Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

The high-priced spreads

October 16, 2016
Going down. Down, down, down, down, down.

Going down. Down, down, down, down, down.

More cycling, still more!

Yesterday I was riding the Nobilette through the steeps of Richie Rich country in northeastern Albuquerque. The idea is to cleanse the palate, flushing my system of everyone else’s bikes before I do a cannonball back into the deep end of the review pool beginning Monday.

No pix of the houses. Just their trees. I mean, you've seen one 12,000-square-foot house, you've seen 'em all.

No pix of the houses. Just their trees. I mean, you’ve seen one 12,000-square-foot house, you’ve seen ’em all.

The Nobilette has a Sugino triple (46/34/24), an Ultegra rear derailleur, and a nine-speed, 11-28 cassette, so spinning up the hills is a breeze, especially if that breeze is a tailwind. Plus it weighs 23 pounds, at least five pounds less than the typical review model.

I favor my Richie Rich route because it has almost zero traffic and plenty of climbing. Plus you get to see how the other half lives (large). One casita for sale along the way is listed for a million-five. Booyah.

While we’re discussing the lifestyles of the rich and famous, Insane Clown Pussy is still screeching about how the election he hasn’t even lost yet is “rigged.” Check those Florsheim prints on your little weenie, dude. I bet you find an exact match in one of your closets.


My (Euro)cross to bear

October 15, 2016
Blazing saddles: Not Mongo, but mango.

Blazing saddles: Not Mongo, but mango.

More cycling yesterday. I think I’ve finally broken my annual post-Interbike slump.

For some reason, probably that we’re suddenly in the middle of October, I decided to pull my favorite Steelman Eurocross off its hook, give it a bit of a wash and brush-up (plus two new Michelin Jets), and go chase myself around the Elena Gallegos Open Space for an hour or so.

I like to enjoy this sort of foolishness on a weekday, during business hours, the trails come weekends being thick with body-armored double-boingers, texting dog-walkers, the iPlod People and other impediments to forward motion. No need to have an audience while one struggles up a rocky pitch in the 36×26, with 700×30 tires.

One of these days I need to give the old beast more than some fresh rubber. Nine-speed Ultegra, maybe? That eight-speed STI is the velo-equivalent of stone knives and bearskins these days, though it seemed just the ticket back when I still had a song on my lips and a spring in my steps.

Let me forget about today until tomorrow

October 13, 2016
Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’, swingin’ madly across the sun, it’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run.

Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’, swingin’ madly across the sun, it’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run.

I probably should have been conspiring with my fellow journalists about how best to speed the ongoing decline and fall of Ronald McDonald McTrump, but I felt like riding a bike, so I did that instead.

Anyway, it doesn’t look to me as though this virulent orange ball of flatulence needs my help to sink slowly in the west, into a sewage lagoon of its own making.

When I got back home I cranked up iTunes and worked my way through my admittedly limited Bob Dylan collection (“Blonde On Blonde,” “Blood On the Tracks,” “Bringing It All Back Home,” and “Highway 61 Revisited”).

I’m not sure ol’ Bob merits the Nobel Prize for Literature, but right offhand I can’t think of anyone else who has it coming, either. I know that I like him, and so I’m happy for him, and shall defer in matters literary to Thomas McGuane, whose opinion on Dylan (from “Nothing But Blue Skies”) I have poached before:

No one compares with this guy, thought Frank. I feel sorry for the young people of today with their stupid fucking tuneless horseshit; that may be a generational judgment but I seriously doubt it.



Well, bust my balloons

October 2, 2016
"Where the hell are all the balloons?"

“Where the hell are all the balloons?”

Herself and I cycled over to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta yesterday to see what it was all about.

Mostly it was all about RVs. Seriously. We didn’t see a single, solitary balloon. But we did see about eleventy-bazillion dollars’ worth of houses on the hoof, taking up all the ordinarily vacant acreage for miles around.

Turns out that we arrived between shows. There’s a whole lot of not much going on between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. I saw more action during the last day of Interbike, f’chrissakes.

Still, it was a nice ride, exactly 23 miles; the bike paths there and back were not bumper to bumper; and our recreational vehicles took up less parking space once we got them home.

Later we learned via The New York Times that the increasingly deranged Agent Orange apparently pays less income tax than a freelance scribbler. So, of course, do GE, Boeing, Verizon, Bank of America, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

Lady Liberty must be feeling a bit like Lili Von Schtupp, with all these cowboys giving her the business. So … tired.

Interbike 2016: We’ll always have Parris

September 23, 2016
Masi's Adventure Series bikes.

Masi’s Adventure Series bikes.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (MDM) — Ah, so this is what it’s like to have a job. Toting that barge and lifting that bale from sunrise to dark-thirty, lots of bad noise, and no time to play with the old blogaroo.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

There’s a new sheriff in town at Adventure CyclistNick Legan, once a top wrench on the racing circuit who went bad and signed on as tech editor for some Boulder-based cycling mag, and then for us — and frankly, the man is a slave driver, marching us around the Interbike floor like maggots at Parris Island (copy coordinator Dan Meyer, another addition, actually did five years in the Marines, but that’s another story).

As a result we have seen things — many, many of them — and more than a few are suited to the adventure-cycling crowd. Seems the industry has finally discovered what the Adventure Cycling Association folks have been all about for, oh, four decades now. Who knew?

Expect a review of the Moots Baxter (not from me, call the waaaaambulance). “Think mountain-bike capabilities in a mountain-cross build,” says the marketing copy, and it’s named for a dog. Plus it’s a Moots. This is all you need to know.

Also looking good are the Adventure Series bikes from Masi. We looked at but did not review the 2016 Giramondo, but it’s in the hopper for 2017. The Speciale Randonneur looks good, too.

Appearances can be deceiving: While there were times when the show floor seemed busy, overall I'd guess attendance is down, and I'm not the only professional pessimist out there.

Appearances can be deceiving: While there were times when the show floor seemed busy, overall I’d guess attendance is down, and I’m not the only professional pessimist out there.

For some reason the Bombtrack bikes didn’t grab me when I first saw them online, but they’re mighty sharp in MeatWorld, especially the Beyond.

Marin, which did such a fine job last year with the Four Corners Elite, is back for more this year with a wide range of adventure-capable machines, from that Four Corners to the insanely affordable Nicasio.

Also priced to move: Breezer’s Radar Pro. The colors are a bit loud for a subtle fashionista like me, but it’s hard to complain about the price.

The fine folks at Panaracer have plenty of adventurous tires (check out the Gravel King SK); Ortlieb has moved into bikepacking gear; and … and … and I’m sure there’s more to report, but right now I need some breakfast and then it’s off to the show for the final day of Interbike 2016.

• Thought of the Day: Is everyone who works at Rí Rá really Irish or are they putting us on? Seriously, it sounds like “The Commitments” in there. It’ll break me heart if it turns out they’re all from Jersey or Iowa and just takin’ the piss.


Interbike 2016: Arizona’s not here, man

September 18, 2016
Arizona cordially invites you to piss off.

Arizona cordially invites you to piss off.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (MDM) — Arizona wasn’t very welcoming when I arrived, as you can see. And I’m a reg’lar white guy and everything.

That Sheriff Joe gets meaner every day, seems like. Maybe if someone got a hammerlock on that racist assclown and brought the legal bills down to a manageable level the state wouldn’t have to sell Geico the naming rights to its roadside shitters.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

The drive from Duke City to Flag’ was uneventful. I caught a glimpse of a few garishly attired cyclists enjoying the Tour de Acoma before I left New Mexico behind, and once I rolled into range KNAU-FM began telling me every few minutes that if only I’d give them some money right now they wouldn’t have to annoy me later.

Sorry, fellas, but Herself and I already underwrite two NPR affiliates. Have you tried Geico?

Meanwhile, the grub at Beaver Street Brewery is still tasty, though the clientele seems even more grizzled than last year (unlike Your Humble Narrator, of course).

This may explain the background music, which could’ve been pulled straight from my iPod: “Cross-eyed Mary,” Jethro Tull; “Rock and Roll,” Led Zeppelin; and “Night Moves,” from Bob Seger, who inspired this morning’s headline. What my man Charles Pelkey derides as “old man’s music.”

I should’ve washed that geezer playlist down with a little Olympia and maybe some blotter acid. But as I no longer partake of the adult beverages, I sampled a Sioux City Prickly Pear instead, and I can recommend it as a tasty alternative to the usual popskull.

• Question of the Day: Are those signs with the glyph of a bicycle and the legend “USE SHOULDER ONLY” really necessary along Interstate 40? Any of you feel the urge to throw a leg over the old two-wheeler and go mano-a-mano with a speeding Peterbilt in the traffic lane? Maybe we could ax that particular educational initiative and spend the savings on public restrooms and/or radio.


Interbike 2016: Against the wind

September 18, 2016
Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

Vato’s got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

That old Bob Seger tune isn’t on the playlist, but I’m on the road anyway. Just another Adventure Cyclist logging miles, and if it’s happening on four wheels, well, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Deadlines and commitments; what to leave in, what to leave out.

See you along the road.

If you prick us, do we not leak?

August 28, 2016
Medicine, Buddha.

Medicine, Buddha.

Flats. Gah, etc.

The goatheads are after me again. Seems as though I can go for months without a puncture and then suddenly it’s pow, pow, pow. Or, more accurately, pssssshhhhhhh, hissssssssss, fyyyyisssssss.

This rhymes with “bliss,” but is not synonymous.

The smart Duke City cyclist runs goo-filled inner tubes or some tubeless setup to avoid needless pedestrianism. But as you know I will never be smart, so I generally wait for a puncture to replace a standard tube with a gooey one. And sometimes even then I’ll just patch the hole and drive on.

If cycling were really the new golf I’d have a caddy to do this for me, or some sycophantic huckster eager for my thoughts on his notion for a left-handed smartphone. “Just try to keep up, punk,” I’d sneer, and of course he couldn’t. It’s a Mad Dog-eat-dog world.

Yesterday I found a slow leak in the rear tire of the Sam Hillborne — it’s always the rear, isn’t it? — and instead of taking the usual half measures I instantly replaced both inner tubes with goopy tubes. Take that, goatheads. Y’pricks.

Miles to go

August 15, 2016
Holy bike-ped bridge, Batman! This one crosses I-25 near Paseo del Norte.

Holy bike-ped bridge, Batman! This one crosses I-25 near Paseo del Norte.

The last month has been mildly productive, cycling-wise. I’m actually logging something like mileage.

(Cue the sound of frantic knocking on wood.)

The North Diversion Channel Trail as seen from the saddle of a Rivendell Sam Hillborne.

The North Diversion Channel Trail as seen from the saddle of a Rivendell Sam Hillborne.

Despite the liberal application of SPF-30 sunscreen I’ve developed one of the ugliest farmer tans in Christendom. And I’m thinking about adding another bike to the fleet just because I can.

More riding means less news-reading, although some bits are unescapable, as is the notion of having my next bike built by General Dynamics Land Systems. I’ll need a few more miles under the bibs to pedal an Abrams touring bike, though.

I’m not going anywhere — just spinning my wheels, as per usual, doing laps around Albuquerque. But if the weather holds it would be nice to do a bike overnight to Santa Fe, along the Turquoise Trail.

All I need to do is wire a rear-facing GoPro to a dynamo hub and then wi-fi the video to a bar-mounted iPhone. They say you’ll never see the one that gets you, but it sure would be nice to have some exciting footage for the funeral.


The Bernalillo Triangle

August 4, 2016
At the Triangle you can ride up to the Sandia Crest, if that's your idea of a good time. I haven't done it in about a quarter century.

At the Triangle you can ride up to the Sandia Crest, if that’s your idea of a good time. I haven’t done it in about a quarter century.

Remember that training ride I was contemplating, the one based on the old Watermelon Mountain Classic?

I rode the tail end of it yesterday on the Soma Saga (cantilever edition) and remembered one of the reasons I usually did poorly at the ‘Melon: inconsiderate motorists hogging the descent through Sandia Park-Cedar Crest to Tijeras.

There’s not much in the way of shoulder, and what there is is mostly covered with debris, and the traffic lanes are mostly covered with assholes. Plus there’s that one surprise climb just south of the Triangle that I always forgot about. But other than that, yeah, good times. Maybe not.

I did my recon as part of a 36-mile out-and-back from El Rancho Pendejo, and a mighty nice ride it was, too. There’s a sidewalk-slash-bike path on the climb from Interstate 40 to the Triangle, so a cyclist needn’t endure any buzzing on the way up. And since I was rocking 700x38mm Schwalbe Little Big Ben tires with goopy tubes the debris mostly wasn’t a problem. But damn, some folks need to get theyselfs reacquainted with they manners.

Anyway, now all I need to do is scope out the 25-mile section from Bernalillo to the Triangle and I’ll be ready to ride, just as soon as I get a rear-view mirror, a Glock G26, and some climbing legs.