Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Weekend of Firsts...


Just before noon this past Friday, I finished a project I'd been planning for a long while, and working on for about a week: I built up my first set of bicycle wheels, the results of which you can see in the photo above. The impetus for this undertaking came about a month and a half or so back, when one of the rims on my fixie blew out. I'd been meaning to try my hand at wheelbuilding for a while, and finally had my excuse to get off my butt and do it. I ordered a pair of Velocity Deep-V rims from Universal, and picked up a Miche track hub, along with a matching front hub, at Revolver. I'd have built the new wheels on the old Formula hubs, which are great hubs and were perfectly salvageable, but for the fact that they were 36-hole. I couldn't find the Deep-Vs in a 36-hole pattern in white, so I went with 32s instead (anybody out there want a good deal on a pair of 36-hole Formula hubs?). The Deep-Vs are pretty stout rims, so you don't really need 36 spokes anyway... 64 spokes and nipples later, I had my raw materials:


Wheelbuilding can be an intimidating task for those dabbling in bike mechanics, but like a lot of things in life, you find that once you've thrashed your way through it a bit and learned from your initial mistakes, it's not really that hard. Ninety percent of success is just getting started, as they say, and upon finishing this project, my efforts were rewarded with not only a new set of wheels, but the satisfaction of having acquired a new skill. I found a series of videos on YouTube to guide myself through it, which worked out pretty well. Most of you reading this will never try your hand at wheelbuilding, of course, but for those of you who might, make sure you start with the third spoke hole from the valve, not the first, as shown in the video (if you're doing the standard three cross pattern, that is). Trust me.

This was, however, only one of a number of firsts this weekend. Just a few hours after the wheels were built, I headed off to Atomic Art to get my first tattoo:


Interestingly, the tattoo itself is related to the wheel project. The fixie, which I found on Craigslist for $150 last summer, is built around an old french frame, probably a Forris, which had at some point been painted white. On getting it home, I started tossing around ideas for painting it, and settled on applying some sort of pin-up style art to the head tube. I worked out an image I liked, but realized a couple of things fairly quickly: first, that it was way too intricate to put onto the relatively small space of the head tube of a bicycle, and second, that it would make a really good tattoo. So I spent most of the next year developing the idea, tweaking the artwork here and there, forgetting it for a few months at a time and eventually coming back to it, yada yada yada, until I had something I felt I'd be comfortable wearing on my person, specifically my left shoulder/upper arm. Here's a shot of Roll Hardy, who did the work:


Portland has at least 60 tattoo studios, and hundreds of tattoo artists. I picked Roll out of this fray for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that I admire his work, which you can check out here. Roll's a fellow art school grad, and a very talented painter to boot (he's represented locally by the Laura Russo Gallery). But the real reason I chose him to do my first tattoo is that he's a very good friend of some old roommates of mine, Brian Fisher and Jesse Rodgers. I lived with these two in a house on SE Salmon a number of years back and first met Roll one night when he came by to visit. When I ran across his name while researching local tattoo artists and had a look at his portfolio, I decided that he was the guy for the job. What I didn't know until I was in his chair was that he had actually lived with Brian and Jesse in that house on SE Salmon before I landed there. Portland is full of those small world moments...

A few hours later, with the tattoo healing under its bandage, I headed off to the Hopworks Urban Brewery with Risa for another first: to meet my first cousin once removed, Graydon Adams (I hadn't been to Hopworks, so I guess that's yet one more first). Here's a shot of "Grady" with his proud father, my cousin Brad (you'll notice that Grady is instinctively reaching for Brad's beer):


And here's Brad's better half, Amy. Moments before this photo was taken, Amy and I had ourselves a bonding moment over the subject of tattoos (Amy's got four, and despite the fact that she and Brad live in Seattle, she has all her work done at a studio in Denver)...


Brad's step-brother Kip and his wife Jennifer met us there with their son Jasper. I didn't manage to get a good shot of Jennifer and Jasper, but here's Kip, in all of his Bakula-esque glory:


And of course, Risa got to meet some of my family members for the first time. Here we can see her, looking vaguely Bjork-like in this photo, pondering my cousins and their offspring:


It was a fun, if busy, weekend. I think I'm good for new experiences for a while though...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Words fail me....LGS

tommy said...

Oh, come on. Is that the best you can do?

Anonymous said...

You could have had "Mother" tattooed with a tasteful heart or something...LGS

Risa Dale said...

At least it's not "Master's C***"....

tommy said...

LGS-
Oh, I thought you were talking about the wheels...

RD-
Yeah, we'll leave "MC" to the lifestylers!