Who are we? We are our stories.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

1975 Moulton

...or Moulton vs Masi Throwdown.

This is just an old bicycle frame. It has chipped paint and a little rust here and there. It's reasonably attractive, but not spectacular. From a distance it looks look a hundred, even a thousand, other frames made in the mid 1970s. So why are looking at it?

We are looking at it because it's a Dave Moulton frame. Dave Moulton built bicycles have been ridden in the Tour de France, Olympics, and World Championships. He is also a musician and after he quit building bicycles he became a novelist.  This bicycle belongs to Silk Hope, who is "restoring" it. The restoring he is doing is really just cleaning it and stabilizing the finish by brushing the rust with a toothbrush and paste, applying neatsfoot oil and waxing it. Why isn't he  repainting it? From the builder:
I really think you leave the paint as is. Although it is very rough, it is the original paint done by me, and as it is a very early frame there will be few like it with original paint making it somewhat rare.
Dave Moulton
"Somewhat rare" is a bit of an undestatement; more likely, "one of a kind". And why I am posting this now? Because John Pergolizzi has recently listed a repainted restored Masi on eBay for $19,500, and every six months or so the boys on the Classic Rendezvous vintage bicycle chat group go ballast, and at times abusive, arguing about whether to leave things as they are or to strip, repaint and restore them. Below is the Masi in question.

The old framebuilders seem to feel the frame is the bike, the paint is just window dressing, and the components are merely things that clutter up the lines of their work. Others, apparently including Mr. Moulton, feel that the paint is part of the bike, especially if it has some historical value.

Before I go I must throw in this argument for "it's about the frame", by Mr. Billy
" After Helen of Troy was abducted by Paris, and after his death, passed on to his various brothers, Menelaus still wanted her back and didn't feel she was essentially altered by their time away."
Me? I think most of them are merely bicycles and we need to get things in perspective and ride them. I would not refinish that Dave Moulton under any circumstance and I'd rather have it than that restored Masi, no matter who built or rode it. My humble opinion. Yours?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Regional, Seasonal Music

We Minnesotans tend to be a dour, serious group. This is often reflected in the music. Perticularily our winter music. "Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline." Listen to The Pines, to Low. Low? How upbeat could a group be that is called Low? So we slog our way through the snow, collars up warding off the wind, our noses running - as we hum songs about snow storms and blizzards. I posted this before, but I'm giving it another run. My daughter works in a school teaching our children, my wife used to.

Right now parts of the Midwest are still digging out from a hellofa storm. So, this is for all the teachers. Our children. Our snowplow drivers. 


It's coming down
Snow lays on the chainfield
There's a blessing on the ground
It's coming down
If your lanes are crammed with children 
There's a blessing on your town
On a lucky Monday, Mrs. Braintree
All your lanes are waxen silver
And the stores are loot for vagabonds
It's coming down
Go home!
Go home and take a snow day, Mrs. Braintree!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Almozo 100

The young bucks in southern Minnesoat race their bicycles on gravel roads. This one is the Almozo 100, in Fillmore County, which has great roads.

Wheel Building

I don't build my own wheels. There are people who say that I'm not a real cyclist because I don't. Maybe so. I have had wheels built by a few people. There is a bit of skill involved. Some are better than others. Those I have that were built by Dan Lestrud, who was taught by the late Dan Ulwelling, have been true from the start and stay that way, so I don't screw around with it.

If you don't build your own wheels or have someone you trust, you might want to try Earle Young. http://earle3.blogspot.com/ 

Holiday Sing-Along

The headlines in the Lanesboro section of the Fillmore County News read:

Dan Chouinard to host the annual Old-Fashioned Holiday Sing-Along at St. Mane Theatre.

It seems this is a regular Lanesboro event and Mr. Chouinard is a repeat host. The name was familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. A quick google search refreshed my memory. He is an occasional guest on Minnesota Public Radio and the Prairie Home Companion, both as a story teller and musician. As the event is on December 21st, we won't be able to make it, as we will be hosting the first wave of our family Christmas. I'm not certain I'm a sing-along guy anyway, but the smalltown feeling of community is hard to resist. I found this particular intriguing quote on his website. http://www.danchouinard.com/
"When not working as a musician he travels the world by bicycle, with tent and accordion in tow, seeking out new repertoire and music making opportunities."

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Better Kvale Interview

When Cjell and I checked out the Minneapolis frame guys a month ago I really didn't take many pictures. A few days later a fellow named Mike Kelly also stopped by Kvale's shop for an interview/photo shoot. Good interview, captured Chris really well - nice photos, even got a shot of my ol' blood and ivory Kvale.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas 2012

On this day in 1990, Kirby Miles Berg, my youngest brother, died in a house fire, leaving a hole in  my life forever. He was 31 years old and left behind a young daughter to grow up without a father. Two days ago 20 innocent young children were gunned down. I cannot comprehend the pain of those families. All this seemed to tear the scab off of my memory and the pain is closer to the surface this year. It tends to temper the joy of Christmas a little. Nothing is permanent; nothing is forever. All life is transitory. I'm looking forward to seeing my daughter next week.

I like this song more than most Christmas music. It captures that sad longing, poignant happiness that the season can be. Have a good holiday.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bertin CLB Brakes

Tony Tambini sent me pictures of his frenchy built-up Bertin townie with the CLB brakes mounted. This gives me much pleasure. The brakes really were a little rough when I sent them to him. Almost embarasingly so. I doubt they had ever been cleaned or polished. Tony certainly didn't waste his good fortune. Jeez, those brakes look great! I wouldn't have believed it was possible. The whole bike looks good for that matter.

Dr. Alex Moulton

Alex Moulton died yesterday at the age of 92. He was an industrial designer involved in the suspensions of automobiles (Mini Cooper), airplanes and bicycles. These photos are of a folding bicycle at Rydjor Bike in Austin, Minnesota, my local bike shop.

And the nice part, actually signed and dated by Dr. Moulton himself. I know Dan told me the circumstances of this, but I can't remember.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Memory Lane

There was a time I felt that there was no point in having an artificial Christmas tree. Either it was a natural fresh killed tree or it was pointless piece of plastic. So we would go out to Paul Budd's farm and take our bow saw out into the trees and select a likely tree. We went through all of the cutting, hacking, trimming rituals. Then tie the victim to the car roof and ... well, you know - dirty, sappy, pine needles, bird nests. I have mellowed. Now I just take a fake tree out of a box, pop it open like a perverse arboreal umbrella and get the lights working. From then on it's pretty much Lorna's world. She wouldn't tolerate much help anyway. All the ornaments have to go in special places with particular neighbors - little themes and vignettes scattered in carefully placed 'random' locations about the tree.

Snowflake tatted by my grandmother, carved Danish ornament, counted cross-stitch girl made by Lorna, photo Lorna's mother Florence and Aunt Dorothy - State Fair 1935, icicle made by me, Grandma Adena's makeup compact, Lenox ornament from my sister. The whole tree is filled with mementos and the older we get the more crowded the tree gets. We fill the tree and we become someone else's memento down the line.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Things I Cannot Change

I like the high, lonesome banjo and the kid's raspy voice. I would like to take him aside and discuss his attire though. Just don't fit the package.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hard To Buy For

Tony Tambini had a need for some vintage French brake calipers. I happen to have a set knocking about in a bottom drawer. It was something I was not using and likely never would, so naturally I gave them to him, certainly not expecting anything in return. I came home yesterday and there was package by the door. My neighbor Christy and I adjourned to the Growlery this afternoon and smoked a couple of them. Excellent. Thanks Tony, not necessary, but appreciated.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lanesboro Community Party

I understand this may have originated as a fund raiser for something. Over the years it has evolved into a community gathering, just ... just because. There was a program, drawings for free "stuff", a formal dinner - bring your own beverage, then a band played while people sat and talked, or danced the night away.  

 Our table seating included Lorna and me, a bunch of Kiehnes, and John Davis. A good group.