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.


September 30, 2015

The sharp-eyed among you may have noticed a hitch in the virtual gitalong here over the past 24 hours or so.

My website/email hosting provider, Hostcentric, must have been starving the hamsters again, because my main email account went away for the umpteenth time, and I finally got pissed.

My first move was upgrading this free blog to a paid item and redirecting my DNS signposts here. The original, a self-hosted deal parked for years at Hostcentric, had become an archaeological curiosity, a sentimental attachment and something of a pain in the ass.

That rearranging of my digital furniture took a while to draw the attention of Teh Innertubez, but now you can get here via the old URL ( or the new one (

Resolving the email problem will take a little longer, but I hope to get started on that bright and early tomorrow morning. I’m thinking Google Apps. Anyone have any experience with it? Holler in comments or send me a note via Gmail.

Wild, wild life

September 29, 2015
That's what I call an ex-dove.

That’s what I call an ex-dove.

Between episodes of “Attack of the Booger Monster” it’s been National Fuckin’ Geographical lately around El Rancho Pendejo.

Yesterday afternoon I was slouched in the office, trying feebly to generate some paying copy with a skull full of Claritin-D 12 Hour, when I heard a bass thump! in the living room and assumed another dipshit dove had augured into the picture window by the cat tower.

It was a marvelous night for a moondance.

It was a marvelous night for a moondance.

Well, close. A falcon had chased a dove into the window and was sitting on the lawn, plucking the dumb sonofabitch like a harp, while the cats watched with professional curiosity. No photo of the raptor at work, alas; I went for a camera but he took off with his dinner before I could make a Kodak moment of it.

Then last evening I took a few snaps of the post-eclipse supermoon, having intercoursed the penguin the night before (check those ISO/f-stop settings, kids). We had a few shooting stars to keep Luna company when it was all red in the face, too. Quite the night.

Today I felt capable of a short bike ride for professional purposes — the reviews don’t slow down just ’cause I do — and afterward I treated myself to a second dose of green chile stew. I’m hoping it succeeds where the Irish penicillin failed. It’s a rare bug indeed that can withstand the one-two punch of chicken noodle soup and green chile stew.


Sermon on the mountebanks

September 24, 2015
The foothills by the Piedra Lisa parking lot.

The foothills by the Piedra Lisa parking lot.

Swear to God: I’d turn Roman Catholic in a hot Noo Yawk minute if Pope Frankie could get Dorothy Day to roust this capitalist cold the hell out of my atheist carcass.

The bug has been having a high old time with me, plugging my nose-holes with colorful sludge, like a box of Crayolas left in the sun. Too, there is a cough that must have the neighbors wondering if a pride of lions has begun hunting deer in the ‘hood. Sleep is measured in minutes rather than hours, and snark, bark and spark all are at perilously low levels.

Come midmorning, after watching the pope squander his Jesuitical subtlety on our elected representatives, I dragged what remains of Your Humble Narrator out for a Frankensteinian walk along the trails I should be running or riding, this being the second day of fall, and a beauty, too. Just check out the blue in that sky. It’s one of the few colors that hasn’t come out of my nose.


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.

Putting on the Dog

September 15, 2015
For today at least, Sin City is not a scorching hellhole.

For today at least, Sin City is not a scorching hellhole.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (MDM) — Early rising makes me disagreeable, even more so than usual. So rather than make my usual pilgrimage to Late for the Train, I fled Flagstaff for Vegas, where one more bad attitude is the equivalent of a mouse fart at a sewage treatment plant.

interbike-bugOddly, my arrival was completely incident-free. I checked in at the Luxor, picked up my show badge, and settled into my spacious Cycling Journalist’s Suite at the Luxor, awaiting the first of what I hope will be many meals at someone else’s expense.

The kickoff is always dinner with the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News mob. Then Adventure Cyclist takes a pounding for the duration.

That's Smirnoff, but not of the Yakov variety.

That’s Smirnoff, but not of the Yakov variety.

Throwing a few meaty bones to the old Dog is a small price to pay to keep me out of the office, and indeed across state lines. More than one of them, too, BRAIN being a California concern while Adventure Cyclist is based up Montana way.

On the way over to score my badge I noticed that someone had already had his dinner. Well, like they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Specifically, in and around the toilet at the Luxor.

Next: It’s showtime!


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