Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

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.

 

Not the campaign trail

August 2, 2016
The Joe Appaloosa enjoying a bit of dirt time north of El Rancho Pendejo.

The Joe Appaloosa enjoying a bit of dirt time north of El Rancho Pendejo.

How’s your August so far?

Mine’s been great. I got 90 minutes of trail time on Rivendell’s Joe Appaloosa today, and two and a half hours on their Sam Hillborne yesterday.

The Sam Hillborne rolls northbound along the Paseo path.

The Sam Hillborne rolls northbound along the Paseo path.

This is loads more fun than waiting for Ronald McDonald McTrump to shit out of his mouth again. Dude erupts more consistently than Old Faithful. But if you keep the iPhone locked away in a Ziploc bag, and stuff the bag into a jersey pocket, you don’t get drenched until you get home.

Speaking of drenched, the weather wizards advise that a “sustained monsoon moisture plume” is working itself into a Trumplike frenzy, which is good news in a place that just wrapped up a scorcher of a July and was seeing its third-driest year ever.

It would be nice to see less rain more often — flash floods are about as much fun as droughts, as the homeless dudes hunting for their belongings along the I-40 trail will tell you — but like the GOP, we’ll take whatever we can get.

Vuelta de Bosque

July 25, 2016
The northbound view.

The northbound view.

With the Tour in the books, I actually managed to saddle up while it was still coolish outdoors and went for a long, pleasant spin along the Paseo del Bosque trail.

Southbound, en route to the Rio Bravo turnaround.

Southbound, en route to the Rio Bravo turnaround.

Raptors and bunnies were playing hide-and-seek for keeps as I zipped down the Paseo del Norte trail, which drops off the North Diversion Channel trail and feeds into the bosque trail, and there were plenty of two-wheelers out and about as well, despite it being a workday (bums).

After enjoying a slight tailwind out, I decided to skip the 5.4-mile circuit south of Rio Bravo, which turned out to be a poor decision — I missed making my 62nd-birthday mileage by the length of the loop. And the headwind for the return leg was not so much of a much, though the steady climb back to El Rancho Pendejo was the usual struggle.

Speaking of struggles, it sounds as though Comrade Eeyore’s cadres are going all Little Red Book on pretty much everyone at the Democratic National Convention, including Dear Leader himself. Good times. Maybe not.

And yeah, I know me some Little Red Book, yo.

And yeah, I know me some Little Red Book, yo.

I feel their pain. As a retired commie myself, I enjoyed voting for the old socialist in the primary. And I’m certainly not feeling that old smash-the-State love from The Hilldebeast, though Comrade Downhill Bill speaks highly of her running mate in comments. Comrade Pierce approves, too, albeit with reservations.

But you go to vote with the system you have, not the system you wish you had. Ask any old Red.

And if the choice is between Ronald McDonald McTrump and The Hilldebeast, well, that’s no choice at all, is it? You pinch your nose, vote D, and then go home and give yourself a swirly for three or four hours in a toilet full of cheap gin.

 

Smoke ’em if you got ’em

July 12, 2016

 

Yes, I shot it through the windshield. No cyclists were harmed in the making of this image,

Yes, I shot it through the windshield. No cyclists were harmed in the making of this image,

“Do not scorn day trips. You can use them to avoid nervous collapse.” — Jim Harrison, “Going Places”

We had a rest day in Le Tour on Monday, and Tuesday’s stage looked like a snoozer, so I abruptly decided to get the hell out of the scorching Duke City for a short road trip, the idea being to scout out a post-Interbike tour.

Mister Boo requires a bit of oversight, and I don’t like to impose on the neighbors, who have other things to do besides baby-sit a geriatric dog, so I wanted to keep my excursion short and sweet. Salida, I thought. Good cycling town, serviceable eats, haven’t visited in a while, not too far away.

Naturally, as soon as I pulled the trigger on the hotel room, the Hayden Pass fire erupted.

I will never be smart.

The troll of Tramway

July 6, 2016
"Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?” roared the troll.

If you can’t stand the heat, get under the overpass.

The Tour stages cut deeply into the cool morning hours, so we Live Update Guys can’t get out and about until 10-ish most days.

Today it was already 80-something when I finally got rolling, and 90-something when I got home. Drank two bottles and snarfed down a gel but found myself slightly weary for some reason. Go figure.

The only shade to be found on the entire two-hour ride was underneath Tramway, between Manitoba and Spain, so I took a brief photography break before resuming my climb back to the air-conditioned barn.

When I arrived home I saw that Ronald McDonald McTrump was panhandling his Twitter followers, so I graciously offered him the steam off my piss. Haven’t heard back yet. There’s just no pleasing some people.

Self-funded campaign, me arse.

Self-funded campaign, me arse.