Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Here is a little dose of "As Crazy as it Gets."
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Monday, April 20, 2015
I've had Nate's frame in the jig now for quite a few days and was just waiting to finish Scott's bike up before proceeding. Got everything mocked up and tacked the rear end this afternoon and I'm hoping to have it all brazed up tomorrow.
This is a road bike similar to the last frame but with a little extra tire clearance in order to throw on some 28-30c skins for an extra smooth ride, and we're gonna tuck it all under some standard road brake calipers. This sounds like some Paris-Roubaix stuff going on to me. I believe Nate spent a little time in Belgium on the pro cyclocross circuit a handful of years ago and it sounds like he may have some unfinished business with the cobblestone streets over there. I can't lie, I would love to see a MEECH rolling across some cobbles. Seeing people putting these bikes to the test is what I enjoy most. Its why I make them.
These bottom bracket shells always come pre-drilled, however I always take some extra meat out of them in order to shave grams. You can see the difference from the photo above. There may even be enough space there should you ever want to convert it to electronic shifting.
The usual water-tight miters with a little scuffing for extra adhesion.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to check back in a day or so for some updates.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Finally got the parts thrown on Scott's frame. Getting things done in an orderly manner seems almost impossible these days, but every so often I get something finished and it feels good. Scott decided to try some different components on this build and Campagnolo Chorus felt right to him. I'm a big fan of Chorus as well and run it with some older Campy Record cranks that I've had for years. The paint colors on this frame were a perfect contrast from one another. We've got a little metallic Silver opposing some metallic Mango Tango/Toxic Orange, not to mention a few black and white accents thrown around in there. It made for a unique blend of colors and a nice custom frame. It's a 53.5 cm frame with a sloping top tube and a traditional 1" steel fork. Let's go check it out.
"That seat looks a little high for a 53.5 cm frame D, does Scott have some long legs?"
Well, I might've set the saddle at my height just to sit on it and see what it felt like, but I didn't ride it, well, I might've took it for a little spin around the neighborhood, you know, just to make sure everything is working properly. It was just a quick 80 mile loop, not much gravel. You know I'm lying now. I can't remember the last time I rode more than 45, and I need to be in a serious frame of mind before attacking gravel. Probably the last time I road 50+ miles was the time Scoot and I did the Bicycle Tour of Colorado.
Remember that night in Crested Butte when we were at the bar chatting with that drunk that kept spitting on us while he was talking? Damn! If I would've had a paper bag I would've put it over my head for protection, or better yet, his.
Listen. Most every frame I build for people gets boxed up and shipped away with me wondering how it would ride with some components draped over it. Luckily, most all my customers send me some build pics and give me the lowdown. It's not often that I get to build up the complete bike, and with the new and improved 2015 Campagnolo components. If you think I'm gonna let this one get away from me without throwing my lanky arse over it you got another thing coming. Even though its roughly 4cm too small for me, with the saddle set at the right height I was fairly comfortable riding it around the neighborhood and even climbed one good hill on it. Feels good to me Scoot!
Happened to have a stainless steel badge in the drawer that I used on this one. It just seemed appropriate.
Decided to paint the 3T stem in order to get a little more Toxic Orange on here. It worked nicely with the fork crown.
"Grab a hiney!"
Anyone remember the Hiney winery? I think it was out of Memphis. "Grab a Hiney" was their slogan.
I pride myself on getting the seat stays cut to the exact same length. There is nothing that bothers me more than to see the rear view of a custom built frame and one of the stays is slightly shorter than the other. I've seen some high-end ti frames like that and I just thought, "What a wasted $3000 bill." Check out those Campy Skeleton brakes. They're tight.
Fresh pair of bullet-proof Ksyriums.
...matches the rear.
How can someone not love the look of carbon fiber levers. We wrapped the bars with lizard skin.
Newly revamped Ultra-Torque crankset 52/36 tooth wrapped in a KMC Gold chain. I love these chains. They're hard to keep looking as brilliant as this but with a little lubricant and rag you can keep them looking pretty good. They remind me of the gold chains that they used to use on factory works motocross bikes.
Love the contrasts here.
Scott wore his old Avocet O2 saddle out so I'm gonna do something that I normally wouldn't do and part with one out of my collection. It's gonna cost him though, afterall, they're the greatest saddle ever made.
I'll put the saddle back down where it's supposed to be before he picks it up.
I dug out an old photo of Scott's first MEECH. Its been ridden in a handful of Tours of Colorado and is gonna become his hard weather/training bike.
Here is a pic from one of his many tours. Scott and I go way back, more than 20 years. We met through an old friend and have been putting in the miles ever since. Scott was actually the first person that I ever did a long ride with. It was only something like 40 miles but back then I wasn't even a cyclist, just a guy with a bicycle. It was a Schwinn World 10-speed and the furthest that I had ever ridden it was 15 miles. That seemed like some sort of adventure to me back then. "Oh the humanity". Anyway, I think Scott was riding an old Panasonic steel frame and we headed out into the flat farmland outside of Jonesboro one weekend. At about the halfway point we stopped at a small store and grabbed a burger and coke, smoked a couple of cigarettes, and then headed on down the road. The wind was wearing me down and I had fallen off Scoot's wheel and had lost sight of him. I decided that the only way I would see him again was if I hitched a ride. I thumbed a ride and a farmer stopped. I jumped in the bed of his pickup with my bike and told him to drive until he saw another guy on a bicycle, and then to keep going another mile or two past him in order to give me a good lead. Long story short, Scoot had pulled off the road for a smoke and to let me catch up and he said he looked up only to see me going by in the back of a pickup truck. We never did see him so I let the farmer take me all the way back to town. Didn't see Scoot again until that night at his apartment. Guess you know how I roll. That was my introduction to road cycling and I'm forever grateful. Thanks Scott!
About 5 years ago he took me out to Colorado for a bicycle tour through the Rockies and it will forever be remembered. Great time was had.
I know this isn't a blog about babies but I decided to throw in a photo of Jumpin Jack since he was representing. He may be young but he already knows which brand is #1. I'll probably use him for a human billboard for the next few years in order to get back some of the money spent on all those green beans that he throws in the floor. Can't wait till he learns how to miter tubes, braze, and paint.
MEECH Custom Bicycles
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Thanks for stopping by.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Awe, that doesn't look so bad.
Looks like trying to ride out of a hole. Throw a little rain on those slick bricks and this will turn into a 5k run.
You can check out some more pics of todays race and watch the race live on Steephill TV.
This is a shot of the bike that Alexander Kristoff will be riding. I took this photo off of Velonews.com and this might be one of the ugliest bikes that I've ever seen. Is that bicycle square? If my team handed this to me at the starting line of a race (or training ride) I would probably vomit a little on my jersey, if for no other reason than to distract people from looking at my bike. Sweet paint job! What color is that, Laundry Room Beige? I'd rather ride something that looked like an Easter egg than this. Know what would ride nicely across all those cobbles? A steel frame.
UPDATE: What are the odds that the one bike I pick out to make fun of actually wins the race? Guess what? I have to admit that Kristoff was making it look light and fast. So I got to give credit where its due. Hats off to him.
Saturday, April 4, 2015
I know this is supposed to be a blog about bicycle stuff, but anyone who visits here from time to time knows that I throw out a bunch of random posts that have no rhyme or reason. If I stumble onto something that may seem interesting chances are that I'll post it, if for no other reason than to have something fresh for viewers to check out. If it's something you can eat, even better. I posted a while back about how I was trying to cut out all the junk food and eat a little better and for the most part I have been successful. I still eat some sweets but not the "tear open the wrapper, stuff it in your face kind". I've been trying to eat more fruits and nuts (they're usually covered in chocolate), but hey it's a start, and I think I can feel the difference. Last night I made and devoured some Jello Pudding, but its half milk so I consider that semi-healthy. But here's a little recipe that I stumbled onto while experimenting with making homemade gyros. I posted that video a while back and have used it a handful of times since. This salsa recipe here is a little take off that. It's super-easy and only has a handful of ingredients, mostly inexpensive ones. Yesterday I made some and I kicked it up a notch in order to make it more of a meal. So a couple of ingredients shown here aren't really necessary. Let's check it out.
This photo is a bit blurry but it shows everything and will have to work.
These are all the ingredients (and extra) needed in the amounts that i like, however there is no specific amount for any of the ingredients and you can add more or less of whatever you like. Here are the basics:
1/2 cucumber peeled and diced
1/2 cup of diced fresh tomatos
1/2 cup of diced Kalamata olives (not black olives)
1/2 cup of diced red onions (I use less so that the onions don't overpower it)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
Throw in a little black pepper and garlic powder for extra flavor.
crackers of your choice
This is the basic recipe and its full of flavor, but yesterday I diced up a few shrimp and threw in some crumbled feta cheese and turned this into my lunch. If you wanted, you could even throw in some diced pepperoni, salami, or bacon and take it over the top.
This is about how much you'll get out of the quantities that I used. Like I said before, you can add or subtract to dial it in to your specific taste. Let this stuff get real cold and its excellent on a hot day at the lake or hanging out at the crit races. I eat this stuff by the pound and I've noticed that it's making me faster. Hope you like it and that I haven't bored you too bad. Have a good weekend.
Friday, April 3, 2015
Here is a great new way to start putting in some secret miles.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Christian sent me a couple of quick pics of his mountain bike build. Looks pretty light and tight to me. Love the look of the Lefty fork on the MEECH. Christian has a lot of bicycle experience and it was a pleasure to work with him on this.
I want one.
Here is Scoot's frame getting a little primer in the Love Shack.
Did you think I was kidding about my Granny's 6-shooter. I was in my home town for a couple of days to take care of some work and thought I would pick it up. Turns out I think its a 5-shooter and not a 6. I could't get the thing to open up. Shows what I know about pistol's. I was wanting to make sure that there isn't another bullet in it for safety reasons. If you look real close, you can see that about 1-2 inches from the end of the barrel there is a bulge in it where the bullet got stuck.
Little close up shot here but it doesn't really show it any better. Oh well, back in the drawer it goes.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
The neighborhood corner where we all played baseball.
This is also the field that Danny,Kevin, and I burned down with a railroad flare.
I just recently found out that one of my favorite childhood buddies has passed away. His name was Danny Rohgen but we all called him "Pump It" Danny. He was one of the coolest people I ever knew, that kid in the neighborhood who would always be the first to do a dare. Whether it was on his bicycle, motorcycle, or just some crazy idea that we'd come up with from time to time, no matter what it was, if anyone had the balls to do it Danny was the man. We were always getting into trouble together. It was never serious trouble but the fun kind, things like, blowing up garbage cans with M-80s, snow-balling cars, busting Halloween pumpkins, and crashing Cox airplanes into houses just to name a few. We weren't mean kids but simply looking for a good time. We'd spend lots of afternoons just riding wheelies on the neighborhood streets and cat walking our bikes down the hills. We could ride a wheelie all the way down the street and eventually even learned to turn the corner on one wheel. There was never a dull moment with him.
Danny and I hit it off from the day we first met but my interests in Danny were fueled by the fact he had motorcycles in his garage. Both he and his brother as well as his dad all had dirt bikes and back then that was one of the few things that really captured my attention. He also had a go-kart that we spent countless hours on speeding around the neighborhood. The gas pedal was broken and so he had tied a string around the throttle at the motor and you would steer with one hand and pull the string with the other. Sometimes we'd mess around by having one person drive the go-kart while the other pulled the accelerator string. I remember a time we were racing around the neighborhood in it and hit a passing car with a water balloon. It pissed the guy off so bad that he spun his car around right in the middle of the road, lighting the tires up as he came after us. Danny was pulling the string so hard that it broke and the go-kart started coasting to a stop. The car had caught up to us and the driver was getting out. I knew we were dead. Then, just as the guy was right up on us, Danny threw his arm over the seat and pushed the throttle wide open with his bare hand and held it until we hit some trails at the end of the road. After we knew we were safe we stopped to catch our breath and his hand had blisters all over from burning it on the motor. He was so clutch when it came to trouble. He had gotten in so much of it that he'd become an expert at getting out of it.
The one thing that made Danny so unique was an anxiety disorder that he developed after a bad motorcycle crash. We managed to fire up his dad's Hodaka 250 after school one day and while trying to cut a donut on the slick garage floor the rear wheel hooked up and he launched off the step in front of the door smashing through it and landing the motorcycle up on the bar with the throttle stuck wide open. It was a horrendous crash that left him unconscious on the ground, blood pooling up around his head. He was only 11 or 12 years old at the time and it put him in a coma for about 9 or 10 days. I didn't see him for quite a while after that, until, one random day after school, I was walking in the neighborhood and he comes riding his bike down the street like nothing had ever happened. We immediately picked up where we had left off. After a while I asked him what it was like being in a coma. He only said that it only felt like he had been asleep for a really long time but then he told me about a dream he remembered having while in the coma. Something about an old man who had just bought a brand new John Deere riding lawnmower. In the dream, he told me that one morning while he was standing on the corner waiting for the school bus, the old man was mowing around his mailbox on his new mower when out of nowhere the school bus came flying in and just leveled the old man. Mower parts went flying everywhere. Danny said he then went over and picked up the yellow seat that had been knocked off the mower and put it on his go-kart and then drove himself to school to show everyone his new seat. After he told me this we both agreed that the yellow seat would have looked killer on his go-kart, but today I just find it funny that while the old man in the dream was probably laying bloodied and mangled in a ditch somewhere all twisted up with his new mower, Danny and I were only thinking about parting it out to enhance the go-kart. The old man never crossed our mind. That was the one thing he told me about his whole coma experience.
It was what transpired after the coma that was so extraordinary. He didn't find out until later that the accident had affected his brain in some way and when he would encounter a situation that made him anxious his body would start jerking. It wasn't lightly either, but a pretty serious grinding movement. I'm sure there is some kind of medical term for it but the best way I can describe it is that he had an uncontrollable sporadic pelvic thrust that would come come over him and it was like he would start humping a ghost. It sort of reminds me of Wayne's World when they would say, "SWING!", only Danny's was more like "SWING-ING!" and lasted for a few seconds. It was so odd but at the same time hilarious. If it happened around people that didn't know him, which is usually when it did happen, they never knew what to think. It looked like something he was kinda doing on purpose but the reality was he had no control over it whatsoever. It was very similar to someone who had a speech stutter but instead of stuttering words Danny had stuttering pelvic thrusts. My mom used to always say, "That poor kid has had a really hard time." I didn't know what she was talking about. I figured if you had a garage full of motorcycles and a go-kart you were the luckiest person in the world and I would've gladly humped my whole life away.
This is an updated version of Danny's old house.
I remember the first time I saw him do it. We were walking down one of the streets on the far backside of our neighborhood. Danny had a pocketful of those small packages of firecrackers that has like 16 in it, just enough to get things started. Right about the time a car was approaching he lit some and threw them right in front of the car. The guy driving saw what Danny was doing before it even happened and immediately slammed on the brakes and jumped out right in Danny's face. He was cussing and yelling at him while sticking his finger in his chest and then Danny's body just started convulsing at the hips while he appeared to be paralyzed everywhere else. The guy became puzzled with Danny's actions and immediately went silent. He didn't know what to do and then just returned to his car and drove off. I didn't know what to think either. I just figured that the guy had literally scared the shit out of Danny. It was a bit later as we were walking home that he gave me some clues as to what was going on. He told me the doctors said that they couldn't really do anything for it but that most likely he would grow out of it.
After a while everyone in our group knew about it and whenever it would happen someone would usually yell, "HUMP IT DANNY!" A lot of times we'd use the F-bomb and then all bust out laughing. Everyone else found out about it while we waited on the school bus in the mornings. For whatever reason it would always kick in when the school bus was pulling up. I'm not sure if it was the size of the bus or maybe the sound it made while slowing down, but for whatever reason it would always trigger his anxiety and a funny look would come over his face and for about 5 seconds Danny would just dry hump the air. All the kids would be looking out the window at him because they knew what was about to happen. Looking back it must've been torture but he handled it pretty well and over time gradually got over it for the most part. Later on he learned to stand way back away from everyone until the bus had stopped and then he'd come running up to it. It was his little prevention method.
After a while it got to the point where only things out of the ordinary would trigger his thrusts and everyone forgot about it for the most part and not much was said. It had become the norm for all of us. There was another time when about 4 or 5 of us were riding our skateboards down one of the neighborhood hills. Just for fun we all started humping the air pretending to be like Danny. One of the neighborhood ladies was out in her yard and she was just shaking her head at us like we were all delinquents, which in some ways I guess we were. Danny didn't really care for it when we would imitate him but he always played it cool and tried not to let it get to him. I think his parents told him that it was the only way to overcome it. There were times when he would get into fights over his humping condition but he normally held his own pretty well and that cut down on people making fun of him.
Another funny moment that comes to mind was back in the fifth grade. We had to write a poem for school and get up in front of the class and read it. When the teacher called Danny's name he reluctantly walked up to the front of the class but before he ever got a word out that funny strain came over his face and he uncontrollably started thrusting at the hips like a rock star. I could always tell when it was about to happen. There would always be a slight hesitation and then his lips would sort of start to tighten up right before the emotions came busting out of him. On that particular day in class, our buddy Victor who was sitting in the back, yelled out, "PUMP IT DANNY, PUMP IT!" We were falling out of our chairs laughing as the teacher made Danny go sit down. We all had to put our head down on the desk while she took Victor to the office. At recess we all got together to talk about what happened. From that day on Danny was known as "PUMP-IT" Danny.
The girls loved Danny. If they didn't know him then the whole convulsing pelvis thing would freak 'em out a little, but after they got to know him they overlooked it. I think it actually made them more curious about him. Looking back, I guess he was a pretty good looking kid. He had long, shaggy, sandy brown hair, a big sly grin, and when he laughed it was different than everyone else's. It was a really hard, loud, short burst. It was more like a punch and had a harsh throaty sound to it, almost like it was directed at something. It sounded more like a big "POW" than it did laughter. He looked like something out of Tiger Beat magazine from the early 70's. He was good at skateboarding and rode motorcycles and just seemed cool to the core. He loved listening to KISS. Sometimes when his brother was gone we would go up in his room and crank up Doctor Love on the record player, which was the perfect theme song for him and his little pelvic thrusting condition. He knew all the words to the songs and would sing along with Gene Simmons. We could almost always find a copy of Playboy that his brother would hide behind this old trunk and that always made the moment just a little bit better. I also remember that he used to wear this ring that his dad had made him out of a motorcycle spoke. I wanted one so bad but it was one of a kind, just like Danny.
By the time we were in middle school the whole humping condition had faded away for the most part. He had lived with it long enough that he had gained control over it for the most part I guess. Around this same time he and I weren't hanging out as much together. We were still good friends but were in different classes and didn't see much of each other. He and his family had moved to a different part of town and so hanging out after school didn't happen much and I rarely got to spend time with him. Occasionally he would come over to my house or vice versa to spend the night or ride bikes but for the most part we would only pass each other in the school hallway.
One of the last times I remember hanging out with him was when he and I double-dated to the Sadie-Hawkins dance in the 10th grade. He got to borrow his brother's JEEP that didn't have a top on it and we headed over to his date's house to pick up the girls. It was a pretty nice neighborhood and we parked the JEEP on the side of the road in front of her house. We had a pint of Southern Comfort under the seat and a 6-pack of Mountain Dew to mix it with. Makes me cringe just thinking about drinking that stuff now but back then we thought it was great. Not having any manners, we just walked straight through the front yard and over the flower bed to the front door instead of going up the driveway. Not exactly a gesture of class if her parents had been watching. So we get to the front door and ring the door bell and it was one of those door bells that just rings on and on like church bells. The door finally opened and it was the father of Danny's date standing there with a stern look on his face like he didn't want to let us in, and rightly so. He finally caved and told us to come in and immediately asked me my name and shook my hand. He then looked at Danny and stuck out his hand and said, "And you must be Danny?" When he reached out his hand there was a slight hesitation on Danny's part. Honestly it had never even entered my mind, but then that all too familiar strain came across his face. The lips began pulling tight, like a crack in the earth's crust, and then Danny started profusely thrusting his pelvis right toward her father. The man got this confused and irritated look on his face then said to Danny, "Son, what are you doing?" Of course this only made him more nervous which resulted in more hip thrusts than I had witnessed in many years combined. He couldn't get control of it and just turned around and bolted out the front door leaving me standing there by myself next to her old man not knowing what to do or say. I finally decided I should bolt too and so I casually opened the door like I was gonna go get him and then ran straight through the garden, across the front yard, and jumped into the JEEP that was already rolling. We never even saw our dates, however I remember the split second right before I bailed, I heard his date running down the stairs yelling, "DADDY, HE JUST DOES THAT!" We drove the JEEP around for a while and then over to one of our favorite hangouts and drank the Southern Comfort, smoked, and bullshitted the night away. That was the last time I remember spending any quality time with him and I can't even remember the last time I saw him.
From time to time when I'm working on a frame I'll occasionally start thinking about him. He always comes to mind when it snows because snowballing cars was one our favorite things to do. Danny loved it. We had the perfect spot just down the street from my house nestled in some trees that had vines growing all over them. It was on a little hill and the cars couldn't get stopped on the slick road even if they wanted to. Whenever we would hit one Danny would always let out that big harsh laugh of his and we'd wait a second to see if brake lights came on. From time to time someone would actually attempt to get out and chase us but we had a trail that ran in 2 or 3 different directions and nobody could even begin to guess which way we had run. It was like we owned that neighborhood back then but today I realize that it was Danny who owned it.
Rest in peace Danno. On second thought, PUMP IT Danny!