From Merriam-Webster :
- 1 a : a usually green film formed naturally on copper and bronze by long exposure or artificially (as by acids) and often valued aesthetically for its color b : a surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use
- 2 : an appearance or aura that is derived from association, habit, or established character
Those of you who have read this blog long enough know my ongoing love affair with my 26 inch Voodoo Erzulie. A steel bike that I have had for nearly 20 years, if you're a long time reader or friend then you know the story behind it. For those of you not familiar or you just don't remember I'll give you a quick synopsis.
When I bought this mountain bike I had been mountain biking for several years. I started out on a trek something or another MTB which was sold to me at cost by my old LBS after I got out of the army. "You should do this thing called mountain biking." I did and I loved it. I left that bike behind and landed in Guam chasing a woman who I was deeply in love with. There I had 2 bikes a Cannondale with a headshock and a giant. Nice bikes but let's face it Guam is an island and mountain biking there was a bit of a challenge.
I read about Voodoo bikes in what MTB mags we got there and dreamed of steel bikes. I cannot say what drew me to Voodoo, Joe Murray? Black magic? who knows. I could not get a Voodoo on island unless it was via extraordinary shipping costs. So I waited. Things did not work out between this woman and myself (long story) and I ended back in the CONUS (Contentinal U.S.) a couple of years later sleeping on the couch of a good friend and my tattoo artist, which was of all places in Denver, Colorado.
I came to Colorado for 2 weeks and stayed for 14 years. I saved up from crappy retail jobs and bought the Voodoo from a shop unloading them for cheap because OG Voodoo went out of business. I've had the bike since the mid-late 90's. It's been a commuter and an expedition bike. I've had this bike longer than most any relationship I've had combined. I love this bike.
Over the years I have said I wanted S&S couplers on it, gonna get it repainted and so forth. Even had the money to get it painted up right and have the decals redone. I held to that thought for the longest time until here recently. In this day and age we concentrate on nice and shiny, the newest and latest. Which is all fine and good if you can afford it and not be in debt to it. Trust me I often drool over Velociraptor Trucks and Indy Fab, Moots or Yeti bikes.
Then the other day when looking up a video on how to repair something on the ol' Mazdarauder I ran across a hotrod show where all they did was fix up junk yard finds. The word said over and over again was "Patina" They'd take this car or truck make it a monster of ride. They'd sand it down a little shoot a coat of dull clear over it and call it good. They concentrated on making the car or truck high performance not making it look good. Substance over style.
Since then I've applied that idea to the Voodoo. I had the chance to talk to some guys at the local trails and man they have some great bikes, seriously but the bikes lack character and I will say trail cred even soul. Yes, they can hammer me into paste on a ride which is like whatever for me cause I made my bones long ago under western skies. My point is that no longer am I shooting to have the bike stripped down and shipped off to get refurbished. Nope next time the bike gets stripped down I'm just gonna take it to a local paint place and have them shoot a coat of clear over it and call it good. Then put more bitchin' parts on it.
Patina, in cycling friends that is only something that can be done with a steel bike.
Thanks for reading.