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Robert Hamlin Bicycles is not open. I am available for repairs. Just call to set up a time.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Comfort Bikes, Single Speeds, Road and Cross

A big FedEx Freight truck delivered over 25 bikes to the shop today. If there is anyone out there reading this in need of a bike, come see me. The majority of the bikes are Redline 530s and 520s. Both models are big wheeled (700c) bikes with an upright position, front shocks, seat post shocks, and Slime tubes. The 530s are the Euro bikes complete with internal 7 speed, drum brakes, full fenders, rack, and full-cover chain guard (no grease, no brake dust). What a bike!

I also have single speeds, road bikes, and cyclocross bikes.

Bring cash or check.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Another Ride

I was on my bike at 6:30 this morning. I rode up Green Canyon for a change. Fall has left its early fingerprints on the vegetation. Some mornings have been quite chilly, even down into the upper 40s. This morning I wore a windbreaker; and my hands and feet were cold.

Maples and aspen
Have lost their bright green luster,
Now soft yellow-green

On my way down the sun came over the mountains, rising into a clear blue sky. It was so drastic seeing the trail change instantly from shadow to bright sun. It wasn't just the change from dark to light, it was the effect of the bicycle's motion over the trail. Rolling fast down a single track gives the illusion of the whole world rushing past you as if you were standing still. The instantaneous contrast between shadow and sun combined with speed blinded me.

From shadow to sun
My world bright, flying past me
Blind, for a moment.

I am still getting use to my new bike. She don't climb, she don't climb, terrain.

My new bike climbs slow
Compared to the old one, or,
Perhaps it's just me.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Chinese Graduate Students' Bicycles

I know it has been said many times before, but it's really "not about the bike." It's about the bike you are used to riding. The bike I'm used to is dead. Perhaps dead for a long time, although a new chain stay is not out of the question. The new bike is fine, it's just not my bike. Yet. I have tried to keep my position and feel with my drop bars, stem, wheels, and saddle. The only thing really new is the frame. I rode it with Patty today. We had a good ride. We realized how lucky we are to live in a place where a real mountain bike ride, in real mountains, beside a mountain stream, is just outside our door. The new bike did pretty good. The biggest change is that the rear wheel is just a lot farther back than on the Strong. I will learn to climb with more weight over the rear wheel.

We live just a few blocks from USU's married student housing. Picture the bike racks there full of Next and Huffy bicycles in various states of disrepair and oxidation, all with low tire pressure (TT riders can substitute their experiences near UF's married student housing. Chinese graduate students' bicycles are the same everywhere you go). With this image in mind, here is Today's baiku:

North bound, west sidewalk
Uphill, big ring, walking speed
Crank clanking kickstand

Friday, August 24, 2007

They Come in Threes

A few weeks ago I found a big crack in my Ute. Patty has been riding it for the past three years so I guess she can take the blame. Well, that would not be fair at all. I rode that bike really hard for five years. I stripped the Ute and put some of the parts on my Strong monster cross. The broken frame hangs in my basement, never to see the light of day again.

Last week I began to hear a creak from the front end of the Strong. I checked the bars and stem. I noticed the fork was a little twisted and that no-hand riding resulted in a pull to the right. Yesterday, close inspection revealed a big crack in the bend of the fork. I put on a new fork last night. This morning I woke up early to go for a ride. I flipped the flop to head up the trail and there on the chain stay at the track-end was a big crack. My baby is broke. Like the Ute, I have ridden this bike hard year-round for four years. I hold only myself responsible for the failures, not the frame and fork manufactures. Problems or defects would have shown up years ago, especially the way I ride. It is not a coincidence that the fork and frame broke at the same time, with the exact same amount of cyclic fatigue. It's also interesting to note that steel and ti never fail catastrophically. The failures happen slowly over time. With Aluminum, I probably would have walked home.

Now what do I do? More than one person has told me I should ride what I sell. Looks like I may be riding a Redline Monocog 29er, for a few years anyway. I bet I could break one of those too after four or five years of JRA Robert style.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Free Mini Concert

I will playing a few new songs (new for me, and never performed by me) at the USU Amphitheater on Wednesday August 22 at 2:00 pm. The Amphitheater is tucked in on the south end of Old Main Hill. There will be a captive audience, but all are welcome. The more the merrier and the better I will sing.

I will be doing songs by Texas singer-songwriters James McMurtry, Michelle Shocked, and probably at least one by Robert Earl Keen. The theme is change, reflection, and personal growth. You can take what you want. I'm not being pushy.

Hints of Fall

The monsoons return
Lighting the evening sky
Too late for brown plants

Geranium leaves
Now crimson, yellow, orange
Their chlorophyll gone

Pica pica wings
Growing flocks swirl black, white, green
On gold wheat stubble

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A baiku for Tom

I'm growing old fast.
My knees, ankles, and back fail,
Like new broken spokes.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Social Work

"Can you fix this bike?
I don't have any money.
It is for my son."

Tubes, tire, and used chain
Bike repair is social work.
The boy rides, and smiles.

The Immigrant

"The other bike shop
They sent me here for a wheel.
This one does not work.

This bike cost ten bucks.
I bought it at the DI.
The gears do not work."

The Grandfather

"Here's my daughter's bike.
She's back in Guatemala.
So, she can't pay you.

She's not coming back.
So, you can have her kid's bikes.
Are they worth something?"


"That bike you gave me?
I left it in Idaho,
Because the fork broke.

The old bike's still here?
The one with the leather strap
On the derailleur?"

He rides away, south.
Dirty rags and torn blue tarp
His stench in the air.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Busy Day

Busy is good. July was quite slow. Quite a few bicycles went out the door today, two recycled bicycles (24 inch wheeled kids bikes) , a Monocog 29er, and a Redline 520. Eva is getting a Conquest Sport on Tuesday. Thanks Eva and Mikie. Busy.

After work I took off my cracked crankset. It was the last crankset from my stash of old Deore DXs. I replaced it with the Raceface set from my Matt Chester Utilitiman (after many years of hard riding, the Ute has a crack at the bottom of the downtube-headtube joint, Matt, if you ever read this, I need a repair job). I put on a pair of DiaComp levers for V-brakes, the brakes from the Ute, a new free wheel and chain, and removed the two fixed cogs. My bike is now a drop bared, 180mm cranked, 32/20 single speed 29er, sort of. One look at it and it's still just a cross bike.

At 8 am tomorrow, me and Hoda ride. Yes, I am going for a ride.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Got Computer?

Yes, I do, for now. Dr. Windbag dropped off his old laptop this morning. So, just as soon as I have something clever to say or compose an extra good baiku I will post it.

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