Mar 24, 2010


The "Gravity Powered Vehicle mini craze" was long dead by 1988, but I'm not surprised to find the mantle raised again and burning brightly in Portland, Oregon, 2010, just ten blocks downhill from the Zoobomb pile.

Saturday night, my cousin Trey and I happened upon this fellow parked at Voodoo Doughnut, and I instantly identified his custom "GPV" as a DK SOB.

"It was the heaviest frame I could find," hippie Clint explained (as per the gravity-powered premise).

Although it's a confusing sight at first, the bike is sitting right-side-up, with a seat welded to the chainstay wishbone. The handlebars underneath turn 90 as knee rests, and you can see disc weights hanging down below.

The handlebars (SBC 4-piece Strips) also turn 90 but remain inverted, with curved tubing tack welded in place for additional hand positions. (Also note the vintage S&M Ditchforks.)

Clint says he stopped riding bmx around 2001, and after we waxed bmx-nostalgic for a few minutes, asked if I knew of anyone selling a complete bike for cheap. "Nothing too light," he said. I said I would put him in touch with someone who might be able to help and took down his email address.

(Caleb, I'm looking at you.)

Two nights later, Trey and I were out on another late ride when the red foldie suddenly fell apart in Trey's hands. He avoided crashing, but I confess that his look of bewilderment was priceless, as the bike slow-motion folded in half beneath him. Serendipitously, we were just then directly in front of Voodoo, and so were Clint and his taxi, reggae gently bumping. He was quick to offer his help and the use of his tools. The confusing repair took our combined concentration more than ten minutes to work out, bending and hammering and furrowing our brows, everything finally slipping together effortlessly in one fabulous aha moment. A cotter pin from Clint's tool bag clipped it all permanently in place.

The satisfaction of the experience was palpable, not to mention the value of Clint's tools, the cotter pin, and not having to walk a bike home. We expressed our gratitude and insisted on tipping him a few bucks, against his protests.

Mar 18, 2010

bmx is cute.

Our lighthearted street riding magnum opus. The full dvd is now online. Thanks once again to everyone who put in work on this.

I think Ben still has a couple of dvd's. If anyone wants a hard copy, feel free to hit us up.

St Louis riders: Joe Albanez, Justin Bukowitz, TJ Henderson, Ryan Johnson, Chris Jones
Seattle riders: Shay Schiefelbein, Andrew Longstreet
Portland riders: Darus Albon, Dustin Anderson, Daniel Hamlett, Caleb Ruecker, Ben Piff, Tony Piff

Mar 11, 2010

Project: Free Bike.

Caleb and Ben approached me with a radical proposal in November: would I accept the gift of a complete, custom, modern bmx bike, to replace my unreliable-but-unkillable warship built at the peak of the heavy bike trend almost ten years ago?

36 lbs. Details here.

I did not say "Yes" immediately, for a few reasons. Firstly, I was uncomfortable accepting their generosity. My bike's fabulous obsolescence was due financially not to lack of funds, but to my paralyzing aversion to spending--and it didn't seem fair to accept for free what I could honestly afford. Caleb and Ben countered this point by assuring me it would be done at approximately zero expense, just drawing parts from the existing local surplus, since basically any change would amount to an upgrade and a savings in weight. They also pointed out that, furthermore, while I might be able to afford the upgrade (certainly a free one), the true roadblock was my own inertia and lack of time. And they convinced me that they would enjoy the project and the opportunity for an act of service.

After some deliberation, I handed over my bike and what spare parts I had laying around with the instructions to use, keep, sell, or donate it all. I just wanted one complete bike and no more extra parts taking up space in my closets. I resolved to detach completely from all expectations and embrace whatever I received, which was hard at first, but then thrilling. I told Caleb and Ben that the most important thing to me was that they have fun.

I am amazed. Here is the breakdown:

Frame: Caleb's 2004 S&M Stricker, mountless, 20.5"

Before (stream-of-conscious paint pen & sticker job):


Castillo Bars from DBZ. I think the orange spray over maroon is genius.

Redline Device fork. Blue spray over navy. Also genius.

Solid headset, circulating through Caleb's friends since 2003.

Odyssey Griswald grips. I bought these new at Goods and love them. They're the thickest grips I've ever seen. Designed by Ben Ward.

Shadow Attack front-load stem. Caleb did make the disclaimer that he wasn't sure how I would feel about running a Shadow Conspiracy product. He was right to wonder, but I just find it funny, and I like how it resembles the old Death Neck. I think the bolts are hollow.

Profile 180's. So pleased--I secretly hoped Caleb would keep the orange and black.

My old Cielenski pedals.

KMC 510 HX chain. Pieced together from spare links by DBZ. I think it's the chain endorsed by Sean Burns, which makes me feel safe.

Shadow Crowgora sprocket. 30t. Another Shadow product??? Yep, and it's even purple.

Metal Bikes Pivotal seat & post. I think DBZ was going to give these to me out of pity, but he actually made me trade him a pack of Newports for them.

When my Kink Empire was stolen in 2002, I was able to build 90% of a replacement bike out of spare parts from the garage of old riding buddy Dave Brown. That makes this Primo Viking seatpost clamp the oldest part on the bike. Years later I sawzalled it in half.

Front tire: Fit FAF.

Rear Tire: Odyssey Plyte Path.

Rear Wheel: Poverty 48H 10T cassette laced to Alex Supra E-lite.

Front Wheel: Crupi high-flange 3/8 36H laced to no-name single wall. It's a race wheel, so I guess pegs are out of the question. I'm fine with that.

28 lbs. The seat is ever-so-slightly lower than it was previously, and the bars have been pushed forward in line with the fork, and neither is changing. My only plans are to grind down the axles and possibly trim the seat post.

See also: video footage of the new bike, posted last week (via Caleb's blog).

Thank you, Caleb. Thank you, Ben. Thank you.

Mar 2, 2010

Wings Like Solid Concrete.

Item #1: DBZ shaved his head, quit drugs, and has undertaken the project of blogging a complete list of aesthetic influences (assumed NSFW).

Item #2: Caleb, too, is blogging, and reportedly filming for a DBZ web video.

Item #3: The first documentation of me on a bmx since January over a year ago--rode bikes and filmed with Caleb last Sunday. I really can't believe what we found:

From Caleb's blog: