It is either a curse or a blessing, but when I get started with a cool project I kind of go full speed ahead.
Welcome to day two of my ‘build a fun BMX bike like I did in 1979’, cool, cheap and modified to my taste.
Yesterday I presented to you a piece of shit, cheap GT bike I found at a local secondhand shop. The grand total price of the bike was a whopping 40 bucks! Honestly, a bit much, but it was complete and had good bones. The first rule to remember when you are taking on a task like this is to make sure you really have something to work with. Now the bike is back at my shop and let the dismantling begin.
What you want to do is have a clean bench and all the tools you need. ( I also buy a bunch of baggies of different sizes just to keep the parts in order). As you can see, I went full on, this is 40 minutes into it:
Secondly, I went to my local bike shop where it is important to know people that work there. I went in smiling and asking for used and discarded BMX parts. Remember, the goal is to do this on the cheap, like a rat kid would do. So I went looking for bars, forks and a gooseneck. The boys hooked me up. Most (all) bicycle shops have a room or shed that they keep a inventory of old bikes, some they want to keep and some to cannibalize. My shop has a great selection, piles and piles of every part imaginable, sweet.
So with a bit of digging, I found the bars and a neck (plus another set of bars and some Cook Brothers forks that will make it on a later project), but the best part was the price. I got all of this for the total price of $5 dollars. I am sooo right on budget. Here is a pic;
Next thing was to get the cranks taken off the bike. I think this bike was left outside so the bottom bracket was a bit rusty and the bolts were seized, here goes another trip to the bike shop. With the frame in hand, I walk into a shop right down the road from my shop and asked if they “could help me out?” As most bike guys I know, most shops guys are decent and some are total dicks, these guys were awesome! It took some effort to get the crank off but with the help off a breaker bar, the arm came right off all for the price of $5 dollars again! That’s the good news…Bad news is, the bottom bracket is there to stay. It turns well but is locked in with a broken lockset, it’s in the bottom bracket for good. But thats ok, I can make it work and it also stops me from going to deep into restoration and keep it a fun project.
Now i’m back at the shop, I first separate the keeper parts form the junk. Here is the junk:
Then I get to work.
I grind off all the cable tabs that were for the shifters, remember, keeping it basic. I sand and prep everything for paint. Speaking of paint, I had extra primer, great automotive paint and clear coat leftover from another art project i did earlier this month, so that means no extra cost! a couple of hours of grinding and sanding, I get things primed;
It amazes me how fast things can go when you enjoy the work, it is very reminiscent of my working habits as a kid in my makeshift workshop in the basement and I only spent $10 dollars!
I wrap things up and head home and let the primer dry.
Next up is wheel restoration and or switch out.
In 1976, I was the ripe age 13. I was a punk, I knew everything and I loved my bike more than live itself. it is a fact that 6 hours a day, i would spend constructing and jumping off of homemade ramps, building dirt berms and whoopdee-do’s in the field across the street from my house. I’m not including the hours spent taking apart my prized possession, my bike, lubing the headset, changing the sprockets always looking for any advantage i could get out of the gate at the races. I raced every Sunday, I was a BMX racer. The fact is, I wasn’t the best but I was far from the worse. I was ranked, had lots of trophies, I loved those days. A raced semi-pro, meaning that i raced for a local shop and had small perks with bicycle companies. It was the best.
What was also the best, it was cheap. You took whatever bike you had and you made it a BMX bike. You upgraded when you could and invented tech at will. Remember, this is the days of Shimano kick-back hub brakes and banana seats. Fantastic.
I’m not writing this post as a history lesson of vintage BMX or a “those were the days” remembrances…I writing this as a visual project; a project I am very excited to do…
I am going to build a homage to the bikes I loved from back in the day, but the twist is, I’m not going to build a bike from carefully sourced, NOS parts from a diehard collectors, I going to build a bike from cheap found parts and home mods that made the BMX bikes that I loved. They weren’t $1500 engineered ultra light bikes made with titanium, we made our bikes lighter by drilling holes in things, that is what I intend to do with this project.
The foundation of this project is what appears to be a low to mid-range GT that i bought at a second/third/twelfth hand store for $40 bucks. I know that isn’t the cheapest but i figured that with inflation it was equal to $15 bucks give and take in 1978. Here is the victim below:
As you can see, it is a piece o’ shit (the picture really did do it justice), this thing is rough. It is beat to hell, flat tires, rusty everything, great frame and good wheels, perfect for this project. It is just like a bike a eager 13 year old would picked up.
Here is another take of this ratty sweetness.
My God! Look at that gooseneck! Ridiculous.
Also take note of the color of the chainrings and hubs…Rustilicious. I am also considering if I need to keep the adorable reflector? We will see.
So, Dear readers of this ‘to be continued’ blog, I hope you are as interested in this project as I am. I will be making step by step entries with the end result being a “totally gnarly”, “I want to ride that bitch” retro tribute to my first love and girlfriend, BMX.
Sometimes family photos are just awkward. This is my solution on how to address those “Kodak moment” issues.
“I want it my way and I will get it anyway possible.” This is a mantra of many people in this big world of ours. If it comes to money or careers, getting dates, greed and success, so on. But what about when it comes to the pictures we take?
I have a smart phone. I have all the apps. I take pictures of more thing than I should. I am a contemporary guy that is now and today, I think? I have over 100 different apps on my phone that can take photos, alter photos, twist and manipulate them to something completely different, then send them through the intra-web all the way to Mars. That is quite a trip for the picture I took of my breakfast.
But lately I have been attempting to look at the world through a set of new eyes and not so much through Instagram vision I have been. Instagram, being the alterations and confluence go to, of what we want to see and not what we’re looking at. If any of you are active social media consumers, you have friends that post pictures that are in 70s style grainy. sepia tone or Black and white of “effect”. Chance are, you are also doing the same thing. Me too, but the question that has been going through my mind lately is. Why do we do that?
Why do we feel the need to change it up? A sunset is beautiful anyway, how does a filter make it better? This thought went from me just wondering, to a philosophical outlook for me.
I have been taking time and liquidating a lot of my possessions by choice, not because I found God or something, Because I have too much shit. I realized that I don’t really want all the stuff I have, like I don’t need 4 motorcycles, or the collection of HightLight magazines that I thought were cool. I would get these odd things, enjoy the fact that I owned them, the lose interest and let them fall to the wayside. Not that this is ever a problem but it started making look closer at why I did it in the first place?
I have become obsessed with the fine line of detail. That certain moment, the little thing that to you, becomes enchanted. Let me give you an example; I have a friend that works as a high-end advertising specialist that markets beer to an “urban” clientele, meaning, their trying to sell beer that is a notoriously an anglo brand, to the African-American market. I didn’t really think that there was such a difficulty in doing that. In short it came down to how the brand name would could be foreshortened and become slang. Brand A, did not sound as cool as Brand “Bud”. But that is not really what struck me. What caught my attention was why I choose the beer I drink? I love Guinness Stout. Do I love the taste? or is it refreshing? Trust me, Guinness is not what one would call refreshing on a hot summer day.
I realized I liked the ‘process’ of getting my beer. It takes time, It does something as it’s poured, good bartenders use a spoon, the taste is only enhanced by the method. Does it make other beers not as interesting? Yes it does, I drink Stella because of the glass.
So what does any of this have to do with Instagram and altering photos and me liquidating my stuff?
Well, good question. I wondering if you to an image, one straight up and another altered, does it change the experience of the person taking the photo. Is it sunset or their sunset? Is how you change, color, present you photo a refection of how YOU want the world to look or how you think it should be? If the world was already colorized, would you change in back to “the boring” filter? That is my point, when did “what is already beautiful” need improvement?
I am worried that we have become so jaded that we NEED to change everything in our view.
Have at it if you must! Look at the world through a filter if you insist, but if you look closely it doesn’t really need one.
For those of you out there that like to document and share everything that you put in your mouth. This article is for you.
I love photography, I love food and I enjoy combining the two. That does not mean that every plate that makes it my way, I take a iPhone pic of and share it with the tagline “Yummmy or Lucky me”. If it is TRULY a amazing looking dish or earth changing cup of coffee, now is the time to read this great NPR Article on how to do Food Photography correctly.
Please take these tips; put down your camera and eat your dinner. Those food pictures are a lot like babies, if they’re yours, it’s cute…But most of us really don’t care all that much if it has ice-cream on it’s face. Just say’n