Fender amped

It was cloudy around the Crest, but the real action was behind me down below, as I found out when I headed for the barn.

The monsoons have draped themselves over us like a soggy cotton shirt.

It would be nice if the Universe would rearrange its watering schedule. A little bit here and a little bit there instead of all at once, like emptying a thundermug out of a second-story window onto a warbling drunkard.

But nobody in his right mind snivels about rain in the high desert. Not when rivers are drier than a popcorn fart and even the cacti are panting.

I’ve switched bikes — from the Soma Saga (canti) to the Soma Saga (disc) — because the latter still has fenders. I pulled the mudguards and racks off the rim-brake model to make it more of a daily driver than a touring machine.

But the daily driving is different now, so, yeah. I got rained on today. Fenders are your friend.


44 Responses to “Fender amped”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Send some this way. We got one good day of rain and the last three have been bupkis. Seems there is a hole in the clouds over Fanta Se.

    • SAO' Says:

      10 straight days of 40% chance, you’d think that would mean 3-4 days of rain, yeah? Instead we got pissed on once for ten minutes. No worries, I’m sure come January I’ll be shoveling three inches of partly cloudy.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The monsoons are off this year, it seems. Like everything else. From the look of the forecast we’re right back to sunny and hot for the foreseeable future.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Fenders AND disc brakes are your friends in the rain. Our monsoon rain has also been spotty. Clever title to this post. Thought maybe you bought a Blues Junior or sumptin.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thank you, sir. I always liked writing headlines. It was my favorite part of The Game.

      No amps for me, thanks all the same. The Art & Lutherie Roadhouse has Fishman Sonitone electronics, but with my “skills” I and the neighbors are better off unplugged.

      • Pat Says:

        My neighbors say they agree with you. When we got $2400 we didn’t need from congress, I sent my share to Rainbow Guitars for an Henriksen Bud 10.

  3. Shawn Says:

    What’s a monsoon and what is rain? Is that the stuff that spits out of the sky and makes the roads all damp? Nope, we ain’t got none of that. Not for a while. Now wind, we have some of that and today was fine riding weather indeed. Just over 100F. Good weather to quickly desicate any stray virus floating about.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We’re out of the steamer and back in the skillet starting tomorrow. The week looks like 93°, 95°, 88°, 87°, 91°, 92°, 92°.

      I guess I don’t have to worry about losing my tan lines. I might catch fire, though.

  4. Herb from Michigan Says:

    That post reminds me. “Small Change got rained on by his own 38”
    Time to dust off some Tom Waits. Thundermug? Sure you’re not a Hoosier? My relatives used to throw that one around along with tallywhacker (you don’t want to get it caught in your zipper] and gizwhicki (that tool or car part you can’t remember the name of)

  5. SAO' Says:

    Catching up on my podcast backlog … interesting look at the numbers over at The Spokesmen:


    Episode #246 – “The bike world has never seen anything like this”: Jay Townley on Bike Boom 2020 vs Bike Boom 1970-4

    Jay Townley:
    “These are unprecedented times.

    As long as I’ve lived i’ve never seen anything like this,

    As long as you live, you’ve never seen it like this. The bike industry the bike world has seen nothing like this.”

    Carlton Reid:
    That’s bike industry veteran Jay Townley talking about bike boom 2020. I’m Carlton Reid welcoming you to another long lockdown special of the Spokesmen Cycling Podcast. Jay Townley’s perspective is second to none because, for a start, he’s a data freak — still crunching numbers after 63 years in the industry — and he was also up close and personal with the market-dominating American bike company during the 1970s bike boom, the annual sales figures for which have never been bettered, not even during the mountain bike years. Jay worked for the Schwinn Bicycle Company for 24 years — he was the youngest vice president who wasn’t a member of the Schwinn family. Over the years he went on to hold many other positions and is still the go-to-guy for divining trends from bicycle-shaped spreadsheets so I was glad to be able to pick his brains about both bike booms. Many sectors of the economy have been badly affected by lockdowns, social distancing and quarantines but after like five or more years of poor bikes sales — what Jay calls a “funk of flatness” — April and May this year just exploded, with widespread reports of bikes selling out, well, like toilet paper as some media outlets would have it. Shimano’s stock price hit a record high at the end of May with bike part sales from this bellwhether brand going through the roof. It’s now a market-leading behemoth but Shimano was once a minnow. The Japanese company started its steady rise to domination in the 1970s when Kozo Shimano visited Schwinn on a speculative sales trip, hoping to sell derailleurs to an America that was only really starting to ride with these European devices. You can hear the inside skinny on that scoping sales trip on today’s show because Jay was there, front and centre.

    • SAO' Says:

      Fort Collins has half a dozen mobile bike wrench services, and stopped to chat with one that was at a neighbor’s house. He’s been swamped since April, and he echoed the sentiment that logistically the industry isn’t set up to respond to surges. He’s okay on general purpose supplies (lubes) but out of most replacement parts. And out of stuff you wouldn’t think of, like kick stands and kids water bottle adapters.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ayuh. As I hear it, it’s tough to find a bike under $1,500. They just ain’t any.

      And the shortages are right on down the line, parts-wise. Good luck finding 26-inch tires or tubes, for instance, thanks to the hordes of boreds dragging ancient MTBs out of sheds, garages, and carports.

      Certain electronic bits seem to be in short supply too. I don’t know whether the culprit is Zoom/Skype meetings, podcasting, or vlogging, but I just sold a pair of used microphones for more than I paid for them new. Both are out of stock and backordered.

      That’s the state of modern retail, innit? “Just in time” ordering, get only what you think you need, let the manufacturer store the excess inventory, if any.

      The tariffs we’ve all forgotten about may be playing some role, too. Shure has a nifty little $99 gizmo to hook an XLR mic to a computer without any additional hardware. It got solid reviews, and it’s been unavailable for a year and a half.

      When I contacted Shure customer service about it, the response was basically, “Eh, what could we tell you?” Meanwhile, the “More on the way” tagline collects dust and spider webs over the price.

      • SAO' Says:

        Saw Horace Dideu talking about a UK program to encourage more riding. A £50 voucher for bike repairs. Not a credit to purchase a new bike, but a voucher to encourage folks to fix up their old one. From a reverse trickle down standpoint, the money goes right back into the economy via service wages and components, which supposedly more effective than encouraging the purchase of assembled end-items.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I thought it was great that people were dragging old beasts out of their caves and putting them back on the roads and trails. A bike will last decades if you’re reasonably nice to it.

        Check out this video of Paul adapting an old Schwinn that came with 27-inch wheels to 700c wheels using his Racer centerpulls. Remember when all the hipsters were turning garage-sale bikes into singlespeeds? Shit doesn’t always have to be new. Sometimes new to you is good enough.

        • SAO' Says:

          The 30 year old XT on my Litespeed Obed sounds better than half the new bikes I ride by. New bikes are cool, but there’s something even more satisfying about something built to last.

          (Checks math … it’s only 26 years old. But still …)

      • SAO' Says:

        On the other hand, apparel is down 10% and Shimano is down 15%??

    • SAO' Says:

      Anecdotally, seems like everyone under 16 in the neighborhood got a new high end but mainstream mountain bike this spring. Specialized and Trek cleaned up around here, I guess cuz Scheels carries them. Niner also contributed to the neighborhood tally, not sure if they were acquired from a local bike shop or from the corporate HQ up the street. But lots of shiny paint, frames without scratches, and tires with extrusion threads that haven’t worn off yet.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    Humidity and masks don’t go together very well.

  7. John A Levy Says:

    I have been using buffs for 10 years. In Montana use them in winter as a helmet liner and ear warmer. plus a second one works as a great neck gaiter and air warmer for mouth. now my Bjuffs go tothe grocery store once a week.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My man Hal told me about ’em. I was skeptical, but once the word came down that masks were required even during outdoor exercise, I decided to give ’em a whirl.

      The two I bought have some SPF built in, so, bonus. Puddled around my collarbones they give me some respite from the desert sun, which is cranking back up as we speak.

  8. Pat O’Brien Says:

    It’s going to be a little warm in the Old Pueblo next few days.


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We’re headed into a stretch of warmer weather too. I don’t expect our abbreviated monsoons did much to alleviate the drought in these parts. The whole state is under some class of drought, from bad to worse. I get the feeling Gaia would rather we weren’t living here.

    • B Lester Says:

      Our Wisconsin weather has been toggling twixt very hot and humid to very hot and very humid. Last weekend it was mid 90’s with dew point of 70 degrees- about 80% relative humidity. Combined heat index was over 100.

      Today a mild 85 with dew point of 60. Lowest we’ve had in several weeks. Still uncomfortable, but at least you can breathe.

      My employer has a plant in Goodyear, Az. Those guys don’t like coming to visit in the summer. Moisture in the air knocks ’em right over

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        I used to travel to Tacoma, WA on business. I told people around the baggage conveyer that the whooshing sound they were hearing was my body sucking up water from the air. I looked 10 years younger in 10 minutes.

        • khal spencer Says:

          After we had moved here and endured the popcorn fart dry winter of 2002-2003, my wife said “New Mexico is hard on horses and women”. We were so used to the humidity and salt air in the tropics and this was a rough transition.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Imagine my dismay when I quit my job in Tucson and wound up some months later in Corvallis, Oregon, which is no place for a high-desert fella.

          It even got William Least Heat Moon down when he was making the van tour that became “Blue Highways: A Journey Into America.” After two days of wandering around in the drizzle he wrote:

          “In western Oregon it can rain a hundred and thirty inches a year, making weather so dismal that even a seadog like Sir Francis Drake complained about it four centuries ago when he sailed here on the Golden Hind in search of the Northwest Passage.”

          I was there for three years. I’m still buffing out bits of brain rust.

          • khal spencer Says:

            Getting caught in the rain in Paradise was part of the charm. Of course it goes without saying that if you don’t like tropical flowers, tropical fruit, picking mangoes and bananas in the front yard for breakfast, etc, the rain would seem more of a burden.

            It got a little old when one’s lycra took on that distinct aroma of never truly drying out, though.

            Still miss it. The all sunshine all the time stuff starts to remind me of what it will look like when the sun goes into the red giant phase..

          • SAO' Says:

            More than once I disappeared on a no-notice island hopping mission, forgot to close any of the top floor windows, and returned to soaking carpets and curtains. You can aim the Vornado at it all day long, but when the air is holding all it can already, ain’t no place for it to evaporate to.

  9. khal spencer Says:

    Speaking of drought, this is a little dated (2013) but rings true to me, which probably is due to my ignorance.Pacific Decadal Oscillation vs. Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Add global change and stir briskly.


  10. khal spencer Says:

    Dept. of Poetic Justice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: