Thursday, April 28, 2005

CHUNK Bike Anatomy: the Organ Donor

We lost count of the total number of bikes we've constructed a long time ago. As previously mentioned on several occasions, all CHUNK 666 bikes usually befall one of three deaths: they break, they get stolen, or they retire to the chronic pile. Through several twists of fate, the mighty Organ Donor, constructed way back when in the winter of '92/'93, lives on. Organ Donor is so old that it also shares the distinction of being one of the first three CHUNK bikes EVER built (although it is the only one to see the dawn of the 21st century).

Part of its longevity may be that it lay forgotten under a pile of bikes at the Lab for several years, sparing it the vicissitudes of rusting away in the rain, as well as the trials of inexperienced riders. Another factor may be that its not entirely pleasant to ride. The bike frame-turned-upside-down-with-crankset-reversed tallbike design has largely been discarded by most clubs since this relaxes the headtube angle, actually giving the tallbike more rake. This makes steering mildly unpleasant, especially seeing as that steertube extension flexes, lending to the sensation that one is about to be cast down between the steer- and seat-tube extensions, into the "cage of death," if you will.

Furthermore, the upside-down feature means that the "drop-outs" actually face straight up, so not only is the rider wary of the flexy nature of the steer tube and raked-out fork, but somewhat aware that the rear wheel could, theoretically, come loose and pop right out of the dropouts, unceremoniously dumping the rider backwards into the pavement.

The origin of the name "Organ Donor" is itself of fine pedigree. According the writings of Megulon-5,
There was once, by way of illustration, a lovely twelve-speed bicycle ridden by the author and known as B. 25, due to the fact that the sole identifying insignia on its frame was the number 25 stamped in the metal. This bicycle, after ramming no fewer than three cars, suffered a death all too violent for an unchoppified bicycle. After the parts of 25 lived anew upon the frame of its predecessor, B. Ralph Waldo 5, 25's bent frame was hung in the tombs bearing the inscription "Organ Donor". A year later some of its tubes were used to form the body of, you guessed it, the Organ Donor, and it was when this inscription was again noticed that that proud creation received its name.
For the reasons mentioned above, the Organ Donor doesn't really get out much these days. Last year, Thud rode it in the tallbike pubcrawl.

And before that, the last major operation the Organ Donor was involved in was the 2002 Chunkathalon when Spidey rode it (to victory) in a joust.