Haunted By The Past

Further to Monday’s post, the floodwaters of the mighty Saw Mill River have largely receded and it’s back to its usual trickle:

I too am trickling along in my usual fashion. I’m riding the same bike I did on Monday:

And I’m even wearing the same clothes:

By the way, many thanks to Jeff (or his family) for the bench:

In all sincerity, I found the fondness of the sentiment genuinely touching. At the same time, it also made me remember how many years ago now I was in Kansas with my wife, who was either pregnant at the time, or else maybe had recently given birth. Either way, we were in like a Pizza Hut or something, and a woman came over and blessed our child. While the rest is hazy, I remember that moment very clearly, not only because it was such a moving gesture, but also because the man she was with was wearing this shirt:

It made me love people, and how we can be so earnest and well-meaning and cocky and dopey all at the same time.

What I didn’t think of until now is that it would be very interesting to replace the labels on the shirt, so that “The Man” is pointing down and “The Legend” is pointing up. Now that would really make people think.

Anyway, in no way did I mean to insult Jeff’s memory by associating it with an obscene t-shirt, and I’d like to think the plaque is no less sweet for my having mentioned them together. When I’m gone I wouldn’t want a gravestone or any other waste of space and money, but I wouldn’t complain if my family put a cute little plaque along one of my favorite bike routes so that people could read it while they pee. (I was not peeing!) It could say something like: “For Our Dad, Tan Tenovo: He Wouldn’t Wear A Helmet Or Use Disc Brakes. In Fact, That’s Exactly How He Died.”

By the way, it occurs to me I’m assuming Jeff is no longer with us, but for all I know he’s still very much alive and is sitting on that bench right now.

As for the location of the bench, it’s along the South County Trailway:

This path was once a railway line, made redundant by two other nearby lines as well as the Saw Mill River Parkway that runs right alongside it. Here’s one of the ghost stations, which also has a bench:

And here’s one of those real-life hyperlinks, which I never read until now:

And when I say “now,” I literally mean that, because I didn’t bother reading it until I uploaded it to this very blog you’re now reading:

I never realized the station was for the cemetery which is right behind me as I’m taking the picture, and I also never knew the cemetery contained a Confederate monument. Here’s a contemporary article on it from the New York Times:

The monument is quite prominent and I’ve noticed it countless times, yet never new what it was or even thought to wonder. Whether it’s a plaque on a bench or a crumbling ghost station or a 60-foot high hunk of granite we’re uniquely capable of completely ignoring things until serendipity directs its attention to them.

In other news, bicycling is constantly plagued by the misconception that it’s a frivolous pastime for monied elitists. Fortunately, the New York City Department of Transportation has moved swiftly and emphatically to dispel this myth by featuring David Byrne riding to the Met Gala on a Budnitz:

Here is said Budnitz:

Budnitz is a now-defunct bike company started by Paul Budnitz, who was best-known for making collectible toys for adults under the name “Kidrobot.” His bike company launched amid controversy, which you can read about here:

We rarely rant here at Black Sheep Bikes. We see no need to defend what we do as bike builders and similarly we leave others to do as they please. If you like what we do great, if not cool. There is many talented people making bikes in this world. Check out your local builder for instance. We build the bikes we love out of the passion for our trade and our love for bikes. Pretty simple. However we do feel that the we need to clarify some things as we have gotten a lot of questions so the air needs to be cleared. 5 or so years ago we were approached by a fella we will call Mr. B. He came to us with a need for a quality built bike that would suit his needs, keep him fit, and have some style. No problem. We built him a Speedster style frame, belt drive, internally geared hub, internal routing, etc.. Great commuter and he was very satisfied. So much in fact that he wanted another with a little different style and bigger tires. Kind of a urban thrasher that can fit in a travel case. Done. Another happy customer. After awhile he approached us with an idea of helping him build a bike company under his own name. He wanted us to make him replicas of the bikes we had already made with the potential to go over seas and have them massed produced. As you can imagine we felt like this wasn’t the best idea for our company and went against why we build these bikes with our own hands here in Colorado in the first place. Nothing against bikes made out of country and in Asia as many are high quality and almost all are handmade by skilled workers. It just sounded boring and not our style. So we told him we weren’t interested. Mr. B however is a man with money and the means to do as he pleases so he took our bikes had them replicated(kind of) at another American bike company and now has some being produced over seas. Damn! Wasn’t what we thought was going to happen. Oh well we suppose. We still get to build our dream bikes, one at a time, with our own hands here in Colorado. What this really boils down to is a choice. You can buy a bike from a man who has his name on it with no other connection to his product or the hard work that others have put into it. Or you can buy a bike from people who love what they do and do it themselves, pour their soul into their craft, and actually have a passion for bikes. The point is, before you drop a bunch of your hard earned cash on a Budnitz…give a guy like Curtis Inglis a call first. You will be glad you did.

Anyway, as I recall the bikes were made by Lynskey, and I also seem to recall Budnitz specifically promising an “Apple”-type shopping experience, the idea being you paid lots of money and got a slick beautifully designed product that worked well but didn’t require you to know anything about what was happening under the “hood” or require interactions with people who had dirty fingernails.

Naturally, I made fun of the whole Budnitz thing, and presumably to make me eat my words they sent me a bike to test:

I think some of the original posts about that test bike are now gone since Google has expunged a bunch of my old posts due to terms of service violations, probably mostly to do with photos I used to post frequently of a nude woman on a recumbent. Anyway, I rode the expensive Budnitz for awhile, and because it was quite an expensive bike to lock up in New York City (this was before e-bikes, so thieves still wanted regular ones) I theft-proofed it with the most offensive image I could find:

Obviously a Lynskey with trick parts is going to be pretty nice to ride, but the experience I had was hardly Apple-worthy. The bike I received was poorly assembled, with various loose fasteners, and the bottom bracket was creaky as fuck:

The brakes also howled like a ship in the night:

Obviously, all those things are fixable, but when you buy an iPhone it doesn’t shock you and make lots of noise and pieces don’t fall off of it, now do they?

Still, to its credit, I was able to “Cat 6” the fuck outta the Prospect Park Freds on it:

Alas, Budnitz may be gone, but it is heartening to see that their legacy lives on as the “Tax the Rich” dress of bicycles.

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