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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Ultimate Death Trap

My friend Brian got religion, a fiancé, a mortgage and possibly a job all of a sudden. These were all things he had managed to live almost 40 years without, and for some reason when he moved to Texas to pursue a life nobody who knows him can picture him living, he left this bike behind. Not where he used to live, across the street from where he used to live. Then, he texts me the other day asking me if I want the Ultimate Death Trap.

I've seen this bike once before, I think he rode it for Critical Mass around three years ago. It's a Schwinn World Tourist, a model Schwinn described at the time as lightweight at only 33 lbs. Among the model's eccentricities is the freewheel is in the crank, and among this bike's particulars the handlebars have been turned around to approximate bullhorns and there are no cables for the brakes, no brake levers to engage them with if there were.

I'm going to flip the handlebars around, get a tall stem for it (there's a Soma stem that looks about right for me), put some functional brakes on it, and it will be the ultimate Trashboat Regatta bike.

See, for a true trashboat, you need to tow it to the river and home again by bike, and that bike necessarily comes along for the boat ride. Plenty of folks aren't purists, and drive their boats to the river, then get someone to drive them back to the put-in to retrieve their car, drive back to the pull out to pick up their trashboat, but towed by bike is the best. But as I learned last year, the river is hazardous and while firefighters in jet boats might rescue you from a logjam, they aren't sending down divers for your bike just because you have a couple grand in it. We didn't lose any bikes on the Regatta, but if we had, it'd have been really good bikes.

This bike, once I get it set up, will be rideable enough to do ten miles without suffering badly, but shitty enough that if it did sink to the bottom of the Missouri River, I wouldn't want to borrow scuba gear to go after it. It could also be possibly rideable enough to get me to work and back when my Tall Pale Hooker is in the shop.

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