Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday: The Fabric Of Our Lives

Further to yesterday's post, a commenter asked rhetorically and then answered himself:

Anonymous said...

So senior dickhead.... Did YOU go back and post a sign to warn other cyclists? Of course're a New Yorker... Posting on your crappy blog doesn't count cause nobody reads it.

Oh, and Dyckman street... He he he...

February 12, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Yeah, right, like I'm going to go to the 99 cent store on a freezing winter day when I'm in a hurry so I can make a sign with oak tag and an off-brand Sharpie for some other hapless bike dork:

(Ordinarily I use a regular Staunion, but I splurge on the SUPER Staunion for important projects.)

Helping other cyclists?  Please.  That's something a Portlander would do.

And who wastes time laughing at the name "Dyckman Street" when the World's Greatest Intersection is only a few blocks away?

Total amateur hour in the comments, I gotta say.

Oh, by the way, while the greenways may only be half-plowed up in the land of Cumming and Seaman, you can be sure the Manhattan Bridge is not only clear as a Californian after a colonic, but it's also got about three million tons of salt on it, which could explain the city's recent shortage:

(Note Empire State Building is all red and engorged for Valentine's Day.)

Because we can't have the widdwe Bwookwyners swipping and swiding on their widdwe bikies and getting boo-boos, can we?  

No we can't.

Anyway, my commute yesterday became unexpectedly EPIC, which is really the only adjective with which to describe what turned out to be something like a 40-mile day spanning three boroughs on a Big Dummy with the curb weight of a Kia (the bike lock alone weighs at least as much as a steel road bike), during which I shared the road with many responsible drivers for whom visibility is paramount:

(The Automotive Snow Mullet)

There are three likely explanations for this configuration, as follows:

1) The snow was originally on the roof in the form of a "carcake," and as the vehicle warmed up it slid down there like a pat of butter on a baked potato;

2) The driver heard about this whole "Vision Zero" thing but took it all too literally;

3) The driver is a lazy idiot.

Pending evidence to the contrary I'm going with number three.

Oh, I also got to enjoy a "bike messenger shower," which is when a driver decides to clean his windshield just as you're riding by and you get sprayed down with washer fluid.

In other news, the cycling world has been shocked and appalled to discover that the average bicycle mechanic makes like $22K a year:

Bike Mechanic Salaries from Donny Perry

Now, I should say first that of course I wish bicycle mechanics made more money.  In fact, I wish everybody involved with bikes made more money.  (Actually, that's not true.  For example, I think professional bike racers should make less money, because what have you done for me lately?  Most other bikey people, though, sure, more money for you.)  In a perfect world, a typical bicycle mechanic would make more money than a typical Wall Street douchebag.  Well, actually, that's not entirely accurate, because I don't think bicycle mechanics should necessarily make millions of dollars a year.  What I mean is that a bicycle mechanic should make more money then he or she does now, whereas a Wall Street douchebag should make less.  But then you get into that whole "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" thing, and before you know it you're a communist country and you're hosting a "no-gays" olympics.  So I guess it's a slippery slope.

The point is I like bike mechanics.

HAVING SAID THAT (today I'm rendering all clich├ęs in all-caps and rainbow colors), I got a few problems with this little slideshow.  Firstly, what's the point of comparing bike mechanics to high school drop outs?

Does he tell us the number of bike mechanics who graduated high school?  No he does not.  (Look, anecdotally we all know many bike mechanics went to colleges that cost twice their annual salary a year, but we need some hard numbers here.)

Secondly, it's smug as shit:

Because he can't believe a bike mechanic makes less than those "lowly" gardeners, janitors, and shoe repairmen:

To which I reply:

I mean, really.  Again, I love bike mechanics and wish they made more money, but why is it so outrageous that a gardener makes slightly more money?  That's hard work.  Plus, what happens when the lawnmower breaks?  He has to fix that shit, which is at least as hard as fixing a bike.  So it's at least two jobs in one.  Sure, we may hate the assholes who disturb the whole neighborhood because they pay someone to fire up a leaf blower the moment a single leaf falls on their lawn, but it doesn't change the fact that the people doing the actual blowing are working their asses off.

And janitors?  How come every time someone wants to beat up on a profession they pick janitorial work?  Think of the last airport bathroom you visited.  Now imagine cleaning it.  Would you do it for for $25K a year?  I wouldn't.  In fact, I wouldn't clean the bathroom at LaGuardia once for $25K.  So if anyone deserves a raise, it's the janitors.

The most outrageous one though is shoe repairman.  Have you ever been to a really good shoe repairman?  Those guys are incredible!  You don't think a decent shoe repairman has more skill than the mechanic at your LBS?  Please.  Not to mention a shoe repair business is usually one guy who has to run the whole operation himself.  Plus, a lot of people may ride bikes, but pretty much everybody except for this guy wears shoes, so arguably it's a far more invaluable service:

("Actually, I'm running to pick up my shoes from the shoe repair guy.")

Then there's a whole bunch of stuff about how the Rent Is Too Damn High:

Even though the idea that you have to pay over $3,000 a month for an apartment in New York City is completely ridiculous.  It's like saying you have to pay $8,000 for a bike--which brings me to the next vexing slide:

Okay, the reason an $8,000 bike costs only $80 to tune up is that a tune-up on a bicycle involves turning four barrel adjusters.  That's pretty much it.  Anybody can do it.  Sure, you can get the "pro" tune-up where they pull the bottom bracket, service the bearings, change the cables, and all the rest of it, but you'll pay accordingly.  Nobody's charging only $80 for that.  A complete bike overhaul will actually cost you a decent amount of change--as it should if you're choosing to outsource it.

As for the more complicated stuff, it can be pretty tricky, but it's not exactly car tricky.  For some reason people like to compare bike mechanics with auto mechanics (as they're doing in the comments on this slideshow), but it's not really a fair comparison, just as it's not fair to say "blah, blah, blah, stop complaining cyclists, because you have all the same rights to the roads."  Bikes and cars are very different machines, and bike mechanics and car mechanics have to do really different stuff.  Maybe it would be slightly fairer to compare bicycle builders with car mechanics, since both have to use some fairly serious equipment, and both can hit you with a multi-thousand dollar invoice as a matter of course.

As for how this can be changed, it's fairly simple: if you don't like how much your bike mechanic is being paid, hand him or her $100 next time they work on your bike.  Done.  Or, if you want an industry-wide solution, well, the guy who made this slideshow works for Specialized, so maybe every time the scarlet "S" sells an $8,000 bike they could throw an extra-special bonus at their dealers' mechanics?  And, you know, maybe the bike companies like them are partially to blame here, since they'd rather you buy a wheel out of a box than pay the mechanic at the bike shop to build one for you out of different parts from different manufacturers.

Just a thought.


Comment deleted said...

I’m not this fault happen

mikeweb said...


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...


Anonymous said...

The EPO is paying off.

Notsosanta Klaus said...

Top Ten

le Correcteur said...

Shit; missed podium again. But top ten; maybe even top 5!

Drug tests for the top 3! I demand them!

990 5683646

ken e. said...

got no legs.

Astroluc (Find me on Tumblr and Instagram @Astroluc) said...

Top Ten...

flyover bc said...

top ten

dnk said...

The Half-Marathon of Shame II: The Sequel: New Dawn: In Flagrante Delicto

McFly said...

"but it doesn't change the fact that the people doing the actual blowing are working their asses off."

True. So true.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

In the settings of your camera phone is a control called "macro" this adjustment lets you take clear in focus shots of small objects in close proximity to the lens.

Anonymous said...

Read first, then checked podium position. Wanted to be smug. Wonder what the shop labor rate is for a LBS? And how long does it take to do a tune up?

Flyover BC said...

I used to play in a New Wave band called "Cindy and the Seamen".

A few months ater we changed the name to "Cindy and the Testube Babies".

Then we got more gigs, which on average probably paid about 10 cents and hour, plus free drinks, and a seemingly endless supply of drunk sorority girls looking for a good time.

BikeSnobNYC said...

recumbent conspiracy theorist,

That photo was taken way back in 2009, when my phone was neither smart nor equipped with a camera, and when I used a dedicated camera I had no idea how to operate.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Logbig said...

Maybe a good way to increase the wages of bike mechanics would be start a professional designation program. Certified professional mechanic (CPM) seems like they could demand a higher salary. Leaving only the certainly unprofessional mechanics (CUM) to suffer with the paltry 22K a year.

Anonymous said...

Snobby wrote;

"Total amateur hour in the comments, I gotta say."

Blogger/poster conflicts never go well for the blogger, Snob. For one thing, there's more of us than there are of you and generally speaking, we're more malevolent.

Proceed with caution, you splendid oracle.

Flyover BC said...

Issuing ride condition warnings to other bikers would deny them the opportunity for an epic ride.

Mr Plow said...

CAPS and rainbow cliches. That's the kind of innovation I have come to count on from this blog. Well done

trama said...

Fuck that bike mech whining shit: regional airline copilots fly passenger jets make $18,000/yr . Fly Jets. In the air.

Anonymous said...

That's a good looking podium.
Well done, gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

Hey Trama

How many hours a week do they sit in the cockpit for their $18,000.

I betting its a part time job.

samh said...


Anonymous said...

As a "wall street douchebag" I would like to point out a basic but often missed point when people are whining about how little they make compared to someone in finance or a more lucrative field. If you make a lot of money for your employer they should share that with you. If you don't contribute that much to the firm, either by the nature of your business or your own shortcomings, and as a result your firm is scraping by, then how can they pay your more? Here is some basic math. I make about $10MM a year for my firm, not a huge amount by industry standards, but shouldn't I get a decent share of that? 10%,$1MM, doesn't seem outrageous, particularly in a service industry where the employee is the resource. A bike mechanic might do like 5 repairs a day, say each at an average of $50. Working 200 days a year that is $50,000, so at $23,000 that is 46% of that. So my view is that bike mechanics are way overpaid relative your average wall street douchebag. Also everyone in finance isn't a douchebag, just about 75% of the people.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Plow at 1:38 in the early lead.

Anonymous said...

wallstreet guy has a great point there

crosspalms said...

I've worked on cars and I've worked on bikes, and I'd rather work on bikes, cause when I fuck something up (and I will), I can probably still ride the bike anyway and it won't take me days to figure out what I did wrong. I am not advertising my skills here. THAT SAID (couldn't afford full color on my pay), give the mechanics more money. And the regional jet copilots, too. That's just scary.

Anonymous said...

First of all let me just be the first:

Next. I tip my bike mechanic. Though I don't see him that often. He looks about 24, but hell. He is not in it for the money. He is bike crazy. Does not want to do anything else. Good on im.

What a podium group.

And fuck that robot test.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

If like to know who is running the Cupids Undie Run in Hells Kitchen Saturday?

Comment deleted said...

I think the fact that your firm makes 10M a year off your non-productive-of-anything-of-actual-value ass is the actual problem, Wall St. guy.

Anonymous said...

I fear Wall-Street-Guy is gonna take some heat. And everyone on this comments section isn't a douchebag either, but what's your point?

If you can make more money giving three blow jobs a day than flying a jet, well, then, I say go with the blow work. But the world is still fucked up.

Anonymous said...

A buddy who chases ambulances for a living complains about earing $110,000 a year because his boss earns $300,000. The boss also employs eight other lawyers, twelve paras, and a bunch secretaries.

My buddy doesn't want to start his own firm because he doesn't want to take the financial risk or hassle with all business related regulations and expenses.

JB said...

WTF is "oak tag"?

Regular guy said...

I agree, the comments yesterday were a bore. But then, Snobs ordeal was no Bataan Death March.

I think the snow was left on the car to improve aerodynamics.

I too complained about bike mechanic salaries when I was a wrench. My boss told me he didn't think I needed more money. I quit.

I cried because I had no shoes, then I saw a bike mechanic who made only $22,000 a year.

robo proof called me a dim thwitze.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Employing your choice of Internet search engine will quickly furnish you with an answer.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Unknown said...

Looks like you needed this yesterday

Anonymous said...

I wrenched on bikes for a little while in high school; made something like 4 bucks and hour when minimum wage was $3.35. At first I thought it was an awesome job because I got to work on bikes all day. After a few weeks of assembling one craptacular Raleigh after another I bailed. The next job I had was in an auto shop.

A good bike mechanic is nice, but it isn't rocket surgery.

Brad said...

I am a bike mechanic and have contended with this issue for the past seven years. Most shops won't pay very much for a good mechanic because compared to sales, there isn't much money in repairs. You have to sell unnecessary replacement parts and upgrades to make the repair side of a shop very profitable (again, compared to the sales side). A bonus-payment system would work if we were to sell more expensive repairs, but I am a wrench because I don't like the dishonesty or interacting much with people and their money. Furthermore, there are a bunch of half-wits driving wages down. Their poor work is not recognized by many customers or shop owners because they don't know much better, so there is little incentive to fire them and hire better mechanics. Avid cyclists who don't care to do their own maintenance may smartly find a competent, thorough mechanic to take their repairs to regularly and hopefully tip them occasionally. Anyway, the love of turning wrenches can only carry you so far and that is why I am back in school to pursue another career.

Anonymous said...

"""Comment deleted said...
I think the fact that your firm makes 10M a year off your non-productive-of-anything-of-actual-value ass is the actual problem, Wall St. guy.

February 12, 2014 at 1:55 PM"""

The comment above is a result of not knowing anything about economies of scale. That means the size of shit that goes on. A nicer way of saying "ignorance".

If you "run" a lemonade stand and make $30 a week in "profit" (I know that's a bad word but you have to broaden your horizons here), what do you do with it? Do you just buy more lemonade with it or hire your little brother for $5.oo to help you Next week? Will it rain and screw up part of your week and ability to make a few more bucks? Maybe the week is total crap and you can't do anything but here you have $30.oo. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to lend the $$ to someone and get $32 back by the end of the next week? [Forecasting, human resources, use of capital]. How much of the $2.oo profit should you give the person who came up with the way to make that extra $2 while you do nothing? Or while you do homework or figure out the cost of lemonade for the following week. Or should you enlist your younger brother. Is that service worth $.10, $.25? $.05?

Now scale it up to a telecommunications company that has to be compatible with the next new stupid device. You're going to need 600 Servers, 20 extra employees, $XX worth of software initially, training, advertising budget, etc. The company could make out great on the "investment" in adding the device, or lose everything. The company has to figure out what to do with say $100 MM while they figure it out, they either have to raise the $$ (Wall Street Douchebags), set aside $100MM they might already have and "invest" it in short term interest bearing securities (Wall Street Douchebags), or walk away and leave the device deal alone (with advice from Wall Street Douchebags).
The company enlists the service of some Wall Street Douchebags to help them out with raising $100MM through a combination of a Stock offering and some debt, and maybe a syndicated bridge loan to get the $$ before the offering is set up. Cause, you know, you gotta move fast on this stuff otherwise the skinny jeansers will buy something made from Apple sweatshop labor.
$100MM gets raised by a small army of folks on the phone, "makin copies", marketing the stock, driving decision makers (fat cats) around, etc. The deal makes say, $15mm for the firm doing the work, it gets split up among the army of people, the deal captain (Senior Wall Street Douchebag) makes a few hundred G-Bones from leading much of the effort. The company gets $100MM to get some miraculous tech out to the hipsters and progeny of soccer moms all across the country.

Yes, there's definitely something wrong with all that.

vsk / Compliance

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't even clean my OWN bathroom for $25K. That shit's nasty!

You sound like a Gemini today Snobz. But you're probably a fussy Virgo huh.

Anonymous said...

The bit about the $8,000 bike is particularly re-dick-you-less because it takes not a whit ("Not a whit," I tell you!) more effort to service an $8,000 bike than an $8 bike. Mechanics could try to institute discriminatory pricing pegged to the value of the bike (tune-up: 10%. overhaul: 20%), but the dentists are just going to go someplace cheaper because that's how they got rich (by not being stupid) and that's how a competitive marketplace works. Sounds like someone needs to put in some hours learning a skill millions of other people can't pick up with minimal effort!

Mechanics: Have you considered dentistry?

Spokey said...

anonymous @ 1:45 PM

--> I make about $10MM

Geez. If I only made 10 M&Ms for my company I wouldn't expect much. I don't think I've ever contributed anything less than 653 Mars bars + 42 Almond Joys + 69 Milky Ways.

my robot says he is vboarde line with the whole topic and M&M mechanics are way overpaid

Name said...

Hey Anon 1:44

Does't matte how many hours. They fly jet airplanes full of people.

Should be clear that the responsibility is slightly higher than adjusting dick breaks on road bieks

Name said...

Hey Anon 1:44

Does't matte how many hours. They fly jet airplanes full of people.

Should be clear that the responsibility is slightly higher than adjusting dick breaks on road bieks

hockeyteeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Comment deleted said...

Y'know, I debated writing my sarcastic jibe to Wall St. guy, because I knew I'd get a screed in return explaining just HOW IMPORTANT high finance is to our economy.

You're right, friend. You're doing the work of saints, SAINTS, I say! I'd have NO problem sleeping in my bed of money if I were you. But I couldn't be you, because I'm too ignorant be a Master of the Universe.

Brad said...

Re: Wall Street Douchebags

I do find it fascinating that people can make money without actually producing anything tangible. I'm not saying it's wrong, I just find it interesting. In economics they teach that over time the GNP is increasing on average with no likely maximum, even adjusted for inflation. It seems to me that our GNP grows because we learn more effective ways to exploit the things around us--namely people and natural resources. Exploitation is the root of profit, and I don't want to be involved in it.

Roille Figners:

Yes, the marketplace largely determines the pricing, but a better shop with better mechanics can certainly charge more accordingly. Ever read a shop's website that says "combined xx years experience"? They are marketing their repairs to bring in more money. Many people don't know a thorough repair from an incompetent, one or else they would likely do the repair themselves. That's where the disparity between quality and compensation comes from.

Name said...

I started reading anon 2:29 and stoped at comment deleted, which is what I did with hers in my mind...

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:29pm,

Our financial system sounds awesome. Just curious if any of that ever goes terribly, horribly wrong, and if so to what extent the Senior Wall Street Douchebags share in the losses.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows it's the mechanics behind the "bike for every occassion." It allows them to buy a NEW road bike, mtn bike, gravel bike, fat bike, track bike, folding bike & cargo bike every year, at a huge discount. They then just sell all those bikes for twice what they paid, doubling their annual salary. Each year it compounds because the sale allows for more and more expensive bikes. DUH.

Spokey said...


most people, in fact almost everyone makes a living without "producing something tangible" in advanced economies.

Unless entering some meeting notes into word counts as producing something tangible.

Most people support production. Most production these days from autos to bieks to computer etc are primarily manufactured by other machines.

goodness. My robot is getting a big head over this post. IT says modseo number. For once I have to agree with it.

Dooth said...

Damn, now I feel like such a piker for only tipping my bike mechanic five bucks. Ten next time.

Paddy O'Furniture said...

Just to prove how fucked up the world is, I "make" my employer (the US taxpayer) negative many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and, in turn, get paid a handsome salary, yielding a solid seven figure delta.
However, to even things out, I pay myself 80 bucks an hour shop rate when I twiddle my barrel adjusters and swap my cables. I charge my wife double that.

Thunderonomous Douche said...

So I clicked on your "carcake" hotlink to get that explanation. Then I clicked on RagTotes in that post and it looks like RagTotes has been reborn! Behold the "Info Blog": !

JLRB said...

Anon @ 2:29 (a.k.a. the Wolf of Wall Street wannabe)

You left out the part where the WSDBs sell the derivatives off the derivatives of the possibility that a deal will be done, sell it to a bunch of pension funds, and then take the other side of the deal because the pension fund rubes are so stupid. And oh yea, if they get on the wrong side of the deal they buy more and play games selling to move the price of the bullshit derivatives to fix the "game."

Ah yes, high finance - worth every stolen penny.

Dooth said...

So, after your epic slog down the Harlem River Tundra you made it to Houston St for that car cake photo and over the bridge to Bk...and, then, back uptown...on the beastly Big Dummy. Chapeau, Wildcat.

Anonymous said...

JB I believe "oak tag" is an old-timey term for the shit file folders are made of, a.k.a. "manila" paper, which, now that I type it, seems kind of old-timey too, as it probably used to come from Manila in like 1872.

It's a shame really about finance, because it used to actually be about making shit happen (like actual stuff... building a factory, etc.), in other words deploying capital toward productive purposes. In the right regulatory environment (which we DO NOT have) all the bad apples wouldn't have been able to game the system to their own advantage, and destroy the legitimacy of the whole thing.

And of course in the background you just KNOW the fucking economy can't keep growing forever. Finance and economics thus far depend on the assumption that everything's growing, including my income, and if I borrow $10 today, I'll be able to pay back $11 tomorrow. But if I only make $5 tomorrow (and it costs $6 just to stay alive) then guess what.

BamaPhred said...

The mantra of all WSDB's. Privatize the profits, socialize the losses.

Anonymous said...

Question. Does a bike mechanic really live in New York or really in New Jerzy? Also. Does a bike mechanic really live in San Francisco or does he live in Oaklind?

I agree on the wheel building by your wheel builder over the factory wheel building. The factory stuff seems to go out of true faster but my friend-O wheel has really withstood.

McFly said...

I used to work on a few beiks at McFly's Underground Bike Shop and it kind of started getting out of control so I implemented a $20 minimum charge and all my problems went away.

Now I watch TV. And junk.

Spokey said...

anon @ 3:16 PM

depends. I've never had a wheel built by an LBS but I would think paying for a truing would be the same. I've ended up with visible wobble after an LBS true.

I also have wheels never trued on my 2002 comotion. so a dozen years later, still true. Pretty sure comotion is building the wheels. I'm pretty sure I saw piles of rims when I toured the place.

Perhaps the wheels matter a bit too. I spec'd 48 hole 4x lacing for the rear and 40 hole 4x lacing on the front. The rear is also dishless. Seems to stay true even with my fat ass on it.

robot says ounope serious. I sure as hell am serious! You calling me a liar? robot?

JB said...


I come here to get away from the internet.


JLRB said...

Spokey @ 3:24

That noise was all the weight weenies gasping at the thought of 48 hole wheels.

Anonymous said...

Comment Deleted,

Actually the $10MM is quite productive, raising financing at a relatively cheap price for small companies so they can fund thier growth, hire people, make worth while products and innovations, pay taxes, reinvest in more growth, etc. We act as a financial intermediary moving money from a bunch of investors to people who need that money. It's not as easy as it might sound, that's why both investors and clients are willing to pay banks for that service. In an ideal world I don't think I should be paid more than say a teacher for instance but unfortunately most people don't want to pay higher taxes(public school) or tuition (private schools) in order that schools can make more money and share that with the teachers.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I'm not sure if I'm into this whole comment thing.

Spokey said...


1 Before getting that wheel I carefully measured the weight savings of the extra holes in the rim and in the hub vs the weight of spoke. It turned out that for each hole I saved .000000000013 grams.

I know you're thinking my results are bogus because I didn't count the nipples along with the spokes. You are correct.

But my position is you can never have too many nipples.

robot says publish ddewst. So now he thinks he is an author?

Anonymous said...

I produce top quality railroad safety equipment by hand for a living. Shit that keeps your amtrack train on the tracks and thus saves lives and such. Last year i alone produced around $800K worth of high end TANGIBLE PRODUCT for my company. And yeah, i made less than 5% in my own earnings. So yes, the worldis fucking unfair. Pull up your big girl panties and deal. Now, back to the bikes...

Anonymous said...

BikeSnobNYC said...

Our financial system sounds awesome. Just curious if any of that ever goes terribly, horribly wrong, and if so to what extent the Senior Wall Street Douchebags share in the losses.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

February 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Senior Snob,
You are right, when the shiite hits the fan, it splatters big in proportion to the $$ involved.
Yes, when people actively screw something up, either knowingly (Corzine, Madoff, Wolf of Wall Street) or unknowingly (I don't know of any!), justice seems not done.

If you are corrupt in China, you get shot, hung, or donate parts to the Bodies Exhibit at the Seaport. They don't stand for that, unless you are being corrupt for the government.

But, there are good Wall Street Douchebags and bad ones. People help bringing "real" companies to market or finding good interim uses for their extra $$ and stuff vs. the equivalent of financial ambulance chasers scrambling little old ladies' nest eggs.
I try to find it all out at the firm as best I can.

Dear Comment deleted,

I didn't mean to come off as so screedious. I am not going to claim to do the work of saints, but you could be the Master of the Universe, ... there's an app for that (brought to you, in part, by Wall Street Douchebags!).


JLRB said...
Anon @ 2:29 (a.k.a. the Wolf of Wall Street wannabe)

To get a little political - "banks" (I don't know the proportion) got maligned because when they failed to approve credit applications for people who could not pay back, they get accused of all kinds of "discrimination", so it ends up easier just to make the stupid loans. Well, I don't want a bunch of loans on my books that people can't / won't pay back, so, I'll package these bad boys up and get them off my balance sheet. Now, they're someone else's problem. Rating agency? I got your rating agency riiight heeeya! (That's how it was anyway, then they stopped the loaning altogether)...

And, I don't work on Wall Street, I work on 5th Ave.

Yes, all, the world of "high finance" is full of all types. Those that play by the ever increasing rules and some that circumvent and become P.O. boxes in the Cayman Islands witrh an answering machine. Not everyone is good, but not everyone is bad either.

Roille Fingers (I always thought it was Rollie Fingers!).

You are absolutely right about "bubbles and busts". Sooner or later everyone runs out of everyone's money.

Now about that next Storm of the Century !


Flyover BC said...

Spokey at 3:37

Can a boar hog have too many nipples? And are they worthless?

Spokey said...

not to a pig farmer

Flyover BC said...

I always assumed the saying "worthless as tits on a boar hog" was self explanatory.

Anonymous said...


Yes, the indicate where to cut for bacon.

robotest: vour ltManal. Oh, now I have to answer in French? Jeez.

Esteemed Ninety-Nine Percenter DaddoOne said...


you can type a shitload of words but but the fact that the word "Douchebag" is ALWAYS going to follow the words "some Wall Street" is NOT going to change. It doesn't matter how close to rules you play it (though, come on, how many of you really are playing by sensible and fair rules?), how many businesses you help to fund, etc. etc. etc. It starts with Rep ties, dude and just gets Douchier from there

Lumpen Fredetariat said...

Quoth Snob:
"That photo was taken way back in 2009, when my phone was neither smart nor equipped with a camera, and when I used a dedicated camera I had no idea how to operate."

So you kept a crappy out-of-focus picture for five years? I worry about that.
Also, you mis-spelled amatuer, you amature. I will let Roille correct the WSDB himself.

Comment deleted said...

Look, you sound sincere, and I'm sure there are some decent people still hiding in nooks of the Wall St. caverns, but ye Masters of the Universe make *geometrically* more than teachers, and that disparity is not because of stingy taxpayers.

It is because of the productivity siphon that you man, which concentrates the resultant wealth and sprays it in Congressionally-blessed showers on the already soaking-rich.

"Douche" is French for "shower", by the way.

Regular guy said...

I have purchased two wheels for different bikes from a popular LBS. They were not built by the shop, but by a local "wheelbuilder".

The first wheel started breaking spokes at a rate of about one per ride. I would replace them and re-true until I finally rebuilt the wheel with new spokes myself.

The second one lasted through a 1 hour trail ride and the next day I rode to work only to have all of the spoke tension rapidly decrease to the point where I was forced to dismount and walk the remaining mile and a half to work.

That wheel has yet to be dealt with.

I have always preferred to build my own wheels, and after this little experiment, will continue to do so.

I tip myself a beer or two for it.

Anonymous said...

Wall Street Douchebag:

The reason you don't deserve "10%" of what "you earn" for your employer is that your value-added is inconsequential compared to what's really helping your clients: the capital itself. You're just the administrator, so don't take credit for the power of the money that's not even yours, just paper-pushed by yourself and could be done by countless others, or automated. (which is what is happening.)

The only justification for big douchebag salaries is for speculation. If you have the "magic touch" great, but please be honest and accept your losses, too.

JLRB said...

I though all small companies got funding from kickstarter

Anonymouse from 5th Ave - I am very familiar with the "Barney made us make the bad loans" argument. Helll, some of my best friends are DB bankers - I am a capitalist, just not a believer in the term excusing all aspects of abusive bullshit.

The problems are systemic - the fucktards learned from Long-Term Capital Management in the 1990's that they could reap the rewards from unreasonable, leveraged risks, and they would ultimately get bailed out by other banks or tax payers if it all goes to hell. And so our capitalism got a new level of corruption.

But yes - everyone enjoy snow storm number 57

BamaPhred said...

Speaking of WSDB's, I wonder how this DB is handling the weather?

Anonymous said...

Contrary to popular awareness the great 1970s Oakland pitcher Rollie Fingers is actually a French cyclist named Roille Figners (pronounced rwaee feenyay).

Orville & Wilbur said...

Forget about how much bike mech's earn. Today's Wall Street Journal revealed that regional airline pilots make about the same as a fast food worker. So the next time you take a short hop the guy piloting may have been frying fries the night before. Don't worry, they gave him a manual to study the night before your flight.

bandmeeting said...

the best shoe repairman in the world is in Williamsburg. His name is Clever and his shop is 11 North Shoe Repair. He saved 2 pairs of shoes nobody else could fix. I hope he makes a million $ per year.

Anonymous said...

Comment deleted,
You are right, there is a big circle jerk rich get richer corruption fest.
I've seen some teacher salaries in the 6 figures. Maybe the geometric comparison is better vs. bike mechanics.

Esteemed Dado,
Just sounds a little like jealousy to me.

JLRB - Yes, I hear you.

Anonymous 4:28pm - I am just a salaried compliance guy trying to find the bad stuff / corruption / mistakes / etc. A lot of these guys are not mindless "administrators", I would be the first to knock them if they were. Yes the compensation is out of whack with the rest of the real world, (considering well paid actors, singers, sports players, etc.?), but it is a competitive environment and "the Market" sets the comp. You want to make a charitable money management firm I don't think anyone will stop you. Good luck on attracting "talent". A guy I was talking to was telling me about someone he knows with 2 corporate jets, I was like "Who is the guy?" (I mean anyone with the $$ to buy one of those things must be a big public figure or something), he says "you wouldn't know him, he's in Real Estate". I don't know any capital markets guys with a propeller plane. Maybe a crabon bike or 2 though.


(It's so hard to keep scrolling around),

Anonymous said...

What about moms? (Easy McFly.) (Well that too actually.) Producing & raising another human, who might cure cancer or something. Compensation: $0.

Warren Buffett who is old and apparently trying to get into heaven now, announced some pretty impressive charitable initiatives a few years back, and said he had been rewarded out of proportion to his contribution to humanity, since all he really did was figure out how to tell when a stock is about to go up. I don't remember the quote but that's more or less how the world works. **alert: special tender moment coming** The greatest satisfaction and the greatest reward is from being satisfied with your own work, within yourself, such that maybe you don't even mind doing it for free. **end of special moment** Except that loving something that much will probably lead you to spend time at it and get really good at it and make "hella ducats" from it anyway.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, can't wait to read about Derek Jeter's impending retirement -- and how that applies to bicycling.


Anonymous said...

... in tomorrow's post, I meant.

Said same anonymous (face-palming on the obliterated bad joke)

Anonymous said...

Blame low pay for bike mechanics pay and pilots on the Wright brothers. It's their fault for taking risks and trying to get the payoff.

babble on said...

Roille Figners - I dunno. I LOVE riding my bikecycle. I spend lots of time doing it (not today thanks to yesterday's crash test dummy experience) and can do it pretty well by now (if you measure well in terms of fast and not in terms of crashes per year), but EVEN SO, I have yet to see a single ducat for it.

But you're probably right, anyway, at least with respect to every other endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Well put on all posts Roille Figners !! (It keeps changing all the time!, ahh the dyslexia!! hepl !)

True about Moms and parents in general.
Perhaps the compensation is the kids take care of you when you're a dottering old fool. I will be living in a cardboard box (made from 100% post consumer content) under the Gowanus Expressway as I have not "made the investment" in children.

The future? Plastics.

Good Luck Snobiverse!


Postman said...

I think I get paid a bit too much for what I do for a living (thanks to you my union) however that money goes right back into the local economy, parts from my local bike shop, tips to my local waitress, taxes for my national health plan and toward our civic infrastructure, it's NOT been hidden away in offshore accounts located in foreign lands noted as tax havens.

ouabacher said...

Used to wrench for a car dealership that sold Japanese brand A and Japanese PREMIUM brand B. Mostly worked on the brand A stuff but occasionally had to do the B stuff.The customer paid significantly more for the B work but got their ass kissed AND donuts! I got paid the same regardless AND didn't give a shit. Those were fuuun test drives, though!

Anonymous said...

Derek Jeter is promoting a piar of $100 boxer briefs, with hammock technology that may infringe on the patented Kuku penthouse shorts

Blog Drafter said...

No Wall Street guy has the time (in the middle of the day, no less) to write such nonsense. CJ apparently works in the finance industry in addition to being a world traveler.

If you're having problems shifting UP, turn the barrel adjuster UP. If you're having trouble shifting DOWN, turn the barrel adjuster DOWN. If the barrel adjuster(s) won't turn anymore, replace the cable. You can do it. As Snob says, that's the totality of a bike tune-up, and Snob's right every time.

Damn right the economy can't expand forever…I stopped buying shit five years ago, just like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Frigo No. 1 Exclusive Boxer Briefs (1EB6):

State-of-the-art fabrication: constructed mostly of smooth performance microfiber with ultra-light fabric on the crotch so you don’t feel constricted and breathable mesh zones to keep you cool
Patented, adjustable interior mesh pouch keeps you supported and prevents sweating and chafing
The pouch's soft lock adjustment system lets you adjust the fit to your own preference
Next-generation waistband features covered seams for a near-seamless feel and Coolmax wicking fabric to keep you dry
Bonded (almost stitch-free) body for a smooth, seamless feel
Laser-cut vents in the rear for added ventilation
Silicone-lined leg openings anchor the fabric, preventing ride-up

Anonymous said...

Blog drafter,

I have not been posting as much because:

1. I am unemployed and my personal time is valuable to me.

2. awareness that this is not a particularly healthy emotional outlet.

3. In master of my own domain/ bhuddist monk celibacy mode = no good stories.

Anonymous said...

--stop thinking thoughts--

Chain, Chain, Chain said...

I've always wondered why the guy at my bike shop is so skinny. Then again he's covered in ink, which isn't cheap. Confused.

Flyover BC said...


the economic equation for riding a bike are not limited to how much you it pays. It should also include but how much you don't spend because you bike. e.g reduced operations and maintenance on the car, savings from overall better health (as long as the crashes and hospital bills or increases in insurance rates aren't too expensive), as well as non-tangibles like self esteem, and personal satisfaction (if you know what I mean, and I think you do).

If you live longer, then maybe you earn many more years in retirement benefits.

Blog Drafter said...

Anon @ 6:26:

Oh, Okay. Sorry to hear that you're unemployed. Go on ahead and blame an investment banker…but not for too long. It's not healthy long-term.

Anonymous said...

what do you do if the bike keeps shifting up and down between two cogs, by itself?

new rear derailleur?

babble on said...

Oh yeah, I totally get it, but he said something about hella ducats, and I was just thinking how nice THAT would be, if only I could earn them without having to become a WSDB :)

ouabacher said...

Capitalism is a good thing. Most countries embrace it, even. They just need to catch up with Merica and make it their national religion.

babble on said...

Our priorities are all wrong, rewarding profit above all. Why can't we instead reward the people and companies who do the most to improve the lives of the greatest number of people?

Prolly a stupid question, but it's one I've wondered for a long time.

Protour said...

BikeSnobNYC said...
*Our financial system sounds awesome. Just curious if any of that ever goes terribly, horribly wrong, and if so to what extent the Senior Wall Street Douchebags share in the losses."

The Federal Reserve is responsible more than anyone else, they bailed out all the banks that should have failed in 2007-2008 by essentially creating fake money with their 'quantitative easing' and so now we have a carbon based economy that is running on the fumes of our children's mortgaged financial future in order to burn even more carbon to keep the economy prosperous.

The financial crisis would have been a good opportunity to change our ways and hold ourselves accountable with a natural check on human growth. It would have been an incredible challenge for us had the Fed let the banks fail, and likely at least housands would have died. But we would have successfully stopped the fossil fuel based economy that will destroy our children's future. Instead, the Federal Reserve cooked the books so we could continue to broil the planet that sustains our fragile existence.

Donny could have also highlighted these outstanding benefits of wrenching in a bicycle shop:

You get free swag! 

I have 2 SRAM swag tee shirts that are ugly but that have made excellent rags for cleaning my chain after rides.  I never wore them because I assume the word SRAM must seem stupid to normal non-bike people.  I probably have about 5 bottle openers with various bike logos on them that I have accumulated from working at shops.  I don't drink much, and I  prefer to pry open bottles with a lighter.  One of the nicest pieces of swag I ever received was a Park Tools hoody size XL, probably retails for around $80.  The boss said all they had in stock was XL, so he bought one for everybody!  Fits me like a loose dress.  I never had the effective schmoozing ability with the sales reps to get any significant swag from them, that usually goes to the sales people in the bike shop.  I did get a free Rock Shox hat that has been well used, and I have a couple free Shimano tee shirts that I am not ashamed to wear.

You get to see hot women in spandex!

Yes, there is the occasional female roadie who comes in on her ride and improves the scenery, but you also have to witness 5 times as many sweaty, smelly, overweight guys in spandex.You get paid to talk to people about bikes!Although not many of them have the same perspective that you do, and often you will completely disagree with them, if not be completely offended by their naive ideas. There seems to be a phenomenon in bike shops where the most vocal customers are usually the least educated ones.

Bikes are easy and fun to work on, and it's a healthy environment!

Last time I checked there were over 20 bottom bracket standards, and there are countless changes in suspension and disc brakes every year that are challenging to keep up with. Changing flat tires with dog shit on them is not fun, neither is working on department store bikes or explaining to the owner of a Magna why it will cost more than their bikes original value to repair it. Unless you wear annoying gloves, you are in a constantly daily cycle of cleaning your hands and getting them dirty again with stubborn grease stains. Healthy? Working as a mechanic cannot be good for the human body. The bicycle industry has embraced technology in its pursuit to improve bicycle performance, and this means more exposure to unhealthy chemicals for mechanics. When you aren't breathing in aluminum dust, carbon fiber dust, epoxy, aeresol, or degreaser fumes, you are getting toxic loc-tite all over everything you touch or splashing toxic DOT 3 brake fluid on the same work bench you might eat your lunch on later in the day. I almost forgot to mention the fact that you are standing on your feet most of the day, often bent over in an awkward position. Really compliments your training if you are a bike racer and want to give your legs proper recovery.

But it was the most fun job I ever had.

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I suppose with cycling the only thing would be to get on a pro team. OR, win lots of amateur races that offer prize money. OR, combine it with something else like writing or marketing or fashion. But yeah riding a bike is a classic example of one of those things most people can do competently, and a few do really well, and it takes a bit of education to tell the two apart.

Captain, the enemy attacks. Awaiting your orders.

mblemse them

Flyover bc said...


in the free market, the customer rewards the entrepreneur for making life better (how ever that is defined) by buying the product.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:14 PM

check the chain, some links might be torn.

And check out Sheldon Brown, for Lob´s sake!

Oh Boy! said...

Anon @ &:14:

It's failing to shift up. The spring tension always forces the derailleur down, which is why you have far fewer problems shifting down. If it's skipping between cogs it's failing to complete the upshift repeatedly, assuming your cog teeth aren't out of line and that you're using a chain from the same manufacturer than the cassette. Turn the barrel adjuster up towards the middle of the bike. Say Scranus a lot while doing so.

Olle Nilsson said...

Oak Tag is about the most disappointing search term I've ever made from this blog/comments. On the plus side, I did learn that the extra M in $10MM isn't a typo but a legit financial abbreviation to keep things douchier than a single M. Otherwise, people might think you're a lowly (paid) engineer - horrors.

jay said...

most bike "mechanics" I've met have plateaued at 23 with absolutely no skills other than hard knocks.

and you're right, the Rent Is Too Damn High -

Dr. Paul Proteus said...

Raise the minimum wage and force large companies to provide some damn benefits so Walmart competes more fairly with your LBS. And extend sales taxes to Internet purchases in all states so that Amazon competes more fairly with your LBS. And quit giving Walmart and Amazon tax incentives to put their damn parking deserts and warehouses in your state, giving them tax advantages over your LBS.

And tip your mechanic! Disclosure: wife owns/runs an LBS.

Comment deleted said...

By the way, DB, Snob gets the BCOD, right?

Brake for Love said...

Why should Snob make more money than a school teacher? Because he entertains. Our society enriches entertainers, because life is too dreary to be lived without laughing and smiling once in a while.

tubasti said...

Around here, a basic tune gets you the cables pulled through (because the adjusters are already overextended), rear derailleur hanger straightening (because they're always bent), front derailleur alignment (because the douchebag who built the bike didn't), brake pad alignment and caliper centering, hub bearing adjustment, wheel truing, a wipedown, and a safety check (because we don't want to get sued). If all we have to do is twiddle barrel adjusters, we'll usually do it for free because it takes too long to write a service ticket.

Holy Roller said...

What would Jesus charge to tune up your bike? What would he suggest for enhanced performance, I hear he's into cross training.

Vlad said...

Hello, Mr. Bikesnobnyc. It's me, Vlad from Romania.
As I assumed you care for the bicycling community in Oregon, I'm letting you know that they lost the battle with winter :( as showcased by the following picture:

Ass Monkeys said...

We attack the asses free of charge. The ass IS our payment.

Yeah Cleveland! said...

"Suburban automobile community"???

McFly said...

How many Denver Bronco's does it take to change a flat?


Unless it's a blowout....then it takes the whole team.

Spokey said...

Oh Boy! said...

--> It's failing to shift up. The spring tension always forces the derailleur down, which is

unless your bike has a rapid rise?

my robot is trying to poison me with ssparil hydrocyanic

commentatorbot_02834 said...

#1 Finance, in general, is not a competitive environment.
What happened when the bottom fell out of the housing ponzi scheme? My tax dollars bailed your employer's employer who employed some other people that eventually you deal with as an employee.

#2 WS Duder's "hard work" is not any different than the guy's "hard work" that they didn't hire. You are where you are due to a random combination of factors having nothing to do with how hard you work. When you blew sh!t up, *I* paid for your mistakes and will again.

#3 A bike shop is a terrible business and has been for decades. There are already bike mechanic certifications and they don't raise your wages. The latest retail model, vertical Specialized/Trek shops are even worse than running an independent shop.

If you want to work on bikes, then you will be poor. If you want to sell bikes or own a shop outright, then you'll be a little less poor. If you want to make money, go work on Wall Street.

Anonymous said...

"commentatorbot_02834 said...
#1 Finance, in general, is not a competitive environment.
What happened when the bottom fell out of the housing ponzi scheme? My tax dollars bailed your employer's employer who employed some other people that eventually you deal with as an employee.

#2 WS Duder's "hard work" is not any different than the guy's "hard work" that they didn't hire. You are where you are due to a random combination of factors having nothing to do with how hard you work. When you blew sh!t up, *I* paid for your mistakes and will again.

#3 A bike shop is a terrible business and has been for decades. There are already bike mechanic certifications and they don't raise your wages. The latest retail model, vertical Specialized/Trek shops are even worse than running an independent shop.

If you want to work on bikes, then you will be poor. If you want to sell bikes or own a shop outright, then you'll be a little less poor. If you want to make money, go work on Wall Street.

February 13, 2014 at 11:53 AM"

My bank/broker dealer did not take bailout money. Not that it really matters but.

Yes, better to be lucky than good.


Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, at the LBS i work for in Michigan, our "full" tune up is less than 70 bucks. It actually does overhaul EVERYTHING. But you are right, the majority of people don't realize how much of a deal this actually is.

Tristan said...

Love the snow mullet! Laughed my ass off...keep up the good work, I need the excitement in my life.

BoredBrewer said...

Where's Anchorage, AL?

ken e. said...

weird. podium. sorta.

Anonymous said... I guess you don't have a 401(k)?

Unknown said...

Great post. that questions also shaken my head. I think mechanics are afraid to ask more because they can lose their customers. Nice effort. Meet and greet at Gatwick

Ferya said...

If you want to work on bikes, then you will be poor. If you want to sell bikes or own a shop outright, then you'll be a little less poor. If you want to make money, go work on Wall Street.
meet and greet parking gatwick

carlagrace said...

there are many lowly paid professions around us if we are observant enough, but that rarely means the services they are providing are any less worthy. airport parking gatwick

Unknown said...

People got to show a little more respect to themselves and to other. helping others is noble despite the weather and the reasons you choose to neglect it. gatwick valet parking

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