Thursday, February 03, 2011

Two Wheels and a Will...

"It would be strange if, while one too often obeys without a murmur a discipline that one does not understand and does not feel, we were not able to act according to a course of conduct that we ourselves have helped prescribe and keep rigidly consistent."
—Antonio Gramsci, La Città Futura, February 1917

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) “Ever to confess you’re bored
means you have no
Inner Resources.” I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.

—John Berryman, from The Dream Songs

It all boils down
to not hanging around
gotta keep moving in front of the
gravity, gravity, gravity, gravity

Fugazi, "Long Distance Runner", Red Medicine

The front wheel is built and I am now in the first delicate stages of truing the assembly. I went with Phil Wood disc mountain hubs* because, in some small part, I have yet to learn the finer points of frugal economics, but mostly because they best fit the bill. Stout, robust, disc, 36-hole, black, bolt-on, field-maintenance friendly, and oh-so-easy on the eyes. I paired an Alex TD17 disc-specific rim with the hub, attaching it in a three-cross pattern using Phil's own black, double-butted (14/15) spokes, which should ensure a nice, tight fit between spoke head and hole (let's agree for now to ignore the obvious bawdy extrapolation of those last few words to other sine qua non couplings in life). Should prove to be a relatively bomb-proof wheelset.

So the anatomical shakedown goes like this (everything in black, where available):
Salsa Vaya frameset, 56 cm
Thomson setback seatpost
Thomson X4 stem, 120 mm, 10 degree rise
Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flow Saddle
Salsa Lip Lock seatpost collar
Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3 pedals
Shimano 105 crankset, front and rear derailleur, 10-speed
Shimano Dura-ace chain, 10-speed
Shimano bar-end shifters, 8-speed (10-speed compatible)
Shimano 105 cassette, 10-speed
Shimano Tiagra/Sora brake levers
Avid BB7 road disc brake calipers
Salsa Woodchipper handlebar, 31.8 mm center diameter, 42 cm width
Cinelli cork bar tape, black
Chris King headset
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires, 700x35c
Alex TD17 rims, 700c, 36-hole
Font de Jante Velox rims strips, 22 mm
Phil Wood MTB disc hubset, 36-hole
Phil Wood double-butted spokes, 14/15, with brass nipples

For a minimum of two months (and up to five, potentially) beginning this spring, this bike is going to be my best friend and constant companion, assuming all goes well. This trip is long overdue. I am neither particularly young, nor materially wealthy, nor excessively fond of risk, be it financial or physical. What I am—right now—is weary of routine and wary of responsibility. And exceedingly selfish. These are the raw materials that forge my will to temporarily abandon what is my life and seek something else on the roads that criss-cross this country, balanced on two wheels that slice the scenery into still lifes and landscapes. From a physical, physiological standpoint, it isn't exactly epic, it's not an Odyssey, it isn't even mildly hardcore (how's that for an oxymoron?), though surely there will be trying moments. The difficulty comes in the initial commitment, the irrevocable decision to abandon (if only temporarily) so much of what so many consider necessities, without some guarantee in the end of a consolation prize. But to dip into cliche, it's that kind of risk that makes life interesting and worth living. No regrets. That's where life lies, raw and real and a little bit ragged. And immensely rewarding. Gravity kills.

I can't wait.

M-Y-T-H is
belief in a game
control that keeps us
in our box of fear
we never listen
voice inside
so drowned out
drowned you are
you are, you are
a furry(every) thing
and everything is you
me you, you me
it's all related
and what's a boy
to do?

Pearl Jam, "Faithful", Yield


*At the time of this writing, Phil does not manufacture a disc touring hubset per se. The idea of using disc mountain hubs came from a Phil representative, who stated that were they to design disc touring hubs, these would essentially be identical to the disc mountain hubs.

5 comments:

manda said...

not enough words to say how fucken cool this is to me

brett said...

I may have to live vicariously through your escape for now. I'd like to leave the room key behind and walk away from the hotel, too, at some point. Kudus to you, good sir.

Blue-eyed Devil said...

Thanks to both of you for encouraging my bad behavior.

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