Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

Maple syrupy

August 20, 2019

Even a faux Canadian like me can appreciate the maple leaf, especially when a whole bunch of them shade the house as the temps inch into the upper 90s.

Sticky out there today. Eighty by the time I finally got out on the bike around 9:30. Much warmer by the time I got back. Much, much warmer.

All praise to the shade tree. It’s enough to make a druid of Franklin Graham.

The path of least resistance

August 17, 2019

Shade: One of the upsides of following the Paseo del Bosque south toward Rio Bravo.

Yesterday’s ride sort of got away from me. But in a good way.

I felt like riding a light bike for a change, and since I hadn’t been aboard the Nobilette for a while, it got the callup. And off we went to the Paseo del Bosque.

Now, my usual practice is to roll out and down Tramway, slip under Interstate 25 onto Roy, then bear left at the roundabout on 4th to Guadalupe Trail, which meanders over to Alameda and thence to the bosque trail. This prelude takes around an hour because as a elderly gentleman of semi-leisure I am rarely in a hurry.

The clouds are pretty, but don’t do much to damp the UV on the homebound leg.

From the Alameda parking lot I spin casually down to Interstate 40, nodding, waving, and smiling to no particular purpose at all the stone training faces floating grimly over aero bars like participants in some penitente balloon fiesta.

At the interstate underpass I’ve generally had enough of that, so I pull a U and head for the barn. This is good for about 40 miles, depending on which route I take home.

But yesterday, being on a sub-30-pound bike for a change, I pressed on past the interstate, down to Rio Bravo Boulevard, where the curious can ride an extra-credit loop that tours ’Burque’s industrial underbelly. This I skipped, my curiosity in such matters having been satisfied some time ago.

Joyless watt-watchers notwithstanding, the Paseo del Bosque is one of Albuquerque’s jewels. It’s as flat as flat can be, a real rarity in these parts. And if you’re lucky, you’ll have a slight headwind down and a tailwind back.

I was lucky, and so I didn’t even notice I was doing a half-century until I was coming up on Juan Tabo via Bear Canyon Trail. At the end of the day I wound up with 54 miles under my bibs.

Perhaps best of all, I missed the news that Dealie McDealio is shopping for another land of opportunity. I’d recommend that Greenlanders stick with Denmark until they can arrange for independence. Dude is a notorious slumlord who won’t even keep up the property he’s managing now.

Gravity and its opposite, comedy*

August 4, 2019

Looking down toward the valley from just below the tram.

Herself wanted to do a 30-mile ride this morning, so I laid out a loop east of Tramway that took in a few of the “fingers,”  a scattering of popular short suburban climbs that rise from the northbound rollers toward the open space east of us.

Grind up, fly down, next finger. You get the idea.

As suburbs go, this one ain’t half bad.

We were not breaking any speed records, and we skipped more than a few fingers, as Herself is a 95-pound recreational cyclist on a 23-pound steel cyclocross bike, while I am a feeble old fart on (in this case) a 31-pound steel touring bike (before I strapped the Arkel TailRider full of spares, tools and rain jackets onto the rear rack).

Anyway, this young roadie comes roaring up on us as we were doddering along, and I’m expecting the blank fuck-you-I’m-training face, but what we get is a hearty greeting and a brief give-and-take before he rockets up the road.

A little further along, here he comes again. “I’m really not stalking you!” he shouts, then zooms off.

And again, a bit later: “OK, now you’re stalking me!” Zip, etc.

I’ll confess that I found this oddly cheering. There may be hope for the species after all.

* Stolen from Nino the Mind-blogger via The Firesign Theatre’s “Everything You Know Is Wrong.”

He went down, down, down

July 31, 2019

It’s all downhill from here.

Nope, I didn’t break the speed limit. I maxed out around 35 mph as I dropped from the top of Tramway to Roy, 4th, Guadalupe Trail, Alameda, and finally, the Paseo del Bosque.

As you know, I am a law-abiding fellow, and rarely in a hurry.

Last trip down I was on the Soma Saga (disc). This time I took the Soma Saga (canti), having finally toed the squeak out of the TRP RevoX brakes.

The TRP RevoX. You need a jillion Allen keys and a 13mm wrench to make this dog hunt. But hunt it does. I never had to Flintstone to a stop.

I’ve tried a bunch of brakes on this bike and hadn’t really liked any of ’em. Paul’s MiniMoto would be the shit, but cabling proved a little crowded with 38mm tires and fenders. And I was fresh out of my go-to stoppers, Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis, having shifted my last pair to the Voodoo Nakisi.

Happily, I had this set of TRPs idling around the garage, so on they went. A little fiddly for a half-assed mechanic to set up, and on our last outing they brayed like jackasses, but now they work and sound just fine. Still, when time and finance permit I’ll give some more money to my man Paul, just ’cause.

The bosque was nuts for a workday morning. Racer dudes and dudettes, recreational riders, e-bikers, recumbents, joggers, skaters, strollers, equestrians, even one grinning young woman aboard what I think was an ElliptiGO.

I had thought about doing the whole enchilada, continuing down past Rio Bravo and back around, but discretion proved the better part of valor. I hung a U at Interstate 40 and went back the way I came for a grand total of 47.8 miles, which felt about right.

As I rode up Roy toward the Tramway climb I saw a rara avis indeed — a triplet, barreling down toward the roundabout at 4th and Roy. I waved, and the dude in the middle waved back, but he looked like he’d rather have both hands on the bars and I can’t say I blame him. That was one crowded bike and like our “democracy” I imagine it demanded everyone’s attention and participation.

If you’re looking for them “Deep River Blues,” they’re off to the left, behind the cottonwoods, and they’re actually more of a brown.

It’s coming up

July 29, 2019

The celestial is often preferable to the terrestrial.

Checking out morning as it breaks over the Sandias beats inspecting cat barf before coffee.

And yes, I have some experience in these matters.

I’ve spared you the ground-level snaps.

You’re welcome.

Water under the bridge

July 27, 2019

This bridge over the Albuquerque Riverside Drain is just off the Paseo del Bosque bike trail south of Interstate 40.

There was a little water running on Thursday’s 66km ride down to the bosque and back, so I could feel the Tour’s pain when Friday’s stage got its icy wings clipped and today’s was likewise heavily edited, basically dialed down to a 33km, mass-start uphill time trial.

“See, Frenchy, if you keep your water in ditches it won’t make a mess of your bike races.”

Here in ’Merica, happily, we restrict our water to ditches so that it does not interfere with our bikey rideys. Because freedom.

Also, moreover, furthermore, and too, we have air conditioning to take the edge off those 110° days.

The “monsoons” are in session here at the moment, and so far the precip’ has been arriving around dinnertime, which is nearly as good as keeping it in ditches. Open the doors and windows and let the fresh air in.

Meanwhile, somebody else threw the doors open and then bolted right on through. Congress just beat feet for a six-week recess. And “recess” seems just the word for this cluster of kindergartners, though the exodus leaves the biggest toddler of them without any supervision, however childish.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “For Sale” sign pop up outside the White House.

Whoops. Too late.

Screwed again

July 21, 2019

Neither sealant nor lip balm will keep you rolling after you collect one of these bad boys in your tire.

You know what doesn’t give a shit about whether you have sealant in your tubes?

A big-ass screw, that’s what.

I collected this sonofabitch in the rear tire this morning at the bottom of the Tramway descent, just after I’d crossed under Interstate 25 and hung a left on the Pan American Freeway near Balloon Fiesta Parkway.

I heard a short clatter, then a “tick … tick … tick” that told me I’d picked up a hitchhiker, and so I pulled over to have a look-see.

“Th’ fuck’s this, a thumbtack?” I muttered, and then gave it a tug.

Spooge! Fwissssssssh. Phhbbbllllllllffff.

Seriously, it was like one of those volcano projects from junior high. Or Bluto’s zit imitation in “Animal House.”

And of course, it had to be the rear tire, on the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, so called for the Rohloff hub on (wait for it) the rear wheel.

What are the chances of picking up something like this in a bicycle tire? If you’re me, 100 percent.

Did I mention the Gates belt? Yeah, it has one of those, too.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had to deal with a flat of any kind on this bike, which is a testament to its Geax AKA 29 x 2.0 tires. But this fucking screw might’ve given even Superman a hitch in his gitalong if he ever happened to be afoot in Albuquerque.

As I was, on a scorching Sunday morning, hoofing it along the shoulder of the Pan American, looking for a shady spot and trying to remember how to remove and replace the rear wheel on a Rohloff/Gates-equipped bike, a chore I last performed in a workstand at Chez Dog in Bibleburg back in … 2012?

Lucky me, I found a bus bench with a sun shade at Balloon Fiesta Parkway. And then I set about rooting through the ol’ mental hard drive.

Lessee here: Shift into 14th gear. Break out a nickel to loosen the thumbscrew holding the cable box to the hub. Remove the cable box. Open the quick-release lever. Remove the wheel. Bingo.

The bus bench had a convenient trash can that made an excellent workstand to hold the bike while I swapped tubes (just affix rear dropouts to rim of can).

Reinstalling the wheel proved a tad more challenging. Unlike a chain, a Gates belt isn’t a greasy mess. But it kept wanting to hop off the crank or the sprocket as I tried to mate hub with dropouts and brake rotor with calipers. Lacking a hammer, I was compelled to employ patience, which is always in short supply among the Irish.

After a few tries, the belt surrendered, I closed the QR, snapped the cable box back into place, screwed it down finger-tight in case I lost my nickel at the casino on the way back, and hey presto! I had all 14 gears and a slightly soft rear tire (about 30 psi, as it turned out, despite my best efforts with my thousand-year-old Blackburn minipump). That was enough to get home.

And a good thing, too, ’cause I only had the one spare tube. One more flat and it was the patch kit for Your Humble Narrator.

Now how’s that work again? Lessee here. …

Meanwhile, in the Course of human events. …

July 20, 2019

“Don’t tread on me … especially with those knobby tires.”

Herself and I were out for our morning constitutional when we rolled up on this lollygagger here.

Gopher snake? Bullsnake? Beats me. I check for rattles, and if I don’t see any, I go all like, “Ooo, cool-lookin’ snake.”

This vagrant wasn’t loitering in a median, soliciting contributions, though the practice retains the usual protections, no matter what (or if) Trudy Jones thinks. And in fairly short order he (or she) had drawn quite a throng of admirers — two cyclists, a roofer, and a gent with two kids in his truck.

After a while, the roofer persuaded the snake — without resort to cops, courts, fines, or confinement — to abandon the right of way for safety’s sake. And we all — cyclists, family, roofer and reptile — went back to enjoying Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Happy Fourth

July 4, 2019

No rockets, just red glare.

Here are some fireworks from the evening of July 2.

A little early, true, and no tanks were in evidence.

But still, boom, amirite?

Cue the music!

Wallflowers

June 16, 2019

Bike with bouquet.

No fathers around here today. Herself’s is gone, mine is goner, and as far as I know there are no young baldheads with attitudes wondering whom to blame for their shortcomings. So I went for a Not-a-Father’s Day ride today, down to Balloon Fiesta Park and back.

For the way home I chose the Domingo Baca and Paseo del Norte bike paths, which I hadn’t ridden in forever.

And look! Even though I’m not a daddy-o, somebody’s kid gave me flowers.