Friday, October 31, 2008

Ups and Downs: More Bikes, Less Hope

Obviously, today is Halloween, and personally I don't care. Firstly, I'm a free thinker and I don't need a special occasion to ride around in my moisture-wicking chicken suit. Secondly, to me Halloween just means there will be an uptick in stupid behavior, and that uptick should be especially noticeable this year since Halloween has fallen on a Friday. So in addition to the usual slew of Halloween-themed alleycats there should be some kind of Critical Mass ride rolling around. Anyway, I've already gotten holiday-themed riding out of my system, since I participated in a Sukkot-themed alleycat just a couple of weeks ago. I won't bore you with the ride report, but I will tell you it was called "Sukkah On This" and it was awesome.

I will say though that at least when it comes to Halloween people have the decency to ramp up the absurdity during the course of the week so you've got time to get used to it.  Thanks to the dual miracles of readers and email, I have already seen cyclocross barriers of fire in Milwaukee:



And giant red recumbent man-eating sperm in Grand Rapids:



How much worse can it get?

Speaking of scary upticks, the New York Post reports that the number of cyclists entering Manhattan is up 35%:


It's always good to see the New York Post reporting on cycling. After all, it is a newspaper of record--though admittedly that record is Warrant's 2006 "comeback" album "Born Again." The New York Times also points out that in particular the number of cyclists crossing the Williamsburg Bridge has quadrupled from 2000 to 2008. This particular statistic is an excellent example of how important semantics are when it comes to interpreting data. While at first glance you'd take this to mean that more people are cycling, it's also possible that the same number of people are cycling but that they've only been able to successfully cross the bridge since the city finished renovating the bike path in 2002. Before that, crossing the Williamsburg Bridge was like crossing a rope bridge in the Himalayas. So it wouldn't suprise me if just as many people set out on their bikes to cross it before 2000, only to either give up and choose another bridge or plummet into the East River below.

No matter how you interpret the data, though, it's clear a lot of people are commuting by bicycle. And while we've still got a ways to go the city has certainly improved the cycling infrastructure (as anyone who has crossed the old Williamsburg Rope Bridge must admit). Given that, I feel that it is now time cyclists turn their attention to improving their own bikes. And the one place even the novice cyclist can start is with his or her chain. I have noticed that a disturbing number of people these days are riding around on bicycles with brown chains that sound like pillowcases full of mice. I realize that my dream of a pie plate-free world may be far-fetched, but I think a world in which every chain knows a lubricant's viscous kiss is realistic. Removing a pie plate takes a bit of know-how, but if you can brush your own teeth you can lubricate your own chain. If your chain is rusty or squeaky, just put something unctuous on it. That's it. If you're the kind of cyclist who rides around with a squeaky drivetrain, chances are you also ride a pretty crappy bike, so don't worry about fancy boutique lubes.  Seriously, just use anything.  3-In-One oil, motor oil, grease, K-Y Jelly, chicken fat--whatever you've got in your tool box, refrigerator, or bedside drawer is fine.  Even your own mucus can work in a pinch.  (Though you might want to use rubber gloves.)

But while commuting by bicycle may be on the rise, the Chris King Headset Composite Index is declining precipitously.  (I don't know what "precipitously" means, but it's a word that always seems to come after "decline."  Maybe it has to do with precipitation, and the fact that things get slippery when it rains.)  When we last checked in on the CKHCI, it was at 89.79.  Now, a scant four days later, it's at 77.59:




Not only that, but the trading volume is lower as well.  When I calculate the CKHCI I use headset auctions that are closing in the next 12 hours.  Earlier this week, that meant I looked at six auctions.  Today, though, there were only three closing during that window.  (And one of them was in the freakish 1 1/4 size, which doubtless contributed to the drop.)  If you're not horrified yet, then maybe this poorly-rendered graph will scare some sense into you:



That's right, the CKHCI is going down like Cadel Evans on a smooth, flat stretch of road.

To be completely honest, the only reason I'm not stockpiling bottled water (remember, people always stockpile water in emergencies for some reason) is because the New York City PistaDex is practically throbbing right now at 583.33.  You can even get free upgrades if you're good-looking:



So if you're drop-Deda gorgeous, be sure to drop him a line.

88 comments:

geisen said...

let the sonning begin

Anonymous said...

Boo!

Fungineer said...

trick?

treat?

Anonymous said...

dog

Krys Hines said...

Podium!

Anonymous said...

hey i made it whoooooo

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Krys Hines said...

Shit...pipped at the line!

Mark said...

Top Ten!

Slappy said...

Oh suck!

Anonymous said...

Didn't make the top 10. Read it first.

Surly

Anonymous said...

Didn't make the top 10. Read it first.

Surly

ant1 said...

Is "heavly" short for heavenly?

Anonymous said...

My hardtail went trick or treating in a fixie outfit. Some guy was giving out pillowcases full of mice.

Jim said...

If your chain is rusty or squeaky, just put something unctuous on it

Since it's the election season, I'd assume most political candidates of either party would suffice as lubricant. Whether they're as sticky as Phil Wood's Tenacious Oil isn't clear to me; but if unctuousness is what provides the lubrication, they're better than a dab of Slick 50 on some lightly loaded .0001 mil tolerance ceramic bearings.

By the way, that isn't a giant recumbent man-eating sperm costume. It's just a recumbent rider. Transgression only works as a statement if the people in your culture hold something sacred against which you can transgress. The only things 'benters seem to hold sacred are facial hair, and a sense of persecution and victimhood at the hands of an imaginary double-diamond bike rider conspiracy. You want to gore some sacred recumbent oxen, make a 'bent rider the UCI president. That'd make 'em all howl, 'cuz if you break through a glass ceiling that's no longer there and probably hasn't actually been there for a while, your victim status evaporates, along with your claims of the moral superiority of your cause. I've heard it is a deflating experience that leaves the sufferers rather deflated and possessed of a dog-that-caught-the-car bewilderment. Fortunately, if the 'benter failed as UCI pres, he could blame it on a sinister conspiracy of double-diamond (and goofy tri-bike) riders, and retreat back into the safe and insular womb of recumbent victimhood... so at least they got that going for them, which is nice.

murphini said...

Mario Cippolini could enable some good looking buyer get some lube by simply reaching in his bibs and adjusting his junk. Or his hair...

chris said...

all you haters sukkah my nut huggers

murphini said...

crap. I suck at the links. Need to lube my fingers--and my previous post would still accomplish that by Mario Cippolini!

Anonymous said...

Dear Snob,

I think I saw you at the Sukkot alleycat! I was the guy driving a brakeless minivan with my payes flapping in the breeze. You were at the side of the road, wearing a chicken suit and applying schmaltz to your squeaky chain. Unfortunately I didn't get your contact information. I would like to meet you and get together for lunch/dinner sometime soon.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:21,

That was you? Cool! Though strictly speaking, I suppose a Sukkot alleycat would really be an "alleykatz."

--RTMS

chris_cant_dance said...

There's an error in your chris king index calculations- the one that's really bringing the composite down is the 1 1/4 inch one, which is a funny size that nobody wants, and it also doesn't include a crown race.

That's bringing the sale price of that particular headset way, way down.

Please recalculate.

BikeSnobNYC said...

chris_cant_dance,

You mean Chris King hasn't come out with some kind of 1 1/4 to 1 1/8 adapter/miniaturization ray?

--RTMS

Lucky said...

The Pista seller with the free upgrade should have mentioned if he preferred a side part or right down the middle. I mean, really, what should I where? Skinny jeans or full Campy kit? If your butt ugly would he/she refuse to sell it?
There is only one first impression.

Camp Cupboard said...

I think the scarcity of CK headsets on ebay is a positive indicator, not a negative one. Less supply=more demand, right?

Psyclepathic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucky said...

aaaaarrrrgh! *wear*

kale said...

I tried 10w30 on my chain in college once. All I can say is that it wasn't pretty... unless you like looking like a Dalmatian.

Also, it didn't really stop the screaming chain. I've resorted to carrying some "designer" lube with me ("G.T. DuMonde, at your service, ladies") and sprinkling some on the offending chain.

It's my community service for running so many lights.

Critical Ass said...

If the Post were a "record", it would be either Neil Young's Landing on Water or Led Zeppelin's Coda. Cut the Crap by the Clash and the last 14 Pearl Jam albums also come to mind.

Anonymous said...

ca...

all I can think of is coprophagy when I see GG's pic. It's almost as distracting as Micheal Ball...

Anonymous said...

Lucky, by "your butt ugly," did you mean if your butt is ugly, or if you are butt ugly? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Chubby said...

what is it about 10W40 that smells so good. I've since stopped using it as a chain lubricant, too many "mecahnics" were telling me it was no good. I have, however taken to wearing it as a cologne, with great results.

John said...

Camp Cupboard,

it's not the scarcity on ebay, it's the low average closing price that is notable.

Besides, wouldn't lower supply = higher price, not demand, assuming demand doesn't also decrease?

I'm sure there's a macroeconomist out there somewhere to school me mo' betta.

kale said...

There needs to be another index to balance the CKHI, like the price of Aheadsets, which is probably very stable. Ratio of CK to Aheadset?

Critical Ass said...

John,

You don't need a macroeconomist, just a pothead. Yes, lower supply=higher price assuming demand is constant. But then you need to decide if the demand for Kind, I mean King headsets is price-driven. If so, then demand won't be constant. Shit, I forgot what I was talking about.

John said...

C.A.--

you just blew my mind.

bikesgonewild said...

...d z nuts...nutz, boltz, chainz, hair pomade...stuff works everywhere...

kale said...

Is Andy Dick into CX now?

worm irks said...

Must thank you for those words on lubricants (especially "viscous" and "unctuous"). Pure poetry.

As for K-Y, that would only be good for those fixie riders who never ride in the rain. And their factory-packed lube is probably intact anyway.

But hey, in a pinch, need to get to your next date discreetly, use what you got.

Angry said...

ha. i used to be a messenger in Boston and we always delivered to this free VD test clinic. one day after a hard rain my chain was so fucking loud that I got a handful of flavored lube samples in a fake Chinese food box and gooped them shits all over my chain. I had one of the smoothest, most silent and delicately aromatic weeks ever, til it rained again. then i went to canola oil. but yeah, nothing can beat that great shimmering green-yellow 10w30 in the eye dropper...

Caaah said...

Fixed Pie Plate Sighting!!

Seen on Flushing Ave between Evergreen and Central while I was standing outside The Wreck Room. Dude on a black bike with small silver pie plate. I spotted it and then caught his eye. I'm not sure if the look on his face was guilt or understanding.

I will see you again fixed pie plate guy...

andrew rosenberg said...

anti-semite, didn't have to read as much this time for the racial hatred to spew forth

christopher said...

Wow. Maybe my costume should be a good looking person and I'll get the bars....

Anonymous said...

I have noticed a recent decline in the "Brooksdex".

Its a very difficult index, as I'm not sure how a leather seat formed to someone else's ass contours really has value.

Anonymous said...

the proper terminology is "dork ring"

Anonymous said...

Oh! Désolé, je me suis trompé de porte.

frilly said...

Happy Halloween everybody!

Flavored lube? Really? Interesting.

Jim said...

The problem with flavored lube is that, although it provides good lubrication for a while, afterwards your chain is f***ed.

Thanks. You've been a great audience. Try the prime rib. I'll be here all week.

frilly said...

Yes, but I wonder how does it taste?
Bike chains need love too. Not that I'm suggesting anybody should lick their chain if this is the lubricant of choice.

Bluenoser said...

snip/ I have noticed that a disturbing number of people these days are riding around on bicycles with brown chains that sound like pillowcases full of mice.

Just too good snobby.

-B

Bluenoser said...

Hey Chubby,

If you ever get something real sticky on your hands that won't come off, sap, glue whatever WD40 will take it right off and you'll smell nice in the process.

-B

Judi said...

so did you eat in a sukkah?

Johnny Sprocket said...

Iv'e given up with these commuting idiots. They have rusty chains but ride around in a full team kit that costs more than their bike is worth...WTF?! I just yell loudly, "Oil it!", as they pass me, having cranked up a couple of gears and dug hard just because I passed them a few minutes ago.

Nathan said...

I met a guy from the midwest that swore by motor oil in a Park Tool chain cleaner. Yep, one of these http://tinyurl.com/6xpq6u

I wouldn't try it in the southwest or anywhere the dust blows.

cyclehawk said...

I have many fond/scary memories of the Willy B Bridge in the early 90's.
Seeing the road below you thru the boards and the gauntlet of crack heads on one side and junkies on the other.

red neckerson said...

possum fat makes good lube and you can use it to comb yor hair with too

dmitri fofonov said...

Babushka say if America not to vote for Obama, you are copulating bourgeoisie.

DJ Wicky Wick said...

Regarding the declining CKHCI, don't ignore the nervousness and speculation in the market due to the imminent release of the new "Sotto Voce" style Chris King headset. The new style will make the old style obsolete and, at least initially, passé and probably worthless.

Anonymous said...

I am out of the Chris King market entirely these days, hoping for a return to those glad and heady times of the "Shut the **** up already!" model.

Lucky said...

I've notice the Brooks index dropping as well. I just picked up q b17 for $30CAN. It's never been a better time to have no real financial future. The only investment I have is the blood in my veins and it's already liquified.

ps I meant an ugly butt that is worn as a face.

uglyyeti said...

The 1-1/4'' headset went low because the seller didn't put YETI in the listing title. That would have gotten better keyword exposure and driven the price up a good 30 bucks. Kind of rare to see one with the King logos on it - most of the 1-1/4'' King units were blank.

I have a 1-1/8'' for sale on mtbr for 80 bucks - I'm trying to do my part to stabilize the market index.

Some Guy on the Innernets said...

The King headset has been passe ever since Cane Creek introduced the $600 wood-and-metal headset earlier this year. Heh, I wonder how those are selling at the moment!

Critical Ass said...

So much to ridicule, so little time

Joe the Half Ass Plumber said...

I like to use Ridgid thread cutting oil for chains, whenever I can steal some at work. Mostly, though, I just take some house dressing home from the restaurant where I moonlight. My old lady likes the smell of the dressing better anyway. Says it has rosemary in it, whatever that is.

leprechaun said...

To Critical Ass at 5:01;

That bike HAS to be worth at least $25, $50 tops. I'm glad he's in no hurry to sell it!

Anonymous said...

drop deda. TOO CLEVER

cyclenutnz said...

Some random guy did his first tt in a while today and commemorated it by wearing a BSNYC/RTMS shirt

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=102578&id=1430148431&l=5257a

Head Set said...

KRIS KING

Anonymous said...

ALL YOU HATERS SUKKAH MY BALLS

Etoro said...

Hey Bike Snob,

First off, I'm a big fan,

I just lost my Garmin Edge 305. It fell off my bike stem somewhere on the Hudson River Bike path between 14th st. & 34th st. 99% chance I'm fucked, but I hoped maybe the "Lucky" person who found it this morning reads your site as much as I do.

send an email to: etoro18@gmail.com if you are the lucky finder of my Garmin.

Thanks

bikesgonewild said...

...cyclenutnz...nice...

...snobstrong...

Andy Pandy said...

Phil Wood’s Tenacious Goose Liver pate oil. Spread lightly with appropriate knife/ spatula all over links and over time under shearing forces of chain rotation the fat globules break down providing lubrication. PS “Taint So”

Cycle Ninja said...

"...the CKHCI is going down like Cadel Evans on a smooth, flat stretch of road."

And I'm sure there will be myriad excuses to explain the phenomenon.

worm irks said...

Cyclenuts, #4 of 20 of that series is a poignant cycle porn shot.
"GATES LOCKED AT DUSK" sign in the background.

Nice.

frilly said...

AP, glad I caught ya on here. I was reading a blog over the weekend about cyclists in Australia. They were talking about plastic ties tied through their helmets to protect from magpies. Seriously? Do they really try to peck cyclists through their helmets?

Anonymous said...

speaking of pecking Ms. Frilly, when are you going to change your photo to a frontal view?..just sayin'....

Nick said...

Lucily I pulled my money out of the chriskingindex and put it into the pistadex last week.

Anonymous said...

anon1st.

frilly said...

Its Frilly Underpants. Besides that, I don't think you could handle it.

Just kidding-so chill on the hate mail!!!

Anonymous said...

Au contraire, mon ami....it is the opposite of hate that motivates me to take in the whole visage of your form...

Aaron "Bliss" Schreier said...

How about an Aerospoke index?

I'm very interested in the national price of plastic fan blades.

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