It was pretty chilly here in Tennessee this past weekend. Saturday was cold and rainy and windy, and basically too nasty for anybody to ride, so I did a couple of spin classes. Then, I went over to Gran Fondo (a.k.a., The Greatest Bike Shop in the World) and met Mark Lynskey.
Mark is the man who built the new Randoboy, a phenomenal bicycle if ever there was one. Mark was very pleased to pose for the above picture with Randoboy, even with all of the bags and stuff stuck on him (Randoboy - not Mark ... I don't know Mark well enough to hang bags on him). Saturday was Lynskey Day at Gran Fondo, and Mark was there to talk bikes and show off some of Lynskey's wares.
And what cool wares there was. Lynskey puts the "yum" in Titanium, and the collection that he brought was both lovely and fraught with the portent of speed. I was particularly impressed with the Crosstown, a very cool commuter that had a belt-driven singlespeed drivetrain and a righteous retro rack on the back. After Mark explained the pluses to a belt drive - no stretch, longer lasting than chains, and no oiling (which means no cat-two tattoo on your best khakis if you go toodling around town) - I decided that there was an upgrade in the future for my Salsa Casseroll.
The other frames were so freaking beautiful it hurt. Not just the paint jobs, which were incredible, but the attention to detail. Mark was telling us about this super-waterjet that they use to cut the cloverleaf artwork into the dropouts. And, of course, if you've ever seen Vida's new Lynskey, you know how gorgeous titanium can be.
Mark's philosphy of bicycle-building was really refreshing. Primarily, he's not in it to build the most bikes, but to build the bike that best fits the rider. They only do titanium, so these are never going to be the cheapest bikes around. And, best of all, Mark and the other folks at Lynskey are obviously geeks, very into wall thickness and tortion and tapers at the joints and all that other stuff that frame builders know about. I'm sure it equates to a more stable, comfortable ride, but as a rider I just know that it feels good and doesn't break, and that's the important thing to me.
Mark said that frame building is not rocket-science; it's harder. He said that's because what they often do with titanium a scientist would tell them was not possible, "but we're just country boys from Tennessee, so we didn't know any better."
I've been riding Spanntown Road a lot in the past month or so. It runs between Nolensville Road and Almaville Road, going the same direction as Hwy 840, so there is no reason for a car to use it as any kind of shortcut. If you're on the road, you probably live on the road, and not many people live on that road. This is one of the things that makes it a Good Biking Road.
What takes it to the next level is that it is pretty.
This is from the weekend before last, so this past weekend's cold and rain and wind may have trashed these leaves. But, as you can tell, Spanntown Road has its moments.
Finally, Spanntown Road has some really nice ups and downs, which makes it a good training road. This almost takes it to the level of a Great Biking Road. What keeps it just off that podium, however, is the fact that it ends at Nolensville Road, which has a lot of traffic. So, once you get to the top (or, getting to Spanntown Road, if you're going to take it towards Almaville Road, which is frankly more fun because you can really bomb the descents), you're stuck on Nolensville Road for about a mile of crud.
Which puts me a little on the soapbox about cars and bikes trying to get along on busy roads, or the need for at least a decent shoulder on those roads (since it's obviously too much to ask for a bike lane). Sunday, a Hickman County deputy car passed within inches of us, obviously breaking the Tennessee three-foot law. He should have pulled himself over.