Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

Eagle-eyed

May 13, 2019

“We just saw an eagle go by. It was carrying a baby.” (h/t E.B. White)

The ‘best’ cities for bikes?

May 7, 2019

I’ve lived in all three of these cities. I didn’t ride much in Tucson, because I lived way out north on Orange Grove Road, and it was hotter than hell. Swimming was my primary activity down there. Well, to be strictly accurate, swimming was tertiary, behind drinking beer and eating Mexican food.

People for Bikes has released its annual list of the best U.S. cities and towns for cycling, and once again Colorado leads the way, taking the top two steps on the podium (Boulder and Fort Collins). Eugene, Ore., snagged the bronze.

My old hometown of Bibleburg managed 12th, while the Duke City rolled in with the laughing group at … 240th?

I’m not a data nerd, but speaking as someone who has logged a few thousand miles per annum in both Bibleburg and ’Burque, I can’t say that I see such a vast cycling-quality chasm between the two. Your mileage may vary, of course.

The kicker may be that these city ratings reward “rapid progress.” Sayeth the People for Bikes: “We recognize hardworking cities that are implementing quick-building techniques to improve biking in their city.”

I haven’t hit the streets in Bibleburg lately to gauge their progress toward velo-nirvana, and maybe ’Burque is stuck on New Mexico Standard Time. We’ve been kind of busy being unemployed and killing each other lately.

But my admittedly casual observation is that we have about four times as many bike paths and trails, a metric shit-ton of cyclists of all types, more bike shops than you can shake a pedal wrench at, plus a considerably larger number of people commuting by bicycle and better weather to do it in.

And the annual BikeABQ bike swap crushes it. Two of Herself’s friends bought bikes there over the weekend, we sold one, and former BRAIN tech editor and first-time seller Matt Wiebe said the swap was bigger than he had expected.

Where does your hometown land on the list, and how does its ranking fit with your own observations? Sound off in comments.

Change of venue

April 25, 2019

Traffic was light on the bosque trail today.

A fella can only take so much news: payoffs to North Korea, measles making a comeback, and the relentless, all-hacks-on-deck pimping of Marvel’s “Avengers” finale.

AIn’t none of that shit goin’ on down to the bosque. So that’s where I went.

It was a beautiful day for averting one’s eyes from the ongoing collapse of civilization, with temps in the 60s and 70s, blue skies, and only the slightest wind.

Aboard the Rivendell Sam Hillborne I plunged down the usual route — Tramway, Roy, 4th, Guadalupe Trail and Alameda — to the bosque. But instead of hanging a left on the Paseo del Norte bike path and starting the 1,000-foot climb back to El Rancho Pendejo, as I had planned, I kept rolling.

Just past I-40 I picked up Mountain through Old Town, then headed for home via the North Diversion Channel Trail, Bear Arroyo-Osuna, Manitoba, and like that there.

It made for a pleasant, low-traffic 40-miler. And I had enough left in the tank to air the cats and mow the lawn when I got home.

The white-chinned mansplainers of spring

April 22, 2019

Angry old white men are so 15 minutes ago.

Must be spring. Herself has already spotted her first white-chinned mansplainer of 2019.

It was a busy weekend. One of Herself’s pals came to town on family business and on Friday they did an exercise class plus a trail run together. Then on Saturday she wanted to ride the bike for the first time this year, and so the two of us rolled around and about for a while.

Yesterday she joined a colleague and another woman for another, longer ride. And that’s when the white-chinned mansplainer flapped past, screeching its distinctive and decidedly off-key tune.

Like the black-chinned hummingbird, the white-chinned mansplainer is a sure sign of prime cycling weather. But while the hummers enjoy sipping nectar from flowers and feeders, the ’splainer prefers sticking his snotty little beak in your business.

Case in point: As Herself and a colleague were taking five on a Duke City bike path, waiting for the third member of their party to catch up, they spotted a white-chinned mansplainer rolling toward them.

This particular exemplar of the species was a geezer on a recumbent with a Chihuahua tucked into his vest, and Herself anticipated a prime opportunity to coo briefly over a cute little pocket pooch.

Alas, she lost interest after the geezer barked at them: “If you’re gonna stop you should get off the trail!”

Now, I’m told this bird had plenty of room to make a clean pass without threat to life, limb, or Chihuahua. Yet he felt compelled to sing his sour little song anyway, possibly because these were two women who seemed unlikely to slap his beak around to the other side of his head so he could squawk into his own ear and see how he liked it.

As a lifelong student of the bon mot and the righteous riposte I inquired whether they had replied that he should proceed elsewhere with all possible haste to consume excrement, enjoy carnal knowledge of himself, and perish. Herself said no, they hadn’t, but her buddy had flicked a soupçon of snark his way, “thanking” him for his unsolicited and oh-so-helpful advice.

Now, I don’t know much about other sports, but I’m certain ours has too many of these entitled old buzzards flapping around, shitting on everything and everyone in their path. I would not put it past them to drill chickens on the use of crosswalks. They certainly feel free to enlighten their fellow cyclists on a wide range of topics.

I encountered more than a few of these self-appointed bike cops during my Fred period. Happily, years of newspaper work had hardened my hide and I stuck it out instead of abandoning the sport for golf, bowling, or blackjack. By which I mean the use of an actual blackjack. One sap deserves another.

Not everyone is so tenacious. Some folks have a low threshold for gratuitous douchebaggery. Especially on Easter Sunday. I’ll wager Jesus wasn’t nearly so rude to the multitudes when he rode his dinosaur to Sunday school.

And yet we wonder why cycling fails to attract and retain new participants.

At least two of these women are in the market for new bicycles, and have cycling events penciled on their calendars. That’s good news for anyone who makes bikes, sells bikes, or writes about bikes. Just like this horizontal fart in a whirlwind is bad news for anyone condemned to those rackets.

Now, I know nobody in my crowd engages in this sort of appalling behavior. But if you know somebody who does, tell them in no uncertain terms to knock it the fuck off. Yapping at random strangers is the Chihuahua’s job.

Drip grind

April 17, 2019

Welcome to the jungle.

Yesterday I rolled the dice and came up winners.

Come spring I dial the running back to once a week, usually Monday. But Monday was just too damn’ nice to pound ground, so I took Steelman Eurocross No. 1 out for a spin around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

Don’t be gruel to a heart that’s true. (h/t the Checkered Demon
via S. Clay Wilson.)

Tuesday was a tossup. LIke Monday, it served up some prime cycling weather, but Wednesday’s forecast called for rain, and I hate a squishy trail. So I ran.

And a good thing too, because today is reminding me of my days slaving for an afternoon daily in Oregon, only without the mold, slugs, and bottomless drams of Jameson with Guinness backs.

I still get that 4 a.m. wakeup call, since Herself is an early riser. But at least I’m not the one who has to leave a warm, dry house to work. Give my umbrella to the Rain Dogs.

Riding the (temperature) range

April 15, 2019

Everything’s growing in the yard, including
the amount of time I spend mowing it.

Yesterday was one of those days when you stare into the kit drawer thinking, “Fuck it, I’ll just take it all.”

The temperature was 33 degrees when I first checked in the ayem, and topped out at 74. That’s quite a range. Had it been a song, not even Roy Orbison could’ve sung it.

Steelman Eurocross No. 1 on the high side of Tramway Lane.

Oddly, it never felt quite that warm; not to me, anyway. El Rancho Pendejo is a dark house, lodged at the bottom of a cul-de-sac, and cool morning air drifts down the hill and surrounds the joint like bad news, delivering an inaccurate perception of the actual conditions outside.

Thus I whiled away the morning serving the cats, performing domestic chores, and shouting at various websites, and didn’t start my ride until noonish.

I set out with arm and knee warmers. But while I pulled the arm bits off toward the end, the knee ones stayed on, in accordance with the Bostick Rule, which went something like “Cover your knees under 65 degrees.”

What a beautiful day for a two-hour ride on a cyclocross bike*, though. A little pavement, a little dirt, a lot of laughs. You won’t catch me crying on a day like that.

* Batteries not included.

Another Saga in the books

April 5, 2019

Take it to the bridge.

The Ride Your Own Damn Bike Festival® continues. The Soma Saga (disc-brake model) has been added to the tally, which to date includes the Jones, Sam Hillborne, Voodoo Nakisi, Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, Nobilette, Bianchi Zurigo and Soma Double Cross.

Yesterday we rolled down to the bosque and back via the usual off-street paths — Paseo del Norte, North Diversion Channel, and Paseo de las Montañas, with a stretch of Indian School Road for the fear factor.

It was a gorgeous day, with little wind, and I was able to peel off the arm and knee warmers when I got down to the bosque (it’s about a thousand-foot drop from El Rancho Pendejo). Gotta get that geek-tan going, don’t you know.

For symmetry’s sake I should ride the Soma Saga canti’ bike next. But it has a squeal in the front pads that I need to address, and I feel like riding a bit of actual trail, so it’s Steelman Eurocross No. 1 today.

Meanwhile, props to the guv for vetoing HB 192, a safe-passing measure altered at the final hour by a poison-pill amendment that would have forced cyclists “to the extent practicable” to leave New Mexico’s roads when separate bike lanes/paths are available.

Sayeth the guv: “Although it is vital that we make our roads safer for cyclists, the ambiguous provision added to HB 192 does not give sufficiently clear guidance to cyclists and law enforcement with respect to what conduct by cyclists is or is not permitted.” She urges the Roundhouse to have another go at it. So do I.

Props to Khal for passing the word along.

April drool

April 2, 2019

Yesterday’s air-quality report from the City of Albuquerque.

I lay low for April Fool’s Day. It’s gotten to be kind of like the St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve of comedy — not for serious funnymen. Funnypersons? Persons of funny?

My favorite April Fool’s gag may be the time the Gazette caught the Greeley Tribune napping. It was in the late Seventies, and some wisenheimers on staff faked up a photo of an El Paso County pickle farmer inspecting a bumper crop (reporter Don Branning in a planter’s hat, examining a plump dill tied to a tree across the street from the newspaper).

We ran it on the Metro front, then put it on The Associated Press wire just for giggles. To our astonishment, the Tribune picked it up and ran the shot on its Farm page despite the photo credit, which read something like, “GT photo by Aprylle Foole.”

The desk jockey who made that call clearly was not a local boy with shitcaked bootheels. The Tribune is in Weld County, one of the richest agricultural counties east of the Rockies, the state’s top producer of grain, sugar beets and cattle.

Not pickles, though. El Paso County had all the pickle farms in Colorado.

Here in New Mexico the ash and juniper are providing all the comedy, if your idea of a good laugh involves watching some poor sod’s nose run like an irrigation ditch with a busted headgate.

I pretended to be a runner yesterday afternoon and came home with an enraged snotlocker, a condition that persists this morning. Snot funny, man.

Wind and water

March 29, 2019

Wisterical.

You know it’s spring in New Mexico when (a) you have to water the wisteria and (2) the wind is blowing about a jillion miles per hour.

Nonetheless, Ride Your Own Damn Bike™ continues with a vengeance. Since I ran out of review machinery I’ve been on the Voodoo Nakisi, Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, Nobilette, Bianchi Zurigo and Soma Double Cross (this last for a grocery run).

Today it was Sam Hillborne’s turn. Didn’t quite beat the wind home, but in New Mexico if you don’t ride in the wind, you’ll never leave home.

I suppose I should be following the adventures of Douche Baggins in “Lard of the Rings,” but I just can’t seem to warm up to Frodo’s ne’er-do-well cousin and his trouser stains from New Hobbiton. They make the Sackville-Bagginses look like the Kennedys.

Inspecting The Fleet

March 26, 2019

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff takes a break so a herd of young dudes can shred the gnar without rear-ending some poky senior citizen.

Being at liberty, more or less, with all my paying chores completed, I’m riding my way through The Fleet as something of a palate-cleanser. Sure beats riding a desk.

First up was the Voodoo Nakisi, which is overdue for an little love. Brake pads at the minimum; chainrings, chain, cassette, wheels and brake calipers at the maximum. The last two items I have on hand. Decisions, decisions. …

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!

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff has gotten out three times in the past week, and it needs tires. The old Geax AKA 29×2.0 rubber is not getting ’er done on the Duke City trails. They’re heavy and not particularly solid in the loose stuff, which in the absence of precipitation is pretty much everywhere, especially in the scary bits.

I saw a dude on a plus rig nearly slide right off the oh-shit side of a sketchy descent yesterday because he couldn’t find any traction. I like traction.

Today it’s the Bianchi Zurigo. This 55cm aluminum-and-carbon rig is a little small for me but I like it anyway. Or I did like it. It’s been a while since we’ve been out together.

Today’s high is supposed to hit the low 70s. I find that hard to believe. Still, I had to peel off the arm warmers yesterday and was wishing I’d worn shorts instead of knickers, so spring must finally be here.

Until it isn’t, of course. Never trust a sunny day.