Wait… what is today? F***!!! Already?!
Well… Looks like everyone is (once again) getting hand drawn cards depicting the things that may or may not ever actually show up to your house sometime after New Years. Merry XXXmas!
As for me? Return whatever you got and get me these things…
(Editor’s Note: Watts’ usual generous holiday helping of foul language and cheek tonguing lies ahead. Leave your sensibilities at the door. And in the interest of full disclosure, he owns a bike shop. A shop that sells many of the things he’s showing you here. And he’d appreciate it if you’d buy them from him. Or from whatever local shop you love the most.)
I’m not going to lie. The holidays stress me the fuck out. All of the nostalgia and wonder that I ever had for this time of the year died years ago, along with my soul. Some of that is retail… long hours and shit-your-pants days in the shop.
Some of that is adulthood and family… The stress of traveling to see them. When what should be a five hour drive at any other time of the year morphs into 11 shit curdling hours of traffic, road rage, and crawling past horrifying accidents that only serve to further reinforce why you shouldn’t be fucking traveling during the holidays anyway. And all of the “this year I’m bringing my bike and I’m going to ride it” bluster you used to coerce yourself into the car is out the window…and instead you find yourself circling the parking lot of some fucking outlet mall, with your mother (or better yet, mother-in-law) yelling “watch out!” in your ear anytime a car puts on their reverse lights. (Kill me.)
And some of it is just that the holidays seem to illuminate every single way that I’m failing in life…more than ever. Money… Accomplishments… Relationships… Purpose…
Anyway… in no particular order… here’s my wish list:
This more than anything. These days, all I can think about is loading up bikes… getting in my vanagon and… driving. As far as I can… in whatever direction the sun is… in whatever window of time I have. I really am glad that you can content yourself with riding daily incessant mile and a half loops through a suburb that will never even be remotely affordable (to me)… in a city whose biggest selling point is “affordability”… but that will never do anything for me but kill my already dead soul even deader.
And sure, I’d like to spend more time in nearby Pisgah… but really, more than anything….I want to find those other places. The ones I’ve never heard of. Like when I stumbled on Brown County (Brown Cow) in Indiana (concussion and all)… and Switchgrass in Kansas (rattlesnakes and all). Yeah… I’ll wind up in Fruita and Moab and all that eventually. But first… I’m going to Nebraska to see what they’re hiding. Because I hear rumors. And if it turns out there’s nothing… then I’ll just keep on moving.
Gas money. Give it. Right meow.
Although…. I already owned it. Although… I was so broke that I had to sell it.
Although… I’m just going to buy it again. The new version… with the front thru-axle. And while I salivate after the Santa Cruz Stigmata… I’m kind of a dipshit for steel frames. And while I yearn for the Salsa Warbird… setting it up singlespeed is… awkward. (Like me). Though why you would ever do such a thing remains a mystery, I admit. Especially since single speed is dead. (Dicky kilt it.) Alas… my motivations have never been sensible, and likely never will be. It’s all passion… all the time (#gross).
853 Reynolds steel… PF30 BB shell with Niner’s Biocentric II… Things… Stuff… A pleasant mix of neutral and bright colors… More things…
Now I just have to convince Niner to stop selling through online-douche stores… because it makes things… difficult.
Ummm… One with two springs? Like… one in back. And one… you know… in front? In the front part? One that won’t give me an aneurysm as I try to descend Croyle Run in PA. Like a Kona Process. Everything I hear about this bike is gold.
If not that… then this…
…because I’ve silkscreened my own “Hayduke Lives” T-shirts for too many years to count. And any friend of Ed Abbey’s is a friend of mine.
And because this…
I think we get each other, Advocate Cycles.
Whatever you do… don’t give me socks. For one thing, I have entirely too many. Two fucking drawers full. And for another… fuck socks. Is there anything more cloying than #sockdoping? Aside from #coffeeoutside? Or #gravel? Doubtful. Sure, there are a ton of companies making rad (ugh…speaking of cloying) socks that are exactly the right height (roughly mid-calf)…and look amazing. Companies like HBStache… Ridge Supply… Defeet (who is making most of those socks anyway) … and (of course) The Athletic. But, well… those are all socks for happy people who don’t hate themselves. They’re bright and ostentatious and full of a pep and enthusiasm and potential smugness that I will likely never feel, as much as I yearn to. Plus, I have a bitter taste in my mouth about socks ever since I reached out to a company about carrying some items in the shop… and after initially ignoring me, they asked me what my “sock situation” was… because they “didn’t want to open stores who were just looking to carry all the “cool kids.”” I don’t think they were super stoked when I replied that while I’d love to carry their socks, I didn’t want to be part of some #lightbro-circlejerk.
(In case you weren’t aware… I’m super good at making friends.)
So anyway… Like I was saying. Yeah (sigh) Get me socks. Specifically these…
I know that as a shop owner, I should ride the latest and greatest… to better pimp my wares. (I’m pimping some of them here. That counts, right?) But the fact is… I don’t. I can’t. I ride what I like… and… well, what I have. Because… the irony of owning a shop is that you can’t often afford the bling you sell. At least not with any frequency. But what I’ve really been craving lately… is a great fucking wheelset. One I get to build. It doesn’t have to be super light. In fact I’d prefer it not be. And it doesn’t have to be carbon. In fact I’d prefer it not be. It just has to hit that appropriate nexus of super-awesome-mega function and fashion. Like me (#vomit). Something like… a pair Industry Nine classic road hubs, made right here in North Carolina… laced to some Hed Belgium Plus 25mm. 24 front, 28 rear.
No… Exactly like that.
Look… I’m not an alcoholic. I promise. Fuck… once upon a time I was even all “nailed to the x” and shit. Then I got married. Then I became a dad. And then I got divorced. Alas… (And yeah, yeah… I know) “if you’re not now, then you never were.” (To which I say, “Good.”) It is what it is. Make no mistake… the glorification of alcohol, be it craft beer, cheap beer, whiskey (fuck, especially whiskey) is just as stupid and cloying as #sockdoping. If not more so. (#becausewhiskey) But the fact is… I like to drink. Often to excess. And I like post-ride beers. (Or… mid-ride beers, as the case may be.) Other people ride to Saxapahaw, NC and get an espresso at Cup 22. I go to the Eddy pub and get whatever Haw River Farmhouse Ale is on tap. Then I ride my bike 45 miles back home. And before you give me shit for being irresponsible… remember the Alamo.
The point is this: get me one of these. The Stashers Top tube cooler. A double-insulated cooler that I can carry on my bike? Fuck yes. Mile 150 of Dirty Kanza is going to be amazing this year. (albeit… foamy)
THE RIDER, by Tim Krabbe. I borrowed this book for months from a friend and read it multiple times. But as a hoarder of books, I want my own damned copy. Because it’s that good. Take this line: “Meyrueis, Lozere, June 26, 1977. Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me.”
“Cycling is life” and “Live to ride” drivel irks me to no end. But that line… damn. I wish I could have written it. Ask your local book store for it.
The PDW Owl Cage. Or… the Bird Cage
These things are totes adorbz. (which I’m pretty damned positive is exactly how PDW would like them described). I seriously want them on every bike I own. I mean…will they hold my water bottle intact as I bounce (and if history is any indication, flat) my rigid way down the hell that is Croyle Run at The Wilderness 101 this summer? I hope. But… does it matter? You see how fucking good they look?!
Skratch Labs. This kind. Yeah, sure… my favorite is still Pineapple. But it’s winter(ish). And in the winter, more than ever, I want comforting things. Things that help fend off the impending darkness and temporarily make me forget that I’m just one of a million-bajillion mammals (who should be hibernating, incidentally), hurtling across the inhospitable void of space on a giant, unstable rock that we’re totally fucking up. (#blessed)
That and I can add whiskey (or whisky) to it. (#becauseimboring)
A new Chrome Kit. Like the one I’m wearing in the lead picture.
Steve and Adrian-O gave me it to me a few years back and it’s by far one of my favorites. But on the day that photo was taken, I crashed my bike…hit my head…temporarily forgot where I was… and tore that kit. There was much sads. So… see what you can do, huh?
Happy Whorlidays, kids.