Monday, March 2, 2009

Spin Cycle

First visited, first reviewed...Spin Cycle, located at 424 W University Ave in beautiful downtown $%#-Box.

I first staggered into Spin, back in 1992 or so, when it was still located up the road, around the corner and down the way from the current location, in what was once a laundromat, I think. Back then, the shop sold a gazillion cool high end trinkets for the mountain bike student, from Ringle stems and hubs, to Nuke Proof stuff. Their bike brands back then were Kona, Balance and Yeti. Balance, I believe, is no longer around...at all...anywhere.

That shop was a clean little place, heavy on the green paint, with a dinky parking lot behind the building and a glut of handmade display space inside. The rigid Konas and Yeti frames were great, and to me, made the shop the number one destination in Gainesville, rivaled maybe by Primo (now DOA), which if memory serves, was Spin's parent shop.

Spin, at that time, was called BWA..."Bikes With Attitude", seen here advertised on one of my many well used bottles still in service. The dirt adds flavor.



Today, Spin is a shadow of it's former self, morphing through an intermediary glitz and glam stage in the late 90s when it looked like most other bike shops in the state, into this pleasant little hovel.


Now, walking in through the door, you're hit with a dank garage aroma. The initial showroom is filled with dusty t-shirts and frisbees. Walking toward the back you find an extensive repair area, and some of the strangest 'display' space in any shop. Dirty used bikes are hung from severed tree branches bolted to the walls. The display cabinets that once were packed with purple anodized goodness back in the day, today are stacked 2 high in the back of the shop, forgotten, yet still housing a myriad of outdated Profile stems, and one lone purple Ringle Zooka.
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There is a T-shirt shop in the back; a silk screening extravaganza of machines and ink and dusty T's. Around the back wall, some dusty weight lifting equipment. Bizarre.
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The part selection is right up my alley, though. Retro galore. Big dusty milk crates filled with Deore hubs, old Kona Velocity stems, swapped-out suspension fork crowns from long ago, and other various parts and pieces. They are fairly well organized, and the two employees there were quick to offer me a shot at a good rummaging. New parts are also available, although who would want that junk when all this cool stuff is piled all over for the perusing?
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There were some goodies to be had. I went home with a Deore DX rear hub, one or the Velocity stems, a Control Tech threadless stem in 150mm and 1.25" and a Tange Switchblade rigid fork crown. I also found a Shimano "Light Action" rear derailleur, which is a Deore DX clone, made with heavier steel pulley cage bits. Good durable derailleur for observed trials type work.
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Fellas working at the shop were pleasant and talkative, quick with a light hearted quip and even an invite to an alley-cat style downtown race they were staging that weekend. While I was there, a marginally washed bra-less girl with a nose ring and a disheveled pixie haircut came in looking for an affordable bike. The Spin fellas peeked at her chest, then offered up a Nishiki mixtie from the late 70's, which although currently unrideable, could be made workable and hers for the sum of 200 bones.
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I decided then and there that planning was a dead end and that I needed to start a filthy little shop and hock beat Nishikis to college chicks with partially exposed hooters and nose rings. Career Change!


So in summary, my grading scale, the fabled flaming babies, applies as follows...

Selection!

- 3 torched tots. Not much new to drool over, but then again, new doesn't make me drool much anymore, and new also doesn't reel in the nearly naked college kids.

Ambiance and Merchandising!

- 4 engaged embryos. What a place. Huge and dirty with something neat to poke around every corner. Not to be confused with a Performance Outlet in any way.

Staff!

- 5 fully-involved fledgelings. Blatant hoot-peeking aside, they were very friendly, and hey...hoot peeking is a college pass-time...especially at the state's "premier institution for higher learning." Besides, they let me rummage.


Bike!

- 1 lowly smoker. Weird used junk. Too much worthless fixie and not enough substance. Pass on this place if you want anything Hydroformed...or even turn key rideable.


Fuzzy Feeling!

- 5 fully-involved fledgelings. Pull up a chair, people watch, and hang out over a few hundred hours of old trail war stories. These guys are a good hearted crew, with very little interest in turning the hard press dollar.

Final tally...3.6! No baby chopping - round up please!


Spin Cycle - 4 Flaming Babies


Next up, Recycle Bicycles

2 comments:

Steve said...

Hmmmm...who was REALLY peeking at the chest of the chick with the ringed nose??? Seems to me you caught a lot of detail, there. :)

I love this flaming baby scale. Hilarious.

Utahdog! said...

There's 'noticing' and then there's removing your eyes from your skull and placing them ever so gently in her cleavage....

...for 20 minutes.

HA!