So the economy is apparently imploding, or exploding, or some other kind of ploding. (I don't know, I'm not an economist.) The used bicycle market is also in turmoil. There are no Bianchi Pistas currently on the market in NYC, and people are doubtless holding on to them to see where all this is going. So while it's impossible to say where the PistaDex stands at this moment, one trader is willing to pay $400. That's pretty low, but the bottom certainly hasn't fallen out yet, and I for one refuse to panic.
Indeed, it is extremely important to remain optimistic in these trying times. Sure, we may start to see Pista prices fall across the board. And yes, we may no longer be able to count on our track bikes actually increasing in value as we own them. But we can always hope that if things do get ugly the government will step in. Perhaps they can offer generous tax deductions to Pista owners for "improvements" such as Aerospokes, Phil Wood bottom brackets, and Chris King headsets. And perhaps they can also offer mileage disincentives, so that these riders are discouraged from riding their Pistas and as such keep them in the "like new, barely ridden" state so cherished by buyers.
Moreover, I maintain that while the PistaDex may dip in the coming weeks overall the cultural currency of cycling will remain strong. In fact, now is a better time than ever to diversify your cycling investments into other areas. Sure, you might want to avoid things like alleycat manifest holders right now, but there are extremely positive indicators in other sectors of the cyclonomy. For example, it hardly warrants mentioning that Lance Armstrong is coming back for another stab at the Dauphiné Libéré, and that's going to result in massive spikes in sales of Dura Ace-equipped Madones, black half-shorts, helmet mirrors, and threadless stem risers. Also, let's not forget that while cycling is expensive to regular people it's actually a bargain for wealthy people, so you can expect more and more of them to pick it up as their fortunes dip slightly and they put more expensive hobbies like dirigible racing on hold. And where you have wealthy people, you have triathlons:
Here we see the guy from "Boys on the Side" getting ready for some tri training in the tailgate of his SUV. Now I realize the caption says he's training for a decathlon, but I'm going to assume that's a mistake since I don't think decathlons have cycling in them. Also, while it may look like McConaughey is removing his mandal in order to put on a cycling shoe, it's actually the other way around, as everybody knows he loves training in thongs (he sports them both on his feet and under his cycling shorts) and only wears his cycling shoes while driving.
Sure, I know I've said some harsh things about triathletes in the past. (Like how they can't handle their bikes, or shift their bikes, or really do much of anything with their bikes except clumbsily nagivate them to the place where they have to go to change their shoes like a bunch of bikini-clad Mr. Rogerses.) But again, in times like these we have to stick together. I'm not going to look at triathlons as a few miles of spazztic cycling sandwiched between the twin evils of swimming and running. Instead, I'm going to look at them as a stealthy method of delivery by which cycling can sneak itself into the cultural bloodstream like a water-borne illness. And maybe if more celebrities get the bug it will also trickle down to the people who mindlessly emulate them.
Sure, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Who the hell is emulating Matthew McConaughey?" Well, if that's not enough celebrity for you, what about Jennifer Lopez?
That's right, Jennifer Lopez is putting the proverbial hammer down for charity. This makes me happy. It even looks like she was able to get her feet into the pedals quicker than her competitors. And perhaps most touching, she had the consideration to wear a loose-fitting garment so as not to drive any nearby Hasidim mad with animal lust.
But it's not all about triathlons, so don't go pitching your Pista quite yet. Fixed-gears still have enough cultural cachet to figure into a Japanese iPhone commercial, as forwarded by a reader:
Sure, I realize many of you live in the United States, but if you do this indicates that there is still an international market for your Pista, which coupled with the weak dollar may very well work to your advantage should you need to liquidate your supply.
And if nothing else, this also underscores the importance of staying up on the trends. It's absolutely crucial to know who wants what and where they are at any given moment if you want to sell your bike at top dollar. And staying up on bike trends is about more than just looking at cycling. It's also important to look at the trends that cross over into cycling. And one of those trends, as we saw recently, is knuckle tattoos.
Well, it would appear that knuckle tattoos are the fixed-gear bicycles of the body art world, in that they've been around a long time and they used to be pretty bold things to have, but suddenly everybody wants one, and when they finally get them they look pretty funny. The very same reader who alterted me to the "Nobr Akes" tattoo has also turned me on to knuckletattoos.com, which is sort of the fixedgeargallery of knuckle tattoos and is my new favorite website. Here are some highlights:
There is no way you'll ever regret having internet slang tattooed on your knuckles. Imagine these hands gently caressing the visage of a lover.
It took me a really long time to figure this one out. I thought it said "Slag Calm," which didn't make sense. Then I thought maybe it was a typo and should have said "Slag Clam," which could refer to the female reproductive organ of a promiscuous woman. Finally, though, I actually read the caption, and learned it said "Stay Calm," and that did indeed relax me.
Ah yes, the under-the-finger reverse knuckle tattoo. It's the left-hand drive crank setup of the knuckle tattoo world.
So taken was I with all of these fine knuckle tattoos, and so much did I want to become part of this new fashion phenomenon, that I racked my brain in order to come up with my own eight-letter sentiment. I considered and dismissed such possibilities as "Trek Bike," "Pack Fill," and "Twob Rake." Finally, though, it hit me. The perfect eight-knuckle chuckle was hidden right under my nose:
Of course, I wanted to see how it would look first, so I tested it out on a sepia-toned model. Notice the "NY" and the "C" on the thumbs. Not only is it a sin to waste digits, but it's also important to differentiate myself from all the other Bike Snobs out there. I'm thinking I may go for it. Those hands would look badass wrapped around a pair of Ourys.