In like a lion

Novara Verita

The Novara Verita from REI.

March, is it? Whose idea was it to make February so short and start Daylight Saving Time on Sunday? Jesus, I take some time away from the blog to do a spot of work from my deathbed and the whole place goes to hell.

I brought some heavyweight class of an upper-respiratory bug home from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show and mostly have been sleeping at The House Back East® to keep from catapulting Herself out of bed and into the madhouse with my coughs, which sound remarkably like an M777 howitzer in action, if M777 howitzers fired 155mm olive-drab snot rockets.

Between booger barrages I have had to crank out the word count for Adventure Cyclist and Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, the latter now back to twice-a-month publication. Doubling up on the funny is heavy lifting when your brain is braising in bacterial tapioca.

The past couple of days have brought some mild improvement, happily, and I’ve even been out and about on the latest review bike, a Novara Verita, one of the steeds in REI’s velo-stable. I’ve tried not to dribble on it, because the green would clash horribly with the nifty blue-and-white color scheme and might even dissolve the tubeset.

I shan’t have access to that refreshing little pasatiempo this weekend, however. The wizards predict rain, snow and wind — to wit, March weather.

Just as well. Another round of deadlines is upon me like some fresh plague, and I might as well stick to embarrassing myself in print instead of upon the bicycle until the sun comes back sometime next week.

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32 Responses to “In like a lion”

  1. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Welcome back. See you later.
    Enjoy the latest water maker we are sending your way. It soaked us pretty good today. Sweet!

  2. Steve O Says:

    Just happened to be in an REI today, looking for shoes that will stay clamped on to a 2.75 year old who prefers going barefoot, trichinosis and/or frostbite be damned.

    Noticed that the two wheel section is awash in angry urban hipster apparel. Button up and collared “jerseys” from Novara, The North Face, and everyone else, along with plaid biking trou and pea-coats with reflective trim. We’ve come full circle from the days of neon Lycra, I guess.

  3. John Says:

    Hey PO’G, any chance of a link to your latest screed in BRAIN? We’d like to read what sort of face you put on for those not so accustomed to the day-in, day-out ravings of a lunatic (y’know, those of us who read you over here). I mean, you can’t be posting the same sort of stuff over at BRAIN; if you were, there’d be knock on your door by those nice gentlemen with uniforms and badges. Again.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      John, BRAIN isn’t current on the latest and “greatest” in their archive of my stuff. I should get in the habit of posting the column 30 days after the issue hits the streets, especially since I seem to be a little sluggish as regards original blog updates lately.

      My Adventure Cyclist stuff is archived in PDF fashion, and you can get to it via the drop-down “Author” menu.

      • John Says:

        Hey, it’d be great if you could repost your BRAIN stuff after the fact if it’s okay with BRAIN. I know I’d like to read it. I searched over at BRAIN and didn’t find much on your save for a story about you leaving Velo which cited as this blog as the source. You might want to warn them that any reputable publication using Mad Dog Media as a source may not be reputable for much longer (but could get more interesting!).

        Alternatively, could you arrange BRAIN subscriptions for all us not-so-loyal Mad Dog followers?

      • Steve O Says:

        Timeliness can be over-rated.

        You could reprint the Stupid Cars one every Jan 1st for the next 20 years at it would most likely resonate just as well as the day it was written.

      • Khal Spencer Says:

        Thanks for the link, Patrick. I just quoted one of your BRAIN screeds in a new rant over on the BombTown Fish Wrapper and Toilet Seat Liner, aka LA Bikes.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        Read your July 2010 piece about touring through Southern AZ. That was a nice piece of writing. I am surprised you didn’t visit, or mention it if you did, the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel. Scuttlebutt at my LBS (M&M Cycling) is that Al sold the rights to La vuelta de Bisbee and moved from Bisbee. We do miss the race. We used to ride our commuter hydrids to Moson Road to watch the peloton go by. One lady racer threw an empty bottle at me and yelled you don’t look fat or old, referring to my jersey, promoting some old dog media outfit, which caused Sandy and I to volunteer to do neutral support duty (organized by M&M) for the women’s race for three years.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        John, I’ve just posted the Jan. 1 column on the blog’s front porch.

        Steve, I like timely, but I’m not shy about going “forward, into the past” for a Firesign hook.

        K, thanks for the quotification. Now and again I manage to write something that isn’t actionable. Hope you found one of those.

        Patrick, thanks for the attaboy. That was the first piece I did for Adventure Cyclist. Alas, the BBB was closed when we hit town — something about an illness in the family, as I recall. And it wouldn’t surprise me if Al fled. He was fed up and burned out, thanks in part to USA Cycling’s fondness for scheduling events on top of La Vuelta de Bisbee and thus helping it into an early grave.

      • Khal Spencer Says:

  4. Larry T. Says:

    I drive though the Italian city of Novara every time I go to or from the Malpensa (Milan) airport from our northern Italian HQ. Each time I wonder why someone would name their bikes after this place? Yeah, it’s IN Italy, but pretty much has the charm of well…..Detroit from what I’ve seen of it.
    Which brings me to the bike – the photo has me asking “what’s the next larger size like?” The proportions/position there just look odd to me.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Larry, check the size/geometry chart at right on the Verita page. REI does small, medium, large and extra large, and as usual, I’m somewhere in between sizes.

      The bike I’m riding is a large, and I had to swap the seat post for one with more setback and the stem for one with more rise. Probably should have gone for the extra large, and if the local store has one, I may ride it around the block a time or two to get a feel for the differences between the two.

      I’m thinking about getting a medical fit from Andy Pruitt up in the People’s Republic. My physical therapist says my left quad is shorter than my right, and my chiropractor has long noticed a leg-length discrepancy along with other signs of physical and mental collapse, so maybe it’s time to revisit my position on the bike.

      • Steve O Says:

        The bambinos have made my ride time non-existant, but once the littlest can hold her head up in the Burley Bee, I need to look into a fit. I’m close to a inch difference between left and right leg, mostly from Army PT runs — those long slow shuffles on the right shoulder of the road, where your left foot was hitting the pavement while you dragged Mr Right in the ditch, 2-3 inches lower. Navy guys are known for their wide stance, but there are quite a few ground pounders who lean left from trotting along the shoulder for so many years. Messed up my knees, hips, and shoulders.

      • Larry T. Says:

        I would like to see what you end up with trying the larger one – as I wrote, this one just looks too small based on the setup in the photo….one of the drawbacks to t-shirt (too big, too small and close enough) sizing
        Is there a fit wizard near to you who is not in bed with the Big S? Otherwise I think you’re going to be prescribed all kinds of crap with their brand name and BG on it rather than stuff you really need. Kind of like docs who get all the freebies from the pharmaceutical companies for prescribing the brand-name drugs when the generic ones work as well…or better. If I was going to spend that kind of dough I’d want someone who is independent and trustworthy.

      • Steve O Says:

        Then again, me getting a bike fit might be like putting a chimpanzee in a tuxedo.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Larry, I started riding too-small bikes when I was still racing, reasoning that I was “saving weight.” You should have seen some of the stems I was rocking. I’m amazed I could stuff a shoulder through some of those main triangles come the run-ups.

        I probably need to look beyond Boulder for a fit, it’s true. Hell, I can always throw one right here, if I can’t find one. Steve, if I unearth a fit-meister who’s not tethered to a giant corporation and works for reasonable rates I’ll pass you the word.

  5. Derek Lenahan Says:

    I mentioned my wife picked up the same evil bug in Denver, now it appears it will be my turn. I fought for a full week against it but I may have lost. This is funny in some ways as due to REI I have an extra week off. Hopefully I can sleep through the worst if I don’t drown in my own snot.
    @John what we read here preceded BRAIN by about 45-60 days if I judge right, which is doubtful, but if you have read it here (uncensored) you already know. The Adventure Cyclist reviews seem to require a print version for full viewing.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Aw, bummer, Derek. I hope the bug treats you better than it has me. It seems to have me by the right ear-hole now.

      This time of year I’m usually wrapping up a BRAIN column at about the same time that the previous issue hits my mailbox, so it’s at least two weeks before my latest half-witticism makes it to The People®.

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