The aforementioned bike. I believe. I did have a big wheel before that.
Mongoose MTB... Back when Mongoose had a bit of brand integrity.
My dad got into MTBing about the time he bought mine at around age 11. He and my mom had 3-speed cruisers that didn't get much use. He's since been pretty active with the sport, riding pretty regularly and doing triathlons now that he's retired.
Oh, heck yeah. I remember the first time I needed to do something "advanced" for a repair on the mongoose. The front hub needed repacking, and my dad and I opened up the hub, and greased the bearings and put it back together. Later that year, I had to replace the pawls on the cassette as it had begun freewheeling in both directions. Alone, I took apart 2 different hubs and got this one to work with what I could cobble together. I think I was about 12 then. I've always liked to build things and tinker.
I did from about age 16 to about age 20. This was in Macon at one of the 2 shops that existed then.
No. I've never really been über-competitive. I just want to go out and challenge myself and have fun with friends doing the same. I didn't see why any of us needed to be winners or losers as long as we were riding fast and having fun.
Not as much as I'd like. My honeymoon was the first time I had done anything other than overnight. We biked and trained through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary. My bike got stolen in Eastern Hungary on this trip and that's part of the reason I started building, though I had a passionate interest for about 6 years prior.
I've been in the food and wine industry for the last 10+ years. Before that I was a bike messenger for a few years. Currently I work in specialty retail as a manager. We sell beer, wine, cheese, charcuterie and housewares. Food is my other passion in life and this job allows me an avenue to express my passion and to learn about business and managing a team of individuals with different interests, passions, and experiences. But as I'm getting busier and busier building, this job is taking more and more of a backseat to building.
I built my first frame back in 2007, to replace the frame that was stolen in Hungary. I've been practicing and building frames as I could ever since.
Well a few actually. Past builders that I have great respect for are Alex Singer, René Herse, Jo Routens and others. Modern builders that I admire are JP Weigle, Mitch Pryor (MAP Cycles), Toei in Japan, and a few others. I admire these most because they all build in the style I concentrate in, but there are so many other talented builders that are either diverse builders or builders that focus on a different style of bike. Folks like Richard Sachs and Tony Periera to name a couple. The list could go on...
No, I taught myself by watching the Paterek videos and making a lot of mistakes and trying to learn from them. From the beginning, I've pushed myself way beyond my comfort zone and I think I've grown tremendously as a builder because of it.
A bike that disappears underneath allowing you to focus on the journey.
I'm currently working on frames 9 and 10. I've also built a lot of racks and did a lot of random practice brazing both lugged and filet.
Not bikes, but certainly details from certain makers. Especially the Herse stem design.
Honestly, the one that enjoys the process and the experience, that knows what he or she wants, while simultaneously being open to suggestion from my experience both as an avid rider and a builder.
One that really can't afford the right bike up front. If they are going for a custom and spec'ing cheap products that will have to be replaced soon instead of investing in ones that are more long-lived. It's really the short sightedness of the situation. I've deliberately not closed a couple potential sales with potential customers like that, hoping that they either find another bike that will suit their purposes better at this point or at some future point understand the ammortized-cost of better quality goods a bit more.
Well as an up and comer myself: Don't. At least not professionally. Unless you have extreme business savvy as well as a penchant for customer service and the ability to build top notch bikes. Oh and you'll also need a shit-ton of money in the first several years.
Not really sure about this. Maybe an ego'd lack of understanding about bike design. I remember overhearing a conversation at a recent Oregon Handbuilt Show: An attendee was remarking to his friends about a handlebar bag and how it puts so much weight forward of the axle. At first glance he's absolutely right, but then add the weight of the rider and the amount fore of this somewhat arbitrary point is but a small percentage of total weight of the rider and bike. It's a bit short sighted and not fully thought through. Nothing wrong with that, it just shows a lack of personal experience with the specific design. It's the hubris that went along with it. I'd hate to think that folks like that are influencing their less-experienced friends in a negative way. It's mostly a male phenomenon though, but I hear a lot of things like that from time to time.
Depends on the mass-production. There is pretty quality stuff out there that is "mass"-produced and there's much cheaper stuff out there. As an overall thing, I appreciate its existence in the market. Very few folks would say "I think I want to start riding a bike, it's a good thing I have several thousand dollars lying around to spend on a custom machine."
That's a tough one. I've owned some neat bikes, but now that I build bikes, I could theoretically build any of them... Maybe that Spider Man banana seated bike for nostalgia?
My made-by-me 650b Randonneuse. I commute, run errands, ride brevets, camp and generally explore my world on this thing.
Yesterday and about 25-30 miles. I don't really try and keep track.
I've got two:
The First: Taking a tandem tour with my lovely wife. Picking our way through Mediterranean Italy, Sicily, Corsica, Mediterranean France, Catalan, the Pyrénées, the Basque, Northern Spain, and Portugal. Eating and drinking and lounging in picturesque settings, picnicking and dining out. Generally trying to satiate our overwhelming sense of wanderlust and joie de vivre.
The second: Getting together a team of my good riding buddies and going out on some mountain challenge that lasts a long day or through the night. One that has us on a range of emotions and in the end we come out rewarded and much stronger both physically and as friends because of the experience.
I was until last year. It was pretty easy to just never have owned a car and dealing with the limitations. It's nice to have the car to pick up heavy things or to get out of town with our dogs and just go camping or swimming or visiting friends. I wish that the US would invest more in mass transit. We're a big country and having alternatives that were long sighted would be amazing.
It makes you feel like a kid and it's important to have a sense of youth in life. I feel strongly that folks live longer if they feel younger.
Travel and food, wine, cocktails or other sensory pleasures. I fancy myself a bit of a hedonist.
Given what's going on in friends' personal lives this week: (and not in a judgmental way) Why did you leave the woman that helped you through cancer?
Ask me a week ago and it would probably be: You've raised a lot of recognition in America for the sport of cycling... What are you doing now and next to help people grow personally in the sport, if anything?
The only time I eat either is on a brevet, so whatever's open at 3am.
Aveda something or other flavor.
All. If I could only choose one, definitely wine.
Whatever their passion is. For me personally, I want to enjoy the experience. I don't begrudge folks that geek out more than ride, it takes all kinds to make life interesting. They're also the ones that push the envelope of style in bikes because they're the ones that have the time to be loudest, posting and commenting on pictures of beautiful bikes and calling attention to things that industry folks might gloss over. I wish I had more time to geek out on stuff like that, so in a way, I envy them.
No. But I wanted to get into graphic design, advertising, linguistics, engineering and some form of psychotherapy. In a way, owning a business allows me to pursue many of these and I don't have any college debts.
I don't like to put things into genres. I feel too old for that and I don't have any time to geek out on it these days like I did in my younger years. I like music that has soul and edge and passion, no matter the genre. I generally gravitate towards good ole rock-n-roll.
If asked another way: If I won the lottery, what would I be doing? I would absolutely be doing this. Plus product development for touring/randonneuring parts, as I feel like racing components that innovate for the sake of innovation have too much of the market share these days.
Jeez, you mean I get to take a lunch?
I'd like to be known as a force that changed the face of cycling somehow. If not that, a heckuva nice guy that built some great riding bikes.
Give me an email or call or even write a letter.
Cycles J Bryant, LLC
4614 SE 52nd Ave
Portland, OR 97206
Strange thing happened on the way to the forum, I went through old bike-related bookmarks and realized a few different realizations...
1. Many people who once blogged are no longer.
2. Some people -however- are still blogging (are still blogging) about the same stuff (as in, Same Tired Shit, kinda stuff).
3. A few of those same people who are still blogging aren't blogging about the STS (refer to above) because they have moved away from bikes and on into something else.
4. Nearly every blogger -who is still blogging about the STS (refer to above above)- has removed this here blog from their blog links.
5. I don't know why #4 occurred but I do know that I ebb & flow with regard to 'Talking' about bicycles. I love to think and ride them, talk--not so much. One exception being--I'll talk for years to the uninitiated about Bicycles (because that seems sorta important to my brain).
That's all I got for now...
Peace, Love & Jellybeans-
...and it never was for me or my family.
These days you can get bad news --or good news for that matter [but it usually isn't]-- in the blink of an eye. Could be the phone [but not often], could be via email but mostly it's through the pipeline of either Facebook or Twitter. It's all speed-of-sound that feeds the glutinous appetite of a world that, Knew about it Yesterday .
In the thick Army-issue wool blanket of endless updates ranging from the mundane to the, well, mundane hardly anything can snap you out of the stupor of short-attention-span theatre brought to you by the So-The-Fuck-What? attitude that is social networking. But just every so often something does. And it did for me the other day.
Hurl is closing shop. And Hurl is the proprietor of Cars R Coffins. And Cars R Coffins, besides living a half life as a t-shirt, sticker or patch on the ass, toptube or messenger bag of some Fixie ne'er-do-well, was a coffee shop.
But to marginalize or reduce something that shone so bright to me as mere coffee shop is akin to a headstone of a loved one reading, They was Loved. It's not enough. It's not enough because CRC was a Hang [yep, uppercase that H] and a Scene luxe.
Coffee shops serve coffee and the patrons have to make it into something more, something significant, something that is by proxy jive, boring and elitist not to mention uninviting as a convention by Secret Handshake Only. And while CRC's regulars did not do that, and in fact made it a hub for friendship bordering on pure family, I would strongly opine that it still wouldn't have amounted to much more than --a little different-- if it had not been for its founder.
CRC was, is and always will be a big deal to me and my family.
Outside of Bob Brown, the only person we knew at the time of our relocation from the NYC area to the Twin Cities, the first person I actually pressed palms with was Hurl, and it took place within the confines of Cars R Coffins itself.
A move that was exhausting in all ways. Half our shit stuffed into a spur-of-the-moment, holy-shit-we-almost-flipped-the-truck [because the idiot guys we hired to load it overloaded it] rental garage in the middle of Nowhere Pennsylvania [our car included too] that left us reeling when we first arrived in the Land of 10 Bijillion Lakes.
Bob takes me into CRC to, Meet this guy... and so I can get two coffees, one for me and one for my still sleeping wife back in Bob's house in Saint Paul, and a juice for -also sleeping- Chloe.
A guy stands behind the counter and says hi to Bob and then Bob looks at him, me, and back to him.
Hey Hurl. This is the Large Fella, Scott Cutshall.
Hand out, my hand out too. Hi nice to meet you, I've read your blog I think. He's looking nearly as splonked as me.
And that was that.
A few days later...
Our first bike ride, the day after we moved into our first place in St. Paul [before we found a better located place in Minneapolis], was to CRC for coffee for Amy and me, and another fruit juice for Chloe. And we never stopped going. Nearly everyday in fact.
Chloe got her first, Big Girl, bike there [a Schwinn Corvette]. And even though she basically couldn't straddle it, It came from Hurl I can handle it, she would say time and time again after falling over nearly each time she had to stop at an intersection.
These days she rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker [which Hurl helped procure for her] and after having topped out at 4,912 for mileage in 2010 still says she owes it all to, Hurl.
Riding through the long and deep winter that year I worked out a doable loop from our house in the Seward neighborhood. The halfway point was always CRC. Bike in rack, inside for a coffee and some words, swap chemical warmers, and go.
My interview for the Star Tribune newspaper [which first outed my story to the press and people, and for occasionally better but mostly worse] took place at Hurl's coffee and sticker haven.
Eventually Amy and me wanted to have some folks by. Once we felt like we had the house set up enough to not put forth the notion we were slobbing vagabonds who posed as decent humans we planned a Pizza Night where I would scratch make a dozen or so pizzas and entertain some of our new & closest friends. Looking back, it's interesting to note that besides Bob Brown every person there was from having first met them at CRC... including both Hurl and his sig other, Kelly.
Hurl and me have much in common it seems. He'd rightfully disagree but I would argue that what we share is a fairly astute brain in a world of people who we have to, said nicely, suffer with a smirk on our faces. So much in fact I wanted him to be a subject for a long-planned but short-lived series of interviews I intended to conduct called, People I Find Interesting [or PIFI for short]... he participated, Hurl & The CRC PIFI Interview.
Nearing the end of our stay in Minneapolis, after having set into motion the plan to leave for a rainy, damp, gray life in Portland, Oregon, the last place, on our final night in Minneapolis, all three of us stopped before we left town was, yep, CRC. In a darkened parking lot behind the building that had become our home away from home we hugged, laughed, and tried our best to not let Hurl & Co. see what was welling up in our eyes and down our faces.
I visited this past summer. A trip to see Bob and everyone and to attend the FreeRide... and I went to CRC twice during that short trip. And it was good...
...and felt like home,
but here's the crux and juice of it all for me:
I'll miss knowing that if and when we ever return to Minneapolis CRC will not be there as destination/hang/haven or clique for me -and us- on our rides. And that's a gray thing. It's gray because only ever so seldom does your world collide so perfectly with someone or something elses and you can't take that kind of thing for granted. I know I don't, didn't and never have.
No, Minneapolis will never be three numbers for us...
it will always be three letters,
As a dad, as a husband, as a friend, as a person, as a human: I try to impart the best of me toward understanding of many differing things. I think it's one of those things that we, as folks, can do that for the most part differs us from other cell-based lifeforms.
For years I have been telling my daughter, Chloe [and from time to time, my wife, Amy] about the metaphors I have come to learn through a lot of bicycling.
Things like, "Action/Reaction... how that glorious tailwind will turn tail on you and make you pay on the way back home" or "Dividends... how that one big nasty hill that you so despise, really becomes a 'friend' when you encounter an even bigger, nastier, hill in another location on another day" or "Facing Down... how when on those many times you think you cannot do it, or would rather being doing anything but this, you come to realize that amazing sense of self-reliance & just plain old Self that comes from persevering through whatever it is that feels un-doable"... and the actual list is much, much, longer truthfully.
"A thing, or tool, or Bike, or body that isn't needing much in the way of maintenance is -after years of thinking on such things- something not really in that great of shape after all, but instead something that hasn't enjoyed Purpose & Usefulness" [I tell Chloe that one often]... or just the plain & simple: "If you use it, love it, grind on it, it will need care & attention... and if you aren't attentive to its needs, it won't be there for you when you desire it" [as basic as bike care, as complex as Love].
Just a few months back I had the chance to see a great old friend/mentor. This guy is a legend in Jazz. He has played, toured, recorded with names known the world over... these days he is still out there, on the road-in the studios getting it done. Back when I was a musician, I played/recorded/gigged with him... but that was many moons past for me. 100 moons past.
Getting to see him here in Portland was a sort of amazing and odd homecoming for me. You see, when I had last seen him it was also the time I last played with him, and it was the last & final time I played music at all, period. 2 weeks after that gig [in NYC at the Knitting Factory] Chloe was born and I quit music [and to a degree, life]. So seeing him this part October was a big deal to me... a huge deal.
Beyond the weird opening where he didn't know who I was [but once I said his name, he recognized my voice thus recognizing me] it was fantastic in all ways.
After catching up for a bit, and then he getting reacquainted with Amy and getting to meet Chloe for the first time since he had last seen her [as a large bump in Amy's belly at that final gig in September of 1999 in NYC, and then Chloe was born 8 days later], he asked me an amazingly honest & blunt question, "Bro, gotta ask... how do you do it? You know, the music? The creation of it? The creativity... don't you miss The Creativity?"
Caught completely off-guard by the question, I responded without thought or ponderance, "Lieb, yeah... well, when I ride there's much to think about, reconstruct differently, perfectly, in one's mind. Plus, there are the little things on a base technical level."
He continued with, "How so?"
I ended with the only thought I could, "Well, it's not the same of course. How could it be? But, truthfully, there are parallels... things like the way you can work on cadence, or pedal stroke, you know the woodshed stuff. And toward that beautiful, sweeping, wave you get when all cylinders click as one on the bandstand or in the studio with your brothers, well that's very much like not thinking at all during a ride where you & the bike meld into a single entity and you just flow."
He didn't buy it for a second, but he listened and considered it.
Looking back at him and his expression, I am not sure I did either.
Of course it is very different: riding a bike and creating music on the fly... but there are similarities, if you look deep enough.
If you have to look because it's what you've been given without choice or option.
Peace & Love
After packing away BBC#1 this past summer [reason, photos, etc... all Here] and building up a Rivendell Bleriot [documented Here] and realizing that it might be a little big'gish [or that its geometry isn't a perfect fit... without getting too technical: I might be favoring higher BB's these days -but that's a boring thing to talk about so... ] for me, I just kept riding what came into my life back in Jan. of this year:
...a Surly Pugsley.
I bought the bike from a fella here in Portland, right after I had finally Man-Up'd and had one of the final remnants of my Big-Days erased: my umbilical hernia repaired, in early January. He had bought and built it up during the Fall of 2009 with the hopes for grand adventures & such only to realize that thinking a thought is different from doing a thought.
I began riding it to Amy's abject horror while I still had a nice line of sutures in my abdomen. She feared the bike's size would be my -and the surgeons- undoing. I survived, sort of...
...I rode a bit too hard [and landed in the ER for not so much ripping the sutures open as stretching them back-n-forth and bleeding out from my abdomen].
The Pug, to my mind, is pretty near a perfect vehicle. Sure, it's a self-limiting kind of deal that says to its rider: "So, your legs feel pretty great today huh?" as you approach hills with nimble legs & thoughts of speed while climbing... but the Pug's answer is always the same when you climb, "Fuck You: not today, not ever" and that's fine. It's fine because a bike, any bike, that makes its built-in bookends so clearly defined, well you have to laugh to yourself while respecting those bookends vastly. I like that in bikes, I like that in people: What you see is precisely what you get, period.
So why do I ride it? ...and where?
2nd part 1st, 1st part 2nd...
It does anything any other bike does, and mostly it does it way better than any other bike. Maybe, it does one thing worse than any other bike [but I don't really think so]... climbs. Hey, I've had full groceries + Chloe on the Big Dummy, and that pup is S L O W, and while that's reasonable, it -also- feels really S L O W...
The Pug, on the other hand, with full groceries [and minus the child, of course... no real way to get her on-board with me + these days Chloe doesn't really want towed anywhere any longer] is S L O W but feels monstrous in what it's capable of... sort of like driving an Abrams tank through a K-Mart parking lot: It isn't doing its intended thing, but damn, I could inflict a world of hurt on all these cookie-cutter mini vans if I desired, and it still gets me around to boot.
I've ridden it into Malls [funny, people loved it, security didn't]; I've ridden it in snow [duh]; I've ridden it into one entrance of a supermarket -straight through the supermarket- and out the other side [felt wonderful, plush, comfy... sure it scared the living shit out of a few folks but I would guess it gave them something to talk about later that evening once home]; I've ridden up & down stairs; I've ridden it up & down steep hills [again, it tells you how to ride it with no further discussion options available]; and I've ridden along, and then into, the Willamette River [didn't float, wasn't overly great on the drive train, but the Pug -and- me, we both survived].
Oh, and I've ridden it from central Oregon to the California border on mostly the beach [and a little highway-when the beach simply wasn't there anymore]...
...with Chloe & Amy meeting me, 240 miles & two days, later:
The Pug is my new favorite bike indeed.
Plus, you have to love a bike that simultaneously stimulates the curiosity and ire of Racing Snob wannabes; is a favorite among the insane & homeless: all curious about the Pug as I roll by while they go about their business residing under bridges/masturbating while sitting on park benches/etc; invites Crystal Meth heads to smile when they encounter me & the Pug out tooling along the Springwater Trail; and forces city bus drivers to launch into "Keep motorcycles out of the GAWDDAMN bus lane buddy!" on nearly every ride...
not to mention -apparently- drives every individual to ask the same two questions:
1. "Can I pick that up and see what it weighs?"
2. "Does it have an engine?" ...yeah, Me.
so long as you do not stop.
In 7 days Jack will turn 97 years old.
He isn't sick. He isn't on meds, any meds at all. Most of his friends are dead and gone because Jack has simply outlived them, all.
He makes his own food. He raises his own flag each & every day, he brings it down each & every evening at sunset. He's not lonely.
He rides his bike each & every day.
7 Days ago Chloe turned 11 years old.
She isn't sick. She isn't on meds, any meds at all. Most of her friends are alive because Chloe is simply too young to have experienced the loss that comes with age, all advanced age.
She makes a lot of her own food -and watches with curiosity when others make food she doesn't yet know how to make. She owns no flag to fly. She's not lonely.
She rides her bike each & every day.
She wants to meet Jack, and together - she wants to go for a bike ride with him.
It's funny, life. It's also quite odd, life... it's, also, unbelievably perfect & beautiful too.
All the folks who told me or suggested that I -stop- blogging, now blog themselves; all the haters have come & gone... and only a few have ever come forward & introduced themselves -and of those: I forgave them/they forgave me;
the Bicycling Magazine piece has come and passed too; those closest to me have seen me come within a whisker of some sort of -bigger- fame, and then watched me -in that quintessential way I am capable of- burn those bridges down too; the Today Show came around twice... and I sent them away twice;
Jenny-O turkey came around too, they wanted to talk turkey to me, they wanted me to be their national spokesperson with a series of TV ads... and while I don't eat meat, their meat, any one's meat, it was a funny & odd thing... and then that disappeared too;
Amy and me are older, so is Chloe -now 11 years old- and we still love one another and cover each other's 6; I don't weigh myself too often these days -mostly for curiosity or a small taste of the old familiar- and then that's that; I hover around 165 pounds; we have a newer cat + the older one, and they actually sort of like each other; we raised, were loved by and fell deeply in love with, 2 Indian Runner Ducks we named Lucy & Petunia... and then, just 5.2 months into their short lives, they were taken from us, them from themselves, by raccoons, and that was heartbreaking;
and while we still don't like Portland too much, we are used to it, to it's strange, smiling, quick to chat but never to follow up in any-meaningful-way people... but we forgive them more easily these days because we understand that being ultra-conservative while trying to appear hyper-progressive must be one big cross to bear;
it still rains too often here; people still don't know how to drive their cars well here [or anywhere else for that matter]; we bought a new car [but don't drive it much]; I got a new bike which I ride a lot; Chloe got a new bike too, and will hit 7.5K this year in mileage and me -as her dad- couldn't be more proud;
Amy is still the absolute love of my life; I got brave and finally had my umbilical hernia -the final gift from my Days of Huge- repaired earlier this year, and that's been great, and I didn't die on the O.R. Table; and the Doc who repaired me has become a great friend, and we ride together;
I fly a lot these days: on planes [and get strip-searched by the TSA because I not only carry my own food but because I have deflated skin on me and that seems to worry them, the TSA, a lot... and they ruined my chance to go to InterBike in Las Vegas last month, but maybe someone will invite me next year, we'll see] and mostly on-bikes; I am writing my memoir and am signed with a literary agency in New York City... and who woulda thought that possible back when I was sunk with weight & life and things were looking more than just a little bleak?; we are planning another move soon... either Northern California [pricey], Southern California [uncertain] or Austin, Texas [possibly];
I am also thinking I need some really big challenges soon so I am considering either Paris Brest Paris or the Tour Divide or some other things;
and... and... and...
Life goes On.
Forgot to close all this out with a final weigh-in, so...
Weight: 170.2 pounds
Weight on Last Weigh-In [March 5th, 2009]: 178.4 pounds
Loss Of: 8.2 pounds
Total Loss Since November, 2005: 330.8 pounds
to all those that write me:
It can be done -by you- if you allow it to be. I am proof that it can be done. It's easy [that's why it's so hard & difficult]. But, if you want it, it can be done.
Maybe in the end, that's the message:
Beyond proof that it can be done, do [did] you want to honestly know [about] how to do it?
Peace & Blessings...
Keep Ridin'... Always
And that's really The End!