Category Archives: Austin
Something I’ve been saying a lot this past year is how the crit track bike has become its own character within the world of “fixed gear”. Now, I don’t want to generalize too much (I’m guilty of that) but unlike track bikes used to actually race at the track, the crit track bike takes on more eccentric personality. Think of them like a racing machine found in F1 or Nascar. Bright colors, patterns, excessive details that jump out and catch your attention in the four or five seconds of each lap.
The most compelling example in recent months being the Stanridge Speed x Death Spray “magnetic” design or the hyper neon Dosnoventa bikes. Call it what you will but I’ll call it exhibitionist extravagance with two wheels. Case in point are the new Division 1 Cinelli Vigorelli frames. These are full blown, over the top, lightweight race machines.
Custom painted ENVE wheels laced to pink Phil Wood hubs, custom anodized PAUL cranks, custom anodized Thomson stem, Thomson post with a matching Thomson collar, Painted ENVE bars, custom Busyman saddle and bar tape. The guys went all out to match the Cinelli Vigorelli “Giro” pink paint scheme.
Would I ride it? No but I’m a little more reserved when it comes to paint. Besides, I’m a purple kinda guy. Do I think it works in the context of one of the most exhibitionist track bike criteriums of all time? Of course. It’s fun, colorful, will look great at night (in the rain nonetheless) and will match the Division 1 team’s Pee Wee Herman skinsuits to a T. Yes, they even have bow ties.
Call them what you will but Colin Strickland, a local racer, or beast have you, is sitting pretty at number 5 in the Red Hook Crit standings and he isn’t even warmed up yet… Now, if the rest of the team can work together, one of these machines might make it to the podium.
At any rate, a race is a race, a bike is a bike and you can check out more of this excessively extravagant track bike crit machine in the Gallery!
… and they mean business for the Red Hook Crit Navy Yard. Three guys from Division 1, a new bike shop on the East Side of Austin will be there racing. More on their bikes tomorrow!
In a lot of ways, my first Geekhouse Woodville touring bike served as a catalyst for me taking cycling more seriously. It was my first custom bike and provided me with ample motivation to just get out there and ride. The first major tour being Portland to SF and from there, I took it on numerous other trips here in Austin. When it was stolen last year, I began planning out a replacement with Geekhouse. There were some things I wanted to change, but mostly I just missed having a touring bike to ride around on.
As it sat en queue, I couldn’t decide on how I wanted it to function. Initially, I wanted a dirt-drop 29′r pack-bike tourer for riding the MTB trails here in town, but then my Independent Fabrication took over that role, so I revisited what I loved the most about my first touring bike. The riding position is what I would consider traditional but having acquired the Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires, I wanted to make sure it would roll at least a 50c. I also opted for external cable routing and passed on the S&S couplers.
I’ve had great luck with the SRAM XO rear derailleur and its 11-36 range matched with a compact crank. This time I went with White Industries VBC system and a Force front derailleur, converted to a top-pull. With a 50 outer ring and 32, inner, I’ll have a wider range than I would with a triple. Chris King classic hub on the rear and a SON hub with matching Edelux lamp on the front for light.
Paul components throughout: Tall and Handsome post, Touring Cantis. Other components include a Thomson seat post collar, Brooks Swift saddle, Salsa Cowbell 2 with SRAM barcons, TRP levers and MKS Lambda pedals. With all the Made in the USA bling, I got Marty and Brad at Geekhouse to fabricate a one-off custom stem as well as front and rear racks. The beauty of the front racks lie in their low-rider detachable hangers on the front…
I always load front and low on trips. The bike rides a lot better since the handling isn’t compromised as it would with a rear load and these low-riders are low. My large panniers sit about 6″ off the ground, which is perfect on a 43c tire. On top of just looking amazing, these racks weighed a lot less than the Tubus system I had been using previously. The fork is another highlight: internal cable routing for the Edelux lamp and the segmented shoulders have rack attachments.
Even with all those details and that component list, a build can still go south with a bad powder job. Brad really knocked this one out of the park. Olive Drab green with a matte clear adds to the utilitarian / military aesthetic I wanted. I’ve been scooting around town a lot on this beaut and took it on a few trail rides last week and am in love. Even the ride out to shoot these photos was super dreamy…
I still need to dial it in though. The derailleur cables are now routed under the tape, mostly to make it easier to mount a Swift Industries Ozette randonneur bag. I’ll also need to splice some more chain so I can use the 50t with more of the cassette but for now, it’s riding really well.
That said, it’s not a touring bike until you’ve at least camped on it and summertime in Texas will provide ample opportunities. Right now, I’m just pumped that it came together so well. Many thanks to PAUL, Bens Cycle, Chris at Mellow Johnny’s and the Geekhouse crew for making yet another dream come true.
… also, buy renter’s insurance! Most plans will cover your bikes when they’re stolen!
Chris and his self-made touring bike, in Kyle, Texas during a recent weekend getaway.
It doesn’t matter where you call home, make the best of where you live. Whatever the weather. Whether if it’s pouring rain in Portland, or hot and muggy in Texas, put in some miles to compensate for the excessive drinking!
Tools of the trade:
Mamiya 7ii / 80mm
Kodak Portra 400
If you live in Austin and like to race bikes, this might be your only chance to win a race. Why? Because the dude who always wins races (road, alleycat, ss cross, whatever) is out of commission. Luke Kalloch broke his wrist a few weeks back in a road race and has accumulated a hefty surgery bill. To help him out, Beat the Clock Cycling Club is throwing a benefit race and after-party. Luke is one of the nicest (fast guys) you’ll ever meet, so come out and show your support.
I can guarantee this will be a rad event!
Yesterday while riding home, one of Lauren’s panniers got stuck in her rear wheel, sending her and her beloved Icarus to the ground. I got “the” phone call that every spouse / partner gets at some point in their cycling-friendly relationship: “I wrecked my bike, come pick me up!”
Remarkably, she was more upset about her stem, bars, brake levers and paint getting scratched than the road rash on her elbow, hip, knee and hand. After a scrub down and some ointment application, all is well. I straightened her bars, tightened her panniers and made sure she was happy…
Bikes are going to get wrecked. They’ll get dented, dinged, chipped and bent if you love them accordingly (i.e. ride the piss out of them). Skin grows back and marks add character.
ps. my lady is tough!
I had to swing by Icarus Frames ( @IcarusFrames ) today to pick up a few things and while I was there, I got to see some of his latest handywork. This 1×10 commuter cross frame is heading up to Boston and while the customer didn’t want anything too fancy, Ian added some clean detailing. The fork will be an ENVE cross and it’ll be heading out to paint shortly. Part of me really loves seeing a frame in this state but a good coat of paint always brings out the details.
Check out a few more shots below.
Photos by Jacob Rader
This past weekend, I spent my time hanging out with some great people at what is best described as a “luxury cabin in the middle of nowhere”. Texas is like that: a thirty minute drive south and you’re surrounded by nothing. One of the people who spent the weekend with us, surrounded by cacti was Jacob Rader. He’s been a friend for a while but it’s not until you have nothing else to do but talk (and drink), that you really make a connection with someone. As someone who also can’t leave the house without a camera, I can appreciate his lovely work.
Follow his Flickr, for what it’s like to live and ride in Austin, Texas.
As I travel more each month, the time I spend at home in Austin is really precious. I’ve been really enjoying the Mamiya, shooting portraits and some of the randomness that I come across. I was going to find some more meaningful way to display these photos, with some theme of “weekends” but I’m too tired from this weekend’s activities…
I hope your weekend was rad and I hope you enjoy!
Tools of the trade:
Mamiya 7ii / 80mm
Kodak Portra 400
I finally shot proper photos of Lauren’s new Icarus yesterday. Spring is officially cracking in Austin and I can’t wait for Summer…