Saturday, August 27, 2011
An inevitable post about bicycle logistics
So, if I haven't blogged about this, up until this point, I apologize. Facebook has monopolized about 85% of my online habits, and taken that rare naivety I possessed which may have been charming in small doses, but at 85%, gets a little nauseous.
This Centurion bike frame, the tan bike seen in seven of these nine photos, is a late model Centurion Le Mans, with a lugged frame and original components. I rode it from Mid-December 2010 until last week, mid-August 2011. for the Marvel and DC crowd, and for the sake of preserving naivety as generic innocence and not malignant ignorance, I'll offer a quick creation narrative: I'll admit I saw the frame, and stripped its parts about 6 years ago, thinking I could make it into a single speed, "Horizental Drop-Outs". However, that never happened, and I was left to pursue other courses of action.
the bike was re-assembled in Mid-December of last year to use as a getting around town, commuter bike that could also be willingly sacrificed if one were to be chased by wolves. As one of the the baddest snow seasons in history descended on the Metropolitan Twin Cities area, large roving gangs of wolves were rumored to have made the journey from the Northwoods to feast on slow cyclists caught in the mountains of snowbanks lining the sidewalks.
The original parts included Suntour Barcons, which held throughout the eight months of riding, despite having never been cleaned or adjusted. Parts replaced on the bike started with the wheels, then on to the rear derailleur, the headset, brake cables, chain, (x3), tires, new lights, handlebars, crank and on the barcons themselves, a lost washer and spring.
After being told the frame itself was a salvage, and rendered unusable by damage done in a previous accident, I was told by a mechanic that riding the frame was a bad idea. Such a bad idea that he would not work on the frame, in lieu of feeling responsible for my imminent destruction, I assume.
I proceeded to make my face recognizable, albeit more recognizable, at a variety of local bike shops who specialize in used parts, used frames, experienced mechanics and knowledgeable service. I had been down this road, last year, at the same time, and would have liked to avoid following my own footsteps, (although, as the unfortunate sand people can attest, storm troopers are really good at hiding their numbers by doing just that), but found myself again navigating the waters of the used steel frame marketplace.
*Editors note- last year I went to a bike shop with specifically used, re-built and re-cycled bicycles, looking for a bike that could last through the winter and maybe perform as well as the SlushPuppy did. I put money down on a frame, wheels, components and had a completed, vintage, Specialized Allez, steel frame, build-up, singlespeed. However, the tight geometry of the cockpit, the small size of the frame and the inflated tires rubbing on the frame itself determined that the bike was not for me. I went through the ringer with the shop owners and a couple of said shop's employees to get my money back, ("NO BIKE RETURNS" was printed in block letters on their sign, somehow, I managed to swim upstream on that one), because, frankly, I couldn't afford to have a bicycle that wouldn't work for specifically what I had paid for. The completed project failed that standard. Back to present day.
I found the replacement frame quickly enough, and was indecisive as to the next course of action- re-build from my own components and the new frame, or leave it in the hands of somebody who knows what's what? I went with the latter and found time to write this amazing blog post. Pictures are all property of me. Enjoy.
As I sit writing this entry, the bicycle is a work in progress, in a local shop, nearing completion. The new, (used) frame is a Schwinn, steel lugged, the right size, with clearance in the frame for knobby winter tires, is a deep blue color, has the right geometry and lacks only a few hours with a good mechanic.
Bicycle shops vaguely connected with this blog entry:
Art Doyles Spoke and Pedal
Express Bike Shop
One on One
Sibley Bike Depot
Boehm's Skate and Cycle
Big thanks to all who helped make it possible.