As our planet gets more technologically advanced, we seem to throw away more and more on a yearly basis. Computers, phones, tablets, cars, bikes, cameras and crazy words like clod hopping. All disposable. Better, stronger, faster, lighter, year-in and year-out. My parents held onto everything until it was completely and utterly falling apart. My dad had these freakin’ plaid pants that were right out of the 50s’ but it was 1990. My friends and I nicknamed him “Plaid”. He even took to it and lived it, until one day when were all old enough and strong enough to sit and drink with him. It took four of us to hold him down and cut those pantaloons off of him, but we did it. One of my friends even made a head band out of those polyester fugly pants and wore it at the Friday night parties for months as we dropped keg stand after keg stand and funnel after funnel.
Now that was staying power. I have to say that I am now following suit. Not with plaid pants thank fully, but with a pair of cycling shoes from Sidi that I bought 22 years ago. The Dominator. I bet they never thought there would be a whacked out mountain bike photographer still riding with those stinky, dirt covered, blue leather shoes with just a hint of ugly fluorescent green. My Sidis have ridden in every Western state and most Eastern ones too. They have clipped into the first clip-less pedals that Shimano made and now clip into the lightest, most expensive pair ever made – the Quad Ti by a company named Crank Brothers. They have been ridden over one hundred thousand miles. Have been rain soaked and mud encrusted thousands of times. Have been through ten separate bikes and now alternate between three on a weekly basis. They are scuffed and even have some of their seams falling apart, but have worked without issue for twenty two years.
These shoes are a testament to an era that seems to be falling by the waist-side. My mission is to now keep them, much in the same way my father kept his plaids, until you or my children pry them from passed out and drunken feet.
In the same breath a package arrived at my door today. A brand-new shiny box. Inside was a frame to a bike that I once owned. This bike is one of a very few. A machine built by a man name Chris Chance. It was created in 1995. At the time, it was the beginning of the full-suspension mountain bike era. This bike was completely fabricated by hand and made of chromoly steel in Massachusetts. Shock-a-Billy number 30. These bikes are rare because shortly after his company disappeared, swallowed up by the stream of newer, faster, lighter, etc. Mine was custom made just for me after I wrote a letter to Chris and his wife begging for one. This was in fact my third bike by them for me. It was in fact a family matter to some extent. The letter might have been the first piece of writing where I realized my passion for it. I will probably spend more time and money restoring this machine than it originally cost me, but how often does hindsight give you a redo?
So as I write a check for my brand new Canon 1DX, I will keep abusing my poor old shoes until they burst under the strain of my daily rides or my kids make buy some trendy new Chinese-made plastic pieces of shit that don’t last a season. Thank you Sidi for a least making those $200 shoes depreciate at less than $10 a year for the last 22. Film didn’t even last that long in my photography career. One can only guess what the horizon holds.
As for the frame…I will probably post more about the Fat Chance as we restore a much more beaten sole. Beaten, but just like the shoes, not broken.