On Looking Fantastic

Whenever I do anything, I try my best to project the confidence of Han Solo leaving the cantina after cooking Greedo which has been scientifically proven to be the maximum possible score on the Casually Deliberate Scale. Being Casually Deliberate comes down to two fundamental units of knowledge that you must hold unwaveringly within your heart: That you Look Fantastic and that You are Awesome at What You Do. Greedo never stood a chance; he hardly had a name tag.

I consider it my personal and professional responsibility to Look Fantastic at All Times whether on the bike, at the office (nothing but Maison Martin Margiela touches this body), at home, or at social engagements (at which times I will allow Rick Owens to mingle in the palate). The secret being, of course, that if you Look Fantastic, you appear twice as competent as you actually are to the casual observer – which is almost everyone these days because no one pays attention anymore.

The Cogal of the Falling Leaves was a cruel mistress, almost sinister. I dreaded the ride a bit, cursing Midsummer Frank who chose such a tough route, basking in his Midsummer Form, oblivious to what kind of horrible shape October Frank would be in. Midsummer Frank is a dick.

Courage is knowing what suffering lies down the road and setting forth nevertheless, but Courage is also a clueless twat about how humbling it is to helplessly watch the group ride away from you on hill after hill, a sensation I’m not entirely accustomed to. Each time, I could barely manage bridging back up just in time for the next hill so I could slip uselessly away again like a teflon-coated stone.

Eventually, the hills were too close together for me to bridge up, and I was cut adrift like a dinghy at sea.

I set off down the road alone while the group refueled at a rest station, not wanting to stop and lose whatever rhythm I’d regained, knowing full well that I was beyond a point where refuelling would be of use. Here it was just me, alone with the hum of my tires and the completely detached sense of ownership of my legs. I wish I’d grabbed the Good Legs from the garage today, but alas I hadn’t.

What kept me going, more than anything, was the knowledge that however slow I was going, I still looked a proper Cyclist, with my kit perfectly in place, my sunnies tucked neatly away in the vents of my helmet, jaw agape, and my perfectly curated machine carrying me along the way. I knew I looked resplendent while pedalling smoothly, the muscle-memory of countless hours accumulated pedalling a bike during my lifetime took over; shoulders steady, head low, legs on autopilot.

Being out of shape at this time of year, with the cold and wet months approaching is a solemn reality. There is nothing welcoming to the common Cyclist: the days are short and cold and getting out during the workweek is an act of true dedication. Kitting up in my finest Nine Kit or my Flandrian Best, emulating the Hardmen is what encourages me to set out onto the road to start the long journey back to fitness.

Looking Fantastic might not be all there is to Cycling, but at times like this, it’s all I got.

VLVV.

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114 Replies to “On Looking Fantastic”

  1. “Midsummer Frank is a dick”

    Just Midsummer Frank?

    I keed, I keed. There was plenty of Looking Fantastic to go around. Especially impressive in this department were the gentlemen who started stripping layers at the top of the first climb (did anyone ever administer the demerits earned for taking so damn long for changing a flat, or was it chalked up to immediately flatting again?). Well played, those who weren’t afraid of exposing lots of skin on a damp morning. Or Bob (Bob?) with the classic pink wool jersey and matching cap.

  2. Not sure how riding on table flat roads with a triple equipped bike fits in with looking fantastic but oh well…

  3. @Eddie

    Not sure how riding on table flat roads with a triple equipped bike fits in with looking fantastic but oh well…

    You watch yourself, that’s Pineapple Bob. Who are you again?

    …and you missed the EPMS. Pay attention, pedalwan!

    (I did consider Photoshopping that crap out, but you have to admit; PB is Cash Del as Hell!)

  4. My father told me from a very young age

    ” If you can’t play the game, at least look like you can ”

    Words to live by

  5. @Frank Never made mention of PBs abilties. He called attention to his appearance not skills and I commented on said appearance. Simple as that. Doesn’t matter who I am its not a pissing contest but I can tell you I have enough years and miles to not be a pedalwannabe like so many fat wallet posers these days so watch yourself.

  6. “Courage is knowing what suffering lies down the road and setting forth nevertheless, but Courage is also a clueless twat”

    Considering this as a tattoo. Brilliant.

  7. First time I hear about Pineapple Bob… I found a 1992 interview with Grant Petersen from Bridgestone which explains.

    CK: Tell us about Pineapple Bob.

    GP: In 1985 we had an advertising agency doing our ads and I didn’t think they were doing a very good job of selling the bikes, so I and a few other people expressed our dissatisfaction with the ads. So the president at the time said “Do you think you could do any better?” I said “yeah” and he said “O.K., you be our advertising agency. So we needed a model and everyone looks fatter in pictures, so you need someone with just phenomenal legs for them to even look normal. Well, Robert has the best legs around and he looks like a six day rider in Europe or something. His legs are just amazing and you start with something good like that and you’ve got the leg thing covered, anyway. He’s also a good rider, he’s easy to work with and he’s a friendly guy that I get along with personally, too. He’s a good friend, so we just use him for our ads.

    CK: How did you know him and how did he get his name?

    GP: I didn’t know him then. We hung around the same bike shop, Hiroshi’s Jitensha Studio in Berkeley, and I sort of made the connection there. Hiroshi’s daughter, Natsumi, named him Pineapple Bob because there were two or three other Bobs that hung around the bike shop. Robert grew up in Hawaii and his hair shoots out like a pineapple so she called him Pineapple Bob just to differentiate him from the other Bobs. By the way, I don’t call him Pineapple Bob. Mostly his friends call him Robert. I’d only call him Pineapple Bob if I was joking around. By the way, don’t go a whole lot into this in your article, because we like to keep him a mystery and anonymous. He’s going to be in a video that we’re doing, but he’s not going to have a speaking role.

  8. This is what I think I look like…

    But I probably look more like this…

  9. I’d never heard of  Maison Martin Margeila so I googled it. The first hit involved a pair of adult trainers that have velcro as a fastener.

    It is so hard to take someone seriously beyond the age of, say, 7 that still requires velcro to do up shoes. Right, I’ll get back to the article.

    David

  10. Yes indeed Frank. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re so out of shape to Look Fantastic, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. White legs after winter are a bane on the Look, hairy ones even more so. Curating the bike and kit helps no end, and gives one hope that the body will soon follow.

    Pineapple Bob, haven’t seen that name for a long while… where is he now I wonder?

    Might have to wear the suit to the office tomorrow… fuck the vitriol I’ll receive from the skater boys who share the space!

  11. Love watching that Star Wars scene although I would say Obi Wan looked a bit more cas del than Han after lopping off Ponda Baba’s arm.

    Speaking of Star Wars the new bad guy looks pretty awesome:

    On a personal note I am looking forward to being out of shape but still looking the business after spending a week in the hospital with Pericarditis. Thank god no lasting effects and can train properly once more.

  12. @edd

    @Frank Never made mention of PBs abilties. He called attention to his appearance not skills and I commented on said appearance. Simple as that. Doesn’t matter who I am its not a pissing contest but I can tell you I have enough years and miles to not be a pedalwannabe like so many fat wallet posers these days so watch yourself.

    Oh FFS, calm down. Spend a bit of time around here and you’ll realize that @Frank was taking the piss. It’s a rare day when you can actually take anything he says seriously.

  13. @RobSandy

    This is what I think I look like…

    But I probably look more like this…

    Dear Merckx, I’ll forgive you for not looking like Big Yatesy, but surely you can’t look like that total twat Boris Johnson. I suspect from that pic he must be on his way to a gathering of the Bullingdon Club whereupon they shall eat and drink to excess, trash the room, abuse the waitstaff and flounce out throwing a wad of cash in the proprietor’s face to cover the damages. It’s the Tory way.

  14. It’s a close call, bur PB’s tan sidewalls almost negate the EMPS atrocity.

  15. Great cover photo. Good thing PB is not on a new carbon ride . If it were so looking fantastic would go from a score of 10 out of 10 to a 5 out of 10 at best .

  16. Courage is knowing what suffering lies down the road and setting forth nevertheless, but Courage is also a clueless twat about how humbling it is to helplessly watch the group ride away from you on hill after hill, a sensation I’m not entirely accustomed to. Each time, I could barely manage bridging back up just in time for the next hill so I could slip uselessly away again like a teflon-coated stone.

    A+, Frank.

  17. @davidlhill

    I’d never heard of  Maison Martin Margeila so I googled it. The first hit involved a pair of adult trainers that have velcro as a fastener.

    It is so hard to take someone seriously beyond the age of, say, 7 that still requires velcro to do up shoes. Right, I’ll get back to the article.

    David

    Closer to this, but with socks.

  18. @brett

    Yes indeed Frank. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re so out of shape to Look Fantastic, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. White legs after winter are a bane on the Look, hairy ones even more so. Curating the bike and kit helps no end, and gives one hope that the body will soon follow.

    Pineapple Bob, haven’t seen that name for a long while… where is he now I wonder?

    Might have to wear the suit to the office tomorrow… fuck the vitriol I’ll receive from the skater boys who share the space!

    Word up! Fuck the the skater boys for sure. A suit is always called for, even when going for a bit of a run. Just ask James Bond.

  19. @rfreese888

    Love watching that Star Wars scene although I would say Obi Wan looked a bit more cas del than Han after lopping off Ponda Baba’s arm.

    Speaking of Star Wars the new bad guy looks pretty awesome:

    Personally, I can’t wait to see what he does with those Ass Beating Sticks that stick out from the hilt.

    On a personal note I am looking forward to being out of shape but still looking the business after spending a week in the hospital with Pericarditis. Thank god no lasting effects and can train properly once more.

    Just looked that up. For fucks sake, I hate when things I don’t know exist can swell up.

  20. @wiscot

    Without knowing who that is and his twatliness, that all kind of sounds like what Han Solo did.

    @wiscot

    It’s a close call, bur PB’s tan sidewalls almost negate the EMPS atrocity.

    Coming from a known EPMS user, that hardly carries any weight.

    As far as Rule Transgressions go, we do forgive him his triple and EPMS. Even his regular sunnies. But don’t let that give you any ideas. Repeat after me: you are not Pineapple Bob.

  21. @frank

    Given your choice of fashion houses…does that mean we are going to see you wandering around the streets looking like this?

    Or this?

  22. @frank

    @brett

    Yes indeed Frank. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re so out of shape to Look Fantastic, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. White legs after winter are a bane on the Look, hairy ones even more so. Curating the bike and kit helps no end, and gives one hope that the body will soon follow.

    Pineapple Bob, haven’t seen that name for a long while… where is he now I wonder?

    Might have to wear the suit to the office tomorrow… fuck the vitriol I’ll receive from the skater boys who share the space!

    Word up! Fuck the the skater boys for sure. A suit is always called for, even when going for a bit of a run. Just ask James Bond.

    Daniel Craig has just seen Boris and is running as fast as possible to acquire some kind of bazooka/weapon of mass destruction to blow him away and save the planet (or at least London) from the antics of the tousled hair twat.

  23. @frank

    @wiscot

    Without knowing who that is and his twatliness, that all kind of sounds like what Han Solo did.

    @wiscot

    It’s a close call, bur PB’s tan sidewalls almost negate the EMPS atrocity.

    Coming from a known EPMS user, that hardly carries any weight.

    As far as Rule Transgressions go, we do forgive him his triple and EPMS. Even his regular sunnies. But don’t let that give you any ideas. Repeat after me: you are not Pineapple Bob.

    I am indeed not PB. Damn you have a google server-like memory for my past confessions! In my defense, my EPMS is as small as possible and black.

    For a full bio on the Lord Twat of London: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Johnson

    FWIW today it’s sport coat and tie and real shoes with laces. Not required by my work (I work in the arts so I’m sure I have latitude) but necessary for my self-respect.

  24. A few things here, both of which aren’t going to go over well.

    When I lived in New Zealand I supported myself by working as a sous chef. Kitchens do awful things to footwear. I headed down to The Warehouse and bought a pair of Velcro trainers for around $10. They were awesome, but my co-workers mocked them mercilessly. I was older than age 7.

    And now…

    I haven’t seen any of the new Star Wars since whatever one came out around 1996/97. I’ll stick with the first three, thank you.

    As for fashion, is there anything more offensive than some dopey guy going around town in oversized basketball shorts and oversized sandals with white socks? Good lord. These creatures are up (down?) there with guys who wear oversized baseball hats and tuck their ears in.

  25. Back in the day, I told my riding buddies I wished I could be like Pineapple Bob.  They rode Bridgestones (I didn’t), so they deemed me unworthy of PB and started calling me Mango as a joke.

  26. I was in a a village in Italy in July and caught a stage of the Giro Rosa. The local club for kids had a parade in which they demonstrated lots of looking fantastic and casual deliberateness. All learnt by age 10.

  27. Zwarte jersey and gilet have arrived. Will break them in on a short FRB this afternoon.

  28. @frank

    @davidlhill

    I’d never heard of  Maison Martin Margeila so I googled it. The first hit involved a pair of adult trainers that have velcro as a fastener.

    It is so hard to take someone seriously beyond the age of, say, 7 that still requires velcro to do up shoes. Right, I’ll get back to the article.

    David

    Closer to this, but with socks.

    I need a waistcoat.

  29. @wiscot

    @frank

    @wiscot

    Without knowing who that is and his twatliness, that all kind of sounds like what Han Solo did.

    @wiscot

    It’s a close call, bur PB’s tan sidewalls almost negate the EMPS atrocity.

    Coming from a known EPMS user, that hardly carries any weight.

    As far as Rule Transgressions go, we do forgive him his triple and EPMS. Even his regular sunnies. But don’t let that give you any ideas. Repeat after me: you are not Pineapple Bob.

    I am indeed not PB. Damn you have a google server-like memory for my past confessions! In my defense, my EPMS is as small as possible and black.

    For a full bio on the Lord Twat of London: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Johnson

    FWIW today it’s sport coat and tie and real shoes with laces. Not required by my work (I work in the arts so I’m sure I have latitude) but necessary for my self-respect.

    Sport coat and tie today… But you’re not denying it could have been one of the samples on the catwalk, on another day?

  30. @frank

    @rfreese888

    Love watching that Star Wars scene although I would say Obi Wan looked a bit more cas del than Han after lopping off Ponda Baba’s arm.

    Speaking of Star Wars the new bad guy looks pretty awesome:

    Personally, I can’t wait to see what he does with those Ass Beating Sticks that stick out from the hilt.

    Beats ass?

    Actually, to be pedantic the hilt is the bit he’s holding, the Ass Beating sticks are coming out of the crosspiece. It’d probably be more accurate to call them Ass Beating quillions.

  31. @geoffrey

    I was in a a village in Italy in July and caught a stage of the Giro Rosa. The local club for kids had a parade in which they demonstrated lots of looking fantastic and casual deliberateness. All learnt by age 10.

    Man, it must be something in the water in Italy. That kid is fully CD. Even the sneakers match the kit.

  32. @PeakInTwoYears

    Zwarte jersey and gilet have arrived. Will break them in on a short FRB this afternoon.

    My V-Jersey arrived early in the week. I was waiting for someone else to post before I began exulting.

    First ride will be a 110km solo around the Peak District this Saturday. The 2nd ride will be a 150km solo on Sunday. I could have got away with a Large, too. Never mind, it’s comfy.

  33. @MangoDave

    Back in the day, I told my riding buddies I wished I could be like Pineapple Bob.  They rode Bridgestones (I didn’t), so they deemed me unworthy of PB and started calling me Mango as a joke.

    That is funny you are a descendant of Pineapple Bob. Respect.

    He was one of the first non-euro racers who was put up as a cool cyclist. And he was a mystery as he never showed up anywhere but in Bridgestone ads.

    @frank

    Midsummer Frank is a dick

    Brilliant stuff right there.

    Looking decent is all I have and even that is a lot of work.

  34. ^ Right, I was a little surprised at the fit. Not quite as “race” fit as my Castelli jerseys or gilet. (A long way from club fit, mind you, just not as snug as the Castelli stuff.) I don’t know whether I could have gotten away with Medium rather than Large.

    I like the materials used in the gilet. It’s going to be a damned useful object on chilly, dry days–days when the Gabba isn’t needed for precipitation.

  35. @RedRanger

    I didn’t realize that pro’s ever used triple!

    I don’t think PB was a pro. I think he was more a bike model for Bridgestone. This lead photo might have been a catalog shot.

    I don’t think pros could get away with a triple. Even a compact would be a stretch for the rudest stage.

  36. @Gianni

    @RedRanger

    I didn’t realize that pro’s ever used triple!

    I don’t think PB was a pro. I think he was more a bike model for Bridgestone. This lead photo might have been a catalog shot.

    I don’t think pros could get away with a triple. Even a compact would be a stretch for the rudest stage.

    Jeanne Longo used a triple in the Tour Feminine. On a Vitus too.

  37. @Oli

    This was in pre-compact days, of course. Don’t have time now to trawl for a pic but they are out there, long cage rear derailleur and all …

  38. @Owen

    “Midsummer Frank is a dick”

    Just Midsummer Frank?

    I keed, I keed. There was plenty of Looking Fantastic to go around. Especially impressive in this department were the gentlemen who started stripping layers at the top of the first climb (did anyone ever administer the demerits earned for taking so damn long for changing a flat, or was it chalked up to immediately flatting again?). Well played, those who weren’t afraid of exposing lots of skin on a damp morning. Or Bob (Bob?) with the classic pink wool jersey and matching cap.

    …and riding the bike he built with his two hands 30 years ago.

  39. @MangoDave

    Back in the day, I told my riding buddies I wished I could be like Pineapple Bob.  They rode Bridgestones (I didn’t), so they deemed me unworthy of PB and started calling me Mango as a joke.

    That photo is from the ’91 Bridgestone catalog. I had a major crush on the girl in that catalog. Bridgestones ruled. I still have one.

    @geoffrey

    I was in a a village in Italy in July and caught a stage of the Giro Rosa. The local club for kids had a parade in which they demonstrated lots of looking fantastic and casual deliberateness. All learnt by age 10.

    Its Italy. If you don’t have that shit down by the time you’re 8, you’re fucked.

  40. @PeakInTwoYears

    Zwarte jersey and gilet have arrived. Will break them in on a short FRB this afternoon.

    Wow, that was fast.

    @RobSandy

    @frank

    @rfreese888

    Love watching that Star Wars scene although I would say Obi Wan looked a bit more cas del than Han after lopping off Ponda Baba’s arm.

    Speaking of Star Wars the new bad guy looks pretty awesome:

    Personally, I can’t wait to see what he does with those Ass Beating Sticks that stick out from the hilt.

    Beats ass?

    Actually, to be pedantic the hilt is the bit he’s holding, the Ass Beating sticks are coming out of the crosspiece. It’d probably be more accurate to call them Ass Beating quillions.

    I’ll take the word on sword anatomy from a pom any day.

  41. @PeakInTwoYears

    ^ Right, I was a little surprised at the fit. Not quite as “race” fit as my Castelli jerseys or gilet. (A long way from club fit, mind you, just not as snug as the Castelli stuff.) I don’t know whether I could have gotten away with Medium rather than Large.

    I like the materials used in the gilet. It’s going to be a damned useful object on chilly, dry days–days when the Gabba isn’t needed for precipitation.

    The cut is a little more loose than the castelli jersey, but the fabric is also not as stretchy, so it doesn’t need to be as tight. The fabric is amazeballs.

    @Gianni

    @RedRanger

    I didn’t realize that pro’s ever used triple!

    I don’t think PB was a pro. I think he was more a bike model for Bridgestone. This lead photo might have been a catalog shot.

    I don’t think pros could get away with a triple. Even a compact would be a stretch for the rudest stage.

    All this is true. Except before the days of the compact, I caught the hints of rumours of the Pros riding triples up that stupidly steep climb in the Vuelta whose name escapes me at the moment.

  42. Incidentally, Pineapple Bob’s bike as Suntour BarCons which are the shit when it comes to barend shifters. Just nabbed a set for the VMH’s commuter bike project.

  43. @Gianni

    @RedRanger

    I didn’t realize that pro’s ever used triple!

    I don’t think PB was a pro. I think he was more a bike model for Bridgestone. This lead photo might have been a catalog shot.

    I don’t think pros could get away with a triple. Even a compact would be a stretch for the rudest stage.

    Just like pros transcend some rules because of sponsorships, you can’t really fault PB for the triple here. Bridgestone paid him to ride something, and he rode it.  Good for him.  The EPMS on the other hand…

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