Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

Got fenders?

November 16, 2015

Yesterday and today

November 15, 2015
Yesterday. ...

Yesterday. …

... and today.

… and today.

Sheesh. Just got the morning’s chores wrapped and now the weather has done gone all Belgian on my ass. You’d think it was the middle of friggin’ November or sumpin’.

Wheels, meals and deals

October 27, 2015
The Marin Four Corners Elite. Look for it in the March 2016 issue of Adventure Cyclist.

The Marin Four Corners Elite. Look for it in the March 2016 issue of Adventure Cyclist.

Normalcy is beginning to rear its ugly head again (yeah, I know, I’ve said like this before and we all remember how long that generally lasts).

But for the moment, anyway, I’m back to practicing my trade (making shit up); cooking tasty and nutritious meals (tonight it’s either pasta al cavolfiore from “The Moosewood Cookbook” or pasta with smoked salmon from ‘The Feed Zone Cookbook”); and striving mightily to get some friggin’ exercise (short shakedown cruise on a new review bike yesterday).

Now and then I take a peek at the political news, which mostly makes me want to ring up the queen and beg her royal forgiveness. Does anybody really want to be president? Besides the Hilldebeast, I mean? Florida Man hates governingThe Donald and The Doctor keep trying to out-stupid each other, and it just keeps going downhill from that point, which in a sane country would be the bottom. Not here.

I have a soft spot for Bernie, because he’s at least half a pinko, but he’s asking America for a helluva lot more than a job, and you know what that means. Shiny object! Squirrel! Say, what was the old guy on about again?

Ah, well. The moon is full, the sun is shining, and if the stars seem slightly out of alignment, we’ll just have to live with it. America needs proctology, not astrology. Call it a headhunting expedition.

Don’t Force it

October 18, 2015
Looking northeast from Trail 365A, just above Embudo Dam.

Looking northeast from Trail 365A, just above Embudo Dam.

Things feel like they’re finally inching back to what passes for normal in these parts.

The Jones handles the local trails with style and grace.

The Jones handles the local trails with style and grace.

I arose at 6 a.m., logged a few billable hours of work, then got out for a short ride on the Jones, which hasn’t been getting a lot of love lately.

The two of us pooted around unproductively and yet pleasantly on the trails southeast of El Rancho Pendejo, topping out at Trail 365A, where there was something of a traffic jam — a visitor from Alaska hiking up with his old ski coach and a couple dogs, a runner headed down with her own pooch in tow, and finally this old dog and his bike smack dab in the middle.

The hikers asked me to snap a phone pic for them, so I did, and then I dove down the trail ahead of the runner and headed for home, where I learned that the Force will be with the viewing audience during halftime of tomorrow’s Giants-Eagles matchup on ESPN.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see Han Solo piloting his mobility scooter around the galaxy while a cackling Luke Skywalker urges his grandson to pull his robotic finger. The Farts are strong with this one. …

Site gag

October 2, 2015
The Embudo Trail parking lot at the top of Indian School Road.

The Embudo Trail parking lot at the top of Indian School Road.

OK, so last night I actually slept through the night without coughing myself awake a couple dozen times. Our long national nightmare is over, I thought.

And then the Samsung clothes washer croaked in the middle of a load for the fourth time in a year. Naturally, the Samsung warranty expired last week, after one drain pump and two circuit boards. Now we’re at the mercy of the Best Buy Geek Squad, which may be able to see us (wait for it) Tuesday.

So what I wanna know is: Which one of you wisenheimers has a Patrick O’Grady voodoo doll stuck full of pins?*

* Yes, I know, at least it’s not stuck full of bullets, as are many of the residents of Roseburg, Oregon. Don’t expect to see any action on gun control until some sicko shoots a brand new baby iPhone, much less by Tuesday. Until then, if anyone offers to sell you a Samsung clothes washer, you have my permission to shoot them.

Blue bird, red nose

September 20, 2015
The affordable made-in-America Co-Motion Bluebird starts at $2,995.

The affordable made-in-America Co-Motion Bluebird starts at $2,995.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (MDM) — We took one more spin around the show floor on Friday, the Adventure Cyclist folks and I, and then I got the hell out of Dodge — but not before I collected a nasty case of Snotlocker Surprise®, which didn’t fully manifest itself until I got home Saturday afternoon.

interbike-bugI hadn’t been sick in a good long while, and I was taking the usual sanitary precautions during the show, but there were plenty of sneezers and wheezers in attendance and one of them must have drilled me with a booger-bomb.

A sore throat, plugged sinuses and the general feeling of having been et by a coyote and shit off a cliff is what I get for making jokey videos about drugs. Now I’m actually taking some, and they are far from mind-expanding, though one may hope that Claritin-D 12-Hour is at least nostril-expanding.

Before the cooties took root in my snoot we checked out the new Bluebird tandem from the fine folks at Co-Motion as well as a Traitor Wander, which sounds like a command but is actually a bicycle. The Ortlieb guys had one at the booth, wearing their bags, and after some brisk negotiations with the Traitors I wound up taking one home with me. No doubt there was a certain segment of the Bicycle Retailer readership that, upon seeing me in the company of a Traitor, muttered, “I knew it!”

An Arizona parfait, as shot through the passenger window.

An Arizona parfait, as shot through the passenger window.

With a bike in hand, I abruptly decided it was time to go. I’d had all the secondhand smoke I could bear, the omnipresent background music was starting to sound like the Prince song “Nothing Compares 2 U” as interpreted by Don Vito Corleone, and I was sick of watching people play with their phones. When the alien archaeologists root through our leavings they will posit that we were a feeble race of eejits with detachable rectangular genitalia that we were always stroking.

I beat it for Flagstaff and more or less went straight to bed, then spent Saturday morning lazing around the Hampton, grazing on the free breakfast, and failing to upload that White Walkers video (the Hampton’s upload speeds are even worse than mine).

Then it was the old zoom-zoom to Duke City, where the traditional multicar pileup at I-40 and San Mateo added an extra 20 minutes in first gear to the last miles of my pilgrimage. I had camping gear with me and was tempted to pitch my tent in the fast lane but then the traffic started moving again and I was homeward bound at last, mumbling along with Tom Waits’ “Swordfishtrombone”:

Well, he came home from the war
with a party in his head
and a modified Brougham DeVille
and a pair of legs that opened up
like butterfly wings
and a mad dog that wouldn’t
sit still
he went and took up with a Salvation Army
Band girl
who played dirty water
on a swordfishtrombone
he went to sleep at the bottom of
Tenkiller Lake
and he said “Gee, but it’s
great to be home.”





Bay window

September 19, 2015

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (MDM) — I was sitting in a window at Mandalay Bay, taking a load off my aching puppies, and the hordes of show-goers trudging to and fro became so hypnotic that I broke out a camera and just let it run.

But why aren’t these people riding bicycles? It’s a bicycle show, yeah?

Titties and beer

September 18, 2015
One of Marin's Gestalt bikes. I should've snapped the Four Corners, which is a pretty tasty-looking piece of machinery.

One of Marin’s Gestalt bikes. I should’ve snapped the Four Corners, which is a pretty tasty-looking piece of machinery.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (MDM) — Well, almost.

Dinner last night was at a Mexican place none of us had ever been to before — Mike Deme, the Adventure Cycling Association’s King of All Media, picked The Eldorado Cantina after sifting Yelp recommendations online — and when we all piled into the cab and gave the hack the address he says, “Strip club.”

interbike-bug“Naw, it’s a Mexican restaurant,” says Mike.

“Strip club too,” replies the cabbie.


So, yeah. We were expecting the worst. Pasties in the posole? Instead of a napkin in the lap, a writhing young person of the female persuasion hawking watered-down $20 margaritas? Tony, Silvio and Paulie Walnuts leaning on the bar, serving up heaping helpings of fresh stinkeye, on the house?

Nope. Nice little place, good food, excellent service. Bada bing!

Anyway, we discussed the future of tech coverage in Adventure Cyclist, and I think you can look forward to some good stuff there, though I can’t say much about the details at the moment because Tony, Silvio, Paulie, etc.

Before dinner, there was more wandering about at the show, during which I got a look at the Marin Four Corners and Gestalt series; the Masi Giramondo; and the Giant Toughroad SLR 1, a rare flat-bar adventure bike.

The monster-crosser, fat-tired, all-conditions, disc-equipped adventure bike, with compact double or even single-ring drivetrains, is definitely the industry’s latest wet dream.

But I did see one lonely, overlooked traditional setup tucked away in the corner of one booth — a Fuji Touring bike with a triple crank, Tektro rim brakes and bar-cons. No pasties.

Next: The long and winding road that leads to my door.

Privateering we did go

September 17, 2015
There. A photo of an actual bike, from the actual show. Happy now?

There. A photo of an actual bike, from the actual show. Happy now?

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (MDM) — Some people watched CrossVegas. Others tuned in to “Mister Trump’s Neighborhood” (“Won’t you be my neighbor? No, of course you won’t, we wouldn’t let you, because you’re a loser! And anyway, I’m building a great big beautiful wall!”)

Me, I enjoyed a Mark Knopfler concert.

interbike-bugThe Adventure Cycling Association’s King of All Media, Mike Deme, proposed the idea some months back and handled all the arrangements, so last night off we went to the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace.

Good show. The man still has it at 66, and the band was tight, although the sound was poor; the bottom was over the top, smothering the lesser stringed instruments (cittern, ukelele, mandolin); overpowering whistles, flutes and even the uilleann pipes; and at times nearly obscuring Knopfler’s voice entirely.

The two-hour show unearthed a couple of what Knopfler called “historical relics,” including “Sultans of Swing,” the first song of his most of us ever heard. But there was plenty of newer stuff, too, from “Privateering” and his latest album, “Tracker.”

There was another show, of course, involving bicycles. I paid it little mind, day one always being heavy on the how-y’doing, what’s-up, still-working-for-eejits-o-yes* side of the ledger.

But Mike, Adventure Cyclist boss-fella Alex Strickland and I managed to fall by Pearl Izumi; Bollé (which is now doing helmets); Nutcase (which is doing some cool scooter helmets); Brompton (slick build-to-order Brit folders); and Jamis (check out their nicely spec’d and affordable Renegade series).

More of the same today, including a chat with Novara manager Cyndi Mundhenk of REI and a big skull session with the Adventure Cyclist staff and contributors over dinner this evening. I’ll try to post something from the show floor today. **

Next: Not all those who wander are lost. Just me.

* No eejits were harmed in the making of this post, especially those eejits who are paying the tab.

** Notice how well that worked out? Yeah, me too.

And so it begins

September 16, 2015
Run away. Even if somebody else is buying.

Run away. Even if somebody else is buying.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (MDM) — Should you ever find yourself forced to choose between eating at the Public House or doing a full-gainer freegan dive into a Dumpster behind the Luxor, I recommend going for the garbage.

interbike-bugThe Bicycle Retailer crew had a prix fixe deal going on — at the Public House, not the Dumpster — and you’d think that would have greased the culinary wheels of progress somewhat, but no.

Getting “served” required more than two hours, during which time several of my colleagues’ beverage orders went walkabout, and as for what finally arrived at the table, I’m going to go out on a limb here and call it “food,” if only because it came on a plate.

This Starbucks has been the cornerstone of my mornings at the show ever since it moved from the Sands to Mandalay Bay.

This Starbucks has been the cornerstone of my mornings at the show ever since it moved from the Sands to Mandalay Bay.

The racket was abominable, and holding a conversation was impossible, which is kind of a pisser when you have two-plus hours to kill waiting for the grub. So we all shouted at those closest to us — mostly “What?” — and as a consequence this morning I feel like I’ve been gargling with broken glass.

Hey, there could have been anything in whatever that was on my plate. The foundation of a first-rate weight-loss program, is dinner at the Public House.

But, hey, First World Problems, am I right? It’s a brand-new day, I’ve had a couple $5 cups of coffee, and I didn’t have to wait two hours for them, either. Off to the show.

Next: Day one of Interbike.


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