Thursday, September 29, 2011

Instant gratification...

I posted the above photo yesterday on Facebook. I was busy building a set of cross wheels for a friend and preparing the rims and tires with a layer of Vittoria Mastik. I thought the image of the fresh Challenge Grifo and the can of cement was a nice composition. Still do. My buddy Rob commented, "What is that can? Do they sell tape in a can now?" That comment got me thinking about instant gratification and doing something simply because it saves time.

Sure, I could have used tubular tape instead of glue. That would have saved considerable time, but not if I wanted to do it right. Sometimes doing something "right" means you need to spend more time on the process. Sometimes, the quick way out is okay. Sometimes not. Sometimes it's all about the process.

Rob's comment was interesting since we both came out of the same shop years ago. Chuck always taught us to do things properly. I'm reminded of Chuck every time I cut a steerer tube and pull out a file to manually deburr and clean up the cut on the steerer. I could easily just turn the grinder on and run the edge of the steerer on the grinding wheel to clean it up, but I don't. I clamp the steerer in the vise, pull our one of my files and clean up the rough edge with a nice chamfer, then I file smooth the top of the steerer, and then clean up the inside with the rounded edge of the file. It doesn't take much time and when I do this, the image of the old Pacific Coast Cycles and Chuck always fills my memory. It also gives me great pleasure to perform this manual task and have the outcome be perfect because I had perfect control of the file.

The same applies to making coffee. I could buy pre-ground beans and simply load the ground coffee into a filter basket, fill up a reservoir with water, flip a switch, and be drinking coffee five minutes later. Instead, the preparation of a cup of coffee is a process, a ritual. While the water is heating up on the stove, I grind my beans to the proper coarseness, load the coffee in the press, fill with hot water, stir the mixture, press the plunger listening to the water being pushed through the coffee into my cup, then enjoy the pureness of that first cup of coffee in the morning.

While my process of making coffee takes about the same amount of time as an automatic drip coffee maker, during that process, I am involved in every step of the action of making my coffee. Sure, I could have used double-sided tubular rim tape. It would have taken a fraction of the time to mount the tires, but I know with rim cement, it's done right. And there's something comforting about the ritual process of layering on rim cement on a brand new rim and tire, fitting the tire to the rim, seeing that the base tape is uniform around the rim, slipping the wheel in the truing stand, spinning, and seeing that the tire spins as true and round as the wheel it's mounted to.

(And my coffee maker - this little gem that yields the best cup of coffee I've had. Truly pure and grit free. You might think your coffee is grit free, but you probably don't drink down that last sip because of grit and sediment. With this, you get to drink the whole cup. I'll have a few of these in the shop soon.)

Peter's wheels

Peter's wheels

Peter's wheels

Peter's wheels

Peter's wheels

(What's playing: The Sadies The Trial)


Jason said...

Nice wheelset! I am just about to build up a Chris King / Major Tom wheelset when the hubs arrive next week.

I am wondering though if you did anything to the casing on the Grifo's - I have been reading about people using AquaSeal or just plain urethane to seal up the sides to help protect from abrasion and keep them looking cleaner a lot longer.

Tim Joe said...

Mike, I think the best lesson I ever learned is that taking the Long Way Home is ultimately the most rewarding. Excellent post, well crafted.

Like those wheels.


blackmountaincycles said...

Thanks Tim Joe & Jason. Jason, I've seen that done to tires, but didn't do that to these.

Anonymous said...

Yo Mike
Time well spent for sure, weather coffee making or gluing. A note and warning for the folks out there on tubular tape. When used by itself, it almost always in my experience leads to rolled tires on cross bikes due to the low pressure. When used with glue, it is sweet and excellent insurance for low psi use, hence Stu Thorne of cyclocrossworld's enthusiasm for it.

blackmountaincycles said...

Thanks, Cam. The Belgian method. Links below for more info on tape + cement.

Nate said...

The Belgian Method is the best way to secure a cross tubular but DO NOT USE TUFO TAPE for it!