I have a confession to make.
What I’m about to tell you is not something I’m proud of; if anything, it’s exactly the opposite. I’m certain that those of you who know me will mock me for eternity, and the rest of you will at least snicker to yourselves. That’s alright, because I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of dignity for the sake of entertainment.
Last May, I responded to a call for “models” for Giant Bicycle’s 2010 product catalog.
My decision to respond to this casting call was whimsical–and likely influenced by a few adult beverages–but once I received an invitation to attend the photoshoot, I couldn’t back down. In addition, the concept of earning money by riding a bicycle (next to a cute girl, no less) was more than enough to convince me to drive to Santa Cruz for a few hours of “work.”
Here’s how the whole gig went down: I showed up at the Wilder Ranch State Park in my sweet 1990 Honda Prelude, checked in, and sat around for about an hour while the other bikes were photographed. When the time was right, I was given a Giant-brand helmet (replete with detachable, but not detached, visor) and a shiny Giant Boulder SE “mountain bike.” Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to my fellow sellout, an agreeable Santa Cruz resident that I’ll call Jennifer; we were instructed to “pretend to be a new couple, out on an afternoon adventure,” a not entirely unpleasant proposition. Jennifer and I rode side-by-side for about five minutes, smiling at one another and chatting about the fact that we both owned Giant road bikes in real life. Meanwhile, a man in a Giant T-shirt crouched silently in the distance with an enormous telephoto lens pointed in our direction. Less than one hour after I arrived, the shoot was over and I was headed back to San Francisco.
Let’s fast-forward to October, when I was scouring San Francisco’s bike shops for outdated XT dual-piston brake pads for my new KHS. After striking out at Performance Bikes, Valencia Cyclery, and Mikes Bikes, I paid a visit to my favorite shop in the City, Pacific Cycles, where I finally found what I was looking for. This shop has bailed me out of perilous component situations several times; if you’re looking for an obscure part or a high-end accessory, they’re definitely the best place to visit. As I was ringing up my purchase at the front desk, I jokingly pointed at a brand new Cervelo TT bike and said, “I’ll take one of those, too.” The guy behind the counter replied, “No, that’s not what you need. You need one of these!” He produced a 2010 Giant Bicycles catalog and flipped through the pages in order to find the $12,000 Giant Trinity Advanced SL. However, as he was rifling through the booklet, my subconscious caught a glimpse of a familiar scene.
“WAIT!” I exclaimed, “That’s me, right there!” I grabbed the catalog and opened it wide, staring in disbelief at the full-page monstrosity reproduced below. The sales guy seemed genuinely impressed.
Is this what newly minted couples look like in real life? I doubt it. Will it sell low-end mountain bikes? Hell yes!
I took a few catalogs home–one for me, one for my mom, and one to sell in the event that I become famous–and the whole ordeal lay dormant for many months. At best, I assume that some of you find my “modeling” photographs mildly entertaining, but the story gets better.
This morning, my good friend and college roommate, Joe, sent me an IM containing a link to this photograph on the Giant Bicycles website. This is an image that even I had not seen until today, and I have no idea how Joe managed to unearth it.
Take a good, close look at the URL for the image:
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: unequivocal proof that I lead the “big balls men offroad lifestyle.” While I’ve always felt that my big-balls offroad lifestyle was worthy of a photoshoot, Giant’s validation means the world to me.
Please take a moment to appreciate how absurd that filename is, in the absence of any sarcasm. Somehow, Giant’s standard image notation has overlapped with mild sexual innuendo in an undeniably comedic coincidence. I laughed aloud for several seconds after I received my friend’s IM, and I hope you find it marginally funny as well.
In the event that you think that I’m so vain that I would photoshop myself into the big-balls offroad lifestyle, I cordially invite you to take a look at the photograph in its natural habitat.
[Note: I don't generally consider "Lifestyle" as my desired riding level, in case you're wondering. I'm all about "Sport."]
Now, while I’m flattered that Giant considers my big-balls offroad lifestyle worthy of a full-page catalog photograph and a website banner image, I’m not sure it was worth the cost. I sold my soul for a few hundred dollars, didn’t I? I sacrificed everything I believe in–high-end bikes, visorless helmets, flat bars, and spandex–for a paltry sum*. Am I really that shallow?
Absolutely. Please forward any future, bike-related casting calls to my email address.
With that, I’m off. It’s late and I am tired. All this modeling takes its toll, you know.
*Bollocks. No amount of money is “paltry” when compared to a graduate student’s stipend. If not for this photoshoot, I would have eaten nothing but instant rice for the month of June. Don’t judge me.
**Kids, don’t go to graduate school. You’ll end up whoring yourself out for insignificant monetary gains.