Oregon Manifest Destiny: Dare to Dream

Back in the "Olden Days," settlers loaded up covered wagons and headed west in search of land, gold, and fortune. Very often, these settlers were Polish rabbis, and along the way they would befriend wily bandits with hearts of gold. Then, comedy high jinx would ensue--or at least that's what I was led to believe by Ken Burns in his acclaimed documentary about westward expansion entitled "The Frisco Kid:"

(Amazingly, in 1979 someone thought this movie was a good idea.)

Today, however, "Manifest Destiny" manifests itself rather differently. Basically, the way it works is that people from the East Coast who are way into bikes decide to "light out" for Portland and live out their most absurdly velo-tastic fantasies. However, in the absence of a modern-day equivalent of the Homestead Act, they must instead turn to Kickstarter:

This person is going to find himself rather disillusioned when he arrives in Portland and finds there are already at least twenty mobile bike shop-slash-rolling dance parties already operating. Indeed, it's time to face the prospect that Portland is about to become "biked out." Soon, destitue framebuilders will wander the streets, offering their services to random pedestrians, who more often than not will also turn out to be destitute framebuilders. In fact, some estimates have it that by 2015, one in three Portlanders will be full-time framebuilders, and one in four will have received some sort of award from the NAHBS. Really, the city needs to put some kind of cap on transplants or the whole "bike culture" bubble is going to explode in a hail of lugs and tattered "shants." Unfortunately though the city will probably not take the necessary action, because when Portanders read "put a cap on the 'bike culture'" all they can think of is this:

Handmade cycling caps are to Portland what kippot are to Ocean Parkway. If you've never visited, I can confirm that they actually put a cycling cap on your head when you deplane at PDX. This is why the garment is also sometimes referred to as a "Portland lei."

None of this is to say that anybody who is compelled to embark upon a Search for Self should not heed that inner voice--it's just that in Portland the make-believe bike job market is already saturated, so you might want to look elsewhere. For example, there's always Boulder:

Given the current state of the economy, there's something almost touching about a person who wants you to give him money so he can film himself drawing, climbing, and riding bikes:

I am creating a video about utilizing bicycles as transportation to "project" rock climbs near Boulder, Colorado. The title, "The Backyard Project," takes on two meanings: the first, and most obvious, is the verb "project" or the act of rehearsing the movement on a challenging rock climb until one climbs the route without falling. The second definition, and the goal of this video, reflects the merging of climbing, biking, music, and art into a collaborative, multimedia "project."

It's vital that you support him in this, because climbing is the source of his artistic inspiration:

I strive to emphasize the intimate, expressionistic sides of climbing and to illustrate this artistic lifestyle through its nuances: the preparation of food and gear, anticipation of the climb, ambient noise, existential experiences, and heightened senses; all of which contribute to my use of climbing for artistic inspiration.

Yes, as long as he can keep climbing, he will remain inspired to make more videos of himself climbing, and he can live the rest of his life in a constant feedback loop of sustainable self-indulgence. All you have to do in order to make this possible is hold an actual job and give him your money. He may even pluck out a lovely tune for you on his spokulele:

Not all Kickstarter campaigns are self-indulgent though, and some have highly practical applications for the cockpit enthusiast:

I suppose if you can't actually have this guy stand next to your bicycle scaring the holy crap out of everybody who comes near it, then buying his Leatherlock security system is the next best thing:

Because nothing confuses a thief like a series of elastic bands.

Speaking of dreams and the current state of the economy, just because money's tight doesn't mean you should give up on your dream of building up that sweet frame you've got lying around. Sure, bicycle components can be expensive, but every so often a complete build kit comes up on Craigslist for a price that's nearly too good to be true, and that's when the wise shopper knows to pounce. Here's one such opportunity:

Nimble Crosswind Trispoke wheel, Shimano Airlines, Brooks titanium - $350 (Midtown)
Date: 2011-10-11, 2:33AM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]

Nimble Crosswind Carbon Tri Spoke Front Wheel (with tire and wheelbag) $350

Shimano Airlines (New In Box) Rare air powered shifting system $650

Brooks Swift Titanium railed leather saddle $200 Antique Wooden grips $65

If you want to turn heads in Williamsburg or whatever your local equivalent is, just roll up on a bike equipped with a crabon front wheel, a Brooks saddle, "vintage" wooden grips, and the finest (and, I'm reasonably certain, the only) air-powered shifting system ever made. For maximum effect, simply replace the stock Shimano Airlines canister with an air horn--that way you'll produce a delightfully shocking blast of sound whenever you change gears. Or, if neither are available, there's also a popular (and delicious) "kludge" that involves Easy Cheese.

And if Craigslist isn't your can of squeeze cheese, you can always "hit up" your local "swap meet." However, to get the best deal you may need to compete with shrewd Mennonites, as in this photo which was taken by a reader last year at Trexlertown:

'Twas never a Trek the subject of such intense contemplation:

My guess is that, as a member of a highly capable, frugal, and self-sufficient community, she ultimately determined she could make the entire thing herself in about 25 minutes and walked away.

Lastly, yesterday I mentioned the unrivaled rigidity of a beehive bottom bracket, but on a mountain bike all that stiffness is useless if you don't also have a suitably "beefy" fork crown. That's why you need one with BNT, or "Bird's Nest Technology," as spotted recently by another reader:

Crabon weave has nothing on bird's nest weave.

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