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.
Proprietary spokes, internal nipples, frame-specific seatposts….everyone in this industry wants to build that better mousetrap. Yet most of these “innovations” fail to deliver on their marketing promise, and no mechanic is excited to know that he’ll need to source more sku#s (or needs more tools to service them). So I had my doubts for the new T47 bottom bracket “standard”, but at least for the bikes we make at DKCB it has so far proven to be an advantage.
Above is a recent Davidson titanium with a T47 bottom bracket shell, 1-3/8” seat tube, and 1” chain stays. Below is an older Davidson titanium frame with BSA bottom bracket shell, 1-3/8” seat tube, and 7/8” chain stays.
My Sidi Dragon 2 shoes have been my summer footwear for several years now. The carbon sole is on the stiff side, especially compared to the less expensive mtb shoes, but would you expect anything less from $400 cycling boots? Considering their cost and the fact that I don’t work for a Sidi retailer anymore, daily commuter usage might seem like a fast way to ruin good shoes. And indeed the lugs of the sole have worn to such an extent that I’m basically balancing on the tiny metal bits of the cleat whenever I wear them to the supermarket, a situation begging for an eventual cleanup on Aisle 10. But my investment in Sidi shoes was calculated on the Dragon 2’s Sole Replacement System (SRS). Sidi sells SRS kits to replace the rubber of on the sole, extending the life of the shoe.
I had squirreled away an SRS kit a couple years ago, and now that the Pacific NW summer is hot enough to make the Dragons my go-to shoe, I have been meaning to freshen up their traction…
… and yesterday I finally got tired of walking like a figure skater with a drinking problem.
(more pix and details after the jump)