Burning the Fat: Fueled by Fatuousness

Like a child on Christmas morning, I awake each day expecting to find something exciting from Interbike. However, like a Jewish child on Christmas morning, I awake saddened to find nothing. Granted, it's early yet, but so far I visit sites like VeloNews and Cyclingnews to see what's "dropped" only to to find that the life-changing cycling products I crave remain undescended like a newborn's testes. Instead, it seems like Interbike simply takes place year after year so that we can bear witness to the gradual crabonification of all things cycling:

Crabonification is the bicycle equivalent of osteoporosis, in that it simply involves everything getting less dense and more brittle over time. With road cycling having reached near-total crabonification years ago, it's only natural that the frame-wasting disease is now afflicting cyclocross. Certainly, I acknowledge this is necessary for cycling's growth, since when the cyclocross-curious roadie asks the inevitable question, "Is there carbon I can buy?," the answer must be "Yes!" Alas, despite the visibility of the urban cycling trend, it's still roadies and triathletes who are willing to spend the most money, and in order to convince them that things like cyclocross bikes are essential additions to their "stables" it's crucial to make them available in crabon form. In this sense, crabon legitimizes a bicycle in the same way Snell or ANSI legitimizes a helmet, or UL legitimizes an appliance, or a set of knuckle tattoos legitimizes a hipster.

Also, people are still making a fuss over 29ers:

If you're wondering which wheel size works, the answer of course is: "All of them, provided they are round." Until someone tries to market a square, rectangular, or rhomboid offroad wheelset there's really not that much over which to deliberate. Sure, different sized wheels perform differently, but it's really not all that complicated. If you find yourself pondering the differences between 26-inch and 29-inch wheels, the main thing to remember is that the 29-inch wheels are bigger. The whole argument's totally moot anyway (that's "moot" and not "Moots"--a "Moots" argument is incredibly expensive but has "meticulous welds") since I just returned from the SSWC (which of course represents the vanguard of mountain bike fashion) and it's obvious that the future of offroad cycling is the 36er:

At this rate, if wheel size continues to increase unchecked, mountain bike riders will look like cartoon characters getting flattened between two rollers, or like they're drowning in a giant knobby cleavage.

Meanwhile, it seems as though some are betting that electric bikes will be the next big thing. Awhile ago Cyclingnews reported from Trek World that "electric-assisted bikes are now the most popular type of commuter in Holland and they're hoping the trend will catch on in the US." And as any self-righteous commuter worth his blazer, leather satchel, freight elevator, and giant loft knows, when it comes to city bikes the Dutch can do no wrong. However, Trek had better crank up the wattage, because it seems that Sanyo's "dropping" an electric bike in the US too:

I believe the last Sanyo product I used came with a dual cassette, so I wonder if this bicycle also features auto reverse. Frankly, I'm wary of electric bikes, if only because I feel that, on the whole, Americans have not earned the right to use them. The point of the electric bike is that it allows people to maintain their effortless, sweat-free lifestyles, and if anything I believe Americans should be forced to work harder and sweat more. Worse, we continue to delude ourselves. Dunkin' Donuts's slogan is "America Runs on Dunkin'." This is ridiculous. The truth is that America isn't running anywhere--if anything, America sits on its collective "scranus" and gets fat on Dunkin'. The problem with commuting by bicycle isn't that it's too strenuous; it's that it's too dangerous. Straining makes you healthy. Danger kills you.

Still, it very well could be that the future of cycling is electrically-assisted. Perhaps that's why Radio Shack has gotten involved in the sport. It could be that a new Tandy commuter is in the works, and it could also be that it will be powered by a revolutionary new resource. Recently, I was checking out Lance Armstrong's Twitter (checking out Lance Armstrong's Twitter is something most cyclists do whether they admit it or not--kind of like sniffing their own chamois) when I noticed that he had galvanized recalcitrant telephone service provider AT&T into action with a mere Tweet of his wrist:

So approximately 28 hours (or 1,680 minutes) after Tweeting his dissatisfaction, AT&T went from a state of total inertia to one of action. Furthermore, Lance Armstrong has approximately two million Twitter followers. This would support the hypothesis that there is a direct relationship between the number of one's Twitter followers and the force of a Tweet--in other words, a 2,000,000-follower Tweet can get AT&T moving in 28 hours. With 4,000,000 followers, perhaps it would have taken 14 hours, or with 1,000,000 followers maybe it would have taken 56 hours. In any case, a better mathematician than me could easily calculate the force exerted by each Twitter follower. (Perhaps there's even a relationship to the DFU.) So if Radio Shack could somehow manage to harness this then we could be on the cusp of using social networking as a renewable fuel resource. For example, the simple act of Ashton Kutcher Tweeting a morbidly fatuous question like "if some1 raped you when you were 13 then pimped you out would you kill them?" could potentially provide light and warmth to a small town. Sure, opponents will claim that the cultural pollution caused by incessant and vacuous Tweeting is even worse than the greenhouse gases caused by our current activities. However, as Al Gore will happily remind you, those glaciers are melting, and at least those poor drowning polar bears can't read.

For Radio Shack's sake, I hope this is what they have in mind, because it seems there's little future in actual radios:

While I personally think it's totally pointless to ban radios, I do admire the UCI for shrewdly deflecting attention from a problem that's arguably unsolvable (doping) and instead moving it to one that's easily extirpated (hiding radios.) It's kind of like finally coming to terms with the fact you're never going to learn how to speak Turkish and just deciding to walk around every day in a fez instead. Plus, there's the added bonus that banning radios doesn't involve handling more urine samples--unless of course riders start secreting them in their urethras.

In any case, the only thing that would be more revolutionary than a Twitter-powered bicycle would be a bicycle powered entirely by smarm, and now that Rock Racing is finally introducing its own line of bikes (to which I was alerted by a number of readers) it seems as though we may very well live to see this happen in our lifetimes:

Clearly, the technology behind a smarm-powered bike is vastly more complicated than even Twitter power:

“We wanted to have one fluid design from head to pavement, one collective Rock Racing attitude on the bike,” said Fedon. “We’ve applied wavelength theory and vibration analysis to create a lighter, stronger bike. The ride quality of our bikes are tuned in to the rider, merging technology and science to improve the cycling experience.”

Yes, in order to harness the "collective Rock Racing" attitude, engineers had to use "theory and vibration analysis," which I'm sure involved distilling the "ambiguous goo" of which Michael Ball consists to its very essence. Oh, and if you're wondering, the answer is: "Yes, there will be a Rock Racing fixie:"

The Rock Racing RX-1 and X-2 editions are full-on racing bicycles while the 4815 – so named because of its 48 x 15 gear cluster – is an all-round bike inspired by the exploding urban “fixie” trend.

Says Ball, a former track racer, “Just as BMX’s transformed cycling, fixies are going to be the next big alternative sport. They are making cycling fashionable with a whole new urban crowd and Rock Racing is excited to help fuel this growing trend.”

If the Republic/Urban Outfitters bike represents the hangover after the metaphorical drinking binge that was the fixed-gear trend, then certainly the Rock Racing fixed-gear is the ill-advised "hair of the dog." (That hair, of course, is impeccably styled using "ambiguous goo.") Really, my biggest reservation is the name, which is "4815" and alludes to the gear ratio. What happens if you want to change it? Will this simply mean that if you use a different gear combination the bicycle will be outside of its carefully-engineered "viscous comfort zone" yet still functional? Or does it actually rely on vertical dropouts and a "magic ratio" which cannot be altered?

Well, I guess there's no way of knowing without actually going to Interbike, or, failing that, gazing into a crystal ball, or, failing that, gazing into a fixed-gear-themed screensaver, which a reader informs me you can now purchase on eBay:

Actually, one of the screenways even features a bike with square wheels:

I wonder if they roll as well as a 29er. Actually, I'm pretty sure they don't--almost as sure as I am that these Republic bike cast-offs are not worth more than a quarter of what an entire Republic bike costs:

Track/Road bike parts (williamsburg, brooklyn)
Date: 2009-09-24, 1:09AM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

Republic Bike:
1 1/8" threadless Matte Black fork (straight blade)+1 1/8" Threadless headset - $60 - Will fit a 54cm bike and smaller.
Back brake system - Includes Lever/Caliper/Noodle/Pad - $15
Pics here of parts: http://www.republicbike.com/build.asp?product_category_id=1&product_id=1

Gold Handlebar 25.4mm - $20
1 1/8" Threadless 25.4mm, 90mm stem(black) - New - $20

Will sell headset separately if you want it.

Even if the fork is genuine hi-ten steel:

In fact, I'm as certain of it as I am that women between the ages of 22 and 25 love men in plaid. Consider this:

Plaid shirt at Rockwood Music Hall, Tuesday night - w4m - 25 (Lower East Side)
Date: 2009-09-23, 12:52AM EDT

I was alone watching the Novice Theory EP launch. Glasses, messenger bag, scowl. You were with a friend, wearing a red plaid shirt. You went outside after the show ended, when I hopped on my bike and rode away. I'd come from a movie in Brooklyn and was pretty beat so couldn't stretch to starting a conversation at midnight, but you were pretty hot. Reply if you see this and we can go see a movie or a show together?

And this:

You were tall, had a beard, and were wearing plaid - w4m - 22 (Graham Avenue, Greenpoint)
Date: 2009-09-23, 2:56PM EDT

Hi. We keep seeing each other around our block, Graham Avenue. I ran into you at Variety and I saw you at Legion and once at The Richardson. You're really tall, you have a nice beard and you are always wearing plaid shirts. You are exactly my type.. We've made eye contact a few times, but I'm usually too shy. You look like you probably like really great music like Wilco, TV On The Radio, or Death Cab For Cutie.

I have long brown hair with bangs, and big eyes, and I am usually riding my bike around Graham ave. I have a tattoo on my wrist.

If you think this is you, please write me back. Maybe I'll say hi to you finally this weekend at Legion.

I feel I very well may have glimpsed the future. It is clad in plaid and powered by Twitter.

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