Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Mr. Crank McChainring and do not necessarily reflect the position or attitude of Kustomized Bicycle Magazine. The magazine only allows Mr. McChainring to publish his thoughts in the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine to keep him from loitering at the front doors or spraying graffiti on our building and fence.

July 2017

I spend a lot of time of time online. Luckily I traded 2 Slurpees, a promise to stay out of the offices for a week and a copy of RAD on dvd for the wifi password at Kustomized Bicycle Magazine. I’m usually searching for bike parts to keep my pile of crud rolling down the street, watching youtube videos and ummm….other things.

One thing that really pops my tube is classifieds for cool bikes that are some astronomical price with the word “Restored” splattered all over it. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten they aren’t restored and the seller shouldn’t be throwing that word around.

So is it restored or not?

Our boy Webster’s Dictionary says that Restoration is “the process of repairing or renovating a building, work of art, vehicle, etc., so as to restore it to its original condition”


Let’s look at an example.  Below are two 1932 Fords. The convertible is restored. Notice the original colored paint, wire wheels, full fenders, headlight locations and bumpers. This is a restored car. It has the original motor and all the parts are of 1932 Ford vintage. There are always a few things that are impossible to have factory such as tires, glass and certain wear components that are just no longer out there for purchase. Thankfully there are a few manufacturers that are re-popping these parts so full restorations are still possible.

The other picture is still also a 1932 Ford. It features a chopped top, missing fenders, lowered stance with a drilled I-Beam and hairpins as well as later model wheels with more hot rod style tires and missing bumpers. The headlights have also been moved and remounted. If someone listed this as restored he would be laughed out of the hotrod community. This car has been customized…not restored.


When I see an add on Craigslist, Ebay or Facebook that says “Restored” but it has been repainted some off color, is missing decals, has the wrong handle bars, grips, pedals, wheels, chain, or any other component DO NOT BE FOOLED. It isn’t a restoration. It has been customized.

My advice is to know what you’re looking at. Do some research. Look at old bicycle adds or any other published media showing what the original looked like, what options they had and what the colors and decals looked like.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a custom guy to the bone but too many people are throwing Restored around. When they use that word the price seems to inflate another 50%.


Don’t pay top dollar for that Colorflow if it has aluminum wheels, some spray bombed paint job and LED lights.





JUNE 2017

The other day I was sittin’ next to the dumpster at 7-11 drinking my ice cold fruitberry slurpee while trying to pull a goatshead thorn from the bottom of one of my Spicolli Specials. It was a hot and sunny day and I had my Sony Walkman blaring one of my favorite mix tapes that I have had for years. Though I have the deluxe edition Walkman with the AM/FM radio built-in I prefer my mix tapes…..top 40 radio sucks ya know.

This Hottie McHotterson pulls up into the parking lot and parks next to the dumpster. Getting out of her car, I realized that she was the Barbie of my dreams. With those long legs just covered at the top with that blue-jean miniskirt with the little pockets…and the Whitesnake T-shirt with cutoff sleeves tied tightly just under her….you know.

I was all like “What’s up girl?”
She was like “Nothin’ What are you up to?”
I said “Just chillin, got some tunes and my tasty frozen fruity beverage.”
She said “What are you listening to Vans wearing man?”

So, we got into this long discussion about music and what was on my mix tap. She liked some crappy bands but overall she had O.K. taste.  Not good enough taste to say yes when I asked her to come hang out at the dirt hills to watch me and my friend grab some major air though.

So what are Ol’ Crank McChainring’s 10 favorite bike inspired mix tape songs you ask?

1.     Queen - Bicycle Race

Why Queen at #1.  Simple. Freddie Mercury has the best voice EVER. There is no argument accepted. This song makes you ride longer and harder than any other song ever made.



2.     The Bouncing Souls – The BMX Song  

When it cause to east coast vs west coast soft-core punk….east coast all the way. But really, east coast has hardcore all the way too. Yup, this is coming from a west coast guy.


3.     Aquabats - Poppin A Wheelie   

This song speaks the truth. Who doesn’t love popping a wheelie?  It doesn’t matter what you are riding whether cruiser, stretched, fixed, down hill, BMX….you will be yanking up on those bars.


4.     Skylar Grey - C’mon Let Me Ride  

Who wouldn’t let Skylar Grey ride with them?  Girl, you hotter than my PK Ripper saddle that has been sitting in the summer sun all day.


5.     Madness - Riding On My Bike

Well, it’s Madness. Purveyors of Ska to the American market since the early 80’s. Much respect.


6.     i-45 – the Bike Song

I’m not even sure how I first heard this song. But yeah, “I gotta bike so don’t ask me for a ride”. This is probably one of the first songs I ever heard where a bicycle bell was used as an instrument. This is a third rate Beastie Boys song when the Beastie Boys first hit the top 40.


7.     Sons of Science – Motherfucking Bike

This song has a catchy tune to it and I’m not sure if I like it so much because it is actually a good song or it makes serious fun of hipster fixie kids wearing moustache wax and beard balm while riding their skinnys.


8.     Tom Waits — Broken Bicycles

This is the best song for that “sitting in the middle of the night in an unknown part of town in the dark with a flat tire after breaking up with your girlfriend and dropping your back bag on the ground to hard looking for your patch kit only to pop a whole in your last beer.”  Yeah…that’s happened


9.     Two Wheels – Wax

“Two wheels is the way I ride” and “In the bike lane, freestylin” Words to live by.


10. Ugly Kid Joe – Bicycle Wheels  

Just cause there isn’t enough Ugly Kid Joe in the world now days. They do the best covers of any band ever.



Runners Up that didn’t make the top 10…..no rhyme or reason, it’s my list and I’ll do what I want.


Red Hot Chili Peppers - Bicycle Song

BlocBoi Fame – Wheelie Wednesday

Flobots – Handlebars

Mark Ronson — The Bike Song

The Grave Architects – The Bike Song


You have any other songs you think I missed or that didn’t make the list? Send the editor an email at kustomizedbicyclemagazine@gmail.com and he will forward them to me.




May 2017

The Big Jump and 0.75 Cents.

When I was a boy, I ran around with a set of twin boy from down the street. Wexel and Darby were a constant source of amusement for my young mind. Both were a bit taller than I was and would do strange things like finish each other sentences and each pieces of each other lunches. Most people had trouble telling them apart though I didn’t have an issue after several summers of hanging out together. That particular summer is was very easy as Darby was missing a front tooth while Wexel’s had yet to loosen.

It was in August and all the kids in the neighborhood were getting a little fidgety. We all felt that the comforts of summer with no schedule, no work and unplanned adventures would soon be replaced with bad weather, school five days a week and time consuming homework. Wexel and Darby were have a rather bad few weeks. All the tricks they pulled on people using their “twinness” wasn’t working. They had started getting in trouble with their parents and didn’t have the “blame the other” offense that they had used in the past. This lead to more than one weekend where one or the other would be grounded for a day or two. Having just one of the twins around was something strange to us all.

There were about a half dozen of us cruising through the neighborhood and headed to the dirt hills. Though I can’t remember all the facts of the day I do recall that it was a Wednesday and Darby was riding with us but Wexel was mysteriously absent. We didn’t do much talking since we were riding as hard as we could. Our normal goal was to meet in the park before heading through the greenbelt to a certain outlet into the neighboring streets. We always took the same route because there was a long section with fences on both sides that dumped onto the asphalt. We thought it was the greatest thing to bomb down this short section then lock the brakes and leave a long skid mark down the nearly white cement before hitting the black street.  Different colored tires were all the rage that summer so we could tell who’s skid marks were who’s. Mine marks were the lightest of the time since I had a 1983 Free Spirit BMX. Yeah, not the coolest bike in the world but I had just put new yellow ties on the white wheels to match the yellow paint job. I had tried to rebuild the hub a few weeks earlier and of course assembled it incorrectly so the coaster brake wasn’t working. But if I shoved my black and white checkerboard slip on Vans shoe onto the rear tire and against the top chain stay it would lock the rear tire better than any coaster brake. We stopped, examined the skid marks, laughed a bit then headed up the street to the next greenbelt that ran next to a small stream.  At the end of the greenbelt we crossed the stream via some larger rocks that someone placed as a makeshift bridge. With Darby in the lead we headed down the packed single track with grasshoppers shooting in front of our bikes from side to side.

We finally got to the dirt hills now covered with a layer of sweat and dust. The dirt hills were quite the sight. It consisted of a 100 yard long by 50 yard wide basin with a series of drop-ins and man-made jumps down in the belly of this beast. After a few runs with cheap BMX bikes and later model muscle bikes catching little air and landing with a clunk we all parked on the south side of the drop in. Some of us were short of breath while others had their bikes turned over so they rested on the seat and handlebars…as the cool kids did.

Black bread loaf seat, Huffy-riding Cecil was the first to ask Darby where Wexel was.

“Grounded”, he replied sadly.

“What did he do?” asked another kid whom I can’t remember now.

Darby replied with a long drawn out story with the over use of adjectives that they had gotten into their mother’s purse and took a few quarters so they could buy and share a Bomb Pop from the ice cream man a few nights earlier. It turned out that those coins were indeed monies being saved by their mom for a snack while at work. Needless to say the twin’s mom wasn’t happy and when she got home saw the red and blue stained face of Wexel and figured the whole theft out. Hence, Wexel was now grounded “For the rest of his life” we were told.

This was defiantly a shocker to all of us. “For the rest of his life” was an amazingly long time and we didn’t know if the other twin would be able to survive the brave big world without him.

Rhonda, the only girl in our group spoke up, “What if you got 75 cent, put them in your moms purse and asked her to look again? That would surly get Wexel off of his life sentence. Mothers purses are notoriously messy and change could easily be loosed in one.

Rhonda went on to tell a story how her mom had lost something and her parents were yelling at each other when her dad had grabbed the purse and dumped it all on the table. The missing item was found and everyone lived happily ever after. (Note: Rhonda’s parents were divorced by the next summer.)

“What a swell idea!” I expelled. “Where are we going to get .75 cents though?”

This exclamation definitely had the group thinking.  Several in our group had pulled dried brush from sides of the small clearing and started drawing shapes in the dirt.  Others half-hazardly stabbed at small black ants that were roaming over the dirt looking as though they defiantly had a destination. After several minutes, someone in the group looked off towards our neighborhood.

“Who’s that?” he said?  We all turned towards the trail and squinted hard through the sunlight to see. I couldn’t tell even if it was more than one person. It was just a small dark mass bobbing though the tall but dried up weeds. The dark figure was being followed by a small cloud of dust blowing to one side behind them. I kept looking until my eyes began to water from the intense sun. A small gust of hot wind blew and my wet eyes were suddenly full of dust. I put my head down and was rubbing my eyes when someone said loudly, “It’s DC and his buddies”.





april 2017

There comes a time when everything has an option. Will you multiply or die. It is up to us. Are we going to let the pettiness kill us off? It seems to happen at the point where something grows from a microbial size to something just as large as a molecule.

The custom bicycle scene is that molecule. Yes, just a molecule in the whole world of bicycles.

We have builders at each other’s throats. Just because Mr. Builder #1 made widget A in blue and Mr. Builder #2 made it in light blue doesn’t mean anything. Mr. Builder #1 is all internet tough-guy puffy chested over widget A that was initially made 80 years ago…but in black.

On the other hand, Mr. Builder #1 whips out something phenomenal. It’s a one-off design and has taken countless hours on the drawing board and in front of the mill and lathe.  Mr. Builder #2 gets ahold of one and decides that he can make the same thing and will charge $10.00 less.

There are Facebook posts arguing over the rules of bike shows. There are people making posts about how they aren’t showing up to certain events because of all the things posted online….pot / kettle much?

In a group so small there is room for everyone to do their own thing and everything will be stellar. If you choose to make unnecessary noise and cause some sort of ruckus; as my ol’ grandad use to say “it goes over like a fart in church”.  My grandpa was quite the eloquent speaker.  There are only so many of us in this group. Any time you get Mr. Tough Guy with another person in the group the vibrations are felt by everyone. Any time you do something back handed to someone in the group everyone feels it.

If we go this route, one of two things will happen. We can remain as a single group and ride together until death or like any other organism, we will push the problem out so it can do us know harm.

Simply put, if you are into it for yourself then don’t disease the group. If you want to be in the group than don’t bring the disease to it.