There are these crazy people in Italy who ride their classic road bikes on dirt roads every year. They call it l’Eroica. And there are some nutters up north who take 2 days to ride 85 miles on old 3-speeds. And ever since I became enlightened about these events I’ve had a soft spot for ancient bicycles. English 3-speeds are easy enough to find. But those single speed racing bikes of the 30s, well, they’re either broken, or in a museum, or both. So that’s a bummer.
A little British bike maker called Pashely decided to make a bike just for me, bless their hearts. And in keeping with the spirit of all things I covet, they decided to price it well above my means. Go figure. So screw it, I’m building my own.
You may recall the Continental that I droned on about a while back. I still have it, still ride it, still love it. The geometry of that bike, while not 1930s racer geometry, is really very slack compared to modern road machines. So she’s going to the powder coater soon for bead blasting and some gloss black paint. The dress code calls for flipped 3-speed bars and cork grips. I scrounged some 38mm whitewall tires and the brakes from the touring bike will be transplanted, too. It won’t be exact, but it will be still be fixed, and it will definitely have a few more coolness points once it’s done. And the name – the Screaming Yellow Zonker – well, you don’t change your name when you change your clothes, do you?
The MTB is also going in for paint. But probably not until next spring. Orange. Nissan A16 to be specific. Because orange is the fastest color.
Flat pedals with no clips. I thought I liked clips and straps a lot, but I just couldn’t solve the hot spot problems with my right foot. Turns out that riding without retention is the way to go.
Drop bars. I thought I needed them, but I can’t get comfy. The Zonker is the last bike I have with them and they’re going away.
Indexed shifting. My conscience tells me to hate them, to embrace my inner retro-grouch, to shun the cyclists with “brifters”. Folks, indexed shifting rocks my world. Brifters are still gay.