Golden Verse: Haiku You





These are just a few of the nouns adverbs words that describe the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing Retro-Fred from the planet Tridork Bret, whose near-ubiquity has transformed him from merely a man into a legend. And not a "legend" like this guy thinks his penis is:

But a real, genuine, bonerfied legend:

In fact, in a lot of ways, Bret is like Jesus. It doesn't matter whether or not you worship him. Indeed, it doesn't matter whether or not you believe he ever even existed. Regardless, his image is everywhere, and his myth continues to shape the course of human history. Also, Jesus has been known to appear in tortillas, while Bret occasionally pops up on Canadian bread:

(All You Haters Taste My Pumpernickel)

And the similarities don't end there. For example, different cultures depict Jesus differently. Some people render him like this:

(Europeans tend to depict Jesus as a hot chick with a beard.)

While others portray him like this:

(Jesus hanging a picture of an aging Chris Rock.)

And still others depict him like this:

The point is, Jesus is a reflection of who we are, and so is Bret. Some cultures portray Bret in the traditional yellow t-shirt motif, while others like to use the miracle of Computers to dress him in more modern roadie vestments, as in this rendering that was forwarded to me by a reader:

Speaking of The Jesus, the word "zounds" is an old-timey curse word that means "God's wounds," and a number of people pointed out that the mystery bottle I mentioned yesterday:

Actually powers something called an "Airzound:"

And here is dramatic video from some country where they drive on the wrong side of the road, in which the mighty blast emanating from an Airzound actually causes a motorist to extract his or her head out of his or her own ass:

Maybe I'm just self-conscious, but I don't think I could use an Airzound. I do, however, occasionally use a more sustainable high-decibel warning system that I carry with me at all times. It consists of two high-volume air canisters:
Vibrating cords that look like an alien's vagina:

And a sort of "mouthpiece" that allows me to form these sounds into recognizable words:

In the event an obstacle enters your path, you can engage this system to loudly broadcast any message you like, from a friendly, "Hey, watch where you're going" to a bracing "Cocksucker!" The mouthpiece is also customizable so you can match it to your bike, and popular accessories include "sulky teen:"


And, of course, "Bret Disciple:"

But when it comes to street safety, the New York City Department of Transportation is forgoing deafening blasts and shouted invectives in favor of a more subtle subtle method of which Jesus himself might even have approved. That's right, the same people who brought you the "Don't Be A Jerk" campaign are finally harnessing the gentle, soothing power of haiku poetry:

Apparently, the DOT is putting "eye-catching designs" accompanied by haiku in "high-crash locations," and you can see this one as well as the others here:

A sudden car door,
Cyclist’s story rewritten.
Fractured narrative

Well, in lieu of law enforcement that actually protects the more vulnerable road users I suppose some irreverent verse that makes light of "dooring" will have to do, though frankly I think the haiku form is a little pretentious and that they should have "kept it real" with some limericks instead:

There once were some hipsters on fixies,
Who wore vintage shirts from the Pixies.
Through red lights they would fly,
'Til they clipped the wrong guy,
And he punched all of them in the dicksies.

Of course, the DOT realizes that people don't want their tax dollars funding haiku, so they're making sure you know the project is actually funded by DWI fine money:

To me, this is just as bad, if not worse. Basically, what they're saying is that they got this drunk driver money windfall, and of all the things they could have done with it they went and paid somebody to make some stupid art. Frankly, I think they should have used the money to buy all the victims of the recent NYPD bike crackdown gold-plated bicycles instead--like this one forwarded to me by a reader:

Date: 2011-11-21, 7:56AM CST
Reply to: [deleted]








"The only gold plated bike ever made?" Like, seriously? What a total "noob!" First of all, every bike dork knows about that gold-plated bike Colnago gave to the Pope:

The stuff of which Fredly dreams are made, I'm sure this celebrated bike is sitting up the attic at the Vatican as I type this, along with all those holy relics and Nazi gold and first edition Batman comic books and whatever other treasures they've been sitting on for the past millennium.

Also, who could forget that gold-plated and crystal-encrusted fixie some company was trying to sell back in the gilded age of the fixed-gear trend?

It was a bargain at just €80,000. However, being what the crabonmongers now call a "halo bike," they also offered a cheaper non-gold "value" model for men with "Jew-fros" and Ken doll genitals:

(2009, when fixies still meant something.)

Those were the days.

Ooh, That Smell: Feast or Forage

Yesterday I mentioned the controversial outcome of the recent Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships in San Francisco, which has the tattooed and be-shanted contingent of the "bicycle culture" up in expensively inked arms. (I realize that expression refers to the other kind of arms but it always makes me think of someone who's so upset that they've got their arms up in the air in dismay.) Inasmuch as this is now a bonerfied controversy (I realize it's actually "bona fide" but "bona fide" means "genuine" and you can't fake an erection) we can now expect it to follow the Official Controversy Lifecycle, which unfolds thusly:

1) A bunch of people put their arms up in the air because they think somebody disrespected something that gives them a boner;

2) They come up with an easily Tweetable name for the controversy that involves the suffix "gate," or, increasingly, the prefix "#Occupy;"

3) They get bored of it, put their arms back down, and resume playing with their boners.

At present, we're still in the midst of Phase Two, though there seems to be some controversy within the controversy as to whether to refer to the whole mishigas as "Raphagate," or as the slightly more Tweetable "#OccuWuss." Either way, hopefully we can resume our onanism and move on to Stage Three soon. One way of expediting this process is by taking an online poll, since online polls are the confessionals of the Internet. So let's all cast our votes on Raphagate, or #OccuWuss, or whatever you want to call it, herewith:

Should the Rapha SSCXWC winners forfeit?

Now let's put our arms back down and pick up our our boners again.

Moving on, owing to the considerable volume of my Thanksgiving repast I recently found myself with sufficient bathroom time to read the Food Issue of "The New Yorker," and in it was an article about a new culinary trend called "foraging." Foraging is exactly what it sounds like, which is to say it's picking wild crap and eating it. If it helps, think of foragers as "bucolic freegans." Like any trend, it's something people have been doing forever but have only recently seen fit to intellectualize, and it inspires incredible sentences such as this:

A few weeks later, when Paterson and I went truffling with an obliging local carabiniere named Bruno Craba and his two truffle terrier mutts, one of the dogs surrendered so helplessly to the intoxicating smell of semen that the tubers emit--known to foodies as the truffle umami--that she swallowed half a truffle the size of a tennis ball before presenting the rest of it to her master.

So how do you get your food? Do you order it in a fancy restaurant? Do you buy it in the supermarket? Do you co-opt it in your local food co-op? Do you harvest it from your backyard, window box, or community garden? Well, however you get it, get over yourself, because it's positively prosaic compared to setting off with a guy named Bruno and following some dogs around until they cough up something that smells like jizz.

It's especially remarkable to me though how similar food and cycling are. Both fulfill basic needs (food gives us fuel, cycling gets us places) and are so inherently simple as to be boneheaded, yet in certain circumstances both can be legitimately transcendent. As a result, both compel people to "bullshittify" them endlessly in an attempt to come up with a formula that evokes that transcendent experience again and again. By riding fixed-gear bicycles, people once hoped to experience the sensation of "Zen" with every trip. And by rooting around for fungus that smells like cum, people apparently seek the truffling equivalent of "Zen," which thanks to "The New Yorker" I now know is called "truffle umami."

This can only mean that fixed-gear truffle foraging is the next trend on the horizon, and the semen-drenched Zenlike state that will result in a successful "truffle run" will make "hillbombing" seem about as pulse-raising as doing your laundry.

Still, I suppose it's comforting to know that people still forage, just as it's comforting to know that people still walk. These are timeless behaviors, like caring for our offspring and playing with our boners. Granted, the days of ambulatory humans may be numbered thanks to sedentary lifestyles and junk food-induced diabetes, but for now we're still doing it. That's why I can only get so irritated when I see things like this on the Manhattan Bridge bike path:

Sure, as a cyclist I'd like to think that there could be at least one thoroughfare reserved exclusively for bicycles, but as long as we can walk this will never be the case. Yes, it's irritating, but our urge to wander anyplace our feet will take us is what makes us human, and when you take that away from us you take away our humanity. Whether we live in the forest or in the most populous city in America, we need to be free to follow the heady ejaculatory aroma of the "truffle umami" wherever it may take us:

("Mmm, do I smell semen?")

This is why cars can be so unsettling--they're private vehicles that cost lots of money, yet they trump our innate desire and ability to wander. Even cyclists and pedestrians can share a thoroughfare if they each make a bit of an effort, but the relationship between cars and pedestrians is non-negotiable. You either get in a car, or you get out of the way. Now, I'm not anti-car by any means, but as it is if you're not in your car you become an animal who's expected to scamper away, and if you're in one you become an asshole:

The douche biker on Dean - w4m - 27 (Brooklyn)
Date: 2011-11-28, 11:32AM EST
Reply to:

To the asshole biker who spat on my BMW near Dean and Classon this morning. That car cost more than your life and your stupid bike. I hope someone runs you over and breaks both your legs. If I realized you spat on my car and not the ground I would've been happy to do it myself. You're such a bitch to wait until I was stopped at a light behind some cars to do it. Scared of a 5'1 girl? Kill yourself.

Now, I don't condone spitting on cars, but I'm going to take the cyclist's side here. First of all, it's not like he pulled down his shants and made a "truffle umami" deposit on her hood. Secondly, maybe she almost hit him--and even if she didn't, what's some spit on a car anyway? It's a giant hunk of metal that lives outside. Birds crap on it. Cats sleep under it. Kids hang out on its hood when you're not looking. Nevertheless, the first rule in American social interaction is Don't Touch My Car. And regardless of whether or not you spit on a car, most drivers don't like you when you're on a bike because:

1) You are what you "own" (or, as is more often the case, lease from a bank);

2) The more money you spend on a vehicle the more human rights you have.

3) Anybody smaller and smarter than you deserves to be punished.

I only hope one day the driver of that BMW wakes up, smells the semen, and realizes she's been duped out of her own humanity by a motor company and a bank. She should go foraging for a soul.

Speaking of being duped, an unfortunate Williamsburger was recently duped out of a high-end blinky light:

short black hair wed night at the woods - m4w - 27 (S 4th)
Date: 2011-11-24, 4:42AM EST
Reply to:

You left right at closing time, and the bouncer, the bartender and barback all told me that you walked out with my $40 bike light that I absent-mindedly set down on the table right before walking out myself.
As soon as they told me, I rode off to ask everyone I could find coming from the woods if they had taken it. No dice.
FYI, I made it home safely.
You should also know that you stole from someone who:
doesn't have money to drink, which is fine because alcohol would be fatal while taking
this medication to treat Hepatitis C, which costs $50K,
which is why I'm so broke. But fuck it, I'll take being broke over being dead.
Anyways, enjoy your karma.
what are you thankful for?

I think we may have just found the "Hipster Job." (That's "Hipster Job" as in Job from the Bible, not "Hipster Job" as in freelance graphic design or making $7 coffees.)

Lastly, speaking of bicycle accessories, a reader in London recently spotted this mysterious top tube-mounted canister:

I have no idea what purpose it serves, but given the front disc brake perhaps the owner has fabricated a truly "epic" master cyclinder for massive rider-catapulting stopping power.

Either that, or it's a fixed-gear truffle-foraging bike.

Halos and Dandies: Laterally Stiff and Vertically Complacent

What's the most important holiday in the United American States? Is it Thanksgiving, during which we spend time with family and reflect on our good fortune? Is it Memorial Day, on which we pay tribute to those who gave their lives for this country? Or is it National Poetry Month, during which aspiring poets read their compositions in coffee shops in front of friends and family who are profoundly embarrassed for them?

Well, as any true American knows, the correct answer is "None of the above," for by far the most significant holiday in these United States is #BlackFriday.

On #BlackFriday (when rendering the name #BlackFriday in print, it is a sin to omit the #Holy #Hashtag), millions of Americans visit our local place of worship. Here, we pay tribute to the G-d of C-nsumption in two forms: Money, and Extreme Violence. While the G-d of C-nsumption accepts cash, His preferred method of payment is via high interest bank card. As for the Extreme Violence, we Americans don't need to be told how to engage in that since violence runs through our veins like high cholesterol, but blasting your fellow shoppers worshippers with pepper spray is always a good bet. Indeed, it is by engaging in the Twin Mitzvahs of Spending and Harming Each Other that we keep the Universe Economy in balance and maintain that Zen-like state of contentment known as Complacency. A-meh.

As for me, I did my part on #BlackFriday by going on a shopping spree at my LBS:

I'd like to think my method of worship is unique, but there are more videos on YouTube of cars crashing through storefronts than there are stupid fixie videos, so apparently retail hit-and-run is as American as apple pie. (Or, more accurately, as American as suing McDonald's when you scald yourself on your searing hot apple-flavored pie filling.)

Speaking of #BlackFriday, while it may be over it's never too late to repent spend money. To that end, why not Buy a dashing on-the-bike wardrobe just like the one the famous and ostensibly Scottish bike racer David Millar wears?

A number of readers brought this pictorial to my attention, and I know what you're thinking: "Nobody rides around like that." This is true. When commuting in an urban environment, the vast majority of us adopt a more upright position and dress a lot more casually, like this:

But the best part of the pictorial is that it has a handy "Shop This Story" button, and when you click it you go right to a page containing like nine million dollars' worth of crap:

Instead of trying to protect big businesses by censoring the Internet, I think Congress should simply mandate that every single online article, blog post, video, Tweet, etc. include a "Shop This Story" button that immediately takes the reader to a page where you can buy a product from every single company mentioned in it. Or, if no products are specifically mentioned, it will just go by keyword. Take, for example, this Tweet by smarmy retired sprinter Mario Cipollini:

Sure, he doesn't actually mention any products, but a congressionally-mandated "Shop This Story" button could take you right to "The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus:"
This way, everybody wins: the giant online retailer, the government to whom it pays taxes, and the 51% of the US population that is equipped with a vagina.

But when it comes to bikes and dandyism, nobody can compete with Rapha, the company who not only effectively trademarked the concept of "epic" but also pioneered the concept of the $70 cycling schmatta. Most recently though, Rapha has dominated both the men's and women's field at the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships in San Francisco, CA:

Lamely, however, both winners avoided getting the traditional winner's tattoo. Regardless of what you think of irreverent world championships, or of singlespeed bicycles, or of tattoos, you'd have to agree that winning the SSCXWC and then skipping out on the tattoo is like saying you're #Occupying Wall Street because you drove down from Greenwich, popped your head in at Zuccotti Park for 20 minutes, and then spent the night at the Marriott Downtown eating room service. (Or, if you're Mario Cipollini, eating something else). Even worse is that Rapha are crowing about having won the race, which basically makes this perhaps the first-ever case of ironic world championship sandbagging in the service of high-end retail marketing. You can read more insight about the controversy at All Hail The Black Market--or, if you're one of the many people who don't care, you can watch a video about how to make goat cheese at home.

Speaking of high-end retail, Cyclingnews and BikeRadar technical editor James Huang has written an article about so-called "halo bikes" that has generated considerable volumes of discussion-shaped Internet comments:

In it he explores the thinking behind the various bicycles with five-figure price tags and lots of gratuitous initials in the name (SL, Di2, LTD, etc.) as well as the strong reactions to them, and then sums it up thusly:

As with anything that lies out of our financial reach, halo bikes aren't there to taunt us, mock us, or to remind us of what we want but can't have – they exist simply because they can. Moreover, no one's forcing anyone to buy anything and whether directly or indirectly, we all benefit.

I happen to disagree with the taunting and mocking part, for as he also points out:

Top-end bikes are also cheap in the grand scheme of expensive playthings. Consider that one typically needs less than US$10,000 to buy the exact same machine as what top pros are using and then compare that to motorsports, where that same amount of money gets you a used Honda Civic. Sure, that Ducati nets a heck of a lot more speed per dollar than any bicycle but it's not the best. If you're truly after the exact same equipment as the pros, we dare say that Valentino Rossi's machine might cost just a little extra.

This to me is precisely the problem with the sport competitive cycling at the amateur level. Just as the pro fantasy bike isn't that much more expensive than the somewhat less absurdly priced "value" bike, the typical amateur cyclist isn't that far removed from the professional--or at least he thinks he isn't. That's because even a slow Cat 3 occasionally lines up with Cat 1s or even pros, and on a good day might even finish in the pack with them. This fuels the delusion that he has "talent," when in reality he was only able to hang because the pros and the Cat 1s were tired from spending the previous night sleeping in the back seats of their economy cars. TrekCialized then meets his delusion halfway by letting him think he's getting a bargain when he spends $7,000 on a bike instead of $11,000, and then ameliorates any remaining concern by touting the fact that the plastic from which the bike is made is now recyclable.

For this reason, my only real problem with "halo bikes" is that, if anything, they're too cheap. I agree that "no one's forcing anyone to buy anything and whether directly or indirectly," so why not just price them all at $150,000 to underscore the difference between the typical club racer schlub and the few genetic and/or chemical freaks that are actually paid a living wage to ride?

Still, it's important to know your bike is special, which is why I won't ride anything that doesn't require government disclosure, like this bike forwarded to me by a reader:

Brand New, never assembled Cannondale SuperSix EVO Team. Made from military grade Ballistec fibers so rare and controlled that Cannondale has to prove to the government how many bikes it made with the fibers to keep it falling into enemy hands...really!

I don't doubt this for a minute, and I'm sure that Al-Quaeda and the North Koreans are working on a "collabo" halo bike even as I type this.

But when it comes to stuff you don't need, you can't beat a "fender blender," which was forwarded to me by another reader:

I have no idea why you'd need a blender on your bike, though this one is certainly positioned perfectly to capture your posterior perspiration. Nothing adds zest to a beverage like ass sweat.

BSNYC Contrived Situational Comedy With Live Studio Audience! (And Vacation Announcement!) [*Applause*]

When the BP oil company hired me to write this blog, I had three (3) requirements:

1) The freedom to work pantsless;
2) A salary of $1.6 million per year
3) Time off for holidays and religious observances

Well, after some negotiation BP agreed to meet two out of three of these requirements, which is why I won't be posting next week, nor am I currently wearing pants. Yes, after today this blog will go unmolested by me until Monday, November 28th, at which point I will resume regular updates. Of course, this is a corporate blog, so I've also hired a graphic design company at considerable expense to create an image of my schedule for November:

Now, most people know that Thanksgiving is the holiday during which Americans kill and eat turkeys. However, fewer people know that Thanksgiving also coincides with one of the high holidays of my Lobster-worshipping faith. It's called "Über-Thanksgiving," and it celebrates the day when the Great Lobster descended from the Lobster Tank On High and told his followers, "Fuck working, it's Thanksgiving, just take the entire week off." And so they did, and the Great Lobster was pleased, and there was much napping and watching of television.

Speaking of watching things, a reader recently forwarded me the following video:

In which Thomas Frischknecht displays some formidable flat-bar cyclocrossing:

This just goes to show that the true professional will disregard convention and use whatever equipment best suits him, though at the same time it doesn't make the exotic custom flat-bar Cat 6 road bike phenomenon any less dorky.

Moving on from videos of people who can handle their bikes to videos of people who can't, Stevil Kinevil of All Hail the Black Market recently shared with me this video of a typical triathlete training ride:

It's worth noting that this crash happened well below Fred "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" speed (which is of course 46mph). However, it does neatly illustrate another law of physics, which is that the maximum speed a triathlete can travel on a bicycle without either crashing or causing another rider to crash is 34mph. I would take the additional step of testing this theory in real-world conditions, but there's no way I'm getting close enough to a triathlete to find out. Like a spitting cobra, a triathlete can fell a victim from a distance as great as a full bike length. This means if you can see a triathlete at all, you're too close to him.

And with that, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right it means you've reached mental "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" speed, and if you're wrong it means you'll see a commercial.

Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

--Wildcat Douchebucket

(Bjarne Riis trying to figure out how many "I"s there are in "team," and how many "team"s there are in his team's name.)

1) Next season, Team Saxo Bank-SunGard will become:

--Team Saxo Bank Professional Cycling Team

2) Next season, Garmin-Cervélo will be switching to:

(At the SSCXWC, there's only one speed, and that speed is "Contrived Irreverence.")

3) This weekend, the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships will take place in which city?

4) If you're riding a bike in America, you must be protesting something, and are therefore subject to arrest.


5) What is this?

--A solar panel

6) In a recent "Bicycling" magazine readers' survey, who is not listed as cycling personality?

--Mario Cipollini

7) Specialized's new crabon recycling program will allow them to:

***Special Logic-Themed Bonus Question!***

(Crabon toilet seat for maximum comfort and power transfer.)

Not all crabon fiber enthusiasts ride bikes, but all crabon fiber enthusiasts are nerds.


***Special Bib Short-Themed Bonus Bonus Question!!***

Cycling clothing manufacturer Assos is actually introducing a new bib short with a crabon fiber heat-moldable chamois.

Survey Says: Bad Things Come in Threes

Internet surveys: for me, they've always been something to ignore, like gender-specific restroom signs, random tooth pain, and homeless people. Recently though I was forced to pay attention to one. This is because I'm currently a choice in a "Bicycling" magazine "Readers' Choice" survey:

Hilariously, "Bicycling" seem to think that both Frankie Andreu and I are "personalities," though at least Andreu actually knows how to ride a bike:
As Fat Cyclist rightly points out, if you're going to ride with any of these people you should probably ride with him. In fact, I'm probably the second-lamest choice on that menu after TdF devil Didi Senft, who is clearly a bona-fide lunatic and, by all accounts, smells. I wouldn't even want to ride with me, and in fact I often show up late for solo rides in order to avoid myself. Really, the only reason I could possibly imagine anybody would want to ride with me is that they might get to see me slip and fall into my own pee, which I do more often than I'd care to admit.

Anyway, I wouldn't even have bothered you about this survey at all. However, I'm an intrinsically negative person, and it suddenly occurred to me that "Bicycling" must be this close [indicates tiny distance with fingers] to getting rid of me so they probably need some hard numbers so they can say, "See? People really freaking hate you, go take that crap to 'VeloSnooze.'" I mean, what other reason could there be? If they liked me and wanted to keep me they'd instead have included a question like this:
(If you want to know which I'd like, it's a toss-up between the Rollerblades and the Uberhood.)

As it is, all I'll probably get for Chrismas from them is a card that says, "You suck. Love, 'Bicycling'," and then one of those subscription reply cards will fall out of it. This hardly seems fair, since last year I bought each and every person at the magazine a Polaris personal watercraft.

So now you see just how stressful a virtually stress-free life as a semi-professional bike blogger can be. Not only that, but I was unable to take the survey myself because my answer to every single question was "Mario Cipollini" yet amazingly he was never offered as a choice. (By the way, if you ride on Mario Cipollini's wheel you should always use fenders or else you'll get a really oily skunk stripe up your back.)

Moving on to far more pressing matters, someone in Brooklyn is missing a cat:

Do I like cats? Sure I do. Do I feel bad for someone who loses theirs? Absolutely. Why is this news, even for "The Brooklyn Paper?" I have no idea--especially since the cat was a stray to begin with:

BeeBop, a feisty feral tom who loves bacon, went missing on June 28 after a mover left the door open. A few days later, he was found at the Heights Players community theater on Willow Place. A member of the troupe kept the cat there for several days, but before Sheehan could retrieve her beloved, someone else freed the cat so that he wouldn’t urinate on the costumes.

As you probably know, some time ago I changed my name to Wildcat Rock Machine, and thanks to this article I am now extending it to "Wildcat Rock Machine, A Feisty Feral Tom Who Loves Bacon." However, you can keep calling me Wildcat Rock Machine for short. (Or, if that's still too long, just call me "Douchebucket.") Anyway, it seems to me that a feral tom who loves bacon is not a pet but a prisoner, and that as soon as the mover opened that door he simply returned to the life he knew and loved. As for the guy from the community theater, he was just doing the cat a favor by releasing him again. Sure, you can vilify the actor if you wish, but the fact is that the feline was urinating on the costumes and you can't have Willy Loman's suit or Joseph's amazing technicolor dreamcoat reeking of cat pee.

More to the point, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with a bike blog, and to that I say:


2) As a blogger I am also a student of "comment science," and I was amazed it took a full nine comments before a reader of "The Brooklyn Paper" came in with a bad Chinese take-out joke:

Sun Yet Sen from Red Hook says:

BeBop with noodles 4.95

Bebob with white rice 4.95

Bebop with vegatables 4.50

Bebop with brown rice 6.00

Bebop Fried rice 4.95

Nov. 15, 7:45 pm

That any cat-themed story will eventually evoke a bad Chinese take-out joke is of course a corollary to Godwin's law. In any case, I'm sure that BeeBop is just fine and is out there with a little kitty bindle and a banjo. He's probably on a freight train right now, traveling the country in search of bacon, adventure, and no-strings cat sex.

Speaking of adventure-seekers, can you believe people still make fixed-gear videos? Well, they do, though increasingly you have to go beyond the United States to find them. Here's one that was forwarded to me by a reader in Olso, Norway:

Grind Pt.1 from Andreas Kleiberg on Vimeo.

Amazingly, this is merely Part I of a four-video series, and it sets up a number of compelling questions that will presumably be answered in final installment, including:

--Will they keep skidding for no reason?
--Will the guy in the flannel get a cool new hat?
--Will they figure out that this whole Mash-a-frama fad is so dorky it makes this guy on roller-skis look edgy by comparison?

By the way, I watched the whole video, and from an athletic perspective roller-ski guy was by far the most impressive thing about it. That's not to say I doubt these riders' "street cred," since it must be difficult to ride in an urban environment in which luxury taxi cabs follow you at a safe distance:

Remember the scene in "12 Monkeys" where Child Bruce Willis watches Adult Bruce Willis get gunned down in the airport, and the guy with the virus escapes, and you know the world is doomed and that the cycle will repeat itself infinitely and Bruce Willis's curse is that he must watch it happen again and again and again? That's what it now feels like watching fixed-gear videos as the trend replicates itself over and over and over in cities all over the world. I've already seen their future, and I weep for them--soon they'll be onto "vintage" road bikes, then they'll start flirting with Lycra, and before you know it they'll be ordering custom cyclocross bikes from the framebuilder du jour and not racing them. Maybe one day Terry Gilliam will make the ultimate fixed-gear video and we can finally at least get artistic closure and move on.

Of course, by perpetuating an attitude of "been there done that" curmudgeonliness I'm doing pretty much the same thing, but frankly I'm old enough to remember when all this stuff actually meant something. For example, I remember when if you wanted to find "hipsters" you had to go to a funky part of town not too far from an expensive art school and visit a faux dive bar--and even then they wouldn't come home with you unless you plied them with drugs and conversation about Miranda July. Now, though, a reader tells me that you can buy them ready-made in three-packs at Marks & Spencer in the UK for only £17:

At £5.66 per hipster I'd argue they're still overpriced, but I suppose it's easier than making your own.