It’s true, before #shitbike, there was another shit bike. In fact “squeaky”, as she grew to be known, was the first of my poorly built children and an inspiration for my second. Squeaky was a conversion fixed built from a late 70’s steel Peugeot. Like #shitbike, squeaky was given to me from a friend.
The bike was in perfect condition and had been sitting in a garage for decades until gifted to me. The poor thing didn’t know what it was getting into. I rode squeaky in her road-form for months around Tucson Arizona. I had recently graduated high school and had no idea what to do with myself. For half a year I woke up, ate breakfast and then went out for long 20 mile loops (long for a kid my age in a city with average 100 degree weather) to the university and back. Soon enough I was getting the legs to do it twice, or more. As I visited the campus more often I became aware of certain college fads such as the longboard and slack line, fads I would never hear of while sitting at home. I saw my first fixed gear on campus, it was under the feet of a friend. A purple Mercier frame with unusual flat bars and pedals that wouldn’t stop when the bike was moving?! I immediately requested a taste of the black magic, and upon my saddling this beast, I was in love. I soon converted my squeaky to a fixed gear and rigged various ghetto-brakes to keep me alive until I learned to stop correctly. I even lashed one to my top tube, it looked like I was grabbing my crotch every time I wanted to slow down. Eventually I graduated to stopping with my legs and thought I was a major badass. Soon thereafter I decided squeaky was going to need a new paint job.
I obviously chose a fine grit sandpaper to get the job done quickly, and picked a nice acrylic spray paint to make it last. Sanding the clear coat took a day, I gave up soon into the real paint layers and started laying paint. I chose a duo-tone design of black and purple because I heard it made your bike faster. 342 layers later I had a new bike. Out of a shitty ol’ Peugeot (*sarcasm*) I created this magnificent black (and purple) stallion.
Ok yeah, so I ruined a perfectly beautiful machine. I made it into something I loved though. The instant I took it outside my driveway the paint started chipping away, a testament to my painting expertise. The more I locked it to poles, the more it started looking like a scratch-off coloring book, revealing the colorful paint underneath. The more I chipped away, the more it looked intentional and so squeaky started to have a rough life. I threw it here, and there and the shittier it looked the more I loved it.
squeaky followed me to San Francisco and went through hell and back over the next couple years, losing a set of wheels to the tenderloin, cracking a chain stay off a curb, tearing off a chainring, and losing most of her paint on bike racks. She met an untimely death not to long ago when she was stripped down to fit in a closet and then I had to sacrifice her in negotiations for apartment space with the girlfriend. She lays somewhere in a dump now, full if good memories and years of faithful service. If you ever get over the fear of scratching or breaking your bike, love it to death. Ride it until you can’t anymore and then fix it and go out again. That’s what shitbike is all about.