Posts Tagged ‘Soma Double Cross’

Rain, rain, go away. …

May 10, 2017

We drove out of that to ride the Paseo del Bosque and whaddaya know? I didn’t even need knickers, much less the rain jacket.

Yesterday I laid down my hammer and sickle and took time out for a refreshing spin with Friend of the Blog™ Pat O’Brien, who with his lovely bride Sandy popped round to see what’s what in the Duke City.

I didn’t document this major tourism event with photography, because frankly I didn’t think we’d get ‘er done. It was raining when Pat arrived in his manly Toyota Tacoma to pick me up for the drive to the Paseo del Bosque’s Alameda trailhead, and the forecast was grim indeed.

But my iPhone photo above depicts the worst of it. Down by the Rio the weather was warm and windy, and we did the full lollipop, riding south, then curving in a northeasterly direction to Rio Bravo before returning to the bosque trail for a (mostly) tailwind-supported return.

We were both aboard Somas, naturally. Pat rode his Saga whilst I piloted the old Double Cross, freshly equipped with SKS fenders just in case. This, and the fact that we both carried rain jackets, is almost certainly why the clouds didn’t open up during the ride.

Back at El Rancho Pendejo I learned that a deluge had struck DeeCee, washing away the stain on democracy that was Jim Comey. King Donald the Short-fingered, alas, remains perched atop his golden throne, his personal roll of Constitution toilet paper close at hand. Here’s hoping it’s a harder rain gonna fall on his crooked highway before much longer.

Cave man

September 2, 2015
The Sandias from La Cueva Campground.

The Sandias from La Cueva Campground.

The boys were climbing today in the Vuelta — oy, were they ever — so I felt obliged to do a little vertical my own bad self once we wrapped the coverage at Live Update Guy.

Looking southeast toward Tramway.

Looking southeast toward Tramway.

There’s a nice, steep grind not far from El Rancho Pendejo, the 2-mile climb to the La Luz trailhead, but after running for an hour on Tuesday I thought that might be asking a bit much of the old legs. So instead I hung a right and did the 1-mile climb to the La Cueva campground.

The surface is what we Phlegmish types call “heavy,” the chips in the chipseal being slightly boulderish, so I was glad to be riding the Soma Double Cross with its Little Big Bens. Quite a view from up there, but the helicopters were something of a nuisance, harshing my mellow and distracting me from the view.

Turns out it wasn’t just flyboys logging flight time. Some poor dude turned up dead in the Sandias, and I’m guessing they were part of the search. Me, I got to come down the easy way.

 

Julio, get the stretch!

June 4, 2015
The view from underneath one of the many bridges crossing the North Diversion Channel Trail.

The view from underneath one of the many bridges crossing the North Diversion Channel Trail.

I took a break from writing up my review of the Felt V100 to log a few miles on one of my own bikes for a change — Old Reliable, the Soma Double Cross.

The weather has been heating up here, and so my usual practice — arise, caffeinate, cast a baleful eye upon the news, do a bit of work, and then ride sometime around 10 a.m. — has come to a screeching halt.

Today I rolled out of the garage just after eight in the ayem, and what a lovely morning it was. Got in 40 miles before lunch and even sprawled out on the couch for a while, imitating the cats.

I didn’t notice until midafternoon that Goodhair Perry and his eyeglasses have clambered into the GOP clown car. That crowd is gonna need to borrow Bruno Mars’s stretch limo to get around until the Faux News debate format thins the herd a mite.

Somehow I doubt that wearing spectacles will prevent Goodhair from becoming one. I bet the bags of hammers snicker when he walks into a Home Depot and steps on all the rakes.

Cogito ergo dum

January 18, 2015
The culprit.

The culprit.

I will never be smart.

I’m riding the Soma Double Cross on Tramway this afternoon and on the speedy big-ring drop to Interstate 25 I suddenly hear this high-pitched whine coming from what I’m certain is the front wheel. Sounds like a brake shoe rubbing up against the tire, or maybe Jimmy Olsen’s watch calling Superman. Zee zee zee zee zee.

As this can only end badly on a fast descent, I stop — not once, not twice, but three times — to try to diagnose the problem. No joy. But then, as I turn around at the bottom for the climb back up, the noise stops.

Well, OK, then. Ain’t much bad can happen to me at 10 mph. So on I pedal in blissful ignorance.

Until I shift back into the big ring, get out of the saddle to stretch, and hear it again — zee zee zee zee zee.

A light bulb sputters on, about a 20-watter. I’m running the biggest tires this bike will take, 700×38, and I bet the rear tire is heating up and expanding and rubbing up against the front-derailleur mech. Genius!

Well, maybe not so much.

The Double Cross doesn’t have one of those bulky new Shimano mechs that intrude into the rear triangle the way the NSA does into your life. It sports a svelte old Ultegra model.

And, as I found when I got home, it also has a front-derailleur cable that somehow got itself bent inward, and the cable cap was rubbing the rear tire whenever I shifted into the big ring.

So if you’re ever riding with me and wonder what the funny noise is, don’t worry — it’s just the air leaking out of my head.

 

 

Gimme a brake

December 29, 2014
The TRP Spyre mechanical disc brake.

The TRP Spyre mechanical disc brake.

I spent a little time in our freezing-cold garage this morning, adjusting the cantilever brakes on my Soma Double Cross, and then said to hell with it and rode the Novara Mazama instead. It’s Monday, Christmas is over, back to work.

The outside wasn’t much warmer than the garage, so I layered up: heavy leg warmers, bib shorts, three long-sleeved jerseys, winter gloves, tuque, shoe covers, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. Then I went exploring, riding unfamiliar streets on an unfamiliar bike.

The brakes on the Mazama are of a higher order than the stoppers on my DC: TRP Spyre mechanical discs. I’ve ridden Avid’s BB5 and BB7, and Hayes CX, but this is my first experience with TRP. A couple hours of gentle cycling on forgiving terrain hardly makes me an expert, but so far, so good. Nice modulation, plenty grippy when you need ’em to be, and they don’t screech like Ann Coulter when the laundry puts starch in her banana hammock.

I wasn’t asking much of them, I’ll admit. I’d been wanting to check out a couple of the neighborhood roads that have bike lanes attached, so I was riding them uphill and then dropping back to Tramway via a short, swoopy bit of single-track. It being the Monday after Christmas, most folks were doing their work indoors, which meant more trail for me. Yay.

Speaking of trail, someone who should be hitting same is Rep. Steve Scalise (R-You Kiddin’ Me?). The freshly elevated House majority whip claims he had no idea he was addressing a clot of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other such cuddly types when he spoke to David Duke’s European-American Unity and Rights Organization in 2002. That’s extra-dumb, even by House leadership standards.

His enablers are trying to whitewash (har har) the escapade as an example of poor staff work done on behalf of a then-36-year-old state legislator. Honky please. I knew what Duke was in the Seventies when I was a 20-something reporter and interviewed the sonofabitch over the phone. And I didn’t even ply my trade in Louisiana.

Happily, I still don’t. So it ain’t my cross to bear. Or burn.

Double Crossed

December 28, 2014
Bigger balls or better brakes? Well, I can buy the brakes. ...

Bigger balls or better brakes? Well, I can buy the brakes. …

One of my favorite things in the whole world is the expression on the face of some dude on a double-boinger when he sees a 60-year-old man on a steel cyclo-cross bike preparing to descend the snowy stretch of north-facing single-track he just struggled up.

“Careful, man, it’s slippery back there,” the latest goggle-eyed disbeliever puffed.

“Thanks, I appreciate it,” I replied, and carried on.

Boingy Boy was right, and I took it easy, in part because my old Shimano BR-R550s were working about as well as the 113th Congress (and squealing even more loudly), and in part because the slippery descent was lousy with hikers (another look I enjoy is the one on a hiker’s face when you yield trail to him/her, apparently a rare occurrence in these parts).

Mostly I took it easy because I’ve never descended worth a damn, on road or off it. But I like climbing, even on a cold, snowy day, and as we know, what goes up must come down. So I pretend I know what I’m doing … and pray that the double-boingers don’t turn around to follow me.

 

Must be May …

May 27, 2014
Herself enjoys the first ride of 2014 on her Soma Double Cross.

Herself enjoys the first ride of 2014 on her Soma Double Cross.

… I finally got Herself out on a bike.

 

Game of chance

April 5, 2014
Mystery flats forced a tire change for the Soma Double Cross.

Mystery flats forced a tire change for the Soma Double Cross.

The forecast calls for a chance of rain and/or snow through Monday, and I beat the odds with today’s ride — a light drizzle began just as I hit the driveway.

Maybe it’s a good thing I swapped my tires out before I left. I had been running some portly 700×38 Schwalbe Little Bens on the Soma Double Cross, but the rear keeps going flat for no good reason. I’ve replaced tubes, checked the casing and the rim tape, you name it, and the sonofabitch still goes softer than Paul Ryan’s head when parked in the garage overnight.

Anyway, the DC now wears a frisky pair of 700×32 Panaracer Pasela TourGuards, and we’ll see tomorrow whether the garage gremlins treat the Japanese any better than they do the Germans.

Me, I’m being mistreated by allergies. Faugh. Our recent moisture is bringing all the neighborhood trees to hideous life. Look for pix of The House Back East®’s apricot tree in bloom here in a day or two as I gobble Claritin-D tabs like M&Ms.

 

 

Before the deluge

August 4, 2013
Soma Double Cross

The Soma Double Cross in semi-touring configuration.

The Thunder God’s mojo must be on the fritz. Once again I got home from a ride just as the rain started to fall.

I snapped a quick pic of today’s steed for your amusement — it’s the Soma Double Cross, tricked out as half a tourist, with a rear rack and silver SKS fenders.

The Double Cross has a Tange Prestige main triangle and Tange Infinity fork; an eight-speed drivetrain (bar-end shifters, XT triple crankset, Ultegra front derailleur, XT rear); Shimano R550 cantilevers, an ancient set of Shimano 600 brake levers and a newish set of Empella Froggleg top-mounted levers; Mavic Open Pro rims, Dura-Ace hubs and a pair of 700×38 Schwalbe Little Big Ben tires; a Giant stem, Deda bars and some truly ancient Off the Front cyclo-cross tape; Time ATAC pedals; a Tubus Logo rack with a Busch & Muller 4D taillight; and an Easton seatpost topped with (of course) a Selle Italia Flite saddle.

This may be the least expensive bike in the garage, though my Voodoo Nakisi will certainly give it a run for the money. Oddly enough, those are the two bikes I ride the most.

High on the hog

July 27, 2013
Soma Double Cross

The Soma Double Cross in semi-touring configuration at Blodgett Peak Open Space.

Yesterday was a rare day indeed, one largely free of responsibility for Your Humble Narrator (save for meal preparation), so I pissed off for a couple leisurely hours of cycling.

I chose the Soma Double Cross, which had been undergoing refitting for touring before the plumber took his monkey wrench to my plans for a little post-Tour getaway; I had reattached the rear rack, but hadn’t gotten around to the low-rider or fenders.

The Double Cross is not particularly light, but neither am I, so who cares? I felt like riding it, I felt like climbing some middling hills, and the ride proved as delightful as free beer on a hot day.

You may be disappointed to hear that there was some performance enhancement involved. Before heading out, I ate a sandwich of Niman Ranch applewood-smoked ham and Alp and Dell Muenster on rustic Italian bread. That little piggy (and not all that little, either) sure flattened out those inclines. A sign of the Aporkalypse? Perhaps.

Thank Buddha that nobody from USADA was around to catch my Zoom-Zoom impersonation. My sweat smelled like bacon, which is a dead giveaway that I’m on The Program again. They don’t even bother to draw blood once they get a whiff.