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

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rusty chains

February 3, 2020

It was a dark and stormy night, for 33 consecutive days… that picture is 5+ years old but it fits. Same bike different year. Different drivetrain, derailleurs, seat post, cranks, brakes, wheels and tires. But it’s the same bike. 

Rusty chains as in neglected drive trains not Johnny Cash google searches  or Soundgarden - Alice in Chains tributes. Ask me about the rust poking out on the chain on my commuter bike. The ultimate urban utility bike. The bike in the photo. The bike that only gets my attention when I ride it or put air in the tires and if and only if the drivetrain starts making noises it doesn’t usually make. Those noises that have something to do with 33 consecutive days of rain. 


Seattle bike messengers have 33 distinct words for rain (this isn’t actually true, but what if it was?) To the untrained ear they all sound the same. However with very subtle intonation, annunciation and pronunciation there are differences that experienced messengers communicate. Linguistics experts point to body language and hand gestures which add to meaning as does the context of the specific conversation. These cryptic conversations carry layers of meaning most people are completely oblivious to.  But they’re there with their camaraderie in the mix. 


The truth is, in the midst of 33 consecutive days of rain the last thing I want to talk about is the rain. Especially with some pasty undercooked umbrella toting office worker on an elevator. 


is it raining? 


Why the hell are we talking about the weather? Because I don’t think you’re an umbrella toting office worker and I’m not looking for safe conversation topics just to fill the air with idle chit chat. What day is it? This all started with my rusty chain. One of those days before yesterday I put some chain lube on it and was about to call it good when I noticed how much shit was on the rear wheel. So I started to wipe some of it off and discovered a broken spoke. I have no idea how or when it happened on my brief commute to or from the light rail station. Maybe it happened when I gently stuffed my bike into an on-demand bike locker to sit for 11 hours while I was at work. But anyway I twisted the old spoke out of the nipple after I broke it free with a spoke wrench and some pliers.  Then I found a close approximation sitting taped to 15 other spokes in a coffee can in the garage. No joke, a real live coffee can. I wrassled the new-old spoke into a 3-cross pattern and threaded it into the old nipple. All without even taking the wheel out of the dropouts. I felt like an Elliott Bay messenger on my coffee break on the sidewalk outside Elliott Bay bikes in the summer of 1997 wrassling a new spoke into the rear wheel of my bike, leaving the old nipple in situ and rolling back to work good-to-go in less than 12 minutes. No need for a truing stand or removal of the tire, tube, rim tape, nipple and the cassette just to thread the pristine new spoke into place. Ask me about uniform spoke tension. 


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in 2009 I guess I said...

theorize brown eyes oxidize rust

Posted February 4, 2020 10:04 AM | Reply to this comment

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