Nostalgia, a Post-ride Belt, and a Tall-boy.
A belt made from the tread of a Surly Knard which rolled over 7,500 kilometers of African dirt…
Nostalgia is a funny thing. Sometimes it makes us hoard away concert ticket stubs or hold on to old t-shirts as if they were prized trophies. I am not a packrat, but I am admittedly sentimental. I often save stupid little mementos that represent banner experiences of times past (then I eventually I purge and throw it away). Over the weekend I swapped out the tires on my ECR and retired the Knards that carried me through Africa. They actually still had a bit of life left in them, but the lure of foreign soil calls for a fresh pair of boots. I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of both of those tires, after all, there is a long story etched in that rubber. So I decided to enjoy a beer and give one of them a second life.
How to Make a Belt from a Bike Tire
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NoDa Hop Drop ‘n Roll – A Sentimental Brew
Prior to constructing the belt, I dropped by our local beer store for a little added inspiration. Turns out, its proprietor had paid a recent visit to my old hood, over 200 miles away in Charlotte, NC and returned with a load of Hop Drop n’ Roll, the signature IPA from NoDa Brewing Company. The brewery is named after the hip urban hood where it’s located, the same neighborhood where I developed friendships, lived, and worked for the 12 years leading up to the moment when Gin and I liquidated a chunk of our belongings, packed the rest in storage, and set off on a bike tour from Mexico to Panama.
I’ll make the beer review short and sweet. The Hop Drop is a remarkable and beautifully hopped IPA which deserves every bit of the gold medal it took home from the World Beer Cup in 2014 and the 96 rating it has on Beer Advocate. Evidently quite a few folks living in the small eastern NC town I am temporarily calling home agree. They had not only heard about the Hop Drop, they had been requesting it. And nearly as soon as Marcos, the owner of Brewmasters, had returned from Charlotte with the goods, it was gone.
So, beer in hand and a head full of memories, I cut, hammered, and slapped myself together a memento that I may wear a few times, then put in a box, then one day when the sentiment has lost its luster, I’ll probably give it to Goodwill… or like the rest of the shit I happen to own when I take the big dirt nap, one of my nephews will have to deal with it. Ah nostalgia!