Spring is here in all its glory, so there’s no danger of thin ice:
However, when I’m on the Normcore Nostagia Bike there is danger of thin tires:
Those posed no problem, but after years of compact crank use the 42×24 “low” gear felt rather burly, and when you consider what when new this was a mid-level bike marketed to “enthusiast” types you begin to understand that we’re getting collectively weaker as a society. Indeed, today a comparably priced (in today’s dollars) Trek road bike comes with a luxuriously low 34×32:
So I don’t think it’s in any way an exaggeration to say that every single problem facing America today stems from the fact that we’ve been coddled by wide-range gearing, integrated shifting, high-volume tires, and disc brakes.
So yeah, no ice this time of year, but there is flooding. Here is the mighty–and mightily swollen–Saw Mill River which, after two straight days of heavy rain, has burst its banks and subsumed not only the South County Trailway but this unfortunate porta-potty:
With my daintily-tired bicycle I dared not attempt to ride through it, but I did briefly consider using the porta-potty as a canoe and floating downriver.
Speaking of “old” bicycle technology, this bike makes use of a threaded headset. The other day a reader mentioned the Chris King Headset Composite Index, and I’m afraid to tell you it’s been blown all to bits by this $700 (!) threaded titanium number:
Some people argue Chris King headsets are worth every penny as they last roughly forever with zero attention. Others say they’re overpriced and overbuilt and that plenty of other headsets last roughly forever with zero attention while costing a fraction as much. But no matter where you stand, you’ll no doubt agree that the titanium flavor of Chris King headset was utterly ridiculous. Not only did it cost way more than its already indestructible aluminum counterpart, but I’m pretty sure it was also heavier. I’ve only ever seen one titanium headset in the wild; it was on a Merlin, because of course it was. However, I admit to being fascinated by the idea of the titanium Chris King as an investment vehicle, since it clearly functions basically like gold bullion, yet at the same time, like Bitcoin, it is beyond the control of governments and financial institutions. See, in the event of some sort of global calamity it could be easily transported across international borders duty-free as you could install it on a Walmart bike or something, and unless the customs agent was a total Fred nobody would be the wiser.
Hey, beats smuggling stuff in…other places.
Yes, between the Chris King Headset Composite Index (CKHCI) and the PistaDex we can gain tremendous insight into the economy, but if you’re looking for a simple pump-and-dump penny stock scheme you could always talk up some cheap bike in order to drive up their value on the used market then cash out before the inevitable crash. Right now ’89 1200s are at 450:
If I can get them up to $1K then I can sell, roll that over into a Titanium GripNut, and still have more than the original value of the bike in liquid assets.
Get ready for some fawning posts about its lateral stiffness and vertical compliance and the lost art of fabricating bikes out of bonded aluminum…