Posts Tagged ‘Bicycle Retailer and Industry News’

Shark. Fin.

July 28, 2014

Laptop-OverWhew. Another Tour is in the bin, and just in time, too.

Vinnie “The Shark” Nibbles arrived in Paris with his lead and skin intact, two Frenchies made the podium for the first time since the lads raced with wooden rims, smoking cigarettes, and Charles Pelkey and I called the sumbitch from start to finish at Live Update Guy. Thanks to any and all of yis who popped round to watch us flail. If you enjoy that sort of thing, we’re gonna be doing it again for the Vuelta a España.

Now I can finally relax a bit, if your idea of downtime is immediately banging out a column and cartoon for Bicycle Retailer, shooting and editing a video for Adventure Cyclist, and wrangling a herd of tradespeople — movers, plumbers, arborists, painters, bankers, and Realtors™ — in preparation for our impending move to Albuquerque. Fuck me running, if you’ll pardon my French.

Herself will be southbound directly, taking up temporary quarters in Duke City as she starts the new gig, while I remain behind at Chez Dog, dealing with deadlines, managing the menagerie and assisting the house-hunting process from afar with my usual wit and wisdom.

“Nope. Nope. Nope. Hate it. Ug-ly. Sucks. Nope. Nope. Nope.”

It doesn’t help that we’re out of practice, having stayed put for 12 years. Too, we’ve been extraordinarily lucky as regards house purchases, having dealt exclusively with friends and relatives thus far. Still, eventually we’ll find a place we like, accumulate some soul-crushing debt, and that will be that. We’ll be New Mexicans again.

¡Que triste es la vida loca!

Throwback Thursday

April 10, 2014
The cover of VeloNews, Vol. 18, No. 3, March 10, 1989, the first issue to contain an O'Grady cartoon.

The cover of VeloNews, Vol. 18, No. 3, March 10, 1989, the first issue to contain an O’Grady cartoon.

As I was dozing off last night it struck me that I missed an anniversary of sorts last month.

On March 10, 1989, I drew my first cartoon for VeloNews.

Good God awmighty. Have I really been cracking lame bike jokes for more than 25 years?

Yup.

And my, how times have changed.

In 1989, I was still a real journalist (kinda, sorta) instead of a free-lance rumormonger, flailing away in a series of unsung editorial capacities for The New Mexican in Santa Fe, periodically shifting to a new desk in the newsroom as I wore out my welcome at the old one.

The VeloNews thing was my first real free-lance gig. I had applied for a job there, as managing editor, and happily for everyone concerned, I didn’t get it. But management liked the cartoons, and you know the rest.

Himself, in all his (ahem) glory.

Himself, in all his (ahem) glory.

Then as now, I drew in pencil, pen and ink, on Bristol board. But the ’toons were in black and white, and the originals FedExed from Santa Fe to Boulder.

At some point I scored a Mac SE, a 2400-baud Hayes modem, and an AOL account. But the early Innertubes were ill-equipped for transmitting the Old Guy Who Gets Fat In Winter from Santa Fe to Boulder, even in black and white, though VeloNews soon set up a BBS for catching incoming stories and was one of the early pioneers homesteading the World Wide Web.

I don’t draw for Velo, the slick successor to VeloNews. But I still do my “Shop Talk” strip for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. And those bad boys are digitized, colorized and shot through the Innertubes like ICBMs (Intercontinental Burlesque Missiles) to Laguna Hills, California, along with my “Mad Dog Unleashed” column.

All of which means I can have an editor mumbling, “Aw, f’chrissakes, lookit this fuggin’ thing,” in seconds instead of days.

 

"Shop Talk," the strip I do for BRAIN. Mostly it features the Mud Stud and Dude; occasionally, the Fat Guy and other characters appear.

“Shop Talk,” the strip I do for BRAIN. Mostly it features the Mud Stud and Dude; occasionally, the Fat Guy and other characters appear.

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.

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.

Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl

May 16, 2013

What with helping Consigliere Pelkey live-blog the Giro, cranking out the comedy for Bicycle Retailer, logging saddle time on the Jones Steel Diamond and the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff in preparation for reviews thereof, and assisting Herself with a new project — turning our House Back East™ into a vacation rental via airbnb.com — I haven’t had much time to follow the doings in DeeCee.

But now that I’ve had a minute to cast an inquisitive eye about the Innertubes, I have a question for those of you who have been paying closer attention.

Is it time we abandoned our flirtation with representative democracy and begged the Queen to take us back? God save the Queen!

Speaking of limeys, back at the bike racing, Brave, Brave Sir Wiggo’ went from descending like a girl to descending the Giro’s overall standings like a sick girl in a Radio Flyer full of anvils on Mount Doom. Defending champion Ryder Hesjedal has had even worse luck; they’re timing that poor sod with a calendar. I have no idea who’s gonna win the goddamn thing, but it sure is fun to watch. Join Mr. P and me at Live Update Guy for tomorrow’s stage, the Giro’s longest.

In California, meanwhile, it’s Jens Voigt making everyone look sick. The 110-year-old father of 16 crushed Tyler Farrar and Thor Hushovd under his chariot wheels en route to victory in stage 5 of the Amgen Tour. He told VeloNews reporter Matthew Beaudin that when he finally retires, if ever, it will take two people to replace him — “one to do the funny part, and one to be the bike rider.”

And me? I didn’t ride a meter today, in victory or defeat. Work, work, work, that’s all we have around these parts. That, and dinner with friends at Springs Orleans. Somebody had managed to FUBAR the house lights but we couldn’t have cared less, because the food was top notch. We just let our forks follow our noses.

Boogers, bikes and beans

March 13, 2013

I don’t know whether it’s Daylight Saving Time, the death throes of my 2-week-old case of Snotlocker Surprise, or simply a matter of cranking out too much velo-journalism in too few hours, but I’m whupped.

Today I did manage to slip out for a short ride between chores, however, and it was delightfully refreshing. Sixty-something and sunny, with a light wind. A nearly perfect day, and it gave me a Madison sling to the finish line of this latest deadline cycle.

Back at the ranch, while finishing a column and cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, I cooked up a pot of beans, pintos in chipotle chile, and with the roasted spuds in red chile that I made yesterday they will make a fine accompaniment to the chicken enchiladas in green chile that I will make tomorrow, right after another ride — a much longer, more leisurely outing than today’s.

The next two days I’m largely free of pressing responsibilities, a rare thing indeed lately, so I intend to take full advantage. I’m talking highs in the 60s and 70s, another unusual occurrence come March.

Now if I can just remember where I left my legs. Pale, thin, hairy … yes, two of them. They were here just a minute ago. …

BRAIN Farts: There and back again

March 9, 2013

Editor’s note: After some gentle prodding I’ve decided to post my “Mad Dog Unleashed” columns here at the blog, 30 days or so after their dead-tree publication (the folks at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News are paying good money for these things after all). Still, you can’t buy your own personal copy at the Barnes & Noble — BRAIN is a trade magazine, found near the toilet in all the better shops — and so the non-industry types among you may wonder what the hell is it that I do to pass the time when I’m not raving for free here. Speaking of which, this particular column had its roots in a blog post, so don’t be surprised if bits seem familiar.

If Bilbo had had a bike, he’d still be out there

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!”
— Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit”

In mid-November, after an overlong stretch of working for a living, I decided to treat myself to an adventure.

I had planned to head for Arizona for some sun-splashed cycling. But then I thought about the driving there and back, and all the cycling I would not be doing as I motored along, enduring various NPR pledge drives.

And frankly, the weather was not too shabby in Colorado.

Old Pueblo Road, just south of Hanover Road.

Old Pueblo Road, just south of Hanover Road.

So instead I equipped my Soma Double Cross with racks, panniers and about 25 pounds of things I would not need, and went for a ride. Call it “There and Back Again,” in honor of Peter Jackson’s overstuffed epic “The Hobbit,” though my trip took only three days rather than three films and cost considerably less money.

The Road goes ever on and on. The Adventure Cycling Association, for which I do a bit of work, has been promoting “bike overnights”, the idea being that not everyone wants or needs to cycle clear to the Lonely Mountain and back.

I first rode one in 2011, a simple 100-mile round trip, and I had been itching all year to do another.

There were two downsides: One, I was woefully unfit, having ridden the office chair more than the bike. And two, the first leg of my planned route, Highway 115 to Penrose, had for months been a quagmire of construction.

When a quick recon found the work nearly complete, I took a deep breath, tugged on my roomiest bibs and pedaled off.

Down from the door where it began. Day one was a rolling, 50-mile ride along the broad, winding shoulders of 115 to Cañon City, with a stop outside Penrose for a soak at Dakota Hot Springs. Rather than camp I spent the night at the Cañon Hampton — for free, thanks to Hilton Honors points.

Come morning I wolfed a complimentary hot breakfast; took note of a plump coyote trotting alongside a nearby creek as I wandered around, unkinking my legs and waiting for the temperature to rise; then kitted up for the ride east to Pueblo.

Once past the traffic signals I settled into a pleasant rhythm that eludes me on short rides around town. Highway 50’s high-speed traffic was a distraction, but so are the Internet, the telephone and the doorbell.

Now far ahead the Road has gone. Outside Pueblo I turned south toward the Arkansas River Trail. Despite the chill fishermen worked the river — one of them in shorts — and several folks were walking or cycling the trail, which was a pleasant contrast to Highway 50 in terms of traffic/noise volume.

Leaving the trail downtown I stopped for lunch at Hopscotch Bakery, where I learned they wished to expand their Bingo Burger operation to Colorado Springs.

Some uninformed contributions on this topic won me a free cookie, and thus restored I rode north through Mineral Palace Park and across Highway 50 to another Hampton (free bed, free breakfast, what’s not to like?).

And I must follow if I can. One great thing about travel by bicycle, even a short trip, is the discipline it enforces. If you skip that day’s ride, you don’t get to where you’re going. And it was a temptation to skip the final leg to Colorado Springs, which began with a few miles of Interstate 25 (yikes!) before veering east at the defunct Piñon Truck Stop onto a rough, rolling frontage road.

Still, “third time pays for all,” as Bilbo Baggins was fond of quoting. And once past the rest area, with another short stretch of I-25 behind me, I rolled through an underpass to the west-side frontage road and thence to Old Pueblo Road, which leads to the Front Range Trail and blessed freedom from infernal combustion until a few short blocks from home.

The trip was less Lewis and Clark than Martin and Lewis — old fat bastard on a bike to no particular purpose, dragging bags of superfluous doodads along the way a snail does its shell — but it was refreshing to leave all my other baggage behind for a few days.

And while no dragons were harmed during the making of this column, I particularly enjoyed giving a dope-slap to that remnant of lizard brain that likes to whisper, “You can’t do it, y’know.”

This column first appeared in the Jan. 1, 2013, edition of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

In like a lion

March 8, 2013
Novara Verita

The Novara Verita from REI.

March, is it? Whose idea was it to make February so short and start Daylight Saving Time on Sunday? Jesus, I take some time away from the blog to do a spot of work from my deathbed and the whole place goes to hell.

I brought some heavyweight class of an upper-respiratory bug home from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show and mostly have been sleeping at The House Back East® to keep from catapulting Herself out of bed and into the madhouse with my coughs, which sound remarkably like an M777 howitzer in action, if M777 howitzers fired 155mm olive-drab snot rockets.

Between booger barrages I have had to crank out the word count for Adventure Cyclist and Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, the latter now back to twice-a-month publication. Doubling up on the funny is heavy lifting when your brain is braising in bacterial tapioca.

The past couple of days have brought some mild improvement, happily, and I’ve even been out and about on the latest review bike, a Novara Verita, one of the steeds in REI’s velo-stable. I’ve tried not to dribble on it, because the green would clash horribly with the nifty blue-and-white color scheme and might even dissolve the tubeset.

I shan’t have access to that refreshing little pasatiempo this weekend, however. The wizards predict rain, snow and wind — to wit, March weather.

Just as well. Another round of deadlines is upon me like some fresh plague, and I might as well stick to embarrassing myself in print instead of upon the bicycle until the sun comes back sometime next week.

Pigskin? Nope — posole

February 5, 2012

My sources tell me there’s some class of sporting event going on today. “The Stupor Bowel,” or something like that.

There are no bicycles involved in the Stupor Bowel, which seems designed to paralyze the digestive tract with a one-two punch of grease and salt while clouding the mind with watery industrial lager and subliminal electronic commands to buy things you don’t need and can’t afford.

Fat Freddy enjoying football

Fat Freddy's cat cynically observes his staff at play. Click the thumbnail to see the entire Gilbert Shelton cartoon.

Some home viewers are said to prefer watching the ads that ostensibly support the “game,” a ritualized re-enactment of World War I trench warfare in which the gas attacks afflict the spectators rather than the combatants.

Here at Chez Dog the TV will remain in its usual mode — we call it “off” — and if the temperature ever rises above freezing I will patrol the neighborhood via bicycle. With all eyes glued to the tube this would be a perfect day for the Chinese to invade. Nobody would even notice  until they woke up chained to a table full of iPhone parts, with a biscuit, a cup of tea and an assembly manual written in Mandarin.

Herself, meanwhile, will pull the traditional Sunday shift as a volunteer at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, where everyone will no doubt have one eye on Animal Planet during Puppy Bowl VIII. There will be pigs on the sidelines, none of them named Newt (I hope).

Afterward we will enjoy a light repast of chicken enchiladas smothered in red chile, posole and pintos with chipotle, supported by a couple of fine craft beers recommended by tech editor Matt Wiebe of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News: Happy Camper IPA and Imperial Java Stout, both from the Santa Fe Brewing Co.

At no point will a cat be used as a football. Not even during halftime.

Four wheels good, two wheels bad

February 1, 2012

This may astound you, but there are times when I fear that our elected representatives don’t have our best interests at heart.

Take Rep. John Mica (R-Big Oil). The American Energy and Infrastructure Act, scheduled to be marked up on Thursday by Mica’s House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has been described by Ben Goldman of DC.Streetsblog.org as “a return to 1950s-style transportation policy” that is “particularly unkind to transit and bike/ped programs.”

No-bike routeAndy Clarke of the League of American Bicyclists has penned a list of the top-10 problems with the proposed legislation, and I expect there are many more than 10.

Andy told my colleagues over at Bicycle Retailer and Industry News that the legislation undoes 20 years’ worth of progress made toward including cycling and walking in the national transportation plan.

“We were expecting the funding would be under attack but were surprised at how carefully they want to take bike/ped out of the bill altogether,” Clarke said. “There were sections of the bill that we didn’t know they knew existed. They’ve gone out of their way to attack the bike/ped portions.”

It truly boggles the mind. Self-described “conservatives” who don’t bat an eyelash at starting wars that run into the trillions of dollars take the greatest possible umbrage at the pennies required to create and maintain sidewalks, bike lanes and pedestrian/bicycle trails that provide safe havens for the folks who’d just as soon not crank up the family tank for short trips to school, shopping or work.

Jesse Prentice-Dunn of the Sierra Club told Streetsblog that the bill represents “a significant step backwards for safe biking and walking.”

“Today more than 12 percent of trips are made by foot or bike, yet less than 2 percent of our nation’s transportation funding goes towards biking and pedestrian infrastructure,” Prentice-Dunn continued.

“According to the Alliance for Biking and Walking, bike commuting increased 57 percent between 2000 and 2009. Instead of increasing investment in transportation options that Americans want, the House bill appears to funnel more dollars towards roads, further deepening our addiction to oil.”

Addicted to oil? Say it ain’t so! I’m certain the only reason we want to keep the Strait of Hormuz open is to defend the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.


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