Monday, June 30, 2008

Considering getting out?

If you have ever considered selling your fixed gear and getting into..well getting into something else, this might be your golden opportunity.
this ad is currently running on Craigslist Phoenix:




Mantis Tiller trade for Fixie (Tempe)



Reply to: mailto:sale-698614070@craigslist.org?subject=Mantis%20Tiller%20trade%20for%20Fixie%20(Tempe)

Date: 2008-05-28, 1:02PM MST

I have a Mantis Tiller and I'm looking to trade it for a fixed gear track bike. If any of you urban fixed geared hipster want to trade the ride in for the farm life, this is the deal for you.


  • Location: Tempe

  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 698614070






I know some of you are thinking to yourself: "I didn't know Fuji came out with a new track model? Ive never even heard of the Mantis Tiller? Does it come with horizontal dropouts?"
This is a picture of an actual Mantis tiller.








I can picture the two interested parties meeting somewhere downtown. The hipster riding a bianchi concept with a rear wheel choked with spokecards. The farmer leaning against a rusted piece of farm equipment. No words are spoken, the two simply shake hands and exchange hardware without breaking eye contact for fear the other will realize they are getting a raw deal and back out before its over. I don't know which would be more unsettling to come across on a busy street: a farmer rolling a fixed gear sans brakes in a pair of overalls and one of those long strands of hay poking out from between his lips like a toothpick, or the "urban hipster" in tight jean "shants" skidding a rusted piece of farm equipment covered in Cadence and bianchi stickers down the sidewalk.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dante's back yard

Yesterday i truly rode in one of the outermost circles of hell. From the door by my office (my office has no windows) it looked like the oven-like temperatures might be abated by an overcast sky that afternoon. The dark clouds to the East even looked like they might drop a little rain on this skillet we live in. So i suited up and headed out. Ten minutes into it, i realized the temperature hadnt dropped one degree from midday. In fact it felt hotter now that i was pedaling. i was thinking to myself; "The sun had been covered for some time, why wasnt it cooling off?" Just then it started to snow. I couldnt believe my eyes, white flakes drifting down all around me, on the bike, a single pure white flake was now resting on the back of my glove , balanced delicately on the terry cloth strip usually reserved for my snot and sweat. So picturesque. Wait! Snow!?! what the hell is going on here? Then i realized that the air smelled and felt different, it smelled like smoke. I looked to the horizon and followed the plume of "cloud" all the way to the ground. It wasnt a dark raincloud at all, but rather a trail of smoke from a brush fire of some kind on the west side of town. The "snow" was actually ash drifting over on a hot wind coating everything in white residue. I was already suited up and out or i would have turned back, the air was terrible and the ash continued to coat my now sweaty face and arms. Only in Phoenix. Well i take that back, most of California is burning right now too i understand. Maybe we should start a cyclocross race series in the "snow".

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Now what?

This just in...STreet KiNg ride next Thursday to a state of chaos. The next day is the Fourth of July so everyone will have plenty of recovery time. The last ride left alot of riders strung out on Belgium beer during the next morning and workday. I personally felt the tipping point after double flatting and letting one of the guys take my bike while I ran along side for a full city block. Then we stopped for a night cap and some pool. The night cap turned out to be PBR, my first forray into that genre of malt beverages. I left the bar realizing my defeat was now complete. I had fought the beer god and he had won. Myself with a few of the SK crew are working on a top secret project involving investigative journalism and bicycles. The ride next week is to also serve as a brainstorming session for the project that has been codenamed: "Fred" details to follow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The search continues

Check out this transformation;

Before:

After:

The sole description accompanying the pictures is this:


This was the first courier bike ever owned by David Leopold, the king of the NYC messengers.


While in my hunt for a new (or just new to me) bike, i came across this restoration on the site airglow. Airglow specializes in painting bikes in any imaginable color or condition. Studying these two pictures, it appears the bike had at some point, a set of white cranks, white pedals, and matching seatpost, brake levers, and brakes for that matter. The frame appears to have either been locked up repeatedly with an uncovered length of chain over the course of a few years, either that or it was chewed on by a velociraptor. This is the kind of project i need like i need a hole in my head, but i cant help being intrigued and awed by this kind of workmanship. I would love to find a vintage track frame and end up with a piece of bike art/porn like this. I just don't know if i have the patience for a project that involves UPS and months. I need instant gratification, just ask anyone that knows me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

100K

AZFixed quietly passed one hundred thousand hits at some point last night. It took a little over six weeks to get there, at the pace the site generates now, the next 100k will happen in about half that time. The forum has taken on a life of its own. I used to update each thread, read each comment and prune the discussions myself, fixing links, helping people post pictures and the like. The anxious parent running behind a wobbly little pedaler sans training wheels. Now i just oberseve while people enjoy the community. I am proud of the accomplishments that the forum has generated. I know it has helped that community of people find a common ground, albeit a virtual one. This site is still my creative outlet. I post all my ideas, good and bad, here for a relatively few to read. There are some weeks that no one even comments. I dont track the stats on the blog like the forum. Who even knows if anyone has ever visitied this site more than once?



Now...what about this bitchin Nagasawa? 59 actual TT. A rare find in Japan where most bikes are in the 52-53 range. Smoking clean paint.

I am technically back in the market for a new frameset/bike. I have conceded that the fixie inc is too small and i just cant get right on the bike. If i wasnt using the thing to commute it might be alright to just goof around on, but with a full pack and the heat, i need something a tick more comfortable. I will start with finding a 59 and then working off my wobble naught measurements from my road bike, see how close i can get without looking like a hybrid. With a satin silver set of DA high flange hubs and some bulls up front. What do you think?

Monday, June 23, 2008

FixEd Alleycat announced



Thats right, amidst the haze of alcohol and heat, last thursday the finishing touches to the planning stage were hammered out and this race is going to happen. Two person teams competing in three divisions; Female/female, coed, all-male. I have most of the stops laid out on a google map and plan on posting it on AZFIXED soon. I hope we can get 25 teams or so. I have a couple of good ideas for other bonus points and prizes and plenty of volunteers so far. Everything from the manifest (a fed ex tube) to the tokens at each stop (colored playpit balls) is going to be tightened up in the next few days. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Campy, Spinal Tap style.

Turns out the 2009 version of campy even from the low end (if you consider anything campy does to be low end ) to the ultra-high, can be outfitted with an eleven speed cassette. If you are asking yourself? Why not just add or subtract a tooth at the top or bottom to save weight instead of another cog? Rest assured you are not alone.
Cyclingnews.com:
Confirming that all the rumours were true and all the detective work we've done over the past few months was correct, Campagnolo launched its wholly revamped 2009 range to the world with an extra sprocket on its top groupsets, a revival of the Super Record name as well as several changes and upgrades to its top wheelsets.
Like it or not, the 2009 Chorus, Record and Super Record will all be fitted with 11-speed rear ends, thus eliciting the automatic question, Why? Campagnolo's blunt answer is, "Why not?" and the extra cog is apparently the Vicenza company's response to the constant demand from pros and amateurs alike for greater range of – and smaller gaps between – sprockets. Essentially, the new ratios are the same as those in the existing 10-speed groupsets save for the addition of the larger sprocket. To this end, the 11-speed cassette will be available in 11-23T, 11-25T, 12-25T and 12-27T combinations, the last of which should be especially welcomed by Gran Fondo riders.

An excerpt from the campagnolo 2009 groupo press release conference:

Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...

Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?

Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.

Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?

Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?

Marty DiBergi: I don't know.

Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?

Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.

Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.

Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?

Nigel Tufnel: [pause] Mate,These go to eleven.


Industry giant; Shimano, still basking in the afterglow of their announcement last month of 2009 Dura-ace 7900, was non-plussed to say the least at having their limelight stolen so quickly and countered with this annoucement: (on record)


"Big Deal. Campy Shampy. Shimano has been working on a 14 speed cassette, however some of the challenges of bringing a cassette that bold to market is working out the physics of having a cassette that is wider then todays current wheel widths entirely. Campy narrowed their chain? Huh? well we are working on eleminating the chain entirely."

(Off record): "Why dont you stick that in your porkpie hat and parade it down the cobbled streets of Venice?"


According to sources inside the company; the reapportioning of talent to tackle the project within the organization has nearly crippled the fishing reel division.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Who is to say?

I logged onto AZFIXED, like I do so many mornings. And instead of reveling in and living vicariously though someone elses new tattoo or run-in with the law, i was tickled to come across this little thread of happiness: RUI a Myth!! According to the threads author, on good information, there is no such thing as a DUI on a bicycle, or RUI (riding under the influence) . As i will quite often imbibe and then mount my stead a bit unsteadily; i was a bit excited at this news story. As i watched the thread grow with comments and input over the course of the morning, more people added their own interpertations of the states laws as it applies to cyclists. One poster had a father in law enforcement, another had recently been "pinched" during an alleycat attempting to utilize the states highways to avoid stoplights and had during the course of his court appearances had the opportunity to discuss legal mumbo-jumbo with the judge; "a cyclist". As with most houses of cards built on the ether that is the internet; i couldnt just leave well enough alone and believe these accounts (first hand family or not). I instead did some investigations of my own. Not unlike those fans that tuned in to the 2008 Tour De California hoping to see Tyler Hamilton "the comeback kid" make his triumphant retun to cycing glory but instead were treated to endless press conferences of Michael Ball explaining "teamwork" as it applies to not only the Rock team but Asian sweat shops, my elation soon turned to disapointment when i happened upon this little excerpt on AZbikelaw.org. :



Letter to the State Press Editor, (submitted via web 10/30/2007)
There is a persistent urban legend that bicyclists cannot be charged with DUI. A recent State Press Oct. 10, 2007 editorial,
News flash: Alcohol and driving still don’t mix carries on the legend:
…there is no DUI law in Tempe for non-motorized vehicles. This means that biking, skateboarding and even rollerblading while drunk are all ways to avoid the needle and the jail time that now comes with driving drunk.
The reference to Tempe city law is a red herring. I don’t know about skateboarding or rollerblading, but Arizona state law makes bicycling on the road while under the influence equally illegal as driving a motor vehicle under the influence. This is because under Arizona law, cyclists have all the “duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle
” (ARS §28-812).
Ed Beighe
azbikelaw.org




This theory may well be tested tonight on the ride back from points unknown. Lets hope not.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I am a man divided.

I was supposed to be interviewed by a reporter for the New Times offices here in Phoenix on Saturday. The interview was about the StreetKings, the local fixed gear "scene" and the alleycat races. Most of the crews in town don't have a forum like this blog to simply Google upon and peruse. Although i was excited about the interview and to share my thoughts, i was left wondering if I am the right face for the general public when it comes to introducing "fixed gear culture" as the interviewer put it. I have come to realize that alot of the fixed gear community view the bicycle from a different point of view then my own. Some of them dont have cars and to them the bicycle as a necessity and not a luxury or a hobby. Accumulating parts to make and then upkeep a bike becomes more of challenge when the sum of those parts equals a larger part of your inccome. To me this is the face that started the fixed gear culture and a better representation of it. I have always admitted, and not tried to hide the fact I come from privledge instead of poverty. It is self made privledge. I came from poverty and worked (and continue to work) hard for everything i have, but that everything is alot more than a majority of others. Am i a less valued part of the community because of it? i dont know. Could I call my wife to pick me up if i flat? Yes i could and have done just that. Could i just choose to drive into work if it is raining? The answer again is yes. All those legitimate messengers and riders that were riding fixed before it became trendy,(no this is not an accurate description of my riding history), might look at the way the community has changed with disgust. Disgusted with the fact corporate America has yet again put a price tag on a movement they built but werent trying to integrate into corporate America at all. I love being part of the community and being one of the faces in the crowd we call "bike culture". I hope it never ends. At some point every culture born of necessity and the common bond of creativity in the face of a lack of resources and finances, will be main streamed and destroyed. Dont believe me? You dont see any breakdancers on the streetcorners of the inner city do you? Not since Breakin' 2 Electric Boogaloo! anyways.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What is left to be said?




The Street Kings ride this week. Thursday to points unknown. Items on the nights agenda are as follows:




(in no particular order)



1.Ride the bikes



2.Drink some beer



3.The possibile details of a next alleycat



4. Drink some beer



5.Ride the bikes.



That is all.



Those of you keeping track at home, it took exactly 16 days for my hand to heal. It would appear my mutant healing factor has quite possibly been diminished due to a potent mixure of barley, hops and malt. To avoid a part two of what i have come to call: "The rosey palm pavement incident" I have purchased a pair of gloves and I am making plans to don them at some point in the near future. I forgot them on the ride in today. The CRAP ride is tonight. Suicideking and his better half are going along. If you are up for the Car Resistance effort you should roll to the start. I keep wondering when someone in the group is going to realize that i work in the automotive industry and stick a pump in my spokes. They are a ruthless bunch.










Monday, June 16, 2008

Viva la Velorution!

I wish there was a tangible velorution movement of some kind to get behind, sadly there doesnt seem to be one...yet. There are signs of its impending arrival. An obvious one being the appearance of more bikes on the streets. I cant figure out if i am noticing more people on bikes because I am paying attention, or if there are more people on bikes because the price of gas is so nauseating. Maybe these people are buying bikes and have no intention of joining the velorution. That seems to have been the case up till now. Nothing is more discouraging then planning out and then throwing a revolution like the velorution and nobody showing up. Sure...over time you can slug your way through the cases of beer you bought that are now in the pantry, but what do you do with the heaping bowls of guacamole, tortilla chips, and all all those plates full of pepperonis you cut into little triangles like miniature pizzas and placed on perfect little squares of cheap American cheese before impaling them with a toothpick?
Maybe I am being too cynical. It wouldnt be the first time i was accused of that. Maybe 5 dollar a gallon gas is exactly what we need to get more people thinking about biking as a viable form of transportation. Perhaps the revolution is underway and we dont even know it. What we need is some clear signs that the tide is turning, that its safe to abandon the futon and come out of your parents basement. Here are some things to look for in your neighborhood as a sign that the velorution is now in the larva stage of development:

1. Less overweight people.


Yes i realize that this one will be difficult to quantify, but who said ever said the velorution was going to be easy? If it were easy everyone would be on bikes and David Clinger would be governor of the territory that was formerly known as California. Its a well known fact you cant be morbidly obese and ride a bike .Why? you ask; no cup holders! You need both hands to steer or shift or brake, and both legs to pedal. Simply put; you cant eat and bike. The more people bike, the less Lane Bryant (The fashion leader in women’s plus-size clothing) stores there will be in the world. And if that thought is wrong...i dont want to be right.


2. Less monster trucks.


I have posted many times and often of the dangers associated with this disturbing trend in transportation. Frankly this one is going to be one of the toughest elements to eradicate. There are certain people that find this display of over indulgence to be as necessary as you or I might consider our arms or "wedding tackle" if you get my drift. At some point it will become financialaly implausable to drive a truck that costs more than a typical mortgage per month and is as usefull as a glass eye.



3. People hauling kids around on bikes.


When i say "hauling" people automatically get defensive like the kids are freight or truckable goods instead of little bundles of joy. These are the same people that have yet to experience the joy of "hauling" a kid around on a bike. Midway through the fist hill you encounter you will be wondering why the light of your life, cant pedal his own wee bike with his wee little legs and save you the suffering. This point will become immediately apparent to mothers that had to "haul" the same kid around for 9 months.



4. A used bike lot on the corner.


I think this speaks for itself, however i cant help imagining sitting in a small wood paneled room with a Styrofoam cup of lukewarm coffee. Sitting behind the desk across from me is "Germ" . Germ is a pre-owned fixed gear sales specialist that did the circuit with some of the majors as a new bike salesmen (Specialized, Trek, Giant) before getting burned out by the corporate pace and mentality. He took a job for a startup big box bike company (Magna) for a short time before being let go for "basic bike philosophy" reasons. He bounced around some of the independent sales gigs before ending up here at Bobs used bike barn.

"Why don't you freshen up that cup of coffee friend while i go talk to my manager about the financing on your new bike?" he says with a wink nodding to the very, very used Hercules frame leaning against his office wall.


While these are not the only signs, they will certainly be present. Remember: the velorution will not be televised, unless we can talk the Versus channel into taking a reduced advertising rate from Bobs used bike barn.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Start a fire and cool the place off!


I find myself amidst the onset of summer here in Arizona. I am sure there is some official date that the meteorologists consider the actual start of summer, i use the date when for three days in a row, it feels like hell outside. I know Hell is a hard term to quantify. The term suffers from overuse if you ask me. "What the hell are you doing?" or "How the hell should i know?" or my personal favorite; "That hurts like hell!" this is the sole example of those given with any accuracy. Anyone that has experienced heat in that fashion will tell you that raw meat, alive or dead, is not accustomed to being seered. They will tell you that there is a level of pain that comes with being cooked that is as close to hell as any of us would like to be. I have read a lot of books about mountaineers that become stranded and either freeze or near freeze to death attempting to climb a mountain. The same refrain repeats during some point in the story,"I felt sleepy and quiet and at peace. I knew if I fell asleep i would drift off to the darkness and death..." That is what my understanding of freezing to death would feel like. This is also why so many cyclists take up other sports in the winter more suited to warm clothing or the indoors. Like skiing or chess, or curling (yes i am aware this is not a sport, but as you can tell it makes use of the indoors and warm clothing and is a winter sport. Kind of hard to leave a trifecta like that out of the diatribe). If anyone ever wrote a book about exploring the inside of a volcano including a mishap that included some portion of their body dipping into the molten lava, i can assure you their description would sound nothing like being frozen. It would sound alot like a bicycle ride in Phoenix in the summer. They might say something akin to my comments when attempting to climb South Mountain on a summer day. "GODDAMN THIS IS HOT. AND IT HURTS LIKE HELL!" No peace, no drifting off into the cold grip of death. Just pain, and when that is over, more pain, and then for desert; you guessed it; Pain with a dollop of whipped pain on top. All you can do is pedal and hope your chamois doesn't melt to your DMZ. Its not like you can give up cycling for a few months and wait for winter that would just be silly.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Creating a road community

Lets assume somewhere in life you are presented with a little quiz like this one:

What exactly are you?


Roadie



Training for fitness on a road bike



Cat Racer



Casual Road bike enthusiast.



all of the above






This is a trick question. As you may have discovered all answers=roadie scum. Sorry its a sad fact, roadies have that reputation. And before you get your silicone impregnated, bio-formed, bibs in a wad, I consider myself a "roadie" by most common descriptions. Its not the value of the bike that makes the road set feel the need to aspire to exclusion rather than inclusion. Mountain bikes nowadays are just as expensive and specialized. Its not the racing aspect, every form of the bicycle has some type of racing, be it sanctioned or not, associated with it. Sadly I think that attitude somehow stems from the last place it should come from; Heritage. Yes somehow the storied past of cycling racing over the course of 100 years doesnt evoke a sense of humility and honor, instead fosters a sense of entitlement and selfish privilege. Before you burn me in effigy mounted on a little wooden single speed, I know this isnt the case with every road rider. In fact i rode the C.R.A.P. ride last night with many of the exceptions to this rule. Just people on bikes. People join the "sport" if you want to call it that, daily and that alone proves some point against the argument of exclusion. However you need only comb the pages of your favorite internet auction site to realize that many abandon that quest as well.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Craigslist dark and dismal

Dismal is the sole term I can use to describe the climate of for sale items on our local edition of Craigslist. For a state that enjoys Hell like temperatures year round, this portion of the the state is cold and unforgiving. Dont even try looking for a unique fixed gear bike or components. You might as well be looking for for enriched Uranium with the screen name "Big Al Kaida@yahoo.com" cuz i can tell you it aint gonna happen in AZ. I sifted through what felt like two dozen screens of bicycle ads and felt dirty and cheap at the conclusion, which isnt necessarily a change in my self esteem, but isnt usually the emotions I associate with bike purchases. Mostly kids big box bikes that have been outgrown or stolen i suppose. Even if i had a knee biter that size, i wouldnt drive across town to buy a two year old girls bike that is offered for 9 dollars.

This poster also felt the need to add the caveat "cash only" to this $15 offering. Turns out the cashiers check he took for the last bike from a business man in Nigeria didnt turn out the way he had hoped.The only thing that brought me joy of any measurable amount was realizing that Craigslist nationwide is the place recumbents go to die. I can see a lost web traveler stumbling over what he thinks is an over sized tree root only to find himself tumbling through the bleached white carcasses of obscenely bent top tubes and the cracked remains of Plexiglas windshields and what once were handy Velcro pouches.


I can barely give this offering the dignity of considering it a bicycle. And I can see why it is being sold. Judging by the outlandish sales price of $100 it becomes obvious that the seller has testicles the size of watermelons that preclude his ability to ride this prostate torture device on skateboard wheels.

I wish i had some good news about the local CL economy, however it still appears to be firmly entrenched in the basement of good taste with no plans for relocation anytime soon In sunny Arizona. I hope your local scene is better off.

Monday, June 9, 2008

commute


I rode the bike in today. Although the ride is short (8 miles) it gives me an opportunity to clear my head. Besides sleeping and evacuating, it’s the only other time I don’t feel encumbered by phones and customers and interruptions and…well you get the picture. Although I usually ride with earphones to catch up on the music the kids consider cool today, my other senses are awake and alert during my commute. Not surprisingly I encounter a lot of the same things on the same ride in each day. I thought I might give you a look behind the scenes of my little ride to and fro each day.
Some of the things I regularly encounter on a typical ride to work from the hip-East Valley into the greater (in size only I can assure you) Metro Phoenix area:

The cowboy limo-truck. At least one of these will scream past me in the same lane each morning although there are two empty lanes adjacent. The proliferation of the cowboy limo-truck is most visibly seen in the outlying areas of the valley where chewing tobacco is the equivalent of an after dinner coffee or gelato in most other settings. 10 foot long beds with multiple cabins stacked one behind the next and a blaring diesel engine normally complete the package. Using a complicated matrix that incorporates the current cost of fuel, and traffic times, according to my calculations this truck runs somewhere north of a dollar fifty per mile to operate. I guess all the winners in the Dot Com boom moved to Phoenix to drive glorified work trucks.

The “monster” truck: This aberration is the most unsettling of the on road dangers a commuter encounters as these pilots clearly care for no one save them selves and what ever erotic dancer they might be courting at the time. It is the modern-age equivalent of the lifted shoes you could order from the back page of Boys Life. “Grow 2-3 inches overnight without painful surgery or non-FDA approved pills with our patented Elevator shoes” Firstly, I have no idea how the drivers of these trucks can afford to drive them on a regular basis. I assume the fact I run across at least one that early in the morning leads me to believe they are perhaps bouncing down the road to a second job to support their gas and tire habit. These “little-guy-big-trucks” have got to be two or three dollars per mile to operate. Lifted beds, oversize tires, and huge engines, just to haul around loud stereos, goatees, tattoos and stickers that would have you believe half of the male residents in phoenix are professional motocross riders. It used to be that monster truck “races” on sports channels were just programming filler between the Super Bowl and spring training for real television sports. Is there a chance an entire generation took ESPN seriously?

Road debris: If I collected each piece of car/truck that I encountered along the road over the course of a year the abandoned and damaged pieces would easily combine to make a complete vehicle. However the only place a car like that could be licensed and driven would be in the avenues. I can appreciate a driver doesn’t realize a wheel weight or valve stem cap goes missing from their car, however if the fender falls off, don’t you think that warrants stopping to retrieve it or at the least, hide your shame by kicking it off into the weeds?


In other news: Looks like there is an alleycat in Tucson on the 22nd. The flyer just hit AZFIXED this weekend. Late on a Sunday night, June 22nd. No word on a StreetKing appearance as of yet.

Friday, June 6, 2008

TGIF

The ride last night was short but still good times. I didnt drink too much so i remember most of the ride home. A new member was welcomed into the fold Agent Orange. I brought my camera and snapped a few pictures of the moment. Captured now eternally, digitally, just like those disturbing pictures of a Bald Brittany Spears. (When she shaved her head sicko!)

I dont recall what member took this picture of me and the newly appointed Agent orange but they nearly missed the entire shot. All you can see protruding from the left edge of the picture is my model-like right hand cradling our newest member. Oddly enough the picture also captured the mascot of rival cross town gang "The Tomato Kings". I think the fuzzy suit goes a bit over the top but could just be me. While the Street Kings are into riding so hard cars skitch off of us. Maybe the Tomato Kings get off on scaring little kids. They should just dress up like clowns with bloody gloves if that is all they are trying to accomplish. Some Street kings will be riding to the BIKE moving picture show in Phoenix Saturday night. If you cant attend, you will be missed. SK forever.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fixed gear lingo Street King style


I thought I might make an attempt at disseminating some of the colorful and useful street lingo bouncing around in the fixed gear culture today. Here is how it works, I offer you a situation and give you a couple of possible answers. Make your choice wisely; on streets a wrong answer might wind up tanking your street cred quicker than you can say coaster brake conversion. Wrong answers here just get what i like to call: Italys worst pedal cabbie. Answer the question right however, and you will be rewarded with THIS.


Lets get started. Short and sweet.


P.S. Mouse overs are for cherries.
Question #1
While waiting for the local ride to start, one of the riders arrives on a new bike that some of the others are now gathering around and admiring. Shiny parts, clean grips, matching saddle etc…
Your cool response should be:
1.Looks fast, but can she do the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs?




Question #2
You are lingering at the local bike shop for some needed repairs when the technician asks you; “Looks like your chain line is a full finger off, are you running track spacing on these components?” Your response should be:




Question#3
Waiting for the start of your first local alleycat race, one of your fellow competitors tells you: “You planning on a hole shot?”
Your response should be:
1.I don’t drink and bike.


Question#4
You happen across a good looking fellow fixed gear female rider. In an attempt to engage you should make what opening statement:
1. How about next time you leave that sad little Bianchi conversion at home and we will turn this machine of mine into a single saddle tandem?

4. Nice whip. Wanna get coffee?



How did you score?


0-1 You should stick to inline skating and the Sims roleplaying game you are much more popular online.


2. I wouldnt sell the 10 speed just yet.


3. As close as a well done conversion with near horizontal drop outs.


4 Please contact this office for consideration into the Street King organization, we are currently seeking individuals with your capabilities and motivation. Salaray DOE, BYOB (bring your own bike)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Two post humpday.

Its official. Ride tomorrow night. Celebrations are in order for the big cat win on Sunday. Whereabouts as always will remain top secret except those operating at the highest levels of gang hierarchy. The possibility exists we will be jumping in at least one, possibly two, new members. Bids for names will made, beer will be drank, skids will be thrown.

Welcome to the new world order

With the sites recent inclusion into the blog links on Fixedgeargallery it looks as though i am going to have to step up my reporting skills and writing abilities. Regrettably for anyone that knows me, i am afraid that is going to look a lot like me "having" to bridge during a road race. If things do follow that progression, there is undoubtedly going to be a lot of cursing and unnecessary shifting both up and down, then utter failure followed by a loud "blame the bike" session and ultimately ending with my retiring yet again from the Arizona Cat 5 racing scene. I hope it doesnt come down to that, its an ugly scene and the "I thought you said you were never racing again?", questions keep getting harder to answer.


That having been said; lets get down to business shall we?


I have said numerous times to people in the know and to people that by appearance alone might know little or nothing, that I am officially titling 2008 the year of the bike. If you study the Chinese calendar, it is also the year of the rat. The Chinese do have numbers on their side if it ever came down to voting, but I don't think anyone has ever accused the StreetKings of being democratic. Anyways the term "rat" induces alot of negative connotations in our society. i was surprised its not necessarily the same in Chinese culture. According to the Wikipedia definition of the first sign of the Zodiac, the rat is:



" an animal associated with aggression, wealth, charm, and order, "



This is where it all came together for me. Could there be anymore accurate symbol to represent cyclists?



Aggression= One of Newtons lesser known laws of gravity, the eighteenth if memory serves, states quite clearly "If an amount of more than one cyclist inherits the same spacial area for more than thirty minutes, a race of some kind will inevitably break out."



Wealth= I suppose being based out of mainland Asia,(same neighborhood as Japan) the Chinese may well have had some advanced knowledge of the base price for the new Durace group.



Charm= Three time loser Ivan Basso back in the peloton for 2009 with nothing but those boyish looks and crooked smile to back him up. Need i say more?



Order= I struggled to find a connection between this and and cycling and kept coming up blank. However in all honesty i only researched the last 10 Tour de France races for material.



i was beginning to think our forced-industrious, republic friends to the East had it right all along. 2008 is both the year of the rat AND of the bicycle! Then i happened across this little nugget of truth during my further investigations into the symbolic meanings behind "the year of the rat"





"...the rat is also associated with death, war, the occult, pestilence, and atrocities"



I guess this answers the question of: does chinatown have a chapter of the black label bicycle gang?






Yet another tip of the hat to Banksy. I know Curious George will appreciate that.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

B.I.K.E. movie June 7th


This weekend there is a screening of the movie B.I.K.E. in downtown Phoenix. I am making it my recommendation for the week on celluloid. The site describes the film pretty interestingly:



Two documentary filmmakers infiltrate an underground bicycle club. Directors Jacob Septimus and Anthony Howard create a gritty, conceptually dichotomous and visually stylistic film with B.I.K.E. The film is a depiction of the Brooklyn chapter of the Black Label Bike Club (BLBC), a fringe network of tall bike jousters that combine and justify their medieval inspired competitions with environmental and anti-consumerist rhetoric and politically radical ideals. Taking place in the context of the 2004 Republican National Convention, Fountainhead Films' B.I.K.E. is a riveting look into the ways in which identity is important for a collective of fiercely independent people.


site excerpt:

B.I.K.E. , a raucous documentary on radical bike culture First Saturday, June 7 2008 7 pm (doors at 6:30)Space 55, 636 East Pierce Street, Phoenix AZ 85004Admission $6.00(cash only) snacks and popcorn for sale too!More venue info http://www.space55.org/ Adult Content (language, nudity, violence)


I like the idea of a movie based on nothing more collaborative then a loose cultural group including two of my favorite vices: nudity and violence. I hope the streetkings can achieve a level of social interaction that requires full length movie documentation with federal mandated warnings like that some day.


The StreetKings will be riding from Scottsdale to the show, leaving 5:30ish. Anyone interested in rolling with some muscle and heat through the single digit streets is welcome to join in. As the possibility exists we will be venturing into gasp...the avenues. I wouldn't recommend wearing any clothing that could be construed as a primary color.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Race for the Cure.

As you can see my weekend didnt start out that great. After work on Saturday i was riding home and stopped to pick up some computer parts at Best Buy. I stuffed the stuff in my bag and started home feeling like the weekend was could start now that work was out of the way. I caught a crack in the pavement/cement wrong and the bike washed out underneath me. The heavy pack pulled me off center and i spilled in the middle of an intersection. After a great deal of cursing and personal inspection, i called for a ride and went home to nurse my hand among other things and my pride. The big alleycat was this weekend, and I thought for sure I wouldnt be able to ride with my palm all torn up, but I went to the race with my bike anyways to at least get the other StreetKings off to a good start.

What a race! I was wondering if the event was going to get off the ground as we pulled into the park on Roosevelt and 20th ST in Phoenix. The park is a little slice of the inner city that you don’t see too often living and working in Scottsdale. Riders started arriving at 7 and by 7:30 although there were about 30 riders there, no one from the race organizing group; Ill Squadron, had made an appearance yet. I took a nasty spill on the bike on the way home from work on Saturday, damaged my hand and the rest of me was pretty scraped up. Right up to the start of the race I was considering myself a maybe. Then a couple of guys/gals show up wearing doctors smocks and medical equipment and start signing people up for the race. Without hesitation I got in line and got my manifest and spoke card. The race was centered around a disease theme. Each stop was either a treatment or cause and although the order seemed workable on the sheet, the stops could be done in any order. The start is always a bit hectic, and this race was no exception. We started in an abandoned apartment building across the street from the park and were supposed to leave the bikes across the street and then run to them from around the back, no one was willing to leave the bikes much further than they could see so the start run was only a few yards. The first stop was only a few blocks from the park at a State run mental institution. The group arrived mostly intact and circled the outside not seeing anyone to sign the manifests then rode into the parking lot in masse’. It didn’t feel right, riding past the security guard into the facility and when I heard the squealing tires and slamming brakes I knew we were in the wrong place. The security guard went tilt, chasing down riders and hitting them with his van. He is screaming out the window at anyone he can get close enough to. “What the fuck do you think you are doing here? This is a State run institution! You are trespassing.” We all circled back towards the exit to find the gate we had rode through moments ago was now shut! It was a mad scramble throwing bikes over and then climbing up and over after them. The guard caught up to me just as I was clearing the gate and grabbed my shoulder. “Stop right there asshole.” He yells at me. I laugh and keep moving over the fence. He follows and kicks my bike as I mount up and ride off. Different situation, different night, I stop and teach this overweight short shit a lesson for kicking my ride, but tonight I had a race to do. I had to settle for a bird and a callous laugh. The rest of the stops went without incident, at least for me. Each stop had an interesting challenge. Chug a beer at the alcoholics stop, carry a “tumor” (a gallon of water) in your pack for the rest of the race. At the stop near the dorms at ASU if you couldn’t produce a condom, it was announced you now had Herpes and had to take a shot of Hot Sauce to get your manifest signed. One stop in Tempe seemed harmless enough at first, I got my manifest signed and then heard the girl announce “Here is your Anthrax!” before pelting me in the face with a hand full of flour. I rode the rest of the race, like everyone else, in white-face. I didn’t win the race but felt good the whole ride and was in contention until the last three stops. St. Paul got to the finish line third, but won the event with the completion of a time bonus; climbing a parking structure near the park. We all met up at Casey Moores for a few brews after and laughed and traded stories about the security guards and the different stops. What a night! My hand was bleeding, my bike got kicked, got flour thrown in my face, took a shooter of Tabasco sauce, and carried a leaking water bottle for about ten miles. I cant wait for the next one.
Check out AZFIXED.COM for everyone elses stories on the race. Good stuff