Category Archives: classic pic

Baltimore Bike Party July 2014 – A Visit From Georgia

Last Friday of pretty much every month I make the trek into Atlanta to participate in Critical Mass, which has been loads of fun.  This time around though, I was heading to Baltimore on vacation, and made sure to schedule my time off to include the last Friday of the month, so I could do Baltimore Bike Party.  This was my first time experiencing the end of month group ride anywhere else but Atlanta, so I was pretty excited to examine the differences.

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The ride started at St Mary’s Park and ended just a a short way away at the Maryland Historical Society, so this particular ride formed almost a perfect loop.  From what I have heard it does not always end so close to where it starts.  I was on the scene by 6:30 and by 6:45 there was already a pretty serious size crowd.

One of the things I dug about the start gathering was that there was repair station set up by Twenty20 Cycling.  There was definitely a lot of action at their table from people needing last minute adjustments and air.  Very good idea to have this included and certainly some great promo for the shop. BONUS LEVEL:  the organizers also posted info about bathrooms for use at the start point.  I like it.

Each BBP has a theme. This month was Boasting Baltimore and Maryland Mania. In addition to seeing a zillion tons of Ravens and Orioles gear, there was at least one person with a giant 3d steamed crab attached to his helmet, and one pink flamingo as a nod to John Waters. Best dressed won some gear from Hill Killer Apparel Co.

Pretty much right at 7pm the ride started.  How about this…the ride has a police escort as long as they do not get a call that supercedes leading the ride.  Yeah, I can support that to the fullness. The ride rolled out to a bunch of “Bike Partaaaaay” whoops and hollers, which would continue throughout the evening, the northern cousin of the “Happy Friday” heard along the way at CM ATL.

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Starting from such a dense traffic light area, the group got separated pretty quickly, and I tried to stay in the front group since I didn’t want to get lost.  We had only gone about a mile when I noticed that there were a LOT more 20″ BMX bikes than I am used to seeing, and you know I love that.

Then the craziest thing started happening. There were these kids riding all sorts of different bikes, most of which seemed to be department store mountain bikes in various states of disrepair, careening THROUGH the crowd at crazy speed, doing wheelies. I mean, looooong coaster wheelies, and then just when you thought the front wheels was going to drop, they would hit the gas and speed up even more. I’ve done wheelies…long wheelies, but never with the reckless abandon that these kids were doing.  But wreckless may not be the right word, because I never saw any of them wreck, never saw any of them have to hop off because they over pulled and came off the back of the bike. They were always teeter tottering on the brink of control, but never went over the line. It was pretty freakin sick.

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One very large contrast to the ATL CM is that about 80% of the riders at BBP did NOT wear helmets.  I don’t really have a point or agenda to state here,  just observing the difference.  Truthfully this ride was so much slower paced than our CM that I can see why people may leave the lid off.  I didn’t.  I really enjoyed how this ride was much more -party paced- and not the faster pace that ATL CM has sort of morphed into over time.  I have no trouble staying in the front group at CM, but I think it may have gotten a little fast  for the folks who come and bring kids in trailers, beach cruisers and such, wanting to support biking in Atlanta but getting dropped very early into the ride.  I feel so bad when that happens.

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The route was pretty cool and we definitely were well received by the folks hanging out outside, having card games, playing loud ass music, drinking booze and being hood. Fuck yeah man, I love my home city, and on this ride you saw things and heard things that you could never experience anywhere else.

Then all of a sudden, in the middle of a park along the way, the whole ride stopped to take a breather at the halfway point.  Wait, what? What a great idea!  There was shaved ice from Hula Honeys and people took the time to be social and conversate.  I even caught up with an old friend who spotted me in the crowd which was super rad.

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The rest stop was just long enough to not be -too long- and soon enough we were on the backside of the ride.  Somewhere not too long after we got going again, we were all stopped at an intersection when about 30 kids on dirt bikes came jamming down the street at a zillion mph, popping wheelies and in general owning that intersection until they were passed. I am not sure, but it could have been the 12 O’ Clock Boys.  The whole spectacle was pretty rad.

By this time it had started getting dark, and I noticed that what the Bmore crowd lacked in helmets they made up for in headlights. Everybody had one, and a lot of people had good ones, not some crappy toytown bizness.  I’m gonna chalk this up to the high number of insane potholes in the streets up here. You wouldn’t want one of them to sneak up on you after dark  for sure. It was a good choice to not bring my roadbike.

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The last part of the route was a long trek down St. Paul street which was a total blast, since it was mostly down hill and the whole group got going pretty fast. Stop lights were obeyed.  Fun was had.

Eventually we reached the end of the ride at the Maryland Historical Society.  The entire ride was less than 9 miles. Here is where the biggest difference between CM ATL and BBP happened…this was a full on after party scene!  

There was a parking lot with some security guards at the entrance.  Once inside there was an area specifically designated for bike parking, but it was a little weird, there was almost nothing to lock your bike to. So, people made the best use they could of the poles  and fence that was available, and there was definitely a lot of creative use of vertical space.  I kept thinking how rad it would have been to have the Atlanta Bike Coalition Bike Valet here.  Baltimore people, if someone isn’t doing a bike valet for big events around town, here is your opportunity to get in the game.

The rest of the lot was filled with food trucks, a dj, and they were selling beer!  Really?!  I love it.  The afterparty scene was super cool. so much so that I would be willing to bet that about 80% of the people who started the ride, finished the ride.  How awesome is that?

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Yeah man, it was packed. Packed enough that the smart money said to buy more than one beer from the beer line, which was a good strategy, but even when I did have to get back in line, it ran pretty fast.  I reaaaally should have tried some of the food from the food trucks. You Atlanta people know how the whole food truck thing has had it’s ups and downs, and they aren’t as ubiquitous in the A as they are in some cities which is too bad.

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As I had said earlier I was pretty stoked to see a lot of BMX representation at the ride, but there was one group who really killed it by bringing out the proper vintage gear.  They were running a Schwinn Apple Crate, two Hutch Trick Stars, a Skyway 26″ and a GT which I can’t recall as a 24″ or 26″ but it was definitely not 20″.  All of these rides were super clean and well done. I talked with the guy in the pic for a while but by this point I had had a few beers so I don’t remember his name. Great crew of people though.

The whole after party scene was just so good.  I was chit chatting bike talk with my buddy and his crew who I had met at the halfway point, and probably could have stayed til they kicked people out, but I had to bail to go meet some other friends. I am imagining that at some point maybe someone got on the mic and awarded the best dressed prizes or something, I dunno.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
When I set out to document my experience at BBP, I wanted to make sure that it did not come off as “Here is what we’re doing wrong in Atlanta”, because we aren’t doing it wrong.  We do it our way, and we love it.  I love it.  But I knew there would be a lot of exciting and fun differences I wanted to relay.  I had a pretty good idea of how it would be from following the BBP facebook page, and it was definitely what I thought it would be and more.  The ride here reminded me a bit more of  The Mobile Social back home. I guess the reason that I used so much comparison to CM is that since  BBP happens the last friday of the month, to me it came across as “Baltimore’s version of Critical Mass”.

 

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Flandersox

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I’m starting to get a little addicted to buying weird cycling socks. Here are some “Flanders” in bright yellow. Are they talking about the Tour of Flanders? I’m guessing they are. Mainly I bought them because the logo reminds me of the old progressive breakbeat dance music record label Rampant Records. They used a similar logo on the B-side labels of their 12″ vinyl releases.

Socks are def a little easier to collect than vintage bicycle water bottles.

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Aventon Cordoba Fixed Gear

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I broke down and ordered this murdered out Aventon Cordoba fixed gear from City Grounds. I have been looking to get a new fixed gear for quite a while, and pretty much everything in my size in the under $500 has been sold out for months pretty much everywhere. When I got an HTML email from City Grounds advertising this new build, I jumped on it right away before they run out.

Of course I alreay have plans for it. The matte black offers the perfect canvas to constantly change op the look via accesorization. The most lajor plan though, is to replace the crankset with tubular chromoly BMX cranks. I finally found a mnaufacturer who makes 1/8″ BMX sprockets that are more than like 28 teeth, yet aren’t goofy looking saw blades. More on that later. I also found a suitable euro BB that will work for the mod. It’s gonna be freakin SICK. Also I won’t be scared to stomp on it once the tubies are installed. I am always afraid I am going to crush aluminum cranks.

My currentfixed is a 1984 Peugeot with a flop n chop on the bars and some Vuelta fixed wheels, which I have to say have been pretty rad condidering how low priced they were . My friend Katie iMac gave me the bike, so it kind of has a sentimental value, but I’m pretty sure it musy be sold. Gotta make some room, and I am thinking it just won’t get ridden once I have the new, currently unnamed bike.  I’df much rather have someone ride it often.

Yeah, this new bike needs a name, and I am sure one will present itself. Cordoba is a name I am just not that into. It reminds me of the Chrysler that Ricardo Montelban was hawking back in the 70’s. Welcome to Fixed Gear Fantasy Island.

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Ringle’ Quick Release Lever – The Talisman

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Pictured above: My Ringle’ Quick Release Skewer/Bottle Opener / Talisman.  Here is how I got it.

Sometime around ’92 or ’93ish, me and the rest of the crew from Golden Ring Bicycle Shop headed to Interbike Bicycle Trade Show and Schwag Accumulation Event which was either in Atlantic City or Philadelphia the year we got these awesome artifacts. I’ll just go ahead and admit my memory is a little fuzzy since we always used Interbike as an excuse to get pretty wasted the night before. Anyway, whichever year this happened, here is how it went down.

We were walking around collecting a zillion tons of literature, stickers, water bottles and all the free stuff that the manufacturers give awar at bike trade shows, when we came upon the Ringle’ booth.  Zillions of sweet looking parts were on display, in typical early nineties anodized glory, and some dude was giving out these “Bottle Openers”.   The guy who was giving them out was kind of a big dude, and at some point we overheard him telling another attendee…”I’m Geoff Ringle” and I am the testing department as well as the company namesake. If I can’t break it then it is strong enough for us to sell.” I may not be exactly precise on the wording here, but that was the point he was getting across, and believe it when I say he def looked like he could destroy some parts. We were kind of stoked to be talking with the man himself, since Ringle’ parts were all the rage that year. We all got out samples and kept on pushing on.

Since then this little unit has been my trusty beer opening companion for over 20 years and still going strong! Actually, it has worn down quite a bit, and I have to work a little bit to get it to open a brew these days, but I will always give it a try before I opt for some cheaper, less meaningful mode of beverage enabler.  This is because I am convinced that every time I use this on a beer, I get a little boost of good luck.  I never go on big rides without it.

I’ve stayed in contact with the other brothers from “way back when” at the bike shop. If I remember correctly, I may be the last man standing who has one of these from our group.  I hope theirs served them as well as mine has.

I got out of the bike business in 1995, and sort of lost track of what happened to most manufacturers, and I am almost sure that Ringle’ got bought out by a larger company.  Here is an ad from the company when they were in their heyday:

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To see a much more thorough collection of Ringle’ history, head over to the MOMBAT Bicycle History Pages (where I copped the ad image from thanks folks).

 

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Haw Creek Micro Air

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Little bit of air at Haw Creek during last Sunday Beer-n-Bike. Higher, further and more style as the year progresses, seen?

Instagram & Twitter @RobertAshton

let’s go riding.

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Schwinn That Found Me

A few weeks ago, while riding Haw Creek with my buddy Jay, I was noticed some junk about 30 yards off the trail. The most obvious piece was an old refrigerator, but as we got closer, right there standing up against a tree, was an old school rustbucket of a bike. We stopped and headed back into the brush to check it out. It was an oooold Schwinn…old enough that I knew it would be American made, so I stashed it a little further back behind the fridge, and vowed to come back for it later.

Fast forward a few weeks, and Jay and I are at Haw Creek again. The ride didn’t go so well, in fact we never actually got to ride. But since we were there I thought it would be a good time to go back and retrieve the bike. I’m glad we did, because when we hiked back to where it was stashed, someone had actually drug it up out of the woods and it was leaning against a tree right on the trail for everyone to see. I wasted no time in hoisting it up over my shoulder and hoofing it back to the car before someone else came and snatched it. Finders Keepers.

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Once I got it home I was able to find the serial number on the left rear dropout after doing a bit of rust scraping.

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I was able to find info for it using the Schwinn Serial Number Database, which told me that the bike was “Traveler” manufactured May 24, 1960!

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My plan was to bring it home, and try to get it working mechanically again, while maintaining as much of the rust/patina as possible. Whatever parts I did have to replace, I’d make sure to try and adhere to a flat black/ bright red/ color sgheme, hoping to make it into a “Rat Rod” kind of thing. 

A few days ago I hit it with the first round of B’Laster rust penetrator, hoping it would help knock some of the bolts loose. Of I can get it apart the rest is easy, but man this thing is completely rusted together. Worst rust I have ever seen on anything…ever.

Today I tried to see if I could crack the headset lock nut loose, which did not work, so I moved on to the stem bolt, which promptly sheered off. Damn.

I’m not going to give up yet though. It’s not like it is going anywhere, and I am thinking that there are some methods of removing rusted together materials that are beyond my scope. Fortunately I have a few old school car mechanics in the family which I can call on for some ideas. A quick internet search says that using a torch/heat may be helpful. We’ll see.

Even if the project fails it won’t be a total loss, because the very minimum that will happen is the bike will get taken to the dump and disposed of properly, so by bringing it home I may have hooked up ol Mother earth by cleansing her surface. She likes when that happens.

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STRAVA stats for 2012

Add me to your STRAVA friends

A lot of riders on STRAVA might log in a single month what I logged all year (6 months actually, started logging in July) and I am fine with that. What I would be really bugged out about would be if I had no stats at all to show. I decided that for 2012 my strategy was going to be to ride and have fun, and not worry about keeping stats as I had in years past, but when I found out about STRAVA, and how easy it was, it was impossible not to get on board.  I had the crazy good time riding in 2012. My only goal for 2013 is to have even more fun than I did the previous year, but of course in the back of my mind I am already starting the race to beat my 2012 stats by the 6 month mark.

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HOW DID YOU DO IN 2012? TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BICYCLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS, STATS BASED OR OTHERWISE!

Add me to your STRAVA friends

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Scott Mathhauser Brake Pads

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Someone is selling a 4 pack of Scott Mathhauser Brake Pads on E-bay for A HUNDRED FREAKIN DOLLARS! That’s $25 per pad for those of you that can’t do the math. Mathausers are the shiz for real, we used to sell them by card (12 pairs or so per card) to this guy who was a big time trials bike competitor back at Golden Ring Bicycle Shop. he would go through a set a week or something because he machined knurls into the sides of his rims to get better stopping power. Mathhauser also used to make a Pro Model pad that had “heat fins”, which of course I’ll have to track down a photo of now. But for real, $100 for 4 is kind of steep for a part that will wear, especially since they were OEM on NOTHING, so it isn’t like some collector needs them for a retro ride to be up to original spec. Truthfully though, if I had the loot…

Here is the link if you want to buy them.

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