Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

Clutch effort

June 23, 2020

The descent from the intersection of Pino Trail and Wilderness.

More adventures, still more!

Today I decided to challenge the ankle a bit with some off-road foolishness in the Elena Gallegos area. I thought I was being smart by waiting until 10 a.m. to head out, reasoning that the weak would get theirs earlier, in the cool of the morning.

Well, you know about me and smart. Never happen, is what. Everybody and his grandma was out there with me.

I had to dab a couple times while climbing one section I call Cholla Clutch Cañon because I screwed the pooch riding it as a descent back in 2017, grabbing a fistful of cane cholla to keep from skidding over the edge. (See “me and smart” in the previous paragraph.)

Anyway, the trail wizards have been waving their wands at this stretch since I last rode it and muscle memory was of no help whatsoever. Also, everybody else was riding it as a descent, on full-suspension mountain bikes, which proved something of an impediment to Wrong Way O’Grady, with his rigid, drop-bar Voodoo Nakisi weirdomobile and mad climbing skillz.

Speaking of mad skillz, the Adventure Cyclist boyos have posted my latest review online. Surly has updated its Disc Trucker with an eye toward the gravel-gobbling, bikepacking market.

And wonder of wonders: You can still buy the rim-brake Long Haul Trucker if that’s how you roll. I don’t know that you’d necessarily want to ride it up Cholla Clutch Cañon … but hell, I’d probably try it.

Seeking higher ground

May 21, 2020

Looking southward from a parking lot.

I headed for the hills yesterday.

Unlike our brethren and sisthren in Michigan I was not dodging floodwaters (our man Herb reports that he is high and dry). I just wanted to get out of the house and sit in the shade awhile, chatting amiably with the voices in my head.

La Cueva Picnic Site is a good spot for this sort of thing. It’s close to El Rancho Pendejo, and easily reached by bike, if you don’t mind that final mile. It rises about 367 vertical feet on beat-to-hell chipseal, so it’s not as challenging as the private road leading to our old place outside Weirdcliffe, which was a hair longer, a bit steeper (430-odd vertical feet), and unpaved.

One of the CCC-built stone structures at La Cueva.

But a fella wants a nice low gear if he’s to enjoy the grind, so I was aboard the canti’-equipped Soma Saga, stripped of racks and fenders. When it’s just a bicycle instead of an RV it slims down nicely, all the way to 27.8 pounds. And with a low end of 20.5 gear inches even a stove-up auld fella can do the deed.

Once you’re up there you have a fine view of the Greater Duke City Metropolitan Area. And when you get tired of that you can inspect some Civilian Conservation Corps projects from the Thirties.

Remember those fabulous Thirties? They’re making something of a comeback, only without the public works/resource protection bits.

Maybe it was that the gov’ has relaxed restrictions somewhat, or that the Memorial Day weekend was approaching, but there was almost nobody up there, which I consider ideal. There’s nothing wrong with other people that a certain degree of distance can’t resolve.

That leetle green stripe down there is the Rio.

Socially and vertically distancing

May 17, 2020

Herself burning up the road to the Sandia Peak Tramway
on her trusty Soma Double Cross.

Here we see Herself motoring up Tramway Road as some stove-up auld fella pauses to take a snap with his obsolete iPhone SE.

The auld fella, who was aboard a Soma Saga, may have been feeling the effects of a couple days’ worth of yardwork. But he’ll probably blame the ankle. Or Obama. Or the fake news.

‘your new biz partner’s name is spike’

April 20, 2020

Sometimes the spikes point up; sometimes they point down.

Gregg Bagni, a smarty-smart and one of the legendary characters in the old velocipede-propagation game, has channeled himself a bit of alien archy over at Medium, and if you are operating a business of any sort in these dark days — and even if you aren’t — you might like to give it a squint.

Quoth the Bag-man:

sorry there will be no illustrative graphs or bad power point presentations today

instead the simple observation that this 5 min of our lives everything seems to be “spikey”

The piece reminded me a bit of an old joke, one that became part of a folklore project during my college days at the University of Northern Colorado:

• • •

Guy walks into a bar (as they often do in these tales). He is accompanied by a drop-dead gorgeous woman of the female persuasion and a surly-looking little fella ’bout a foot tall.

Guy sits down, woman sits down, little fella sits down. Guy sez to the barkeep he sez, “A round for the house, please,” and pulls a hundred-dollar bill out of his wallet.

Barkeep sez to the guy he sez, “I can’t break that, got anything smaller?”

Guy sez, “Keep the change.” Well, all righty then.

Barkeep sets ’em up for the house, but before anyone can take a sip the little fella jumps off his stool and onto the bar, and runs up and down kicking all the drinks over.

“Sorry about that,” sez the guy he sez. “Set ’em up again.” And he pulls out another hundy.

Barkeep sez, “Pally, I told you I can’t break a C.”

Guy sez, “Keep the change.” Well, all righty then.

Barkeep sets ’em up, but before anyone can wet his whistle the little fella plays footy with all the beverages again.

This goes on for a while, as these hoary old gags will, until the barkeep finally slams his rag on the bar, gets up in the guy’s grille, and sez, “Lissen, y’mutt, I’ll set ’em up at a hundy a crack all day long and nighttime too, but I gotta know what the hell is it the story here?”

“Glad you asked,” sez the guy. “Long ago I was a lost and lonely soul, alone in the world, down to my last few drachmas, rummaging through the detritus at this second-rate thrift store looking for items I might buy cheap and sell dear, when I found this old lamp. It spoke to me for some reason, so I spent my last sou on it and fetched it back to my shack.

“Well sir, I started in rubbing the dust and whatnot off of it and lo and behold! A genie appeared! And as is the custom, he granted me three wishes.”

“And these were?” grunted the barkeep.

“Well, first, I wished for the most beautiful woman in the world to be my constant companion,” our man replied, pointing at the knockout parked on the stool to his left. “And here she is.”

“So she is,” admitted the barkeep. “And?”

“Second, I wished that every time I opened my wallet, there would be a fresh crisp hundred-dollar bill inside. And as you see?” He opened the wallet and therein resided a lone Benjamin, seemingly fresh from the Mint.

“Blimey,” expostulated the barkeep. “Curiouser and curiouser. But where does the little guy come in?”

“Ah,” says the guy, gesturing to his right. “Well, my third wish was for a 12-inch prick. And there he is.”

Eight weeks

April 17, 2020

No brace. No boot. Just a shoe, a sock, and me.

TGIF .. WTGAB!

That’s short for “Thank God it’s Friday … without that goddamn ankle brace!”

Eight weeks to the day after I broke my right ankle running the Foothills Trails, I was noodling along under sunny skies on a bicycle, in cycling shoes, on clipless pedals, with said ankle blessedly free of all wraps, braces, boots, and other encumbrances.

On Wednesday I went for a 2.4-mile walk without the brace, but that was an accident. I just forgot to put the damn’ thing on and didn’t notice I wasn’t wearing it until about 20 minutes into the outing.

“Oh, well,” I sez to myself I sez. “A man must carry on.”

See? It is possible to forget, just like Doctor Mike says.

 

 

’Faced

April 14, 2020

I have a nose for this sort of thing, it appears.

The body may be confined, yet the mind wanders, as it will.

And a few minutes ago it wandered past a pile of old cycling caps and went, “Hmmmm. …”

Yes, that is a 100 percent cotton Schwinn cycling cap buttressed by a Princeton Tec headlamp strap.

I may not be the first to think of this, but surely I won’t be the last.

Hello in there

April 11, 2020

Herself and Herself the Elder enjoy analog FaceTime at the Dark Tower.

Locked doors. Empty streets. Everyone’s bunkered up and wearing masks, like poilus in a Ypres trench awaiting a gas attack.

Social distancing isn’t new to me. I’ve worked from home for nearly 30 years, and I have come to relish my solitude. My colleagues these days are mostly in Missoula and Boulder. Some days I find it hard to believe that I ever got anything done in a crowded newsroom, which may have pioneered the open-plan office everyone else soon came to loathe.

But even I get twitchy now and then, especially since I was homebound early on with a broken ankle. The COVID-19 may be out there, but the cabin fever is most definitely in here. There are bicycles to be reviewed, an ankle to be rehabilitated. And anyway, jolly old Doc O’Grady feels it’s prudent to take society’s temperature now and then.

So I limp around the ’hood for a spell, shout back and forth with the neighbors. One has retired and has a new dog. Another is working overtime and has an old dog, gamely hanging on, like the rest of us. Next door they’re turning a pile of gravel into a base for a backyard shed. The other next door is exhausted from babysitting grandchildren.

Sometimes we ride the bikes. Herself the Elder needs regular resupply, soda, wine, and Kleenex, along with a bit of analog FaceTime through her bedroom window. A little girl squeals, “I have a bike!” So do I, sweetie. I bet you don’t have to give yours back after a few weeks. At least, I hope not.

The Italians sing. New Yorkers clap. Here in the ’Burque ’burbs we venture out briefly, if only to say, “Hello in there … hello … and have you heard the latest socially distant episode of Radio Free Dogpatch?”

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: Cheap, cheap, sings the Radio Free Dogpatch birdie. I used the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic, recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was as usual, in GarageBand. Once again the background music is by Your Humble Narrator, assembled in the iOS version of GarageBand with some John Prine licks in mind.

Signs of the times

April 10, 2020

A sign at the Copper trailhead breaks down social distancing for users, among other things.

Your intrepid bicycle reviewer took another test ride Wednesday — and in clipless pedals, too.

Again with the winning! So. Much. Winning.

The ride included a detour intended to help Herself the Elder decode a TV issue — or try to, anyway — and while I waited for Herself to arrive by auto to deliver supplies and provide translation services, I rolled east on Copper to the foothills trailhead to see what was what.

The small parking lot was full to overflowing, and a John Law was parked down the street, which made me wonder whether The Authorities were taking a tally of trail users with an eye toward declaring the open space off limits.

A little light shining in the darkness.

Probably not. Any trails closure would be impossible to enforce without cavalry, claymores, and helicopter gunships.

And the gendarmes have plenty of other things to do, like corral teenagers who apparently take the playlist at a party a bit too seriously, chase copper thieves, and argue with jailers who refuse to book suspects.

But there were a couple of new signs about social distancing and curve-flattening posted alongside the golden oldies about staying on trails, fetching trash home, and cleaning up after Fido. So, like the rest of us, The Authorities are doing what they can given the circumstances.

Back to Herself the Elder’s place. Herself had still not arrived, so I rolled down the street a ways, thinking I’d see if there were some way to loop around to the Dark Tower without using Copper.

And then I saw the sign. “Free Masks.” Someone was going above and beyond, with no thought of reward. There may be hope for the species yet.

Hump day

April 8, 2020

Those speed humps are the worst kind.

See, this is another reason why I wear bib shorts. You never know what might be gaining on you with malicious intent.

Back to ‘work’

April 7, 2020

How to earn big money through social distancing in your spare time.

As ridiculous as it may seem, yes, I do have a bike to review for Adventure Cyclist, and si, I have been out riding it.

Not with authority, élan, and grace, mind you. But still. A man must earn.

I slapped some cheapo bear-trap pedals on this one, to accommodate the ankle and its brace, and somehow I managed to spaz myself into a nice nick on the shin.

I had forgotten this characteristic of the old-school pedal, and may go to Eighties-era cyclocross pedals with toeclips and straps or even have a go at clipless pedals, just for the sake of science.

Speaking of science and the fiction thereof, I guess Marcus Weebles, O.D., has been cutting his Adderall with hydroxychloroquine. He apparently digs the high, and is recommending it to everyone, probably not because “several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president,” according to The New York Times.

Add a little hydroxychloroquine, m’boy, and you’ll be as right as rain.

Adds the Times:

“Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.”

Zut alors! Say it is not so!

The search for salable snake-oil recipes made at home in your spare time reminds me of “Burned Again,” a tale from the seventh collection of “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers” comics.

Fat Freddy finds a “neat container” in the street and he and Freewheelin’ Franklin try prying it open to see what’s inside. Phineas recognizes the radiation symbol on the thing and — using a Geiger counter he built from plans in “Popular Atomics” magazine — determines that it is not leaking. Yet.

Nevertheless, Fat Freddy “freaks” and draws himself a bath of Chinese mustard and Clorox, explaining, “It’s a remedy for radiation poisoning I read about in ‘Amateur Doctor’ magazine!”

Hm. Fat. Stupid. Ridiculous blond hair. Zero impulse control. Doper. Say, you don’t suppose Fat Freddy grew up to become … nahhhhh.

Y’think? Nawwwwww.