It’s tool time.

For those of you neither of mountain bike or mechanical persuasion, I heartily recommend you look away now. For the rest of you, I am seeking re-entry through the bolted door – double locked with nailed wood – which bars entry to “the tools of war“. Yes after a day where I was forced to self-harm with the “spoon of hurt“, it seemed apposite to explode violently creating a blast radius where there was once expensive bike parts.

The reasons are simple. My crushing inability to wield even the most harmless tool without the kind of collateral damage last seen during the Tet Offensive is well documented. My mental detonation was fused by a series of meetings where the word “estimating” had euphemistically replaced the rather more accurate “fucking hell, let’s just have a wild guess eh and then fuck off home”. Chiltern Railways then provided all the cerebral C4 a man can reasonably be expected to handle when abandoning us first in Rickmansworth, then ChorleyWood, then Chalfont and Latimer before grinding to a shunting halt somewhere outside Amersham.

The final spark was travelling in a suit, compressed into a carriage I’d inadvertently wandered into not realising it was reserved only for those with weapons grade body odour and a seat companion who was both fat AND sniffly. I really want my shoulder to work so I can smell at them right back and stave off arse cheeks the size of Belgium.

So right now, I’m looking at this.

Flickr - PA frame

Out of shot are some serious tools normally spun by men sporting a stern expression and a damp rollup behind the ear, whose only clothes are three pairs of identical oil stained overalls. The type of bloke who can rebate a dwell angle inlet valve and create almost any shape from an old nail and a stick. Copies of well thumbed “What Lathe incorporating Popular Angle Grinder” litter every horizontal surface and the remnants of a once proud engineering nation are clear to see.

I’m not like that. I’m less studied, more twitchy and far, far more destructive. I don’t want to be but when God was handing out motor skills, I was accidentally setting fire to an angel. If all that remains of something once lovely are a few collapsing atoms and a guilty expression, it’s probably been FBA. I like to think of that as Fixed By Alex although some would select a different F verb.

In front of me are a headset press, a bottom bracket facing tool, a thread reamer and a star fangled nut. No, I’ve really no idea what they are do either but each offers sufficient flat metal to receive a well directed hammer blow. But I think the frame could take it – it appears to have been hewn from deck sections of the Graf Spee and welded by uncomplicated men who bond ocean spanning bridges for their day jobs.

My last steel frame was all swoopy lines and pretty detailing. It was a wheeled gazelle, frolicking in the fields and breezily galloping down trails barely marking their surface. This frame however does not frolic. It has no truck with leaving the surface untouched – rather it stamps like an invading army beating the ground into submission and if that fails, eating it. Someone has looked at a bunch of stress models on a computer screen, thought “bugger this” and added 25{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} more thickness to every tube.

A sticker proclaims this angry amalgam of tubes is lightweight steel. But I’m not sure, I think it is a little known oxide of annoyance and hostility well hidden in the periodic table. I think it’s made of Chunk.

So I could make a start. What is the worse thing that could happen? Or for those of us with a fevered imagination, what’s the 10th worse thing that could happen? I’m having a badger* to think about it.

Oh and it’s battleship gray. Co-incidence? I think not.

* This is not some kind of nasty “bodging the badger” sexual metaphor. It’s a beer. Honest.

5 thoughts on “It’s tool time.

  1. nickc

    Ah! a frame from Dialled Bikes, hewn from rock, they are, and weigh about the same too. I bet your first attempt at peadalling that uphill results in a loud snap, a strangled girlie scream, and a hand clutching a newly formed hernia.

    I believe it is a physical impossibilty to build one under 35lbs. I think the down tube is solid TBH…

    How many’s that now?

    Have you heard from Channel four at all, I believe they make documentries about people with obsessive behaviour.

  2. Al,

    You know that thing about we have all breathed in molecules of air exhaled by Leonardo Da Vinci……….I am starting to wonder whether you are trying to create the MTB frame analogy.


  3. Alex

    A simple count of “how many” is such a outmoded concept. Since infinate frames exist in potentia, my collection is a mere particle in a limitless phase space. That’s what I’ve been telling Carol anyway.

    Anyway two of my bikes are coming up to their second anniversary. Okay all the bits are different but this is nothing more than smallworldy nit picking. I will admit – in a moment of misguided candidness – that two new bikes have crept under the barn door this last three months.

    I have a name for this; “Natural Wastage”

    Jay – I did consider “boffing the badger” but I felt it lacked class 😉

  4. Pingback: I want my life back » Blog Archive » Cycling Myth #6

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