Stevil Kinevil: My old friend Bill Lindsey used to be fond of saying “bikes are like friends. You can’t have too many nice ones.” When Cedar Cycling approached me to write about my favorite bike, and why I chose the specific parts that are on it, I was hard pressed. Not only do I have a broad collection of pretty damn nice bikes, each one has been built by a tremendously nice person who is positively dripping with skill. Perhaps like a mechanic and their selection of tools, each one holds a special place, and has a specific purpose.
An impossible task to pick a favorite, I instead opted to cover four, and in as few words as possible will describe specific details that are especially special to me, which if I don’t miss my guess, shouldn’t matter to you in the least.
My Hunter twentyninering mountain bikecycle was a 40th birthday present to myself, the order for which I placed when I was 38. In the two years I waited and paid in drips and drabs by doing whatever random tasks Rick requested, I began amassing parts, based on what was least expensive as possible. Come to think of it, there’s a similar thread through all of my bikes. All of my component selections are based on what happened to make themselves available to me at the time.
Like for example, my Sycip road bike, built for me by Mo Rebolledo with an Ibis tube set. Around the time Ibis closed their Sebastopol factory, Scot Nicol traded me the tube set for a painting. I sat on the tubing for a few years, until one evening Mo asked me if I wanted to trade him a painting for a Fiat. “No” I said. “But I’ll trade it for a frame”, the rest being history. In light of this, I’ve taken to calling it a ‘Ibolledip’. Again, the selection of components are whatever I could get my hands on through the art of begging, borrowing, and stealing.
The one frame that I actually paid full pop for (no room in the Bartertown Inn on this particular one) was the one speed cross bike built for me by Circle A Cycles. I had long admired their work, as well as their ethics. It wasn’t until I retired a Retrotec cross bike of the same design that I had a selection of well worn parts to dress it up with. My favorite being the tied and soldered wheel set built for me by the legendary Phil Woosley on a set of Campy track hubs, which again I believe I bought at cost while employed at some long forgotten bike shop job with what assuredly was a half of a pay check. Naturally, I opted to include some Caramba Double Barrel cranks, which have long been my favorite one speed cranks of all time, based on history, performance, and over all cool factor. Rounding out the build was a Hunter fork, that the kids at Circle A painted to match.
The last bike I’ll discuss is my Ventana El Toro Bravo. After racing along side of Robert Ives who is the company’s Chief Derelict, as well as the proprietor of Blue Collar Bicycles for sixteen years, when the chance to get back on a Ventana presented itself, I jumped at it. They were after all, the first major manufacturer to have a one speed frame available, predating the Bianchi line by several years. There is a legacy there, and one that is purely Northern Californiacentric. My favorite component on this bike is the White Industries freewheel, which I liberated from Gene Oberpriller’s bike after he left it in my possession for two years at the conclusion of the 2008 SSWC.
The single constant on these as well as all of my others are King headsets and King cages. “Don’t be a joker- buy King”. Or something like that.
I’ve been asked repeatedly what bike I would choose if I had to pick one, which is an impossibly unanswerable question. They all are my favorite, and as I said, all serve a distinctly different and specific purpose.
Certainly if I had my way, I would do each of my bikes justice by giving them Dura-Ace this, and XTR that, but given the fact that for nearly two decades, I‘ve whored myself out to the nth degree to get what I have, I don’t think I’m doing too badly for myself. For that matter, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So there. Saying Stevil is a fan of cycling is a bigger understatement than saying the National Debt is sorta high. For more words of wisdom and to stay up-to-date on all the bike news and general information you ever really need, be sure to bookmark All Hail the Black Market and read it often.
Thank you, Mr. Kinevil, for chatting with us. Appreciate it greatly.
If you have been following along with the Cedar Cycling #ridelove hashtag, you will no doubt have seen a cyclist with the handle DMongan making some seriously epic day-to-day rides, much of the time with his lovely lady.
It's been our mission as of late to talk to these riders, especially the ones doing it for the love of just getting out there on your bike, and get inside their heads to see where they came from and why they ride.
Today, we chat with DMongan, known hereafter as Dave. Dave is a cyclist. He rides his bike for the love of it. And he's been doing it for a long time. Here's his story...
Cedar Cycling: When and why did you get into riding bikes?
Dave Mongan: Growing up, I rode BMX "competitively" from age three to six, which is kind of a joke. Cru Jones (from the movie Rad) was my idol, so I just wanted to ride bikes, deliver newspapers and one day conquer Helltrack. Turns out it doesn't actually exist.
CC: At what age were you like, “Shit, this is a lot of fun and I want to take this more seriously.”?
DM: Whatever age I was when I saw the movie Rad. Three, maybe? God, I loved that movie. I loved riding BMX, but I wasn't very good at it.
I didn't pick up road cycling until I was 29, mostly because I just didn't get it. I grew up doing classic American sports, and the structure of road cycling—3+ hour rides—was pretty foreign to me. Running and surfing in my 20s helped teach me the patience necessary for cycling.
CC: What was your first bike? (First bike = not the training wheeled one, but the first one you seriously used)
DM: I actually had one of the first titanium bikes—a Titan—when I raced BMX as a kid. A five-year-old with a titanium bike in the 80s is pretty ridiculous, isn't it? I wasn't complaining…I loved that thing. Few five-year-olds can lift their bike above their head, but I could!
Thanks for sitting down with us and chatting, Dave. We look forward to more shots of your rides. And what say we all go out for some beers sometime soon?
Do you want to be featured here? Have an interesting story to share? Send a note to email@example.com. We would love to chat.
Growing Up Fixed is a new segment we're introducing and using to kick off the Cedar Cycling blog.
In our teens and twenties, it was fun as shit to ride a fixed gear. Whether it was practicality, mob mentality, the sheer fucking thrill of knowing that to stop, you had to use your own damn leg strength, something spiritual, or any number of reasons in between... Riding a fixed gear was cool.
For some, the luster has worn off. Could be because you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a set of neon deep v's set on a frame from Urban. But those glory days of riding with your crew of like-minded dudes and chicks are ones to remember and cherish.
Today, we highlight A. Rosenbluth, an awesome guy that hit the streets of Denver, CO hard as a messenger now grown out of his fixed gear days.
Cedar Cycling: When did you start riding a bike?
Aaron Rosenbluth: As a kid, I loved cruising the neighborhood on my Diamond Back mountain bike; I must have been about 6 years old. I lost touch with riding for a very long time but the flame was rekindled when I moved to the city at 19 and found riding to be the cheapest and most efficient way to get around town.
CC: When did you get into the fixed gear world?
AR: I discovered fixed gear (track) bikes in my early twenties. I had been commuting to work on and ill fitting Nishiki 10-speed for a couple years. At the time, Denver had a very small urban cycling community and I discovered a love for cycling and bicycle activism through this community. Around the same time, I befriended a bicycle messenger, an amazing guy dubbed "Johnny Skidmark". Having never seen or heard of a track bike, my mind was blown by the simplicity of the bike John rode and the interesting things he was able to do with it. Also, as a design nerd, the clean, unfussy lines of his bike spoke to me. The element of danger and the zen-like connection to my machine and surroundings was a huge draw as well. A short time later, I found myself riding a track bike daily to pay rent and feed myself and what had been obsession became my lifestyle, family and meal ticket.
CC: What was your first fixed gear?
AR: My first fixed was a Giordana track bike outfitted with vintage Campagnolo Record Pista components, purchased at the Velo-Swap for a whopping $300 (they were a lot cheaper back then). The best fixed I ever owned was a Samson NJS track bike I spent way too much time and money outfitting. The bike was beautiful and its build (full Suntour Superbe Pro NJS) was perfect.
CC: When did you decide to upgrade to a bike with gears?
AR: I wouldn't neccessarily call it an upgrade, I had always owned a geared bike; I became more interested in road cycling after getting away from the messenger "scene" and realizing the limitations of the track bike. We've got an endless variety of riding to be done in Colorado and you need the right tool for the job.
CC: What are you currently riding?
AR: I'm putting quite a few miles on a 10 year old Cannondale (American made) built with Ultegra. While not the most exciting bike, it gets the job done until I can afford what I'd really like to own (I'm doing my best to save for a frame from Boulder based frame builder Mosaic). I do most of my commuting on a Bridgestone Anchor track bike; I'll always have love for the fixed gear.
CC: If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would you go?
AR: I've got an old messenger friend who leads bicycle tours of Italy, I'd love to plan a trip one day.
All bikes featured here are Aaron's and have been used with permission.
Aaron is a good friend and an amazing Design Associate at Room & Board. Aside from work and riding, he takes some really fantastic pictures on the Instant-of-Grams under the handle @ASRosenbluth and Tweets from time to time by the same alias.