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. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Let's time travel

Since we last spoke I was running the Chrome Portland HUB doing all the things that went along with it and then some. While I was thrilled to be working with Chrome I wasn't so pumped on retail. I know there are people out there who get fired up about sales and inventory, but I am not one of them. I love to throw parties and races, so I used that platform to do just that. In my time as the HUB manager I threw the Grand Opening party, a motorcycle show, a photography show, a mobile tattoo studio, and a super sweet race, among other parties here and there. What race, you ask? This one:

Go ahead, give it a watch. I'll wait.

We all knew that sitting at a desk wasn't for me. I needed to be free to do what it is I do; spread hi5s like they were the herp... but in a good way, not the open sore way. Chrome sent Palmer and me out onto the road for 4 months to explore America's top cycling cities in a 1976 GMC RV. The idea was to ride with the locals, party, get tattooed, and live to tell the tale of the Wrenched Nation Tour. True story: I got my drivers license a month before I left. How hard could it be? I see idiots driving all of the time. I knew in my heart I too could be an idiot.
                                          Photo by: Brenton Salo

A lot can happen in 4 months and it did. I came back with the kind of stories that one can only get by putting some serious time and miles on the road. Also, my hair was longer so that was nice. I learned that a shower and toilet are a luxury and not to be taken for granted. After that tour was in the books, Chrome decided the road suited me just fine. I found myself out in it, doing pretty much what I did for Backyard Blam except in different cities and for Chrome. I built and ran Orange 20, a pop up HUB in Los Angeles. I threw a photography show with Ricky Powell in New York. I built a whiskey den in the Chrome van, Vanna Black, for the 5th anniversary of The One Motorcycle Show, and of course I did what I do best and threw a sweet race or two.

                                          Photo by: Kit Engwall

Chrome keeps me super busy and I recently returned from the Mobile Factory Tour where I made our Forged Rubber shoes which was fun. I get to write about all my adventures, but often it's in the "Chrome voice" and for a company so my personal thoughts aren't always included. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining it just felt like something was missing. That something was this, you, us, the BLAM. The BLAM was never about money or a product, it was about the party. It was about that all inclusive one-off race. It was about funk, and babes, and bike shop stuff, and my pals who kept me awesome. It's about posting videos and supporting my friends who support me. 

It was mine just as much as it was yours. I'm sick of remembering when, instead I'm getting back to the basics and back to the BLAM.