Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

How many moments in a day?

June 3, 2019

The Soma Double Cross in light-shopper configuration.

It being World Bicycle Day, I thought I’d go for a run, then do some light resistance training.

I’m funny that way. Maybe not.

Still, days, weeks, months, and years don’t much interest me. I’m more about moments.

Anyway, the run was delightful. Lots of flowers around and about, on cacti and elsewhere. Headwind out, tailwind home. It was already 71 degrees by the time I started pounding ground at 8:30 in the a.m., so when I got home and started lifting I actually had to crack a window on the shady side of the house, let a little cool air into the “gym.”

I did get out on a bike, eventually. Herself was out of rosé, and since no less an authority than the United Nations has described the bicycle as “a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation,” I decided to cycle up to the grocery to fetch some.

Rosé, not bicycles. Bicycles we got, and then some.

Didn’t see a single grizzly, but then I wasn’t on a mountain bike. Anyway, I was focused on the automobiles, which are a good deal more numerous than grizzlies and even deadlier.

Speaking of deadly, there was a time when Apple could’ve nailed me with a new Mac Pro. But this ain’t it. Doing my little bit of business with one of these bad boys would be like using Thor’s Mjölnir as a tack hammer.

Masi! Gesundheit!

May 24, 2019

The Masi Speciale Randonneur, up against the Wall of Science.

There’s a new bike in the house: a Masi Speciale Randonneur.

It’s one of them there newfangled “sport touring all-road bikes,” but you don’t gotta plug it in at night. 650b x 47 rubber. Columbus Cromor tubes. Three sets of bottle bosses and the usual rack and fender mounts, plus fenders to go with ’em.

If I can beat back these allergies its maiden voyage will be tomorrow. Yesterday I felt like I’d been tear-gassed. Today I squeezed about eight hours out of a Claritin-D 12 Hour, which if my math is correct falls about four hours short of getting ’er done.

Benvenuto

May 22, 2019

The support vehicle for your own personal Giro d’Italia. Photo courtesy CycleItalia/Piedmont Cycling Resort

Don Lorenzo reminds us that Piedmont Cycling Resort is open for business.

“Our support car is all set up and we’re waiting for you,” he sez, sez he, he sez.

The skilled, savvy and strong lads and lassies who frequent this dive don’t need no steenkeeng sag wagon, of course.

Still, it’s nice to know that someone has your back in case your legs go walkabout.

Full Lycra Jacket

May 20, 2019

Souvenirs of the 2019 Santa Fe Century. I should’ve gotten 666 for a bib number, but the organization has apparently forgotten about me.

The dozens of balloons dotting the western sky looked like fat exclamation points, the kind that nmroads.com uses for traffic alerts, as I swooped down Tramway toward Interstate 25 and the Santa Fe Century.

It was too bloody early, the weather was screwy, and I had no idea what I’d need in the way of kit to do a rolling 50-miler south of the City Different. So I brought everything, and in some cases two of everything.

And as usual, I chose unwisely.

In my defense, the menu was extensive. Short-sleeve and long-sleeve jerseys. Bib shorts and bib knickers. Tights. Leg warmers (two pair). Arm warmers (likewise). Knee warmers. Low-rise and high-rise socks. Full-finger and short-finger gloves. Bandana and tuque. Even a light jacket, the need for which often causes me to leave the jacket hanging in the closet and the bike in the garage while I skulk about the house, muttering to myself around mouthfuls of this and that.

Decisions, decisions.

In the end, when I linked up with Khal, Pat and Andy at the start-finish, they were all wearing jackets. Uh oh. It being far too late for me to stay indoors and eat everything, I likewise pulled on a jacket, along with bib shorts, leg warmers, high-rise socks, long-sleeve under-jersey, and short-sleeve Mad Dog Media jersey, dragging a pair of arm warmers over the under-jersey’s sleeves because (a) they give you that two long-sleeve-jerseys’ worth of warmth, and (2) they are a lot easier to pull off and stuff in a pocket than an actual long-sleeve jersey.

I started with the tuque and full-finger gloves because I hate cold ears and hands the way Darth Cheeto hates anyone who doesn’t have his butt on their breath, but carried the bandana and short-finger gloves just in case it warmed up.

Which it did. And in short order I filled up my jersey pockets with jacket, arm warmers and full-finger gloves. I’d have stuffed the tuque and leg warmers in there too, but the trunk was full. So nobody got to see my black Evil socks, white calves, and commie-red bandana. Shoulda done knickers, short sleeves, arm warmers and headrag. But as you know, I will never be smart.

One Mad Dog deserves another. Photo: Khal S.

The ride itself, you ask? I’d call it an unqualified success. The wind wasn’t really a bother until the very end. The roads were in much better condition than I recall from my glory days pounding out the kilometers with the Sangre de Cristo Cycling Club. And, unlike some of our fellow cyclists, we suffered no punctures, mechanicals or painful get-offs.

For my money, when all was said and done, Andy and Pat took the top two steps on the podium. Andy and his wife, Liz, flew from the flats of Florida to southern Arizona to meet up with Pat and his wife, Sandy, and then the four of them drove the 500 miles from Sierra Vista to Santa Fe — the day before the lads were to tackle a 50-miler at altitude with 2,485 feet of elevation gain.

Oof.

Khal gets the bronze for eating the lion’s share of the wind out there, along with a few kilos of PB&J. He scored bonus points for getting a post-ride blog post up most ricky-tick, and for snapping a photo of me when I yelled, “Hey!”, pulled off the road just before Lamy Hill, and pointed to the Maddog Drive sign.

And a note for anyone planning to race the Iron Horse on Saturday? I’d bring the jacket. Just sayin’.

Dialing it back

May 18, 2019

This is not a century, though it often took as long. This is the fabled 115 ride from Bibleburg to Penrose and back, circa 1995.

I can’t remember the last time I rode an organized century.

Back when I was a man, instead of whatever it is that I am now, I rode ’em alla damn time. I rode them sonsabitches the way Beelzebozo tells lies, which is to say regularly and rapidly, with no thought of the morrow.

The Hardscrabble Century out of Florence, Colorado, was my favorite. That one I’ve done as a 100-mile road ride and as a 100km mountain bike loop.

But I’ve also ridden the Front Range Century, the Tour of the Rio Grande Valley, and of course the Santa Fe Century.

In 1990, I rode the Hardscrabble with my burro-racing buddy Hal Walter. It took around five hours — Hal could and can do pretty much anything off the couch, but 100 miles is a long way for an occasional cyclist, no matter how fit.

I had a ton of racing miles under my bibs and thought I could have done it a half hour quicker — I finished in 4:49 in 1988 — but I just dialed it back and enjoyed the ride.

Three decades later, enjoying the ride is what I hope to do tomorrow at the Santa Fe Century. I’m only doing the half, with Friends of the Blog Khal S. and Pat O’B., plus Pat’s nephew, who is visiting from Florida.

And I’m not expecting to post a time for the ages.

I rode the full century in under five hours in 1989 and ’91, but that was long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, when the Force was strong in this one. The Farce has since taken charge, and it’s not at all the same thing.

But I am delighted to be doing the half, which veers off the 100-mile route well short of Madrid, which is hosting a two-day drunkathon this weekend.

Back when I was a man, instead of whatever it is I am now, I might have chosen the beer over the bike.

But like I said, long time ago, etc. et al., and so on and so forth. Now it’s the legs that hurt afterward, not the head.

I’m so tired

May 15, 2019

The Soma Shikoro, named for the neck guard on a samurai’s helmet.

The Nobilette finally has some “new” rubber.

I call it “new,” but these 700×33 Soma Shikoros have been laying doggo in the garage for the better part of quite some time. I only just now got around to clamping ’em onto a pair of hoops.

They’re a pretty skinny 33mm. At 60/65 psi I make ’em more like 31mm. But they have a nice round profile, are armored from bead to bead to fend off the nasties, and went on smoove like butta.

As you can see I’ve already had them in the soft stuff, and they performed adequately, but then “soft,” like “new” and “33mm,” is relative. We’ve had an unusual amount of rain and the trails are nicely packed (where they’re not rutted all to shitaree).

You can get the Shikoro in 700×23, 28, 33, 38 and 42, steel or Kevlar bead, and in a 700×48 tubeless edition.

Just what the e-doctor ordered

May 13, 2019

I’m shocked, shocked, that some people seem to believe that e-bikes are the modern equivalent of the philosopher’s stone.

This just in: E-bikes cure* Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, post-nasal drip, gout, piles, dandruff, denture breath, and the heartbreak of psoriasis (Christ, you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy, c’mon, c’mon).

* You will note the caveat buried deep in the piece: “(A)ttaining these health benefits requires tackling the problem of poor street design and infrastructure in America. Everything from high speed limits to wide roads to light timing that prioritizes the flow of vehicles poses a threat to older people walking in their communities … and also creates barriers to people participating in cycling.”

Bull in a China shop

May 10, 2019

There’s a new tariff in town.

MAGA, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. I’d speculate as to whether Art O. DeDeal is trying to croak the bike biz because of the relentless roasting I’ve given him, but he doesn’t know Schwinn from Shinola.

He apparently wants everyone else to lose money the way he did.

So. Much. Winning.

The ‘best’ cities for bikes?

May 7, 2019

I’ve lived in all three of these cities. I didn’t ride much in Tucson, because I lived way out north on Orange Grove Road, and it was hotter than hell. Swimming was my primary activity down there. Well, to be strictly accurate, swimming was tertiary, behind drinking beer and eating Mexican food.

People for Bikes has released its annual list of the best U.S. cities and towns for cycling, and once again Colorado leads the way, taking the top two steps on the podium (Boulder and Fort Collins). Eugene, Ore., snagged the bronze.

My old hometown of Bibleburg managed 12th, while the Duke City rolled in with the laughing group at … 240th?

I’m not a data nerd, but speaking as someone who has logged a few thousand miles per annum in both Bibleburg and ’Burque, I can’t say that I see such a vast cycling-quality chasm between the two. Your mileage may vary, of course.

The kicker may be that these city ratings reward “rapid progress.” Sayeth the People for Bikes: “We recognize hardworking cities that are implementing quick-building techniques to improve biking in their city.”

I haven’t hit the streets in Bibleburg lately to gauge their progress toward velo-nirvana, and maybe ’Burque is stuck on New Mexico Standard Time. We’ve been kind of busy being unemployed and killing each other lately.

But my admittedly casual observation is that we have about four times as many bike paths and trails, a metric shit-ton of cyclists of all types, more bike shops than you can shake a pedal wrench at, plus a considerably larger number of people commuting by bicycle and better weather to do it in.

And the annual BikeABQ bike swap crushes it. Two of Herself’s friends bought bikes there over the weekend, we sold one, and former BRAIN tech editor and first-time seller Matt Wiebe said the swap was bigger than he had expected.

Where does your hometown land on the list, and how does its ranking fit with your own observations? Sound off in comments.

Share-cropping

April 28, 2019

The famous Flying Pigeon. As opposed to the other sort of pigeon, which finds itself with empty pockets and no job, and has to walk home.

Some pigeons fly.

Others, not so much.