Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Some Two Wheeled History

When I read other blogs, and watch people's videos online, I frequently wonder "Who are these people, and what is their background?" So today I wanted to take a little walk back in time to share with you all a little bit of my bicycle background.

As a young little whipper-snapper I had many crumby bikes that I have very little memory of. 20" banana seat bikes that were pink with tassels kind of stuff. I am going to skip over those! The first "real" bike that my mother bought me was a Trek 800 Mountain Track:
This is not the exact bike i owned, I sadly cannot find any pictures of it right now. It was bought new, had a rack and panniers even! I rode this thing all over the Keweenaw Peninsula and around Price County Wisconsin. It was awesome. I even got a Vetta C15 computer for it at some point! I thought it was so cool. I used to go down the street from my mom's house to some old tailing piles and try to jump the thing. Of course i knew nothing about jumping bikes and didn't really have any friends that were into bikes so I just ovaled out the headset and kept riding it. I had this bike until 2009ish when I went off to college and started riding to campus and back. I soon realized that the bike bought for me in grade school no longer fit me!
Then one day in my sophomore year in college I spotted a bike that had been sitting chained to a bike rack since I started college and thought "self: if you take that bike at least it will stop being so rusty, and it will probably fit you." Of course i never thought "self: if you take that bike you are technically stealing." college students, I tell ya!
Another pesky Trek. This time with a blown out BB, non-functional fork, and no seat.
I bought a seat post and a seat from the local Scheels store and rode this bike for the rest of my time in college. At the end of my time there, when I had purchased another bike, I quietly left this bike at the exact rack that I had taken it from all those years earlier.

Eventually I thought I needed a bigger frame again. So Craigslist was now a thing in my life so I kept my eyes on it and sure enough a "large" framed Bianchi Timberwolf popped up one day for $75 and I had to have it:
I slapped some balloon tires (CST Cyclops, I knew nothing about tires at this point obviously) to replace the leaky old ones that came on it and away I went again!
This bike I rode until I had moved back to Minnesota, at which time I discovered single-track. So clearly this towering behemoth of a bike was not the thing for singletrack. It must have been an extra-large frame measuring in the 22"+ range.
Next I bought an old Cannondale M300se:

I sought this bike out rather than taking what landed in my lap, for the first time. The Bianchi had been very functional but being a steel frame it weighed a ton. So when I decided I wanted a bike for this new-fangled single track stuff I decided i needed to have a lighter weight bike. I rode this bike around Elm Creek MTB Trails for a season before thinking "gee I sure could use a suspension fork" which I proptly identified the headtube of this featherweight as being too small for most modern forks. rascals. Time to buy again! Note- I do still own this bike, though I put road tires on it for something to ride around the neighborhood. It has surprisingly good handling and geo for a bike that is 20 years old. I am tempted to put nobbies on it and go try my hand at single track with it, just for fun.

Now things start to get interesting and a little more modern:
2010 Specialized Hardrock
This was another craigslist find. It was listed a few miles up the road from my house at the time and the ad was fairly old without any pictures. but for $150 I was willing to take a look as MTB prices were just starting to take off at this time. The guy said it was his sons, off to college and didn't want it anymore. Frame size 19" and aside form some scratches in the decals and fork it looked to be in good condition so I brought it home. This is when things really started taking off for me: I started to really enjoy single track riding, I started meeting other people that ride, I started tinkering with this bike's bits and pieces and really learning, in earnest, about working on bikes and when things do when you change them. Things also escalate quickly, the next few bikes have all come within the last two seasons:

2008 Specialized P.Street dirt jump bike:

2007 Norco Evolution trials bike:
Zoo! Pitbull trials bike, which I don't currently have a picture of for some reason.
And this season I graduated up to a full squish 2013 Trek Rumblefish 29er which even with all of its comfort, I still am not certain of some days.

Then there are the GFs bikes:
2000ish Specialized Hardrock Ultra. Her first good bike, It was in great shape and with some decent tires served her well for two seasons of singletrack. Now sold.
Replaced the Hardrock with a 2015 Specialized Lynx 27.5er. A distinct improvement over a 15 year old, mens frame. I wasn't sure about it when she started looking, especially when it is "i like the color of that one" but she was clearly more comfortable on it and it had lots of good modern technical aspects that will allow me to upgrade it if she decides she wants more.
2008 Specialized cirrus
She said she wanted to get into weekly road rides at the LBS. I believed her and found this beauty for $180 on craigslist. I knew I would be bringing it home before the guy even said anything. A solid like flat-bar urban bike. 

And then there are a bunch of random bikes that came and went over time.

Yes that is a 650B women's road bike. Crazy lightweight and also tiny.
A 1960s 27 inch unicycle a friend gave me.
And we haven't even talked about motorcycles yet! Perhaps another time.

And there is what used to be a garage in all its glory.


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