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Mr. Goodwrench at the NYC Cycle Club
Last Thursday night, the Rapha Cycle Club NYC hosted a unique event to highlight the unsung work of the New York City bicycle mechanic. More often than not, a mechanic's work is a mystery - we drop off our bikes, pick them up, and they are magically repaired. Very few of us appreciate the hard work - and art - that goes into building up a bike, but brute strength, technical know-how, and finesse are qualities that are demanded of a professional mechanic.
Rather than host a traditional bike build clinic, we decided to stage a show. We put together 4 of the city's top mechanics and gave them all the elements to assemble a road bike from scratch. The catch - we would award a prize to the mechanic who could finish the build the fastest.
Dave Sommerville from NYC Velo, John Britton from Signature Cycles, José Medina from Sid's Bikes, and Mark Purdy from iFixByx were the competitors.
Independent Fabrication provided four beautiful Crown Jewel frames painted in the style of the Rapha Continental. Pedros stepped it up with 4 work stands, benches and tools, along with our Grand Prize - their Master Mechanic Tool Kit. SRAM, Continental, fi'z:ik, FSA and Chris King came together to give us everything else needed to build up a complete Independent Fabrication Crown Jewel. In addition to the tool kit, the guys would be competing for the coveted Rapha Pink Wrench trophy, as well as bragging rights.
The day of the event, we set up the frames on the Pedros stands and numbered each stand, along with the forks. All of the build components were stashed in the rear of the H-Van, making a sort of "Iron Chef" spectacle of the event. Then, the mechanics arrived with their tools, mingled with the crowd, and tried to figure out what they were in for.
The Club was soon packed to capacity and the night got underway, Mike introduced each mechanic and they "drew forks", which assigned them to their respective work stands. 10 minutes were given to set up their workspaces, and then the ground rules were explained. While the competition was to be about speed, the wrenches were asked to build a bike they would be proud to put their name on. As such, they were encouraged to finish and then actually ride the bike around the block, and come back in and turn in their bike (by ringing the cowbell hanging above the Club entrance).
The race was on as the mechanics were released into the H-Van to grab whatever they could get their hands on. The crowd was into it immediately, cheering on their favorites and heckling the others. If his game face didn't tip everyone off, it became clear that José was there to win. He immediately took a commanding lead - one which he didn't give up all night. It started to shape up to be a race for second place as Dave and Mark, working side by side, kept a wary eye on each other. John from Signature started to realize that he was behind, and he began to focus on quality - torquing each part to spec and adding small flourishes such as gold ferrules and pink and gold accents (nice!).
In the end, José finished first, with Mark not too far behind. Dave came in 3rd followed by John.
The official times were as follows:
37:30 - Jose Medina
48:20 - Mark Purdy
1hr 04 - Dave Sommerville
1 hr 14 - John Britton
Congratulations to all the competitors - it was a special night that brought together the bike community in a truly unique way. We can't thank them enough.
Some great blog press on the Mechanics Competition:
Now, how to top this one before the month is over?
- @xuano_4 Yes it is open to anyone.
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