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.

Your Monday Mia

April 8, 2019

“No wine? Say, what kind of a dump are you running here, anyway?”

You know how it is. Pay attention to one cat, and the other wants some too. Especially if food — or fame — is involved.

His Majesty will see you now

April 6, 2019

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”

I rarely have a camera on me when the Turk strikes a pose. This time I did.

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.

Cool cats

April 4, 2019

Mister Jones and me, stumbling through the barrio.

Oof. The allergies are fierce. I slept OK last night, thanks to a hit of Benadryl, but the previous night I woke up at midnight with my nose running like a Democrat after the White House.

Snorting and snuffling like a hog hunting truffles, I had to relocate to the spare bedroom so that Herself could bag the Z’s she needs to help Darth Goodhair run the Energy Department.

And I felt like hammered shit most of yesterday, so none of the ol’ bikey ridey for Your Humble Narrator. In fact, I suspect that a two-hour trail ride through the junipers may have triggered the late-night snotlocker meltdown.

But we were talking about cool cats, and so here’s the tale of a Scottish cycle tourist who made a new friend on his two-wheeled trip around the world.

I suggested a global bicycle tour to Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and his adjutant, Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and they told me I could fuck right off with that shit and bring them something to delicious to eat at once, if not sooner.

Also, here’s Marc Maron’s interview with T Bone Burnett, a very cool cat indeed who’s taking a hiatus from production to release his first album in 11 years, “The Invisible Light.”

Burnett’s chat with Maron covers a lot of waterfront, from the Beat Generation to Jackson Pollock, Jimmie Rodgers to “True Detective.” Did you know that Robert Johnson’s real name was Dusty Spencer? Or that the blues came from Texas? That mariachi music comes from the French?

Me neither. Maybe it’s the Benadryl talking. Just what I need, another voice in my head.

Words to live by

April 2, 2019

“New Associated Press guidelines on suspensive hyphenation, you say?
That certainly whets the appetite.”

Neither I nor Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) was invited to the 2019 American Copy Editors Society conference this past weekend in Providence, R.I.

Of course, I only edit myself these days. And having spent a dozen or so years hanging out with copy editors for a paycheck, I don’t regret missing a chance to hang out with them on my own dime.

But the Turk found the slight particularly galling, since like any good deskman he lives for The Craft, even taking his meals in the office, from a bowl that sits atop tattered copies of Webster’s New World College Dictionary and Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.

April drool

April 2, 2019

Yesterday’s air-quality report from the City of Albuquerque.

I lay low for April Fool’s Day. It’s gotten to be kind of like the St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve of comedy — not for serious funnymen. Funnypersons? Persons of funny?

My favorite April Fool’s gag may be the time the Gazette caught the Greeley Tribune napping. It was in the late Seventies, and some wisenheimers on staff faked up a photo of an El Paso County pickle farmer inspecting a bumper crop (reporter Don Branning in a planter’s hat, examining a plump dill tied to a tree across the street from the newspaper).

We ran it on the Metro front, then put it on The Associated Press wire just for giggles. To our astonishment, the Tribune picked it up and ran the shot on its Farm page despite the photo credit, which read something like, “GT photo by Aprylle Foole.”

The desk jockey who made that call clearly was not a local boy with shitcaked bootheels. The Tribune is in Weld County, one of the richest agricultural counties east of the Rockies, the state’s top producer of grain, sugar beets and cattle.

Not pickles, though. El Paso County had all the pickle farms in Colorado.

Here in New Mexico the ash and juniper are providing all the comedy, if your idea of a good laugh involves watching some poor sod’s nose run like an irrigation ditch with a busted headgate.

I pretended to be a runner yesterday afternoon and came home with an enraged snotlocker, a condition that persists this morning. Snot funny, man.