Light Action: A Lesson in Patience

Shimano Light Action Bar End Shifter

Shimano Light Action Bar End Shifter on Paul Components Thumbie

If you’ve read any of my posts you would probably infer that I hold bicycles pretty high in the hierarchy of super important things that humans have invented. Indeed, the bicycle as we know it evolved from a long history of rich people’s toys and false starts. I find it rather unfortunate that the modern bicycle finally began to be taken seriously about the same time cars and airplanes were invented. Indeed, if horses didn’t poop so much and weren’t so damn skittish, maybe we wouldn’t have bothered with the automobile. Imagine a world where people went places by bicycles and horses. Nope. Too easy. Humans would rather go to great expense to suck oil out of the ground to make a vehicle so energy inefficient that the only plus side is that it makes it easier for teenagers to make out in private.

So what does this have to do with the picture above? It’s to illustrate my point at how awesome bikes are. There’s beauty in simplicity and patience. How such dysfunctional race of beings that infest a planet they don’t care about can make such a simple machine that, despite its drawbacks (it’s not as fast as a car) can get us where we need to go just blows my mind. Seriously: we can ride a bike anywhere given enough time. Not only that, bicycles have a low cost of entry (pretty much anyone can afford one), they are cheaper to fuel (burritos give the best milage per unit), and they can be stunning examples of simplistic beauty. No matter what kind of bike you ride, they are all beautiful not only because some can be aesthetically so. But even the cheapest POS from REI still does the same thing as a Rivendell or S-Works Tarmac Disc…it has two wheels and moves you forward. You need at least one leg and a lot of patience to operate one.

<nonconformist_view>
         Patience, Dear Reader, is something that cars have destroyed — a hundred years ago. They have literally sucked it out of the earth as if they drank our milkshake.
</nonconformist_view>

I’m not saying that we should all hate the automobile. I just think that, deep down inside, they are ugly and dirty.

End of line.

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.

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.

Uni-Fred

Uni-fred riding a unicycle playing a guitar. Shot on State Street in Santa Barbara, CA.

Uni-fred riding a unicycle playing a guitar.
Shot on State Street in Santa Barbara, CA.

 

The cycling world is filled with some pretty annoying things. Drugs, recumbents, Freds, fat bikes, weight weenies, embrocation, spandex, the list is long. But there is one thing that has been link sandpaper on my brain ever since I saw one lumber awkwardly past me in college: unicycles. To me, they are not just half a bike. To me they represent everything that is wrong with America.

You see, in America, we have this “look at me” culture. We are dying to get noticed. Oh hey, I play guitar pretty well. But so do about a million others around me. How can I stand out? I know! I can play guitar while balancing on some half a contraption usually reserved for clowns and jugglers! Look. I’m not denying that Uni-Fred here has skills. He’s got sweet balancing skills, but his guitar playing leaves little to be desired. So to me, he’s nothing more than a de-frocked clown on a wheel. Did I forget to mention that I hate clowns? Look at me!

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.

Mike

Mike2

Rides a 2013 Caraci fixed-gear
Shot on State Street in Downtown Santa Barbara, CA
On the way home.

Mike was bringing his bike in for a problem with the chain. He had bought the bike online and put it together himself. As is the case with most online bike purchases, the buyer isn’t necessarily a qualified bike mechanic. So he needed his chain redone and a couple of other tweaks. He told me that he bought the bike online for as much as we were selling our Purefix bikes. The Caraci seems a little better as far as specs are concerned so I think he got a good deal. He’s a cool guy, Mike. Super nice and riding a bike. You can’t get any better than that!

Chris

Chris2

Rides a Linus Roadster Classic
Shot on State Street in Santa Barbara, CA
Just riding around.

Chris here was just riding around when he and his friend stopped into the shop. Linus bikes have really taken off in the past few months. It seems like those who ride them have a style all their own. Chris here is no exception.