Things continuing to come along. First appearance of the potatoes in the small 3′ box.
In 1998 I was living at the Lapensee Youth Hostel (those who know, know) and my buddy @uhlsbrewingco had landed me a gig as a wrench at Belleview Bikes in Alexandria, VA. It is while working there that – save for possibly my 1985 neon green Haro Master – I bought ‘the bike that started it all’. The 1998 Gary Fisher Ziggurat. I was actually gunning for the full suspension Joshua-1, but got impatient about saving money and wanting a new bike and at the time this was a really nicely appointed hardtail. OH MY DOG EM I EVER GLAD I DIDN’T GET THAT JOSHUA. Totally lucked out there. I got so much more ride out of this one.
I’ve still got the receipt. Original Price $1349 retail – the boss (our friend, Steve? Dave? I forget) actually wrangled it so I got both $100 off AND my $343 pro-deal. Then the first thing I did was swap the flat bar for an Azonic Riser bar that was the butter – what a great bar…. This bike was the link that tied everything back to the bmx days and building bikes in the garage. When I moved to Canada to live with my future wife, I brought everything I owned with me – literally. You could do that back then. I took a flight to Montreal and then caught a train to Bathurst with 2 bike boxes, 2 giant hockey bags and a backpack. Just typing this out is starting to get to me because I sold the damn Ziggurat in 2017. Sigh.
I don’t even have any pictures of it from before I painted it. How is THAT possible? Oh yeah, it was PRE-smartphones. And those Azonic bars, man, I totally should have at least kept those. Double sigh. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I just sold another bike. The Giant XTC. It’s been magical as well. First high-end carbon hardtail. Zing. We’ve been ‘some places’. How dumb am I gonna feel in 10 years? Selling the Giant has facilitated the Birth of the Karate Monkey though. So that’s the next chapter. When I hear other people talking about selling bikes I always say “don’t sell it, you’ll regret it!” And then I sell one – but that one is always THE LAST ONE I’M GOING TO SELL EVER.
Enter The Ute. In 2009 I was in @radicaledgebikeski and this bike was leaning against a wall. It was the first time I’d seen a long cargo bike in person. It was goofily awesome. It was being retrofitted with special carriers by local microbrewery @picaroons to be a growler delivery bike. For whatever reason, it didn’t work. Depending on who you ask it was either the weight, the maneuverability of the bike when loaded up or the fact that is shook up the beer too much. Jury’s still out. The bike sat. And it sat. @spoke_n_words tells a story of it being ridden by a guy in a bowler hat and a 3/4 length tweed coat. Maybe urban myth. Then the bike moved to a different location. An open/closed sign was placed on the rear deck and it became welcome signage.
A week ago, @kiersmktg was asked by Picaroons to do some signage concepts. In one of the photos of the building, there the bike was – the back of it in the bottom corner of a frame. Anyone who didn’t already know what it was wouldn’t even notice it. But I did. I said “Ask Sean if he’ll sell me that bike.” I hadn’t seen it in years. Didn’t know what shape it was in or if it worked. I just knew they weren’t using it.
Long story short, now it’s in my garage. It is, quite literally, 10+ years old brand new. Not even the usual chips in the frame paint. All original parts down to the Kona branded bell. I thought I’d dump the growler cases and probably fabricate either my own bags or racks/decks. Then I remembered years ago when I was working weekends at the Edge there was some big ‘pleather’ brown panniers in the basement. “What’re these?” I asked. “Oh, those came with that Picaroons bike.” I completely forgot about it – until I owned the Picaroons bike – and amazingly they were still there, untouched. I think more people – Fredericton and elsewhere – could be using cargo bikes both personally and for business. It’s my opinion that not many folks know about them or don’t think they’re practical. Maybe if they see one, it’ll give ‘em a moments pause to wonder ‘what if…’ So me and The Ute will be on the trails looking to turn heads. Make sure to smile and wave.