Sunday, July 1, 2012

Plying My Trade

Well the new workshop is up and running, and I'm starting to get back on top of the work again. It feels so good to be once more working on bicycles after yet another Dark Time in the chequered history of Roadworks. The evolution of the space could be a blog on its own, but I'll let a slideshow take care of that instead...suffice to say it's been a long, tough but also often fun process that I'm glad is now (almost...) at an end! The main purpose, of course, was to enable me to get back to twirling my spanners, and in that I've been successful.

An unexpected byproduct of all this has been the at times harrowing work of sorting out all the materiel I've accumulated, and working out what I can keep and what needs to go. I've already moaned about throwing stuff away, but it's also been great fun rediscovering some of the random stuff I've squirreled away over the years.

My magazine collection after the cull.

A July 1998 edition of L'Equipe souvenired on my behalf from the Tour de France.

A rad NOS pair of Diadora booties, sadly way too small for me.

A few jerseys are missing the old Wall of Fame.

Some wheels that need sorting out.

Some crisp 28h SunTour Superbe Pro hubs rescued from the pile.

Part of the reason I have so much old kit to handle is because I have over many years willingly become a repository for such bicycular detritus. This recently culminated in scoring this excellent condition Nishiki Tri-A that was sold to Steve in  about 1986 or '87 by the Bicycle Village. He couldn't recall which one of us actually sold it to him, but it was always slightly too big for him so I'll unfairly blame Roland (RIP); "What size is it?" "Your size." Steve is moving to the Big Smoke so this rarely ridden machine was surplus to requirements and he hunted me down to take it off his hands. I almost said no, but I'm really glad I didn't. Thanks, Steve!

The aero levers, handlebar tape and Look Carbon pedals are the only changes from original spec on this early triathlon marketed machine.

 After racking my brains as to a good home for it I offered it to my best friend Jim, to replace the endless succession of police auction shitters he has been attempting to commute on. He was delighted but stipulated flat bars, so flat bars is what I gave him. I think it turned it out grouse, and I'm very happy it's gone to a good home.

Original Nitto wedge-clamp stem, some old Marin flat bars with ODI grips and a pair of Altus brake levers.

Tange 1 tubing. I absolutely love the chromed seat-stay caps.

In fact all the detailing of this frame impress me.

Obviously Mr Kawamura cared deeply about the quality of the frames he built.

Jim's new commuter weapon.

One thing I rediscovered during the Interregnum is that I'm definitely happiest when I'm working, so it's been so satisfying to get stuck back into it. I'm blessed with many patient (long-suffering?) friends who humble me by patiently waiting for me to sort my shit out until I can get to their work, and I promise I am trying to get around everybody as quick as I can. The facts are though that I have my perpetual time constraints added to dramatically reduced space for storing pending work to deal with, so I have to beg your further indulgence as I attempt to find the balance...

Working from home was already something I did from time time, but usually not more than building the odd wheel in front of the telly.

Bob's Burgers is my new favourite cartoon.

The above wheel in situ along with it's partner on Jonty's wicked new Ritchey SwissCross CX rig.

But, despite enjoying working in my pyjamas in the bosom of my family, there's definitely something fundamentally important about actually going off to work, and last week I was finally able to do just that so I packed up my lunch pail and set off down the path. 

At this stage I still haven't hung the tools.

A favourite pose reborn.

Slip out for a short ride, you say? Why, I don't mind if I do!

A Tuesday night's worth of building, with truing and tensioning to come.
Churning them out now!

Despite all my promises to myself, it's never as easy as just getting out for a ride. From 3-4 rides a week for a shining moment there I'm back down to one ninety minute outing a week, or two if I'm lucky. However, the 4th of June was my 49th birthday and traditionally I have to ride on my birthday, so I dressed up warm and headed out on a 49km outing around Wellington on a frigid but fine day.

The waterfront is poetry on an empty weekday.

It's good to stop and watch the waves break over the rocks.

The Hillbrick is no Bianchi or Benson, but it's a nice ride nonetheless.


Light and shadows contouring the contours.

My birthday ended with a glass of wine and a partial eclipse of the Moon, which I managed to expertly capture in this crystal-clear image...

My friend Chris scored this cool Colnago CT-1 Lux Titanio frameset off another friend and gave it to me to build up.

The frame after cleaning and prepping.

And ready to race. This fine steed has already carried CJ to his first win after coming back from a nasty elbow injury.

As astute observers of this here blog what you is reading will be aware, my dear friend John Randal has just organised a massive order of Roadworks kit for worldwide distribution. I will expand on this at length in an upcoming blog, but until then I would like to profusely John again, as well as thanking all of you who supported me through grabbing some of the clothing. I have been feeling the love, and it truly helped my morale. To celebrate I took my new Black Ops kit out for a pleasant whirl one day. The inspiration for the name of my business was in full evidence on this small Bays ride...

Loving the Black Ops kit so much I wore my gilet underneath it instead of over it!

This was the third lot of roadworks between home and Tarakena Bay.

The best parts of a ride are often the stops. The day was warm in the sunlight, but chilly in the shadows. Not a breath of wind either...

Uh oh, here it comes. Suddenly there's a stiff southerly breeze ablowin' as the presager of a cold front scythes overhead.

Vinyl Slut HQ.

Arse. My first puncture in a couple of years slowed me down even more than the interminable picture taking did.

More roadworks near home and a hot nurse on her way to placement.

This better be a hotmix job...(it was!)

Literally five minutes after this photo was taken the rains came in a biting cold driving deluge.

I'll finish this off with a lovely piece of Italian steel. Andrew built himself up a lovely Guerciotti road bike that needed a new Capagnolo Record headset fitted, along with some new wheels he got me to build up...

Campagnolo Record hubs on Mavic Open Pro rims. Nice.

Circles and triangles are all I see.

Unusually for a modern frameset the old one inch threaded format is used. The threads needed a good clean-up before the headset was installed

Installed. I do still love the look of the traditional quill stem.

The frame has earned the right to wear the World Champion stripes through numerous victories in Cyclo-Cross. 

A proud name emblazoned upon the top-tube.

Record headset, Record hubs and Record frameset.

The headset.

The Regal is a classic saddle from the past that tips its hat to the even older leather saddles  of an even earlier epoch.

Finito, and mighty fine.
As I said, it sure feels good to be working again. The Tour has just started though, so you might have to bear with me a while...Until we meet again, thanks for reading. 

Pedal on, Oli


Blah said...

Nice post - sounds like you're relaxed and loving it.

Oli said...

Getting there thanks! It's good to be home, for sure. Cheers, Oli