spooky bikes

Random Aggregate Ice Crystals

Posted in Uncategorized by Mickey/SpookyBikes on November 20, 2007

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Snow,

We simultaneously hate and love you. The trite observation that every snowflake is different is complete bullshit, and we all know it. Yes at a cellular level each flake has different structures, but never, never have I seen a single snowflake fall. Snow falls in big dumb clusters of slippery anxiety. All those little sharp points of crystal that are so sharp coagulate into a horrible traction-less sheet of white death.

I like skiing. A lot, or hell maybe I don’t. I’ve skipped out on using free ski passes to ride my bike around in the snow a few too many times to make that claim.

I like bike riding a whole lot more. Winter is by far my favorite time of year to drink coffee in amounts far greater than civil, wear two pairs of tights, lots of wool and ride a ridiculously heavy, under-geared over-built winter bike pieced together from BMX parts, a 5 pound Japanese 27″ frame and a few key pieces of Italian finery to make me feel at home.

Rides like this…

are freaking great. The colder the better. Like most Western Ma riders I’ve perfected the layering system. It takes 25 minutes to prepare my feet alone. Sorry, it’s proprietary info.

In left/liberal/anarcho circles you often hear about “intentional living“. Riding in the winter is perhaps the only aspect of the Intentional ethos that I understand at any sort of level to form a theory of intent about;

  1. It’s cold out. Societal norms thus dictates we should be at the mall or playing gamecube.
  2. Salt, slush and cold conditions are bad for shiny, expensive, complicated bikes. Heavy, cheap dumpster diving projects are actually better in this instance. Brake cables are frozen? No problem if you are riding a fixed gear!
  3. Riding in the cold is far less efficient. Cold air is denser, basic metabolic process are less efficent, heavier clothing restricts free movement, winter bikes tend to be considerable pigs.
  4. Winter road riding generates a considerable amount of confusion and consternation in the less desirable elements of cycling culture. Non cyclists are even more confused than Lanceoids by people in the middle of nowhere on bikes in January than they are in July. Their level of confusion is usually great enough that they forget to swerve or honk at you until after they pass. That’s a nice benefit.
  5. You must be prepared. Flatting, running out of food or water or getting severely lost can all potentially lead to death. RAD!
  6. You extremities are being numbed in a really, really pleasant way and as long as you moderate your intensity you can very quickly free yourself of the burden of kinesthetic awareness. Coffee, sensory deprivation, and the necessary preternatural awareness required in challenging conditions is to me at least a liberating, exhilarating life-affirming combination… Somewhere between 3 hours in a Ojibway sweat lodge and the peyote trip from “Beavis and Butthead Do America” would be the best description of a good winter ride.

I’m not entirely sure where my trusty old hunk of winter junk is right now, but this morning’s snow got me thinking about it. I think I will probably move on up to the George Jefferson of winter frames, our Kittenpaste in the next week or so. It will be about 3 or 4 pounds lighter, and have clearance for bigger tires, bigger fenders and functional brakes. I love big tires on my winter bike. The slower you roll the less the windchill tries to burst cells in your nose. And my nose is big, so that can hurt a lot…

Pairpacking

Jamie is driving a few Kittenpaste frames down to Boston right now to get some paint smothered on them. I honestly tried to get some nice softcore images of the nude frame, but the light wasn’t cooperating. Yet another reason this morning’s gale has me flustered. I had to settle with an image of Jamie instead. KPbrazed

Apparently when the batteries began to die in a camera things get progressively darker. I thought we just couldn’t figure out how to use the camera.

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