Always thought the person on the back of a tandem was weird, wanting to look at someone's ass all ride long.  Now I know why.


giving thanks

Today I stop to give thanks for what my lot in life has brought me:

A wonderful wife and two awesome kids! I love you guys!

A house with enough room to be (constantly) messy, with things that we are able to have and afford, when many have nothing.

For both my wife and myself, jobs that is very trying at times, but jobs no less.

The ability to have a pantry and a refrigerator filled with food.

Friends and family for the entire household who we are able to help and that they are able to aid us when neeeded.

The health that me and my family shares.

Remember these things that are important to you, and give thanks for them, and celebrate this holiday - each and everyday.  And also remember that this holiday is for giving thanks, not to plan what stores you are planning to assault tomorrow.



Still not much to report, things haven't gone into the realm of exciting here for a while.  Kids are doing well, and there is soccer for the oldest, activities for the youngest have stopped until after the year change.  Work pretty much in winter mode at this time, not a lot of people interested in bikes during the winter in Cleveland.

The mc isn't here yet, hopefully the issues can be sorted out, and it can get through the border.  And get well, Matt. 

I need to get this sold:

and I need to sell it pretty darn quick, a new cargo bike frame is here and I need the finances to build it.  I'm pretty excited about this one, lets just say that it is similar to one from this post.  And it's head tube looks like:

Other things in the works, reviews on: a new Bontrager helmet, PDW front light, The North Face windbreaker, some gloves and hat from Ibex, and a front and seat bag from Revelate Designs.  And of course, the mc ti bike and those parts as well as the new cargo bike, and hopefully my new manager's bike!



mc bike history part 2


Reading Matt's blog changed the way I looked at a lot of things, but for the sake of this story, bikes.  His bikes were simple, with very little/none in decoration, didn't have extravagant paint, wasn't flashy - just simple, clean lines and welds - all what you needed, nothing one didn't.  Something that really spoke to me, like a quote read from an essay by Yvon Chouinard in an old Patagonia catalog:

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
— Antoine de Saint ExupĂ©ry

And  so I started saving up money for one of his frames, but I realized it wasn't something that was going to happen any time soon.  I soon joined my wife in the Alliance, Ohio area and got a job in a backpacking store, not exactly the way to financial wealth.  When I had save some money up, it was reality time, either buy a frame from Matt, and not afford any parts, or get a complete Rivendell Quickbeam and ride that.  The Quickbeam was purchased and I rode that bike everywhere - road, gravel, trails, touring and long day trips - it was my first allrounder bike, and my first dedicated singlespeed.  My Cannondale was soon converted to a singlespeed, and that was great for more technical trails.  A year or so after I got the Quickbeam, my wife lost her job and found a new one in the Cleveland area where we both grew up, and we moved into her mom's house while we tried to sell our house, a big change for her as well as us, a married couple, their 2 year old son, and dog and 3 cats all living in a widow's house.  When we moved back home, I got a job at a bike shop, and was enjoying it, but bills were catching up, so I sold the Quickbeam (super sad) and when I was able to, got a cheap fixed gear to use for commuting.  I really missed having that one bike that could do just about everything, so I still wanted a Chester.

At this time, Matt had moved from Colorado, to Idaho, and finally he decided to stop making frames, just as I had saved up just enough money!  I had some correspondence with Matt, and was pretty bummed that he had stopped welding frames, but things change.  I talked to a few other frame builders, and ended up ordering a Rick Hunter frameset.  And 5 hours after I sent the deposit it, Matt announced that he was taking deposits again for frames - damn.  I mean damn, but the bike that Rick made for me was/is awesome, and I still have that bike (for now).

I was still reading Matt's blogs on a weekly basis, his essays on design, parts selection, and of course his music was tugging at me to still get one of his frames.  I knew that it would be exactly what I wanted in a bike, and his experience in building allarounder drop bar fixed gears was what I needed to get that bike.  So money saved up, I placed my order in December of 2009 for my frame.  I have written on this blog about my parts selection, and how I thought that my frame was shipping, but if it did happen the way it was told to me, my frame should be here tomorrow or Saturday....We'll see, with pictures and stories coming

There are lots of parts missing from this story, but they really aren't that important (or I forgot), so until I write again.....


my history with mc bikes....

Part one of ?

Back in the fall of 2000, my life took another turn.  Five years before, I had started to date my wife to be, 2 years before, I moved to Harrisonburg, VA to be with her during her years as a graduate student at James Madison University, and finally in 2000,  we were married and moved to Michigan for her first job out of college.  I had started mountain biking in the Shenendoah Valley, riding a fully rigid Cannondale M400, all over the trails that made men and women of Chris Scott, Jeremiah Bishop, Sue George, and others, as well as hearing and meeting some of the people of Team Hugh Jass, single speeders/fixed riders that were absolute monsters on the bikes.  I was never a great mountain biker down there, a lot of hills for a flatlander from Cleveland, and I found hiking, fly fishing and beer drinking much easier, but mountain biking was something a did a few times a month, and I really enjoyed it.

Why the back story?  When we moved to Michigan, there were tens of miles of trails right outside my door to ride and hike, ones I didn't have to drive for 30 minutes or more to get to, so I rode my bike much more often, and when I got my job at REI, I worked in the bike department, and learned how to fix my bike, as well as build that old C-dale up into a nicer bike - only to ride it in only one gear most of the time.  Single speeding called out to me, and as time went on, I started to really want a dedicated one-geared machine.  And the internet was the place to find information on it.  I really couldn't afford it at the moment, my wife got a job back in Ohio, and she was living with friends, eating her own food and helping with utilities and I was living the married bachelor life in Michigan, so no shifting was the singlespeed of choice.

In Michigan, the head bike mechanic's name was Roger, and he had worked in a bike shop outside of D.C. during high school (went to East Coast Bike Academy in Harrisonburg), went to college on a ROTC program, served in the Army, and when he got out, moved into a friends house.  We are about the same age, so we hit it off pretty well.  One of the things he did was build an old Stumpjumper into a singlespeed, and it was awesome.  Having a lot of time on my hands, I read about the "World of Singlespeeding", and by riding my  bike without shifting, I was having a blast, and one of the websites I found a bunch of information on was the old Cars-R-Coffins website, with its link page to a ton of singlespeed sites.  (I also learned about Rivendell Bicycle Works at this time from Roger - which would lead to other and some related bike bits.)  One of the sites of course was mattchester.com, and reading about his experiences, seeing his bikes, and just his general demeanor about life, really influenced me with what I wanted in a bike, and more.  

More to come