Friday, July 24, 2009

On Cycling, Coolness and Agee's Bicycles

As much as I've been enjoying all the music videos, I worry that we're communicating a message. A dangerous, untruthful message. That message is:

cycling is cool

I've long believed that all dignity falls away the moment you swing your leg over a two-wheeler. What's more, that's a good thing. For those of us who have no dignity or coolness to start with, the fact that cycling makes everyone equally uncool is a great liberation. I love my bike the way a thirteen year old girl with no fashion sense loves her Catholic school uniform. Cycling's democracy of uncoolness is one of its greatest strengths.

Now, it's a truism that the absence of a quality makes us minutely sensitive to its remotest presence, and there are some who manage to defy the odds and eke a bit of style out of the sport. The Professor and Ali come to mind as people who make riding a bike look good. Let's just say that some are more cooly uncool than others. For those riders, cycling's essential uncoolness becomes ironic: pink mountain bikes and barfing unicorns and the like. That's all well and good, so long as we don't lose sight of the essential uncoolness. 'Cause if we do, I'm screwed.

As it happens, I was on a road trip yesterday and passed through Richmond, VA. Because I don't have a car kit for my iPod -- not cool enough, natch -- I was surfing the local stations when I heard a radio ad for a bike shop that was so unironically uncool I believe it can single-handedly right the cycling universe. Thanks to the magic of Google, I just found it online. Here it is:

Breathtaking. That Google search also turned up something I didn't expect but wasn't surprised to find, which is that others have noticed Agee's Bicycle ad as well. Specifically, lots of very uncool people. Because Agee's Bicycle forms sort of a zero point of cool, those of us with merely very very little coolness get to feel cool by comparison. It's sort of a coolness holiday for the uncool kids. And that's a lot of fun.

Take this kid, who decided to make his own video for the ad:

Keep pumping those fists, kid, and props for including your sister. It will get better after highschool.

Or maybe not. These guys had the same idea, but they're a little older and had to wear silly t-shirts to give themselves an excuse:

That one probably would have been better if it had ended about 30 seconds earlier. I like that they re-recorded the audio themselves, though.

Finally, my favorite, mostly for its dadaist title, "cereal and milk and agees bicycles."

Ah youth. Ah Agee's Bicycles.

So here's my message:

cycling is uncool, and uncool is fun

Roll on, uncooly.


co2cycle said...

Cycling is cool. And that Agee's song is cooler than it realizes. Posting fan-made commercials on YouTube might be fun, but it isn't cool.

curveship said...

It is, but in the way uncool is cool. Are we cool?

DukePirate said...

There is something kind of charming about just how hokey that song is. Is the shop still around?

Is all cycling equally cool? Or are some types of cycling cooler than others. Discuss amongst yourselves.