Interbike 2016: We’ll always have Parris

September 23, 2016
Masi's Adventure Series bikes.

Masi’s Adventure Series bikes.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (MDM) — Ah, so this is what it’s like to have a job. Toting that barge and lifting that bale from sunrise to dark-thirty, lots of bad noise, and no time to play with the old blogaroo.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

There’s a new sheriff in town at Adventure CyclistNick Legan, once a top wrench on the racing circuit who went bad and signed on as tech editor for some Boulder-based cycling mag, and then for us — and frankly, the man is a slave driver, marching us around the Interbike floor like maggots at Parris Island (copy coordinator Dan Meyer, another addition, actually did five years in the Marines, but that’s another story).

As a result we have seen things — many, many of them — and more than a few are suited to the adventure-cycling crowd. Seems the industry has finally discovered what the Adventure Cycling Association folks have been all about for, oh, four decades now. Who knew?

Expect a review of the Moots Baxter (not from me, call the waaaaambulance). “Think mountain-bike capabilities in a mountain-cross build,” says the marketing copy, and it’s named for a dog. Plus it’s a Moots. This is all you need to know.

Also looking good are the Adventure Series bikes from Masi. We looked at but did not review the 2016 Giramondo, but it’s in the hopper for 2017. The Speciale Randonneur looks good, too.

Appearances can be deceiving: While there were times when the show floor seemed busy, overall I'd guess attendance is down, and I'm not the only professional pessimist out there.

Appearances can be deceiving: While there were times when the show floor seemed busy, overall I’d guess attendance is down, and I’m not the only professional pessimist out there.

For some reason the Bombtrack bikes didn’t grab me when I first saw them online, but they’re mighty sharp in MeatWorld, especially the Beyond.

Marin, which did such a fine job last year with the Four Corners Elite, is back for more this year with a wide range of adventure-capable machines, from that Four Corners to the insanely affordable Nicasio.

Also priced to move: Breezer’s Radar Pro. The colors are a bit loud for a subtle fashionista like me, but it’s hard to complain about the price.

The fine folks at Panaracer have plenty of adventurous tires (check out the Gravel King SK); Ortlieb has moved into bikepacking gear; and … and … and I’m sure there’s more to report, but right now I need some breakfast and then it’s off to the show for the final day of Interbike 2016.

• Thought of the Day: Is everyone who works at Rí Rá really Irish or are they putting us on? Seriously, it sounds like “The Commitments” in there. It’ll break me heart if it turns out they’re all from Jersey or Iowa and just takin’ the piss.


Interbike 2016: Pain in the. …

September 21, 2016
GoPro's crew and the sporting media, brandishing technology at each other. Sort of like the hominids waving bones around in "2001," only without all that Stanley Kubrick going on.

GoPro’s crew and the sporting media, brandishing technology at each other. Sort of like the hominids waving bones around in “2001,” only without all that Stanley Kubrick going on.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (MDM) — The stabbing pain in my right calf let me know that it was time to rise and shine, if by “rise and shine” you mean “vigorously rub a cramping leg muscle while employing language you didn’t learn from your momma.”

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

It was way too early for a massage that doesn’t have a happy ending. Happily, the Starbucks just around the corner from the East Tower elevators is a 24-hour deal, and after I limped down there for a flagon of the black I was at least able to swear in English and without repeating myself much.

(Yes, I know, Starbucks bad. Starbucks evil. Starbucks also everywhere. We go to Interbike with the coffee we have, not the coffee we wish we had.)

Last night I connected with some of the Adventure Cyclist and Bicycle Retailer mobs for a media preview of a few brands’ offerings and a bite of dinner at Border Grill.

REI announced that it was dropping its Novara label for house-brand bikes, which henceforth will be called “Co-op Cycles.” And GoPro was showing its brand-new HERO 5 camera and Karma drone. That booth was the hottest spot in the room (apologies for the crappy iPhone shot).

I thought briefly about wedging myself into the crush to get the details, and then I thought again. The show hasn’t even opened yet. One cramp at a time, please.

• Deep Thought of the Day: Why do people involved in the collection and distribution of information gather in noisy bistros where they can’t hear each other speak? No wonder everyone stares at their devices all the doo-dah day. “Siri, tell Ray to message me, I can’t hear a damn’ thing he’s saying. What? Can you hear me now? How about now? NOW?”


Interbike 2016: Hold the phone

September 20, 2016
Vegas, baby. What happens here stays here, until they tear it down and build some other here here.

Vegas, baby. What happens here stays here, until they tear it down and build some other here here.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (MDM) — Whenever I see an exterminator’s van in Las Vegas the temptation is to shout, “You’re targeting the wrong species!”

Maybe it’s because I don’t get out much, but still, damn.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

As I lurched in first gear over to the Mandalay Bay-Luxor casinoplex to set up the Mad Dog Media Interbike Hindquarters (the headquarters is someone else’s problem), I heard someone yell, “Pull up more, bitch!”

A fellow motorist one lane over had carelessly left a few feet of empty space between her vehicle and the one in front, and the gentleman behind appeared to be in something of a rush. Probably shouldn’t have been piloting a shitbox sedan on Tropicana come noontime, then, it being more of a parking lot than a thoroughfare. Bring your flying car next time, Ace.

Show credentials safely in hand after no wait at all, I dropped by Starbucks for a $5 cup of the black and was startled to see a well-dressed gent conversing at some volume with a person who was not there.

Silly me. I always forget that Very Important People use Bluetooth to chat up their invisible friends when they’re not busy hollering at other motorists.

Checking into the Luxor took a bit longer, that line being about like the one on Tropicana, only with less honking. Once upon a time people standing in queues used to speak to one another, mostly small talk like, “Standing in queues sucks, huh?” Now they all clutch the handles of their rolling suitcases like sword hilts and stare at their devices as though they were grails. Today’s champ: a guy herding three rolling suitcases while working a full-size laptop. Mad skillz, yo.

I cranked up the Fitness app on the old iPod for all of this wandering about and discovered that I’d walked 3.3 miles, burning 383 calories. Naturally I felt compelled to balance that ledger with a platter of fish and chips at Rí Rá, enjoyed while watching footy, a pastime which I understand not at all (Chelsea spanked Leicester City, 4-2).

Industry titans seen so far: Ray Keener, Chris Zigmont, Brian “Quadzilla” Sidwell and David Thom. Only Ray was too busy for a chat, and that’s because he’s Ray Fuckin’ Keener. OK, so he was on the phone. A proper phone, without the Bluetooth, so you could tell he was on the fuckin’ phone.

• Observation of the Day: When did every hotel chain in America start serving what they allege is “breakfast?” They only feed you this horrible crap because they know what you’re doing up there in their rooms, you nasty little people, and they hope you die.

Interbike 2016: An Ash Fork in the road

September 20, 2016

Interbike 2016: Arizona’s not here, man

September 18, 2016
Arizona cordially invites you to piss off.

Arizona cordially invites you to piss off.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (MDM) — Arizona wasn’t very welcoming when I arrived, as you can see. And I’m a reg’lar white guy and everything.

That Sheriff Joe gets meaner every day, seems like. Maybe if someone got a hammerlock on that racist assclown and brought the legal bills down to a manageable level the state wouldn’t have to sell Geico the naming rights to its roadside shitters.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

The drive from Duke City to Flag’ was uneventful. I caught a glimpse of a few garishly attired cyclists enjoying the Tour de Acoma before I left New Mexico behind, and once I rolled into range KNAU-FM began telling me every few minutes that if only I’d give them some money right now they wouldn’t have to annoy me later.

Sorry, fellas, but Herself and I already underwrite two NPR affiliates. Have you tried Geico?

Meanwhile, the grub at Beaver Street Brewery is still tasty, though the clientele seems even more grizzled than last year (unlike Your Humble Narrator, of course).

This may explain the background music, which could’ve been pulled straight from my iPod: “Cross-eyed Mary,” Jethro Tull; “Rock and Roll,” Led Zeppelin; and “Night Moves,” from Bob Seger, who inspired this morning’s headline. What my man Charles Pelkey derides as “old man’s music.”

I should’ve washed that geezer playlist down with a little Olympia and maybe some blotter acid. But as I no longer partake of the adult beverages, I sampled a Sioux City Prickly Pear instead, and I can recommend it as a tasty alternative to the usual popskull.

• Question of the Day: Are those signs with the glyph of a bicycle and the legend “USE SHOULDER ONLY” really necessary along Interstate 40? Any of you feel the urge to throw a leg over the old two-wheeler and go mano-a-mano with a speeding Peterbilt in the traffic lane? Maybe we could ax that particular educational initiative and spend the savings on public restrooms and/or radio.


Interbike 2016: Against the wind

September 18, 2016
Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

Vato’s got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

That old Bob Seger tune isn’t on the playlist, but I’m on the road anyway. Just another Adventure Cyclist logging miles, and if it’s happening on four wheels, well, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Deadlines and commitments; what to leave in, what to leave out.

See you along the road.

Just before dark

September 16, 2016
Good thing I gave up the acid before moving to New Mexico.

Good thing I gave up the acid before moving to New Mexico.

Here’s a snap from around sundown, taken from the entryway to El Rancho Pendejo. Lots easier to look at than the news lately.

As James Fallows notes at The Atlantic, “the effective merger of the entertainment and political-campaign industries” continues apace with Der Trumpenführer making a playful appearance on “The Tonight Show.” Host Jimmy Fallon and executive producer Lorne Michaels — who also arranged a ha-ha handjob for Agent Orange on “Saturday Night Live” — deserve public dick-punches for enabling this particular fool.

Blue skies, white clouds and green chile. Yum.

Blue skies, white clouds and green chile. Yum.

Also at The Atlantic, David Graham wonders just why The Hildebeast is running for the presidency. A little late for this sort of thing, but yeah. And a great lede: “Hillary Clinton is back on her feet. Now, what does she stand for?”

Elsewhere, the media scrambled to cover “a major announcement” from Agent Orange that was nothing more than free publicity for his new DC hotel. No link because, duh.

“Like a five-buck violin, cable news. Like a five-buck violin,” tweeted Charles P. Pierce (@ESQPolitics).

Added Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias): “All future presidential campaigns will be lightly disguised infomercials for hotel chains.”

Meanwhile, here in the Duke City, the forecast is for puffy clouds followed by sunshine and a high in the 70s. We got that and green chile. Don’t tell the media.


September 13, 2016
You'd never know it from this pic, but there's a suburban neighborhood just a few feet to the left of that tree.

You’d never know it from this pic, but there’s a suburban neighborhood just a few feet to the left of that tree.

I should’ve ridden the bike today, but for some reason I felt like hoofing it, so I did.

Not running — I took a break from that nonsense back in mid-May — just walking. Walking is a nice change from cycling, the same way that cycling is a nice change from driving.

Lots of color out there. None of it neon.

Lots of color out there. None of it neon.

You … just … plain … slow … down.

With trails just two blocks in either direction, I can enjoy what feels like country life in fairly short order. The rains have sprinkled flowers all over the place, and it’s relaxing to spend a little time wandering around among them after a few days of watching the Hilldebeast try to lose this campaign while assembling journalism kit for medium-heavy duty at Interbike.

The idea (as usual) is to strive for some sort of multimedia extravaganza, an electronic bouillabaisse of words, pix, audio and video documenting The Experience. As long-suffering readers are all too aware, the reality, once I hit Sin City, is likely to be entirely different.

So, too, with the walking. Instead of sand, sun and flowers I will be navigating concrete, smoke and bad noise.

Thus I’m gathering my rosebuds while I may.

A moment of not exactly silence

September 11, 2016

High tech and low brows

September 8, 2016
More rain overnight but it's shaping up to be a lovely day in the Duke City.

More rain overnight but it’s shaping up to be a lovely day in the Duke City.

The weather wizards advise us to expect a blend of clouds, sun, wind and rain, which is to say a fine pre-autumnal day in the Duke City.

Despite Apple’s grand announcement yesterday the Visa card remains holstered, with the safety on. My feelings as regards the new iPhone mirror those regarding RVs, fatbikes and second homes on the beach — they’re all swell ideas, and if someone wants to give me one or all of these things I will happily accept same.

The iPhone 7’s improved camera would be nice — at present I take my iPhone 5 plus a Canon 300 HS point-and-shoot along with me on rides. But $649 and a new AT&T contract worth of nice? I ain’t exactly Ansel Friggin’ Adams here. Mostly I take snapshots for a free blog, is what.

Besides, we have other expenses. Mister Boo has his quarterly visit with the eyeball doctor today, and that’s usually good for about half a new iPhone. Then the Forester needs servicing because I’ll be driving the elderly beastie to Sin City directly and would just as soon not be walking most or even part of the trip. And finally, somebody around here keeps buying bicycles against all advice to the contrary from higher authority.

Meanwhile, it’s a good thing we didn’t watch the so-called “national security forum” last night. We’d be buying a new TV this morning. Then again, maybe not.