Bill Davidson has been hand-building bicycles out Seattle since 1973. During that time he, and his staff, have built over six-thousand custom bikes. That works out to roughly two hundred per year, though I imagine the first year, or few, did not approach that output. Davidson frames have become well respected for their ride-ablitiy, their comfort and handling. The bike shown here, which I recently saw at the Claremont Velo, is fully decked out with pretty jewelry - Campagnolo components - from top down. Customization of Davidson frames extends beyond the forming of raw tubes, of course; you wonder what the inspiration was for the fade paint scheme, like a white hot flickering flame perhaps, transitioning from white to yellow, and hot white. There is no fancy lug work on this one like I have seen on some others, and the Campy is not flagship (the shifters are mismatched), it is just pretty standard in that regard. My Basso uses the same basic lugs, which makes them kind of blue collar I guess. In fact, I guess they were probably born about the same time - c.1990.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
What was I going to do? Biologists tell us that bees are under pressure all around the world. I don't know what convinced the little bugger that my handlebars, and that spot on them in particular, would serve as a good landing platform. I let it take a moment of rest; why not? After all the Thursday night ride was at its first regroup, and there was no rush. It had been a long day - for me, nine hours at the computer, the whole time looking forward to this ride. The bee had probably been even more busy, flowers are in bloom all over the place after all. The overcast sky made the hour seem later than it was, and the wind. The wind was blowing making it oh so difficult to get back to the warmth of the hive. There was some need to get moving before darkness fell completely but, can you realize how difficult it is to make any headway with those little transparent wings?
The bunch was stopped for just a few minutes, just long enough for everyone off the back to regroup. I let the bee sit there for that brief period of time; maybe that was all it needed to get back home. When it came time to kick off with the group, a little puff of breath encouraged the little crooner in velvet jacket to hurry on its way. We both had some hurrying to do, it was something we had in common. The reasons may have been different - necessity for the bee, desire for myself - but the action was the same. The little rise up to Gladstone was next, and always prompts someone to attack. A slower mile and a half through old town San Dimas, but then the speedway of Covina Avenue and Badillo Street. Yes, we both had some hurrying in our immediate futures.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Here you see the first two components to be added to the Ibis. From an earlier post, you already know I was unable to keep the original fork; I think the Surly substitution will fill in well. The new fork was been topped off with an orange Chris King headset giving you all the indication you need as to the new color scheme - think Irish tricolor - green, white, orange. I can't regret the black too much, it exists in the decal already and sets the other colors off. If you are going to build up a frame from scratch, have a vision and stick to it. If you have any advice on orange components (or have any lying around) send them my way.
Monday, April 14, 2014
That is the new connector from the southbound 605 to the eastbound 10, as seen from the San Gabriel River Trail several weeks ago. Looking at it as I rode along at an easy pace, started me thinking about expense. How much do you think that bridge cost? When you consider everything from the engineering, to the labor, and the materials it would not surprise me if this one bridge cost more than the entire thirty-seven miles of the SGRT which, after all, is mostly a three inch thick layer of asphalt laid atop the levee. Is it worth the expense? If cars, as we know them today, are nearing the end of their reign, when do we begin to view constructs like this as wasteful and unnecessary, and begin to invest in what comes next?
Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Paris-Roubaix may have its cobbles, but LA-Roubaix has its beat up, potholed, unevenly patched, washed out, and just plain deteriorated roads. I have never ridden the cobbles of the Arenberg, so all my experience of them is hearsay. Comparing sand-filled depressions to muddy verges, the sharp edges of potholes and crumbling tarmac to the sharp edges of cobble pavers, might be like apples to oranges, but I imagined (and felt) more similarity than difference today.
this, like most such rides, began with a gathering - this one outside Trails Cafe at Fern Dell
taking a turn onto the closed Mt. Hollywood Drive
Once again Jon Riddle, author of Where to Bike LA, led this months LACBC ride which traversed hill and dale and city street. It was a twisting, turning route very similar to the annual Feel My Legs, I'm A Racer, many of the same areas of the city, but without the extreme challenge. (By the way, word from the organizer of that ride is, it will be held during the summer this year; watch for the announcement.) It took in Los Angeles's two largest parks - Griffith and Elysian - as well as the congested neighborhoods of Echo Park, Silverlake, and Chinatown. There were familiar sights, such as the Observatory, the Cornfields, the Olympic bench, various views, but there were also many new ones such as Angels Point, the Shakespeare Bridge, Fern Dell, the gold-suited Elvis riding by in the other direction along the shore of Echo Park Lake, the Haunted Picnic Table, and various views. Alright, we didn't quite get to the Haunted Picnic Table, but it was just around a bend we didn't take on Mt. Hollywood Drive.
Many of the people who came out today were veterans of Jon's monthly rides - I suspect that, like me, they appreciate the opportunity to explore areas of the metro area they would not otherwise get to experience. It is a big ol' city and these rides are one of the best ways to discover its hidden treasures.
Considering the condition of some of the back roads we followed, I was pleasantly surprised that we, as a group, experienced not a single flat. After traversing some of the worst of Griffith and Elysian Parks, we were riding along the gravel maintenance road at LASHP when I suddenly realized I was pressing my luck, and hopped up onto the much smoother decomposed granite path. No harm done. Although, since many of the worst roads descended from summits, a lot of bikes are going to need new brake pads - not many were willing to run those curves at speed.
Watch the LACBC website for next month's ride. I am going to jump the gun a bit and announce that ride is scheduled to tackle GMR and GRR, and will be co-hosted by the Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition.
Vista del Valle Drive - this centerline, like the pavement upon which it was painted, has not been maintained in decades, nor open to motor vehicles
one of many viewpoints of Los Angeles during today's ride
back into the city
was actually taking a photo of the old brick building, but Frieda got in the way
regroup in Elysian Park with Dodger Stadium in the background
concrete and open hills - the city, Los Angeles River, and Elysian Park
one of my new favorite view points of downtown
conference at the Cornfields, aka Los Angeles State Historic Park, closed as of today to begin construction of its new landscape design
riding by the lake at Echo Park
Friday, April 11, 2014
I'm not sure what to call this ride any more - in my local ride list I call it Erik's Night Ride, but I have also heard/seen it referred to as the Claremont Night Ride, the Psycho-lists Night Ride and the most recent moniker, courtesy of Jason, the Crazy Legs Ride. Take your pick, they all refer to the same thing.
a "rider high" view
Since the time change a month ago, the ride has branched into two groups - one a little bit slower and more relaxed, the other a little bit faster. The social group pulling out at 6:30, the harried group leaving fifteen minutes later on their slightly longer, one-less-regroup route. I guess it kind of depends on how many people show since last nights group of sixteen formed up into a single unit. Fair enough, that is a good size for a group. The question was, would it be the relaxed group, or the fast group? If it was the relaxed group then the projected average speed of fourteen to sixteen mph, was an outright fib. The twenty mph fell right on the median for the faster group.
With a good night's sleep between me and the reality, I can say with confidence, that I had a great time. It has been at least two to three months since last I did this one, and in that time, it seems the ride had added some new adherents. Or maybe, since I am such an infrequent participant, it is myself who is perceived as a new adherent. Whatever, there is no discrimination here.
With the little battle between Richard and the latest phenom in the SoCal women's peloton, Riley, there was guaranteed to be some speed work. Throwing in everyone else who wanted in on that action, and you have the makings of a pretty quick night. Honestly, I didn't have to do a darned thing, just sit in and go along for the ride. To get something out of it, though, they did grant me leave to lead up Mountain near the end of the ride. If you want to control the tempo, just sit at the front and don't let anyone move around you. My guess is, we were supposed to ride at a more relaxed pace there, and my 90% max, was 50% for everyone else. Damn, my self-perception just took another hit with that realization. Oh well.
I always end this ride saying that I am going to make it a weekly habit. No different this time. I shall return. Hopefully next week.
my lead out train got a little bit ragged at this point
Was a time I loved riding the hills in and around Griffith Park. Living in Burbank, they were especially convenient. I could ride there in five minutes for a fast circuit of hill climbs and fast descents, and still be home well before the sun set. Perhaps just as good, many of the roads in the park were, and still are, closed to motor vehicles - it was freedom, man.
Anyway, if you can break away from watching Paris-Roubaix on the computer Sunday morning (13 April) Jon Riddle, co-author of Where To Bike LA, is hosting another of his monthly rides, this one in and around those very same hills I used to frequent. The hillsides should be decked out in their Spring finest, and the temps are looking like they will be perfect. I'm expecting another good day in the saddle. Check out all the relevant information by clicking here.