December’s desperados

A fine December morning.

December. The relentless march through the holidays toward year’s end upshifts into doubletime. Hup hroop hreep horp.

I don’t know but I been told

Winter ain’t gonna get real cold

Climate change done stole our snow

Endless summer for New Mexico

Sorry, Sarge, but that’s how it feels when the thermometer reads 63 degrees, a dozen or so degrees above normal, on Dec. 1.

Herself went for a late-afternoon run in her summer kit. Me, I rode in long sleeves and knickers, but I got out earlier than she did and was generating a slight wind chill despite my usual torrid pace.

The Soma Double Cross, back to its dirty roots.

The mean streets did not appeal (something to do with drink-addled, lead-sneakered gunsels), so I chose the Soma Double Cross with its fat tires and we skulked around various dusty foothill trails and side streets for about 90 minutes.

The DC in its present incarnation — cantilever brakes, eight-speed drivetrain with bar-cons, etc. — is kind of an old-school cyclocross bike, if you overlook its triple crankset, long-cage XT rear derailleur, and 43mm Soma Cazadero tires. Plus its stem is too long and too low. And I wouldn’t use a wide-profile brake like the IRD Cafam II on the rear end if I were jumping on and off the bike the way I did when I was a sprightly young fellow. I carved my right leg like a Christmas turkey once and further instruction was not required.

The too-long stem makes me think about adding a set of top-mounted brake levers, but it would be simpler to just replace the stem, if I could find a replacement, which I can’t. The Great Parts Drought of 2021 continues, especially where weirdo bikes and oddball dimensions are concerned.

Later it was movie night, with pizza and salad. Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” is a beautiful, disturbing film, and we’re probably going to have to watch it again this weekend to see if what we think we saw was actually what we saw. This ain’t exactly John Wayne, pilgrim. Afterward I had to break out the old family Bible and use it as a decoder ring.

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14 Responses to “December’s desperados”

  1. carl duellman Says:

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Is that a 25 mm or 31.8 mm handlebar center? I have some older 25 mm stems on the short side somewhere. Just started to convert the older fleet to the new standard, which means the industry will undoubtedly now introduce a new standard….

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      26mm. A Deda Elementi bar. I have three of those weirdos on bikes, and the ass-pain is tremendous.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Most of mine are old road stems so should be 26 mm. I’ll dig them out and send you a picture sometime this weekend. What length is the one you have on now, just for comparisons? I have a couple or so of those old Richeys. I think most are in the 90-110 mm length. Most of my bikes are still 26 mm, given their age. I recently put a new bar on the Six-Thirteen which is now 31.8. Mainly so I could put a riser stem on it.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I keep moving stuff around from bike to bike, but I’m pretty sure the Double Cross used to have a 100mm stem (1 1/8-inch steerer clamp) with 25° rise. That stem is now on a Steelman Eurocross, which also used to suffer from a long-and-low configuration. I bet I could get by with 17° rise, maybe even 15°.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Sorry Patrick, but no stems in my stash. In fact there is no stash any more. I gave what it did have to you, Khal, Andy, and the folks at my LBS. I can help if you need a set of bridge pins.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I really need to standardize the Fleet. I’ve got them all on SPDs now, and several of the canti-equipped bikes have Paul’s brakes. But the handlebars and stems are all over the place, a consequence of my working out of the parts bins, which are finally starting to empty out. If I were smart I’d unload a few of these beasts. But we all know the likelihood of me ever being smart.

  4. SAO' Says:

    63°? Brrrrrr!! We hit 71° here today in NORTHERN Colorado. Northern? Is that what the NO in NOCO stands for? Or is it, NO as in “No snow for you!”

  5. JG Says:

    Your Soma DC is beautiful! I have two huge drawers full of thread-less stems at our bike project. Let me know details & I’ll root around & see what I can find.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, JG, that’s very generous of you. But I’d hate to rob your project for mine. That being said, as I told Khal, the Double Cross once had a 100mm stem (1 1/8-inch steerer clamp) with 25° rise. That stem is now on a Steelman Eurocross, which also suffered from a long-and-low configuration. I bet I could get by with 17° rise, maybe even 15°.

      If Soma gets some more product in stock I was thinking about going with silver Soma bars and stem, just for the flash. I have a silver Soma seatpost I could use to further bling the thing out. It is a beauty, isn’t it?

  6. SAO' Says:

    Can someone print me a “Joe Knows” T-shirt?

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