Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Slow Progress...

With our assorted reprobate tradesmen taking well over four weeks to do the work they said would be done in four days, I have found getting reestablished in my new workshop frustratingly far from easy. I am someone who needs to work to avoid going batshit crazy, so luckily the wonderful John Randal had a fun job just waiting until I was in a position to wield my spanners effectively again. His project was a nice Yeti Big Top 29er hardtail, to complement his ASR 5c full-suspension Cape Epic weapon. As soon as I possibly could, I shoved stuff aside until I had a corner to work in, then I moved my essential tools and a few props into the space and set to work.

With the old 'shop still in a sad state of half-packed major disarray, and my cleaning gear buried in the piles of crap, I had to use my kitchen sink to clean up the few parts that were being moved over from John's old Turner. Luckily Jacq wasn't at home to see this sort of thing going on where I prepare the evening meals...

 I didn't do a build log of this fine machine (phew, I hear some of you say!), but I sure did take some shots of the finished gig. Here are the wicked Roadworks decals made up by my friend Dan from Producer - carefully placed, I reckon they suit the forks nicely!

Tapered head tube and the very cool Chris King headset, plus more branding sit below the Yeti yeti.

 The large logo along the top-tube looks highly visible lit up by the flash, but it's surprisingly stealth in real life.

A bike always looks better with a quality head badge, and a pewter one looks better still.

The XT front derailleur mounts directly to the seat-tube, which stiffens the whole deal up and makes the front shifting quicker and more precise.

New ten speed XT chain, cassette and chainrings, and John's old rear mech. Note I have installed the optional 142mm spaced 12mm rear axle fittings that suit the Hope hubbed wheels I built him in readiness for the build - similar to the 15QR front axle set-up many people will already be familiar with, this should stiffen up the rear end a bit, as well as making wheel removal easier.

The Big Top...

...complete. Bar the tubelessing, that is, which is beyond me and my rudimentary capabilities at this point in time. I love the proportions of this 29er - they just look...right. Note John's trademark black/white rim combo, carried over from the 26" Turner Flux he used to ride.

As soon as I was done I had to push everything back to make room for the plumber to do his thing. Well a small portion of his thing, at least...

The genesis of the new Roadworks. Note that at this stage bugger all of my shop stuff has migrated yet...the boxes on the right are Kester and Harry's old toy boxes. Contrary to popular belief, Harry's bed isn't actually there for me to crash on when work gets too arduous.

 Finally the time came for the actual shift to take place. The work at home hadn't ceased, but my time in the old shop was fast running out. Things were so tense between the bad left tenants and I that have to confess I was reluctant even to be there to pack up and sort out the vast amount of stuff that needed sorting and packing, but a concerted effort between my invaluable helper Kester and I over four days did the business...

And so the six-year Mk IV era came to an abrupt close.

...and, somewhat poignantly, it was as if I'd never been.

As I turned out the lights and locked the door for the final time, I felt a great flood of emotion as I reflected on some great tings and times that were had in this Berhampore basement. Goodbye, old friend.

Still unable to fully set up at home, I at least had the fun of beginning to sort out some of the random stuff I had secreted in various nooks and grannies in the old shop; stuff I should probably have sorted out before the move, but lacked the wherewithal to do.

Some of the stuff was out and out rubbish, but some of it was cool stuff like this early-90s Santini headband I inadvertently wore into Revolution Bicycles later that evening, much to my chagrin and everyone else's amusement.

And I have begun to discover large amounts of cool but musty old kit I will probably never squeeze into again.

Amazingly, and perhaps despite appearances, I am really starting to make some sense of things by this stage!

If you ignored all the preamble and judged me by the last few blogs I've posted you'd perhaps think riding my bicycles was all I've been doing of late, but you would be wrong. Once the shop move began, and in between the accursed tradies demanding my presence as some kind of clueless foreman, the riding stopped dead. So after another futile wait all of one sunny morning for them to inexplicably not arrive, I eventually thought "fuck this" and slipped out for a nice head-clearing and ire-reducing ride.

It was an absolutely glorious day, and the harbour lay still as a mill pond under the brittle sunlight.

All Wellington cyclists will know the Pass of Branda as one of the vital and hard-fought primes on the famed World Championships circuit...

...but most of them will have passed this wharf by at a rate of knots, and without a glance. That ain't how I roll, nope.

Home again to the reality of sorting out tyres and other assorted detritus.

My friend Tor kindly heeded my impassioned pleas and gave up his time and his truck to help take a large load of rubbish to the tip and the metal recyclers. After using the tool board for nine years at Cycle Services and all 12 years of the various incarnations of Roadworks, I decided it didn't suit the new, more minimal approach of Mk V. For a start, it's simply too big for the space I have, but also because most of the tools it so proudly hung are all but redundant these days, and they will be carefully filed away in drawers for access only when required. So it was goodbye to another old friend, and one who served me well for nearly 20 years.

With the removal of the rubbish finally out of the way, and no work being done on the house but still no way for me to proceed in my unpacking, it was clearly time for another ride. The rain that fell while I sipped my morning coffee had abated by the time I emerged blinking into the light, and the day was rapidly turning out nice again, albeit very windy. On windy days what better to do than hit the hills? For the first time in a long while I wanted to reach for my long-dormant mountainbike or cross rig for some muddy action, but sadly both were buried under immovable piles of boxes, wheels and tyres, so it was out with the ever-ready road bike again.

After rolling through town I wended my way up one of one of my favourite climbs, the little known Colle delle Sar. In the mid-70s we lived in the nearby Barnard Street, and this climb and the others around Wadestown were the magnificent Giro d'Italia mountains where I staged my glorious pretend exploits. I rode up and down these Dolomite-lites over and over again to the racket of make-believe motos and helicopters and cheered by the crowds in my fertile imagination, an imagination fueled by the stories of Coppi, Bartali and Zilioli told to me by my Uncle David, a lecturer in Italian at Victoria University whose Italophile imagination had been captured by the glory days of the Giro, despite not being a cyclist himself.

The views seem a lot more industrial than I remember from those bygone days of my youth, but the hills and harbour still look just as good as they ever did on this lovely autumn day.

I am pretty sure I used to climb these hills a lot faster as a boy, but I was happily making steady, if slow, progress. For some unknown reason I decided to slow it still further by heading up the unfeasibly steep Roscoe Terrace...the sign you see is not far off the actual gradient, at least according to my legs!

I stopped at the top on Wade Street to take stock, and by take stock I mean calm my tortured wheezing and wait until the powerful urge to hurl had passed.

I was pretty pleased with my efforts though, especially as I climbed it in the 39x23 - among all the shit that's going down right now at least I'm getting stronger.

Once I'd eventually managed to regain some equilibrium, I continued on my way for a pleasant ride in the afternoon sun around Wadestown and Mairangi through eddies of swirling leaves, before taking an exhilarating drop back down to town and ambling home...

Where more slow progress is surely to be made.

Until next time, thanks for reading. Cheers, Oli