what was that? is that all there is? who is this? this is it.

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I remember it like it was 25 years, 4 months and 17 days ago

September 29, 2022

 

I recall this first pickup Marcus dispatched me on, my first job on my first day, and in my rose colored nostalgia, I'd like to think it was a half-hour. But it was probably a next-day.

 

 


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point of view

September 27, 2022

next year's model

September 26, 2022

 

I’ve never owned metal fenders or fenders this skinny (30mm) and it felt kind of strange installing them on a sunny warm afternoon because I’ve only ridden this bike across Iowa and on warm sunny days in Seattle. But now I'll be riding it all winter. 

 

choose ONE of the following:

A) large tires

 B) full fenders

       C) all of the above

 

on most of my bikes I'm all (C) with canti brakes and tires as big as all get out. Riding across Iowa with no fenders I was rolling 700 x 28-32ish tires...

 

...but today, on this bike I've answered (B)

 

 

As I was touching up my hair and pooching my lips for a selfie with these full metal fenders, my attention was drawn to the Wheelsmith sticker on the downtube. 

 

I’m sure I told you about this sticker in 2015 when I got the bike at BikeWorks, gently used with all its OE components.  This is a 1994 Allez sport and I’d like to think it arrived in a box at Wheelsmith in Palo Alto late in '93. Right around the time Lance and Frankie made their appearance at the shop to schmooze with the cycling fans and sign autographs, just as Ric described. 

 

from the '94 Specialized catalog

 

 

 

that was then, this is now

 

 


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where will you be in 1993?

September 24, 2022

---from Wheel Fanatyk

"Lance’s first major victory on the World scene was the 1993 World Road Championship on a rainy August day in Norway. He rode away from Miguel Indurain and a stunned field. Miguel’s later, 5 consecutive Tour wins must have been motivational for young Lance.

In November of that year he visited Wheelsmith in Palo Alto to sign autographs with his teammate, and later antagonist, Frankie Andreu. The two greeted hundreds of star-struck fans who circled the block awaiting their chance. Wearing a Gordon-Biersch (just begun) Brewery cap, affable and generous, the chubby-by-contrast Lance exhibited little clue of the career to come. His appearance fee was a custom Serotta Ti mountain bike donated by Ben, as we were among his largest dealers and he couldn’t resist supporting rising cycling stars.

One item for the event was a Bicycling Magazine poster, Lance away by himself as he often was, against a green background. We have discovered a small number of these. Dimensions are 22.5"W X 16.5"H. Photographer is Joe Patronite.

You can have a memory of our mutual innocence. We, not knowing the future; Lance not yet demonstrating the depths of his ambition. No diseases, no big money, no cynicism, no rise and then fall of his empire. Just the joy of riding, something all of us can’t be robbed or stripped of. Even Lance."

 

###

 

The joy of riding. That’s what it’s all about. If I could condense it, pour it in a bottle and save it for later, I would,  so I could dab a few drops behind each ear whenever I need a boost 

 

12 years ago I saw one of these posters, framed on the wall at Mad Fiber and it didn’t do much for me at that time. But reading Ric’s description today, looking back 29 years, he sums it up so well, with so few words. To hear it from someone who was there, means a lot and makes me want to buy a poster 

 


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something in the way

September 21, 2022

This 105 7-speed indexed downtube shifter is speaking parsimoniously to a 105 derailleur that’s 30 years younger. The derailleur speaks no languages, but understands them all, perfectly, painting pretty parallelogram parameters per her limit screws.

Add cable tension to taste. 

 

index — friction — 220 — 221 — whatever it takes. Do you speak the lingo? Give me your tired, your poor, your seemingly incompatible bike parts. But don't give me any di2 horseshit. 

 

Shifting is overrated. 11-22-33 gears too many. Superfluous redundancy and oh so touchy touchy. 1 x 7 is more than enough to roll along the continuum uphill both ways. When I was your age, a cup of coffee was 50 cents…  

Please take a moment to locate the red 44T chainring nearest you. Keep in mind it could be behind you, with the Recycled Cycles price scrawled in sharpie. Those are old LX 175mm cranks formerly a biopace triple. The stock cranks were 170mm and they never felt quite right. Or I didn’t ride them long enough to get over it, to get used to it, to forget about it.  86% of my bikes now spin 175mm circles and sometimes squares. 

Ask me about conspicuity and dork factors. I actually installed some reflectors, which as you know, is not what Travis Keene would do (NWTKWD)

Even distracted half-ass drivers subconsciously recognize the concept of “bicycle on roadway” when their eyes feed their brains the image of spinning white wheel reflectors and or oscillating orange pedal reflectors. In my neighborhood distracted half-ass drivers rule the road. Especially when it’s dark at 6am and 6pm too. Bike lanes mean nothing. Spinning reflectors beat the shit out of any blinky light combo you could come up with, or the stripes on your swishy rain pants or that hi-vis helmet cover your aunt gifted you. Most bike shops have bins of reflectors that they’re literally giving away.

I don't drive a car very often, but whenever I do I'm reminded of how invisible cyclists really are. Day or night. Here or there.  

 

 

 

Those full fenders are not on yet but now there’s nothing in the way except the weather forecast.  

 

Is it raining? 

 


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on the spectrum

September 20, 2022

Shan Jiang artwork

Bicycle Coloring Book

colors inverted here

 

open to interpretation

open to outcome

but not attached          

 

just say no

said Nancy Reagan

1986 or so 

 

that year I

cracked my first

Rainier tall can 

 

dialectical behavior therapy

presto:     opposites integrated

slinging snake oil 

 

psychosomatic placebo effects

unlimited prescription refills

in   your   mind 

 

blurring the lines

smoothing the transitions

coffee-beer continuuming 

 

it’s not hiding

in plain sight

it’s just right

 

one of these

kids is doing

his own thing

 

they are not

looking out for

your best interests

 

team building exercise

puked a little

in my mouth

 

going anaerobic on

a single set

of stairs...        ...shit

 

black cat path

steaming hot wort

bike lane ends

 

merge with traffic

I am traffic

whatever bro      if

 

you say so  

for what you

wish    careful be

 

on the spectrum

so far along 

in fact                      he’s

 

around the horn

and back again

headed for home 

 


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monday monday 23 years

September 19, 2022

photo of an Erik Jahnz photo


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full on metal

September 16, 2022

I see silver fenders and I want to paint them black…

 

at least, that’s what history shows

but this time that’s not how it goes

 

I like that bike I left in Iowa 5 years ago. I like it so much I want to ride it in the winter and that means fenders.  

 

The clearance below dual pivot caliper brakes is rather tight. As a messenger I hacked and carved and drilled and pierced with a hot poker and zip tied the shit out of them to make them work on various bikes, even if they weren’t quite full. 

 

Portland Design Works has done all that hacking and tweaking for you on their full metal fenders that come in a variety of sizes and retail for $129. I was seeking gently used fenders when I went to Bike Works the other other day. Not necessarily metal ones, but Steve found them for me in the Warehouse and the price was right. Right about $120 less than the MSRP. Fuckin A+. Here’s to small nonprofit bike shops and their employees with their hands in that never-ending stream of incoming donations. Word. Thank you Steve. Thank you BikeWorks. 

 

The fenders I got are a tasteful understated dark gray and I won’t be spray painting them. I like black fenders but not enough to gum these up with a rattle can. They’re so narrow they will fit beneath the brake calipers with ease. The only issue I see is the front derailleur clamp and shift cable on the lower seat tube interfering with the rear fender clamp. And that is more than enough nudge to push me closer to a 1 x 7 set-up, ditching the front derailleur and shifter. You’ll see. 

 

is it raining? 

 

 


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Burke-Gilman Bros bro

September 13, 2022

 

 

 

riding three abreast 

our conversation 

is more important

 

than anything 

in the entire world

that means you

 

and that mom 

pushing stroller twins

and her little dog too

 

that old lady 

with the walker

w  h  a  t     e v e r

 

we’re bros bro

with  bikes

cycling like 

 

we're fast

really fucking fast

Rapha-Castelli fast

 

shredding shit

up & down

all around the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 


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another epic commute

September 12, 2022

what are you looking at?

September 9, 2022

smells like autumn, smells like leaves

September 8, 2022

Hotcha Girls
--Ugly Casanova
 
Smells like autumn, smells like leaves
You don't know that you'll rust and not belong so much
And then get, left alone
Suck it up, take a ride and take a walk
And don't you know that old folks' homes smell so much, like my own
The hotcha girls at the palisades
Dime store keets, pretty birds, pretty mouths
Mama's little truck stop rose, her dancy feet her happy laugh
We were dropping dimes on the ponies in the cul-de-sac,
Casting shadows throwing sparks.
(The mail came from miles away
The postal man is always late, and we wait)
We left our teeth marks on the barrel of the gun
The clipper ship across your chest
(Glass eyes and wooden teeth, the engine rusted in deep, deep sleep
It waits, to awake)
Turns out the pony only had one trick, a wink for the truck stop boys
(Tight lipped with a big ol' mouth,
The government workers all headed south while it rained)
They learned it all from the Polaroids
(Outside with the wooden teeth, the engine rusted in disbelief, away)
Smells like autumn, smells like leaves
You don't know that you'll rust and not belong so much
And then get, left alone
Suck it up, take a ride and take a walk
And don't you know that old folks' homes smell so much, like my own
Time bends light
Paint's all peeling
Wait outside
Take four rights
The hotcha girls in the palisades
Dime store keets, pretty birds, pretty mouths
Glass eyes and the wooden teeth,
The engine's rusted in deep, deep sleep, it waits
The mail came from miles away, the postal man was always late,
And we wait
Tight lipped with a big ol' mouth,
The government workers all headed south while it rained
Glassy eyes and wooden teeth,
The engine's rusted in deep, deep sleep
It waits, it waits, it waits, to awake
 
 
 

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snot rocket surgery

September 8, 2022

I wasn’t standing on a corner

I wasn’t in Winslow Arizona  

It wasn’t such a fine sight to see

 

nonetheless, the memory is sticking with me 

 

I was pulling up to the bike rack just south of my favorite brewpub in the 98105 when I saw a kid on a shitty mountain bike riding  down the sidewalk with his lunch in one hand. (when I say “kid” I mean college age)  Just then the bartender walked out with a pint for a customer sitting in the streatery. Kid-on-bike hits the bartender,  but she is such a pro, she maintains possession of the pint and only spills a little splash. She calmly scolds the kid by saying “ride in the street next time” then she tells the customer that she’ll be right back after she tops off his beer. 

 

After locking up I stepped inside to purchase a tall can to take the edge off my pending train ride. I complimented the bartender for the way she stayed calm and the way she held onto that glass.  I am filled with a deep and sincere appreciation for servers and bartenders that are really good at their jobs. I know a good one when I see it, and that’s not only because I’ve been sitting on barstools for 33 years. My old lady is a life-long server. She kicks ass at it, and it shows. Those in-the-know know and she gets compliments all the time from people in the service industry. I spent a little time working behind the bar and I understand what bartenders are juggling all the time. 

 

At the same time I have no sympathy for those that ride bikes and scooters on narrow sidewalks at unsafe speeds. I’m not worried about those jackasses getting injured. I’m worried about the unsuspecting people strolling on the sidewalk, because that’s what sidewalks are for: oblivious pedestrians sauntering around.   The Ave was wide open when kid-on-bike with lunch launched down the sidewalk like a dumbass. 

 

The U district is home to over 30 restaurants, cafes and bars. Many of them now have outdoor seating and streateries set up. And as you probably know, the U district is also home to very narrow, piss-soaked, trash-strewn skanky little sidewalks and they’re even more choked down now with tables and chairs set up for outdoor dining.  The sidewalk is no place to be riding a bike blowing through blind corners and doorways like a fucking fuck. It’s not rocket surgery bro. 

 


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thank you Andrea thank you

September 6, 2022

happy birthday Sally

September 5, 2022

Allez Allez

September 4, 2022

 

Yesterday Andrea dropped off this bike. This bike that I haven’t seen for 5 years. This bike that hasn’t been “home” since the day I packed it up in a box and Bike Flights took it to Jimbo’s house in Grinnell before RAGBRAI in 2017.

Junior Junior is one way to mark that passage of time. He was just shy of his 4th birthday and a whole lot smaller than he is today...

...and another measuring stick is that little twig of an apple tree poking up into the photo below, it's now a full on Fuji tree taller than the roofline and taking over the porch.

 

 

 

 

Thank you Andrea. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks too to Chris and Jim and Mader for storing the bike for five years. Thanks to Colorado Chris for riding the bike halfway across Iowa and swapping out the tires. Thanks to the pilderwasser collective for keeping on keeping on. 

 

I finally got to meet Andrea and she helped me understand how all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and how she ended up schlepping my bike from Iowa to Portland and then from Portland to my front door. 

 

The bike is in great shape. I dusted it off and put some air in the tires and took it for a ride. These gatorskins Colorado Chris put on are the skinniest tires I’ve had in many many years 700 x 25. But I see clearance for full fenders in a few weeks as the days get shorter and wetter. 

 

For now I’m resisting the urge to make it into a 1 x 7. Ditching the thumbies and two country miles of cable housing in the name of a single downtube shifter.  I have the chainring and short cage derailleur standing by. But I need to put some miles on it before I do any of that. 

 


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1 x 8 no E-assist

September 2, 2022

 

that's so 12 years ago bro...

 

...or more like 25 years ago as Shimano introduced 9-speed stuff in '98, making 8-speed "obsolete"

 

ask me about the spacers on my 8-speed freehub bodies so I can roll 7-speed cassettes well into 2023+

 

put this boat up on craigslist five days ago and so far Hultman is the only one that's noticed


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feel like shit, the morning after

September 1, 2022

portrait of the artist as a mound of yakisoba chundered-up four or five hours ago near 43rd & Brooklyn but I’m only noticing it now as the crows pick and choose which noodle to pull between the chunks of chicken 

 

 


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still life with tall can

August 31, 2022

 

this shot from 39 speaks for itself

 

 

#steve young has a posse #pdx #matt case #castelli jerseys run really fucking small  #back alley #rainbow bro #don’t bro me bro #rainier tall cans #product placement #brand recognition #consumer loyalty #arial rounded italic bold #hiding in plain sight #planned obsolescence #king of the mountains #controlled demolition #rapha is the new capitol hill #rainier beach is the new ballard #still life with tall can #quality of life issue #when I was your age six packs were five bucks #shut the fuck up

 


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the wheelie gene

August 31, 2022

This kid’s smile says, “I like bikes. Bikes are cool. And my bike is really cool, as you can see. Hydraulic disc brakes on 16” wheels and a Gates carbon drive.” 

 

I’d never heard of these bikes until Hultman sent me this picture. Oftentimes little kid bikes weigh as much as their parents bikes and there wasn’t much you could do about it. But now you can get your kid a bike that’s lighter than yours, a lot lighter and a lot cooler too. 

 

This is Jason’s kid, obviously at home on a bike. If there is a wheelie gene, Jason has it, without a doubt. And if it’s possible to pass on that wheelie gene to the next generation then this kid has it too. 

 


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