TAF, JA, or just WTH?

He made a calendar for charity with his ass out.

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the guys name is a rivendell model


I wonder what is the lasting pathway to Terminal Bike Nerd Disease:

  1. Buying cheap, crappy bikes from craigslist and other places and spend years slowly learning the rudiments by trying to keep it running while reading Sheldon Brown.

  2. Buying expensive cool guy bike shit on day one

I guess my opinion is evident in how I framed the question. but I think I must recognize my own privilege and luck in becoming interested in riding bikes in 2005 when I was 22 and having the time to dick around with them for years during the bicycle internet golden era


I started with expensive cool guy shit (pro deals working in a shop and living at my parents, so could spend my pennies on it), but then moved into more esoteric weird shit. I think it comes from:
A) first and foremost actually enjoying riding bikes
B) being a gear/toys person generally. Like, do you like to tinker and take shit apart?


It was path 1 for me and I’m still doing it so I guess mark one down for that column

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i wonder how viable path 1 is nowadays? It’s been a long time since I was in the bike co-op scene but I’ve gotta imagine that there’s a lot less high-quality 6/7/8-speed stuff in the bins that’s not worn to uselessness. Folks starting out need guides to 10/11/12-speed compatibility and disc-brake standards more than they need info on french part standards and minutia about hyperglide vs hyperglide-C freehub bodies, but no one makes “web sites” any more, and trying to filter through the chaff on reddit requires a different kind of skillset.

Just a fact of who I hang around with nowadays, I have seen several people come into cycling via path 2 and become super strong riders who seem to be in the sport for the long haul. But it’s always a little jarring when they ask very basic questions, or start getting influenced by youtubers.


Amen on guides to this modern stuff. I just learned Shimano has “wide” and “narrow” brake pads and rotors. Here I thought a disc brake was a disc brake and a 160mm rotor was a 160mm rotor.

Don’t even get me started on IS/PM calipers that need special adapters and don’t work with the generic ones. Sheesh.

Agreed. Some problems with path 1:

  • co-ops/bike kitchens have disappeared
  • people in cities have less space for garages/bike rooms
  • 9/10/11 speed stuff is pretty weird

I say it’s weird because:

  • the new stuff added new tech like discs/hydros and electronic shifting that lacks compatibility
  • trickled-down high end stuff from that era was fragile (looking at you sram with your flimsy parts)
  • the 9/10/11 era is the good enough era. everything started working pretty well, especially if you’ve never experienced a good and well-maintained drivetrain

Then again I avoid reddit bike subs like the plague so I have no idea what’s cool. IMO tarck should start a bike wiki to counter the bike-fluencers. Doesn’t need to be under tarck branding. Then we can flood it everywhere and our admins can subvert the reddit hive mind

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Path 1 or 2 doesn’t matter. What matters is getting a bike that you care about and enjoy riding. See so many people spend $5k on a hip bike just to have it not fit, and then they lose interest because riding it sucks.


So in other words, bike nerds 35 and older grew up in a tiny golden age of cool, easy to work on bikes that were cheap and easy to find? And all the good shit cheap and still a few years of hard use from being totally clapped out?

My cache of specific excellent 6-7-8sp parts is getting smaller every year and I don’t find that shit at bike shops or at Craigslist anymore.

eBay is still a great source for some stuff (it’s where I get most of my cold-forged square taper cranks) but surely this well is going to be dry by the time our Tarckstars hit dithering age

you ever run into helicomatic freewheels? nothing quite like writing a work order only to have your boss point out that instead of regular splines or regular threads, the mf spirals on there and there is still a locknut and it will cost significantly more than you quoted because there are no longer helicomatic freewheels so you need to sell a new wheel

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never seen one in the flesh but i do recall reading about these on Sheldon Brown

I never had any experience with those hubs, but I had one of those bottle opener tools floating around my work bench for years. No idea where it came from.



Definitley a 1 for me. Id never heard of Sheldon Brown so had to scrape my knowledge from rec.bicycles. I guess he or the WWW wasnt there. Made a lot of mistakes, but stuff was simpler then for sure. Was very aware of Jobst Brandt and Damon Rinard and to date have only brought 2 new bikes, ever, the last in 1996. I had a young family in the late 80’s so was always poor and trying to get stuff on the cheap. Ive only started working at a bike coop this year and love it. I guess I was always jealous of the type 2 folks, but still find it hard to spend money on bike’s when the joy of foraging is more fun. Becoming a grandad at 9 am NZ time this morning.


Neither for me. The internet wasn’t widely available when I started messing with bikes, but that was back in the late '80s when friction stuff was still a thing you could buy brand new. Then I stopped caring about bikes for about 20 years, missed all the forum and newsgroup stuff of the time, and Sheldon had already passed by the time I got back to them. Since then, it’s probably been closer to path #1 but with a healthy budget.

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Needs elastomers around the thru axle.

I don’t want one of those, pubes



i was 1 then 2 then 1 but kinda 2 again