Archive for the ‘Adventure Cyclist’ Category

Videocy (an ongoing series)

July 18, 2017

Just past the turnoff to Heartbreak Hill, the marquee bit in the Santa Fe Century.

Wrapped another video for Adventure Cyclist yesterday. I was sick of all my usual backdrops, so I went up to Heartbreak Hill off NM 14 and fiddled around a bit there.

Going up (but not very far).

And no, I didn’t ride the Co-Motion Deschutes there, thanks for asking. It would’ve been fun, but we’re talking a hilly 65-mile round trip from El Rancho Pendejo. Herself was serving jury duty, The Boo is very much not interested in being alone for several hours, and I had to edit the video and do the voiceover when I got home.

Also, and too, it rained like a mad bastard here yesterday afternoon, and had I been an actual touring cyclist, instead of merely playing one on TV, I’d probably have gotten caught in it. I hear you’re supposed to suffer for your art, but still, damn.

Speaking of suffering, I see the latest iteration of Trumpcare croaked on the table. Take a moment to cheer, by all means, but let’s remember the advice of kindly Doc Winston Wolf before we get too giddy. As Kevin Drum notes, the main reason the beast died is that it wasn’t tough enough on the poors.

Boiling in the bosque

June 9, 2017

We’re getting a few of New Mexico’s signature puffy clouds late in the day, but mostly it’s blue skies and red hot.

We’re enjoying a stretch of summery weather in the Duke City, and I am ever so glad I chose a career in rumormongery rather than landscaping.

The neighbors have a crew in, reshaping the back yard to make it a pleasant playpen for their anklebiters, and from a safe distance this looks an awful lot like work, especially when the temps inch into the 90s.

See those hills off in the distance? Yeah, I pretty much had to ride back there.

I got a late start on my ride Wednesday and by the time I had climbed back from the bosque to El Rancho Pendejo I was feeling not unlike a rotissery chicken but didn’t smell nearly as appetizing.

Still, it was worth it. The ride was nearly all downhill along the Paseo de las Montañas bike path and Indian School to downtown/Old Town, where I headed west on Mountain (a “Bicycle Boulevard”) to the Paseo del Bosque.

The winds were cooperative — mostly blocked by the bosque’s cottonwoods while riding north and providing a distinct assist on the Paseo del Norte trail and Osuna/Manitoba. Only on the short southbound stretch of the North Diversion Channel Trail did I face a headwind. Life is suffering, as the Buddha has taught us.

That Space Horse may be a tad small at 55cm, but it’s comfy for a couple-three hours. Especially if you get an earlier start and don’t sweat all over the poor little pony.

And now for something completely different

June 5, 2017

This is how a tech editor and former WorldTour mechanic rigs a bike for a 3,000-mile ride. Photo liberated from Nick Legan’s blog, Rambleur.

Adventure Cyclist tech editor Nick Legan is fixin’ to start the Tour Divide.

In case you were wondering, this is entirely unlike logging two-hour rides on loaner bikes around Albuquerque.

As we speak, Nick’s headed to his start in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. But before he hit the road, he posted a peek at the bike he’ll be riding and some of the gear he’s taking along.

Me? I’m still doing those two-hour loaner-bike rides around Albuquerque, thanks. This keeps me within cellphone range of Herself in case I augur in or stroke out; ensures that my food and water will be served hot and cold, respectively; and spares me the humilation of rolling up to the Tour Divide start only to drop to my knees and squeal: “Do I gotta? Maaaaaammmmmmaaaaaa!”

Horsing around

May 27, 2017

The All-City Space Horse Disc Apex, up against the Wall of Science.

New bike in the house — the All-City Space Horse Disc Apex (yeah, I know, that’s a mouthful).

Space Horsing around in the foothills.

I wrote up a rim-brake Space Horse in 2012 and didn’t expect to see another, but Adventure Cyclist tech guru Nick Legan got swamped and kicked this bad boy my way. So we’ve spent the past few days getting acquainted.

It’s a touch small for me at 55cm (the ’12 model was a 58cm), but I rocked the 55cm Steelmans for the better part of quite some time so I figure we’ll get along just fine.

And how d’ye like that color scheme? Kinda reminds me of Bridgestone in the mid-1980s, or maybe the Team Panasonic Raleighs from that era.

 

 

Picnic

May 24, 2017

The Soma Saga Disc with a light load at the tippy-top of the La Cueva Picnic Grounds.

The whim of the editorial calendar has left me, briefly, with nothing that needed doing, and since nothing is what I do best, I’ve been doing it, and plenty of it, too.

Yesterday, just because I could, I slapped an overnight load on the Soma Saga Disc and went for a two-hour ride to see how it felt. And it felt pretty damn’ nice, is what.

I have a rolling route through the ’burbs that I favor for bike tests, and despite having 15 extra pounds for company I was enjoying the ride. On a whim I took a detour up to the La Cueva picnic grounds to see how I’d fare with a low end of 30×34 (call it 24.3 gear inches, more or less). And that felt pretty OK, too, though I was down to 3.5 mph at one point (that’s one steep little hill).

Alas, the chores are sneaking back into the picture. I have an All-City Space Horse Disc to review, and that Bicycle Retailer deadline has crept around again, too.

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, of course. Imagine my suffering.

Lights, camera, inaction!

April 19, 2017

The Specialized Sequoia, rigged for bikepacking, en route to a loop around the Elena Gallegos picnic grounds.

I don’t know how a dude with no visible means of support (beyond a wife who works at a national lab) manages to stay too busy to blog.

Somehow I get ‘er done, though. Or not, depending upon whether you enjoy regular bloggery.

The Co-Motion Deschutes, a made-in-Oregon touring bike that won’t break the bank.

Mostly I’ve been playing Quentin Ferrentino again, shooting video for Adventure Cyclist.

In front of the camera:

The Specialized Sequoia, which is a wrap, both print and video reviews having been shipped to the home office in Missoula;

 And the Co-Motion Deschutes, which I’m reviewing and videotaping as we speak, with a deadline of May 1.

The news I have been assiduously avoiding, though it was impossible to evade Orange Julius Caesar’s misplacement of an entire aircraft carrier attack group and his announcement that with his help the GOP triumphed in last night’s election to replace Tom Price in Georgia (one Twitter wag noted that OJC’s confusion was understandable in that the candidate with the most votes didn’t win).

But enough of that shit. Back to bikes.

The Sequoia review will be in the May issue, while the Deschutes will have to wait for the August-September edition. Once that review gets filed I get a break from velo-evaluation — unless Management unearths something interesting at the Sea Otter Classic, which starts tomorrow.

Why, I may even get to ride some of my own damn’ bikes for a change.

R.I.P., Mike Deme

March 30, 2017

I always snickered at the mugshot Mike Deme used when he was still in the editor’s chair at Adventure Cyclist. He always looks like, “Goddamnit, are we gonna have some fun here or what?”

My friend and colleague Mike Deme has gone west. He was 51.

Mike devoted nearly a quarter-century to the Adventure Cycling Association, winding up his tour of duty as director of design and media.

We may have first connected when he was editor of The Cyclists’ Yellow Pages — Lord, that would have been a very long time ago — but we had our first real professional how-d’ye-dos in 2009, when he emailed in his capacity as editor of Adventure Cyclist to ask:

“Ever do any touring? It’d be great to get an O’Grady story in Adventure Cyclist. Any interest?”

I confessed that I had never toured, so Mike wangled me a slot in the ACA’s 2010 Southern Arizona Road Adventure as something of a test drive. I wrote that up, and nobody threatened legal action, so next Mike shanghaied me into writing reviews of touring bikes despite another protestation of blithering and disqualifying ignorance. The rest you mostly know, because I’m still at it.

Listen you, enjoy your time,

you really don’t have very long.

You were born just a moment ago,

in another moment you’ll be gone.

—Wang Fan-chih, the Buddhist Layman, in “Cold Mountain Poems: Zen Poems of Han Shan, Shih Te, and Wang Fan-chih,” edited and translated by J.P. Seaton

Working with Mike and the rest of the Adventure Cyclist crew proved a welcome change from pretending to care about bicycle racing for VeloNews and pretending to write about the industry for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Basically, Mike yanked my cycling head out of my racing ass, reminded me that it’s not all about counting grams, going fast and cutting corners.

We tackled a bunch of Interbikes together, along with a couple of North American Handmade Bicycle Shows, and keeping pace with Mike was always a tough hustle. Short and stout, he never meandered, but always marched, to the beat of his own running commentary. There was work to be done, and a booth to staff, and liquor to drink come quitting time.

And the man was funny. On our separate ways home from NAHBS in North Carolina we texted briefly about the joys of airport travel. When I noted that I’d dodged a cavity search at the Charlotte airport Mike replied: “That place was easy. I’m in Detroit drinking a Miller Fortune. All I can say is we really needed High Life in another package with a bit of Malt Liquor Bull added to it.”

This was his professional opinion, mind you. When Mike wasn’t overseeing the magazine, golfing, or touring, he tended bar in Missoula.

He was gruff and abrupt, liked all the right music and disliked all the right people, and I never had to pester him about money. Ask any freelancer how rare a bird that is. Practically extinct, is what.

I’m sad that he’s gone, and that I never got to ride with him. All the wrong people are shoving off lately.

• Late addendum: The ACA bids farewell to Mike.

Rock ‘n’ roll

February 3, 2017
Some places the walls have ears. Here the trails have teefers.

Some places the walls have ears. Here the trails have teefers.

Yesterday I was out shooting snippets of video for my Adventure Cyclist review of the Specialized Sequoia when I decided it would be edifying to snap a still of some of the rocks I throw at these machines during our rides together.

Doesn’t quite give you the shark’s-tooth view I get from the saddle, does it? I need to go back and try again.

Meanwhile, I ordinarily read a bit of poetry before nodding off at night, but lately I’ve been browsing The Paris Review‘s interviews with authors and artists. If you need a break from the full-auto barrage of political news, check it out.

Happy trails

January 2, 2017
Don't let the apparent solitude fool you — the Piedra Lisa/Embudo Dam trails were crawling with people trying to sweat out their hangovers.

Don’t let the apparent solitude fool you — the Piedra Lisa/Embudo Dam trails were crawling with people trying to sweat out their hangovers.

Right. New Year’s Day has come and gone, and it’s all downhill from here.

Instead of Hoppin’ John and cornbread, deadlines are on the menu — print reviews of the Trek 520 and Specialized Sequoia are due this month at Adventure Cyclist, along with video of the Sam Hillborne. Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, meanwhile, wants a column and cartoon.

The struggle continues.

Bellying up to the bar on New Year's Day.

Bellying up to the bar on New Year’s Day.

Meanwhile, the first ride of the year is in the books. I performed a cassette transplant on the mango Steelman Eurocross to replace a 26-tooth cog with a 28 — 36×26 is too tall for some of the trails I ride around here — and went out and about for an hour.

Riding touring bikes has spoiled me for cyclocross. I need to think about rearranging the technology on this Eurocross, losing the balky old eight-speed Ultegra brifters for bar-cons and aero brake levers; shortening and raising the stem a tad; and going wider with the handlebar. Also, and too, pulling a few teeth on the chainrings, going to 46/34 from 48/36.

And while I’m at it, I could go nine-speed. Forward, into the past!

I’m probably stuck as regards tires — 32mm is what I’m rocking now, and I nearly slid off a greasy off-camber bit and into a ditch full of sharp rocks and cacti because I’m used to riding nice, fat, squishy 38s and up. But I think I’ll be lucky if I can shoehorn a 35 into that rear triangle.

And if I’m unlucky, or unfit? Well, I guess I can always ride the Soma Double Cross, which already has bar-cons and aero levers, plus a triple crank and 700x42s. Gotta look for that silver lining, don’t you know.

Along those lines, consider this: At least Mariah Carey won’t be the next president. Too soon?

WWFP (What Would Frank Play?), Part IV

December 15, 2016
Climbing toward the Sandia tram on behalf of Adventure Cyclist magazine.

Climbing toward the Sandia tram on behalf of Adventure Cyclist magazine.

It’s been a deadline week, and that means drawing, writing and shooting a bit of video. (Also, ignoring the news, which can lead to nothing but trouble.)

So WWFP? I’m gonna go with “Trouble Every Day.”