Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It's a Monkey!

Date: April 2
Mileage: 31
April mileage: 31
Temperature: 39

My Karate Monkey is done! Strange how these things come to pass. It wasn't even a month ago that I was happy as could be with my Gary Fisher. How does a person shift from "I need a new bottom bracket," to, "eh, what the heck, I'll just buy a whole brand new bike"? Very quickly, very easily, I'm afraid. Combined with all my winter-riding expenses, my bank account is now hemorrhaging money at an alarming rate. But since when do I care about money? Give me shiny goodness!

A close-up shot of the Reba fork. It has a pop-lock, which I like since I do so much pavement riding just to access trails. And when it's not locked out, it's oh-so-buttery smooth. You can't even tell you're bouncing up and down.

And here's the drivetrain. Nothing to really brag about, but it is notable in that it's brand new. When I built up Pugsley last fall, nearly everything I stuck on it besides the frame came secondhand. With the Monkey, just about everything is factory new. Those platform pedals are a multiple-crash-deformed relic from the Snaux Bike days. The Ergon grips were Sugar's. The seat, seatpost and fenders belong to Geoff. (I still have to acquire my own.) But, beyond that, this is the newest bike I've owned since my touring bike circa 2004.

I guess my chosen build of the Karate Monkey is a little strange. I took a perfectly good, rigid, single-speed-ready steel frame and slapped a bunch of bling on it. I'm not ashamed. People with knees like mine aren't lining up to own single speeds, and I'm not against suspension. I just didn't think I required full suspension anymore. I don't think I'll even miss the bouncy on back.

Geoff was actually the first person to ride the bike. It's fitting, since he was the one who actually completed the build (I know better than to touch most of that stuff unless it's a dire repair emergency. As a mechanic, I'm a bike's worst nightmare.)

I spent a short three hours this morning test-riding my new Monkey. I think most cyclists get a pretty strong sense of their bike's "personality" during the first ride. Despite the big wheels and burly frame, I was sensing a "female" vibe from this bike ... sensitive, but with a high pain threshold. Since Karate Monkey is kind of a mouthful, I think I'll call her "Kim." (I know, I know, but when have I ever been all that creative with bike names?)

Most of our ride today was on wet pavement, but I did try her out in all the terrain available in Juneau in April:

Kim in snow (Like a hot knife in butter.)

Kim on the beach (Like a dull knife in butter.)

Kim in mud. (Ahh, just right.)

I like Kim. I think she and I stand to become good friends. Even now, when I'm with Kim, I can close my eyes and imagine a world where there's no job to keep, no cats to feed, no rent to pay; a world where the trails don't fade out and the road doesn't end; a world where I can lift my head up, and just ride.