Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

Trailer trash

March 1, 2014

A gay old time

February 26, 2014
"Don't we have anything to read in here that isn't a bicycle magazine?"

“Don’t we have anything to read in here that isn’t a bicycle magazine?”

That little Albuquerque training camp spoiled me for the remainder of February in Colorado.

After a week of long, steady distance in springlike temperatures, coming back to winter flat crawled up my butt. Twenty, feels like 10, y’say? Well, to hell with that, I think I’ll just stay inside and eat everything, watch Arizona try to out-stupid Colorado. Next these sunburnt simpletons will be issuing 55-gallon spray cans of Homo-NoMo® to the National Guard. Send the bill to the po’ folks, sonny, this here’s a Christian state.

Anyway, I was in danger of reaching that tipping point at which my inner fat bastard says, “Fuck a bunch of bicycles, let’s sell ‘em all and buy a pie factory.” And it struck me that the problem wasn’t so much the weather as it was riding other people’s bikes all the damn’ time. Inspecting this, questioning that, making notes about it all — this is not unlike riding a couch in the company of a psychotherapist.

“How does that 30-inch low gear make you feel, Patrick?”

“Like a fat little girl with polio, you head-shrinking halfwit. Now shut the fuck up, I’m trying to climb this hill without chowing on the handlebar tape.”

So today I dragged the old Voodoo Nakisi out of the garage, aired up its Bruce Gordon Rock n’ Roads, and rode off to see how many times I could fall down on the ice in Palmer Park (none, though one sneaky patch in the South Cañon nearly got me). It was a beautiful day and I hardly endured any shrinkage at all, being covered from tonsure to toenails in colorful fossil-fuel weather repellent.

I even saw one bozo riding in shorts. Take that, Arizona.

Looney Tunes

February 19, 2014

If you ever feel the urge to drive yourself stone batshit crazy, I recommend shooting a bunch of video with two GoPro HERO 3 Black Editions, only one of which works with any degree of reliability, and then editing the pile in iMovie 10, which you have never used, on an 11-inch MacBook Air, which is basically an iPhone with delusions of grandeur and a keyboard.

Good God awmighty. My brain hurts. Especially when I recall that I did this for free, just to see if I could. The next time I see a beach ball spinning that wildly, that often, I’d better be on an actual beach, and full of drugs, too.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

February 18, 2014
Pikes Peak has a dusting of snow, though the 'hood seems clear ... for now.

Pikes Peak has a dusting of snow, though the ‘hood seems clear … for now.

After five hours of drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds, I’m back in Bibleburg, where the winds have been knocking down trees, launching trash cans into low-earth orbit and generally annoying the mortal shit out of people. With more of the same on tap today it looks like fine weather for a hike, wearing ski goggles and a respirator.

I felt guilty about giving our old hometown of Santa Fe a miss on the way to Albuquerque, so on the return trip I stopped by Ten Thousand Waves for a much-needed soak and grabbed lunch at La Choza, primo to The Shed. Both places were nuts, it being a federal holiday, and I didn’t get home until 7 p.m. or thereabouts.

Training camp was a qualified success — I added miles, but didn’t subtract any weight, thanks to meals at Scalo Northern Italian Grill, Mary & Tito’s Cafe, Satellite Coffee and Zacatecas Tacos & Tequila.

Speaking of vittles, I don’t expect to be shopping at Reid’s Fine Food in Charlotte when I visit the 2014 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in North Carolina next month. It probably wasn’t smart of cook Drew Swope to lip off to a customer, even a punk-ass bitch like Gov. Pat McCrory — hey, Pat, I’ve got a gourmet snack option for you right here — but it wasn’t exactly brilliant of owner Tom Coker to sack Swope for speaking his mind, either.

Your snow of snows

February 13, 2014
The Kona Sutra at Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta Park, which sits right on the North Diversion Channel trail.

The Kona Sutra at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park, which sits right on the North Diversion Channel trail.

After a few too many days of my own personal Winter Olympics (ride, try not to fall on the ice; walk, try not to fall on the ice; stay indoors, try not to fall on the ice)  I had the Subaru serviced, packed it with cycling and journalism gear, and got the hell out of a house that was starting to feel a tad too small for optimal mental health.

It was strictly a professional decision, of course. I’m reviewing another bike, the Kona Sutra, and it’s hard to evaluate a road bike if you can’t see the road for all the lumpy ice piled on the sonofabitch.

I considered Arizona, but time is short, and so is money. So I roared down to Albuquerque, set up shop in a Hilton property using Herself’s accrued points, and got to riding sans neoprene.

I shouldn’t be crowing about the lack of snow in a state so short of water, but it feels downright heavenly to ride the Paseo del Bosque Trail in shorts and short sleeves. Plus I had a small combo plate at Mary & Tito’s Cafe last night, and you just can’t find that kind of grub in Bibleburg, not even if I’m in the kitchen.

Sid Caesar got out of town, too. But he’s never coming back, more’s the pity.

For whom the bell tolls

February 7, 2014
It was warmer today — but not that much warmer.

It was warmer today — but not that much warmer.

Finally, the temperature crept above zero, and then above freezing, and after I shipped my “Shop Talk” cartoon for the March 1 edition of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News I was able to sneak out for my first ride in the better part of quite some time that didn’t require pulling on enough neoprene to make wetsuits for every frogman in the Chinese navy.

First I took the Bootleg Hobo out and about with a GoPro on board, so I could get some winter footage for its video review, which Adventure Cyclist wants early next month.

Then I pulled the old mountain bike out of the garage again and rode over to Bear Creek Regional Park, where the Mad Dogs used to promote cyclo-cross races back when we were men instead of whatever it is that we are now.

There was still plenty of snow and ice on the ground, plus some slush to keep it company, and the trails were thick with feckin’ eejits who were either unable or unwilling to hear the crunch of fat tires on old snow, a bell rung thrice, and a cheery voice warning, “On your left!”

I startled the mortal shit out of at least two of ‘em when I passed. They jumped smack out of their shivering skins and left ‘em splayed on the ground like sex dolls awaiting inflation, their internal workings exposed to the elements. Stupidity should be painful.

Speaking of which, our local fish-wrapper, which is dead set on helping politicians, developers and other shameless hoors further enrich themselves at the taxpayers’ expense by elevating The Olympic Movement to cult status hereabouts, couldn’t even be bothered to localize an Associated Press story about a new national mountain-bike series that will finish right here in Bibleburg, home to (wait for it) The U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Cycling, in the U-nited States of America.

Nope, they’re too busy pimping the Winter Games, which is all the way around the damn’ world in Red Roosha, is what.

Shit, the lazy sonsabitches didn’t even fix the typos. Looks like we lost the Cold War after all.

Champs and chumps

February 3, 2014

Yesterday’s world-championship duel between Zdenek Stybar and Sven Nys was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Much better than the heavily pimped, darkly comical, one-sided feetsball contest that took place later that day in East Rutherford, Noo Joisey (based on media reports; I didn’t watch the thing).

It’s a shame that Lars van der Haar had such bad luck on the big day. He and Stybar have enlivened the business-as-usual ‘cross circuit this season, and the World Cup champion deserved better than a sixth-place finish at worlds. So it goes.

My ‘cross bikes stayed in the garage yesterday as winter maintains its clutch on Dog Country and I have no excess income to redirect toward emergency rooms and physical therapists. Instead, I broke out the old mountain bike again and spent an enjoyable if difficult hour crunching through old snow.

The north-south creekside bike path is in pretty fair shape. But it must be the only one getting plowed lately, because the eastbound trail from Mark Dabling to Union was a rutted, boot-print-pocked mess. Middle-ring, big-cog, 7-mph stuff, is what. I carved untracked snow wherever I could find it, because riding that is smooth like butta.  But crunching through the used stuff involves something of an ass-kicking, even with a suspension fork and seat post.

No worries. I’m sure that once City for Champions becomes a reality instead of an old white land developer’s wet dream we’ll have gold-plated hybrid snowplows working the trails the way a crack whore does South Nevada Avenue. Until then, I plan to keep a shovel handy. And not just for snow, either.

Time Machine Tuesday

January 21, 2014

Over at Teh Twitters yesterday a gent praised a non-rant I’d written way back in 2002, saying it was one of his “all-time favorites.”

I had forgotten about it — these things vanish from my consciousness about a nanosecond after I hit the “Send” button — so I looked it up, and y’know, I kinda liked it myself. Even an old blind dog finds a tasty Milk-Bone now and then, it seems.

Written when we still lived in Weirdcliffe, it was prompted by a reader’s complaint (one of many, actually) that my stuff was too negative, which it can be. That my VeloNews.com column was christened “Friday’s Foaming Rant” didn’t help. A label like that tends to set a certain tone, and when I wandered off the Rantinista reservation other critics would jeer, “Call that a rant?” You can’t win.

But if two of us liked it, it must not be entirely lame, so here it is, reprinted in all its faded glory for your entertainment.

(more…)

A great day to be a Hobo

January 19, 2014
The Bootleg Hobo and I visited one of my former neighborhoods south of downtown today.

The Bootleg Hobo and I visited one of my former neighborhoods south of downtown today. Turns out my former $75-per-month squat on Mill Street is for sale.

It’s easy to forget how many people ride bikes in this town until we get a sunny, 60-something day in January.

I slipped out for a 90-minute ride at midday and Holy Mary, Mother of God, you’d have thought we’d hit Peak Oil and left it bleeding out at roadside. Everybody and his grandma, from itty-bitty kids to grizzled graybeards, was gaily flogging a two-wheeler from Hither to Yon, no doubt hoping to burn a few calories before ingesting many, many more during the Broncos-Patriots feetsball game.

Despite a short stint as an assistant sports editor at The New Mexican in Santa Fe, I am not a fan of the feetsball, which is the polite way of saying that I don’t give two runny shits about a multibillion-dollar industry that temporarily shifts Americans’ homicidal instincts away from actual warfare and toward commerce by encouraging young gladiators to mutate their bodies with drugs and scramble their brains with high-speed collisions.

Cycling has its own issues in that regard, of course. But not the way I do it.

And at least you can watch televised pro cycling for more than 15 commercial-free seconds at a stretch (on a pirated Belgian feed, anyway). That’s how I spent my morning before throwing a leg over the Bootleg Hobo’s top tube. Plus you can be pretty certain the Organization is selling (and the spectators drinking) a higher-quality beer.

Sunrise, sunset

January 15, 2014
We had quite the sunset the other night. And tonight brings a micro-moon, in which Luna is at apogee and will appear to be the smallest full moon of 2014, according to National Geographic.

We had quite the sunset the other night. And tonight brings a micro-moon, in which Luna is at apogee and will appear to be the smallest full moon of 2014, according to National Geographic.

With cyclo-cross nats over and a couple of deadlines beaten into submission, I finally have a bit of downtime, and as nature abhors a vacuum, the to-do list is filling up like an open bar at a press conference.

First and foremost, of course, is cycling. The weatherperson says we have an extended stretch of fitty-sumpin’ ahead of us, so, yeah, time to sweat a little gravy. I have a review of the Cinelli Bootleg Hobo due in a couple weeks, and just got hold of a Kona Sutra, which is next up in the Adventure Cyclist pipeline.

Then there’s grocery shopping — seems some fat bastard has eaten everything in the house — and last but not least, I should perform a spot of computer maintenance.

Anyone out there upgraded their Macs to Mavericks yet? I’m thinking of making The Great Leap Forward with the two Macs that can handle it, the iMac and MacBook Air, but the tales of technological horror I read online give me pause.

Herself has successfully updated her MacBook Pro, but she is beloved of the gods. Me, not so much.


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