orange is the new orange that was then this is here and now the new normal this is it traffic revision ahead because what you said you’d do yesterday doesn’t seem to match up with what you’re actually doing today the discrepancy the disparity that big gaping gap filled in with structural spackle silly putty social niceties and backhanded compliments when all I wanted was a Pepsi retrospectively in the absence of anything substantial meaningful useful those petty details become monumental
in the index of personal economic indicators a cup of coffee ranks right up there with a six pack of tall boys and when a cup of mediocre drip costs $2.74 and refills are $1.50 then you really know that Columbia City is the new U-Village and Pottery Barn will be opening soon on Rainier Avenue South near Crate and Barrel across from Restoration Hardware.
the word synergy is best used in closing remarks at circle time wrapping up touchy feely discussion sessions therefore I stay away from it and it doesn't come to mind as I admire this Soft Ride Windshear but this bike is so so so much greater than the sum of its parts and I needed a way to express that sentiment. bikes in general have that quality but this one in particular this unique combination of parts strung together to roll down the road any way you want it that's the way you need it this bike would stop me at the bike rack outside the bar to stand and stare for a moment and smile. the fallacy of composition. the fallacy of division. 220 221 whatever it takes. bikes.
"Yet the best argument for the tricycle’s visual interest isn’t its place in photographic history or its Southern prov-enance or its affinity with literary “dirty realism.” It’s the photograph itself."
it’s a slow steady imperceptible decline punctuated by occasional kicks to the groin which shed some light on the subject and by putting things in perspective raise a few questions like “have I really lost a step?” the truth is you never had that step to begin with and you’ve lost another step not that step that step and it’s time to recalibrate the calipers because you've been sending all those 27.2s to market labeled 26.8
ask me about the Dunning-Kruger effect and how the effect of naming anything an effect can affect my affect
proximity can lead to an illusory correlation but only for a second in this case a production run of one there is no creative collaboration only a thriftstore silkscreen jacket and there's still no i in go fuck yourself
there’s still no I in Showers Pass but there could be a you someday.
Showers Pass is from PDX and they know what’s up when it’s coming down and it tends to come down a lot here in Cascadia during the winter as we’re the yin to the rain shadow’s yang. this could be a full-on product review if I actually wore the jacket on my bike for a month day in day out but all I did was try it on and stuff it back in its original packaging.
please note it’s a Large but it’s got a “full fit” it’s big enough to wear a bunch of bulky layers underneath as if bike commuters dress like sedentary parking lot attendants. it feels much more like an XL in my experience. bike clothing manufacturers make up their own rules. a Large Castelli jacket would fit me like a tight medium. If you think this jacket could be for you please see the sizing chart for the full explanation of sizes and styles and fits before you buy one of these.
if I could do it all again I’d get a medium and wear the shit out of it and then I could give you full-on Kevin’s mom product review. but from what I’ve seen I give it two thumbs up for casual strolls and short commutes and everyday rainy day jacket wear that doesn’t scream “I’m a Dexter Avenue Warrior hear me roar! Look at me I’m a fucking bike commuter!” when you just want to buy a six pack or go to the dentist or get on with your life black is the new black and the 3M reflective details help a little bit on dark rainy nights with your conspicuity.
my “rain gear” has always been a mishmash of thriftstore deals layered in with a few memorable Christmas gifts and ground scores. It’s a compromise just like everything else you can’t win ‘em all (unless you’re a catholic high school football team) if it keeps the water out it keeps the water in aka keeps the rain out but you soak in your own sweat
my first Seattle bike commuter rain jacket was a full-on rubber hooded Helly Hansen yellow fisherman classic from Chubby & Tubby and the words technical breathable even cycling apparel were not in lexicon of this grocery store deli worker recent liberal arts graduate bike commuter.
trying too hard to look like you’re not trying too hard is comical and it’s ok to laugh at them when you were once one of them it’s not ridicule it’s recognition sizing them up they wouldn’t last one winter in the mildest of cities in winter as a bike messenger one doesn’t want to look like an REI catalog one wants some degree of authenticity and there will be no rain legs and no swishy pants no no no
in my present state as a crusty old bike commuter I was recently looking at rain jackets and stumbled upon the Assos jacket in the photo above available through Colorado Cyclist for $578.99 and I cannot keep from coming back to it stumbling over the digits in the price re-reading the description and visualizing actually wearing this thing getting grease on it ripping it on a frayed brake cable or my cat’s claws snagging it wondering if insurance will cover it in the index of leading economic indicators this is fucking horseshit
I respect Assos products in a second hand thriftstore just a tiny fraction of MSRP kind of way but I have huge respect for their print catalogs arriving in the mail even though they were addressed to Jeff Nachtigal their top notch high quality visual presentation is packaged well very well tactile even the smell
this could be the smallest bike Gary Fisher ever made. a production run of one. the story goes he built this bike for a friend. that's a 1 1/4" threaded headset with a nifty shim to use a high rise 1" quill. you won't see a bike like this every day but you could buy it at Bike Works for $283.
On clear sunny mornings I like to race my shadow into work. It’s a friendly rivalry. More like camaraderie. Inspired to step it up. A little nudge. We usually arrive around the same time. It’s like working with professionals, it rubs off on you and your performance improves. You can’t help but be a bit more professional. They say mediocre players’ performance drops to the level of their opponents. But pros play at a high level, all the time: If they’re facing off against a cement wall, against a scrub or against another pro. It’s like that.
On dark, grey, cloudy, rainy mornings my shadow sleeps in and I roll to work alone.
-- words word-for-word recycled from 11-28-07 it's still true
if no outlet is available things will manifest in other ways: stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, dry mouth, vertigo, sweaty palms, restless leg syndrome, night sweats, blurred vision, headache and lethargy
if the outlet is provided but prompted and spoonfed with lots of hand holding back patting ass wiping circle time touchy-feely how-do-you-feel-about-questions before each statement and followed up with multiple anonymous feedback questionnaires and exit interviews it starts to lose its appeal
if the outlet is created and individualized it starts to take on some meaning inspiring ownership and feeding on its own energy
"if the wheels of your wagon are rusty you can paint them until they are new" everything can be extracted from Husker Du lyrics. I haven't really really listened to Flip Your Wig since 1988-89 when I had access to Scott Bernberg's copy but here in 2015 in and on this American Flyer the most quintessential of red wagons somebody has touched up the paint a few times over the last 50 years but it rolls as well as the day it was made.
taking the same route to work most days happens not because i enjoy routine but because it frees up space in my mind for other things.
taking a systematic approach to refurbishing a bike allows you to drop it and pick it up at any point along the way and know exactly what’s done and what more needs to be completed.when getting interrupted seventeen times an hour by customers you can dive back in and know where you are at a glance.
taking over a bike project started by someone else often means starting over from square one and undoing some of what they’ve done. i’ve learned from getting burned because if the bike was at step H I J and into K i used to assume that the previous steps like A B and C were taken care of because a fatal flaw at step A or B would scrap the whole project. i don’t assume anything anymore.
taking repetitive routine consistent systematic approaches is not appealing in itself but it frees up some bandwidth for more interesting thoughts and creativity to dance around a solid base line
i’m not a Jim Harbaugh fan but i can appreciate reaching into a closet full of pleated khaki pants and putting on a pair every morning without giving it any thought.
my closet is full on cutoff Dickies. day in day out.
i’m not into horses but Hobson got it right.
you can have any t-shirt you want as long as it’s black and at pilderwasser espresso you can order any foo foo nonfat decaf extra foam horseshit drink you want but you’ll get a cup of strong black coffee just like everyone else.
if I had to choose just one object to represent the antithesis of fluffy trendy shit, this might be it. a completely rusty Craftsman toolbox circa 1962. as functional as it was the day joe six pack received it as a father's day gift from his daughter who just recently became a grandmother. I slathered some oil on all the moving parts to quiet the squeaks and now it's good to go again.
after a rather brief stint in the aerospace industry influenced carbon fiber wheel world I've been offsetting my carbon fiber footprint slowly chipping away at it sorting piles of 30 year old mountain bikes as well as shoe boxes full of Onza pedals and their tri-color elastomer options with matching bar ends and stank grips wrapped in sheepskin seat covers tucked into Ikea bags of punctured tubes stacked on milk crates full of sharkfinned 110 bcd biopace chainrings and pitted loose ball bottom bracket spindles in explicitly labeled zip loc bags zip tied to their original water logged packaging.
proximity leads to assumptions but this isn't a Car 2 Go commercial
I caught a glimpse of 25 on his whirlwind tour through town and 39 caught a photo of the moment. the guy on crutches was the one taking the pictures
speaking of 39 he's packing a real hardware store around holding his busted foot together so you can send him some positive thoughts and negative ions with your mind (no joke, it works) or use your voice or your actual presence and bring him a beer and some beef jerky for fucks sake
yesterday I got my hands on this 19” Bontrager Privateer
bikes like this seem to give off energy that is to say I’m energized by them or maybe it’s just that they don’t slowly suck the life out of me like the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of aluminum front suspension upright comfort grip shift shit bikes I’ve refurbished in the last 39 months
during that time a few bikes stand out in memory and this is one of them one that I would not be embarrassed to be seen riding in public one that I enjoyed working on and took for an unusually long test ride when it was done
the Bontrager Privateer was handmade in Waterloo, Wisconsin because Trek absorbed Bontrager bikes and cranked out sweet hard tail mtb frames in the late 90s
this bike came with blown out Rock Shox circa 1997 and non-descript aftermarket 8-speed grip shift in addition to all its trusty XT and LX derailleurs and brakes and cranks. I reached into the magic used bike part basket and came out with some XT 7 speed thumbies a Fizik saddle some big fat Odyssey pedals and a Ritchey flat bar and then walked over to the fork library and checked out an overbuilt cro moly Bianchi mtb fork which you might recall was a byproduct of that shifter demo I built a while back completely completing the recycle & reuse circle and without the hand-wringing hair-pulling old-mountain-bike-discussion-forum-consulting because I wasn’t worried too much about suspension correction and I work with what I have because I have to in any case the end result looked and felt just fine while the goofy stack of headset spacers may actually be a topic of discussion that and a few new parts (grips, tires, chain, cassette, brake pads and all cables & housing) bring the bike into 2015 ready to roll home with a new owner for only $366 at Bike Works.
the broom wagon has nothing to do with anything except everything not just that I ride past it twice a day coming and going with occasional test ride jaunts keeping in mind I’ve watched Triplets of Belleville 10001 times and counting keeping it fresh in my mind this is the coolest broom wagon ever if ever I needed a broom wagon for a certain function I would borrow this one that lives in Columbia City the Columbia City that is just another Seattle neighborhood in transition with gigantic apartments featuring street level retail and white hot real estate inflated by the influx of 43000 Amazon employees as mentioned in recent New York Times article taking a peek at the workplace culture which I think is amusing curious comical interesting but what I really feel hitting home is the ripples radiating from that workplace bullshit and the studio apartments that now rent for 4 times what they did when I lived in them or how these recent 26 year old transplants behave when they’re not at work how they drive on the streets how they walk on sidewalks how they wait in line in grocery stores order dinner in restaurants and how they tip the bartender. are they good neighbors? in their townhouses stacked upon single family homes in established single family neighborhoods or something like that
I poached these photos from DC Courier to remind you of the South Lake Union neighborhood circa 2003 when Seattle hosted CMWC before you read this article
Urban density appeals to me more than suburban sprawl but a nearly complete lack of planning is crazy, stupid, dense. Another BOOM in the boom-bust cycle and then another 15 years or so to try and catch up retroactively to the decisions that weren't made in advance. The dog is walking its owner all over town.
that which we call a seat cover by any other name would smell as sweet
August 10, 2015
if you say it's a seat cover then it's a seat cover. a rose is a rose is a rose. can't you smell that smell. you may call it a seat cover but I would call it a dust mitt stuffed with pot holders and safety pinned over this guy's saddle. I wanted to look away but I was drawn to it like the lone chunk of styrofoam washed up on an otherwise pristine beach. for me it evokes a prehistoric bird or a maybe a star wars character.
“seven years went under the bridge like time was standing still” OMD
down the river. drinking the kool aid blended with care part wabi sabi part entropy add gravity some sleep deprivation and sporadic diuretic dehydration and with time it’s unavoidable in the end it catches up to all of us. I’m not pointing fingers I’m looking in the mirror but it doesn’t show up there because I’m used to it and then I see an old photo on some obscure website’s slide show and I see the difference seven years can make like listening to Zeppelin II on your daughter’s Fisher Price cassette player rocking 4 secondhand C batteries it kind of drags a little and slows down in parts but you’re so used to it day in and day out you think it sounds normal and don’t recognize the decline until some kid plays an mp3 for you and it sounds all jacked up like riding your bike everyday and night riding it into the ground it feels the way it feels because that’s how your bike feels until one day you replace your brake pads and your bottom bracket and your drivetrain and your tires and holy shit it feels different it’s like wearing a favorite t-shirt all the time not noticing that it’s disintegrating as you cling to the image in your mind of what that t-shirt represents oblivious to its actual appearance.
as 39 was looking east he caught photos of this guy coming and going. I screened that shirt for that guy 8 years ago or so when he worked at Spitfire and I was a grumpy legal messenger working next door. The last I heard he's working at Chungee's now and that shirt appears to be in great shape.
the bipolar toggle switch from all in your face on to dead and buried underground off. to the trained eye those subtle differences between going to market and staying home. the gap between the two panes of a double pane window. dead air. insulating space. that pause ever so slight after a period at the end of a sentence. the disparity between the talk you’re talking and the walk you’re walking.
this short film & beer fest is touring the country and tonight it's in Seattle at Gas Works Park. You missed the deadline to enter by four months but you can drink beer and watch other people's and other people. and the profits from beer sales all benefit local non-profits. I don't get out much or post shit like this but the Bike Works BikeMobile is going to be there with me in it and seeing it north of the ship canal is like seeing a snow leopard in Wallingford. I'm a big fan of New Belgium as a company and how they treat their employees and how they're a huge supporter of Bike Works and other worthy causes and I like some of their beers too.
black and white and read all over just a string of cliches stuck together with two-sided tape falling somewhere on the grayscale with an outlier sliver of a Rainier tall boy poking out just this side of the simple elegant Ritchey Force stem because imperfection is perfection in finding what works and sticking with it now 4 out of 6 of my bikes that's two thirds or 66.666% they're all thumbed out 7-speed friction and or index Shimano and Suntour what works whatever the other bike is a CETMA largo 1 x 8 featuring 37 Mike's XT trigger and the other other is a single speed Soma the OG 1981 Japanese Soma because after fixing up 1,307 bikes for other people and fidgeting with fucking failing pod shifters grip shifters sti shifters and downtube shifters how was your weekend? a little less conversation a little more action let's not diagram the theory and form another committee to explore the options with powerpoint presentations please trim your zip ties neatly I need to get to work
this story is so-six-days-ago for all yall insta-spoon-fed-digi-crowd but I got this actual newsprint newspaper at a seafood restaurant in Westport last Thursday however it was only after I was text email text text text text texted about it from Steve and Cory and Ryan and Mark and Linda and Heather and I actually read it online long before I smelled the newsprint in any case any time a bike messenger makes the front page above the fold it's kinda cool and if that messenger is also a close friend that's even cooler cool. if you don't insta digi spoon feed news or you don't live in Seattle or you live under a moist rock like me you can read the story here
another above the fold messenger story that's so-7.5-years ago 2-25-08
here's a messenger holding newsprint above the fold and you can make up your own story but it's so 7-to-8-years ago that guy's a rock star now
"We're at the epicenter of being stimulated with digital stuff," Mamood Hamid, a venture investor at Social Capital told me "Five years ago, it was just e-mail. Now if you're not on Twitter, if you don't know how to use social, you're a Luddite. And then you add the Apple Watch that's going to be giving you notifications every five minutes ---text messages, e-mails"---The New Yorker a magazine printed on paper July 6 & 13, 2015 p. 42
When he says we he doesn't mean me. That Burley trailer is older than all those social media experts. I gravitate towards analog watches and friction shifting doesn't bother me. This site hasn't changed a bit in 10 years and I don't give a shit about twitter.
keep your head on a swivel as if circling the block looking for parking deep into the northern reaches of the peninsula that is the 98102 literally but figuratively really in an effort to experience Craig’s July 4th annual extravaganza with a sentimental Tommy’s Bike Shop liquidation sale combo reunited with a pristine purple Grape Ape t-shirt circa 2005 that I silkscreened myself pro bono for Dylan’s alleycat back then and then I took it home personally from Tommy’s today looking to the future retrospectively I’ll be seeing you or some of you in not quite all the old familiar places like 45 people on the deck that’s totally up-to-code looking on the bright side outcome of the spontaneous combustion of an old bag of charcoal congratulations Craig and all that fluffy sappy shit but seriously have fun and don’t take any wooden nickels in the eastern time zone.
I want an Oompa Loompa now daddyand Bezos says he can get it to me in less that an hour via bike messenger in this greater Seattle area as well as other select cities but he also said that the Segway would revolutionize personal transportation and then he bought the fucking Washingon Post so I'm not sure what to believe except money talks and talks and talks in other ways we all can't access and is Gary Brose really one of the ones that will make it all possible really? fronting a fake wood grain particle board bookcase with a couple old bankers boxes and a questionable trophy? every little thing is just a pale extension of high school and of KOZMO from one-hour DVDs with Ben & Jerrys and some cookies to a bunch of underutilized bike messengers in a parking lot re-inventing bike polo oh so 15 years ago ... yo .
this one to Steve
two bottle cages still aren't enough
like Daniel E Murray says "too much is never enough, it's always too much"
add pickle juice to taste
repeat as needed
traditionally in Seattle summer started on July 5th
this one is sweet. sweeter than the one I had my hands on. I didn't touch this one but I kinda wanted to as in keep it as a beach cruiser in the Westport-Grayland area once twice three times a year. But the guy that did it up did it up right. I give it my full-on Kevin's Mom stamp of approval.
You can buy it tomorrow if it didn't sell today.
the tag says it all and I quote for the pixel challenged
"ride a piece of bike history 30+ years old and still better than half the bikes in the world"
this cap features a simple serif font in white sandwiching a lime green highlight stripe embroidered on a wool blend high profile marsala colored cap (the 2015 Pantone color of the year) and I’d wear it proudly not in an ironic hipster t-shirt way but in a are-you-fucking-kidding-me-because-this-is-total-horseshit way as a subtle reminder to ask a few questions once in a while because you can be proud to be an American and still ask a few questions as there is more to it than just paying taxes and standing in line silently
I’d have no problem sending my kids to Atticus Finch High School or John Yossarian Junior High School or even Dean Moriarty Elementary School but each morning being reminded that my kid attends a school named after a fictional character from a cheesy made-for-TV plane crash movie would start to wear on me and inspire some viable alternatives like the Beamer School of Business an overpriced non-accredited school specializing in false advertising techniques in marketing and student loan defaults or the Todd Beamer Academy of the Arts focusing on writing romance novels and low budget horror movie sequels or perhaps the Todd Beamer Mechanical Institute training superficial auto mechanics for employment in used car lots nation wide but Todd Beamer High School is an actual school in Federal Way just a stone’s throw from right here
"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone!"
you think you see the light at the end of the tunnel but it's not a tunnel it's a conveyor belt with a twist in it so both sides wear evenly in a mobius strip way it never stops it only changes speed and it brings piles and piles of shit sprinkled sporadically with gems not visible to the naked eye it's not a destination it's a fucking treadmill
RoadMasters are available at WalMart in the $129 range. cheap cheap cheap. Such low quality components that hours of work on a tune-up will not yield noticeable improvement. They suck and that's as good as it gets. the best thing about these bikes is their name. I see a lot of RoadMasters donated and thankfully I just re-donate them.
this is a real Road Master a 24oz can of beer. I used to see a lot of road masters near 5th & Seneca often buying one for me and one for my friend but drinking both before he made it to the RV.
Yesterday I salvaged a RoadMaster bottle cage from a bike headed for the scrap pile and it will soon be bolted to a work bench at HQ completing the circle
please take a moment to locate the sand-cast double plate fork crown and appreciate those chainstays that are longer than the day is long if this thing had more original components and a less scuffs & scratches it'd be on eBay for $1500 it showed up with those OE enormous Mafac motorcycle levers paired with 8-speed pod shifters and it just didn't feel right
today is my casual Friday but I'm not your average casual observer as events unfold and play out at 1221 E. Pike (aka the Elysian Brewing Company) there's Dick's maneuver and there are dick maneuvers like buying a Maserati
keep your chin up the calendar says that it's ok to ride your bike to work today and you may ask yourself what would Dirty Randy do?
one thing he probably wouldn't do is take a set of Mad Fiber wheels and slap a spacer on the freehub body to rock a 7-speed casette with a 6-speed thumbie frictioned-out and commute those wheels day in and day out into the ground one set of cork brake pads at a time returning them to earth unceremoniously
but that's what I would do if I had a set or two of Mad Fiber wheels just sitting around collecting dust
the long complicated story watered down then boiled down here:
a guy bought a bike then sold it to another guy who bought it for his girlfriend then both of their bikes got stolen out if their garage then it ended up in the Seattle Police evidence room for two years before it was donated to Bike Works where it got my attention so I took a couple pictures of it and sent them to Alistair and asked him what he thought this bike was because it’s not your average Bike Works bike and Alistair ID’d it as a Kogswell from the photos and soon thereafter in an impressive it’s-a-small-Seattle-bike-world-after-all way he tracked down the owner who said thanks but no thanks because he didn’t want it back in that that’s-my-ex-girlfriend’s-bike way but the word got around and around to the original owner and he said I’ll take that back and he bought it as-is from Bike Works
time was invented by a guy who realized he could sell a lot of wrist watches if people felt like they were late for something and there was someplace else they would rather be it’s a totally theoretical concept naming something that cannot be named quantifying the unquantifiable slapping a linear perspective on the story that has no beginning or end as well as creating a market for greeting cards and calendars
this morning I looked at the calendar and wondered why May 7 sounded like a familiar date and then I realize it’s because it was Brad & Skunk’s birthday in 1996 and they’re no longer with us however there’s a new black & white fuzzy buddy feline that just joined the family and I don’t even have a picture of him yet and we’re not sure what his name will be
I’m not here to share saliva spraying stories of Ritchey Logic cranks or announce my recent induction into the International Brotherhood of MKS Grip King Geeks although the internet makes it really easy to find like-minded bike dorks and get in a daisy chain line of back-patting self-affirming looping feedback loops.
We are gathered here today to talk about this thing called cup holders. You’ve heard how cup holders can be the deal breakers on $115,000 SUVs. Bottle cages are cup holders on bikes and the ones that can actually hold a coffee cup or a beer can as well as a water bottle are the best. Transitioning seamlessly along the coffee-beer continuum from road masters to americanos and back again all on the seat tube.
I'm starting the Profile Design Cup Holder Club even if I'm the only member and I'm not looking for a pat on the back like when you ask me about my weekend not because you care but just because you want me to ask you about yours but I don't care about your weekend so I don't ask we can skip the horseshit I'm telling you about my bottle cages instead of asking you how you feel about your bottle cages in a roundabout dilly dally touchy feely Portlandia way.
Understated simplicity flexibility versatility and durability make these bottle cages my favorite and their abundant accessiblilty and hand-me-down availability in the Greater Puget Sound area also helps. They don't detract from your bike by screaming out for attention and they're not trying too hard to match your bar tape - cable housing - fluffy do dad ensemble. (if I did have bar tape it'd be black)
Before I got my hands on a Profile Design cup holder I would pry open conventional bottle cages and gently place my coffee cup inside and try to ride until the lid popped off and it splashed all over my legs on the way back to 1111 3rd for the 27th time since noon.
I haven't even ridden my next-next RAGBRAI bike yet because it doesn't have brake cables but it does have TWO Profile Design bottle cages.
"Police say using a paper bag to cover a beer bottle doesn’t save you from violating the open-container law.
People are not allowed to “open a bottle, can or other receptacle containing liquor in a public place,” possess those items in a public place or consume liquor in a public place, according to the Seattle Municipal Code.
Officers have to determine that someone is drinking alcohol, but the smell or behaviors of the person carrying the bag are typically a giveaway, police spokesman Mark Jamieson said earlier this year. The bag also looks suspicious.
“If you’re drinking a bottle of milk, why do you need the bag?” he said.
The fine for violating the open container law is $27."
the photo above was taken 12 hours ago it's the very first rough draft iteration of my next-next RAGBRAI bike and it brought to mind the photo below which I took 6 years ago of a fellow outside 1420 with his interpretation iteration of a Specialized which at the time I thought was hilarious and photo worthy but now I just think whatever works works and I appreciate those rootbeer glitter Schwinn grips and being more upright and more laid back is A OK because we don't all need to be hammering in the drops just to get to work or school or Safeway or the next beer garden in the next small town in Iowa
sticking with the sticker on the downtube theme. I’ve never been to Palo Alto and I never made it to WheelSmith but I know someone who has and you’ve probably heard of him because he’s kind of a big deal.
this sticker is one of the coolest things about this bike and this bike is my next RAGBRAI bike. For my next next RAGBRAI probably 2016 because I can’t make it this July but more on this later as the bike transforms and ends up looking like all my other bikes. it’s nothing fancy just simple solid predictable and dependable perfect for leaving in storage 51 weeks out of the year then pumping up the tires and riding across Iowa.
for every 1000 bikes I fix up for other people I fix up one for myself
it's a Specialized Allez Sport circa1994nearly stock OEM showroom condition aside from the wheels. The cool thing about 1994 is if you were born in that year on today's date or earlier you can buy me a beer legally in all 50 states
dusted off this sticker on the downtube of an RB-2 yesterday and it brings back memories of Capitol Hill yesteryear. I purchased a GT Continuum at Seattle Cycles in the fall of 1991. It was small shop with some really nice bikes and a whole lot of attitude. I really can't remember why I picked that shop when there were at least 3 other ones very near by selling brand new bikes of similar quality. REI was right around the corner as well as the Velo Store and the other Velo Store down Pine Street.
I have a fondness for that Capitol Hill of yesteryear with years and years of personal history there.
Today when I pass through the neighborhood it makes me queasy and claustrophobic. It's as if I don't speak the language, I feel like I can't afford it and I can't find a bike shop.
One day 16 years ago or so I bought a Bucky’s vest from a real Bucky for $10 on the back porch at Linda’s. It was really worn out and reeked of sweat but we both felt like we were getting a good deal. He said he could tell his dispatcher he lost it and get another one and with that ten bucks he could get another 1.5 pitchers of Rainier. I wore that vest once in a while mostly on the weekends.
Today I made myself a new Bucky’s vest but I’m not your Bucky and I never was.
at Elliott Bay you couldn’t get out the door at the end of the day with your purple vest or jersey. They were checked in and checked out with amazing precision and a well documented chain of custody.
tradition convention this is how we do it we do it that way because that’s the way it’s always been done join the club get on board don the uniform assume the position non-drive side flip side clockwise quick release skewed skewer works consistently consistency constantly variable iron oxide steel wool wire brush white lithium simple green whatever
this from a series of amazing shorts Alistair told me about
if you think this guy is just installing fenders, you're mistaken. go back a few videos and watch how he customizes every little thing. every little thing. it's a joy to watch. to watch someone at ease with a huge variety of tools to watch a master craftsman in his natural habitat a guy who knows his way around a work bench.
if you've ever half-ass zip-tied your way through another Seattle winter you can appreciate a set of full fenders, but these go way beyond "full" this guy is not just unwrapping and installing a set of fenders.
and watch a few more of his videos. those fenders are just a hint a taste a whiff of what else he's doing with bikes
this graphic originally appeared in kickstandas a centerfold visual representation of all the legal messenger companies started by guys that used to work at ABC and then a few years later a revised version was published after ABC bought-out sucked-up and re-absorbed PNP back into the mothership adding just one more arrow to show PNP flowing back up sort of completing the circle in a comes-around-goes-around way and although this is just a digital photo of an 11" x 17" poor quality photocopied facsimile that’s stapled to the wall here at HQ it gets the point across and when one of those guys down at DANKbags a few days ago sent me the Kozmo-PNP throwback mashup snapshot seen below it reminded me of this flowchart centerfold like it’s 1999 and by the way that’s Neil himself a messenger air traffic controller dispatcher postal worker Seattle history mashup which reminds me of a time when a messenger could rent a spacious apartment on Capitol Hill for $350 and when 157 Yesler housed no fewer than 3 legal messenger companies
a JB Welded freewheel gerry-rigged into a fixed cog radially laced all wrong on both sides with a complete absence of tension on spokes that are too long creating a dangerously sketchy attempt at a wheel that probably popped a few spokes on the first half pedal stroke of its maiden voyage
propped up near a cement wall in midday sunshine the shadows make it look a little more like a two-cross just a little less sketchy
wrote the piece below for the company store and that's why there's less profanity and more punctuation than I'm comfortable with and eventually the words may or may not appear on that site but you can read it here now
here and now
Seattle sits on an underground aquifer of bicycles with its established culture of recreational cycling, competitive bike racing and everyday commuting and BikeWorks benefits from this bike culture as each year hundreds of used bikes are donated. The stream of incoming bikes is directed into various channels such as youth programs, adult bike repair classes, re-donation to other nonprofit organizations or straight into the scrap metal recycling pile.
One of the most important incoming bike channels feeds into what we at BikeWorks call Green Bikes, these are the bikes that are refurbished and sold in the shop as a reliable, desirable and dependable source of earned income.
I have refurbished over 1000 Green Bikes at Bike Works.
I’m a bike mechanic but not in the traditional sense. Most bike mechanics hang out in the shop and a bike walks in with its owner who describes a problem they’re having and then the mechanic can focus on that and try to fix it. I hang out in the shop and bikes roll in with no explanation. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bikes roll in. Bikes cast off by their former owners. Bikes Bikes Bikes. Bikes ready to be sized up checked out and spruced up. Or maybe stripped down parted out and recycled.
Sizing up a bike I can extrapolate from the wear & tear and the accessories how it was ridden, how it was cared for or how it sat in storage for 30 years. From that I can theorize how the bike will clean up and perform for a new owner. The cool thing about refurbishing the bikes is visualizing that potential new owner and where and when they’ll be going for a bike ride. Are they a sunny day joy rider, everyday commuter, off-road shredder or perhaps a grocery getter???
Many bikes arrive whole and don’t need much attention. Their refurbishment quickly almost effortlessly falls into place dictated by the intact group of compatible and functional components already in place. However some bikes are missing a lot of bits and pieces, components are broken or destroyed or completely incompatible and they need a great deal of re-working which allows for some re-imagining and re-purposing.
Success on these bikes requires some luck and a deep well of used parts to draw from.
Of the hundreds of bikes at Bike Works let’s let one bike serve as a parable, this Bike: a Dorado Sherpa Comp which arrived in a container last Thursday in sad shape and missing its front wheel. My coworker stuck a 27 inch wheel in the front as a placeholder and that’s why that odd wheel made it into the before photo.
With a totally rusty chain, rusted cables and housing and an overly crunchy pitted headset, unsightly rusty bottle cage bolts, crusty crank bolts, dead accessories and a lot of stubborn reflective tape and stickers.
Riding a long top tube and long stem with a flat bar and big bar ends was all the rage in the mid to late 90s. This frame has a 16.5” seat tube and a 22” top tube.
With some work I got the bike down to the frame & fork. Saving only the bottom bracket, cranks, seatpost, thumb shifters, derailleurs and brake calipers.
The buildup included new grips, a new swept-back handlebar, used stem, new 1 ⅛” threaded headset, new old stock cable hanger, used wheels, new tubes, new 1.5” slick tires, new brake pads, new chain, new cassette, new cables & housing, used pedals, new saddle, a new jockey pulley, and four shiny new bottle cage bolts.
Left in its “as-is” state this bike would sell for $45. However I was able to see beyond the rust and visualize a solid trusty everyday bike for a theoretical new owner. Built up around the Tange cro-moly steel frame. With plenty of room for racks and full fenders and a swept back handlebar and slick tires this could be the ultimate urban utility bike with some new parts, lots of used replacement parts and labor all adding up to less than $300. It’s nothing fancy but it is solid and dependable and of much higher quality than any brand new bike available at the same price point.
This bike is currently available at Bike Works for $293.
if you're worried about credit card debt, paying off a student loan or back taxes then $6750 for a bike helps to put things in perspective.
I spoke with Alistair electronically this morning and my math was a more than a bit off but the gist was right on.
Bike Works brought in record sales on Sunday at the annual Warehouse sale. A huge amount of income in 4 hours for a small nonprofit shop that only sells used bikes and bike parts. But that same amount of money wouldn't even buy you two Shivs with Washington State Sales Tax.
"Wanna come downstairs and see my cheater bar collection?"
January 10, 2015
Gary Fisher - only the greatest cheater bar ever. Overbuilt and Oversized with considerable heft. It’s beefy and it’ll let you know you’re holding onto something substantial. Fits over any pedal wrench. Strong like ox.
Klein - the most expensive cheater bar ounce for ounce. It’s sporty and light and features a purple fade to pink paint job. With its high strength to weight ratio it gets the job done. She’s got pretty persuasion. When I need one cheater bar on the pedal wrench and one on the opposing crank arm this is the tool I’ll reach for.
Marin - an interesting ovoid shape is all it really has going for it. Although the oversized tube fits well over tools that need a little help. These bikes are built to break as any serious commuter or consistent rider that weighs more than 150lbs will soon discover. Older steel Marin mountain bikes still have a lot going for them but the much younger aluminum hybrid Marins tend to crack.
the next time I ride RAGBRAI it’ll be on a bike that has a lot in common with the one in the photo and that jersey will be along for the ride too.
Matt Case and Steve Young should visualize a trip to Iowa on July 17, 2015 and plan accordingly.
The total expense of my next RAGBRAI bike will be matched only by the expense of shipping it to Iowa. I don’t actually have my hands on the bike yet, but it’s out there somewhere and it’s headed my way. In the garden of my mind I’ve started building it up.
my new bike will:
rock a Nitto Dove Bar
have downtube or thumb shifters
be full of no-nonsense solid state proven technology
have replacement parts available in any bike shop
feel right at home in a Casey’s parking lot
roll across Iowa from West to East in a smooth fluid motion
roll across the coffee-beer continuum transitioning seamlessly
have two bottle cages able to transport coffee and or beer
pay for itself in one RAGBRAI
be fine sitting in Jimbo’s basement 51 weeks out of the year
my new bike will NOT:
be hand-made in Portland by Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira