History Lies

I’ve been asked at several points in my life by acquaintances and friends why I don’t write about past events, periods of life, etc. Was just reading this bit in The Paris Review by Karl Ove Knausgaard from his new book The Land of the Cyclops and it made sense to me.

As such, history always lies, it turns what was inconsistent, all over the place, perhaps even meaningless, into something consistent, systematic, and meaningful. The situations and events that occurred, the people who were there, and the discussions between them were of course real, it is not the case that writing about something is the same as lying or distorting, but the moment that reality is written down it is given a form that is basically abiding and unalterable, which pins it down in a certain way, whereas what was significant about it was that it was all over the place and could not be pinned down at all. To write about a situation is to take out part of its potential, at the same time as its remaining potential disappears into the shadows of the unsaid, the unthought, and the unwritten, in the valley of opportunities lost.

– Karl Ove Knausgaard

Singer Porsche 911/959 Custom Rally

I usually skew towards the off road trucks/utility type vehicles in terms of my preferences – primarily because I like to think of getting way, way out, but also bringing a lot of stuff. That said, this bespoke Singer Porsche build is an amazing piece of work designed to get from A to B, regardless of what’s in between, as fast as humanly possible and man, do I DIG it.

I always loved the Porsche 911 and 959 body styles and that combined with the level of finish detail that Singer indulges in is just an amazing thing to behold. Add in the engineering that has been developed by Tuthill Porsche – this is no ‘show’ car – it will deliver the goods – and you have a truly magnificent beast.

….yeah, you also wanna just hit big stuff…and laugh…and just drive over it and not worry about it.”

-Richard Tuthill

NYE 2020

An old friend of mine – I’ve forgotten which one – used to say he never liked New Year’s. He called it ‘forced fun’, like a ‘fake holiday’. People felt compelled to do something. I’ve tended to agree with the sentiment for the most part. The obvious idea being that the calendar – at least the one we’re using – is quite arbitrary and scientifically speaking with regards to ‘time’ no two years are exactly the same length anyway, but I’m not going to bother Googling links to all that stuff, you can do that yourself if you want, trying to stay up past an arbitrary deadline.

I posted a note last year about this very thing and I find it rings true even more so with each passing arbitrary time measurement unit (day).

So if I have a New Year’s Tradition at all, it’s that for the last at least 15 years or so – in the process of trying (with various levels of success) to stay up until midnight, mostly because the kids feel like this is a big deal – – I head out into my backyard to let the dog do his thing at some point and stare up at the sky and ponder my place in the Universe.

This year it turned out a little differently. After the wife and kids and I ate a whole bunch of little hot dogs wrapped in croissant dough, I wandered out as I usually do and said to myself, “well, Self, this is when you annually walk out here and stare at the sky and ponder your place in the Universe.”

Then I paused for a minute. Then I thought, “can I ponder my place IN the Universe, when I also AM the Universe?” Can you be IN something you AM?

Kinda stumped myself there.

And it’s only 11:16. Guess my new year starts now.

Might need a new tradition next year, but I’ve got some time to sort that out.

Christmas (T)Roll

So a little less than a year ago, my internet homey Matt emailed me out of the blue to let me know he was liquidating his Surly stock. He had a Troll and a Pugsley up for sale and wanted to know if I wanted any parts or whole.

As a matter of backstory, I bought my Disc Trucker frame and fork from Matt some years ago and after going back and forth with various builds on it then almost selling it back to him or someone else, I finally got it perfectly appointed for me and it’s become a steady favorite in the stable.

Matt knew I was a fan of all things Surly and was excited to maybe have the bikes go to a dedicated Surly fan. As much as I like the Pugsleys, I already have one and since I wasn’t really bike shopping at all, couldn’t really justify adding another to the stable. The Troll was another matter. Being Surly’s 26+ platform touring rig, the way Matt had it set up really appealed to me as – among other things – a ‘shoulder season’ bike for all the nasty that was too nasty for the Disc Trucker, but not nasty enough to merit the Pugsley. Matt was open to a long-term creative financing arrangement and a plan was hatched.

Box of Troll

After many months, a large box was finally deposited on my doorstep last week, just in time for Festivus. I spent a few days building it back up and familiarizing myself with various components and thanks to the Christmas gods and global warming, the weatherman was calling for an unseasonably warm (16ºC!) day today so I made sure to have the Troll ready for it’s maiden voyage. It didn’t disappoint.

Matt’s build spec is spot on and there’s not a thing I ‘d change -I did put my own Selle Anatomica saddle on it – but that’s it. The thing is really fun to ride, fits great and all the components are great at what they do. This is my first bike with an internally-geared hub and the Alfine shifts smooth as butter and rolls smooth too. The Surly Extra Terrestrial tires are great – though I have to remind myself when it comes to wet roots they are traditional slicks – heh, don’t ask me how I know. The whole bike feels stiff and stable like it could carry 200lbs of cargo without flinching.

I’m especially excited about the front Shimano dynamo hub which continuously powers the front Busch and Müller headlight and tail light. I can’t wait to try it out in the dark. I’ve never had a bike with a dynamo hub before – it’s always something I’ve wanted to experiment with. Other notable standouts for me are the SKS Blumen fenders which are super-solid, easy to mount and silent/rattle free and the Harrier pedals with big chonking pegs to grab boots/shoes in nasty conditions. I didn’t think I was going to, but I even really like the weird Ergon cork grips.

I threw my Porcelain Rocket/Anylander panniers on the Surly front rack that Matt had and put my RandiJo Fabrications Jeff n’ Joan’s bag into the Jones loop bars and away we went.

I got the Troll out on my usual loop today and threw a little of everything at it and it didn’t flinch. It’s a keeper. Getting out for a nice long ride today means much less guilt eating all the things this holiday season. Merry Christmas to me.

Hope everyone else out there had as much fun today as I did. Ride bikes in 2021.