Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

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.

Bend over and leave the driving to us

May 21, 2019

I don’t know much about ART, but I know what I like.

Ho, ho. While Tariff Man is busy playing chicken with China, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is up to his fat wallet pocket in BYD, the Chinese electric-bus bidness that intercoursed the penguin so fabulously here in the Duke City.

That little news nugget didn’t make it into the WaPo story about how McCarthy “services” his constituents, of course, because no white people got shot. Not yet, anyway.

Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, defended the congressman’s actions. He said McCarthy has long advocated for companies in his district and denied any connection between McCarthy’s receipt of campaign contributions from BYD and his actions on Capitol Hill.

“McCarthy is proud to support job creation for his constituents and community,” Sparks said.

BYD sure did a job on us here. So much so that the mayor told them to get their FUBAR’d e-buses the hell out of Dodge, ordered up some old-school diesel stink-boxes from New Flyer of America, and took BYD to court. The company said last month that the parties “are now close to resolving this matter.”

What’s not close is any Albuquerque Rapid Transit service along the clusterfuck that is Central Avenue. The New Flyer buses are expected to be ready to roll by the end of winter 2020 — three years after ART’s e-buses were supposed to be buzzing along the Mother Road.

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.