Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Severing Attachments: Easy Come, Easy Go

(Nonplussed investors react to the plummeting value of their PistaDex futures.)

In today's fast-paced world of flying cars, lunar colonies, and entire meals in pill form, things have a much shorter shelf life than they used to "back in the day." (Actually, we don't even have shelves anymore thanks to that new "hovercabinet" technology.) Consequently, while it used to take at least decades to grow nostalgic about something, the entire emergence/disappearance/nostalgia cycle now only takes a few years. Consider the Bianchi Pista, which until recently was a byword for fashionable urban cycling but is now merely a reminder of days gone by. A reader has forwarded me this Craigslist posting, which neatly sums it all up:

Bianchi Pista Track Bike Fixed Gear - $400 (Chapel Hill)
Date: 2010-03-21, 10:31PM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

This is the best bike that I have ever owned. I love this bike. We've had some great times together. When we (the bike and I) ran over that cute roller blader on the west side highway near battery park and had to tow her to her apartment because her leg wouldn't work. How about the many scotch inflicted drunken bike rides back to brooklyn after playing hoops and going out uptown with my bros. Pulling a Fred Flintstone when our chain would come off on the backside of the manhattan bridge. From all the scratches from the kryptonite chains to all the near fatal encounters when running the red lights this bike is a part of me. If I had the cash I would bury it next to me when I die. But, I don't and that's why it has to go. It's a circa 2000 model. All Black. Chrome Moly Forks. No brakes. There are holes for brakes if you want to add them but DON'T YOU DARE. I Guess it's got a flip flop hub. I've never flipped it. Or flopped it for that matter. Ohhh somebody shoot me now. Lots of battle scars on the frame. Thanks for looking.

Note that the seller's tales take place in New York but he is located in Chapel Hill, NC. Clearly what's happening now is that the "fixters" of yesteryear (or at least yestermonth) are retiring down south, where they reminisce fondly about their fixed-gear exploits over early bird specials. These early retirements will be even easier going forward, thanks to the "hipster" component of the new health care bill. Not only can Americans remain on their parents' health insurance plans until they're 26 now, but they're also eligible for Medicaid at 30, which leaves only four years without a safety net. So, assuming you manage to survive your brakeless and chainless Manhattan Bridge descents for a few years, then you, Nobr Akes, and the rest of your crew can while away your remaining years playing ironic shuffleboard--provided of course you can sell your "whip" to fund your lifestyle change.

Of course, early "hipster" retirement isn't the only reason to sell your Pista; sometimes your wife puts her "foot down:"


bianchi pista - $650 (soundview)
Date: 2010-03-20, 10:36AM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

2006 pista chromo lite - mint all new components (sram crank, sugino chainring 48t, velocity celeste wheelset, ultegra front brake, origin8 stashbar, profile design stem, 16t cog and 16t freewheel gear, specialized bg jett 130 seat, mks chrome chain). wife put her foot down, trimming the herd. 917 439 [deleted].

I'm guessing what probably happened is that this couple were discussing their finances. Like many people, they had invested heavily in Pistas during the mid-Aughts bubble. However, as we all know, the fixed-gear freestyle sport fad coupled with the flooding of the entry-level fixie market caused the Pista to decrease in value. Consequently, when the couple went to check their on their portfolio, they were rather nonplussed:

"I'm very concerned about this."


"We're so fucked."

Clearly it was time to "thin the herd," but how to decide which bicycle to sell? Well, why not a game of "footdown?" So, they started trackstanding right there in the living room, and after three days the wife finally put her foot down first, meaning he got to keep the one with the Aerospokes but he'd sell the one with the "celeste" rims.

But even if you're glad to see that the Pista's heyday is finally over, who among us does not have at least a few fond feelings for his humble bicycle? In a sense, this was the bike that brought urban cycling into the Internet age--the first bike to be discovered (Youtube, Fixedgeargallery), bought, sold, and traded (Craigslist) by aspiring cyclists entirely online. Speaking of the Internet, another reader sent me an article from the New York Times. Basically, it's a roundup of books about how digital media is harming our intellectual culture (which is kind of like saying the advent of derailleur gears harmed cycling or the invention of the refrigerator harmed our ability to store food), but the astute reader who forwarded it to me noticed an interesting phrase:

Digital insiders like Mr. Lanier and Paulina Borsook, the author of the book “Cyberselfish,” have noted the easily distracted, adolescent quality of much of cyberculture. Ms. Borsook describes tech-heads as having “an angry adolescent view of all authority as the Pig Parent,” writing that even older digerati want to think of themselves as “having an Inner Bike Messenger.”

First of all, I disagree that people are "easily distracted" now. Rather, I maintain that thanks to the Internet we no longer have to waste time on stuff that sucks. If you were, say, into "underground" music in the pre-Internet 1980s, you might sit through an entire episode of "Headbangers Ball" on MTV just to see this one video. That's like an hour of the most inane music imaginable interspersed with the yammering of some vacuous host wearing a motorcycle jacket and a thick layer of flammable lacquer on his hair. The reason people don't do that anymore is not because they're less patient; it's because you'd be an idiot to do that when you don't have to. You find the video immediately, watch it, and then get on with your day.

More important, though, is the phrase "Inner Bike Messenger." With this, the author is actually on to something. However, you don't have to be a member of the "digerati" to have an Inner Bike Messenger (or IBS--which is not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Rather, I believe we all have one. I know I do, and I'm certainly not one of the "digerati" (though I am arguably a member of the "doucherati"). Your Inner Bike Messenger is sort of a spirit animal who shepherds you through your day, but it takes introspection and meditation to get in touch with this guide. It was only after a long period spent in seclusion that I was able to see my own, but now he is there for me whenever I call upon him:

Admittedly, I was rather taken aback at first, but now I can't imagine life without him.

I will concede, however, that digital media and the Internet has facilitated the craven act of ripping other people off. Consider this bicycle which was spotted by a reader at Taipei Cycle:

Clearly, this "epic" crabon fribé über-hybrid is a brazen--and failed--attempt to replicate the magnificence that is the World's Greatest Madone:

Speaking of Madones, Lance Armstrong and The Great Trek Bicycle Making Company recently bestowed a considerably lesser Madone upon French President Nicolas Sarkozy:

Trek clearly spared no expense on this lavish gift, for in addition to a custom Gallic "couleur manière," wheels of crabon fribé, and top-of-the-line SRAM Rouge group, it also features a main désincarnée:

We may never know for sure whose body is attached to that hand, but one thing's for certain: Sarkozy loves his new bike. Reportedly, it never leaves his side, and he even takes it en vacance:

(Open Marriage: Sarkozy, Bruni, and the bike enjoy a ménage à trois)

Meanwhile, in the Craigslist universe, yet another reader informs me that disembodied hands are now passé and that the "sellerati" have moved on to disembodied feet:

Here is the ad in which the disembodied feet were feetured:

Want to trade - front flat black aerospoke
Date: 2010-03-18, 10:13PM PDT
Reply to: [deleted]

i want to trade my front great condition front aerospoke painted flat black spins true as day no cracks 700c
for
-other carbon rims 700c clincher
-700c wheelset laced to phils
- aero seatpost 27.2 + 1inch wing carbon aero bars
- rear rim laced to a fixed chub hub
each of these offers are open to cash on top, depending on the item
as well as on my part if you got one of these things that you know if worth more then just an aerospoke
maybe we can work somthing out

i dont mean to sound like a jerk but
DO NOT TEXT ME IF YOU DONT HAVE SOMTHING LISTED ABOVE
IM SORRY IM JUST NOT INTERESTED

shoot me a text
let me know what you got
805 813 [delete]

IF I DON'T REPLY IM NOT INTERESTED
this post has been up for a while and im tired of hassling with with people who heckle me with stuff i dont want


His tone may seem a bit brusque, but when you've got a sweet flat back Aerospoke that spins "true as day" and you want to trade it for a newer, trendier wheel, then the "schmuckerati" tend to come out of the proverbial woodwork. As for the feet, there's no telling to whom they're attached. Some might think they're simply those of the seller, but I prefer to believe they're attached to a scantily-cad lady doing sit-ups and using a piece of wood freshly hewn by a "fakerjack" to secure her feet:

The truth is, disembodied hands and feet can teach us a valuable lesson about humanity, which is that our assumptions are often wrong and that snap judgements are dangerous. Consider this hand, which I photographed yesterday as it held an aerosol spraycan to a graffitied doorway:

One might assume that it is connected to a graffiti "artist" clad in the latest streetwear:

However, it was actually attached to this gentleman, clad in the latest schtetlwear:

Anyway, I came back a few hours later, and I'm pleased to report that his finished piece was stunning:

That's Yiddish for "All You Haters Suck My Balls."

87 comments:

Jefe said...

Podium...with no grace period.

mikeweb said...

Podey-yum

dignan said...

thurd

YATE said...

Close?

hoot79er said...

Top TEN!!!!!

Astroluc said...

top 10 baby!

Anonymous said...

Close....as in hand grenades and bike rack design....

kATY Perry said...

Here I am, Pokerface!

OBA said...

oof!

Pete said...

top ten

nombei said...

ballz deep

Bad Lawyer said...

top ten, once again

Bad Lawyer said...

oooops slipped out the back logging on...

hillbilly said...

c'mon son!

us said...

j

hillbilly said...

favorite quote of the week comes from ny post video of red hook crit ""fixed gear bicycles....you might think you know what they are, but you probably don't"

YATE said...

hillbilly: that clip took me back to 2005.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Jefe said...

"disembodied feet were feetured"

That was no typo, BSNYC, you are reaching new artisitc heights. Pretty soon the entire blog will no longer be in prose.

Anonymous said...

UNMP LOYD

Anonymous said...

Classic post today, Snobby. Thanks!

NITR ONO!

ant1 said...

snobby - i love the "couleur manière" doesn't quite make sense, but then again neither does colorway. however, "désincarnée main" should be main désincarnée.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Ant1,

Thanks--I suspected I was making a mistake there.

--BSNYC

Michael said...

The ending killed me

Anonymous said...

I want to reiterate, as much as the burrotus are epic out here, some of the best Mex I've ever had was in Chapel Hill, at Fiesta Grill.

Epic battle-scarred chile relleno too.

Grace Period said...

Slow today.

It figures.

acquiesce808 said...

ONE of the things i admire most is your day in day out english teacher attention to format detail. specifically the verbatims in italics. thank you for your work.

Anonymous said...

that's Yiddish for "all you haters suck my balls"!!!

LMFAO!!!

Ronsonic said...

If Obamacare comes with a Pista and Aerospoke then I want it.

honkybucket said...

Man, that Nitro video was special. I was fairly into crap metal (Ratt, Quiet Riot, etc) back in the day, but don't remember those guys at all.

Anonymous said...

that's Yiddish for "all you haters suck my balls"!!!

Actually, it means "kiss me in [my] ass."

McDonalds said...

Loving it!

Crappy sprinter said...

Damn it! Not even Grace . can help me post a better time! Is there a reverse grace period for Wednesday weed?

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

Shaun said...

How and when does one's inner bike messenger reveal itself?

wishiwasmerckx said...

I, too, am tired of "hassling with people who heckle me with stuff I don't want."

Oh, Lance, could you pass me another of those FRS Healthy Energy drinks?

Anonymous said...

Snob, could you please post more pictures of women exercising in panties and pantyhose? It's kinda my thing, you know.

streepo said...

What are artisitc heights?

Anonymous said...

not only does the Nitro song suck, but the video leaves much to be desired.

thegock said...

SKIN HEDS

ringcycles said...

anon 2:04 Of course in direct translation of Yiddish it's "kiss my ass". Even a goyim like me knows that testilingus is not kosher.

ervgopwr said...

How the pista dex has fallen...

Anonymous said...

So does a freshly spray painted aerospoke have a greater trade value than a plain old one?

Jefe said...

Streepo, I said he had no typos. I have plenty.

Henri La Planche said...

Carla Bruni. Good name. Kind of rolls off the tongue. If you savez.

Think of me as a warrior said...

For his part Mr. Lanier says that because the Internet is a kind of “pseudoworld” without the qualities of a physical world, it encourages the Peter Pan fantasy of being an entitled child forever, without the responsibilities of adulthood. While this has the virtues of playfulness and optimism, he argues, it can also devolve into a “Lord of the Flies”-like nastiness, with lots of “bullying, voracious irritability and selfishness” — qualities enhanced, he says, by the anonymity, peer pressure and mob rule that thrive online.

sufferist said...

Hands still attached....hipsterdom postponed...

broomie said...

Its refreshing to hear that my inability to focus on anything longer than 45 seconds is because the internet has made me more discriminating.

CommieCanuck said...

The back side of Sarkosy's Trek has TVDHSMT on the rims, "tous vous des haineux sucez mes testicules".

That's the back rim, the front rim says,"Je peux sembler ridicule, mais je frapper de Carla Bruni", or "JPSRMJFDCB". Which translates to, "I may look ridiculous, but I'm hitting Carla Bruni".

CommieCanuck said...

and you're not.

red neckerson said...

gone graveling

CommieCanuck said...

How the pista dex has fallen...

Blame Greenspan, for years he stood up in front of congress and told us that Pistas were a solid investment, with infinite returns, that everyone would want a Pista. That led Goldman Sachs to start derivatizing Pistas, in a complex formula that leveraged a brakeless Pista into a 40 story office tower in Dubai.

It all crashed when Bear Sterns executives actually rode a Pista and noticed they did not go uphill by themselves, nor was there space for their latino man-servants to pedal. Then that commie O'bama started pushing electric vehicles for the masses, then the Toyota fiasco, which forced millions to abandon anything but walking for fear of sudden acceleration.

I saw it on PBS Frontline.

Lawrence of the Labia said...

DAYS GONE

FOOT DOWN

THIN HERD

HAIR LAKR

FLAT BLAK

ant1 said...

commie - "and you're not." that depends on who you're talking to, according to the french press, and common sense.

sufferist said...

I thought the Langster was a Pista derivative...ba da boom...

ant1 said...

good one sufferist. pun of the day.

Billy Reid said...

i find it kind of funny that, despite seller's great love for the black pista and all his nostalgia of times gone by, $400 is all it takes for him to never see it again, to never run his fingers along the kryptonite scars, to live with the knowledge that the virgin brake-holes very well may be violated some day

IBS said...

You're late!

Speeling Cheecker said...

Snobby-

"Inner Bike Messenger, IBS" ? Not "IBM", great post though!!

leroy said...

My inner bike messenger won't return my calls.

I think he went to work for CAA in Hollywood.

Bummer.

trundle said...

supple. 135 tpi.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the digital age. It has made our lives so much more efficient and intellectual. One need only read these comments for proof. We've come a long way from the days of sifting through crap to find anything different and interesting, haven't we? Podium!

wp said...

The reason people don't do that anymore is not because they're less patient; it's because you'd be an idiot to do that when you don't have to.

yo, i am reminded of this each time i work my way down through the first 30 comments at this here blog.

sixtyone! yo.

wp said...

whoops dat was sixtythud~

Anonymous said...

commie go away. puhleeze.

Stuart said...

the chapel hill pista is a 2002 model, not 2000 like the seller claims. the 2000 model came with suzue promax 36-hole hubs at a MSRP of $620. the 2002 model had bianchi aluminum 32-hole hubs and MSRP was $550. it's easy to confuse model years when you're talking about that far back in the day.

Gavin said...

And your graffito is signed "Pista"? So this graffiti artist is apparently part of the heinous Pista Dex mob that crashed the market?

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't that be IBM?

Anonymous said...

Takin it to a Nü-level.

Anonymous said...

A fun race for a "podium" finish? Sarcasm and innane stoner humor? No, the internet has had no effect on you at all. More bike porn please

Last butt not least said...

My inner biek messenger time clock says its "10am! Time for a cocktail!"

Cheers!

AYHSMIBM

CommieCanuck said...

Anonymous 9:07,

Bike porn? And we're affected by the internet?
Did you "pwn" us?

If you don't like the comments, get a refund and fuck off.

Anonymous said...

WEDD WEED

cyclegoddess said...

'If you don't like the comments, get a refund and fuck off.'

So there!

Anonymous said...

BALLS!!!!

yogisurf said...

Lanterne Rouge

Grandmaster B said...

Yo, when tha chain "drops", itz off da chain! Deeznutz iz mad hurtin' tho!

central park bike rental said...

What???

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