Monday, January 26, 2009

The Y-Foil files

After a slack day in the salt mines, I signed up for Google Alerts. Cool technology, it searches the web for anything you specify and then sends you an email each day with what it finds new. It was all cool and I was having fun with it until I nearly choked on the Tab soda I was drinking. My post on Trek Y-Foils being born from jets has caused a stir, not only in the Saab community, but amongst triathletes as well, suggesting that the use of satire implies a lack of understanding of product positioning. I'm touched that I could annoy a person so much with simple sarcasm.

The 3900lb, 110hp Saab 900, born from jets. 0-60: unknown

I can't blame the people making a stir, the companies used ingenious marketing and the people bought it like a big old catfish and stinkbait. When you have the delusion that your car was designed and engineered by a company that also made really fast and sleek aircraft, then realize the same heritage applies to a 3900lb, 110hp lead-filled tank such as the Saab 900, it takes a hit on the old ego, you feel duped. Suddenly your jet-born car is not so cool and elite as you were led to believe (via product marketing) when you see your sister car getting honked at and flipped off by a little old lady, out-accelerating them on an on-ramp in a 1982 Chrysler Lebaron with a Respect Life bumper sticker.

The same thing applies to the Trek Y-Foil, it's cool as a concept and great if you can rock it, but when you show up for the MS150 with it and your brand spanking new Spinergy wheels, 100 lbs. overweight, and get passed in your aero bars pushing in to a headwind by a kid on a creaky old Schwinn, you feel like you've been robbed. You feel as if this bike isn't all it was made out to be and you would have been better off just riding your bike instead of buying in to all of the hype that bicycling publications spew out. It's an epiphany when you learn that the bike doesn't make the ride or the rider, and no coach, cycling camp, training gadget, or fancy new bike is going to better your riding as much as just getting out and riding. Until you have that epiphany, well the StyleMan eloquently says, "For context, this makes you stupider than people who rock mullets and believe taking a shower fills your legs with water. Yet, stupid people are happy people, and I would change places with you in an instant if I could."

Photo of JTT courtesy of Blogger

Because of the stir I've caused with JTT above, for a few days I may nervously answer the door when the doorbell rings and hope I don't find a grown man on a Y-Foil in green shirts and a midriff shirt, challenging me to a triathlon in which I have zero interest in doing, my heart couldn't handle that sort of product placement.

But anyway, the Lemming would take it as a compliment that JTT suggests he's ripping off BikeSnobNYC, if BikeSnobNYC weren't on a whole other level, with an entirely different objective. If the Lemming were to be ripping off BikeSnobNYC, he wouldn't be talking in third person, and he would try to post on a regular basis. He would also be pouring through Craigslist articles to find funny content to entertain readers, getting annoyed with Twitter and putting a funny spin on it, poking fun of fixed gear freestylers, finding enticing bike love pictures, and creating a very amusing end-of-the-world indicator such as the pistadex and Chris King index, none of which the Lemming has done. What the Lemming and BikeSnobNYC definitely seem to share is a dislike of people thinking that they can't ride their bike for fun.

Reading Bicycling magazine would annoy me so much that, years later, I still have a nervous twitch from stories I'd read. I can't sleep in the same room as others because I still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat yelling, "city limit sprint" as I shake and heave and recount my dream about wearing a garbage bag in a rain storm while drinking a flat Coke to avoid bonking. Then a friend forwarded an issue of RoadBikeRider, and I knew the disease had spread. People could never ride their bike for fun again. The new regime was about dominating the unwitting and you had to have goals or you were riding junk miles, a sure sign of wasting your time on the bike.

The ironic symbolism (because I know triathlete types enjoy that scene in Ghost where Demi Moore has lost hope and lets the glass jar with the coin in it fall down the steps and break) is that the name lemming infers follower. What exactly that means, who knows. It could be the Lemming is just another bike blog out there, or it could be that the Lemming is annoyed by the lemmings who follow the training advice so closely that they can't even ask if you have everything you need when you have a flat because their heart rate might drop, or it could be that it's hard to find a good blogger name that is not used and my therapist is tired of hearing about Bicycling magazine articles?


Nick said...

You were on the mark with the Y-foil.

Don't fear a man in a midrift. He will most likely be maxed by the time he reaches your door left with no energy, only needing a push to fall over. Don't those tri folks collapse at the finish line?

Im just saying. :)

Not that I have enough fitness to do a tri... I just like to pedal.

Anonymous said...

'they can't even ask if you have everything you need when you have a flat because their heart rate might drop'


Nick said...

The heartrate part is true. I once watched tri racer run in place while he changed his flat.

Anonymous said...


And this is what I am aspiring to?

Nick said...


nah you want to be roadie. ;)