Archive for the ‘Adventure Cyclist’ Category

Happy solstice?

June 21, 2019

This is what the Foothills air looks like when it’s not full of imported particulates.

The air is definitely a tad chewy around here today on the first day of summer.

The Woodbury Fire in Arizona is sharing its smoke, a little treat we asthmatics can do without. I took a couple peeks out various windows, and cracked the front door for a nanosecond, and that was that. None of the old bikey ridey for Your Humble Narrator, not today.

Yesterday I shipped the latest “Quick Spin” video to Adventure Cyclist. It features the Masi Speciale Randonneur (pictured above). Masi is deep into the bike-travel thing and has been for a while now. I think I first saw their Giramondo at Interbike 2015, and as touring bikes go, it still seems like a hell of a bargain to me — chromoly frame and fork, 10-speed Deore drivetrain (with a low end of 24×36), TRP Spyre brakes, and Tubus racks (Tara front, Cargo rear), all for the low low price of $1,399.

Masi offers a 650b version of the Giramondo, too. No racks, but more adventurous.

The Speciale, as you might guess from its name, has roots in randonneuring, so it’s more of a road bike, happiest with a front load and maybe some other light bits scattered around and about in frame and saddle bags.

It will be staying indoors this morning, however. As will I. So don’t go looking for me at Stonehenge.

Meanwhile, when you see a flat-footed statement this thick — “Road bikes average 10-15 pounds.” — you have to question the rest of the story.

Freedom is slavery

June 10, 2019

The Masi Speciale Randonneur, with a Tubus Cargo Classic rack, up against the Wall of Science.

Herself buggered off for a long weekend starting last Thursday, this time to the American Heartland for a pal’s wedding, so I was at liberty for a few days.

Well, not exactly.

I had to do battle with the dishwasher (!), make my own coffee (!!) and feed and water the cats (!!!).

Also, I noticed that the litter boxes still refuse to empty themselves. When might I expect delivery of my Turd-B-Gon 9000®? Never? Does never work for me?

No, it does not.

But still, yeah, freedom, amirite?

I got to sleep in until 6 a.m. most days, did little cooking and less shaving, and the riding of the bikes continued unabated. The Masi Speciale Randonneur remains under review for Adventure Cyclist, and in honor of Bruce Gordon and framebuilders everywhere I rode my Nobilette and a Steelman as palate cleansers.

Herself got back yesterday afternoon, after a short delay caused by evil weather. Storms beat the snot out of Dallas, where she was changing planes, and ever since she touched down the wind has been flogging us here in the Duke City. Up north, my man Hal Walter reports ice on the vehicles, the canceling of the Hardrock 100 due to historic snowfall and avalanches, and the rerouting of the Leadville marathon.

All in all, it looks like a fine day to stay indoors and push pixels around.

Masi! Gesundheit!

May 24, 2019

The Masi Speciale Randonneur, up against the Wall of Science.

There’s a new bike in the house: a Masi Speciale Randonneur.

It’s one of them there newfangled “sport touring all-road bikes,” but you don’t gotta plug it in at night. 650b x 47 rubber. Columbus Cromor tubes. Three sets of bottle bosses and the usual rack and fender mounts, plus fenders to go with ’em.

If I can beat back these allergies its maiden voyage will be tomorrow. Yesterday I felt like I’d been tear-gassed. Today I squeezed about eight hours out of a Claritin-D 12 Hour, which if my math is correct falls about four hours short of getting ’er done.

Where’s my gold watch?

April 18, 2019

Bagged and tagged: the Salsa Journeyman Claris 650.

Yesterday I drew the May cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Today I wrapped a video for Adventure Cyclist.

And now, as El Rancho Pendejo seems to be remarkably free of bikes needing review, it seems I don’t have any paying work to do for a month, when the next BRAIN ’toon is due.

That ain’t a job. That’s a hobby.

Shit. I think I’m retired.

Cool cats

April 4, 2019

Mister Jones and me, stumbling through the barrio.

Oof. The allergies are fierce. I slept OK last night, thanks to a hit of Benadryl, but the previous night I woke up at midnight with my nose running like a Democrat after the White House.

Snorting and snuffling like a hog hunting truffles, I had to relocate to the spare bedroom so that Herself could bag the Z’s she needs to help Darth Goodhair run the Energy Department.

And I felt like hammered shit most of yesterday, so none of the ol’ bikey ridey for Your Humble Narrator. In fact, I suspect that a two-hour trail ride through the junipers may have triggered the late-night snotlocker meltdown.

But we were talking about cool cats, and so here’s the tale of a Scottish cycle tourist who made a new friend on his two-wheeled trip around the world.

I suggested a global bicycle tour to Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and his adjutant, Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and they told me I could fuck right off with that shit and bring them something to delicious to eat at once, if not sooner.

Also, here’s Marc Maron’s interview with T Bone Burnett, a very cool cat indeed who’s taking a hiatus from production to release his first album in 11 years, “The Invisible Light.”

Burnett’s chat with Maron covers a lot of waterfront, from the Beat Generation to Jackson Pollock, Jimmie Rodgers to “True Detective.” Did you know that Robert Johnson’s real name was Dusty Spencer? Or that the blues came from Texas? That mariachi music comes from the French?

Me neither. Maybe it’s the Benadryl talking. Just what I need, another voice in my head.

Stand down

March 23, 2019

His Excellency scans The Compound for unauthorized personnel.

Huh. I’ve actually managed to accomplish a few things lately. Go figure.

My April cartoon has been delivered to BRAIN. And my review of the Salsa Journeyman Claris 650 — print version and its two-minute video teaser — is all but complete; I’m just waiting for some Salsoid to answer a couple of questions about spec.

Unzip over to Voler to join the team! Use the Secret Code (OLDGUYS15) to get 15% off your purchase. And no, goddamnit, for the last time, it does not come with fries!

Two other review bikes have been shipped back to their respective motherships, greatly enhancing velocipede-storage capacity in the garage.

Sue Barue, The Fearsome Furster, has passed her annual checkup and had a brace of new window gussets installed, so maybe I’ll be able to hear the stereo again.

The cats have been given a vigorous spring airing. Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) inspected the perimeter yesterday and collected samples of this year’s grass crop for scientific analysis, the results of which were displayed on the living-room carpet this morning. Miss Mia Sopaipilla took up her station in the clothes dryer, and reported that for reasons unknown the lint filter seems to be full of cat hair.

And now I have exactly fuck-all to do. Nobody’s sending me to Taiwan, or Sea Otter, I won’t have a cartoon due until mid-April, and I’m fresh out of review bikes.

So I guess I’ll just have to ride one of my own. Sucks to be me.

Jump-starting spring

March 19, 2019

Rocking out on the trails around Elena Gallegos
with the Salsa Journeyman Claris 650.

Spring may not officially begin until tomorrow, but I got the drop on the sonofabitch yesterday.

The only reason I was wearing long sleeves and knickers was for visual continuity (yep, shooting video for Adventure Cyclist again).

After the ride I mowed the lawn for the first time this year, and then watered.

Today, more video, this time with the Salsa Journeyman Claris 650 rigged for light bikepacking. Extremely light. You know, the kind where you plan to make it to the Hilton but also recall the Yiddish proverb, “Man plans, God laughs.”

 

Life is a Journeyman

March 16, 2019

Salsa with geezer instead of chips.

As you know, God rides steel, or titanium (if He can get a bro’ deal from Moots, which is by no means a sure thing). And what God rides is good enough for me.

But the latest review bike here in Dog Country is aluminum, both frame and fork. And thus in the pursuit of Fairness and Objectivity I must keep my metallurgical biases chained up in the attic.

That is, I would, if we had an attic. Christ, there’s not even a basement in this fauxdobe rancheroo.

The Salsa Journeyman Claris 650, up against The Wall of Science.

Just as well, too. I’d probably tumble down the stairs and break a hip, and Herself would have me put down, find some nice young fella with wavy hair and a future instead of stubbly scalp and a past. Or maybe she’d just keep me down there. Lob a sack of Taco Bell down the stairs now and then, and a plastic bucket with a roll of single-ply. It’s not like I don’t have it coming.

Anyway, the bike. It’s the latest update to the low end of Salsa’s all-road, gravel and light-touring Journeyman series, the Claris 650. And it’s not only aluminum, it’s got them funny-size tires, whatchacallem, your 650b, or 27.5, neither fish nor fowl. And more holes than Albert Hall! You can plug pert’ near anything into the sumbitch except for maybe a Fender Stratocaster. And I’d try it, if someone at Fender would just loan me a Strat’ to review.

The Journeyman Claris 650 rolls with a manly eight-speed drivetrain, so it has that going for it, which is nice. None of your one-by-whatever setups with a cassette that has more teeth than a tour bus full of Osmonds.

Charlie Ervin down at Two Wheel Drive asked me if I try to put myself in the mindset of a customer shopping for a sub-$1,000 bike when I’m reviewing one and I said hell yes. I am a Man of the People, though I notice that most of ’em don’t pick up when I call.

Especially the ones with the $8,000 titanium bikes that desperately need reviewing, and by me, right now, goddamnit. Dern Caller ID anyhow.

True grit: Rooster Cogsburn squints into the wind

March 9, 2019

“OK, try to make me look good here, you hack.”

It was so bloody windy here yesterday that when I shifted gears, in that split-second when the chain was between cogs, I could feel myself shedding forward momentum.

“Lights, camera, action!”

Happily, I was riding mostly to shoot video for another Adventure Cyclist “Quick Spin,” which meant I spent as much time off the bike, playing director and cameraman, as I did on the bike as the “talent.” The wind’s not so much of an issue when you’re jogging between takes from camera to bike and back again.

The Air Quality Division’s health alerts over airborne dust are another matter entirely. But I’ve decided to think of those as a spa treatment. A free skin peel.

These trails are just south and east of El Rancho Pendejo, and if traffic’s light on Tramway it’s easy to forget there’s a minor metropolitan area right next door — so much so that I often don’t notice the constant low-level background hum of infernal combustion until I get home and start editing the video.

I’d yell “Quiet on the set!” but it’s pointless. Everyone’s wearing earbuds and/or has the windows rolled up.

 

Vidiot at ‘work’

March 5, 2019

A man, a touring bike, and a deadline.

Have you ever noticed that whenever it’s a beautiful day, you have chores that need doing?

Happily, a fair amount of my chores today involved being outside with someone else’s bicycle.

I was dicking around with a video project yesterday, and it was not going at all well, when it struck me that I hadn’t nailed down a video review of the Jamis Aurora Elite for Adventure Cyclist. The print review will be in April’s edition.

Oopsie.

So out I went, me and my GoPro, and you would not believe how long it takes some people to come up with two minutes of footage. I certainly didn’t believe it. Jaysis. The Universe and everything in it were in cahoots against me. Allergies certainly didn’t help. They had me by the brain stem with a downhill pull.

Still, I was riding a bike in the sunshine for a couple hours, kinda, sorta, so I have nothing to complain about. Hah. As if that ever stopped me.