Hydraulic fracturing? Anyone? I pedaled to the rally on Saturday. Embarrassed to say it was the first rally I have ever attended. Having watched the protests spreading the Middle East on the televisions and having no personal experience, I was a tiny bit nervous. Huge crowd? Shouting? Bad behavior? Arrests?
My fear were unfounded, but not erased. Pedaling up to the rally site my heart sank. There were all of about a dozen people there. My friend and I walked through the folks. No one seemed interested in engaging us and we weren’t that interested in engaging them. Instead, we walked about 50 feet away, stood by our bikes, ate yummy muffins then pedaled home. If you wake up one day with funny tasting water and mutant cells, you have no reason to be surprised. Having seen the absence of effort on my part and the part of others on the statewide day of action, I think it is very reasonable to expect hydraulic fracturing to roll through (or rather hundreds of feet under) our state as soon as the company heads can round up the equipment.
Better things? Sure! Troy Bike Rescue hosted a bbq and bike beautifying bash at their new location. They fired up a grill while we worked on bicycles. There stock of rehabbed bikes had been selling quickly so they needed more to offer. We met great folks. Lacey made the pictures and I was happy that there was one more of me than of a really cute dog. You know Lacey loves her some dogs! Lacey always makes really nice pictures, so I am more than happy to forgive her for taking a few pictures of cute pups. Fagetaboutit. It’s digital!
I worked on a huge Rally road bike. Having not lent a hand to the cause in years, I was a man possessed. It wasn’t in terrible shape, but I was able to find it a new front wheel and move the existing tire over, true the rear wheel and repack the bearings, adjust the brakes and derailleurs, grease the seatpost and stem, adjust the headset, give it a spit shine and test ride it. It came out well.
Funny thing about the test ride. I adjusted the seat to expose a fist full of post and hoped on and rode away. This thing had like a 62cm frame! I guess that is not so terribly much larger than the 56 cm frames I am comfortable riding, but in my mind crossing into the 60s is like crossing into the land of giants. To my surprise, my legs attained nearly appropriate extension. My toes were maybe a bit pointed, but the thing was very easy and comfortable to ride. Are bikes like suit jackets? Do they all fit me, but some just a bit more than others?
I rode it around the block (happy to witness three curbside family bbqs on the way) then rode it around the shop shouting out my disbelief over the almost fitting bicycle made for giants. No one seemed as excited as me about this, but when you spend a lifetime believing there are bicycles you can’t ride, then find out that in fact there may be very few bicycles you can’t ride, that is a huge deal. To me anyway. I am a bicycle whore. I want to pedal them all. Maybe I can!
If it isn’t obvious already, I can’t stress enough that I had a ball. Even so, my recent record (of inactivity) helped me to see that I should work hard to get through a bicycle as I wouldn’t likely be back. At least soon, anyway. That’s sad, not least of which because of the wonderful people we met there.
We met a fellow from Nebraska! I am glad the world is so small. We seemed to have a million things in common. We met a dude with a bone stock Bridgestone RB-1. It wasn’t there, but he waxed on about it so eloquently and completely that I feel I know it. We met a print maker who had made beautiful line drawings of bicycle parts which were labeled to give visitors a reference guide. A quick look at the drawings and a visitor could say I need a lock ring instead of, what, I need a round doo-hicky with groves on the inside of the donut hole.
Other beautiful people, too. Too many to mention. Almost as many as at the fracking rally. This place is really dialed in. Even though I hadn’t been there before, I found most tools and supplies without having to ask. When I did have to ask, no matter who I asked, they helped. The people are skilled, committed and sweet. If you need help with a bike or want to help make bikes better for others, get yourself to Troy Bike Rescue. Hooray!
When I went to wash up, I found this gem. A Bikecology catalog from 1981! Lacey saw the look in my eyes and knew immediately she’d lost me to this thin booklet for hours, maybe days. I used to pour over these things for hours, maybe days. I used to wear these things out! A bicycle mail order catalog with pictures, prices and descriptions of so many of the parts that make my heart sing. The 1980s! When the yen was not so strong! We enjoyed Japanese loveliness. Europe priced to compete, too. It was a magic time. If only I had cash as a kid. I’d have warehouses of the stuff.
I haven’t spent (much) time talking about my love of catalogs. As a kid, I ordered hundreds of catalogs relating to bicycles and backpacking. You used to have to order catalogs, as manufacturers didn’t simply buy mailing lists and sent you what you wanted. You had to fill out blow in cards in the back of magazines and check the boxes for the catalogs you want. I wanted them all, read every page of every one and saved them all (for a long time anyway–sadly they are all gone). I made a pretty detailed index of the catalogs including the contents thereof. For instance, I’d have an entry for panniers which would give the catalog and page numbers where panniers could be found. I still have that and will scan it and throw it up here soon. It is really funny. Shows you I was mad in love with organization since the beginning.
I borrowed the catalog to scan all of its precious pages. I will throw them up here a page or so at a time to share them with you. Teasers? Bob Jackson. Colnago. Campagnolo. Huret odometers (if the catalog had a time warp feature, I could buy belts for two of my Huet odometers for $1.25 each). OMAS titanium bolts, nuts and other small parts. Lacey of course loved the clothing and the hella funky period models. It is all so good. I can’t wait to share!
I can’t forget to mention that the day started with a friend coming over to learn the craft of finishing bar tape with twine. As I was doing a quick inspection of his ride (a tasty 1980s Cannondale tourer), he mentioned that he wanted his bars up. The frame was at least four centimeters too small for him. That put the brakes on rewrapping his bars and the twining lesson, as I helped him to see he should get a Nitto Technomic stem to bring the bars up. No reason to wrap and twine he bars if we were going to undo it in a week. The stem is going to change his relationship with this wonderful bicycle, though, so the wait will be worth it.
So many friends. So many bicycles. So much Lacey! It was a most excellent day. Sorry to see it go! I hope your day was awesome and that your today is awesomer still.