As the creator of the Chris King Headset Composite Index, I was dismayed to learn (several days after it was reported, I’m pretty checked out these days) that the Chris King headquarters has been robbed:
I’m loath to even mention this, since last time I mentioned a stolen show bike I got in all kinds of trouble:
Basically, the too-long-didn’t-read of it is a bike got stolen at NAHBS, someone posted a fake Craigslist “for sale” ad for it, I tweeted a link to at, and the builder then accused me of creating the ad, which I most assuredly did not:
Ah, 2010…it was a simpler time. People were so easily offended. Not like today.
Anyway, it’s been thirteen years (!), so I like to think maybe it’s safe to address the subject of stolen show bikes again. Of course, the first question that comes to mind when you read about a heist like this is: “Who?” Not only is the market for artisan road and gravel bikes tiny, but every single person involved in the selling, making, and riding of these things knows each other and are friends. Furthermore, they all have Instagram accounts, and constantly post photos of their bicycles, which would make possessing one of these things and being unable to do so a form of torture since they’d never be able to share a single picture without incriminating themselves. Yes, I suppose the perpetrator could be some bitter, jilted old creep the cycling world has long since abandoned–a once-revered, now-forgotten bike blogger, for example–though I maintain it couldn’t be me because my presence at MADE would have been rather conspicuous:
Plus, I have a good alibi, as I was stealing salmon at a totally different bike show that week.
Given all this, it’s hard to believe the heist was an inside job engineered by a member of the “bike culture,” though BikePortland seems to suggest it was in fact a “brah-on-brah” crime:
However, it should be noted BikePortland has an even worse record with accusations than I do with stolen show bikes. Remember when they wrongly outed some guy who joined a group ride as an undercover officer because he and the cop were both Asian?
I certainly do, because if you have a vested interest in making fun of stuff like “tactical urbanists” who organize group rides and the city of Portland, this is exactly the sort of thing you live for.
Wow, looking back, it’s almost like the only thing the Internet is good for is generating misunderstandings and making people angry!
In any case, working on my theory that the thieves were most likely outsiders, I took to Portland Craigslist in the hopes that I could find listings for the stolen bikes. Alas, I could not, but I was heartened to learn that the over-the-top urban fixie (or in this case I guess singlespeed) thing is alive and well in the City of Roses:
Vintage Pelotons also appear to be a hot item:
I can totally see people in Portland cueing up their ironic Olivia Newton-John vinyl and working out on these things:
And of course anything even remotely Speedvagen-adjacent still commands a high premium, even an old Allez frame that was simply painted there:
That’s like asking $150 for a used white Hanes V-neck because you scribbled on it in Sharpie at the Prada store.
Still, there were no stolen show bikes, and that gold Allez was about as close as I got.
Speaking of bike thieves, I could use one right now, because my son’s key broke off in the lock:
I’m open to any and all suggestions.