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Greetings from Northern Virginia

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    Greetings from Northern Virginia

    So most of what you need to know about me is in my avatar, the venerable and mighty Huffy Bluebeard muscle bike, circa 1973. I had a lot of bikes stolen growing up. Out of the yard. Out from under me. But the Bluebeard is the one I miss. Dad brought it home one day after its predecessor had been boosted, and I fell in love. The front tire had 'ACTION TREAD' in big white letters on the sidewall, and the rear read 'CHEATER SLICK'. I mean... c'mon! Waves on the banana seat and an inexplicable pirate on the chain guard promised adventure, and then there was the three-speed.

    It was mounted under a chromed panel with a woodgrain vinyl sticker. Mine read, 'Speed', 'Drive', and 'Low', and it had a T handle like this.

    Click image for larger version

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    What magic was this? 'Drive' I understood. And 'Speed', although initially disappointing (just makes it harder to pedal!), quickly showed its worth. But my particular neighborhood was built on a reclaimed swamp, and the few inclines we had were hardly worthy of a gear of their own. 'Low', indeed. I never touched it again. Inevitably the T handle broke in a crash, leaving a slim, steel blade securely mounted to my top tube. Neither of my parents noticed or addressed this issue, assuming, as I did, that I'd take particular care not to be disemboweled by it.

    And oh, the opportunities for evisceration!

    By the time I was 11 or so the flatness of the landscape had driven us all a bit mad, and we started jumping our bikes off of a 3' ledge fronted by bushes that was the foundation of an apartment building. The trick was to go fast enough to clear the bushes, land the jump, and turn on the grass before you plowed into another hedge about 20' away. The next summer we became obsessed with launching off of a 4' drop to a paved parking area, convinced that we could land a flip. I'm pretty sure I did, once, and wobbled about ten feet before falling over. I know I was upside down as some point.

    Around that same time, our German Shorthaired Pointer, Waylon Jennings of Radiant, Aroda, and I invented bikejoring. I'd started out by taking him for walks on my skates down by the waterfront where there's a long, wide, paved promenade. Or on a skateboard. We frequently disagreed on whether or not to dash into the trees after a squirrel with calamitous results, but he loved to run and pull. In retrospect, teaching him mushing commands would have been a good idea. I rigged him a bit of a harness, and tied his leash to the headtube of the Bluebeard, and we would FLY, and occasionally crash horrifically, and we were fine and happy with our scrapes.

    And all along the way, if something broke I'd figure out a way to fix it with what was on hand, or remove it and work around it somehow if it couldn't be fixed.

    Then, same as it ever was, the Bluebeard was liberated from the walled-in garden. A while later Dad brought home a steel framed Bridgestone cruiser he'd gotten from someone, outfitted to cross continents with front and rear pannier mounts, a dynamo, and a bewildering and vaguely European drivetrain. I immediately took it all apart in the basement, and spent weeks getting the necessary bits back together. I saw a lot of the city on that bike, and we had a good time, but I don't miss it.

    Missed being a Mountain Bike kid by a couple or three years. Had one for a year in college, but it was heavy and didn't offer much more return for effort than walking. Gravitated to small motorcycles while living in Asia, and the only bike I've loved as much as the Huffy was my Yamaha RZX 135 two-stroke. Same vibe, and we got into all kinds of messes and scrapes. I've probably got about 50k road miles on motorcycles, but now I live 2 miles from work, and even my little Ninja 250 couldn't warm up on the short trip. Plus somewhere along the line I became a dad, and a slight lardass, and too busy to have much fun at all, which brings us to this May, when I decided I need a bike, and I wanted an electric motor on it.

    Enough parts have now arrived for me to install the BBSHD on my Gravity Deadeye 27Plus, and I plan to empty out the bottom bracket and get it mounted and wired up this weekend. Battery is still being built, and my new wheelset is somewhere between here and Oregon, but I'm hoping to be able to drag it down to the Outer Banks next month for a week of shakedown runs. I'm taking pics for a build thread.

    If you're in the area and want to ride, post up and we'll hit Difficult Run and/or Lake Fairfax Park.

    - D C Erik
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    Last edited by DCErik; 07-25-2020, 10:01 PM.