Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

Picnic

May 24, 2017

The Soma Saga Disc with a light load at the tippy-top of the La Cueva Picnic Grounds.

The whim of the editorial calendar has left me, briefly, with nothing that needed doing, and since nothing is what I do best, I’ve been doing it, and plenty of it, too.

Yesterday, just because I could, I slapped an overnight load on the Soma Saga Disc and went for a two-hour ride to see how it felt. And it felt pretty damn’ nice, is what.

I have a rolling route through the ’burbs that I favor for bike tests, and despite having 15 extra pounds for company I was enjoying the ride. On a whim I took a detour up to the La Cueva picnic grounds to see how I’d fare with a low end of 30×34 (call it 24.3 gear inches, more or less). And that felt pretty OK, too, though I was down to 3.5 mph at one point (that’s one steep little hill).

Alas, the chores are sneaking back into the picture. I have an All-City Space Horse Disc to review, and that Bicycle Retailer deadline has crept around again, too.

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, of course. Imagine my suffering.

More hot air

May 13, 2017

I can’t decide whether to ride my digital bicycle or my goddamned steam bicycle today. P’raps Cheeto Benito has a suggestion?

 

Rain, rain, go away. …

May 10, 2017

We drove out of that to ride the Paseo del Bosque and whaddaya know? I didn’t even need knickers, much less the rain jacket.

Yesterday I laid down my hammer and sickle and took time out for a refreshing spin with Friend of the Blog™ Pat O’Brien, who with his lovely bride Sandy popped round to see what’s what in the Duke City.

I didn’t document this major tourism event with photography, because frankly I didn’t think we’d get ‘er done. It was raining when Pat arrived in his manly Toyota Tacoma to pick me up for the drive to the Paseo del Bosque’s Alameda trailhead, and the forecast was grim indeed.

But my iPhone photo above depicts the worst of it. Down by the Rio the weather was warm and windy, and we did the full lollipop, riding south, then curving in a northeasterly direction to Rio Bravo before returning to the bosque trail for a (mostly) tailwind-supported return.

We were both aboard Somas, naturally. Pat rode his Saga whilst I piloted the old Double Cross, freshly equipped with SKS fenders just in case. This, and the fact that we both carried rain jackets, is almost certainly why the clouds didn’t open up during the ride.

Back at El Rancho Pendejo I learned that a deluge had struck DeeCee, washing away the stain on democracy that was Jim Comey. King Donald the Short-fingered, alas, remains perched atop his golden throne, his personal roll of Constitution toilet paper close at hand. Here’s hoping it’s a harder rain gonna fall on his crooked highway before much longer.

What in the Sam Hill?

May 7, 2017

The Sam Hillborne recovers from its efforts in the sunny entryway at El Rancho Pendejo.

Yesterday was a Rivendell kind of day. The trails are usually crawling like anthills on a weekend, and the roads were busy, too. Plus I didn’t feel like doing anything of a serious nature, having chores on the schedule.

So Sam Hillborne and I pooted around on side streets and the Tramway bike path for a spell, just keeping the legs loose.

Some nitwit impatient to make a right turn honked at me as I proceeded through an intersection, with the light and pedestrian crossing signal working in my favor, and I reflected once again how concealed carry is a bad idea on a bicycle, if only for the sag a Ruger Model 3701 puts in a jersey pocket.

Afterward I mowed the weeds and retrieved some video from the old Canon ZR500 MiniDV camcorder, which Herself is eBaying along with a few metric shit-tons of other lightly used and heavily forgotten items cluttering up the nooks and crannies at El Rancho Pendejo.

The process of acquiring video from an old cassette camcorder is time-consuming and irksome, but proved rewarding in this instance. I unearthed some ancient footage of an elderly Chairman Meow and a very young Turkish, back when we still thought he was a she. So stay tuned for a short video trip down memory lane.

At ‘cross purposes

May 5, 2017

When it comes to taking a tonic for what ails you, there’s nothing like a little sand in your craw.

After yesterday’s health-care debacle I prescribed myself an antidepressant: 90 minutes on a Steelman Eurocross cyclocross bike, doing laps around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

The old beastie still performs (I’m talking about the bike here). Reynolds 853 tubes; Shimano Ultegra eight-speed STI; 175mm RaceFace 48/36 cranks and a 12-28 cassette; Mavic Open Pro SUP rims with Dura-Ace hubs, DT spokes and Michelin Jet tires; Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis, augmented by Froggleg top-mounted levers; Cinelli Eubios bar with Off the Front tape; Ritchey stem; Time ATAC pedals; and a RockShox boingy post wearing the usual Selle Italia Flite saddle.

Riding a racing bike after a steady diet of touring machines felt seriously weird at first, but it started getting good to me after a half hour or so. Nearly slid out in one sandy hairpin — that rear Jet is starting to look like a slick — but happily, I did not require medical attention, as cyclocross and crashing are both pre-existing conditions.

Map my ride

May 2, 2017

One of the bridges that spares cyclists from more than a few Crossings of Doom in the Duke City.

I got my chores done early this morning, hopped on the rim-brake Soma Saga, and logged two-point-five hours of saddle time in the sun today. Fat city.

Quite a bit of the ride was on segregated multipurpose path. If you’ll have a squint at the city’s bike map you can trace my route:

South on the segregated Tramway Boulevard path to the bike-ped bridge (above), which crosses Tramway and hooks up with the Paseo de la Montañas trail, which parallels a drainage canal all the way to Interstate 40.

Southwest on the P de la M trail to another bike-ped bridge, this one over I-40. After a short run through a pocket park and a residential area you find yourself on the Indian School Road bike lane, an on-street deal.

The view from underneath one of the many bridges crossing the North Diversion Channel Trail.

West on Indian School to the UNM golf course, where I picked up the North Diversion Channel Trail.

North on the NDCT to Balloon Fiesta Park (and with a fine tailwind, I might add).

From the park I headed northeast through a light industrial area and indulged in a bit of lawlessness, riding against one-way traffic on the I-25 frontage road to get to the Tramway Road bike lane. This is a popular stretch with the local road toads; it rises from 5,200 feet at I-25 to 6,120 feet at the County Line Barbecue, and there are only two stoplights, both early on. It’s a nice, steady, half-hour climb that steepens up a bit around the 5-mile marker. Well, a half-hour for me, anyway.

At this point you can get back to El Rancho Pendejo any number of ways, depending upon how the legs feel and what else needs doing once you get off the bike. I chose the least attractive but most direct route — the bike lane on Tramway Boulevard proper rather than the segregated path to the east — and added one last little climb at Manitoba that loops around just below the Embudito trailhead to Comanche Road and home, where the lawnmower was waiting.

R.I.P., Michele Scarponi

April 22, 2017

The hits just keep on coming. This time it’s Astana’s Michele Scarponi, struck and killed by a van while training near his home in Italy.

The roads are getting scarier by the day, and one wonders whether it’s just the fabled “economic uncertainty” that is kicking the pins out from under the bike biz. Uncertainty about whether you’ll return alive from a ride may be playing a role, too.

Coincidentally, I’ve been practicing the Zen of Grant Petersen lately, occasionally riding the bike on short errands wearing street clothes, sans helmet. Not that a helmet would provide much protection if I got centerpunched by one of the reckless, oblivious assholes who somehow got licensed to drive in Duke City.

The trails look better every day. Out there it’s mostly operator error that does for you. Though I do know one guy who got hit by a truck on a trail once. …

Lights, camera, inaction!

April 19, 2017

The Specialized Sequoia, rigged for bikepacking, en route to a loop around the Elena Gallegos picnic grounds.

I don’t know how a dude with no visible means of support (beyond a wife who works at a national lab) manages to stay too busy to blog.

Somehow I get ‘er done, though. Or not, depending upon whether you enjoy regular bloggery.

The Co-Motion Deschutes, a made-in-Oregon touring bike that won’t break the bank.

Mostly I’ve been playing Quentin Ferrentino again, shooting video for Adventure Cyclist.

In front of the camera:

The Specialized Sequoia, which is a wrap, both print and video reviews having been shipped to the home office in Missoula;

 And the Co-Motion Deschutes, which I’m reviewing and videotaping as we speak, with a deadline of May 1.

The news I have been assiduously avoiding, though it was impossible to evade Orange Julius Caesar’s misplacement of an entire aircraft carrier attack group and his announcement that with his help the GOP triumphed in last night’s election to replace Tom Price in Georgia (one Twitter wag noted that OJC’s confusion was understandable in that the candidate with the most votes didn’t win).

But enough of that shit. Back to bikes.

The Sequoia review will be in the May issue, while the Deschutes will have to wait for the August-September edition. Once that review gets filed I get a break from velo-evaluation — unless Management unearths something interesting at the Sea Otter Classic, which starts tomorrow.

Why, I may even get to ride some of my own damn’ bikes for a change.

Threescore and three

March 27, 2017

The clouds were creeping in over the Sandias come afternoon.

Got the birthday ride in — did 63 kilometers, not miles, for anyone keeping score — and it looks like I picked the right day for it, because the weather seems to be taking a turn for the worse. I’ll be running tomorrow, if I get out at all.

A powerful tailwind added a couple miles per hour to the usual slog back from the Paseo del Bosque, and glad I was to have it, too. One of these days I need to acquire one of them comosellamas all the Kool Kidz have, whatchacall your e-lectronical whizbang that tells you how much vertical gain you’ve logged over the course of a day’s cycling. My educated guess for today’s little outing is “a right shitload.”

Anyway, pizza for dinner and a couple episodes of “Fargo” for dessert. It’s a weirdo, just like its daddy the Coen brothers movie of the same name. But you can’t go wrong with the likes of Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman and Bob Odenkirk, y’know. Yah, real good now.

 

Reel scored for pennywhistle and putty knife

March 17, 2017

It’s not as boondocky as it looks: The Trek 520 shoot took place just west of Albuquerque.

There was a time when I might have begun St. Patrick’s Day with a dollop of Irish in the coffee and ended it with a few pints of the black, playing Clannad, The Chieftains and The Pogues in between.

Not this year.

We’d been contemplating the renovation of Herself’s office, and as it happens the dude who does that sort of thing for us was available this very week, the same week during which Herself was scheduled to take a business trip to Florida.

Bejaysis.

So instead of getting my Irish on I arose early to feed and water the menagerie, swallow a bit of (unenhanced) java, and record the voiceover on my Trek 520 video (see screenshot, above) before the hooley resumed. The cats took up their positions under the bed and Mister Boo — well, nothing fazes The Boo save a late meal, so he was fine.

And I broke out the old iPod Nano, the better to hear The Chieftains by. May yis all be in heaven a half hour before the divvil hears you’re dead.