S Neil Larsen photo
I cut up a lot of zip ties. Almost every time I cut a zip tie, I think of Neil Wechsler the owner of Montlake Bicycle Shop, looking over my shoulder as I assembled kids bikes out of the box for a few weeks in February of 2003. A big part of new bike assembly is unpacking and cutting zip ties off the foam and cardboard that envelope a new bike on its journey from China to your local bike shop.
Neil was all about saving the zip ties, prying their tiny jaws open with a flat blade screw driver to release their ratcheted grip. If that failed or was too time consuming then it was OK to cut them. But a zip tie has a head and a tail and it was imperative to cut the tail not the head so the zip tie could be used again and again and again. Back then I thought it was all some cheapskate freak bullshit waste of time. But now, 10.75 years later, the wafer-thin bike shop profit margin reality has been driven home and I realize Neil was right to save what could be saved and used again. There was and is no shortage of zip ties at Montlake Bike Shop.
I don’t cut up a lot of bike frames. But every time I cut up a Klein, I think of Chris Murray. Today I hacked up this Klein road bike and made the stiffest lightest cleanest lined cheater bars ever. Ask me about the internal cable routing, the proprietary fat tube aluminum welding process, the sound of a hacksaw through a top tube and how Chehalis relates to Centralia.