Prices for elite bicycles are soaring. High-performance materials, such as titanium and carbon fiber, and more advanced components, including electronic gear-shifting systems, drive up costs. The average wholesale price of a bicycle sold at specialty shops, which generate the most dollars in U.S. bike sales, jumped 75% in 2013 from a decade earlier, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association.
And bicycle enthusiasts, typically wealthier than average and competitive, seem willing to pay for the most advanced bikes available.
Trek, a leading bicycle manufacturer, offers seven stock models priced at more than $11,000. A growing number of small companies make hand-built bicycles, which can be far more expensive than mass-produced ones. Ben Cox, owner of the Newbury Park Bicycle Shop, in Newbury Park, Calif., says he sells five to 10 bikes a week at $10,000 or more. For a handful of his customers, Mr. Cox says, “there is no ceiling.”
The more than 4,000-square-foot home was built in the 1890s and has been lovingly renovated by the couple, who believe they are only the third owners of the home.
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It’s a conundrum every city bicyclist who pedals after sunset has grappled with: How to be seen by drivers in the dark of night? You can attach blinking lights and shiny stickers to your bike or backpack, or wear special reflective jackets. But these approaches have their flaws. Batteries die, stickers peel or fade with time, and jackets can be left at home.
One new solution is just hitting the streets after a successful Kickstarter campaign: the Lumen from San Francisco’s Mission Bicycle Company. Using the same principle that makes street signs so dazzlingly reflective, the frame and rims of this sleek urban bike reflect a blazing white when the beam of a car’s headlights fall upon them.
Seattle may be most associated with the Space Needle, fleece jackets and rain, but a long weekend there doesn’t have to focus on the mainstays—there’s just as much culture as coffee to be enjoyed in the Emerald City.
The town has a wide-ranging art scene that includes the Seattle Art Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park and a property that showcases Dale Chihuly’s glass creations. Despite its super-casual, outdoorsy reputation, Seattle is home to hip and high-end clothing boutiques, in neighborhoods from Ballard to Capitol Hill to downtown. Food is practically a religion there, but it would be a shame to get completely caught up in the farm-to-table scene—there’s just too much great Asian food to be consumed. August, when precipitation is at a low point and the daylight lingers past 8 p.m., is an excellent time to enjoy Seattle’s multifaceted offerings. To experience many sides of the city in a short summer visit, follow our detailed itinerary—and skip the rental car. This jewel of the Pacific Northwest is so compact, you can reach everything by foot, taxi and boat.
For the Perfect Cocktail, Use the Right Ice
Three types of ice are used at the Clam in New York’s West Village. Chef and co-owner Mike Price explains why certain cocktails are served with crushed ice vs. cubes. Photo: Jennifer Weiss for The Wall Street Journal
Read the related story: Restaurateurs at the Mercy of Modern Ice Machines
One of the more unusual designers to emerge lately is Ulyana Sergeenko. She caught the attention of fashion photographers several years ago by attending runway shows in outrageous yet stylish get-ups. Fueled by that attention and connections she launched her own haute couture label in 2011, showing $30,000 dresses and $80,000 coats in Paris.
The untrained fledgling’s designs are succeeding at the tippy-top of fashion. Clients pack her Paris haute couture shows, sometimes carrying cabbage roses in tribute to her love of grandma-style flowers, which she often uses in fabric prints. Beyoncé wore two Sergeenko outfits in videos for her “Visual” album. Kim Kardashian has been wearing the label, after husband Kanye West requested an audience with Ms. Sergeenko this spring. So have Lady Gaga and Dita von Teese.
Devonne Duerbaum, 22, a college student from Hollywood, Fla., on her 2009 Ducati Monster 696:
My father has been taking me to motorcycle races since I was young, so I grew up around bikes. He always had Ducatis—which are beautifully designed Italian motorcycles. When I turned 16, I wanted one, but he wanted me to wait. Two years later, I graduated high school, took a motorcycle class and got my license. I came home one day and he said, “Hey, let me show you something.”
There was my Monster in the garage. He said, “You’re such a good daughter. You get good grades. You stay out of trouble.”
Now we ride together and that’s our way of bonding. He’s always lecturing me about safety. Sometimes he’ll get me a new aftermarket part and we’ll spend the day putting it on and making my bike pretty.
Researchers are studying people to understand if lucid dreaming can improve dreamers’ abilities when they’re awake.
Psychologists at the University of Lincoln in England found in a June study that people with frequent lucid dreams are better at cognitive tasks that involve insight, like problem-solving. Other researchers have shown that people who dream of practicing a routine can improve their abilities in that activity in real life. Early evidence also suggests that lucid dreaming may help improve depressive symptoms and mental health in general, perhaps by giving people a greater sense of self-control.
LITITZ, Pa.—This town of 9,400 people in Amish country tells the story of the modern concert industry.
The effect that lets pop-star Katy Perry soar over her audience while clutching a bunch of balloons. The battalion of speakers blasting Paul McCartney’s voice in stadiums designed for sports, not music. The sliding catwalk that takes a singing, dancing Justin Timberlake from the stage to the rear of an arena. All this gear, currently crisscrossing America in tractor-trailers, was engineered and built in Lititz, along with the apparatus for blockbuster tours of the past by U2, the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Michael Jackson. Read more.
Paige Powell remembers the first time she met the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who would later become her boyfriend. Although “The Andy Warhol Diaries” cites Aug. 9, 1983 as the couple’s first date, for Powell, the enduring impression came earlier.
It was 1981, around the time she saw a show of graffiti artist A-One over at Fashion Moda in the South Bronx. Her boyfriend at the time, Jay Shriver, Warhol’s technical assistant, took her to Basquiat’s loft on Crosby Street.
“We really got on together, so he was always trying to go out with me, and trying to take me to Jamaica and different places,” said Powell, who spoke with Speakeasy by phone from Portland, Ore. “So we would do stuff, but I wasn’t romantically involved with him then because I had a boyfriend, and also he was doing drugs. But then he got himself cleaned up.”
Over the years at Interview magazine and inside Warhol’s Factory, Powell—armed with a camera—amassed an archive of that inner circle of artists.
Starting today, the photographer and curator is teaming with Exhibition A, an online contemporary-art platform, to sell prints of a Polaroid portrait she took of Basquiat during their stay on a Maui ranch in 1984. The archival giclee print on paper—expanded to a 20” x 24” size—is limited to 100 prints in the edition, priced at $200 unframed, or $325 framed.
Photo: Courtesy of Paige Powell