Frankenbike: Helping to Keep Austin Weird

I attended my third Frankenbike on April 30th. This roving swap meet for bicycle people was held at Clown Dog Bikes in Austin, Texas. It was fun and interesting, like the first two, and also not very profitable for this dude. (I previously wrote about it here.) That’s ok. And oh yeah, some of the people who were there or who came by were weird. “Keep It Weird” is the slogan of Austin, the cool, anti-commercial, countercultural one at least. Contrast that with the so-called “Live Music Capital of the World” and place where Calfornian tech bros come to spend their First World money to jack up the damn rent. But at Frankenbike, cool things happen, namely connection and community. Which, in a post-pandemic-ish world, is still kinda weird. Allow me to explain.

Another moniker, catchphrase, or really a nickname for Austin is “The Velvet Rut,” something with which I’m more comfortable than I care to admit. One moves here, enjoys the laid back vibe too much, drinks the Kool Aid aka tap water, and finds themself quoting lines from Richard Linklater’s experimental, seminal work that recreates the weird world of Austin in 1989: the movie Slacker. (Check out my review of the film, which just celebrated 25 years since it’s release.)

Weirdness embraced me as soon as I began unloading. Other vendors swooped upon me before I was set up, looking for good deals. The weird exuded from certain other customers passing by on social rides. Some had too many beers. One just smelled weird. Just another Austin on a Sunday morning. Clown Dog Bikes was closed, but the little shop (that could, not of horrors) near the University of Texas also has it’s own feeling that is quintessential old Austin.

Anyway, the Velvet Rut is like falling gently bass-ackward into a cozy velour-lined crevass from which escape is simply “TOO HARD!” because it’s so very comfortable. But the Rut is what it is; at least today I got myself down to the shop to set up my tables. Multiple wheels and accessories and other stuff was donated to me quite generously by a former racer, the son of A Midnight Rider, actually.

I introduced myself to two women, but after shaking their hands one did not say her name; she proceeded to get into a whole conversation about birds with the other woman before finishing the introduction. Odd. I guess have that affect on the ladeez. Another woman invited me to her bike story night, so I asked if I could read a page of my in-progress memoir. She said no, it’s not that kind of reading. Weird! An older gent I’d met before just kinda silently sat back watching the entire thing. This dude wore a tie dyed t-shirt and long hair quite unironically.

The Mavic wheels I sold were a gift from another very solid bike rider, Bryce. They made shopper Dan’s day (pictured) because he needed these specific ones for a long-time project. It took him quite a while of wandering around to decide. That was kinda weird. And he had his whole Gandalf the Grey get-up complete with long freaky beard. But he was a super nice dude. He gave me two-thirds of what I was asking, which still put some dollars in my pocket and made a little space. Spring cleaning time, after all… Marie Kondo would be proud. It also made my day to help Dan out.

I also traded a bike rack gifted to me that I never used to a guy for two new tires. That was serendiptous. One never tires of tires. I’m pretty tired from riding daily for over 3.5 years, as my last post detailed:

The founder and host of Frankenbike is a nice if slightly wacky guy. He’s got a good heart and brings people together. He probably doesn’t make much money doing it, either. Or maybe he does, and he should. Connection and community, man! That’s good stuff and has a value you just can’t put dollar signs on.

In the end, it was a mellow and nice way to spend a hot, humid, and sunny Sunday late morning and early afternoon in Austin, Texas. Thanks for reading. Keep It Weird, y’all!

Check them out and on their social media.

Copyright 2023. A Dude Abikes. All rights reserved.

10 thoughts on “Frankenbike: Helping to Keep Austin Weird

    1. Yes! Also, “It’s FrankunSTEEN!”(Gene Wilder)

      I saw a t-shirt for THEY LIVE )ast night, that old John Carpenter flick.

      These stories distract from the real monsters of the world:, your Putins, mass shooters, and politicians.

      The zombie apocalypse is nigh upon us!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I notice other towns (looking at you, Portland) have tried to steal your slogan. Bike swaps are a great idea. I’m hoping to get rich (ha) next winter by selling an unused and rare 1974 derailleur set and three of my brother’s bikes from that era. (Actually, I guess he’s the one who would get rich from that…) I’ll probably only manage to sell a few mountain bike tires and hope I can pay the table fee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Weird can be shared. There are stickers on poles recently that quote the originator of that phrase, Red Wassenich, who said it on 91.7 KOOP radio’s Sat 10-12 The Lounge Show. They recent ones say “Commercialization is the antithesis of weird.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It was going to be a repository for real estate photos – I probably made it 10 years ago and have long since forgot about it.


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