Spirit of the Woods?

Today’s Word of the Day (or here).


The ubiquitous MKS track pedal. They’re nice, they work, they’re fun (and sometimes necessary) to rebuild. Are they my “Spirit of the Woods”? Not really sure…. Maybe I’d feel more mythical were I riding Custom Nuevo’s, but that’s another story. As an aside, those are Soma four-gate clips (available at the shop) with double-straps, they work pretty well and are pretty affordable too.

How many people out there are using these pedals do you think? I’ve seen criticism of their ubiquity online. But I guess the purpose of this post is really to question why they have “Sylvan” on them? Anyone know? I believe their inspiration had something else written on them: nice gallery images here.

Just curious I guess….

Online Bicycle Wheel Lacing

For those that haven’t seen it yet online, the wheel lacing article is now available: Hadrann Wheelcraft Method.

I know there’s some varying opinions about this technique, but I must say, I’ve never had any problems with it.

Do it in your socks!

For those of you who may have a set of wheels laced up and are still waiting for instruction as to how to finish them… not too much longer. Hopefully you’ve finished them by now with other instruction or your own investigation and intuition.

Market Your Product-or-Die

I must express a bit of disappointment in the Specialized Innovate or Die contest. I’d like a little more follow-up with the winning entry, I want to see more, read more, and see where this thing is going. The Aquaduct Mobile Filtration Vehicle is possibly the most beautiful bike concept I’ve ever seen. Absolutely outstanding from the little information I could glean from the brief YouTube video.

The entire Specialized IoD website is way too clunky to provide much detailed information; I’m sort of shocked they’re relying on YouTube to convey the contestant’s entries. And their site? Way to overload the bandwidth! The ominous galactic sound isn’t fooling me to thinking HAL is about to lock me out of my apartment. The site appears to solely be emphasizing the selling of their own product. (Yeah, yeah, I get it—it is!). I’m tempted not to even care about how their line of bikes are supposed to be different in furthering environmental change. Doesn’t the act of riding a bike at all “further environmental change”? Nevermind the Toyota ad seen on the same YouTube page as the “All Entries” page. I’d like to see Specialized do a bit more than throw five grand at a brilliant idea that they “inspired.” The Globe, upon initial observation, seems a decent bike albeit a bit mundane. Nothing hugely revolutionary.

Specialized Innovate or Die: bit of a let-down; Specialized Globe: nice and neat; Aquaduct Bike: Fantastic, I wanna see more.

Observations from Behind the Wheel

I drove a car yesterday. I was originally excited about it because of the manual transmission, but that quickly faded in about five minutes. Five minutes of blissful manual shifting, anything else while behind the wheel to me is just about the same as being a passenger. I haven’t felt that since I got rid of my Honda Prelude six years ago. Yeah, five minutes was all I needed until it occurred me that being a motorist is a pain in the ass. It was a good reminder though, I don’t like driving, it’s an inefficient, impersonal, and an absolutely aggravating activity.

The whole process seems inherently rushed, inherently aggressive, inherently selfish. Rushed because, no matter how relaxed I tried to be, something would occur that made me have to worry about the time. I swore I left with sufficient time: Yet another red light! Gotta get gas! “Would you mind driving me over the hill?” One interesting thing about driving is the sheer number of interactions you will have with other people along the road, but these interactions are shielded by four tons of steel barricade, how personal can it get? There is very little that is positive, or friendly about these interactions; these are not interactions that enlighten us or bring us closer to humanity or community—quite the opposite seemingly. They are only personal with their aggression, competitiveness, and selfishness; in that we take these interactions as personal affronts to our well-being and punctuality. And the people that think they can make it through the intersection at a yellow light and instead block it, how selfish is that?

Is it really this bad being behind the wheel? Is this a common emotion felt from behind the wheel? The perspective itself, from behind the wheel and windshield, is like that of a computer monitor or television, detached from the reality of the road. Just a façade of isolation from any injurious action.

I normally only drive maybe two or three times a year now, and with that it’s usually a Flexcar. That’s all well and good, but it makes me wonder, is there a distinct difference in attitude from driving your own POS vehicle with that of driving a nicely maintained new car? I don’t know for sure, at least in a nicer car I guess I’m more comfortable, it’s all a façade of comfort though, we’d still rather be at our point of destination, or better yet, safe at home. Driving is something people have to do, not something they desire to do (no matter how cool they make it look in those television ads—albeit, we all know we’re not allowed to drive the way they do in those ads). Were I to own my own “nicer” car, it’d cost me a fortune and it would eventually turn into a POS that would still be costing me a fortune. Good investment!

Even as I sit here in my apartment, far from the road, I can here wheels spinning on icy pavement. I wonder if I can feel that individual’s frustration and anxiousness to get to where they’re trying to go. The feeling that they’re going to “lose the race”. Yesterday, from every intersection along the brief stretch of SR-99, strip mall extending beyond the horizon on either side of me, it felt like a race to the next red light. People revving beside me, jockeying for position, all the while I’m casually attempting to manage the abundant standing water on the road, avoiding the threat of hydroplaning. Still the strip malls were attracting my eyes, it’s another world to me, one I’ve not seen in a long time (and I’m thankful for that) there’s so much to see, and yet it’s all the same, all repetitive, red light to red light. Such distraction, I don’t know what I would’ve done had there been a stereo in the car, or if I had to read directions, or send a text message, damn I was hungry too, thankful I didn’t have something to eat at the same time. Distraction upon distraction. What an existence it must be to have to do that every day. I am not a praying man, but I pray for this: that I never have to rely on a car in this capacity ever again.

Driving a car every now and then helps sustain this notion in my life, it was thoroughly compounded with my experience yesterday. Next time I gotta go to Edmonds or the like, I’ll ride my bike.

Big Rooms

There’s something about big open air rooms with a load of people inside sharing a common interest. Conventions, conferences, rallys, gatherings, whatever—throw in the love for bikes and you’ve most likely got yourself a good time. I remember Interbike a couple years ago was downright ridiculous; if only it wasn’t in Vegas I’d be inclined to go every year. More locally, I’m looking forward to a couple such events coming up soon.

Namely in February is the annual Seattle’s Bike Swap, Saturday the 23rd. This year it’s being put on by Cascade—not sure why, but hopefully it’ll still be a wealth of obscure and/or necessary parts for cheap! Make sure to watch out for those seeming low-cost items like stems that may be missing integral components like binder bolts or their wedges. Those bits are getting hard to come by. And also make sure to hunt down Charles at the Wright Bros booth to say howdy and check out his wares.

A couple weeks prior to that is of course the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (February 8 – 10 in Portland, OR).
I don’t know enough about frame manufacturing, but hopefully I’ll learn a few things. I am pretty positive I’ll be seeing some really sweet bikes. It’ll likely tip the inspiration enough to really want to get a workshop of sorts and a torch of my own I bet. At any rate, there’ll be plenty of things to see there.

See you there.

Thoughtful Gifts

My wife and I got some very thoughtful gifts from our family and friends this year. We’re ever thankful. Some of the applicable, shareable, and mentionable ones include some sweet tank tops for the wife from my sister from some people she met around Baltimore. Their stuff can be seen at girlscantell.etsy.com the same screen print is found on some some dining place mats that we scored too!

(Now all we need is a bigger apartment to allow the use of a table!)

Ol’ sis did good by me too with a sweet new hat similar to these done up by builtinpittsburgh.etsy.com. I’ve been told it looks like I’m Sherlock Holmes when I’m wearing it.

Not necessarily cycling related were some t-shirts we got as well, put together by the folks over at threadless.com. I’m not a big fan of wearing “cute” clothes, but the shirt I’m wearing at this moment, titled “Ambition Killed the Cat” not only depicts a just endearing image, but is as comfortable as a t-shirt could be; and that’s quite comfortable.

Maybe a cute look isn’t so bad…. Ahem, we both got some other cool shirts too, namely this, and this. All super original looking prints. For the time being, I’ll have to keep them as Sunday shirts before they get cycled into the weekday wardrobe which has a much higher chance of getting grease/loc-tite/brake dust or other such likely permanent stain on them.

threadless.com and etsy.com, both pretty interesting communities. I’m glad they were a part of my holidays this year. I guess the days of a bike behind the tree for us are over for the most part. Maybe a new bike or two next year!


If not obvious, this site has essentially become my own personal blog space. It’s a good site, it’s paid for, traffic is already flowing to it, it’ll be here to stay for now, perhaps with some upcoming changes—I ask you kindly to continue visiting it what ever it’s relevance has become. This post is an overdue explanation as to the future of Cranked Magazine; it’s so late because it has been a difficult decision to come to. More accurately, I came to the decision prior to this point, but I’m only stating it now because of the difficulty coming to it. Nonetheless, there will not be an issue six, if anyone out there was still waiting for it.

A little background: the entire magazine became a solo operation run by myself essentially at the beginning of 2007—a year ago now. I don’t know if this comes as a surprise to anyone, but there is no staff at Cranked Magazine beyond myself. Many people have been asking when the next issue of Cranked is going to be released. I have debated this question myself for 9 months since issue five was released. I could say, like Mr. Spengler, that print is dead—and to a some degree I think it is, but that’s not the whole truth. More of the truth to be revealed isn’t necessary either—most of it was already mentioned in previous posts regarding my desire to experience bikes more, and enjoy my summer—by and large, spending time wrenching in a shop has largely displaced my interest in struggling to produce a print publication that unfortunately does not seem to benefit me in any significant way beyond late nights, stress, hunger, and a much emptier wallet. I had a couple people with me issues one through four and even then it was a super stress fest—issue five virtually on my own was no less stressful.

Had I received more support and encouragement from the community the effort would have been worth it and I wouldn’t be writing this post. Many might say they were supportive and encouraging, I know those of you who were and I have always been extremely grateful and appreciative. It’s only unfortunate there weren’t enough of you. There’s only so much effort that can go without reciprocation before one decides it is no longer worth it. Diminishing advertisers is a hard thing to overcome in the magazine game, it’s probably actually impossible to overcome. Just another reason why issue six won’t be released. If ever that proves otherwise and I decide to resume production it won’t happen until a much later date down the road. Times and geographic locales may change, and maybe with that change, the much needed support, encouragement, and perhaps new perspective will be there to see that production occur. If reborn, it’ll certainly be a horse of a completely different color.

What I’m saying is my interests have changed more or less. Or perhaps I should say, with Cranked, my interests were changed and now they are returning to where I’d rather they be. Cranked has been a great experience, but a distraction of sorts nevertheless. Working as a mechanic is wildly more satisfying and actually feels like I’m helping more people and being involved in the bike community more. Wrenching on bikes has provided me the same sense of accomplishment, if not more, I would get while working on the magazine. Besides, sitting in front of a computer all day is no longer very appealing to me (an aside to this is my ignorance as to how there are so many sites out there concerned with bikes: I often wonder what they do for a living? who’s dime are some of these sites maintained on?). More importantly, I’d rather spend the bulk of my time working on bikes, riding bikes, and spending time with my wife.

Cranked to me was a vehicle to inspire people to be into, stay into, or get into bikes; it was intended to be an alternative to the major outlets for cycling “media”. Keeping this website going is continuing that intention by sharing my own thoughts and experiences: a demonstration of what cycling for life is, to me. So in the meantime, keep tuned into crankedmag.com and enjoy my random posts and my own brand of cycling editorial. I’m eating my black-eyed peas and moving on! Happy New Year and always ride a bike!