Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Usetacould Do Drawrings

I have been bitten by the drawing bug lately. I used to draw all the time and was pretty good at it I guess. I have made about a dozen sketches of some cycling specific ideas, and as soon as I can find my pastels from my college days, I will try to lay down a piece or two. I am more of a precision/graphics oriented person, but I see these as being wildly gestural and unstructured. For me anyways. If anything cool comes out of my hands I will try to post a picture of it. Later!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Third Time's A Charm

Some of you might remember a post from last year (2-06-08) in which I bragged up my oldest son for winning the VFW essay wrting contest for the second year in a row. Well he made it three in a row this year. I am so proud of this kid I had to share his heartfelt writings with you again. Keep in mind that the entire essay was written in about 10 minutes, after hearing the theme that they wanted it all based on. He was invited to read it at the monthly post meeting, and again, tears were welling up in the eyes of some of the guys, and most of the ladies as well. Here is the complete essay. Hope you enjoy.
Why America's Veterans Should Be Honored
When most people think of a Veteran they see an old guy with lots of cool stories. But they are far more than that. A Veteran is a person who puts their life on the line for their country, and all who live in it.Some of them don't make it out of the war they fought in. Some do. Those who do deserve to be honored. They are those who fought the Germans of World War I, the Japanese of World War II, and in Vietnam. They fought for us, isn't that worth being honored for? I would think so. A Veteran is a very wise person. All of them have risked so much for us, so much for the world. I am very proud to live in a country with these kinds of people in it. The Veterans that inspire me are all around me, and I am very proud of it. They survived being shot at, the harsh and sometimes very hot climate, and the grim sadness of watching his or her friends being killed next to them. You see they may live in pride, but they also have to live in sadness. Imagine sixty years ago, that you were fighting in the war with an Army comrade and then the inevitable happened. Then sixty years later you have to live your life sad and miserable. Seeing someone die is hard to live with, and most Veterans must. So for those who think that Veterans are just some old guys that tell cool stories and fought in wars that happened a long time ago...think again. Veterans should be honored and should always be honored forever and ever. They protected the country we live in. God Bless Them!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bike Of The Week: Karate Klunker

Since I am not riding any bikes until my hand/arm is better, I might as well post a couple of bikes to geek out on. This one is one of those that the Salvation Army people just would not sell me. They must get their asses chewed if they don't hang on to merchandise and refuse a sale or two. So one day on my lunch hour I went in to look around and see what else I could find. I asked again for the millionth time if they were ready to sell me that old bike out in the fenced in donation area. A resounding "No" was all I ever got. So on my way back to my car I noticed that the Salvation Army truck was backing up to the back door. Thinking that the bike might be in their way I jokingly said to the guy in the truck, "Hey man, why don't you talk them into selling me that bike and you won't have to work around it anymore." The driver looks at the bike, looks back at me, and says, "Why don't you just take it and we'll forget it was ever there." Nanoseconds later I was wheeling it into the back of my Volvo and headed for home. It sat in my garage for a solid 18 months before I even looked twice at it, but that is the way of these things. They call out to you when it is their time to be ridden. When this one finally found it's voice I was amazed at the condition, or lack there of, that I found it in. Someone had done some screwing around with this bike and stopped just in time, before doing harm. It had a spray job of gray primer all over, and red enamel on the fork and rims. Now I'm not a fan of spray painting old bikes by any stretch. I like the original paint. Fading, peeling, scratches and all. If you can tell that a bike has had a few rides in the trunk of a car, then you know that it has been around. How many miles do you suppose were clicked off in the trunk of some old Bonneville, with the lid chattering on the top tube? Many of my bikes have these tell-tale signs of alternative travel and that's the way it should be. There is a hole about the size of a Milk Dud in the non-drive side chainstay from a bent crank arm rubing over the many miles that were undoubtedly ridden on this old Hawthorne. Also, every bearing cage and cup in this bike was clean and dry. No grease in the headset, bottom bracket, or either wheel. I promptly fixed this near death situation and since the bike was torn down and looked like hell, I decided to paint it. I considered many schemes for the paint, including a Van Halen "5150" red/black/white, and a blaze orange, but landed on camp stove green since Kelli had bought a can at Dollar General to paint a couple of chairs that sit on our porch. I wasn't about to get all hung up on beautiful paint and perfect surface prep since I hate painting bikes anyways, so I just shot some white first, let it dry, and put some vinyl lettering on the tube. Shot the green over everything and peeled off the lettering to reveal painted-on graphics. Blacked out the rims/hubs/spokes and wrapped them in 2.3 Tiogas that I dumpstered from BW Ames. Needed a little chi-chi so I put the bottle opener on for the hell of it. Believe it or not, that seat is actually quite comfortable. I took this bike out for a run through Jordan after I had put it all back together and it rides decently. This would turn out to be my last ride before the surgery I recently had. I love that it is a skip tooth drive train, but it also has a slipping forward gear that will require some tinkering someday. But with my current bike count at 42, there are other things to do! Comments ifnya gottem! Later! Travel Gravel!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bike Of The Week: Throwback ATB

I bought this bike, yes paid money for it, at the Goodwill here in Boone. 15 bucks. I was originally only going to take the brakes off (Mafacs) and save the whitewalls that were on it for my Schwinn board track cruiser. But as time passed I saw this bike as a more interesting sum of the parts and kept it pretty much original as it came to me. The only changes on my part were to slip the Porcs on there (Curses, why would I ever have thrown out my pair of Farmer John/Farmer John's Cousins:( and change the seat from the hard plastic Troxel (which I still have:) It is a Columbia and as you can see, the paint has faded and patinaed to a nice two-tone red/base primer. I really like the controls on this bike. You see, back in the day, before men had buffed and clearcoated nails, and used their thumbs for texting their order to Applebees for "Curbside To Go" they used their thumbs to shift the gears on their ATB! This pic shows the direct crossover from motorcycle parts. I mean look at those brake levers! Looks like a Norton Commando gave up its levers. Somewhere, a Honda 50 is saying, "Damn, those are some levers now!"If I had 8 fingers on each hand they would still be roomy! And sorry Ergon, but you're not the first to include a palm pad on a grip. I admit though that the green Ergon uses is cool. I had thoughts of cutting a couple of inches off each end of the bars but changed my mind in favor of the pit drying riding position afforded by a 32 inch bar spread.
You know I have to keep it period correct and ride in cutoffs, a T shirt, and some old Redwings right? White tube socks with two green bands at the top, oh ya! Makes me want to grow out a vintage Tom Ritchey 'stache. Later! Travel Gravel!

A Sore Sight For Eyes

Here's the damage folks. Too bad that my camera didn't capture the full range of purples and greenish yellows. But this ought to suffice. 8 year old Mitchell says it looks like a baseball that got flattened out. Feels fine and has never hurt above a 3 on the pain scale. Now I'm excited to have the stitches out and get going on feeling better! Later!