Monday, February 16, 2009

Keeping it Reeled In: Hope or Delusion?




This interview was conducted in early January in a Brooklyn bar (or, as the British call it, a "pub," which is short for "pubick house").  Originally we were supposed to conduct the interview on bikes (or "awheel" as the British say) but it ended up snowing and I was afraid that, in the event of a fall, Mr. Thurston (coddled, as are all of his countrymen, by free medical care) would find himself hopelessly embroiled in our country's labyrinthine health care system.  And while I could certainly live with the idea of Mr. Thurston injuring himself (and live comfortably at that) I could not entertain the possibility that Mr. Thurston might seek financial compensation from me by filing some sort of suit.  Such suit would doubtless look to my most valuable assets for remuneration, and there's simply no way I'm parting with by Ben Serotta-built team 7-11 "Huffy:"



Check out the fastback seat stays and the exquisite brake bridge--you just don't see that type of craftsmanship anymore.  It's even got the Paris-Roubaix tires mounted.  If you think I'm letting some Englishman seize a piece of American cycling history you are gravely mistaken.  In any case, enjoy the interview.  Also, please keep in mind that in order to conceal my identity I'm speaking through a harmonizer--in reality my voice sounds exactly like Keith David's.  Special thanks to Jack Thurston for the great editing.  I'd never met an English person before, and I had to make him repeat every question at least three or four times before I could understand what the hell he was saying.

Moving on, the cycling world is abuzz with talk of Francesco Mancebo of Rock Racing's "epic" win in stage 1 of the Tour of California yesterday.  While Levi Leipheimer and Johan Bruyneel blamed poor communication for the fact that they were unable to reel back Mancebo, the cycling cognoscenti know that it was Mancebo's bike that deserves all the credit.  Yes, this undoubtedly marks a return to glory for Kestrel.  Once upon a time, Kestrel was the bicycle of choice for dentists nationwide, and it was a rare charity ride, state line sprint, or other informal non-race situation that was not dominated by a wealthy middle-aged rider on a Kestrel.  Here's what they looked like in their heyday.  (Kestrels, not dentists.):  



Now, however, Kestrel bicycles are available from both Bikesdirect and Performance, from whom no self-respecting dentist would deign to purchase so much as a gap bike.  However, the fact that Rock Racing has plucked them from the discount carbon fiber bargain heap could very well resurrect Kestrel and once again make them dentist-worthy.  Incidentally, a reader informs me Rock Racing are now customizing their Kestrels with label-makers:

Yes, as any office rebel who's customized a stapler knows, there's nothing more intimidating than a "Pulp Fiction" misquote rendered in P-touch tape.  

Speaking of misguided attempts to appear "badass," the ubiquitous knuckle tattoo is officially no longer sufficient to distinguish yourself as an outlaw who lives entirely by your own rules (provided of course you're not at work, or with your significant other, or with your parents, or in the presence of teachers, police, librarians, or other authority figures).  I mean, even Janeane Garofalo's got them!  Now that knuckle tattoos are the horn-rimmed glasses of the aughts, you might as well just stick a P-touch label on your forehead.  So if you want to be a true outlaw, cutting is the only way to go:


Yes, cutting a rudimentary outline of a track bike with a ridiculously long wheelbase into some part of your body (I can't tell what part of the body this is, though whatever it is it's got hair on it) tells the world that you'll stop at nothing to show people that you like bicycles more than they do.  And of course, once the outline's done, be sure to blot the blood like a calorie-counter blots a pizza, and then display your sanguinous banner across your chest:


As hardcore and street-credulous as this obviously is, I'm going to have to deduct points for the following reasons: firstly, any true body-modification enthusiast would have hung the banner from his nipple rings; and secondly, even a Cat 5 roadie knows that rocking/running/rubbing/rolling a Quick Step hat is the very pinnacle of cycling dorkitude.  The only way he could have possibly outdone himself would have been to wear a 2008 Lazer Genesis World Champion helmet.  (By the way, in the cycling/body modification scene, there's a raging debate as to whether helmet straps should be worn over or through your organic ear tunnels.)  Still, I'm sure when he heads to the local track bike boutique to have the mechanic change his cog for him his scabby cutting will earn him many gear inches of respect.

But really, who can blame this guy for riddling himself with paper cuts in the name of authenticity?  These days, it can be tremendously difficult to set yourself apart from your fellow cyclists.  And, as Rock Racing is constantly proving, it is almost impossible to convincingly display "street cred" while simultaneously maintaining a competitive edge.  However, this certainly doesn't stop people from trying.  During my break, I watched with interest the following audition video in which a New York City messenger-slash-bike-racer strives to become a cast member on an internet reality show sponsored by flavored water manufacturer Gatorade:



This video walks the line between "street cred" and "competition" as deftly as it walks the one between "sincerity" and "parody."  Simply put, it has it all.  There's the speakerphone call to Mom:


The character endorsement from a fellow amateur bike racer currently serving a suspension for clomiphene:


And the training partner with a cartoon picture of Ganesha splashed across his chest:

Now, I wish Alex nothing but the best of luck in attaining his cycling goals, though I admit I hope he doesn't get on the Gatorade show--but that's only because I'd like for him to retain as much of his dignity as possible.  Incidentally, around the time I saw this video, I also read this interview with Allen Lim, Garmin-Slipstream's physiological training guru, or whatever coaches are calling themselves now.  In the interview, Lim had this to say:

I could give a shit about cycling, who cares about cycling? What does cycling mean, you know? What I care about is individuals living their life to the fullest. I would rather burn a kid out at 21, 22 years old, and have them know that they gave everything to something, and have them leave with that sense than to perpetuate the myth that everyone is going to make it. When in fact not everyone makes it. I think the amazing thing about physiology, genetics, biology is that we're all suited to do something great. It's about having the opportunity to find out what it is.

Whether you think this is the truth or that these are fighting words probably depends to a large extent on how seriously you take yourself, and for my part, I hope Alex doesn't take himself too seriously.  Either way, at least he's riding a bike instead of just carving one into himself.  Carve corners, not skin.  Real riders get scars without having to make them themselves.

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

fIRST SUCK IT

panino said...

primissimus?

Anonymous said...

Podium BITCHES!

Anonymous said...

Podi --- uh...

Ian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

boyah

panino said...

almost primissimus.
cipollini got there first... bloody lion king!

Theodore Roosevelt said...

President1st

manicallday said...

What the hell? No mention about Lance's bike getting stolen? I thought for sure that you would be all over that one.

http://trekroad.typepad.com/trekroad/2009/02/astana-trailer-broken-into-and-lances-custom-ttx-stolen.html

I expect better tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Woot! Woot!

tajblues said...

11?

Anonymous said...

I ain't no lion kink bitch.

innerlighter said...

Astana!

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

Now what kind of idiot would steal Lance's bike? Just sayin...

Anonymous said...

I love the bike shop dude's upward inclination he puts on every sentence? Like he's never sure of himself and anything he thinks is a question?

Also no offense to bike messengers but something about being a messenger at age 30 is FRIGHTENING, I had a friend who quit a decent corporate job (decent as in good healthcare, normal hours etc) at age 25 to become a messenger... I just dont understand

Greg said...

Does anyone know how to mount a rear rack on a crabon fibre TT bike with motivational slogans all over it?

I don't see any rack or fender mounts and I'm trying to use it as my daily commuter.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm checking the Richmond craigslist every 5 minutes for a good deal.

Just sayin'

Anonymous said...

umm, what beer did you have for your interview? Hope you were not trying to impress this british bloke with a street-approved PBR.

Nick said...

1st! (To be 20th)

Benzo said...

Welcome back.

Anonymous said...

I've actually seen a Serotta-built Huffy in the wild. I may never recover.

smartypants said...

n-th!

stuggy said...

Eeeeeeewwwwwwww! Snobby's got "a lot of Google juice," according to that British interviewer.

That just sounds icky, really...

Jack Thurston said...

@Anonymous 1:09 PM

Well as I recall I drank a fine local brew although I think BSNYC was on the isotonic Guinness.

And imagine my surprise on our way out to discover that this so-called Patriot was riding an English bicycle (made in Taiwan, of course).

Anonymous said...

The cheese is less fast and fierce on this holiday... I guess that would be slow and docile cheese. Like edam or muenster.

cyclotourist said...

GATO RADE

Anonymous said...

I hope the guy makes it to the reality show...or whatever it is he's shooting for.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Thurston,

I'm pretty sure that:

"...who has never head of..." = "...who has never heard of..."

and

"...who is all to familiar..." = "who is all too familiar...".


But then again, it is the Queen's English, so I could be mistaken.

You should really consider running your column past a sober person before publishing.

Peace, bitches.

smartypants said...

Jack 1:47 PM-

Be careful what you recall. Some of the more common "local" brews from BSNYC's home turf are made in (gasp) Utica, NY (i.e. waaaaaaay upstate; so close to Canada that they weren't sure which side to take in 1812), so they're not really "local" at all.

Anonymous said...

Don't put a rack on a road bike that wasn't equipped with mount points. You will no longer be respected as a human being if you do. Life is about goals and your defined goal is to acquire a commuter/touring bike.

smartypants said...

eff that. Drills and duct tape.

If that doesn't work, try hopes and dreams.

Anonymous said...

come on! Bikesnob riding a chink bike!!...oh wait a minute??? They make high quality functional bikes don't they? well sometimes a bike is just a tool and perhaps Bikesnob was needing a tool instead of a prized possession...I think prized possessions and their owners part ways magically in areas like New FRIGGEN York!

Udder said...

You've ruined everything. I always imagined you sounded like Orson Wells.

Sprocketboy said...

Hey, Smartypants 1:58: don't be dissin' Utica. Those talking beer steins in the television ads were the great joy of my childhood. They were named "Schultz and Dooley" in homage to truly great beer drinking nations.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone put up a mirror of the interview mp3? Site is timing out.

Greg said...

anon 1:58, my theory is that a bike is what you make it. I read some guy named Lance's book about how its not about the bike.

I took that to mean that its not about how the bike came from the factory or what it's original specifications were or what its intended use was. Its about what you want to do with it.

I got a steal of a deal on this bike and want to make it my commuter.

Right now it's set up with zip ties that I painted yellow to match the frame. It should work until i get a crabon drill bit.

Anonymous said...

Never mind about the mirror, Bike Show's site is working again.

RatherBeBiking said...

Alex reads this post, deems it "almost positive"

- http://affinitycycles.com/?p=244

Philboy said...

Daggone Snobby, you're a chatty little bore in person aren't you? Lucky for you redneckerson wasn't there, I bet he'd have hit you both and drank your beer.

Anonymous said...

Cutting=loser.
Quick Step Cap=epic loser.

Just being a totally hip fixter with a 'pista 73'... no words do him justice.

Critical Ass said...

How come emo grass is better than regular grass?


Emo grass cuts itself.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Philboy,

This is why I'm a blogger and not a professional talking person. Even scarier, all my replies were scripted. I would have been safe from Red Neckerson, though, since I was wearing my drinking helmet.

--BSNYC

smartypants said...

Sproketboy 2:16-

Please understand, I only diss Utica brews in the same light as BSNYC disses fellow cyclists.

(In other words, I support all those who want to just get out there and drink; yet I'm a self-proclaimed snob on the subject and will freely take cheap shots at you if your taste is less correct (aka different) than mine.)

Anonymous said...

it appears quite obvious that the week off really took a toll on the nimble fingers that are the breakaway of the race that is the bsnyc commentary section.

don't yall have lesser comment contests or rollers to keep you sharp on off weeks?

geez.

Anonymous said...

Everyone's following the ToC on fatty's blog today.

ant1 said...

I've been training over at commiecanuck's blog. the competition's a little weak, but it's better nothing.

Anonymous said...

I saw Ricky riding Lance's bike to the pubic library with Red on the handlebars.

Pack Phil said...

I'm pretty sure the local brew Mr. Thurston was rocking/running/rubbing/rolling/cutting was Genesee Cream Ale

Anonymous said...

this a real carvers bike...

http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/bik/1035028133.html

Der Blaue Reiter said...

greg, just chop and flop those tt bars and you've got a serviceable cruiser setup! And it looks like you could run about 32's if you're lucky.

Camp Cupboard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Camp Cupboard said...

According to the last line, I'm a "real rider".
Finally, some validation!

retodd said...

Snobby,

Sure you've seen this already, but in case you haven't, would love to get your take on it:

http://velonews.tv/?articleID=2591

Lance: 1
Douchebag reporter: 0

-retodd

kale said...

I just want to point out that Prospect Park was really nice today.

Having the day off of work was great.

Too bad I couldn't attempt the podium today...

kale said...

And it's 4:20 now.

Anonymous said...

flat brimmed caps and a fixie are now available in one bargain hipster-matic bundle

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/1036502453.html

Mongo Pusher said...

VandeVelde!

mono_vs_stereo said...

"Real riders get scars without having to make them themselves."

Ah, fantastic.

I have matching scars on the top of each shoulder, each about the size of a half dollar, from two different crashes. One was an endo while racing XC, and the other was the result of a bad landing on my (now former) downhill bike. They're pretty cool, but since I'm so pasty in complexion they're hard to see.

Anonymous said...

Levi!

smartypants said...

My shoulder scar is from skin cancer (likely caused by too much sun exposure while on bikes). Does that count? Probably not.

Oh, and a chainring gash on my left shin. Though caused by a bike, I wasn't technically riding at the time. Two strikes.

Good think BSNYC's unofficial definition of "a cyclist" vs "a guy on a bike" doesn't include real cycling scars, or I'd be out of luck.

Then again, I'm tri-curious so you whole lot don't like me anyways.

Axle Creep said...

This the dude? cute.

Keram2 said...

GAH. I've been looking at BikeCutter's new scar for like 15 minutes and I can't figure out what part of his body that is. His tail? An umbilical cord? His dic—nevermind. OH GOD. Nevermind.

Anonymous said...

It all comes back to Dennis Quaid.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_Away

-See "Cutters"

mono_vs_stereo said...

"Real riders get scars without having to make them themselves."

Ah, fantastic.

I have matching scars on the top of each shoulder, each about the size of a half dollar, from two different crashes. One was an endo while racing XC, and the other was the result of a bad landing on my (now former) downhill bike. They're pretty cool, but since I'm so pasty in complexion they're hard to see.

mono_vs_stereo said...

Damn, I double posted that.

That's what I get for hanging out with Red and Ricky. Never smoke what they claim to be lawn clippins and don't, whatever you do, drink their corn squeezins.

alexokp said...

I recently read Calvino's "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler", which discusses one of the character's decision to never visit a publishing company, so that her idea of how a book is created remains "her idea".
After exchanging emails and now actually hearing BSNYC's voice I understand what she meant.
Not that he has an unpleasant voice, it's just become to real. Damn it.

Bill said...

i agree with kale

alexokp said...

'too real'


Whatever.

frilly said...

Smarty, don't worry about the tri-curious thing. You just have to post a pic of yourself in your unde--Never mind.

leroy said...

I have an Emo lawn.

It cuts itself.

But I still don't want those pesky kids running across it.

Welcome back RTMS!

(Critical Ass -- plagarism is the sincerest form of larceny.)

leroy said...

Do psychological scars count?

My therapist says they're all in my head.

haiku geek stuck in last week said...

seventy third place
it's nice in the peloton
welcome back Bike Snob

John D'oh said...

Greg, just use some hose clamps to hold the rack on your new bike. If you're worried about scratching the finish, wrap some tape around the seat stays first. Jeez, this ain't rocket science.

bikesgonewild said...

...yes, leroy...but they're so easy to see...

...btw...ant1, i finally had time to respond on the last blog...two days of riding around in the rain watching this little bike race we got goin' on out here's been keeping me busy...

innerlighter said...

I always figured Snobby sounded like this

Anonymous said...

Bikesnob: "I don't think that Opinionated Cyclist is an idiot savant."

Opinionated Cyclist: "I'm a very good driver, a very good driver..."

innerlighter said...

BGW
Hey, at least you were riding. Yesterday I spent 3 hrs in the freezing rain corner marshaling for Jr. racers after the pros left, then another hour helping TOC people load up their stuff.

Sheesh! All those EPO profits sure buy a shitload of barricades!


Still, it was good fun. Got some interesting photos.

Anonymous said...

self proclaimed comment of the year...

Tyler turns up at the ATOC time trail on Lance's stolen bike, all spray painted to hide the trek logos and look cool, with a "short ass mother fucker" top tube sticker, now THAT, Michael OneBall would be punk.

see you next year, my work is done.

bikesgonewild said...

...innerlighter..."mister, yer a better man than i"...& props to ya for doin' it...

...sheesh, though...it didn't suck to be me the last two days 'cuz i kept getting 'comp' passes to the various hospitality tents n' events...

...may have rained like a bitch but the "bike gods" smiled down on bgw...& this is a very grateful bgw...

Anonymous said...

So glad to have you back... I almost pissed my self.. thanks

innerlighter said...

BGW,
Nice. I'd have taken those chances myself. Good on ya!
And I wouldn't say I'm a better man, just a colder one!

In addition to the riders, I have one hell of a lot of appreciation for the crew who keep this show on the road!

Note to all; remember to take time out for thanking any "behind the scenes" people you see at your local events, big and small. They'll really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Hey Ganesh boy. My aunt Edna called and she wants her Fucking glasses back.

bikesgonewild said...

...innerlighter...lotta folks are probably saying, "ya sure, so big deal, it's raining in california" & not realizing just how cold the rain has been...even when yer dressed for it...

...i say listen to what the riders have to say...even the hard men are complaining...when jens voight says the conditions are "shite", well, there ya go...

...& ya...i totally respect what yer saying about passing on thanks to the folks who do the movin', liftin' & packin' it up...i've made a habit of that over the years but i gotta say other than fist bumping a santa rosa cop on sunday, i was chilly enough to forget my manners for the most part...

bikesgonewild said...

...wasn't ganesha, babar's cousin ???...the one w/ the "god complex" ???...

Wes said...

Introduce the owner of this http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/2009/feb/2/JeffHogue.htm to the owner of the Seven. Topic: A longer stem is preferable to a longer headtube. Discuss.

Great post Snobby.

Wes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

That was a nice interview. I am confident that the absurdity will be developed appropriately. Expected roll out Q4 2011.

Anonymous said...

AYHCSMB

Francis Xavier Holden said...

I'm impressed that a white American can speak enough english to interview an English person.

noreaster said...

bgw - yes, rain sucks, but you do realize that you are saying to a largely northeastern audience, who are commuting in february, that they don't realize how bad the FORTY SEVEN degree weather is, don't you? i just went down on a pile of salt, you know, the stuff they use to cover up the frozen stuff with.

and snobbie, i agree with you about 99% of the time, especially when it comes to annoying hipster fixter kids, but i think you mislabel them as weather woosies. on my commute from park slope, which i believe to not be far from your own, days like today, not terrible, but below freezing, the re is a trickle of cyclists until you cross delancey, and then it's a flood, the majority of which are pistaized, or iro'd

Anonymous said...

I found Lance's frame...seller is asking a lot here.

http://southjersey.craigslist.org/bik/1034837567.html

Anonymous said...

Wait, isnt that Prolly's Buggles Buddy (buggy bumpers)in the video?

Skid Mark PDX said...

You are going to piss a lot of people off if you continue to bash body modification. People have been doing it since the beginning of time. Get used to it.

It's one thing to poke fun at a badly rendered tattoo, but quite another to say that it is stupid to tattoo, pierce, or scarify your body.

My shins look like a deliberate scarification project, but it is from years of contact with Shimano DX pedals. I'm sure there's plenty of other modified folks out there with similar scars, and worse ones from the same injuries that you plainskins receive while riding.

smartypants said...

frilly - (irony alert) you promised that if I showed you those pics you'd never talk about them online!

skid 11:41: plainskins? Isn't that what furries call normal people?

bikesgonewild said...

...salt encrusted noreaster...yep, you do deserve props for commuting in the cold stuff, no doubt...but salt ???...that's for seasoning food, no ???...like california cuisine...sheesh...

...& while organizers don't "plan to" race bikes in it, you guys do have various forms of the activity known as skiing...

...i can honestly say i've been more uncomfortable riding my cross bike in the hills in the cold rain out here (warm rain's a different story) than i ever felt skiing in canada, as a kid...
...damp cold seems to penetrate everything...

...& i emphasize "plan to" because after receiving an e-mail from a friend in socal who is snowed in at their mountain cabin, i asked about the palomar climb on the last stage of the 'atoc'...
...his diagnosis is that while the road itself is usually clear, if it's snowing on top on sunday, then they'll come riding up in the rain 'til the snow line is reached...& it's apparently notoriously windy & blustery up there...

...should be an interesting finale no matter how it plays out...

BikeSnobNYC said...

Skid Mark PDX,

What's the difference between poking fun at a badly-rendered tattoo and poking fun at a badly-rendered cutting?

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

AAAAAAAHHHHHHH! never surrender by Blitz... an oi band i never thought would get coopted. what next, a fucking Nissan commercial with foot ball hooligans?

Skid Mark PDX said...

It was the last line that kinda pissed me off. I am a "real" rider, if riding some bike every day still qualifies you. I've also scarred myself both deliberately by my or someone else's hand, and accidentally with my bike, and with power tools making bikes.

Rereading the whole thing I realize now that I was over-reacting a little, you've been sarcastic but respectful, as usual.

hillier99 said...

100!

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