Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For The Next Girl

I was having a conversation with a fellow cycle enthusiast Paul Grens, yesterday. Something he'd told me a few months ago came back up and made me laugh. He came by looking for parts for a Raleigh Sports cruiser. I asked him was this his "next girlfriends bike"? We both cracked up when he said, yes.

We were looking around at things he needed to finish the project when it occured to me what a great idea that was. I'm bored this time of year, so why not? I've built and restored a ton of bikes, but some of the most difficult projects have been step-through frames. I dislike how many of them look. I understand their value and need. It's sad but I often neglect some pretty wonderful frames because they happen to be step-through.

Nothing wrong with these bikes for sure. I'm not alone in my neglect of ladies frames. Many women don't care for them. Just look at the prices, on craigslist. You can get one for a song. I've watched a lot of them make it inside the scrap yard. Shame on me.

So for the next 8 weeks, I'm going to have a contest. All are invited to participate. I'm going to build my "next girlfriends bike". Will she be tall? What color does she like. Will she be girlie? Will she be a shorty? Maybe a big girl? It has to fit perfectly, so these are important questions. To the rest of you, I challenge. Build your "next girlfriends bike. If you are married or in some other arrangement, feel free to participate. If your next girlfriend is a guy, you can get in on this as well. However, he'd better be comfortable on a step-though. Mixte frames are welcome as well. I'm not sure what my next girlfriend looks like. I do know she's gonna look good on my bike.
I also believe it's gonna look better than your bike. Hmm... where to start?

Who accepts this challenge?
You don't have to live in the Chicago area either. But time stamp your photos and show your build steps. Don't write and tell your your next girlfriend doesn't ride a bike. If they don't, keep looking. The only prize the winner gets is hopefully an appreciative girl/guy/mate or whatever. So I guess in some way we all win.

Feel free to comment or tell me, your bike, will kick my bikes ass. I just don't think so.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chicago Xmas Mass

I usually never ride Critical Mass. I feel it could be a good thing for the cycling community in Chicago. Perhaps if it were done right. Or had less Massholes. That's a term given car drivers in Massachusetts when they drive recklessly. Here in Chicago, it's a term given to cyclists in Critical Mass who act like buffoons. I figured on Christmas Day, there would be very few riders and almost no car traffic, so what the hell.

Three of us (Sven Scott & myself) who seemed to be the only people still in town on xmas, ( we're at that age where no one really has to see ya at Christmas time ) decided to head on downtown. If nothing else we could see just how many crazies would be out that night.

The ride downtown was nice, however short. I had assembled the Holdsworth, that had been hanging from the ceiling for months. I was happy to only have a short commute downtown. I lowered the seat for photos and had forgotten to raise it before jumping on. Stupid, yeah I know. The thing looked really sweet anyways.

I built the rear hub up as a 4-speed. Figured it would give me pulling options in the wind/snow. It worked really well.

Holiday Bar ends...

We met up with what seemed to be about 60 people (80 tops). There was holiday cheer, people taking pictures, smiling, talking, flask sipping, it was snowing lightly, a really pretty scene, given the day it was.

We shoved off after 6pm or so. A quick trip trough he loop with no circles around the block, cool. There were two cop cars in the procession and we were moving at a pretty good pace. As soon as we came upon Michigan avenue, pulled up to a light, there it was. MASS UP! What? there's only enough people to barely fill the intersection and some fools gotta yell mass up. I spoke up without yelling, SHUT UP. We continued along Michigan, which is quite beautiful this time of year. Tons of lights, people hurrying about, and on this night, very few cars. We ended up near the Viagra Triangle and then it happened...
Right in the middle of the little park near Gibsons. They decide to do a circle. I call it the "Circle Jerk". Thats one sure way to piss a driver off. Yeah anyone can wait for a procession, but waiting while someone completely fucks up the intersection, well...thats just rude.

We were not even halfway through the ride and I was thinking of my exit. I figured once we hit Armitage. Exit west, let's get the fuck out of here. As soon as we left the group, I could feel the night getting better. Really, as soon a we turned off. It was snowing pretty heavily and the westbound traffic did not exist.
There's nothing like a night ride in fresh snow. The bike was very quiet and so where the streets.

Heaven has no massholes...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What I'd like to see

It's 3:23am and I can't sleep. I was just reading over a few of the other blogs I follow, when this hits me. What the fuck am I doing? Why is it so hard to just write shit down? Is it because I seem to have alcohol in my bloodstream most evenings? Or just fucking lazy? I believe thats it..

I'm a bit of an asshole critic. Especially when it come to bikes and the cycling community as a whole. There's lot's of things about bicycles that I love dearly. Then of course there are things that make me cringe! Things I hope would go away forever. Let me see...

Hipster Tails

Besides providing inadequate protection, coming loose when you need them to stay in place. They look really stupid and say this about the rider: Is he/she just cheap, or too dumb to realize what a terrible product that is? Don't forget to recycle when you toss this shit out.

This is what fenders should look like:

This should ruffle some feathers. Of course I don't care...

It's very much like Nascar, boring and unnecessary. I'm convinced, many racers stopped enjoying actually riding a bike long ago. Lot's and lot's of testosterone. Yuck!

Sorry westtown. I love what you're doing for the cycling community but this is silly:

I was once asked to assist in organizing a black womens cycling organization. I thought that was silly as well. Inclusion is inclusion and separation is... not community.

Call me a cranky old bastard but:

Nothing screams hipster or latfh as loudly. In ten years there will be lots of folks in chiropractic clinics all with the same problem. One shoulder longer than the other. Or for backpackers, both shoulders bent the fuck backwards. You will eventually pay for your poor fashion sense.
Something else I'd like to is an end to the thinking that single speed/fixed gear is the only way. Likewise those who believe gears belong on every roadbike. You're both wrong.

Don't hate me. My blood alcohol level is again above the legal limit...