As a bike mechanic and a mechanic instructor, I hear a lot of complaints from both riders and shop mechanics about service intervals on full-suspension bikes. For some riders, 30 hours of ride time can be completed in only one month. The thought of having to pay someone to change the oil in a fork five or six times a year is seen as excessive and needlessly taking advantage of riders (the typical interval for pulling the lower legs and changing the oil in a fork is 30 hours).
Given to me by a customer back in my Bozeman days, this Bridgestone XO-2 had gone through about 4 different iterations. With 2yr old Ultegra, 44cm drop bar, 26x1.5 Specialized Nimbus-es, and full fenders it’s like the AMC Eagle SX/4 of the bike world, just higher quality.
This song always always always puts me in a good mood.
So yeah, it’s been awhile.
Writing for “fun” was something that was a pretty big part of my life until about three years ago- something about working in a bike shop in a ski town with no hint of self-betterment, improvement, or way out on the horizon- that really forces someone who gives a shit to look for creative releases.
But that was three years ago. In August of 2010 I was working in a bike shop in Bozeman, Montana, 35 years old, having put forth a valiant effort towards a degree in engineering (math is hard- who knew?) yet still living the ski town life of a semi-skilled, experienced, somewhat irresponsible misfit earning the same income as I did when I left New York ten years prior. The “Mountain Tax” is something that exists in ski towns: you live in paradise, yet it is impossible to make significantly more than minimum wage. Unless you show up with money, or find a niche waiting to be exploited. Both of which I had serious deficits in.
So , writing. At that time I wrote a mildly interesting blog that chronicled the growth of the bike culture in Bozeman. That led to enough experience to get a gig writing a blog for Specialized, which led to a job requiring a move to the Bay Area in California. It’s a good gig, and the past three years has given me a ton of experience and perspective for where the future of bikes, the business of bike shops, and the future of bike mechanics is in the US.
And that- bikes- is what really gets me excited. I’m a huge bike nerd, not just riding but getting totally and completely stoked on everything from my Venge to the Fun-duro I rode for the past few years to the latest object of my desire, the AWOL. While I might have gotten my start with mountain biking, nowadays all kinds of riding gets me stoked. Stoked enough that I love love LOVE sharing that stoke with others, trying to get them as excited about bikes as me. Because Bikes. Are. Rad.