Premium Tweed: Urban(e) Cycling

Hey duders! Are you psyched for the 2012 release of the studio feature film movie picture "Premium Rush?" Do you feel validated now that the veneer of your subculture has been hastily applied with a thin layer of literary wheatpaste over a formulaic plot that was first conceived by a bunch of studio-owned monkeys with typewriters back in the 1930s? Are you stoked, pumped, hyped, primed and ready for the mental "hand release" that comes from stunt-tastic action like this?

Unfortuantely, even today, the Hollywood studio system is still a lumbering behemoth that requires thousands of people, millions of dollars and multiple years in order to package a pop-cultural phenomenon for sale and bring it to the big screen. Meanwhile, our pop culture is changing faster than ever before, thanks to the Internet, and smartphones, and corporate radioactive electronic penguin trend-spotting-and-street-marketing teams. This means that, by the time that big multi-million dollar movie reaches one of the few movie theaters still in business, the trend it's built on is already hopelessly outdated. In fact, pop culture moves so quickly that you can walk into a movie dressed at the height of style, and by the time you walk out your wardrobe will be retro-chic.

It's no surprise then that the "fixie" thing actually went out of style while they were filming "Premium Rush," which is why if you watch the trailer carefully you'll see that the protagonist abandons his "fixie" for a trials bike about halfway through:

(So over "fixies" duder, slammed seats and disc brakes FTW.)

I thought he liked to ride. Fixed-gear. No brakes. Now I feel alienated and betrayed by a corporate entity I once believed embraced me and my way of life. I'm totally throwing away the "Premium Rush" tie-in fixed-gear cog that came in my Happy Meal now. If you need me, I'll be in my room sobbing and playing video games.

Given the state of affairs, it's no wonder so many of our nation's youth (and by "youth" I mean 30-somethings, since 30 is the new 12) turn to drugs. In the 1980s, the "crack epidemic" and it's throbbing hip-hop soundtrack was supposed to be ruining our neighborhoods and destroying our cities. Now, crack and hip-hop are positively quaint (hence the popular breakfast cereal, "Crack 'N Rap"), and the new scourge is apparently "jam bands" and "whip-its," a potent combination which appears to be bringing Williamsburg, Brooklyn to its designer denim-clad knees:

Yes, this past weekend, mobs of Hacky Sack-punting frat boys took to the streets of Sub-Canada's most trendiest neighborhood, sucking on balloons like ticks on a dog:

"Concertgoers turned the northside of Williamsburg into an open-air 'drug orgy' after Saturday night’s performance by Widespread Panic, wantonly consuming nitrous oxide from balloons in the streets around East River State Park."

Here is shocking video of the incident:

Needless to say, local residents were appalled--not so much by the drug use, but by the lack of fashion sense. No sight is more offensive to the typical NĂ¼-Williamsburger than the dreaded long-sleeve-under-a-polo-shirt combo. "There were backwards SUNY Stony Brook caps and men with tribal ankle band tattoos everywhere," cried one witness. "It was horrible."

Still, it's only natural that this sort of urban conflict should arise, since "more people live in cities than ever before." Did you know that most of New York City was still farmland until 1979? It's true! So what's the answer? How do we convince neighbor to respect neighbor in these newfangled "city" things? Well, the answer's as obvious as the nitrous oxide-filled balloon on a frat boy's face: Have a t-shirt contest!

Take to the city streets. Visit bike hangouts. Research the history of urban cycling. Look at how bikes are reshaping your own city, from the social and economical impact to music, design, photography, and street art.

Actually, that's exactly what Sony Pictures did, and the result was "Premium Rush." Still, I decided to submit my own entry anyway. To that end, I took to the city streets. I visited bike hangouts. I identified urban cyclists I thought were cool, and I followed them into bars and smelled them when they weren't looking. (They smelled bad.) Then, once I'd finished my research, I "curated" a t-shirt design that I feel encapsulates both what it means to ride a bicycle in an urban environment, and the manner in which cycling has transformed the cityscape. Here is that design:

I plan to donate my winnings to my charitable foundation, S.N.O.B., which is the "Society for Nitrous Oxide (a)Buse."

Of course, if you really want to be on the cutting edge of urban cycling, you have to travel back in time, since the hottest thing in on-the-bike lifestyle fashion right now (both literally and figuratively) is tweed. In fact, tweed rides are becoming so popular that the sequel to "Premium Rush" will probably be a tweed-themed cycling movie called "Premium Rash." (I don't want to give anything away, but the title has to do with the condition of Joseph Gordon Levitt's "taint" after cycling in tweed all day long.) Not only that, but I've just received a "pressing release" informing me that there will be a "Tweed Run" in New York City on October 15th:

The Tweed Run is an event that sees cyclists of all ages dressed in timeless period attire and pedalling their way through a modern metropolis to raise money for a good cause. The route includes our famous Tea Break, a halfway stop where participants are served pots of tea and cucumber sandwiches. Sponsors of the event include Rugby Ralph Lauren, bicycle manufacturers and outfitters Pashley Cycles and Brooks England, traditional barbershop chain Murdock and Jeeves and Jericho: The Jolly Good Tea Company.

Whereas common sense might dictate that all you have to do is show up and ride, apparently you actually have to register. I'm not sure how they're going to enforce that, but presumably anybody spotted riding a bicycle in the greater New York City metropolitan during that time in a wardrobe that harkens back to any time period prior to 1950 will be fined. Also, keep in mind there are rigorous style guidelines:

Proper attire will of course be expected, so dapper gents and elegant ladies should prepare their best outfits. Suggested attire includes: woollen plus fours, Harris Tweed jackets, flat caps, Fair Isle jumpers, alpaca coats, merino wool team jerseys, cycling skirts and perhaps a jaunty cape for the ladies, cravats or ties for gentlemen.

I don't know what any of those things are, but I'm reasonably certain that my closet contains none of them--except for a tie, but if I put that on it means that somebody died. I'll just take these instructions to mean that you should show up looking like Mr. Peanut's British cousin who never married--or, if you're a woman, like Mr. Peanut's British cousin's close friend who can't understand why he always takes her to parties but never makes a pass at her.

Lastly, from tweet to tarps, I've received another "Message from Occupied Wall Street," and it had this to say:

On September 18th, 2011, we were awoken by police bullhorns around seven in the morning, they objected to us protecting ourselves from the rain. They told us that the tarps suspended above us had to be taken down. We held a General Assembly to determine how to respond. We decided that we would hold the tarps over ourselves and our possessions. The police ripped the plastic away from us. We then scrambled to protect our possessions, primarily the media equipment streaming our occupation to the world. The police were also mostly interested in our cameras, it seems like they don't want you watching us.

Before we say more about what happened to us it seems important to point this out: we do not think the police are our enemy. They have jobs, how could we fault them for that, when one sixth of America lives in poverty? when one sixth of America can't find work? The police are part of the 99 per cent.

The police informed us that the tarps over our equipment counted as a tent, and were therefore illegal. We objected to this interpretation of the law. One of us sat on top of the tarp to keep the police from extralegally removing our possessions. This is what happened next - it is graphic:

Maybe the protesters should switch from orange hippie hats to tweed. If they had then "Tarpgate" might have been averted. Nobody would harass a bunch of people dressed like Mr. Chips standing around nibbling cucumber sandwiches.

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