Going Uptown

March 14, 2014
My homeboys from Moots were in the house.

My homeboys from Moots were in the house.

Day one of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show got off to something of a slow start today.

Well, for us, anyway.

I don’t do 2 a.m. real well anymore, in anybody’s time zone, so by the time Adventure Cyclist boss-fella Mike Deme and I arose from our coffins, grabbed a bite of breakfast at the Midnight Diner and got ready to roll, it was practically lunchtime.

Incidentally, if anyone is looking for a rock-solid solid investment opportunity, buy yourself a booth at the Midnight Diner and rent it out by the hour. The place was nuts when we walked in and nuts when we walked out, and I would give even money that it is nuts right now.

Anyway, after breaking fast we sauntered over to the show, exchanged pleasantries with various industry ne’er-do-wells, and spent a couple of hours stumbling around in desultory fashion, gazing slack-jawed at shiny bicycles and posing silly questions to ironically waxed mustaches wearing their little sisters’ pants. There was steel, titanium and carbon fiber, Gates Carbon Drive and Pinion bicycle transmissions, and them old-fangled whatchamacallems you shift with levers and stop with rim brakes. We’re gonna do it again tomorrow, but with more shuteye. And more breakfast. And more pictures.

Meanwhile, the NAHBS Exhibitor Party is this evening at Uptown Cycles. Simply everybody who is anybody will be there, so we’ll be blazing over there directly. Not on bicycles, more’s the pity. I couldn’t find one that would fit into the overhead bin.

Good morning, Charlotte …

March 14, 2014
A room with a view.

A room with a view.

… why so chilly? Please don’t make me wear pants on a Friday.

The flight out was uneventual, thanks for asking, which is to say that it sucked. The good thing about my connecting flights in Denver and Chicago being late is that I did not miss them, which seemed a high order of probability when I set out yesterday afternoon. And why is the under-seat space bigger in a pond-hopping turbo-prop than in a 737? Just asking.

Lights out came around 2 a.m. local time and lights on came way too bloody early. It’s barely above freezing and my shorts and T-shirts will stay in the closet for a while yet. But that closet is 23 floors up in a Westin hotel, so, yeah, I got that going for me, which is nice.

Now it’s time to grab some grub and scope out the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Indica ciclavia

March 12, 2014
Roll another one. ...

Roll another one. …

Meanwhile, hot on the heels of the news that Apple wants to get drivers playing with their cars instead of driving them comes this tale of stoned cycling from “The Cannabist,” The Denver Post‘s ganja gazette (hey, it can’t be all Broncos, all the time; not after that Super Bowl, anyway).

I’m old enough to have cycled while stoned in an era when (a) you couldn’t buy the shit at Buds ‘r’ Us, and (2) if you wrote about it for your city editor he wouldn’t read it because he was on a three-day bender somewhere. The assistant city editor would chuckle, tear it up, and reassign you to cover the cop shop until you got your mind right.

Being that old, and having grown less resilient over the decades, especially when it comes to high-speed contact with the ground, I’d prefer that the folks sharing the trails and streets with me have their minds right and keep ‘em that way until they get home, where they can do whatever they please.

Plenty of my fellow cyclists appear to lack many basic skills already, and piling impaired judgment on top of that regrettably sparse skill set strikes me as … well, as impaired judgment. Add a pair of earbuds and what you have is a dumb bomb seeking a target.

Jesus. MFA poets writing about stoned cycling for The Denver Post. Another thing I’m old enough to remember? When The Post was a real newspaper.

Meanwhile, congratulations are in order to a cyclist who almost certainly was not stoned, though he was certainly burning a fatty — Ned Overend, who over the weekend won the inaugural U.S. National Fat Bike Championship in Wisconsin.

Cars don’t play

March 10, 2014
Oh, good. More people playing when they should be driving.

Oh, good. More people playing when they should be driving.

I took my gradually fading cold out for a walk yesterday afternoon, and boy, was it ever a beautiful day. Didn’t need to see that pudgy jogger airing out his man-boobs, but occasionally a fella must take the bitter with the sweet.

We’re looking at another blast of springtime today — 72! — before the rain, snow and wind play a return engagement on Tuesday. So I plan to get out again while the getting out remains good.

Friend of the the DogS(h)ite Weaksides will not be so fortunate, alas. In comments, he advises that he’s enduring in-patient therapy after getting blitzed from behind by a car, and his condition may keep him out of his own damn’ home for a while. So shoot him some good wishes in comments if you have a moment.

Meanwhile, feel free to wax wroth about Apple’s latest brainstorm, CarPlay, a setup intended to make it easier for motorists to jabber on the phone, check their email and not incidentally run us over. Released today as part of iOS 7.1 and soon to be a column coming to a bicycle-industry magazine near you.

Snot rag

March 6, 2014
Kleenex and Mucinex and tea, oh my.

Kleenex and Mucinex and tea, oh my.

Gah. I was congratulating myself for having avoided the cold that felled Herself — dodged a boogery bullet, evaded a snot rocket, as it were — and then, boom!

Attack of the clones: Cloning the MacBook's hard drive to a new OWC SSD using SuperDuper and a USB Universal Drive Adapter.

Attack of the clones: Cloning the MacBook’s hard drive to a new OWC SSD using SuperDuper and a USB Universal Drive Adapter.

Got me.

Thus, while it is a springlike 64 degrees outdoors, here I sit, full of drugs, hot tea and bad ideas. Like installing a new SSD in my old black MacBook to give it a taste of the 21st century.

This is not unlike putting spinners on a Nash Metropolitan, but what the hell — at just under a C note from the fine folks at Other World Computing, a bigger, faster drive is a whole lot cheaper than a new laptop for road trips requiring a bit more screen real estate and software than the 11-inch MacBook Air provides.

Plus, being slightly crazed on caffeine, pseudoephedrine and guaifenesin, I need something to keep my hands busy. It’s either this or follow the news, and that seems futile since I no longer have any hair to pull out.

• Late update: The surgery was successful, and now I have a zippy little 120GB SSD in my 8-year-old MacBook. Probably should’ve gone bigger, but SSDs are pricey, and I have a 120GB external drive I can use to store image files.

Ride ‘em, jewboy

March 5, 2014

The inimitable Kinky Friedman, he of the Texas Jewboys, has made it into a runoff for the Donk nomination for Texas agriculture commissioner.

You may recall that Kinky, who favors legalization and cultivation of hemp and the whacky-terbacky, once ran for governor and got thumped  despite winning slogans like “Why the Hell Not?” and “How Hard Could It Be?”, references to predecessors Alfred E. “Worry” Bush and Goodhair “Bad Head” Perry. His chances in the ag-commish race appear equally poor, since if he manages to beat his runoff opponent there is a Republican candidate waiting in the wings.

Still … why the hell not? Ride ‘em, jewboy.

• Editor’s note: A tip of the Mad Dog Stetson to Ed Kilgore at Political Animal for noting that Kinky was in the hunt again, and for reminding me of the timely melody, “We Reserve the Right To Refuse Service To You.”

And the winner is … George Washington!

March 3, 2014
The last time one of these things was parked outside my house, I was fixin' to trade it in on a Toyota.

The last time one of these things was parked outside my house, I was fixin’ to trade it in on a Toyota.

Some class of awards show was hogging all the bandwidth last night, I understand.

We freelance cycling rumormongers never get to put on the Ritz and walk the red carpet, even those of us who dabble in the cinema. When we open the envelope, our prize for a job well done is a few wrinkly pictures of dead presidents (if we’re lucky).

I was able to skip the big show last night, Herself being on the road for bidness purposes. She had to motor through the mountains to Dysfunction Junction for a library conclave, and it being March in Colorado, rather than rent the usual half-pint fuel-sipper she settled on a big-ass Ford F-150 crew cab with a 26-gallon tank and four-wheel drive.

Holy shit, that thing looked like the USS George Washington, speaking of dead presidents. I asked Herself if she’d need a stepladder to chisel the ice off the windshield and she gave me the rough edge of her tongue, being less than fond of driving in conditions that lead to 104-car pileups.

I wasn’t exactly sanguine about the mission, either. I owned an F-150 once, a bare-bones 1996 4WD model, and it was without a doubt the biggest hunk of junk I’ve ever owned, a real Motor City garbage scow. Everything that could go wrong with it did, and by the time I finally determined to trade the devil-possessed sonofabitch in on a 1998 Toyota Tacoma I was expecting any minute to hear the voice of Terry Jones saying, “And now it’s time for the F-150 in your driveway to explode.”

But she made it to DJ without incident and is bounding merrily about the place with her fellow librarians. Last night they took over a brewery and spent the night putting their hair up in buns, peering over the tops of their glasses and telling everyone, “Shh!”

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.

R.I.P., Harold Ramis

February 24, 2014
To-GA! To-GA! To-GA!

To-GA! To-GA! To-GA!

This interview at Shambhala Sun made Harold Ramis seem like a person worth knowing, and not just for his movie work, which included “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “Caddyshack,” and “Groundhog Day,” all of which are in the library here at Chez Dog.

Ramis also worked in the Second City comedy troupe; as the joke editor at Playboy; on “The National Lampoon Radio Hour,” which I remember fondly from my stoner days down on Mill Street; and in “The National Lampoon Show,” a revue that followed “National Lampoon’s Lemmings,” which I have on vinyl around here somewhere. Alas, my copy of “Radio Dinner” is long gone.

Here’s his obit in The New York Times.

What a shame he and John Belushi left the toga party so early.


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