What is #shitbike?
Not so long ago, I decided to build a bike. After my first season of racing bikes, I felt burnt out and ready to discover cycling in another way. I wanted to build a bike that I could have fun on. Unlike the builds I had done previously, I limited myself to parts I already possessed or could get for free. My goal was to create a get-around bike, something I could lock to a pole in the middle of the Tenderloin and not worry. What I ended up with was one of my favorite builds and an ongoing project that always reminds me of the simple love for bicycles.
The first build was a mess. I was lucky to get an old steel frame from a friend. The dropouts were bent and it was far too big for him so it fit my needs quite well. I scrounged up my old saddle, wheels and bars and threw together the most unsafe “bike” I’d ever seen. My extra wheelset was missing multiple spokes and the bearings felt like gravel, but they were free! I pieced together a very ghetto single-speed freewheel out of old spacers and wine bottles (dont ask) and I was well on my way. I went to a bike shop and dug through the free bin where I found a brake that sort-of fit and even got some old bar tape. It was at this point when I decided to break my rule in the name of safety. I bought a proper brake lever and some cable/housing to ensure that at the very least, this bike would stop.
The whole bike was together and rideable all for under 30 dollars. I had been as close to successful as I imagined I would be. I decided there would be no better fitting maiden voyage for this bike than to cruise down to Tour of California passing by the Golden Gate Bridge. I only derailed my chain a couple dozen times on the way down but had my first true experience on what is now known as #shitbike. The bike was truly fun and the fear of it all falling apart under my feet made the experience exhilarating. This thrill was the rediscovery I was looking for.
#shitbike then grew into the idea to observe and write about people and their bikes in San Francisco. What do you ride? Why do you ride? #shitbike will be a survey of cycling culture and an report on bike loving people throughout the world. Anything that interests me and is worth noting will find its place in this blog, my stories and yours will be told and all in the spirit of that rediscovery.
this is #shitbike