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

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when 10-speed meant 10-speed

September 19, 2016


I like to think I’m not that old school but I guess I kinda sorta am and many times I forget because almost all my coworkers are 26 fucking years old or younger. Not so long after seeing one of my bike computer collections Travis gave me this “bike computer”.  It was bolted to the bars of a sweet Schwinn circa 1974  wired to a monumentally big battery behind the seat tube.


Looking back to within a few years of that back in my day I had a speedometer the size of a keg cup bolted to the bars of my Sting Ray hardwired to the front wheel and when I say hardwired I mean it was a mechanical connection where the thingamajig near the hub rotation made things spin and the orange needle bounce on the gauge in an uber analog 70s way and I could get that thing over 17mph bombing down the big hills in the foothills of Spokane.


I’ve had a few bike computers in the past. But now I collect them and toss them in a bucket like fish heads and when that bucket runneth over I glue them down to a piece of plywood and call it art


The analog needles on that thing appeal to me but that label maker tape really impresses me the font 40 years later it’s crisp and clean and the adhesive is holding strong. This says to me Boeing Employee. By the way it's about the size of of your phone but thicker and three times heavier. No fluffy trendy shit there back when a ten speed was a ten speed cranks were 170mm handlebars were 38cm wide and top tubes were 56cm long no matter how tall or short the seat tubes were anywhere from 47 to 64cm. it wasn't geometry or ride quality it was mass production.  


the 1970s spitting distance from 12-speed and not that Sram $420 12-speed cassette horseshit. I mean two chainrings and a groundbreaking 6-speed freewheel out back.


I’m not really that old school but I’m old enough to know better or to ask someone that actually knows what they’re talking about and not just talking louder keeping it in perspective.


Heading to Interbike this week with a healthy dose of that old enough know better stuff.  Keeping in mind my place in the bike industry is like an old man in a rowboat on a small lake in northern Idaho out at 5am rain or shine fishing but not really trying to catch any fish just really into the self contained independent act of “fishing” and staying out there for so long self contained satisfied with proven solid state technology most of the time and then once in awhile a kid comes along on a jet ski and as he does laps around me kicking up a big wake I’m thinking “what an asshole” then things settle down and two guys hum by in a $195,000 semi-recumbent bass boat and I'm thinking “I’m not sure what to think” until I drift upon a stand-up paddle board yoga class in session and I think “are you fucking kidding me?” but now I’m heading to the biggest jet ski bass boat paddle board  yoga trade show this side of the international dateline.

more later. or less.

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