Greg Veen

16 August 2005

Crack pipes

I own a 1972 Honda CB500/4 motorbike, and I park it on the street in my wonderful neighborhood, the Lower Haight district of San Francisco. The problem? The bike's sparkplugs keep disappearing. I'm told that urban crack addicts are notorious for breaking off the top piece of exposed sparkplugs (like mine) because, in a pinch, the ceramic part makes a decent crack pipe.

I recently lost two sparkplugs to the crackheads in under a week, so I really started thinking hard about how to put an end to this nonsense. I mean, come on, I've had my bike towed because a missing sparkplug kept me from moving it. And even though I now keep a stock of replacements on board to prevent that from ever happening again, new plugs aren't exactly a dime a dozen nowadays. This is not an inexpensive problem to have.

In thinking about this, I realized that short of garaging the bike, really the only way to solve my problem would be to provide a more appealing (and cheaper!) alternative to smoking crack through a spark plug. And that's how I found myself in a very strange position -- one that, quite frankly, I never imagined I'd wind up in: leaning over a case of crack pipes at the local head shop, asking the proprietor if he'd cut me a deal on a hundred of 'em.

The idea is to cover my motorcycle with crack pipes, free for the taking. Who'd go through the trouble of breaking off one of my dirty old sparkplugs when there's a hundred perfectly good crack pipes to get through first? Maybe the pipes would be velcroed on so that they'd be securely fastened yet still easily removed -- who knows? As long as I can keep the per unit cost down, it seems to me I'd be better off. Plus, can you imagine how awesome my bike would look covered with glistening glass? Seriously, would it not be the coolest bike in the Lower Haight?

So, I don't know much about crack pipes, but I have a feeling the guy at the Twighlight Zone Smoke Shop wasn't offering me a smashing deal. Anyone know where I can get a good price on crack pipes in bulk?

Posted by Greg at 05:09 PM.

On 18 August 2005 at 01:34 AM, Jason G commented:

I'm not a bike expert. But why dont you just take out your spark plugs when you park the bike for the night? A bit of a hastle I imagine but at least it wont encourge the druggies.

On 18 August 2005 at 08:18 AM, Tato Pedrosa commented:

Yeah, and it sure sounds cheaper than buying a whole bunch of pipes.

On 18 August 2005 at 09:38 AM, Mike Steinbaugh commented:

I dunno Jeff, if I was a crackhead, I'd take the crack pipe and your spark plug. Just in case there's a shortage of usuable materials in the future. My vote for garaging the bike.

On 18 August 2005 at 12:21 PM, Greg Veen commented:

Mike, are you on crack? I'm Greg, not Jeff.

Just kidding. But as for the garage idea, it's extremely expensive around here, unfortunately.

On 18 August 2005 at 12:24 PM, Mike commented:

You're not the only one, Greg:

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sfo/27499971.html

And, yeah, you can take out the outermost (#s 1 and 4) plugs, but then you have to carry a wrench with you and who knows what kind of garbage will get in the holes. I generally park my bike under a streetlight and it's been mostly fine (maybe 3 plugs "piped" in the last 8 years), but you could also get a lockable bike cover. Since it's an access issue, making it just hard enough to get the crackhead to go to some OTHER bike will keep yours safe-ish. Or just go on Ebay, get a case of plugs for $20 and keep a wrench a around.

On 18 August 2005 at 12:48 PM, tom commented:

I admit, I am not the most knowledgeable person when it come to sparkplugs, but would there possibly be a variety that would be unappealing to crackheads? Something without an easy to break off top part, or lacking ceramic crackpipe-like part? you could switch to those, and after a while, they might learn that you don't have good sparkplugs to steal.

On 18 August 2005 at 08:30 PM, matt van dyk commented:

Damn dude. I'm sorry to hear about your plight, really, but I have to tell you that I haven't laughed that hard in a while. The image of you cruzin' on your '72 Honda CBR with 200 crackpipes hanging from it simply cracks me up. Personally, I'd go with the rat poison idea. A couple of gravely ill crackheads lying around your bike ought to send the message through the community that your particular bike should be left alone. Oh man, that's nice, pure, uncompassionate comedy.

On 22 August 2005 at 05:52 PM, jcrew commented:

That's the best laugh I've had in a while. I like the ambush the crackhead approach. Maybe something a little less lethal than rat poison, but enough to leave them moaning next to your bike on the street for several hours to ward off the other crackheads. That craigslist rant was HILARIOUS. Alternatively, we could tie Bella up to your bike overnight so she can guard it for you. :P

On 22 August 2005 at 06:07 PM, Ryan commented:

The solution to your problem seemed very logical immediately after reading your first paragraph. MOVE! Don't live amongst sparkplug stealing crackheads!

On 22 August 2005 at 06:30 PM, FMZ commented:

Dude why not just try and get a deal on defective sparkplugs at bike shops throughout the bay area, coat them in rat poison and just keep them in a pouch on your bike?

That way the mechanics get rid of a bunch of broken crap they don't need, the crackheads get to experience the thrill of stealing to maintain their disgusting habit without risking that annoying loss of flesh while trying to remove a sparkplug with trembling hands and YOU actually get to start your bike in the morning with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that some unknown crackhead a few blocks from your bike has probably fallen over dead and will not be fucking with your shit anymore.

Everyone wins!

I've tried it....it works!
-A

On 30 August 2005 at 05:32 AM, Arlys commented:

very, very funny Greg..but what's to prevent them from taking all 100 at a time...just take the spark plugs out!

On 21 September 2005 at 08:49 PM, sue commented:

ahahahahah, yea after you build that don't forget the licence plate that reads "crack magnet". (don't screw up & put "crack maggot" thou)

On 30 September 2005 at 11:33 AM, Allison commented:

what is spark? i heard it was similar to crack. please help. -ali :)

On 12 October 2005 at 10:18 PM, matt commented:

they sell little glass tubes with a fake flower in them in convience stores. you could probally get a good deal on a box of them on ebay. dont forget to strap on some steel wool scouwering pads too. they will need them along with the glass tubes. i hope i helped. ~matt

On 14 October 2005 at 03:39 AM, GOD commented:

get me some crack pipes while your at it. By the way this is GOD?!

On 1 November 2005 at 10:18 AM, Jon commented:

I wouldn't put the pipes all over the bike, instead I would somehow place it near the plug so when the crack head searches for the plug to break he finds a pipe. Also, I guarantee you it is like leaving a bowl of halloween candy out, the first one is going to take all... Except you have a better chance with the halloween candy and zero chance with a crack head. Another option, maybe place a sticker you print off a computer, yeah to us it may look homemade but a crack head will never know as they sold their TV for crack and never have even seen a computer unless it was from your house and sold that night... Anyway, make the sticker saying, Caution - Spark Plugs coated with Toxic paint, do not inhale or store in non ventalated areas... I think it would work, either that or they may take them faster hoping it will get them higher, considering crack is made with amonia... Or they will steal it for someone else that was paying 1.00 for them to get a pipe and that is what they get... Oh as for the steel whool, it is Chore Boy or copper scrub, oh yeah, don't piss them off by removing it or somthing that is obvious to be for the reason of deturing a crack head as I am sure a single bike tipping will cost alot more than several of the spark plugs... Okay, good luck, I am sure most of this is in good humor, but if you actually continue through with any of it, I want a picture! jonburke@aol.com.. Also, results!!! Good Luck!

On 9 December 2005 at 04:56 AM, raul kabinza commented:

I thought tire gauges were more prevalent. hang tire gauges on the handlebars. that's what they use in these parts.

On 10 December 2005 at 09:56 PM, glowlita commented:

i googled for the flaming lips lyrics and stayed for the crack pipe sparkplugs.

dear lord.

wondering if you ever managed to resolve this?

On 16 December 2005 at 03:01 PM, Rich commented:

My house is located in a neighbourhood where crack is the drug of choice.. in fact, I post stories about my dealings with crackheads regularly on my blog, but this takes the cake.

Never before, sir, have I heard such an amusing story about a crackhead which wasn't written by Dave Chapelle. Cheers.

On 7 January 2006 at 08:27 PM, MJITB commented:

are you serous that the United states has that many crack heads that there are more then one persons geting there sparkplugs stolen to smoke crack? thats rough...maybe you guys need a new president.

On 11 January 2006 at 10:19 AM, Marshall commented:

Can you post a picture of this the next time it happens. I think I have a solution.

On 23 January 2006 at 03:40 PM, Nick commented:

Dude, the SAME THING just happened to me. Twice in the last week. And I got two parking tickets because of these fucking CRACKHEADS. I'm gonna crack some heads.

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