P1130492

Il Progetto: The Bozzie Is Single

Il Progetto: The Bozzie Is Single

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Let’s talk about bikes. Yeah, bikes are good. After all, they are “the central tool to our craft.” They are the reason we became Velominati, the portal through which we travelled to this life. When we were kids, we saw a bike for the first time; we liked the look of it, and when we rode it our lives were changed forever. We didn’t one day say “I want to be an athlete, what type of sport shall I do?” or “I need to feed my massive ego and make millions, what tool should I use for its exploitation?” No, we liked the sensations the bike gave us, the freedom, the speed, the endorphins (although we didn’t know what they were called or how they worked, we knew they felt good). From our first bike to n+1, each bike has a a story to tell, and a part of each of those bikes stays with us forever. Or maybe it’s just me.

For about a year now, my beloved Bosomworth has been sitting forlornly in a corner of the shop lunch room, just a frame and fork waiting to be extricated from its dusty home under the fake plastic pot plant. But it needed the right gear to bring it back to life. It was the only way I could do it justice; Campa gruppo, circa 80s, maybe some downtube shifters and tubulars. Yeah, I wanted to do it properly. But a lack of available parts and a bigger lack of the funds to procure them meant that the poor old girl remained in the corner. It almost broke my heart. Then I had a vision.

I’d watched the insanity on two wheels on display in the movie Line Of Sight, a doco on filmmaker Lucas Brunelle, who follows alley cat races all over the world and films the action while dodging the same traffic and pedestrians as the nutjobs racing. I’d gotten into his stuff when I first came to Wellington and was riding a fixed gear Langster as my commuter and for longer road rides on the weekend. I remembered how it had made me pretty strong at the time, how my stroke was the most magnificent it had ever been, and I thought “why not? Let’s get the Bozzie back into action as a singlespeed”. I say ‘singlespeed’ and not ‘fixie’ as I kinda like the idea of coasting down the other side of the hills I’ve struggled to ride up. A scour of my boxes of bits would provide enough to get her functional. After all, I wouldn’t be needing derailleurs, shifters or a cassette.

I already had some vital organs put on ice for the eventual rebuild; a Regal saddle, Chorus carbon post, a brand new Chris King headset (which I picked up for $60 off the distributor who had lost the contract and was clearing out stock), ITM quill stem, and a Mavic front wheel which came with the bike when I first bought it. My friend Ash had bought a beater a few weeks back and swapped the drop bars for a flattie, leaving a set of Sakae Modolos with 105 brake levers behind. Perfect. All I needed was a back wheel, cranks, BB, and brake calipers. I scrounged the wheeel and brakes from Ill Pro Ghetto, and found a set of 105 cranks and Octalink BB in the bins. It was all too easy. Josh donated a 42t single ring and bolts, and I broke up a cassette to get a 17t cog for the rear. A new set of brake hoods and bar tape finished her off.

One of the great misnomers of singlespeeding is “oh, it’s the simplicity of it”. No. Anyone who has ever tried to convert a mountain bike into a singlespeed will tell you it can be a royal pain in the arse. Getting chainlines perfect and tensioners to actually tension the chain, finding the best gear ratio, joining and re-joining chains, it can be an exercise in frustraion. Luckily the Boz has slotted dropouts with screw adjusters, which made the tensioning task so much easier. The wheel, being quick release, had potential to twist in the frame under load, but the adjuster screws help eliminate that. A few rides up the ramp and she was deemed fit to take out for a real ride.

Now, riding a singlespeed when everyone else has gears can be great if you are strong and the terrain is right. Or it can find you spinning like a madman while watching the pack ride off into the distance while clicking their levers as if to say “you know bikes come with gears, don’t you, dickhead?” So my cunning plan was to gee up my mates a week or so before with sending out the link to Line Of Sight, and suggesting we all break out our singlys. I knew @Rigid and @Kah both had bikes already, and @BianchiDenti was in the process of assembling his old Bianchi frame into a commuter. The seeds were sown and when our Tuesday night ride rolled around, there were three singlys, one fixie and a 1 x 8 under @BianchiDenti, with the promise of “I won’t change gears” affixed to it. All we needed were skinny jeans and messenger bags.

But we are road riders, not douchebags. We were riding road bikes, in road gear, on our usual road route. And it was a hell of a lot of fun. Mostly. Except when going uphill, or downhill, or into the wind (which was particularly strong, even for Welli). No, it was definitely a good time, and a hard ride. Denti managed not to change gears the entire ride, which must have been difficult because my thumb was constantly ghost shifting where the lever should have been. I managed to pull off a monumental save when my chain derailled as we started to sprint up a rise in the road at a known attacking point; as I somehow avoided a) nutting myself and b) hitting the deck, I wobbled into the path of @Paul whose pedal lodged in my back wheel, with enough force to lift his bike off the ground and bend a spoke in my wheel to breaking point. It would’ve looked cool to anyone behind us, but we were at the rear so no-one got to laugh at our gymnastics. That spooked me a little, as I’d had the same thing happen about ten years ago on a mountain bike, with much worse results. The rest of the ride was spent thinking about nutted track wheels and not getting out of the saddle again.

Il Progetto still has more twists in its tale, I’m sure. The Bozzie deserves to be dressed in old Campa, but until those planets align, she’s going to be doing at least one ride a week to help with my prep for Keepers Tour. If I go fixed again, then at least I may be able to perform on Eddy’s velodrome a bit better than last year. But the main thing this conversion has brought (back) to me is that sense of fun that the simple act of riding provides, without gears, without bells and whistles, and without a huge price tag. Just riding.

VLVV.

P1130475

// Il Progetto // The Bikes

  1. Oh yes, you should remove the tennis ball before you ride.

  2. What an awesome story, and beautiful build! I’m definitely fixicurious, but haven’t made the change just yet…

    On the other hand, I went through a similar process with my steel and just picked up what may be one of the final bits of the puzzle (though I think she could use a silver bar, not a black one)

  3. @Marcus

    Oh yes, you should remove the tennis ball before you ride.

    Thanks for this important tip, genius!

    Oh, and you’re riding a TT bike why? I can’t recall…what was it? Oh, because of a FUCKING TRIATHLON!

  4. She’s a beauty, Brett.  I love the lines and color scheme.  Ditto for the Resurrection Story.

    Having recently acquired a singlspeed, a comparatively brutish-looking affair, I do enjoy the different dimension, and new challenges, it’s brought to riding.  No bailing allowed.

  5. @Bianchi Denti

    @Russ M

    You are commended for the resurrection, and giving her back the enjoyment of being back on the road. Very nice job Sir. Oh also for the save out on the ride and the commitment by your mates for going single as well. @BianchiDenti for not shifting. I do not own a single spd so when i do commit to riding with a group on single’s there is a alot of self control administered as well as respect. Not to mention i hate the coffee bill at the end for doing the unthinkable. Well done.

    Yes, it was tempting…but I couldn’t do it when @Paul was pushing a 53×17(!) up the hills and into the wind! The man is clearly mad.

    I already felt like a pussy sitting in 42×17.

    Still, it’s all good fun.

    @Paul wouldn’t have short black hair purple shorts and a fresh green tan would he. 53/17  wow

  6. ^^imposter fuck^^

  7. @frank

    Well aren’t you a fucking cunt? I told you about my impending rule breach in confidence. And it was just to tick an ironman off my to do list (just like COTHO). 

    Rest assured that the extra bottle cages will be soon removed and the bike will only ever be used for proper TTs after that.

  8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn6ie1zCkZU

    Is this what your life is like now Brett?

  9. Speaking of single speeds I had an excellent hilly ride with a mate the other day. His rear shifter cable broke at the start of the ride, leaving him with 2 gear choices for the next four hours, 39×11 and 53×11.

    It was good.

  10. @RedRanger

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn6ie1zCkZU

    Is this what your life is like now Brett?

    Or like this

  11. @RedRanger bet it wont be as good as Quicksilver

  12. @RedRanger you read my mind

  13. @Marcus

    @RedRanger bet it wont be as good as Quicksilver

    it was pure shit. but is anything actually worse that Quicksilver?

  14. @RedRanger I see your Quicksilver and raise you a COTHO

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNCPEzdZs5s

  15. @Marcus you win

  16. @RedRanger If you watch to the end of that vid, you will see that COTHO still cannot resist the urge to drop all of his fixie buddies. What a COTHO indeed.

  17. @Marcus

    @RedRanger If you watch to the end of that vid, you will see that COTHO still cannot resist the urge to drop all of his fixie buddies. What a COTHO indeed.

    haha, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

  18. @frank

    I  have converted both of the steel Bianchi’s in the bike room to single speed. The VMH’s unit is the trick build. Period Dura Ace crank, Campy seat binder bolt, ITM Pro 260 bars. The bike gets ogled everywhere it goes. Mine is a little more of a resurrection of a bike on its deathbed.  Not quite as trick, but very much loved.

    If I could figure out how to post pics here from my iPad, I would. But that’s some hocus-pocus magic I don’t understand.

  19. @Russ M

    @Bianchi Denti

    @Russ M

    You are commended for the resurrection, and giving her back the enjoyment of being back on the road. Very nice job Sir. Oh also for the save out on the ride and the commitment by your mates for going single as well. @BianchiDenti for not shifting. I do not own a single spd so when i do commit to riding with a group on single’s there is a alot of self control administered as well as respect. Not to mention i hate the coffee bill at the end for doing the unthinkable. Well done.

    Yes, it was tempting…but I couldn’t do it when @Paul was pushing a 53×17(!) up the hills and into the wind! The man is clearly mad.

    I already felt like a pussy sitting in 42×17.

    Still, it’s all good fun.

    @Paul wouldn’t have short black hair purple shorts and a fresh green tan would he. 53/17 wow

    That took me a while to figure out…

    I’ve never seen him angry. But when the headwind turned to a tailwind, he certainly came past us like a banshee. Probably had 20 km/hr on me for top speed.

  20. @Brian when locate the answer to uploading pic, from the ipad let me know.?  i have the same issue.

  21. @Marcus

    @frank

    Well aren’t you a fucking cunt? I told you about my impending rule breach in confidence. And it was just to tick an ironman off my to do list (just like COTHO).

    Rest assured that the extra bottle cages will be soon removed and the bike will only ever be used for proper TTs after that.

    I’ll reveal something else: you chose the Ironman over coming on Keepers Tour. That’s the real crime here.

    And if me being a cunt surprises you, you have been paying even less attention than I thought.

  22. @Brian

    @frank

    If I could figure out how to post pics here from my iPad, I would. But that’s some hocus-pocus magic I don’t understand.

    You’ll have to wait for the iPad app that I haven’t started building yet. But I’ve been thinking about building it, and that’s almost as good as actually doing something, provided the US Gov’t is a reliable example of how things work in real life.

    Barring that, you’ll have to upload using a computer.

  23. @frank  Thanks for the I pad info , its all coming together now why i could not post .

  24. @frank

    Not quite. I just told you that I chose an Ironman over the Keepers Tour.

    And I bet you used to believe the girls (girl?) when they told you that it was them and not you.

  25. One of the fixie douches goes to high5 Gunderson and he gets snubbed, has to turn it into a backslap…  (3:05)

  26. So you made the Bossie a single speed?.

  27. Of all the cheap, good frames you could have made into a good if not great single speed, you went and made a fucking rare columbus frame into something that even you can twist with your miniscule, spinldy mpnkey legs. I’d also like to point out that you’ve now got most of the parts to make it into a geared bike, even if you just use DA down tube shifters and a fucking Sora derailleur.

    So unimpressed right now I’m in fearful danger of spilling my fucking Latte. Really, my LATTE.

  28. **monkey legs**

  29. @Marcus

    @RedRanger If you watch to the end of that vid, you will see that COTHO still cannot resist the urge to drop all of his fixie buddies. What a COTHO indeed.

    ….it was filmed in 2008.  I also noticed the douchebag was the only one not wearing a helmet, so I truly wonder how weaving in and out of the traffic he actually did…more likely some choice shots of him staged and then sympathetically edited..

  30. @Marcus

    @frank

    Not quite. I just told you that I chose an Ironman over the Keepers Tour.

    So when you need to take a leak, do you walk towards your bike now instead of the bathroom?

  31. @ErikdR

    I run something similar, though London has the odd bump in the road. Passing a Cycleway Hero in a granny gear on a hill when riding 42×15 really PISSES them off,  it shows plenty of V.

  32. I never tire of seeing that bike! Love the paint too. My Casati has a very similar green & blue, but just flourishing touches, as the main color is silver/grey. Never ridden SL tubing but would like to compare it to the Genius or MS I ride, though I bet unless I did something like a full gruppo & wheelset swap it wouldn’t be an easy comparison.

    Good on ya for getting a dusty bike back out on the road. I’m all for that, for sure. I commuted for a bit on a fixed gear, before I became a Follower and started working on my stuff. It meant I didn’t have to spend the time/money getting a geared bike with more bits worked on all the time. That bike is now used mainly to ride on my rollers, which never really happens anymore now that I’m in a warm climate. Commuter is now a geared cross bike set up commuter style, with panniers, a rack, and mudguards. Might be fun to ride without shifting once and awhile but I’ve gotten used to a certain cadence & don’t really like grinding up hills anymore. Well, I do actually, just in the right gear for the hill.

    Interesting timing. I watched “Ride the Divide” yesterday, then a bit of a fixed gear documentary, then some of “Hell on Wheels,” which follows Zabel & Telekom in the TdF. The Brunelle stuff can be exciting/nauseating but at this point I mostly just think about death wishes I no longer have & how unhappy drivers are to see such “cyclists.” Oh well.

    I do get a kick out of hearing lads carry on about the simplicity of da Fix, as they cut to a shot of them laying down a 10 meter skid. Is it simple swapping out tyres once a fortnight? Kids these days.

  33. Nice work, and a great way to resurrect and old frame.

    I ride singlespeeds for much of the winter and love it. It always amazes me what you can get up when you have no choice.

    A mate asked me what i did when i got to a hill. “Stand up and apply some more V” was the reply!

    Bravo!

  34. Looks good Brett!

    I want a singlespeed so bad. I was cleaning my #1 last night, and the winter is sure hard on her. I keep saying this, but my next project will be a singlespeed for winter base miles and quick rides around town to meet up with friends, etc.

  35. @minion

    @Marcus

    @frank

    Not quite. I just told you that I chose an Ironman over the Keepers Tour.

    So when you need to take a leak, do you walk towards your bike now instead of the bathroom?

    no – you dont need a bike to piss your pants.

  36. @Marcus

    @frank

    Well aren’t you a fucking cunt? I told you about my impending rule breach in confidence. And it was just to tick an ironman off my to do list (just like COTHO).

    Rest assured that the extra bottle cages will be soon removed and the bike will only ever be used for proper TTs after that.

    Which ironman are you racing?

  37. There is nothing like passing a Carbon Craplet on my single speed Faggin up climb. It may not happen often, but when it does, magic!

  38. @girl Melbourne – and will be doing it very slowly as my stinkin inflexible calves have prevented me from running properly for the last 4 months. And counting…

  39. @Marcus

    @girl Melbourne – and will be doing it very slowly as my stinkin inflexible calves have prevented me from running properly for the last 4 months. And counting…

    I may be there as a spectator, I have a few friends racing. A friend did Melbourne last year with no land running in the last 4 months leading up to it, water running only. Hope you are getting some good professional help with the calves. Mine suck too.

  40. @minion

    Of all the cheap, good frames you could have made into a good if not great single speed, you went and made a fucking rare columbus frame into something that even you can twist with your miniscule, spinldy mpnkey legs. I’d also like to point out that you’ve now got most of the parts to make it into a geared bike, even if you just use DA down tube shifters and a fucking Sora derailleur.

    So unimpressed right now I’m in fearful danger of spilling my fucking Latte. Really, my LATTE.

    I was all set to congratulate Bretto on pulling the Bozzie frame out of the shadows and making it ridable then Minion comes put with a nice rant complete with a monkey legs remark. It is good the Boz has wheels under it and is being ridden on a semi-regular basis but i liked it better with Campagnolo 11 speed on it.

    Old frame and new components are a good combo. A Bosworth with ENVE carbon wheels and 11 speed groupo would be special. In the meantime, it’s out on the road as a single speed, at least it’s helping Brett with the magnificent stroke of his monkey legs. At least there is no old group-san on there like a certain other keeper’s Bianchi. Blasphemer!

  41. @Gianni Yep. That skinny jackass needs a foot up his arse more often than not. The only redeeming feature is that the bike has wheels and brakes: I think Miche make cassettes spaced for Campy that fit on Shimano freehubs. Friction DT shifters will work with anything. And an Al frame much like the Bretto’s ghetto bike will probably be a better ss frame (stiffer rear end) than this.

    At least YOU know I’m right.

  42. @girl

    @Marcus

    @girl Melbourne – and will be doing it very slowly as my stinkin inflexible calves have prevented me from running properly for the last 4 months. And counting…

    I may be there as a spectator, I have a few friends racing. A friend did Melbourne last year with no land running in the last 4 months leading up to it, water running only. Hope you are getting some good professional help with the calves. Mine suck too.

    Your friend can run on water?

  43. @RedRanger

    @RedRanger

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn6ie1zCkZU

    Is this what your life is like now Brett?

    Or like this

    How about some Velominati orange berets for the apres – bike scene? Quite dashing don’t you think? (Not)

  44. @the Engine

    @girl

    @Marcus

    @girl Melbourne – and will be doing it very slowly as my stinkin inflexible calves have prevented me from running properly for the last 4 months. And counting…

    I may be there as a spectator, I have a few friends racing. A friend did Melbourne last year with no land running in the last 4 months leading up to it, water running only. Hope you are getting some good professional help with the calves. Mine suck too.

    Your friend can run on water?

    Good call. Running in the water is more boring than the windtrainer but it is effective.

  45. Tip on the iPad / iPhone photo upload – get the Photobucket app and a free account.  You can copy the image location and use that.

    Re the singly bike – this is not helping my desire to n+1 something old and classy.  Not one bit.

  46. @minion

    You’ll be pleased to learn that the Boz will be soon sporting 8 speed Mirage and Eurus wheels… me and @Kah went halves in a TradeMe auction for a steel Pinarello Telekom replica, he’s taking the frame etc and I’m getting the gruppo. The Ill Pro-Ghetto $8 special will indeed become the SS.

  47. So here’s the new SS, Ill Pro-Ghetto Mk2. The Boz will be built up again next week.

  48. @brett

    @minion

    You’ll be pleased to learn that the Boz will be soon sporting 8 speed Mirage and Eurus wheels… me and @Kah went halves in a TradeMe auction for a steel Pinarello Telekom replica, he’s taking the frame etc and I’m getting the Gruppo. The Ill Pro-Ghetto $8 special will indeed become the SS.

    You knew I was right. I reckon the Allez looks good as a single speed, that frame’s scrubbed up well. @Kah’s awesome.

  49. @brett

    So here’s the new SS, Ill Pro-Ghetto Mk2. The Boz will be built up again next week.

    Looks a beauty…is that an Allez Elite?  What year, I used to have an Allez Elite from 2002/3 yellow and black frame (alu) looked like and angry wasp..I loved that bike!

  50. @brett

    So here’s the new SS, Ill Pro-Ghetto Mk2. The Boz will be built up again next week.

    Best looking saddle ever.

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