Hardcore Luxury: It Ain't Easy Being Douchey

This past weekend I engaged in some routine bicycle component installation. Despite being almost moronically simple, the component I installed came with a manual, and while I've changed the name of both the component and the manufacturer, here's what it said:

Congratulations! You have just purchased the best bicycle component available. To ensure the best performance and longest service life from your bicycle component, please read carefully and follow these installation instructions.


All Awesome Manufacturer bicycle components should be installed by a qualified bicycle mechanic. The Awesome Manufacturer assumes no liability for products which are improperly installed.


Failure to follow these instructions can result in bicycle component failure. Bicycle component failure can lead to loss of control of the bicycle and result in serious personal injury or death.


Inspect for dents, bends, deep scratches or gouges before each ride. Replace any deeply scratched or gouged bicycle components immediately. Destroy any bicycle component you replace for safety reasons.

And so forth.

Reading this, I realized that for years I have been alarmingly casual in my approach to bicycle maintenance, and that in flouting recommended installation procedures I have been flirting with serious personal injury or death. Perhaps most egregiously, I have been baiting fate and misfortune by not immediately destroying any bicycle components I replace. Previously, I had thought that the proper method for disposing of used bicycle parts was to put them on Craigslist or eBay, but it turns out I should actually treat them like unexploded IEDs and obliterate them "Hurt Locker"-style. So, subsequent to this revelation, I loaded the Big Dummy full of skipping cassettes, marginal brake pads, used cable housing, and other detritus of the bike dork, headed into the desert, and did as the manual specified:

While people in the area (at least those who survived) may suffer after-effects from the nuclear fallout for generations, at least nobody will inadvertently find and install my slightly scratched seatpost--which could fail catastrophically, leading to serious personal injury, death, or, worst of all, unwanted and humiliating posterior penetration and violation.

In any case, now rid of my dangerous componentry but emitting an eerie yet soothingly etherial glow, I returned to Brooklyn and resolved to begin life anew. (Having been irradiated, I am now even more toxic to others than usual, and so my doctor recommends I avoid human contact for the next 75-100 years.) Until effete clothiers Outlier and Rapha finish their collaboration on my bespoke lead cycling bodysuit and I can once again enjoy the companionship of others and pet puppies and kittens without melting them, I must dwell in solitude. This, of course, will require suitable quarters, so inquired about taking up residence in one of those condos I mentioned on Thursday:

("The poor people look so harmless from up here.")

Alas, not only do I lack the means ("means" is pretentious for money) to gain access to this rarefied lifestyle, but I also totally flunked the cognac appreciation test. Also, even if I could live there, the building does not have an on-site apiary, and since beekeeping is like totally the new fixed-gear I balked at the notion of living someplace so hopelessly unhip. Fortunately, the same local news station on which I saw the commercial for the above apartments is now airing a commercial for "The Edge" in Williamsburg, where apparently you can live in "hardcore luxury:"

"Hardcore luxury? What exciting new form of douchery is this?" I asked myself eagerly as I sweetened my morning cup of artisanal tea with honey from the apiary I keep in my linen closet. Donning the oven mitts I must now wear so that I will not melt my keyboard, I visited the website for the "Edge," where I learned that "hardcore luxury" involves keeping your art books in a series of austere and asymmetrical cubbies:

It's both thrilling and inspiring to see how nuanced "douchery" has become. If all you share in common with the cognac-sniffing, vest-wearing, terrier-owning set is a surfeit of disposable income and an urgency to divest yourself of it, and if you spent your last $7,000 on a set of designer sleeve tattoos instead of paying the lease inception costs on a Range Rover, then the Edge is the perfect place to hang both your rabbit hair fedora and your designer ax(e) (and of course your urban rucksack in which to carry it all).

But before you can move into a place like the Edge and experience the sublime paradox of "hardcore luxury," you must undergo a "douche-morphosis" and attain the state known as "douche-gnosis." In the meantime, you must live among the "hipster hylicoi," thos unfortunates who patronize the faux-dive bars, share overpriced rental apartments, and ply the streets aboard their "fixies," hoping for enlightenment. Of these, some will choose the path of the film production assistant, or "PA," in their pursuit of glory.

PAs are like bike messengers, only with a career path, and they tend to have Leatherman multi-tools on their waists in addition to the standard-issue key carabiner. They can be found on pretty much every corner in New York City telling you to wait while some film crew finishes filming some crappy scene for some crappy movie or TV show. One such movie currently in production is the messenger-themed feature "Premium Rush"--and, as it happens, a PA was recently Mark Renshawed while doing his job on the set:

I understand the indignities of this vocation, and I do empathize with the victim. However, I also know how bothersome it is to be constantly routed by PAs, since that's what life in New York City has become. If you've never experienced this, just think of how annoying it is when you're watching TV with someone and they insist on watching some really bad show or movie. Now imagine getting trapped in that same show or movie in real life on your way to the store. Not only is it inconvenient, but it's also deeply offensive, because you realize on some level you're actually helping people make a really bad show or movie that you could very well be forced to sit through again later. Really, the job of the PA is to say, "Please don't disturb us while we produce garbage for you." It's like being made to wait while someone relieves himself on your floor.

Her is an actual "Premium Rush" PA in action:

Notice how a single hipster faux-billy halts pedestrians going about their business like Midtown Manhattan is his slovenly living room and they're about to step on the friend who's "crashing" on his floor:

Indeed, so acrimonious have PA/civilian relations become that the head-butter is now being hailed as a hero:

"'He should get a community-service award,' declared Bonita Bradley, 33, a musician."

Apparently, Ms. Bradley completely missed the irony that musicians are vastly more annoying than PAs, as anybody who's been trapped in a subway train with a practicing vocalist wearing headphones or with some guy wielding an imitation Stratocaster and a Pignose amp can certainly tell you.

Of course, one person emphatically not being hailed as a hero is the cyclist who hit an older woman in Central Park and then fled the scene:

This has naturally kindled a predictable flame war, and while people will once again indict all cyclists, this is clearly the work of once of the saddest cyclists in all of cycledom: the New York City "traditional Fred." The giveaway is that he was wearing "full racing gear" in Central Park at 10:30am on Saturday, despite the fact that there was an actual race nearby that very morning, and that the open roads of the "country" beckoned just a few miles north over the George Washington Bridge:

Despite the abundance of convenient places to ride road bicycles very fast, for some reason the New York City "traditional Fred" (as well as the New York City triathlete) prefers to ride his or her crabon wonderbike in in the middle of the day on a weekend in one of the biggest and most crowded tourist attractions in the United States. (Yes, in the non-"hipster" cycling world, 10:30am is the middle of the day.) Admittedly, this is sometimes necessary, since he first needs to pick up his bicycle from the shop, where he dropped it off to have the chain lubed. This leaves little time left to ride. Also, while their park antics are annoying and sometimes dangerous, it's really more sad than anything--it's like going to a buffet and only eating the condiments, or like masturbating outside of a whorehouse.

As for those cyclists who sleep well past 10:30 and don't actually start riding until sundown, they'll be pleased to know that the "superfluous tool" trend and the "bike-mounted bottle opener" trend have met head-on in the form of the "Road Popper," which I saw on fixed-gear freestyle impresario and streetwear enthusiast Prolly's blog:

For some reason, this item costs $40:

Now that's "hardcore luxury."

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