RACER™ wall frames: review of a new lifestyle accessory.

I really like decorating and interior design. I’m complete shit at it, though, as I have no sense of color or scale. A part of my brain –where common sense should reside– is stunted and still scribbling out her dream house with crayon on construction paper. I carefully curate most of my environment with books stacked just so and sentimental objects arranged at cheeky angles, like in the CB2 catalog. Then I go INSANE: I ruin it all with a bizarre 3’x3′ collage on stretched canvas featuring David Bowie, the Pop Tart logo, and a neon pallet. WTF, Karin?

I’m no Martha Stewart.

Disassembled office/pain cave from a previous residence. $5 Breuer chair, second hand Steelcase cubicle locker, vintage Chinese Communist Party poster, sewing table from the alley? Meet my trainer and TT bike.
Disassembled office/pain cave from a previous residence. $5 Breuer chair, second hand Steelcase cubicle locker, vintage Chinese Communist Party poster, sewing table from the alley? Meet my trainer and TT bike.

Most of my adult life I’ve bounced from one teeny (vintage) apartment to another. I love “small” living, but I’ve had to get creative with storage and display, and have learned to design on a dime. This usually relegates me to sticking with whatever paint scheme the previous tenant leaves for me (YELLOW KITCHEN!), and “thrifting” for useful bits of furniture. I may or may not have “rescued” a few items of furniture from the alley:

~A slab of travertine on a glorified crate from Ikea = coffee table.

~A mildewy c. 1930 sewing table = my desk.

~A discarded steel enamel laundry table top = magnetic bulletin board.

~Salvaged wood windows from my building when the evil new management company replaced them with cheap vinyl shit = wall-occupying décor!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand then I took up triathlon. You can imagine the discord between all my, ummm… “vintage treasures” and my new gear. Not to mention, curio cabinets were not exactly designed to display Tyvek race bibs and finisher medals on obnoxious ribbons.

This was my solution at the time: in the darkest corner of my bedroom, on a wall no one would see (except me, first thing in the morning), I pinned together and hanged my bibs and medals in chronological order using PAPER CLIPS and the picture rail. Yeah.

My "Wall of Achievement" circa 2009.
My “Wall of Achievement” circa 2009.

I, the girl who chased after ribbons and trophies and plaques no matter how meaningless they were, and despite my personal aesthetic, actually really enjoyed waking up to this in the morning. My boyfriend, maybenotsomuch. Seriously though, even looking back at this brings me joy. I miss it!

…but things got out of hand.

Wall of Achievement circa its demise. Did you know if you hang 5 medals by one paper clip Tyvek DOES rip? True story.
Wall of Achievement circa its demise. Did you know if you hang 5 medals by one paper clip Tyvek DOES rip? True story.

This is just embarrassing. The bibs are dusty and drooping, the medals are dragging on top of my dresser (not shown), and there’s no joy here. Not to mention I’m HOW OLD? There’s NO excuse for a grown-up to have this mess on display. It almost reminds me of when I was young and cut out every picture of a horse I found and scotch taped it to my wall. I had a 5’x7′ mosaic of pony images –live, stuffed, sculpted, painted, and knit (a HORSE SWEATER!), which curled and warped and ruined the wallpaper when I finally took it all down.

The Wall of Achievement has been retired and stuffed into a box somewhere, and I mostly stopped collecting race bibs. A few finisher medals have been tossed into storage tubs, and one might be dangling from a hangar somewhere? Memories are no longer present and accounted for. Point being, I don’t have a complete collection anymore, and that’s FINE.

I’m about to move again, grumble, but I’m quite determined to keep my next home KL-ASSY. That said, I need a place for my equipment and my bike training work, and I wouldn’t mind hanging a little inspiration in or near my future pain cave. Enter the kind people at RACER™!

RACER™ was founded by Scott Power (great name), and is a socially-conscious company that makes one product: an easy, inexpensive, ready-to-hang frame designed specifically for race bibs! They sent me a premature housewarming gift the other day and I can’t wait to test it out.

Ummmmmmm unfortunately I’ll have to wait a little, as I have no nails or hammers in my current abode (an empty apartment I’ve been sharing with two bikes and a mattress for the last 5 months). Still, I’ve popped my latest bib into the frame and it looks great.

20121209-130959.jpg
Temporary trophy place: bib in the RACER frame, crystal lighthouse trying its best to be discreet and unphallic.

Admittedly, I’m more of a right-angle kind of girl, and the subtle trademark wave of the RACER™ frame had me a little worried. (Yes, I get worked up over this type of thing.) I’ve worked at a few fine art galleries, museums, and frame shops before, and I believe the frame is incredibly important to telling the story of the piece within it. Traditional frames can be EXPENSIVE and rather dull, though. To that end, if I’m going to display my bib(s), it deserves to have the life breathed back into it. I remember how it flapped in the wind, wrinkled with each stride, and rubbed that spot raw on my favorite jersey. That little piece of Tyvek was with me on the best day of my life and shouldn’t be forgotten on a shelf, locked in a box, or sealed behind glass in a double-matted sarcophagus.

20121209-105852.jpg
My happy nook.

I mean, OK, I might be overstating it. You can certainly go that route. I suggest a shadow mount on a neutral (preferably taupe) linen mat with a deep spacer: you can mount your medal and finisher photo in there, too. That should cost as little as…maaaaybe $300?

RACER™ retails for $19.95. If you swing your bike’s bars into it while futzing with your trainer, it won’t shatter. If it falls off the wall and may crack if you whack it just right, it won’t cost parts and labor to replace it. Custom frame jobs are wonderful, but sometimes you just have to be practical.

Oh, and stay out of the dumpster.

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3 thoughts on “RACER™ wall frames: review of a new lifestyle accessory.

  1. LOVE your posts!

    On Sunday, December 9, 2012, Watts Up Karin? wrote: > karin langer posted: “I really like decorating and interior design. I’m complete shit at it, though, as I have no sense of color or scale. A part of my brain –where common sense should reside– is stunted and still scribbling out her dream house with crayon on construction pa” >

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