Archive for the ‘Bicycle travel’ Category

Two wheels, zero brains

May 21, 2015
I picked a fine day to ride from the Sandias to the Rio and back again.

I picked a fine day to ride from the Sandias to the Rio and back again.

It’s been a couple weeks since Herself’s Subaru was towed away to its 永眠の地 (eimin no chi), or final resting place, and so far we seem to be getting by OK with only the one motor vehicle, El Rancho Pendejo being fairly well stocked with two-wheelers.

We had a bit of alternative-transportation fun around here yesterday, however. Or I did, anyway.

While we decide what, if anything, to do about the one-car situation, I decided it might be smart to have my Vespa LX50 shipped down from Bibleburg, a process that has more than a few hoops to hop through.

Since I didn’t ride it throughout the winter and early spring, it being there and me being here, the battery died. So I couldn’t drive it to Sportique for spring maintenance when last I was there instead of here. Thus, Sportique needs to fetch the thing, charge it up, and give it a wash and brushup before another fellow handles transport later this month or early next.

Toward that end, I planned to FedEx the keys to the garage and Vespa to a friend who lives in our old ‘hood. He’d open the garage, hand off the keys, and that would be that. Easy sleazy.

Uh huh.

So I hop on the Voodoo townie and pedal over to the FedEx shop yesterday only to find my wallet bereft of credit card. Seems some eejit wearing my face left the card at El Bruno’s after enjoying a plate of chicken enchiladas in a nuclear green chile the night before.

Well, fuck me running, I think. Check the wallet again. Twenty-eight smacks in Dead President Trading Cards. And these keys need to go overnight because my friend and his wife are leaving on vacation Saturday, the delivery guy is expecting to pick up my scoot directly, and Sportique needs some time to put it in proper working order.

“How close to overnight can I get this package to Colorado Springs for with $28 to spend?” I ask the FedEx person.

Phew. Made it with two bucks to spare.

Then all I had to do was cycle on down to El Bruno’s to collect the credit card. That only took about an hour and 45 minutes, with 800-plus feet of vertical gain for the homebound leg.

That’s one way to sweat out a combo plate.

• Editor’s note: This looks like an interesting rig. A buddy at The New York Times tipped me off to it.

Getting Felt up

May 19, 2015
The Felt V100 is one of three bikes awaiting review for Adventure Cyclist. At $849, it's a cheap grocery-getter, even more so than a Honda Fit Sport.

The Felt V100 is one of three bikes awaiting review for Adventure Cyclist. At $849, it’s a cheap grocery-getter, even more so than a Honda Fit Sport.

One nice thing about having all these bloody bicycles lying about the place — besides the obvious, which is that it’s nice to have a bunch of bloody bicycles lying about the place — is that when one is down to a single motor vehicle, one has options.

I used this Felt V100, an Old Man Mountain rack and a pair of Jandd Economy Panniers to fetch about $80 worth of groceries home from the Whole Paycheck yesterday. The ride home took 40 minutes, it being all uphill and into a headwind, so everything was nicely solar-cooked by the time I got back to El Rancho Pendejo. Bonus! Mmm, E. coli in botulism sauce.

And looks like I’d better get used to it. Herself and I popped round to the Honda dealer yesterday and she wouldn’t even test-drive anything. And why should she? She has my Subaru Forester, a low-mileage creampuff previously owned by a little old man who only drove it to the Whole Paycheck.

My colleague Matt Wiebe, the tech editor at Bicycle Retailer, says he knows where I can get a deal on a second-hand Harley. But I think I’ll have the Vespa shipped down from Bibleburg instead.

Meanwhile, thanks to one and all for the auto recommendations. You are all hereby penalized two minutes for your assistance.

• Editor’s note: This is my 1,500th post on this blog. ‘Ray for me. 

Voodoo child

May 14, 2015
The old Voodoo Wazoo will be my daily driver for the foreseeable future. Toward that end it got a couple upgrades, including slimed tubes, Jandd Grocery Panniers and Egg Beater pedals.

The old Voodoo Wazoo will be my daily driver for the foreseeable future. Toward that end it got a couple upgrades, including slimed tubes, Jandd Grocery Panniers and Egg Beater pedals.

Damn, what a week. Another Bicycle Retailer deadline, the Giro every morning, and an abrupt and unwelcome thinning of the vehicular herd in the garage.

No, we didn’t lose any bicycles. That would be unbearable. But we did say sayonara to Herself’s 2002 Subaru Outback, which has been donated to KUNM-FM after the wizards at Reincarnation said that just about everything between the bumpers was completely fucked.

What began as a timing-belt replacement quickly blossomed into your basic nightmare, in which one repair leads to another: head gasket, clutch, tranny, front rotors, struts front and rear, wheel bearings, tires all around aaaaaaahhhh Jesus make it stop!

When the discussion starts with, “How much does your wife love this car?” you know it’s going to end badly. So, yeah. Off it went. Some cars you’re only gonna get 205,000 miles out of. We was robbed.

Happily, as Master Yoda said, “There is another.” My ’05 Forester. Guess who’s driving that now?

Right you are.

And my vehicle? That’s pictured up top.

• Editor’s note: What are you mutts using for motor vehicles these days? Subarus and Toyotas have been pretty good to us over the years, but we’re always willing to entertain other possibilities. Please to keep in mind that we’re (a) cheap, and (2) have nothing to use as a trade-in.

The Gorge of Eternal Peril

April 26, 2015
"Ask me the questions, bridge-keeper. I am not afraid."

“Ask me the questions, bridge-keeper. I am not afraid.”

“What … is your quest?”

To ride Highway 68 between Velarde and Taos? Uh, not so much.

Every time I drive it, I think, “Damn, this would be a fun ride.” And then I remember how people who are not me drive that stretch of highway, and I reconsider.

I’ve ridden bits and pieces of it, but that was decades ago, when I was young and fearless instead of aged and querulous. Likewise I’ve done some of the High Road to Taos, but never the entire ride.

MD, Khal and I have been talking in comments about giving the High Road a go sometime in June. Anyone else interested? Give us your thoughts in comments. Also your name, favorite color, and the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow.

Return of Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

April 17, 2015
Out near El Malpais National Monument on a shoot for the Adventure Cycling Association.

Out near El Malpais National Monument on a shoot for the Adventure Cycling Association.

The New Mexico Touring Society, New Mexico Bicyclist Educators and the Adventure Cycling Association are throwing a hoedown on Sunday at Balloon Fiesta Park, right here in Duke City, to celebrate the new Bicycle Route 66 with presentations and speechifying, New Mexican grub and (of course) a bit of cycling.

In honor of the ACA’s visit to my little ciudad, I have been empowered to arrange a number of free six-month trial memberships to the beautiful and talented people who follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or lurk around this blog waiting for me to pull my thumb out and get caustic, funny or both.

Members get discounts on maps, access to special organized tours, and Adventure Cyclist magazine, wherein one may discover glistening pearls of wisdom from cycling authorities who are not me. But I’m in there too.

Click the link and saddle up. See you on the road.

Dig it

April 8, 2015
A stretch of the Paseo del Bosque trail, south of the zoo.

A stretch of the Paseo del Bosque trail, south of the zoo.

There are times — even when my eyeballs feel sandpapered and my snout is clogged like the Paseo del Norte at rush hour — when I think I was pretty smart to let Herself take that job with the Military-Industrial Complex here in Duke City.

A recently resurfaced section of the Bear Canyon Arroyo trail, just west of Tramway.

A recently resurfaced section of the Bear Canyon Arroyo trail, just west of Tramway.

Like today, when I read in the Albuquerque Journal that Duke City just broke ground for a project to create a 50-mile bike loop around town.

About 80 percent of the “Activity Loop” trail already exists, and I’ve ridden quite a piece of it. Mostly it’s a matter of linking up and sprucing up all the various bits and pieces. Bike-ped bridges, on-demand signals, striping improvements, and what have you. The project will take years — the work is to be done in nine phases, as money becomes available — and cost about $20 million.

This sort of thing is not a panacea for problems like violent crime, trigger-happy cops, chronic long-term unemployment, and a sluggish economy. But it can help make a town a better place to live, which in the long term might help address at least a few of these issues.

I did most of my 61-mile birthday ride on separated bike path. The rest was on streets that were designated bike routes or had bike lanes. Not bad for a place where Bugs Bunny was always missing that crucial left turn.

 

Take me to the bridge

March 23, 2015
Just where I like to be: above it all, and viewing with alarm.

Just where I like to be: above it all, and viewing with alarm.

The temptation to pee off one of these things is practically irresistible. Especially on a brisk March morning after two cups of coffee and one of tea.

I had just dropped off the Forester at Reincarnation (timing belt and some other issues) and was cycling back to El Rancho Pendejo when I paused atop Interstate 40 to see what I could see. I felt slightly underdressed for the temperature and less than comfortable on the unfamiliar industrial streets until I connected with Comanche, which leads to the North Diversion Channel Trail, the Bear Arroyo trail, and, eventually, this pedestrian/bicycle bridge.

En route I saw a used hypo in a bike lane, fairly dripping with irony, and way too many F-Whatevers whizzing past at speeds well above the posted limit. That’ll give anyone a nervous bladder, especially if it’s full of caffeinated beverages, so it’s no wonder I felt like letting fly above I-40.

Still, most of the 16-mile ride was on separated bike path, and I even took in a stretch of single-track near the end to take the last vestiges of diesel out of my snoot. All in all, a pretty nice way to start a Monday.

 

On the sunny side of the … alley

May 14, 2014
The Bianchi Zurigo Disc, coming soon to a Pikes Peak Greenway Trail near you.

The Bianchi Zurigo Disc, coming soon to a Pikes Peak Greenway Trail near you.

Colorado being Colorado, we’re cycling through a wide range of weather possibilities this week — cloudy, sunny, chance of thunderstorms, plague of toads; you get the idea.

Speaking of cycling, there’s a new bike in the garage. It’s a Bianchi Zurigo Disc, and it’s slotted in right behind the Salsa Vaya for review in Adventure Cyclist.

This is not your granddaddy’s touring bike. In fact, if you were to mistake it for a cyclo-cross bike, you’d be forgiven, in part because it’s named in honor of the 1967 ‘cross worlds in Zurich (won by Renato Longo of Italy) and in part because, well … because it’s a bloody cyclo-cross bike.

The $1,799 Zurigo has an aluminum frame and carbon fork, knobby Kenda Kwicker 700×32 tires, and a SRAM Apex 10-speed drivetrain (48/34 up front, 11-32 in back). But it also has eyelets for mounting fenders and a rear rack, so a quick-and-dirty, lightly loaded tour is not out of the question.

I hope to get one of those in here directly, if weather and work permit. We have something of a full plate here in Dog Country from May through July, and a little road trip would do wonders to flush out the headgear.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

May 8, 2014
Hal and his burro Spike from back in the day. A real man would ski from Crusty County to Pueblo. With a burro. In the summertime.

Hal and his burro Spike from back in the day. A real man would ski from Crusty County to Pueblo. With a burro. In the summertime.

And now, the good news: More Americans are cycling to work.

A lot more of them, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — up from about 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000 in 2008-12. And no, they don’t all live in Portlandia.

The bad news, according to The Atlantic? More than eight in 10 of us still drive to work (and mostly alone).

My favorite commuting tale remains the one told by my burro-racing buddy Hal “Mr. Awesome” Walter of Crusty County, Colo., who once skied to work at The Pueblo Chieftain.

“I skied from West Park to the Chieftain, tucking for the glide over the 4th Street Bridge in subzero cold,” Hal recalls via email. “I was pulled over by a policeman and feared I might get a ticket for speeding but found there was actually an ordinance against skiing on the city streets.”

Hal has also run a burro from Wetmore to Pueblo, and without interference from the authorities, as the place was once a stronghold of Donk politics. Plus pretty much everyone in Pueblo likes to see some new ass in town, even the Republicans.

 

Indoor sports

April 3, 2014
Oak Creek Grade, between Cañon City and Weirdcliffe, where a fella is definitely gonna want something lower than 30x30.

Oak Creek Grade, between Cañon City and Weirdcliffe, where a fella is definitely gonna want something lower than 30×30.

The silver maple in the front yard at Chez Dog wearing a thick coat of snowy goodness.

The silver maple in the front yard at Chez Dog wearing a thick coat of snowy goodness.

“Man plans, God laughs,” goes the Yiddish proverb.

So, naturally, as I was contemplating the intricacies,  logistics and amusements of a bicycle tour, Management reminded me that spring is only a word, an arbitrary date on a manmade calendar.

Yesterday I was motoring around Fremont and Custer counties with the windows down, scoping out various back roads between Florence and Weirdcliffe with a Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer in the passenger seat while tugging frequently from a water bottle. Today I awakened to a few inches of heavy, wet snow on the deck, with more on the way.

No complaints here, mind you. Water from on high is water I don’t have to buy from Colorado Springs Utilities. And it sure beats being on fire.

So it looks to be a fine day for hanging around indoors, viewing with alarm. For instance, I notice that the Supremes are trying to make it less onerous for the 1 percent to run the country the way they see fit. And a Colorado judge is intent on making it harder for the 99 percent to catch them at it.

I’m starting to think Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito are deserving of life terms after all. Not on the high court, mind you, but in Leavenworth, making little rocks out of big ones for their crimes against the people.


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