Monday, February 21, 2011

Frostbike 2011

What a wild weekend! The weather played a big part in the goings on, but I'll get to that later. First things first: The annual Mike's Bikes gathering happened again in Northfield, Minnesota. Hi-jinx was happening, as usual, but mostly from the other guys this time.

I had to return Ben Witt's rear wheel so he could put it in this. His new fillet brazed Pofahl snow bike. (Click pic to make your eyes pop out)

I must say, the green color is really my favorite and the bike itself is stunningly beautiful. Besides that, it actually works as a performance snow bike, and is not just some garage queen, show bike.

Kudos to Mike Pofahl and Ben on this stunning collaboration. I really, really like the way it came out, and if it ended up in my quiver, I wouldn't mind one bit. (Hey! At least we know that rear hub actually works, right?)

That led us up to eating Greek pizza and drinking some finer beers. The gathering was attended by John and Stuart, the shop guys at Mike's, Curtis, the Milltown Cycle wrench, Ben and his wife, and my wife, myself, and another young fella who was super fast around Mike's on bikes. I never did get his name.

Inspiration for the hi-jinx of this particular Mike's Bikes gathering were the things found at Mike's. You just never know what cool, old cycling stuff you'll find there. Like this fillet brazed Ritchey mountain bike frame that has never been built up. Classic stuff with the red, white, and blue there.

Or it could be Mike himself, who happened to be away in NorCal for the first time since he left in the early 80's. Mike was an early "klunker" rider, so he collects all sorts of old Schwinn stuff. Certainly, the fact that a lot of older iron was sitting around had something to do with Friday night's goings on.

Then there is the fact that Mike's is kind of a "monster garage" of biking anyway. They have been throwing together cool rides with a certain sort of dingy, underground flair for years. Yeah, definitely the whole vibe of Mike's Bikes lent a hand in what went down there that night.

Where else can you find a shop with a concrete floor and decent, long-ish straight-aways with technical turns and obstacles to go around at 20mph?

Then you have youthful exuberance to credit for some of this. Young minds full of mischief, ready to pull off a stunt to amuse themselves and others that are standing by watching.

Here we have "the mad scientist" types for the evening. From the left: Curtis, John, and the unidentified fast guy. We'll just call him "Fast Guy" for the duration of the post, shall we?

Works for me anyway.......

Following is a photo-essay of the night's activities.

First up, Fast Guy and Stuart put the hurt on a repair left too long without being paid for. Take note you slackers out there! We mean it at bike shops when we say, "Any repairs left after 30 days will be subject to forfeit to cover the cost of repairs". What that really means is that the island of misfit mechanics gets another bicycle to torture into submission using arcane bicycle tools no one knows how to use properly any more.

For instance, Stuart demonstrates this medieval looking device which was for straightening forks bashed in by frontal impacts. Probably wasn't a good idea back then to fix those, but you know, what the heck?!!

By the way, the quick release came squirting out on the next throw of the lever here at a very high velocity. This photo-journalism stuff is dangerous my friends! Don't try this at home!

After all the distractions, John managed to get the "klunker/mini-velo/scorcher" bike done in time for some hot lap action.

That's a pre-war Schwinn frame folks. (The term, "pre-war", for you hipsters that might be reading this, refers to a time previous to 1939-40 in American culture and is nominally equivalent to saying something is "older than dirt")

Also worthy of note, the frame/fork was a red, white, and blue combo, reminiscent of the Ritchey from above in this post. Hey- it all comes together in the end here, please be patient! You'll understand where I'm going with this soon.

Now while I was going to go with a retro-flavored black & white theme for the rest of the images here, my buddy Captain Bob was over earlier and told me this was a good image. He knows his stuff, so I had to put this one in.

Call it my "Mike's Bikes ode to Gary Fisher's famous RePack down hill pic from the 70"s" feel for this post. Well, like I said, Mike himself was a Marin klunker dude and did ride RePack, so, ya "fits", right?

Just goes to show ya, what comes around, goes around, and then it comes back again and BOOM! Upside yer head with the the whole scene re-invented for the times. Who knew?

Okay........nuff said. Back to the B&W stuff.

Here's John coming into the very technical retail sales area just before the "Mechanics Pylon" which is a really tight sector on the Mike's Bikes course. John was coasting in for a quick pit-stop here after some blazing hot practice laps on the whip.

Eagle-eyed amongst the readership will note the two purses on the stools. Yes, we had females in the crowd as mentioned before.

Yes, they thought we were totally outta our trees, but bless them! They suffered us like champs and we all walked out still friends. That's a good thing, by the way.

A killer coaster brake applied skid mark, eh?

Well, we had a great time, as always, and then we hit the hay at Ben's place for the evening. The next day, I went up alone to attend the Frostbike show at Quality Bicycle Products in Bloomington, Minnesota. I got there and chatted with several of my acquaintances and friends that I get to see too little of, but am glad to meet up with at Frostbike. If you want all the technical babel on Frostbike for 29"ers, go here.

I always love spending time with these folks, but it is always too short. One nice thing about Frostbike is that it is small enough that folks are not in a hurry, (usually), and will spend extra time just hanging out with you. I like that more than anything. Too bad Interbike can't be like that and not in Las Vegas. I guess that makes Frostbike all that much more appealing for me.

Anyway, afterward I hit a Korean restaurant with Mrs. Guitar Ted, Ben and his wife Meg, Curtis, and another couple, Marty and his wife, and we had a great, great time. Hitting the Cutter's Ball afterward was something of a letdown though after the high point of the meal. That was one of the most enjoyable nights at a restaurant I've had in a long, long time.

Then we got back to Ben and Meg's place. I checked the computer before turning in for the night and the weather forecast was ominous. I called a retreat to Waterloo instaed of staying, so at midnight we packed up and hit the road back home. We got here safe and sound at 4AM and I was very glad we made the effort after I awoke Sunday. Wow! Frostbike, and the Twin Cities got hammered. But the worst thing was all the iced up raodways we would have had to have traveled if we had stayed even an hour longer.

Sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do.

Thanks Ben, Meg, Mike's Bikes, and all at Frostbike, and we'll be back again soon.


MG said...

Looks like a lot of fun. That new bike of Ben's is beautiful. Wow...

Travel Gravel said...

If you're interested in a fantastic place to eat in Northfield (I know there is no shortage) try The Tavern in the lowest level of The Archer House. Just trust me on this. Hoping to hit the gravel ride up there this year.

Jay said...

Great to meet and talk to you at frostbike, see you in April for some Vitamin G!