One Way Or Another, They’re Always Writing Off Bikes

You are not seeing this bike:

If you were, it would mean I was riding someplace I’m technically not supposed to, and of course I’d never, ever do that:

Therefore, everything you see above must be a mere trick of the light.

Still, it’s a highly convincing illusion–and a quite unfashionable one. A textbook example of Peak Singlespeed, this custom bicycle is neither old enough to have any “Mudbunion” cred, nor does it have any of the features that are currently in vogue, namely:

  • Thru-axles
  • “Boost” spacing
  • Clearance for “plus”-sized tires
  • A very short stem paired with a chopper-like headtube angle

Then of course there’s the lack of a derailleur. See, once single-ring cranks and clutch derailleurs took over, the twin banes of the off-road drivetrain (those being chainsuck and chain slap) were instantly eliminated. Then of course there’s the fact that everyone now rides 2.8 tires at like two and a half psi, which makes the singlespeed-specific practice of sprinting into every single climb in order to preserve your momentum a decidedly squishy affair. All of these things have conspired to render the one-speed mountain bike deeply unfashionable.

But it’s bound to come back, and when it does I’ll be ready!

In other news, there’s now a bill in Congress that would give people tax credits for ebike purchases:

I’m all for ebikes, but this is merely proof that we have no real cyclists among our elected officials, because after reading the first few lines of this legislation I’ve determined it’s incredibly short-sighted:

And yes, this blog is just me reposting my own tweets now:

That’s called “sustainable blogging.”

Anyway, ebikes certainly have to potential to woo people who are averse to the physical exertion of using a bicycle for child-schlepping, grocery-hauling, and the like. And yes, unfortunatel,y some of these people balk when they see that something like this costs over $5,000:

“That’s like a third of the price of a certified pre-owned Corolla!,” they exclaim, unable to consider the price of anything with wheels without putting it in an automotive context. So for these people, sure, perhaps the tax credit might mitigate the sticker handlebar tag shock somewhat, and even compel them to consider an ebike instead of that third car for their local errand-running.

But what of the bike-savvy person who doesn’t want a bicycle with a battery, but who does want that one special bike they’ve always dreamed of owning but could never afford? Does not the joy of owning, say, an exquisite lugged steel frame not compel one to ride more often–so often in fact that one would have little time for or interest in driving? I’d argue this intense desire–let’s call it the Weenie Factor–is a force more powerful than any battery. Indeed, if the government were to harness the full potential of the Weenie Factor by assisting all American Bike Weenies in purchasing our dream bikes, would not the reduction in emissions be considerably greater than that netted by a few well-to-do suburbanites who buy an ebike with good intentions, ride it to Whole Foods a few times, and then leave it to languish in the garage until the flood waters consume us all? (According to the latest science–or John Kerry, I forget which–we should all be underwater in several months…unless we all listen to Bill Gates and start eating synthetic beef, or something. Which is why, as a savvy investor, I’ve been looking for the Tesla of Meat in order to steak stake my fortune.) Granted, I have nothing to support my conclusion beyond tired stereotypes, but that’s what’s driving policy anyway these days so what’s the difference?

Someone needs to introduce a LUGS (that’s Let’s Underwrite Gorgeous Sustainability) bill, that’s all I’m saying.

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