As per the usual state of (dys)function that exists around here, I will kick today’s post off with a correspondence that will hopefully lay a decent foundation for whatever follows. And as I sometimes do, here is a photo of an actualy foundation to illustrate my point;
(Those are a lot of sweet bricks.)
Now then.. You may recall this image from last Friday’s post that was shot by ace photog Tim Westmore;
When Tim had originally sent this photo to me, I just thought it was another random individual with wildly good taste in stretchy clothing, but as I later found out from Amigo #3, there is far more to this shot than meets the eye;
“To make a long story longer- I have been my little brothers legal guardian for three years now. He has Asperger’s Syndrome and because of that he was bullied and made to feel different throughout his childhood. He is 22 now. Last year I built him a road bike and a single speed and had him put in about 2000 random miles. I had him focus on pedal stroke and breathing. One thing people with Asperger’s can do is focus.
This year he is 3 months into the training program I sent you. He is 5′ 10″ and weighs 140lbs, and prior to all this I always told him he was built like a cyclist. His first race was the Cool mountain challenge in the beginner class for his age group and their were 10 geared riders, plus him on his single speed. He placed third and got to go up and stand on the podium and accept his trophy. This is a kid who never had a chance to do anything. No soccer no baseball no skateboarding, nothing. It was easily the happiest I have ever seen him. He called the whole family and was excited beyond words. I didn’t get to see him race because I was on the course at the same time. Three weeks later at another local race his class raced before mine. As he raced past me I started crying. I know I am an emotional person but I just couldn’t hold back. I was so proud.
He wasn’t just riding a bike in a race- he was racing his bike in a race. His form looks like he has been racing for years. I am so fucking proud of him, I shit you not I am crying while I write this. How rad are bikes? They are a huge catalyst in my sobriety, they have given my brother a chance to finally feel like everybody else, and with my wife racing they have given us something healthy that we can do together without the kids. You have got to love bikes! My brother (Chase) finished mid pack in the single speed sport class and has improved in the two races after that one, thanks in part to you. Your kit makes him feel like he belongs to something. I tell him he does. He belongs to a brotherhood of single speeders and cyclists alike. Bikes gave him that. He earned it. Can’t wait to see his face at the Lemurian finish line.
As usual I apologize for the bad grammar. This is why you are the word smith and I am a tile setter.
I can’t begin to describe how profoundly touched I was to get this email, and in turn, how proud I am of both Chase and Sean as well.
This leaves me with the confirmation and an ironclad guarantee that everything we do here, and everything we have is specifically, and exactly the way that it should be, and I can’t thank Sean enough for sharing his and Chase’s story.
Of course in Friday’s post I also mentioned The Sea Otter Celebration of All Things Bicycle®, the celebration for which ends when it comes to actually getting there;
Well, as much smack as I talk about the event and as many times as I’ve said I have no interest in attending (arybody’s got they own kind of hobby), as Raleigh Sally happened through town the other night, (shown here riding the 2012 prototype Raleigh Carboner cyclocross styled athletic pursuit styled bicycle);
I got a wild hair unlike almost no other before it, and woke up the following morning, eating my words with a fork and spoon as we met up and I slid inside his rented orange Charger and headed South for day one of the debacle in the dunes. I figured I might be able to get a little work done, as well as pine for the days of yore, when JMac was busy passing off refreshments while still wearing his key leash;
They call days of yore, ‘days of yore’ on account of because they don’t exist anymore apparently, and as I walked through the all too familiar paths of the expo area, I reflected on the many good times I’ve had there over the years. This was a new day however, and as I now wear the hat of a marginally successful web logger of occasional bicycle related fodder, I had to get down to business and start asking industry types some hard hitting questions like if I could have a free sticker, and if they knew where the bathrooms were.
The first stop was at the Shimano empire, where we ran into Alex, Dustin and Wayne Stetina. Due to the fact that I have such a shallow pool of knowledge about the bike industry and the intricacies therein, I immediately launched into a discussion regarding the previously mentioned Calfee Di2 battery pack.
Fortunately for me, Wayne pulled out his own personal speed cycle which was equipped with said wonderment and not only let me take an assortment of photos of it, but allowed me to take it on a spin. When no one was looking, I did like three bunny hops on it and a couple of sick skidz, but don’t tell him that.
At any rate, here is what his bike looked like with the battery pack, and all of the Calfee applied buffing;
Wayne explained that in almost 30,000 miles, he’s replaced several chains, chain rings and cassettes, but in all of that time, he hadn’t once calibrated the derailleurs.
If you know me, or my general aesthetic, which at this point you possibly do, but wisely wouldn’t admit to it, then you know I tend to give bells and whistles a wide berth. Back when Mavic introduced their electric shifting system, I often made jokes about bringing a garage door controller to the sidelines of a race and shifting people’s bikes remotely. I’m a Virgo, and my people hate change. We are also suspicious of everything, but after getting the opportunity to play on Wayne’s bike, I am convinced this this is one of the coolest things that I’ve ever seen.
I then told him that when the price point gets down to 500 dollars, I will be the first in line to purchase the group.
Moving on I then happened upon Mr. Blacksocks at the Giro booth where I was treated to a man hug heard ’round the world. He brought me in and told me that he had something special to show me. He’s well aware of my dislike of their Ionos helmet, due to the fact that I think it looks like a salad bowl on one’s head. He is also aware that I am probably the biggest fan of their discontinued Pneumo helmet, primarily due to the fact that I either call him or ride to his office once a day in order to ask them to make it again. With his hand on my chip laden shoulder, he guided me to their latest offering of the
Aeon, which almost instantaneously made my heart pound and then caused some tightness in my pantal region.
As an artist who is concerned with only the highest caliber of visuals, I immediately pulled out an orange bucket, placed the helmet on top and snapped off a couple shots;
At $250.00 bones, they, like the Di2 are about million miles out of reach for a wretch like myself, but I’m a whore, and Mr. Blacksocks knows this. One day, and one way, the Aeon will be mine.
Following this meeting of the minds, I weaseled around somemore finally landing at the BIKE/Paved tent where Squirrel introduced me to the new and improved Scraper Sh*tb*ke;
I was so excited by the developments of my beloved that apparently while fumbling in my pocket I unknowingly pressed the time stamp button on my camera, so from that point forward all of the photos I took will forever remind me of what date I was doing whatever it was that I was doing.
At any rate, Squirrel was pretty proud of his efforts, but certainly the cherry on this particular cake was the bad ass after market seat shim;
In case you are curious, or perhaps flushed your glasses down the turlette, that right there is a chunk of black top held in place with Gaffers tape. It can never be said that the good folks at BIKE magazine aren’t as resourceful a bunch of folks as they come.
At that point, I immediately turned around and snapped another shot which I think would have been pretty sweet if not for that aforementioned time stamp;
Departing from there, I jumped in to see Dain at the Easton booth, and took some more photos of stuff I can’t afford;
As the day was slipping on, Sally and I went over to see the good people at Funk Bicycles, which if you have been in the trenches for any length of time, you surely remember. If not, they are a small company from Colorado who were long known for making bicycle machines that caused anyone who saw them to break out into uncontrollable fits of drooling. After a hiatus from the limelight, they are back, and it would appear as though they are still making bikes that have the same effect;
After I gave Dave a quick lesson on Poison Oak, and then congratulated him on Funk’s reemergence in the world, we opened a new can of beer and continued on to see Jason at Sockguy;
We thanked him for letting us know that he thought we were number one, and then before we packed up our goods, we swung by to say hello to Lance at TRP;
While the TRP booth is never short of the hotness, they had a new system on display that is a cable actuated hydraulic unit for a bike with road levers;
Now while this is new, and bold and unprecedented, just by looking at it, I can see that one day in the very near future, it will seem as outdated, clumsy and laughable as any other number of transitional technologies that we’ve seen come and go in the last ten years. Certainly with the abundance of room under the hoods of electronic shifters, it’s just a matter of time until integrated reservoirs are slapping all over our faces, and this will be yet another relic to hang on the wall next to the last pinnacle of engineering, but at least for now anyway, this is as good as it gets, and I have no doubt that TRP will be at the forefront as this application of theory develops.
So it was with that, that we finally dashed off into the late afternoon, to get back to the life and times of a couple of socially inept, yet good looking and lovable fellows in an orange Charger, and peeled out, off into the sunset.
Apparently there was some bike racing taking place at the bike race as well, but who goes there to watch that stuff anyway?