Sunday, April 27, 2008

Vintage 531 Motobecane

I rarely get excited about bicycles with derailleurs but I ran across this gorgeous 1975 Motobecane Grand Record in a Flickr group and thought maybe some of you might enjoy it too. It's a nice mix of period components and modern touches that look just right on an older bike. This is how it should be done imho. The owner has put up a website with more photos and all the build details here.

Innovate or ?

I don't know who created this image or for what purpose. But when I saw it, my thoughts went straight to the price of gasoline, global warming and the general ill health of the planet due to poor stewardship on the part of humans. Though there's certainly nothing particularly innovative about using a bicycle for everyday transportation, we could all stand to do just that on a regular basis. Not enough of us do. And I'm not preaching here. Lord knows I'm guilty too. For instance, I have to be somewhere in a couple of hours. It's an easy 10 minute ride but it's chilly and rainy today. Am I going to don the Goretex and ride the Motobecane (with fenders) or am I going to wimp out and just jump in the truck and scoot on over there? Maybe it will stop raining...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wonderful Wool

Looking for a nice wool jersey? You can start your quest here. Good luck finding one without logos though!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bar Tape Canadian Style

After a couple of too close calls on the Bridgestone fixie, I decided to put the front brake back on which also meant a re-tape job for the handlebars. In an earlier post, I mentioned that the nearest well-stocked roadie-friendly LBS was a long ways away which meant I didn't have any cloth bar tape. But I didn't want to wait for mail order so, what to do? Hockey stick tape. It feels great under the hand, looks right, it's much less expensive than traditional imported cloth tape and most importantly, it's readily available here in BC. Problem solved!

Friday, April 18, 2008

43 Bikes

I was surfing around this morning and ran across this very cool site run by a bike mechanic from Tuscon named Mookie. Happy clicking.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Nagasawa at Work

Here's a video of master framebuilder Yoshiaki Nagasawa brazing a headtube lug. Thanks to the original poster!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

And I Quote

"There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey." John Ruskin

I found this quote on a list serve and it reminded me of my dad's philosophy when it comes to being a consumer of goods. He always bought the very best stuff he could afford and then took good care of it because a quality item deserves it. He's been gone nearly twenty years and I'm still using his tools, almost every day. Nuff said.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Message In A Bottle

Message In A Bottle is the name of a song written by one of my all-time musical heroes, the late Walter Hyatt. That phrase also sums up my experience trying to get parts for my bike projects. I don't live on a faraway atoll but I do live on an island in the Strait of Georgia off the coast of British Columbia. While I firmly believe in supporting one's LBS, unfortunately I don't have one. Most everyone around here rides a mountain bike which means that the nearest full-service roadie-friendly shop is over 100km away (plus a ferry ride). So I mostly rely on the internet. And since Canada Post is slow, inefficient (parcels get "lost in transit") and ludicrously expensive, I mostly do business with American companies. Which brings us to the question du jour: Why do so many web businesses refuse to answer emails? I mean why even put contact info on your site if you are going to ignore customers who try to contact you? I understand about spam and spam filters. So while it's tempting and somewhat amusing to compose bike-related spam (What is the length and diameter of your Viagra model seatpost?) I always word the subject header very carefully to avoid sounding like a bot. But I am constantly amazed at how few companies actually reply to a legitimate email asking a legitimate question about a product. Recent offenders include Rivendell, Paul's Components, Velo-Orange, Soma Fabrications and Camelback. Four out of five of these are relatively small companies so you'd think that to them, every potential customer would matter. But no. Now, not wanting to end this post on a grumpy note, here are a couple of web-based outfits that have returned my emails consistently and in a timely manner: Harris Cyclery and IRO Cycles. Guess who gets most of my business?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Love That Brooks

The other day, just as an experiment, I swapped out my Brooks B17 for an old Selle San Marco Titanio saddle that I used to ride. It weighs half what the B17 does not that I really care too much about weight. The Italian saddle had been my seat of choice for years prior to discovering the Joy of Brooks and I just wanted to revisit it after having "gone English" a while back. Well, I rode about three miles, maybe four and it was all over. Got back home, put the Brooks back on the seatpost, tossed the San Marco back into the parts bin and that was that. My wife didn't get it. It's difficult to explain to the uninitiated how a stiff hard leather saddle can be so much more comfortable than something with gel padding but it is. Not just more comfortable but way more comfortable. Mind you I have no affiliation with Brooks nor any dealer that sells Brooks. But if you haven't tried one, you owe it to yourself to experience the best bicycle saddle known to man. The classic good looks are just icing on the cake.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I know how Yehuda feels, living in a small community and seeing the same drivers all the time. And they see me. I have to admit that I enjoy my "weirdo" role.