My Inner Pete Townshend Is Screaming

As you may know, I have a few dumb projects that occupy me in my spare time.  I’ve recently refurbished my vintage Benotto, and I’m building up a vintage cruiser from scratch.  I’m also working on a super-secret Pemba-related project that may not work out at all.  (Suffice it to say for now that it shares a theme with the other two projects.)  I call these things “dumb” because – in the end – they’ll probably not serve any practical purpose, at all.


Basically, I turned the Benotto from a perfectly ridable beater into a priceless work of art which really shouldn’t ever be ridden; now that I’m almost done making it, I often wonder if I actually need a cruiser; and as for that Pemba-project, we’ll just have to see.  In an effort to simplify something that’s pretty straight-forward already, I may just be making it much more complicated.

So it goes.  So it goes more often when a passion grabs hold of somebody, and I think I may be that somebody.

Yesterday, I rode around in the rain on my CX bike.  I never made it to the mud, though.  Instead, I went from bike shop to bike shop and back again here in downtown Madison.  On a wild hare, I was looking for some of the last vintage parts that I need for the cruiser project.  (Oh, and for another rebuild that I’m considering, too.  Forgot to mention that…)

There’s a bike shop just down the street from PEMBAbase.  Walking in there was like walking into a diamond mine.  Among their vintage parts was one sparkling gem that I’ve sought for some time.

“Hey, is that a 36-Hole original Phil BMX there?”  I asked, barely concealing my excitement.  This is a hard-to-find front hub from Phil Wood that goes for a pretty penny on eBay.  I’ve been out-bid twice while trying to get this hub.

“Yep, sure is,” said the kid behind the counter.  He handed it to me, just like that.  It was perfect, clean, with just enough patina to make it interesting.  I spun it around in the light, watching as it glittered in my hand.

“Say,” I said as I held the jewel,”You don’t happen to have a vintage Deore XT crank set around here, do you?  That would totally make my day.”

“I think we might – Let me check in back,” he said and walked off, leaving me with the Phil.

That’s when I first heard my inner Pete Townshend, screaming:  “Run!  Run for the door!  You’ve got it in your hand!  This is your chance!  Now RUN!”  

From the back of my brain, I heard the opening riffs and a line from a David Bowie song:  “The feeling comes out better from a stolen guitar, you’re not messing with the Spiders from Mars!”  

Before I could consider how far it was to the door, the kid came back and the moment was gone.  I’ve said it before:  I think I may be possessed.

Truths are revealed in moments like these.  I know what you’re thinking:  You’re thinking that maybe I found out that I’m a shoplifter at heart.  Nope, sorry.  There’s a difference between hearing the devil inside yourself, and listening to him.  Listening to this devil is what made Pete Townshend bolt for the door with “borrowed” guitars (that he would later smash on stage – ooops!)  As with most people, I’ve learned not to act on what the devil inside of me whispers, or – as the case may be – screams.  

What drives this devil, though, is passion.  Instead of listening to this devil, I’ve learned to listen to what he is talking about.  These whispers often reveal to me my own passions.

Passions can drive you, and not always in bad directions.  In life, and particularly in business, it’s important to harness your passions.  Life gets stale without passion, and so does business.

So, as a result of my recent passions I might end up with a couple of extra bikes (and they’ll be beauties, believe me…)  By investing some of this passion into Pemba Serves, even if I end up with something that doesn’t quite work I may just end up somewhere where we need to be.  Either way, there’s not a lot of harm in it.

Unless, of course, I get arrested.  Dang.

2 responses to “My Inner Pete Townshend Is Screaming

  1. I gotta couple of Phil’s hubs. You want ’em? I’ll trade you for headlamps and ‘biners.

    D

  2. BMX hubs? I thought those were on your road bike! I would gladly trade though, especially if it’ll keep me out of jail!