Tuesday, June 11, 2013

So Farthing, So Good.

Did you ever get that feeling that there's something behind you?

So instead of turning your head you slowly raise your Fred Feeler?

And then peer into its optical display?

Only to discover your arch-nemesis is lurking behind you and about to pounce?

Alas, the Fred-tenna was not funded, depriving us all of a crucial weapon in the war against bib-shorted tyranny:

By the way, it was bothering me where I'd seen that mirror before, but I finally figured it out:

It's also worth noting that nonplussed bib shorts guy looks a little like a shaved Chewbacca.

Anyway, the most powerful weapon of all is time travel, and via the Twitter I've learned that Outside magazine have time-traveled all the way back to 2006 to bring you this hard-hitting analysis of fixed-gear bicycles:

Yes, incredibly, they actually published this in June of 2013:

I go further: Freewheel-equipped bikes, to me, feel broken and limp compared to fixed-gear. By stripping a bike down to its basic design—ditching the freewheel, gears, and sometimes even the brake—you gain ultimate control.

Your body and your riding technique stand in for the missing parts. Your legs are your gas and your brakes. You spin hard for speed, and resist the motion of the rotating cranks when you need to slow down. When you get tired, you can’t coast or shift to an easier gear.

Freewheel-equipped bikes feel broken and limp?  Is he riding one of these?

I'm totally going to spray paint my folding bike gold and ride around on it without locking the hinges.

As for the thing about his body standing in for the missing parts, if your legs are the gas and the brakes, then what is your scranus?  Is it the fender?  Maybe it's the emergency brake, since if your chain snaps you can always hang back and use it to apply friction to the rear wheel.  Actually, if you think about it, there's no reason your ass cheeks also couldn't stand in for a decent rim brake.

Indeed, just when you thought manufacturing fixie clich├ęs was a dead artform, this guy comes up not only with the whole body-replacing-parts thing, but also with this:

Fixies excel as training tools, too. As an endurance athlete and a serious runner, I like to say that riding a fixed-gear is like "running on a bike." Without a freewheel, you are always working. I sweat more and try harder, pushing a big gear on hills with no other way to get up, then spinning fast or resisting the pedal force as gravity again takes hold on the descent.

No.  Riding a fixed-gear is absolutely nothing like "running on a bike."  This is running on a bike:

Your body also stands in for those missing parts, but nothing can stand in for the complete absence of dignity.

He's right about one thing though, which is that fixed-gear is not a trend:

In the end, fixie haters are gonna hate. Be it the brake debate or the hipster embrace, dissing the "fixed culture" is a popular thing to do. But fixed-gear is not a trend to me. I've been enthralled for years, ever since that bike tried to buck me off in 2006. I got back on the horse, and I haven't let go since.

No, it was a trend.  Now it's just something else people break out on nice days so they can roll up and down the greenway, like Rollerblades and longboards.

And Outside's anti-fixie "counterpoint" is even lamer:

And as much as I’ve tried to avoid hating on hipsters, fixies don’t just ride themselves. There’s a certain category of person who consciously chooses to eschew brakes, gears, and sensibility in their bikes, and all too often, that person is also into PBR, Converse, and excessive irony. Some say it’s a “suicidal response to urban conditioning,” an act of rebellion against conformity. But when a subversive act becomes a trend, against what, exactly, is it rebelling?

Fixies?  PBR?  Converse?!?  Has this person been to a city containing more than 500,000 people in the last ten years?  You can buy every single thing he listed in that paragraph in Walmart now, including the excessive irony.

(You can also throw in a semiautomatic rifle, but that's a different issue.  By the way, semiautomatic rifles are way cooler than fully automatic ones.  It's like running on a gun.  Your body doesn't stand in for the missing parts, though.  Instead, it's the other way around, and the gun makes up for your physical inadequacies.)

Meanwhile, another Twitterer tells me that in the UK the pennyfarthing is making a comeback:

An awkward, precarious, wobbly comeback:

Apparently there's even someone who will make you a custom one from a washing machine:

Penny farthings are making a comeback, and not just for reasons of caffeinated nostalgia. In 2012, Graham Eccles started an in-town postal service in Bude, Cornwall, using a modern penny farthing variant, and an IT specialist from Hull made his own penny farthing out of washing machine parts.

What is it with people from the British Isles and making bikes out of washing machines, anyway?

And here's the website for the washing machine pennyfarthing guy:

Note the disclaimer:


Penny Farthings are not for the faint hearted and can be dangerous which is why the safety cycle replaced the design. We can not accept any responsibility for any injury or damage caused by becoming a cropper or taking a header as of a result of riding a penny farthing replica.

Seems to me he'd have enough washing machine parts left over to make you a helment--though personally I'm waiting for someone to build a geared, freewheel bike with pennyfarthing geometry.  A nice one, though, not a kludgy one like this:

Needs more washing machine.


streepo said...


wishiwasmerckx said...


Anonymous said...

^^^ this guy is a dork.

Astroluc (Find me on Tumblr and Instagram @Astroluc) said...

top 10... just missed podium.

JB said...

4th again!?

Anonymous said...

not bad!

Anonymous said...

A whole new meaning to rim brake job....

ChamoisJuice said...

I sport the microphallus look.

wishiwasmerckx said...

I cannot find a pennyfarthing gear-inch app to download to my iphone.

McFly said...

TOPwhat the funk is that last contraption?

Comment deleted said...

Gah! I surely couldn't connect in a Zen-way with that geary P-Far.

Tetanus the Clown said...

Top 20!

Anonymous said...


Time for my

monthly creatyn

theEel said...


Buffalo Bill said...

I bet that penny-whateveritis-farthing has a weird tiller effect.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

is that a folding PFar?

Anonymous said...

Fabricating a cabron fibre Grundle towel holder for my Penny Farting, please contribute to indienono to make it happen, accepting gold only

ChamoisJuice said...

GOOD ONE! I liked the Graeme Obree reference. Could use more Hasid jokes and recumbabe!

Your bike still sucks, tho.

Anonymous said...

Joff is the best UK Pfar Builder hands down

Yarpo said...

Top 20steenth?

BamaPhred said...

Scranus e-braking greetings. Smugbuster at his best.

babble on said...

heh heh you crack me up...

ChamoisJuice said...

8=====D ~ ~ ~

I got laid, AGAIN, believe it or not. Different girl, same name as the last one, slightly different spelling.
I like this one better. She just makes the half your age plus 7 cutoff, rides bikes, is an artist, and has TIGOLBITTIES.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Running out of Fixie metaphors.

le Correcteur said...

Meh. Top twenty five and unread. More training or more drugs, which?

babble on said...

Now that's what you call REAR brakes!

Oh snobber doodle too, I never ever had any dignity to replace, anyway, but don't tell anyone, ok?

leroy said...

I think you meant needs more washing machine and cowbell.

My captcha is funnier than me today:

nommion fine.

Sounds like someone starting to chant their mantra and deciding not to bother.

ChamoisJuice said...

I almost shot myself in the foot, shit talking fixies. I was commenting on their faded trendiness, and how a sort of feel sorry for guys that genuinely kike riding them. Kinda like short guys who didn't want to let the platform shoe fad die....
The girlie asked "what if it's flat black?"
"Practical, no frills commuter. Your in the clear"

This joke redeemed me:

What is the difference between a polar bear and a boner?

Wishiwasmerckx doesn't get a polar bear when he looks at the Assos bib shorts guy!

Punch line was same, same, but different.

babble on said...

both. It's best to use both

Dennis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
babble on said...

OHOHOHOH! Do the rest of you wanna get lucky, too? There's no time like the present!

Yarpo said...

In reference to yesterday:

Congrats, Babble on your podium win AND having Babble Red Wine being sold at Trader Joe's, along the Impulse Aisle. Neat wine label too.

CE: I know, I narrowed the suspects down to the thousands, in an area where the Lexus is the common cheapo car compared to all of the Audis/Mercedes/Volvo/BMWs seen in abundance in 1%-tonia.

Dorothy etcetera, etcetera: My friend is a GoPro supergeek, and yesterday was odd in that it was one of the few times that he didn't have it on his bike, a fact that he was lamenting on our way home.

Today: Chapeau to Streepo, WIWM, and Anon 11:19am. Late surge by Streepo busts up the peloton!

Outside Magazine: Please just go away, and take Me(h)ns Journal with you.

I'm doing two laundry loads right now, and I can't figure out how to convert those quarter-eating-monsters into P-Fars...proving once again that I am not mechanically ept.

This coffee is making me...sternbln!

Anonymous said...

GoPro supergeek = Teletubbie

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

That kludgy P-far would look much better with a naked lady on it.


erikbeng said...

That Pee-Far Crit didn't have enough Tweed for my tastes.

Next up...P-Far Polo.

ken e. said...


Anonymous said...

not quite snob, a geared bike is like a semi-auto. Electric shifting is like that weird gun that works out the right time to pull the trigger for you, and fixies are like bolt-actions. Penny farthings are, of course, anything barrel-loaded.

@rural_14 said...

Rural 1st!
Almost killed my newest cycling friend introducing him to dirt grades of 15%. Bad friend. I brung chocolate though and extra water. Next month, I go to find Dot Rabinowitz. I bring her back with me. I need more indefinite articles.

feverel messock How'd they know? I'm embarrassed.

McFly said...

Your scranus is the transmission. Or as my wife calls it... the PRNDLL. Would you like to buy a vowel?

Bib shorts guy looks like an ugly Seth Rogan which is the most redundant statement in the entire history of statement formation.

ken e. said...

dammit, me and the rest of the hairy right armpit of canada need to read more... sorry RCT.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

no farting, so good

Anonymous said...

Looks like ChamoisJuice can't type without throwing in freudian slip/antisemitic typos (ironic no?).

Anyway, anyone that uses their scranus or cheeks as a rear brake will now have their skid marks on the outside.

babble on said...

OMG that's great! Now I can get drunk AND promote the babble brand. What more could a girl wish for?

Seth Rogan said...

Hey McFly!

I resemble that remark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Economic sripini

Robo-net Italo Style!

crosspalms said...

"When you get tired, you can’t coast or shift to an easier gear." This doesn't sell me on fixies.

I just got an email from iTunes letting me know that the new Black Sabbath album "features menacing riffs and incendiary energy," which is also what I bring to my daily commute. Plus, saying "new Black Sabbath album" messes with my brain.

long john's big brother said...

Hey, which walmart has those semi-auto rifles?!?!?
prolly not anywhere in ny state (pussy legislators).
me an long-john wants us one.

wishiwasmerckx said...

CJ, that was a brilliant bit of photoshopping superimposing your wife's cameltoe onto the Assos bib shorts guy.

Anonymous said...

Wait, so he says "fixed-gear is not a trend to me" and the supporting argument for that is, because he's known about it ever since 2006 when it became a trend? I believe this qualifies as a new species: The fixie retrogrouch.

I do have to applaud anyone who uses simpler technology though, and instead cultivates oneself to fill the gap. (Except when it's bullshit.)

Anonymous said...

The only thing missing from that last bike image is rear wheel steering. It will eliminate the tiller effect.

Who's with me!?!?!?!?

Robot stack failure

Anonymous said...

I like my fixed, it's fair racking up the miles now.

Obree used bearings from a washing machine because they're freely available and of high quality.

What's PBR?

hey nonny mouse

McFly said...

That Assos Bib shorts guy is disturbing. "The Sperminator."

mikeweb said...

I just find it curious that a company would actually pay sponsorship money to have their name affixed to the barriers of tha P-far race.

BamaPhred said...

Is Assos bib shorts guy nonplussed? Maybe projecting an aura of dominance to cover up his confusion, or his shorts are just way too tight. I'm embarrassed and I have no dog in this hunt. Maybe Leroys' has a comment. I've commented way too much today, my adhd meds need to kick in.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Babs:
I hear Lululemon is looking for a new CEO. Please apply for the job and when you are hired, I know of a couple commenters who will help check out the sheerness of the cloacal area of their tights.

Anonymous said...

Penny farthing race was awesome, I especially liked the aero tucks when it got serious later on...

Jimboner said...

Jigs jigs jigs all day today!
Yesterday the old-lady was on the receiving end of my Michael Douglas impersonation.
We are trying to out live Babbles.

also macrophallus

ChamoisJuice said...

Men are divided into three classes, depending on the size of their "lingam," or phallus: shasha (hare men), vrisha (bull men), and ashwas (horse men).
Women are also classified according to the depth of their "yoni," or vaginas: they are mrigis (deer), vadavas (mares), or hastinis (female elephants). The classification that a man or woman falls into determines the classification to which his or her partner should belong. For instance, a male hare can be with a female deer, but a male hare cannot be with a female mare or elephant, for fear of creating an unequal relationship.

L is next to K. I dunno how many times I gotta say this, but I honestly and truely miss funny NY jews.

Dooth said...

Fuck fixies (oh, I ride a lugged and quilled one...just being obnoxious) but I'm now championing...single speed coaster brake bikes! Hey,I'll be fifty next month; it's time to ride my age.

Anonymous said...

Dutch Penny Fart: http://link.marktplaats.nl/686642904

Charlton Preston said...

I'll give you my fixie when you pry it from my cold tattooed feet.

Vegas said...

Oh wow, I almost didn't watch the Boba Fett mirror vid. That woulda been tragic. What do you mean you can't take something super goofy and make it less so by remaking it out of stamped metal & advertising it with skrillex music?

Oh, and I just watched the Graeme Obree movie "The Flying Scotsman" over the weekend ($3 at Big Lots!). It was good. But Snob, I still think you need to bring some of your other ideas to fruition On Your Right, Hollywood! Five Sure-Fire Cycling Pitches
You obviously woulda made bazillions with #2, just look at "Whisker Wars."

Anonymous said...

so... early 20-somethings who drink cheap-ass beer, wear $20 shoes, and ride a low maintenance bike they originally bought for $40 off craiglist are "hipsters."

I thought "hipsters" live off of trust funds and buy brownstones in brooklyn for their chickens. now I'm all confused.

Anonymous said...

"hipsterism fetishizes the authentic"

Nebraska Bike Commuter (non DWI edition) said...

"Chewbacca, Shaved" is another band name I'll never use, but wish I could.

Bike Tinker said...

I don't think you "become" a cropper when you take a header. Maybe you do if you're on an Ordinary.

Legitimate Golf said...

I love freewheel. Sometimes I like to build up some speed, then just coast, enjoying my momentum. I figure hey, I earned it. I drive my chain, it doesn't drive me. They don't call it freewheel for nothing. It sets you free. Free from the tyranny, the bondage to the ever turning wheel. Freewheel gives me the freedom to sit back enjoy the breeze and flash the thumbs up to some sidewalk hotties. Let's face it that's what biking is really all about, motherfuckers. Enjoying the ride.

etherhuffer said...

Pfar, pshaw, pfffftttt......

OliversArmy said...

I just bought my first fixie-upper, and I'm going to be on Trading Spaces with Paige Davis!

Anonymous said...

Freewheel Burning


"yeah ahmdrunkkk... bud I mosdefnitly did not

htizedb her

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bike Snob, I ride a bicycle; am I not a bicyclist? Or am I a cyclist? Please help.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Hey legitamate golf thats the most profound thing I ever heard. Thanks!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

"Legitimate" Sorry my bad. Stupid blogger comments has no edit.

robot: onunity sacrificing


Alan said...

He hasn't gotten back to me on whether the bees were free range, but maybe you could ask Grant to press his scranus? Or, maybe not…


McFly said...

Legitimate Golf just won the Internet.

Hey I thought of a great name for my bike shop that I am never going to open......Up The Creak Without A Pedal.

You know you like it. Like a fat kid likes cake.

Anonymous said...

Bike Snob, this is running on a bike:


I.P. Daley said...

I have been taking a few 30-40 mile rides and find that the stimulation to the scranus may improve flow.(I use a gonad friendly seat)

Anonymous said...

I looked up passive-aggressive in the Visual Dictionary.

Jim Beam said...

I used to think your schtick was funny. Then I forgot about your blog for almost a year. Then I stumbled on it today. And now I know. It's not funny anymore. It's just angry and juvenile.

You might think about finding a new schtick. This one is played out.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Yeah I liked this blog better back in the day when it was edgy and full of snark.

robot words: Multitube invgina

Cipo, Accept no Substitute said...

Here in Italy we have no Wal-Mart, of course we do have a new government every couple of months (meet the new boss, same as the old boss) and every six months or so we have to borrow a couple of hundred billion to keep the doors open.

ChamoisJuice said...


You don't know what you are talking about. Bikesnob used to angrier, more juvenile, and funnier.

Now he has a kid, and is all folding bikes are sweet, whatever makes you happy and works for you, peace and chicken grease, let's plant a garden and raise chickens.

DerZoots said...

Hey What the fuxcking whjere is the n ew post I are bored at the works with a bad sinus headache and I still despise my co-worker.
I pisses me off to even reference as a co-worker when it's moar like co-workless.

moar bad wordez...............

fucken robo filters:::::::heyeruti fall

who even bothers to complain aboot the blog content in the comments section. Shit is hackneyed and teh LAMES.
You complain about all the shitty shit in other places but the blog in which you be commentinges.

Shit is messed up.


Anonymous said...

Was Eleanor Roosevelts' Edgar-tenna deployed? How could it not be with her 3000 page dossier?

Anonymous said...

Was Eleanor Roosevelts' Edgar-tenna deployed?
How could it not be with a 3000 page dossier and a working link?

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