No ride photos for this week, but suffice to say I rode Saturday at Wakefield for the Aaron Ryan memorial ride, Sunday in the woods, took a break monday, hit the commute reasonable hard on Tuesday, Patapsco after work yesterday, and nothing today. Yep, two rest days in one week... I'm takin' 'er easy for all those slackers out there. I was due a week with a couple days off so that's what I'm doing, hoping to hit it hard on the weekend.
It's been a solid week because my LBS and Redline did me a major solid. My Monocog Flight - which admittedly got rode hard and put up wet all fall and winter - has a crooked rear wheel. There's no way to get it into the dropouts, Paragon slider knockoffs, such that the tire is equidistant from the chainstays and simultaneously equidistant from the seat stays. It turns out that the sliders - the dropout portion - are shot. Instead of being nice, flat little slots through which a couple allen bolts secure the sliders, they are a couple little metallic smiles, curving up on the near and far ends.
So I've been looking for a replacement frame. A replacement for this replacement - it's already a warranty replacement bike since the first generation Monocog Flight was infamous for blowing the dropouts, and that's just what mine did. Evidently the problem isn't completely solved. Movie Star JPoz has been looking for a Kona Unit for me, I pinged Bikeman to see if they had any recommendations, and was just about prepared to spring for a remaindered bike to tide me over until I could get a really solid frame custom built (in a year or two) when my buddy Seibold, proprietor of the fine Family Bike shop, suggested we ask Redline about a warranty claim. What's the worst that could happen, they say no?
That sounded smart, so his man Tyler took some photos, spent some time running down answers with Redline, and got me to a good, excellent solution.
Turns that the slider problem is something the Flights still have, even with the redesigned sliders. So Redline is willing to warranty it for me. Only problem is, they don't have any 2011 Flight frames in stock in 19". So they thought about stripping a complete bike... but then negotiated it out with FBS and agreed to just give me a 2012 frame which will have a completely redesigned dropout. Sweet! But they won't be in until sometime in the fall. Not Sweet! But wait - they offered to send me a regular old Monocog frame, the entry level, heavy steel sucker (probably rides sweet though) to use until the new Flight frame comes in and I think they might actually let me keep the loaner. SRSLY? I don't know if it's new or a remainder or a return or whatever but that is amazingly cool of them, and yep, it makes me want to do more business with Redline in the future. Very sweet! I think Tyler or Jon likely did a lot of negotiating on my behalf, but it's mighty generous of them to stand behind their product that solidly and give a brother who is a riding junkie a hookup. My Flight has been ridden harder and more often than Kim Kardashian, and although I haven't exactly been dirt jumping or riding urban stunts on it, they would be within their rights to tell me to go get another bike and I wouldn't have complained.
The moral of the story is pretty simple. Good folks deserve your business because they stand behind the products they make and sell. This includes topnotch local bike shops and manufacturers that bend over backwards to make sure you're happy with their product. They earn your loyalty. Now it's not in the cards for me to always stick with the same brand, but Redline is going to stay in the mix for me after this. My kid will probably need a 26" bike within a year or three, my wife may want an upgraded 29'er, my friends may want to get MTBs or cross bikes. I'll be compelled to say good things.
How is the Monocog Flight to ride? Pretty damn good. It's a singlespeed, you know, point and shoot. It ups and goes pretty well, the Avid BB5s are pretty good as mechanical disc brakes go. The stock wheelset is a little heavy but the bike retails for around $900, you can't expect awesome wheels at that price. It's smooth; it eats up the bumps really well for a rigid, and it works real nice with an 80 or 100mm suspension fork if you choose to put one on. It does most things really well, maximizes the strengths of the 29'er wheel (stability, smoothness, ability to flow over obstacles) and it's hard to beat at the pricepoint. The Monocog doesn't do racy stuff - it's not a short framed racing 29'er with a 3 pound frame and super nippy, nervous handling. But it does everything else pretty well, and it's capable of being raced better than I'm capable of racing it. Yeah, I'm faster on it in most places than I am on my geared full suspension bike. Go figure. A nice, solid 29'er. Seeing how Redline stands behind it, just burnishes my impression of it.
Now for some tunes...
First, a little Scott Miller. This guy is just a damn good song writer and singer. Haven't a clue why he's not more popular. Oh wait a minute, yes I do. He writes more or less grownup music. I been drunk all around this town...
I guess it's possible for guys like that to really make it in show business. There aren't many of them though. We tend to think about Lady Gaga or Madonna as music stars. But there's a lot of people out there making a good living at playing and writing music, but they aren't the first name that comes to mind when you think of music and they certainly aren't on the playlists of any pop stations. Come to think of it, most high quality people in life aren't famous. They're just doing their local gig. And often they're far superior to people who are famous for doing the same thing. Case in point:
And some people are famous in a limited sphere, but then gone before you get a chance to really know who they are.
Some are just interesting too, in addition to being talented. Charlie Mingus negotiated some difficult questions of race when he was coming up. Tiger Woods makes a thing out of it but Mingus - in addition to maybe being the greatest bassist of all time - was the original Cablinasian. Not that it mattered; people only saw his music.
And a lot of times in stuff that's a little more obscure, you catch some stuff that's got a slice of life in it. "All you chirrets - get off the cars."
See you all on the flipside.