November 18th, 2013
Ok gang. Here’s the story with the saddles.
When I was building the UTA I was approaching all the companies that make the components I MOST wanted on the bike. I was asking these folks if they would donate the parts for a bike that would ultimately be auctioned off for a good cause. You all know the story. BUT I hadn’t bothered to ask Brooks, because I already had three ti swifts from back in the days when ti swifts went for $171 RETAIL!! (That will mean something to the real bike geeks among you).
This is where my friend Simon Firth (pictured above) enters the story. Simon is THE official U.S. repair guy for Brooks. Rather than sending your broken saddles to the U.K. to be fixed at Brooks, you send them to Simon, and he makes them good as new and sends them back to you. So, he wrote to me and asked what I was doing for a saddle on the UTA. I explained that I was going to use one of my old worn swifts. He suggested that perhaps he should discuss it with brooks, and before I knew it, he had a donated ti railed Brooks Swift for the UTA. THEN he asked if I’d like him to replace one of the rivets with a heart. Naturally, I said “Hell YES!” and the first Fast Boy Swift was born. We both thought it was such a cool thing that perhaps we should do a limited edition run of Fast Boy Swifts. Even the name had a cool ring to it.
We both got busy with other things for a while. I was caught up with various medical ups and downs.. and with selling photos.. and with preparing for the Bike Cult show in August. And HE was caught up with opening up his store in Philadelphia! He and a friend opened up a very cool bike shop in Philly called Firth and Wilson Transport Cycles. The shop specializes in bikes for transportation and car replacement in urban environments. Very much like a bike shop would if I were to open it! They sell bikes for personal transportation and an impressive range of cargo bikes. A shop that is completely untouched by the Pro cycling world. That is to say that they don’t sell bikes that people buy to exercise on, and while I have discovered the joys of recreational cycling in the last year or so, I think that there is a serious glut of bike shops that cater to the weekend warrior, man-dex wearing, exercise and thrill seeking types, and a distinct shortage of shops that really specialize in personal transportation.. and urban solutions for car free living. I don’t particularly feel that these types of riding should stand in any sort of opposition to each other. Truly, all kinds of bike riding are ok by me, and I have built bikes for ALL kinds of riding. BUT it makes sense to me to have bike shops that specialize in certain areas and types of bicycle use since there ARE so many, and Simon and his pal David (the “Wilson” part of the equation) have managed to make a shop that offers a large range of bikes of a sort for which most bike shops currently don’t reserve very much floorspace. Another particular distinction of the shop is that BOTH owners are custom bike builders, so if you’re looking for something a little more unique than what you see on the floor you can talk to the owners about something custom made. Go check them out online, or if you’re in Philly swing by the shop! Tell them that I sent you.
At any rate. We were busy. But finally about a month and a half ago, I ordered up 30 Swifts (steel railed to keep them affordable) half and half, black and antique brown, and asked Simon to do his magic and put hearts on their noses. First I was asking you to wear my heart on your sleeve, and now I’m asking you to put my heart between your legs and go have some fun? Yikes.
So, at some point soon I will do a sale on this limited run of 30 Fast Boy Swifts. Not to be repeated. Keep your eyes open on the FBC face place page, as well as this blog. There WILL be some warning.
In other news.. Because of a rise in baseline discomfort (pain) over the last three weeks or so, my hospice team has raised my baseline again. There is always a groggy day or so in the switch, but it seems to be working (yesterday I needed no breakthrough medication at all). Twice now, I have ignored the signs of pain increasing too long and have ended up in a pain crisis, and both times it has taken several days to get it under control (and then another several days to recover from those several days, if you follow me..). Both of those times, it has also meant several weeks of unexplained irritability leading up to the crisis. Something that I’m more than happy to catch before it begins! So. I’m getting the hang of this. Learning the signs.
I’m also slowly getting the hang of having less and less energy. Finally giving in a little to relative inactivity (or what feels like it to me!). I work in the shop for just two or three hours at a time, and then go scan film, or print photos, OR lie in bed and watch bad movies (I like to save the GOOD movies for times when Hill is available to watch with me.. So usually what I watch on my own is from the action/adventure section and if I’m lucky, involves some well choreographed violence). It is actually time NOW for me to head out to the shop, so I don’t run out of time before a visit from the hospice massage therapist! Yup.. there ARE benefits to dying. They are thin on the ground, but they’re there.
Over and out.