Tuesday, 6 October 2009

In the Fold: Small Bikes and Fancy Pants

If you recall, last week I mentioned that closet triathlete David Duchovny flicked a cigarette in a cycling Peter Gallagher's face, causing him to fly eyebrows first right into a flower box. Well, it seems this isn't the first time Duchovny has wronged a cyclist. In fact, a reader recently unearthed evidence that Duchovny may have a shady past as a Sacramento bike thief:

Interestingly, this incident took place in 2002, just as the "X-Files" TV series was winding down. Clearly, Duchovny, fearing for his livelihood, had taken to stealing bikes out of desperation. Of course, his starring role in "Californication" has now rendered bike thievery both risky and unnecessary. However, this does not mean he hasn't acquired a taste for it, and while he may no longer get his own hands dirty (at least not by stealing bikes) he could very well still be orchestrating bike thefts in Sacramento from behind the scenes. This certainly casts a new light on the theft of Lance Armstrong's time trial bike at the Tour of California earlier this year, which was supposedly committed by this guy, Lee Monroe Crider:

Given Duchovny's shady past and triathletic tendencies, it's entirely possible that Crider was acting under Duchovny's orders, and that Duchovny coveted the state-of-the-art bicycle for his own twisted swimming, biking, and running purposes.

Incidentally, according to the Sacramento Bee article, the police were able to nab Crider in part due to his inappropriate mountain bike "curation:"

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I'm impressed that the Sacramento police know enough about bicycles to tell road components from mountain components, or indeed to tell a road bike from a mountain bike. On the other hand, it is every cyclists' inalienable ("inalienable" is legal-pretentious for "bulletproof") right to curate his or her bike in any manner he or she chooses, and simply putting road components on a mountain bike should not automatically mark someone as a criminal. Frankly, I don't want to live in a world where someone like this cannot roam the boardwalk unmolested (even if the only real road components are the decals):

(via Kale)

Speaking of molestation, fixed-gear bicycles that have not been victims of molestation are now selling at a premium on Craigslist:

It's obviously very important to the seller that the bike retains its value even after he parts with it, which is why he will not accept any "low balls." Once a rider's testicles graze the top tube the bicycle is no longer unmolested, and the price drops quicker than David Duchovny drops his pants in the transition area.

Also, speaking of putting inappropriate components on mountain bikes, fewer components are less appropriate than a motor:

Apparently, Optibike designer Jim Turner is betting that beefy bottom brackets are already passé and that Motorized Bottom Brackets are the wave of the future:

The battery only gets between 50 minutes and 2.25 hours on a charge, and the bicycle weighs almost 60 pounds, which means that it should be quite pleasurable to ride or push when the battery dies 15 miles from the trailhead. However, the reviewer is still impressed, and also thinks that this bicycle might be a suitable substitute for a car:

Yes, by 2011 I'm sure millions of people will have switched from automobiles to electric mountain bikes. Still, he makes a good point: Bikes can indeed go places cars can't. One of these places is trees. A reader has forwarded me the following photo from the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, which indicates that the "Hipster High-Lock" may now be going rustic (or at least urban quasi-rustic):

And here's another shot via another reader which proves that's not an isolated example:

But when it comes to bikes that can go places other things can't, few do so better than Brompton folding bikes--at least if you fold them up and carry them. Sadly, the same is not true for professional cyclists who get in trouble for cheating, since they generally only go to one place, which is the Land of Obscurity. Such was the case for three-time Vuelta a España winner Roberto Heras, though fortunately for him there was a Brompton waiting for him when he got there, and a number of readers have informed me that he is now the Brompton World Champion:

With this victory, Heras has officially crossed the line that separates sandbagging from self-degradation, and I could not help feeling sorry for runner-up Michael Hutchinson, who felt "gutted:"

However, such is the harsh reality of novelty racing, and as a world-class Brompton racer Hutchinson should know very well the consequences of folding.

Meanwhile, disgraced former pro Roberto Heras may be winning novelty races, but revered current pro Jens Voigt is losing them. I was visiting the exclamation point-laden Trackosaurusrex blog recently where I found this video of Voigt losing a race to a guy on what appears to be an old Swiss military bike:

Here is Voigt before the race talking to the host, who's dressed like some sort of disco steamboat captain:

And here he is getting nipped on the line:

I'm not sure how Voigt managed to lose this race, though it's always possible he made a poor wheel choice. Perhaps he should have visited Bonktown, where a reader recently spotted these crabon track "spinners" for sale at a substantial discount:

"Drop a Reynolds bomb on the street or at the 'drome," suggests the copy, which indicates these wheels follow the current exploding wheel trend. Not only that, but they are "Perfect for that sick Schwinn Varsity conversion." Excited, I proceeded to Bonktown in order to purchase a pair for my Scattante, but sadly the offer had expired and they were now selling a wheel bag instead:

Having missed out on the wheels, I had no use for a wheel bag, but I still enjoyed the copy tremendously:

"You roll up to the track and the crowd hushes over your ride's massive plague-like sickness," it explained. "Then you bust out your Cutter Velodrome Wheel Bag..." Now that's how you write marketing copy. After all, what rider hasn't fantasized about arriving at the velodrome and busting out his bag? Furthermore, like any good bag, this one "holds both your high-end wheels in a loving, padded embrace, separating them from each other..." This is truly scrotal, and Rapha should have used similar language for its $210 trousers. Instead, the description is fairly pedestrian:

If anything, Rapha should have explained that these pants hold your male componentry "in a loving, padded embrace" and that, unlike the seller of the unmolested bike, they will comfortably accommodate "low balls." Also, it says the pants are for the "urban rider," but the model is clearly crouching in the countryside above a pile of rocks:

This is less evocative of a crotchal caress than it is of the painful passing of petrified droppings:

I think it's safe to say most riders prefer a "loving, padded embrace" to a cold visit to Dunghenge.

However, if you're still considering purchasing a $210 pair of pants, keep in mind that you may not be making a very good investment. Then again, according to this article which was forwarded to me by a reader, a bicycle may not be a very good investment either:

I guess this is supposed to mean that your $250 bicycle will somehow wind up costing you $632,408 in 40 years, though I'm not sure comparing a bicycle to a lavish dinner makes much sense. You can always resell a bicycle, though the market for regurgitated or excreted dinners is very small (despite the Rapha pants model's apparent interest). Just make sure your bicycle doesn't get molested, and you should make out just fine.


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