Monday, June 04, 2007

New Jerseys, Cycling Jerseys

Like nearly everyone else who has ever touched a bicycle, I get a weekly catalog from Nashbar or Performance, less often from Terry or Title 9, REI and Sahalie. So I'm aware that the cycling manufacturers want to put us in spandex jerseys with classic album covers from the Rolling Stones, KISS (of course, available on any flat surface, the KISS logo), The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynrd, Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd.

I'm a little jaded, I guess. I'd wear jerseys with less mainstream albums like Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention's Weasels Ripped My Flesh or Todd Rundgren's Utopia or the wonderful Little Feat's Sailing Shoes originally titled Thanks, I'll Eat it Here, along with the Zappa album, artwork by the wonderful Neon Park. Maybe some of the classic Santana or Mahavishnu Orchestra would make some sweet jerseys. Or Ian Hunter's first solo album.

I don't wear the jerseys that I own now all that much, save for a wool Fox Riders jersey and and a solid orange from Ground Effect. I've tired of having advertising all over me and I don't especially want it across my backside. Maybe if they'd make some with albums I actually liked.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Best Critical Mass I've Been On.

Does it take a death to learn what a life is worth? - Jackson Browne

I got to Westport about 6:30 after carrying a bag of dog food home and getting a set of housekeys made. But I wanted to be at Critical Mass, tonight, especially.

I had met Lewis Bailey a few times, first after my first Critical Mass in July of 2005. A bunch of us were sitting in front of Cave Dave's in the Crossroads, drinking cheap beer and telling stories and Louis came by with his knapsack, saying that he had an alchemy textbook from the 1870's. He may have even shown it and passed it around. I would see him at Acme from time to time and he had something going, comic books that were going to net him a fortune. According to others, he was a drug addict but he made his living, such as it was, salvaging flowers and reselling them. He was a character, the kind that makes a city into a collection of human beings, that makes life interesting.

He was killed this past Wednesday,just after midnight, by a motorist. I can't call it murder but I have to wonder how much of our humanity that we're willing to sacrifice for our cars.

Due to work commitments, I was unable to attend the vigil on Thursday but I did find my way to Critical Mass. We took a long time getting out of the Sun Fresh parking lot and made it into the Plaza with what seemed to be a hundred of us, completely filling 2 lanes on the Plaza and looping around for awhile then heading into downtown KC and across the ASB Bridge where we looped around the site of Lewis' death, the intersection. I set one of the empty PBR cans next to the plastic flowers and drew a breath. We headed back to Acme.

Sarah, at Acme, had lights from Planet Bike, one of our successes for the Kansas City Bicycle Federation. We gave them out to a lot of people who had no lights. I took a couple sets for people who work with me at Whole Foods. It seemed an appropriate way to remember Lewis. I hope someone else's life will be spared.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Twenty is on the Road

Awhile back, Matthew on the Kogswell Owner's Group list posted about how building a new bike made him appreciate the thinking that goes into a Schwinn Suburban.
Having the Twenty all built up, I get some of the same feeling.

The front fender is really well designed. That's my Reelight added on the Front wheel, a Nitto Technomic stem, Nashbar Moustache bars wrapped with Salsa Cork Tape, old DiaCompe quick release levers. I put on some 20 x 1.75 Kenda Tires, this past weekend and it rides much better. A Brooks B5N saddle completes it, along with a Live Free or Drive sticker from Prescott Alternative Transportation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Twenty is on the Road

I've got the Raleigh Twenty up and running. The final bit of business was replacing a cotter pin on the left side this afternoon. I stuck a washer under the L-Bolt and it seems to be steady. I put a new gold chain on it and a used BMX rear wheel with a fixed cog and a bottom bracket lockring and it's rideable. In my stash of stuff was a package of Salsa Cork tape that really ties the bike together on the cheap Nashbar Moustache bars I put on the ginormous Nitto Technomic stem. It seems to have a slightly taller gear than my first fixie, the Stella Scorcher but still quite rideable albeit a little more compact. I'm due several photographs which I'll take tomorrow but I've put about 30 miles on it and it's fun.

One thing that really impresses me is the set of fenders. When I look at the front fender and see where it comes down to keep any off me, I just smile. It's really an amazing achievement to build a nicely integrated bicycle like that.

Friday, March 16, 2007

My own hinge

What does the bushing look like that goes here?

Raleigh Twenty

What part goes inside the yellow box?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The stable, as it stands now.

I have to chime in on all this, too. I suppose if somehow I never got another bicycle (and that may well be a good idea), I could be happy with the ones I have. These are the ones I have to ride

Panasonic Touring Deluxe - As nice as any production bicycle I've seen. With a coat of new paint, it might be perfect. Nice long wheelbase, cantilever brakes. and soft ride, suitable for a long tour. Like Sarah, I have to tinker with my bikes so I might convert this one from 27" to 700C, just so I can switch my dynamo wheel between bikes and I'll probably put bar-end shifters on it when I'm ready to take of the cork grips.

Stella Fixed Gear Mock Porteur - Currently sitting over at Acme Bicycle Company a couple miles away while we try to get the stuck stem to move, but it's comfy and fun to ride.

Sam Benotto Cazenave Three Speed Derailleur Model 650B- This one is like a stray cat, that I just wonder how it came to find me. It has a sticker from a bike shop in Ames, Iowa (World of Bikes) that doesn't seem to exist any more, at least under that name. I just use it for Coffee Shop rides and such.

Bridgestone MB6 - Adequate for my trail-riding needs. I think I'd like it better as a single speed or a touring bike. I have this one but haven't decided what to do with it yet.

Cannondale 1988 SR500 - The only new bike I've ever purchased new. I keep thinking it may find new life as a 650B conversion but it doesn't really meet any of my bicycle needs anymore.

Monday, January 01, 2007

A New Year

As I sit at my desk, evaluating the last year and taking droppersful of Kick Ass Immune Activator from Wish Garden, wishing that I could go for a short ride or something, these are the thoughts I have.

1. I love riding fixed. Stella has seen so much use that I need to overhaul the bottom bracket and rebuild a hub and headset so I've been riding the Panasonic lately, which I also love, but I miss fixed gear.

2. I love working on bikes. Not enough to try to make my living at it, but it is what I think about enough. I also like seeing other people take up riding, at whatever level they can.

3. Bikes are not inanimate. They respond to love and use. Just as our human bodies were built to be exerted, bikes need that, too. The Peugeot Mixte that I've been tuning up for Rebecca needs to be ridden. It has some bad mojo for a derailleur I tried to install. After I got that set up properly, with much assistance from Mis Chief, I took it home and then took it for a short test ride. I stopped at the end of the block and it felt like the brake cable wasn't tight enough and had slipped from the cable hanger.
No, it was much worse. The brake shoe had broken off the shaft.