Thursday, March 19, 2009

Special needs bag, fixies with discs

Reading through my spam email from today, I ran in to this gem:

Special Needs Bag?

"Hello All,
I am doing my first iroman....Florida next month. I have a
very easy question that can be answered multiple ways. WHAT SHOULD I PUT IN

At first I thought, holy crap, yet another person who has gotten in over their head with the Ironman, wanting to test their mettle and crawl across the line just before the cutoff when they'd be better off at a shorter distance triathlon or even just going out for fun. The desperation shows with the capitalized questions begging please help me! The lemming assumed that anyone doing an Ironman would know the sorts of items to put in his/her bag if he/she had done any sort of longer distance triathlon in preparation for the granddaddy Ironman.

My mind raced as to what other questions should not be asked:

1) I just signed up for an Ironman, WHAT KIND OF A BIKE SHOULD I GET??? SUGGESTIONS, ANYONE??

2) It's always been my dream to climb Everest, so I just signed up to do it. HOW SHOULD I START CLIMBING??? SUGGESTIONS, ANYONE??

3) I'd like a cuddly pet tiger, HOW CAN I TRAIN IT??? SUGGESTIONS, ANYONE??

4) I am going to make my own fireworks for this 4th of July, WHAT SORT OF PROPELLANT SHOULD I USE??? SUGGESTIONS, ANYONE??

But as I examined the question more, I realized the person was not inquiring about the Ironman at all, but the "iroman". I hadn't heard of the iroman, but I knew that IRO Cycles are fixed gear and singlespeed bikes and this was clearly a reference to some sort of under the covers alley cat race.

Now I had read that the fixed-gear culture was no longer accepting new members, but I really wanted to know about this race, so I headed on over to IRO's site and think I found the answer in the bike above. When I considered joining the fixed-gear culture and found out that it was closed, I was amazed and horrified at the same time by the lack of brakes. But when I saw this bike above, I knew a revolution was in the making. Not only was this classic fixed-gear outfitted with a brake, but it sports a disc brake nonetheless, an enunciated F-U to the forbidden brake taboo of the fixed-gear culture. The IROMAN has to be some sort of renegade fixed-gear culture/Ironman offshoot.

It was asserted that it was an easy question that can be answered multiple ways. Surely this is some sort of riddle, and I found the clue with this picture buried in the comments of BikeSnobNYC. It is my professional assumption based on nothing that "special needs bag" is internet code for "goodie bag" or "special box". When the original poster asked what should be put in the special needs bag, saying it was an easy question that could be answered multiple ways, I assume that it really was a question of running the contraption below with a dildo-derailleur or in a direct-drive (fixed) configuration as shown. Note the clever arrows in case you can't figure it out.

Whereas the fixed-gear culture was about being different (just like everyone else), and the Ironman culture seems to be about getting in to an uncomfortable position and suffering for hours, the new IROMAN offshoot seems to be about setting up your bike however you like and REALLY enjoying the ride, hence the disc brake on the otherwise fixed-gear bike above and the relaxed mountain bike position of this bike. The dildo-derailleur allows riders to match the contraption speed to the road speed, thereby maximizing pleasure. In a fixed setup, riders must alter their cadence to derive maximum pleasure. The IROMAN offshoot seems to be all about comfort and pleasure.

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