Saturday, May 4, 2013

Single Speed Slim

Hello my friends! Spambots be damned, here am I. These tales must be told and I am the man for the job. I think the “Authentication” process will filter the little bastards out just fine and if not I will strap on all manner of hardware and special goggles and dive into the screen and hunt them down one by one, if need be...I don't want to have to do it but listen, these machines have got to be tamed.

It's All About the Jumpsuit
I was reading somewhere the other day about these little, really little robot computer dinguses that they can inject into your blood stream and then roam around doing who knows what, sending messages about your health and using little laser beams to clear arteries and kick ass on cancer cells. It sounds just handy as hell and I remember a movie called Fantastic Voyage, I think it was, and I remember how well Raquel Welch's jumpsuit fit. It was really tight and it fit just right. Man! I think I was about twelve years old when that movie came out and if I remember correctly all hell broke loose and everything went wrong that could go wrong and the only way they could get out of the guy's body was through a tear.

I wasn't that poetic when I was twelve but I am now and the idea of a teardrop being a way to safety, or a kind of path to salvation just appeals to me, somehow. I like it. Crying helps, sometimes.

Raindrops Are Fallin'
Not right now, though, I ain't cryin' and while maybe I should be, it just isn't happening. Last week I pedaled my ass up to the VA Clinic in Daytona, leaving the house at five thirty in the morning, in the dark and in a misting rain. I had a cheap little flashlight taped to the handlebars with duct tape and a blinking red taillight hanging off my saddle bag. Quite frankly, I stole the taillight from off one of the grandkid's bikes. (He won't need it for awhile because he is grounded). Predawn and cranking fast on the pedals I hit one stretch of highway that is called the Three Bridges and listen: it was DARK. I mean so damn dark that for all I knew I was about to pedal off one of the bridges and plunge into the water far, far, below. Well, ten feet below...

So dark that I couldn't use the shoulder or sidewalk, I had to stay in the lane where the feeble light of my half-assed headlight reflected off the painted highway stripe. But, oddly and unexpectedly, I had the road to myself and about thirty minutes later the sun started sneaking up over the horizon and I gotta tell ya, sunrise on a bicycle...well, I want to do it again. I want a better light system and I want to get out before sunrise more often.

The Lament of the Soggy Cyclist
As things age (I am an expert on this) they wear out. That's one of the reasons I am pedaling my bicycle the twenty miles to the VA Clinic. While I can pedal twenty miles fast like nothin', if I stand up quick or just something like climbing a ladder leaves me out of breath. So I'm getting a check up and so on. But the worn out thing I am most interested in is my rear derailleur. No, I am not speaking figuratively, although my figurative rear derailleur is important to me. I'm talking about the one on my bicycle that died on the way home from the checkup forcing me to fork over a buck-fifty for a ride home on the bus.

I Hope This Works
So...I have now put on a new chain recently donated by Roadie Ryan and converted my beloved Schwinn to a single speed. She didn't like it, at first...she spit the chain repeatedly. The skewer just couldn't hold the wheel in place. The chain was coming loose. Then I grabbed a six pack of beer and a three-sided metal file and spent a mellow hour or so filing a diagonal groove pattern onto the dropouts.  I scrounged in my old parts stash and found a heavy but hardy mountain bike skewer and I clamped the rig together and now I am blasting around in one gear all the time. It ain't bad. I seem to be going fast as hell all over the place and the bike, stripped of the cassette and the derailleur and the shifters, feels about ten pounds lighter.

It Ain't Over 'Till It's Over, Rover
But yeah, things wear out. Moving at one speed might be the key to longevity; it is hard to say. Maybe an injection of microscopic robots would be a good thing, although it sounds less than appealing. Having Raquel Welch injected into your bloodstream would probably be a boost of sorts, I suppose, but still, it ends with tears. Somebody has got to cry.

Sometimes I wish I knew what I was talking about. I have a habit of saying things that don't make sense until later on, after the shootin's done and the smoke clears and I think, “Oh... I'll be damned.”

I think you know what I mean. Meanwhile I'm living on my bike and I have a bid in place for the first construction project in six years. It is a juicy one and I have no reason to think I won't get the gig. Let's face it, I need the dough. The only reason I'm not kicked out of the Park for not paying lot rent is...well, I'm not sure why. Borrowed time, most certainly, I'm treading water. So...

It looks like the cycle is about to renew itself and I will begin again. Spambots can't stop me and if I once again have to strap on and do battle, well..I ain't dead yet.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Rumination Place


  1. Cheers to you, sir! Glad to see the spambots haven't got you down.

    As for single speeds, I converted an old steel frame Maruishi into one a few years ago, and I swear I've never had so much fun on a bike. Hope the Schwinn is adjusting herself and you're both speeding along nicely.

  2. Thanks Hannah! I have ordered a single-speed cog and tweaked things a little more and I am blasting around everywhere just fine.


  3. Hey Tim Joe

    Glad you are back my friend -FU spambots! Hope the bid comes through for you and its cool the Le Tour and a new incarnation as a Single Speed. Before I started fixing up old 10 speeds I found a old Japanese 10 speed for free on CL and converted it to a single speed and commuted on it for about 6 months including up a 5% grade on the way home. I must have been strong back then cause I can't imagine doing that now -granny is my friend. I do want to try out one of the kick back 2 speed hubs from SA or SRAM one of these days though.



    1. I'm loving it. She's like a new bike. I kinda-sorta want one of those kick-backs, maybe.

      You go first...


  4. Noli permiterri illegitimi spambots carborundum (don't let the spambot bastards, grind you down) TJ!

    Glad to hear you have a possible gig coming up, dude. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    There is nothing better than sunrise on a's just an amazing way to greet the day.

    Stay well, amigo!

    1. Yeah, Brian, I'm over due. It's not the life without money so much as there are things wearing out and I also want to put together some camping gear. Skimping too much on camping gear can result in miserable nights and that aint why I want to camp out. Longer trips is what I am after and so yeah, a gig would be nice.


  5. TJ,

    Glad to see you flipping the bird to those spambot bastids.

    Sunrises are almost always special - seeing one from the saddle sounds like something I need to experience.

    Good luck on the bid. Hope you get a slice of the pie - sending any extra karma your way.

    Steve Z

    1. Thanks, Steve. If I get this one and it goes well there is another building coming right behind it so it would cover me for the year.


  6. Yo TJ...Never rode a SS...around here it wouldn't make much sense (but there are those who have and love them). I'd DIE if I only had one gear (well, my knees would anyway). But down there in the flatland it seems like it would be kind'a fun.

    Also cool to hear you might have work again...well, cool that it brings income, but sad that you have to 'work' (however it sounds like you actually enjoy your work...I know whenever I do any 'carpentry' projects it's fun for me, and I don't have much skill in that area..just desire).

    And keep writing whatever pops into your head my's all good!

    (you didn't mention how things came out at the VA...or maybe you don't know yet?) I know that I can ride my bike for MANY HOURS at a pretty good pace, yet 2 flights of stairs ALWAYS leaves me feeling like I'm about to pass out. I've had it explained to me that it's a heart-rate issue...riding the bike you have some warm up, and then your body is ready for the hard bits...but to suddenly do some stairs your body isn't ready and can't catch up...thus the lead-legs/dizziness. I even get the 'cheap thrill' of an occasional dizzy spell if I stand up to quick after prolonged relaxing...also a HR/blood to the brain thing). That's due to my low resting heart-rate (I'm still a 40 when I wake up in the morning). Here's hoping everything's good on your end.

  7. Thanks Matt. You have described my malady pretty well. It started last year when I was out fishing with Jungle Jim and had some kind of weird dizzy spell and fell off the boat. (this was pre-dawn, the beers weren't out yet) and Jim insisted on a trip to the VA. ( I wrote about it a year ago.) Due to a scheduling goof on my part and a missed appointment I found myself almost a year later without resheduling. That's what I have been takes over a month to get an appointment and who knows what will be happening in a month?

    A resting rate of 40? Dude! Seventeen years ago when I was running seven miles a day my resting rate never got below sixty! Keep going!

  8. All I really remember about Fantastic Voyage is Donald Pleasence being the creepy scientist and then (of course) turning out to be the bad guy. He got his being eaten up by the white blood capsules!!

    A SS. That would be a tough ride around here. Not much flat road to just go,go,go.
    On one of my tours I got driven out of my tent early by some party dudes that never really went to bed in the campsite next door. So I was on the road early and got to watch the sunrise as I was grinding up Poncha Pass. Made for moments that I will never forget!

    Hmmm...camping gear....a possible chance for TPC to stand for Touring Park Cyclist here sometime in the future??? Us tourers would welcome a slug like yourself out here slugging out the miles!
    Peace to you tj and good vibes to you on the bid.

  9. Jim I have often wondered what I would call myself if I ever leave the Park. Then I remembered you can take the boy out of the trailer park but you can't take the trailer park out of the boy. Don't worry, if I ever take to touring I'll be headed to Colorado first. Or New Mexico...or Northern California...or...

  10. TJ-

    Good to see you back on the radar.

    I do know what you mean when you speak of wishing you knew what you were talking about. Half the shit that I write down only make sense to me when it is fresh, but I sit on it a while and rework it a little and I usually get the message across. Writing is a practice anyhow, and we must continue to practice if we wish to improve.
    Thanks for making the effort to get back up and running. Your writing has a rawness and honesty that is refreshing in the hyper-sensitive and political correct world we live in. Folks could use a bit more of the truth!



  11. Thanks Matt! I think it was Hemingway who said write drunk, edit sober. I sometimes go back and read stuff I don't remember writing and really like it and want to read more. It NEVER happens "on purpose"; it comes from some inner genie that knows way more than me and does everything better. Plus I can be wordless for a week and then a bicycle ride in the country will wake up the voices and all I have to do is remember and take notes.

    I look forward to reading dispatches from your upcoming trip. One of these days...

  12. Sunrise from the bike is a wonderful thing. We do early rides a lot here out of tropical habit (it is cool) and because motorists are nuts. Better to hit the road when it is all yours. Fingers crossed for the contract!! It will eat into the blogging time but we forgive you.

  13. Thanks Dee. I really gotta round up some money. Entropy has set in...


  14. Thank you for continuing on. Your writing is both enjoyable and thought provoking. It's good to see you back

  15. Thanks Dan. I have always had a knack for provoking people.