For the sake of full disclosure, the image I’d originally chosen for the header of today’s post was an amazing gif of several faces morphing into one another simultaneously. However the technological gods told me that the file was simply too large for my website’s soul to handle so I had to buzz off and find different fodder for us, which brings us to this word right here;
By the way, it only took me forty-five minutes to get that arrow in the right place. (Though on mobile devices it appears not to be. If my refrigerator wasn’t so full of food right now, I swear I’d give up on everything and just walk into the ether.)
First up, I’d like to mention that I spent the weekend aboard a type of mountain bicycle commonly referred to as a ‘singlespeed‘;
Mine back when it was a professional model. Sadly, she got hooked on cocaine and was passed around from photographer, to writer, to agent, like a common ‘doobie’.
As you can see in the glam-shot, these are bikes with no multi-cogged drivetrains, but rather one gear, generally in a two to one ratio.
Among mountain bicyclers they have become a popular style to ride over the last decade for their simplicity and handsome aesthetics.
Though one speeded bicycles have been around for thousands of years, Mike Ferrentino and Robert Ives invented this particular incarnation of ‘off road singlespeeding‘ back in 1949. It was some time during the early to mid-90s when I first met them and began riding the ‘singlespeeds‘ as well.
I think it was March. Like, the month we’re in right now.
Eventually ‘singlespeeding‘ even got their own World Championship race, to which people from all over the world gather wearing viking helmets and capes. It’s like Burningman for bicycle riders but with but with less public sex and Kanye West sightings. (This is all I know of Burningman based on an article I once read in ‘Us’.
Did you know celebrities walk their dogs and take out their garbage just like us?)
At a time I enjoyed attending these World Championships. Why, with the help of the previously mentioned individuals, I even helped to organize one in 2002, at which we declared singlespeeding to be dead.
It was in a way, though its rotting corpse refused to lay still, and in the twelve years since that declaration was made, has continued shuffling all over the world.
Anyhoo, after not having spent much time with her, I pulled her off my wall this weekend, threw a leg over the top tube, and promptly crashed into my frontyard because all the brake fluid had drained from the reservoirs.
Once I got those issues addressed, I began climbing. And then I climbed some more, and then after that I climbed some more, and then after that I did a little bit more climbing. You see- from my residence, you can go downhill, where you can find tons of broken glass to ride through, the Hell’s Angel’s Oakland chapter’s clubhouse, and delicious carnitas, (not all in the same place) or you can go uphill and find some elbow room, and some pretty brilliant trails.
On these days off, I opted for the latter.
But anyway, on at least one of the days, I was in the company of my life partner, and I took what I feel was a nice digital photograph of her;
At one point she asked if I would like a photo of myself riding, to which I eagerly agreed, primarily because I am woefully short of hero shots to post on Facebook pages, and email signatures and what not.
See those little specks of dust in the air? I put those there.
Certainly riding that non-multi geared bike made me feel like a kid again, while simultaneously making me feel every one of my forty three years.
And speaking of old, I was laying on the floor, staring at the ceiling this weekend when I remembered that Black Flag’s seminal album ‘My War’ turns thirty years old this month;
I don’t want to be the old guy who waxes nostalgic but sometimes we don’t get what what we want.
When I was thirteen, I made the long journey to Wax Trax Records in Denver’s Capital Hill district. With the twenty dollars I’d saved probably shoveling snow, or from birthday cards or wherever one gets money when they were thirteen years old living in the middle of nowhere in 1983, I headed to the big city and bought this record, as well as probably some Dead Kennedys or Agnostic Front stickers.
While I was a big fan of the cover art of Suicidal Tendencies’ self titled release from around the same year;
I didn’t much care for the music. I took Suicidal Tendencies’ direction and began making my own punk rock shirts. I made at least a half a dozen incarnations of Pettibon’s artwork for my friends and me on plain white t-shirts that year (hence the marker stains all over the cover of my copy), as well as jackets emblazoned with Shawn Kerri’s Circle Jerks slamdancer;
The COC spiked skull;
And so on.
Around that same time I got a job washing dishes at the worst restaurant in the world, which meant a regular paycheck, (albeit a super meager one), which in turn meant I’d moved up in the world and could finally afford real live screen printed t-shirts.
It was the end of an era, and I was part of the 1%, but I always fondly recalled my days immersed in DIY culture.
And speaking of which, but not really, but kinda, for those who have invested in the newest issue of the AHTBM ‘zine (and thank you, by the way), you’ve seen that there is an introduction to a local character named Joe Blanco.
For those who have not purchased the new issue of the ‘zine, I’ll summarize by saying that Joe is basically like the bicycle derelict’s patron saint;
Photo by dfL Brad.
When shooting stories around recently in a group email, the storyteller we call Loudass wove the following tale:
“Me, Casey and Devlin were marking the course in Golden Gate Park for the ’97 Crusty Cup. We were in the area where the dfL Cross races are held near 40th ave, when Papa Joe comes speeding up to us and asks, “DID YOU SEE THAT GUY?!”
We responded that we hadn’t seen anyone and didn’t know what he was talking about. So Joe enlightened us. He and Scotty P. had been riding the course near the Windmills and this white trash guy was loitering in his parked car, blocking the entrance to one of the trails – he was presumably waiting for clandestine relations with other men (the guy in the car that is, or so I was told). Joe had to pulled a branch back to access the trail and when he released it, it slapped the guy’s car. The driver starts swearing at Joe and gets out of his car enraged.
Now there are two ways one can deal with a situation like this: (1) say fuck you and keep rolling; or (2) the Papa Joe Way, which is to immediately break the guy’s nose with a swift right cross. Papa Joe chose Option 2. So the guy, undeterred by his injury, jumped in his car (a beat up, shitty late 70’s Camaro like in Rockford Files), and started chasing Papa Joe and Scotty at high speed.
Joe made his way back to us, but this guy somehow tracked him. We heard the wheezing roar of emissions controlled Chevy 305 nearby, and Joe took off, leaving me, Casey and Devlin standing there in shock and confusion. So the guy comes ripping up the fireroad at like 30 mph, fishtailing and throwing up dust, and then stops across from us (Joe was long gone). He had blood splattered all over his face due to the aforementioned Option 2, and breathlessly asks us “DID YOU SEE A GUY ON A BIKE?!”
And then he sped off again.
Moments later, Scotty emerged from some nearby bushes carrying a gigantic stick, announcing “I’m ready for that motherfucker if he comes back!”
The motherfucker did not come back and we all lived happily ever after.
Again, and in reference to the beginning of today’s post, the Crusty Cup was a local one speed series we used to put on here in the Northern Californias, and this occurrence took place during the set up of that year’s San Francisco race.
I remember it well, and was a little freaked out that we would all be mowed down during our fun, but it turns out my worry was for not.
To make up for it, I stuffed Leroy (who at the time was one of my primary rivals) into a final corner for the second race in as many weeks once again proving who the new bull in the yard was, and which one was ready to be put out to pasture;
Leroy in 1992 with his BTU teammates.
Am I the new bull in that story?