Cheese melt

July 4, 2017 § 24 Comments

I got back from Texas and immediately began googling “lugged steel frames.”

Of course we all know that lugged steel frames have no place in modern, civilized society.

There is no good explanation for dumbly scrolling through pictures of [your favorite lugged frame builder here] other than my brain melted while I was in Texas. It’s not to say that steel frames are bad, or not worth buying, or that you shouldn’t have three, or anything … it’s simply to say that me looking for a steel frame makes about as much sense as me looking for DIY nipple piercing equipment. Wrong dude, wrong tools.

To add to the confusion, I love steel frames. I love them so much that I sold all of mine years ago at an eBay fire sale. You love something? Set it the fuck free. You hate something? Install it in your bedroom.

Anyway, the problem with steel frames is that if you build them up with modern components they look like men’s formal wear with Ugg boots.

Steel bikes look prettiest with down tube shifters, Mavic Reflex 36-hole tubular rims, a quill pantographed stem, and a Concor saddle. That’s how they look prettiest to me, anyway. No carbon fork, either, and for dog’s sake, please polish your lugs. Sheesh.

All this came about because I went for one, that’s right, one, bike ride in Austin. It was unspeakably hot and damper than a wet t-shirt contest. And it wasn’t even that hot, only a hundred degrees or so. I usually ride 3-4 hours and drink half a bottle, maybe a full one if it’s hot here in SoCal.

On my 67.5-mile pedal in CenTex, I went through three water bottles and three 16-oz. bottles of Dr. Pepper, and I was so dehydrated that three days later my tongue is still so swollen that it sticks to the roof of my mouth and my fingertips are wrinkly and shriveled.

Texas riders are tough as nails. That heat is horrible, and the humidity is like pouring boiling water on a sunburn. The pulsing waves of scalding hot that washed over me for almost five hours scrambled my brains. I got back to my mom’s place and she asked “How was the ride?”

“It was fine.”

“Wasn’t it hot?”

“Not really.”

“You were out there for a long time.”

“I guess I am still somewhat acclimated to the Texas heat,” I bragged.

An hour later the sunstroke kicked in. I fell onto the bed and quivered for fifteen hours straight. Somewhere during my hallucinations a voice that sounded like Mom’s said, “We’re going to Barton Springs. Do you want to go with us?”

“Does it mean moving?” I asked.

“Only from here to the car. Which is air conditioned.”

“No,” I said. “I think I will stay here under this a.c. vent and moan for a bit.”

Back in California after a mere 22 hours on the road, I was still babbling and incoherent. And after my trip down memory lane the only thing I could think of was lugged steel frames, quill stems, and etc. I love steel frames. I’m going to email Richard Sachs right now.



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§ 24 Responses to Cheese melt

  • Sibex Czar says:

    Richard is the man of steel.

  • Tman says:

    “I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac. A little voice inside my head said ‘don’t look back, you can never look back.’ I thought I knew what love was. What did I know. Those days are gone forever. I should just let them go but…..” DH

  • Winemaker says:

    There are a zillion great builders out there who still make steel frames. Find one, you’ll be happier, and have a more simple life.

  • Mark Preston says:

    Take a look at Kelly Bedford’s work. It’s kinetic art.

  • Jorgensen says:

    You might be too late for RS’s order book.

    There is a distinct advantage of a Lugged steel bike today, pass a guy on a mod carbon wonder on a climb and they feel conquered.

  • I’m sure that some current steel frame builders would be glad to tell you that “steel is real” and it can be just as fast as carbon, but that’s not my point.

    Instead, I want to say that this morning my wife and I rode our tandem to the park. Our top speed was about 15 mph. We felt the cool, fresh air on our faces, we heard the birds singing and we saw some cute puppies walking with their friendly owners. We enjoyed a quick conversation with another tandem couple and their four daughters (yikes!), all on bikes. They made up their own 4th of July parade!

    Not once did we think about our bike’s frame material. Steel? Aluminum? Carbon? I forget! Instead, we covered six miles with minimal effort, enjoying the people and places in a way that can only be had on a bike.

    Happy 4th of July!

  • Banksie says:

    Yo! Of course you can find a gorgeous lugged steel frame with newer stuff on it, and it will be a pleasure to ride. And, ya know I can help you with a lighter weight leather saddle! Sachs is awesome but the best is Weigle, and you know those 2 both apprenticed at Whitcombs in the U.K. I think it’s time for N + 1. There might be extra space in the spare bed (Woodrow’s) room! 😉

  • Fausto says:

    100% steel with 100% lugged lugs is the new 100% carbon carbon.

  • dangerstu says:

    It’s real apparently.

  • Jeff says:

    This is exciting. Roland Della Santa, who built a bike or two for GL, can build you a lugged Racing bike. Or build your own by taking a frame building class.

  • JF says:

    Steel is iron with a bit of 100% carbon mixed in. Therefore win. Have you talked with J
    Hazelnut in our club? He’s got some perty luggage.

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