Ever since my first mountain bike was purchased from the ol’T-Town Cycles, down in Trexlertown, PA… heck, ever since I can remember being into bicycles as a kid and teen, the basement corner with wrench in hand messing with my bike was THE place to be most nights. Sometimes I’d just stroll down there and give the bike one last wipe down and polish. Or just stand there, hands on bars and imagine bunny hopping some curb or leaning into some high speed corner.

As I became more proficient with wrenching my bike, it became an endless pursuit of tweaking my setup, making sure my drivetrain was squeaky clean, bolts tightened, derailleurs adjusted and brake shoes “toed-in” just so. Over the years, parts have changed, new tools have been acquired, more storage space for spare parts has been needed, more bikes added to the stable. But that corner in the basement is still there. I used to refer to it as “the bike shop”, but within the last 2-3 years I’ve started to refer to it as my Dojo.

I’ve realized a long term dream of having a shop and studio space to make the very bicycles I love and ride, but that corner in the basement still stands the test of time. In the summer, when it’s stinking hot and humid out, the Dojo’s nice and cool. In the winter, since the furnace shares the same space, the temperature is just right. All my tools are neatly lined up and organized, at the ready should something need adjusting or fine tuning. It’s a good place just to free myself from everything that’s going on and tinker. I’ve also purposefully kept the tools that wrench the bikes separate from the tools that make the bikes for this very reason. There’s no distraction of “making” something down there (well… sometimes wrenching leads to making, but that’s a whole other story right?).

If I am frustrated with something or just fed up with what’s going on around me, the Dojo calls and I’ll head down stairs to cool down and let what ever’s bothering me melt away by wrenching my bikes. Call it a place of solace or a place to recharge and be centered perhaps. But it’s the simple pleasure of working on bikes that makes everything better. To this day I still envision that next line, that next corner to rail, hands on bars putting my head in that space.

No cares. No worries. No rules. No B.S. Just me, my bikes and wrench in hand prepping for the next ride.