Deep in the Weeds: Confessions of a Two-Wheel Junkie


Deep in the Weeds is our semi-regular column about bike wrenching, bike bits and getting your ride on. Written by our boy, Ben T. Spokes.

I didn’t set out to become a bike junkie but that’s apparently what has happened. Every corner of our living space is occupied with bike parts, frames and other cycling paraphernalia.

There’s bike stuff under beds, in closets and hanging from ceiling hooks. There’s even bike stuff intermingled with the plants on our balcony. A friend of mine dubbed the madness “Cactus cycle works,” and designed T-shirts based on that name.

On a good day, I can put it all in soft focus. On most other days, it’s blaring clutter. I’m constantly sifting through parts, forever scheming at the drawing board mapping out the next build.

Unfortunately, most of my conceptual masterpieces have remained in pieces. I’ve continued to buy more stuff and spec new builds while existing projects sit in the wings, three and four deep, waiting to be completed.

A few days ago while in search of gloves for my morning commute I opened our hall closet (always a mistake). A mound of stuff I had been carefully stacking came undone, spilling into the hallway, burying me from the knees down. It was an avalanche of old rigid MTB forks, Petaluma-era Salsa stems and cranksets of all varieties.

There were headsets, bar end shifters and old Suntour XC pro parts strewn everywhere. One box alone contained five sets of old school tange prestige and true temper MTB handlebars. I must have suffered a flat bar binge at some point in the past year.

I’m going to address this dilemma by setting a couple realistic goals. The first goal is to complete a build from my fantasy league roster of stuff. I’ve got the perfect frame hanging out in the weeds on my balcony—a mid 1990’s USA Gary Fisher MTB constructed from 6061 T6 welded aluminum tubes. My second goal is to replace the Salsa stem on the kitchen counter with some homemade edible salsa.

Putting things to good use sometimes has a way of easing the potential pitfalls of over consumption. Sharing stuff with people is also hugely gratifying. A lot of the old parts I’ve held onto over the years have aided in repairing and restoring many of my friends’ bikes. It’ll be great to finally finish some of these long neglected projects, and to see how they turn out. Built into functional bicycles, all these random bits have real meaning, and endless usefulness.