Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

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

 

Sixty-two … something

March 28, 2016
The proof is in the pudding ... or, in this case, on the Cateye.

The proof is in the pudding … or, in this case, on the Cateye.

Well, I didn’t manage 62 miles on my birthday. Nor did I ride 62 kilometers.

How’s 62 minutes sound to you?

Yeah, sounds that way to me, too.

But this morning I managed a run that lasted exactly half that time, and I reckon that’s the equivalent of 62 minutes on the bike. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

It wasn’t an entirely unproductive birthday. My burro-racing pal Hal Walter has expressed interest in doing a podcast, so I broke out all the old hardware and software and gave myself a refresher course in Podcasting 101.

Everything still works — though what Apple has done to GarageBand while I was otherwise occupied is matched only by what they’ve done to iMovie — and we may do a short test run tomorrow, if time, Skype and Call Recorder permit.

If we actually manage to slap something together, I’ll give you the 411 on the sumbitch. Expect it to be heavy on the works of Jim Harrison.

Old, not dead

March 21, 2016
My 1995 DBR Axis TT still sports a little bit of Bibleburg here and there.

My 1995 DBR Axis TT still sports a little bit of Bibleburg here and there.

Daylight-saving time is still messing with my mojo.

I’m not a morning person by nature, but I do like getting my daily exercise in early-ish. But since the early-ish temps have been a little brisk lately, I’ve been waiting until afternoon to crack a sweat — my least favorite time for that sort of thing.

Still, there’s no denying that it’s warmer at 3 p.m. than it is at 10 a.m. And apparently I’m not the only person who likes it that way, because by the time I hit the trail on the old DBR mountain bike yesterday everybody and his grandma was out there, too.

The only decal on the Axis TT.

The only decal on the Axis TT.

I hadn’t ridden this bike in, like, forever — it still sports some reddish mud that may come from the Monument Valley Park trail back in Bibleburg — and it took some getting used to. If you consume a steady diet of rigid, drop-bar, disc-brake 29ers, well, a front-suspension, flat-bar, V-brake 26er is gonna feel a little weird.

And I was never much of a mountain biker anyway. Ask anyone who ever saw me ride one.

So, anyway, after dodging a metric shit-ton of oblivious pedestrians, off-the-leash dogs and other mobile speed bumps, and nearly stuffing it in a tight, downhill, left-hand corner, I said to hell with it and headed for home.

Rolling toward Piedra Lisa I pulled to the side of the trail to accommodate yet another parade of folks, this time a string of mountain bikers, and one said, “Hey, nice Diamondback!”

Dude either knows his vintage machinery or has the telescopic vision of a young Superman, because the only identifying decal on my 1995 DBR Axis TT is at the base of the seat tube, and its only remaining stock bits are the AC crankset and XT derailleurs.

Speaking of bike bits, Nick Legan, the tech editor for Adventure Cyclist, has a new blog going when he has a moment to catch his breath. You should check it out.

 

Spring, forward!

March 14, 2016
The wide shoulders on Tramway, coupled with its dearth of spotlights (one at the top, one at the casino, and one at the bottom), make it a popular hill with the Duke City peloton.

The wide shoulders on Tramway, coupled with its dearth of spotlights (one at the top, one at the casino, and one at the bottom), make it a popular hill with the Duke City peloton.

Daylight-saving time always cleans my mental clock. You wouldn’t think that surrendering just one of 24 hours would be so much of a much, but every year it leaves me a bubble or two off plumb for a few days.

“A few days.” Heh. I hear you snickering out there.

Herself celebrated another lap around the sun on Saturday, so we went out to dinner at Scalo Northern Italian Grill before having our REMs rerouted for … for what, exactly? I forget. Drowsy for some reason.

Then, on Sunday, she ran and vacuumed, and I mowed and rode. With no new review bikes in the Adventure Cyclist queue until St. Patrick’s Day, once again it was Ride Your Own Damn’ Bike Day®, this time the Soma Saga Disc. Nothing special, just a ride down Tramway to the Sandia Resort & Casino and back, with a digression into the honky-chateau ‘hood of High Desert for some light extra-credit climbing.

All in all, a pleasant diversion from the endless goose-stepping through the media by Il Douche, who’s simultaneously expanding and contracting the boundaries of the First Amendment by (a) offering to pay the legal bills of anyone who assaults a protester at one of his Nuremberg rallies, and (2) ordering the laws to arrest not the assailants, but rather the victims.

It’s a wonderful country, to be sure. Last time I saw a big sack of stale air making this much bad noise a red-headed dude in a kilt was involved.

TGIF

March 11, 2016
The Bianchi Zurigo Disc is just the thing for the Elena Gallegos trails.

The Bianchi Zurigo Disc is just the thing for the Elena Gallegos trails.

I only had one chore today — get the groceries — so I spent the better part of the late morning/early afternoon horsing the Bianchi Zurigo Disc around and about in the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

You don’t want to be doing that on a weekend, no sir; it’s like a Lycra anthill in there. But during bidness hours on a weekday, oh my yes, especially if the temps are sneaking up on 70.

The Zurigo handles these rocky, sandy trails just fine, especially considering that it’s an alloy bike, the only one in the fleet. The carbon fork helps, as do the 38mm tires.

But I’m thinking I may follow Pat O’B’s lead and slap some TRP Spyres on the sumbitch. Those Avid BB5s make more bad noise than a GOP debate scored for air hammer and busted chainsaw.

 


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