Sunday, December 21, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

the original...

Here are a few pictures of the original singlespeed - the Iron Horse MT400 conversion.

Painted scheme was "Carbon tubing in aluminum lugs." Don't be deceived... this thing was a tank.

Built up with many of the original components. The rear wheel was my first attempt at wheel building.

Some stenciling provided an affirmation of the drivetrain's status. I'm pretty sure I ripped that idea off of drunkcyclist.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

finding center...

After reading Faticus' comment on my previous post, dear Reader, you might think I have a problem. I have spent the last few months populating my stable and upgrading the steeds I already ride. I fail to see this as a problem, and though I may be in the throes of denial, I like to think that the depth of my quiver is a means of centering myself.

This is not to say that the act of owning or purchasing a bicycle somehow singularly fulfills me; I think I would find a similar outlet if I had a different passion. The outlet cycling provides stretches beyond riding.

You see, about the same time bicycle rides started to occupy a significant amount of my free time, singlespeed mountain bikes were becoming very in vogue. While I owned two geared mountain bikes at the time – an old rigid Iron Horse and a Haro, neither truly satisfied me.

I decided that the Iron Horse - which held substantial emotional capital as the first decent mountain bike I owned - would make a great singlespeed. This conversion would not only require some research, but would also require many of the single-purpose tools notorious in the world of bicycles. So as a poor college student, I did the unthinkable and went straight to a super-discount online retailer to purchase the super-discount (and of questionable quality) basic bicycle tool kit.

A month later, after stripping, sanding, masking, painting; lacing, tensioning, dishing, truing; matching, swapping, bolting, and screwing, I had a singlespeed mountain bike. But it was more – it was a machine that bled my blood and somehow shared my DNA. My sweat had forged the frame.

Not long after my project was complete I started working at a bike shop. This served two important purposes – bikes and parts at cost, and free training on bicycle tuning, repair, and maintenance. The $8 an hour under-the-table pay was peanuts compared to the knowledge I considered my true compensation. That, and it was a proud moment when I was deemed the best handlebar-taper in the shop’s employ.

To this day I love working on my bikes. The process is cathartic, and the satisfaction of a clean, well-tuned drivetrain runs deep. I continue to grow my skill set – this year it was gluing tubulars. I love the single-purpose tools, and I still find my center while listening to some music in the garage and wrapping fresh tape around my handlebars.

I’m not sure if the act of working on and riding bicycles forged my love affair with both activities, or if some inherent character trait led me those activites. But I’m not sure it matters.

By the way, cheap-ass N***bar tool kit may have been the best investment I have ever made. Less than 40 bucks and it’s still a trusted friend.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Couple of shift cables and some housing away from a new whip...

First geared mountain bike in 7 years.

Just a test

No beer at work.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

happy holidays...

I may come across as a bit of a Grinch sometimes around the holidays, but only because I think the commercialization of what should be a celebration of togetherness adds too much stress to everyone's life. That being said, it is really nice to see someone open a gift you know they will like.

However, at work, I'm constantly annoyed by one thing.... Allow me to indulge myself.

We have administrative assistants at my office under the guise of "Support Associates." I generally avoid asking them for help, as I have no problem doing these small tasks for myself. I don't even really like my support person, and I've received rolling eyes and an over-acted sigh each time I've asked for help accomplishing something "below my pay grade" (yes - it's never said, but it's implied around here).

I'm already irritated by the fact that we buy them flowers and gifts on "Administrative Assistant Day"- a day that recognizes these employees as something by which we are all told NOT to refer to them (plus, are they not just DOING THEIR JOB??? I don't get chocolates for showing up every day).

Now we are taking up collections to buy them Christmas presents!!! We already do a Yankee Gift Swap, which is inclusive and great and is "in the spirit." How many gifts should one get for doing their job every day? On top of that, I don't even use their "services" and I don't even like the person to whom I am now giving a gift.

Maybe, Dear Reader, you'll say that I'm just a Scrooge. But I hate the hypocrisy and the double standards and the unspoken game of domination and superiority.

Rant over.

Monday, December 01, 2008


First and foremost, I'm thankful I'm not from the Turnpike State - New Jersey, home of the Ugg-wearing daddy's girl and a Nathan's Hot Dogs every 500 meters:

But all kidding (?) aside I'm really thankful for pecan pancakes:

Fall mountain bike rides with a mid-ride rehydration stop:

People who inspire me to work on my log-riding skills and a more boisterous laugh:

Good friends:

New England:

Drinking wine in the year it is meant to be consumed (here's a piece of advice - don't drink 12 year aged Beaujolais Nouveau)

The after effects of drinking copious amounts of wine:

Five Guys: