Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

Water under the bridge

July 27, 2019

This bridge over the Albuquerque Riverside Drain is just off the Paseo del Bosque bike trail south of Interstate 40.

There was a little water running on Thursday’s 66km ride down to the bosque and back, so I could feel the Tour’s pain when Friday’s stage got its icy wings clipped and today’s was likewise heavily edited, basically dialed down to a 33km, mass-start uphill time trial.

“See, Frenchy, if you keep your water in ditches it won’t make a mess of your bike races.”

Here in ’Merica, happily, we restrict our water to ditches so that it does not interfere with our bikey rideys. Because freedom.

Also, moreover, furthermore, and too, we have air conditioning to take the edge off those 110° days.

The “monsoons” are in session here at the moment, and so far the precip’ has been arriving around dinnertime, which is nearly as good as keeping it in ditches. Open the doors and windows and let the fresh air in.

Meanwhile, somebody else threw the doors open and then bolted right on through. Congress just beat feet for a six-week recess. And “recess” seems just the word for this cluster of kindergartners, though the exodus leaves the biggest toddler of them without any supervision, however childish.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “For Sale” sign pop up outside the White House.

Whoops. Too late.

Screwed again

July 21, 2019

Neither sealant nor lip balm will keep you rolling after you collect one of these bad boys in your tire.

You know what doesn’t give a shit about whether you have sealant in your tubes?

A big-ass screw, that’s what.

I collected this sonofabitch in the rear tire this morning at the bottom of the Tramway descent, just after I’d crossed under Interstate 25 and hung a left on the Pan American Freeway near Balloon Fiesta Parkway.

I heard a short clatter, then a “tick … tick … tick” that told me I’d picked up a hitchhiker, and so I pulled over to have a look-see.

“Th’ fuck’s this, a thumbtack?” I muttered, and then gave it a tug.

Spooge! Fwissssssssh. Phhbbbllllllllffff.

Seriously, it was like one of those volcano projects from junior high. Or Bluto’s zit imitation in “Animal House.”

And of course, it had to be the rear tire, on the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, so called for the Rohloff hub on (wait for it) the rear wheel.

What are the chances of picking up something like this in a bicycle tire? If you’re me, 100 percent.

Did I mention the Gates belt? Yeah, it has one of those, too.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had to deal with a flat of any kind on this bike, which is a testament to its Geax AKA 29 x 2.0 tires. But this fucking screw might’ve given even Superman a hitch in his gitalong if he ever happened to be afoot in Albuquerque.

As I was, on a scorching Sunday morning, hoofing it along the shoulder of the Pan American, looking for a shady spot and trying to remember how to remove and replace the rear wheel on a Rohloff/Gates-equipped bike, a chore I last performed in a workstand at Chez Dog in Bibleburg back in … 2012?

Lucky me, I found a bus bench with a sun shade at Balloon Fiesta Parkway. And then I set about rooting through the ol’ mental hard drive.

Lessee here: Shift into 14th gear. Break out a nickel to loosen the thumbscrew holding the cable box to the hub. Remove the cable box. Open the quick-release lever. Remove the wheel. Bingo.

The bus bench had a convenient trash can that made an excellent workstand to hold the bike while I swapped tubes (just affix rear dropouts to rim of can).

Reinstalling the wheel proved a tad more challenging. Unlike a chain, a Gates belt isn’t a greasy mess. But it kept wanting to hop off the crank or the sprocket as I tried to mate hub with dropouts and brake rotor with calipers. Lacking a hammer, I was compelled to employ patience, which is always in short supply among the Irish.

After a few tries, the belt surrendered, I closed the QR, snapped the cable box back into place, screwed it down finger-tight in case I lost my nickel at the casino on the way back, and hey presto! I had all 14 gears and a slightly soft rear tire (about 30 psi, as it turned out, despite my best efforts with my thousand-year-old Blackburn minipump). That was enough to get home.

And a good thing, too, ’cause I only had the one spare tube. One more flat and it was the patch kit for Your Humble Narrator.

Now how’s that work again? Lessee here. …

What is hip?

July 12, 2019

What a pain in the ass.

No joke. A couple hours after Monday’s short run and a bit of light resistance training I found myself in the hurt locker, with big pain in the right hip and a limp that would have done credit to a drunken pirate with a poorly made peg leg navigating a wet deck in heavy seas.

IT band? Hip flexor? Psoas? I suspect the latter, because I’d been having some low-grade back issues a couple of days previous. Anyway, being manly, and also stupid, I rode on Tuesday, and felt kinda-sorta OK on the bike, but not so much off it.

So I prescribed myself a couple days of rest, some ibuprofen, and a hefty dose of work on my Masi Speciale Randonneur review for Adventure Cyclist.

Just because I will never be smart doesn’t mean I have to keep being stupid.

The good news is, all this drew my attention away from the news, which is taking on overtones of a Jeffrey Dahmer-Ted Bundy buddy pic scripted by Josef Mengele and directed by the Marquis de Sade. That Dealie McDealio is up to his saggy man-boobs in some of the worst of it should surprise absolutely no one.

The late Jim Harrison noted more than once that politicians are prone to shitting through their mouths. And boy, am I ever glad I’m not paid to catalog every turd that falls from this fool’s face.

• Extra-Credit Tower of Power: The eternal question, and more, from NPR’s Tiny Desk.

Tour de Fence

July 7, 2019

The Sandias as seen from the bottom of Elena, near the casino.

My invitation to Le Tour having gone missing in the mail, I’ve been compelled to ride my own damn bikes around and about in the Duke City.

The high side of the circuit, before dropping down to casino country and then climbing back up.

Between outings I’ve checked in with my old Live Update Guy comrade Charles Pelkey, who is sending his daughter Annika off to Iowa today. She’ll be working for Mayor Pete. No word yet on which horse Chazbo is backing.

In other news, my man Casey B. Gibson did a little surprise gallery for that Boulder-based journal of competitive whatever whose name eludes me. Seems they needed pix from road nats in Tennessee, Casey had them, and that, as they say, was that. Money even changed hands, which is always nice when one is on the job.

Another member of the tribe, Andrew Hood, is the only one of us actually on the scene in France. It being a slow day (team time trial) I joggled his elbow for old times’ sake to see what’s what. No reply yet, because The Hoodlum is a total pro — on the clock, doing the beez-a-neez, and probably not even into the rosé yet.

Meanwhile, The Guardian is doing a live update this year, and it’s not half bad. They’re kicking the shit out of Cyclingnews. I may have to pass them a few of the millions I’ve banked from my stints at Live Update Guy.

De ’bate, boss! De ’bate!

June 26, 2019

Heading west on Meadow, which kicks off the mostly downhill run to Tijeras.

Welcome to “Fantasy Island,” with a side of “Survivor.”

A couple fantasies should get voted off the island after tonight’s Democratic “debate.”

I steeled myself for the ordeal yesterday by riding the New Mexico Touring Society’s Frost Road Loop, which was something of a spin down Memory Lane. It includes a few bits from the old state road championships circuit, where in 1991 Your Humble Narrator took second in the Masters 35 race after a late crash took out all of the serious contenders save for Laurence Malone (yes, that Laurence Malone).

Yesterday I finished first, Laurence Malone being elsewhere, along with everyone else. I’m still waiting for my gold medal, bouquet, and podium ceremony, though.

My take on the Frost Road Loop was a 40-mile round trip from El Rancho Pendejo, with a couple thousand feet of vertical gain, and it made for a nice change of pace from my usual rides, though NM 14 is under construction through much of Cedar Crest, the Old Route 66 shoulder was slathered in debris and gravel past Zuzax and Tijeras, and the wind — de wind, boss, de wind! — was much in evidence on the homebound leg because I got the traditional late start.

I think we had a little pollen-and-smoke action going on, too, because the snotlocker and eyeballs were grumbling a bit afterward. Not as much as they will be tonight, though. This “debate” is liable to be hard on the nose, eyes and ears.

El Gran Furúnculo

June 22, 2019

I ride this …

… so I can get to this.

Hijo, madre. I had forgotten that the inaugural GFNY Fanta Se is mañana.

Looks like it uses some of the old Sangre de Cristo Cycling Club Championship course in addition to the Santa Fe Hill Climb course.

And it sure should be interesting, given the amount of climbing, the quality of the air this weekend, and the temperament of the local motorists more or less year-round.

I’ll take a page from “The Milagro Beanfield War” on this one: “I’m not saying it’s good, I’m not saying it’s bad. Let’s just wait and see what happens.”

Just ’cause it’s Sunday doesn’t mean drivers will have Jesus in their hearts.

Here’s the official website.

Happy solstice?

June 21, 2019

This is what the Foothills air looks like when it’s not full of imported particulates.

The air is definitely a tad chewy around here today on the first day of summer.

The Woodbury Fire in Arizona is sharing its smoke, a little treat we asthmatics can do without. I took a couple peeks out various windows, and cracked the front door for a nanosecond, and that was that. None of the old bikey ridey for Your Humble Narrator, not today.

Yesterday I shipped the latest “Quick Spin” video to Adventure Cyclist. It features the Masi Speciale Randonneur (pictured above). Masi is deep into the bike-travel thing and has been for a while now. I think I first saw their Giramondo at Interbike 2015, and as touring bikes go, it still seems like a hell of a bargain to me — chromoly frame and fork, 10-speed Deore drivetrain (with a low end of 24×36), TRP Spyre brakes, and Tubus racks (Tara front, Cargo rear), all for the low low price of $1,399.

Masi offers a 650b version of the Giramondo, too. No racks, but more adventurous.

The Speciale, as you might guess from its name, has roots in randonneuring, so it’s more of a road bike, happiest with a front load and maybe some other light bits scattered around and about in frame and saddle bags.

It will be staying indoors this morning, however. As will I. So don’t go looking for me at Stonehenge.

Meanwhile, when you see a flat-footed statement this thick — “Road bikes average 10-15 pounds.” — you have to question the rest of the story.

‘Revel in your time.’

June 17, 2019

Having more fun than you. Especially if you work in the bike biz.
Photo “shared” from Revel

Ho boy. “Like biking without the work.” Thanks so much, Revel.

I’ll just put the bicycle industry over here, shall I? Next to the buggy whips, Linotypes and rotary-dial phones?

Anybody seen any journalism on what we do with the batteries in all this lovely “green” e-shit when they fail, as batteries do? Can they be recycled? Do they wind up down in WIPP? Or do we just launch them into space?

Wallflowers

June 16, 2019

Bike with bouquet.

No fathers around here today. Herself’s is gone, mine is goner, and as far as I know there are no young baldheads with attitudes wondering whom to blame for their shortcomings. So I went for a Not-a-Father’s Day ride today, down to Balloon Fiesta Park and back.

For the way home I chose the Domingo Baca and Paseo del Norte bike paths, which I hadn’t ridden in forever.

And look! Even though I’m not a daddy-o, somebody’s kid gave me flowers.

Freedom is slavery

June 10, 2019

The Masi Speciale Randonneur, with a Tubus Cargo Classic rack, up against the Wall of Science.

Herself buggered off for a long weekend starting last Thursday, this time to the American Heartland for a pal’s wedding, so I was at liberty for a few days.

Well, not exactly.

I had to do battle with the dishwasher (!), make my own coffee (!!) and feed and water the cats (!!!).

Also, I noticed that the litter boxes still refuse to empty themselves. When might I expect delivery of my Turd-B-Gon 9000®? Never? Does never work for me?

No, it does not.

But still, yeah, freedom, amirite?

I got to sleep in until 6 a.m. most days, did little cooking and less shaving, and the riding of the bikes continued unabated. The Masi Speciale Randonneur remains under review for Adventure Cyclist, and in honor of Bruce Gordon and framebuilders everywhere I rode my Nobilette and a Steelman as palate cleansers.

Herself got back yesterday afternoon, after a short delay caused by evil weather. Storms beat the snot out of Dallas, where she was changing planes, and ever since she touched down the wind has been flogging us here in the Duke City. Up north, my man Hal Walter reports ice on the vehicles, the canceling of the Hardrock 100 due to historic snowfall and avalanches, and the rerouting of the Leadville marathon.

All in all, it looks like a fine day to stay indoors and push pixels around.