Friday, August 30, 2013

Ten Shots

I am filled with deep feelings of shame and self-loathing for leaving this blog unmolested for so long. In my somewhat pathetic defence, it's been a time of massive changes and time pressures here at the Brooke-White mansion, with Jacq finally plying her new trade as a nurse at Wellington Hospital and doing all kinds of crazy shifts, various sons coming and going as they grow up, and my usual juggling act of home duties, work obligations and riding necessity being made more challenging by said changes.

To stop folks coming here and seeing the same old post from April I've decided to lay a few shots on you at a time over the coming weeks, with no rhyme or reason. They're just samples from the many I've been stashing in the event that I'd ever write a full blog again, something which seems to be more and more unlikely since I have found myself increasingly utilising the quick and self-gratifyingly easy social media venues of Facebook and Tumblr to tell my tales and post my pictures. Please feel free to roll over there for more of my up-to-date dribble, if you feel so inclined.

In the meantime, here's what I got.

My poor neglected fleet of Bianchi bicycles haven't been getting any attention lately... I've been having way too much fun on my new custom-built Benson ÜberOS, a bicycle which is definitely well overdue for it's own dedicated blog post. In the meantime, a way too brief but heartfelt and fervent thanks to the Shadowy Syndicate of Super Friends who arranged and funded it for me, and massive thanks too to David Benson for building the frame. Haedyn Borck's stunning paintjob can't possibly go without a mention either.

There's nothing like riding a bicycle that has been crafted specifically for you by a talented artisan, and artisan who also happens to be a friend with the sort of direct insight into my riding preferences that not many framebuilders could, or would, have. I've already clocked up quite a few massively enjoyable kilometres in the saddle of this fine steed, and I plan to clock up many, many more.

One of the head suspects in the Syndicate (despite him not cracking under harsh and repeated rum interrogation) is the redoubtable and delightful Paul Larkin, who I'm very glad to say is living back in Wellington again. Welcome home, bro.

Still on the subject of WO Larkin, he recently hooked me up with some awesome HED Belgium Plus clincher rims for the Benson, which have made the already incredible ride of this amazing machine even better. The wider rim and the superbly engineered clearances of the Benson mean I can happily run genuine 700c x 32mm tyres that roll well on tar or gravel, super apt for the purposes this was designed for and covering most of my riding bases in one fell swoop...

Thanks to Paul's impressive contacts these cool rims aren't the only mad hook up he's facilitated, he also sponsored me some amazing FMB hand-made tubulars, a la Tom Boonen, for my old Bianchi - I think you'll agree they suit it rather well, as seen here in this shot from last summer.

Although I've been mainly loving my road riding of late, I have also enjoyed the odd foray off-road. For some unknown reason, I tend to forget over time how damn good for the soul riding a mountainbike is. Despite my Commencal being about five years old and a totally redundant wheel size, I somehow still manage to have fun on it on occasion. It's lucky I'm a died in the wool retro-head, I suppose.

Though the impression I have given here is that I've been doing nothing but riding, the doors to the workshop are still definitely open, even if I've had to trim things right back down to existing customers and friends only. I guess I'm lucky to be in the position to specify who and what I work with, but that doesn't mean it doesn't make me feel bad to have to rebuff people or work, so apologies if you or your bicycle are among the rebuffed - it's not you, it's me...

That brings to a close this brief post, see you next time with more of the same. Thanks for reading, Oli