20121031

A New Tradition

My Takhion pumpkin.

From now on, I'm carving headbadges into all of my pumpkins.

Happy Halloween!  

20121029

On Competition

I didn't really learn to ride a bike until I was around thirteen.  There was an awful experience when I was little involving my seat coming off of my beloved training-wheel-adorned-sparkly-streamered-training-bike that left me a bit too freaked out to try riding again until I was ten or so.  Then, with utter determination, I climbed on a bike, sans training wheels, and proceeded to crash into my neighbor's garage and bounce off into his car.  He was none too pleased.

Somewhere along the way I figured it out, and started riding one of those super high quality K-Mark mountain bikes to school on nice days.  This was a huge accomplishment for me - biking two miles EACH WAY made me feel super cool.

The first time I rode a road bike was when I was nineteen.  And I was hooked.  Suddenly, I understood why people went out and did this for fun - road bikes were nimble, and fast, and not at all like slowly biking through molasses.  I fell in love, and the rest is history.


20121024

The Takhion That Isn't: Part I

It's been slightly crazy this week, and since the following few days are going to be packed as well, here's a mid week post featuring a fixed gear build I'm working on that I will be bringing back to my hometown so that I will always have a bike there.

Mmm, rust colored.
This bike is branded as a Takhion, but the interesting thing is, that, well, it isn't.  

Back when I first learned of Takhions some years ago, I was desperate to find one and so badly wanted one that when I found this frame for sale (for ridiculously cheap - should have been my first clue), I jumped on it. 

It was only when I got the frame that I noticed it was very obviously an older fixed gear frame that had been repainted and had new decals put on it.  It was also missing the typical Takhion bottom bracket handiwork.  I went back to try to find the seller to get some answers, but with little luck - fortunately it doesn't seem like this was being done for profit or to trick people, but more like someone had done this themselves as a project and was now selling it.  It wasn't some crazy counterfeit scheme or con - just an honest mistake. 

Since then I've become much more educated on what to look for, and now that I have a few years of experience under my belt I know how to research and look for certain things.  But, you can't change the past, so I ended up with a (rather pretty, actually) rust colored frame with Takhion logos that I lovingly named Zakat.  I decided to build the frame with mostly spare parts, but that turned out to be a nightmare...

At any rate, I did find myself a legitimate Takhion, after years of searching.  And now that this bike is just about built, it is a pretty nice ride.  So there's a happy ending to all of this!  

Gotta get me some foot retention!
Once it gets finished, I'll share part two.  For now though, crazy week ahead! 

20121021

Things That I Love: The Cycloc

I hate moving.  Even though I came up here six months ago, I was living with a friend for a while, so I've only really been in my new place for about three months.  I'm still getting settled.  

But this weekend I did some work around the house, mostly on my workshop and living room.  And it reminded me that I don't think I've ever shared my favorite bike storage solution on here, so have at it!  

Living in small spaces has resulted in some creative solutions for bike storage over the past few years.  For being as awesome as they are, bikes are incredibly weird and awkward to store - they take up a lot of room even leaned against a wall, which I don't mind - but living in a 500 square foot apartment with six of them led to problems.  So I did some research and found this super cool thing.   And even now that I'm up to 700 square feet, I still have a need for bike storage. 

Truth be told, there are lots of nifty options out there for wall mounted bike hangers, which I've posted about before, but after getting a good deal on a used Cycloc I found that I really like the design and flexibility.  

   
Every living room should have at least one bike hanging.
First, I love the color options - the Cycloc comes in this awesome bold orange, a dark green, black, or white, so you can get an option to pair with just about any space.  I like the pop of orange that this one adds to my living room, and it just so happens to match the bike it's currently hanging!

Second, the Cycloc can be configured to hang your bike vertically, which is great for mixtes and other step through style frames that might not work with other wall racks.  It can also be hung at a diagonal, which is good for mountain bikes and other bikes with less than conventional frames. 

Image courtesy of yliving
The Cycloc also can be used outdoors, and hung on a variety of surfaces.  Here's Andrew Lang, the designer of the Cycloc, showing it off on a lovely brick wall.

Image courtesy of The Guardian
For those of you panicking because this guy is hanging his bike outside, notice the Cycloc also has a place for a U-Lock.  And, its shape allows for storage of gloves, tubes, parts, etc.

Image courtesy of Philadelphia Weekly
Along with all that, it is actually pretty easy to install, and comes with instructions for being installed in studs, drywall, or brick, as well as a template to make it easy to mark where the screws need to go.  It's probably not the most renter-friendly solution, but if your good at patching a few holes before you move out, it shouldn't be a problem.  I've used mine so far in two places, and after I repaired the holes from the drywall anchors, you couldn't tell the difference.  Just don't use toothpaste. 

And sturdiness?  I've never felt like a bike was going to fall, and this thing has supported a 35 pound gaspipe mixte while hanging on mostly drywall.  Not that I'd recommend that, but just sayin'. 

While I do absolutely love the wooden, more shelf like solutions like this beautiful example from Knife and Saw, it's a bit out of my price and a bit limiting compared to what I can do with a Cycloc, but there are definite pros and cons to both. 

And as for the work on my shop?  Just a bit of cleaning. 

Finally a space to work!  Woohoo!! 
Hope you all took some good rides this weekend.  


It has come to my attention that some of the older posts are suddenly missing photos.  I'm working on fixing it!! 

20121020

The Story of James

 At the request of those involved, this story has been removed.

For those worried about the possibility that this was a stolen bike - I was able to get purchase history and to verify that it was legitimately purchased!  

20121018

The Award for Strangest Pursuit Bars Goes To...

I tend to find myself with the strangest of things.  Bicycles and bicycle components are no exception.

I know nothing about these bars except they say Technomic on them, and I was told they were a custom project from Nitto.  I have no idea on a year, model, or anything else really - they look like an early, early precursor to the legendary Nitto Tsubasa.   


Right now they're living on a fixed gear that I am building.  The adjustability makes them quite unique - they're pursuit bars that have quite a few possibilities as far as angles and configuration go.  Seeing as I love pursuit bars and weird things, they are a good fit. 

I might bring these to the bike expo here in November and see if anyone knows the backstory.

They remind me of a manta ray.  

20121016

Six Months

I left LA six months ago.  It's strange how much things have changed, yet how much they have stayed the same. My commute has extended itself to seventeen miles along a foggy bay trail, and I've been quite active in riding, repairing, and meeting some wonderful people who, like me, can geek out about track hubs or vintage derailleurs for hours on end. 

I'm sorry for my absence.  I could write what I've been doing, or, I could use a better method of communicating my past six months in bicycles.