The day before yesterday I was northbound on Walla Walla Road when I spotted a glove and then its partner a split second later so I circled around and picked them up. They’d be right at home at a tailgate party in Ames in November shotgunning ice cold cans of Milwaukees Best. On an electric assist cargo bike ride to Magnuson Park in December they're chunky clunky getting stucky in the throttle and trigger shifter but they're warm warm warm with thinsulate and gore tex. When I signaled to turn right onto 65th my hands appeared to disappear into the surrounding plantlife.
A couple months back I found a pair of Showers Pass pilgrim buckle gloves splayed out at 3917 University Way NE. They say it’s the National Geographic logo but the pilgrim buckle fits. They were size small so I passed them on to my old lady and then bought myself a pair because I liked the feel of them. These gloves are ok for most of the Seattle winter. However they run small and the fingers are short so I feel kinda like a muppet. I shoulda coulda woulda bought the next size up (XL) if they weren’t sold out. When I was there shopping in PDX virtually I also purchased a mask Wearing a face mask 50+ hours a week really sucks but this is the best mask I’ve worn so far. The lining charged with negative ions may or may not be snakeoil but this mask doesn’t get skanky as fast as all the others I’ve tried.
About 15 years ago I found a pair of gloves in the lobby of One Union Square. I still have them today and I still wear them sometimes. This is Koshalla borrowing those gloves on a chilly December morning in 2007. These gloves are cheesy kinda funky like your grandpa’s drawers but they have a layer of thinsulate so they’re warm. They remind me to not take anything too seriously. They remind me of this Dan Marino commercial. These gloves would never be seen on the Rapha-Castelli bros raging around the lake.
I took this photo 10+ years ago and back then the bike made me laugh. Now it makes me smirk or maybe it’s a wince. I’m not just ten years older, I spent 5 of those years refurbishing bikes. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bikes in a small nonprofit bike shop.
Refurbishing a bike for resale is about sizing up where you are and visualizing where you’d like to go, staying in the realm of reality and working with what you have to create something greater than the sum of its parts for the new used bike owner.
This is like a bike that was refurbished by an over enthusiastic volunteer at Bike Works trying to utilize everything all at once. Now it’s awaiting a bolt check from a staff mechanic. But when the volunteer goes home, the staff mechanic starts over and rebuilds the entire thing. I’m all about swept back bars and thumb shifters but this is not the time or the place for rootbeer brown glitter grips. I want to skip those brake levers across the surface of a pristine alpine lake. The in-line barrel adjusters for the friction shifters is over the top and maybe just a remnant from its past life.
This bike is the poster child for trying too hard to look like it's not trying too hard.
This bike contains way more than one cubic centimeter of bullshit. (see Albert Eisentraut)
This bike is 27lbs of shit in a 14lb bag.
This is a road bike in a crappy cruiser costume.
This bike is using needle nose pliers as a chisel.
This bike smells like a thin veneer of air freshener over shit.
I applaud everyone that rides a bike to the grocery store or the library or to work every fucking day. I chuckle at the Castelli-Rapha bros who rage around Lake Washington but would never think of riding a single speed with platform pedals to their dentist appointment or just commuting to work.
I applaud this dude, who may or may not be an attorney, for attempting to slow down and enjoy the ride on one of his old road bikes. He's on the right track. I’m not just a bikesnob shit talker. This bike is barking up the right tree it just doesn’t know when to shut up.
$6.06 is the total with tax for a “Mark” and a 12 oz drip coffee at Bean & Bagel, one of the only coffee shops left in the Northern Hemisphere. I asked what I could add on like avocado or something to get an extra 60 cents exact but it hasn’t worked out yet. If it does work they can change the name to "mark of the beast" if served with a 12 oz drip. When you purchase 10,000 bagel sandwiches and tip well they put your sandwich on the menu and name it after you. Or maybe that’s just me. This story is tangential but everything’s related to everything else somewhere along the line.
6061 is the precipitation-hardened aluminum alloy containing magnesium and silicon as its major alloying elements in Junior’s new used Redline Conquest that Santa picked up at Bike Works the other day. He also grabbed a Specialized HotRock for Junior Junior but that’s another story and he’ll be riding this Conquest soon enough.
Although someone at Bike Works proudly built this thing with 8-speed brifters I knew I would ditch them the day after Christmas and put on some thumb shifters after Junior got her hands on those drop bars. In the recent past when I worked on bikes for friends Junior would say she wanted drop bars and I would smile and say someday. Well that day came and went and before I even got the new cables and housing hooked up Junior was installing spoke straws and valve caps and transferring accessories. This ride is much lighter than her 20” pink BMX tank and the choice of gears makes the ride home from anywhere much easier.
I recently reached into the magic milk crate for some thumb shifters and found none were there. So I spent about 33 seconds looking on eBay for some Shimano 7-speed and found these Are you fucking kidding me? I know I’ve been living in a cave for years but that’s horseshit. When I was firmly planted in a spot above the underground aquifer of seemingly endless Seattle bike donations I could just take a sip from the environmentally friendly non profit straw. But that’s now so 4 years ago bro. The cool thing is I know a few people that still move around in that space. One of them being Steve G and he set me up with some 7 speed XT thumbies in the midst of this lockdown. Thank you Steve and thank you Bike Works 501(c)(3)
This isn’t all just hypothetical retrospective emotional mumbo jumbo. It’s for an upcoming bike project that I cannot show you right now because it involves a bike for Junior (as well as Junior Junior). It’s still in Santa’s workshop. But I’ll show you later.
buckle up buttercup this ain't no mama’s boy sunday drive do your doodie hook & ladder oversize load you think it’s kinda funny but it’s really wet and raining when you’re playing in a puddle and your butt is in a muddle the proof is in the pudding milk milk lemonade ‘round the corner chocolates made carbon neutral my ass climate pledge this the kitchen sink bring it cherry picker goldbricker check the technique i got your final fifty fucking feet too bored to sleep wild weasel up your sleeve back pocket shock & awe shopping days ‘til christmas hallmark movie marathon string a bunch of cliche shit together then critique the sentence structure pushing the river misdirected energy pissing on the wrong tree
I look forward to Pantone’s color choice for the coming new year. This year I kinda forgot about it as this year has kinda made me want to forget a few things. Luckily my sister keeps me informed and she said this 2021 mashup reminds her of a hardboiled egg. Word.
Five years ago, as you may recall, the last time Pantone tossed out two colors of the year I thought it was a bit of horseshit.
But today I can see six more months of gray and not just any old gray but the Ulitmate Fucking Gray 17-5104. And then it’s like we’re all clinging to the idea of some light at the end of this tunnel. We can’t see it yet. We're not even close. But just the thought of it, the idea of it is Illuminating 13-0647
Just when I get it all dialed in sleep walking muscle memory autopilot driverless vehicle one eye open one arm tied and all that shit, the timetables tweak, the scale is skewed, the routine is rerouted, there’s a new access code, old currency has no value and everything is out the fucking window until further notice. So they say you can suck it. Same as it ever was. Whatever.
There’s comfort to be found in photos from 2006 and so on and so forth.
Happy Holidays 2020 from the customer service team here at HQ to you and yours. Your feedback is very important to us so please take a moment to complete this brief 45 minute survey. Upon completion you’ll have a chance to enter to win a $3 gift card.
out came the sun and dried up all the rain and the itsy bitsy spider stripped down to two t-shirts sitting on a park bench eyeing little girls with bad intent.
you’d want my job on a day like this but I don’t want to talk about it almost as much as how much you want to tell me the opposite in the rain. They’re two sides of the same coin and I’ll just keep that coin in my right front pocket.
at pilder’s coffee shop you can order whatever foo-foo espresso drink you want but you’ll get a cup of black coffee.
kinda like the ancient proverb I wrote a few years back:
he who run fast
catch crowded elevator
stop on many floor
he who chill the fuck out
get the next one
get there first
the other-other day I went to my favorite brewery and purchased some tall cans to go because that’s all you can do now until even further notice and it's all I can do to help the proprietor survive this shit show. then I delivered the tall cans to the baristas at my favorite coffee shop. it was a win-win-win situation slipping through a wormhole in the coffee-beer continuum and coming out on a park bench in the sun.
Sitting here in 2020 looking back to the WTO festivities of November 30, 1999 it was like a whiff of the future: a premonition. It’s easy to say in hindsight or maybe that was just a whiff of tear gas.
Happy Birthday Steve. It feels like your golden birthday was just the other day or maybe it was a lifetime ago. Sitting here in 2020 timelines are out the window.
In the 1970's, an English mailman still delivers his parcels on a bicycle.
...The prime motive for using bicycles in every country except the United States, is always economics, because the bicycle is the only inexpensive way to transport people from home to work or school. Most bicycle owners in time learn to do their own running repairs, and it is not a drain on their earnings...
On vacation in this lockdown shutdown shitshow blackout wipeout rainstorm fuckfest that is 2020 I’ve had a chance to catch up on things I haven’t been able to get to like placing this book I've had for years on the table and then making a cup of coffee and flipping through it like a coffee table book. It's a keeper.
In addition I was able to make this list:
Tony the Tiger
Tony Toni Tone
It's the most wonderful time of this fucked up year so I like to get stuck on Toni Braxton in that red turtleneck. In addition I'd like to say I savored a bottle of Corona but it sucks in such a way that can only scratch the surface symbolically 2020 as I played Goatfish again and again with Junior and Junior Junior I sucked it down and hardened the fuck up.
Then in a rare moment of alone time I cut a fat line of diatomaceous earth and snorted it through a rolled up $2 bill
When my breathing started to return to normal I stuffed a ceramic bearing up one nostril and a steel bearing up the other and beared down to compare the bearings’ sphericity. The results are still coming in or blowing out. Which reminds me to remind you that when you place your Mad Fiber wheel order make sure to specify which bearing you prefer. If you leave that field blank an extra $3000.00 will be added to your order which will never be fufilled either way any way one way or another.
Finally I took a moment to reflect and share here and now
Outside the Center for Urban Horticulture I stood in the rain with a half inch of standing water contained in each shoe. Rain dripping off the brim of my Double Darn cap and onto the bundle of mail I was about to deliver. I briefly contemplated the difference in footprints created by shoes that are merely wet on the surface and shoes that are filled with water. Taking a moment to consider the squishy sounds soaked Sambas make on the clean dry flooring of empty locked down buildings. Just then an actual human exited the building and said “man, even though it’s raining, you have the greatest job around” and I smiled beneath my wet disposable mask and said “right on”
A couple hours later I took a picture because it'll last longer on the loading dock at MolES when the rain let up, the sun came up and we were getting dry. Almost let a pickup truck nearly pass us by.
Essentially essential until you’re not then you’re fading into the background another anthropomorphic grey zombie in the distance non-essentially mushy muzak cover of a Tears for Fears song vague memory lost with a jpeg attachment in a footer of a string of reply-all emails stacked too deep to dig through.
there's a room where the light won't find you
holding hands while the walls come tumbling down
when they do, I'll be right behind you
stepping back out into the rain humming and or mumbling the wrong lyrics because the mushy muzak version on the elevator was all instrumental it’s so far gone it’s almost subliminal but the smell of that girl in 9th grade comes back for a second and I have to ask how my brain jumped from here to there and back again
And you may ask yourself, "How do I work this?" And you may ask yourself, "Where is that large automobile?" And you may tell yourself, "This is not my beautiful house" And you may tell yourself, "This is not my beautiful wife"
jody passed today. completely unexpectedly. out of nowhere. he went to the bridge.
he was the most chillest of chill cats. jody came to us from the shelter and fit right in right away. he put up with two kids and a dog hassling him. he put up with the name jody. and now here and now we're all missing him.
platform pedals. I prefer the molded pegs as opposed to the replaceable metal peg option for $10 more. Because these little plastic jobs are more than enough and those sharp metal studs tear the shit out of your shoes as well as your shins when you’re trying to Sheena Easton onto the train in the morning and you need to scramble for an available bike hook. If I wore orthopedic shoes all day or big work boots those metal studs would do the trick but I don’t so they won’t be on my bikes.
A little while back I refurbished a friend’s bike and reached into the magic milkcrate for a pair of platform pedals and there weren’t any. So I had to pluck a pair off one of my personal bikes and that set off a ripple in the used bike part continuum that I haven’t seen or felt for nearly 10 years. I used to be positioned well in a spot above Seattle’s underground aquifer of used bikes and bike part donations and I could just reach in for another heaping helping when the need arose. But I’m no longer in that position and I recently bought some brand new pedals at full retail price to put on my bike.
I’ve been pushing issi thumps at work on the electric assist bathtub for 14 months or so and I believe one sign of a good pedal is you no longer notice them. They seamlessly melt from your consciousness and become part of the big picture as one of the only points on the bike your body actually touches. Pedals make a difference and I really like these pedals.
who'd a thunk? The White Stripes sixth and final studio album. I’ve said it once before but it bears repeating, I’m a Jack White fan. White Stripes, Raconteurs, Dead Weather, Jack White 220/221 whatever it takes. The fact that both these photos I poached this morning are black & white and read allover is no coincidence it just happened that way for reasons that may or may not reveal themselves later.
Felt a wave of nausea but it turned out to be a Fast Friday flashback on a Wednesday. Not that I’ve ever ridden a fixed gear more than a few laps around Marymoor or 150 feet on the fixed side of a flip-flop hub and nothing close to freestyle as in fixed. I do however ride single speeds all the time. Maybe that’s why my feelings were mistaken for nausea. I paused to take a photo of this bike not because I wanted to talk shit in some bike snob way but because of the Profile Design bottle cages tucked behind the saddle in an aero tri way aka there is some shit to talk but I’ll just leave it at the $229 MSRP. As I stood near the bike the owner stuck her head out the window and yelled "hey, what’s going on?" but not in a 4 Non Blondes way more in a what the fuck are you doing by my bike way. So I crossed the street and tried to explain my president emeritus status in the PDCHC with coffee or beer or water and why I took a photo but it was all kind of lost on her. She explained how she found the bike the day before on craigslist and was genuinely enthused about it which was really cool to see and made me smile. Sincerely for real. I said right on it’s so 2006. But she didn’t know what to make of that because she was probably in 3rd grade back then.
When you’re done thinking about the rear brake tucked beneath the chainstays please take a moment to take in the bigger big picture on this bike I refurbished at Bike Works in January of 2013 when I took a couple photos and posted this the first time. Then read down into the comments on that old post for another other chapter in the life of this bike.
The platform this site sits on is like an old shed with no foundation and a dirt floor so there’s no reason to sweep up and kick up a whole lot of shit. However it does allow me to see recent comments. When I saw the Prairie Breaker ones yesterday I had to dig deep to find the original post and it took me more than a minute to realize this guy wasn’t asking me if I want to sell my Shogun. He’s asking the guy that bought it at Bike Works in 2013. There’s 0.00% chance that the guy in Ballard would see his offer buried 7.67 years back in the archives. But now it’s a bit closer to the surface.
Put this up so many times in the last 14 years it’s approaching Wilson’s roasted chestnut Four Seasons Sonics cheerleader shot. Please take a moment to observe international messenger appreciation day as well as 87’s date of birth. Ten Nine Day.
The fax machine was supposed to kill off those guys 40 years ago. But a few hung on and those in the know know they’re still hanging on and I’m not talking Jimmy Johns or uber eats or fucking rad power bike Caviar bros. I’m talking bike messengers still rolling in cities around the world.
Like Tom Bice would say “You’re the one telling them how it is” then he’d smirk and roll his eyes so he’d actually be saying, you’re getting screwed. We want to think we’re in control in the driver’s seat in charge of something. As if we have a say in things. Maybe that’s true sometimes but it’s all in your mind. We all know some assholes that think it’s true for them all the time. It’s taking those assholes a bit longer to catch on.
Do me a favor and don’t do me any favors. If I want the light on I’ll turn it on and if I want it off I’ll turn it off. A big clunky toggle switch is great and the satisfying click accompanied by immediate results works for me. I can flip it with my elbow or coffee cup or beer can or whatever’s in my other hand. If I want to save energy I’ll turn the fucking light off. I don’t need six or eight choices with a timer or a thermostat or a bluetooth speaker. Just a light switch thank you. Goddamn kids get off my lawn.
This shot from 87 arrived with no words, no story, no nothing. It makes me think of a cookie sheet of stale Christmas cookies that nobody wanted in December and they’re still sitting around in the break room at work well into January festering and bringing up bad feelings or family history or some deep dark crusty shit no one wants to talk about. Bar ends were all the rage and everybody had to have them until they realized they didn’t and then they didn’t need their brake lever extensions or their 140mm stems.
Those in the know know that 87 can ride the shit out of a bike. Bar end brake lever extenders will always remind me of him rolling out a nose wheelie half way down the block feathering the front brake oh so gently until he arrived at the bike rack at 2101 or 1201 or wherever he happened to be locking up. He was riding an ABC work bike and had anodized brake lever extensions that matched his bar ends of course. I like to think that they were purple but 87 will correct me.
This shot from 37 came with a brief background note:
Ground found this little snap on 3/8" beauty by group health on capitol hill in 98 (I think) one of my all time favorites because it is small, so you can't really over torque the shit out of a 4mm Allen with it, it is quick to drive because of its size, it's a quality tool, and it has the previous owners name engraved on the side....
This cute little wrench makes me think of a lucky charm you keep in your pocket like a smooth river stone or a blown glass amulet. Doctor 37 is a surgeon and knows a thing or two about swinging tools around and the fact that he’s using a ground-score wrench 22 years later says something. Talk about palpable quality.
"A busman's holiday is free time a person spends in an activity that's much like what he does for a living"
Yesterday I took a little holiday. When I say holiday I mean I cashed in one hour of accrued vacation time and went home early and for a portion of that hour I took Junior Junior on a little cargo bike ride. When I say little I mean we spent as much time inflating the tires as we did on the bike.
It was a true busman’s holiday. I spent most of the day schlepping cases of hand sanitizer and amazon packages the final fifty fucking feet as well as actual USPS mail and interoffice envelopes. Then I spent a little free time schlepping the kid down the block and back.
Cargo bikes are heavy and Junior Junior just keeps getting bigger. On this brief little jaunt I found my left thumb reaching out for the throttle for a little boost from the electric assist I've grown accustomed to on the work bike but it's not there at home.
I wouldn’t ride the bike further than 50 feet with a 12oz can in the cup holder unless it was secured by a DANK coozie. This was just a matter of snapping a photo to pinpoint my position along the continuum to jot it down as I posted up to pound a beer under the overpass before boarding the next southbound train. As president emeritus of the PDCHC I will remind you that the Profile Design cup holder is ideal for roadmasters and tallboys in coozies as well as coffee in various containers. It will even hold water bottles if that’s what you’re into. I like coffee. I like beer. I don’t usually like the two at the same time. But I am a big fan of Bale Breaker and their beers. Stout isn’t usually my cup of tea but this can of dormancy was presented to me by someone in the know you see you may find yourself somewhere along the coffee-beer continuum and you may say to yourself this beer blurs the lines by including coffee am I transitioning seamlessly or just repeating repeatedly.
I’m looking forward to looking back on this shit. 2020 the year of the rat. throw in the wrench you know a towel in the gears. One morning last week rolling into work I spotted this wrench on the road and stopped to circle back and pick it up. Not that I really need another adjustable wrench but I’m not one to pass up any ground scores. I’m wearing some of these as we speak only because I found them on the road.
The 10” Milwaukee Adjustable Wrench now has a spot on the wall between baby bear, brother bear and papa bear. Probably won’t get much use swapping out the CO2 tank on the kegerator every 14 months or so. The quality of this wrench is palpable and it shines a light on brother bear’s low quality sandwiched between an actual Crescent Wrench and a Milwaukee. But brother bear isn’t going anywhere, he’s earned his spot on the wall.
The grass is always greener except when you’re at Boise State or Eastern Washington.
The grass is greener on the other side of the fence except on the north side of the house where the neighbor pours out slabs of cement to smother out every living thing and make it easier for her to sweep up obsessively compulsively constantly. are you fucking kidding me?
The grass is greener in March than it is in August.
The grass is greener at Augusta because they paint it that way.
The grass is greener in Seattle than it is in Spokane unless you’re talking about the cost of living then it’s the other way around.
The grass is greener in the haze of phantom nostalgia syndrome.
Recently Junior gave me some sheets of business cards pre-perforated to feed into an inkjet printer. I silkscreened on them and wrote some notes on the back then broke them up into pieces and mailed them out to people around the country. Steve put in the time and dedication to reassemble his elaborate 10-piece puzzle and took this photo as proof.
had a dream I was sleeping only this time I didn’t wake up in a shower curtain factory and there was no Rick Steves hassling me I was woken by Compu Teresa’s generic voice letting me know that this train is out of service and all passengers must exit the train so I pulled my bike off the hook and took 3 escalators to the surface until it occurred to me that this is where I should be right here right now getting my bearings geographically after autopiloting things blindly on muscle memory when I saw Husky Stadium I said it’s peanut-butter-jelly time and decided to post-up and wait for the sunrise even if the sun hadn’t actually risen for over a week obscured by wildfire smoke it seemed like the thing to do because that’s what I do and there is comfort in doing what you do when you’ve done it before reaching deep into my satchel I pulled a sandwich out of a bread sack and looked back to see the grim reaper dressed in a fare enforcement officer uniform taking his smoke break with a half smile and nod I looked toward the stadium only to see a huge cloud of locusts blocking out the already mostly blocked out sunlight swirling into a funnel cloud looking fake like bad wizard of oz special effects and making an awful racket until they all kind of settled onto the artificial turf chow down on that plastic shit suckers I thought and when I said holy shit did you see that the grim reaper said how you like me now then I looked down to take a bite of my pb&j but it was enveloped in locusts and in the blink of an eye it was devoured disappearing completely and cleanly from my hand and when I said are you fucking kidding me the grim reaper said you know you could make more money delivering tamales
Last week my boss let me borrow this book and I read it straight through in just a few sittings. Fuckin A+. If you feel like you’re having a rough day read a bit of Lanegan’s story and learn what a rough day really is.
This guy should not still be alive. It’s amazing he survived his childhood in Ellensburg but for him to have survived through all the shit he did for years and years is truly amazing.
In 1991 my brother in law gave me The Winding Sheet and I listened to it a lot over the next 29 years. I’m listening to it again as we speak with a deeper understanding after reading this book. I was never really a Screaming Trees fan in more than just a Singles-soundtrack-way. (Lanegan talks some shit about Singles and especially the soundtrack and how they ended up on there. He also talks some shit about SubPop and how that image ended up on the cover of his first solo album)
I appreciate history, specifically music history and the Seattle bands and all the connections among them. It helps being only 5 years younger than Lanegan (his mom wanted to name him Lance) and growing up in Spokane (if you know Spokane you probably know Ellensburg) I started hanging around Seattle in the summers of the late 80s and then moved here in 1991 and I got to see a few of the bands that pop up in the book like Mudhoney and Seven Year Bitch.
Pigboy lives on. Not just on that patch sewn on to my new hat. On bikes. On Ferdinand Street. On Hudson Street. On your street and on my street too. On bikes that kids learn to ride. On bikes that kids learn to fix and then teach other kids how to fix them too. On bikes that no longer suit their owners so they get refurbished and get new homes. On bikes that stay out of the landfill and stay on the road. Pigboy was phased out and replaced by a logo for the twenty first century. But Pigboy rocks on. Ride on.
Hacksawing fender struts in situ in flip flops in the garage in the late August afternoon. I smile as I hear Alor’s voice telling me “putting my front fender back on so early is like admitting defeat”
Here’s to Alor
Alor wouldn't put on a front fender ever. Even if it was physically possible. He might clip on a rear fender but only after weeks and weeks of heavy rain in the deepest darkest stretches of winter.
Here’s to Alor and here’s to Pigboy and here’s to bikes and home cooked maintenance and repair.
Four of my six bikes are from Bike Works. That’s 66.6%. Two of them have fenders and two don’t. Two of them are single speed. The other two feature 21 speeds and thumb shifters. One of them is hanging in a barn somewhere in Iowa and I hope to see it again someday. Junior Junior rides a Bike Works bike as does my old lady. Junior is signed up for Earn-A-Bike classes whenever those come back. Junior and Junior Junior have been riding a little orange cargo bike as well but it’s about to be re-donated for another-other family to enjoy. All this could be explained easier with a Venn diagram.
Bike Works kicks ass and not just because I used to work there. I volunteered there too back in the day when Pigboy opened up the yellow house on Ferdinand Street as The Free Ride Zone.
Here’s to Bike Works and pulling through this global pandemic.
This is Brian’s Bianchi Sport SX with an understated Miami Vice color scheme made in Japan. The other Thursday he pulled it out of the crawl space at his house and asked if I could work on it and I said yes I could. Then another other Thursday he dropped it off in my garage and my mind went immediately to thumb shifters and big tires.
Yesterday I dug into it and ditched the whole cockpit, the saddle, the pedals, the chainrings and all the cables and housing. I put on a pair of el diablos and dug out some 700 x 32 touring tires. I got as far as putting the front wheel back in with a big tire and it wouldn’t even fit under the fork uninflated. So I backed off that tire plan and stuck with the skinny tires and left the lone little rear fender alone because it’s there. I also replaced the jerry-rigged quick release with a legit seatpost binder bolt.
If I hadn’t just recently worked on a Benotto for a friend I would've had plenty of parts on hand to complete this little transformation and his bike would look more like this bike. I gave some thought to buying a few parts at Bike Works (thumb shifters, platform pedals, chain and this and that) but because of a little global pandemic one can no longer stroll in and rummage through milkcrates full of awesome used parts. And there is not enough time in the world to create an on-line store that could replicate that experience.
I tossed the 52 - 42 biopace chainrings and put on a 41t Rocket ring which is designed to dance on a 110 as well as a 130 bcd. Whatever it takes, it’ll take.
In a dream world where the price was no object I would’ve changed the cranks and put on a moderate triple set up and changed the cassette to a weekend warrior gear range. Setting off a sequence of events involving a mtb rear derailleur and different front derailleur as well with some serious swing. If I went down that road I’d replace the chain and the bottom bracket as well. Not because I give a shit about Q factor, I would just need the cranks to clear the chainstays.
But I’m not in that dream world. When the big tire swap fell though I decided to challenge myself to complete this job without leaving the garage. A complete ISRU (in situ resource utilization) only using parts on hand and spending zero dollars. No on-line order forms, no QR codes, no credit cards, no contactless delivery or appointments for pick up, no 14 day waiting period, no bullshit.
I took off the el diablos and put the rear downtube shifter back on. It's a less than ideal set up but this retrofit shifted to a KISS-ISRU. This old school reach down makes the rider take shifting seriously and each of those seven cogs will be appreciated. Or not. Maybe he’ll just leave it in one gear 99% of the time. I visualize Brian cruising around on this thing keeping up with his kids in a more comfortable riding position and spending zero dollars on the deal. Maybe just a few beers.
I would like to draw your attention of course to the Profile Design cupholder as well as the Ritchey Force stem shimmed out with a Rainier tall can around an Albatross knock-off handlebar. I left just a sliver of red & white visible next to the 26.0 clamp diameter to let you know that I know that you know that I shimmed it with a beer can. Brian likes beer.
It’s a fine line. But not in some weak Steve Winwood way. No split decision shit. It’s closer to a split personality thing. I’ve always found interesting similarities and very subtle differences between crazy and genius. Like the nonstop nonsense monolog of the so called crazy lady at the bus stop versus the endless ramblings of the so called PhD lady on the light rail. An expert in the field taken out of context is just another weirdo spouting gibberish mumbo jumbo jibber jabber. Whatever. From the electric assist bathtub I’m rolling around in I have an interesting view of the ivory tower and cardkey access to the basement.
Variation on a theme. Same old shit. Monday looks a lot like Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and then Saturday came around like Kurt Vile said. The process proceeds procedurally punctuated only by Hallmark Holidays. It’s OK. Proceed. Keep an eye on the clock. Please make a note of it. Time management pays off in the NFL playoffs. It also pays off in the end of that dream where you can’t find your hotel room on the first floor because it's actually on the mezzanine and the basement is not the ground floor, it’s the basement. chump, change, and it's on, super bon bon. super bon bon. super bon bon. They invented time so they could sell more breakfast cereal. It’s a new interpretation of traditional materials. A slightly different vantage point. Is it a laser focus parabolic point of view or just a funhouse mirror? You’re making us all look bad, she said. You’re making yourself look pretty bad, Cory replied. Parallel lines hurtling through space unimpeded by gravity maintaining their distance consistently constant. Constantly consistent. Clockwork like. Orange you glad I didn’t say unprecedented. Repeat as needed. Reapply after swimming. To be continued continuously.
You won't get many of the references, and you might get bored and stop reading, but as a the craftiest wordsmith I know, I thought you might enjoy this toast to my old company and roast of my old boss.
I sang it to 7 messenger lifers at a socially distanced croquet match this weekend. Sung to the tune of 'We didn't start the fire'.
WE ARE RETIRED BIKERS
Time to spit some history Bout a little company Dates to Juana’s crackhead days A place aptly named Breakaway
Around for 20 some odd years Started in a basement drear 4 leaders start the co. Red,Orange, Green and Gold. Money slowly starts to flow Moved upstairs with a room to grow First bags were Timbuk2 Then came Chrome, both tan and blue-
SHARPIE and his sparkle bag 10 from Dank and then came Shag LASTLY SHAGGY HAD TO HATE ON THE BAGS THAT CAME FROM FREIGHT!
CHORUS (We are retired bikers Kept the pedals turning despite our low earnings We are retired bikers We were fit and thriving now we’re fat and driving )
Standby on the steamers stoop, Prescription Center, one big loop, time to go and wake up Chrome: he’s on lunch drunk and still at home.
Twelve pack in the foxhole, van trip to the stupor bowl, brown town, foot down, yellow's appetite. Hot bob, gravy train, wind up balsam aeroplanes, plum thumb, bum terds, breakaway nights.
Gold takes a buyout, Red’s third share dies out Red says 'Orange, it's him or me' Orange says ‘Red, I'm so sorry'
Four leaders is cut in half-luckily they've added staff, Sunday polo on the grass, Giant boil on Blew’s ass!
WE SPREAD THAT GAME FAR AND WIDE, always been a point of pride, Sent that spike through Harg’s hand- ER visit wasn’t planned!
CHORUS (We are retired bikers Kept the pedals turning despite our low earnings) (We are retired bikers We were fit and thriving now we’re fat and driving.)
Orange says ‘I'm outta here’, Green goes hippy profit share: ‘Ten percent for each of you: Jade and Chrome and Grey and Blew.’
Base was an evolving place, with signed tags like BEEF JERKY FACE, Dailys found in stacks and stacks, warm beer from Racks Full of Snacks.
Post-It note collection, Craigslist missed connections. Tan leader’s graffiti wall - mallet bowling, Foosball. 10-9, 10-4, if you’re 10-7 close the door. BK broiler, fish tank, blue/grey jerseys fucking stank. Mushrooms at the MMI. STS thorns in our side.
CHAUNCEY in the urinal, Schlitz Park Crit a ritual; ‘142’ get over here we love your style now drink this beer!
CHORUS (We are retired bikers Kept the pedals turning despite our low earnings We are retired bikers We were fit and thriving now we’re fat and driving )
Skid comp down MLK, double rainbow all the way! Dirty wins and losses, Tuesday’s with no bosses. 3 wheeler, squishy, xtracycle, stiffy. surly baked bean, money makin’ fifteen. 80 dollar cheesecake, guaranteed to go to waste. Tin of nuts,Von munz cards, Green’s mom sure knows how to bake!!
Skywalker, 815, that Australian guy named Guy-Navy made the girls all cry on dispatch while getting high.
Maple fast as fuck-don’t forget Augie Sucks! Blew dropped a tabletop, Jade’s arrested by the cops. TRACK BIKES HAD A LEARNING CURVE, into traffic Pink did swerve. DON’T YOU SWEAR ON THE AIR-THAT’S A SIXER IF YOU DARE!!
CHORUS (We are retired bikers Kept the pedals turning despite our low earnings) (We are retired bikers We were fit and thriving now we’re fat and driving )
Notice of Eviction, Epic base destruction, Tags were laying everywhere, is that CO2 that’s in my hair? Moved across the alley and into the Chalet. Got kicked out, no one cared-no one loved It anyway.
As for the guy we know as Green- Featured Mogul INFO Magazine
8th grade education, practiced exaggeration. Coulda sold the company But then he’d be an employee They offered him a quarter mil- He turned it down-he’s hippy, still!
10-9 THE CATCHPHRASE HANDYCAM A FUN PHASE LIKES HIS DRUGS AND TIME AWAY From the grinding day to day!
CHORUS (We are retired bikers Kept the pedals turning despite our low earnings We are retired bikers We were fit and thriving now we’re fat and driving )
Kilbourn bridge took out his knee Broken collarbones-at least three?
And of course the worst of all Put him into critical Biker vs ladder Wallet just got fatter
Yellow the first on the scene-by then he’s an EMT. Rushed him into surgery, traumatic brain injury.
DISPATCH ROYALE WHEN engaged- Now more prone to fits of rage. he always had a giant head- Add a swelling brain-he’s almost dead!!!
CHORUS (We are retired bikers Kept the pedals turning despite our low earnings) (We are retired bikers We were fit and thriving now we’re fat and driving)
In the end he gave away This home we all called Breakaway He loved it so he set it free, this historic little LLC. Biden says he’ll Build Back Better By God he will, as will Cheddar. Who knows what the future holds-don’t look now we’re getting old. But even if it’s a fucking mess- the universe still answers yes! So keep that giant head held high- You’re a twice-proven successful guy.
Your summer of fun’s a total loss, but we’re lucky to have called you boss.
WE ALL OWE YOU SOME GRATITUDE So we’d all like to say thank you, dude. Have fun while the money lasts! BREAKAWAY WAS A GODDAMN BLAST!
We are retired bikers, kept the pedals turning despite our low earnings We are retired bikers, We were fit and thriving now we’re fat and driving We are retired bikers, kept the pedals turning despite our low earnings We are retired bikers, We were fit and thriving now we’re fat and driving.... (End)
The Roadmaster Bikes brand name has been around since 1936 through various ownership and iterations. But for the past 20 years or so they’ve been a piece-of-shit Walmart bike brand. As those in-the-know know a roadmaster is also a cute name for a 24oz can of beer and when I was your age you could pick one up anywhere for a buck & change. When one wasn’t enough but six was too many a roadmaster did the trick. This nostalgia is the only reason I’ve given Roadmaster bikes a second look. I mean a look longer than two seconds. I mean a look longer than a Motiv or Pacific before tossing them into the dumpster literally at Bike Works and figuratively in my bike brain. I did snag this bottle cage back in the day and with a slight hacksaw modification it now does the trick smoothing transitions along the coffee-beer continuum. Not nearly as well as my beloved Profile Design but the roadmaster nostalgia makes me smile.
Climate Pledge my ass. Keeping that frown upside down makes me smile.
Yesterday morning I watched a woman remove her helmet while riding and run her fingers through her hair to ride sans-helmet for the final few blocks into her place of work. This reminded me of Tour stages when the UCI allowed racers to chuck their helmets for the final 5 or 10k on mountain top finishes. Not that that has much to do with repairing cracked 7005 frames. But it made me smile.
it’s the same on the weekends as the rest of the days am i right? am i what i am? am i awake? living the dream everyday never had a bad day they say how was your day? how was your weekend? big plans for the weekend? everybody’s working for the weekend remotely like from home or from their second home or wherever whatever right? they’ll be fine they’re fine but what about? wait what? what day is it? i don’t know why? she swallowed the fly can you believe this horseshit? can you spare some change must come some change must come change must come from within am i right? am i awake? am i what i am?
I’m the last man standing, said the blueberry. You call that standing? and you’re calling yourself a man, the 1991 STP Tyvek®jacket said. Shut it tyvek boy, said the keychain bottle opener, Mr. Blueberry is taller than you are in the third dimension. You guys are all so full of shit, the pointy half of a pink plastic easter egg said, is this a joke or what? get to the punchline.
Pay attention to the signs said the shift supervisor condescendingly wielding a fucked up fake sense of superiority as there was a mandated 17 minute work stoppage and I was the last to get the memo I gathered so I stopped what I was working on and stepped outside through the side door where all my coworkers and a bunch of generic government worker like people I’ve never seen before were gathered in a narrow alleyway next to the building reveling in any chance they could get to avoid doing any work so I had to squeeze my way through them thinking what the fuck is this as far as social distancing while I was munching on a handful of almonds feeding them into my mouth with my left hand one at a time beneath my N95 mask and I wasn’t wearing any shoes but I had on a thick pair of wool socks that seemed to do the trick as the ground was damp but not wet and then I woke up from just another stress dream in these unfuckingprecedented times yesterday morning and then before work I looked at insoles to add to my thrashed work-a-day work shoes and 4 hours later in the bushes outside Atmospheric Sciences I spotted a pair of insoles my size NIB just torn open unused so of course I picked them up. no joke. I’m not making this shit up except the dream part because I didn't have a choice on that it’s as if the search engine triggered the drone to drop the shit on my route and not charge me for it like a promotional item that gets me hooked so I won’t be able to say no but no really I have the insoles in my shoes right now. I’m wearing them like you're soaking in it. Sincerely. For real. Really. seek and you shall find or be careful what you wish for or walk softly and ride a big cargo bike or just pay attention to the signs.
in the comfort of a swivel chair looking back with the luxury of tuning in or out of what i want to remember and what i long ago chose to forget i’m an active member of the phantom nostalgia syndrome commission because right now old school makes so much more sense than anything further than 10 feet in front of me don’t get me wrong the 10 feet right in front of me ie my family means everything to me it’s all the other horseshit beyond that that i’m looking backwards past and focusing on older old school shit kinda like listening to shitty classic rock radio is embarrassingly more comforting than even NPR because all the news is fucking bad news so here’s to these two characters who as I choose to remember were making their way south from the 5 point around 9am 15 years ago somewhere along their own coffee-beer-hard-liquor continuum cheers to that and here’s to this
roundabout 12 hours ago Junior Junior was moving office furniture around 50 feet or so with no dispatcher and no commission and no real destination only his internal motivation and when I said I want to get a photo he said no thanks bro
Every bike tells a story and this Arrowpace had an interesting story I’m sure before my old lady bought it ten years ago at BikeWorks with drop bars and downtube shifters. I stripped it down and built it up with some cheap chinese knock off deep section wheels and a 1st edition DANK top tube pad (see hand stitched tag in photo below bro) and a few days later she rode it work at 1221 E Pike and both wheels and the top tube pad were stolen during her shift. It was rebuilt with whatever wheels I had sitting around as well as full fenders for her Seattle commute to work.
Ten years later like the day before yesterday my old lady said she really liked the big tires on her other-other bike, could we make that into a single speed? And i said it’d be a lot easier to just put bigger tires on the Univega. She has been riding around a lot with Junior Junior and Junior too through bumpy alleys and grass trails and random cul de sacs and the skinny 700 x 25 tires were not doing the trick. So I ditched the full fenders and the skinny skinny tires and put on some Panaracer T-serve 700 x 35 tires and that made all the difference. As you can see in the top photo it’s now floating on a 73psi cloud of air writing a new chapter in its story book.
When I finally quit this messenger shit, once and for all, I’m going to open a bike shop. A big bright historic space with huge storefront windows and high ceilings and wood floors. With passive solar heating in the winter, and well placed shade in the summer. I’m going to work there all the time, six or seven days a week. The shop will be beautiful, stocked with every bike tool ever invented. French, Italian, Japanese, you name it, I will have it, hung neatly on the shop walls. Everything in its place. A place for everything. I will have two Campagnolo corkscrews with cherry handles. I will have seven different kinds of bike tool bottle openers. I will have four brands of headset presses. The 3000 square foot work space will have work stands and tools for 5 full-time mechanics, so I can work on 5 of my bikes all at once. Two air compressors enclosed in sound proof cases. Truing stands bolted down to work benches 42.5 inches off the ground. I will have two Phil Wood spoke cutters/threaders. There will be cement floors and drains built in so I can hose it all down when the kegs overflow or the chainlube explodes or the cat pukes or the shit hits the fan. I will have shop dogs and shop cats. The bike book library will be monumental. The furniture will be well designed, attractive, comfortable and functional. There will be no non-dairy creamer. The coffee will be good. The beer will be cold. There will be wholesale accounts with everyone for everyone. Paul, Phil, Chris, Grant, Brooks, Mavic, Moots, Sachs, Sidi, Swobo. For me and my friends of course.
I will be at work all the time. I’ll show up at 5:30am, or 3:00pm, or not at all. I’ll spend the night. I’ll stay for two weeks straight. Or take a week off if I feel like it. However, the shop will not be open to the public. The sign on the door will say “closed”, and if you flip it over it‘ll say “closed”. I’ll also have a large neon CLOSED sign, and it’ll be on all the time, like a beacon of freedom constantly sending its message, at all hours of the day and night. I’ll be in there working hard on my own bikes. Or on poetry, freelance writing, silk-screening, carpentry, cooking breakfast, pondering or drinking beer and pondering. The shop hours will not be posted. The phone will not be connected, so people cannot call and ask about the shop hours. And there will not be any employees because I won’t need any. This will eliminate any potential human relations issues, staff meetings, communication failures, personality problems, scheduling conflicts, and all the junior-high shit that goes along with trying to run a business with employees. Fuck that.
I will be in the shop but I won‘t be selling anything. Retail bullshit will not enter my sphere of existence. The windows will have incredible displays of bicycle art and elegant simple functional bikes because I like window displays. And I’ll spend hours creating them for my own enjoyment, not to attract customers. I‘ll be in the shop, reading the NY Times, listening to Miles Davis, or the White Stripes, or the Minute Men, or Bob Mould, or Guided by Voices, or Modest Mouse, or Guns n Roses or NPR and drinking coffee and beer and beer and coffee. Customers with stupid questions or flat tires or sheepskin seat covers or cracked carbon fiber forks can knock on the door all day long and I might even notice them between Hüsker Dü songs playing on the Bose Wave Radio, but probably not, and if I do, I’ll give them a half smile then get back to my work. My work as a sole proprietor and my work drinking beer and pondering.
The back door will be unlocked and open whenever I am in the shop and friends can stop by and bring their dogs and work on their bikes and add or subtract to the cold beer in the double wide Sub-Zero fridge or hit the bottomless pot of black coffee. The shop will include a beautiful stainless steel commercial sized kitchen. And a sleeping loft and an amazing bathroom with more magazines than a news stand, and I will not have to worry about customers fucking it up, because there will not be any customers.
---I wrote this little ditty 16 or 17 years ago. It still speaks to me sometimes bubbling to the surface like on Monday when this line repeated in my head and actually came out of my mouth:
“... all the junior-high shit that goes along with trying to run a business with employees.”
One day in early June I was looking at velonews as I occasionally do for amusement and I noticed the kids these days wearing giant goggles bigger than Lemond was wearing in 1989.
and you may ask yourself “what is this POC?”
and you may ask yourself “how do I work this?”
I’m not a real internet shopper but I found those POC glasses like the racer kids wear selling for $230 and then I also found them for $18 on wish. So then I was wondering what the hell is wish and how can the same glasses be ten times cheaper? So I coughed up the $18 plus six more for shipping on a slow boat from China and I waited and wondered if this wish thing was legit. But 28 days later the glasses showed up with 5 different lenses and a hard case and a little ditty bag.
I know I’ve told you the story before of the pink bike I first spotted on RAGBRAI 2006 then years later I ended up moving next door to the owner of that pink bike in Rainier Beach. Coincidence isn’t the right word for it. I prefer to think of it as just another pattern emerging from the static.
Junior junior would like to draw your attention to his new helmet purchased a short time earlier at a thrift store. Most people wouldn’t buy their kid a used helmet but we’re not most people and this isn’t just a helmet. He loves the shit out of this thing.
I’d like to draw your attention to the Cane Creek Direct Curve brakes on the front of Junior junior’s bike. This pair of calipers was recovered from the deepest corner of the archival milk crate storage system here at HQ. They’re the surviving pair from an IRO Rob Roy I used to know. Those brakes could tell you some old stories but now they're set up to write some new ones.
I have 20+ years experience drinking tall cans on the curb and now in these unfuckingprecedented times I’m paying major-league-baseball-type prices for a tall can that they say is OK to drink on the sidewalk ad hoc.
and I’m buying it.
I’m not swallowing it whole or drinking the Kool Aid or blind faith spreading the gospel.
When I say buying it I mean paying for it as in single handedly attempting to revive the local economy one beer at a time. Sitting in a proprietor-provided plastic lawn chair on the corner of Rainier & Ferdinand drinking a tall can. Is this some kind of joke?
They say it’s OK in phase 2 to purchase beers “to-go” As you know we’ve been purchasing beers to-go for years. Looking back on all the six-packs of tall cans purchased at all the mom&pops in the core for less than $5 this seems crazy. But I’m doing my part I guess to support the local establishments that I’d really like to see pull through this. I believe the liquor control board could have hired a few of us as consultants transitioning them through to phase 4.
I thought I saw someone moving around in the office as I was delivering their mail but it turned out to be my own reflection in the window of the locked door accessible only to authorized personnel with key card access Monday through Friday between the hours of 7am and 7pm.
The way the light reflects off the wall becomes more interesting than the wall and the writing on the wall fades as the original intent is lost in the sequence of events unfolding to create something completely unexpected.
I remember it like it was 16 years, 3 months and 15 days ago
June 19, 2020
here's a digital reproduction of the grainy photocopied printing of some of Andy Voight's photos from CMWC 2003 in Seattle as they appeared in kickstand #17. the top shot features Mr. Toothaker with what he described as the very first 520 sticker applied to that helmet. And Steve is correct the photo below is Mr Toothaker at the Dead Baby race 2004 where as you can see the helmet collected stickers for nearly a year.
the Clif bar version is: I found this old sticker yesterday and took a picture then texted it to Toothaker and he texted back the shot of that gnarly helmet.
the longwinded memory lane version will be a couple three chapters in my next-next book.
took a picture sitting in my favorite plastic lawn chair in the garage bare feet on the cool cement floor enjoying a beer and the angle of the setting sun just right hitting the cargo bike that’s collecting dust in the corner.
I could say something about steel frames or the number of links in an average chain or retrogrouch some 8-speed shifter remark or tell you some stories that remind me of a funny thing that happened the other day but I won’t at this time I’ll just leave it open for interpretation.
87 just sent me this fake fake selfie in these unfuckingprecedented times full-on see no hear no speak no mode as he knows all about Mad Fiber levels of sensory deprivation and a bit about legal messengers giving legal advice so I started to flip through the photographic memory for a triptych to put up as if I had nothing better to do and landed on this and that and as you know there is more in there but you have to draw the line somewhere in any case no collection would be complete without the clown to the left of me stoned Ronald shot one thing leads to another one way or the other and if it’s not one thing it’s another
Erik Jahnz used to constantly quiz me rhetorically…
You know what hard work gets you?
More hard work.
When we worked together as hourly legal messengers, Erik’s years of experience as a commissioned messenger made him slow the fuck down because when you're hourly it all pays the same. I still need to be reminded of this in my current role as a post-apocalyptic-electric-assist mailman as there is no difference between being a total fucktard and working hard. There is no monetary payoff for internal motivation or innate efficiency.
speaking of fucktards, once upon a time I was enjoying a tall can with Steve hiding in plain sight at 510 Pike when a cyclist rode by and flapjack yelled something at him. the cyclist quickly stopped and turned around and rolled right up to Steve and me and said “what did you say?” and we said "it wasn't us, it was that guy” and we pointed to flapjack.
I haven’t carried a U-lock for months now because there hasn’t been anyplace to stop on the way home and lock up my bike outside while I step in for a happy hour beer or three. But now in phase 1.377 there are a few places to fill up a pint glass and I might need the old ass-pocket-U-lock again.
Tom Bice used to always say kinda like Loverboy "everybody's workin for the weekend" Tom also used to say "don't start your weekend too early"
Well here I am starting my Friday about 26 hours early headed into happy hour with no U-lock. So I'll be borrowing a bike lock for a few hours.
slapped an old photo up here because I didn’t want a fake fake-selfie looking at me longer than necessary but this old shot taken with what they used to call a digital camera kinda reminds me of a fake-selfie.
reaching Mad Fiber like levels of sensory deprivation out of touch you’re soaking in it feeding the feedback loop looping aqualung post nasal drip dripping huffing your own CO2 in your own coffee morning breath makes it feel so trippy as if you’ve heard it all before because you have so see no hear no speak no all rolled into one and represented simultaneously like three little ceramic tchotchke monkey figurines it’s all you here and now test your implicit associations complicit explicit elicit whatchamacallit an ass out of you and me when I say you I mean me because the ass blows out right after you break them in and get them where you want them wearing them day in and day out until the ass blows out so please trim your zip ties neatly and then visualize Monorail Kevin and facial recognition software hardwired whiter teeth fresh breath a difficult conversation but not without a reservation bridging the gap until further notice dress rehearsal role reversal canned beer taste in a can those stars upon thars are not the answer and we have nothing to fear but underinflated footballs is it raining? ask me about Pantone 16-5101 this is my brain this is my brain on the train for 33 minutes of this unfuckingprecedented time
for about 0.667 seconds I was concerned with the price I just paid for a rather dry slice of banana bread but then I chuckled because all bets are off with full retail as any retail is good in these unfuckingprecedented times and prices are a joke because I was more concerned with the cashier’s name and wondering if it’s real or just a work name and then of course my brain went to Husker Du...
I enjoy looking back over my shoulder at the end of the day and seeing some sort of progress seeking some sense of accomplishment something I can wrap my head around especially when I can wrap my hand around it too.
I do not enjoy aluminum bikes but I do enjoy a good cheater bar.
I did not enjoy the triage of thousands upon thousands of shitty bikes.
I did enjoy refurbishing hundreds upon hundreds of the not-so-shitty ones.
Wrote that little stand alone couplet ditty 20 years ago and it still speaks to me these days rolling an electric assist bathtub or a single speed mountain bike slow and steady like along the Burke Gilman being passed by juiced up roadies with someplace to be in a hurry. I can appreciate a solid well placed snot rocket but I donít like aerosolized mucus spray.†
i appreciate art at face value but there are times when i appreciate it in more ways than one when there’s a back story. like when i get a chance to actually read the paragraph in the tiny print hanging on the wall next to the painting in the museum or the caption near the photo in the psychology textbook or the art history collection and the words in the little paragraph add up to a new appreciation.
in recent days i’ve been weeding through my bookshelves finding some books i can’t believe i’ve held onto for 30 years and gladly donating them to the free library as well as some books i’m really glad i still have after many years. in the pages of several of these old books i’ve discovered some tidbit treats that spoke to me enough to be longterm bookmark keepsakes like this little drawing in the photo above.
i’m hoping some of you bike geek gear head learning disability art history psychology brain injury formal drawing instruction buffs out there can remind me of the back story of this art work. i feel as if i clipped it from a textbook some years ago but its story has faded from memory. like that guy at the bar that tells the same old stories after a few beers maybe i’ve already put this up and if i have please point it out to me.
When I heard Steve was in the 98144 working for a bit I asked him to head down our way like Skyway to have a beer or seven and that he did. Proximity leads to assumptions as your brain makes connections that it thinks make sense. Like you thinking of Steve rolling on 27” wheels with a six-speed freewheel and a triple up front? And grip shift? Are you fucking kidding me? But then you catch yourself and think maybe that’s not his bike because if you know Steve you know his bike.
I heard the owl call my name only he wasn’t an owl he was a crow and he wasn’t calling my name he was just talking shit because he wanted another banana bread muffin but I already gave him one and he was really demanding so I said no more today bro and flashed him the sign for “all done”
He doesn’t know my name but he knows where I sit and what I eat and what bike I ride and what route I’m on. He probably knows what day it is. He lets me know that he knows the coffee shops are all closed and the 30,000 undergrads went home 10 weeks ago and it’s hard to find a good muffin around here.
Thought about a big fat lag bolt through the square taper but it seemed spreading the load into the chainring bolts at 130 bcd was a better idea not that bolt circle diameter matters when you’re mounting cranks to a beam with 3” deck screws to hold up a 40 pound heavy bag for junior junior to kick the shit out of see boxing gloves in photos below and if you hit 4 out of 5 bolts in the bcd you can call it 80% and you can also call it in situ resource utilization ISRU fucking kidding me
what day is it?
Junior Junior has been shredding on bikes for a while now up through two different balance bikes before he moved on to his current bike rolling with the pedals removed until Monday when he asked to have the pedals reinstalled then pedaled away and was so happy to ride up and down the sidewalk over and over and over simply for the sake of riding kind of like the first time you took acid and rode your bike in circles for hours on an old abandoned outdoor ice rink in Iowa in the late 80’s or was that me?
what day is it?
We know that bikes are the way to go and will be when the shit goes down from CHUNK 666 to your LBS what it is and what it will be JRA bro JRA. I believe the post-apocalyptic mailman will look alot like Messenger 29 and less like the guy from Fallout New Vegas. He’ll be on the ultimate urban utility bike which as you know is any old fucking bike that gets the job done. His bike will carry more than just a bundle of mail and will be absolutely stripped clean of any fluffy trendy shit.
There is no doubt about the 80 pounds of shit but it wasn’t stuffed into a ten pound bag. It was plant food busting out of four amazon boxes. The final fifty fucking feet were a bit precarious but at least I could ride the bike all the way into the building and up to the mail cabinet to unload the boxes on the floor and PoD the pile. I only had to stop once along the way to cinch down that strap on the bezos boxes when they started to tumble. I prefer to keep the frowns upside down whenever I can but these boxes were shot before I got my hands on them.
Steve reminded me that today was Bike to Work Day. shit.
Most of the time for me a bike is way way more than the sum of its parts. But the bike in the photo has moved beyond “bicycle” and into “art”
Although it still has some of the elements of bikeness it has morphed into one man’s junk is another man’s lawn ornament is another man’s metal recycling is another man’s job to sort that shit.
I have a greater appreciation for this bike than most people because I spent a few years pulling shit like it out of donation dumpsters at Bike Works. I still get a not so peaceful queasy feeling when I see or smell bikes like this.
bike racks are boring and sometimes it's more convenient to lock up to a hand rail. remember the first time you locked up to a railing in front of the Columbia Center?
remember those radioactive isotopes you put in your backpack last weekend when we wanted to carbon date some groundwater samples? you should probably take those out now.
remember swisher sweets and 16oz bottles of Rainier, no cheeseburger - diet coke combos, no sadsack Peter Gabriel "Say Anything" references, no upright front suspension aluminum comfort grip shift hybrids.
In 1996 the psychology department at UW was seeking human subjects for a study on the effects that the consumption of alcohol has on decision making. They placed an ad in the Stranger to round up a herd of subjects. I responded to the ad and took part in the study. It paid $15 or $20 or something like that and took about 22 minutes. They asked a series of questions and then gave you a “drink” and then asked another series of questions. Some subjects were given actual gin & tonics with lime some were given just tonic and lime. It also involved a confederate staged in the waiting area who voiced a scripted opinion or two and their comments were weighted along with your responses. It was all kind of cheesy and stilted and overly complicated and too academically roundabout at getting to the point. If the study was designed by grad students they left the ground work to undergrads. It was pretty bush league. More reliable results could be recorded sitting in a real bar with real drinks and real people. But that shit doesn’t fly in academia.
That little study took place in the Brooklyn Trail Building near the main UW campus. A select few now refer to it as The Center for Child and Family Well-Being. You might know it better as 3903 Brooklyn Ave NE. I know it as 5665 as in box #355665. It's the building I was standing in yesterday for this photo inside looking outside looking in.
In 2020 I visit the psychology department every day and the Brooklyn Trail Building quite often.
You being bike like people the photos tell the story pretty well. I will point out this Benotto is now a member of the Profile Design Cup Holder’s Club. I turned that DANK toptube pad inside-out and it looks great. Smaller big ring (from 53t to 47t) bigger tires (from 23 to 28). I slathered the shit out of the Brooks saddle with Proofide but elected to set it aside to soak it in. That’s a Ritchey Force stem shimmed out around actual Nitto stainless shims on the flat bar (25.4 to 26.0) I started out with a wrap of Rainier tall can but it was a bit halfass slippery like, which is fine for me on my own bikes but I went all out legit on this one. The bottom bracket and headset feel just fine. All new cables and housing. New chain on a new old stock 7-speed cassette spaced out on the 8-9-freehub body. Thumbshifters all frictioned out like a trombone. The iron oxide colored fork is rust blooming through the chrome.
If there’s ever a time that it pays to hoard bike parts this is it. When a friend asks you to work on their bike and you don’t have to leave your garage to refurbish it. That’s the time, That’s the time, I love the best.
I went to high school in the 99205 with Steve and Sean, 50% of Steel Wool. But even if I didn’t I’d be a fan. “Lucky Boy” 1994 and “Simple Men Who Like to Work With Their Hands” 1993 were both on Empty Records. Empty used to place ads in kickstand and in exchange they’d send me CDs. you know those silver round things that get all scuffed up. So I learned more about Dead Moon and Sicko and bands I never would have listened to.
Steel Wool put on great shows and played with or opened for all the Seattle bands that got big and bigger.
If you’re out walking around your neighborhood aimlessly and you stumble upon a free pile or yard sale you just might find a Steel Wool CD. I was pleased to stumble upon the complete Lucky Boy album on youtube.
I’d like to draw your attention to an old flyer from Tyler Goldsmith’s collection seen here on the wall at HQ featuring Steel Wool playing at the OK Hotel. Fuckin A+
Those in the know know I cannot say Benotto without thinking of C. Forest Hoag. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before. The bike pictured here has way more than just a strong Forest influence. But that’s another story for another time.
A friend dropped off her bike for a little help getting it back into rideable condition along with the idea of moving away from road racing and more toward road-trail-path-sidewalk riding with her chin up so she can relax and look around and enjoy the ride. Five or six years ago I worked on this Benotto just briefly with only a few minor tweaks and some air in the tires. But now she’s ready to ditch the drop bars and spd pedals not to mention the rusty chain and moldy DANK toptube pad.
This is the “before” photo and some day soonish you can compare it to the “after”
The most striking feature of this bike is its frame. Not just the tube arrangement but the paint job. A couple years ago grandma and grandpa gifted this bike to Junior after they purchased it at a fundraising auction where it was donated after being refurbished by inmates of a Grays Harbor County corrections facility. Since then it had been collecting dust in the garage. But when Junior got her new bike from Bike Works the other day she got motivated to try this bike too. Now the Bike Works bike is collecting dust in the garage because this is the one.
Each morning right around peanut butter jelly time I stroll and or roll past this bike locked up near Husky Stadium. I only really noticed it during this smackdown crack down shut down lock down low down show down bro down because it’s been the only bike around. Each time I passed I’d smile and say it’s still here while at the same time I was kinda sorta amazed it hadn’t been jacked for parts. It actually lasted a couple weeks. The first thing to go was the saddle bag. Then yesterday morning both wheels were gone. And yesterday afternoon Sound Transit stuck a tag on it. I expect today the seat will be gone. And if it takes a while for the authorities to angle-grind the lock off, then the cockpit will disappear too. Bikes in the U-district get picked down to the frame. Each brake noodle sucked. Each crank bolt plucked.
Just after I took this photo I sat down under the pedestrian overpass to enjoy a tall can. As the trains are running every 20 minutes these days there is no reason to rat race rush things. I’ve recently been talking with myself pretending to be in a job interview speaking to the interview panel as they review my resume. “As you can see, I have a great deal of experience drinking cans of beer outside. With over ten years as a messenger and seven RAGBRAIs” Then I chuckle to myself and crack open a beer.
Just after that I heard a ruckus and looked up to see a father-son team bombing down the grand staircase at the light rail station on full suspension bikes. When they got to the bottom the father turned around and started riding back up the stairs. He didn’t make it very far but when his son passed him going up he bombed back down and shifted to a really really low lower gear and rode back up the stairs all the way. And that was pretty cool to watch.
The Ricky Triptych has popped up here a couple times before. But the third time’s the charm. 3 x 1 that’s the magic number. They say they come in threes. What would a triptych be without three. So here it is one more time around. I liked it so much I got it tattooed on my arm.
I was thinking about Ricky the other day and remembering this triptych and the good old days when times were simple and so on and so forth. And then I rolled up to my house after work and who did I see in my front yard but Ricky himself. He had just delivered Junior’s earn-a-bike bike from Bike Works right to her front door. We talked briefly about how Junior was 2 years old when Ricky started working at Bike Works and now here she is completing her first mechanic class.
this song has popped up in my head more than 3 times today and now it can pop up in yours too
What would you do with a coffee can full of roofing nails and a full weekend where you didn’t need to travel past the end of the driveway? A weekend when you couldn’t travel anywhere anyway because there was no place to go.
A previous resident of my current home left behind numerous Sanka cans and jars filled with nails. All kinds of nails and more nails. I finally came up with a project that allowed me to use 10 or 12 of those nails. Now I only have 2 or 3 thousand more roofing nails to use and 12 cans or jars of other varieties.
A few years ago I started thinking about free libraries more and more because my kids really like to visit all the ones in our zipcode. A few weeks ago I purchased a bag of cement and a pressure treated 4 x 4 and started thinking more specifically about building my own little free library. In that thought process I began to size up the various scraps that were sitting around the garage including a pile of 3-tab asphalt roofing shingles circa 1999, about 40 feet of pressure treated 2 x 8, a SIDEWALK CLOSED sign, a large DETOUR sign, half cooked cans of exterior house paint and a shit load of nails and lots of various sized screws. From two neighborhood friends I solicited some sweet plywood scraps and with some random other odds and ends I built a free library this weekend past. A gnome home. A destination for delirious parents in the hood that need to go for one more walk with their crazy kids that have no place to go. It’s a place to take a book or leave a book or just take a look.
I’ve long been a fan of road signs or signs in general taken out of context. These two signs that were absorbed into this little library construction have been kicking around my apartments and homes for years and now they’ve been repurposed into a whole new context. Made from durable plywood with reflective coating they’re just the ticket to be put to use in an unexpected way.
For the drip edge on the library roof I found some kind of metal threshold screen door thing from early in the Reagan years and hacksawed it to length on two sides and for the remaining edges I jerry-rigged some sheetrock corner bead into a halfass drip edge. But my favorite finagle was setting up a couple magnets to keep the doors closed. The magnets are the ones that come with a bike computer and attach to a front spoke to register each wheel rotation past the sensor mounted on the fork. Or at least that’s how it used to be because as you know it’s all ball bearings these days. Those little magnets are strong like ox so they will suck the doors closed when not in use by attracting a little ferrous square of metal that’s screwed into the door. Just like magnetic cabinet latch doohickeys except they’re made from repurposed bike parts. But not in a hipster instagram way more of a scrappy bike mechanic little library way.
They say the little library
Ain’t so little
this is a shot of work in progress with 9 year old kid added to show scale. you can see the rough framing (and it is rough) before plumbing, electrical and HVAC.
I'll send you another photo of it all closer to completion.
Plenty of room to grow in:A Baluchistan lad, bundled up against winter’s numbing grip, proudly displays his two-wheeled steed. With the prospect of at least a high-school education comes a new wealth of opportunities. Tonight he can dream dreams as vast and vital as all Iran, and, waking, may find those dreams coming true.
Here comes pilder cottontail hoppin down his habbitrail. Hippity hoppity pilder’s on his way. Each day in a similar way. Not because he loves routine. But because he likes to free up bandwidth in his brain for other things, fun things, creative things, quirky things, meaningless petty details take on new meaning when they pop up in a new context. As you know there’s been a bit of a snag in the coffee-beer continuum which requires some patience and creativity to deal with. P’s favorite coffee shop closed up as did his second, third and fourth favorites too. His fifth-favorite coffee shop held on for one extra week in a to-go-only format but it’s closed now too. His favorite bartender lost her job because her bar shut down and will likely never return. His second favorite bartender lost her job and moved back home to live with her parents. But at least he got that tattoo inked just before the government informed him that tattoo shops are not essential operations. By the time all that hair on his knee grows back maybe he can get a cup of coffee or a pint of beer or both. And his favorite bartender can find a new job. P has no problem with social distancing. His personal space bubble is very large and pre programmed, as in, it’s innate. He never needed lines taped on the floor to let him know when someone was getting too close. If anthropomorphizing this thing makes it easier to understand then do what you need to do. He actually discussed this with a brain scientist. No joke. Terms like tenacity, versatility, adaptability, sticktoitiveness get thrown around when describing a thing that’s not even “alive” Morphing mutating adapting replicating transmitting. In layman's terms: 220/221 whatever it takes. Pilder is burning new neural pathways overcoming routine and muscle memory to find new ways to enter locked buildings with card key access, phone calls and good old brass keys into locked door knobs. Not to mention new sources of drip coffee. This is just his little self-absorbed perspective on a very shallow superficial nonessential level. P cottontail knows there’s a lot of very important shit going on out there or in there or over there. However distractions and a sense of humor are important. P is wearing a giant Flava Flav necklace that dispenses hand sanitizer (not really but he could be) He appreciates your attention to detail and would like to remind you to turn off “the news” and look around a little. Used rubber gloves are the new discarded dental picks. They’re everywhere.
Manufactured authenticity. Fake as fuck. For real. Really. Sandwiched between two turnbuckles turning. Canceling each other out. Double barrel ferrules. Cables crimped. It’s wire rope bro. Dontcha know. CARRIER - LEAVE IF NO RESPONSE. Every little thing she does. Every door knob, urinal flush handle, elevator button, light switch, card key reader, keypad lock, mail cabinet door, key chain, orca card tapper, light rail handrail, $5 bill, handful of change, vending machine, coffee cup lid, JUMP bike handlebar, mens room door lock, paper towel dispenser, soap dish, hand sanitizer pump. every little every little every little thing. Discarded dental picks everywhere. Swisher Sweet wrappers here and there. Once you achieve that level of awareness you can’t dumb it down or ignore it back to normal or deny it to the old status quo bro. All sales final. Ultimate ultimatum. Amalgam. ABC gum. No bigger fish to fry. Who’s in control here. Can’t you smell that smell. Extra virgin. Single origin. One mayonnaise commercial after another. As seen on TV. She’s attractive in a midwestern way. Ms Celeste Bianchi. That’s not her porn name. That’s her real name. Only she’s not real. It’s all in your mind. Really. For real.
Last Wednesday I came to a fork in the road and I stopped and picked it up, took a picture of it and then tossed it in the cargo box on my work bike to rattle around. I could feed you some lines about taking the road less travelled by and how it made all the difference but that would be a joke.
Getting run over by metro buses and cement trucks and grub hub delivery dudes repeatedly until finally making its way to the gutter in front of the old Purchasing Building that two story nondescript place you may know better as 3917 University Way NE. This fork got my attention and now it may or may not be getting your attention and I’m ok with that because it will come in handy someday
The anxiety manifests in a dream where I approach the on-demand bike locker with no visuals no reference to signage or location but purely by muscle memory habit and routine. I put the key card in the slot. That slot I always use on the locker I always roll up to you know the locker I always use...and the door opens. Only the door is double tall high and when it kicks open my bike isn’t in there because it’s just a giant shower stall. So I say what the fuck and slam the door for my early bird return refund and it charges my card $5.32 because it’s a doggie dog wash stall and that’s the minimum charge to access it all. So I’m starting to get stressed because my card only had $7.07 left on it when I arrived and I need to get my bike back because I agreed to work a fill-in day at WaLegal because they’re short staffed in this virus shit show ad hoc crack down slap dash fuck fest. I’m already getting texts and voicemails dispatching me work in the voice of that goddamn pudgy overbearing whiteguy middle manager asshole type that Sound Transit has barking commands all day long on the loudspeakers about restricting bicycles in Pioneer Square and my bike is in one of those 46 identical bike lockers with a slow leak in the rear tire and my card key is now really wrinkled and bent and folded and it only has $1.75 left on it today the alleged last day of Connect 2020 but the light rail is the least of my worries because my bike is in a locker in Rainier Beach and I’ve got pickups that the dispatcher is barking at me from King County and Harborview and the Sonics practice facility and then I wake up in somebody else’s bed and I’m really thirsty
When I think of volume I don’t usually describe it or visualize it in liters. But this Rhino Box is big. Think 150 big bottles of Diet Coke. Then think of removing each lid and dropping in a Mentos one hundred and fifty times. Perhaps your brain does better with cubic inches? As in big block V-8 engines. Or fluid ounces? Take a moment to ponder pouring 253.6 bottles of Olde English into a rectangular prism and then sucking it all out with a straw. It’s big. It’s 10,144 fluid ounces big.
But the best part is the lid. It slides open away from the handlebars. Which is awesome and makes a lot of sense and creates a handy work surface to scan barcodes on packages just before you schlepp them those final fifty fucking feet. The cargo boxes we’ve been using for the past couple years have lids hinged on the drive side that open up like toy chests. So if your handlebars weren’t just right you couldn’t open the lid. The angle of your brake levers had to be examined, the cables and housing had to be reined in and the stem had to be 80mm or less.
I know someone that knows Bevin Keely and I texted this photo to their significant other the other day. I guess I can say I know Bevin or I did back when she placed this full page ad in kickstand #6. Bevin had a soft spot for messengers because she once was one of them. She also had an appreciation for zines and created her very own which focused on Mike Nipper, the long-time receptionist at The Stranger. Please take a moment and acknowledge those advertised special messenger rates circa 1999. I wasn’t ready for Rolfing 21 years ago and I’m not sure I am these days but it’s something to think about.
that there is an Alex Colville painting from 1981 and when you're done thinking about 27" steel wheels and mixte frames if you have some free time and you're looking for something to read please read Matthew Bevis's commentary in the March issue of Poetry
You were already losing your eyesight last winter in Rome when you paused in the doorway at nine o’clock on a Saturday morning and a baker swept by on a shiny bicycle waving a cap and singing under his breath, you didn’t know bakers wore white aprons dusted with flour and floated around the city like angels on a freshly baked day, you weren’t sure why morning halted up and down the street as you stood in the doorway and a baker winged by on a weekend morning so new and pristine that you looked into the sky and for one undiminished instant of misplaced time you saw brightness, brightness everywhere, before a shadow crossed the rooftops and it was blotted out.
yesterday I saw this in Hirsch’s book Stranger by Night and wondered where the hell I read that poem before? With a little research I realized it was in the New Yorker in November. I didn’t give it much thought 3 months ago but it popped back into my hands for a reason and now I’m paying attention and bringing it to your attention too. Finally, in conclusion please take a moment to notice cute little bike racks around you and then think about how much easier it is to lock up to a garbage can or a parking meter if parking meters still existed and then take a moment to remember Benson’s Grocery and all the other mom & pops around town that are no longer around.
Today is my Tuesday and you can call it super if you want and I put this picture back up because I don’t have any selfies of me in front of an official Bernie Sanders portrait because Bernie Sanders wasn’t the vice president 10 years ago and therefore didn’t have his portrait hanging around US District Court Houses and Federal Buildings frequented by legal messengers schlepping legal documents.
Dr. Angeles Arrien spoke at length of the Four-Fold Way. It's what it all comes down to, what's underneath all the bullshit, what matters. It's easier said than done of course but if you just SHOW UP you've accomplished a lot. Oh and after you speak the truth, don't forget to shut the fuck up.
The delivery guy saves the day again with a last minute rush directly to the conference room where another boring corporate meeting is in full swing. No need for a signature but he makes eye contact with a woman on the far side of room, smiles and walks back outside free from the climate controlled artificial lighting and endless horseshit that office work entails.
Last week I got a text from Steve at Bike Works that looked just like this. That’s Steve’s shadow in the corner of the classic warehouse overhead door drive side bike portrait. My first thought was it looks cool but I wasn’t sure about the size and I already have enough bikes. I was sitting on a beach in San Diego in a daze of sleep deprivation and sun exposure so I didn’t respond to the text right away.
About 23.5 hours later I responded.
Wednesday February 19, 2020 2:07pm
no thank you. But someone will love that thing.
A week later I roll home from work and junior-junior shows me a picture on my old lady’s phone featuring him sitting on that bike in the Bike Works Warehouse. He tried it on for size when they dropped junior off for her Earn-a-Bike class. When they picked her up after class they also got the bike from Tina and now that thing is in my garage. All it needs is a flat fix and junior-junior will start shredding on it and practicing some rudimentary utility cycling toting stuffed animals from point to point and delivering rocks the final fifty fucking feet.
It’s got a 16” rear wheel and two 12s up front.
When we get it rolling outside I’ll send you a better photo.
I’m not angry. I’m disappointed. I once rode the train behind a woman who was staring at her phone the entire ride. Which is pretty normal I guess. But when I caught glimpses of the device I realized she was staring at herself through the lens of her phone. Poking at her hair and pooching her lips and who knows what else. For the entire train ride.
For me this is the most annoying commuter behavior. Taking over the top spot from clipping-your-fingernails on the train.
Good morning. How are you? How was your weekend? How about this weather? Hey can I borrow those fingernail clippers when you’re done?
I held the door it’s true that doesn’t mean I wanted to have sex with you But I do I would I will We could take the elevator to the penthouse Personal service only A pickup and delivery enveloping the entire package Call when complete rush roundtrip notary signature obtain exemplified copy of the order get the complaint no exhibits
I read his essay Exchange Rate in The Gettysburg Review and started to look for more and then I found his book
at my local independent bookstore I got the one and only copy they had when I snagged it off the to-be-shelved cart before they could shelve it alphabetically in the literary essay section
your local library has ordered a copy but it's so new it hasn't even arrived yet
when I can read something at 6:15am while standing up with rain-soaked socks on a crowded train and it takes me to another place that's good. this Monson guy is good. when I say read I mean look at words printed on paper as in bound printed matter not on some electronic doo-dad device
you won't hear this song the same way after you read Exchange Rate
millions of people have never been to Spokane commemorative shot glass Expo 74 matching purple plastic back scratching ashtrays all around one big bag of motion sickness contents may have shifted during shipment 50% off full retail exhale variation on a theme strip stripe striation fake wood paneling squeegee channeling Ouija board spirit conduit follow the attention deficit expressway seven miles south merge left right on target focus unbelievably petty conversation pancake makeup thick foundation hairspray lip gloss lotion perfume empty promise idle threat talk talk shock & awe attractive distraction appetite suppressants prolonged boyhood adolescence natural progression billing cycle praying to the landlord racing the rent check in a ‘71 Monte Carlo drown it out or quiet the mind the crack of a roadmaster echoing off office plaza walls clear skies clear conscience clear the board full circle like a second hand brand new to me lunch break front brake stopping power Mathauser heaping helping self control moderation celebration inebriation light rail station jackhammer jack mormon jack and the beanstalk this little piggy went to market where inflation continues to 165psi change the subject aye aye bread & circus dancing bear wild hair smokestack flapjack unexpected heart attack sleeveless shirt short skirt amazing flirt the bailiff called angry voicemail her working copies smell like beer landscape architect mechanical engineer fear itself really nothing to fear theorize brown eyes oxidize rust battleship relationship building trust repeated repeatedly forever aftertaste precursor
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.
well I’ve never been to heaven but I’ve been to Oklahoma…
I have never been to Louisiana but I have been to the Bike Works warehouse sale which is where I got this Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve souvenir water bottle for less than 50 cents (NWT)
Since I purchased the water bottle I learned a bit about Mr. Jean Lafitte but what really interests me is how things like this end up at a small nonprofit bike shop and chucked in a box with all the other shit nobody wants. Then months later the box is pulled out of storage hoping some sucker like me will buy that shit at the annual warehouse sale. If not it's just shipped off to a landfill in eastern Washington.
Did somebody get this from their grandma in New Orleans? Did somebody buy this for their grandma when they took a field trip to the historical park and preserve?
It’s not such a great water bottle in the context of cycling but it is translucent purple plastic and it makes me laugh and it can teach you a tiny little bit about Jean Lafitte and supply chain logistics.
Rolling off the hill around 8am that day in the snow the streets were quiet but I heard a solitary voice in the distance yell “Matt” I looked over and yelled “Steve?” We cautiously rode down toward the 98101 but pulled over at 300 E. Pike and pressed our faces to the window and who did we see behind the bar but Krista, one of the all time greatest bartenders ever, prepping to open up in a few hours. She unlocked the door and let us in. I have to say it was a good day or at least it was a good morning in the rose colored nostalgic retrospect that 11+ years allows one to smooth things over with and remember what they choose to remember.
In my mind I see Professor David Gerard (economist) and Professor Jeffrey Kidder (sociologist) walk into a bar. I’m already sitting at my favorite stool in the corner, close enough to hear their conversation but not really contribute too much to it. Just in observation mode I take detailed mental notes but forget half of them. The bartender is playing Yo La Tengo's "I'm not afraid of you and I will beat your ass" at just the right volume. Gerard a former rugby player doesn’t drink anymore so he’s having a soda water. Kidder a former bike messenger may or may not have a beer. But they’ll both have some interesting commentary on the situation and they both ride bikes.
The anxiety manifests in a dream taking place in the basement of a medium sized mid century apartment building where all the action apparently happens in a large windowless room filled with antiquated mismatched coin-op laundry machines. Your load is in the wash almost finished and you cannot find an available dryer. You also have another load to wash and there’s a lot of competition from the 14 other people milling around who seem to be in the same boat. They’re all characters from your past. Some vaguely familiar. Some disturbingly close to home and all up in your face.
color safe bleach
slathered in scotch tape
OUT OF ORDER
dim digital readouts
spin cycles rocking
timers counting down
It’s all just an extension of sound transit’s anxiety inducing connect 2020. Bikes restricted at the Pioneer Square station where all passengers must exit to continue their trip and there’s no fucking way you’ll get back on with a bike at the International District stop and good luck at University Street. Crush capacity 4-car trains every 12 minutes somehow do not equal 3-car trains every 6 minutes bro. And to top it all off their new recorded messages being barked loudly repeatedly repeated in an annoying middle manager type trying to be authoritative white guy voice telling me to stand behind the yellow line and show proof of payment and not to even think about bikes in Pioneer Square. I prefer the non descript computer generated female voice clearly clear of the uncanny valley. I had the commute dialed in like clockwork and now it’s not and my clothes are wet and there don't seem to be any dryers available and there are so many people up in my face.