Thursday, August 23, 2007

almost ready to go...

Had some fun on the cross bike tonight. Not wet at all, surprising given the amount of rain. Did some drills, a few hard efforts. Learned to turn a bike again.

And now, after the awkwardness that is fitting a 29er into a hard bike case, I'm almost ready to roll to Europa.

Tomorrow's agenda:
Get up.
Pack clothes.
Go to work for superlame meeting.
Drive to PHL to get reamed for checking an unbelievably heavy bike box.
Fly to Munich.

After a week in Germany, it's off to Scotland for SSWC 2007.
Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

too many posts...

but I couldn't resist putting these on here. Bored, I was reading the Best Of Craigslist. The following made me laugh pretty hard:

the air is rare...

woke up this morning.
stepped outside with my coffee.
the air was brisk, the skies clear.
hopped on the cross bike and cruised to the park to meet some DCCofD brethren.
warmed up on the grass for a few minutes.
did some sprint intervals.

nothing like cool air flowing through your lungs.
nothing like the grass clippings flying off the tyres.
nothing like the *chunk*chunk* of a gear change resonating through carbon rims.
nothing like testing the relationship between rubber and grass while cornering.
nothing like the curious gaze from walkers in the park.
nothing like the sweet taste of breakfast knocking at the back of your throat.
nothing like the speed, response, acceleration, and challenge of a finely tuned cross bike.

cross is here ladies and gentlemen.
cross is here.

special thanks to Slick Rick for fitting me properly on my bikes.
they are now worthy of riding.

Friday, August 17, 2007

italian class...

I look at this bike and all I see is Cipollini in his naked-man skinsuit.
Just dripping with class, style, speed.

that's right. 2000 bucks. from Wal-Mart.
all Shimano (Japan) and cheap carbon (Taiwan). from the site (click here):
Carbon fiber absorbs road vibrations providing a smooth floating ride. At the same time, carbon fiber is a rigid material that maximizes the transfer of power from your pedaling to the wheels. This bike was assembled by the hands of skilled Italian mechanics to be tuned up and ready to ride right out of the box. We worked directly with the factory in Italy to offer you a premium ride at everyday low prices.
Walmart makes me proud to be an American.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

i don't care what george michael...

does in a men's room. The man was right when he said you gotta have faith.

I've always had a blind faith that things were going to work out the way they should. Call me stupid, or just a middle-class advantaged youth, but I'll call myself faithful. I'm not a particularly religious man - in fact I'd call myself an agnostic bordering on athiest, but I have faith that if something feels right it usually is.

My decision to go to the college I chose was a gut-decided choice, and with little research or thought I dove right in head first. It was a great decision: made great friends, great grades, great education, found climbing and bike racing, found a great job. I loved it. And it was all based on a couple visits to the campus which just felt like home.

My decision to move to Delaware for a job was also a gut choice. The company seemed solid. I didn't know anyone in the area. But hell, how bad could the mid-Atlantic be? Turns out I have a great job, I've fallen by shit luck into an amazing community of bike riders. I've made some friends I hope to know until the day I'm wearing dirt for a shirt.

I don't know where I'm going with all of this except that my thinking is you don't need to be religious to have faith. I attended a really good friend's wedding this past weekend. She is religious, and her faith in God and Christian rhetoric got me thinking.

It got me thinking that using religion as a crutch can be so damaging and limiting. This is not to say that I think it's bad to have belief in something greater than yourself. That is a personal choice and decision and I've seen it enrich other's lives. But counting on something intangible to keep life going for you is a sad mistake. In the end, it's in your hands to be happy, to find your way. To struggle and to search and learn and find what you love is what the whole cradle to grave road trip is about.

Belief in one's ability to intrinsically understand when something feels right is powerful enough. The truth is, there is beauty everywhere. People are good deep down, and there are good people everywhere.

I don't know what to expect in the next few years of my life aside from change. I don't know where I'm headed or who I'll meet. But I know things will change. Scenery will change. New friends will enter my life. Old friends will be pinpoints to put in a map. And I can't wait.

Soon I will have pictures from my trip to Colorado. Rad fucking times there in the West. More to come.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

the belle of the ball...

At some point during college, I came across a Raleigh Grand Prix bike frame. It had horizontal dropouts. I wanted to learn to build bike wheels. I wanted a fixie. All these things came together with the least amount of investment possible to create my first fixed gear hoss: Ghetto Prom.

I built the wheel with a 17 dollar Suzue shit-hub and a rim I found in a dingy basement. I stripped the frame with a chemical illegal in California. I used a dremel to remove all of the braze-ons. I sanded, painted, sanded, painted, masked, painted the frame until I had a sweet custom paint job, and 143 dollars later, I had her built up.

Cheapest bike build ever.

We had some adventures, me and Ghetto Prom. One time, I was riding home from class on Ghetto Prom. I had BMX flat pedals on the bike and no brake, because hey, I was a cocky asshole. I was also riding in flip-flops.

Well, I come to a traffic light, and I am doing a trackstand next to a campus shuttle bus. The driver gets pissed because she thinks I'm leaning on the bus. She opens the door and yells at me, and we both take off when the light turns green. Well, at the next intersection, she arrives first and pulls off to the side to tell a cop that I was hassling her. As I'm riding by, the cop steps out of his car and yells "Hey you, Stop!!". I respond with a polite yet abrupt "No!" and continue my ride home as he stands on the corner confused.

I'm laughing to myself and in my distraction, I take a turn too tight and bottom out the ridiculous oversized pedal on the inside of the turn. I flip over the handlebars, taco the front wheel, and manage to put a couple holes in my exposed feet. Still laughing, I shoulder the bike and trot home to nurse my wounds.

Well, it turned out that in that crash I also bent the chainstays of the bike to one side. This meant a rebuild was in store, and the shop I worked in at the time had an old Trek 620 that fit the bill: free. I decided to throw on some flat bars and voila, the rebirth of Ghetto Prom was complete. This is the bike I raced in the DE State Time Trial Championship.

Never again without a brake. You can't plan the other guy's next move.

A few months ago, iPaul(c) gave me an old red Atala frameset. My plan has been to give Ghetto Prom yet another makeover, and get rid of the 620 frame. I never really liked it. The only problem was that the fixed bearing cup was seized in the bottom bracket. We tried everything to get that thing out. No dice. So I took the bike to work and let the guys in the machine shop noodle it over. This was the solution:

Old school ISIS bottom bracket.

That's right, weld a bold to the bottom bracket bearing cup, then wrench the mo-fo out of there. Ingenius. I owe Mikey a sixer of Yeungling.

Tonight I built her up, and like a phoenix rising from Arizona, she shines. Turns out I had to rebuild the rear hub as well, because it wouldn't even complete a 1/4 turn when I tried to spin it. That may have been why the DE TT hurt so bad. Yeah, I need to replace that rear wheel. It's just so tough, because Ghetto Prom likes it dirty.

The latest and greatest build. Fenders too!

Thanks iPaul(c)!

drunkcyclist on front page of NYTimes.com

A Drunk Cyclist jersey made the front page of the NY Times website. Just thought this was funny:


The Grandaddy of all us bike blogs is big league.

click here for a better screenshot: www.flickr.com/photos/forty15/1063820788/

Monday, August 06, 2007

the joy of public transportation...

So I arrive in San Francisco Int'l Airport after a nice flight from Seattle tingling with excitement. I've always been one to extol the beauty and simplicity of public transit without ever using it. I'm a guilty bastard... I drive everywhere. This from the guy who wrote a senior thesis on multimodal transit.

That's why I'm always excited to go into a big city and take advantage of the infrastructure. Well, apparently, you need some smarts, an ATM card, and the ability to use at least three types of automated machine to make the journey from SFO to the Haight in the heart of San Francisco.

I jump off the plane and pick up my bags. I walk to the monorail shuttle to go from my terminal to the BART (Bay Area Train) station. I use my credit card to purchase a $5.15 one-way ticket to the Civic Center station in Downtown SF. I ride the train, which is entirely relaxing, iPod in hand, staring creepily at a really cute French girl who appears to be backpacking her way around, wondering if my Francais is still any good.

In Civic Center, things get interesting. You see, you need $1.50 IN COINS to ride the MUNI (surface street cars that will take you around the city). I'm not carrying ANY cash, so I stumble around trying to find what seems pretty obvious to me - a credit card powered coin machine. They won't sell a ticket with plastic apparently, so I end up walking up to street level, going to an ATM and taking out 3 $20s. Then I have to go back underground, to the change machine which will change a $20 into 4 $5s (why not give more options when your effing train will only accept quarters!@#!@#!@).

There is no way to turn the fivers into $1s, so I go to a BART ticket station and beg the lady to give me $3 and 8 quarters so I can get on the goddamn MUNI. Nope. She is kind enough to give me 5 $1s and direct me to the automated BART ticket sales machine which will change dollar bills to quarters. Finally, I am able to board, but after 20 minutes of my ineptitude, the cute French Girl is long gone. No English and she's still fairing better than I.

The rest of the weekend was a blast. I rode over the Golden Gate Bridge into Tiburon, and ran into a fine Kiwi by the name of Craig Upton. He rides for Navigator's Insurance, and was kind enough to ride with me along Paradise Dr. On the treacherous return over the bridge, I was able to fair the cross winds and only collide with one gigantically-overweight hard-0f-hearing tourist.

A nice Polish guy named Tomasz agreed to take my picture in full Henry's regalia in front of the GG Bridge, and he should be emailing me the photo any day now.

Despite my idiocy, I love cities, I love the West Coast, and I love public transit. Down with cars, and up with bikes. Except when they are this bike:

Have the proprietors of this bike shop ever seen the terrain in San Francisco?