Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Old school meets new school

My second post. Thought I would cover my thoughts and opinions on builds. I always find myself getting various people into riding. Now comes the problem. Most "nubes" want a rad bike for cheap. We all know that's a difficult proposition.

This is a problem I have solved countless times. You see, I am a prolific builder. I build everything, but my true love is old school steel. I do not restore bikes. That's for collectors. I build mighty steeds with an un-holy mixture of old school steel and modern technology. Some may scoff, but I've never claimed to live in a box of rules. I may be old and sober, but I still have the punk rock gene in my DNA.

Here is what I am diggin' on right now. A rockin' find, to say the least. It's a Carabella. I don't see many of these, so it's a rare find.

What makes a Carabella so rad is that it's actually a Cinelli. That's right. A Cinelli. The Italians wanted to break into the South American market in the 1970's. They decided to send one of their master frame builder's, Remo Vechi, to Mexico in the early 70's. Sweet Columbus tubes were used with beautiful lugging. The bikes were a hit. You know what that means, folks. Mass production. They became ho-hum crap steel bicycles. This Carabella has all the tell tale signs of the early Columbus tube, vechi bikes, windsor bars, campi components. The ride on it was smooth as silk grace with old school Columbus tube liveliness.

I'm lucky, I've got a top secret source for quality steel bikes. This dude sells nationally. Can't tell you all the cool shit this guy has. I've tried to take pictures, but that is a big no-no. He's a little on the "I fried my brain with meth" side of things. But hey, that's his trip.

Here is the plan. 86 the quilled set up. I use a 1 and 1/8 converter. Gonna clamp on the stem, that way I can put on new school ergo bars. On deck shifting, with modern Shimano levers.

Gotta have duel pivot brakes, I do a cool mod on brakes so I can rock 700 wheels. I use a lot of Origin 8 parts - J&B distribution house brand is a great bang for the buck. I also use Xero wheels (J&B's house wheels).

This bike is going to a young High School kid I know. He's a great athlete, a state wrestler and cross-country runner. He's a natural climber. This Carabella is one hell of a good starter bike. He is going to crush.

I find so much joy seeing people ride my bikes. It gets me stoked. So in the end, it's hard to say who gets more out of my bikes. The people I build them for, or me getting more and more people into riding and the satisfaction it gives me. Bicycles change lives. They sure have changed mine.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Slave to the Wheel

I ride bikes, but I'm not a cyclist. I ride bikes, but I'm not a roadie. I'm not a MTB'er. I'm not the fastest. I'm not the best. I'm not a whole bunch of things. What I am is a slave to the wheel.

I've grown up on bikes. I became a man on bikes. Hell, bikes brought my wife into my life. Bikes have riddled my body with scars and injuries. Bikes have filled my brain with some of the greatest experiences of my life.


As you can see, I'm an addict. Think not? Between my wife and I, we have 13 bikes hanging up in my workshop. We ride them all. I'm dirt poor, but somehow I have around 30K in bikes and gear. I've been blessed to be taught by some of the best bike mechanics around. That's the only way I can afford this addiction.

I gotta give a shout out to my local bike shop, Bicycles and More. Over the years they have allowed me to work off my running tab. God bless Ron and Wanda. Without their help, all my bikes would be Huffys.

What I do have going for me is my beautiful, bike loving wife. She loves bikes just as much as I do. Together, we ride through life. We go uphill and downhill through life. Bikes are in our souls. She's a racer. I'm her bike boy. We make a perfect team.

What I find in this scene of "bike culture" is the abundance of clicks and labels. From the hipster, to the consummate roadie, all have pre-conceived notions of each other. So many labels. While this is an effect of the human condition, I find that it doesn't work for myself. I love ALL types of riding. All of us are brothers and sisters. All forms of riding have their own value and validity.

I give mad props to all forms of riding. Watching a criterium is just as cool as watching someone shred a halfpipe. I love to see people just having fun and enjoying the wheel! Road bike, BMX, Flatland, MTB, Cyclocross, Fixed. It's all good to me. I don't train, I ride. If it's not fun, I don't do it. Period.

This is going to be a place to celebrate what the wheel gives to me and other riders. My bikes own me. They consumed my soul very long ago. I am powerless to stop it. I will be riding until my beat up body goes into the ground and I become one with the earth. I will always be a slave to the wheel.

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
Tom Waits