Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

Wreck on the highway

July 2, 2016
Say hi to Sam Hillborne.

Say hi to Sam Hillborne.

The first day of what appears to be a very long Tour de France is in the bag. Thanks to everyone who joined us at Live Update Guy. And chapeau to Mark Cavendish, who avoided a last-kilometer pileup — one of several on the day — to win the stage and take his first yellow jersey.

Too, a special “ow, wow, yow, zow” goes out to everyone who hit the deck on Stage 1. The body count would seem to include — well, just about everyone except for Cav’, me and Charles Pelkey (office furniture and road furniture rarely become entangled).

Alberto Contador in particular looked like he’d been attacked by a deranged chef with an assault cheese grater. One wonders whether he’ll have to be strapped onto his bike, El Cid-style, in order to start Sunday’s stage.

I wasn’t strapped to a damn thing when I rolled out for my own ride, aboard a brand-spankin’-new Rivendell Sam Hillborne (see pic above). No clipless pedals on that bad boy, not even toeclips and straps — just flats. So I rode in street shoes, baggies, an emblem-free Pearl Izumi jersey and a Rivendell cap unencumbered by helmet, just to make the Safety Nazis crazy. Took ‘er out on the highway, too.

I wish I could change this sad story that I am now telling you. But there is no way I can change it. For somebody’s ride is now through.

Vuelta a Voodoo

July 1, 2016
No, this isn't deep in the Amazonian jungle. This is Trail 341, just west of the non-bikeable wilderness.

No, this isn’t deep in the Amazonian jungle. This is Trail 341, just west of the non-bikeable wilderness.

The first ride of July is in the bag — 90 minutes on the trails surrounding the Elena Gallegos Open Space — and now I will shun the singletrack until the Fourth of July weekend is over. From now until Tuesday morning the trails will look like the aisles at Interbike on day one.

I was rocking the old Voodoo Nakisi with slightly overinflated tires to avoid pinch flats and rolls (I really need wider rims) and despite my best efforts managed to (a) keep the rubber side down, and (2) avoid centerpunching a small flock of early-bird weekenders.

Tomorrow Counselor Pelkey and I commence coverage of Le Tour over to Live Update Guy. We struggled mightily with the notion of cranking up the NRRBBB® Machine again — frankly, I was advocating a LUG-free July — but in the end we decided to bite that big yellow bullet and see if it blows our heads off. See you there.

Mooned again

June 28, 2016
Morning, moon.

Morning, moon.

I knew yesterday would be a lovely day when I stepped outside with The Boo and saw the moon fraternizing with the foliage.

“Oh my,” said I, or something very much unlike that.

Near the top of the La Cueva picnic area.

Near the top of the La Cueva picnic area.

I had planned a longish road ride but burned a little too much cool daylight early on, walking The Boo while it was not yet scorching, watering plants, and viewing with alarm (the Limeys appear to be having Bregrets over Brexit). Those folks need a king, or at the very least a leader who hasn’t got shit all over him.

So do we, come to think of it.

Anyway, instead of logging four hours of saddle suffering, I spent about half that time climbing hills in the ‘hood, and that was just fine.

There’s not a lot of velo-traffic on a Monday, so I’m spared the stony “What are you doing on my road?” looks from the shaven-legged set. The four-wheeled traffic is up, but that’s fairly easy to dodge if you know the roads and there aren’t any three-time losers behind the wheel with a nearly empty 30-pack of Busch for company.

“She’s just really having a hard time in jail,” says her lawyer. Hey, counselor, that’s why they call it “jail” instead of “happy hour.”

Today is looking less bicycle-friendly, alas. I’m wrapping my print and video reviews of the Velo-Orange Piolet and sending the bike back to its owner; collecting a Rivendell Sam Hillborne, the next bike up for evaluation; thinking about my next column and cartoon for BRAIN (thank the suffering Christ that we go back to monthly publication after two more issues); and hitting the grocery.

I need some brain food (no, not BRAIN food, brain food). Looks like Counselor Pelkey and I will be calling the Tour de France over at Live Update Guy, if we can find some ether to spray in the carb and a couple rattle-cans of yellow Rustoleum.

 

Trail blazing

June 20, 2016
The Paseo del Bosque makes a nice change from riding Tramway.

The Paseo del Bosque makes a nice change from riding Tramway.

Summer has announced itself with some authority here in the Duke City.

The temperature was in the 70s at El Rancho Pendejo before I finished my morning java, and hit the 80s before I left for the daily ride at 9-ish.

This little fella was trying to make the irrigation ditch before some earbudded triathlete did him in.

This little fella was trying to make the irrigation ditch before some earbudded triathlete did him in.

Too late, you say? Yep. ‘Cause I was enjoying 90-something in hour three of today’s little outing, which took me down to the Paseo del Bosque Trail, through downtown, and then home via the North Diversion Channel and Bear Canyon Arroyo trails.

It was an eventful day. I saw bison grazing on Sandia land along Tramway; a small tortoise trying to cross the bosque trail (I gave him a hand); ducks paddling underneath the Interstate 40 bridge over the Rio; and a dude on a skateboard pushing a canoe on wheels.

I am not making that last part up.

“Interesting way to get around,” sez I.

“Hey, it works,” sez he. And so it did.

I should’ve snapped a picture, because I’m not entirely sure I actually saw it. It was hot out there.

• Addendum: I’m not sure I saw this either. I can’t wait to hear the good constitutionalists out there screeching about activist judges (cue the crickets).

Well, well, well. …

May 27, 2016
"There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day."

“There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’tcha know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day.”

Charles “Live Update Guy” Pelkey and I were discussing anniversaries the other day, and I was reminded that I’ve been working in my chosen profession for nearly 39 years now; 40, if you count the time I spent as a copy boy at the Colorado Springs Sun back in 1974.

No wonder I fail to amuse myself now and then.

This week was one of those times. Mornings spent working the Giro at Live Update Guy. Back-to-back ship dates at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, which meant I had to crank out two “Mad Dog Unleashed” columns and two “Shop Talk” cartoons in two weeks. And two bike reviews ongoing for Adventure Cyclist. Thousands and thousands of words.

There are harder ways to earn your biscuits and beans — for example, maglia rosa Steven Kruijswijk went ass over teakettle into a snowbank coming off the Cima Coppi in today’s Giro stage — but nevertheless, now and then it feels very much like work.

Other things take a back seat. Cooking (lots of cold suppers lately). Chores (you should see the laundry pile). Cycling (I went for a 45-minute run yesterday because I was sick of bicycles).

And this blog, of course.

In “A Moveable Feast,” Ernest Hemingway wrote of a line he refused to cross:

“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

I’m no Hemingway. I don’t write novels, or short stories; I don’t even do journalism anymore, not really. More of a rumormonger, actually.

But still, damn. I look in the bottom of the well lately and all I see are rusty pesos, a couple of dead silverfish, and … and. …

Say, is that the bullet that killed Vince Foster down there?

The Sandia Blues

May 18, 2016
The Sandias from La Cueva Picnic Area.

The Sandias from La Cueva Picnic Area.

The May weather has weirded up on us here in Dog Country. The folks up Santa Fe way got a shit-pot full of hail the other day, and yesterday we enjoyed the sort of winds that ordinarily are restricted to Wyoming. Plus rain.

But nobody in his right mind who lives in a desert bitches about rain. This adage may or may not apply to me.

Going up. ...

Going up. …

I got a nice little ride in Monday on the Rivendell Joe Appaloosa, grunting my way up to La Cueva Picnic Area off Tramway.

Tuesday looked ugly, and I had a bunch of things to do, so I went for a short run early before the winds got busy.

But as it turns out I might have been better served by riding yesterday, ’cause today is one gray, chilly, breezy sumbitch.

Maybe I’ll deploy a cyclo-cross bike and chase myself around Piedra Lisa for a bit.

Or maybe I’ll just stay inside and try to make me some hay while the sun ain’t shining.

Finally, Friday

May 6, 2016

 

Looking west from the North Diversion Channel Trail from the saddle of the Soma Double Cross.

Looking west from the North Diversion Channel Trail from the saddle of the Soma Double Cross.

Friday? Already? ‘Bout fuggin’ time, is what.

It seems to have been an active week. Ace shooter Casey B. Gibson blew through town en route to the Tour of the Gila and we got together at El Bruno’s to eat chile and wonder why all these sullen young punks are moping around on our lawns. Mister Boo continues to have a leaky faucet. One deadline was confirmed and another beaten into submission, if barely. Call it a TKO.

The old DBR Axis TT takes five along Trail 365, a few miles southeast of El Rancho Pendejo.

The old DBR Axis TT takes five along Trail 365, a few miles southeast of El Rancho Pendejo.

The Giro d’Italia got under way, but not without a hiccup at Live Update Guy.

The software pulled a Rip Van Wankel on us and Consigliere Pelkey had to deploy the Taser to encourage vigorous if financially unrewarding activity.

Hey, it was a 9.8km time trial; no wonder the 1s and 0s nodded off, along with most of what proved to be a very small audience.

And there was healthful outdoor exercise. Various elements of the Universe conspired against my fitness regimen for much of April, but May is off to a better start — this week I’ve logged two runs and three rides, all of which featured old bikes, blue skies and tailwinds home.

This afternoon I required a short nap on the sofa for some reason. Happily, The Boo needed a snooze, too, and he kept it corked, which I call progress.

Every silver lining has a dark cloud, of course, and ours at the moment is the aforementioned wind — a thunderous gale that has triggered a wind advisory, a red-flag warning and my allergies.

P’raps Der Trumpenführer is giving an address somewhere? That would explain all this hot air.

 

 

José, can you see?

April 15, 2016
José Appaloosa enjoying the view from the upper end of Tramway.

José Appaloosa enjoying the view from the upper end of Tramway.

Busy, busy, busy: And just think, I’m not even at Aqua Rat in Monterey, where all the action is.

For instance, scope out Richard Masoner’s shots of the 2017 Masi Speciale Randonneur, one of them with down-tube shifters. Verrry nice, except for those death-dealing disc brakes, which even St. Eddy and the UCI have deemed a tool of Satan.

Me, I’ve been fooling around with a Rivendell Joe Appaloosa, and a very nice machine it is, too. No down-tube shifters, but thumbshifters, and a handlebar so upright and swept back that you can see yourself coming from miles away.

None of them devilish discs, neither. Tektro V-brakes, thank you very much. In point of fact, the José is so retro I had to buy myself a hipsterish red-plaid shirt to ride around in (the baggy shorts I already own). When aboard the USS José Appaloosa the uniform of the day is very much not the skintight Lycra.

Riding a bike with nice grippy V-brakes reminded me of how much I still dislike the Shimano cantilevers on my Soma Double Cross, and in a fit of pique I pulled them off, planning to replace them with the Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis on a Steelman Eurocross that I haven’t been riding much.

I forget how old these Spookys are ... probably nearly as old as the bike they now adorn.

I forget how old these Spookys are … probably nearly as old as the bike they now adorn.

Alas, it turned out that the Paul’s are in need of maintenance … a missing O-ring here, a scored brake pivot there, and some really old pads — and thus I found myself staring at two brakeless bikes to no particular purpose.

Then, eureka! I remembered having an old set of barely used Spooky cantis with Kool-Stop pads squirreled away in a box somewhere in the garage. And soon, hey presto! They were on the Steelman, because black and red are the key components of the Mad Dog livery. And off I went for another installment of Ride Your Own Damn Bike Day.

 

 

Tramway-Roubaix

April 11, 2016
The crowds were sparse at the 2016 Tramway-Roubaix.

The crowds were sparse at the 2016 Tramway-Roubaix.

After Charles Pelkey and I wrapped up Live Update Guy’s coverage of Paris-Roubaix yesterday I pedaled off for my own little adventure.

See the cobbles off to the right there alongside Tramway? Those are the rare Duke City mini-cobbles. Some people might call ’em “gravel,” but they’re really cobbles. Itty bitty cobbles. You can trust me. I’m in the media.

 

A brisk spin

March 29, 2016