Rewind a week to my previous scheduling debacle if you will. Now understand that at the point of this past Tuesday when Sean and Mo from Rebolledo Cycles came to pick me up, the fact that I had been ready to leave for a week should have implied that I actually might have had my proverbial act together.
This of course was not the case.
The short version is that as we made our way out of town on Tuesday morning, nearly an hour away from my house it occured to to me that I had forgotten a sleeping bag, water bottles, a towel, and money. A towel is no biggie, but the other three were fairly imperative. Luckily I did have my wits about me enough to have remembered a novelty toy gun that shocks you when you pull the trigger, a wig and a leopard print fez;
Awesome. Absolutely everything you need when on the road for a week. I would say that this was somehow the fault of the constant cloud of emissions floating around the cab of our chariot, but considering the fact I had a touch of the brain damage before I even got in, this obviously wasn’t going to be my scapegoat.
As you may have become accustomed to from our time spent together in the annals of this as well as my previous website , I generally will return from a booze cruise and simply let the images do the talking. Unfortunately I pushed the wrong button midway through the trip and half of the photographs I took came out a very low resolution.
But then we can go back to fortunately again, because the bulk of these photos are going to only be seen here so it really doesn’t matter.
Anyway, by Tuesday afternoon we were in San Luis Obispo. For those of you who don’t know, San Luis Obispo is a stunningly beautiful little town in the middle of California’s Central Coast, that as far as I can tell is home to nearly an entire population of white people, so to me it’s kind of like Vail but by the Ocean.
Except Vail doesn’t have an alley full of chewed gum where I’ve attempted repeatedly to contract any one of the hepatitis family;
Upon our arrival into town we made haste to meet up with Tim whose house we would be sullying for the next 48 hours and got kitted up to go ride some delightful local trails. Some of these I had ridden before, but a fair chunk of which have since been built by a local trail guru named Greg Bettencourt who is owed a giant debt of gratitude for his work.
It is an astonishingly lovely place;
From the top we shucked and jived our way back into town and the promise of sustenance and showers;
We also spent some time bathing in the setting sun as Sean learned the finer points of why tubeless tires generally suck balls;
Upon our arrival home we lounged, ate some food, and I took a ton of photos of the upside down cross birthmark on our host’s dog’s nose, that he claimed he’d never noticed before;
After coffee the following morning, I began reflecting on the fact that a few crucial items had been left behind and that maybe I should take steps to replace them in my list of traveling necessities, so I did what any vagabond in my shoes would do and instead purchased a Mr.T In Your Pocket;
From this point, more lounging, tom foolery and of course, riding;
And then in case we forgot, Sean gave us a refresher on why tubeless tires still suck balls;
We had a schedule to keep though so after cleaning up, we bailed out again and continued on our journey, only stopping for a short break by the new and improved BIKE Magazine H.Q. to slap hands with a slew of peeps, and to see how Joe Parkin H.N.H. is enjoying his new digs;
Judging on his welcoming gesture as well as the condition of his fancy computer phone, things seem to be going swimmingly.
I should also note that J.P.H.N.H. took a slice of time out of his busy schedule of phone-breaking and bird-flipping to sign a copy of his newest effort Come And Gone;
I currently am only knee deep into it thus far, (it’s hard to read when you’re high on the fumes) but I can say without pause that he has out done himself.
For a total derelict, he’s a pretty fine writer.
Anyhow, after a bout of camaraderie and enjoying a quick lunch, we were out the door and once again enroute to points South.
Upon our arrival to the compound which we would call home for the next few days, we dumped our goods off at the convention hall, and retreated to our room to figure out the next step.
The convention center/motel complex/ broad array of weirdness was called The Town and Country and if Denny’s were to open a campus that could simultaneously hold Mary Kay seminars along side meetings of the Midwest model railroad enthusiast club as well as a half a dozen random half-assed wedding ceremonies, it would be this spot.
This sprawling example of Americana was in an area called Mission Valley, which became known as ‘the crater’, due to the fact that once you were on the ridge above it, and back into civilized civilization, looking down into the hole from which we retreated resembled little else.
Anyhow, once we were safely enveloped in the warm embrace of the bike show, the soulless jungle outside could no longer hurt us.
The bike show is what you’ve come here to read about anyway, so I might as well get on point.
To be fair, I’ve only attended two of the NAHBS, both of which I quite enjoyed, but in the years since the show was in California, I’ve seen a disturbing trend develop. The attention to what I call ‘the fancy’ has taken precedence over that which I call ‘functional design’.
I know I’m getting pretty confusing here, but bear with me.
I appreciate ornate details and over the top aesthetic quality as much as anybody, but when a bicycle’s fits of flair takes a front seat over basic, quality constriction, I become wary, and cynical. This world is one without regulation and as a second semester UBI student with one and a half frames and two forks under your belt, you can be a custom bike builder.
This is a profoundly dangerous direction for the hand built industry to be headed, and all I’ve seen in as far as at attempt at unionizing it, appears to be varied ego driven pissing matches.
Please make no mistake.. Though I’ve had my hand in aspects of the process for years, with a bevy of profoundly talented individuals, I am not a bike builder, nor would I ever presume as much.
However I am a person with perspective and a general knowledge of mechanical engineering.. Two things that, as near as I can tell, have become a rarity in the rock and roll world of custom bicycle building.
This is why I was excited to see something other than King Don’s show, and for the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. A focus on the craft over glitz.
A focus on this;
(I apologize for continually harping on this particular example, but aside from various bikes with holes drilled in the top tubes, this seems to be the most glaring case of the king’s new clothes to date.)Photo courtesy of Bike Rumor.
As I said, I love shiny bits, and heaps of random dysfunctional adornments as much as the next guy, but I prefer those to be confined to low rider shows.
With only a few exceptions, what I witnessed at this show in San Diego didn’t disappoint in the least. From the absolutely flawless perfection of Joe Bell’s paint jobs;
to the simple elegance of Mike Desalvo’s cross bike;
and John Caletti’s bike that we affectionately dubbed ‘The Track Suit’;
There was little that left me scratching my head and wondering ‘why’.
That of course is with the exception of Richie;
and Keith Anderson’s Freddie Mertz;
Or why no one was ever in the booth;
Ultimately, I have to conclude that the show was a success, and wasn’t left wondering what the hell people were thinking.
“But what was the best part of the whole show?” you might be asking yourself. Why, that was when present Sean got the opportunity to meet future Sean;
We finally made our way back to our respective domains with our souls intact and perhaps a new lease on the world of custom bikes. Maybe Sean and Mo didn’t, but I’m beginning to feel better about things anyway.
Though on further reflection, breathing truck exhaust for a thousand miles can make you feel better about alot of things.
In conclusion to my meandering rant, I will announce my final call for kit orders, as I will be sending the official orders to Voler on Friday. Should any of you just now be crawling from beneath your rock, they look like this;
and you can order them here.
So again, new kits, last day to order, do it.
Thanks for sitting tight, and I might recommend you grab a tissue to dab up the brains leaking out of your ear. For sitting through this, it’s the least I could do.