Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back in the saddle

I had an opportunity to pack up our bike frames in Portland and bring them back to Korea with me, so I took advantage of it. We had discussed a variety of options for getting ourselves back in the saddle in Seoul, and after pricing bikes new and used and learning that there really is a dearth of cycles we would consider reasonable for riding in Korea, bringing frames over and having them built as fixies seemed to be the most efficient way to go about it. We were interested in fixed gears because the ultimate goal is to round up others and play a few games of bike polo. First things first.

Sasha brought our frames in to a bike shop that specializes in Seoul fixed gears. He got price quotes for both bikes; we put 50% down and were on our way! Or so we thought. As it turns out, we may have been going about the entire situation in an all too North American way, and our learning curve regarding Korean business culture was about to be put to the test.

We had expected to get our bikes within a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the bicycle shop experience lasted about 8 weeks from the day Sasha dropped off our frames to the day I picked mine up and paid the difference owed. Interestingly, my frame had been sent to a machine shop to remove an old bottom bracket, and the drill used to do the work left hefty scorch marks, destroying the paint on my Bianchi. Yes, for those of you who know her, she looked as if she was hurting.
I had the shop send the frame to be repainted (while I wasn't surprised that the original BB was rusted in place, they hadn't informed me that they would be machining the bottom bracket out). Conveniently, it was raining on the day I went to the shop and saw the damage. This only helped to emphasize the fact (I think) that the naked frame was unacceptable.

So you'll see the new ride is sheik as can be and I don't think the Bianchi minds the transformation. I miss the gears and the open road, but I'm confident that I'll be prepared to invest in the necessary machine when I'm able to access the open roads again. And with this ride, I just may fit in on the west coast when we return.

1 comment:

  1. The overhead wire network looks rather ominous. Do you think about that when moving about Seoul? love -mom [I don't seem to fit an e-category for ommenting.]