Ubiquity: Wherever you Ride, There You Are

Webster's dictionary defines "ubiquitous" as follows:

ubiq·ui·tous adj \yü-ˈbi-kwə-təs\ : being all over the freaking place : like, everywhere : an especially pungent form of hummus [a ubiquitous outbreak of herpes]

And when it comes to ubiquity, nobody embodies this quality like the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork, who a number of readers in the UK have informed me has finally scored his first magazine cover:

They say once you've done a Digital Photography Enthusiast cover stardom is all but assured, so from here on in all he has to do is keep his flavor-saver down, hold on tight to those clip-on aeorobars, and let the offers roll in. I predict that he'll be on every billboard in America (or, if you prefer, Canada's flavor-saver) in a "fortnight," which Webster's defines as follows:

fort·night noun \ˈfȯrt-ˌnīt\: a pretentious two weeks : a night you spend in a fort [in a fortnight the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork will be ubiquitous in Canada's flavor-saver]

By the way, if you'd like to know what that issue of Digital Photography Enthusiast looks like in its natural newsstand setting, here it is courtesy of one reader, complete with a pair of disembodied hands:

Presumably as I type this, thousands of digital photography enthusiasts are enjoying a similar view as they peruse it on the toilet. And as for the question of whether the person who took the above photo is himself a digital photography enthusiast, it all depends on what he was thinking as he shot it. If he thought to himself, "Hey, I'm really enjoying this!" then I guess that would make him an enthusiast, but if he thought, "I can't wait to get this over with and check out that issue of Sky and Telescope" then that puts him squarely in the digital photography indifferentist camp. As for Sky and Telescope, I'm pretty sure what to expect for the cover of next month's issue:

Incidentally, Sky and Telescope is a magazine so nerdy it makes Bicycling look like Vice, and the typical subscriber probably spends hours a day watching the skies for evidence of life on other planets, having long ago abandoned the far more elusive search for a date.

Speaking of fruitless searches, as you're no doubt aware there is considerable unrest in Egypt right now, and as the story continues to unfold I've become increasingly concerned about the well-being of those fixed-gear riders who went there to look for the pyramids:

(Where are the pyramids? I must inflate them with my floor pump!)

Granted, at least one of them is wearing a truly "epic" helmet, but I fear that may not be enough to protect him. Indeed, in these turbulent times, whenever I read about trouble in any far-flung corner of the globe (insasmuch as globes can have corners, which is not at all), my mind immediately goes to the fixie crew that is undoubtedly trapped there. This is because, in the past few years, undertaking poorly-planned "epic" fixed-gear journeys to remote destinations and filming them has become the fixed-gear equivalent of a trip to Sandals, and there is scarcely a country left where one of these ill-conceived theme vacations is not underway. Once upon a time, the sun never set on the British Empire--now it never sets on some hipster with a track bike, a giant messenger bag, and a video camera. So ubiquitious is the phenomenon that the State Department even issues fixed-gear travel advisories now:

Fixed-gear filmmakers are like missionaries, spreading the Gospel of Self-Importance to exotic peoples with far more pressing concerns. Skid-patch calculation will surely be remembered as the navel-gazing of the 21st century.

This is not to say that you should refrain from taking cycling vacations--just make sure the place you're going is safe, and also think carefully about your equipment selection. For example, when traveling long distances, you might want to leave the bike designed for riding around and around in tiny circles at home and opt for something that can accommodate racks. Speaking of racks (and disembodied hands, as I was earlier) another reader has forwarded me the following:

Which includes not a disembodied hand, but rather the very tip of a disembodied digit:

My best guess is that they're fingertips, but without further evidence I won't rule out the possibility that the person (or simian) holding the rack has prehensile feet.

Meanwhile, you may recall that not too long ago I was generally whining and griping about how I wanted to leave New York. This is no doubt due at least in part to seasonal affective disorder, since right now the area looks like this and we've got so much snow that the rats have started wearing penguin costumes. Meanwhile, yet another reader is taunting me about life in the cycling paradise that is Portland, and informs me that not only is there no snow, or ice, or police obstructing the bike lanes, but that there are also riders who have what appear to be prehensile butt-cracks:

I'm not sure what she's actually "portaging" in there, but I did fire up the Gary Klein telescope and it appears to be a paperback book:

I don't know why she wouldn't just carry the book in her fanny pack instead, though it's also entirely possible she realized that the moon was visible over the horizon of her pants and she stuck the book in there out of modesty. Either way, you certainly don't need a rack when you've got that kind of posterior dexterity.

Lastly, I should remind you that registration is now open for the Five Boro Bike Tour. If you want to know what this ride is like, just imagine the streets of New York choked with over 30,000 people who look pretty much exactly like the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork and you've got a pretty good idea. In any case, I was reminded that registration was open when I received this promotional brochure via the actual mail:

Which featured a bicycle equipped with a rather perplexing drivetrain:

I wonder of the bicycle crackdown will still be in effect when the Five Boro Bike Tour gets underway. Hopefully it is, since I think handing out over 30,000 tickets in a single day might finally get it out of the city's system once and for all. I also wonder if they gave out any tickets to the participants in this past weekend's "Idiotarod," which I'm sure involved plenty of light-running:

It's just like a Portland cyclocross race, only without the bikes.

BSNYC Frida Fun Kahlo!

Riding bicycles in New York City, or indeed anyplace, is nothing new. In fact, people were doing it even before there were cars on the roads, way back when the Model T simply referred to Henry Ford's hairstyle. Only recently, though, has the city set about implementing a large-scale bicycle infrastructure, and we are now feeling those growing pains--the most recent pang being the current bicycle crackdown:

Like many New Yorkers, I would still ride my bike if there were no bike lanes. In fact, I'd still ride my bike if I was forced to use a p-far and the streets were surfaced with flesh-eating Jell-O. However, I also don't think riding a bike in New York should be unreasonably difficult. In fact, I think it should be as easy as possible, and while I think the crackdown is ridiculous I'm also more than happy to sacrifice some of that old-fashioned New York light-running, lane-splitting scrappiness so that a normal person can decide to buy a bicycle and ride it to work. After all, if I want to take physical risks and push the limits of my fitness and bike-handling abilities I can always race or ride my bike in the woods.

Not all New York cyclists feel this way, though, and some argue that all this municipal bike lane noob-coddling is doing more harm than good. A member of the Twitteroni recently steered me to the following interview with a local shop owner that encapsulates this view:

Do you think the bike lanes are making cycling too accessible? Should some people who don’t have the chops just not ride?


This is an elitist standpoint.

Yeah, but I do feel that way. The problem now is that everyone is learning how to ride in the city at once. I think the turn of the century is the one time that’s closest to now in terms of the number of bikes in the streets and in the way the public perceives them as a nuisance. Things were getting so bad back then that Sears & Roebuck made a gun and a gun-mount to go on your bicycle.

I respect Jeff Underwood as I do any hardworking bike shop owner, and I see his point, but also don't think it's possible for cycling to become too accessible, and I find this an odd position for a bicycle shop owner to take--especially when the shop is a relatively new one and owes its existence to the very bike boom its owner is decrying. I especially think all the people out there who think they have "chops" are the reason non-cyclists in New York find cyclists so annoying. If cycling in New York City is not allowed to become accessible then it will remain the death metal of transportation--a stylized and redundant novelty with a limited appeal and a veneer of danger that seems exciting when you're in your teens and that you're over before you're 40. Plus, this style of riding is not exactly for everybody:

What’s the most illegal thing you’ve ever carried on a bicycle?

Like the thing that would have gotten me in the most trouble? I don’t know because I used to be a bike messenger for a Mafioso guy. The guys I would work for would wait for days to pick up from me, so I’d have all this money. Then when they would come they would give me a week’s worth to distribute to all the guys, so I would take a backpack full of $50,000 to $70,000 worth of weed to public housing in The Bronx. But then again I’m thinking whether I would have been in more trouble for carrying 50 bundles of heroin or a 9mm. Which would have carried the most jail time?

Talk about putting all your Wednesday eggs in one basket. Admittedly, I'm not really up on wholesale marijuana prices, but I would imagine that $50,000-$70,000 worth would be a bit more than you could fit in a backpack and would probably require at least a Big Dummy to "portage."

After reading this interview I wanted to know more about Jeff Underwood, and I found another one on Gothamist from 2009:

This one featured more of his cycling background, which despite his apparent disdain for the bike boom is essentially concurrent with it:

How did you get into bikes?

I moved to New York in 2000, started walking, taking the subways, and I thought it was the most ridiculous thing in the world. I was getting blisters on my feet. So I got a bike, which was silly because I got a 1969 Sting-Ray Schwinn. About six months later I got a road bike, which I converted to a fixed gear. I quit my job—I was working in social work—and started doing messenger work. I thought it was the New York experience, somehow.

Though back then, he liked that accessibility:

What do you think of the bicycle resurgence in this city?

I think it's awesome. I don't care why they're doing it, I'm just glad that they're riding. Of course I'm going to say that, because I'm making money from it, but I also think it's really awesome to see people riding bikes, and really getting into it, and knowing about bikes and knowing what chain stays are and seat stays and seat tubes and angles and just different things. I think it's really cool that people are into it.

I agree. I also agreed with many of the things he said in this interview, though not his post-hipster views on brakes:

When I'm on a road bike I'm going twice as fast, I'm doing dangerous things, there's a false security of brakes. Most people who are going 20 miles an hour and hit their brakes are going to wreck. On a track bike or a fixed gear, if you're going 20 miles an hour you're hauling ass, and you're looking ahead, you're looking behind, you're looking everywhere, and immediately when you see something happen, your brain triggers your legs and you start to slow down and you start to look for the out. On a road bike you think you can stop but you can't.

There must be something really wrong with my road bike--it stops with precision, even at 20mph.

In any case, I'll say again that I respect Jeff Underwood, and I only mention his interview in the spirit of healthy debate and because it is indicative of the current state of cycling in New York City. Continuum is one of the many new shops that have opened in New York along with the bike lanes, and I hope to see the entire package--the public infrastructure and the private businesses--continue to flourish. That might involve sacrificing some of our coveted street-credulous rogue outlaw status, but personally I'm all right with that.

Speaking of cycling and legitimacy, I recently received one of those Critical Mass emails:

Bike People!

Tonight is Manhattan Critical Mass, 7pm Union Square North. It may be my last for the forseeable future, as the repressive climate in NYC is simply too much for my sensitive soul right now.

I'm not sure if this means it will be the last Critical Mass, but if so this seems like a perfect time to retire it, since it finally seems to have fulfilled its goal of turning public opinion and police action against cycling in New York City once and for all. Maybe once it's gone we can get back to that daily critical mass known as "commuting."

Having bloviated long enough, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right then that's fantastic, and if you're wrong you'll hear a spirited wheel testimonial.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and for safety's sake don't use your brakes at 20mph or you'll crash (duh).


(Wow, another theme ride--must be a day ending in "Y" in Portland.)

1) The latest Portland theme ride is based on which TV show?


(Wow, another theme ride--must be a day ending in "Y" in Portland)

2) What's the next big Portland theme ride?

(forwarded by Bicyclepaper)

3) The above is an example of a:

4) Via a reader, the above photo appeared in an article published:

5) Fred Schneider of the B-52s is starring in bicycle-themed PSAs now.

6) This garment forwarded by a reader, is marketed as:

7) Artisanal fire pits are the new artisanal axe.

***Special "I Have 57 Things And A Clue Ain't One"-Themed Bonus Question***

(Hipster philosophers with matching haircuts: Diesel and American Apparel is the new sackcloth and ashes)

Um, so, uh, minimalism? Like, yah? Really? Yah?

--Yah, totally.
--It's like, we're making statements? But like, we say them like they're questions?
--Like, all of the above maybe?

The Indignity of Commuting by Bicycle: Hail Fellow Well Wet

Once again, a vast quantity of The Great Lobster's Dandruff has fallen down upon New York City like divine crustacean retribution for our evil ways. I have no doubt at this point that the snow will fall for 40 days and 40 nights until the city is cleansed, and I wonder if any of us will be spared. Presumably somewhere there is a righteous man or woman, and as I type this the Lobster is commanding him or her to build an ark-bike. It will have massive frame clearance and provisions for a Rohloff hub, and its tires will be hundreds of cubits in width and its rims thousands of cubits in diameter. Then, its fabricator will ride it to Austin, and it will win Best Divinely-Inspired Snow Bike at the NAHBS.

I, however, was without snow bike as I ventured into The Big City yesterday during the early hours of this latest weather event. Like a young Joe Buck, I set out brimming with naive ambition, but by that evening the storm would become my "Ratso" Rizzo and make a sorry and broken whore out of me. I should have known, too, since already the smallest and feeblest creatures had to be carried:

On the feebleness spectrum, I rank somewhere between a small dog and a grown man, so I should have known I was in for trouble. Still, I am a busy person, having recently welcomed my 17th child into the family (all my children, male or female, are named Ninja, and this one is no exception), and so I must take my opportunities for "epic" cycling adventures as they come. And while I may be naive, I was nonetheless prepared, and even had the foresight to bring along a pair of Rivendell "Splats:"

(That amorphous olive drab foot apron is a Rivendell Splat.)

According to Rivendell, Splats have a "function-to-fashion ratio of 99.9:1," and as you can see from the above photo they're definitely about as fashionable as, well, a piece of clothing designed by Grant Petersen. They did, however, do their job as promised and I was glad to have them--though I didn't complete the whole Rivendell look by pairing them with a gigantic poncho:

By the way, it doesn't actually appear to be raining in that photo, so judging from the tent he's pitching in that thing I can only assume he's using the poncho for its more lascivious secondary purpose and engaging in some "covert ops."

Speaking of covert ops, even though the streets were slushy and the weather was miserable, I knew that the Great Anti-Bicycle Crackdown of Death would continue unabated:

Sure, in New York City a little snow is enough to stop ambulances in their tracks, but neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays the NYPD from reminding all those smug cyclists that this ain't Portland, and that if they want to flout traffic laws they'd better earn that right by leasing a Lincoln Navigator. In any case, I wasn't about to tempt fate by breaking any laws, since with 17 Ninjas to feed a $275 ticket could easily break me. That's almost ten pairs of Splats, or not quite half an Outlier Storm King Parka! So with the bike lanes snowed in I simply took my place at the back of the line, sucked down that minivan exhaust, and took it:

Of course, swan-diving into Manhattan from the great diving board that is the Long Island land mass requires crossing The Big Skanky, and so the big question on any foul-weather commute is, "Will the bridges be passable?" Fortunately, the one I chose was, and it also bore the tracks that were indesputable evidence that other idiots had also crossed it by bicycle before me:

However, the bridge was not salted, which made the going a bit treacherous:

As far as I can tell, New York City is now taking a two-pronged approach to bicycle unfriendliness. The passive-aggressive part is stuff like not salting the bridges to ensure that they freeze up like snot in a recumbent rider's beard, and the aggressive-aggressive part is handing out tickets to cyclists who do things like failing to signal before reaching into their pants to adjust their "pants yabbies." Then again, most of the streets weren't salted by that point either, so it's also likely that, like most cyclists, I'm a raging solipsist.

There were not many cyclists in Manhattan, though various delivery people were plying their trade, including celebrity messenger Austin Horse, better known as that guy who raced a Mercedes:

(That's one "epic" backpack.)

I would have stopped him and asked him to autograph my Splats, but he went right through that light like a hipster through a trust fund, whereas I'm just one traffic ticket away from having to move back onto the tuber farm with my parents.

In addition to being vigilant with regard to police and red lights, I am of course also eternally on the lookout for carcakes, and I'm pleased to report I spotted the elusive "mullet" formation, also known as the "Canadian neck curtain:"

I'm not sure under what circumstances you'd clear off your car yet take pains to make sure the rear windshield remained covered, but the vehicle does have an Illinois license plate so perhaps someone from the Land of Lincoln could explain it to me. Perhaps it's for privacy, so that a passenger in the back seat can do what you might otherwise do beneath a voluminous poncho.

Speaking of snow formations, my bottom bracket collected so much slush that, for just a fleeting moment, I could pretend that it was actually "beefy:"

It's days like this when I realize that I really should be riding a "proper" city bike, like one of those $5,000 Rapha/Beloved "collabos:"

Because when it comes to bicycle commuting, it's not the months of snow; it's what's rusting away beneath it that really counts.

I wonder if Rivendell makes giant Splats to cover up your $5,000 commuter bike. I'm not sure, but I was essentially doing the same thing with my feet, since underneath mine I was wearing a pair of $900 jeweled satin SPD-compatible Manolo Blahniks:

I should mention I was also wearing those Outlier pants that my erstwhile ironic intern, Spencer, reviewed along with that Walmart Mongoose Cachet. Sadly, Spencer has disappeared and I'm assuming he either went to college or else fell victim to the Cachet's faulty front brake, but wherever he is I hope he's warm and dry on his bike that costs less than his pants.

Up until now, the going had been relatively easy, but it was on my return trip that the storm would unleash its fury upon me in the form of those little bullets from the sky called "hail:"

Look at the size of that one:

Really, who's to say that's not actually a tiny meteor?

Here's the sound the tiny meteors made as they struck my precious little New York City-mandated bicycle bell:

Okay, they didn't really do that, but here's what they did feel like as they stung my face:

Fortunately, though, the hail was short-lived, but overnight the snow continued to fall, and as of today the city is snowed in and we're all going to be forced to eat each other in order to survive.

Speaking of survival and riding in winter, I recently found myself watching this informative video:

Winter Biking Primer from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

It's chock full of handy cold weather tips, as well as footage of serial killer Charles Manson wearing mittens and seriously hating life:

Though it's set in Chicago, New York City cyclists would be well advised to don attire like this:

Just carry a jackhammer along with you, and if the police try to stop you just pretend you're doing roadwork.

I was also, quite frankly, horrified by this person:

"I sold my car two years ago," she explained, though judging from her disguise I guess she hasn't gotten over the shame.

"I feel great," she added. "I couldn't believe how much I was sweating in 20 degree weather"--though if you dress that heavily you'll be sweating on the surface of Neptune:

Meanwhile, in Boston, a reader informs me you can buy a genuine fixed-gear bandana for only $50:

Bandana for seatpost from fixed gear - $50 (Mass Ave. Berklee, Symphon)
Date: 2011-01-26, 2:30PM EST
Reply to: [deleted]

I recently sold my 2008 Fuji Track bike though the buyer refused to take my seatpost bandana. I told him that it will give him street cred but he refused, telling me I might need it to wipe my bohemian tears. What he didn't know is that I actually have several other dirty bandanas so I really don't need this one. His loss is your gain!

This bandana is from a real fixed gear track bike - ridden by an authentic hipster with rad side-swept bangs. It is an essential piece of riding gear for those who are looking to impress the skinniest girl on the block. Keep your seatpost warm all winter with this filthy rag! All offers considered.

My seatpost was pretty cold yesterday, now that I think about it.

Vulcan's Forgery: Pros and Con Men

Yesterday I mentioned that I was planning to escape from New York due to the draconian anti-bike regime that seems to have taken hold recently. To that end, I received many helpful suggestions from readers, ranging from (to paraphrase) "Just stay where you are and quit whining" to "Go wherever you want, just stay the hell away from my town." Also, one or two people suggested Portland.

Now, I should clarify and point out that at this moment I have no concrete plans for escaping the New York area. Rather, it just seems like it would be nice, and so I've placed it on my list of things I hope will simply fall into my lap one day with little to no effort on my part, along with having my own helicopter and winning Gent-Wevelgem. (I mean, really, if George Hincapie can do it then anybody can.) Still, what cyclist has not contemplated the notion of moving to Portland at one time or another? I know I have. I've even made a comprehensive list of pros and cons:


It's very bicycle friendly, there's indoor plumbing, and the people there seem helpful, trusting, and easily duped.


If you're going to move across an entire continent, it seems like you should at least land somewhere that has awesome weather.

Until recently, another argument against Portland might have been that it's something of a cultural backwater. (Not that I would make that argument--I live in one of the intellectual capitals of the world and the only culture I partake in is my cable TV package.) Sure, there are plenty of artisans who work in the media of metal tubing, beer, and leather, but besides Powell's bookstore and Gus Van Sant, you could probably fit the entire intellectual community of Portland into Chuck Palahniuk's right sideburn.

However, all of this has changed now that Portland has landed on the cultural map with its very own "Seinfeld" in the form of the show "Portlandia." I mean, people used to scoff at Milwaukee too, but then they got "Laverne & Shirley" and ever since then it's been known as the Paris of Lake Michigan. In fact, "Portlandia" has already had such a profound impact on Portland that you can now pay to take a (what else?) "Portlandia" theme ride:

It's like Kramer's Reality Tour, only with bikes.

Anyway, I can dream of moving to Portland, or the Land of the Epic Burrito, or...well that's it really, frankly the rest of the country seems totally unlivable, but the sad truth is that I'll probably die here in New York City or its suburbs--and that's because odds are I'll get run down by a drunken teenager driving a stolen car with no license who will get off scot-free, the police will pin a $275 ticket for failing to make a proper hand signal to my corpse, and 14 Streetsblog commenters will argue about whether or not I was wearing a helmet.

Speaking of not being able to catch a break, not only do I live in New York, but I'm also a cycling fan, and this has been very possibly the lamest "off season" in professional cycling history. Right now we should be relishing in early season Alberto Contador "fingerbanging" photos as he prepares to defend his Tour de France title, but instead it looks like he'll probably lose that title and get suspended:

Meanwhile, the most smug cycling team the sport has ever seen (at least since Linda McCartny's all-vegetarian squad), Garmin Slipstream Transitions FeltVelo or whatever they are, are embroiled in a whole tedious doping doctor blackmail controversy that has Jonathan Vaughters's sideburns all ruffled:

And let's not forget the whole Lance Armstrong thing, which is like "General Hospital" in that it's been going on forever and they keep writing in new characters:

As far as I'm concerned Contador stole that Tour win fair and square, Slipstream should be as free to market the illusion of their cleanliness as any other cycling team, and if Jeff Novitzky is obsessed with tired relics from the 1990s he should just save the taxpayers a bunch of money and listen to Pearl Jam like everybody else. This is sports, for Lob's sake. Why don't I get to just shut off my brain and watch overpaid freaks like football fans do? Why does following cycling have to be as tedious and stressful as dealing with your health insurance? Maybe it's because road cycling is apparently the sport with the "smuggest" participans, according to a recent poll that was forwarded to me by a reader:

Indeed road cycling is dominating, with the non-cycling sport of triathlon a distant second:

Now, I have no trouble believing that road cycling is the most anal retentive sport, but I don't think it's particularly "smug," and I certainly can't believe it's more smug than some of the other "sports" they've got listed here. Take "standup paddling" for instance. I had to look that one up, and as it turns out it's actually not when you tell jokes while rowing a canoe. There is no way a sport as nichey as standup paddling is less smug than road cycling, and I'm sure its devotees congratulate themselves for even knowing about it and then get all self-righteous about the sport's native Hawaiian heritage. "Yeah, we row boats, but we stand up while doing it"--it's to boating what recumbent riding is to cycling. In fact, standup paddlers even have their own version of the helmet debate, only it centers on life jackets:

As of October 3, 2008, the US Coast Guard now classifies SUPs as vessels and as a result SUP riders are obliged to wear a personal flotation device when paddling in certain areas.[3] Whether this will affect the continued take up of stand up paddling in the USA remains to be seen. The Canadian Coast Guard has implemented similar rules, however SUPer's are only required to have a PFD with them, they don't have to wear them.

Apparently celebrities are also getting into standup paddling, and when it comes to sports that are easy to do while stoned there's one celebrity you're sure to find:

No PFD for the McConaughey--unless you count his partner, that is.

But when it comes to smugness, nothing rivals minimalism, and "57 Things" guy has recently shared some stunning revelations. First of all, even though he despises consumerism, he wears $200 jeans:

However, he's such an ascetic that he doesn't fit in them anymore:

When I got into Boulder, CO (story for another day!) a few days ago, I realized that my 29″ pants were falling off again. I’d lost weight running around New York, or my pants had stretched a bit.

My bright turquoise American Apparel boxer briefs were showing from almost all directions.

I'm pretty sure Gandhi had the exact same problem.

Not only that, but he's also totally over minimalism now:

Yes, he's learned all he can from that path, so now he's choosing another:

I don't consider myself a minimalist anymore, because being a minimalist isn't a thing to be anymore -- it's an idea that came and passed. Minimalism was cool for awhile. Now, it's simply the echo of a revolution that once was.

Just call him "Idiothartha." My best guess is that this is a contrived "Malcolm X splitting from the Nation of Islam" thing designed to generate controversy and increase book sales, but it's also possible that he's about to introduce his own denim line and he realizes that the whole minimalism schtick will be very bad for business.

In any case, when 57 Things jeans do "drop," be sure to wear them while sitting next to your artisanal fire pit:

It's available from Best Made Co. spin-off Base Camp X, who also sell designer axes, and it's a bargain at only $1,300:

The Vulcan fire pit is perfect if you want your loft party to have that gritty hobo vibe, but you're put off by the lack of cachet that comes with a repurposed steel drum:

Nothing tastes better than dog food roasted over a Vulcan fire pit on the balcony of a million-dollar Williamsburg condo.

Just be sure you have appropriately rustic cycling apparel to match, as forwarded by a reader:

Also, be sure your bike has a name, such as Elvis McLightingbolt, as forwarded by another reader:

56 cm track / fixed-gear bicycle (SHINY, HIP) - $400 (tallahassee)
Date: 2011-01-25, 5:53PM EST
Reply to: [deleted]

Sup y'all.

Got a sweet fixee for sale here. It's hella hip and fast as heck. I bought this guy a few years back when I got to school and got a lot of use out of it, but now I'm old (but not really) and out of shape (really), so I downgraded back to a road bike and now I'm selling it. Makes me sad but I need the money and having two bikes is pretty unnecessary.

Here are the spex yo:

Name: Elvis McLightningbolt (you can change the name but I can't guarantee he'll respond to anything else, so consider yourself warned.)

Frame: unlabeled motobecane jury track frame. Same geometry as the steamroller. It's a 54-56 cm frame (not entirely sure) (I'm 5'11 and got long long legs and it's the perfect size for me. so tall people only.) Plus- this thing is frikin chrome y'all, and everyone knows chrome bikes are the fastest bikes.

Wheel Set: white Vuelta Track Pro Deep V's (these things are tough as all get-out and look pretty rad with the black spokes.)

Tyres: continental cyclocross (fat and grippy, take em on the trails!)

Stem: Thomson Elite X4 mountain

Headset: Cane Creek S-8

Saddle: Sella Italia flight titanium

Crankset: Miche Advanced

Brakes: Cane Creek

Handlebars: some no-name brand bullhorns but they're pretty comfortable in any position.

PEDALS NOT INCLUDED (though I can throw in a set of titanium egg beaters for 50 bucks if you want to be really HxC)

I bought the bike with all these components and it's served me really well over the years. The gear ratio is pretty high but it's got a great top cruising speed. I know whoever buys Elvis here is gonna have just as much fun tearing up the streets of tally. You could even start a bike gang, because this bike looks like a leader.

If you're interested in taking a look or a test-ride, shoot me an email and we'll set something up. Thanks!

PICTURES BELOW! (not actual size. super-hip model/roommate not included (though we might be able to work something out ($$$))

That kind of salesmanship definitely warrants a disembodied thumbs up.