Sexy Beast: Everyone's a Rock Star

As you may know, three-time Tour de France winner, LeWedge magnate, and luxurious log home owner (I saw it on the Travel Channel) Greg LeMond is currently encasseroled (I prefer "encassaroled" to "embroiled") in a lawsuit with The Great Trek Bicycle Making Company, makers of fine Tour de France-winning crabon fribé bicycles. Recently, this legal casserole received an infusion of Hamburger Helper when the two sides appeared before a U.S. District Court. Interestingly, of all papers the New York Daily News has decided to report on the trial in depth, which is sort of like the drunk guy at the party suddenly attempting to speak lucidly on the subject of global warming and almost making a reasonable go of it apart from the fact that he's wearing his pants on his head.

At any rate, LeMond says Trek sabotaged his bike brand when he started criticizing Lance Armstrong, and Trek says LeMond sabotaged his own brand when he started criticizing Lance Armstrong. While I'm not particularly interested in pointing fingerbangs at either side, I do think in at least one sense LeMond may be entering territory which is not exactly country for old men. As the Daily News reports, an integral part of LeMond's argument is the poor sales of his bikes in France--despite the fact that supporters claim he enjoys "rock star" status there:

In fact, they say it again here:

Now, LeMond may be able to rip a bong like an impatient ten year-old rips open a Hanukkah present, but even his supporters should realize that calling him a "rock star" can only damage his credibility. Traditionally, calling someone a "rock star" implies that someone is as reckless as he is famous, and that he can do whatever he wants without paying heed to either decency or the law, since he simply deflects any consequences by employing a combination of money and charisma. If anything, that's what LeMond is trying to say Lance Armstrong is doing, so calling LeMond a rock star essentially obviates his argument. On the other hand, though, it's true that the expression "rock star" has been devalued in recent years in the same way that the word "epic" has been, to the point that you'll now regularly hear things like, "Dude, you can floss your teeth one-handed? That's epic. You're a total rock star." So in that sense, while it may not contradict LeMond's argument, it does render it meaningless. (A guy who can floss his teeth with only one hand really shouldn't expect to rack up more than $10,383 in French sales over a six-year period.) Finally, what constitutes a "rock star" differs drastically from country to country. I entered the term "French rock star" into a popular search engine and the first things I found were a guy who beat his girlfriend to death, and also this, which is nearly as bad. I should also point out that Greg LeMond's name never came up.

Still, everyone wants to be "rock star" in one way or another, especially so-called "hipsters." Actually, the essence of the "hipster" lifestyle is doing everything that real rock stars do except for actually being creative and having talent. Sleeping in, dressing up, getting sleeve tattoos, drinking heavily, doing drugs, making videos, and keeping your followers abreast of the minutiae of your day are all a lot easier when you don't actually have to produce anything. This is not to say it's completely effortless, though. Maintaining your image can be a full-time job, as can staying abreast of the trends, which you can see in this video which was forwarded to me by a reader:

While the above is only a dramatic reenactment, there is little doubt that cyclocross has entered the consciousness of the trendy cyclist. Really, any form of cycling of which there are pictures from the 1970s containing people in hairnets, wool jerseys, and sideburns is going to capture the trendy imagination. ("Hipsters" don't like mountain bikes because the discipline was not yet fully formed aesthetically in the '70s.) Right now we're in the phase where most "hipsters" will state their intention to try cyclocross, but won't actually do it, preferring instead to incorporate the word into existing forms of "hipster" cycling (such as in this "urban fixlocross" race, whatever the hell that means) or else to simply look at the bikes and pretend to understand them, just as they did with the word "track" five years ago. We're also on the cusp of the next phase, which is the "add a 'cross bike to your stable phase." The "hipster" cross bike slots in neatly between the track bike and the vintage road bike, and it's also completely tarred and feathered in a way that only a "hipster" can manage. Then, it's immediately put up for sale at a ridiculously high price, as you can see from this post which was forwarded to me by another reader:

52" '09 Bianchi Jose overhauled *new everything* - $1150 (Murray Hill)
Date: 2009-11-14, 7:19PM EST
Reply to: [deleted]

2009 bianchi san jose 52" complately overhauled, rides like butter. currently set as a fixie, with pedal cages and straps, but has a flip/flop rear hub and shimano freewheel currently detatched from bike. i have removed the front brake, but can easily be replaced. this bike is lighter than shit!!
upgrades include:
octogon 8 pedals, octogon 8 crank set, slightly chopped riser bars w custom grips, matching blue track tires, top bar camo pad, extremely light wieght comfortable bontrager inform RL saddle, kmc chain, front and rear easily removable frog lights (white/red) electric bell. also includes a free helmet assuming it fits you....

this bike is a joy to ride and the perfect light weight vehicle for navigating the mean streets of manhattan, brooklyn and beyond.

this will go fast so email me sooner than later..


There are few sadder sights on a bicycle than a pair of unused canti studs. Really, this person did to this bike what Mel Gibson did to Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ." I am "feeling" the "Octogon 8" pedals and crank, though. It's not as good as the "Nonagon 9" stuff, but it's a significant upgrade from that "Heptagon 7" crap.

Another sign of "hipster" cyclocross curiosity is increasing mention of it on sites like Trackosaurus and Prolly's blog. Speaking of the latter, I recently learned about this revolutionary new product there:

3wrencho from PDW on Vimeo.

Naturally, after they show that you can remove both an axle nut and a tire with this tool, they also show you that you can use it to open a beer:

Like any moody and insecure person, I enjoy consuming alcoholic beverages to assuage my angst, facilitate my social interaction, and enter into a pleasant state of intoxication. Even so, I'm not sure why cyclists--in particular "hipsters" and cyclocross racers--get so wildly excited about beer. "Team Beer;" beer hand-ups; beer hand-downs; PBR; references to PBR; waxing poetic about "craft ales;" incessant Belgian beer references; and so on. The way people act you'd think beer was something that was around only a few days a year, like cherry blossoms, as opposed to something you can buy and consume whenever you feel like it. (Sure, I suppose some fixed-gear riders are underage, but most of the people getting carried away about beer are like 35.) Again, I like beer, but I like toilet paper too--in fact, you often buy it in the same place you buy beer, and like beer you feel good after you use it--but you don't see people whooping about it and handing rolls of Marcal (the PBR of toilet paper) to people on run-ups.

The result, of course, is that every little novelty cycling accessory has to somehow incorporate a bottle opener--even though finding a way to open a beer is only slightly more difficult than obtaining one. The Surly Jethro Tool; the Pedro's Trixie; those Swobo saddles. At this point bottle openers are the "hipster" equivalent of "lawyer lips;" you're simply not legally allowed to sell a "hipster" cycling product without one. I can't help wondering if somewhere a straight-edge "hipster" is removing his with a file. Hopefully, at some point some enterprising company will finally buck the trend. I'm waiting for a multi-tool that includes a nail clipper.

In the meantime, new companies continue to form expressly to take hipsters' money the old fashioned way: by selling them candy-colored bikes without derailleurs. The latest is "Sexy Bicycles," of whom I learned from a number of readers lately, and who sell the usual array of cheap color-coordinated bikes:

Not only is "Sexy Bicycles" incapable of spelling their own model names properly on their limited-edition plaques:

But they also know nothing about cycling or bicycles at all:

Single speed cycling is not for all conditions. You wouldn’t want to be climbing Alp Duez with no gears although that being said pre 1900 the Tour De France was ridden on single speed bicycles (There was no such thing as gears ) so it is not impossible, you just have to put a bit more in.

Actually, gears have been around for a few thousand years, but the first Tour de France took place in 1903. As for Alp Duez, I think he may have been president of Egypt after Anwar El Sadat was assassinated; either that, or he once played bouzouki with the great Nobr Akes.

I guess this is just more gender bias in cycling, since clearly the people at "Sexy Bicycles" equate "sexy" with "stupid."

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