We look at the car and wonder how many of its owners became wealthy enough to afford it via humanitarian pursuits, providing AIDS meds for suffering Africans or buying books for schools in Arkansas. One suspects that Rolls owners believe the Lord helps those who help themselves, so they help themselves to distinguished motorcars.
As this is written, during the Handbuilt Bicycle Show in Indianapolis, I want to ask you why it's cool to build or own a $10,000 carbon-fiber urban single-speed bicycle, and not cool at all to own a new Roller.
The Rolls will do anything a car can do, congratulating its owner all the while for his/her taste and worldly success. It'll look like money, like snobbery, but it'll serve wonderfully nonetheless.
The urban single-speed will never leave its zip code. It will be no better at being a bicycle than a clean '80s Fuji Monterey. It will in truth not be as useful as the Fuji. The Fuji will go anywhere. The carbon fixie will go nowhere. The Fuji is to ride; the fixie is to be seen on.
The Rolls designer says that most owners have five or six car garages and think of their garages as wardrobes, as arrays of items from which to choose. The carbon fixie owner thinks of his room-full-of-bikes as a wardrobe too, an array of leisure time choices from which to choose.
Many of us, I suspect, are blinded by "bicycle-ness." Whatever a bicycle is or whatever a cyclist does....is okay. Cool even. Any niche market item that appeals to cyclists is cool, even if it is severely limited in function and so brutally expensive that it can't be parked in front of Cool Beans Coffee & Tea without an armed guard.
A Rolls-Royce is a refined, expensive, totally functional automobile. A carbon fixie is a pricey gilded lily. Can't blame Parlee. Despite the downturn, the demand is there - from authentic, gritty urban fixists across this Great Land.
I get the Rolls. I really don't get the Parlee. Speak right up if you do.