The OPEN U.P just arrived, and it’s like Christmas in July; at least for those of us into riding road bikes on dirt. Away from the pavement is another type of riding: acute, contrasting, and with scenery like I shared yesterday on Medium. The U.P is one of the adventure bikes I’m riding late summer and into the fall. I hope past another beaver dam.
On a suffering scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “on the phone calling for help,” this ride was a 2. What hitting level 2 did do, is remind us of past 5s, and we knew how to get back to the car safely. This summer we’ve been riding every inch of the Iron Horse Trail and making our way, trailhead by trailhead, towards Ellensburg. We’ve ridden through 3 of the 4 tunnels on the State’s rails-to-trails park.
Read the the rest of the story about our Iron Horse trail rides on Medium Bicycles, and in the next issue of our magazine when it drops later this week. I had a Scott Addict CX-1 with me.
Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth are two 17 yr olds out of Norwich, England who perform as Lets Eat Grandma. There music is by turns quirky, dream-like, childish, enchanting. Their video performance of “Deep Six Textbook” for NME’s Basement Sessions gives an idea of their live presentation, while their official video for ” Eat Shiitake Mushrooms” is looks like something pulled from the vaults of MTV’s 120 Minutes. In the video for “Eat Shiitake Mushrooms”, the viewer follows the two girls as they adventure on bicycles into the woods. A really sharp-eyed viewer might spot that 1) the bikes are cheap crap and 2) one of the two bikes has the fork positioned backwards.
The first time I went to a foreign country was January 2003, Berlin. I had flown from Seattle to Berlin with one or two transfers, somehow successfully negotiated to get to the hotel near Alexanderplatz. My German language skills were pretty meager, and I was jetlagged as fuck with nothing to do but wait for my globetrotting girlfriend-at-the-time to meet me at the hotel. It was daylight out, but I couldn’t tell if it was morning or afternoon. In retrospect I think it was a Sunday, because Alexanderplatz was ghostly empty for the most part, the bitter winter wind only occasionally interrupted by the sound of automobiles. I was hungry for some food and the hotel’s room service menu looked awfully steep for a vacationing bike mechanic. Actually, I couldn’t really trust my my ability to read the German on the menu, but I had seen a McDonalds on the way to the hotel. I was sure I could read that menu well enough.
So I trundled out to the street to find the cheeseburger embassy, quickly discovering that not owning a real winter coat was going to be a woeful miscalculation throughout this trip. I stepped carefully across the icy streets, and then the very first bicycle I see up close was a Kirk Precision. For those who don’t know, Kirk Precision bicycles were made for a short time in the late 80s in the UK and uniquely known for their cast magnesium construction. Kirk frames were so visually distinctive, you might never forget the time you saw one, and so rare you might never see one again. The sight of that bike locked outside in a frigid Berlin is permanently etched in my memory.
Below is a photo I found of another Kirk Precision, one seemingly in better condition than the one I saw in person years ago. As a product, the Kirk frames had some early reliability issues, but it seems that the main reasons the design disappeared are related to the costly, prolonged development and the small manufacturer’s failure to yield timely returns to its parent company.