Secret Forts on Cycling

08raleigh-team-usaI am an athlete. I’m fairly tall, but you wouldn’t want me on your basketball team. I suck at offense and though I’m a fierce defender, I’d probably foul out in the first half. I’ve got a sweet swing, but I’ll hit one in one hundred pitches, which — for those of you keeping score at home, is the worst batting average humanly possible. I can show you how to throw a decent spiral, but throw a bigger dude on top of me, and I’m a complete wuss. And, yeah, I can kick and kind of dribble, and I can block a pass, and I’ve owned several pairs of shinguards, and I can skate and handle a puck just fine, but not well enough to matter much to you or your stinking team. It still burns when I think about getting picked last in the soccer games played at gym and recess, or in the cul de sac roller hockey game. My own best friend once betrayed me, choosing our sworn enemy before me in order to improve his chances. Turns out, my team won, and that friend and I were never as close again. I digress.

07raleigh-team-usaI play individual sports. I was recruited to swim in college. My friends will tell you, throw a pair of skis on me, and I’ll dance down the mountain. And I never feel as free as I do when I’m on my bicycle. Which leads me to James Wilson’s most recent post on Secret Forts.

“Writing a piece on my relationship to cycling. Feels like it’s something you’d write. Like I’m channeling you somehow.”

I got this text last night from James.

“Send it to me,” I wrote back.

He sent it.

“May I edit it?”

I didn’t do too much to it: fixed some late night spelling errors, removed several erroneous parenthetical remarks (dude loves him some parentheses). It’s precisely the kind of thing I would write. Obsessive. Meandering. It’s a road trip by bicycle. It’s something I think we can all relate to, and I’m happy to see that James is writing again. Hope you find it as inspiring as I did.

09raleigh-team-usa

 

Photos of my current bicycle come courtesy of Sheldon Brown’s Retro Raleighs page.

Ezra Caldwell

I only have a cursory familiarity with Mr. Caldwell. I don’t think we ever met, and if we did, it was brief. For a time several years ago, his wife and I were coworkers. While we were, I had the unique privilege to test ride one of his early bicycles. I have yet to find a bike that rides as smoothly or as comfortably as the one I tried that day. One day, I would like to document the building of one of Ezra’s Fast Boy Cycles and perhaps own one of his fine creations. Till then, take a few minutes to watch this video and join me in becoming a fan of Mr. Ezra Caldwell.

Time-permitting, watch all the work from Made by Hand. It’s a great series, made with hearts similar to that of mine and those of my cohorts at Made Right Here.

Chicago Past

Chicago’s History. Now in convenient Tumblr form.

H/T Michael Kiser.

Heritage Bicycles

“Precious and unique benefits accrue to those who regularly attend third places and who value those forms of social intercourse found there. The leveling, primacy of conversation, certainty of meeting friends, looseness of structure, and eternal reign of the imp of fun all combine to set the stage for experiences unlikely to be found elsewhere… The benefits of participation both delight and sustain the individual.” – Ray Oldenburg, The Great Good Place

Anyone who has followed my social pursuits via Twitter and Instagr.am understands full-well, I love Heritage Bicycles. In short order, it has become my place for the perfect pour of Stumptown Coffee, a flat fix on my 1985 Team USA Raleigh, and an impromptu 90s dance party (playing as I type, The New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give”). Regarding the social concept known as the Third Place — that is, not home, not work, but that place where you find community — mine can be found a short ride from my first place, at Heritage Bicycles & General Store, 2959 North Lincoln Ave in Chicago, Illinois.
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Bike to Work Day


How a Bicycle is Made features the design and manufacture of Raleigh bicycles, as told by a designer to a father and son. Find out more information about this film at the British Council.