Excuse Maker 4000

What to do when you are at the rebuilding phase? Get back to your roots and do something that makes you happy and is inexpensive fun. I need a test bike – scratch that – I need a bike. I dig on the 29inch platform so I was thinking of getting a Surly Karate Monkey. But… the tinkerer in me knows I have a “slightly” bent steel 29er frame that I was gonna cut up for a beach bike (with ATV tires). I got to thinking if it was a steel bike that got bent from braking force, then I could certainly “bend” it back. The bike company issues these frames with dropouts that include disc brake mounts, but chose not to brace the frame properly. So… I got out the three pound sledge and did work.

Bare naked frame after I put the three pound sledge to work

With the frame “straightened”, it was time to make some upgrades. Time to find some random metal around the house that looked acceptable in the frame.

1/2″ steel box rough cut to fit

The rough cut needs to be cleaned up so it fits the frame a little better for strength and appearance.

Square tubing mitered with the frame prepped for welding

With the piece ready, it was on to welding.

Square tubing welded in

Not sure Independent Fabrication will be calling me to weld anytime soon but weld areas show good penetration and should clean up fine.

Cleaned up and ready for paint

Pretty sure this “test” bike will be all black with a truck bed liner paint job. Have thought of gold accents. Not sure. Will post pics of the build soon.

American Dreams are Made in the USA

Last year was the end of my own personal “fiscal year”. I turned another year older. It allowed me to reflect on last year being a time warped dichotomy.  It was both the worst year of my life and in some ways the best year of my life. It was the slowest at times but yet it went by so fast leaving me wondering where it went.

I closed my shop unofficially sometime a few months ago. The time-frame is as blurry as are the details. It happened so fast that I’m still in shock. I still work on making things right with the bike community because it’s the right thing to do and I truly love bikes. I work out of my house, two storage units and a host of other jobs. I work almost every day, all day, and most nights. Simply, I’m hustling because I want to, I have to and it’s what I’m supposed to do. 

While this last year tore me down emotionally and financially, I grew emotionally and spiritually, and overall as a person. While things were at their worst, I was growing the most. While people always joked I have a “me” complex, I’ve always known I really do care for others. This is one of the areas in which I really grew – the full concept of empathy. I might not have shown it yet with my words or actions but if you’re reading this blog, chances are good I have thought or am thinking of you. 

So with all these epiphanies in mind and turning my own calendar, I’ve developed this renewed passion for pursuing the “stuff” that makes me happy. Spending time making up for lost time with the family, slowly reaching out to friends and working with my hands – tinkering.

I’ve recently started working on extra project ideas that I’ve developed over the years. One of these is taking a big step towards becoming a reality within the next few days. I’m hopeful all of the “successful failures” (aka mistakes) I’ve accumulated can combine in this perfect storm of bikes, friends and family to pull back all the bits and pieces of my life that spun off last year – at least the pieces I want back.

For now I’ll leave you with the mystery of “what is it”? until I launch. Just know it’ll be made in the USA and I’m hustling every day.

Thumb Shifter aka Kent