Posts Tagged ‘Adventure Cyclist’

Get out

January 15, 2020

First trip up this rocky little slope my wind jacket slid out of my
handlebar bag. Good thing it didn’t wind up tangled in the spokes
or I might have lost some psi from my head.

Speaking of flats, I went out looking for some today.

I was actually shooting some video of the Cannondale Topstone 105 for Adventure Cyclist, but you never know. Sometimes you shoot the cycling, and sometimes the cycling shoots you.

But not this time. Not this time. The tires, in case you were wondering, are WTB Riddlers in 700×37, and I’ve already flatted the rear once.

Today’s ride also served nicely to flush out the old headgear. We watched some of the Democratic “debate” last night, and this morning brought more impeachment drama, so, yeah, definitely time to get moving, preferably away from all news sources.

Didn’t hurt that the temps were in the mid-50s. Dude grinding past on a mountain bike sez to me, he sez, “What a perfectly terrible day.”

“Awful,” I agreed, adding, “Try not to suffer too much.”

The suffering will arrive tomorrow, in the form of a winter storm. Happily, I have video to edit, which should distract me from whatever befalls us, from the skies or the scribes.

The Mad Dog in Winter

December 24, 2019

Your Humble Narrator at The Arizona Daily Star circa 1980, when his thoughts were not of retirement, but rather escape. Photo: Alan Berner

We may not have ourselves a white Christmas, but it certainly won’t be one suitable for test-riding that shiny new bike I’m not gonna be getting from Sandia Claus.

A chilly rain started falling at midafternoon on Tuesday, shortly after Your Humble Narrator got a short trail run under his tights. All in all, it feels like a marvelous evening for tamales smothered in green chile with a side of Mexican rice.

And for dessert? How about a heaping helping of deep-dish thought about who’s gonna be making it rain around here next year, when a certain somebody taps into that there Socialist Insecurity instead of working for a living?

“Working for a living.” Ho, ho. As if delivering the old hee, and also the haw, requires a strong back and a hand truck.

But deliver we do. Yes, yes, yes, it’s another thrilling episode of Radio Free Dogpatch! We’ve taken a dump right on your porch, and just in time for Christmas, too. Remember, lift with your legs, not your back.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Rode PodMic and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited the audio using Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. The background music is “On the Job,” from Zapsplat.com. Freesound.org contributed the typewriter (theshaggyfreak); ticking clock (straget); wind (eliasheuninck); footfalls in snow (duck37fm); traffic (edo333); and the elevator going down (LG). Eddard Stark comes to you from the late King Joffrey Baratheon’s gruesome collection of Halloween ornaments. And Darth O’Grady comes to you from the Death Star trash can via Sony ICD-UX533 recorder.

Feel the (Bourbon) burn

November 8, 2019

Oh, indeed, that’s the question right there.

Bicycle Week continues at El Rancho Pendejo with a long-distance peek at the National Bicycle Tourism Conference in my old hometown of San Antonio, Texas.

BRAIN’s Steve Frothingham, a very busy fellow indeed, is down on the scene and learning all about the bicycle tourism, including the Bourbon Country Burn, an event I might’ve leapt at a few years back when I was still a drinking man, assuming that any reputable publication’s editor would have been loopy enough to send a copper-bottomed tosspot to it in the vain hope of getting anything in return for the investment in time and treasure beyond a phone call from jail and a plea for lawyers, guns and money.

The BCB went from 200 participants to more than a thousand in three years, sez Steve to me, he sez. So they must be doing something right. (See “Which distilleries will I see,” above.)

The Adventure Cycling Association has boots on the ground, too, so look for a report in an upcoming edition of Adventure Cyclist.

Photobombed

August 31, 2019

“I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeO’Grady.”

Jesus. Everybody wants to be in pictures. Even Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), who really is old enough to know better.

I mean, look at him. He thinks he’s still a leading man at an age when he ought to be settling in as a character actor.

And at any rate, these Adventure Cyclist videos are light on parts for blue-eyed white guys who ain’t me. This cat can’t even ride a bike, much less review one.

Of course, they say the same thing about me. But I’m the cat with the camera.

So 15 minutes ago? How about 85 years?

July 18, 2019

Don’t let the clouds fool you. That’s steam boiling off my bald noggin.

Seventy-one at 5 a.m. No, not me, the temperature.

And that’s outside, mind you. In the office, it’s 78.

We have at least three days of the roast-a-rama ahead, so it’s ride early or not at all. Hunker down in the air conditioning like we did as kids at Randolph AFB outside San Antone. You were either marinating in poisons and pee at the O-club pool or camped out in front of the Fedders window unit, playing Monopoly. Venture outside and you’d sink into the tarry streets like a dinosaur at La Brea, later to mystify alien archaeologists.

The God of the Tar People, discovered when a skeleton was unearthed by Vulcan archaeologists sometime in the distant future. Historical note: Like many a cartoonist, F.O. Alexander got stiffed for his work drawing characters for Monopoly.

“Chlorine must have been an essential nutrient for these semiaquatic creatures. And their god appears to have been this fellow with the archaic headgear and outlandish facial hair, who seems possessed of astonishing wealth.”

The Masi Speciale Randonneur review for Adventure Cyclist has been shipped, as has the August cartoon for Bicycle Retailer. I’m been thinking not very hard about an episode of Radio Free Dogpatch, but it seems podcasts are so 15 minutes ago, just like blogs. Or phrases like “so 15 minutes ago.”

In other news, Ginger Hitler has taken his song-and-dance routine to another Nuremberg rally, where he debuted a new three-syllable chant (he’s a man of few words, which is to say he only knows a few). A new low? Not for long, according to Kevin Drum at MoJo.

And finally, Le Shew Bigge is heading into the Pyrenees, just in time for Zoom-Zoom Froome — who is absent while recovering from a nasty pre-Tour get-off — to be named champion of the 2011 Vuelta a España after Juan José Cobo rang the Dope-O-Meter®.

Yes, that’s 2011. We’re not all the way back to 1934 yet, but we certainly seem headed in that direction.

 

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.

Where’s my gold watch?

April 18, 2019

Bagged and tagged: the Salsa Journeyman Claris 650.

Yesterday I drew the May cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Today I wrapped a video for Adventure Cyclist.

And now, as El Rancho Pendejo seems to be remarkably free of bikes needing review, it seems I don’t have any paying work to do for a month, when the next BRAIN ’toon is due.

That ain’t a job. That’s a hobby.

Shit. I think I’m retired.

Stand down

March 23, 2019

His Excellency scans The Compound for unauthorized personnel.

Huh. I’ve actually managed to accomplish a few things lately. Go figure.

My April cartoon has been delivered to BRAIN. And my review of the Salsa Journeyman Claris 650 — print version and its two-minute video teaser — is all but complete; I’m just waiting for some Salsoid to answer a couple of questions about spec.

Unzip over to Voler to join the team! Use the Secret Code (OLDGUYS15) to get 15% off your purchase. And no, goddamnit, for the last time, it does not come with fries!

Two other review bikes have been shipped back to their respective motherships, greatly enhancing velocipede-storage capacity in the garage.

Sue Barue, The Fearsome Furster, has passed her annual checkup and had a brace of new window gussets installed, so maybe I’ll be able to hear the stereo again.

The cats have been given a vigorous spring airing. Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) inspected the perimeter yesterday and collected samples of this year’s grass crop for scientific analysis, the results of which were displayed on the living-room carpet this morning. Miss Mia Sopaipilla took up her station in the clothes dryer, and reported that for reasons unknown the lint filter seems to be full of cat hair.

And now I have exactly fuck-all to do. Nobody’s sending me to Taiwan, or Sea Otter, I won’t have a cartoon due until mid-April, and I’m fresh out of review bikes.

So I guess I’ll just have to ride one of my own. Sucks to be me.

Life is a Journeyman

March 16, 2019

Salsa with geezer instead of chips.

As you know, God rides steel, or titanium (if He can get a bro’ deal from Moots, which is by no means a sure thing). And what God rides is good enough for me.

But the latest review bike here in Dog Country is aluminum, both frame and fork. And thus in the pursuit of Fairness and Objectivity I must keep my metallurgical biases chained up in the attic.

That is, I would, if we had an attic. Christ, there’s not even a basement in this fauxdobe rancheroo.

The Salsa Journeyman Claris 650, up against The Wall of Science.

Just as well, too. I’d probably tumble down the stairs and break a hip, and Herself would have me put down, find some nice young fella with wavy hair and a future instead of stubbly scalp and a past. Or maybe she’d just keep me down there. Lob a sack of Taco Bell down the stairs now and then, and a plastic bucket with a roll of single-ply. It’s not like I don’t have it coming.

Anyway, the bike. It’s the latest update to the low end of Salsa’s all-road, gravel and light-touring Journeyman series, the Claris 650. And it’s not only aluminum, it’s got them funny-size tires, whatchacallem, your 650b, or 27.5, neither fish nor fowl. And more holes than Albert Hall! You can plug pert’ near anything into the sumbitch except for maybe a Fender Stratocaster. And I’d try it, if someone at Fender would just loan me a Strat’ to review.

The Journeyman Claris 650 rolls with a manly eight-speed drivetrain, so it has that going for it, which is nice. None of your one-by-whatever setups with a cassette that has more teeth than a tour bus full of Osmonds.

Charlie Ervin down at Two Wheel Drive asked me if I try to put myself in the mindset of a customer shopping for a sub-$1,000 bike when I’m reviewing one and I said hell yes. I am a Man of the People, though I notice that most of ’em don’t pick up when I call.

Especially the ones with the $8,000 titanium bikes that desperately need reviewing, and by me, right now, goddamnit. Dern Caller ID anyhow.

True grit: Rooster Cogsburn squints into the wind

March 9, 2019

“OK, try to make me look good here, you hack.”

It was so bloody windy here yesterday that when I shifted gears, in that split-second when the chain was between cogs, I could feel myself shedding forward momentum.

“Lights, camera, action!”

Happily, I was riding mostly to shoot video for another Adventure Cyclist “Quick Spin,” which meant I spent as much time off the bike, playing director and cameraman, as I did on the bike as the “talent.” The wind’s not so much of an issue when you’re jogging between takes from camera to bike and back again.

The Air Quality Division’s health alerts over airborne dust are another matter entirely. But I’ve decided to think of those as a spa treatment. A free skin peel.

These trails are just south and east of El Rancho Pendejo, and if traffic’s light on Tramway it’s easy to forget there’s a minor metropolitan area right next door — so much so that I often don’t notice the constant low-level background hum of infernal combustion until I get home and start editing the video.

I’d yell “Quiet on the set!” but it’s pointless. Everyone’s wearing earbuds and/or has the windows rolled up.