Bonus non-political content

The first blue-skies shot of August.

Six months.

That’s how long it’d been since I last visited a bike shop. Until yesterday, when I popped round to Two Wheel Drive to return the Surly Disc Trucker I reviewed for Adventure Cyclist magazine.

Happily, the lads have not been wasting away, praying for a visitation by a stove-up senior citizen on a fixed income with the spending power of a junior partner in a corner lemonade stand.

They have product to sell — including a freshly scored size run of the 2021 Kona Unit X — and shortly after I lurched in, so did a couple of actual customers, while another pair queued up outside (house rules).

Manager Zach took a minute to pitch me on the joys of the Kona Electric Ute, even offering to turn me loose on the floor model. But I passed, figuring his time was more profitably spent with the paying clientele. Zach owns an E-Ute, and says it makes a fine car replacement, suitable for fetching groceries and transporting rug monkeys.

Our cars are both paid for, and we don’t use them much; we’re even getting a discount from our insurance company for letting them rot in the garage. Still, I think it would be interesting to have a go at a one-car life.

The biggest hurdle for me is (wait for it) the advancified futuristical Jetsonian technology. Sitting here at the desk I can see eight battery-powered devices without swiveling my head. I don’t really want any more.

Tell you what I do find interesting: The Soma Pescadero. Which of course is completely sold out.

Until a new run arrives sometime in November or December, I’m compelled to contemplate a cousin, the New Albion Privateer, the only other rim-brake frame available from the Merry Sales folks.

Merry’s Stan Pun says the Privateer “is like a [Soma] Double Cross with a lower BB height, longer chainstays and heavier tubes.” At a glance it seems to slot in neatly between the Pescadero and Saga. As the owner of one Double Cross and two Sagas, I’m intrigued.

And of course what we really need around here is another bicycle. N+1, baby, N+1.

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45 Responses to “Bonus non-political content”

  1. katholoch Says:

    We lived the one car life for a couple years and it worked out pretty well. I work at home and my husband had been riding his bike to the train for a few years, so we decided to sell his car while there was still some resale value in it. The only issue was when I would take off for a couple weeks on trips with the car. I felt the need to make sure my man didn’t need to hit the grocery store (not walkable) so it added more pressure on me to get him all set up. I did buy a new car this winter to replace my 16 y.o. becoming fussy car. Had intended to sell the old one and then COVID and the desire to do anything for a while has faded. At any rate, it was really nice only having one car to wash and keep up with. I recommend it.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We probably should’ve gone one-car when Herself’s Subaru Outback gave up the ghost. Instead we got her a used 2011 Honda CR-V and I hung onto my Forester.

      The Honda is a decent ride and all, but it’s too gizmo’d up for me. Plus I don’t much like automatics (the Forester is five-speed manual).

      Still, it would be an interesting experiment, going one-car. I bet I’d indulge fewer impulses at Sprouts if I did my grocery shopping by bicycle (ooo, chocolate).

      • khal spencer Says:

        Same here. Its basic laziness and lack of optimization of using one car. I think when I finally retire we can revisit this. Or keep one good car and a beater pickup truck, which I miss having. But two nice cars equals two big cases of depreciation in front of the house.

  2. Russ Williams Says:

    No political content? Who are you really and what have you done to O’Grady?? O’G… if you are being held at gunpoint and forced to write this column blink twice. Russ

  3. khal spencer Says:

    If they have a Deschutes in my size (roughly 52cm) I should come down and look at it.

    • JD Says:

      Khal: I recommend the Deschutes Inversion IPA! Though NOT in the 52cm size!!! 🙂

      • khal spencer Says:

        Have to admit I have more room for IPA in the fridge than one more bike in the tiny garage that was foisted on me when my better half dragged me, kicking and screaming, to the Peoples Republic. But that bike has definitely caught my eye.

  4. Dale E. Brigham Says:

    Patrick, I see an Albion Privateer, 58 cm., colonial blue, in your future. Here is why.

    I love my Pescadero, but the Privateer has a number of advantages over it: ability to use larger tires (e.g., longer chainstays), slightly slacker/more-gravel/off-road-friendly seat and head tube angles, longer head tube (saves on spacers!), canti-brake mounts (the pair of Paul Racers I have on my Pescadero cost as much as the entire Privateer frame!), and a lower price (even with added fork, you save about $120). Plus, a head tube pump peg (“I like frame pumps, and I cannot lie!”) and third bottle cage mount, to boot! This really looks like a perfect all-rounder.

    Tell Herself it prevents COVD-19, and buy the gawl-durn frame. And, you’re welcome! Dale

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Looks pretty good, dunnit? Especially for a multiple-surfaces kind of fella like me. And then there is the Racers issue. Man, I love Paul’s stuff, but it just so happens I already have a set of his MiniMotos gathering dust in the garage. There’s a few hundy I don’t gotta spend rat thar.

      • Dale E. Brigham Says:

        There ya’ go, buster! This truly looks right like fate. Don’t fight it, son! Fortuna is leading your path. Dale

  5. Dale Says:

    BS on non political.

    I have to preach (only to the faithful I fear) about Nov. 3

    How to make mail-in ballots safe.

    For the State:

    1. Barcode ballots, outgoing, incoming, and recieved.
    2. Get ballots out to all active voters as soon as possible, and no later than 15 days before the election.
    3. Make sure that the ballots are postage paid, requiring no stamp.
    4. Include a checklist for the voter to tick off before returning the ballot. That would include how to cancel a ballot with a mistake, only use the return envelope provided by your county, sign the return envelope provided by your county.
    5. Have the counties process ballots as soon as possible, scan them, and store the vote counts until Election Day.

    For the voter:

    1. Make no extranious marks on the ballot, only mark you choices.
    2. Read the instructions that came with the ballot twice and follow them.
    3. Do not let anyone mark your ballot for you unless you are unable to do so; and only if that person has legal permission to do so.
    4. Do not allow anyone to post or take your ballot to a drop-off point unless that person has legal permission to do so.
    5. Get your ballot in the mail at least 5 days before November 3.

    As a post script it occurred to me that peoples signatures have changed over the years, as mine has. If you live in a signature check state and you want to vote by mail, you had better update your voter regristration card re: signature.

  6. Dale Says:

    Granted my post hijacked the the thread, but i view it as a PSA. Completely not sorry. Smiles.

    • Herb from Michigan Says:

      Good call on the signature card check. Mine has changed for sure and this being a heavy Rethuglican district I wouldn’t put it past them to try and void my vote.

  7. Dale Says:

    I just can’t give up on this. In my state you can walk in to a polling place and vote after signing in with no signature check. With absentee ballots it is about the same. You only get a ballot if you are an “active voter”. If you are an ” inactive voter”, someone who has not voted in two presidential cycles, you had better call the local board and get things straitened out.

    And by the way, if you have not voted in two cycles, or even one cycle. How in hell can you call yourself a citizen? End of rant for now.

  8. Shawn Says:

    Regarding mail-in ballots, here’s a thought for the postal union: Carry on with the stripped down budget as things are running. But then on October 1st (VD-minus two or thereabouts as needed), every postal worker shows up being paid or not and insures that all of the mail (specifically ballots) is properly handled and delivered on time with no problems. That would be a great way for the postal workers to stick it to the current postal head and gain reputability within a landslide majority of the public. I’m very much a proponent of the post office and have had phenomenal service and the postal people I have interacted with in multiple states have been excellent to work with – They have been better then the FedEx service and personnel that I have dealt with.

    Did I say landslide… Every State baby ! Yea !

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My neighbor the postal carrier says he’s working beaucoup overtime already. He really hates working on Sundays. The money’s good, for sure, but he’d rather be home playing with his new puppy and newish granddaughter.

      The Repugs have been trying to snuff the USPS since forever, and if they can croak an election too, well, bonus. Chazbo Pierce has the 411 on this game.

      I’ve never understood the disrespect directed at the USPS. They still deliver my paychecks (thank you, thank you, thank you). And I don’t recall ever having a serious issue with their service.

      Now, the other fellas … well, one outfit that delivered to Weirdcliffe, Airborne Express, was notorious for buggering up nearly everything they handled.

      Once they delivered a shipment of computer parts to an address that was as far from our house as you could get and still be in Crusty County. It was halfway to fuckin’ Salida, is what. Ever after we referred to them as “Airhead Excess.”

  9. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    As long as we’re wandering off topic, it’s a good idea to check with your secretary of state and make sure some ratfucker hasn’t purged you from the rolls. I just had my traditional pre-election peek at my registration and I’m good to go.

    Naturally, I’ll check it again next month. And the month after that. Aaaaaaannnnd. …

    • Shawn Says:

      Good idea. I’ll do so. Although I’m in a State that has a solid mail-in ballot system. Being in a little town though, I take my ballot and drop it out off in person at the court house. One less variable that herr trumpster can fook with.

  10. Karen Says:

    Thanks All for the good reminders on the VOTE !

  11. SAO' Says:

    Probably went 6 months myself. Then someone surprised me with a Brooklyn/New Belgium cruiser to match hers, so I went a little crazy dressing it up. Then went a little crazy again getting the tykes’ bikes ready for longer rides.

    Fort Collins has this great family racing series, run by the Cyclismo Youth Foundation for the past forever years. (Recently changed their name to Send Town, no idea what’s up with that.) Short track mountain in the spring, CX in the fall. But there’s no racing in Mudville this year, so we’re trying to make do with the Family Fondo of the Week. The youngest is finally on a geared bike, so it’s time they learned to carry their own weight.

    So two of our LBSs got a curbside visit from us, REI got an order, and grabbed a water bottle cage mount at Jenson USA that I couldn’t find anywhere else.

    There’s only one thing better than buying new gear for an old bike: new gear for a new bike!

    • SAO' Says:;A5C62346-E972-4AAE-8360-105353E49EB9

      • SAO' Says:

        Khal: Had to turn the Wayback Machine up to 11 to find this jersey:

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        Those are some lucky girls. My adult kids both came back to, and enjoy cycling once fully grown due to our early adventures. One of the best things you can do is teach them to ride and love bikes

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        It’s never too late to come back to cycling. I was off the bike for something like five years in the Eighties, from The Arizona Daily Star to the Corvallis Gazette-Times to The Pueblo Chieftain. I was a 30-something fat bastard, full of those fun ol’ drugs and with more than a drop taken. But I got back after it.

        • khal spencer Says:

          Samey-same. I said goodbye to the Sears roadster, which I rode the wheels off of as a kid, when I left for college and proceeded to spend about six years riding motorcycles, getting drunk and high, and gaining weight, with occasional time off for academic work. My first wife and I did commandeer a pair of old three speeds from her parent’s house the year we were living off campus in Rochester but they got little real riding.

          Around 1978 my master’s advisor looked at me and said “you are fatter than I am and half my age” or something like that. It was fine to have a fat bastard as a grad student providing ballast for his racing Force 5 sailboat but otherwise was a health problem for Yours Truly.

          I had a close friend who was headed back to the West coast to do some summer work at his undergrad alma mater in 1978, and he left a St. Tropez bicycle with me for the summer and I got a lot of use out of it, riding the 11 miles from Miller Place to Stony Brook. In ’79 we got those two ten speed Europeeean racy-race style bicycles.

          The rest is history.

    • B Lester Says:

      Bought a nice Felt Versa Speed 10 for my daughter on Saturday. I owed her a grad gift- BS in Biology, class of 2020. She got a nice job in a nearby town, and a small second floor walkup apartment.

      Her Trek hybrid is a beast. Tough for anyone to get up a narrow flight of stairs. The Felt weighs in at 23 lb. Nice aluminum frame, carbon fork, 105 gruppo top to bottom and Tektro 290 hydraulic discs. I wanted her to hold out for full carbon, to give her an easier lift- she’s a scant 5’3″. She didn’t want to wait until November or next spring, so we pulled the trigger.

      My smarter half has an e-bike with Shimano hydraulics, so this is the second set of dastardly discs in the family. I’ve been wrenching on bike for several decades, but hydraulics give me the willies. Seems like a solution in search of problem. Any of y’all got advice (aside from ditching the things)? Any experience with Tektros?


      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Good on ye for supporting Science. I forget what it was I had for a bike when the University of Northern Colorado told me to shove it along. Some class of a Schwinn, either Continental or Varsity. Neither of ’em did you want to fetch up a flight of stairs. They weighed about the same as a Maytag fridge full of Falstaff longnecks.

        “Seems like a solution in search of problem.” Indeed. Or “The answer to a question no one was asking.” Hydraulic disc brakes, IMHO, are overkill for 99.9 percent of the cyclists extant at this point in time. If I had a bike with same I would job their care and feeding off to the local shop. As it is I’m thinking about ridding the garage of all mechanical-disc machinery. RIM BRAKES 4 EVAH!

        That being said, Park Tool has a ton of videos about dealing with hydros, and by brand, too. Here’s one for bleeding Tektros.

        Tektro also has its own vids, but I like the Park Tool ones. They and the OWC Mac-fixit videos have saved me from myself many’s the time.

  12. Pat O’Brien Says:

    We were a one car family for over 10 years, then I bought a used Yaris SE. Got hooked and traded it for a new Corolla iM a few years ago. WE went back to one car, a Rav4 two years ago. One car is plenty for us, but we are both retired. N+1 only applies to guitars. I had a chance to buy back my old Ovation Standard Elite LX that I originally bought in 2005 and foolishly traded a little over a year ago. Went and picked it up from Rainbow guitars today via curb side pick up. My baby is back home.

    • Hurben Says:


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Well done, sir. Well done indeed.

      I still have a hankerin’ for a Taylor GS Mini. I like the parlor size, and the narrower nut width. But I’m not really “playing” often enough to justify another guitar around the shack.

      As regards vehicles, I am for all intents and purposes retired — an occasional bike review and a dozen cartoons per annum constitute hobbies, not employment — and I doubt very seriously that Herself will be returning to the office anytime soon, barring the occasional drop-in to handle some chore that can’t be dealt with remotely.

      So I guess we need two cars the way I need another gee-tar and bicycle.

    • JD Says:

      PO’B: Methinks there’s a song lyric somewhere in that story that would go well in the key of G. As in “Gee, my Baby’s back home … no chord’s gonna be too tough … gimme a week of practice … and my strummin’ won’t be so rough.” 🙂

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Patrick, we became a one car family after I retired in 2004. Sandy had a home business, and shut it down in 2006. So other than a two year experiment with 2 vehicles again, we went back to one. No problems adapting at all. We haven’t driven anywhere in the last 2 days, and that has been normal for us even before the COVID decided to visit.

        JD, I like it. The action on that Ovation is more like an electric guitar. Patrick, If I remember right, Taylor has sold over 400,000 GS-Mini guitars. You are in good company, including bunches of pros, liking that one. If I traveled much, I would have one with a mahogany top

  13. Pat O'Brien Says:

    As long as we have drifted off topic, does anyone else find it humorous that the crew of the Dragon Spacecraft, currently re-entering the atmosphere, are named Bob and Doug?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Are they coming down in a big Elsinore can? Beauty, eh?

    • Ira Says:

      Great to see a SCTV reference. As for one car, we’ve been a single car family for 5 years, no problems. If we have a conflict or one of wants to do a road trip, we pick up a cheap rental.

    • Shawn Says:

      Spaceman Bob says to spaceman Doug as their capsule splashes down into the ocean, “That’s a nice tuque eh. If we flipped them upside down they’d make great beer pitchers.” and Doug would reply, “Yep, and they’d hold a lot of beer”. and then Bob says, “Hey, look at that, eh. There’s a pleasure boat out there with a couple of girls in bikinis”. and Doug replies, “They must be our recovery crew. I bet they got beer!”

      Didn’t I hear a rumor that SpaceX hired Red Green as a design consultant?

      Note: I think the pleasure boat was named “The McKenzie…eh”.

    • SAO' Says:

      I was hoping for a minor, non-life-threatening malfunction so one of them could say, “Better call the Auto Club.”

      Gimme a toasted back bacon, hold the toast.

    • SAO' Says:

      A little Canadian music trivia: “Take Off” was Geddy Lee’s biggest US hit. It made it to #16 on the Top 100 Pop chart, and the closest he ever cane to that with Rush was #21, New World Man

  14. Hurben Says:

    And from Australia, (which is not doing a great job with COVID-19),

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