Colorful Frames of Mind

Awesome track frames at Cranky's bikes in Santa Barbara, CA.

Awesome track frames at Cranky’s bikes in Santa Barbara, CA

Even though I work in a bike shop, I still love other bike shops. Cranky’s Bikes is no exception. Jim always has some beautiful frames hanging over the counter. His shop is a very colorful place. All the folks that work there are awesome.

I have pretty much given up on fixies. My knees are getting a little too old to handle them. I still love  riding track bikes, tho. In fact, I wish Santa Barbara had a velodrome as I would be all over it ‘ERRYDAY. Cranky’s mainstays are track bikes, cyclocross, road, touring, cruisers and BMX. I hope if you ever get a chance to stop by, click through here and check out the directions to the shop.

Deanne

Deanne and her Felt TK2 Track Racer

Rides a Felt TK 2
Shot at the Balboa Park Velodrome in San Diego, CA.

On my recent trip to San Diego, I had to visit the velodrome at Balboa Park. We really didn’t check the schedule, seeing as it was a Sunday, we just missed a class winding down. So I managed to sneak a shot at one of the members leaving for the day. There were some people milling around. Some with geared bikes and some with track bikes. It was a nice velodrome, considering that it was outside. The pavement was well maintained and free of debris. The association that looks after it offers all sorts of classes and races. If you’re ever in town, look them up and check the schedule…or you’ll wind up like me, looking like a dork with a camera standing by an empty track.

Andrew

Andrew and his 2013 Kona Paddy Wagon.

Rides a 2013 Kona Paddy Wagon single speed.

Andrew is probably going to kill me. He asked me not to post this picture under any circumstances. All I can say is that I don’t like good photos to go to waste. Not to pat myself on the back, but this is a damn good photo. If this doesn’t make him more popular with the ladies, I don’t know what will. Actually, he’s already got skating, surfing, motorcycling and being super badass covered. In any case, the fact that he thinks this photo will do anything except hurt his image is just ridiculous. Sorry Andrew, you’re wrong. I’m twice your age and you must listen to me. I know what I’m talking about. Now get out there and slay thirty more co-eds before your next session. That is all.

CycleMAYnia 2014

CycleMAYnia 2014. Giant dude with reverse pennyfarthing.

CycleMAYnia 2014. Giant dude with reverse pennyfarthing.

So nobody told me Durago was going to show up to the Velo Vogue fashion show on the first of may. Even though I first caught sight of the bike, the big dude holding it was even more fascinating. I am wondering what a tweed ride would be like with this guy. He would probably upstage everybody. In any case, it was a fun fashion show and a lot of people were there to showcase their bicycle-style clothing and some really awesome bikes. Even though I think fashion shows are silly to begin with, I still cannot say anything bad about this. Anything that promotes the use of bicycles or makes bikes seem cool is alright by me. See below for more pictures.

 

Luis

Luis and his Leader 725 track bike.

Rides a Leader 725 Track Bike.
Shot on Ortega Street in Downtown Santa Barbara, CA.

You may be saying to yourself, “didn’t that fixie scene die out like four years ago?” I thought so. But that was when people were buying them because they carried some sort of hipster caché. Indeed, it used to be college students insisted on getting a beach cruiser. Not so anymore. They all want fixies. Why? Well they’re faster, easier to handle and a lot smaller and lighter than a cruiser. There are very few people left who are buying them because they are cool. Fixies aren’t a hipster accessory anymore. Those people traded theirs in a long time ago on account of the fact they realized they were posers. The people these days who are still riding them? Men and women. Real men and women (except for my friend Chris, he just hasn’t yet realized that he’s never going to be cool). Face it: track bikes aren’t going away. There are plenty of hardcore riders out there who scoff when they hear the scene is dead. They were never part of it.

Bikes are bikes. Everyone likes different kinds. But those that stay true to their roots are the strongest riders of all. We’re not triathletes for crissake. Our bikes aren’t just some type of tool, accessory or a means to an end. If I treated my bikes like that I’d kick my own ass.

Serena (and Wednesday Bike Pron Vol. 9)

Serena and her 1961 Schwinn 24" bike.

Rides a 1961 Schwinn Typhoon 24″ bicycle.
Shot on State and Ortega Streets in Santa Barbara, CA.

Cruisers used t o be the big thing in Santa Barbara. Indeed, there was a time when everyone had one and they were all trying to emulate the Cook Brothers or Gary Littlejohn style. Today, everyone is gravitating towards fixies leaving the cruiser market to the true enthusiasts. What goes around comes around. At first, the cruiser set was unique. Then they weren’t so. Now they are again.

There’s lots of reasons: trends change, fixies are cheaper and faster, Santa Barbara is the bike theft capital of California so having a really nice bike can be risky. In fact, the guys who are true to their cruiser roots are riding either authentic Gary Littlejohns and Cook Brothers, or they are having frames custom made by Rex at Santa Barbara Cruisers. Santa Barbara is a beach town and cruisers are here to stay.

Please see below for some more pics of Serena’s Typhoon.

Alex G.

Alex and his Raleigh Rush Hour track bike.

Rides a Raleigh Rush Hour track bike.
Shot on Ortega Street in Santa Barbara, CA.

Bicycles are only part of the person. If  bicycles are your entire life you’re probably a weirdo…or a framebuilder. There are more things in life than riding a bicycle. Alex is no exception. I first met him when I started working at the bike shop about two years ago. He’s a lot younger than me by a couple of decades (this seems to be a pattern with me). What he lacks in age, he makes up in life experience.  A lot of people would mistake him for your average hipster with a bicycle accessory. I will agree that on first glance he fits the recipe: he has tattoos, a fixie and one damn good sense of fashion. But he’s also a pretty awesome musician, playing drums in his band, Harness. He swears off drugs and alcohol (as most of us should), so he is already leading by example. Here’s what surprised me the most: About a year and a half ago, he left the bike shop to go to barber college. He now works at The Palms Barber shop here in Santa Barbara (37 W Calle Laureles, Santa Barbara, CA 93105. (805) 687-2529). He pulls off some pretty awesome haircuts. Give him a call. I really should go in, they’re right near the Trader Joe’s so it’s not like it’s inconvenient. I guess I am just lazy.

I’m on a kick lately where I have a lot of free time and the opportunity to shoot some of my friends and their bikes.  It’s going well. That is all.

Sandro

Sandro

Rides a Cinelli Mash Histogram track bike.
Shot on State Street in Santa Barbara, CA.
Riding to the Ventura County line with his friend.

I really like the Cinelli x Mash collaboration. I think they are producing some really nice frames with some cool designs and, dare I say it, colorways. I think if someone were to describe a track bike that can be used in a professional race but also casually, I think these would be the stereotype. I certainly wouldn’t want to ride around on the street with one of these things, though. Yes, it is made from Columbus 7005 Airplane Aluminum. But if you you know anything about bicycles, aluminum is your joints’ worst enemy. I don’t think any metal has done more to increase and promote biker’s palsy than our rust-free friend over here. It is really stiff and channels vibrations a little too well. Have you seen the hard plastic saddle on this thing? I mean, like my taint and I certainly wouldn’t subject it to that type of punishment, chamois or no chamois.

Personally, I would choose an older Keirin steel track frame for my daily fixie. They are a little more flexy, dampen vibrations a lot better and they are cheaper…well, unless you go with a 3Rensho, that is. In any case, I have to give mad props to our boy Sandro over here for braving the plastic saddle all the way to the Ventura County line. Better you than me, bro.

Happy Holidays!

HoldiayChainring1

The Holiday Chainring says “Merry/Happy [religious/cultural day of significance]!

Today is Christmas Day here in America and wherever else Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians celebrate around the world. I would like to say, however, that I think that “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” is way more appropriate. Yes, if you look at a calendar or the front door of a bank or post office, today is indeed Christmas Day. However, it is also December 25 (or 25 December depending on if you think America has it backwards), and it has about as much religious significance to non-Christians as, well, a chainring. So I would like to adopt the chainring as the new 48-point star symbol of the end-of-year season. Sort of a universal symbol of hope that next year will be better than this year. And no, I will not be using the chainring as a ninja star in some imagined war on Christmas.

In any case, if you do celebrate Christmas and you are reading this on December 25 (or 25 December), I certainly hope you family (or yourself) regaled you with a nice new bicycle, bicycle part or bicycle-themed object of some sort. I also hope that you are out there right now, weather permitting, on your new road bike/cross bike/fat bike/mountain bike (26/27.5/29 – single speed/hardtail/dual-suspension)/touring bike/BMX bike/recumbent/tandem/hybrid/fixie/Dutch bike/mixte/cruiser/tall bike/folding bike/fitness bike/unicycle (yes, even they count) getting rad and enjoying the thing we all love: cycling.

Thank you all for sticking with me. Merry Christmas. Happy Festivus. Hang a chainring in your window and thank the Gods for your two-wheeled love of your life.

Chen

Chen

Rides a Purefix Custom
Shot on State and De La Guerra in Santa Barbara, CA
Getting coffee

I ran into Chen while walking by one of the three (!) Starbucks we have in our little downtown area. He was riding his custom Purefix bicycle. I do not particularly like the Purefix bikes as I think they are really poorly made. However, he has customized it with new cranks and drop handlebars to make this bike look really awesome. It is probably one of the better Purefix builds I have seen. Chen is really nice guy. He really appreciated me taking his picture. I had a lot of fun talking to him and I hope he sees this post.