Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You say kethup, I say catch up...

With regards to bikes the industry needs more of... I sold this DiamondBack Transporter over the weekend. This bike is one of those “just right” bikes. Just the right price for a first bike in many, many years buyer. Just the right spec – I gotta love the no suspension fork, complete with fenders, steel frame/fork… When you eliminate a suspension fork, you can afford to upgrade the spec in some key areas. This bike, at $450, has sealed cartridge bearing hubs – very cool! The one part the product manager did skimp on, though, was the handlebar. A steel bar on a $450, no suspension fork bike is a poor choice. The shape was also too straight. I swapped out the bar for a very comfortable 24 degree sweep aluminum bar – just right.



24 degree bars


The yield symbol is the "West Marin resident using their bike instead of their car" sign.


During the day (make that a sunny day which we have been having a lot of – no June Gloom up here!), the skylight in the shop highlights a spot on the floor where I was, coincidentally, parking a bike. Last week a woman in her park ranger uniform stopped by and asked if she could take some pictures of the shop. She was walking by and saw the hallowed light casting its glow on the bike and she wanted to capture it from outside looking in. She had a really sweet vintage camera – can’t remember the name, but it was made just after WWII, folded into a flat package and took photos in a 6” x 9” format. Here’s a link to the photos she took. There are also some other very nice B/W night shots on her flickr page as well. After she left, I went outside to see what she saw and took this photo myself. I doctored up the background in photoshop leaving the bike in color and the background in B/W.



In for repair. Ironically (or is it coincidentally?), this Raleigh Superbe came in for a little love over the weekend. It’s also in darn fine shape and has the same 1969 date stamp on the hub as ours. The basket she had me put on it is a nice touch. The only thing it is missing that would make it a perfect match to my wife's new old bike is the generator front hub and light. It too has the original bike shop decal - Wheels Unlimited in San Rafael, CA.



This German made Birdy came in for a Rohloff hub oil change. It’s a pretty neat folding bike. I’d seen them at Eurobike when I used to go to that show on the shore of Lake Konstance. Ahhh, sipping a 500ml glass of hefeweizen...mmmmm, beer...


Went for a ride too. My sample cross frame had always had a fork that was about 20mm too short. It rode fine, but there was always just … well, something wasn’t there. I finally got around to putting a fork on it that was the right length. Made all the difference in the world. Took it out Sunday after work for a loop up and around Mt. Vision and the Inverness Ridge trail and it took to the dirt just like a pig in a poke.

That ride got me all excited to take it out for a longer ride down Hwy. 1, up Bo-Fax Road and back on Bolinas Ridge Trail the next day. Boy, if there’s a wrong way to prepare for a long ride, I did it. Didn’t eat enough of the right stuff for dinner the previous night. Went too long before eating (not enough) breakfast. Found my bike with a front flat. Couldn’t find my seat bag with my fat cross tubes so I pulled the one off my road bike. Started feeling the early effects of a bonk at the bottom of Bolinas-Fairfax Road (a 5 mile, 1500’ climb). Ate a Clif Bar and figured I’d rather carry on and collapse on the trail in peace than on a return up Hwy 1. Finally got to the top – slowly, at another Clif Bar, peanut butter bagel, Clif Shot. Energy level still very low, rear tire pinch flatted on a fast transition from a downhill to uphill through a rocky section (paying the price for having the wrong size tubes with me). Put the first tube in and started inflating. That tire doesn’t look right. The tube was a Hutchinson 700x18/23 and if you know Hutchinson tubes, well, they don’t seem very flexible and not 50 feet down the trail, it gave. Stopped again and used my last spare – this one a Kenda tube that is much more flexible and felt sure it would work if I carried on carefully. This tube was also a 700x18/23 that I was trying to fit into a 45c tire. Seemed to be working better than the Hutchinson. Steady as she goes. It’s working! Finally, two hours after I first felt the bonk coming on, the 3 Clif Bars (at them up changing flats), 2 Clif Shots, and one peanut butter bagel were finally kicking in and I started feeling much better. It could have also been the fact that the last half of Bolinas Ridge is more predominantly downhill. Finally got home 3:59 and 30 miles later – ouch! No pictures, sorry.

Hey, are you Jeff? Saturday rolls around and two couples roll up to the shop on their bikes. One of the guys is asking about mixed-terrain rides. As he’s talking, I’m thinking “this guy’s familiar.” Then his wife uses his name and I say, “you’re Jeff Porter!” Well, it’s actually Jeff Potter, but after almost 20 year, that’s pretty close. It turns out Jeff and I used to ride together with a mutual friend of ours up in the Malibu mountains, racing at Big Bear and Mammoth, Victor Vincente events… He was and is unmistakable with his long pony-tail and kind of staccato delivery when he talks. So we caught up on old times and he checked out all the old bikes in the shop. He saw my Mary 29” wheeled bike and commented that two friends of his just bought Mary bikes and were digging them. I always love hearing that people, not only bought something I created, but like them as well. I gave him a couple of ride loop options. Turns out he did pretty much the same ride I did yesterday, but in reverse of how I rode it (see above ride description). What a small world – and further proof of how Black Mountain Cycles ties everything together.

Welp, I got three bikes to assemble today that are sold so I gotta roll...

(What's playing: MPR's The Current Yaz Move Out - oh, yeah Alison Moyet...)

3 comments:

Jim G said...

Weird. I know of another Jeff Potter from the iBOB List -- he's even mentioned Victor Vicente a few times. On top of that, he was vacationing in the Pt. Reyes/Inverness area a couple of months back. I don't think it's the same JP though...?

blackmountaincycles said...

Hah! That is weird. But then, this is West Marin...

Anonymous said...

Mike, it was great seeing you again. I know owning a business you never get time for vacation, but if you're ever in the Tahoe area please get in touch.

Jeff