A quick note: we’re still figuring out how to best format this for your inbox. We have a program to do it, but we don’t have time, right now, to learn how to use it. In the meantime, just go to our blog and read this, so your eyes don’t melt.
I’m riveted by records. Obsessed, possessed, tormented and torqued. My tastes run round, relaxed at 33 1/3 revolutions a minute, or faster, flying at 45. 45’s run short. 4 minutes, max. One good side, the other ostensibly offal. 33’s, AKA long players pose problems and test tolerance. 3 good songs on a side in the 60’s, if you were lucky. But the player takes time to operate. You don’t jump up and juke to the next song, shucking sorid tracks for spectacular cuts. You sit, soak, ignore and subconsciously sublimate the song. You hear how you didn’t hear before, because you have to sit and soak.
It’s not how we listen anymore. We can pick, chose, discard and download. Skip, remix, fast forward and repeat. We can cut and paste into cell phone ring tones. Songs are psychotic sculpted to sound terrific on tiny ear tumor technology. We learn about music like it’s a celebrity, and cherish it in the same way. The sounds are intrinsically tied to tortured tabloid ritual, and charts chart charisma and chutzpah more than ideas, artistic vision and virtuosity. We consume pop culture in the guise of music. It is no longer music videos about music, it is music soundtracks to music videos.
Turn back the ticking clock. Hug a big speaker. Embrace a crackle and skip. I dig deep into voluminous 10 cent bins of dusty vinyl. I delve down into piles of dirty discs. Dust balls bite my brain and send sonorous sneezes skyward. I find fantastic forgotten tracks, songs from bands blackballed by history and highlighted by histrionics. Labels loom large, I paw and purchase knowing records will rate based on who pressed it. I cull copious names from a lifetime of learning and lay dubious dimes on faint remembrances and recollections. Records piles reach preposterous proportions. My wife groans and gripes about our collapsing shelves. And then she adds 3 more to the pile.
I’ll leave the Record Exchange, or the Rock and Roll Graveyard with 67 new discs. I’ll bundle them into my basket and pedal home to wash them. I’ll have spent less than 10 dollars. I’ll wash and dry and listen later. I pop dodgy discs by Bill Black or Lee Dorsey on the player. I’ll crank up the speed. Blasts of pop bliss boom from paper speakers. The floor moves in wooden waves and we have to dance. This music was not made for snippets and sound bites. It was sculpted to move souls. Rugs are removed, floors are polished with socks for maximum James Brown moves. The dust and scratches are there to prove this music moved a previous generation. This music has history, but a history that validates continued play and discovery.
Often new cycling magazines roll through the shop. I pursue them, pointing and ooohing at pictures of crazy carbon and lighter than light aluminum. Velonews captures me, I read it daily, dissecting fact from paid press pandering. Technology pulls me, twists me, and tempts me. But the best bike I own is my oldest, with the most miles. My Witcomb is so wonderful I wonder why I would ever need another bike. It’s ride is rapturous and rich in history. It’s seen the most changes in my personal philosophy and still rides righteous and regal. It has my crappiest parts collection on it, woeful wheels and chintz cheapo tires. The handlebars are as old as my Mom. The chain has more run out than cricket, it can’t clear big tires, the headset is horrible and mangy. The paint is more putrid than a salt pitted ’72 Pinto.
None of that notches notable. It’s all about the ride, and how the ride makes you feel. I can’t handle a lack of history in my bikes or my records. There has a to be a connection, beyond the point and click, and that connection has to result in some meaningful benefit. A good ride, a rapturous dancesession, a memory reclaimed and remolded.
Clinics: We do these because we want you to try stuff at home, get in over your head, and then, in fits of anger and dispair come in, so we can charge you to fix what you messed up at home. Not really!! We do these to help you understand that bikes aren’t hard to work on, and NO ONE should be afraid to try to fix them, with a few basic tools and some patience. It’s not the space station we’re talking about here.
3/7: First Wednesday, so it’s a fix a flat clinic. Comprehensive, to say the least.
3/14: How to overhaul and adjust a headset, assuming it can be overhauled and adjusted. What’s a headset? That thing that lets your turn the handlebars and therefore the front wheel, as well. Sometimes these get coated in sweat and grossness and need a good wash and regrease. If you generate lots of forehead sweat, or ride the trainer a lot, this is a great clinic for you.
3/21: NO CLINICS. Tent sale will be that weekend (thursday-sunday) and we will be busy and nervous. Drop off comfort food and beer for bonus points.
No shop rides this week, we’re busy busy getting ready for our expansion. Shop rides again, soon, we promise!
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-The Bike Doctor Crew of