Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cash Flow Enhancer?

I wonder if I could earn a little pocket money as an online consultant for people trying to build up their own bikes. They could email me their questions and I could guide them, for some kind of reasonable fee. I'd be paid to work for them, from the standpoint of my own experience and prejudices. I take no money to endorse any product I currently recommend. I promote stuff I think works well. I would function as the seeking cyclist's friendly mentor and bullshit detector.

Be advised, I detect a lot of bullshit in the bike industry. And I never presume to speak beyond my area of experience. Want to build something to throw down cliffs with yourself aboard? Can't help you. Problems with hydraulics? Your first problem was wanting them. Bad ass BMXer? I would have recommended a guy to you, but I think he's back in jail. Too bad, too. He had great promise as a mechanic.

I promise to help any rider select practical, durable equipment that's as easy to work on as possible. Be realistic. Stuff needs to be fixed. Really tweaky stuff and really crappy stuff are both hard to fix. You want to be as independent as you can? Ride normal wheels, use friction shifting and stick to time-tested materials. You can bend one of these rules at a time, but if you turn your back on two or more you become the industry's bitch.

If anything, you might be able to slide on frame materials, as long as whatever frame you buy uses standard dimensions. Way back in the mid 1970s, a friend of mine got one of about a half-dozen Teledyne Titans in the state of Florida. While the owners of the others built them up with fancy, expensive componentry, my friend put 27-inch clinchers, fenders and a clunky, cable-driven speedometer on his. He loved the reactions when he visited shops with it. I think he even had a Pletscher rack on it.

Leave the really esoteric weirdness and rolling art to someone else. I just enjoy the ride. It's fun to visit the Bicycle Forest or groove on handbuilt gems on a number of other sites, but a lot of people seem like they could use a little help with more straightforward, practical matters.

Actually there are plenty of other resources already on the web. I've just been answering a lot of questions lately, and it got me thinking on a larger scale.

No comments: