Well, I must admit, it’s been a long time since my butt has been in the saddle. I love bicycles, and everything about them. I started racing BMX when I was ten, started working in bike shops when I was sixteen, and raced road bikes until I discovered cars, women and beer. I was certified by the USCF in Colorado Springs as a bike mechanic, because I thought hanging out of a car window to adjust a racer’s seatpost while we both careened down a French mountainside would be fun. I never pursued it, but there’s a great book written by a guy who did.
I love bicycles. I really like road bikes, and road racing. Lugged steel frames are still my favorite expression of bicycle art, and fillet brazing is not far behind in terms of joinery techniques. I like all forms of technology, but you can have your latest carbon fiber multi-shock, downhill mountain racer. I still prefer the sound of the wind in the spokes at 45MPH, on a responsive steel road machine.
Wheelsmithing was always a favorite pasttime for me. I was taught to build wheels by the late Rich Foster, who I loved dearly. He always talked of the bicycle wheel as a beautiful system of balance, a work of art. I agree.
My last job as a bike mechanic was in 1994, at the old Bike Tech in Philadelphia, which became a BikeLine, which has since closed its doors. Sigh. Amazingly, a guy on the retro pages at campyonly.com (see links) has a nice Eddy Merckx that I used to ride. I sent him an email and he was able to catch me up on the whereabouts of many of the wrenches from those days (thanks Ben!). Otis, Eric, Syd, Meech, drop me a line! The internet is making this small world ever smaller.
After a long hiatus from cycling while living in central NJ, perhaps the least cycling-friendly patch of land in the lower 48 states, I have resumed my bike riding in earnest since moving to Boulder, CO in the summer of 2005. I now commute by bike and ride around the place on the weekends.
The web didn’t even exist when I last raced, but I have managed to collect a few good links for fellow gearheads. My areas of interest focus on bicycle framebuilding, especially steel craftsmen, and wheelsmithing.
Richard Sachs Cycles
Richard Sachs is my all-time favorite custom framebuilder. He does beautiful work!
Another really impressive framebuilder. They haven’t been around as long as Sachs, but the stuff I’ve seen is quite nice.
Sheldon Brown’s wheelbuilding page
This is an awesome wheelbuilding reference, links to spoke length calculators, other wheelbuilding sites, books, etc.
“The Bicycle Wheel”
Speaking of wheelbuilding, this is the best book on the subject. Jobst Brandt’s classic text has lots of fascinating theoretical data on wheels.
Tension by pitch
Rich Foster used to talk about old guys who would gauge spoke tension by the pitch of a plucked spoke. Here’s a page with the details.
A cool website/online bike shop. You can put together the bike of your dreams with its intelligent database of bike parts. It will tell you exactly what it will weigh when you’re done (and how light your wallet will be too). And they have a really cool logo.