Posts Tagged ‘Adventure Cyclist’

Roll of the dice

August 20, 2018

Off with your head!

Here’s your helmet, there’s the door, what’s your hurry?

Megan Tompkins, the publisher of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, “has left to pursue other opportunities,” in the parlance of our times.

Marc Sani, the semi-retired co-founder of the trade magazine, has stepped in as interim publisher. Given the present economic climate, and with Interbike Reno just around the corner, this must feel like climbing out of a hot tub and into a piranha tank, wearing a pork-chop Speedo.

I’ve done bits of this, that and the other for Sani and the gang since 1992. Alas, the mag’ has dwindled, in tandem with the trade it covers, and so I do a good deal less of it now than I once did. In fact, I’m down to drawing the “Shop Talk” cartoon at the back of the book, period, end of story.

But that’s the carefree life of the independent contractor for you. Easy come, even easier go. Happily, I also contribute to Adventure Cyclist, and I married well, so we will not lack for kibble in the dish here at El Rancho Pendejo.

The remaining full-time BRAINiacs are not breathing so easily, especially after such a high-profile departure, with so much at stake.

So here’s hoping for better days. Maybe Marc will roll nothing but sevens in his old hometown next month.

 

Mad dogs and Englishmen*

June 12, 2018

Climbing Simms Park Road on the Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1 with almost 40 pounds of gear and not nearly enough legs.

Well, a mad dog, singular, anyway. Noonday sun, to be sure. And temps in the 90s by the time I returned to El Rancho Pendejo from some weight training and videography with a fully loaded REI Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1, which is the next bike in the hopper for all you eager Adventure Cyclist readers.

Two bottles would about get me to the city limits on a day like today.

If this had been an actual tour of the parched upper Chihuahuan Desert, there would be at least one more water bottle on that bike. Maybe one of those big blue Adventure Cycling Association-label Hydro Flasks, slung underneath the down tube. And p’raps a couple of fat Ortlieb water bags in the panniers, too.

*Englishmen not included.

Lights, camera, inaction

April 3, 2018

Must be a gravel bike.*
* Gravel not included.

Timing is everything.

Yesterday morning I went out for a short run (keep muscle memory alive!) and then hopped on the Giant ToughRoad SLR 1 with the idea of wrapping up its video review for Adventure Cyclist in advance of the next member newsletter.

It might have been smarter to do the shoot first and the stumble second.

I figured that by midmorning on the Monday following Easter weekend most of my fellow trail users would be on the job, in school, or buried deep in household chores. Nope. My cinematography was interrupted over and over again by moms pushing strollers, dog walkers, hikers, rock climbers and other truants.

You’d think we had the nation’s second-worst unemployment rate or something.

What? We do? Never mind.

And with Il Douche busy crashing the economy I might have to start shooting these things on a trainer in the living room. The open space around here is liable to start looking like a hobo jungle out of “The Grapes of Wrath.”

 

Giant steps

December 23, 2017

It’s not your granddaddy’s touring bike.

Ho ho ho, etc. Sanity Clause* has delivered an early gift — a Giant ToughRoad SLR 1.

Well, it’s more of a loaner than an actual present. But still.

The brain trust at Adventure Cyclist thought we were getting a little fixated on steel drop-bar bikes and thus I’m reviewing this alloy flat-bar bike, which starts our journey together with three strikes against it.

First, it has hydraulic disc brakes. Second, it rolls on tubeless tires. And finally, it has an aluminum frame and composite fork.

OK, so four strikes. When I was loading it into the Furster for the drive home I bashed my noggin on the rear hatch lid, which hadn’t opened all the way (old struts, cold weather). If I hadn’t been wearing a hat I’d probably have been scalped. As it is I look like a Giant PR flack took a swing at me with a pedal wrench.

But what the hell, it’s all baseball, que no? It will be interesting to take all my biases for a ride at once.

* And yeah, yeah, I know, I know: There ain’t no Sanity Clause.

Cooking, cameras and cutbacks

December 16, 2017

Ol’ Blue Eyes observes the paparazzi from the brick patio.

December days are like a short fuse. You light one at dark-thirty every morning and before you know it, boom! It’s bedtime.

The backyard maple crowds a shot of sunrise peeping over the Sandias.

It remains a constant source of astonishment how little a guy with no job can accomplish during one of these speed runs.

I’ve been revisiting a few recipes (among them Martha Rose Shulman’s orecchiette with basil-pistachio pesto and green beans) and sampling some new ones (a minestrone from “Dad’s Own Cookbook” by Bob Sloan was particularly well received).

I’ve also been playing with a new camera, a Sony RX100 III, after hearing nothing but raves about the series from pros and amateurs alike, including my man Hal up Weirdcliffe way, who has an RX100 base model. These shots came from the new toy.

Too, the Adventurous Cyclists and I have been chasing down review bikes for the new year, with varying degrees of success. And I just finished a “Shop Talk” cartoon for the January 2018 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, which for the first time in a couple decades will not include a snarky “Mad Dog Unleashed” column by Your Humble Narrator.

Money is tight in the bike biz these days, and I’m not the first person to feel the pinch. Nor will I be the last.

Via Twitter, a reader expressed sympathy but not surprise, to which I replied, “The surprise is that it took so long for the damn’ dogcatcher to throw his loop over me. Send Milk-Bones and plenty of ’em, they gave me a real big cellmate. Looks to be part Neapolitan mastiff, part Baskerville hound.”

 

Finally, Friday

November 17, 2017

Early in the week the Fuji Touring Disc and I got our kicks on Route 66.

It’s been a productive week around the old rumormongery.

I edited and shipped two short videos for Adventure Cyclist; continued my evaluation of the latest review model, a Fuji Touring Disc; and wrote a column and drew a cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Cha-ching! Just back that armored car up to the vault, boys, and start shoveling. I’ll be on the patio contemplating my investment portfolio.

Speaking of which, I see our national leadership is dancing merrily with the ones who brung ’em. It can’t be much longer before there’s a new agency working hand in glove with the Eternal Revenue Service, the Department of Spare Change, which sends agents round to root through your pants pockets, sofa cushions and swear jars. Hand over those nickels and dimes, Gramps, you lot would just piss it away on housing, food or medicine.

Don’t worry, soon it will all come trickling back to you. Why, look, what’s that there, on your shoe? Looks like it’s raining on somebody!

Put your back into it

November 4, 2017

More fall, still more!

Two visits with the backcracker and I’m feeling more and more like a biped capable of upright locomotion. That said, I’m still not convinced it was a good idea for the Irish to come down from the trees, even though the English were kind enough to teach us how to operate the wheelbarrow.

What I need to be operating is some bicycles. The deadlines, they loom — for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, for Adventure Cyclist — and I’ve noticed that Kevin Drum’s obsession with artificial intelligence notwithstanding, these pieces refuse to write themselves.

And somebody has to pay the backcracker. ‘Cause he doesn’t accept health insurance.

Thus the temptation is to get out there right now and push those pedals around. Burn some fat, light the cranial fireworks, make a little magic.

Hmm. What would Plato do? Probably not that. Maybe I’ll just go for a walk.

One Marin, hold the fire, please

October 15, 2017

Going down. …

There are days — approximately seven per week — when I’m delighted that I no longer work for a daily newspaper.

… and going up.

Instead of following fires, terrorism and ruthless, blithering idiocy for fun and profit, I get to ride my bikey bike.

Or, in this case, someone else’s bikey bike.

The Marin Nicasio is next in the review pipeline, and while product manager Chris Holmes watches copters chatter in and out of the Petaluma airport I get to pedal one of his products up hill and down dale here in the Duke City.

There will be more of this sort of thing today. I may not work for a newspaper anymore, but I still have deadlines.

Fire and flood

September 12, 2017

Things are just peachy here.

We seem to be dialing it down from 11, natural-disaster-wise.

The Florida branch of Herself’s kin is back home after a stint in Pensacola, and the Adventurous Cyclists in Montana reported a break in the weather over the weekend, so yay, etc. Hope you and yours are on the right side of the lawn, and that said lawn is neither under water nor on fire.

Without cute pix of dogs carrying their own survival rations or video of knuckleheads getting blown off their feet while iPhoning an incoming wave it will be tough to keep our attention from drifting to the next shiny object. The cleanup is never as much fun as the party.

For example:

There are toxins in Houston’s floodwater. The U.S. Virgin Islands are for the moment no longer a paradise for vacationers (or the people who live there). The cleanup in Florida is liable to take the better part of quite some time.

Cooler, damper weather seems to be lending a hand to firefighters in Montana and Oregon, but nobody’s cracking the bubbly just yet.

Equifax doesn’t give a shit about me or thee.

And Ted Cruz apparently “likes” porn. If anything could finally croak the porn industry, this is it.

But hey, cheer up: The new iPhones are here! The new iPhones are here!

Videocy (an ongoing series)

July 18, 2017

Just past the turnoff to Heartbreak Hill, the marquee bit in the Santa Fe Century.

Wrapped another video for Adventure Cyclist yesterday. I was sick of all my usual backdrops, so I went up to Heartbreak Hill off NM 14 and fiddled around a bit there.

Going up (but not very far).

And no, I didn’t ride the Co-Motion Deschutes there, thanks for asking. It would’ve been fun, but we’re talking a hilly 65-mile round trip from El Rancho Pendejo. Herself was serving jury duty, The Boo is very much not interested in being alone for several hours, and I had to edit the video and do the voiceover when I got home.

Also, and too, it rained like a mad bastard here yesterday afternoon, and had I been an actual touring cyclist, instead of merely playing one on TV, I’d probably have gotten caught in it. I hear you’re supposed to suffer for your art, but still, damn.

Speaking of suffering, I see the latest iteration of Trumpcare croaked on the table. Take a moment to cheer, by all means, but let’s remember the advice of kindly Doc Winston Wolf before we get too giddy. As Kevin Drum notes, the main reason the beast died is that it wasn’t tough enough on the poors.