So how was your Thanksgiving*, et cetera and so forth?
*[Rhetorical question, I really don't care.]
Okay, let's bike blog now, because bike bike bike.
Remember how I took the entirety of last week off from blogging? Well, far from being idle, I was in fact engaged in a project that was long overdue. That's right, a full year after moving residences, I finally organized my bike shit.
It seems like only yesterday that "organizing my bike shit" merely meant deciding whether to lean the road bike against the mountain bike or vice versa. Now, in middle age, I've got more bike clothes than regular clothes, more bike tools than books, and so many bikes that, were I to line them up end to end against a brick wall and "claim ownership" in the way that dogs do, I wouldn't even be able to urinate on all of them in a single bladder load. Instead, I'd have to top up on beer and start again, maybe even two or three more times before I'd finally marked them all.
Of course, the upside to having a lot of bike shit is that you rarely have to go to a bike shop anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love bike shops and I enjoy nothing more than listening to a high school student explain to me why I should buy a new bicycle instead of simply purchasing the pair of new brake pads I originally came in for, but the truth of the matter is that I'm getting old and I just don't have that kind of time anymore. When I was young I believed them, when I got a little older it just seemed cute, and now as soon as they open their mouths I just want to punch them in the nuts.
So it's great to know that you've got your own drawer full of brake pads, and you know you'll find a decent set because everybody knows when you remove something worn from your bike and then let it sit in a dark drawer for six months it grows back.
The problem though was that, since my move, my crap was in such a state of disarray that actually getting to those brake pads required a full day of excavation, so instead I'd just suck it up and go to the bike shop, and somehow I'd end up leaving with a new bike because I felt bad for the kid after I punched him in the nuts.
(I bought this $11,000 Specialized Sieve at the full retail price because I felt bad for clocking some kid in the nads.)
On top of that, whether I got the part at the bike shop or from the parts bin didn't really matter anyway, since all my tools were a mess, so I'd have to explode my entire household just to find a chain tool (not that you need a chain tool to change your brake pads, but that was just an example, stop being such a bike dork for one second, okay?).
The biggest problem though was the bikes. At my worst I had them spread across three boroughs, but before this past week I still had them in two (one of which was Brooklyn, a place I can no longer stomach visiting, which is partly why I was procrastinating) and it was clear that one or two bikes would have to go. But which? Apart from my artisanal roadening bicycle and my artisanal mountaining bicycle none of them are particularly remarkable, so it didn't seem worth selling any of them for the small amount of money they'd ultimately fetch. Sure, I might make a little beer money, but having sold bikes on Craigslist in the past I knew that no amount of beer money is worth wanting to stab yourself in the face, which is what dealing with bike customers on Craigslist makes you want to do. And eBay? Don't even talk to me about eBay. There's no way I'm going to deal with an auction and then schlep stuff back and forth to the post office like a schmuck on wheels.
Plus, I can't help thinking I should hold onto stuff just in case one of my seventeen (17) children gets into bikes, though I really, really hope he doesn't. Sure, part of me dreams of father-son mountain bike rides and all the rest of it, but much more than that I hope and pray he is spared from this horrendous affliction. Bike-dorkdom is something I wish on nobody, not even my worstest enemy, and least of all my own progeny. At the very least, if he still likes bikes when he gets older, I'm hoping he has the common sense to want to stick to doing tricks on BMX bikes, because I don't think I can stomach the thought of some aspiring junior racer waking up at 4:30am to mix it up with the Freds in Central Park and taking shitty bike advice from some self-styled coach while real life passes him by. If I see any roadie tendencies I'm turning him right onto (recreational) drugs.
Still, if he's going to insist on riding bikes at the very least I don't want to have to buy them, so I figured I'd save as much as possible. But still, something was going to have to go, and after careful deliberation I sacrificed the Scattante:
Or, more accurately, I removed any parts worth saving and then donated the frame.
Yes, we'd been through a lot together. In fact, the Scattante is arguably a significant part of urban cycling history, inasmuch as it marked Performance Bike's entry into the then-nascent "fixie" market:
Metallica making a music video, Nirvana going Top 40, and Performance selling "fixies." These were all cultural high points, or low points, or completely and utterly meaningless points depending on how you look at it.
Still, the Scattante was simply a bike I could no longer rationalize--if for no other reason than it's a single-speed city bike, and while I technically still live in "the city," in practice I can barely even pedal the fucking thing up the hill to my house, much less muster up the enthusiasm to do a 15-mile commute on the thing.
So it had to go.
As for the rest, I stripped a couple down and hung the frames in the corner like sides of beef, and everything else is all in one place, in tune, and ready to roll. Tires, stems, seatposts, pedals, and the like all live in little bins like happy hamsters. All my tools are readily accessible so I can get right to mangling and stripping components. And between years of hoarding and the stripping-down of little-used bikes I now have enough spare parts that, with any luck, I can avoid having to enter a bike shop for at least a few years.
(This is what my bike stuff looks like now. In my wettest dreams.)
And with that, I'm grabbing one of my easily-accessible bikes and heading out for a ride: