I'm very upset over this whole Roubaix thing.
So I spent all day yesterday waiting for Specialized to break their silence, my mouth watering in anticipation of either a humble apology or else a "Fuck you, we're Specialized and we will crush you, you impetuous Canadian!" followed by Social Media Roubaix Shitstorm Round Two, and instead, at like 11:00pm, I learn Specialized didn't even have the authority to enforce the trademark in the first place and it's all over. Just like that:
BOULDER, CO (BRAIN) — Specialized Bicycle overstepped its bounds when it registered the Roubaix trademark in Canada and then tried to prevent a Calgary retailer from using the name, Advanced Sports International’s CEO told BRAIN on Monday.
ASI says it owns the worldwide rights to the Roubaix trademark — it’s had a Fuji Roubaix road bike model in its lineup since 1992 — and has licensed it to Specialized since 2003. ASI’s Pat Cunnane said the company has no problem with retailer Dan Richter using the name on his store, Cafe Roubaix.
“We have reached out to Mr. Richter to inform him that he can continue to use the name, and we will need to license his use, which we imagine can be done easily,” Cunnane said.
I mean, don't get me wrong, it's immensely satisfying to see the rug get yoinked from right under Specialized's feet, and I'm very happy for the Café Roubaix guy and all, but I was primed for weeks and weeks of reality show-style hijinks, and now all I've got is a case of the bike industry slapfight blueballs.
Oh well, I guess I should think positively, and at least all the coverage of the controversy created a bumper crop of disembodied hand porn:
I love how they tried to crop out the disembodied hand but those two digits still managed to sneak themselves in there. Somehow it's even more arousing than seeing the whole thing.
That's called titillation.
Nevertheless, there is one thing I'm still trying to come to terms with in the wake of all this, and it's that I actually own and occasionally still ride a Specialized:
Yes, there's no sense in hiding it--I have a bike emblazoned with the "scarlet S." I won't try to make excuses for it. OK, actually I will. [Chokes up, eyes begin to tear.] I was a far less sophisticated person all those years ago. I was young. I was innocent. I got a Specialized. A Festina Specialized! (That's how long ago it was, and that's how stupid I was.) Then it broke. I think they all did. Fast forward more than a decade and various failures and warranty replacements and the usual team deal cup-and-ball games and you've got the frame you see above, which I've had since like 2007.
I've very nearly divested myself of this frame many times over the years, entirely because it seemed like at least once a year I'd read something about Specialized that pissed me off. But I never went through with it, mostly because it seemed like a futile gesture to go through the trouble and expense of replacing something you already own. I mean, I thought it was ugly, but it worked fine for racing in circles around the park, which was mostly what I used it for.
Then a year or two ago or whenever it was, I got a new road bike:
So at first I said, "OK, that's it, the plastic bike goes." But instead, what happened was I got addicted to having two road bikes. It's pure old man laziness. Instead of changing wheels for different rides I just have one road bike with fat tires and another road bike with skinny tires now. It's pathetic.
Now though, I think maybe it's reached the point where I can't in good conscience ride the bike anymore. It just says "Specialized" on it too damn much! I mean, really, I'm embarrassed to ride the thing now, even more so that I already was.
But what does getting rid of it accomplish, really? I mean, obviously I wouldn't buy a Specialized now, but I've already had this one for years now. When this whole Roubaix thing was going on I told myself maybe I'd try to sell it and give the money to the Café Roubaix legal defense fund. (I mean, I don't know if I'd actually have gotten around to doing that, but thinking it made me feel good, because me me me.) Now, though, I don't think he even needs a legal defense fund, so it seems like my options are either:
1) Just keep riding the stupid thing until it falls apart since it already exists in the universe and what's the fucking difference?;
2) Go through the hassle of finding another frame and moving everything over, because I'm addicted to having two road bikes, and let's be honest, I have so little in my life you could at least let me have that.
So I put it to you:
By the way, speaking of Specialized, this remains one of the funniest videos I've ever seen:
I really, really hope he disinfected the top tube before he passed it on to the next tester.
Meanwhile, as I wandered around the city yesterday killing time and waiting for Specialized to say something, I wandered into a store (not a bike shop, mind you), where I discovered that the "fixie" tool:
Is the new nail clipper:
I'm oddly pleased that the multitool is reaching that level of ubiquity, and perhaps one day it will rival the gratuitous schlong in sheer universality:
We can only hope.