Wednesday, February 27, 2013

anyone can polish a turd

oh shit!  i'm back... kinda.  my kidneys still hurt and i can't quite figure out how i spent so much money when i was blacked out half the time.  either way, four days in Denver surrounded by a bunch of gawkers with a pen-ash for the extreme was about enough for me, and after the bumpy flight back, it's nice to be back on a familiar throne.

so i went to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show and saw all the same shit you did online.  there is nothing i can add simply because i am not a: a real photographer, and b: i am not a real writer.  bare in mind, i can't weld more than plumbing, but i am rather good at mitering, so there's that.

the one thing i am really good at is calling out bullshit.  so that's what i'm gunna do.

case in point, this here weld.

 Kent Erikson is a magician.

this is what a textbook weld looks like.  unfortunately most of the bikes shown at the handmade bicycle show were doused in paint, powder coating, or rocks.

yup, rocks.  now, just to say it again, i am by no means a frame builder and if i ever was to show up at this shindig with a creation of my own, i would fully anticipate and welcome the lashing bashing slashing and dashing of my ass right out the door tar and feathered to be cast away to a remote island never to be seen again.  because that's the skill i currently have.  i bet my miters would be ok though, but they would not be good enough fo sho.

i will tell you this, i painted professionally for a few years, and you can hide a whole lot of shitty work under the right layers of mud and paint.  yes, when painting you need a good sub straight in order to make it easier to coat, and the thinner the paint, the more it shows... and the mark of a good painter is to enhance the builders work, not cover up their shit.  case in point...

mind you, the paint and powder that glared into my eyes was out of this world, and having been a painter it was wonderful having conversations with some of the best in the biz.  but the thing that astounded me was how few unpainted and unfinished frames were shown. 

bicycle frames, much like the skeleton of a moving object, is the most important part of the structure.  it is what sets the tone for what the bicycle is supposed to be.  if i was there to purchase a hand built frame, fully knowing it could be months, or years even before the tubes are selected, i'd kinda like to know what i'm getting.

and now this is where my arrogant diatribe makes sense.

it seems the vast majority of the people there had no idea what they were looking at.  they had no idea about the craftsmanship, years of trials, the thousands of welds, miters, files, and blood sweat and painstaking anger that went into so many of these creations, never mind the failures.

i shook hands with bent and charred fingers missing nails with a grip that only someone that has toiled for decades could obtain.  and over and over again, the raccoons with their little lemmings in tow couldn't stop spouting about colors and parts and a bunch of bullshit that has nothing to do with the experience of owning a true custom bicycle, and nowhere close to what it takes to get to the point that you even have the balls to get a booth and subject yourself to a bunch of judgmental assholes that couldn't even light a torch, let alone ride a fucking bicycle worth a damn.

the vast majority of the people i witnessed staring starry eyed into their own reflections at the love and dedication built into these gifts, had no idea what they are witnessing.  i got the feeling so many people were there to come home with something to brag about, as if coming home with a t-shirt and a pint glass lifted them to a higher status because they simply bought a ticket to a show.

i worry that the true respect for craftsmanship is following the rotary phone right down the path of good riddance, and that par work polished to a keen shine will become the mainstream understanding of what it takes to be an artisan.  just open up any bicycle magazine next month and look at what is inside.  it will be nothing but internet fodder and lip service, with no mention of true craftsmanship, art, or legacy.

FROM STEEL: The Making of a Soulcraft from michael evans on Vimeo.

so take heed you little raccoons and lemmings; next time i find myself in the middle of your herd, i'm gunna chuck a fist full of nickles on the floor just to enjoy the ensuing cacophony of shutters smacking in a frantic spray and pray with hopes of obtaining the lifetime of experience and education needed to stamp a coin with nothing more than a single tour of the mint, a camera, and an internet connection.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

me eat rocks

we are simply a fart away from being primates.  we have harnessed electricity to be in most every household in just the last hundred years.  telephone?  computers?  internet?  shit, we have only begun to touch the surface, let alone even sharp enough to scratch it.  the internet has only been rolling strong for twenty years.  just in the last four or five have we seen the huge technological leaps of utilizing a yelp page to realize or criticize.  keep your pants on kids, we've a very long way to go.

our evolution has been slowly moving, cuz evolution is slow as a snail on a frozen lake waiting for it to stop snowing.  seriously, like plate techtonics slow.  we are still killing each other because we believe in different gods.  so arrogant to our neanderthal tendencies, we're just a breath away from being a pig in lipstick.

we're still fighting over shiny shit, stupid cars, debt, credit, borrow, worry, payment, loan, so caught in the cycle it can only be drscribed as a dozen raccoons posturing and fighting over ten deblumes. now the crazies are getting so angry they are going out and just shooting up places and people for who knows what.  every body is freaking out.

yeah, if you watched that, we have obviously only just begun.

i saw this on a ride this week.  this is security.  can't even handle a segway, gatta have a front wheel.  this is supposed to be intimidating, and it is to most people.  we look like a bunch of clowns.  seriously.  and people wonder while aliens won't visit.  uh, maybe cuz in every alien movie ever, we kill them.  or at least try to.

Barnum and Bailey people, all of it.

so i encourage you to take a moment to sit back, breathe, and take a look around.  tear off the blinders, buck your lemming tendencies, and listen to this sermon.

and in keeping with the circus theme and all the things you lemmings line up to oogle in a frenzy of unconditional to the actual art, i'll be headed to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver this here shortly.  you can follow along with my dumb ass on instagram in the comfort of you own bed and flannel jammies.  or follow along with any other of the bazillion bicycle dildos that will be be joining me to all but inundate your electronic live feeding tube for your rapid digestion.

i'll see you here next wednesday for a preview of what the big box guys will be copying in the next few years, as well as making fun of people who think brazing a bunch of shiny bits onto frames is makes you an artisan.

Monday, February 18, 2013

number one or number two?

a weekend of great friends, kick-ass food, good beer, and bunches of hours riding bicycles placed me in saturday evenings post ride pose.

after a completely funtastic morning on the Lickety Split, Scott "Monster" McConnell and i split off from the group to continue torturing our core temperatures and the ability to hold back vomit.  we had a mid ride lunch at Hog Heaven Bar-B-Que, and i ate three spicy pickles because i am smarter than you and i got to continue to taste them periodically for about an hour or so.

Scott is the man on a ride.  great conversation, dude NEVER stops smiling, and he'll run you into the ground.  and that's what he did to me, for six straight hours.  don't get me wrong, it was great, and much needed.  however, one can only say, "Thank you.  May I have another?" only so many times before one's body outranks one's mettle.  i think i'm going to start the next ride off with a safety word.  in fact, a couple hours after i peeled myself off the floor to clean up the mess that was me, i come to find out Scott had continued on to meet up with another bud about 15 miles away from where we split off and just kept going.  you'll find him lining up for the Tour Divide this summer.  it'll be just awesome.

once the stink and pity was scrubbed off like a Silkwood Shower, i headed off to Yazoo for a pint and a cheese plate.  when i opened the door, that was the beginning of the end of the line, so i slid across the floor and snuck in on the brewery tour.

which put me out of the pan and into the fire.  so a made it a quick visit, did the hug and slug thing, and the headed to Patrick's Bistreaux for some dinner.  how was it?  catfish po-boy the size of Hulk Hogan's biceps, and after visiting NOLA so many times...  go there. it's good.  all of it.

sunday morning brought my second Hickman County Gravel Grinder Association's Hickman County Gravel Road Ride.  as always, awesome time.  a new group ride that has yet to jump the shark, and likely won't as long as the guys in charge remain the guys in charge.  i love this kinda ride so much, and it's popularity will grow, even if it's simply for lack of cars to deal with on the ride.  but, like everything, it's only a matter of time before Specialized comes out with a gravel type specific bike.  oh... damn.

everything was great until i realized there had been something wrong with my shoe, likely beginning on the previous day's outing, which repetitive motioned enough to bring about that certain amount of pain to call it off about at the half way point, and the same road we were parked on just a few miles away.  did i mention it was uphill the whole way?  whatever, whine moan groan.  so i ended the day drinking beer and i took a bath.

so there you go.  happy monday.  i hope you make the right choice for your next adventure.

 how about that.

Friday, February 15, 2013

while you were asleep...

i was eating a heart shaped pizza from Papa Johns.  happy VD day... yesterday.  you know, all of you single people who went to bars last night looking for someone to wake up with, or wake up next to and quietly sneak out without waking the dog.  yeah, ladies too.  y'all dirty as any other guy.  sittin' in a bar peering over yer glass of emotional lubrication working hard to lower your standards and ethics for a piece of ass and a ;little comfort for the night.

cuz that's what we are all doing.  it's still primal kids.  totally.  we have yet to make the collective leap into the next evolution of humanity, which will be less useless violence and more intelligent decisions.  but, with the fear bore into our psyche from the onslaught of bird flu, asteroid collisions, terrorism, and basically scared to death somebody will lose their shit and just start shooting up the place, we're much to busy to smell the roses.  we just wanna fuck and drink.

then again, most of the smells these days are peppered with exhaust and chlorine.

but i digress.  seems while the western hemisphere was slumbering after a night of lonely drinking or crazy monkey sex, there was a little pop on the other side of the world.

Kapow mother fucker!  a Russian cleric says it's the Lord's message.  the way i read it, he's saying we all need to be cool about it.  unfortunately most people get all, don't you tell me what to do.  stupid people.  from what i've read, no one was hurt, but a bunch of damage was done, windows busted, roofs smashed, etc.  ...and it's gunna be 17 degrees.  well, its night time there as of when i'm pecking this out, so it's probably cold as balls.

so while God was reigning down terror onto the masses of Siberia, i was in the woods finding peace of mind, being kept warm and fuzzy by the Minister's Wooly goodness.

so yeah, that happened.

if you make it through today without finding warts on your junk, head out to meet up with the New Kids on the Block for some roady fun.  Music City Cycling is having the second act to last weekends ride, the Lickety Split.  it'll be fun, i promise.  if it's not, buy an Icee and through it on one of the organizers.  it'll be cold enough to make it suck, as well as teach a life lesson.

so head off to enjoy your weekend.  i'm gunna, even if it's at your expense.

Monday, February 11, 2013

hipsters don't ride bikes.

the hipster kids usually don't ride great distances.  they typically use their bicycles to get from place to place or bar to bar.  they commute, but usually leave the 20+ mile distances to others.

well, this little gaggle of hens, aka Music City Cycling, decided they are gunna start a group ride thing on saturdays called the Lickety Split.  seein' as how all i'm doing right now is passing the time, what better way to start a 30 degree early morning off than riding with a bunch of skinny jeans.  so bein' that this is hipsters, ironic irony is important, and i make nothing but great decisions, i jumped on my fixie to join them.

was it fun?  fuck yeah it was fun.  and you should join them next time.  we basically did our own t-shirt/fund raiser ride club ride.  the route took me from East Nashy, to Loveless Cafe, Pukett's in Franklin, Fly TN, Puckett's at Lieper's Fork, and then back to Nashy.  i'd say i got around 80 or so miles in over the course of the day, and 5000 calories ingested.  mind you, two of us added a bunch of miles to the original plan of 30, and i coorced a couple of them to roll to Franklin with me for lunch.

here's a little picture of what it looked like, which was awesome.  we got to pet a donkey.  you didn't.

that was the ride.  this is the hot fish sandwich from Bolten's i ate around midnight (still riding after the whole day).  it could also be referred to as colon blow.  it wasn't part of the ride, but it was a big part of my sunday.

Friday, February 8, 2013

forgot the cord

the text from shep "ride?" typically means it ain't gunna be easy, but it's gunna be fun.  we rolled out of my temparary abode and headed for downtown to play in traffic.  we tore through the city on a grand tour of a lot of fun places to ride your bicycle.  it was almost a kind of cyclocross style thang, which is what i'm planning out anyway for my next event:

the Fuck You Everybody Invitational Ride and Back Shaving Convention

so pack up yer bike and a pair of clean underpants and anal lube, and get yer ass to Nashvegas for this once in a lifetime experience of bicycling blind drunk through a city you've never visited, along with failure and likely crappy weather.

we'll visit all kinds of places you won't want to be seen, as well as a fast, long, and retarded cyclocross bike style bicycle ride filled with whatever booze you can carry. there will be stairs, dirt, pave, curbs, and hopefully blood. i'll even throw out a $100 cash prize and a mostly full bottle of whiskey to the first person to lose a tooth, get stitches, or be arrested.

so come one come all.  and now my obligation to Big Red has been met, pictured here below.  if you run into him, buy him a beer cuz he would do it for you.  he'll be there, and you will regret not enjoying his company.  cuz you're too cool.

...and you know why you should come, simply because non of these people had the opportunity.

seriously.  how many times do you sit back, ponder, and think to yourself, "i should do blah blah bah."  you know what, thinking you should is a whole lot different than getting off your ass and doing it.  do you want to be laying in bed, knowing that the time you had to go do cool shit has passed?  when you are sitting back in your chair, in your cube, wash rinse repeat life, and instead of working you are looking at pics on blogs, or instagram, or fakebook, of all the places your internet friends are going, and all you do is think it's a good idea.

well, wake up kid, cuz before you know it, that chance will be gone.  long gone.  and that will be it.  you wasted your life.

how about you start with Music City Cycling's Lickety Split ride tomorrow morning?  oh no!  you won't know anyone?  what if you can't keep up/look cool enough/whatever other stupid excuse you have.  take a chance.

and with that, i'm out.  i'ma gunna go have some fun.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

chance of a lifetime

5:20am the alarm goes off and thirty five minutes later Glitter Gravel and i are heading north on I-65 on the way to the Cyclocross World Champeenshits of the Universe.  as the sun began it's ascent into the heavens, my bloodshot eyes focused on the construction signs and lead me to what would be an omen of what was about to pour into our laps like hot coffee in a McDonald's drive through.


we rolled into Louisville an hour late because even though it's west of Nashvegas, it's in the previous timezone.  luckily, we made it just in time to watch the Junior World Champeenshits.  and watching that 17-18 year old cross the line, after giving every bit of strength, heart, love, fear, and pain into a minute span of his life that will for ever be one of the greatest memories.

this was followed by yet another amazing performance, which you can read about it great detail, with just a couple clicks... so i'm not going to talk about that because being redundant is boring and annoying.

what you won't read about is the party.  this thing was a fucking circus.  more than ten thousand of your closest friends from all over the world came out to throw down at the ho-down in the Blue Grass State.  and not one muther fucker held back.  even the photographers were ready to take it seriously.  so for all of you who decided not to go, even if you live within a few hour drive, well...  you are a complete and total fucking idiot.  i met a couple dudes that drove from seattle.  your excuse is stupid.

so what happened?  this is what happened that you won't read about in magazines.  in fact, i would seriously doubt if NASCAR could produce such a beer and whiskey swilled group hug love fest of people from not just all walks of life, but walks of life from all over the world that would end with nothing but respect, fun, and a Disney like smile deep down in your heart that isn't contrived.

so if you can imagine everyone is drunk, screaming, cheering, and laughing, not just for the local boys, but supporting every single person that towed the line.  ...and it was wrapped up in mud, beer and waffles.  find something bad about that.

there are a whole lot more, but i think this tame representation gives you an idea of how it all went down.

all at once the filth and mayhem ended and we poured out of the venue like clumpy milk onto the streets of Louisville, and then things really got out of hand.

once Glitter Gravel's phone was found, left over pizza was eaten, and i sobered up enough to drive, we wrapped up the impromptu tailgate after party at the venue (which happened thanks to the lost phone) and headed to On Your Left Cycles for the Chris King after tailgate after party sponsored by Sierra Nevada... which turned out to be a good thing when they ran out of beer since i had four cases of Yazoo in the truck.  as much as i don't like to share, i couldn't stand to think i would have to talk to sober people, so i gave in. not sure if you know this or not, but cyclists drink a lot of beer.  like, a whole lot.

On Your Left Cycles gets it.  the guys running the place have heart, passion, and love for cycling, no matter what, and the crowd was nothing less than stellar.  old friends, new friends, and people who thought i was homeless milled, chatted, smiled, drank and celebrated the fact that we had all just left the 2013 Cyclocross World Champeenshits less than a few hours ago, and we were in By God Kentucky.  like i said, if you coulda gone but didn't, you suck.

somewhere around this point things began to fade in the brain and my memory starts getting fuzzy, blank, and i might have had an out of body experience, or maybe i was slipped a roofie.  either way, my ass didn't hurt when i woke up, so i'm ok with that.  while going through all my photos from the weekend, i stumbled upon this:

kinda starting to wonder what will show up on the internets in the next couple of days...  if you can send me a pic of my birthmark, i'll mail you a $20 bill.

the next morning, after not making it back to where ever we were supposed to sleep indoors, we awoke freezing in the back of the pick up truck (excellent cyclocross conditions are terrible camping conditions) to learn Grimpeur Brothers were offering salvation for the free takin' as along as you weren't a complete asshole.  so we talked them into letting me in anyway.  i can not begin to describe the elation of this amazing coffee running through my veins like much anticipated heroin after six weeks in the sober tank.  life changing.  these guys get it, and they knew exactly how to do it.  click the link and buy some coffee, and don't do it just because it has a bicycle on it.

as much as i would like to thank the event organizers, racers, teams, and people all over the world, the biggest pat on the back needs to go to the city of Louisville, and the heroes that held back the Ohio River so the show could go on.  these people worked for days on end, never taking a break, holding back at least three feet of water that would shut this thing down like grandma innocently stumbling into a cocaine infused orgy with fresh baked cookies and milk.

they held back the ohio river.  via wiki:  "The Ohio River (Seneca: ohi:yĆ³[2]) is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi (Ohio at Cairo: 281,500 cu ft/s (7,960 m3/s);[3] Mississippi at Thebes: 208,200 cu ft/s (5,897 m3/s)[4]) and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream."

even though i witnessed the greatest cyclocross racers of the day, the people that made sure everything went off without any issue are the real heroes.

so let's lift a glass of whatever keeps you from killing everyone in honor of these dudes and dudettes, cuz they're the baddest mother fuckers on the planet, and they saw to it that the dreams of those participating could be fulfilled, lives could be changed for the better through bicycles, and the United States knows cyclocross.

Friday, February 1, 2013

when i grow up, i want to be Slayer

that is all i wanna be.

see you people next wednesday, i'm rollin out for Cyclocross World Champeenshits.  ifin you just can't live without me, i'd probably put my efforts into the links over to yer right.  i anticipate this will either be awesome, or awesome witha side of what the fuck...