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BOOSTY WOOSTY

We've talked about the Boost Hub and we've made predictions that single speeding is on the rise, but what we haven't done is weed out the people who can't handle the truth...from the people who can.

In this next video, we're taking you play by play through the machining end of the Boost Hub. It's twelve minutes, peeps, but not everything is a soundbite. Especially when you're in the business of manufacturing quality. 

Man, Patrick, you got a nerdy mouth

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTENT MAY CONTAIN MAJOR MACHINE SHOP NERDINESS NOT SUITABLE FOR SOME AUDIENCES, VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

7 Questions with Mike Ferrentino, Mountain Bike Journalist, and writer of The Grimy Handshake column for BIKE Magazine

1. Paul is a huge fan of your Grimy Handshake column. Just curious, what other aspects are there to your writing career? Any other genres? Short story, science fiction, etc.? 

Well, once upon a time, somewhere back after I dropped out of college having decided that I wasn’t as excited about being a journalist as I had been in my teens, but before life as an indentured servant of the bike industry had eaten all my dreams (okay, not true. The bike industry only ate a few of my dreams, and usually asked first…), I wanted to write a novel about a professional toss-dwarf who is cast out of the dwarf tossing league under scandalous circumstances, and then goes in search of his birth mother - who he has never met - who it turns out is a an ex-circus bearded giant strongwoman living in the Sacramento Delta on a carefully disguised houseboat. But it’s still waiting to happen. So, no. My writing career has occurred almost entirely within the context of bicycles.

2. We're somewhat focusing on single speeding in this November issue of our newsletter, and we know you were there at the start of the movement (or somewhere close to it). Can you give us the Reader's Digest version of how it went down?

Someone once called me the Gary Fisher of one speeding, as both compliment and insult. It’s not like anyone can really invent something that already existed for a century prior, and there had been a whole shit-ton of one speed mountain biking going on before my peers and I stumbled along. But we did sort of happen to find a resonance, for lack of any better word, in NorCal in the early 1990s. 

So, the reader’s digest version was that I had wrecked super hard at this hellish summer race in the East Bay, Briones, I think. 1991 sometime. And I had wadded myself up all the way down my right side so that I was basically one giant hematoma - just this limping mass of lumpy bruising all over my right leg. A guy I used to work with at Velo City Cycles (RIP Holland Jones. You are missed...) at the time had spent some time racing track and told me that if I wanted to get some flexibility back in my legs as well as regain strength that I should ride a one speed. Spin like a madman on the flats, mash up the climbs.

I had this big dumb suspension fork on my bike, with a big dumb disc brake, and all kinds of esoteric shit for a drivetrain that kept breaking, so I thought, what the fuck. Stripped the gears off, started riding everywhere with only one, went back to racing (I had just stepped up into the expert class and had been getting absolutely crushed), and not only did I realize I was having more fun racing, I was suddenly a bunch faster. There were a couple other guys around NorCal who were also ditching the gears, and there was a race in Yreka, the Humbug Hurryup - this big 35 mile bruiser of a loop - that offered $500 for the first place one speeder. This was also right about when Bob Seals was also putting together the first Retrotecs.

By the time I moved to Santa Cruz in 1992, I was riding a Retrotec and there was an easy half dozen of us regularly showing up without gears at the races. A year or so later, we started this thing called the California Crusty Cruiser Cup, which was a series of races that we dropped into existing events like cuckoos laying eggs. Within two years our numbers had grown so much that we then took the entire series offline and started producing outlaw one-speed events. Then those rapidly grew to the point where it became nerve wracking to promote them the old outlaw way - a 100 or so gearless renegades showing up in a public park on a busy weekend - at which point I decided that it was a good time to ease myself away from the growing mayhem.

3. Motorcycles. Why do you have to have so many of them?

Because I have a big barn?

4. Describe your very first single speed bike that you cobbled together part by part.

Well, see, that implies that I built up some hooptie thing out of gritty necessity. In my case, my first single speed was an exercise in reduction. I had this Yeti FRO, the fucking thing had already cracked in a couple places and been repaired (so much for believing that article in Mountain Bike Action calling Yetis the strongest bikes ever made), and it had this monumentally shitty Mountain Cycle Suspender fork and Pro-Stop disc brake. It was my cross country race bike and it weighed 31 pounds. And the fork sucked. And the brake sucked too. And my super fancy Dura Ace7-speed  freewheel kept eating very expensive small cogs. And the Mavic hub the freewheel was spun onto kept bending axles. And shit just kept falling apart all over the place. So I took it all off, put the rigid fork back on, stripped it down to just a middle ring and a BMX freewheel, respaced the frame to fit a way narrower axle, and rode off into the sunset. I shed seven pounds of useless shit and was so damn happy after that.

5. Tell us about the trails you're building on your property. 

Funny how some things go full circle. Bob Seals used to have a ranch in the foothills east of Chico. And people who raced for him had to show up there sooner or later and dig trails in the rocks. People who lived at the ranch were fed a steady diet of trail building. And they were all fast and tough. At the time it didn’t make sense to me, seemed like a good way to burn people out. Fast forward 25 years, and I have this 85 acre poison oak farm with nothing resembling flat ground anywhere on it. Useless for farming. Can’t build on it. Not much in the way of water. But it is perfect for building trails. And so that’s what I do every winter these days. Shovelfit! It is gratifying on so many levels.

Physically, it is incredibly hard work, at a place that is already a daily dose of “work like a rented mule” labor, but it is also a perfect reset from staring at a computer. And it is a nice break to be doing something with back and shoulders and arms, which don’t really get taxed that much pedaling bikes. It becomes addictive. The first couple trails were much more basic than what we are starting to dig now, and already I feel like they need to be totally redone.You walk and walk and walk the land, looking for the right combination of slope and line and vegetation, then you etch in a line and walk some more, and look at it from different aspects. And then bench on some trail. Then ride it and modify. And with every new foot of trail, I learn something about not just how I build, but how I see terrain. And therefore everything needs to be constantly revised. Like I said, addictive.

Fortunately, the ground gets too hard to work by late spring, so that means summertime gets spent doing other stuff. But right now, waiting for the first rains to come and soften the dirt, I swear to dog, it’s like waiting for Christmas.

6. Do you ever think the bicycle will be used as a viable, honorable mode of transportation in this country? 

In the US? No. Not as long as we have heavily subsidized dinosaurs to burn. We face some huge challenges: sheer size of country, more cultural boneheaded stubborn-ness than any other nation, a totally auto-depended infrastructure, and a real lack of any impetus to change any aspect of those last two challenges. So, unless the shit really hits the fan, which inevitably it will, we are going to continue to be a nation of morbidly obese, lazy, close-minded dipshits (readers of this newsletter excepted, naturally) who refuse to enact any change because it is just too easy and too comfortable to keep sitting around on their asses doing nothing and cracking stupid jokes about them spandex-wearing bicycle communists. Or something like that.

7. Paul says your brain is like an encyclopedia (or you seem very well-versed on any subject he's asked you about). Do you feel this is true, and do you find this to be a helpful personality trait or a hindrance?

I am so damn stupid, it amazes me every day that I don’t get my head stuck in the fence trying to graze the other side. Life these days has me at the bottom of so many different learning curves all at once, that I am constantly stunned by the sheer volume of everything I don’t know. And with each passing day, I find out about EVEN MORE stuff I don’t know. Seriously. Meanwhile, I am surrounded by amazing, talented, driven, capable people. It feels most of the time like everyone else is smarter AND harder working than me.
You can follow Mike on Instagram @ekimonitnerref

PAULOWEEN

by Zack Cunningham - @belowtreeline
What a sight to behold - all those bike lights in the darkness, illuminating a parade of adults in face paint and homemade pac-man ghosts costumes...Poo (and Pooh Bear) were there too.

We had a Bs race, a Mini Bike race (adults on tiny pink kid's bikes), and an As race. Two bands, DJs, and a taco truck later, PAULOWEEN ended like only the best parties do...when the cops showed up.

They were really nice about it and, luckily, the revelry was pretty much done. We were being too loud because fun is loud, especially when there's good music like XDS and Skin Peaks.

We'd like to thank our amazing sponsors, who made everything more legit: 

Chico Corsa Cycing Club
24/7 DJ Services
Simworks
Wilderness Trail Bikes
DynaPlug
Sierra Nevada
Rufu Chico
Dannyboy Smith
Jake Early
Greenline,
Campus Cycles
DPottery (winner cups)
Stephen Tranberg (medals)
Car Sick Designs 
Jalapeno City

Here's more pictures:


 
by Zack Cunningham
by Aaron Johnson - @fatcatbikebags
by Zack Cunningham

A few words from Paul about Philly Bike Expo

"Let’s just start by saying this is the best bike show in the country. It’s got a low key positive vibe all the way around. Small enough to be homey but big enough to attract a really interesting slice of the bike world. We were there two  years ago, and it seems to have doubled in size since then.
 
This year was a last minute decision to attend. I knew several people that were going and all said it was a really good show. One ticket and two really heavy suitcases later, I arrived in Philadelphia. The team putting on the show, the Bilenky clan, were all super helpful. I didn’t hear one complaint the entire time from other vendors which is a small miracle, believe me.
 
If you have the chance to go next year I’d highly recommend it.”
 

TECH SUPPORT

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