For a few weeks I’ve been mulling over various ideas of new and potentially more betterer concepts for content on the AHTBM website project blog thing, and one prospect that crossed my mind was to periodically do a feature with a stand alone post containing the articles I wrote for the now defunct PAVED Magazine. It was my first ‘regular’ writing gig, and one that I was very proud of, given the fact that I don’t hold my own intellect, or ability to do anything aside from hold grudges in very high regard.
So for the final Friday, for however many weeks there are until I run out of articles, or until the publisher hits me with a cease and desist order, I will be posting here the pre-edited features I wrote for Paved Magazine, as well as the article’s accompanying photos for the two and a half years or so that it was in existence. I hope you enjoy it. If you don’t, you always can change the channel.
Issue number one
Photo by Brian Vernor
”Those bikes have such skinny tires. How do you stay upright?” was what my dad said to a family friend who was a tirelessly committed roadie. “I manage” he smiled, as he was off riding his umpteenth time to Vail, which to me at my young age seemed an insurmountable task. The place was Colorado’s Front Range and the time was one filled with visions of The Coors Classic, and ‘Breaking Away’. Of course like most kids my age, I was head over heels into BMX, yet I was still mesmerized by his bike’s graceful lines, and elegant detail.
Fast forward to the mid nineties, and a scene consisting of me wrenching in some random bike shop or another. I remember specifically being a Cannondale dealer, because at the time we were offering an incentive program in which an individual could bring us their old road bike frame set in exchange for a deal on a new one.
One day a fellow sauntered in carrying a beat up orange Ritchey and was ready to give it over. Immediately I could tell that it was just about my size. I think he took note of the desire in my eyes. “I have a few other pretty nice steel bikes, and I don’t mind trading this one in” he said. “If you have one that you could send in in its place, you can take this one off my hands.” It just so happened that the bike I had previously messengered on was hanging just feet from where we stood, broken at the bottom of the seat tube.
We shook hands, and the switcheroo took place. At the time an old friend of mine was working in Colorado Springs at Spectrum Powder Works, and I had long admired the work that came out of their shop. I figured the best thing to do in order to give my steed a new lease on life was to gussy it up.
When it came back to me it was deep blue metal flake, with some goofball hot rod flames, and in the location where pros generally have their names, it said simply ‘I’m a drunk’. This bike was my newly reclaimed love, and no sooner did I have it built, was I out the door amassing hundreds of miles. Finally when the odometer clicked over to 10,000, I had my eyes set in newer and shinier directions. Several years earlier Scot Nicol from Ibis had traded me a road bike tube set for a painting I had done which for some months that followed, sadly collected dust in various corners of my house.
Eventually during a reception for an art show, Mo Rebolledo (who at that time was welding bikes for the Sycip brothers) had inquired if I would be interested in trading a painting for a Fiat he had stashed away in his garage. This inquiry was immediately puzzling to me, but at the time I saw it as a perfect opportunity to make use of that nearly forgotten set of tubes. “No” I said. “I would not, but how about a road bike, if I supply the materials?” A deal was made and after a fitting and several phone conversations, I took delivery of my very own custom cobalt blue Sycip road bike frame.
Again, I begged, borrowed and stole all of the necessary parts to get my bike built, and when the final setscrew was turned, and cable crimped, I found myself exploring what at this point has once again almost culminated in another 10,000 miles.
Not unlike my personal relationships, my bike is multifaceted in its commitments to me. We have an unspoken understanding, and if that means a solo forty-mile mud splattered fire road grind to celebrate the Spring classics, or a century along a seemingly endless ribbon of jet black tarmac, together we are one. I quietly point it in the direction of punishment and pleasure, and without exception, it always returns the favor.