Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

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.”

Inspecting The Fleet

March 26, 2019

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff takes a break so a herd of young dudes can shred the gnar without rear-ending some poky senior citizen.

Being at liberty, more or less, with all my paying chores completed, I’m riding my way through The Fleet as something of a palate-cleanser. Sure beats riding a desk.

First up was the Voodoo Nakisi, which is overdue for an little love. Brake pads at the minimum; chainrings, chain, cassette, wheels and brake calipers at the maximum. The last two items I have on hand. Decisions, decisions. …

Unzip over to Voler to join the team! Use the Secret Code (OLDGUYS15) to get 15% off your purchase. And no, goddamnit, for the last time, it does not come with fries!

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff has gotten out three times in the past week, and it needs tires. The old Geax AKA 29×2.0 rubber is not getting ’er done on the Duke City trails. They’re heavy and not particularly solid in the loose stuff, which in the absence of precipitation is pretty much everywhere, especially in the scary bits.

I saw a dude on a plus rig nearly slide right off the oh-shit side of a sketchy descent yesterday because he couldn’t find any traction. I like traction.

Today it’s the Bianchi Zurigo. This 55cm aluminum-and-carbon rig is a little small for me but I like it anyway. Or I did like it. It’s been a while since we’ve been out together.

Today’s high is supposed to hit the low 70s. I find that hard to believe. Still, I had to peel off the arm warmers yesterday and was wishing I’d worn shorts instead of knickers, so spring must finally be here.

Until it isn’t, of course. Never trust a sunny day.

Stand down

March 23, 2019

His Excellency scans The Compound for unauthorized personnel.

Huh. I’ve actually managed to accomplish a few things lately. Go figure.

My April cartoon has been delivered to BRAIN. And my review of the Salsa Journeyman Claris 650 — print version and its two-minute video teaser — is all but complete; I’m just waiting for some Salsoid to answer a couple of questions about spec.

Unzip over to Voler to join the team! Use the Secret Code (OLDGUYS15) to get 15% off your purchase. And no, goddamnit, for the last time, it does not come with fries!

Two other review bikes have been shipped back to their respective motherships, greatly enhancing velocipede-storage capacity in the garage.

Sue Barue, The Fearsome Furster, has passed her annual checkup and had a brace of new window gussets installed, so maybe I’ll be able to hear the stereo again.

The cats have been given a vigorous spring airing. Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) inspected the perimeter yesterday and collected samples of this year’s grass crop for scientific analysis, the results of which were displayed on the living-room carpet this morning. Miss Mia Sopaipilla took up her station in the clothes dryer, and reported that for reasons unknown the lint filter seems to be full of cat hair.

And now I have exactly fuck-all to do. Nobody’s sending me to Taiwan, or Sea Otter, I won’t have a cartoon due until mid-April, and I’m fresh out of review bikes.

So I guess I’ll just have to ride one of my own. Sucks to be me.