shitbike rides with some makers

IMG_9369

I was sick, hungover and should have been working on finals but simply could not miss out on the Sacramento edition of Meet Your Maker Tour. shitbike has been out of commission since last week so I loaded up the ‘goose, downed a couple espresso shots and hit the road.

Robert Ives of Blue Collar bikes headed up this round of the tour, and – whoa – what a great job he did. We all met at his unofficial headquarters, a bar named the Hideaway, and prepped for the ride. Within five minutes there were enough people to rival the largest MYM already, by the time we left it was well over the last MYM attendance.

_MG_9427

The plan was a quick and easy loop around south Sacramento. 50 miles, no hills and “most of it will be a tailwind”. The huge group rolled out around 10 and we spilt immediately into a a mess of cyclists storming through the neighborhoods. Cars are pretty nice in Sacramento, but I still wanted to get out of the residential areas. After some time taking left and right turns trying to meander out of it, we came to a freeway and some open road. It was a good time to make rounds through the group, meet new people and check out some bikes.

_MG_9353 _MG_9357

I rode with a couple builders during the lulls and learned a lot about what it takes to start and maintain a small frame building company. These guys are ridiculously passionate about what they do, and their love for creating always trumps their desire for payment. They work hard to create bicycles that their clients will love a cherish forever. That’s not to say it’s an easy job. Every guy I talked to mentioned a time at which they didn’t know if “the whole bike-making thing” was going to happen for them. Some keep a part-time (or full-time) job while laying the foundation, some still have to supplement income with side jobs. Others are in the shop countless hours pumping out beautiful bikes to we can go ride them while their still in the shop making the next “big thing”. No matter what, each has a smile on their face when they describe their latest project. Each has a prideful grin as their name is called, preceded by the title “Frame Builder” at the start of the ride. These guys are an inspiration, in the creative realm, the business realm and in life.

This is why I go to Meet Your Maker. This is why Meet Your Maker exists. You get a chance, and the builders get a chance to come face to face with the other side. The builders are doing it because they love to make bikes, and you ride their bikes because they make riding more fun. To see these two heads meet makes for a an awesome ride. Everyone is happy to be out there. Its like a flurry of appreciation being spewed out from all angles, that and beer.

IMG_9374 IMG_9376

The ride was mixed terrain, hitting mostly asphalt with the occasional gravel section and even some railroad. I definitely picked the wrong bike for the job but committed and had to suffer it out. The bulky Mongoose made for an extra effort up every levy and through all the “tailwind” we were riding with. Sacramento has a strange feeling to it. One second you are in a nice shaded road with generous vegetation on either side, and the next second you are in the middle of a dry desert praying for water. We made our first beer stop about twenty miles in and I couldn’t be happier. A tallboy in my hand, the sun in my eyes and only 30 miles to go.

IMG_9380 IMG_9382

IMG_9378

At about mile 21 is where I lost it. I don’t know if it was the Mongoose, or the sun or the ridiculous headwind, but I was pretty beat and just wanted to get back for some pork and beer. I decided the best way to do this would be to put the hammer down, to cruise in faster so as to eat sooner. After another stop where we fueled up with licorice and beer, I put it in gear. I rode with Mr. Klein on a dirt section and he distracted me with some good conversation. On the next portion of the course I tried to stay with Curtis Inglis, but that badass was on a quick-as-lightning  show bike and I was almost died trying to discuss his recent trip to Sweden. We finally made it to another stop and I stuffed a doughnut in my face before heading into the last leg.

IMG_9393 IMG_9394

Ah, finally the skyline emerged from the trees and I knew we were close. At the last regroup I switched bikes with Darin who had just put together his brand new Blue Collar Cross with all the bells and whistles, and let me test it out. I rode that thing into Sacramento and it made the last five miles so much easier. Rigid as i-beam and light as a feather. We rolled past the capitol and the ATOC setup. We rode back into the neighborhood and down the last stretch to some bbq sandos and beer. At the Hideaway again, we all rack up the bikes and line up for lunch.

 

After a couple of beers refueled each rider, we all sat inside with little red tickets in hand waiting for Robert to call out the winners of the huge raffle he organized in support of the Chako Pit Bull Rescue. I didn’t win anything but I drank a few more beers, and thats winning for me. In size only, this MYM was one of the most successful. In community and charity, this MYM was far above the rest. We came together with the same intent of all the MYM tours but with the added intent of helping out a part of the builder’s community. We came together to have the same fun we always do, did it better, and even helped a worthy organization. Robert did a great job and I am looking forward to the next time I can get up to Sacramento to drink a beer with him.

 

Stinner Stinner, bourbon dinner.

IMG_5483

About a week ago I went to see Aaron Stinner talk a bit about bike building at Mission Workshop.

IMG_5486 IMG_5497

A ton of great people showed up to the event. Who wouldn’t when it’s sole advertisement was “Free beer and bourbon”? We mingled, drank, mingled some more. I was only hanging out for about five minutes before someone dropped one of the Stinner frames right into my beer, this party was officially on.

IMG_5494 IMG_5489

Aaron’s work has grown in popularity following a 2012 NAHBS Rookie of the Year Award and his sweet Mudfoot project that we all know so well. Stinner’s frames have been ridden by some of the best, and only Ty Hathaway was man enough to break one. His frames are simple and built for a purpose (as are most customs). Aaron talked a lot about what inspires him and keeps his business moving. It was interesting to have a Q&A setup, he wasn’t just giving us a shpeel. It was like a good conversation over a couple(dozen) beers.

photo1 copy photo1

All in all, it was very much like hearing any builder talk about their business. Working hard, staying true, making beautiful things. It was great to see the frames up close and hear all about the process A-Z. Most of what I loved about that night was all the great people who showed up. It was nice to see friendly faces, meet new folks and talk a bunch about what we love most – bikes. I had the chance to talk to Victor from Archive, Brad from Bicycle Coffee, met Storts as he farted and walk away from the scene of the crime, glanced at Ty Hathaway from GSC, Erik from AWOL and Mr. Brian Vernor(because I’m not cool enough for that crowd), and chatted up a bunch of old friends. It’s events like this that make San Francisco such a great place to live in. Take a central location and cram as many rad guys and gals as you can – who all love bikes – and just chill and drink free booze.

IMG_5491

Cheers to Aaron Stinner for coming down to share his experiences, it was a great event. I am already looking forward to the next Mission Workshop event, and all the free beer.

thanks and come again

A big thanks to everyone who has visited the page over the past couple days (yeah you guys who saw my link on The Radavist). I really appreciate you taking the time to see what I have been working on with shitbike. Please stay tuned for more awesomeness and follow me on Instagram and Facebook! @shitbikesf

A lot of cool things are coming our way this summer and there will be more than enough content for you to soak up. So thanks, and come again.

-shitbike

20140507-204206.jpg

a most well loved notsoshitbike

_MG_9310

I got the opportunity to go shred with Victor from Archive Bags the other day. We went to GG park to get a little gnar and I couldn’t leave without photographing his sweet Serotta. I’ll keep this post short and sweet being that I should be working on finals, but I couldn’t keep the photos to myself any longer.

_MG_9319 _MG_9325

So yeah, this is a pretty badass bike. It’s a 97 Serotta CMS, and I don’t really know what that means because I couldn’t seem to find more than a sentence about this bike online. Serotta made an ATX, a C4TI, and a whole bunch of other models, none of which are the CMS, so if you know what this bike actually is let me know. This elusive frame is a beautiful example of Serotta’s craftsmanship. It’s been shredded and tossed up and down trails for almost twenty years and still holds up like a man.

_MG_9330 _MG_9327

The bike has gone through a couple of owners and shows it’s years. This is probably the most beat up looking notsoshitbike I have featured, but the maybe the most well loved. As they say, “The best bike is the one you ride.”

_MG_9317

With Chris King up front and some assorted Shimano throughout, a sweet old San Marco, Schwalbe tires, some Mudfoot decals and of course an Archive saddle bag made out of old Thomson bags, Victor’s CMS has a unique character and bunch of style.

_MG_9316

A big thanks to Victor for helping me with a little homework photo shoot, and for letting me shoot this beautiful machine.

_MG_9276 _MG_9305

shitbike needs a westy

_MG_9149
So I went up to mount Tam again. This time with a four legged beast, the mythical legend, the Westfalia.

I had to go take care of a photo shoot for school and thought it would be a great opportunity to meet up with my friend James who owns a bitchin’ one. We packed up a few bikes, some beer and headed for the hills.

Image Image

 

I know the Westfalia-Fever is pretty rampant around these parts but I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to catch it after just one trip up a mountain. Well, I was wrong. These liitle adventuremobiles have quite the reputation for very good reason. Pack everything you could need in it, and get to any campsite within 100 miles in a day no-problem. Road trips, day trips, weekend cruises, after work rolls, these vans do it all and make you look awesome while doing it.

Image Image

We hung out on top of the mountain and had some beer and coffee (which we made on a gas stove inside this awesome piece of awesomeness) for a couple of hours before heading back home. no stress whatsoever, a couple bucks of gas and money for dinner, that’s it.

Image

 

I need one of these.

 

fuckyeahshitbike

IMG_3354

shitbike likes it hard and it’s been a while since i gave her a proper ride, if you know what i mean. so i put my thinking cap on a came up with something to sooth her desire and rub her right through to the bone. fifty miles of dirt, gravel, and climbs sounded about right. shitbike didnt have a clue of the plan, i wanted to surprise her with the awesomeness. we both got pretty and left for our hot date.

IMG_3338 IMG_3342

smooth foreplay unraveled on the streets of sausalito. movin’ and groovin’ our way to the mountain. perfect cadence. perfect moment. shitbike squeaking ever so slightly.

  IMG_3337  IMG_3340

we got lost for a little while after we got to mill valley. there’s construction and i didn’t know how to circumvent the closures while staying the correct course. it’s all good, spending time with shitbike is spending time with shitbike. eventually we find the start of the fire road and head up. it’s like a german sensual massage from the beginning. rocks, gravel and more rocks. shitbike is shaking to the bone, my hands are growing weak around the bars already, it’s going to be a rough ride.

IMG_3352  IMG_3355

we power to the top of tam where the  bumps cease and we take a break. shitbike is handling it all so well, not a single screw loose, ready for some more. we have a quick snack break of twizzlers and soon bid a farewell to West Point Inn.

IMG_3350

down down and down. bump and grind, bump and grind. rolling those rocks in the most non-elegant way possible. its rutted for her pleasure. still, im afraid we might have a blowout. we slow it down and take it easy, really soaking in the single track. it’s short lived and we’re on the road down to the next trail head before you know it.

IMG_3347 IMG_3359

IMG_3357 IMG_3358

i love getting on shitbike again. she always reminds me of the most important reasons i ride bikes. here we are sitting on the top of a mountain, all it took was the two of us. one man. one bike. no limitations. the ability to go and the ability to be free are what drive me to saddle up every day. shitbike reminds me that it’s not about the carbon in your frame or the ceramic in your bottom bracket, its about the will inside your heart. to go out and achieve great things not because it’s what you and your bike can do but because it’s what you truly desire to do. she also reminds me of just how important lube is.

IMG_3361 IMG_3363

descending on some smooth asphalt is like turning the lights on, shitbike’s flaws become more evident and she gets a little self conscious and mad. best to get back on some dirt quick.

we’re on to the next trail making our way back up the hill when we are joined by a friend. a kid from bear dev has ridden up and prepares to kick our ass. we’re down for a little challenge so we latch on as he passes and stay with him till the top. this was incredibly hard and incredibly stupid. don’t ever try to compete with a 16 year old monster mountain biker. neither of us has hurt that bad in a very long time. but we got to the top quicker than we had planned and had some extra time for some extra radness. more trails? i think yes. taking our only trail option adds on quite a few hills and mileage but we’re committed. to miwok we go.

IMG_3365 IMG_3366

 IMG_3367 IMG_3373

the sun is intense and we’re sweating out the last of the water. shitbike is squeaking constantly and sounding a bit dry. down some stairs, down some epic descents on dirt, and then straight back up. the climbs are dreadful but i’ve got to say- i love single speeds. for all their lacking versatility, they make up for it in ease of use and reliability. i wasn’t clicking over my cassette or fumbling on shifters. i sat and cranked, and worried about nothing. i was on the second to last hill when we ran into a suspicious stick. i was told by two old ladies that it was an elusive gopher stick. we carry on and hit the best descent in the area. a smooth fire road that leads into the headlands. its one of those descents you bomb fearlessly until your back tire starts shifting underneath you, and then you go faster.

IMG_3370 IMG_3374

we’re on to the very last fire road of the day and in celebration we practice wheelies to our heart’s content. shitbike got a little excited and bucked me off more than i would prefer, but no biggie. celebrations had, we head back home. successful date, both parties fully satisfied.