I’ve been addicted to this site for a long time now and I’m proud to finally present a bicycle I feel is worthy of inclusion. Here is my story:
My fixed-gear journey started two years ago this month. I was crossing the street with my dry-cleaning in one hand and a hot venti white chocolate mocha from Starbucks in the other. I had the walk signal and was in the middle of the crosswalk when a cyclist whizzed by me, causing me to stop abruptly and spill my beverage all over myself and my freshly laundered suits. Though the entire episode took only a fraction of a second, I can picture him in my head perfectly to this day. The insouciant expression; the whisps of hair poking out from the hood of his sweatshirt; the white cable connecting his head to the MP3 player in his messenger bag; and the snug black trousers from the women’s section at Target. All of these things spoke of a person who knew true freedom and was living his own life on his own terms. But most of all, I remember the bicycle. It’s minimalism and singularity of gear and purpose was captivating. Even at that moment, dripping with overpriced coffee and embarrassment and nursing second degree burns, I knew I had to have one.
Now, anybody who knows me knows I’m not one to go off half-cocked. If I was going to get a fixed-gear bicycle I was going to source each individual component myself, and I was going to do it right. My boss was surprisingly supportive when I told him that I would be taking a leave of absence in order to see this project through--his reply of “Fine with me, just don’t expect to have a job when you get back” was appropriately businesslike, yet it still left the door open for future negotiation. My wife was a bit more resistant in the beginning, but when I showed her a detailed spreadsheet proving that all we’d need to do in order to make this project economically viable was cancel the cable, get rid of the car, rent out one of our bedrooms, take our son out of private school, and find her a second job, she eventually agreed.
Finally free from distraction, I went to work. I spent hours and hours every day poring over the entries on FGG (though most of those hours were spent waiting for the photos to download since I was now using dial-up). I knew that my frame would need to be something special, so when a friend forwarded me a Craigslist ad for a steel frame with horizontal dropouts, I jumped on it. You don’t find vintage steel frames for less than $500 very often these days, and this one was under that to the tune of nearly $20! I almost couldn’t believe my good fortune. I wasn't sure who made it, and in fact for a moment I doubted it was steel—but since my refrigerator magnet stuck to it, and since it was really rusty, I finally convinced myself that it was the genuine article.
Yesterday was a bittersweet day for me. I finally completed the bike and took her on her maiden voyage. She rides like a dream. Unfortunately, though, when I got back I was subpoenaed. It appears my wife is suing me for divorce.
In any case, I think you’ll agree that the end result is truly something special. The photos were taken this morning, right before the bank foreclosed on my house. Paypal on the way.
PS: I just found out that my frame is actually a Huffy, which was a high-end builder who supplied frames to the 7-11 pro cycling team in the 80s. In fact, my friend thinks it may actually have belonged to some guy named Bob Roll!