Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bike Shop Days - Part 8

So It is closed now.

Today, the 30th, will be the last day I will be entering the shop.

Friday and Saturday night was good times.

My brother came into town, and we spent Friday night building up his new bike and hanging at the shop.

I also took some time to take some pictures of the shop:


Saturday was the last day open to the public.

I spent the day helping out at the shop and clearing out all my stuff from the shop.

If it weren't for Grupo Fantasma, it would have been an entirely sad day.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Bike Shop Days - Part 7


When I was expecting the presidio, I reminded the wrenches to keep a close eye for damage on the box. Nice Joke


Man its getting close.

Every day I realize how much more than a bike shop that place is.

I also have realized that when trying to remember the things that I learned there, that it is hard because they have simply become a part of who I am.

Memories flow when I teach or share something from my experiences.

A while back (but after I learned about the close), I was giving a basic maintenance tutorial to a friend after hours at the shop.

Going through the various procedures, I reflected heavily on the fun had (with people and machines) working at the shop.

If the right song comes on, it will have the same time-travel effect.

The shop was also my "bat cave".

Before each cross race I would go alone to the shop to prepare.

I'd butter up, get all the kinks out of my ride, drink beers, psyc up, and jam heavily before heading out to the ped bridge.

That process was a big part of the fun for me.

Great times.

I believe I will return to the bike shop world some day.

And when I do, I hope I can run a shop that elicits passion from its crew and patrons like Charlie did.

He certainly has shown me how.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Great social ride. MJ was bumping along the way thanks to the homeboy with the cooler-stereo. Big Ups.

Came home. Started listening to MJ again. "Rock with you" is top dog on my list right now. I think I might listen (really listen) to that song the entire day tomorrow. Seriously.

Anyhow time to put my 2 cents on shit I've seen on the news and the facebooks.

People have been bringing up the allegations.

I have no stake in it, so I have no business in it.

Even if.

Judge the man by standards for humans.

Judge by music by standards for music.

Elephant butt

There is a feature on the main greenbelt trail called the elephant butt.

Image from www.austinbike.com

That site is a great local MTB reasource. Check it out!

Ive had a mountain bike for a little more than two years. Over the last year I've started riding more seriously, and challenging myself more by committing to obstacles and discovering new trails.

Yesterday was the first time I was able to clear it. I ride a single speed 29er with a 32/18, so give me a little break.

Alot of the obstacles out there are hard because of the metal aspect. You have to believe in your bike's capabilities, your skill to pick a line, and your ability to commit and not hesitate.

When it happens, it feels fantastic.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mad Classy / Genre in the brain

Looks like I got wind of this shindig right on time.

If you follow this thing, you know I get down to some Jamacian music. I also dig house. A few years ago at the shop, I was turned on to www.dublab.com by Mike.

Sunday night at Barcelona: Local and imported Dub Step.

A sample if your uninitiated:

Bike Shop Days - Part 6

bike shop door

Lets forget bikes for a second.

Many of the best experiences I take from my time there have nothing to do with bikes.

I learned much of life, love, and the world there.

I confided in people there.

I had passionate debate/discussions there.

I became who I currently am, there.

You could say it is like family.

I mean, who lets you keep all your benefits when your not really working there?
It was weird. When I graduated, I had to get a "real" job to pay bills and get insurance for when I gank up my body. I started working less at the shop. And less. It came to the point that I would work only when a day off was needed. I kept my keys and benefits . I felt bad sometimes, but would always make myself available and useful when wandering into the shop. I offered to go in before opening and do builds or repairs. I was told not to sweat it.

This series will continue indefinitely, although it will be on a "flashback" kind of basis.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bike Shop Days - Part 5


I fucked up big time on my first entry in this series, and I have been motivated to remedy the situation immediately.

So, I mentioned that was was pretty green outside of fixies as I entered the shop for the first time.

Before entering the shop, I had run into the knowledge base: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/.

While most people have seen his technical articles, I encourage you to learn more about who Sheldon was. A window into most people can be found in their sense of humor.


I swear, when I realized what I had bitten into, I got on that site and learned so damn much. Thank you Sheldon. That man, and his enthusiasm for teaching and sharing really helped me change my color from green. I used his wheel building guide for my first wheel build. It was helpful, concise, and free of unnecessary jargon.

Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.
Thank you Sir.

Bike Shop Days - Part 4



It has been my new thing for the past few months. Too bad I got into it just as spring came around. I first saw a cross bike when Mike brought in his custom Coconino. Thing was a awesome. Great cream color and built up with full DA.

He didn't ride cross in it's strict sense, but he told me that a cross bike is very versatile and practical. He also told me that the cross racing scene around the country is blowing up and a hell of alot of fun.

This year had all the ingredients for me to jump on a cross bike.

First, I got a huge crush on the Fisher Presidio when I first saw it in the teaser catalog. Black, nice. Steel, nice. Sram, nice. US made, nice.

Then, I was pushed overboard when my commuter was destroyed.

You know, if that didn't happen, I'd probably still be drooling over it.

I've had a hell of a time at BD's races, and on the bike in general.

Music time!

Big C directed me to a little band named Fishbone. They were a little overlooked, as they came from around the same place and time as the chili peppers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bike Shop Days - Part 3

Old stuff can be very cool stuffImage from: http://www.technical-illustrations.co.uk/

Another admirable characteristic of Discovery/Big Wheel was their appreciation of older bikes and parts. Few shops these days carry a stock of cotter pins.

Mike had a kick ass Raleigh Gent's bike with a sturmey 3 speed that was twice my age, but rolled like butter.

C has a fleet of vintage BMX cruisers and pre-suspension mountain bikes.

They taught me that newer and more technological is not always better.

I learned to loved the precision, simplicity, and near indestructibility of trusty down tube and thumb shifters. I learned how and why "steel is real". I know which parts were made during the "golden years" of this or that company. Most importantly, I was taught about marketing and engineered obsolescence in the industry.

It was cool getting to see the technological steps and innovations in components/frames that tried and failed along the way.

Even cooler was the amount of bikes we helped recycle and put back on the road. It can happen where a shop will try and talk a customer into simply buying a new bike rather than fixing an old one.

At our shop, we had such a weird and big inventory of new old stock and old used parts, that it was rare that we couldn't fix a bike. This helped people stay on a bike that they may really care about. People get attached to bikes, we tried to keep bikes rolling and out of the dumpster. The different types of brakes, derailleurs, cranks, bottom brackets and shifters Ive dealt with in my years there is awesome.

And now to the music section:

Sundays were fun days. The shop opened at a Saturday night friendly 12pm, and almost half of the day was spent jamming to Jamaican Gold (Koop 91.7 - 12-2pm).

This isn't a Marley show, actually Bob is rarely heard on the program. It is a mix of roots, rock steady, dub and others.

It suffices to say that the dude's record collection is deep and rare.

Some favs:

Ya Mon!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bike Shop Days - Part 2

I've been mountain biking a shitload recently. I think every day for a week now. Yesterday I went out twice. Ive been exploring more back trails too. A few days ago I figured a way to connect a few of those back trails to make a really sweet loop that leaves, then returns to the main trail.

I'm not sure that I would have gotten into MTBs if it were not for the shop.

The guys road all kinds of bikes, but would stick to a MTB if they had to choose one.

The owner was in the scene during it's peak in Austin, late 80's - early 90's. He could no touch the whole belt on a thumb shifting full rigid. Mike was still in it and was a master of the greenbelt.

When entering the store, he would hop the steps through the door, roll into the back shop, endo, bounce on his front wheel, and finish with a bounce or two on his back wheel. A freak.

He would encourage me to give MTB'ing a try. He said it was the funnest, most engaging, most technical and chillest style and scene.

One day we took a Trek 7000 MTB as a trade-in or something. The plan was to fix it up nice and resell it. I took it out for a ride in the parking lot and really wanted it. The owner said I could take it for what he paid. It was a good deal.

I rode that thing for a solid two months.

In that time, Mike bought himself a Gary Fisher Rig (29er single speed). He began preaching to me on the big wheel's advantages. Mike was not someone to promote things lackadaisically. Soon after, we got our first shipment of Raleigh XXIXs. Steel. I like Steel.

In short order, I sold my Trek and bought an XXIX. My plan from the get go was to strip it and put on some trick parts, but I wanted to ride it stock for a little. Full Rigid son! It was impressive that I was doing the same times on this SS rigid bike as on my suspended 27 speed bike.

full rigid baby

Soon it got time to upgrade.

Wheels: American Classic. Soooooooo light.
Fork: RockShox Reba Race (remote lockout). I repect that rockshox commited to the 29er movement from way early on (poop on Fox for holding out....or...."researching"). They are a big part of the 29 success for sure.
Brakes: Magura Louise Carbon BAT. Fantastic brakes.
Tires: Kenda Small Block 8. Fast, light, just enough grip.
Headset: Cane Creek Solos. Their first attempt to dethrown Chris King.
Stem and post: Thomson. The best (period)
Bar: Kore. They make good stuff. I just order some sick white cantis for the cross bike.
Seat: WTB V pro. Best offroad saddle.

Plus she got a little tatted up.

Its been really fun.

MTBing is fun to me because of obsticles. On the main trail alone there are around 7-10 sections that you have to learn to clean. That is what separats MTBing from other forms of cycling. That satisfaction gained from cleaning something youve never done is awesome. It really keeps you motivated. I encourage everyone to borrow a MTB and give it a real try, go out like 5 times at least. The learning curve is steep, but it is sooooo worth it. GO GET SOME SKILLS!!!!

Thank you C for informing me about The Scabs

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bike Shop Days - Part 1

Something has been bothering me lately. If you saw the craigslist ad talking about Big Wheel Cycles losing its lease, that is it. I've had a connection with that place and it's people for 4 years.

I will be writing a series highlighting things I've learned or just random memories from my time there.

It all started around 05' when I was living in west campus and gettin' into fixies, which was my first real try at cycling since childhood.

Being a bike rider meant I needed a shop for advice, parts, etc.

I went around to ones near, and not so near, my house and checked them out. Some were big. Some were small. Some were pushy. Some were laid back. Some seemed "sterile". Some seemed "alive".

For whatever reason, I felt comfortable at, what was then, Discovery Cycle on 24th at Rio Grande.

I started going there alot. I didn't buy a whole lot of stuff. I would go for advice and basic maintenance parts. I would go because it was a cool place with cool people.

After a couple of months, I was asked IF I had a job. I said yes. The guy goes on to say he was going to offer me a part time job.

I had never been offered a job with out applying for it. I had never hinted at wanting a shop job, though it was a hope of mine. I told him that I would take that job.

I don't really know why Charlie thought I should work for him, but I'm glad he did.

Now realize. I had very little bike knowledge outside of fixed gears. I was pretty intimidated going into the shop for the first time.

When I heard that the mechanic I was going to be learning from was an ex pro tour wrench, I didn't know if I could cut it.

Mike turned out to be patient, professional and a good friend in the end.

He also was a hoss on any bike. He would commute dozens of miles to work on a fixie. He commuted using greenbelt trails. He knew so much history of bikes and parts. He could "fix anything on two wheels w/o a motor".

He was a great person all around.

One of the first things I noticed about Discovery was the stereo. It was always blasting either KUT/KOOP or some kick ass CD.

When I stepped into the back shop, I saw their system. They were rocking a Marantz! A bike shop with music/audio buffs. Awesome.

Writing about Mike and music brings me to Fela Kuti. He loved him some Fela, and I'm glad he introduced me too.

Here are samples of my Three favorite Fela songs. They are samples because his songs run usually in the 12-30 min. range.

Overtake Don Overtake Overtake: I encourage you to check out the other 2 parts


Water Get No Enemy:

Confusion Break Bone: I encourage you to check out the other 2 parts and the live version.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Texas 4000

Today was the send off for Texas 4000. Tomorrow is the Atlas ride, which is their first day of riding on their journey.

I am friends with past riders, but this year I was involved a little.

I became friends with a person that has been featured in this here record of personal history.

She was not a cyclist when I met her. Sure, she was fit and rode a bike to campus, but never anything intense, and never had she ridden a road bike.

She seemed nice, and was a housemate of a friend, so I started riding with her.

On the first road ride to start her Texas 4000 training, we jumped right into Highway 360. We didn't make it to the bridge that day, but she was a trooper and cranked up the bee caves hill without stopping.

She rode with passion.

Her progression from that day has been awesome to see.

I am joining them tomorrow for the Atlas ride. Some buddies and I are going to...

...giving us a nice juicy century.

If I'm feeling super humanistic, I may even wind up at the Full Moon Ride too...

To all the T4K riders, I wish you best on your epic ride. See you tomorrow!!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Allrighty then.

Had me a good break. I was chillin like a villain.......a Madvillain



One day we did a greenbelt hike.


That hike has me really itching to get back on the MTB.

I went to SA also.

BBQ too.

Did the Social Cycling ATX Thursday ride too.


Met this hilarious Bulgarian pointer at Draught House.


Also did the friday critical mass which was AWESOME. The river beach and Barton springs....amazing. Pics and rundown: http://atxbs.com/?q=node/1201

Frankenbike is a whole lot of fun as a seller. Some nice lady hooked the sellers up with ice cold watermelon. The beer was flowing, and I got some free stuff from other sellers.

ThyNeighborsBike has a good write up.

Moontower ride was amazing.

Amazing photograher Brian (http://www.flickr.com/photos/birzer/) got a nice picture of a tower ascent.

My brother left on Sunday. I figured in get back on the bike and back to more serious riding. A friend of mine joined me and asked if I minded doing some climbing. I said no, and he took me out here.

It was a little rough at first, but by the end I was feeling good.

The descents are really fun out there.