The Saga of O Knobby-One Kenobi

On a trail…
A few years ago…
In a county near here…

Lots of things going on these days. I am officially a board member of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. I worked at the shop again today, it was hectic at times but I was happy to be there. Anybody needs some cat hair just let me know, we have some. Tomorrow I am going to race my mountain bike. It has been a long time. I don’t even ride my mountain bike much anymore and here I go racing it. Typical.

I have been meaning to ride off road more, but for years now I have been out of the practice. I used to be much more “into” it. I had a really nice mountain bike by 1993 standards. Steel! Titanium pedal spindals! A (yellow) Kooka crank! 21 speeds to choose from! Yeah, it was purdy durned nice. I even took a trip with friends to Moab, Utah and went to the Cactus Cup in Arizona before they turned the course into a nice neighborhood for folks with a spare million or two. Thems were the days.

About the same time I acquired a fondness for riding my bike onto picnic tables and the like and jumping off them. Riding up big flights of stairs. Maybe it had something to do with hanging out with this guy at the Cactus Cup:

He is Libor Karas and he could do amazing things with bicycles. Probably still can. Big lesson about trials is that it is not good for the equipment. So I started replacing all broken parts with bigger and or heavier ones. Handlebars, wheels, fork, derailleurs, seats, they all got busted. Before I knew it I was riding a 30 pound mountain bike when I would head to the trails. It sucked. I quit mountain biking altogether.

Then, in 1999, I had just finished backpacking the Appalachian Trail and somehow or another found myself at Chequamegon hanging out and drinking beer. Someone told me they had run into someone out on the trail and thought they had blown up and were riding slow but no! He was riding a singlespeeder.

I was intrigued. I talked to some folks, looked at their bikes and thought I would like to try that. So I went to the Iowa City Spoke and Ski (a fine Iowa City bike Shop, long since closed) and had them build me up a wheel and get me rolling. Once I got it all “dialed” it was so much fun I found myself whooping and hollering as I rode my (kind of) light bike. I did a night ride and had so much fun I had to call my friend Ralph and tell him all about how cool it was and how I had not smiled on a bike ride like that since that time we got arrested on RAGBRAI. He was sleepy but impressed!

So now, years later, I have been riding my singlespeed with not much regularity and I have been missing it. Last summer the Helping Friendly Book, friendly and helpy as he is, told me we should ride trails and I said my bike needed this or that done to it and he was having none of it and told me its a single so not much can be wrong so lets go ride. We never did. But I was inspired to get that bike running again so I had a local reputable framebuilder throw some horizantal drops on there and I bought a few new parts and at least one old one and I am back on the trail! Here then, is the bike!

Yeah, that’s real mud, not airbrushed crud like you see in those Vanilla ads. Okay maybe they dab the mud on with a paintbrush, doesn’t matter. That’s a genuine flat front tire, too.

Where the magic happens! And look at that enormous slab of concrete. Cody dug that out of the yard by herself today! You probably can’t tell by the picture but the hub is a tad loose. I’m working on it…

Boring and gratuitous component picture, but you can see THROUGH the bottom bracket! Isn’t that amazing?

The Pièce de Résistance! Nuk-U-lar Proof carbon front hub! One of the many fine party gifts I received for working at the Broken Spoke last summer. How long will it last? Hopefully through tomorrows race at least. And Brian, if you are reading this, I am finally ready to ride with you!

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7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Cody G. said,

    Yeah, that concrete slab weighs like a hundred pounds or something. Oof.

  2. 2

    i think you should tape the slab to your back just to add that extra umph to your hillclimbing. nice work pickle. i like the rize-R bars, the white flite and the nuke proof hub. all very classic single speeder touches.
    also, way to go cody on the slab. did you flex like a wwf wrestler when you were finished?

  3. 3

    ira–i’m laughing at the saddle observation: g pickle’s riding a “white flight” saddle–imagine THAT! i had no idea they had their own saddle.

    nice riding, pickle, and nice concrete bustin’ cody. i’ll call you when i’m ready to do the garage foundation work in the back yard.

  4. 4

    friendlybook said,

    consider it a date, pal.
    i’ll be in and around town may – mid-june.

    those drop-outs are hot.

  5. 5

    […] I went to Chequamegon 40 this year, its 25th running, and I brought the Bridgestone, what else? The Eppens took me along, they have two top ten finishes on their tandem at this event […]

  6. 6

    […] done railing for safety & the Bridgestone rides […]

  7. 7

    […] 12, 2009 · Filed under 30th Century Bicycle, Life It is back, the coolest SS mountain bike on planet Earth rides […]


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