Monday, December 24, 2007

things learned while out NOT shoveling snow

[ click on image to check out the fine details on this bike, please]
i had just stepped outside yesterday, cleaning the snow from my steps, and preparing to do the same to the shortcut path for the mailwoman, when i heard a pedestrian call out my name.
it was my neighbor, jeff bock. "not out riding?" i asked.
what followed was about 45 minutes of bicycling information exchange, wrapped in the guise of friendly conversation, which it was.
it turns out that jeff is in the midst of a restoration of a jack taylor road bike for a customer from indiana. ROAD bike? i'll be damned. i had no idea; but they did indeed make a wide variety of bikes for ALL applications up until 1999 or so. this guy has owned his bike for years; bought it used, let it fall into disrepair, and wants it better than new. it languished in a shop in ohio for three to five years [depending on whether you ask the owner or the previous repair shop], and now jeff, local bike builder extraordinaire and high school art teacher, is doing the fine work. in addition to fixing all the dents and dings, replacing and rebuilding various items, installing new bottom bracket and chris king headset, jeff is giving it a new pearl paint job, and replacing the original gold-finished hammered aluminum fenders with the style see in the photo [DO check the enlargement to appreciate the hand-hammering job--they're from japan, and not in a bad sense. they just don't hammer fenders a lot here in the states.] jeff is also giving it a fresh pin-striping job, and located a set of original decals. old brooks saddle, repairing the racks and mounts, and the guy is going to have a fine bike, indeed.
but more than that, jeff and i talked about restoration of old bikes in general.
we both have a few, don't ya know.
we talked about my schwinn trike, my stingray tandem [he didn't know they made them], finding original and replacement parts, his new shop [he moved from his long-time location in ames to a new space in napier]. we talked about me STILL riding and enjoying my 1974 motobecane that he refurbished and transformed into my first cyclocross bike back in 1986. it was that "le champion" that i rode saturday in the blizzard. new fenders installed, slipping and sliding in the snow and ice with chad. we discussed those special qualities of steel versus other materials--including durability, the mystic "ride feel of steel" and such.
it was great. and we DIDN'T talk about shoveling snow.
[while researching this post, i did a google search for jeff, hoping to find a photo to use. instead, i ran across a few entries from 1995, recounting the birth of rainbow cyclists, one of iowa's first cycling teams [initially racing, then branching out] from the waterloo area in the late 70s and early 80s. read them, it's worth the few minutes it will take. there are names you might know, and certainly names you SHOULD know. they've help make cycling what it is today, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.]
happy holidays!


Anonymous said...

Ira's roomie out there in Portland has a big Jack Taylor collection, when we were out there we were sharing our bedroom with a Jack Taylor kids bike with a lil' rack and everything. Schnazzy!

Roomie name is Joel, he rode a Jack Taylor touring bike on PBP this year. His website with many many Jack Taylor bits and such is at

Its a good place to kill a few hours...


the mostly reverend said...

happy xmas, gpickle and cody!
i will settle in with a pot of coffee, and kill some time.
take care.