One Careful Owner...
4 quid rummage sale bike
Who knew what this was? Who knew how it held together? Who knew how it could even stop? At some point the bottom bracket just fell out and so did I with this bike. To fix it would have cost more money and less sense than I ever had. I think though I gave it away to someone to use in an 'art' project.
My first new bike. I still can't believe how wonderful this bike felt and how I quickly realised how impractical new bikes were, especially candy-red, brand new mountain bikes in Hatfield, UK. I remember loving riding 12 miles a day to and from work, tearing up the old railway line between Hatfield and St Albans. My love affair ended when the chain snapped and I almost left my life under the wheels of a double-decker, but we remained good friends for a long time after this.
This bike was last seen rusting in Colchester, UK in the keeping of my friend Russ.
[.. then there were the dark years.. the time without a bike]
FSR Stumpjumper - October 1999
The painful lessons begin. In turns at that one, I'm not much of a serious mountain biker and two, crashing at the bottom of a huge descent bloody hurts. Though it does not hurt as much as five-mile ride out of the bottom of the canyon once you've crashed. This bike started showing me the light that there is such a thing as too much technology. This bike went on to a much better owner who understands how to treat technology correctly.
Schwin 1970's 3 Spd
The reaction to too much technology. Bought for bugger all from Mickey's Monkey, a 2nd hand furniture store in the Lower Haight, San Francisco. A heavy frame, (easily weighed 40lb) with a stressed coaster brake, with a classy upright right style and amazingly true 27" wheels. Three months of riding and you realise how inadequate a coaster brake can be in a city of hills. Pulled the brake apart countless times until I couldn't stand it anymore.
For the longest time this was the ride for all the visitors to 790 Page St. It almost killed my brother and one of my roommate's girlfriends during its reign of terror.
Surly Cross-Check Cyclocross
Narrowing in here on something well suited for city riding. An amazing ride and my first ever out-and-out road bike. It was love and still would be if I hadn't gone to the dark side. The STI shifters meant that I was a menace, pounding around the city with dreams of being Travis Culler. Sadly it never got taken off road but ce la vie. But after some tinker attempted to liberate this from me, requiring the need for a beater, the dark side had me firmly in its grip and it was all down hill from here.
Sadly, this was stolen from its new owner in the Mission, one heartless night in 2004.
Miyata 310 Singlespeed
This was the beater, I had worked out that all you really need is one gear for most city riding (or more likely seen all the messengers downtown on their fixies and tried to ape 'em). So I found this on Craigslist and attempted to patch up someone else's aborted attempt at a single speed. The rear wheel was poorly dished and spaced, the rear axle kept snapping under the load etc. Funnily enough, it was pretty terrible but it taught me a lot. It took me from SF to Oakland most days and generally broke down at 6th and Mission when it rained.
After realising in how bad a shape everything was, this was donated to Pedal Rev and has been seen looking all swank as fixie.
1970s Gitane Track
Swift, fast, hauled arse. Took a long time to switch from a single speed to fixed gear and then promptly crashed one dark drunken night. Remember kids; booze and no brakes do not mix. Cost to body: broken nose, heavy facial lacerations, broken teeth. Cost to pride: huge. Strangely the bike was fine and I even got it checked out twice as I was amazed that it was fine. Neverhteless I always found this bike rather twitchy and upright so I continued to search for something else.
Ended up being donated to Pedal Revolution and hopefully someone is really enjoying this bike.
Libertas Audaux 10 Spd
September - November 2003
Beautiful old Belgium lugged frame, old school campy 10 spd with bar end shifters. Rode beautifully, the guy who sold it to me had ridden the AIDs ride on it. The paint work was bea-up and consequently I spent a long time debating if I could turn this into a beater fixie. In the end I decided that I hadn't the heart to destroy a perfectly working 10 spd, so this too went to Pedal Revolution.
1970's Bottecchia Fixed Gear
aka "Ceffo" - November 2003
New winter fixie and beater bike. Beautiful 60s? Italian frame, now beaten and faded but still an absolute class ride (lovely Chrome work underneath the paint). Dropouts were conveniently spaced at 120mm with no derailleur hanger so this thing was screaming to be a fixie. Built-up with all the spare components littering our apartment and a little help from Pedal Revolutions. Shown in the image sporting the most ridiculous Michelin green cyclocross tires that made the bike really tough to stop quickly but would roll over anything hidden in the shadows and puddles. Great winter bike, but I striped the rear hub and destroyed the BB pretty quickly and it wasn't a track bike, which I still really hankered after.
Can be seen still on the streets of SF ridden by someone whose treating him right.
KHS Pursuit Track
Technically I owned one of these but it was pretty much killed on the day of purchase due to an unfortunate SUV+bike incident. Note: Photo is of a similar bike. Never even got to take a photo of it (Sniff!).
Raleigh Professional 1973 Track
aka "Una" - December 2002
There was no way I could turn this down. A real Raleigh track bike with Campagnolo dropouts. I'd never seen one until I clasped my eyes on this and I knew that it was coming home with me. But fate conspired to ensure that Una would be crashed hard, and I mean hard. The top-tube needed replacing, things creaked but even limping along in this state she was the most fun bikes I've ever ridden.
Bernie Mikklesen fixed all the tubes (turned out some of the lugs had cracked) and repainted the frame matt black. Couldn't save the twin plate crown though. (July 05)
Barry Witcomb built a new fork that really tightened up the ride. (Mar 06). The bike is now reborn as below:
Ended up being a perfect frame for racing at Herne Hill Velodrome as well as for London Alley Cats. It did sterling service in London, got raced at Herne Hill and Preston Park, Brighton and has now been passed on to a junior racer as the Ditta eclipsed its glory.
aka "The Work Bike" - March 2004
After creaking around the city on all these 2nd hand fixies, I decided that what the world needed was a fixie with some seriously beefy components that could take the abuse of being a daily work bike. So now there was this, built with the components that I didn't break on Ceffo and the KHS but with real pista cranks, chain and BB. Did everything I asked of it without complaining, esp 100ft Skids. The frame was ace and super twitchy when running brakeless. Oddly, it didn't feel right at Hellyer Park when I raced it though so it was eventualy replaced with a beautiful Vitus track bike.
Sold through Craiglist and hopefully really enjoyed by its new owner.
Eisentraut Pursuit Frame
aka "hicks" - November 2004
One of those things that just fell into my lap. Didn't mean to buy it, but Eisentraut makes wonderful frames and I was hankering for a fun bike to mess around on. So I ended up with a funny bike with small front wheel and aggressive aero style. Turned out to be great ride but really became the odd bike out when it came to pair down in preparation for moving to England. This bike was passed into the loving arms of Pedal Revolution too. I do hope someone's being super nice to it, because I loved this bike.
Vitus French Track
Some times a boy can't help himself. This was the bike that was going to re-start my track racing career down at Hellyer Park Velodrome, San Jose. An almost complete Suntour Superbe pro groupset, lovely Superbe hubbed tubular wheels and which were as smooth as butter.
But it had to be left behind when we moved to the UK, so someone else got themselves a complete head-turner of a track bike. But I suspect it got parted out for the now ultra-hot Superbe goodies.
Lemond Alpe D'Huez
aka "the Crush" - June 2002
Bought as a 50 dollar frame from Craigslist. It came with the most horrible home paint job I've ever seen; all soft and flaky. This was my first bike built from the ground up. It was built mainly as a project bike but some reason I kept it around; I think due to the paranoia of having someone ride around on the first set of wheels I ever built. Nevertheless, this is the bike that took me from Seattle to SF without the wheels going out of true or breaking a spoke. So I now have a little faith in my wheels.
As a reward for taken me 1,300 miles, this bike got a new black powder coat paint job from the lovely folks at A1 Underground Powdercoating and is was made beautiful again (you might notice that all my bikes go black at some point, if they're kept long enough).
Sold in the UK in 2006.
Blue Carbon Cyclocross
First carbon frame and bought to race in the Chicago cyclocross-cup. After a small spill on the first race in Jackson Park, this frame was toast due to a cracked top-tube. Luckily all the components were still good and could be transfered to a different frame.
So ended my dance with plastic frames.
Nyati Kenyan Bike
Picked up from World Bicycle Relief, Kisumu, Kenya to provide day-to-day transportation. Probably the heaviest bicycle I've ever owned at approx 43 pounds! Weight is definitely the index of a good bicycle in Kenya and with only a single gear, some of the hills in town were slightly tricky especially with a load on the back; the rear rack is rated for over 250 pounds! This is the first bike I've ever owned with Dunlop valves and was definitely a unique ride. Need to learn to throw your knees outside the handlebars when turning, otherwise you get knee overlap.
This bike was stolen from our house while we were in Mombasa.