May 17, 2012 § 13 Comments
Okay, so when people want to know what to wear, Wankmeister isn’t on speed dial. I get that. But I do know a thing or two about fashion. Just because I always wear that black t-shirt, ratty jeans, and those Vans with the holes in the back doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s what.
For example there’s a difference between chick fashion and dude fashion. Chick fashion follows “TPO,” which means “Take my Panties Off.” Dude fashion follows “FOMI,” or “Focus On My Income.”
In other words, chick fashion is sexy, whereas dude fashion is all about brand recognition and money. Cycling fashion, however, is a unique blend. Tight, slinky, revealing stuff that is also designed to make you remember names and buy shit while hopefully not drawing too much attention that your junk is really tiny. Cycling clothes were gay before gay was the new straight.
Got that? Good.
A brief history of cycling fashion
A long time ago, cycling fashionistas wore wool shorts with real leather pads that scrunched up around your groin and acted as involuntary butt wiping rash inducers. You’d pull off the shorts along with a pound or two of brown crud. Yeccch.
Shorts were black. Shoes were black. Socks were white. Jerseys had a couple of sponsors’ names in big letters. Primary colors all the way, except for the occasional gay Italian ice cream sponsor who liked lime green and purple.
And that was pretty much fuckin’ it.
Modern cycling fashion
Then someone realized that plastic fabric was better than wool. It tore up easier. It was less comfortable. It didn’t breathe at all. And the synthetic chamois was originally a variant of sandpaper. But unlike wool, when you sweated it didn’t smell like an old tampon. So it prevailed.
The other thing that happened with cycling fashion is Adobe Illustrator. Every moron with a computer now had a 56-million color palette and the template for a bike outfit. At about the same time, local clubs realized that they could defray some of their beer money by selling ad space on their kits.
Real estate became scarce. Good taste became scarcer. Legit fashion and design skills became extinct. Pro and amateur teams alike wore whatever vomit some junior high school pre-accounting major with a laptop threw together. Design wasn’t an afterthought. It was an afterbirth.
Bicycling magazine recently posted a list of the best cycling kit designs in the Amgen Tour of California. It’s a shame that so little thought went into the piece, which could have shed light on some of the mechanisms behind the grotesquely ugly kits that generally blotify the pro and amateur pelotons, not to mention the “ride jerseys” and club outfits that litter our beautiful California landscape.
As a public service announcement, I’ve decided to review their list and comment on it. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, I can sum it up thus: Get Joe Yule and StageOne to design your stuff. It’s really that simple.
1. Black proves you can’t design
“These lads know how to dress. Black jersey, black shorts, and stealthy black bikes—it’s all so punk-rock.” Uh, are you fucking kidding me? Black is the ultimate non-test of design. ANYTHING looks good in black. It’s the default color for slimming a double-wide butt, for repositioning curves that are in the wrong places, and for lifting saggy belly lumps that belong above the belt line…Black is such an addicting and easy color to design and dress with that once you get used to it, it’s hard to wear anything else, kind of like a vampire. But the problem isn’t that it’s “punk rock,” it’s psychotically depressing. It’s what people wear to funerals. It’s the color of religious clothing, judges’ robes, executioners’ masks, Ozzie Osbourne. Worst of all, it demonstrates zero design skill, because it goes with anything. Black bike. Black helmet. Black jersey. Black tires. Black deep dish rims. An occasional red highlight if you like the police car look, or a yellow one if you fancy bumblebees. Boom. You’re done. For cycling, as a design motif black sucks because it’s a slow and boring color. That’s bad, because for spectators, cycling is already a slow and boring sport. You want excitement on two wheels? Watch a fucking formula motorcycle race or some dirt bike action. Manorexic weenies with spindly arms who are clad head to toe in slow black women’s clothing? I’d almost take NASCAR. Almost.
2. If you’re even thinking about Orange, you’d better be nicknamed “G$”
“Those orange stripes! So swoopy! Swoopy is good, in case you were wondering. An orange and black pairing often evokes thoughts of Halloween, but on these Optum Orbeas, orange and black mean fast and stylish” Wow. Someone really wrote that, someone who supposedly wasn’t smoking a crack pipe. Her name is Jen See. Jen, the orange stripes aren’t “swoopy, swoopy.” They’re buttlicking ugly, especially with the lightened orange squares and slashes blended in with the regular orange. The other problem with this nasty looking kit is that you can hardly read the sponsors’ names even in a still photo. Are we really supposed to tell what this says at 35mph? Which brings us to the “money and brand” part of the design package. On a pro bike kit, you sure as shit better be able to read the sponsors’ names. And what brand of LSD was it that suggested the black/white/orange combo would look good with…green lettering…yellow shoes…bright red bottle? Kill the mutant now, doctor, before it spreads.
3. Everything looks good on a winner, right? Wrong.
“Does it matter what color a four-time Paris-Roubaix winner wears? The sea-foam and white jerseys are paired with black shorts—never a bad choice.” Actually, Jen, sea-foam is always a bad choice, unless you’re in a Jello marketing focus group or unless you happen to actually be an ocean. This color is so fucking ugly that it wasn’t even popular during the 70’s disco boom. The idea that winning makes everything pretty is doubtlessly true if your objective is to give Tornado Tom a fangirl fucking, but all the pave trophies piled up in a heap don’t make sea-foam green anything other than fugly. The epaulettes, arguably the most valuable real estate on the kit, have a tiny-ish red “S” for Specialized and a completely illegible scrawl for “innergetic,” along with some squiggly shit on the world champion sleeve striping. Poisonest of all, the sea-foam is really similar to the Astana “Blood Doping Blue” made famous by Vino, Tainted Meat, and a whole host of crooked drug cheats. When all you’ve got is a nasty coke habit like Tom, you don’t want to wear colors associated with dopers.
4. Garmacuda was styling when Jen See was still calling pale orange “swoopy”
“But with this year’s kit, the Garmin-Barracuda boys have hopped on the style train.” Jen has dealt out a true left-handed compliment, but at least she gets that the Garmacuda kit designed by Joe Yule is badass. In fact, Garmacuda has been on the “style train” from its inception. The last two years in particular have seen forceful, noticeable color combinations that do an extraordinary job of highlighting sponsors’ names and looking fantastic. This is shit you’d wear to a job interview. To a first date with a rich girl. To your fucking wedding. And it’s not “swoopy.” It’s “leg rip-offy,” Jen.
5. Your kit is boring and blah, but I love your Pinarello.
“How did Bissell get on the most stylish list? Two words, my friends: Pinarello and Campagnolo.” At first I thought, “Shit, this girl is funny.” Then I realized she was serious. Yep. Your kit is stylish because of your bike frame and your Campy gruppo. So, like, you could just ride naked. Jen, honey, your LinkedIn profile says you fucking went to Claremont College, Georgetown University, UCSB, you have a Ph.D., you speak French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Dutch…and your critical analysis calls the Bissell kit stylish because of the BIKE FRAME? Our country is so fucking doomed it’s not even funny. Note to the computer programmer who designed the Bissell kit: That red and white swooshy thing on the ass that looks like a tuning fork or a toothless barracuda’s jaws…drop me a line when you finally figure out what the fuck it’s supposed to be. Thanks.
6. Just because it’s a color doesn’t mean it looks good
“Quite simply, this team oozes style from head to toe…Liquigas is all about color, lime green to be exact. The color isn’t for everyone, but the men of Liquigas totally own it.” No, Jen. The men of Liquigas don’t “own it.” They are contractually obligated to wear it. There’s a difference. You are sort of right when you say lime green isn’t for everyone, but to get it exactly right you should probably say “lime green isn’t for anyone.” For starters, it’s a total JOC, or “junk outline color” as we say in the trade. This means that it totally highlights each dip and curve of your package. For bike racers, who are scrawny little fellows with scrawny little toolboxes, that’s bad. Lime green doesn’t go with anything, but it especially doesn’t go with blue. Now I know what you’d say, Jen: “Does it matter what a four-consecutive-stage winner of the ATOC wears?” And again, we’d say, uh, yeah, it matters. Like, it really matters. And if you don’t believe me, try googling images for something called “Mapei.”
And when you get around to looking at the rest of the peloton, check out Spider-Tech. Shoulda been number two, after Garmacuda. Ciao, baby.
April 13, 2012 § 16 Comments
I’ve gotten one of the coveted BWR invites. Can my gal tag along?
Marital and other successful relationships follow this simple rule: don’t ever get too far apart, but don’t ever get too close, either. In other words, it’s okay to share beds and exchange bodily fluids, but it’s not okay to stand at the bathroom mirror flossing your teeth while your partner’s crumping a hairy beet.
As to the Belgian Waffle Ride, I’m unsure what you mean by “tag along.” Spend the night before the ride with you in the hotel? Sure. Remain on standby in Carlsbad so she can come scrape you out of the mud pit on Country Club Rd. after you’ve sunken up to your neck and thrown in the towel? Of course. Sign for the cadaver? Not a problem. Anything beyond that, though, the answer is probably “No.”
I didn’t get one of the coveted invites, but I read about the ride on a bike forum. Is the invite thing just a clever marketing ploy to boost attendance? Is there a problem if I just show up and do the ride? How you gonna stop me?
Don’t feel bad about not getting an invitation. Neither did about six billion other people, including President Obama, all of the Nobel Prizewinners from last year, and Tom Boonen. You’re in top tier company, and can now tell your forum friends, “Me and Tommeke ain’t doing that ride.” The reason for the invitations is simple: BWR has limited quantities of food, drink, sag support, and security staff with batons and riot shotguns. They’d love to make the ride available to bike forum hackers like you…but not really.
By the way, when you hear about a wedding or other social event that requires an invitation, do you normally chalk it up to a “clever marketing ploy” or do you assume that the holders of the event actually knew who they wanted to attend? (Hint: the way you answer this question will determine whether you stay home, or show up and get politely but firmly turned away with cudgels, curses, tasers, and rubber bullets.)
I just scored a set of carbon tubular Zipp 808’s with bladed neutronium oxide spokes and deuterium nipples on eBay for $3,000. I raced on them in Ontario and they are the bomb as far as crit wheels go. Wanna know how fast these wheels are? I almost took Charon in the sprint. Another 500 or 600 meters and I woulda had ‘im. Whaddaya think for BWR? Go or no go?
Let me put it this way, if I may. The Belgian Waffle Ride will not reward “trick,” or “aero,” or “high performance” items, including you. It will, however, reward “durable,” “battle-tested,” “relatively heavy,” and “built like a brick shithouse.” That which is capable of surviving long-term abuse and a merciless, inhuman beating will do well. I’m not talking about your bike.
First: I had an invite but have decided not to go on the BWR. The Mulholland Challenge is that weekend plus I have church on Sunday plus my daughter Pixie has an important cheer practice plus my wife and I usually do a Saturday night date night plus I have a pretty tough work week on Monday and would probably be a bit tired after BWR. Second: Can I sell my invitation?
First, you are to be commended for recognizing the impossibility of you actually completing BWR, and rather than just failing to show up, which would be rude, taking the time to create a mosaiced, finely-textured and detailed tapestry of shitbag excuses why you can’t attend. I know you already feel better, as the crushing pressure of fear, terror, inadequacy, delusion, confusion, and raw, paralyzing self-doubt have now been lifted in one quick string of plausible but completely untrue pretexts for not attending.
This is kind of a double question thingy. Is BWR a good way for me to lose weight? Then, is it okay to load up on Girl Scout cookies for my pre-ride nutrition? These are related.
BWR is a very good way for you to lose weight. You will not weigh nearly as much once your legs have fallen off somewhere after Bandy Canyon but before Questhaven.
As for the Girl Scout cookies, and I hate to sound rude or intrusive here, but are you a communist lesbian? An Indiana lawmaker recently discovered the Internet, and after expending himself on the search results from “humongous dude does chicken,” wandered over to the Google search aisle for Girl Scouts.
Here’s what fearless Rep. Morris learned: “The Girl Scouts of the United States of America and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have entered into a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood, which is trying to sexualize young girls through the Girl Scouts. Even worse, only three of the 50 role models promoted by the Girl Scouts have even a briefly-mentioned religious background. All the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists,” he wrote.
Morris noted that the “radically pro-abortion” Michelle Obama is honorary president of Girl Scouts of America, which “should give each of us reason to pause before our individual or collective endorsement of the organization.” After learning all this, Morris pulled his two daughters out of the Girl Scouts and instead put them in American Heritage Girls Little Flowers, a parent-run group for recovering Girl Scouts.
So basically, if you’re a radical pro-abortion atheist communist lesbian first lady girl sexualizer, yeah, load up on the cookies.
I saw the FOX news story saying Ryan Trebon will be at BWR. Who is that wanker? He looks too big to be any good.
Ryan Trebon is a newly minted cyclocross racer who, after three years of hard training, has graduated from public racing to the Cat 5’s. He’s coming on BWR to learn some tips and tricks from folks like you, so go easy on him, especially the sandy, muddy, rocky, and gravelly parts. He’s hoping that if he finishes before sundown someone will take him under their wing and show him how to mountain bike, too.
This ride looks way to hard. Where can I buy a winner’s jersey? Also, I like the KOW jersey. I want one of those, too.
The great thing about cycling is that in order to look like your favorite pro racer all you have to do is click-and-pay. This is because the UCI’s cornerstone principle is that professionals must use bicycles and equipment available to the general public. This everyman, communal nature of the sport is what separates cycling from F-1 racing, NASCAR, or wars in Asia: it’s just out of the average Joe’s means to purchase the latest Formula race car or an A-10 with uranium-enriched bullets such as currently employed as badass motherfucking terrorist destroying, American hero ass-saving angels of destruction in the netherworld of a fucking wasteland that is Afghanistan.
Even though your rides inevitably end with a shellacking, a beating, and a humiliating dustoff before the hard part ever happens, nothing can take away the pride and satisfaction of pulling on a brand new version of Team Tommeke and pedaling out the door on the same bike that won Roubaix.
In the same vein, the BWR winner’s jersey and KOW (King of the Waffle) jersey are for sale, available to any couch potato schmo, not simply the crushing superhuman who surmounts the mud, the gravel, the dirt, the climbs, the rollers, the wind, the rain, the sprints, the attacks, and the slow death by attrition. To order, please send a cashier’s check for $983.25 per jersey to: Wankmeister Productions, POB 1, Guernsey Isles, UX-20189.
While perusing the parcours, I noticed that the portion on Country Club Road looks yucky and gooey. Will there be a skinny on that giant mud puddle or are you expected to trudge through, which would get my pretty little shoes tres soaked? Or, can I bring along Davy Dawg to lay in it so we can ride over him? He’s such a team player!
The problem with bringing Davy Dawg is that although he weighs 300 lbs. and is twelve feet wide, he is all muscle. As you may recall from freshman physics, muscle, unlike lard, sinks. So even if you brought Davy Dawg and laid him down in the mud, he’d go right to the bottom of the quicksand hole and you’d still get your shoes all icky. If you are still determined not to get your shoes muddy, I would recommend you do the ride with galoshes. Most of the other riders will have them, along with bright yellow rain slickers.
I received one of the coveted invites, however, I’m a very giving kind of dude, so I was wondering how much in the way of feminine anti-chafing products I should I bring to hand out to friends?
It’s odd that you expect this gathering of hardened competitors will require feminine anti-chafing products. Perhaps you should be more concerned about the tender state of your undersized manparts? I have it on good authority that some of the participating biker chicks will be showing up prepared to stomp dick, kick scrote, and inflict all manner of rude and unladylike physical insults to the majority of the sausages on the ride. But I could be wrong, even though Wankmeister IS NEVER WRONG.