Changes like Bowie

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About eight years ago, while I was working at Rose Bike Shop in Orono, Maine, I came across an old Raleigh Gran Prix that I converted into a fixed gear. It was my go-to commuter for a long time and I loved it, even though the geometry of it meant I was never completely comfortable on it.

DH pedals on a fixie. Sweet.
DH pedals on a fixie. Sweet.

Last year, I was in need of some extra cash, so I sold this bike to a student at the local University. I can’t believe I did it, and I still question why it was worth getting rid of this beautiful bike for $300 when I could have enjoyed it for years to come. I was getting sick of the fixed gear thing, and while it did occur to me that I could simply flip the rear wheel around and ride it singlespeed, something in me told me to sell it. So I did.

I definitely regret it.

Not because it’s sick looking, not because it’s vintage…I mean, the thing really didn’t even fit me right. The reason I regret selling it is because I get attached to my bikes. They have stories to tell. I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my “faggot ass book” so I don’t get to ride as much as I used to, and most of my miles now are commuting miles. Now that I work from home, I don’t even have anywhere to commute to. So really, I didn’t need this bike at all. But I still regret it.

Now I ride this guy:

Yellow Grip Tape and Mexican Beer.
Yellow Grip Tape and Mexican Beer.

Also not a bad rig. Got it from a friend in Portland, Maine in a trade for half a bottle of Dos Pistolas Tequila. It’s a fun bike, but it’s not the Raleigh. And since I don’t really have anywhere to go, this parking spot is where it spends most of its time.

Things change quickly. I’ve been going through mountain bike components like I go through toilet paper lately. I realized after OP that my vest and jacket are both older than 10 years, my shoes and glasses are older than 5, and some of my pairs of bibs are also approaching the decade mark. They all work fine, more or less. The rider keeps changing, though.

Here’s another change: my days in AZ seem to be numbered, so I’ve been trying to ride Sedona as much as possible. I was down in PHX last weekend, so instead of shredding Red Rocks, I hit up Black Canyon City, or as I like to call it, “The Fucking Snake Will Eat Your Face” trail.

Watch Your Face. A Snake Might Eat It
Watch Your Face. A Snake Might Eat It

This trail, for anyone who has not had the opportunity to ride it, is the tits. Tits, I say. You will, however, need to hone your bunny-hopping skills, as I ran over a snake about once every ten feet. One of them immediately jumped after me and tried to swallow me whole. Them bitches is poisonous here in AZ, and I was riding alone. I don’t think I could suck venom out of my own ass cheek, either.

Phoenix in the distance
Phoenix in the distance
Cacti: the gnarliest handshake.
Cacti: the gnarliest handshake.
Glamour Shots by Deb
Glamour Shots by Deb
Protected area...unless you're a dirt biker, apparently
Protected area...unless you're a dirt biker, apparently

Right after I snapped this photo of an area of the trail that is labeled, with a very large sign that reads “Please stay off! Reclamation in progress!”, a dirt biker came ripping up the center of that swatch of land. The rules apparently did not apply to him. I love me some dirt bikes, but a douche bag can suck my balls.

Tall mofo
Tall mofo

I miss my old Raleigh, but I’m glad for bikes, and snakes, and cacti, and OTB falls, and all the rest. Spring is here. Get on your bike and ride!

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About D2

I am a writer and a photographer. I never killed a man in Reno, but I once rode a bike through a casino in Vegas. Bikes are cool, huevos rancheros are for breakfast, whiskey is for dinner. Denver, Colorado, USA

31 Replies to “Changes like Bowie”

  1. Jim Rose, one of the best people I’ve ever known. I used to ride for him back in my U-Maine days, and shortly after for a few years while I was living down the street from Margarita’s and the Bear Brew Pub. I do miss the easy access to trails, and Orono in general sometimes.

  2. I am an old coot. Was at U-Maine 1991-1995, and lived in Bangor/Orono until 1999, and then moved to NC. Might have had some overlap.

    Jim is great. Every chance I get, I go up and see him when I go home. My folks still live in Maine, along with lots of family. He used to give us keys to the shop so we could go in at night and work on our bikes. That was amazing. Then the deals he used to swing. I mean, I used to tell him, “No Jim. I’m GOING to pay you MORE than you want me to, because that’s just ridiculous discount.”

    Again, awesome guy. Not too many like him in the world.

  3. That definitely sounds like Jim. I think I still have a key to the shop, actually. I lived in that place while I lived in Maine.

    I just missed you by a year. I moved there in 200 and lived there until the beginning of 2005. I miss it a lot, though I don’t miss the very, very, very long winters. AZ winters are far easier on the biker’s soul.

    Anyway, I’ve never met a more generous man than Jim Rose. Best shop I’ve worked at, hands down. I always recommend Rose Bike Shop to anyone in New England.

  4. …raleigh – nottingham, east midlands, uk – 1886…

    …trek – waterloo, wisconsin, usa – 1975…

    …just sayin’…

  5. bgw, my Raleigh is a 1976 Supercourse Mk II. Not Nottingham; Carlton. Reynolds 531, thankyouverymuch.

    Hack fixed gear conversion at the moment but the good fixed stuff on my Crosscheck is going on the Raleigh. The ‘check will get an 8 speed wheel, barcons, a 46-36-26 road triple and the Noodle bar from the Raleigh, which will get the wide flatbar from the ‘check and, hopefully many miles of town and singletrack.

    No such thing as too many bikes.

  6. …damn it, gnomers right, egregious foul…consider this a written apology, d2…

    …in light of the fact that my first ride was a beautiful red, sturmey-archered tres-speed raleigh built in nottingham, i just hadda throw that up there…

    …i so loved that bike & the autonomy it brought me that i was absolutely stone-heartbroke when it was stolen 6 years later…

    …joe…the raleigh bicycle company bought carlton cycles, also based in the nottinghamshire district, back in the early ’60’s…carlton hadn’t been selling in america with that name so those bikes were then badged as raleigh-carlton’s & maybe you own a bike produced in ‘worksop, nottinghamshire, east midlands, uk’ which is a stones throw from the city of nottingham…

    …’member robin hood, maid marion & the sheriff of nottingham ???…maybe one a their great, great grand kids built your frame set…

  7. Proper number of bikes = n+1, where n = number which you already own. However their is a maximum = s-1, where s = the number at which your significant other will leave.

  8. el jefe, I’ve heard that equation cited many times, and it makes me giggle every single time, this one included.

  9. hey d2, looks like that faggot ass book of yours is doing pretty good. congrats on that shit, for real. black canyon city was pretty fucking cool, and dirty said those “trails aren’t technical enough” – crazy mofo. i was scared shitless with the ledge of the mountain on my left, lar and DB were shredding that shit. did you make it down to the creek – it’s probably dried up by now, yea? as far as selling bikes go, we don’t do that. lesson learned.

  10. Judi: thanks…the book is starting to pick up a bit. Good things coming, I hope.

    BCT was pretty dry when I was there. A river of snakes, perhaps, but not much in the way of water as far as I could tell. A few dry creek beds for sure.

  11. bikesgonewild, your ellipsis privileges are hereby revoked. Using that shit WAY too much.

  12. …i can’t even be bothered to be polite…

    …get your OWN fucking life…

  13. bgw, alls I knows is she take a normal headset and a normal bottom bracket. That, and she fits like a glove and rides like my favorite chair. Close enough to perfect for me.

  14. …joe…carlton’s were known as quality english semi-custom lightweight bicycles, absolutely…

    …ummm, did you just use the word “normal” on this site ???…hmmm…

    …we might be ‘devo’ but we ain’t ‘normal’

  15. Hey D2, did I work with you at Rose Bike? I was shocked to see that reference on drunkcyclist. I think I know who you are but I won’t blow your cover publicly. Glad to see you contributing to one of my favorite websites!

  16. … ……. …………………..
    … ………… ….. ………….

    … ………………….!!!!

  17. Cameron: We sure did work together. You still in CO? Might be moving that way very soon…

  18. …speaking of which, gnomer…

    …the uci & paddy mcquaid are getting their cover blown by this man…

    …THAT is some serious, interesting & even damning reading as regards the aforementioned patty, the uci & contador & the ‘royal spanish cycling federation’…(honest – that’s what they call themselves)…

    …there’s a major circle jerk going on & i wonder just how much cash is being passed under the table…we know if you make up-front ‘contributions’ like a certain ex-pro cyclist, it can be questioned so i bet it ain’t going by that route…

  19. @Datass,

    .-.. .. –. …. – . -. / ..- .–. / .- .-. … . …. — .-.. .

    There are some constants on this site,

    BJ will post incredible Baller pictures,
    BGW will use ellipsis
    LJ will piss people off

    -.. . .- .-.. / .– .. – …. / .. –

  20. @bgw I don’t see what’s damning about that interview. It’s strange that the announcement was made so long after the test, but not that McQuaid wouldn’t confirm to a journalist before the press conference. He’s dealing with hundreds of other news outlets who would be more than happy to pack up their toys and go home if he gave someone else a heads up. This story wasn’t worth the risk of actual race coverage suffering.

    The Spanish federation, on the other hand, is nothing but dirty. It’s just a question of whether CAS will nut up and recommend sanctions as a result of this case.

  21. …art…several simple points stand out for me in the interview (of which there is a second upcoming segment) but basically seppelt logically connects the dots of the whole sordid picture whereas i find mcquaid to be rather defensive when relating to, if not circumventing the known facts…

    …i feel like he talks about the case in segments because if he addressed the whole picture at one time, the answers would be too obvious…

    …as regards the press conference, “Its timing plus the fact that it came hours before the Elite world time trial championship led some (including me) to conclude afterwards that the news was rushed out to pre-empt any release of that information by ARD.”…facing what they were facing, i found it to be a logically defensive move by the uci considering the fact that they were stonewalling the case…

    …i remember thinking years ago when major allegations about other riders were surfacing, that it was the start of a cleansing within the sport but now, while less riders ‘may be using’, the sports problems are revealing themselves to be much deeper & uglier than at first glance…

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