Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

The white-chinned mansplainers of spring

April 22, 2019

Angry old white men are so 15 minutes ago.

Must be spring. Herself has already spotted her first white-chinned mansplainer of 2019.

It was a busy weekend. One of Herself’s pals came to town on family business and on Friday they did an exercise class plus a trail run together. Then on Saturday she wanted to ride the bike for the first time this year, and so the two of us rolled around and about for a while.

Yesterday she joined a colleague and another woman for another, longer ride. And that’s when the white-chinned mansplainer flapped past, screeching its distinctive and decidedly off-key tune.

Like the black-chinned hummingbird, the white-chinned mansplainer is a sure sign of prime cycling weather. But while the hummers enjoy sipping nectar from flowers and feeders, the ’splainer prefers sticking his snotty little beak in your business.

Case in point: As Herself and a colleague were taking five on a Duke City bike path, waiting for the third member of their party to catch up, they spotted a white-chinned mansplainer rolling toward them.

This particular exemplar of the species was a geezer on a recumbent with a Chihuahua tucked into his vest, and Herself anticipated a prime opportunity to coo briefly over a cute little pocket pooch.

Alas, she lost interest after the geezer barked at them: “If you’re gonna stop you should get off the trail!”

Now, I’m told this bird had plenty of room to make a clean pass without threat to life, limb, or Chihuahua. Yet he felt compelled to sing his sour little song anyway, possibly because these were two women who seemed unlikely to slap his beak around to the other side of his head so he could squawk into his own ear and see how he liked it.

As a lifelong student of the bon mot and the righteous riposte I inquired whether they had replied that he should go elsewhere with all possible haste to consume excrement, enjoy carnal knowledge of himself, and perish. Herself said no, they hadn’t, but her buddy had flicked a soupçon of snark his way, “thanking” him for his unsolicited and oh-so-helpful advice.

Now, I don’t know much about other sports, but I’m certain ours has too many of these entitled old buzzards flapping around, shitting on everything and everyone in their path. I would not put it past them to drill chickens on the use of crosswalks. They certainly feel free to enlighten their fellow cyclists on a wide range of topics.

I encountered more than a few of these self-appointed bike cops during my Fred period. Happily, years of newspaper work had hardened my hide and I stuck it out instead of abandoning the sport for golf, bowling, or blackjack. By which I mean the use of an actual blackjack. One sap deserves another.

Not everyone is so tenacious. Some folks have a low threshold for gratuitous douchebaggery. Esepcially on Easter Sunday. I’ll wager Jesus wasn’t nearly so rude to the multitudes when he rode his dinosaur to Sunday school.

And yet we wonder why cycling fails to attract and retain new participants.

At least two of these women are in the market for new bicycles, and have cycling events penciled on their calendars. That’s good news for anyone who makes bikes, sells bikes, or writes about bikes. Just like this horizontal fart in a whirlwind is bad news for anyone condemned to those rackets.

Now, I know nobody in my crowd engages in this sort of appalling behavior. But if you know somebody who does, tell them in no uncertain terms to knock it the fuck off. Yapping at random strangers is the Chihuahua’s job.

Riding the (temperature) range

April 15, 2019

Everything’s growing in the yard, including
the amount of time I spend mowing it.

Yesterday was one of those days when you stare into the kit drawer thinking, “Fuck it, I’ll just take it all.”

The temperature was 33 degrees when I first checked in the ayem, and topped out at 74. That’s quite a range. Had it been a song, not even Roy Orbison could’ve sung it.

Steelman Eurocross No. 1 on the high side of Tramway Lane.

Oddly, it never felt quite that warm; not to me, anyway. El Rancho Pendejo is a dark house, lodged at the bottom of a cul-de-sac, and cool morning air drifts down the hill and surrounds the joint like bad news, delivering an inaccurate perception of the actual conditions outside.

Thus I whiled away the morning serving the cats, performing domestic chores, and shouting at various websites, and didn’t start my ride until noonish.

I set out with arm and knee warmers. But while I pulled the arm bits off toward the end, the knee ones stayed on, in accordance with the Bostick Rule, which went something like “Cover your knees under 65 degrees.”

What a beautiful day for a two-hour ride on a cyclocross bike*, though. A little pavement, a little dirt, a lot of laughs. You won’t catch me crying on a day like that.

* Batteries not included.

Th-th-that’s ALL, folks!

April 12, 2019

My Steelman time-trial bike,
the geezer-cyclist’s equivalent of a little red convertible.

OK, so now the fleet has been fully inspected.

Yesterday I rebuilt the Steelman time-trial bike and took it for a short spin around the neighborhood.

It’s functional, but not exactly race-ready. The cabling could use a little tweaking. I don’t have a sewup for the Mavic Comete disc, so that remains in the garage. And I didn’t feel like wrangling both Zipp deep-section wheels because mounting tires on them is a pain in the ass, and also the fingers. So we have a Zipp rear and a Shimano front.

But still — that’s it. The only machine left unridden is my ancient Team Crest Pinarello Prologo TT bike, which is a frameset with crank, seatpost, front derailleur, and brakeset, period.

Larry or Herb could probably bring it back to life, but I’m not even going to try. I couldn’t ride that thing worth a damn when I was young, fit and wearing a number. There are witnesses.

The fleet passes inspection

April 9, 2019

The Soma Saga, ready for adventure cycling.

And boom! Just like that, after two hours on the Soma Saga rim-brake bike, the Ride Your Own Damn Bike Festival® comes to a close.

The only machine unridden in the fleet is my Steelman time-trial bike, which has surrendered its bar-cons to a Steelman cyclocross bike. I have the parts to get it rolling, but it would take a little doing, and I’d look even more ridiculous than usual. Think old baldheaded fart in cute little sport car. Not a pretty sight.

I’d forgotten how much I like this Saga, which I reviewed in 2011. Like the disc model, it has Silver friction shifters, but the stoppers are cantilevers — in this most recent iteration, TRP’s RevoX cyclocross brakes. It also sports a really stout wheelset from Rivendell, with Deore LX hubs, Velocity Synergy rims (32H front, 36H rear), and Schwalbe Little Big Bens in 700×38.

Every time I pull this beast from its hook I think, “Oh, hell, this thing weighs a ton.” And every time I throw a leg over the top tube, clip in, and roll off, I think, “Damn, this is one comfortable machine.”

If I were riding to Sea Otter at Laguna Seca, this is the bike I’d choose. The only component prone to failure is the nut behind the stem.

Bus stop

April 9, 2019

Time machine.

When my DBR Axis TT was new there was a Clinton in the White House.

If there were another in there today, I feel certain we’d be well along in the impeachment process. Instead, we’re treated to an endless conga line of Bozos shoving their way into and out of the national bus while the Congress rubs one out in the back seat and the electorate focuses on the final season of “Game of Thrones,” which appears to be “The West Wing” of our time.

The real West Wing has more White Walkers, of course.

“Now, please, everyone, lock your wigs, let the air out of your shoes, and prepare yourself for a period of simulated exhilaration.”

I enjoyed a period of simulated exhilaration yesterday, bouncing off rocks on my 24-year-old titanium hardtail, the only bike in the bunch with 26-inch wheels (2.1-inch Hutchinson Pythons) and a boingy fork (a Rock Shox Judy SL rebuilt by Hippie Tech).

The few mad skillz I’ve developed over the past quarter-century do not translate well to small wheels and a squishy fork. When the front end wasn’t dancing the hula it was stopped dead in its tracks, stonewalled like a House Democrat grilling a smirking executive-branch stooge.

And the elderly XT V-brakes felt grabbier than Uncle Joe Biden, which can be unnerving when you’re tiptoeing downhill through some spiky rock garden wearing nothing but old Lycra and a plastic beanie.

Still, it beats watching the clown show. I think they’re all Beelzebozos on that bus.

Remember those fabulous Nineties?

April 8, 2019

They ain’t makin’ ’em like this anymore,
mostly because nobody’s buyin’ ’em.

The Ride Your Own Damn Bike Festival® continues.

Yesterday the DBR Prevail TT got its couple of hours in the sun, and today its dirty cousin the Axis TT shall do likewise.

If memory serves this is an 18-inch model, from 1995, with a top tube longer than a Russian novel. A hardtail. With rim brakes and 26-inch wheels. If that ain’t a dinosaur Jesus never rode one.

After this there will be only one functional machine left unridden in the festival, the Soma Saga (cantilever edition). And I should really be aboard that one today, because it’s perfect road-riding weather.

But I’m tired of the road and want to goof on the trails for a bit, see if I can remember how to propel myself around and about with a squishy fork and these itty-bitty wheels.

Another Saga in the books

April 5, 2019

Take it to the bridge.

The Ride Your Own Damn Bike Festival® continues. The Soma Saga (disc-brake model) has been added to the tally, which to date includes the Jones, Sam Hillborne, Voodoo Nakisi, Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, Nobilette, Bianchi Zurigo and Soma Double Cross.

Yesterday we rolled down to the bosque and back via the usual off-street paths — Paseo del Norte, North Diversion Channel, and Paseo de las Montañas, with a stretch of Indian School Road for the fear factor.

It was a gorgeous day, with little wind, and I was able to peel off the arm and knee warmers when I got down to the bosque (it’s about a thousand-foot drop from El Rancho Pendejo). Gotta get that geek-tan going, don’t you know.

For symmetry’s sake I should ride the Soma Saga canti’ bike next. But it has a squeal in the front pads that I need to address, and I feel like riding a bit of actual trail, so it’s Steelman Eurocross No. 1 today.

Meanwhile, props to the guv for vetoing HB 192, a safe-passing measure altered at the final hour by a poison-pill amendment that would have forced cyclists “to the extent practicable” to leave New Mexico’s roads when separate bike lanes/paths are available.

Sayeth the guv: “Although it is vital that we make our roads safer for cyclists, the ambiguous provision added to HB 192 does not give sufficiently clear guidance to cyclists and law enforcement with respect to what conduct by cyclists is or is not permitted.” She urges the Roundhouse to have another go at it. So do I.

Props to Khal for passing the word along.

And on the seventh day. …

March 31, 2019

This invisible fella is off for a quick spin. But not me.

March is going out like … like it really, really, really wants out.

The wind is rattling our cage here in the Duke City, and our various mobiles, chimes and ornaments are taking a good shellacking.

I had enough of that bullshit yesterday, flogging the Voodoo Wazoo and its low end of 37.7 gear inches around the southern trail network for an hour. The wind out of the southeast was lionesque, and my legs were lamblike, so today, like the Lord, I shall rest and contemplate my handiwork. Legwork. Whatevs.

And it was good. A 131-mile week ain’t bad for a geezer.

 

Wind and water

March 29, 2019

Wisterical.

You know it’s spring in New Mexico when (a) you have to water the wisteria and (2) the wind is blowing about a jillion miles per hour.

Nonetheless, Ride Your Own Damn Bike™ continues with a vengeance. Since I ran out of review machinery I’ve been on the Voodoo Nakisi, Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, Nobilette, Bianchi Zurigo and Soma Double Cross (this last for a grocery run).

Today it was Sam Hillborne’s turn. Didn’t quite beat the wind home, but in New Mexico if you don’t ride in the wind, you’ll never leave home.

I suppose I should be following the adventures of Douche Baggins in “Lard of the Rings,” but I just can’t seem to warm up to Frodo’s ne’er-do-well cousin and his trouser stains from New Hobbiton. They make the Sackville-Bagginses look like the Kennedys.

Bikes, trains and automobiles

March 27, 2019

I didn’t take a camera on today’s ride, so you’ll have to make do with a feeble iPhone shot of the bosque just starting to show some color.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in with birthday wishes on this, my induction into Official Geezerhood.

Is there a probationary period? If I fail to chase enough whippersnappers off my lawn will I be stripped of my galluses, wattles and trifocals, and demoted to Youth?

The birthday ride is done and dusted, and like last year I exceeded my expectations: 45 miles, or 72.4 kilometers. Thus I have some more kms banked for subsequent birthdays. One of these years I won’t have to ride at all.

Which will give me more time for podcasting. Yes, yes, yes, it’s another edition of Radio Free Dogpatch, Senior Moment Edition. You’re welcome. Now get the hell off my lawn.

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

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited using Apple’s GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro. The music is “Matador’s Entry,” from Zapsplat.com. I really wanted to work “The Coroner’s Footnote” from Half Man Half Biscuit in here somewhere, but couldn’t pull it off. You should listen to it anyway. While you’re at it give an ear to “Every Time a Bell Rings.”