Live taping session

Varley's attention to detail is second to none

We’re having warm gusty wind (just like autumn) and brilliant low-angle sun. I have been swimming, not cycling for exercise these past weeks. I leave the house in the dark for a 5:30 a.m. swim. Home by 7, then indoors alllllllll day. Crawl into bed at 9, which means climbing a long stairway outside in the dark.


So I gave myself permission to hop on my ol’ crossingham  and ride it in the ‘filet o’ day’ (one to four) t My excuse? The bars look so ratty, and the Grab-On™ grips so compressed, I needed a change. It had probably been five years or more, and that great bike deserves to look decent.

Reminds me of the time in 1991 or so, when racing the beloved Chihuahua Desert Challenge, in the day when all us pros  (well, the ones with cheap-ass sponsors, or privateers like myself) slept in a giant single room bunkhouse.

Rishi Grewal would come in super late the first night, around 3 a.m. and put all his clothes on hangers in the little cardboard wardrobe with the squeaky metal bar, then rattle his dial-a-vitamin jar for five minutes or so….with irritable, freshly-awakened riders grousing from their beds. Well,  maybe not the passed-out Herbold & co.

Me, I just thought: this deserves to be put down on paper….to this selfish brat, there’s nobody else in the room who matters…


John Tomac (definitely living in style in his own condo, no doubt) took a look at my bike, rode it around and pronounced it “a really great bike” (he’s my size). Then, the next time I saw the bike, the ratty old cloth tape had been meticulously replaced with expensive cork-backed tape (very 198o’s  neon-colored geometric flecks).

In marked contrast to Dave Weins taking my saddle and seatpost ransom because I’d hidden the co-axial cable. (note to reader/rider: I loathe T.V. being on all day long, with no one in the room).

Oh, man those were the days.

Anyhow, a peaceful ramble out  west to Black Mountain Cycles of Point Reyes Station, where Mike Varley the ace mechanic, designer, frame mfgr, beer brewer and popular local deejay would remove two yards of tired, droopy  cat-eye bar tape with all the threads hanging off, huge gaps and stuff, and put it all to rights.

Nearly no traffic getting out there.

I took the low route, the Tocaloma bridge, rather than the dreaded Olema hill. Alas, because there is a blockage on said hill, all the traffic took my back route, too.

In the thrift shop (had to go there, even before visiting Mike V.) I found the sort of Phelan holy grail:
cashmere-silk leggings (by Jennifer Tyler, never heard of her) in an unfortunate “I’m dealing with cancer” pink.

Which of course  I will dye –would I pun?– brown because I am so bloody sick of this ocean of pink…

Thence to the shop, where Mike stopped work on Robin William’s bike  to do a while-u-wait on my bars.

I felt like a proper star.

Mike, you rock, with that wonderful Tom Russell music playing, with a West Marin afternoon unfurling just outside your secret little shop.

Beautiful, but dead


~ by jacquiephelan on December 1, 2011.

2 Responses to “Live taping session”

  1. Nice piece, Ms. Jacquie! Thanks for sharing. Corey in San Antonio…

  2. Robin Who? Great post.

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