Sunday, August 20, 2006

One More Bike

I'm pretty good at not buying things, but I have this tendency to adopt things. I'd adopted an aluminum bike that I named Al but I managed to pass Al on to a poor college student. I'm still trying to pass my old PX-10 onto someone and that bike has migrated down to the Bikestation and I know it'll end up with some messenger or urban hipster soon. So I should be making progress in terms of simplification.

And then an old steel mountain bike comes along. A little too small perhaps but maybe something fun to mess around with. Strip off the broken Gripshifts. OK, I'm only going to do this if it's a no money kind of thing. But I do have a big pile of parts. And tools. And time. And I do get this urge to putter.

Beth in Portland likes old stem shifters, maybe I will too. For now the gears will stay. A long seatpost and a Butt Buddy get the saddle high enough. Knobby tires get swapped for something slicker. Rough enough to wander, fast enough to be fast enough. I don't care much about the optimal but I'm fascinated by what is sufficient.

All my bikes wind up looking like my bikes. Brand names tend to get buried. Stickers tend to get cut-up and repurposed. Old campaign signs are made into fenders. All that really matters is where the bike hits my butt, my feet and my hands. The rest will be whatever it is. The Cowboy Junkies said it best, "the beautiful is not chosen, the chosen becomes beautiful."

This bike works for commuting or for exploring gravel roads or tiny trails. I could probably ride it to Inuvik or Patagonia or to the Safeway or the Starbucks. I don't know what I'll do with this. This morning I rode it along the Cedar River and I took some pictures. You can see them here:

Keep 'em rolling,



Brad said...

I used to have one of those Bianchis. Even the same color. Lasted me ten years before I cracked the frame at the bottom bracket and seat tube. Very nice, very nice

nate said...

The Magnetic Fields put it pretty good too when they sing:

"Well you may not be beautiful
But it's not for me to judge

I don't know if you're beautiful
Because I love you too much"

They might have been talking about a cloroplastered bike. You never know.


Alberto said...

Nice indeed. When you get a moment perhaps you can stop a bit longer on the details. It's helpful to us newbies. Nice set of pictures too.

Alberto said...

I forgot to ask. Are those handlebars “cow- horn bars”? Are there specific kind of bars called cow-horn bars or are they just normal straight bars with the handle additions? Sorry, but I just don’t know.

Kent Peterson said...

As Mr. Jackson said in Pulp Fiction"Check out the big brain on Brad!" Yep, the bike is an old Bianchi . The shifters are Suntour retro-friction stem shifters, the tires are Avocets. The handlebars are straight bars with bar-ends. I did trim the bars a bit down from their full width. I have fairly narrow shoulders and and find standard mountain bike bars are wider than I like. I did ride the bike for a week or so with big flat BMX pedals with no retention at all but went back to my tried and true Power Grips.

wade said...

Nice to see you give your blessing to to the lowly stem shifter. Beth has been carrying the torch by herself for too long. Especially for a townie they definately have their place.

My $20 salvage yard find got a new crank,tires, upright bars and stemmies:

wade said...

Try the photo links again:

Thanks for your patience.

Anonymous said...

that bike kicks much ass...