Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

Strictly for the birds

April 29, 2022

The hummers and quail are lightening the mood around here.

The hummingbirds are back. And this looks just like an Audubon photo of one, the same way I look just like Jason Statham if you see me backlit at sunset, from the other side of a four-lane street with a sizable median. It’s possible that you left your specs in the pub after a half-dozen boilermakers, a vicious beating, and perhaps a stroke.

The grasses in Elena Gallegos Open Space are an ominous shade of tan.

It’s been a quiet week around El Rancho Pendejo. Herself just got her second Plague-B-Gon booster and is recovering nicely after enduring a sore arm and some drowsiness.

As for Your Humble Narrator, despite relentless seasonal allergies exacerbated by smoke-laden afternoon breezes I found the weather stellar for cycling. Actual tan lines are in evidence. I managed 105 miles last week and would be on track to repeat that this week if I hadn’t veered off road three times, twice on the bike and once on foot.

When riding trail I strive mightily to avoid nicking any trailside rocks with a pedal. One good spark in these dry, windy conditions and we’ll be grabbing the go-bags and cat carrier and hightailing it for … for … for where? Is there anyplace that isn’t on fire and/or out of water?

Hot lap, señores!

March 28, 2022

On your mark, get set — go!

Zoom, off we go for another circuit of Old Sol. Here’s hoping it’s not the bell lap. If it is, I don’t think I’m gonna finish in the money.

The birthday bash was low-key. A couple of phone calls and texts, a few choruses of “Happy Birthday,” and a great big ol’ green chile cheeseburger with bacon, white cheddar, and fries at the Range Cafe. This is something I’d never cook for myself, so yay, etc.

That’s a lot of comics rat there, Skeezix.

Herself, knowing my history with comics, scored me the collected “Watchmen,” by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins. I was a superhero fiend early on, starting with DC and moving on to Marvel, then diverted to the underground comics for some years before losing track of the medium for an extended period.

When “Watchmen” came along in the mid-Eighties I was into changing newspapers like underwear and racing bicycles, and never heard a peep about it. I found Zack Snyder’s movie incomprehensible — Terry Gilliam had been tapped to direct but deemed the comic “unfilmable” and bailed — but I loved the HBO miniseries, so I’m looking forward to examining the original source material.

Got the 68-minute bike ride in on the trails around Elena Gallegos Open Space, and was lucky to escape unscathed for another lap of the sun. It looked like the Big I at the cocktail hour on Friday, is what.

Of course, back when I was still a man, instead of whatever it is that I am now, I would’ve ridden my age in miles, not minutes. But the rides were shorter then, and didn’t burn quite so much daylight.

Hell, I didn’t get my burger on until 2 in the peeyem as it was. If I’da gone for 68 miles I’da been having it for breakfast this morning.

The luck of the Irish

March 17, 2022

A wee bit monochromatic for the wearin’ of the green.

O, ’tis a fine soft day we have here so.

The rain awakened Herself, but not me. I thought she was selling me a bill of goods when she said it rained during the night, until I glanced outside this morning.

There’s a dusting of snow just up the hill, and the cul-de-sac is dampish. This wee sprinkle will do a fine job of tamping down the sand in the arroyo I’ve been riding lately. I’ve only seen one other cyclist in there and he was riding a mountain bike; also, down, not up.

It will save me from the raking of the lawn as well. No point in busting my hump corraling all those soggy pine needles now. Wait until they dry out and lighten up.

Ditto for the trails. Never ride ’em wet. After a rain the knuckleheads in Bibleburg would slash the gooey singletrack into something that looked like Rodan the Flying Monster’s landing strip. The ruts would set up harder than times in 1929, and riding them on a cyclocross bike meant taking a hot lap on Satan’s Slot Car Track.

The ground here in The Duck! City is mighty thirsty, though. Getting it wet enough to damage with bicycle tires might require the sort of deluge that made a sailor of Noah.

Spring, forward!

March 13, 2022

Them ol’ Sandia Mountains blues.

Today we take our text from the Gospel According to the Rev. Ken Layne of Desert Oracle Radio:

“Despair eats away at our souls. The most Orwellian thing we can do is wake up in the morning and say to ourselves, “I wonder how the war is going today.’”

I woke up this morning and said to myself, “I wonder where I should ride today.”

Yesterday was Herself’s (mumble-mumblest) birthday, and we celebrated with Herself the Elder, sister Beth, and pal Sue. The eating was medium-light and required assembly, not cookery: smoked salmon and shrimp, various cheeses and crackers, guacamole and chips, and a selection of desserts from the Range Cafe. I slapped a candle in a slice of key lime pie, lit ’er up (the candle, not the pie) and we all sang “Happy Birthday.”

Today, I feel like springing forward on a bike of some sort. The weather is supposed to be stellar and if you miss one of these days you’ll forever be one behind.

Weather, or not

March 10, 2022

Looks like weather. Whether we get weather remains to be seen.

The best thing about riding trails on a cool, gloomy Thursday is that you will not have much company.

Herself’s elder sis and one of their longtime pals flew into town yesterday for a weeklong visit. I whipped up too much grub — turkey enchiladas in red chile, turkey tacos with homemade salsa fresca, and Mexican rice — and this morning I felt the need to balance my caloric budget. So I kitted up, grabbed the Voodoo Nakisi, and rolled out.

Water you doing up there?

The forecast called for wind and snow, which is why I decided to log a little dirt time on the Elena Gallegos trails, just in case they turn into ice rinks, mudslides, and/or drainage channels. The NWS did not sound particularly confident in its prediction, but hey, even a blind dog finds a Milk-Bone now and then.

I exchanged compliments with a couple cheerful hikers early on as we took different routes around the same rockpile. A third reluctantly stepped aside for me as I cranked cautiously up a sketchy bit of Trail 341 that most double-boinger types ride as a descent.

Putting a foot down and waving her through, I explained that I hadn’t ridden this section in a while and was likely to intercourse the penguin right about where she was standing. She complied and trudged on down the trail, mumbling something about having been denied “a little entertainment.”

She didn’t miss much. I cleaned that sumbitch right up to the rock garden just below where 341 intersects with the Pino Trail. That obstacle has me completely buffaloed. I nearly rolled the dice but figured that I’d been lucky so far and didn’t need to break any bones with the womenfolk off raiding The Duck! City’s thrift stores for their eBay empires.

Made it home without incident, tossed a light lunch down the gullet, and started a pot of posole for the evening meal, when Herself the Elder joined the throng.

I am seriously outnumbered here. Why, I can hardly hear the voices in my head.

Pumped

March 8, 2022

I found a bargain at my neighborhood station.

The gas is mostly $4.19 in these parts, up from $3.59 a week or so ago.

Still not nearly enough. But it’s a start.

Based on what I could glean from a brief, unscientific survey this morning, the rising prices haven’t stopped Burqueños from speeding, running red lights, or idling away a few minutes (and gallons) in various fast-food drive-through lines.

This last is why I restrict my motor trips to grocery-shopping. Once you bring home the bacon, you don’t gotta go nowhere else, watching your fuel and patience needles march toward “E” as you endure some faux redneck’s loudly farting diesel. You cook it up and eat it.

And once the weather settles down, who knows? I may leave ol’ Sue Baroo in the garage even more than I already do, invest a portion of my beans and rice in getting more beans and rice. There seems to be a lot of bicycles around here for some reason.

Deer me

February 16, 2022

“Three for the buffet, please.”

They’re baaaaaaaaaaack. …

They’ve always been here, of course. They leave evidence all over the yard. But it’s rare to catch them eating our foliage in broad daylight.

With aridification at a level not seen since mule deer and Native A’s had the run of the ranch around here, plus a mountain lion said to be working the Elena Gallegos Open Space, it’s no surprise a deer or two or three decides to take five here in the Compound, munch a bit of lawn with a side of birdseed.

I was exploring a bit myself yesterday. There’s an arroyo slicing through Bobcat Boulevard NE that I’ve been meaning to check out, and since I was aboard the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff with its 50mm tires and 19-inch low I dove into it on a whim.

A brief diversion.

It started out as your typical sandy wash, then quickly narrowed to some nice twisty hardpack. A friend had told me it was possible to ride it to Foothills Trail 365, but with fauxdobe haciendas on either side I was wondering if I might wind up on someone’s patio, having a pointed property-rights debate with their Rottweiler.

Nope. My friend was right. After negotiating a few rocky bits and some old snow and ice, I found myself on 365, near Trail 230, an part of EG’s open space that I know well. So I cut over to the ranger station, dove down Simms, and retraced my route to the arroyo to ride it in the other direction, toward Tramway.

This section of the wash stays broad and loose until reaching a concrete apron that leads past Little Cloud Park and under Tramway. Hang a right just before the dropoff and you can ride another diversion channel back under Tramway and pick up the north-south bike path near Paseo del Norte.

It goes without saying that if you like riding diversion channels you want to indulge your whim in dry weather, unless you also enjoy flume rides to the Rio Grande. It seems we have plenty of dry in the long-range forecast.

‘Welcome to Albuquerque’

February 14, 2022

The Sandias as seen from Juniper Hill Road NE.
Not pictured: reckless motorist or knife-wielding maniac.

Boy, the folks at Visit Albuquerque must hate seeing Simon Romero’s byline in The New York Times.

Unless they all got shanked by the Psycho on the Bike-o.

Just another weekend on the mean streets of The Duck! City.

Blockade

February 12, 2022

The road isn’t exactly closed. More like not there at all.

Right-wing antivaxxer Canadian trucker nutjobs? Nope. Just another road that goes nowhere by design.

This one butts up against Sandia Pueblo land, between Balloon Fiesta Parkway and Roy Avenue, which becomes Tramway Road NE just past Interstate 25.

It would be convenient to be able to press on to Roy via San Mateo. But you know how the white man is. Give him a bike path and the next thing you know he’s grabbed the whole damn’ country.

So I roll up to the Pan American Freeway and hang an illegal left turn, riding about a quarter-mile to Roy/Tramway on the west shoulder, against traffic.

Frankly, I don’t relish doing this. It gives ammo to the haters (“Look at that douche on the bicycle riding against traffic!”). And it gives me a small jolt of The Fear, because Pan American just south of Roy/Tramway is half frontage road, half interstate on-ramp, and I don’t care to become a hood ornament on an accelerating F-350 whose driver can barely see over the hood when he’s sober.

But there’s a nice wide shoulder — full of debris from previous mishaps, natch — and anyway, it’s the cost of doing velo-business in that neighborhood. So there you have it.

The payoff is the gradual, mostly uninterrupted, half-hour climb up Tramway to the stop sign at The County Line Grill & Smokehouse. There’s just one stoplight, at the casino just east of I-25, so you can just pick a gear and roll it.

Wave at the buffalo herd as you pass. Just don’t try to roller-skate through it. Because you can’t.

Staying ready

February 6, 2022

Fire on the mountain? Not today.

Call me crazy, but I’m thinking the wildfire risk is a little lower than usual today.

After our little snow event the other day I put fenders on the Soma Double Cross just in case the running got boring, which it did. This meant the 42mm Soma Cazadero tires had to come off, and I spazzed around a bit trying to come up with something in a 38mm.

The DC with fenders makes an excellent snow repellent.

Kenda Kwicker? Nope, 32mm. Michelin Transworld Sprint? 35mm and I never liked ’em anyway.

Finally I grabbed an old set of 37mm WTB All Terrain wire-beads and slapped those on, in the process being reminded why they were in a corner of the garage instead of on rims. Mother dog, were them sumbitches ever a bear to mount.

But it was worth it to get fenders on the DC. Whenever it snows The Duck! City scatters this reddish sand all over every horizontal surface. Could be pulverized granite; could be chile powder. I have no idea. But it gets onto and into everything, and if you get any on your kit, it will be there for the better part of quite some time.

So, yeah, fenders. Worked like a charm. So much so that the forecast for the next week is sunny, with temps in the 40s and 50s.