The Laboratory (La-bore-a-tory in an evil voice)
OK I have a confession to make. Mountain biking is not my only hobby. My bike addiction has to share time with my car addiction. I think it is more about wheels than anything, but I love cars as much as bikes. I have probably had close to 40 cars since I turned 16. I know that sounds crazy, but hey car guys can all relate to that. The last few years I have settled down to one constant project and my daily drivers. Occasionally I will mention my 71 Porsche 911 as it competes with my bikes for attention. But that is not the point of this story.
The real story is I am a mechanic in my spare time. What kind? Bike, car, house, computer, and whatever else is broken. Sometime in college I took a detour for a year and got an auto mechanic degree. That paid for the rest of my undergrad degree. With that formal training I have restored my 911 from the ground up and did all the work myself. So when it comes to bikes I have a hard time turning over my children for someone else to work on. Unless it requires tools I don’t have or I don’t have time I do all my own wrenching. Over the years I have made my mistakes, learned some cool tricks and acquired an assortment of bike tools to go with my car tools.
Fortunately, unlike a car you can take a bike into the basement. In the winter here even an insulated garage is cold, but the basement is always warm. So when the car projects are done for the year and it is under cover I spend my free time in the basement building and rebuilding my bikes. My latest project was the Christmas project for my step son. He wanted a fixed gear single speed to mess around on. So we looked at bike shops and online for prebuilt bikes. There were some he liked, but I knew I could build a better one for the same money. So he got about 200 presents to open Christmas Eve. Each one was another part for the bike. Once he had all the boxes open he looks at me and signals to the basement. All the ladies were cleaning up, so my dad, son and myself go to the “Laboratory” to start putting together the bike.
This last weekend we finished the fixie and tried it out. I have to say I really had fun taking it up and down the street. I am going to have to build one of those for myself this year. It seems like it will be a nice change of pace to ride on the street to stay in shape. However, that will wait. As soon as the fixie left the stand my next project jumped onto it. I have not had a 29er yet so I need to try this out and determine whether it is real or a fad. The project is a Soma Juice frame I picked up on Pinkbike in the classified. I am just going to put this together with spare parts and see how much I like the platform. If I like it then I will invest in some better kit. Guess we will see how it goes.