Last night I was out in my garage working on my bikes. I was just making an excuse really to be out there to drink a few beers and listen to some loud, angry music. I have a pretty decent set up with a nice tool bench and just about all the tools I really need. I enjoy being out there, putting around with my bikes, making small adjustments here and there, and cleaning them up. I check the tires and chain for wear and see if any of the cables need replacement. I also check and re-grease the seatposts because I don’t ever want to be “that guy”. I’m not the greatest mechanic in the world (that would be my brother Jon), but I’d say I’m better than average. When I’m working on my bikes I start to forget about the shitty day I just had and I get into a sort of trance. This can be both good and bad. Sometimes I’m surprised by people stopping over to say hello, like my buddy Bender did last night. I was seating a tire on a rim when suddenly I hear from behind me “Listening to some Dead Kennedys, drinking beer and working on bikes. I dig it!” I think I must have jumped two feet in the air.
An older shot of my garage.
Anyways, last night I wanted to put a set of our new Knard 700 x 41’s that Atom got for me to test out. I got them on my trusty CrossCheck without a hitch and took the bike for a quick spin around the neighborhood to see how they felt. Now I can’t wait to get them on some dirt! Then I pulled out my beloved Krampus and gave that some overdue loving. As I was working my way through my stable of bikes I noticed my Karate Monkey hanging in the far corner with no tires on the rims and a good coat of dust on it. I knew what I was going to do next. I had a set of fairly new Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires (I highly recommend these tires!) that needed to be put back on my Monkey so I got to work. I don’t know if it’s just me or what but putting on new Schwalbe tires is a challenging endeavor, especially without tire levers-which I do not like to use. It sucks getting old - I have some minor arthritis in both of my hands now so this took more effort and sweat than normal. After about a half an hour, two beers and several curse words, the wheels were set to roll. Time to take the Monkey for a spin. As I’m riding I’m remembering why the Karate Monkey was my favorite mountain bike. When I got my Krampus the Monkey was hung up in the corner forgotten about. Every now and then I would glance at it and feel kind of guilty as I was wheeling a different bike out of my garage. Last night my typical spin around the neighborhood turned into a two hour ride as I found myself looking for some local dirt. I didn’t want to stop riding; I was having too much fun. I love riding a single speed and I especially love the way the Karate Monkey feels under me. It handles like a dream and fits me like a glove, the bike just begs for dirt. By the way, my Monkey is almost completely stock with the exception of the saddle and tires. After I got home I hung my Karate Monkey back in its rightful place, the hook of honor. It’s easy to get excited about new bikes and new bike builds, especially if it’s something you’ve been waiting for a long time. If you’re anything like me you’ve probably got more bikes you need and under no uncertain terms are you willing to part with any of them. Just try not to forget about any of them, dust them off and take them for a ride and you’ll remember why you loved them.
Keep the rubber side down,