Archive for the ‘Adventure Cyclist’ Category

Mad dogs and Englishmen*

June 12, 2018

Climbing Simms Park Road on the Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1 with almost 40 pounds of gear and not nearly enough legs.

Well, a mad dog, singular, anyway. Noonday sun, to be sure. And temps in the 90s by the time I returned to El Rancho Pendejo from some weight training and videography with a fully loaded REI Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1, which is the next bike in the hopper for all you eager Adventure Cyclist readers.

Two bottles would about get me to the city limits on a day like today.

If this had been an actual tour of the parched upper Chihuahuan Desert, there would be at least one more water bottle on that bike. Maybe one of those big blue Adventure Cycling Association-label Hydro Flasks, slung underneath the down tube. And p’raps a couple of fat Ortlieb water bags in the panniers, too.

*Englishmen not included.

Hot time in the old town

May 30, 2018

New Mexico must have a patent on these cloud formations. And if it doesn’t, it should.

Looks like the inaugural Ruta del Rancho Pendejo will be a warm one, with highs in the 90s and 80s, though there’s a chance of afternoon showers on Sunday.

The very latest in fluid acquisition and retention technology.

This last we will believe when we see it.

Never fear, however. Your Humble Narrator, with an assist from Adventure Cyclist editor-in-chief Alex Strickland, has acquired a number of advanced hydration-delivery devices for distribution to all participants.

We regret to announce, however, that Roseanne Barr will not be joining us for the weekend’s activities. She’s apparently decided to take a fresh direction. Some sort of gravity deal.

And it seems to be quite the show. I haven’t seen anyone go downhill that fast since Missy Giove was shredding the gnar.

Back to work

May 19, 2018

The Bianchi Orso 105, intended for everything from “commuting to centuries, long distance touring to backroad bikepacking,” according to the company website.

Just as I was getting used to the idea of not having much to do, being a geezer whose increasingly feeble revenue stream depends on the depleted wells of bicycling and journalism, suddenly I have two bikes to review for Adventure Cyclist, and one of them posthaste, if you please, as another reviewer’s bike seems to have gone someplace without him.

REI’s Co-op ADV 1.1, a classic triple-ring tourer tarted up with hydraulic disc brakes.

The new arrivals are a Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1, a $1,299 tourer from REI, and a Bianchi Orso 105, a $2,100 “all-road” bike with its roots in the venerable Volpe line.

Some people snicker at the idea of buying a bike from REI, but I’ve reviewed a couple of Co-op’s Novara predecessors and felt they delivered solid value at a reasonable price. “The Novara Verita,” I wrote, “will take you everywhere but to the cleaners.” The Mazama adventure bike was likewise “light on the wallet” and fun to ride.

I have some time on Bianchis, too. When she was affiliated with the organization Sky Yaeger loaned me a Castro Valley for a spell, and I liked the Zurigo Disc enough to add it to the fleet, though it suffers from an alloy frame, carbon fork and disc brakes, a.k.a. the Three Horsepersons of the Apocalypse.

The Co-op will be first out of the chute, and boy, am I glad I have some kilometers under my bibs, because it weighed in at 34.7 pounds before I installed the pedals. Expect to see me paying frequent visits to that 26-tooth granny ring. I guess that’s why they call it “work.”

Speaking of adventure, T.E. Lawrence died on this day in 1935. Keep an eye peeled for all them derned kids on bicycles, hogging the road.

Lights, camera, inaction

April 3, 2018

Must be a gravel bike.*
* Gravel not included.

Timing is everything.

Yesterday morning I went out for a short run (keep muscle memory alive!) and then hopped on the Giant ToughRoad SLR 1 with the idea of wrapping up its video review for Adventure Cyclist in advance of the next member newsletter.

It might have been smarter to do the shoot first and the stumble second.

I figured that by midmorning on the Monday following Easter weekend most of my fellow trail users would be on the job, in school, or buried deep in household chores. Nope. My cinematography was interrupted over and over again by moms pushing strollers, dog walkers, hikers, rock climbers and other truants.

You’d think we had the nation’s second-worst unemployment rate or something.

What? We do? Never mind.

And with Il Douche busy crashing the economy I might have to start shooting these things on a trainer in the living room. The open space around here is liable to start looking like a hobo jungle out of “The Grapes of Wrath.”

 

Freewheeling Friday

January 12, 2018
Old Pueblo Road, just south of Hanover Road.

Travel by bicycle. It pays off for the cyclist and the places s/he visits.

My peeps at the Adventure Cycling Association get a little love in this High Country News piece about bicycle tourism and how it’s come to benefit a couple of tiny Montana towns.

Says ACA’s Laura Crawford: “It’s not a get-rich-quick sort of scheme, but a long-term, sustainable investment.”

With no electric buses, major construction projects or flim-flamming of taxpayers required, I might add. In fact, I just did.

The stone mind

January 6, 2018

Way down there somewhere is the Duke City.

My Bicycle Retailer and Industry News column may be a thing of the past, but I still have deadlines, and Lord, how them sumbitches can fill a feller’s dance card.

I’ve been burning daylight over the Giant ToughRoad SLR 1, exchanging emails with former VeloNews comrade Andrew Juskaitis, now senior global product marketing manager for the Big G, and after an extended stretch of demonstrating my profound ignorance I decided yesterday that it was time to ride one of my own damn’ bikes for a change.

It had to be steel, of course, with drop bars, rim brakes, and tires with inner tubes. And with the weekend promising congestion on the trails I thought it might be nice to get a quick off-road ride while the gettin’ was good.

When is a rock not a rock? When it’s a Buddha.

So the Voodoo Nakisi and I set off for the usual casual loops around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

Well, almost the usual.

Our local trail network is well marked with signs for people who like to follow maps (Trail 365, 305, etc.) and for those who don’t (Trail Closed for Rehabilitation). But there’s the occasional unmarked stretch that makes you go “Hmmmm.. …”

On a whim, I followed a couple of those yesterday, just to see where they went, and one of them meandered upward until it became frankly unrideable (by me, anyway). So I got off and wandered around for a bit, assuming I was more or less up against the wilderness boundary, taking snaps with the iPhone and just enjoying being away from the office.

I looked down at the Duke City, and snap, and then looked up at the ridgeline, and … holy shit! Check out that rock formation. It looks like a Buddha sitting zazen with his back to all of this.

Well, it does to anyone with an overactive imagination, anyway. It seemed too heavy a stone to carry around in my head, though, so I bowed to it, left it where it was, and got back about the business of avoiding business.

• Editor’s note: Further bows to “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings,” compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki.

Giant steps

December 23, 2017

It’s not your granddaddy’s touring bike.

Ho ho ho, etc. Sanity Clause* has delivered an early gift — a Giant ToughRoad SLR 1.

Well, it’s more of a loaner than an actual present. But still.

The brain trust at Adventure Cyclist thought we were getting a little fixated on steel drop-bar bikes and thus I’m reviewing this alloy flat-bar bike, which starts our journey together with three strikes against it.

First, it has hydraulic disc brakes. Second, it rolls on tubeless tires. And finally, it has an aluminum frame and composite fork.

OK, so four strikes. When I was loading it into the Furster for the drive home I bashed my noggin on the rear hatch lid, which hadn’t opened all the way (old struts, cold weather). If I hadn’t been wearing a hat I’d probably have been scalped. As it is I look like a Giant PR flack took a swing at me with a pedal wrench.

But what the hell, it’s all baseball, que no? It will be interesting to take all my biases for a ride at once.

* And yeah, yeah, I know, I know: There ain’t no Sanity Clause.

Old dog, no tricks

December 18, 2017

Forward, into the past: Riding 26-inch wheels with a suspension fork.

Yesterday I had occasion to remind myself what an utterly incompetent mountain biker I am.

A neighbor mentioned that he’d been riding his mountain bike during the recent cool spell and asked if I’d be interested in joining him, so out of an abundance of caution I lubed up the 1995 DBR Axis TT and took it out for a short trial spin on the singletrack around the Embudo dam.

Hitting the trails on a Sunday afternoon is almost always a bad idea, but my neighbor wanted to ride today, and I hadn’t experienced the old dust-buster with its 26-inch wheels, eight-speed XT/Sachs/SRAM drivetrain, and RockShox Judy SL fork in quite a spell.

After a few klicks I was reminded of why. The wheels are too small, the top tube is too long, and I find suspension confusing, like Australopithecus confronting an ATM.

In short, I was blundering along like a Republican under an FBI grilling, and it didn’t help that the trails were filled to overflowing with hikers, bikers, dog-walkers and dog-runners on bikes. I want to be funny for reasons of my own choosing, especially if there is an audience.

So if the neighbor and I make it out today I’ll probably ride my Voodoo Nakisi MonsterCrosser®, which shares a comforting rigidity with its owner-operator.

Speaking of me, I ain’t going anywhere. It seems a few of you took yesterday’s post to mean I was surrendering the blog. Nope. It was the “Mad Dog Unleashed” column in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News that got put down, not this old hound, which remains very much at large. Thus you may expect me to continue barking to no particular purpose in this space for the foreseeable future.

Cooking, cameras and cutbacks

December 16, 2017

Ol’ Blue Eyes observes the paparazzi from the brick patio.

December days are like a short fuse. You light one at dark-thirty every morning and before you know it, boom! It’s bedtime.

The backyard maple crowds a shot of sunrise peeping over the Sandias.

It remains a constant source of astonishment how little a guy with no job can accomplish during one of these speed runs.

I’ve been revisiting a few recipes (among them Martha Rose Shulman’s orecchiette with basil-pistachio pesto and green beans) and sampling some new ones (a minestrone from “Dad’s Own Cookbook” by Bob Sloan was particularly well received).

I’ve also been playing with a new camera, a Sony RX100 III, after hearing nothing but raves about the series from pros and amateurs alike, including my man Hal up Weirdcliffe way, who has an RX100 base model. These shots came from the new toy.

Too, the Adventurous Cyclists and I have been chasing down review bikes for the new year, with varying degrees of success. And I just finished a “Shop Talk” cartoon for the January 2018 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, which for the first time in a couple decades will not include a snarky “Mad Dog Unleashed” column by Your Humble Narrator.

Money is tight in the bike biz these days, and I’m not the first person to feel the pinch. Nor will I be the last.

Via Twitter, a reader expressed sympathy but not surprise, to which I replied, “The surprise is that it took so long for the damn’ dogcatcher to throw his loop over me. Send Milk-Bones and plenty of ’em, they gave me a real big cellmate. Looks to be part Neapolitan mastiff, part Baskerville hound.”

 

Oh deer

November 28, 2017

Trail 366, if memory serves. You can ride this sucker on a road bike, and I have.

After another morning spent cranking away on the Fuji Touring for review purposes I devoted the afternoon to tooling around the Elena Gallegos trails on my trusty, dusty old Voodoo Nakisi MonsterCrosser®.

There were a half-dozen deer to the left of me and about the same to the right. Don’t want to hit one of these dudes at speed on the old MonsterCrosser®. It will end badly.

As I was motoring along, enjoying the ridiculously warm weather (68, a degree shy of the record), I caught a glimpse of a big gray booty ambling through the scrub and hit the binders.

Sure enough, a sizable herd of mule deer was cruising the ’hood. So I stopped and snapped a couple pix with the battered Canon 300 HS, which has decided to start working again, kinda, sorta.

Mule deer are not nature’s geniuses. Back in Weirdcliffe we used to joke that you could hunt them with a Twinkie and a ball-peen hammer.

But they look serene, majestic and brilliant when compared to the ruminants grazing the nation down to the bedrock in DeeCee. There is nary a problem in the world that a Republican legislature cannot make worse.