Thursday, March 29, 2012

Drop bars not bombs

Having always been a rider of the racer/weight-weener variety, it never occurred to me that there might be alternatives in the handlebar department that weren't made out of carbon fibre. The first signs of my awakening started when early adopter, Cleetus built up his non-suspension ready Singular Gryphon with a Salsa Woodchipper drop handlebar. He also he put a Soma Moustache bar on Sam's old Colnago. I had never seen one of these before either. It comes from having a sheltered child hood I think.

Cleetus always has to be different. It's in his nature. He uses Linux, he's a Vegan, he reverses his mouse buttons, he has his brakes on the wrong side. He's the first to train with a Power tap, the first to have an Android phone. But he's not a gear freak, each purchase is researched intensively. He will tell you there are good reasons for all of these things, and he's probably right. Under his rebellious influence I went to the other side and put a Salsa Woodchipper drop bar on my Karate Monkey and have really enjoyed it. I cant say precisely why, maybe a change is good?

Then Bill turned up at my work. Bill is the antithesis of the race weener (except when he is in a Yacht and its anything goes). Bill's only training for the 1100km Kiwii Brevet was a bit of surfing at Lyall Bay, some commuting out to the Hutt and one long ride (over 3 hours). Like Cleetus, Bill is a seismologist at the very pointy end of things. Suffice to say that in the aftermath of the Christchurch Quake there wasn't much time for bike tweekage or training for either of them pre-Kiwi Brevet. And grinding away for 1100kms probably felt like being in heaven, compared to fronting up to the pressures of work.

Bill has a fleet of very hip handmade bikes with names that I cant pronounce, with an array of interesting handlebars, like the Clarence Bar, the Mary Bar and the Albatross Bar. I wondered how many more alternative kinds of handlebars there were out there, so I started to collect them in a Tumblr page. I am dedicating it to Bandolero Bill. Check them out.