I’ve been riding bikes, well, for my whole life. I have a little wisdom so that’s a pretty long time now. I’ve been tinkering with bikes for a long time too. I remember wanting one of my bikes to have a custom paint job. I was probably 8 when I tried that. I finally completed a custom paint job on the first bike I built, a SS, last Fall. Let me clarify. I didn’t build the frame, but I did build the wheels and assembled all the components with a little help from my friend Bern.

My second build was a Pugsley. Again I assembled all the components, but this time I had the Large Marge wheels built. I was also adding an Alfine 11. I love my Puglsey, and haven’t been on my old mtb since.

I’ve begun my third build, something between a road bike and a mountain bike, I guess. I don’t cyclocross but maybe a montercross bike.  It’s for long gravel and dirt roads. I’m planning for that gravel grinder I’m going to do one day. Have you guessed the frame yet? Yes, a Salsa Vaya.  I’m really excited by this bike.  Everyone seems to love theirs, and remarks on how comfortable they are even after hours in the saddle.  Here it is in “Super Orange!”

But now, here’s the crux of this post.  When the frames leave the factory they still need to be chased and faced by the consumer. I just think that’s wrong! I’ve invested in the tools and equipment to transform a frame into a complete bike. How much harder would it be to fully prep these frames for the end user; a token of customer service to the loyal cyclist? Now maybe this is just Salsa, I’m not sure. When I purchased my Surly frame, the bike store said it was all prepped. OK, ranting done.


Finally, A Bike Ride!

I’m taking a three day respite from all work. Yesterday was recovery. Today I got the Pugs ready for a new outing on the Guadalupe River Trail.

the start

I’m wanting to ride a gravel grinder and build a bike for one. Can you believe it, I can’t find one organized route (like the Dirty Kanza) in California. We have some endurance mtb races and lots of roadie races, but NO gravel. I know there’s gravel out there, but it’s sure hard to find.

Blue Heron

I’ve been looking at the Bay Trail, which circumvents most of the SF Bay. Some of it is gravel; what they call an unimproved trails. Like it’s bad or something, and I hope it stays that way. Then I discovered three river trails, pretty much parallel to each other not far from me. So, today was the first outing on one of them. I didn’t ride to the end of the Guadalupe River Trail, just to where the gravel ended. Up and back was a little over 10 miles. But I’m thinking if I can hook up the gravel sections from each of the 3 trails (assuming the other have gravel), and ride from my house along the Bay Trail (which does have gravel), I might be able to create a pretty good route.


Anyways, it was a pretty nice ride. The river’s pretty low and still in areas. Of course, we haven’t had rain in a few months. But there’s lots of vegetation and riparian wildlife. Kind of strange finding this little strip of “rural,” surrounded by housing and industrial complexes.  I sure do appreciate it though.

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon

shine through chinks in the barn, moving

up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing

as a woman takes up her needles

and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned

in long grass. Let the stars appear

and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.

Let the wind die down. Let the shed

go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch. To the scoop

in the oats, to air in the lung

let evening come.

Let come, as it will, and don’t

be afraid. God does not leave us

comfortless, so let evening come.

by Jane Kenyon