Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

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.

 

Albuquerque, we have a problem

April 27, 2015
Herself and I finally got around to organizing the garage so I can actually park a car inside. A neighbor took one look and nearly took an infarction along with it.

Herself and I finally got around to organizing the garage so I can actually park a car inside. A neighbor took one look and nearly took an infarction along with it. Not pictured: Herself’s three bikes, which are on the other side of the garage.

Hoarder? Me? Y’think? Naw. Y’think?

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.

 

Gunk-Wobblegums

March 29, 2015
No cobbles, it's true. Also no 50-mph crosswinds and impromptu visits to the water-filled ditches.

No cobbles, it’s true. Also no 50-mph crosswinds and impromptu visits to the water-filled ditches.

Well, it wasn’t exactly Gent-Wevelgem, and I ain’t exactly Luca Paolini, but it suited me just fine, even if allergies had me feeling distinctly Phlegmish.

Kilometers or miles?

March 27, 2015
You find yourself on a nicely appointed bike path like this and the idea of turning around just seems wrong.

You find yourself on a nicely appointed bike path like this and the idea of turning around just seems wrong.

I gave myself a helluva birthday gift today.

Herself had proposed that I piss off to Ten Thousand Waves to leach all the venom out of my 61-year-old carcass while she and her visiting pal Lester terrorized Duke City. But I thought a bike ride might serve the same purpose, and without the need to start the car and drive an hour or so north.

Being a shrunken, feeble shadow of my once mighty self, I thought riding my age in kilometers would be just the thing. Then the ride sort of got away from me and before I knew it I was well on my way to riding 61 miles.

Classify it under, “I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway.” My longest ride this year was a shade over half that, and I had only two bottles and limited grub. But conditions were ideal — 50s at the start, 70s at the finish — and I actually had a cross/head wind out and a cross/tail wind back, which never ever happens.

Plus I finally rode the Paseo del Bosque Trail all the way south until it coils back on itself via Rio Bravo. So I can cross that one off the old bucket list.

On the homebound leg a brisk tail wind pushed me up Spain toward Tramway, and glad of it I was, too, because it’s mostly uphill from the bosque and I was feeling a tad weary for some reason. The torpor of the aged, no doubt. Anyone care to recommend a nice nursing home? One with secure bike parking?

Chin up, Jazzy

February 15, 2015
The Boo was quite taken with Jazzy, though she was less enamored of him. Photo: Herself

The Boo was quite taken with Jazzy, though she was less enamored of him. Photo: Herself

We had visitors for Valentine’s Day: Dave, Megan and Jazzy the Japanese Chin, bound for her new home in Arizona.

Dave and Megan were Jazzy’s “foster parents” until her adoption, which coincided nicely with a road trip they already had in the works. Megan is a volunteer with Colorado Japanese Chin Rescue, a fine organization wholeheartedly supported by Herself, and when they called to inquire about lodging possibilities en route we invited them to dine and spend the night at Rancho Pendejo.

Lovely people, and a lovely Chin, too, though Jazzy is very nervous around strangers, particularly men; someone was not kind to her in her previous life, and it shows.

Happily, that’s all behind her, and we wish her well as she begins a new life with her new person. Mister Boo certainly found her entrancing.

And we thank Dave and Megan for showing up with a sack full of sidewalk softener. That’s been known to open a door or two in my experience.

Meanwhile, if you happen to be in the Greater Denver Metropolitan Clusterplex this morning, swing on by the Colorado Custom and Vintage Bicycle Expo and say howdy to my man Mark Nobilette. I was riding one of his bikes just yesterday, and it’s a beaut’, just like everything else that comes out of his shop.

 

Hold my beer and watch this!

January 28, 2015

How ’bout them Mazamas?

January 21, 2015
There's snow in them thar hills.

There’s snow in them thar hills.

See that? No, not the nifty red Novara Mazama — the non-blue sky.

Yup. It started snowing on me during today’s ride. Snowing! And in late January, too. Who knew?

Naturally, I kept riding. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, and deadlines are deadlines. That Mazama review for Adventure Cyclist ain’t gonna write itself.

But when I got home I didn’t sit down at the iMac. Nossir. I got right in the kitchen and whipped up a steaming pot of posole.

Did I mention it’s snowing?

In unrelated news, we watched the State of the Union last night, as is our habit. The prez — when he wasn’t giving off a strong subtextual whiff of “Fuck all y’all!” — reminded me of the future Sen. John “Bluto” Blutarsky trying to rouse the Deltas with stirring oratory.

But the prez wasn’t speaking to Delta House. He was addressing Omega Theta Pi.

 

Cogito ergo dum

January 18, 2015
The culprit.

The culprit.

I will never be smart.

I’m riding the Soma Double Cross on Tramway this afternoon and on the speedy big-ring drop to Interstate 25 I suddenly hear this high-pitched whine coming from what I’m certain is the front wheel. Sounds like a brake shoe rubbing up against the tire, or maybe Jimmy Olsen’s watch calling Superman. Zee zee zee zee zee.

As this can only end badly on a fast descent, I stop — not once, not twice, but three times — to try to diagnose the problem. No joy. But then, as I turn around at the bottom for the climb back up, the noise stops.

Well, OK, then. Ain’t much bad can happen to me at 10 mph. So on I pedal in blissful ignorance.

Until I shift back into the big ring, get out of the saddle to stretch, and hear it again — zee zee zee zee zee.

A light bulb sputters on, about a 20-watter. I’m running the biggest tires this bike will take, 700×38, and I bet the rear tire is heating up and expanding and rubbing up against the front-derailleur mech. Genius!

Well, maybe not so much.

The Double Cross doesn’t have one of those bulky new Shimano mechs that intrude into the rear triangle the way the NSA does into your life. It sports a svelte old Ultegra model.

And, as I found when I got home, it also has a front-derailleur cable that somehow got itself bent inward, and the cable cap was rubbing the rear tire whenever I shifted into the big ring.

So if you’re ever riding with me and wonder what the funny noise is, don’t worry — it’s just the air leaking out of my head.

 

 


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