Posts Tagged ‘Mission Bicycle’

Those Are Some Nice Wheels

May 18, 2013

He said to me as I walked into the room.

“Do you know anything about three speed internal hubs, I got an old Raleigh I wanna convert”.

“Well, I know what an internal hub is and I know Strumey-Archer makes one, but I don’t know if they’re compatible with Raliegh’s,” I replied.

“Oh, now, don’t get all technical on me, I don’t know what that is,” he said trying hard to continue engaging with me.

“Neither do I, I just know the frame I’m riding, really can’t help you out with more than that,” I said and sat down, becoming very intimate with the contents of my coffee cup.

“Nice rims, nice frame, what kind of bike is that?” He asked me last night as I was slipping my feet into my Hold Fast straps (big sticky super strong velcro straps that are great for fixed gear riding foot retention).

“Mission Bicycle,” I replied.

“They don’t make their own frames do they?” He asked getting a closer look at the back rim, the rim that I get a lot of attention for, whether on BART, in San Francisco, where they are a lot more common, or when I was in Paris.  It is a Velocity NMSW (Non-machine side wall–which means there is no braking surface and the rim is a big brick of color) Classic Purple rim hand laced with black spokes and a black hub.

“No, the design is their own, but they do not do the manufacturing,” I said and looked for the traffic coming up behind me.

“No helmet, eh?” He looked at me aghast.

“Nope, stopped wearing one when I started working there and watched a TED Talk on the futility of helmets and how the car lobbies want bicycling to appear more dangerous than it is so that fewer people will consider riding their bikes and stay in the ‘safety’ of their cars.” I said.

“I didn’t wear one in Paris either, and the traffic was a lot worse than this, actually, almost no one wore helmets in Paris.” I finished.

“Safe riding,” he said “you may change your mind.”

I may.

What I am thinking, however, is that I may change my gear and flip my wheel over to the other side.

I have a flip-flop hub on my rear wheel.

This means that I can take it out of fixed and ride it in free or coasting.

I finished the dog-sitting/house-sitting in North Oakland and I geared up to ride back to Graceland with a load of stuff in my bag.

My knees were sore when I got here.

I also went back out to get some groceries down the road at the Food Maxx and they, said knees, do indeed feel tender.

I have heard that riding in fixed gear for extended periods of time can stress your knees.

My knees are pretty much crap as it is.

If I am going to be making an hour and a half long bicycle commute on a pretty much daily basis, I may need to investigate going back to riding free versus fixed.

Despite loving how it feels when I am sailing down the road or banking a tight turn to the right.  The connection is so sexy, so a part of my body, the bicycle stops feeling like a machine between my legs and just an extension of my person.

The other thought is that I may just need to get my bike legs back.

I walked a ton in Paris, but I did not do that much biking.

Here I will be biking all the time.

I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of walking outside of Graceland proper for very long.

I can do it, I did it before when I was house-sitting here before the move to Paris, but at night I feel better on my bike.  And it is so much faster.

If I leave Graceland it will be on my bicycle 95% of the time.

I will see how my legs feel in another week.

Of course if I go dancing tomorrow night I know my knees will hurt, but man, it is generally worth the stiffness that follows the next day.  I won’t be dancing in heels, those days are gone, just my Chuck’s, but I still have some sore legs whenever I go out and break it off.

Partially as I have little restraint when it comes to dancing.

Hell, I have little restraint when it comes to anything, especially those things that bring me pleasure.

More is the mantra.

I have learned to winnow down some of those desires.

I tend to not drink coffee after 6pm.

Although I am often tempted and once in a while do succumb.

I don’t have sex with strangers.

Although I contemplate it often.

The thoughts aren’t bad are they?

Good thing I am not Catholic, I would be in the confessional all the fucking time.

I don’t eat sugar any more.

But man I do appreciate the smell of a bakery.

I do.

On my last walk with the dog today I headed out down San Pablo–I had an interest in exploring the San Pablo Flea Market–and I was across the street from Donut Farm and I could smell the goodness wafting across the road.

I stayed across the road.

There are a few things that I used to ‘appreciate’ as well, but not all smells and experiences bring me that visceral pleasure.

I do not like the way bars smell.

That rank mixture of old booze, vomit, and urinal puck just don’t do it for me.

Or the smell of pot.

Although, truth be told I never liked the smell of pot.  I’m allergic and I just find it offensive.

I used to enjoy the smell of a cigarette and once and awhile I still will catch a drift of one and even eight years later, I can enjoy that rich buttery tobacco smell.

However, more often than not, I no longer appreciate the smell and I am grateful that I don’t smoke anymore.

Fuck, I certainly could not get up and over the few hills I tackled yesterday on the bike.

Most of Oakland is flat, but once a week I will be heading up and over a few.

I don’t mind.

I made it up and I made it down.

And I have already noticed the change in shape of my legs and my bum and my tummy too–you use more stomach muscles than you think–in fact, if you are riding well you should not use your arms to prop you up.  The core muscles in your middle are more important.


This is a ramble of a blog.

Happy to be back at Graceland, inside, bicycle parked in the hallway, groceries in the kitchen, fresh-cut flowers from the yard in a vase by my bed.

Home again home again.

Jiggedy jig.

Well, That’s One Way

April 2, 2013

To stay in Paris–I could die here.

I thought to myself as I hollered out, “hold the fuck on!” And something intelligible that sounded suspiciously like a whoop of pure joy.

I was at the top of Boulevard Haussmann, heading into the 12 avenue turnabout at the Arc de Triomphe on my sparkle pony, er, my fixed gear Mission Bicycle.

It was not exactly a conscious decision, I had taken one wrong turn on my way towards Avenue George V, and it put me headed up to the round about instead of just below it where I would normally cross the Champs Elysees on my bicycle.

Then again, let me be honest, once I realized where I was headed, I did have the opportunity to change my mind, hop off the bike, cross the street in the cross walk on foot.

But what fucking fun would that be?


Besides when I saw someone on a Velibe slowly making his way through the round about, I was like, no way am I going to not do this.

Here’s to having one more feather in my Paris cap–riding my bicycle in one of the more intense traffic scenarios in the world.

I did have a moment, I will not lie, when a bus was coming and a motorists was honking at a woman who was indecisive about merging.

Move, bitch, get out the way.

I was on the side of the honking car, you have got to make the decision and commit.

I committed, rolled past her, stood on my pedals, and whooped some more joy.

I spun around three-quarters of the round about and hit my turn off onto the Champs Elysees, spinning my crank smoothly into the turn and leaning to the right, I almost blew the Japanese tourist, timid on the corner waiting for the light to change, a kiss as I signaled my right turn.

The smile stayed plastered on my face, the adrenalin coursed through my veins, the sun shone on my warm body, my heart beat solid strong and smooth as the pedals turning perfect circles with my sheathed feet in their purple Hold Fast foot retainers.

“Why don’t you take your bike for a ride if the sun comes out,” my room-mate suggested this morning as we were discussing tickets back to the states, money, and what to do about my bike.

I thought in my head, “fuck off.”

I said out loud, “that’s a good idea.”

I had absolutely no intentions of getting on my bike.  I had an agenda and a plan and I knew better.  Besides I have not ridden my bike as much as I would normally ride as I was holding onto it as my last bit of collateral.

I will sell it if I have to.

“Why sell your most prized possession if I’m willing to pay for your ticket and you have a year to pay me back?”  My room-mate said with some wisdom.

Well, because then I would feel obligated to go back to the bike shop, tail tucked between my legs, see I did not make it in Paris, I am a failure, and I sold my beautiful bicycle.  Will you take me back and let me design another.

Then I realized, sheesh, I had to pay a lot of money for my bike, even if I got what it was worth, which I would not, not going to be many takers for my midnight blue sparkle pony whip.  She is a little too customized.

Nice Ride

Nice Ride

I don’t want to go back to work at the bike shop, however.  I realized as I was writing this morning, after my room-mate left and I was alone with the quiet of the pen on the paper, that to sell my bicycle is to be making a fear based decision.

Holding onto the idea that I do not have enough and that there will not be enough is not allowing myself to embrace the abundance and prosperity the Universe has for me.

Hell, it’s only the 2nd of April, all sorts of miraculous things are in the works.

Just because I cannot see them does not mean that they are not.  So, things are not working out the way I want them too.

Usually what I want is near sighted and not nearly as amazing as what God wants for me.  So much so, that I always sell myself short, I say no, that cannot happen and I argue my own limitations.

As the pen stroked the paper it dawned on me bright and clear.

I don’t want to sell my bicycle!

I want to ride my bicycle.

I got so excited, I leaped up and adjusted the saddle and pumped up the tires to 120 psi.

I grabbed my u-locks–one for the frame and the rear rim, one for the front rim–tossing them in my Rickshaw custom messenger bag.  Which just so happens to have been designed to match my bike.

That’s right, bitches, my bag does not match my shoes, it matches my bike.

I got a bottle of fizzy water out of the fridge that I had set aside for the open mic at Le Chat Noir, which I ended up not attending so I could get up early today and take care of some business.  I nearly danced out the door with my sparkle tights on, my sparkle infinity scarf, and my Converse tight on my feet, ready to hit the streets.

The ride, aside from the excitement by Place de l’Etoile, was like signing my favorite song at the top of my lungs in the shower, I had a smile on my face and a, yes, song in my heart.

I had the facile idea that whatever choice I was going to make about the bicycle would be the wrong one.  Knowing, only too well, that I just needed to make a decision, thinking about it was not taking action.

I choose the path of faith instead of fear.

I may be stuck in the hallway of not knowing what is going to happen next, with Paris, with life, with where am I going to live and what job am I going to do, but I don’t care.

I’ll be riding my bicycle there.

Hanging Out

Hanging Out



This Thanksgiving Eve

November 24, 2011

My ride home from doing the deal was delicious, no traffic, gentle wind at my back, quick, quick, quick.

Although not as quick as the test drive I went on earlier this evening.  I finally got to take a ride on a Mission Bicycle.

Oh dude, I am so sold.  It was glorious, and fast, fast, fast.  Holy fuck it was fast.  I want one now.

I looked at Jefferson and said, screw finding a place to live, screw coming up with rent, I want this right now.  Wowzers.  Such a simple machine, so efficient, so elegant in design, so freaking light, 20 lbs, I am a total convert, and I just went for literally a two-minute ride.  From the front of the shop turned right on 19th, right on Lapidge, right on 18th, right back onto Valencia.

I was a believer by the time I had hit 18th and I was grinning like a mad man by the time I was riding down Lapidge, and yes, that was me you may have heard give out a “oh, hell yes,” as I spun the right onto 18th.  I simmered it down as I made the right turn back onto Valencia, and tried, “tried” to put on a straight, somber face, but I was grinning ear to ear.

Jefferson popped back out of the shop like clockwork, he’s got the timing down, and said, “that’s the grin”.

You bet your ass it’s the grin.  He walked me through the rest of the sale and how it is done, skipping some of the specifics and upgrades, which pretty much anyone in the store can bring me up to speed on, I finally have the knowledge to get a person out the door and onto a bike.  And frankly, I feel, once you’re on the bike, there is no going back.

I went right to the kiosk in the store and designed my bike.  One speed freewheel, 59 cm frame in Periwinkle, drop bars, black Brooks saddle, a set of Velocity deep V wheels in pink, a Sugino crank in pink, MKS street pedals, black double strap toe cages with Plemmons pink leather straps, Thomson Elite seat post in black, Chris King Head set with pink spacers, and a KMC rust buster black chain.  Cost of the bike?


I can not believe I did not even bat an eye at the cost.  Not an eye.  A year and some change ago that would have been astronomical.  Two years ago, no way.  Four years ago I would have said, light up your crack pipe mister, that’s bullshit.  No longer.  That’s a fucking steal for this machine.  Custom built, custom designed.  No one else on market does this, no one.  Not like this.

My cost?

None of your business.


Let’s just say, a wee bit cheaper and leave it at that.  This may be the first year in tax season where I don’t spend my taxes on getting tattoos and I will spend my taxes getting a new bicycle, although I may have enough to sneak in a little work.  I had thought I would also be getting the internal hub with an 8 speed, but after riding the one gear, I don’t think I need the gears.  My legs seemed to instantly remember the cadence needed to be on a one speed and I don’t intend to live any big hills in the near future.

I will of course keep my road bike, my trusty Felt 35, but I can use that for, well, riding over the bridge to Marin and meandering around Fairfax or Sausalito.  For my urban steed, I choose one of our bikes.

It was the perfect break at the perfect time.  I had sat down with the GM and he had discussed a project that he wanted me to be in charge of and get as creative with providing a system for it as my heart desired.  I felt like I was being talked to in Mandarin or Martian.  I just sat there and nodded along.  I had absolutely no idea what the fuck he wants me to do.

Ok, that’s not true.  I just got flustered as I have a good idea of what the end goal is, but I can’t see how to get there.  It is sort of like knowing that you are going to buy a house, but you don’t have a checking account and you are suddenly being told that you will in less than 30 days have gone through all the paperwork and crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s and you will have a house.

I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of the project and the task at hand.  I said as much, well, maybe not quite like that, I just said I did not know exactly how to create a system to deal with the issue when I did not understand a lot of the components of the project.  He asked me to give him an overview of what he was looking for.

I did.  Amazingly I was able to articulate what he wanted and how it should look, ie what the end goal was.  It was sort of like describing a succulent dish in a high-end restaurant where you don’t know how to pronounce the ingredients and you’ve never tried the dish, but you must figure out how to source the right broccoli rabe to corroborate the wild plum sauce on the crispy duck.  And you don’t know what duck is.

My duck is Quick Books.

I am sure once I try it and cut it up and dissect it, I will get it and become able to do what is needed.  But my brain filled up so quickly, I felt like I was on a sinking ship and that I was not going to ever get it.

It made the looming holiday seem very, very, very far away.

It made my head hurt.  Partially my head hurt from looking at a computer screen a whole bunch today.  Partly my head hurt because it was so full of information.  The bike ride came at a really needed time.  I got some fresh air, a lift in my spirits, and a gentle reminder that the goal, the ultimate goal is to get more people on this amazing vehicle.

Do you know it’s guaranteed for life?  That is crazy.  Who guarantees anything for life.  Jefferson broke it down for me–the frame is built to last 50 years, and well, that’s pretty much for life if you ask me, at least as I am heading into my 39th birthday month here in a few days.  I can’t imagine riding around when I’m 89.  Then again, I’m pretty fucking frisky, I may still be on a seat, I hope anyhow.  I want to be one of those people who stay active as long as possible.

This bike is the way to go.

So, tonight, I wish all my friends and family a lovely Thanksgiving.

I myself will be sleeping in, letting the brain rest and recuperate from the information over load and I will fall asleep dreaming about my pretty bike and how in a few months I will be sailing down the streets with that same silly grin plastered all over my mug.

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