Regulars readers of Cyclelicious know I have no skill for humor. I thoroughly enjoy Bike Snob NYC, however. A couple of copycats have popped up who try to copy his formula for humor, including my own computer scripted Autosnob experiment.
A couple of people have asked me how the Autosnob works. Like any computer program, it follows a formula, and I follow the formula perfected in the Bike Snob’s “Worst of Craigslist” posts. If you want to create your own Bike Snob franchise blog, here’s how you, too, can gain fame, fortune, and interviews with Bicycling magazine and big name bike blogs.
Write the preamble. This is an introductory paragraph or three setting up the overall theme of the post. Bike Snob makes effective use of metaphors and similes. For the Autosnob, I grabbed the text from various “worst similes” websites. Here are some freebies:
- Visiting Craigslist is like the required community service you did cleaning the homeless shelter bathrooms.
- Craigslist is like the trailer trash of bike want ads. Let’s make another visit to the trash heap.
- This Craigslist bike ad is like Def Leppard on a bad hair day, except just like Def Leppard, every day is bad hair day on Craigslist.
- Reading Craigslist bike ads hurts just the way your tongue hurts after you staple it to the wall.
You get the idea.
Select your Craigslist ad. The best ads are ones with photos, so select your city or region and search for “fixie,” limiting your search to the title text and posts with photos. You might also want to set a minimum price to weed out the small trash (like old broken pedals) that people peddle on Craigslist. Here’s an example of this search.
I’ve selected this ad for you to experiment with in the comments. It’s an ugly 25 year old bike with missing parts, junky cell phone photos, and a ridiculous price.
The owner is also obviously clueless: “just got a new bike. this one’s too big for me(i’m almost 5’10″). it’s almost 33″ stand over hi. it’s probably from the ’90s. i’m not too sure. it’s a fuji del rey. it’s set up with a fix gear cog. i have a free wheel for it. i also have a smaller front chain ring for it. i even have the old deraillers and gear shifters if you want to turn it back to a bike with gears. i have drop bars or bullhorns that i chopped from drop bars. i have one or two brakes and levers for it.”
Mock the ad. But do it with cleverness and style and pop culture references. The obvious things to mock on this bike are the missing saddle, “33 inch stand over hi,” “one or two brakes” (He’s not sure? At least he spelled it right), $225 for a bike that sold for $300 new in 1983, and what looks like a Polaroid as a spoke card. You can probably do something clever with the color — BSNYC likes to find similarly colored objects for his Craigslist finds. This color reminds me of eggplant, but people pictures are funnier. It takes more work, but a photo of a has-been celebrity in a purple outfit would work well here. Here’s the best of both worlds: A has-been celebrity who looks like an eggplant!
Obligatory mentions. If the bike is a Pista, be sure to mention the Pista-dex. For any recent fixie, be sure to compare the price against a new bike’s MSRP. If the handlebar is partially wrapped, you must mention the “dog erection” look of the bar.
Colorful euphemisms. I’m a fan of BSNYC’s euphemisms. For example: “I loudly admonished him for having Oedipal tendencies.”
Try your best! Write a snobby review of the Fuji Del Rey linked to above. Put your “Worst Of” review as a comment here or in your own blog (be sure I can find it). A panel of celebrity judges (TBD) will determine the best ad among the entries. The winner gets a $20 Amazon gift card. The usual rules apply: I need your valid email address if you’re the selected winner, and this contest must be legal in your area. Contest deadline is next Wednesday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m. U.S. Pacific Standard Time.