Friday, February 18, 2011


I just got a new/used cyclocross bike.  A Chris King Cielo.  I bought it off the Pedro's New England cyclocross team, so it is technically used, though just barely. I bought it for gravel racing, like Kanza and Trans-Iowa and such, and for riding all the fantastic gravel loops in the mountains around here.  But it will also be pressed into service for actual cyclocross come fall.

Brass headbadge.

It arrived a day or two ago but I just got a chance to really look at it today. This bike is something special. 

It is way prettier than I expected.  

 There is a chrome logo thingy (what would you call this? I am guessing there is a pretentious Italian word for it) on the seat cluster

Uh, it has little star and moon cut-outs on the inside of the fork.  Lovely, yet kind of perplexing.  I am really not used to this kind of thing.

I generally think of my bikes as tools, really high-quality tools that let me do what I want to do. I know there is an entirely different school of thought, where bicycles are art.  Jewels.  Even, dare I say it, status symbols.  I bought this bike because I recognize it as a really high-quality tool, but now that I have it in front of me, I see that it could also be a jewel.  This bike could be taken out to cx races, raced for 45 minutes, then leaned up against a table to be admired.  It won't have this fate.  I am planning on treating this bike like the workhorse it really is: riding it over miles and miles of deserted gravel road, hanging a frame bag on it, getting it dusty and muddy, taking it places where its luscious paint and fancy chrome will go unappreciated.

I'm planning to swap out a lot of parts on this bike.  Carbon fork, black Chris King headset instead of yellow, hopefully SRAM in place of Ultegra, different bars, and new seatpost. 

Also, Meghan somehow convinced me I should buy the wheelset, even though I can't really use tubulars for gravel.  Admittedly, it was a good deal. Although seriously, tubulars. With carbon spokes. I acknowledge that this is indeed the way to go if you are serious about the cyclocross discipline. I just don't think my mediocre performance, lack of focus, and lousy skills in cyclocross really merit this kind of wheelset.

There is only one thing about this bike that is really objectionable.  I knew when I was buying it that it would come with a racer's name on the top tube.  I was ok with that.  I was not, however, expecting the racer's name to be in that second-most-hated (after Comic Sans, of course) of all fonts, PAPYRUS.  Under the clearcoat.  And really big.  Papyrus?  Really?  What is this, amateur hour? 

Anyway, as much as I was willing to ride around admitting that I bought serious cyclocross racer Rebecca Wellons' cast-off bike, that fucking font just had to go. This is not an astrologer's business card or a vegan restaurant take-out menu.  This is the top tube of a handmade steel cyclocross bike.

 Plain old electrical tape has that punk rock feel.  But looks suspicious, like I'm trying to hide something horrible underneath.  Needs a sticker.

Misfit Psycles' Fuck the Scenery sticker seemed like a decent antidote to the scourge of Papyrus, but a little confrontational. It went back on the fridge.

Pisgah Works coordinated nicely with the bike's colorway, and has that whole "ride-local-buy-local" thing going for it, but I decided against it due to proportions.

I went with the Bike29 sticker, of course. Bike29: we are fast and good looking. 

I would like to point out to any other potential sponsors that there is still room for your logo on this generous canvas of electrical tape.  Make me an offer.

And yeah, I set up the workstand on the deck instead of the bike room.  Why?  Because it was sunny and 67 degrees, warm enough that I was out there in just a tank top, old jeans, and no shoes. It's spring.  Time to start using the deck again.  Yeah.

And, I mean, have you seen my deck?  It's pretty damn nice.  You should probably come by for a beer sometime.  Bring your torque wrench, could you?

LATE EDIT: Somehow this post ended up sounding like I didn't like the bike.  I really, really, really like it.  I am just a bit uneasy with its fanciness.  I'll get used to it.  This bike is really cool and I am looking forward to putting a lot of miles on it.


  1. The punches were ruining the shape of my captions. I decided to take them out.

  2. how about a sticker with your name on it? and be careful, i think there's a wolf hiding behind your toolbox.

  3. Enjoy the rides on that beautiful ride.

  4. Thanks Bruce!
    I think your next sticker should have the words in the middle instead of the top and bottom, for optimal top tube sticker placement :)

  5. "just a tank top, old jeans, and no shoes." - Now I've just found my Dicky's Jill Horner text imagery. Sweet.

    Oh, and you should have done a Bike26 Ride Wheels sticker. Those are the bomb. And hard to find. Like missing with my car hard to find.

    Sweet bike. Congrats.

  6. You can go to a one day sign place or a good quick prink shop and have a custom vinyl decal made with your name or something.