I always get a little bit sad when the days grow short. However, living in LA has one advantage over the east coast, it may be dark, but it sure as hell isn't cold. So, although my daylight hours are limited, I can still hang out in the shop in the evenings and not succumb to frostbite.
With that spirit I am setting out to complete a barrage of builds this winter and try to increase my saddle time. On the personal side I need to wrap up the 89 Merlin and the 90 Yo Eddy. Two bikes I've been itching to try, but something always seems to get in the way. I've got the Merlin build mostly sorted out in terms of components, and it's just a matter of time until it's up and running. The Yo Eddy is not so lucky and I'm having a hard time picturing the complete build. Maybe I'll find some inspiration, but odds are it will just end up a somewhat boring XT build, we'll see. Beyond those two I'm really hoping to get started on the restoration of my 83 Mantis XCR. This is bound to be a massive challenge, as the frame needs repair before I can even set out to paint it, the parts are all rare and obtuse and I'm still missing some very critical parts like the stem. Following that is the elevated chainstay Mantis Valkyrie which also requires some surgery, but at least I have most of that build sorted out. Those two bikes more or less wrap up my personal builds for the winter. No doubt I'll need to service some other bikes here and there, but for the most part the remainder of my small fleet is up and running.
On the non-personal front it's gearing up to be a busy season. Kleins continue to rain supreme, although there are a couple Yetis and a Kestrel MX-Z in the mix as well. Of the upcoming projects the one I'm most excited about is the 87 Yeti FRO. I found this bike in the outskirts of LA in a state of neglect and mishandling. Luckily the frame was solid and with a little imagination it can be a magnificent bike. I'm going for a black/turquoise harlequin paintjob with offsetting cranks and brakes. A full Cook Bros kit to top it off and the old girl will be ready for another 25 years of dedicated service! It's really a great treat to see a forgotten bike return to it's original state and hit the trails, totally worth the hours spent working on them. Beyond that there are not one, but two Storm Attitudes, a couple Adroits, an NOS 94 Attitude and few miscellaneous Attitudes.
I finally managed to get my shop area cleaned up, moved some stuff around to make more room to work on multiple bikes at the same time and did a little bit of work on cataloging my parts binds. It's amazing how quickly you can lose track of how many derailleurs or brake straddle hangers you have only to find yourself stuck without a crucial part to finish something off. Housing, cables, ferrules and other consumables are all restocked and it's off to the races.