Sunday, 1 February 2009

Tarmac Apples

Not so long back last year when I was in California and running down to Huntington Beach as much as possible, I could tell the bike I was using was a superior machine despite not knowing an awful lot about bikes. It definintely needed some oil and I wanted to adjust the handlebars and the gears seemed like they need some recalibration but in any case it had been collecting dust for a few years (I think since I first saw it in Bangkok around year 2000) and so I was over the moon to be given the responsibility of breathing an honourable and useful life back into her.

The only problem was I was living in Beijing and had never shipped a bike before. I took the bike to Jax who had already impressed me with that inordinately high level of service that is found nowhere else in the world but California (I love you for that, really I do), and let them take the bike apart and pack it into a box, not knowing what the deal would be with the airline.

As luck would have it, because I was flying China Air and it was the Olympics coming up, they had this deal to ship it for 25 Bucks. That's a deal right? So I made it back to Beijing knowing I'd need to ship it to Bangkok which I subsequently did, although that did cost me excess baggage of a few thousand Baht. The point is that I've known this bike for some years, seen it in various states of assembly, finally used it in California and shipped it back to Asia (where she first made an appearance we believe) and dragged it around in a large box, by hand, till it reached its destination. Not an easy task but well worth it. I recently took it to Probike on Sarasin who blew me away by reassembling the bike, changing the cables, changing the handlebar grips, giving it a service and ....erm cleaning it; all for the amazing price of about 12 Euros. Not bad given they are the only approved Klein dealership in Thailand and could have charged whatever they wanted. I'll be going back to spend some more dollars.

Anyway, I was excited to be picking up the Klein and rushed over to pick it up before the shop closed taking a little movie of the motorbike journey there. The N95 flipped the screen horizontal to vertical so I just played around with it to compensate. Hope it doesn't make you dizzy (John)

So here I am in a city where I've heard Mercedes Benz owners say that if they take out a motorbike, it's best just to keep on driving as they're like flies. Or most memorably one Benz owner who got out of his car and assaulted the motorbike owner with his own helmet for denting his car. Such is the swagger of privilege in this city. Read here for more.

But the point of the post thus far, is really to say how happy I am to be able to run around doing small journeys on a bike that is incredible to ride upon even though I've conceded that Sukhumvit Road (The main artery in Krung Thep) is the first I've ever used in any city around the world that scares me a bit too much - random shit happens that I. So during weekdays I've taken to boarding the skytrain with the Rascal (As the bike is named) to skip out on the bits that are too hectic. The passengers aren't too happy with this during rush hour, and I really don't know how the MRT allow it but I figure I might as well get around the city in the best way possible while it lasts.

However last week my luck was out and forgetting how powerful the gears are on this incredibly light bike I accelerated from standing still position on Soi 8 into Sukhumvit Road, only to spin out of control. The rear tire had too much power and the surface of the road was too slippery and waxy in the burning heat. I hit the tarmac hard and on my back which of course pissed me off in so much that I had hurt myself but my immediate concern was for the MacBook Air I had in my rucksack (and later I pulled out my Canon Rebel too).

I was really pleased to see that the Apple Air had survived my weight crasing down on it and even though I know you're not supposed to do things like that, and that it could all start acting strange from now on I just thought I'd take the opportunity to say that once more Apple have given me a brand blow job. This incredibly thin computer survived me and while it's processing power is not really enough (no computer ever really is for me though) I just think I ought to give a shout out for Apple for saving me the cost of buying a new one. Which is what I'll be doing for sure should this piece of kit finally succumb to the punishment I invariably dish out to the rucksack of electronics I'm often carrying to capture or work within a mobile life.

Here's what I just discovered I did while taking off the plastic cover it usually sits in. Pretty amazing eh? I mean I'm over six feet tall!

So I see that we now know Steve Jobs is finally revealing the full extent of his illness and that the share value of Apple is dropping as we don't know who will take the helm. I'm pretty sure that nobody can fill his boots but I do think we've been lucky enough to have someone who was driven enough and passionate enough about his business to make a meaningful impact on our lives (sic). I mean that as someone who finally realised how good the products and service are, just a little too late in the game. What a B word.