Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

O, wholly night

December 26, 2015
My rigid Jones 29er plays a lovely moonlight sonata.

My rigid Jones 29er plays a lovely moonlight sonata.

A neighbor couple had invited us to join them for a full-moon Christmas ride on the Sandia foothills trails (.pdf), and while the field was halved by start time last night — his wife was recovering from a cold, and mine thought her headlight gravely underpowered — Phil and I soldiered on.

Alas, the moon likewise declined to participate, and my lighting system also proved less than illuminating (an elderly, AAA-powered trinity of Cateye Opticube HL-EL450, Princeton Tec EOS, and Princeton Tec Remix). Happily, Phil was content to lead the way with his new Cygolite, so we got around and about without issue.

My "lighting system." Not pictured: The Princeton Tec Remix I wore as a headlamp.

My “lighting system.” Not pictured: The Princeton Tec Remix I wore as a headlamp.

I was reminded how much fun it is to do something different, and how good this can be for the bike industry, because you discover how woefully clapped out your equipment is.

There was the lighting issue, for starters. Also, my old Pearl Izumi winter gloves seem to have gone walkabout in the move, I have no clear lenses for my prescription Rudy Project Rb-3 cycling glasses, and my decrepit Kucharik toe covers no longer cover all 10 toes.

And which bike to ride? I ride these trails on a cyclo-cross bike in the daylight, but that seemed unwise in the dark, with old snow and ice likely to be lurking in any north-facing bits. The old DBR Axis TT mountain bike seemed an ideal choice, until I found a big hop in the rear tire that no amount of inflation, deflation, removal, replacement, and yanking this way and that could resolve.

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff? That would have been fun, but I didn’t fancy fixing a rear-wheel flat in the freezing dark (the Rohloff hub and Gates belt drive complicate that chore a bit, and I was out of practice).

Thus, the Jones. It’s the perfect bike for this sort of outing. Big-ass Maxxis Ardent 29×2.4 tires, a Shimano XT drivetrain with a low end of 19.3 gear inches for creeping through icy rockpiles in the inky blackness, and Avid BB7 discs with 200/180mm rotors for knocking down the MPH as necessary. Plus you could hang 12 headlights on that H-bar, if you had ’em, which I did not.

Speaking of which, I’m taking recommendations for a reasonably priced headlight. Sound off in comments if you feel so inclined. And a happy Boxing Day to one and all.

 

Turning Traitor

December 19, 2015
The Traitor Wander parked at the northern end of the Tramway bike path. They can still run you over on this thing, but they can't claim they never saw you.

The Traitor Wander parked at the northern end of the Tramway bike path. They can still run you over on this thing, but they can’t claim they never saw you.

The temps finally inched above 40 yesterday afternoon so I kitted up and got out for a short ride on the Traitor Wander, the next bike in line for review in Adventure Cyclist.

I’m no longer equipped for nor inclined to those long subfreezing training rides we used to enjoy Back In the Day®, when everyone dressed up like the little brother from “A Christmas Story.”

But 40-something I can handle, especially since I’m no longer afeared of fenders. The new Shimano XM7s help keep the toes toasty, too.

I briefly considered running, but I already had all that heavily loaded legwork under my belt from emptying Chez Dog, and I hadn’t been on a bike since returning to El Rancho Pendejo, so off I rolled.

I saw a few other desperadoes out there pedaling, a couple of them wearing shorts. That’s way past Manly Points and deep into Dummy Country.

Today the weatherperson is predicting a high in the low 50s, which is my idea of the perfect December day. So I’ll be out for more than an hour. So will everybody else, but as the Buddha has taught us, life is suffering. They’ll just have to suck it up and learn how to share the road with my fat ass.

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.

Oops.

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.


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