Gonna Dress You Up In My Ennui – Bike Snob NYC


by Kivi



It was an early Monday morning. The Hudson River was like glass:

And the pickleball courts of suburbia were as yet untrodden by New Balances:

It was across this placid landscape that one semi-professional bike blogger pedaled a now-silent carbon and titanium racing bicycle:

I’m pleased to report that the crank transplant I mentioned yesterday has so far proven to be a success. For one thing, the external bottom bracket is noticeably stiffer than the ISIS unit it replaced, and the improvement in power transfer is immediately noticeable:

Just kidding, of course, it’s a fucking crank. However, it is a lot quieter, and so it definitely feels more efficient–because, as I’ve noted before, sound probably informs the way our bicycles feel a lot more than we realize or admit.

But yes, the crank should serve quite well–at least until such a time as I arrange with Classic Cycle for a long-term replacement with a level of cachet befitting such a rarefied bicycle:

As an unavowed Hollowtech II apologist, I’d say that with bottom bracket already in situ, sliding a Dura-Ace 7800 in there would be the most simple and mechanically elegant solution, even if it’s not consistent with the otherwise 7700 drivetrain.

Meanwhile, last week I touched on the state of the cycling industry, and it seems as though Rapha North America is the latest victim of the recent downturn:

It’s easy to blame “post-COVID-19 market volatility:”

But in the case of Rapha I wonder if it’s simply because they’ve been out-Rapha-ed by all these upstart brands. As a solitary aging loser, I do virtually all of my cycling alone, and in places most other people don’t ride. (To wit: suburbia in the early morning, see above.) However, with a spiffy carbon-and-titanium Fred Sled under my auspices for the foreseeable future I’ve been steering myself onto the popular roadie routes now and again lately, and so I see what These Kids Today are wearing while out on the bike–and they’re not wearing Rapha. No, Rapha’s what that Primal Cranken’ Stein jersey used to be like 20 years ago:

[Primal Crankin’ Stein jersey: the most Jewish-sounding cycling jersey produced by any company to date, second only to the Pedalin’ Lipschultz.]

Yeah, that’s right; it used to be that wearing Rapha marked you as a member of the cycling cogacenti cognascenti cool people. But now it just marks you as a noob. Today, wearing Rapha on your road or gravel bike is just a notch or two above riding in Sponeed half-shorts while sporting a pie plate:

No, today the hot young chamois-diapered jet-setters are wearing brands like MAAP:

By the way, if you don’t know what MAAP stands for, you’re a loser like me, because it doesn’t stand for anything:

Well color me RWDDCed*.

*[Funnily enough, RWDDC doesn’t stand for anything, but I’m playing around with different meanings at the moment, and I kind of like “Riddled With ‘Da Douche Chills.”]

Anyway, if you see a fit young cyclist clad in muted tones and hunched over an indistinguishable Canyon/Factor/S-Works/Whatever, six times out of ten he or she will be wearing MAAP–which is not to say the clothing isn’t relatable. I mean, don’t you dress like this when you commute to work?

They’ve really nailed their marketing too, because everything about their models conveys the sheer joy of cycling, and one look at them just makes you want to hop on a bike:

He looks like he’s in the middle of a therapy session and he just realized that the guy who used to hang around the house a lot when he was in the 6th grade was having an affair with his mother.

But MAAP is practically Old Navy compared to Pas Normal Studios:

These are actual images from their “Alt” collection:

And this is an image from a recent Pas Normal “Alt” group ride:

Just kidding:

That last one was the New York Dolls circa 1972.

But the other two were totally real

In any case, back in the 1990s there was a look the media dubbed “heroin chic:”

It was really less about heroin than it was about what happens when eating disorders and being attracted to minors collides, but in any case it was a distant memory until Pas Normal decided to bring it back–for cycling of all things, which is a pursuit best suited to the hale and hardy, not the wan and anemic:

She’s so despondent she’s allowing the contents of her water bottle to dribble all over her right foot. This is something no cyclist does no matter how tired they are.

Oh, and Pas Normal also has you covered off the bike with their “Gym and Training” collection:

It’s the wardrobe of choice for the weak and ineffectual person who can’t even get his pelvis up off the ground when attempting a push-up.

Oh, and check out the fucking Children of the Corn:

As you can see, in this marketing environment, Rapha never stood a chance. Really the only way to one-up these companies is to model your clothes with actual cadavers.

Shit, I think I just designed Pas Normal’s 2025 collection.

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