Paring Down and Pairing Up: It's Not the Size of Your Load, It's How You Portage It

In today's logo-happy, brand-worshipping, status-mongering world, it can be increasingly difficult to distinguish yourself as a successful person. Sure, it may feel good to deck your bike out with Dura Ace, but what happens when someone rolls up with electronic Dura Ace? That first class airplane seat may feel comfy, but it's a bird dropping-covered park bench compared to the luxury of a Gulfstream cabin. And what about that sweet Bentley you're parking in the bike lane? Enjoy it while you can, for your feelings of superiority will suddenly become pangs of inferiority when you're passed by a Bentley covered in "vintage" $10,000 bills and powered by an engine that runs on polar bear blood, baby's tears, and Dom Perignon champagne.

Clearly, material status is an arms race you can't win. So what do you do? Well, wealthy American douchebags are increasingly figuring out that the answer is to "flip the script" and try to have less crap than everyone else instead. After all, if you have enough money you don't really need anything, since luxury and fulfillment is always just a credit card swipe away. This new form of 21st century reverse opulence is called "minimalism," and it seems hardly a day goes by without the media fawning over some quazi-Zen "bizarro" P-Diddy. The latest one is some "entrepreneur" named Andrew Hyde, whose clame to faim is that he only owns 15 things:

Unless you're totally "Wednesday weeded" out, you probably noticed that he's easily got more than 15 things with him in the photo:

And that's not even counting the additional crap he's wearing on his actual body.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I listened to as much of the ABC News Radio interview with him that I could stomach, and I learned that like most minimalists he has something of a creative bent when it comes to counting stuff. For example, he counts his toiletry kit as one thing, regardless of how much stuff is actually in it. By the way, here's a picture of his toiletry kit:

It contains 1,500lbs of dental floss, a full living room set, and a Mini Cooper.

Of course, this is America (Canada's overstuffed toiletry kit), and if wealthy people want to douchefy couch-surfing in the same way they've douchefied fixies and axes and anything else with a veneer of "authenticity" then that's their Lob-given right. Still, I've been watching a lot of "Sesame Street" lately, and I think I've got a pretty good handle on this whole counting thing. If Big Bird is learning how to count with apples, and he has six of them, he just admits he has six apples. He doesn't try to rationalize having too many apples by saying, "Well, I always keep my apples in an artisanal canvas fruit sack, so I really just count all my apples as one thing." If Big Bird were to pull a stunt like that I'd full expect Cookie Monster to kick him square in the "pants yabbies." Someone should really hand this Andrew Hyde guy a sippy-cup and sit his ass down in front of a TV for a few hours so he can get reacquainted with simple arithmetic. Come back to me when you're wearing a burlap sack and you've got nothing but a begging bowl and maybe then I'll be impressed.

Still, we could all do with less crap, so in the spirit of minimalism I've officially reduced my total number of possessions to zero things. This was easier than it sounds. All I did was form a corporation called the BSNYC/RTMS Holding Company, transfer all my assets and possessions to that company, and assign ownership of that company to my helper monkey, Vito. Then, I simply leased all my stuff back from him at a rate of one cent per annum. Not only do I get to say I don't own anything, but my lifestyle also hasn't changed at all. Plus, the best part is that Vito assumes all my tax liability.

Speaking of acquiring possessions, I recently received a press release for a bold and exciting new shoe:

A cross over between a sneaker and a boat shoe, the Veja Mediterranée style features an organic cotton canvas and a wild Amazonian rubber vulcanised sole.

I've been looking for a new "fixie"-riding shoe and a "collabo" between a sneaker and a boat shoe sounds like just the thing I need. I figure a shoe designed to keep me planted to the deck during a squall should me more than sufficient to help me maintain traction during my elephant trunk skidz. The fact that it also has a "wild Amazonian rubber vulcanised sole" and a brand name that looks like it could be pronounced "veejay" is just a bonus, and I'm sure my Mediterranean Vajayjays will look great with my Levi's cycling clothes:

You've doubtless heard by now that Levi's has been working on a cycling-specific Canadian tuxedo, and a reader was kind enough to forward me this Coolhunting post--which, as he points out, is most noteworthy in that they clearly couldn't figure out the integrated u-lock holder:

In any case, it was only a matter of time before Levi's realized that people are so determined to ride racing bicycles slowly that they'd prefer to buy specially-cut street clothes rather than just simply ride more comfortable city bikes, and that people like this need more wardrobe options:

(Serotta owner commuting to dental school.)

Either that, or they've not only figured it out but have since bought Dutch bikes and become so smug about it that they need to form clubs, as in this Craigslist post forwarded by another reader:

Calling all Batavus riders! (have Dutch bike, will travel....)
Date: 2011-05-01, 8:23AM EDT
Reply to: [Deleted]

Calling all Batavus riders! (have Dutch bike, will travel....)

Do you feel special as you pass other cyclists, perched extra-high and confident in the feeling that the stability and presence of your Dutch beauty provides a certain security -- from potential vehicle side-swipes and other cyclists on regular, mundane bikes -- that is only afforded us Batavus riders? Of course you do - and such elitism deserves celebration!

Which is why 'Batavus Uber Alles Toronto' wants you! BUAT needs you!

Check us out on Facebook:

Hope to see you soon!

If this is a Dutch bike club I'm not sure why its name is in German, but then again I'm not Canadian and as such I have a hard time comprehending subtlety and nuance.

Meanwhile, there's nothing subtle about riding the Five Boro Bike Tour on a bicycle without a saddle or seatpost, as photographed by yet another reader:

I'm not sure what kind of bike that is--maybe it's a Softride and someone made off with his crabon fiber beam.

By the way, as the World's Largest Fred Ride, the Five Boro Bike Tour has predictably generated innumerable "Missed Connection" posts, like this one:

Banana Girl in the 5 Boro Bike Tour - m4w (Brooklyn)
Date: 2011-05-01, 7:33PM EDT

You were doling out bananas at the Flushing rest area for the 5 Boro Bike Tour earlier today. I'm almost certain you noticed me looking at you. However, I was with a friend and you were on the job - so I couldn't quite screw up the courage to talk to you. You have dirty blond hair and striking, blue-gray eyes. I have a moustache, for my own part.

I'd really like to see you again. Drinks? Please get in touch if you see this.

As a bad pun enthusiast I liked the part about "doling out bananas:"

But I especially like that he says he has "a moustache, for my own part." He doesn't say which part, but I think we can infer that when he says he has a mustache for his "part" he means his pubic hair is groomed in this fashion:

I hear all the hipsters are sporting pubic mustaches now, since there's no kind of mustache more ironic than that. In fact, it's probably good enough to get you on TV, judging from this casting call forwarded by yet another reader:

HBO's How To Make It In America looking for featured Hipsters (Manhattan and Brooklyn)
Date: 2011-04-30, 1:48AM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

Roman Candle Casting is seeking people to portray hipsters on the HBO show "How To Make It In America" starring Brian Greenberg, Victor Rasuk, Lake Bell, and Kid Cudi. So have you ever been called a hipster? Deny being one but own various wardrobe and sport a hairstyle that is considered non-mainstream.? Got any cool tattoos? Have a awesome beard or ironic mustache.? Have some cool vintage dresses? Did you make it to the LCD Soundsystem farewell show or desperately wanted to? If any of these things pertain to you, you're probably just right for the show. Basically we are looking for some cool interesting types to feature on the episode. Looking for model types too.

When submitting please include some candid pictures along with the best phone # to reach you. Also include your availability next week. We are shooting 5/3, 5/4, 5/5, and 5/8. All scenes are specific so if we think you are right for the project we would place you accordingly. We will be shooting in Bushwick and the Lower East Side of Manhattan. If these dates don't work for you there will be other opportunities throughout the season so feel free to submit.

Just don't show up on a track bike, because fixies are totally "out," and Danish sperm bank bikes are totally "in:"

Now that's what I call "load portaging." Too bad he doesn't have a matching sperm-shaped aero helmet. Sure, helmets aren't "cycle chic," but for that I think we can make an exception.

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