Talking Points

So here’s a few topics for discussion:

A) I basically have a new bike. Basically. I have had the frame for a couple of years now, and the wheels too, but over the course of the last month, a component has broken just about every ride. The first to go was the seatpost. Then the crankset. Then came the handlebars, followed quickly by the stem. Last was the shifters. More or less brand new now. Who needs groceries?

The reason I bring it up is because I realized how long I had been riding the components on my mountain bike. The Easton Monkey Lite bars that are supposed to be replaced after, what, three years?  Coming up on eight years of loyal service. The Race Face Deus cranks? Seven long years of New England Mud and Arizona sand. And how about that Sram XO derailleur and X9 shifters that I received from the Sram rep before the damn things were even released to the public? Eight years and still perfectly functional (the shifter upgrade was a vanity thing, I admit. But XO shifters are so sexy!).

Sexy. As. Hell.

Sexy. As. Hell.

B) Bank of America sucks balls. Somehow, some asshole managed to get into my checking account for the second time within a year, get all of my personal information, buy a bunch of shit on my debit card, and basically give me a headache for six days. When I called the bank, they told me to cut up my card and wait for all the charges to clear. When they cleared, I could dispute them. Here’s a brief exchange I had:

Me: So what you’re telling me is the people who stole my information can continue to access my money, but I can’t?

BofA: We have to wait until the charges clear before we can do anything about it.

Me: I really have to let someone else spend my money, even though I can’t spend my money?

BofA: Unfortunately, that’s correct, sir. There’s nothing I can do at this point.

Really? One of the most powerful banks in the world can’t handle this one? You can handle stock markets crashing, but you can’t figure out my checking account? Congratulations. You just lost a customer.

As if people needed more reasons to hate BofA and other huge banks:

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C) This past weekend I was down in Phoenix near ASU and I noticed something strange: gears don’t work in Phoenix. At least, that’s what I assumed, because all the cool hipster kids were riding fixies, and since all I saw was cool hipster kids, I can only assume that no other bikes exist in Phoenix-Tempe. The other thing I noticed is that cool hipster kids are not obligated to stop for pedestrians, cars, light rail trains, or any other hard objects that may be in their paths. This happens for two reasons: a) most of them don’t really know how to skid-stop because they’re fucking poseurs, and b)cool hipsters is another term for spoiled, entitled douchebag more concerned about style than functionality. I like me some fixies, but goddamn…you can’t install common sense on one of those dumpster specials.

I will say this: The Immortal Class was a damn good book. I was a fixie geek for a while, and I would probably ride one again if there wasn’t such a ridiculous “scene” now swarming around the idea of this type of bicycle. They’re fun. They’re just not all that practical, in my opinion. The author of the book linked above is completely full of himself, but it’s a pretty interesting foray into the world of bike messengers before it was trendy to be/look like/act like/pose like a bike messenger.

D) The east coast tour begins next week. That statement may sound a lot cooler than it actually is. I’m going to be flying into Virginia with my wife, taking the train up to D.C., then onward to Connecticut. I expect to do nothing at all bike related, which is bumming me out. I also expect to drink too much. Ya know, because that’s different and unique, and now I’m special. If you’re an east coaster, give us some ideas of cool things to do in Richmond/D.C./Baltimore/anywhere in CT.

Fin.

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About D2

I am a writer and a photographer. I never killed a man in Reno, but I once rode a bike through a casino in Vegas. Bikes are cool, huevos rancheros are for breakfast, whiskey is for dinner. Denver, Colorado, USA

33 thoughts on “Talking Points

  1. Ditto on the hipster fixie movement. Don’t mind the fixies, don’t care for the posers.

  2. When you get into DC and need nothing more than a scrapple cheeseburger and a stiff drink at 8am, go get tuned up at the Tune Inn. 331 1/2 Pennsylvania Ave SE. three blocks from the U.S. Capitol. It’s the bar where bartenders go to unwind. It’s where the guys from my firehouse and I go for breakfast and booze after a long night of no sleep from running calls.

    Complete with animal heads adorning the walls and a layer of tobacco stained cobwebs that have been there since before JFK was slayin’ Marilyn Monroe. This place is a true shit hole, and me thinks you’re gonna love it.

  3. And, I recommend heading into Old Town Alexandria. Less crowded (sometimes) than other places in DC, plenty of good places to drink/eat.

  4. Points B and C are simply some of the best shit I have read on the internet in some time. Thanks.

  5. I just read the first few pages of “immortal class” via the link provided above. God help us all… What the fuck is that guy talking about? In a City the size of Chicago, he thinks he’s the only guy (or girl) that gets up early and hits the streets before the masses? He’s the only one core enough to do it on a bicycle? There are what, five universities in Chicago? What percentage of the student body at those institutions relies on a bicycle for transportation? I would wager that every time this grandstanding peacock rode his bike in Chicago, regardless of the time of day, year or weather, there were literally thousands of other cyclists on Chicago’s roadways.

  6. The Immortal Class was about bike messengers in the early nineties. The guy is cocky as shit…but the story’s entertaining. If you can keep from strangling a hipster while reading it, I recommend it.

  7. D2 – BofA does truly suck balls. A similar thing is happening to me right now. Microsoft Ireland Operations ltd. charged my account for over four hundred bucks, draining it plus some. Never been to Ireland. Never bought anything from anywhere Ireland (I don’t think Guinness counts). Don’t know anyone in Ireland. The jerks at the shithole bank treated me the same way. Have to wait until the charge is posted before they investigate. Might take up to 180 days before anything is done about it. 180 days???!! The woman at the bank this morning told me to make sure I keep in contact with the bank about the dispute while the woman on the phone yesterday told me that I didn’t have to do anything but sign and send back papers that should arrive in the mail in 7-10 business days. Keep in contact with the bank? Do they hope that I’ll just forget about it and let it go? Fuck the execs of BofA. Hard. With no mercy. For at least 180 days. They have lost this customer as well.

    Bikes are cool. People who think they are cool just because they ride a particular style of bike are putting themselves at a disadvantage.

  8. bofa sucks but i gotta say 5/3 sucks even more. i am going THRU it with them and my fucking mortgage and shit.

    i might need to read this book if it was about messengers in the early 90′s. that was me! 1990-91! i hate that the poseur fixie scene is even associated with messengers.

  9. Dude, you may have a nice new bike, but the leg extension on that bitch is way too long.

    I may bounce from BofA just because of your issues. I’d rather give someone else the opportunity to handle my $23.

  10. The one of the best things we can do for the banking industry, ourselves and communities is to get out of the mega banks and into local banks or credit unions. Money stays a bit more local, especially credit unions, and you get a better shake.

    I’m on a U campus and we have the same trouble with cyclists, only they are mostly riding cheap as shit Chinese ‘mountain bikes’

    Can’t help you on the back east trip.

    Peace.

  11. what ralph said. my normal bank accounts are with a tiny unknown bank with like 4 branches. never had a single problem ever. 5/3 is going DOWN. BofA too.

  12. ha, gnome. you almost have no money, and you can’t do that. Louis CK style.

    get a sack lunch, and take it down to the james river in Richmond. eat it and then go swimming 10 minutes later. live recklessly. jump off of rocks. the town kicks ass. go on a graf tour. beautiful pieces up all over. just walk around richmond. fuck bikes. walking’s more romantic.

  13. Not by the wildest stretch of imagination could I be called “cool”, “hipster”, or “kid”. But I just returned from a ride on my fixed 1976 Carlton Raliegh fixed conversion. All that I could ask of a bike, it delivers. Am I doing it wrong?

  14. …i felt like bank of america, who we railed against in the ’60′s n’ ’70′s were at one point, ‘live-able’ as a necessary evil until taken over by nations bank in 1998…then they became truly evil…impersonal, inflexible, highly mistake prone & the list goes on…since taking over merril lynch, they are now the largest investment brokerage in the world…being one of “the” corporate & commercial lenders, methinks they don’t care a whole lot about gnomer’s $23 bucks or even the guy with $23,000 bucks invested…

    …i agree with ralph about using a smaller local bank but my constant fear is that my “local” will get taken over by a “mega” but either way, like the young lady in the video sez, banks ARE corporations, run for (huge) profit…

    …this conversation goes back to several years ago when on this site we were discussing how major banking families like the rothschilds have been funding wars (often both sides against each other – gotta bank on a winner one way or the other) around the globe for hundreds of years…

    …war still seems pretty popular these days & i’m betting if you sifted through all the layers you’d find bank of america, hsbc, citigroup, credit suisse, j.p.morgan, deutsche bank & all the other major players have dirty, grubby, blood stained fingers…

    …’member when you were a kid & opened your first checking account ???…“wow…they take care of my money, i can get it out whenever i want & if i open a ‘savings’ account, they actually pay me for putting money in there…this is so cool”

    …turns out, not so much…

  15. …sf has some seriously major hills that tend to weed out the poseurs amongst the fix gear hipsters out here…that & the streetcar tracks…

    …natural selection, darwinism, karma, call it what you will but that shit doesn’t last long unless it’s real on “the streets of san francisco”

  16. ‘mary-land’ ???…sheesh…

    …now that sounds kinda, well, you know…

    …(‘not that there’s anything wrong with that’)…

    …hell…even the ‘western’ part of that doesn’t really toughen it up much…

    ‘mary-land’…bwahahaha…

  17. Just north of Maryland is PA. Where you will find a wonderful forrest. NIce hiking if you have no bike. Lakes and stuff too, should it be a hot one.

  18. Take your bike! fool. WTF….I am headed back east as well.

    Richmond aka FogTown has some of the best urban trail system in da Country.

    I will personally take you around the city and burn your socks off on the JRP trail system. Drop me a line. If in town by Wed. ITT going down in FogTown that night. Alcohol provided

    TAKE YOUR BIKE!!!!! TAKE YOUR WIFE’S BIKE????

    drop me a line

    YOU WILL THANK ME LATER

  19. XO is the shizz! I’m rockin’ circa ’06 XO and it still shifts better than my brand new SLX stuff (which is also very nice stuff btw).

  20. …my dearest joetheelictrician…

    …as explained elsewhere…“all references earlier to a sissified sound to ‘mary-land’ were only to pull joetheelectrician’s chain…the one on the little cartoon “idea” lightbulb over his head”

    …feel better now…

  21. I guess I’d be less bitter if I could talk to a person instead of a recording for once. Or maybe if I didn’t have to call at all. Why can’t my local branch do ANYTHING without getting me on a telephone?

  22. “excuse me, d2…i need to put you on hold, sir…i’ll have someone get right back to you regarding your concerns…i would suggest however, sir, that your bitter attitude is unwarranted…we are trying our best to help you…thank you, sir”

  23. you need to get your hands on a bike in richmond…. great ten-ish mile loop downtown…trails drop down the hill to the river and you’d never know the city was 30 feet up the hill.
    and if you like food: Edo’s Squid, on harrison street. go there. for real.

  24. @ el jefe I feel that man. My more recent purchases have been down spec’d quite a bit. There are good things to be had in the mid-level if one chooses wisely.

  25. @Bumpkin— fuck that, life is too short for anything less than D-A. Enjoy the ride, sir.

  26. @ mikey-mmmm D-A (assuming Dura-Ace) would be nice on my Soloist. I gotta say tho-the MTB scene around here is off the hook and I haven’t even ridden my road bike this year.

  27. Shit I can’t think of one cool thing to do in Richmond that isn’t bike related. Well you could grab a few beers and throw the bottles at all the hipsters. At least you don’t need you own bike for that.

    The Immortal Class is in the circulating library for the laid up cyclist. Broken leg, ankle, collarbone, patella (not all mine, for God’s sake) the immortal class has been there for all of them. Good reading, that’s about all I can remember through the percoset-induced haze.