I met a guy at the Highlands Street Fair in June 2014 who had just returned from the Ride the Rockies tour. He had the classic cyclist tan lines (glove lines, jersey lines, helmet lines, sunglass lines). We talked for a bit about cycling and what I do (Jarrod was riding tech support for the Denver Century Ride so I was alone). Turns out that he actually has a hand in organizing the event and told me to email him in 1st quarter about a commission for the following year.
I can’t remember if I emailed before or after we left for Massachusetts, but he put me in touch with the interns who were in charge of the art commission awards. I’m not even sure if I was competing against other submissions that year or not, but after a lot of design work and consultations with different vendors, I submitted my idea and was awarded the commission. 60 pieces.
Being in Massachusetts complicated the project. We were living with Jarrod’s mother in a one bedroom condo with zero access to workspace, and all of my resources were back in Colorado. I needed 60 chainrings, and not just any 60 chainrings; they had to be 52t 130 BCD. No one uses this size anymore, so finding used chainrings just became even more problematic.
We spent a few weeks traveling to different bike shops in the area including a day in Boston and came to find out that the vast majority of bike shops threw their parts into the dumpster. I met a few interesting characters along the way. There was a mechanic in Amherst that told me that his mission in life was to get rid of all cotter pin cranks. As a collector of Raleigh 3-speeds, I understood why.
I managed to scrounge up 20 chainrings in a month after a lot of driving. It was depressing, but it meant I needed to be more resourceful.
Meanwhile, a good friend of mine in Colorado was helping me to get the pieces for the clocks cut out using his CNC router. He went out of his way to help me, and did an amazing job.
He shipped them to me in two batches so that I could get started ASAP with the sanding and painting. Oh how much sanding and trimming there was… but they looked great after!
Jarrod’s mother helped me with the next part: painting every single one with primer.
Next was painting the colors. I went to the local True Value to have the paints color-matched.
I still didn’t have 60 chainrings at the point, so I followed up on something another vendor had told me a while ago. I called the companies directly and talked to the warranty department. FSA and SRAM both set me packages with another 20-something rings combined after I swore that I wasn’t going to put them on my bike. That was awesome.
We were still short on the chainrings and had no more time left to find them, so we ordered the remaining ones from J&B. I don’t know how many hours I spent working on these things. It felt like eternity. Another issue that had to be addressed was how to ship 60 clocks to Denver from MA and not have any breakage. I found some boxes online that were the right size and ordered a box of styrofoam, which is light, but huge. We used the box as an end table for a long time.
This was the first time I had substantial packaging for my clocks, and it’s how I currently package them for sale and shipping.
I used two bike boxes to ship them to Denver. I found out that if I declared the pieces to be art that FedEx wouldn’t insure them, so they were listed as home decor.
I received an email about two weeks later from the interns asking when the packages would arrive. I checked the tracking, and they had been delivered over a week before. After much searching, they found the boxes. Someone had thought that they were bikes being donated and set them aside without even opening the bike boxes.