Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pendleton trip with my Chromies

I work with some amazing people and when you put in the hours like we do, when you struggle together at trade shows, when you spend 20 hours solid on a build out, get 5 hours of sleep, and then go right back and work the event you just stayed up for a bond forms. When you suffer alongside a group of like minded individuals it inevitably brings you closer together. Good thing there was none of that here on this work trip. No sir and/or ma'am, it was all fart noises, laughs, and hi5s; in that order. The Chrome Portland gals and myself went to Pendleton Woolen Mills not only to buy fabric for our hub sewer's custom stations, but to take a tour of the factory and see how they make their goods. 
Read the picture above like you would a book and you've got Lilly, Jessica, and Lara.  Each one of these ladies hold a special place in my heart... the aorta. Lilly and I both joined the Daughters of Norway together and is acting manager of Chrome Portland. Jessica is her pal from way back when and because she is hilarious, I'm pleased to call my friend. Lara... well, that gal and I go way back. We know each other from our Chicago days. I'll never forget, I installed a headset on her bike, but was 1mm off on the spacers and no matter how much I tightened it, it still rattled. That was back when I was wicked green and I learned a lesson from that and that lesson was: try to install headsets correctly. She's also my work wife because at Interbike a couple of years ago some dude mistook me for a guy and thought she and I were there to get married. Her husband, my pal, Chris is a good sport about sharing his wife with me... not in the swingers way, mind you. In the tight bond way. He's a good dude like that.

Here is where we had to turn the cameras off. They didn't want us sharing their 1950's technology with the rest of the world. The company started in 1863, but many of the machines used to process the wool is of the 50's era and I think they were worried about the flash photography compromising the structural integrity of the steel. If you believe that then you should probably stop reading here because I'm full of shit and if your goal is not to have the wool pulled over you eyes, than maybe this is a good stopping point. See what I did? Wool over your eyes? Woolen mill? Awwww... forget it.
Here's Lilly showing us an old timey way of doing old timey stuff. Sure they have a newer way inside the plant on the tour where we couldn't take pictures, but that new way is via 1950 so Lil here is bringing us waaay back into the day.
Maybe not that far back, but you get the point.

Inside the factory we saw rows and rows of machines that looked like they were in a WWII movie. Better yet, like a Looney Tune assembly line. You know the song.
If you don't recognize it right away, fast forward to the 1:30 mark and be prepared for your childhood to roundhouse kick you to the face. 

I can't show you what it looked like inside, but it looked like that sounds... and after all the music you got something that looked like this:

This is one of the OG jacquard prints they are known for. We are supposed to say it was "inspired" by the Native Americans, but it was the 1800's and anyone who took a history class and isn't an asshole knows that the white man wasn't inspired by them intsead they took from them. Despite my prick ancestors, I was so excited to see all of this beautiful material.

Speaking of pricks, the gals I spoke so highly of at the beginning of this post? You know the ones? Well, they left Chrome, put on wicked rad pant suits, started their own company, and made millions in pretend dollars; The Bitch Store. I was going to take the time to tell you how that name came about, but just look at them.. so bitchy... so awesome... so amazing. 
If I ever stop being a bitch, shoot me dead in my tracks...or my face, whichever comes first. These gals know how it's done. Granted, their Empire may crumble with in the first 3 months, but they stole my heart a long time ago so who is the real winner here? Me. That's who. 

Our trip to Pendleton was the stuff dreams were made of, a dream you can't wake up from, and I was happy to spend it in the company of these great ladies while I learned a thing or two. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Customer Solutions vol. 10: Machine Mash-Up

Since I no longer wrench at a 21st, I don't have the pleasure of taking in the bikes of customers who decided to do the work themselves... without asking any questions of any kind and just went for it. While I respect enthusiasm and a can-do attitude, I encourage everyone to at least consult the internet before you break out the ol' tool box. Example: Customer Solutions vol.8
This dude couldn't get his front wheel back in after he removed it. Instead of asking for help he took the next logical step and filed the fork ends, in turn ruining his fork. I'm not complaining, I love this shit. It tickles me to see where some people's mind go. In this case it was totally the wrong direction, but it was humorous none the less.
Another great one was vol.3. This dude loves his kid just enough to make a trip to the hardware store and fashion him a seat so they can go on bonding bike rides together, but not enough to spend a little more money to ensure that his child would survive said ride. In fact, he brought his bike in for something completely different. Never even mentioned the seat.

They weren't all shit shows. Some customer solutions were thoughtful and well executed. As cool as those were I got more of a kick out of the "really dude?" ones. 

Customer Solution vol.10 falls somewhere in between. Even though I'm no longer at the shop I'm still going to call the series that because these people are still customers to someone, somewhere. Although this solution seemed clever and well executed, I was left with the question "why?"
This took some work. The creator of this gem had to cut off the mower's handle, the bike's fork ends, and then weld it together. They then painted it; not all of it, just half. Now, I could understand if they were trying be eco conscious by using a push mower and wanted to speed it up a bit, but this bike was nowhere near a lawn of any kind. Not even close. It was in a warehouse hanging out waiting for someone to jump on it thinking it was "neat" and then falling off of it into the precarious rotating blades. If your bike has rotating blades and you're not racing in some sort of modern day Circus Maximus, STOP. Get off the bike. You're going to die. If you happen to survive a fall from this Eco Death Machine, you're at least going to maim yourself and perhaps lose a digit or two. I don't want that to happen, not to you... so if you see this out there and think to yourself "neat", STOP. It's not worth it dude.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Partial mind Jam

I had the tune of this jam stuck in my head. I couldn't remember who did it and the only lyrics I remembered were "shout out loud", but with a little determination and key search words, I found it. Thanks internet!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My inner Evel

Deep down inside I've always wanted to be a daredevil. I've wanted to huck myself off of jumps with the hopes of landing and looking cool, but knowing the possibility of crashing and having to suffer the consequences that went along with it, yet still being brave enough to go through with the stunt. I may get injured along the way, but that's a chance you take when you push boundaries and set records. Babes love death defiers and ever since I can remember, I've always been about the babes so you can see my motivation was valid. Unfortunately, my early 20's was when I started to collect my long list of daredevil injuries without actually doing daredevil stuff. Mind you, they all make for great stories and I was doing something fun at the time, but I wasn't jumping 19 cars knowing that if I didn't land I was going to wreck myself or possibly die.

I always feel bad for people that break something slipping on ice or falling in the shower because not only are they laid up for a stupid reason, but they don't even have a cool story to accompany the injury. I kind of felt that way about the end of this video. At the end Evel says, "We have very little choice about our life. The only thing really left is a choice about our death... and mine will be glorious." How bummed do you think he was that after every broken bone he suffered, a liver transplant, and two strokes, what finally killed him at 69 was a combination of diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis? After all of that, it was like he fell in the shower. What I admire about Evel was he always got back on the bike. He had failed attempts that resulted in multiple broken broken bones that would leave the average person debilitated for life, but once he "healed" he was back doing what he loved.

My friend, David "Frosty" Frost, had a photography show awhile back at See See Motorcycles called Rise Above about the same thing. It wasn't about Evel Knievel, it was survivor stories about people who suffered substantial injuries due to motorcycle accidents, but continue to ride because their love of the bike was greater than the hardship of their injuries. That's saying a lot seeing as how one rider featured, Richard Jones, lost a leg and another, Chris Gilmer, is now a paraplegic. After his wreck Chris modified his motorcycles to all hand controls and still races. He's an inspiration to anyone who has ever laid the bike down.

Frosty asked me if I would share my own story for the blog and if I was interested in being featured in the show. He's a good friend of mine so I was down to be part of his project. The weird thing was, a couple of days after I agreed to be in the show my artificial knuckle I had from a motorcycle accident 11 years ago broke. I was back in the doctor's office preparing for my 6th hand surgery and reliving the accident I was in when I was 23 all over again. If you know math, here is where you figure out how old I am.

I've not only had several hand and hip surgeries from that one wreck, I've also been in plenty other accidents which resulted in surgery, so this was old hat for me and I found myself in a very familiar place having very familiar conversations. I picked my hand surgeon for a couple of reasons. 1) because his last name is Buehler and I love the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and 2) because he is not known for his bedside manor. That's what I wanted. I wanted a surgeon who wouldn't sugar coat my situation and who will just tell me flat out what's up. That's exactly what I got and he was awesome.
Frosty took this picture of me in Dr. Buehler's office and while he was there collecting possible content for the show, Dr. Buehler thought he was there because he was my husband. We had a good laugh about it and just played along. 
You can clearly see why he was mistaken for my husband. We are like peas in a pod.

These are the pictures Frosty used of me in the show with my father's bike and jacket. My pops died in a car accident earlier that year. I inherited his bike and was in the process of getting it dialed in.
Check out my story HERE

Since my prothetic knuckle broke and replacing it again wasn't an option, my doctor fused it with bone from my hip he took from the side without the giant scar. I brought in a grip to ensure whatever angle we went with I could still ride my bicycle and motorcycle. Since there was no more knuckle, my finger would remain in a fixed position.
The result, although looked gnarly, was successful and after a few months of healing I was still able to do what I love most. Because of modern medicine I am able to ride, but because of my undying love for the bike I still have the desire and passion to ride. That makes me more like Evel Knievel than taking any sweet jump out there.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Wolf's Mouth

You guys may remember Jake Tong from or you may remember him from Urban Velo's 'I Love Riding the City' back when they were still printing in black and white.
Or it's very likely that you remember him from your dreams because he's a dreamy SOB. Regardless, Mr. Tong has been overcoming adversity and healing from ACL and Meniscus surgery as of late. JTong is an unstoppable force of nature and he's not letting surgery get him down.
Look at him, still smokin' butts. Not that kind, weirdo. Cigarette butts, geez. Jake and I have a very exciting project coming that will blow minds of all kinds, but I don't want to spoil the surprise so instead of spilling the beans on what's about to come, I'll give you something else to look at. Papa Tong has a blog called The Wolf's Mouth that features his photography of 700c cycling. His photo set from PDW's  Omnium is up now. Go check it out and if you see him out there in the wild, crutching along, don't kick his crutches out from underneath him. Hasn't he suffered enough?

Jam within a jam Jam

Remember back in the mid 90's when you were a raver kid who was obsessed with Chicago house? No? Well, I do so stop interrupting my story. Anyway, there we were, jamming out to the house version of this.  My head so far in the clouds my feet never touched the ground. Get into the original jam.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

John does the Best Coast

My pal John Watson of the Radavist (formerly ProllyisnotProbably) paid a visit to Portland recently to buy a pick-up truck and while in town he scooped me up at Chrome to eat some lunch.

Why is a dude who is so into bikes buying a truck? I believe the answer to your question lies within your question. He bought a truck so he can cart his pals and their bikes to some sweet MTB trails so they can shred until they just can't shred anymore. Even if he bought the truck just to pick up cases upon cases of beer and do donuts in parking lots, I'd be alright with that.

John was trying to come up with a name for his truck and since he was sticking with tradition and naming it a woman's name he settled on one of the toughest broads out there, Ripley.

Sure, she's a fictional character, but who gives a shit? It's a truck. Chill out.

We met up with Souphorse and Ben Farver of Argonaut Cycles at some BBQ joint I'd never been to before. I was trying to make a healthy choice by ordering a salad, but when it showed up drenched in a quart of ranch I learned what so many people already know; BBQ restaurants aren't known for their salads. While everyone else talked bikes in between their delicious meal, I stared at my soupy salad hoping I could will it into something else. That something else didn't even have to be food. I would have been perfectly happy with a hacky sack or a nice set of shoelaces... anything really. Unfortunately, despite all my efforts, the bowl of ranch with lettuce in it remained. 
The last time I saw John we were in Minneapolis at the Shop Bike Shootout where I was using my humor and quick wit to announce the race. I was in a cast because I just had hand surgery 6 days prior. Not a minor surgery either. My prothetic knuckle from a previous accident was removed, bone was chiseled from my hip, and fused into my hand where the prothetic knuckle use to be. I am now no longer able to bend my finger, but I think it just adds to my charm.

Yup, there it is. I hear all of the time that babes love scars, but I only hear it from dudes. If that were truly the case, girls would be constantly macking on me because I have quite the collection from numerous surgeries. That's what happens when you are awesome like myself. Sometimes I get too awesome, fall over, and break bones. It's a tale as old as time. 

Crap, how did that get in there? Whatever, besides The Little Mermaid this was my favorite Disney movie so I'm going to let it ride. 

Check out the rest of John's photo set from his Portland trip HERE

EDIT: I just learned John decided against naming his truck Ripley and chose another character portrayed by the talented Sigourney Weaver, Dana Barret.