that possible?

Mr Snob, with the hair feathers line, are you refering to the recent fashion splash in the NYT?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/29/sports/when-fashion-meets-fishing-the-feathers-fly.html?_r=1

Chazu, +1 on the Belgians. I was in Brussels once for their version of quatorze juillet (I am not sure of the actual date as I drank a lot of beer, but I think it was the 21st July). Their version of the military parade was less 'sturm und drang' than some of the stuff you see on the TdF caravan.

Anonymous said...

Online streaming of the TdF isn't even being distributed in Canada this year, so I'm happy to augment my smugness quotient with obscure European Internet feeds like Eurosport (English), found on CyclingFans (http://www.cyclingfans.com/node/2644).

Nebraska bike commuter (non-DWI edition) said...

Water Girl's music (what we heard of it anyway) ain't too bad, but artistic themes usually work better if they are discovered in the creative process rather than imposed upon it. She does need some money to hire someone who can mix though. Way too much cajon, and the cello needs a hair less of the low mids. I could probably give more suggestions, but I don't really want to listen again.

frilly said...

Oh Cuddles.

cornhole said...

eat shit muthafucker

dont forget to eat your peas

Quicksquirt McHurt said...

Hipster pussy. Good as eny.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I like Phil and Paul. They crack me right up. When the helicopter was hovering over Chenonceau and Phil said it was the chateau of the 7 women and Paul was like "what are you talking about old man?" and Phil was all quiet, like, shit, I did it again and then Paul was like "oh, dude, like you're RIGHT." Comedy gold.

But who is that skitchy guy they have on in the evenings? Todd somebody. He's got some kind of nervous tic of some sort and actually looks like a robot. Then there's Bob Roll and the other doofus. You think Phil and Paul can't pronounce names? Bob Roll doesn't even TRY.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Nebraska Bike Commuter ( non-DWI edition ),
Yesterday you mentioned that Byrne's Car would be a good name for a band. I may have commented too late FYI.
There was an 80's band called Ed Gein's Car, named after
the actual psycho killer.

Anonymous said...

flâneurs randonneurs = hipsteurs sur la grande route de la soie

Anonymous said...

We have running water, it's just not safe to drink.

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy watching le Tour de France on Eurosport UK (illegal streaming of course).

I like Sean Kelly. But I am pretty sure the other guy, David Harmon I think, really dislike Contador, so that's not good.

Anyway, I am drunk right now. and lonely.

Anonymous said...

@recumbent conspiracy theorist:

châteaux, not chateaus!

Un château, des châteaux. Et puis, il y a Anthony Charteau mais c'est une toute autre affaire...

mikeweb said...

@anon 7:04,

+1 to that. Except the lonely part. That sucks.

Nebraska bike commuter (non-DWI edition) said...

Marcel Da Chump, hadn't heard of them previously, but thanks to a popular online research tool I was actually able to listen to some tracks from their live album. Takes me back to the Dachshund's saddle, ("old school") when such bands gave permission to all us garage band hopefuls to play down to our actual talent level.

g-roc said...

Anon 6:33,

Seems to me he's trying too hard. Lately, Bob Roll has taken a cue from the typical TV reporter who all of a sudden "becomes Hispanic" when they pronounce a Spanish name. He has the most ridiculous over-frenchified pronunciation lately. Of course it's as painful as always to listen to.

petrus said...

"I just a man by the quality of the drive train on his road bike"

classic.

Anonymous said...

Proudly watching the Tour on Versus since . . . well, a hell of a long time.

Panties!

Phil Liggett said...

Don't forget to enter our sweepstakes, to win a Giro helmet, a Clean Bottle, or a Cervelo S3.

Today's code word is "crabon".

Rupert Murdoch said...

The musicians already hated me, even more so now! My new motto is "Use it up, wear it out, eat it all!"

Bill Smith said...

I see NY Bike Snob's influence has made its way into GQ magazine. See this slam on "most pernicious of invasive species, the Hipster". I'll bet all of Conde Naste reads this blog. What's next: fixie diatribes in Vogue? Cat 6 racers demonized in Vanity Fair? Artisanal axes and bike lane protesters panned in W?

Anonymous said...

Not only did the NYer have the article about Rwanda, but the NYTimes-tmag also had this article yesterday. Mostly a review about the book, but includes a few great pictures and video about kenyan bikes. not sure if you saw it. Poke her huh? http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/people-powered/?ref=design

Bob Roll's Major Anal Pore said...

pppfffffftttttttttttttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!


STANK!

Anonymous said...

'If someone wants to turn this into a fixed-gear tall bike and ride it back and forth past the seller's house while dragging all those Campy Super Record parts behind it like "Just Married" cans then I say, "Go for it."'
Like Jimmy Breslin, you somehow manage to 'ratchet the goods' another notch, with each successive post. Hilarious, but dead-on. Seeing all these Bianchi's, Motobecanes, etc, 'retrofittied' into the superior fixie, one is left to wonder what parts were tossed. In this case, doing so would of course be criminal, but as you prove, daily, there's no accounting for sanity anywhere.

Hack Facebook said...

Really nice pics. I always check your blog.

Anonymous said...

True the ginger ninjas as a little much for the average bike fan and easy to poke with a stick.

But, they're legit if you consider that this isn't their first bike tour; and unlike some the recent "bands" that claim to be doing it for environmental reason these cats run their sound system via pedal power. Worth reading more about them.

Cheers

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Fixie Bikes said...

The revolution won't be thirsty if we stay well hydrated.