Posts Tagged ‘Soma Saga’

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.

Map my ride

May 2, 2017

One of the bridges that spares cyclists from more than a few Crossings of Doom in the Duke City.

I got my chores done early this morning, hopped on the rim-brake Soma Saga, and logged two-point-five hours of saddle time in the sun today. Fat city.

Quite a bit of the ride was on segregated multipurpose path. If you’ll have a squint at the city’s bike map you can trace my route:

South on the segregated Tramway Boulevard path to the bike-ped bridge (above), which crosses Tramway and hooks up with the Paseo de la Montañas trail, which parallels a drainage canal all the way to Interstate 40.

Southwest on the P de la M trail to another bike-ped bridge, this one over I-40. After a short run through a pocket park and a residential area you find yourself on the Indian School Road bike lane, an on-street deal.

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

West on Indian School to the UNM golf course, where I picked up the North Diversion Channel Trail.

North on the NDCT to Balloon Fiesta Park (and with a fine tailwind, I might add).

From the park I headed northeast through a light industrial area and indulged in a bit of lawlessness, riding against one-way traffic on the I-25 frontage road to get to the Tramway Road bike lane. This is a popular stretch with the local road toads; it rises from 5,200 feet at I-25 to 6,120 feet at the County Line Barbecue, and there are only two stoplights, both early on. It’s a nice, steady, half-hour climb that steepens up a bit around the 5-mile marker. Well, a half-hour for me, anyway.

At this point you can get back to El Rancho Pendejo any number of ways, depending upon how the legs feel and what else needs doing once you get off the bike. I chose the least attractive but most direct route — the bike lane on Tramway Boulevard proper rather than the segregated path to the east — and added one last little climb at Manitoba that loops around just below the Embudito trailhead to Comanche Road and home, where the lawnmower was waiting.

The news just repeats itself

August 19, 2016

Now and then I miss working in a newsroom. This is not one of those times.

Most days, daily journalism is like any other gig, only more so. Hours of tedium interrupted by moments of pandemonium.

But news in the era of what Charlie Pierce calls He, Trump, is a whole other ballgame. It’s like trying to sip delicately from a fire hose hooked to a septic tank. It can’t be done, and nobody should have to try, not even for money.

And certainly not for free.

Instead I’ve been trying — and mostly succeeding — in paying attention to the bicycle, may God save her and all who sail in her.

There’s Bicycle Retailer‘s big 25th-anniversary celebration, for example. I need to dash off a column and cartoon on that topic, which shouldn’t be too much of a stretch, seeing as I’ve had 25 years of practice.

And I’ve ridden four different bikes in four days — Sam Hillborne, Steelman Eurocross, Soma Saga, Jones Steel Diamond — and loved every minute of it. Well, not every minute — the Steelman’s low end of 36×26 is a tad tall on steep, sandy single-track for an auld fella — but still, it beats perching in front of the Mac, letting the shit monsoon wash over me.

This morning I got up, grabbed some coffee, and when Herself went out to walk The Boo, I shut off NPR’s “Morning Edition” and started playing some John Prine instead. Sometimes a fella needs a little country to restore his faith in a bigger one.

The Bernalillo Triangle

August 4, 2016
At the Triangle you can ride up to the Sandia Crest, if that's your idea of a good time. I haven't done it in about a quarter century.

At the Triangle you can ride up to the Sandia Crest, if that’s your idea of a good time. I haven’t done it in about a quarter century.

Remember that training ride I was contemplating, the one based on the old Watermelon Mountain Classic?

I rode the tail end of it yesterday on the Soma Saga (cantilever edition) and remembered one of the reasons I usually did poorly at the ‘Melon: inconsiderate motorists hogging the descent through Sandia Park-Cedar Crest to Tijeras.

There’s not much in the way of shoulder, and what there is is mostly covered with debris, and the traffic lanes are mostly covered with assholes. Plus there’s that one surprise climb just south of the Triangle that I always forgot about. But other than that, yeah, good times. Maybe not.

I did my recon as part of a 36-mile out-and-back from El Rancho Pendejo, and a mighty nice ride it was, too. There’s a sidewalk-slash-bike path on the climb from Interstate 40 to the Triangle, so a cyclist needn’t endure any buzzing on the way up. And since I was rocking 700x38mm Schwalbe Little Big Ben tires with goopy tubes the debris mostly wasn’t a problem. But damn, some folks need to get theyselfs reacquainted with they manners.

Anyway, now all I need to do is scope out the 25-mile section from Bernalillo to the Triangle and I’ll be ready to ride, just as soon as I get a rear-view mirror, a Glock G26, and some climbing legs.

 

Spring, forward!

March 14, 2016
The wide shoulders on Tramway, coupled with its dearth of spotlights (one at the top, one at the casino, and one at the bottom), make it a popular hill with the Duke City peloton.

The wide shoulders on Tramway, coupled with its dearth of spotlights (one at the top, one at the casino, and one at the bottom), make it a popular hill with the Duke City peloton.

Daylight-saving time always cleans my mental clock. You wouldn’t think that surrendering just one of 24 hours would be so much of a much, but every year it leaves me a bubble or two off plumb for a few days.

“A few days.” Heh. I hear you snickering out there.

Herself celebrated another lap around the sun on Saturday, so we went out to dinner at Scalo Northern Italian Grill before having our REMs rerouted for … for what, exactly? I forget. Drowsy for some reason.

Then, on Sunday, she ran and vacuumed, and I mowed and rode. With no new review bikes in the Adventure Cyclist queue until St. Patrick’s Day, once again it was Ride Your Own Damn’ Bike Day®, this time the Soma Saga Disc. Nothing special, just a ride down Tramway to the Sandia Resort & Casino and back, with a digression into the honky-chateau ‘hood of High Desert for some light extra-credit climbing.

All in all, a pleasant diversion from the endless goose-stepping through the media by Il Douche, who’s simultaneously expanding and contracting the boundaries of the First Amendment by (a) offering to pay the legal bills of anyone who assaults a protester at one of his Nuremberg rallies, and (2) ordering the laws to arrest not the assailants, but rather the victims.

It’s a wonderful country, to be sure. Last time I saw a big sack of stale air making this much bad noise a red-headed dude in a kilt was involved.

A saga of two Sagas

January 14, 2016
The Soma Saga Disc.

The Soma Saga Disc.

It’s been Ride Your Own Damn Bike Week here at Mad Dog Media, and a refreshing change of pace it’s been, too.

Playing with other people’s toys is a privilege, and a hell of a lot of fun, but it’s always nice to lay hands on your own again. Consider it the bike reviewer’s version of a palate-cleanser between courses. It also gives you the chance to re-evaluate your own bikes, see whether you need to shed a few long-held biases.

Yesterday and the day before I rode the Soma Saga Disc, and I felt a little too upright, so I dropped the bars 10mm and instantly felt better.

The Soma Saga canti model.

The Soma Saga canti model.

I thought I might need to shorten the stem by an equivalent amount, too. Three consecutive review bikes have arrived sporting 80mm stems, and while those felt a tad stubby to me, a 90mm would be just about right, was my reasoning.

Then today I rode the cantilever Saga home after dropping the Subaru at an auto upholsterer and felt just fine using what I thought was an identical cockpit.

And so it was. Same amount of spacers under the stem, same extension, same 17-degree rise.

Turns out it wasn’t the cockpit. The canti’ Saga sports a straight Thomson post. The disc Saga’s Soma post has a wee bit of setback. Duh.

Meanwhile, I ain’t superstitious, but a black cat crossed my trail as I rode home. A little further along, some bozo in a big ol’ pick-’em-up truck blew through the red light at Manitoba and Tramway a full three seconds late, doing at least the posted speed limit of 50-per.

As it happens I’m one of those cyclists who doesn’t even clip in until he’s seen that everyone else has come to a full stop, so no harm, no foul.

Big ups to the fellow traveler who gave the asshole a long blast on the horn as he shot past, though.

 

 

Light at the end of the shuttle bay

May 7, 2015
If I ever offer to work on your bicycle, I advise you to decline, no matter how desperate your situation.

If I ever offer to work on your bicycle, I advise you to decline, no matter how desperate your situation.

Oh, lawd, it’s been a busy ol’ week around El Rancho Pendejo, what with deadlines, Herself jetting off to the Twin Cities for a conference, and the Elly May Clampett Memorial Critter Farm to feed and water.

Still, could be worse. Could be hailing.

Meanwhile, in honor of Bike Month, we might be trading Herself’s 2002 Subaru Outback in on a 1979 AMF Roadmaster after the fine folks at Reincarnation advised us that the only item still functional in the sonofabitch is the cigarette lighter.

I dropped the stuttering, groaning monstrosity off there bright and early this morning for what we had hoped was only a timing-belt replacement and cycled back home, but not without incident.

First, a bit of backstory:

It’s been raining lately, probably because I took the fenders and rack off my Soma Saga. I put them back on for this little outing, with the help of an English muffin and not nearly enough coffee, and added some Arkel Dry-Lite panniers to fetch along a bit of foul-weather gear because, well, look at Bibleburg, f’chrissakes. You never know.

Anyway, I roll away from Reincarnation and almost immediately the Saga’s drivetrain starts acting out. This never happens because it’s one of the simplest mechanical devices known to man — Silver friction shifters commanding Shimano derailleurs (Ultegra front, Deore rear) and a nine-speed cassette. But here we are, limping along on impulse power in the Diesel-Airhorn quadrant, an easy target for any Klingon bird of prey (F-150 model).

Shit, maybe the Outback’s cooties got on it, I thought as I lurched up onto a convenient curb for a quick look-see. No obvious defect presented itself for correction, so I remounted, gave the rear mech a couple of light kicks to knock it into a serviceable position, and rolled off in a gear that was just a little bit too small or too tall, depending upon which chainring I was using.

I’m not fussy. What I am is lazy.

Also, and too, dumb. Derailleur problems one may remedy with a bit of skill and the proper tools, but stupid is forever, the gift that keeps on giving.

How dumb, you ask? Well, after lurching up to the top of the bike-ped bridge across I-25, I paused to swap my leg warmers for some knee warmers. And hey presto! As I’m pulling the latter from the drive-side bag, I notice that some fool has clamped the rear rack onto the rear derailleur-cable housing.

For once I actually had a minitool in the saddle bag, and with a couple twists of the wrist warp speed was restored. But I canna say I felt much like Montgomery Scott.

 

Perro-Roubaix

April 12, 2014

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