Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

Wheeling to the Roundhouse

December 10, 2018

Rep. Rubio (bicycle not included).

There’s more than one way to Santa Fe from Las Cruces, and Rep. Angelica Rubio has found a lively one.

The Las Cruces Democrat will be riding her bike to the City Different for the upcoming legislative session, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Rubio hopes to use the ride in part “to raise awareness about a proposal to create a new state office of outdoor recreation, an idea that’s supported by Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham,” according to the Journal.

No word whether she’ll be on an e-bike, the flavor of the moment. But she will be riding gravel whenever possible, so she’s got that going for her, which is nice. Follow along via www.rubiosride.com.

Cold blow and the rainy night

December 7, 2018

The transition from fall to winter is always a sketchy time around here.

I’m not a fan of shorter, colder, darker days. They remind me at a genetic level of why my people invented uisce beatha. And since I no longer indulge in that miraculous restorative I’m at sea without a paddle on these chilly gray mornings, when the hangover is outside my head, at large and in charge, and not even aspirin is of any use.

This is when I await a tot of bad news, the way I once awaited a shot of good booze. The life of the free-range rumormonger is wild and free, until it isn’t, and it’s generally around this time of year when editors count and cull their herds.

“Oh, that one’s got to go. Dumber than three mules, eats like six of ’em, and shits all over the place. Fetch my .30-.30.”

It was fall 2017 when I got the word that Bicycle Retailer and Industry News would no longer require my “Mad Dog Unleashed” column. This was not a surprise. The industry-news biz, and the industry itself, was not exactly flush. Flushed was more like it. And shortly thereafter the publisher who gave the order and the editor who carried it out were no longer with The Organization.

About the same time Adventure Cyclist guessed that they wouldn’t need me at Interbike Reno, the Last Dance in Sin City having demonstrated all the intoxicating power of a half-can of O’Doul’s, a two-wheeled version of P.T. Barnum’s This Way to the Egress. When I heard nary a word about the show afterward I assumed Management had made the right decision. A bored and sober Dog makes a poor companion indeed. Whining and snarling and pissing on things.

And an old Dog, too. Set in his ways he is. ‘Tis a wee bit late to be training him so. Is there a .30-.30 to be had somewhere, d’ye think?

Well, p’raps. But not right now. Until I hear otherwise, I’m to deliver the first “Shop Talk” cartoon of 2019 to BRAIN next week. And a fresh Adventure Cyclist review bike awaits me down at Fat Tire Cycles, one of the few Duke City shops I have yet to visit.

And thus we have this week’s edition of Radio Free Dogpatch: “Cold Blow and the Rainy Night, or Whatever Floats Your Boat.” Give it a listen.

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 a Shure SM58 microphone, Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack, and the old 2009 iMac. Cap’n Whitebeard used an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic. I edited the audio using Apple’s GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro. The background music is “Into the Sunset” from Audio Hero via ZapSplat.com. Sounds of the sea courtesy Freesound.org.

• Editor’s note: The very day I recorded this episode BRAIN announced that the bell had tolled, not for me, but for Interbike, both show and staff. That shit will roll downhill — just how far and fast remains to be seen — and I feel the pain of all those who saw the business end of that .30-.30. Marc Sani, one of BRAIN’s founders and presently its interim publisher, has a few thoughts on the whys and wherefores. As for me, I wrote about the final Vegas show in 2017, and you can read that after the jump.

• Off to see the Wizard in 2017

Who shot a man in Reno …

December 6, 2018

“C’mon, walk it off, y’sissy. …”

… just to watch him die?

Hint: It wasn’t Johnny Cash. Not this time.

Happy birthday, Mr. Mayor

November 21, 2018

While the yard art spun here, I spun there, as in on the single-track, on a cyclocross bike. I did exactly 64 minutes.

While the rest of yis were prepping for medium-heavy holiday duty tomorrow, my man Chris “Da Mayor” Coursey was celebrating his 64th birthday in Santa Rosa, Calif.

He had been contemplating a 64-mile ride — jeez, who does these things? — but the weather and wildfires refused to cooperate with those best-laid plans. So when last seen he was celebrating indoors with friends, family, grub and grog.

Having an edge on him as regards the calendar, if nowhere else, I advised him thusly:

I trust that you will be slouched in an overstuffed chair with stocking feet up, snappin’ galluses and holding forth, one eyebrow raised and one index finger stabbing at the air, providing sage counsel, rendering keen judgments, ordering swift departures from lawns, and telling all those dad jokes with the obscure references that somehow elude everyone under the age of 64.

Also, all stories henceforth are to begin thusly: “You prob’ly won’t believe this, but when I was your age [insert improbable, unlikely and apocryphal tale here].”

I was going to include a picture of me in that pose for purposes of illustration, but I couldn’t find my galluses. I will forward this shot of our blue, blue skies because I am a cruel, cruel fellow.

Happy birthday, Chris. And many, many more.

Of wheels and wilderness

November 16, 2018

The bike stops here: Just east of Rancho Pendejo sits the Cibola wilderness.

Anyone who thinks Bicycle Retailer and Industry News has gone as dull as dishwater in the absence of my “Mad Dog Unleashed” column hasn’t been reading “Through the Grapevine.”

Interim publisher Marc Sani has taken that rascal over, and what once was originally an industry-gossip collection, and then a news-nuggets amalgamation, has become what management calls “very much an editorial and analysis column.”

It’s now going to be available online, and Sani’s latest sortie, about permitting mountain bikes in wilderness and the Republicans — yes, Republicans — who support the idea, seems to have squeezed the tender grapes of many an outraged reader.

Freelance rumormongers and publishers rarely find themselves in agreement, especially if we’re talking about matters such as prompt payment for services rendered.

But I’ve got to tip the ol’ Sangre de Cristos Cycling Club cap to The Sanitizer on this one, if only for all the trail dust he kicked up. He not only rounded up a whole herd of free-range eyeballs, he blackened ’em for good measure.

I enjoyed the fuss so much I based this week’s edition of Radio Free Dogpatch around it, prowling the Innertubes for relevant tidbits and rolling around in whatever smelled good, including:

• That Grapevine column.

• The Wilderness Act of 1964.

• The House and Senate measures to amend it.

• The Sustainable Trails Coalition.

• Two Outside columns, one from Marc Peruzzi and the other from Christopher Solomon.

Aaron Teasdale’s article in Sierra, the national magazine of the Sierra Club.

Ashley Halsey III’s article about America’s waning love affair with the automobile, from The Washington Post.

• Smithsonian.com’s brief history of America’s complicated relationship with the wild horse.

• And last but not least, Hal Walter’s “The Crash of 1943,” from Colorado Central magazine. Hal and Gary Ziegler of Bear Basin Ranch took us to see the wreckage of that B-25 at Rito Alto Peak, and when it came to transporting camping gear I much preferred Hal’s burros to my mountain bike, or my own back. And for anyone suffering from delusions about the mountain bike’s superiority to simple bipedal locomotion in the high lonesome, Hal once ran away from me and my bike on the upper reaches of Hermit Pass. He didn’t even have a burro with him that time.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited the audio using Apple’s GarageBand. The background music is “Looking Back Over the Hill” by David-Gwyn Jones, from ZapSplat.com. Other sounds courtesy Freesound.org, with an assist from Your Humble Narrator, with his trusty Tascam DR-10L and Sony ICD-UX533 (no longer available, alas). And finally, that faux taxonomic family you hear? Rotae mortis? That’s Dog Latin for “Wheels of Death.” I’m funny that way. Maybe not.

Doppelgrinder

November 15, 2018

Me and my shadow.

The little cold snap we’ve been enjoying finally broke, so yesterday I toddled out for a trail run wearing a not-inconsiderable amount of winter wear, and actually felt slightly overdressed — until I turned around into the wind.

Today the wind was still very much with us, but so was the sun, and when the temps finally slouched into the low 50s I went out to greet it.

Holy hell, was that wind brisk. Once again I questioned my garment selection. Long-sleeve polypro henley, long-sleeve jersey, knickers, and full-finger gloves, sure, but no tuque? No tights? No brains? Eeeeeyyugghhh!

Anyway, long story short, I warmed up pretty quickly because I was riding one of Mr. Steelman’s 20-year-old Eurocrosses on the trails around the Elena Gallegos Open Space and definitely not breaking any speed records, even though I never actually jumped off and ran.

There were a few breaks for conversation. My fellow trail users were a chatty lot, and not a grump in the bunch. Hikers, bikers, joggers, doggers, all and sundry were grinning like jackasses eating yellowjackets under the blue, blue skies. Even one mountain biker who’d blown his rear derailleur took it in stride, coasting back to his starting point.

Albuquerque has its problems, to be sure. But November weather mostly ain’t one of ’em.

Stem education

October 28, 2018

Autumn means cyclocross, even if you’re not wearing a number.

We’re back to what passes for normal, weather-wise, in the Duke City, which is to say sunny and warmish.

The uniform of the day is knickers, short sleeves and arm warmers, with long-fingered gloves held in reserve.

On Friday I’d planned a quick outing on Steelman Eurocross No. 1, a mango-colored Reynolds 853 bike. But as I mounted up the front tire felt squishy, and sure enough, there was a slow leak in the sonofabitch.

As I get older, the stems get shorter and steeper.

Happily, we do not lack for two-wheelers here at El Rancho Pendejo, and so I snagged Eurocross No. 2, a red jobber with a couple of shaped True Temper tubes in the frameset and Brent Steelman only knows what else.

It was part of a batch of framesets Brent made for the Clif Bar team back in … 1999? He thought of me when ordering the tubes for no good reason I can think of, other than that he was and is a righteous dude, dudes. And thus I always have a solid backup in the pit, though it’s rare to have to pit before the gun goes off, or even if it never does, since I haven’t raced since 2004.

Somehow this bike wound up with a 110mm, 6° Ritchey WCS stem, which is ridiculous for an inflexible elder of the geezer persuasion, and after a steady diet of shorter, taller stems (and frankly, fatter tires) I often found myself in my own way while horsing it around and about on the local singletrack.

Happily, I didn’t have an audience, it being a workday for the plebes. I like to be laughed at for a narrow selection of reasons, one of which is not the way I ride a ’cross bike on trails.

So, yeah. Yesterday morning I found a 100mm, 25° Giant stem in the parts bin and slapped that on. Boy, did that ever make a difference. It felt like a new bike, if I overlooked the crust of filth, the death-rattle of the beat-to-shit Shimano 600 rear derailleur, and a number of other oversights in dire need of correction.

Afterward, I patched the leak in Steelman No. 1’s front tube, because as any ’crosser will confirm, a pit with no spare bike is the pits.

Opportunity knocks, damply

October 23, 2018

Looking west from a floodplain east of Tramway.

I hit the sweet spot, which is to say the dry spot, on today’s ride.

The rain was pissing down at oh-dark-thirty when I sent Herself off to toil at Darth Perry’s Death Star, so I decided to eat a medium-heavy breakfast and wait it out.

Come 11 it was still gray and brisk outdoors, but the roads were mostly dry, so I kitted up, grabbed a fendered Soma Saga and a rain jacket, and logged an easy hour of spinning without incident. I even had the leisure to take a break and snap the pic up top.

Now that I’m home and full of lunch, it’s pissing down again. Winning! MASA!*

* Make Albuquerque Soggy Again.

Reynolds and rabbitbrush

October 22, 2018

Blue and yeller, ’crossin’ feller. The mango Steelman Eurocross is practically camo’ in the rabbitbrush until you lamp those electric-blue Mavic Open Pros.

Song of the wind

October 16, 2018

An east wind scours the Sandias (wind not pictured).

I decided against ’crossing it up today, and hoo-boy, was that ever a rare smart move.

The wind had its own idea of a good time, and I found myself grinding into the teeth of it aboard the Voodoo Nakisi, underdressed and overgeared.

If I’d been on a Steelman with its 36×28 low end I’d have turned around, I shit thee not. But the Voodoo has that 22T granny ring, and you bet your ass I was using it, early and often, as the cold wind raged from the northeast.

Working my way around the Elena Gallegos trails I encountered the occasional hiker bundled up like a sherpa summiting Everest. It wasn’t that cold by the numbers, maybe the mid-40s, but the wind was making a liar of the thermometer.

It reminded me of a ’cross I did back in Colorado, with the wind completely off the charts. Occasionally some poor sod would shoulder his bike for a run-up and get spun around like a weathervane.

I was surprised nobody got screwed right into the ground at that race. But it was probably frozen solid, and I remember how hard it was to pound in the rebar while setting up the barriers.

Meanwhile, back in ’Burque, the tailwind was so fierce on the homebound leg that I had to ride the brakes. True fact. I actually got home before I even started the ride and nearly ran into myself coming out the front door.