1983 Specialized Stump Jumper

'83 StumpJumper

In 1983, I lusted over the new Specialized StumpJumper mountain bikes that were out. A friend had one of the awesome Miyata MTB’s that I test rode and fell in love with; I had never before seen or experienced such a bicycle. When I discovered the Specialized, I had to have one. Mowing lawns alone was not enough for the cost of entry to possess one of these amazing machines, and, at the summer’s end, dreadfully short of the necessary cash, my folks came to the rescue, and the StumpJumper was purchased and my life forever changed. The combination of living in one of the worst bicycle theft areas in the country, along with being a clueless teenager, the machine did not last too long; it was stolen within 6 months and that was that.

Since that time, even as an adult, I have secretly wanted that bike back, and have always kept one eye on the lookout for such machinery. One fine day, John Boyer, from Edible Pedal bike shop, brought in a couple of truck loads of frame, wheels, and parts from a bulk purchase he had made, and in said pile lived two 1983 Specialized StumJumper frames, both in various states of build and/or disrepair. They appeared to be a his and hers matching set; one in 20″, the other in 16″. I quickly snatched up the 20″ from John, and began then acquisition process of accumulating the parts for a build. I decided to build this on the cheap and without too much concern for an attempt at building the bike to it’s original state, or, for that matter, with matching parts even. Some might consider this behavior blasphemous, but not I; I simply wanted a solid, functional, and attractive alternative adventure tourer… Which is exactly what I got.

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The Revolution I

Sometime back, I purchased an overpriced piece of electronic gadgetry to transform Dyno Hub power into 5.5 Volt USB power to keep cell phone and Ipod charged while on long bicycle adventures. The item in question was called “The Plug”. It was made in Germany, was overpriced, and had the ridiculous design protocol that required it to become a permanent part of one’s bicycle. This was not OK.. I redesigned “The Plug” to fit in an external casing and could then be utilized anywhere or on any bike. It was, however, extremely heavy and bulky. A short while ago the guys at Bright Bike Labs sent me a product called the “Revolution “. It is a product they came up with to provide the same thing that The Plug offers.. at half the price and a quarter of the weight (after my conversion). I have now mounted it to the Ogre and have removed the supertanker known to me as The Plug. It is light, simple, and most importantly, it works!  I will be leaving next week on a 4000 + mile pedal through The Yukon, Alaska, and the Northwest Territories, and will be relying on the Bright Bike Revolution to provide me with a fully charged Ipod and Cell phone at all times. After some miles, I will be reposting on the Revolution for an update on it’s perfomance, so check back!

Revolution II Revolution I Revolution III

Trying to get Ready..

Yes, I am trying to get ready to leave for Alaska. I mean, besides working, riding bikes, tying up loose ends, handling predetermined obligations, doing maintenance on the truck, doing research, creating itineraries for both myself and for Angela, studying maps, altering and customizing gear and equipment, experimenting with gear ratios, gathering phone numbers and addresses, creating equipment lists, and last but not least, trying to get fit.

Besides these things, I am trying to get my head around this trip. It is a task easier said than done, and here’s why:  Big trips are no stranger to me; I’ve been on plenty. Here’s another one, no big deal, right?  In the past, generally speaking, I have lived, primarily, in areas where I would consider the landscape, the people, the mentality, and the environment to be somewhat easy on me; meaning that it had always been conducive to promoting health, fitness, and relaxation, all the while allowing me to pursue athletic activities that kept my mind and my body sharp for such adventures and expeditions.  I have been, recently and currently, in the city now for 19 consecutive months. That is far longer than a person like me should ever have to be in the city. I don’t do well in said places. In the past, embarking on trips such as these has been a relatively simple affair, since my mind and body were already tuned for these notions. Here and now, it is far different.  I feel like europe might have felt in 1946, ragged and weak, yet placing one foot in front of the other in an attempt to move forward with it’s goals. Bear in mind this is only an analogy, and I do not place any amount of lightness on what Europe must have endured during the decade following WWII, as I was not there and hopefully will never experience the sort of suffering those people went through. I am merely attempting to demonstrate my own state of mind after planning another “big” trip after living in the city for 19 months straight!  That’s all.

The closer I get to the departure date, the more together I feel, ironically enough. May 6th, that is now the date. I am going to drive to Mt Shasta, and hopefully, meet up with my old time friend, Dennis Belillo, for a stomp up the old peak for a bit of excersise and good times. Then off to Bellingham to see my friend Ben Hainie, and then on the ferry to Skagway on the 17th.

I loaded up the bike yesterday for a fully loaded (the bike, not me) pedal around the area.

It must have weighed in at 150 lbs. That’s with food and water. Too much? Yes, probabely so, but so it is… Only 25 more days.

Fully Loded

A Real Wish List

I have been dreaming lately, of the many places I wish to visit on this splendid Earth.  They are all rugged, remote, inhospitable, and full of wonder, beauty, and hopefully, for a while longer, before humanity has it’s way, full of non human animals as well. These places are diverse, yet at the same time, I realized, generally occur at great distances from the equator and/or at higher elevations. I do love mountains and deserts, I admit.

Here’s my “short” list

1.   Dempster and Dalton highways, Alaska/Yukon/Northwest Territorries-heading out in     3 1/2 weeks!

2.   McCarthy Road, Alaska- Later this summer

3.   Nabessna Road, Alaska- Another trip.

4.   Canol Road- Yukon/Northwest Territories

5.   Alaska’s Lost Coast- From Cordova to Glacier bay

6.   Campbell Highway-Yukon

7.   The Great Divide Route- Canada to Mexico

8.   The Transtaiga Road- Northern Quebec

9.   Iceland’s Belt Route

10.   The high deserts of Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina

11.   The Arctic Highway in Norway

12.   The Kamchatka Penninsula in Eastern Russia

13.   Siberia

14.   Mongolia

15.   Last but not least, if I can beat this cold I have and get my ass out of bed in the morning, I hope to pedal to work tomorrow!

What’s your list?