Occasionally in one’s life things come together well, and the results accompany us for years afterwards. For me, this bog-standard On-One il Pompino has been one of those things, and it has been my companion through more than a few ups and downs.
Today, it is my daily commuter: a 700c single speed that I ride 30kms from Sydney’s Surry Hills back to Cronulla. We travel in on the train together, because there aren’t showers at work, and it can get hot and humid even early in the morning here.
After wrenching around on a multitude of classic racers that I could never afford to finish (read: crappy old ten-speeds), she was to be the one and only bike I’d need. And for the past ten years, she has been just that.
Like Andy’s own Pompino — the only other On-One featured on The Spoken — I bought the frame directly from the website in 2008, and sold everything I could to pay for the rest of the components: White Industries drivetrain and hubs, Velocity rims, and a Thomson stem and post.
The current chainring is the third I’ve had to install, and it’s the second freewheel. The hubs have thousands of kilometres in them, and only now have started to require a service, a testament to White Industries engineering.
Having said that, the Cane Creek C2 headset is the original and is still as smooth as the day it was installed. The forks aren’t original. The stock forks were destroyed in a crash while tagging a car by its wheel arch, so Tarn at Primate Frames made me a new pair.
In 2009, I rode from Sydney to Melbourne with just a backpack on a trip dubbed the Cannonball Run with Andy ‘FYXO‘ White and four friends, one of the best experiences of my life. The Azonic riser bars nearly broke my wrists, so I swapped them for the Mary bars and have never looked back.
Oury grips used to be my grip of choice, but the subtropical summer heat in Sydney always made them sticky, but the ESI Grips are now my favorite — I’ve got them on all my bikes. The brass bell should be mirror polished, but it still rings true. Amazing what damage a well-placed drop of sweat can do, though.
The waxed cotton tool roll is one of my favorite accessories on her. It was made by Timmy Rowan of Kent’s Rowan Frameworks and, like a Land Rover, just seems to get better with age. But that’s the general nature of steel bikes, and why I still think it’s the best material for an everyday bicycle.
I love a sticker. I plaster them over everything and am very proud of my collection, which contains specimens from the early days of the fixed gear and blog daze. Some are old, like Errin Vasquez‘s awesome Upness sticker, and some are fairly recent, like the new Fat Chance sticker and the Death Spray Custom sticker.
This damn bike has lasted longer than jobs and career changes, a marriage and house changes. She’s carried me on adventures, granted escape and perspective, and brought me back to where I began. She might not be anything flash, but she rolls smoothly and reliably and has helped me to do so as well.