Monday, September 15, 2008

Hard Times: Valuating the Cultural Currency of Cycling



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.



I thought these were the hands of a dieter and it said "Live Lite," but it actually says "Live Life."

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.

137 comments:

AH said...

whaaa?

ant1st said...

First!

Mark said...

Podium!

streepo said...

top five!!

Anonymous said...

Gimme Gimme

Phred said...

Hi Mom!

mendacity said...

top 10!

O ' Bama said...

in your face Sarah

Oettl said...

top 10?

Tj eckleburg? said...

ok whats the internet slang tatoo say?

ant1st said...

I friend of mine worked with a writer-type (the sort of person that use a typewriter, i guess) that had NOUN and VERB on his knuckles.

Critical Ass said...

Alright, alright, alright...gotta love them triathlons. I'm now in the 35+ age group, and these Juniors chicks stay the same age.

Say, man...you got any of them Clif Power Shot things? Sure be cooler if you did.

Mark said...

Moshi, moshi! That's JLo? Jenny from the Block is looking like Jenny from Idaho. Damn!

Video_Drome said...

Love Live Bike Snob!!!

Death to video drome!!!

Octopus Magic said...

You missed out on the "explanation" on the STFU NOOB one.

I got “STFU NOOB” because I am a huge gamer. I mostly play World of Warcraft and “noob” basically comes from the word “new”.
it implies that you are inexperienced,ignorant,an idiot, somebody who is clueless and basically sucks. I think we all know what “STFU” means, which is shut the f*ck up. I love the knuckle tattoos because now when I am out and about and somebody is driving me mad, I have no need for actual words when my hands say it all.

I don't think there's anything more embarassing than that.

Anonymous said...

Wealthier white folk often turn to triathalons because Kenyans connot afford $6,000.00 carbon-fiber time trial bikes.

Ka_Jun said...

Hey Snob,

If you're looking for amusing ink, take a gander at Hanzi Smatter.

Critical Ass said...

I'm building bikes for Kenyans in my garage right now. Sorta weird geometry...they have legs like jackrabbits, you know.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Kenyans!
Cash in the blood diamonds and we'll race! Three times!

Mongo Pusher said...

Kloden!

Fluffy said...

As we live in one big happy mash up now, celeb Tri-Lete knuckle tats will happen..

MANK INIS
ONES TRAP
SWMB KRUN

I bid on what I thought was a typo listed aerospoke the other day and won it cheap! But it really was an aerospork. Shattered a tine on rock in my chili the next day. Sad!

kale said...

mark - you hit the nail on the head. ugh.

at least it's not a monocoque carbon tri bike for their 2 mile ride. but that would be better to look at than cankles.

Commiecanuk said...

Matthew McManimsogay is being emulated by Lance Armstrong in a movie biography that apparently is so bad, it has still has to make it out of editing a year later.
The apocalypse is neigh for flip-flop wearers, with a lethal strain of plantar warts being tracked across New York by the CDC, apparently, the "typhiod Mary" is some chic from Long island named 'Crystal'.

Jennifer Lopez is an "actress"? The things I learn here.

But one thing is for sure, there are a lot more financial geniuses at Lehmann Brothers riding bikes after this week. Lending billions to losers without any big guvmint control is great for cycling!

Little commie's college fund is now invested in the Pistadex, it can only get better! Updating now on my iDiot phone...

ptfe said...

I like that the "True Love" guy also has it written on his palm vertically. There are only two reasons I can think of for this:

- The tattoo "artist" (I shouldn't mock the art, but does a knuckle tattoo really reach that level?) needed something written down (or the guy getting the tattoo thought so) to make sure that they spelled "true love" correctly.

- It was scrawled on his paw by someone at the bar, probably along with a phone number, after which he blacked out, only to wake up in the yard outside an unfamiliar house with his underpants on his head and a sock acting as unmentionables; instead of assuming that the phone number of this "true love" was lost, he decided it was a Message from God.

Either way, I like the original better. Much more subtle.

Commiecanuk said...

It's funny that those who seem to enjoy the knuckle tattoos have space for 12 letters in total...just sayin'

leroy said...

BSNYC --

Having one's knuckle right under one's nose is a social faux pas if the tip of one's digit is simultaneously obscured from view.

But they're your knuckles. Do with them as you will.

Within limits, of course.

The right to point one's finger ends at the next person's nasal passages.

There may be a similar rule for knuckle art aesthetics.

I'm not sure it would be possible to tastefully inscribe "Honk If You Like Geese."

Anonymous said...

Bikes Nob would be a great knuckle tattoo. Talk about ironic.

Self-appointed expert on the subject said...

At risk of being characterized as some fat guy talking about Korea...when I got my first tattoo, there was a strict rule that a tattoo artist wouldn't tattoo someones face or hands. Guess that's changed over the years. Also, I recently saw a picture of some knuckles tatooed with "NoBrains"...apropo.

eelinow said...

I see a whole new tie-in for Tattoo's and Cycling... Just check out the newest issue of Inked Magazine's cover, especially that whole exposé on BSNYC.

Bike Snob NYC and Inked Magazine?

Eric
http://www.bucksbicycling.com

plum said...

Top 30!

liz said...

Lopez, 39, participated in the ’sprint’ triathlon in 2 hours 23 minutes and 38.8 seconds. Actor Matthew McConaughey finished the ’sprint’ category in 1 hour 30 minutes and 44.7 seconds. This category is usually a swim of 1/2 mile, bike distance of 12.4 miles and a 3.1 mile run.

over TWO HOURS for sprint distance? way to go, Jenny. time to ditch that "actress" career and turn pro.

Gerchof Sirdribeldik said...

Putin no afraid of big hair moose shooting hockey babuska. We like Obama because he has same look in eyes as Putin. He no is afraid to drink a few vodka and beat up woman who think she is a man.

Jim said...

Canuck, there is plenty of government control of the mortgage market. The government (standing in for We, the Source of Revenue as the Framers apparently described us) underwrites the risk. The people who enjoy the benefits of this include:
- people who withdraw all the equity in their house to buy a Hummer and an air hockey table, along with a vacation in Cozumel
- people who think it's a good idea to buy a house on a jumbo loan, 20 or 30% of which is financed at 12% interest
- fat cats who make in the tens of millions per year, providing enough money to buy a nice place in the Hamptons *and* a handful of top elected officials.

Public risk, private benefit - a bad combination.

The fed and quasi-public (and in this case federally chartered) companies like Fannie and Freddie underwrite risky mortgages, as a means of encouraging home ownership, stable communities and wealth-building. That policy makes mortgages plentiful and easy to get, which benefits the very rich and those of modest means as long as the market is expanding. In fact, lenders are directed to make loans to marginal borrowers, and make the loans available on non-discriminatory terms. The scheme turns around when the market deflates, and this benefits the very rich who can afford hedges (or snap up those tasty distressed secondary market mortgage lenders and property - can you say "upside"?). Meanwhile, the taxpayers get stuck making up for the losses. The case could be made for no goverment involvement - few bankers are stupid enough to lend you $750k of their own money without looking at your tax returns and bank balance, or to lend money to speculators on a no-money-down, interest-only basis. Or you could make a good case for somewhat heavier government involvement. Right now we have plenty of government involvement, it just happens to be the wrong kind.

bloodline said...

no celebrities in cyclocross

scott said...

Oh, RTMS. Knuckle tattoos don't go around Ourys. They wrap only around untaped risers or anodized Nittos. Gosh.

Roscoe P Coltrane said...

Personally, I thought "Boss Hogg"

would uhh..

... kuuuck..cqucck..d'err...

have been better.

Anonymous said...

BSNYC: The Pistadex might be slumping in NYC, but there's a bear market in LA:

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/bik/833161576.html

Notice s/he generously dropped the price from $1700.

Enos said...

I find myself wonderfull attracted to J-lo on a bike.

It makes me want to love her "slag clam" whrong tyme!

Boss Hogg said...

I loooooooves me some slag clam...

whooo boy howdy.... y'sir!

manicallday said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
manicallday said...

Apparently bike thieves are still speculating a bounce.

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/bik/840655118.html

Had my bike locked up outside to a gutter drain pipe on spring st. in oregon hill overnight approximately a week ago and the fucker(s) ripped it outta the side of the house and stole my bike. Dark blue bianchi pista. 59cm frame. blue handle bar wrap finished with oury grips near the stem and a bell. sticky rice sticker and a red sticker with a yellow ninja star on the seat tube near the crank. blue chain. stock everything pretty much. will probably have a kryptonite u-lock on the top tube unless they've managed to get it off. if you see it or know of it, call me asap 571-426-3499. thanks.

SERIAL # H8LR06517


p.s. i really love this bike. it was my bday present to myself back in march. i would seriously appreciate any info. thanks.


p.p.s. i will offer a $100 reward to information related to retrieval of the bike or for simply returning the bike. no questions. thanks.

Uncle Jed said...

I's 'member back in the day when your grandmother w'd cook up some slag clam.. down in the bayoo...

What gets me is I never could understand.... all the strang noises comin' from her cabin...

I never did understand what was so compelling.... people stay'n up all nite...

Just for some clam...

Commiecanuk said...

Anonymous said...

Notice s/he generously dropped the price from $1700.


$1700! Little commie's going to Harvard!

Commiecanuk said...

jim,

Looks like I touched a nerve, but don't worry about the taxpayers, they can just borrow more on the US national debt: $9,700,000,000,000. I'm sure that can go on indefinitely. Never stops to amaze me how many Republican economy experts are graduates from the "Graph Extrapolation" School of Business and Economics, or, "Jesus is our Guarantor".

knfuckyoules said...

your blog: assholes

Anonymous said...

suck dick

Anonymous said...

fuck dogs

another knuckle artist said...

lick nuts

prolly said...

"mishkass"

your mom said...

"balldeep"

junkie on a fixie said...

"liveaids"

streepo said...

grostesque aberration

2.7tubesAreExpensive said...

Last weekend I saw Seth Green, David Sedaris and one of the Olsen twins downhilling in the White Mountains.

junkfix said...

"fucksnob"

roomservicetaco said...

Very well played, RTMS.

You could have also gone for PIEP LATE.

Critical Ass said...

RETA RDED

you said...

i(heart)rectum

urine said...

"fuckhole"

Anonymous said...

"dumbfuck"

weezer said...

"hashpipe"

cereal killah said...

"deadgirl"

your dad said...

"jonbenet"

ant1st said...

Commie - It seems to me, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that both republicrats and democans borrow money like they'll never have to pay it back. Blaming republicans for the national debt is like saying that someone is a moron for getting STFU tattooed on his knuckles. It may be true, but let's not forget about the noob.

Anonymous said...

Snob-
Be careful what you post.
Some fool tattooed the fat cyclist logo on himself.
While the ink won't be on your knuckles, the proverbial blood while be on your hands when someone follows your suggestion.

grammer chek said...

...will be...

frilly said...

"luvsepia"

Strayhorn said...

Previously I've left the Tri folks alone because, well, some of my best friends . . .

But this morning I was out in the middle of nowhere and a guy on a Cervelo pops out of a side road about a hundred yards in front of me.

I gave chase and as I came up on him I noticed a lot of wobbling. Then it hit me - he was transitioning to the tri bars and, well, I suppose they are OK on smooth pavement. Out on rural NC roads with potholes, Macadam surface, and loose gravel, not so much.

We rode along for a couple miles, me enjoying the morning, him trying to point that bike in the right direction while talking about the Tri he was training for. The urge to laugh was getting pretty strong so I took my leave and headed off down another road.

Shouldn't have worried, though. I doubt he could have heard me chuckle over the noise from that rear wheel.

Jim said...

No, it's not a nerve you hit, Canuck. I just hate to see my Canadian brethren laboring under false impressions. Besides, it matters to you. What's that they say about the Canadian economy? When Wall Street sneezes, Canada gets a bad case of herpes simplex, or something like that...

wishiwasmerckx said...

Shal om2u

wishiwasmerckx said...

Snob, I'll have you know that if you google "slag clam," your definition comes up second! Talk about changing the lexicon virtually overnight!

knuckle dragger said...

lick poop

Anonymous said...

meat 2veg

kale said...

BARS PINZ

Inyr Anus said...

Fist Fuck

bristol palin said...

sorr ymom

Mavic Beacon said...

asdf jkl;

three fingered typist said...

qwe rty

Cottered Crank said...

Self-Appointed said:

At risk of being characterized as some fat guy talking about Korea...when I got my first tattoo, there was a strict rule that a tattoo artist wouldn't tattoo someones face or hands. Guess that's changed over the years. Also, I recently saw a picture of some knuckles tatooed with "NoBrains"...apropo.



Actually, you just sound like an old fart talking about ethics. Nobody wants to hear about ethics, unfortunately.

techb3 said...

FUCK YEAH

leroy said...

Okay, Mavic Beacon -- that was funny!

ant1st -- Far be it from me to critique your political insight, but if I recall, during Clinton's two terms we had peace and prosperity and he left with a record budget surplus. Can't hardly say the same things about W.

jelliot said...

Anyone know if this deal ever closed?
http://www.bicycleretailer.com/news/newsDetail/1676.html

Anonymous said...

FLIN GPOO

frilly said...

love andy

Robin said...

DO IT!

Norman said...

This is not the Jennifer Lo[pez|ove-Hewitt] I thought I knew!

mayor quimby said...

CHOW DAH!

elvis said...

Houn Dawg

bikesgonewild said...

...sick shit...

homophobe said...

your egay

Anonymous said...

Top 89 commenter!

Anonymous said...

awwww yeeeaaahh!

hollywood said...

There's always room for J-Lo.

catbert said...

Those knuckle tattoos are going to work wonders in job interviews over the years. Oh well, maybe all that slag clam will be worth it.

I'll bet plastic surgery would be a good field for a youngster to get into. Think of what a nice Serotta you could buy.

Johnny Sprocket said...

I doubt McConaughey was training for a 'decathlon'. More like a 'tryhard-athlon'.

And I would have picked him for a Pista man myself.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'd rather have my knuckles tattooed than have a mortgage in the 'burbs.

McConaughey said...

fuck yall

Critical Ass said...

All of these fuckers that get bailed out of their bogus mortagage should get a permanent reminder of their stuidity - A knuckle tattoo:

SUBP RIME

ant1st said...

leroy - that would be somewhat correct if your definition of democrat is bill clinton and that of republican george bush. Replace those two with carter and reagan and see what you get.

Commiecanuk said...

Carter and Reagan? a guy who spends all his time building houses for the poor and a guy who had Alzheimer's for most of his administration?

We'll take Jimmy Carter any day. I don't we'll see GW doing anything but sitting on oil boards and doing lines.

Ti( * )( * )ies said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
noobile said...

ROTF LMAO

David Flynn said...

piep late

amir said...

Love Boat

skidmark pdx said...

ARRO SPOK

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find the one they call McConaughey will be doing a decathlon. Where the cycling bit in a decathlon is must have escaped my attention at a whole series of summer olymipics.

ask4plastic.com said...

Sanghvi Techno Products offers PTFE Rod, PTFE Bush from India.

Andi said...

I am glad you liked my knuckles.

I would think it's more embaressing being an ignorant moron who judges what another person does to their own body.

I also have huge fake tits. So go ahead and rip on that too sugar lips. I feel rather honored.

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