Thursday, July 19, 2007

Well, At Least More People Are Riding...Right?

When confronted with something like the above (sent to me by Stevil Knievel of Howtoavoidthebummerlife, who seems to know exactly how to push my buttons), we often can't help feeling angry and offended. And of course maybe it's not a trendy track bike that does it for you. Maybe it's an ultralight road bike straight from the pages of Bicycling buckling under an overweight guy in a full CSC kit, or a freeride bike with more travel than JFK airport on Thanksgiving being piloted on pavement by a guy in full body armor. Whatever. You can't help it. You get angry.

But, if you're a better person than me, you check yourself. Instead of criticizing them, you take a breath and say, "Well, at least more people are riding these days."

Really though? I mean, intellectually I know that's a good thing, but there's also that part of me that screams, "No, it isn't!" It's the same part of me that says it's OK to have another drink, or to pull off and let the guy behind me close the gap instead. And deep down most of us can't help occasionally feeling like cycling is ours, and that people need to fit our criteria and pass our tests before they can be cyclists too.

Of course as humans we have a conscience and most of the time manage to keep our baser instincts subdued. Nonetheless, here are some things (courtesy of youtube) that won't let me completely accept the fact that it's a good thing that more people are riding, no matter how hard I try:

Intoxicated Bike Polo

Apart from the fact that no horses are suffering, I see nothing to feel good about here.

Crackpot Inventors

It's bad enough that bike companies keep trying to trick us into upgrading with overpriced and underperforming technology. We don't need guys like this entering the fray with their ridiculous contraptions. Despite the focus group of Scottish schoolboys, I don't see a future for this particular design.

Euro-style Coddling and Handholding

Yes, I know America is evil and Europe is a wonderful place full of free medical care, polyglot people, and progressive thinking where nothing ever goes wrong. And I know I should like something like this--after all, it would allow more people in hillier regions to ride bicycles. But I'm not sure we should ever have this here because I'm not sure America can handle it. Just wait until the day you see somebody on a Colnago or a track bike with a 49/15 gear using one of these things. Or someone on a Costco bike eating a bag of McDonald's on the way up. You won't think it's so cute then.


This well-intentioned PSA from the NHTSA has some helpful tips for the novice cyclist. But there are also some things it fails to address. Like the minivan straddling two lanes carrying a family of 17, all speaking on cellphones. Or the car service that has no qualms about running me down if it will save a few seconds getting to his next fare. Or the dreaded Hummer from Jersey. The kind and gentle environment this film depicts does not reflect what many of us encounter every day. Sometimes laws need to be broken and the cyclist needs to be on the offensive. I fear if new cyclists venture out into the world armed with only the knowledge from this film that they'll be picked off one-by-one, like newborn sea turtles getting snatched off the beach by birds.

Bad TV

My friend (yes, I do have one) recently told me about the TV show "Double Rush" from 1995. I think they only aired the pilot. You may already have seen this. If you haven't, here's the pitch: "Taxi" meets "Cheers," set in a New York City messenger company office. Complete with laugh track and typical sitcom banter, this is funny for all the wrong reasons. And while the opening sequence and the casting is impressive, a very real danger of more cyclists out there is that somebody might be tempted to try something like this again.


GhostRider said...

Sweet! Maybe hockey helmets and full-body armor will make a comeback -- fakengers, take note: bandannas and girl-pants are no longer cool. Lose that toptube pad and put on hockey armor!

I remember being VERY excited about that least until I actually saw it. Wow...that show really BLEW!

Morgan said...

Re: the drifting bike. Those are Irish schoolboys. Those bikes are taking over the streets of Dublin now...

Aaron said...

That first bike shot is just hilarious, you've got to admit. And what (aside from the top-tube pad, and maybe the bar tape) draws the ire of the bikesnob? It's understated, has a brake, and has clipless pedals.

To make matters worse, it's a relatively inexpensive bike. The only upgrades are the saddle and and the bars. Seems like a pretty frugal and useful bike to me.

Anonymous said...

did you see the comments on the bike lift?

"how do you use this with a fixed gear?"

len said...

speaking of hockey helmets, saw a dude the other day riding wearing a wayne gretzky style jofa helmet.

a day earlier i saw a guy ridng a mtn bike wearing a full face and mouthguard going very slowly downhill avoiding all drops. if mtn biking scares you that much, maybe it isn't for you.

Art said...

I think Double Rush made it about a half a season. And if you were a teenager living in a city that didn't have any actual messengers, it was almost cool.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Thanks--I figured I was probably confusing the accent and just kind of went with it to be a deliberate jerk. (Imagine that.) Are those really popular in Dublin? I'll be damned...


It's mostly the cash that bothers me. Bike porn is so degrading to bicycles!


Unknown said...

Wow...Double Rush huh? That's 9min of my life that I'll never get back.

As for cycling being our own, I always compare it to when you find some up and coming band, go to all their shows at the local dive--the kind where you buy them all beers after the show. But then a year later they're on the Carson Daly show, wearing tragically hip clothing and spending more time doing their hair than writing songs. 12yr old girls love their latest single and the local radio has it on near-perpetual rotation.

So is it a good thing that your favorite band has "made it big"? It might be for them, but it's lost its intimacy for those who were around before they went big.

Jim said...

Or the dreaded Hummer from Jersey

Jerseyites occasionally turn up here. I avoid them. You see Jersey plates, you know it's a Rolling Random Road Death Generator. Better to just hop the curb, get an espresso, and wait until the danger passes.

On your larger theme... yeah, REM sucks now too.

Anonymous said...

Doktor M says: I sense you experience cognitive conflict when you see the tubbies on Treks. We all want to feel special. That feeling spills into snobbery (thus your witty and descriptive moniker). Countering this cry from the Ego the Id recognizes your need to be accepted, to be part of the group. Surely it's good that others are like you, can you not identify with them? Would they not thus embrace you and appreciate your talents? You are undergoing a form of minor psychological trauma, an angst-driven internal muffled primal howl.

My prescription? Escape the city, begone to the wilds. Ride the unknown tracks and eat from the land (or the Kangaroo FastSnack on route 19). Defecate and urinate at will, where ye may. Listen to your breathe and smile at nature's course. Recognize inherent conflict in all things natural, just observe, be at peace and wonder on.

That will be $150 please.

BikeSnobNYC said...

mojito de fgg:

I'm cured! This site is closed! I'm off to the woods with a mountain bike and a full bladder in tow.

My id, ego, and superleggera thank you. IOU $150.


Anonymous said...

Laundry list:
Trackasaurus Rex
Cadence Clothing

mix all parts equally, allowing all colors to fall into place with appropriate bikes and riders.

Alternate Method:
Read one of the many forums dedicated to track bike "culture" (read as: dumbasses riding overpriced dented frames with carbon wheels). Take notes and spend $2000 on eBay/Keirin Culture putting together "dream bike" (the one that you have been dreaming about since it was considered cool to dream about them - which was last June).
Arrive to street races in an Escalade, unload bikes. Stand around at alleycats, staring. Stand around, looking at "city kids" and messenger-types. Play Hyphy. Ghostride your whip in your mind, bringing street cred to self-identity. In real life, remain a douchebag.


Anonymous said...

just so you know...

Anonymous said...

Not sure if you are dissing on *intoxicated* bike polo, or just bike polo in general. But seriously man, bike polo is a _ton_ of fun.

If you have tried it yet bikesnobnyc, you totally should, especially since it is quite popular in NYC.

I dont mind you ragging on drunk people cycling, but go try a game of bike polo if you havnt before being too harsh on those guys.

phil varner said...

I've been trying to remember the name of that TV show for months. Thanks so much. I remember seeing a few (all?) the episodes when I was a kid. The only thing I could remember was that each messenger fulfilled some stereotype in the Messenger Style Taxonomy-- I remember the one guy in rags and the one in the full lycra kit.

Pete Eriksson said...

I've never seen the point of bike polo and now you've justified my bad attitude. Thanks!

Matt said...

i used to watch Double Rush. To me this show was great, but at the time i was living in a town with a population of 800 in southern Minnesota.

Anonymous said...

Pete E. and BSNYC, you are both wrong about bike polo. BS, I know you looked at a number of polo links on youtube before picking the worst looking one. Don't deny it, I know. That's ok though, it's not that I'm hating on you for not liking polo, you don't have to, no one has to. The fact is no one drinks while playing polo, and while there may be drunk folks playing at the end of the night they're the best of the group and can still handle their bikes. The beer is for the spectators, I mean really, when was the last time you went to watch a competition without having a beer? (recovering and non-drinkers exempt) Really though, come by and hang with the some of the folks playing. We don't have any hipsters or fake folk around, 'cause you just don't come around if you don't know how to ride your bike. Bike polo isn't really going anywhere, so accept it. Hey, at least it'll give you a bunch of fodder for years to come.


Matt in Seattle

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that something featuring David Arquette didn't succeed.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous Bike Polo Enthusiast,

I absolutely won't deny that I looked for a klutzy bike polo video. (Foregoing accuracy and instead showing people at their worst to make your case is a technique I learned from a certain documentary filmmaker.) But in all fairness to me, I didn't have to look very long. As far as trying it, I'm not sure being surrounded by a bunch of guys I've ridiculed while they've got mallets in their hands is a good idea.

In all seriousness, I admire your passion for the game and your attempts to proselytize. But I've never been a fan of sports with balls and goals, and being closed-minded and traditional prefer to ride my bike in a forward direction. But that's just me. As long as people are having fun and not mugging old ladies I'm all for bike polo.

Thanks for Reading and Keep on Poloing,


What I Think said...

Thanks for pulling "Double Rush" out of the ashes of television history! It's delicious. I'm not sure which is the best part. The tiny ponytail on the "jammed with Clapton" boss? The full-body armor and hockey masks on the dueling messengers (on mountain bikes, of course)? The gay pride parade as a route impediment? Or the very idea that a rival business owner could have become fabulously wealthy off bike messengers? FUN! Thanks.

Niki said...

Actually BSNYC, the people you make fun of on your blog are generally the same people the bike polo crowd makes fun of (except of course for this one entry making fun of bike polo).

Of course it's hard to tell the difference between the people who play polo and the people you make fun of it is there (although there is some overlap - plus I'm sure you could find plenty of things about the polo crowd to make fun of).

Bike polo is really not my thing (I too prefer going straight) but it certainly is fun and you'd probably find yourself in good company if you ever came to a match.

Yokota Fritz said...

I got over the whole "newbies are ruining the sport!" thing back during the first bike boom.

But we still love ya, snob.

Anonymous said...

People having fun on bicycles? Oh noes!!!!

Lots of people starting to have fun on bicycles, thus ruining the imagined uniqueness of the people currently riding bicycles? Double oh noes!!!