board track, sidetrack, singletrack, and a whole heap 'o rubbish

No surfing this weekend and our new Neilson board shipment has been stuck at Canada Customs for over a week now. The shipping guy assures me that the paperwork error is not my fault, nor the shippers fault. Says it’s a problem with Customs. Whatever it’s flat and the 6’6” Bonzer will need at least chest high surf before I forgo the Green Machine.

Been bike crazy lately and fixin in more ways than one. I recently acquired an 80’s 10 speed with the heavy steel wheels and shitty shifters. First thing I did was strip it down and dash away the crap parts –what a heap of rubbish.

Sidetrack: this next paragraph is mostly flawed thinking and worse writing but it’s blog eh -and I thought “hey what the fuck let’s just leave it in.” You can skip it if you want.

I find that one major flaw in our consumer culture (yeah I know there’s shitloads of flaws) is that items that are specked at different price levels, like bicycles for example, have varying degrees of disposability. If you buy an “entry level” hard tail mountain bike for $500 and actually attempt to ride trails with it the wheels, drive train, and front suspension will last a few weeks before they’re trashed. I don’t understand why this happens (rationally). I know that they just wann give you a taste and make you feel all “core” because your first ride couldn’t handle your extremeness so you are forced to go back to the shop and acquire a new rig that will be able to handle your abuse. The kicker is that the level of quality you get in a bike is not truly based on your skills but rather your wallet. I just read a review of several road bikes and they had them split up into funnily named categories. There was entry level ($1000 - $1500), enthusiast ($3000), racing($12,000), comfort ($4000), and dream bike category ($8000 to $10,000). Are they kidding me? What kind of enthusiast has over $3000 to spend on a bicycle that can only be used to ride with spandex (no fender or rack mounts here people)? I like what Matt Chester says –ride your bike because you can.

Anyway, after stripping and discarding the old parts I cut and filed the top tube cable routing. I re-greased everything and reassembled the bike as a single speed using the old wheels (for now) and the chain on the two most in-line rings front and back. I inverted an old three speed bar and now have the beginnings of what will eventually be a fixed board track style bike. It will look like a turn of the century bike with one fixed gear as they had then, the only exception being lighter alloy wheels and a front brake. Once it’s completed I’ll disassemble again, paint, rebuild and it’s going on Craigslist (drop me a line if you’re interested in it, I ship anywhere in the world and buy carbon credits to offset the air I breathe out while I’m hustling the bike box to the shippers).

Meanwhile, the opposition in Bolivia is sneakily trying to create their own government, 10,000 people or more have died over the weekend from a cyclone in Burma, and the Darfur conflict is still an ongoing genocide.


tres_arboles said...

Brother, I don't get the problem you have with your italicized paragraph. In other words, I think you're right on and you could probably do a several thousand word essay on the bicycle issue alone. Let alone cars, building material (why exactly do "green" items cost more than their conventional counterparts?), food (why is organic more expensive than the shit that comes coated in a pesticide stew?), etc. I like those types of rants and you need to let loose and not be embarrassed or otherwise held back by your depiction of the issue.

So, on bikes, why do fat-assed desk-jockey cyclists (me) persist in "trading-up" all their hardware for gram-saving titanium goodies to lighten their bikes (not me) instead of skipping a few hundred calories a day to lighten the rider? 'Cause they like buying stuff and everything they consume in their passion for the activity (magazines, television shows, websites) encourages them to buy more and more.

The bike I ride is made of stuff culled from other bikes that I copped off ebay. It cost me $400 to build. It has a fully functioning mix of group from the 1990's and early 2000's. And it's stiff and fast. Now if that rider could only shave a few grams!

Gazelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gazelle said...

I concur with tres.

I've had my current bike for over six years. I expect it will go just fine for many more if I take care of it, that is as long as I stay away from those magazines telling me how archaic and inadequate my equipment is...

No one in Burma or Bolivia or Darfur would know what the hell we're talking about here.

David said...

Still haven't seen any pics of this elusive street-find. Get to it!

I still think I'd rather re-build my shitty old beat-up GT and spend a bit more rather than purchase a new complete. I'd end up paying a bit more in the end, but like you said, it'll hold up to the abuse. Plus, this things got memories, if only I had a digicam when I was spray-painting it underneath the bridge in Cleveland. I've got some floppies somewhere of exploring old warehouses right after I stripped it down into a singlespeed. I just remember the enjoyment of cruising around town in 20 degree weather on the weekends with no one around and exploring the city. That's about the only thing I enjoyed about that shithole. But I digress, me and that bike have memories. It would feel dishonest to discard it at this point. It's ridden me to countless surf sessions the past few years and has done well by me. I feel obliged to return the favor.

Eric said...

Great bike posts.....

Big fan of building a ride out of what you got and riding it a hell of a lot better than most guys on their $3000+ rigs. 1998 steel rocky mountain hammer race...single speeded for a while...new deluge of parts and paint job and rips as well or better than most new bikes...various old steel rodies...singlespeeded...fixed...70km road rides with guys on $8000 carbon fibre LOOK's. Newest additon is a 1997 Lemond Buenous Aeries picked up for $300. New CKing headset and fork...this bike is tight and fast. Anyways...it's about having the most fun.

Malcolm Johnson said...


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