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 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.


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.

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.



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.