Yes, that is indeed an Access-a-Ride van getting rear-ended by an Access-a-Ride car, and I deeply regret that I was not there to see it. The only more satisfying collision I can imagine would be between a brakeless fixed-gear rider and that idiot who was walking in the bike lane with his breakfast last week. Of course, it does stand to reason that any two Access-a-Ride vehicles that come within a block of each-other would inevitably collide. After all, there's a 50% chance that a solo Access-a-Ride vehicle is going to crash into something at any given time anyway, so logically chances double to 100% when there are two of them.
And in these difficult times, the truth is that we need all the inspiration we can get. In case you haven't noticed, it's getting ugly out there. Way back in February, I reported that bike messengers in Seattle were becoming extinct. (Which of course led to the short-lived "Save the Messengers" campaign.) In particular, I recommended starting an "adopt-a-courier" program for unemployed messengers. Well, it seems the hard times have spread to New York, because at least one would-be messenger has put himself up for adoption:
BIKE MESSENGER/DELIVERY - $9 (Lower East Side)
Reply to: see below
Date: 2008-12-05, 11:58AM EST
I am a biker who is looking for a job where I can use my bike. I have amazing bike riding skills and can navagate through NY city easily.I know this city like the back of my hand and can deliver messages, packages or food. I know how to ride safely and quickly.I come with 2 of my own bikes and cell phone. I ask for an hourly pay of 9.00 and up. If you are looking for an experienced biker email me at
In the spirit of the holiday season, I hope someone out there can find it in his or her heart to employ someone with amazing bike riding skills. After all, amazing bike riding skills don't exactly grow on trees (even though amazingly ugly bikes do), and $9 is very little to pay for the convenience of having someone return that overdue library book for you, or go fetch that hat you left at your friend's house, or (if you have OCD) to have someone who can go back and forth to your house all day to make sure you didn't leave the oven on. Even if you don't need his services, a gift certificate for an hour of messenger service makes for a great stocking stuffer. He even comes with "2 of my own bikes and a cell phone," just like some kind of messenger action figure.
Yes, it's good to see cyclists joining the ranks of people who seek compensation simply for doing something fun and unnecessary, just like mediocre guitar players or men who try to sell their bodies to women. (And we all know how that turns out.) With any luck, our freelance messenger will never have to do anything he doesn't want to do, or worse yet, actually go to work for a messenger service. But at least if his courier-for-hire thing doesn't work out he can always become a bike detective:
Reward$$$$$ stolen Nagasawa!!!
Reply to: email@example.com [?]
Date: 2008-12-04, 1:07PM EST
My bike was stolen on the 11th of last month in Brooklyn. Please help me find it. I'm offering a nice cash reward for it's return. It will be worth your time to return it. Help me out.
The number of people using exotic bicycles with expensive components to ride around the streets of New York City only continues to increase. Consequently, so does theft. Yet the only phrase less likely to spur a cop into action than "My bike was just stolen!" is "I sent my laundry out and when I picked it up one of my sweatsocks was missing!" (Hint: telling the cops your frame was NJS won't impart any more urgency to the proceedings, either.) As such, I think the time is ripe for a full-time private bike detective. Part Philip Marlowe and part Ace Ventura, he will comb the back alleys, Chinese take-out restaurants, and Craigslist chop shops of New York City in order to reunite fixters with their "whips." He will also chase down villains with his "amazing bike riding skills," and like Ace Ventura he will even talk out of his ass. (Talking out of your ass is essential when dealing with fixters and missing NJS frames.)
Stolen Track Bike -- Orange Samson -- Grand Street - $1 (Lower East Side)
Reply to: see below
Date: 2008-12-03, 10:25PM EST
Taken on Grand at Essex. REWARD.
Black Brooks saddle, Black Mavics/Dura Ace hubs.
Here's another stolen bicycle in need of detection. Sadly, this one also sounds like it was a pretty expensive keirin frame, which means that some sort of "NJS Bandit" is almost assuredly on the loose. Please note that if you have any information you need to be a formidable sleuth in order to reply, since the poster has left no contact information whatsoever.
STOLEN BIKE FOUND - $1 (NYC )
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [?]
Date: 2008-12-06, 5:30PM EST
so these shady chinese guys offered me to see "their" bike in the basement and.. uh
really not theirs they dont know shit about bikes..
so here its what it looks like..
if you think its yours it has a sticker and you must describe it
its a red pinnarello with campy record everything brakes derralieur , seatpost, brakes, shifters, hubs balblablabla
it has nitto blue anodized handlebar with brown brooks cork wrap,
does it sound familiar? Holla at me
But there is hope, and this post goes to show that sometimes bikes are found. The person who found this bike would clearly make an excellent bike detective too, not only because he's the kind of person who somehow finds himself in situations where shady people are inviting him into basements, but also because he then actually goes into those basements despite the obvious risks. (I on the other hand would make a terrible bike detective, since I won't even go into the basements of people I know and trust.) He shouldn't have too much trouble finding the owner either. Very few of those Balblablabla hubs were ever made. They're very ornate and highly recognizable too, thanks to their trademark fish-mouth grease ports, scaly hub shells, and fin-shaped skewers.
Vintage Italian Track Frame
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2008-12-08, 8:09AM EST
I bought the frame from Continuum Cylces in Manhattan. It was beat up but you could tell it was, at one point, a beautiful frame. The owner (who told me that the frame was his) suggested that it was a Giordana, and the markings seen on the second picture seem to suggest that it's at least an Italian vintage. I bought the frame and brought it to Chelsea Bikes where the top tube (which was cracked) was replaced and the entire frame was given a clear coat. I returned the frame to Continuum where it was built out with all new parts, including fork.
I love this bike. Truly an unique gem. A fast, elegant ride. All steel. It's just too big for me. I knew it when I bought it, I just hoped I'd get used it.
Please contact me for more pictures or questions. The bike is going for $2000, or best offer, though I've had offers near that amount.
It's stamped a size 56". The top tube measures 58".
As much as I hate to see people's bikes get stolen, I also can't help getting irritated when those bikes are disproportionately expensive. Sure, not everybody has a beater bike, but if you do only have one bike and you lock it up in a city like New York you might want to think about buying a second bike for $250 before you upgrade to that $300 hubset. That's one of the many reasons why, if you're in the market for an urban runabout, I'd avoid the $2,000 rehabilitated mystery bike above.
I must admit, though, that I found the ad compelling. First of all, I was intrigued by the bike's mysterious provenance: notice that the previous owner "suggested it was a Giordana." I'm not sure Giordanas are highly-coveted bicycles anyway, but nonetheless suggesting something without saying it outright is a highly effective sales tactic. I've even used it myself: "I'm not saying this bike isn't a Colnago. All I'm saying is that if you peel off those Pacific decals you never know what you'll find under there." Hey, it may be misleading, but it's not a lie. Secondly, I'm not sure why the owner thought he'd get used to a frame that's too big for him. Maybe the person who sold it to him also said, "I'm not saying this bike will fit you like a glove, but I will say if you buy it you very well might get used to it." And that's like falling for the old, "Don't worry, they'll stretch" line when you're buying shoes. Finally, it seems that the current owner is picking up some of the sneaky tactics of the person who sold him the bike, since he's selling it "for $2000, or best offer, though I've had offers near that amount." If he's had already had offers close to $2,000 and he's willing to sell it for $2,000 or best offer, then why does he still have the thing?
Perhaps the seller can engage the private bike detective to find out who made his bike. And here's yet another bike-related crime on the verge of being solved, which was posted in the "Missed Connections:"
To the kid who hit a car w/bike, got beaten up, iPhone smashed, etc - 27 (Bushwick)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2008-12-06, 2:13PM EST
There was a post written a few weeks ago by the guy you got smashed up by- he's a real dick and he ended his post by suggesting you meet him at an Agnostic Front show? Yeah, anyhow I have been corresponding with him in an effort to help and now have an email and myspace address for you, it should be easy to pull an IP address from that should you want to press charges. You could at least maybe get your ipod back since he apparently stole that after he stomped on you and stomped your iphone.
Just contact me on here.
Yes, some time ago, none other than fixed-gear freestyle impresario Prolly came upon this highly dramatic and incendiary Craigslist Missed Connection, which is either very comical or somewhat disturbing, depending on your disposition. At the time, I dismissed it as fantasy, thinking it read too much like the hipser-hater's equivalent of a Penthouse Forum letter. However, it would appear that at least one concerned citizen with hipster sympathies not only believes the story is true but has taken it upon himself to bring the driver to justice. I'm not sure what recourse the victim would actually have if they did find the guy, but if there's a rematch I really, really hope I'm invited to watch. I also hope there's a Zune involved this time.
And once the private bike detective is done with that, he can move on to trailing adulterous husbands. After reading about the iPhone crusher, I noticed this:
Linda At Bike Junkie Bike Shop - m4w - 54 (Bethpage)
Reply to: [deleted]
Date: 2008-12-01, 11:45AM EST
I am a fairly regular customer and I was in the store most recently twice a couple of weeks ago. You look as good and hot as ever. I would love to get together. Because I am married I am uncomfortable approaching you directly.
I'm sure Linda at Bike Junkie is pleased to know that his reticence isn't due to insecurity or lack of attraction--it's simply because he's trying to cheat on his wife. Next time this guy tells his wife he's "going out to buy tubes" at 12:45am she can have the bike dick follow him and build herself a solid divorce case.
Lastly, speaking of following people, I always like to follow up on people I've mentioned here on the site. You may remember Shane Stock, owner of Oso Bike. Well, not only did he reinvent his corporate image by re-editing his video, but he also scored a review on Bikecommuters.com:
I'm not one to fuss over chainline, but I was dismayed to learn that the chainline of the Oso bike is something like a centimeter out-of-plane. Still, I suppose it makes a better sacrificial lamb than a Nagasawa or a Samson. (I understand NJS certification for the Oso is pending.)
I also feel compelled to apprise you of the latest from Opinionated Cyclist (if only to save you the trouble of watching his videos) since it may interest some of you to know he seems to have reinvented himself as a karaoke air musician. Here he is "playing" along to Ratt's "Round and Round:"
And here he is singing with his sweater on inside out and backwards:
But not quite as hard-hitting as this:
Soundtrack and wardrobe aside, I can't imagine anything more detached from the streets. Even the bike's in a living room on rollers instead of outside. He does have "amazing bike riding skills" though. I'd give him $9 to pick up my moisture-wicking chicken suit from the dry cleaners or something.