Sorry for the radio silence around here – I stepped back from blogging for a bit in part because I was forgetting just what Bicitoro was to me.
As I dive further into a freelance writing career steeped in content marketing, lead generation, and returns on investments, I found myself thinking so much about My Audience and My Message and Engagement that I waffled on what to write here.
What does My Audience want to read? What will get the Most Shares?
(“The maiden voyage of the Sparkle Kraken, preceded by a manifesto which you may skip if you like” is not the most shareable title for a blog post, is it?)
Stupid shit, really, because what I was forgetting is that Bicitoro is a blog wherein I write whatever I feel like writing, and you can read it or not. I hope that I do provide helpful tips and tricks, I hope that I inspire people to reuse things rather than throwing them out, and I hope that you folks do find my musings entertaining and maybe even thought-provoking – but in the end Bicitoro is just a project of fun for me.
Really it’s a place for me to gush endlessly about the gorgeous bike ride I just took, or provide vague, rambling instructions about projects I just completed. I’m not trying to achieve pop star blogger status. I’m not trying to build an army of bike crafters. I’m just sewing things and riding on things, and typing words about it here.
So now I, Jessie Kwak, do solemnly swear to keep Bicitoro a sacred space for personal enjoyment, wonder, and community.
Back to the fun.
The Maiden Voyage of the Sparkle Kraken
I’ve been dabbling with this thing for months and months, and this Saturday I finally got to ride the Sparkle
Pony Kraken in the flesh. We’ve been slowly collecting parts and putting them on whenever we had a few minutes.
This is the first bike I’ve ever built up (mostly) myself – under the watchful instruction of my mechanic/husband. Rob is an insanely patient and thoughtful teacher – a talent I’ve always admired in him. Despite making my living as a writer, I can’t explain things verbally to save my life.
Rob, on the other hand, has the perfect mnemonic device to help you remember which direction to tighten your bottom bracket. He’ll demo wrapping your handlebar tape, then take it all off and make you do it yourself.
Me: Meh, who cares that I wrapped the handlebar tape over the hoods? No one will notice it.
Rob: I’ll notice it. Start over, grasshopper.
The powder coating process left some ragged edges, which I filed down with sandpaper before pressing in the headset.
And what a headset! Rob picked it up at the Seattle Bike Swap in the spring, and graciously donated it to the Sparkle Kraken project. It’s from First Bicycle Components.
Based on the heavy steel mixte frame (underneath all that paint Kraken’s a Torker Interurban Mixte), both Rob and I were expecting this to be a fairly slow bike. I was thinking Sparkle Kraken would be a novelty bike that I’d take out on short, easy rides to the bar, or to meet up with friends.
But to my surprise, it turns out that Sparkle Kraken is fast, aggressive, and an amazing joy to ride. The steel frame is really plush, and I like the mixte shape quite a bit. The Torker Interurban Mixte only comes in a 44cm frame, but we spec’d it out so it fits me just as well as la Konita.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s got a killer wheelset and Shimano Ultegra. Oh, the perks of marrying a bike rep.
It’s so gorgeous!
And it’s a predator – if it sees another cyclist ahead of us, it just wants to stomp them. Go fast, go fast, go fast, it whispers.
And I do.