Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spring Has Sort Of Sprung!

The nature of my business means I seem to either be intensely busy or dead quiet. The quiet is never through a lack of bookings, but more because I'm waiting for parts or perhaps a client to drop off or pick up their bicycle. Often this will mean that I haven't quite got time to slip out for a ride, so I will make use of that downtime to fettle my own bikes or those of my family. This last couple of weeks I did a bit of both, but I also got caught up in a redecorating frenzy as I furiously spring-cleaned the shop and, inspired by his passing, made room on the wall for a poster tribute to the late, great Laurent Fignon...

Many of you won't notice the differences, but I do love my working environment so I thought those of you who either haven't been to visit for a while or are unable to due to reasons of time and space might enjoy a virtual tour of the Batcave.

On your left as you make your way through the chic Japanese door is the legendarily plush customer couch and reading station, overlooked by the Poster Wall.

Then also by the Poster Wall we have my lay-up table, wheel racks, clothing cabinet and the start of the Tool Board. Note M. Fignon racing his Raleigh in the 1989 Tour de France just to the right of the Park Tools sign.

The Tool Board (with Number Wall above) continues into the lubes/spokes/miscellaneous cabinet, then you have my bench under the Left Window, my small parts boxes and the majestic Tashkoff Cabinet.

My workbench, small parts drawers and a front-on aspect of the Tashkoff Cabinet.

The Right Window, bike racks and the Jersey Wall of Fame.

Sundry bicycles in front of the Jersey Wall of Fame, the Noticeboard, the Campagnolo Wing and the Tradesman's Entrance.

The Bianchi Wing, the Eddy Merckx Shrine and the Japanese door/entrance.

Close-up detail of the Tashkoff Cabinet.

And last but by no means least is a closer look at the newly opened Bianchi Wing, my shrine for all things Celeste.

So, now I have pulled off all my fingernails yanking out eight hundred drawing pins, it's time to sort out a bike for my boy Bodhi. For a long time he has been too big for his old child's bike and I have been meaning to sort him out a new one. With his school's Wheels Day looming the following morning I had a deadline, and I finally got the chance to revive Harry's old machine one afternoon once work was done and while Bodhi was out with his Grandparents.

Mechanically it wasn't at all demanding, it just needed a chainset and a clean and lube of the drive and cables basically, but pulling off all the Maxxis stickers that Har had plastered it with took about 90 minutes! I was very happy with how it turned out, I just hoped Bo would be too...

It was a beautiful evening so when the Inlaws brought Bo home I delayed tea to show him his new steed and take him for his first ever ride on a geared and hand-braked bicycle - with suspension to boot!

I'm glad to say he was super-excited and delighted with it, reacting like a kid on Christmas. He handled his new bicycle like a pro, and like a proud Dad I couldn't help but film his maiden ride...I love the evening birdsong soundtrack to this clip.

As time was tight we headed home to rest up for the imminent Wheels Day, but Wellington continued it's trend of no consecutive good days and much to Bodhi's disappointment the event was unfortunately washed out. We compensated by heading out again on Saturday afternoon, this time with me on my bike and Kester on his BMX along for the hoon.

Bo's seat could go up higher, but until his confidence increases the ability to put his foot down is more important. He's not doing badly on 170mm cranks, either!

Surely he can't be related to me?

After some energetic bike tag/crit training we took to the playground for some traditional tag - that is, at least, until I took a spill on the loose bark in chasing (and catching) Ket. The claret spilled was nothing but the sharp pain and instant swelling in my knee didn't feel very nice...

...nevermind, the pain and swelling quickly passed leaving only happy memories of a great fun day. Now Bo has a "proper" bike his enthusiasm for riding has jumped dramatically, and he's been keen to ride every day he can. The Wheels Day was rescheduled and Bodhi was in his element, even learning to ride down a small flight of stairs!

I've been talking up my proud association with Paralympian Jayne Parsons for weeks now, so I didn't think you'd mind me sharing a few cool shots of her and Sonia Waddell competing for their eventual silver medal in the recent Paracycling World Championships.

The peloton, with Canadian winners Robbi Weldon and her storied pilot Lyne Bessette here behind the Dutch team with Jane and Sonia on their hip. Having ridden in a few pelotons myself over the years I can only imagine how full on it must be on tandems, especially if you can't even see!

Here are Jayne and Sonia immediately following the medals ceremony. Awesome.

And I saved my favourite photo for last, even though it wasn't from their medal winning ride. Here they are putting in a massive effort in the time trial, where they just missed the bronze medal by a fraction of a second. I'm sure the girls weren't enjoying the pain, but I love seeing it writ upon their faces.

One more shot of the tandem after being unpacked, cleaned up and tuned.

Back to single machines, my friend Richard brought in his new purchase for some minor tweaks here and there - a beautiful early 1970s 531 Motobecane.

Ian was heading off to Budapest, Hungary, to compete in the ITU Age Group World Triathlon Championships, garnering a fine 26th place in a hard-fought event. Naturally, his bike needed the very finest care to send him safely on his way...

Sepp's Powertap wheel has a hard life under this powerful rider, and after a couple of broken spokes in the course of a few months, including an inopportune one during the Ride to Erewhon, we decided a full rebuild was in order.

Malc wanted a new set of pimped out yet burly wheels for his Enduro, so he got hold of some DT 5.1D rims and some nice black Hope Pro2 hubs and I knocked them up using black DT Competition spokes and black brass nipples for a set of bombproof wheels that come in at under 2kg.

I managed to finally finish off the $5 Flanders too. Sadly, the corroded internal top-tube brake cable guide was too much for me to revive, so I resorted to some old-school cable clips and a full-length housing to solve that nasty poser.

I never tire of the aesthetic of a freshly clean drive, especially a cool one like this old Dura-Ace one...

It turned out pretty well, I reckon, and it rides very nicely too.

I've been out for a few fun rides in the last couple of weeks, but I was mighty glad I decided to flag the bike and take the car up to Revolution Bicycles a couple of Fridays ago. I left B-Pore in warm sunlight but minutes after cracking the first beer (of one!) in Jonty's fine establishment the sky darkened dramatically... I headed outside to take a couple of photos... the serious-looking Southerly front barged its way through the Heads and over everything in it's path...

...culminating in an apocalyptic hailstorm that lasted for a good thirty minutes or so! Several hardy commuters ended up taking shelter in Revolution, as Alex and I marvelled at the rapidly piling up ice.

Sheltered from the Spring Storm, Selwyn toiled as Jonty and his erstwhile helpers tried to nut out an errant brake issue...

...while I took the time to enjoy the posters Jonty has scattered around his shop, including this classic shot used in Jonathan Kennett's instant classic book Tino Tabak: Dreams and Demons.

And a great one of Il Campionissimo, Fausto Coppi.

And this fantastic picture of Monsieur Paris-Roubaix himself, Roger de Vlaeminck.

As I finished my ale I mused about bench tidiness, and what punishments I would enact for slovenliness if I was Ruler Of The World. Lucky for Jonty the fine work that emerges from this maelstrom would render him beyond my sanction even if I was in such an exalted position...

Speaking about posters, Tim Wilding spotted this beauty in Wellington airport. It's advertising Rotorua using a shot of the Bike The Lake Event, and who should be stringing the bunch out in his Wholly Bagels kit but my main man Paul Larkin! (More on the Wholly Bagels Cycling Team here)

After a tour of duty in Europe working for a pro women's team Paul has ended up with my dream job, assembling Moots, IndyFabs and Parlees from a vast pile of Super Record, Di2 and Red components and Edge wheels in Melbourne's cool Cycling Edge shop. Good stuff, WO!

Back here in Wellingtown, we are starting to get glimpses between the rain and hail of the possibility of the spring that has theoretically arrived. Actually, I shouldn't be too harsh - we've had some lovely days of late, they just haven't often coincided with my being able to ride!

However, one of those fine days I did get out was the same day I took Bo and Ket out for a ride. I had managed to slip out for a Bays ride earlier, and it would have been pleasant but unremarkable if it hadn't been for the sighting of a Southern Right Whale basking off the shore in Scorching Bay! I took some film of this cool event, but I won't bother linking it as sadly it's impossible to discern the whale even though it was clearly visible to me and the many other gawkers lining the coast to watch it idly loll about. I've never seen a whale before, so was stoked to fluke a sighting...

The only other thing of note about this particular spin was the amount of shit on the roads washed down from the rain and hail of the previous night - I chose entirely the wrong bike as my poor Bianchi was filthy by the time I got home, needing a jolly good hosing down and necessitating a rare non-driveside photo.

Yesterday's ride was a fun and semi-hilly one as I took my Casati over Mt Vic, around some of the Bays, then up (via a fine coffee or two and some fine conversation at Revolution Bicycles) to Tinakori Hill and even onto some gentle singletrack and down a couple of flights of steps, getting my cyclo-cross steez on...

...before getting back onto the seal and bombing the road down Anne St and Sar St into town...

...and heading back around the Bays and home through Island Bay, for a nice couple of hours riding and another dirty machine. I'm not OCD, am I?

Anyway, even if I am I don't care one bit; In fact, here's another totally gratuitous close-up picture of my drivetrain just to show I am totally secure in my obsessive nuttiness.

On that note, I will leave you alone until next time. If you're on Facebook keep an eye on my Roadworks Bicycle Repairs page for up-to-the-minute updates, random ravings and a plethora of scanned photographic retro-goodness...

As ever, thanks very much for reading, Oli


sifter said...

Bravo! Always a pleasure to start the day with one of these updates, even if it's a lurg-induced 5:30 start!

ben kepes said...

Wow, I knew Fignon had cancer but hadn't heard that he'd died. His wins in Le Tour corresponded with me getting interested in racing... I think I'll go out and take a commemorative look at my (sadly repainted since then) Fignon era 653 Raleigh....

Angry said...

LOL "and necessitating a rare non-driveside photo"

Anonymous said...

Great Blog...great post and hey that was my old school!!