Bombs Away! Sweet Surrender

Further to yesterday's post, which concerned (to put it prosaically) rich people with exotic bicycles who suck at riding them, I feel compelled to add sort of a postscript. It was not my intention to imply that we must all somehow live up to our possessions, since materially speaking the truth is that most of us have more than we need. Furthermore, it was also not my intention to imply that there is something wrong with having more than we need, because I don't really believe that, which is why I'm not one of those filthy minimalists.

Rather, I was simply considering the point at which having more than we need becomes ridiculous, and for me that point is when someone is not only unable to fully exploit his or her equipment but is actually baffled by it. This was more or less the case with the examples I cited yesterday, which are less like the owner of a BMW who does not take full advantage of the car's performance and more like the owner of a Ferrari who barely knows how to drive at all. Also, plenty of people with lots of money who like nice stuff also have the good sense to pay other people to use that stuff for them. They own professional-quality kitchens and pay chefs to cook for them, and they own Thoroughbred horses and pay jockeys to race them. So perhaps some of these people, instead of "sponsoring themselves" (to paraphrase the Assos marketing slogan) should instead sponsor more talented riders to ride their bikes for them. I'm sure if these people built velodromes named after themselves in fine 19th century robber baron style they'd have a delightful time sipping mint juleps in luxuriously-appointed boxes as they watched other people race their exquisite bicycles.

Indeed, the fact is that many modern conveniences we now take for granted began as whims of the super-rich. For example, the Waldaum's supermarket chain began when Andrew Carnegie started allowing people access to his 75,000 square foot walk-in larder as an act of charity. Also, video pornography and the "celebrity sex tape" were invented simultaneously when J.P. Morgan hired Thomas Edison (inventor of the motion picture camera) to record him and members of his domestic staff in the act of sexual congress. Similarly, today's ├╝ber-wealthy could take advantage of the modern surplus of "hipsters" by racing them until they drop and betting on who will be the last rider standing. This would have all the appeal of cockfighting only without the hassle from PETA, plus the races wouldn't take too long because even the mightiest "hipster" would surely collapse within a few miles. Attendance at these events would soon swell exponentially, like J.P. Morgan's member in the presence of a naked domestic, and by the 22nd century "tarck bike racing" will become the new sport of kings.

In any case, I also mentioned flat tires and the inability to repair them yesterday, and a reader forwarded me this photo of a decidedly unpretentious rider in Spokane, WA who has simply opted to dispense with the formality altogether:

This setup is known as the "Spokane tubeless," and the advantages are lighter weight and total immunity to pinch flats. Granted, running the "Spokane tubeless" setup does compromise cornering somewhat, but things do improve significantly after the "break-in period" when the rim wall wears down and the rim strip makes direct contact with the pavement. Also, you can mitigate the rough ride and loss of traction somewhat by "palping" a standard tire and tube up front, which is what this rider is doing and which is generally referred to as the "Washington state mullet."

Of course, if you're going to run a "Spokane tubeless" setup you should always pair it with a top tube-mounted brake lever (or TTMBL) for ultimate performance. Here's a classic TTMBL spotted by a reader in Calgary:

I can't help suspecting he meant to mount the lever on the bars but simply ran out of cable.

Speaking of foolhardy "hipster" sports, while it may be generations before "tarck bike racing" becomes the new cockfighting and/or Thoroughbred racing, the discipline known as "fixed-gear hill bombing" is arguably entering into a golden age. (This is due largely to the widespread availability of digital video cameras and editing software, of which Thomas Edison could scarcely have conceived as he filmed Morgan mounting his buxom scullery maid.) "Fixed-gear hill bombing" refers to the act of riding a brakeless fixed-gear bicycle down a hill at roughly the same speed as an overly cautious cyclotourist, recording it on video, and then making it seem culturally significant by means of judicious editing and soundtrack application. Here's a recent example that was forwarded to me by a reader:

SEABASE vs STELVIO from YUHZIMI Ltd. on Vimeo.

The best hill bombers are guided by a philosophy, and such is the case here:

Not a day goes by without me falling in love with new perspectives, fresh ideas or opportunities of untapped potential. As much as that can be exciting and motivating, it can also be inadvertently distracting.

Cycling to me is like meditation. Riding a track bike keeps me on the ground, focused on the moment and connected to the universe - with no questions left to solve.


It is only by attaining the transcendent state of consciousness of the fixed-gear rider that one can seek "new perspectives," "fresh ideas," and "opportunities of untapped potential" while at the same time focussing entirely "on the moment" with "no questions left to solve," though I suppose I do the same thing when I explore the world, its many cultures, and its disparate cuisine by watching Anthony Bourdain, eating take-out, and wearing an ass groove into the couch. In any case, despite the almost sisyphean pointlessness of riding a fixed-gear bicycle slowly up a hill only to ride it slowly back down again, you might find yourself intrigued and wishing to do the same. Fortunately, the video contains sort of a "hipster hill bomb checklist."

Step 1

Test your hub bearings by twiddling them like a lover's nipples:



Step 2

Make sure your Daisy Duke jean shorts are sufficiently tight to induce scrotal and/or vulvular chafing:


Step 3

Make sure your LA gangter-inspired ersatz philosophy-espousing faux prison tattoo is clearly legible on your calf:


Step 4

Cinch up your "hoodie" and let 'er rip:


Also, since this is fixed-gear cycling we're talking about, stylistic flourishes are crucial, which is why you should always make sure your skids feature prominently in the "edit" (an "edit" is basically a "hipster sizzle reel"):

Skidding is the cycling equivalent of the "douche-clamation point."

Even though all of this is considerably more involved than simply tackling mountain passes on a bike with multiple gear ratios and brakes, some people doubtless find it appealing for its veneer of "minimalism"--and speaking of minimalists, I was dismayed to learn that "57 things" guy and his girlfriend have broken up:
Ordinarily I wouldn't address somebody's intimate relationship issues but I'm assuming that since he is blogging about it he wants the world to know. Apparently, his girlfriend just didn't have the emotional fortitude and strength of character to lead a "minimalist" lifestyle, and the chief sticking points appear to be that he is "location independent" and that he "continues to try to change the world day after day." Incidentally, if you're wondering what these things entail and why they would be frustrating to a spouse or life partner, having immersed myself in minimalism for some time now I think I have a pretty firm grasp on "minimalist-speak:"

"Location Independent" = Couch Surfing

"Trying to Change the World" = Masturbating

Should you encounter any minimalists whom you would like to befriend, you should attempt to work expressions like these into the conversation. However, you should also keep in mind that if a minimalist invites you to "be location independent and try to change the world together" that he or she is really asking if you'd like to engage in mutual masturbation on the couch.

Fortunately, if you're looking for a philosophy or lifestyle to which you can surrender your individuality, but you find the prospect of sordid sofa encounters distasteful, there's always Christianity--which, it should not surprise you to learn, is now officially 100% hipster-compatible, as a reader recently informed me:

Indeed, Christianity is even down with the whole "urban lumberjack" thing:


And of course no hipster lifestyleway is complete without a handy checklist:

Get the church involved in social justice and creation care.

Show clips from R-rated Coen Brothers films (e.g., No Country for Old Men, Fargo) during services.

Sponsor church outings to microbreweries.

Put a worship pastor onstage decked in clothes from American Apparel.

Be okay with cussing.

Print bulletins only on recycled cardstock.

Use Helvetica fonts as much as possible.

Leverage technologies like Twitter.

Clearly, when it comes to edginess, hipster Christians are giving 8th grade public school classrooms all over America a run for their lunch money.

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