(S)He who toys with the most dies, wins.

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Several years ago when my parents moved away from Colorado, I flew back to help them pack and ultimately transport their final loads of stuff. Besides it being a bitter-sweet experience, seeing how much they’d amassed in their years in my childhood home was a bit disconcerting. Shortly there after I helped my girlfriend move to LA, and again, handling each nicknack, and piece of furniture again stirred something inside of me.

Sure enough, once back in my own domain, I systematically went through everything I owned and disposed of most of it. A good portion was donated, while the rest, which was generally unusable with either recycled, or chucked straight in the dumpster.

Again, when I moved back to Oakland five and a half years ago, I purged- unloading boxes of randomness into the hands of others.

I’ve long been conflicted when it came to possessions. I’m a minimalist at heart, but I make stuff, and when I make stuff, I generate stuff, and then in order to make stuff, I need more stuff. Soon enough, I’ve run out of room, and the purge occurs again.

And don’t get me started on bikes… Owning bikes by themselves is enough of a situation, but then you end up swapping, or braking parts (or one and then the other) which means new parts, and more often than not, the new parts are incompatible with the old parts, which means the addition of more new parts, leaving you with boxes of the remaining parts, and so on.

I remember an article that Mike Ferrentino wrote many years ago wherein he described a time when he was excited to see the UPS man, though at the time he’d written the article in question, that excitement had turned to dread. I’d visited him around that time, and as a media honch, everyone under the sun was sending him products for review. On his desk were boxes of shoes, and helmets, and glasses, and handlebars, and widgets, and googahs, galore. At that point, I kinda began picking up what he was laying down.

Though I’m nowhere near where he was back then, or for that matter (I suspect) now, I too have amassed a sizable collection of stuff that no matter how I try to whittle away, continues to grow.

Case in point- I recently had to finally retire my old mountain bike wheelset, as it had fairly well given up the ghost. It had been good to me and carried me on many adventures, but it was time to set it free, and track down a new one. Luckily, Jimbo at Stan’s was at the ready with a spanky new set for my use and abuse;
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(Who by the way I noticed was appropriately located in Big Flats, New York);
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Anyway, as I excitedly removed the cassette off my old wheel and began throwing it on my new one, I noticed that it was a ten speed free hub body and because I’m a dinosaur, in my hand was a nine speed cassette.

So here I have a perfectly perfect nine speed cassette, shifter, derailleur, and chain, and a perfectly perfect ten speed hub. At that point I cranked up the Batphonbe and placed a call to Shimano and plead my case. Soon enough a box of shiny shifty parts arrived at my door, looking all pretty as a picture;
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I threw them on with quickness, and finally got my bike all primed and properized for whatever physical disaster I have waiting for me on the horizon;
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Now please don’t mistake my musings for complaints. They are in no way, shape or form. I don’t take for granted for a second that I occasionally have immediate access to people who are in a position to help me help myself, and I never ask for that help unless I’m in a bind. Secondly, unlike Mike back then, I still celebrate the arrival of the UPS person like a kid at Christmas.

My point is simply that as long as (the royal) we are going to be marching headlong down this path of bike nerd-dom, that (the royal) we are going to amass what is approximately a metric crap ton of stuff. I suppose the trick is to keep said additional stuff out of the landfill, and continuing its life as a useful, and functional item in our collection.

That, and I suppose noting as long as we do continue this march, honing our skills at shelf building might not be such a bad idea as well.

And speaking of amassing new stuff that’s better than the old stuff, so sooner did I crimp the final cable did a package arrive from Maximo Supremo residents, Soulrun;
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When it comes to care packages, Soulrun doesn’t fuck around, but when they do, they don’t fuck around;
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Not only did they spiff me with a sweet cat book, but I got both an amazingly cool new tool roll;
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-and one of them super fancy collaborative Sourly x AHTBM shop aprons as well. (Modeled here by Jim at Vecchios because I couldn’t find my tripod, and nobody wants to look at me anyway);

If I’m not the most properly outfitted shut-in in the land, then I don’t know who is.

Now circling back around to new drivetrains for a second- It seems as though SRAM has finally done what was previously thought unpossible, and released the Eagle 12 speed;
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Realistically however, I’m of the opinion that the black and gold version would have been more appropriately named ‘the Fire Chicken‘;
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Though the 12 speed is certainly a marvel of modern engineering, it will only be relevant until someone releases the thirteen, which kinda reminds me of this;

You’re dreaming about Gorgonzola cheese, when it’s clearly Brie time, baby.

Oh, and while I’m thinking about it for no particular reason, I feel compelled to mention that today is the last day you can get your order in for the current AHTBM shirt of the month;
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Do what you gotta, or spend the rest of your life in a dumb shirt.

Lastly, and unrelated to chest hairs, cheese or chipmunks, for any and all in my beloved home away from home of Minneapolis, the good folks at Familia have got a bash brewing this weekend for the release of Todd Bratrud’s latest ‘chemtrails’ inspired effort for Paisley Skates;
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The details for which can be found here;
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The adage goes something along the lines of “sometimes there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing“, though I’m a bigger proponent of “all things in moderation, including moderation.

At least when it comes to wheeled toys, clearly, too much is almost never enough.
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10 Responses to “(S)He who toys with the most dies, wins.”

  1. The Los March 25, 2016 at 7:41 am #

    Soooo… you do know that your 9 speed cassette would have worked just fine on that freehub body, right?
    If it’s an 11-speed road-ready freehub, you just need that small (I think it’s a 2.5mm) spacer.
    Oh well, the world ain’t gonna blow up now that Stevil’s on 10 speed. Look at it this way- you’re still 2 steps behind the cutting edge!

    Los

    • Stevil March 25, 2016 at 8:01 am #

      I do. There was already a stock spacer on there, and with the inclusion of an additional one, it woulda worked out ok, save for the gigantic gap between the big cog and the hub flange, which I wasn’t really feeling. Mostly it was an aesthetic thing, plus I got to upgrade kinda, so it was a double win.

      • Crank March 25, 2016 at 8:17 am #

        Two bike mantras, “The number of bikes to own is N+1”, and “Always upgrade”. You were literally forced by the unseen and intangible powers that be to get new shiny bits.

  2. Jason March 25, 2016 at 7:56 am #

    Big Flats, NY … I lived near there (in Elmira) for a year. You may also like to know that it’s in Chemung County, and is home to the Harris Hill Gliderport and the National Soaring Museum. I took a glider ride there once and it was incredible.

    Chemung.

  3. Rotomon March 25, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    You should check out Salemtown Board Co. They dont have flashy graphics but the company behind the boards has a cool story.

  4. James March 25, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    I would think that a singlespeed would be your bike of choice?

    • Stevil March 26, 2016 at 5:44 am #

      For a lot of years it was, but then variation appealed to me.

  5. eb March 28, 2016 at 6:20 am #

    For the next shirt may we please have the “Not being born with enough middle fingers?” Please and thank you.

  6. Travis March 28, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    When is supporting the local bike shop a mantra to live by but a bro deal directly from the manufacturer okay? Am I overrhinking this?

    • Stevil March 29, 2016 at 8:19 am #

      Having worked in the bike industry in some capacity or another for a whole lotta years, getting an occasional hook up is a definate perk, but just the same, I don’t sweat supporting my LBS(es), which I do on the regular. The industry has been really good to me for a long time, and it would feel weird not to throw back into it with some frequency. I’d say a greater problem lies with online sales, but that’s a whole ‘nother kind of conversation.