Wrenched Nation Tour | Fifth Stop: Chicago

caponeSure, sure.... everyone knows that Al Capone lived in and ran Chicago, but not everyone knows I did too.

Before I lived in Portland, I used to wrench at the Kozy's on Halsted where I was the captain of our super sweet gang the Broke Bike Saints. You could take that a couple of ways, 1. your bike was broken and we were the saints who would fix it or 2. we were bike saints who were broke because we were mechanics and didn't make a lot of money. Either way, we were rad. Chicago is exactly the way I left it, a large city, and we went straight to work getting things ready for that night's event. The guys at the Bike Lane were celebrating their third consecutive year of being nominated Chicago's #1 bike shop so we got the parking lot across from the Congress Theater to throw a party. Get ready for a bunch of fuzzy pictures.

congressparkThe top left are some of my old Kozy's Krew. Nate and Willy now both work on SRAM. Bob DID work at SRAM, but after talking some FB shit on Ron Kozy found himself without a job. It was sad and funny all wrapped up like a Jimmy Dean sausage.

Bob and Vedant (I hope I spelled that right, buddy) on the lower right both work at our Chicago Chrome HUB are super rad dudes. We were very strict on wrist bands, so to drink they went on all limbs. A lot of people rode to the party so I am sure Vedant had a an array of scents he was experiencing as he was applying the leg bands.

Lower left is the top of our Chicago sewer, Caroline's head. Just wanted to show you that because I am an amazing photographer, as you can clearly see by this picture.

Once people were good and sauced up we decided to do roller sprint grudge matches. The idea was simple, go call out some dude, pull some WWF stuff.... like Macho Man talking trash Hulk Hogan, get on the bike, and sprint your face off. Winner gets parking lot respect and a T-Shirt.

After the sprint fest and the drained kegs, some of the party peeps helped load up. We then headed over to the Ultra Lounge. They let us use their power for the party so we went to show our appreciation by ordering drinks. hi5 Ultra Lounge.... hi5

The night was done I was a tuckered out little soldier. We made our way back to Logan Square where we spied some 29' parking spaces where I could squeeze in the 27' RV. I had such a good time I fell asleep hi5ing myself.

The next day we went to Boystown, my old hood, and swung by Kozy's to say hello and see the shop where I cut my teeth. I didn't literally cut my teeth.... I did rip my finger nail off in a disc brake once, but's that's a different story. On our way there we ended up at Chicago's gay pride and Palmer met some friends.

kozy

This is David, the Belizean Hammer. I worked next to him years ago and he still has his same bench. The older this guy gets, the better he looks. I hope that happens to me.

Here is my first workbench (lower left). It's where it all started for me. I sat up here building up bikes for $5 a bike, and listening to classic rock. It was hot as shit up there.... in a good way? I can't remember. After I brought David some cake for his 79th birthday and I walked down memory lane, we made our way to go say "what up", to Marcus at Yojimbo's Garage. If you ever make it to Chicago, this is a shop you must go to. Everything for track bikes you can think of and since everything just sits out in the open he keeps the door locked and you have to knock to get in.

 

yojim

Pretty awesome, I know. After Yojimbo's we kept the bike party going and I headed over to SRAM to meet up with the mechanic who taught me my AMAZING bike mechanic skills, Willy Nelson. I'm pretty good. Sally from Raleigh gave me a RXC for the tour and I wanted to swap out some of the parts so Willy let me use the visitor's bench at SRAM during the weekend. We were the only ones there. I felt very lucky because not only has it been a hot minute since I have wrenched on my bike and to do it at SRAM.... well, it just tickled me.

sramz

There's Willy and me. Together again. He's one of the mechanics for the engineers so all the next level shit that we don't even know about, he gets to put it on bikes and make it work. After SRAM we hung out for awhile and I said goodbye to our Mid West Chromie, Dan. Willy and I then went to our friend James' house. He also used to wrench with us at Kozy's back in the day. He likes motorcycles as much as I do so I was stoked to hang out in his garage after the Blackhawks won the cup talking shop and remembering when.

The next day I met up with Mike and Jeff of 4 Star Courier to collect artifacts for the Urban Cycling Hall of Fame, Here is Jeff showing me Chicago Cuttin' Crew's first team skinsuit. He crashed really badly in a track race and he had to get it cut off of him. Tough stuff.cuttin

I then headed to the Handlebar Cafe to meet up with Chicago's legend, Augie to collect more artifacts and ask him a couple of probing questions like his name and age....

There you have it..... it was nice to come back to Chicago, see my old friends, and party with new ones. Chicago, if you had a chest I'd bump it with my chest. It's called a chest bump.