Concrete Rodeo: Early 90’s Chicago Messenger Documentary

Concrete Rodeo from Chip Williams on Vimeo.

A documentary short made in the early 90’s follows three Chicago bicycle messengers and the challenges they face on the job and in the streets. The film contains lots of bike riding footage in downtown Chicago interlaced with the messenger’s personal stories. This twenty-two minute short provides a glimpse into the bike messenger trade, pre-911. Concrete Rodeo won several awards on the festival circuit back in 1994, including top prize “Work of Excellence” at the 17th Tokyo Video Festival. I produced, shot and edited this documentary as my thesis film while enrolled in the M.F.A. Film & Video Program at Columbia College Chicago.

Rhinelander Randoms

Growing up in a small fairly rural town, you become fixated on one thing and one thing only, getting the hell out.  This goal permeated my teenage years, and those of us who were college bound definitely developed a superiority complex toward those who stayed.

Lately when I visit though, I’m struck by the fact that I grew up in a paradise…. the lakes, the woods, the rivers, disappearing for 7 hours a time at a clip into the forest at 8 years old etc.  It was an often poor, hardscrabble place to grow up, but we enjoyed a freedom at a young age that kids who grew up in the city never know.

Even now, I recognize that throughout my life there has been only one major constant that makes me happy, being in the woods. As such my visits lately are peppered with the notion that those of us who left are the foolish ones as we didn’t realize what we had, a slower pace of life, infinite recreation possibilities, and a low cost of living.

Of course, the grass is always greener, and I’m not in any hurry to trade the city, culture, restaurants, worldly populace, employment opportunity etc, for a permanent return to the Northwoods.  Still it’s nice to visit for a while.




I’m back from my travels, but still settling in.  Be back broadcasting regularly after the weekend.

Winter Essentials

I cannot stop listening to the Damned’s Damned Damned Damned album. If you don’t have it, you need it bad.

This Iggy Pop cover is the best.

Friday Funday with B.Ridget

Gone For The Holidays

mr. t vs. nancy reagan
Heading to Wisconsin for a few, catch you mid next week.

Happy Holidays to you all, and thanks so much for reading.

Friday Funday with B.Ridget

1X1 Rat Ride

Time for a little history lesson.

Before Surly was Surly, it was called 1×1.  This frame was, and I’m reaching for the history here as it’s a little fuzzy for me, offered through a small ad in the back of Dirtrag as the 1×1 Rat Ride. Not many were made as the company shortly adopted the Surly moniker and changed the model name to 1X1.

To see one of these around is beyond rare, even here in MPLS where we most likely have the highest concentration in the world.  I’d say that I have even seen more of the first blue 1″ threaded Cross Chccks than I have Rat Rides. (that’s three blue Cross Check’s to 2 Rat Rides in the 7.5 years I’ve lived here)

Stan Johnson Track Bike

Vincent Dominguez was also selling this Stan Johnson made track bike at the sale for $800. The build is mostly Dura Ace (track cranks, headset, brakes, post) with Superbe Pro hubs.

Not knowing anything about Stan Johnson, I googled it and came up with this from a forum:

Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s I used to co-own and -operate a bicycle repair shop in Minneapolis and ours was the Minnesota connection for Stan Johnson. Originally, he built frames in Oxnard, California. Sometime around 1990 or 1991 (I don’t remember exactly when) he moved to Bozeman, Montana and set up shop there. I heard he stopped building frames a few years ago (5-10), but I may be mistaken.

Stan Johnson used Tru Temper tubing and Henry James frame findings extensively and all his frames were painted by Joe Bell in San Diego, California. All the frames sold through our shop were meticulously made by him and always matched the specifications we provided and every customer was happy(!). I’m not sure of the exact number we sold (around 10 over four years), but there are still four from that time period on the road around the Twin Cities, that I know about.


the measurements are 53.5 seat tube, 56.5 top tube

If you’re in the market, I can point you in the right direction.

Jimel Racing Products 70’s BMX

This Jimel Racing Products frameset is purported to hail from 78-79 and was built by an unidentified local builder.  Jimel Racing Products is reported to have been a little husband and wife company out of Brooklyn Park MN.

It harkens back to the early days of BMX when the first purpose built frames were popping up out of small companies all over the U.S. and if you wanted something for BMX racing, you had to make it yourself or find a local machine shop with the know how.IMG_2756IMG_2754
lovel fillets