Out on a ride in my local and along the ATV trail someone had cleared a chunk of trees to provide access to a natural spring via a pipe. There was a rather nice ceramic mug on a post, presumably for passerby. Someone had taken the time and effort to set this up running off of what is definitely private property. What. A. Rad. Thing. To. Do. I wanted to write a note to say thanks, but didn’t have anything with me. I had my last Richard Sachs Twizzler with me, so I left that as a trail mojo offering to the spring owner, or next passerby. Enjoy, random person. The Universe has got you.
A Series Until It isn’t*: The 2004 @surlybikes Surly Cross Check. Acquired slightly used as frame and fork. Built up countless ways over the years. Stevie Ray Vaughan had ‘Number One’, this is mine. It is now the bike that has been in the Stable the longest. I like the ‘steed/stable’ metaphor better than the ‘arrow/quiver’ one because even when I ride my fastest bike I plod along like a horse. I hath not the vigor of an arrow loosed.
The Rundown: Cross Check frame and fork – probably in hindsight a TAD too small for me, however I have considered and rejected selling this bike several times, but the fact of the matter is, I now can’t because it is singularly tied to my identity on this planet. @chriskingbuzz Headset, natch. Giant parts bin stem clamping @salsacycles Cowbell bars with a @knog Oi bell and @ridebontrager Bar Tape. @rideshimano Sora 9spd brifters clicking an LX rear deraileur, a Sora front and spinning an SRAM chain around a set of LX(?) Cross Cranks sporting @crankbrothers Candy C pedals and pulling cables on Avid Shorty 6 brakes. A no name seat post clamped by a no-name clamp capped by a @selleanatomica (NSX?) Saddle. Custom Built wheels by me – with assistance from @wineintitanium in his living room many years ago – consisting of parts bin LX hubs courtesy of @uhlsbrewingco laced to Alex R390 rims sporting @panaracer_world Gravel King Mud 35mm tires with (though you’d never guess it) tan sidewalls. I’ve over 15,000kms on this wheelset with not much more than an occasional seasonal truing. @porcelainrocket bags. My fave bag makers of all time. I usually have this bike setup with this medium stock frame bag and a black Charlene to match – both of which I got from MEC – but today I threw on the multi-cam BIG bag because: coffee stuff/puffy layers. I forget what it’s called but the big one without the frame that they just firesaled all the back stock on and I got one because it was just too good of a price to pass up and huge. Official Custom-Installed ¡TSBC GO! patch.
*Stole this line from @therichardsachs
I’ve really grown to love Instagram as a social media platform, it’s become one of my favourite places to visit online. It’s currently the only social media app I have on my phone.
I enjoy the nature of it – the fact that it’s primarily visual. I’m pretty selective with who I follow and for me, it’s a visual hit of inspiration whenever I check in. In some cases, folks have gone one further and are using their Instagram accounts as more of a blog, including lengthy, well-composed posts as the captions to their photos. Indeed some of them have an Instagram account as their sole online presence, nothing else, not even a personal website.
That said, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites – people I feel are really doing something different, unique and inspiring with the app.
Eric Larsen (@elexplore) is a polar explorer. That’s a pretty cool job title. I don’t know the all the details of exactly what that entails, but I think the general gist pretty obvious. He’s a guy that digs the cold and winter. He’s on a one-man-mission to try and get you to as well. His Instagram feed is full of fun and inspirational photos and commentary about trips to the coldest, whitest areas of the planet. He throws around some great stay-warm tips as well. As a fellow fan of winter, I know how much fun it can be. I also have discovered lately, that the more I get out in winter, the more I enjoy and embrace it. Conversely, when I’m not able to get out due to the to-do list or schedule, it’s a lot harder to tolerate winter and morale suffers. When the calendar is crunched and I can’t fit in a snowshoe, sometimes a choice post from Eric will suffice and keep the winter mojo going to the next outing.
The Bicycle Craftsman
To anyone who’s been around in bikes for a long time, Richard Sachs (@therichardsachs)will probably need no introduction. The guy has been hand-building bike frames since before it was the new artisanal thing to do. In the world of bicycle as art, he’s an Old Master. Although he’s been building some of the best bikes in the world for almost 40 years, he recently ‘reinvented’ himself, for lack of a better word. He built a new, solitary shop and returned to building bikes the way he’d started, one at a time, by hand, with hand tools. In the process he has been sharing his reflections on the industry, life, his craft and topics like passion and drive, all via his Instagram feed, often accompanied by some great photos of both bikes and process. You don’t have to be a fan of bikes to appreciate his posts on inspiration, drive, and why we do what we do.
A few other cats also holding it down on the ‘gram and continually turning out inspiring content:
- @slimwonder – Repping the Dads and bikes set, with bebop flava. #sockgame always on point.
- @allhailtheblackmarket – Punk rock, discontent, skating, bikes and art. Through the disgruntled lens of middle-age.
- @coldbike – Another winter nut. Bikes, Dad skills, kids, adventure.
- @outsideisfred – Shenanigans.
- @hotsaucecycling – Elite World Cup Cross Racing. Shoestring budget. Canadian, eh?
- @targetsalad – Good espresso pulls. Mule Deer. Dad life. The World’s Most Interesting Bike Club.