Monday, October 31, 2011

Arm yourself with a Giro Factor 44

When I buckled these bad boys on for the first time for some reason I thought of Tarantino's Fox-Force-Five-Factor. Its a Foxy shoe able to transmit loads of Force and they are Five times better than any shoe out there. The only thing to look out for is the stack height is so low and efficient you might accidentally gap your ride partners without knowing.

Pulp Fiction -

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy SteelWüling

SW carving by Fitz.

SW crew and Mr. Henry

Random Steel Wül siting # 1:
I saw a black and white bullet going mach 3 by my office window on Eureka Canyon Rd today and it appeared to be a Shapleigh. The effortless pedal stroke gave him away. I could have been wrong, but I am pretty sure it was Mr. lung on a stick. After I saw him fly by, I put the Firehouse BLT down and went for the salad. Speaking of bacon, check out this Gaffigan Bacon piece.

click to play
Jim Gaffigan - Bacon
2 min

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Verve Coffee Roasters- saving our community

When Ryan and Colby opened Verve Coffee on 41st avenue a few years ago, we were elated to have such a well organized professional business in our neighborhood and the best coffee on the planet and did I mention professionalism! Their coffee is so good that I started drinking decaf just to enjoy the insane flavor.

These folks have breathed life into the east side by creating a comfortable clean atmosphere for people to gather. They have continued to grow in this economy and I think it is due to their vision and level heads. Their employees have medical coverage if you can believe that.
Here are a couple of shots of their new digs in the seabright cannery. We are proud to have them as a Steel Wül supporter and on our club kit. This is where we will be gathering for our north coast boogies for now on!

New Seabright Location

Ryan giving us a tour of the new Head Quarters

Mama Wüleur and Colby figuring out how to save the community

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Hey all Steel Wüleurs and those that wish to climb aboard, we are doing a kit re-order, so the time is now to add to your collection or to look forward to chamoing up in our kit on your next boogie.


The kits are through Voler. They have a very slick ordering process which allows you to log in, create an account and order away! your new SW kit will be delivered straight to your door.

Here's a rundown of standard kit items:
- M's & W's Race Raglan SS Jersey
- M's & W's LS Race Raglan GeoTherm Jersey
- M's & W's FS Pro Bibshort/Short - Triton
- M's & W's Raglan Windshell Vest
- M's & W's Thermal Jacket - Denali
- Thermal Armwamers
- All Undershirts

These do have minimums, but they are small. Should have no problem getting what you want.

Any questions, contact Jake Hess (info on sidebar)

Click on the link below and follow the instructions:

Thanks for being apart of this and we look forward to riding with you.

Below is the kit in full and sample of all pieces available:

> Click on image for larger view.

Santa Cruz Olympic Profile #1-George Koenig

I had the honor of visiting George Koenig the other day at his beautiful home in Santa Cruz. George and I played phone tag for a few weeks and we finally connected while I was running errands on my Mt. Bike. I did not want to keep him waiting or miss the opportunity to hear his story, so I road straight to his house on the beach.

I arrived to find George hanging out with his grandson who was finishing up some of his molecular biology homework from UCSC and sneaking in some body wompin' at 25th ave. I imagine George looked a lot like his grandson when he was selected for the 1960 Olympic Road team.

I explained to George over the phone that I am with the Steel Wül cycle club and was interested in interviewing him about his Olympic experience. As it turns out, George was kind enough to tell me his entire cycling story and I finely put my pen down after scribbling 6 pages of notes. I had all the best intentions to initiate the interview but I did not want to interrupt him when he was dropping names like the Gato brothers, Ricky Bronson, Boby Best, Spence Wolf, Charlie Alard, and of course the one and only Bob Tetzlaff. I felt like the cycling version of Robert "Wingnut" Weaver-appreciating and honoring all the obscure cycling legends from yesteryear.

This Stanford graduate, athlete, architect, and traveler, shared his story with me with amazing detail going back to WW-II. This 70 plus year old did not skip a beat when it came to recalling the finest details of racing over cobbles in Italy or remembering what drivetrain was on his Cinelli that Cino Cinelli himself gave him.

George grew up in Palo Alto in the 1940's when men of age were headed off to war. The young kids that were left at home spent their time on bikes and he dreamed of having one with a Sturmey Archer 3 speed. The local junior high school had over 1500 bikes out in front because that was the only way to get around. His father was a professor at Stanford and he eventually went there after a stint at a boarding school in southern California.

His first "road" bike was an aluminum French bike with a 4 speed simplex rear derailer that he bought for 40 bucks. A guy names Hass took him out to Page Mill road and dropped him immediately. This was his first experience with endurance riding.

The summer after his sophomore year at Stanford he and a buddy went to Europe to tour. They flew into Paris to look for bicycles and they found a shop called Oscar Egg (former world hour record holder). They found some very expensive steel bikes with aluminum drop bars, 10 speed simplex, and mafac brakes. They opted for a cheaper heavier version (35 lbs) with fenders, lights, generators, and panniers. They toured Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Italy. They literally walked their bikes over the Alps in a storm in Austria. They crashed in youth hostels and he described this trip as great times and hard times. I can only imagine what it was like in the 1950's. Put things in perspective, Luison Bobet won the Tour de France in 55'.

They made their way to the Spanish Steps in Rome and found a bike shop that sold Lazzaretti bicycles with gold and chrome lug work. George was "overwhelmed with desire" when he laid eyes on this machine. They bought 2 of them and shipped them back to Palo Alto.

In the fall of 1955 he made his way back to Stanford. That is when he met Ricky Bronson on Whisky Hill Road. These were the days when no one was out riding the roads so when you saw someone in a wool kit you stopped to find out what their story was. Ricky was from Belmont and was with the San Francisco Wheelman and had just won the state road championships. Ricky was on an English Claud Butler frame.

Ricky convinced George to join the ABA (American Bicycle Association). That is when he met Bob Tetzlaff (bicycling hall of fame & founder of the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club) who was winning everything he looked at. Tetzlaff and Santa Cruzin Rob Parsons were just recently honored at the Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Classic for having won that event more than any racer in history.

George started racing and got the bug to go back to Europe with a friend to "get race fit". They took a boat to Europe and had two sets of roller trainers to occupy their time on the boat. Spence Wolf (famous bike shop owner) wrote a letter to Cino Cinelli for George and his buddy. Cino took them in and set them up with Italian racing licenses and a place to stay. He said Cinelli treated them like his own. They trained in Italy all summer long. The first race they entered they ended up on the front page of the paper by virtue of their position in the group at the time of the photo.

Their first "real" race was the Grand Prino Pereli in Lambardia. This was an eye opener for them as they negotiated cobbles while hanging on by a thread and caring their bikes around train tracks and just trying to stay in the main group. It took everything they had to just hold the wheel in front of them. Unlike the Americans these Italians were racing their way out of poverty and had a hardness that was unfamiliar to American racers.

They made their way home with plenty of fitness for the 1956 Olympic Trials and George was 4th. This was a solid result but not quite good enough to make the 56' Melbourne Games. This is when he formed the Pedali Alpini cycle club. He described the Alpini club as a place to enjoy the outdoors and "find" yourself out on the open road vs training and sprinting. I think I would have dug that club. They road and trained in San Mateo, Napa, and Santa Cruz County. At this point no one was dropping him at the local level.

He finished Stanford in 1958 and was drafted into the Army. The Army knew of his cycling talent and allowed him to train and compete. He stayed in the states and was 5th at the Pan Am Games Road Race in 1959.

George was primed for the 1960 Olympic Trials held in Central park. Remember in these races, you essentially have no teammates as everyone is fighting for a spot on the team. The group stayed together until the very end where George was obligated to chase down a break after 90 miles. He knew there were some fast guys in the break. After a huge effort to bridge across he was 4th over the line which put him on the team for the 1960 Rome Olympics.

As his story was unfolding in front of me, it became obvious that it was his collective cycling and life expirence that he was passionate about not the Olympic target so often chased by athletes.

He lived in Squaw Valley in the 1970's and designed the Chinquapin complex in Tahoe City. He still pedals his bike which happens to be a beautiful green Calfee Tetra Pro.

For the record: When I asked his Grandson if he was planning on going to medical school George said, "if he gets in I will pay for it!".

Athlete ID pin from 1960 Rome Games

A commemorative Olympic Medal issued to the Athletes

Grandpa's Olympic warm-up jacket.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Travis Rieber to Travis Wüleur - we have a winner!

Lets hope he went straight to Verve to celebrate and buy a couple rounds for who ever took that pic. Travis must have been a Soquel Knight at some point considering the fact that he found it within a couple of days of the post or he used his connections at the county (off duty of course) to cross reference the photos to the county GIS database. Either way, good work!

For the record: the Garden was the Main Street Garden Cafe (great spot to end a ride) and the family who once was lost was the Bargetto family. Seven years ago four of the Bargetto's set off for a hike in the Sierra from Courtright Reservoir to Rae Lake and ended up missing for 4 days. They had to ride out a strong storm on a side of a cliff. They were rescued and made it home without incident. Micheal Bargetto became a Firefighter with Cal-Fire shortly after.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall,.... is it true that I have a SW discount approved by Wade Hall?

Black Mountain Cycles - Point Reyes, Ca

Here are a few shots from inside Mike's (Mike Varsey) shop. It was one of those experiences where everywhere you look there was something even "better" to check out. For the record, when Mama Wüleur saw that look in my eye, she kindly set off for a cup of joe.

My appreciation for the shop started from the outside with the petina metal roof and siding and the Raleigh 3 speed Sturmey Archer leaning against the wall (just like Harry's). As you walk through the threshold, the first thing that you see are all of the vintage Mountain Bikes on the top rack. It was a variety pack collection of Ritchey, Otis Guy, Cunningham, Salsa, Bridgestone, Merlin, to name a few. When I asked him what the story was with all the vintage rides, he simply said, "those are all my bikes". AHTBM's Stevil told me that bikes are like friends and you can't have enough good ones!.

He had Point Reyes version of KPIG rocking in the background as he was gluing some Griffos to a pair of Velocity rims. As it turns out Mike has his own radio show on Thursday nights at KWMR (you can stream it).

He was very patient with me with all of my nerdy questions and trivia. As it turns out we both know the Klasna brothers from way back. Mike worked as a designer for Haro Bikes for 15 years before opening his shop. He offers Black Mountain Cycles Road and Cross frames for a very affordable price. I was eyeing the long reach road version (tangerine orange!).

click to view:
Black Mountain Cycles

Sunday, October 23, 2011

And the search goes on....................

A couple of Steel Wüleurs used the secret decoder ring to find the mirror in question and if I was there with them I would have resorted back to the 6th grade and start in on them with, "your warm,.... warmer,..... oh,....... your getting so hot that you might melt your phone Jed."

We either have a new "
anonymous" member who is yet to claim ownership or the membership card is hidden better than I thought. Either way, I will confirm Monday. Until then just act like your on a Cal-Fire Strike Team headed to a Southern California OES Fire and stand by to stand by to stand by and when your done standing by, go get something to eat.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mom & Dad to Jake & Jess in 72 hours

Mom & Dad left Santa Cruz Thursday morning for Point Reyes to celebrate their 10 year wedding anniversary and by the time they hit Scotts Valley they transitioned into Jake & Jess.

Point Reyes is quite possibly the most charming place on earth. We both felt like we were on the set of Northern Exposure. I was looking for Ed Chigliak and Joel Fleishman the whole time.

We took our bikes and explored the coast and the east side with some direction from Mike Varley (Black Mountain Cycles). When I walked into Mike's shop I thought I fell into a time wormhole and landed back into 1987 at the Bicycle Inn. I was looking for Jeff and Harry and all the steel wülnes. He had everything from Delta brakes to handmade Ritchie's. Jess told Mike, "You might have to let him sleep here tonight". He politely said, "that would not be the first time that has happened".

With everything so accessible by foot and bike, we left the car parked for a couple of days. The food was incredible especially the bakeries and desert menus. It only took me two nights to remember to hide a flashlight at the base of our 10 minute hike into town.

We are both counting the days until we can do it all over again. It was one of those trips where you would not change a thing.

photo by German tourist

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Steel Wül you find it - 'Mirror in the Backwoods'

Connect the dots to find your very own Steel Wül Membership Card. It is hidden in the mirror. If I found it, I would go straight to Verve for the coffee discount. Please email a photo once it is found and happy hunting.

I never left the county and pedaled right by the "garden" past the family who once got lost and then up up into the sun.

photo hints


The English Beat - Mirror in the Bathroom

Charter School Homework - SW Style

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If looks could kill,.....we would all be dead

Check out this footage of the 1960 Olympic Road Race and TTT. The Italian that was goosed at the line throws the look of death at the camera man. He looks like a character from Goodfellas. Santa Cruz resident George Koenig was in this race. The Koenig interview is in the works.

click to play

Monday, October 17, 2011

Steel Wüleur Profile #4 - Dave Reid

Dave at the 2011 Paris Brest Paris

Full Name: David William Reid
DOB: 2-28-77
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 165
Occupation: County of Santa Cruz Analyst (GIS)
Bikes: Steel Rock Lobster with Kirk Pacenti Lugs (slant 6) & Steel Caletti TT machine
Strengths: Long Ass Rides

SW- Who gave you the nickname Super Dave?

DR- My understanding is that came from Ron Amen following a Saturday Ride back in the day when I was waring a backpack and putting a lot of power to the pedals.

SW- Is cycling more of a sport or a lifestyle for you?

DR- It has become more of a lifestyle. I had the lugged Rock Lobster and Caletti made because it feels right to me. Some folks enjoy having 14 pound bikes and I have enjoyed getting back to the roots of it all with the Steel Wül movement we have created.

SW- What was harder, Hawaiian Ironman or Paris Brest Paris?

DR- (Laughs),......oh boy. I would say that physically the Ironman was harder due to the heat and insane wind. Mentally, I think PBP is harder due to sleep deprivation of riding 750 miles in 3 days. At PBP it is more of a "I want this to be done"and the Ironman has a "I can do this, I can do this" phenomenon. In my second Ironman, Damara said that I smelled like burnt flesh. I essentially reset my thermostat by virtue of heat exhaustion. At PBP I suffered from numbness in my hands.

SW- Is it true that you and Damara built a carbon neutral home?

DR- Yes. It is a zero fossil fuel house and is carbon positive considering our solar roof powers our home and two thirds of my in laws home. Damara and I helped Santa Cruz Green Builders build it.

SW- Describe a perfect day in Santa Cruz for Super Dave.

DR- It would start with any one of my favorite breakfast eateries that Santa Cruz is famous for and eat a nice hardy breakfast. I would definitely pedal my bike perhaps an Alpine loop or some variation of Big Basin to the coast over dirt that we have been enjoying lately. Finish the day with a great home cooked meal with fresh veggies from the garden.

SW- What is the most memorable sporting moment of your life?

DR- I think it would have to be when I finished the Hawaiian Ironman in 2000. I loved the whole experience. The family was there, crazy winds, I had no idea what I was doing, and I had a great time with the whole adventure.

SW- Greatest accomplishment to date?

DR- Building our home and staying married a collective accomplishment!

SW- Do you come from a family of endurance athletes or is this something that the Reid kids initiated?

DR- My father played college football and my mother was athletically inclined however she grew up in a generation that did not support female athletes. My oldest brother is a ball sports guy and about 10 years ago he got his Vo2 measured and it was the same as mine and I grew up doing endurance sports my whole life. I suppose that Vo2 numbers are going to have a genetic connection.

SW- What is your all time best road boogie?

DR- There are a handful of epic rides that I did in Europe with the crew that come to mind. There is one that stands out that I did with Mike Moore and Sean Co. We were in Italy at the north end of Lake Gardia riding to Simione to check out the Giro TT with the intent to pedal around the lake (Lake Tahoe style). We got about half way down this mountain in heavy rain to check out the Giro TT. We ended up going through these insane tunnels with no light on gravel roads and you could not see anything. We were about two thirds up that side of the lake roads and it was getting dark- the sun was going down and we had like 15 miles to our destination when we came across a Road Closed sign. There was barbwire across the road and over fences. We tried to push our bikes through the barb wire and Sean was on the rivet already and we realized that we are not going to make it. We run into a guy who says if you pedal 10 k to the south you can catch the last boat back to town. We timetrialed our way back to the boat launch and eventually made it back to the hotel late that night and had a wonderful dinner. Riding up Alpe d' Huez with 9 other guys was very memorable as well.

SW- Steel or Ti?

DR- Steel, powdercoated for durability. Ti has it virtues in Santa Cruz due to the salt air but I like the fact that builders have a little more artistry with steel.

SW- With your background, education and experience allot of folks think that you should run for a seat on the County Board. Would you ever consider this?

DR- Huh,...(laughs) I am passionate about finding ways of making a difference in my community - and if an opportunity arose to make a difference I would certainly consider it.

SW- As a Geologist, what is your favorite ride?

DR- I would say that knowing the geologic history of California and having the opportunity to ride from Santa Cruz to Yosemite (Gren Yosemite Boogie) is the best geologic ride - checking out the different road cuts and all the changes along the way and ending up in Yosemite which is an absolute meca for geologists.

SW- San Benito or San Mateo County?

DR- I would have to say San Mateo considering I know it better and spent more time riding there, however, Highway 25 through the Pinnacle's to Peach Tree rd south is not to be missed.

For the record:
I was chatting with Dave's father in law a few years back and I remember he was describing Dave to someone at a party and said, "I seriously could not have custom ordered a better son-in-law, as a matter of fact, I would have missed half of his attributes and character. "

Friday, October 14, 2011

Steel Wül Travel Trivia

Who is autographing my ID tag?

Melchor Mauri

Dave Reid with the correct answer.

Melchor won the 1991 Vuelta de Espana. He dropped Big Mig on stage 13 going into the ski resort of Valdezcaray. From 1991 to 1995 there were only 2 humans to beat Mig in a TT, Melchor did it 3 times. This photo is from the 2003 World Police and Firefighter Games in Barcelona, Spain. Lets just say that the Europeans take care of there ex-professional cyclists. This was during the famous heat wave that hit France and Spain that summer. The RR course was held on the same course as the 1992 Olympic RR (Mountjüic). RIP Fabio Casartelli.

Supporting the USPS one letter at a time

Mark Norstad of Paragon Machine Works is the man when it comes to machining cycling parts however, around our house, he is simply known as Natalie's dad. Natalie is the other half of an ongoing pen-pal relationship with our Olive. The look on Olive's face when she receives "real" mail is priceless. We figure that the girls are doing their part to save a portion of the 3,635 post offices that are facing closures. I can't seem to convince Olive to ask Natalie to sneak in a Ti dropout or two in the letters. Here is a great article by Adam Hunt and Dirt Rag featuring Paragon Machine Works. We look forward to seeing the Norstad's around the camp fire at Salmon Lake I mean Heaven on Earth.

Words and photos by Adam Hunt

You may have never heard of Paragon Machine Works. That’s okay, they’ve probably never heard of you either. Chances are if you’ve purchased a bike from a custom frame builder, you are already using some of their products.

Paragon Machine Works doesn’t make bicycles; they make the things that make bicycles better. Take a gander at their website and you’ll see an array of tantalizing little tidbits that will send any bike geek’s heart a flutter. Few of us will ever need Paragon’s bottom bracket heatsink and purge fitting tool but dang; it’s so beautiful you may want one anyway.

Situated in a residential area in Richmond, California, and downwind of the massive Chevron refinery, Paragon Machine Works has become known as the premier American manufacture of bicycle frame building parts and the go-to people for custom made bottom brackets, cable guides, headtubes and dropouts.

Starting as a single man operation in 1983 with a single lathe and a mill, Paragon’s owner, Mark Norstad, has specialized in small parts manufacturing geared towards custom bike builders and smaller production companies. A quick look at Paragon’s web catalog reveals the breadth of Mark’s offerings: titanium bottle openers, bottom bracket shells made out of aluminum, stainless steel, steel and titanium, brake mounts for both disc brakes and cantilevers, dropouts, including sliding dropouts and hinged dropouts with integrated disc mounts, headtubes and a range of frame building tools.

Initially, Norstad planned to be a “job shop” for local companies in need of machining work. At first work was slow and irregular. One year he declared “zero” on his tax return. Luckily, Norstad was in the right place at the right time. In the early eighties the Northern California bicycle scene was starting to take off. Builders like Steve Potts, Charlie Cunningham, Otis Guy and the Koski brothers were working in Marin County, Keith Bontrager was getting rolling in Santa Cruz, Tom Ritchey in Palo Alto, Ross Shafer, Bruce Gordon, Scot Nicol and Jeffery Richmond were also making names for themselves in nearby Sonoma County. Norstad became the “go-to-guy” for small frame building parts.

Norstad considers himself a machinist first, and a bike person second. His business isn’t limited to bicycles. Paragon Machine Works has also made equipment for motorsport, the solar industry, viniculture and capturing methane from landfills.

Norstad was keen to show Dirt Rag some of his new stem front plates, head tubes, and BB30 and PF30 bottom bracket shells. Norstad said Paragon’s stem plates help frame builders make custom stems quicker. Custom front plates engraving is also available. It is good be able to offer custom builders multiple options now that bottom bracket sizing is once again in flux.

One of his latest projects was designing his own version of a pivoting disc brake dropout. Some small builders such as Todd Ingermanson, of Black Cat Bicycles and Rick Hunter of Hunter Cycles, had become dissatisfied by either using eccentric bottom brackets, sliding dropouts or trackends as a way of tensioning chains on single speeds with disc brakes. They were already been experimenting with their own pivoting dropout design. Norstad said he was approached by Hunter with the idea of having a custom dropout of his own design built but was surprised when Norstad showed Hunter a dropout he had made independently of the two frame builders.

According to Norstad, the benefit of a pivoting dropout is that it maintains a constant distance between the rear axle and the disc brake pivot, and, unlike trackends, it doesn’t require any loosening of the disc brake caliper to take off the rear wheel and lastly, unlike an eccentric bottom bracket, pivoting dropouts don’t raise or lower the effective bottom bracket height of a bike or affect the a rider’s position.

Norstad said there are so many Paragon Machine Works design knock-offs bubbling up from the Far East that he occasionally answers angry phone calls from customers who bought a bike constructed with these imitation parts that called to voice their disappointment in them. Norstad is keen to point out his products generally don’t got to manufactures in Asia and what these people were really complaining about was the poor fabrication of these hastily made lookalikes.

Making high dollar bike frames is a gamble. Making high dollar bicycle frames in a recession even more so. Like many others, Norstad has felt the pinch. Some of his non-bicycle related contracts have evaporated, leaving hid business with an uncertain future.

Searching for more contacts he took some of Paragon’s handiwork to the recent North American Handmade Bicycle show in Austin, Texas. Norstad was surprised by the result—a flood of new orders. When asked what he attributed the surge of orders to he was at a loss to explain. He’s just happy they are they are coming in.

5 Questions with Mark Norstad

DR: How did you get started?

MN: I started taking machine shop classes when I was twelve years old.

DR: What’s the best part of your job?

MN: Seeing something made with your own two hands.

DR: What’s the toughest part of your job?

MN: Being a boss.

DR: Outside of bicycle parts what other things does Paragon Machine Works make?

MN: We’ve done couplers for heavy earth moving equipment, some work for a solar company, transmission parts for VW and some stainless steel work for methane capturing from landfills but with the downturn or recession or whatever you want to call it all that’s all dried up. Thankfully there are a lot of people buying custom frames out there and that’s what’s keeping us going. We’ve had a real surge in orders after the last North American Handmade Bicycle Show but I’m not sure what to attribute that to.

DR: What are your interests besides bikes?

MN: I made a jet boat out of a Yamaha jet ski. It’s super loud and obnoxious and it’s a great deal of fun. Because jet boats don’t have a propeller you can run them at full speed in about a foot of water. It’s like singletrack for boats.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

John Caletti B-day boogie 700c therapy- no charge

Introducing Dr. Leo Marvin word association 700c therapy. According to my inner cyclist the ride went something like this:

treats, friends, roll, road, dirt, road, dirt, tracks, road, gravel, road, bridge, uphill, sand, soft, gravel, dirt, rock, DG, chalk, gate, chalk, gravel, gate, uphill, downhill, uphill, uphill, uphill, uphill, uphill, uphill, clay, downhill, downhill, downhill, gate, tractor, road, hill, rollers, road, fast, smooth, ocean, sun, home, granola.

Thats what my Hippocampus is telling me anyway.