That’s Why She Said, “Hey Man, Nice Bike.”


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North America » United States » Virginia » Norfolk
February 9th 2006
Published: February 10th 2006
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Singlespeed Glamour ShotSinglespeed Glamour ShotSinglespeed Glamour Shot

Yeah baby, she's all mine...
I kick myself whenever I don’t have a camera with me, because inevitably that’s when I see the greatest bikes.

There’s a great little biking renaissance currently underway in Norfolk. Seems like everyday I see another cool bike, a serious bike, a bike that ain’t no Huffy from K-Mart.

So yesterday I took a walk to the mall, half an hour late on my lunch break. Too many pressing projects had kept me at my desk later than I had anticipated & so I decided to fill the gnawing pit of anxiety in my stomach with some food court Chinese stir fry. I almost always take the sidewalk past the bike rack in the mall (a serioius bike rack- one of those wiggly 3-inch wide stainless steel pipes secured in poured concrete), and lo and behold, there was a gorgeous, gorgeous city bike. “Hey baby,” I purred, “You’re not from around here, are you?”

The lines of the sprinting frame were all Italian, with radially-spoked, semi-aero rims. The stem was short, short, maybe 2 inches at the most, and mated to a jet-black downhill riser bar that must have been 48cm wide if it was an inch. No
SkillsSkillsSkills

Girls dig guys with skills. I've got skills: I've got bicycle repair skills and bicycle touring skills and bicycle commuting skills and bicycle photography skills and bicyle skill listing skills. I've got skills.
grips, no tape, no nothin’ and certainly no brake handles on that bare-ass set of handlebars, announcing that all deceleration would be done via the Speedplay pedals and the fixed gear drivetrain.

Well, it inspired me enough to head down to the water after work today & shoot some pictures of my new old ride, my singlespeed. It’s the same bike I took on my European odyssey twelve years ago, or rather, it’s the same frame. Everything else has been replaced, from the bottom bracket to the headset. Sick & tired of a disintegrating drivetrain, I stripped it bare & rebuilt it, pulling off the crash-damaged Scott AT-4 Pro handlebars & terminally-distorted wheels. A couple of hours spent in the garage with a few rolls of electrical tape gave me a new paint job, and so last Monday during our evening urban ride my friend Liz looked at me & said, “That’s a really cool bike!”

“Um, thanks,” I replied while twitching around a pothole, “I still need to upgrade the brake & install a new bottom bracket. You know how it is…it’s a work in progress.”

The rest of the group ride seems to show some
Old SchoolOld SchoolOld School

Dia Compe brake levers & a moustache handlebar.
respect for the singlespeed. After all, it imposes some limitations on my riding style- no sprinting with the rest of the pack up to 30mph when I spin out around 24… Truth be told, my legs have gotten strong enough after a month of singlespeed that I'm going to increase the gearing in order to be able to ride faster with less pedalling.


I swung by East Coast Bikes on my way home to pick up a new brake adapter that’s supposed to be better than what I’ve already got. The problemsolvers Travel Agent comes with some of the best installation instructions & warnings that I’ve seen in a while:

“BEFORE INSTALLATION, READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS AND WARNINGS COMPLETELY. If you don’t coomplety and thoroughly understand these instructions, don’t have the proper tools or aren’t absolutely sure of what you are doing, do the right thing- LEAVE THIS INSTALLATION TO AN EXPERIENCED, PROFESSIONAL BICYCLE MECHANIC. THESE ARE YOUR BRAKES: YOUR LIFE MAY QUITE LITERALLY BE IN YOUR HANDS!! IF YOU DON’T GET IT, DON’T MESS WITH IT!!”

I haven’t yet finished reading the instructions, so we’ll have to wait & see whether I’m qualified.



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