Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Yet another cyclist, yet another friend, has been shrugged off the road by an unseeing, uncaring pseudo-human driving a tribute to American Excess and "farm-equipment" tax breaks; four tons of custom Silverado with an acre of custom bent tubing for a bumper. I suppose it's needed to protect that truck from the hazards on the ranches so prevalent in Cambridge, Mass. Like messengers, wrenches, and welders.
My friend is okay, hence the "shrugged". A little sore and a lot pissed off, but physically undamaged. The behemoth slid out of the depths, catching her rear wheel with the afore-mentioned bumper, driving her to the sidewalk in its wake like so much flotsam. And continued on its way, completely oblivious to anything but its own course.
There are many of these malevolent beasts on the road today. The present power structure encouraged the consumers, then whispered even larger platforms to the manufacturers, creating a self-replicating cycle. Trucks in this country have become our Borg; resistance is futile you will be assimilated.
So tonight I toast my friend with an ESB, a touch of kine, and a steaming Shepherd's Pi.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Too Cool

And for once I am not talking about the temperature.
I am referring to this all-wooden bicycle that a 16-year old kid built. Even the chain and freewheel system. You can read the whole story at Lee Valley Tools.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Barter, in the first.

Being a wrench has its advantages if you live in anything resembling "barter town". It's a service that is good for beer, groceries, couch. It will win friends and influence people much better that the 'hearts and minds' theory*. Today it garnered me a most unusual trade; tenor drum lessons.

Now, I didn't really know that I wanted to learn to play percussion, and hadn't planned on it. I had stepped in to listen to the practice of an interesting local phenomenon, and through a whirlwind moment of somewhat intentional miscommunication, I find myself in line to play in a band.
A marching band.
A Scottish Pipe and Drum Band.

Ah, well, any excuse to wear a kilt.

25 days without the nails!

*If you are unfamiliar with this US policy, ask. I'll give you the line.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


As much as I am sick of the cold, I am even more sick of feeling down. I've tried to get myself jazzed about damn near anything, but like a damp log in the fireplace, I burn for a moment and then fizzle with a tell-tale wisp of smoke. This has given me a great deal of time for introspection, as well as some studying. Certain lines of research constantly attract me, and I occasionally find myself ensconced in a veritable fortress of books. Most of the things I search for would be deemed esoteric at best, and rarely have to do with cycling.
Unless you want to compare the concept of "three" so prevalent in religion, the concept of a "wheel" that occurs in many of the same religions, and more, and the expression of the front wheel, crank, rear wheel trinity of motion on a bicycle. Deus in machina.
The Center will also continue its Fellowship on Subversive Studies; Seventies Subculture Excavations. Space is extremely limited, so get those essays in now.

On an obliquely related note, I'm going to light a fire, roll up in an acre of f-ink fur, and watch Mists of Avalon.

22 days nic-free

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Project Death

It is interesting how a slight shift in one's life, or thought processes, can alter the course of your momentum. A few days ago I couldn't wait to continue hammering out the latest project, and even though the frame has arrived, I really don't care anymore. My motivation has been sucked dry. Parts lie in random locations, collecting dust. A wheel with little or no tension hangs in the stand, looking nearly as forlorn as it should.
Presently, I would rather curl up with a book than write one, rather watch a video than star in one, rather drink single-malt at the bike shop than actually build a bike.
It is curable; I know this. Time is the prescription, though a healthy dose of warmth wouldn't hurt.

And I'm still not smoking! Fifteen days!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Roots and Shoots

Another day of glorious scents, with a sudden cold snap that numbed everything from the face down. A bittersweet afternoon as the Pi of Projects prepares to return to the Temple of Gear Ratio Equivocation. An impromptu archaeological dig ensued, and though no evidence of cycling was found in the layers of detritus, reminders of our subversive past were in force.
It has been said, resaid, and mis-said, that those who forget history are destined to repeat it. Perhaps those who search our past are ready to change it. Retro is usually a return to a more 'enlightened' time, or at least an enlightened memory. Fixed gear is a pure system that has, and always will, rise above the technocracy of the Industry. Before it was chic it was the benchmark. They rode Lé Tour for years after the dérailleur was invented before giving in.
Pi understands this, and has the capacity to incorporate it into the mainstream consciousness, subtly, subversively.
And then there are the Projects...

Mucha decorates the walls, Dropkick Murphys wreck the halls.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Quitter Update

Nine days and holding, urges are almost non-existent. I am beginning to remember what certain things actually smelled like. And I love what cold air smells like, though I am already finished with serving Her Royal Majesty, Winter. The riding I have accomplished has been painful, and the desire to ride has been bitten at every turn. It is good fortune that my 'project' is evolving slowly; it would drive me nuts not to ride it, were it finished.
So instead, I ponder the year gone by, and a year to come, with the help of a fresh point-of-view, a new friend, a fresh set of lungs, a new ride, and far too many directions to take the Center's new Department of Projects. Subversive Projects, that is.