Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

Happy solstice

June 21, 2015
What this sucker needs is a sprinkler system that comes on when you cycle through.

What this sucker needs is a sprinkler system that comes on when you cycle through.

It’s the longest day of the year, and is it ever a scorcher. Ninety-nine in the Duke City at the moment. A tip of the sweatband to Willis Haviland Carrier, who gave us air conditioning.

Got a couple nice rides in recently as part of a concentrated effort to (a) not read every word written online about the Charleston massacre, and (2) not apply for emigration to Mars.

On Friday, Adventure Cyclist contributor Merrill Callaway and I rode down to Two Wheel Drive on Central to chat a while with owner Charlie Ervin. If you’re ever in Albuquerque make sure you pop into Charlie’s shop. Lovely people, a friendly dog, and bike stuff, too. If TWD had a taqueria, bar and swimming pool the place would be perfect. But then pretty much anyplace would be, que no?

On Saturday Herself and I rode out to Tijeras and back. She claimed afterward that she would have ridden faster without me. I proposed that she get in line with all the other people who are faster than me.  That would be quite the paceline.

The underpass above is about the only shade between here and there and back again, so it seems that I must become an early riser if I’m to be cycling up to Madrid, Santa Fe and points north in this brand-new summer.

But I’d have to get up very early in the morning to even come close to thinking about maybe, possibly, approaching the marker that our most recent guest at Chez Dog has laid down.

First, he cycled from Las Vegas to Bibleburg for a nephew’s wedding. Then he rode up Pikes Peak.

 

Fashion Friday

June 12, 2015
Old Guy kit: The original (left) and the second edition.

Old Guy kit: The original (left) and the second edition.

Attention, DogMart shoppers! Today’s yellow-light special is … new Old Guy jerseys.

I just got off the phone with one of the fine folks at Voler and we’re setting the wheels in motion, as it were. The general idea is that rather than do this the old-fashioned way — book a reservation date, set a production schedule, wait seven weeks to ship, etc., et al., and so on and so forth — we set up an on-demand deal that could have kit in your hot little hands in fairly short order.

Best of all, Voler will handle all the heavy lifting of order fulfillment, so you won’t be at the mercy of the notorious Irish work ethic. (“What’s a shovel for then if not to lean upon?”)

The op’ should be not unlike the one Drunkcyclist uses to get its kit to the people. I’m awaiting an email from the gent who makes all these Lycra dogs bark, so when I hear something, so will you. I’ll post an announcement on the DogPage and drop a permanent link into the sidebar at right.

And thanks to everyone who kept pestering me on this. It sounds like a win-win for all concerned, save the poor sods who have to look at us wearing this stuff.

A day in the life

June 12, 2015
Descending on Trail 365 near the Embudo Dam.

Descending on Trail 365 near the Embudo Dam.

Every now and then, when I get a check in the mail, as I did yesterday, I wonder what I did to earn it. This thing of mine is not exactly ditch-digging, after all. Mostly it seems quite a bit like play.

But I kept track of yesterday’s chores, for some reason, and so here’s a look at a day in the life of a freelance cycling rumormonger.

• Wrote an 850-word column for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, on the joys of being a one-car, 16-bicycle family.

• Drew and colored a cartoon about motors in the peloton, also for BRAIN.

• Did an hour or so of hills on the Elephant NFE, stopping periodically to shoot some GoPro footage for its video review, which will accompany its Adventure Cyclist print review, which is fighting for space in my skull with ongoing impressions of a Felt V100 and Opus Legato 1.0.

• Pulled the footage off the GoPro, dropped it into iMovie, and did a bit of planning/editing.

• Declined a couple days’ worth of copyediting, my least favorite chore.

• Reinstalled the porteur and low-rider racks on the Elephant, being extra careful to not clamp anything down on any cable housing anywhere.

• Did a little casual research on the Swift Industries and Revelate bags.

Like I said, not exactly ditch-digging. Still, I’ll take the money. And thanks.

Elephant on the trail

June 10, 2015
The Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer, on Trail 365A, slightly southeast and decidedly upward from El Rancho Pendejo.

The Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer, on Trail 365A, slightly southeast and decidedly upward from El Rancho Pendejo.

The Pacific Northwest has come to the Southwest in the guise of an Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer.

This steel bike by Glen Copus out of Spokane, Washington, is intended for dirt roads, commuting and bike-packing. It’s my first 650b model, so I’ve been having fun with that after a steady diet of 29ers and 700c loaded tourers.

The NFE came with a whole raft of PNW goodies on the side: a matching Haulin’ Colin porteur rack (Seattle); a Tubus Duo low-rider rack (Auburn, Washington); an Ozette Randonneuring Bag and Jr. Ranger panniers from Swift Industries (Seattle); a Pika seat bag from Revelate Designs (Anchorage, Alaska, and Springfield, Oregon); and Gevenalle GX shifters (Portland, Oregon).

I don’t get to spend a ton of time with the NFE, so it’s kind of forced its way to the head of the Adventure Cyclist review queue, as elephants will do. At the moment it’s just a bike, stripped of racks and bags, but it will soon become a beast of burden.

Just call me Hannibal. Lemme at them Alps.

The Elephant NFE up against the Wall of Science.

The Elephant NFE up against the Wall of Science.

Julio, get the stretch!

June 4, 2015
The view from underneath one of the many bridges crossing the North Diversion Channel Trail.

The view from underneath one of the many bridges crossing the North Diversion Channel Trail.

I took a break from writing up my review of the Felt V100 to log a few miles on one of my own bikes for a change — Old Reliable, the Soma Double Cross.

The weather has been heating up here, and so my usual practice — arise, caffeinate, cast a baleful eye upon the news, do a bit of work, and then ride sometime around 10 a.m. — has come to a screeching halt.

Today I rolled out of the garage just after eight in the ayem, and what a lovely morning it was. Got in 40 miles before lunch and even sprawled out on the couch for a while, imitating the cats.

I didn’t notice until midafternoon that Goodhair Perry and his eyeglasses have clambered into the GOP clown car. That crowd is gonna need to borrow Bruno Mars’s stretch limo to get around until the Faux News debate format thins the herd a mite.

Somehow I doubt that wearing spectacles will prevent Goodhair from becoming one. I bet the bags of hammers snicker when he walks into a Home Depot and steps on all the rakes.

An .85 Magnum Opus

June 1, 2015
The Opus Legato and I on the way back to El Rancho Pendejo from the bosque.

The Opus Legato and Your Humble Narrator on the way back to El Rancho Pendejo from the bosque.

That was a long three weeks. Know how I can tell? Because I just absentmindedly hand-coded the italics for “That,” the way we have to while posting at Live Update Guy during the grand tours, the first of which finally skidded to a halt on Sunday.

Don’t gotta do that shit here, yo. Got buttons for that italics shit here.

Anyway, with the Giro d’Italia finally in the can, no deadlines of any sort barking at me like a double Hound of the Baskervilles, and Herself finally (!) done with road-tripping for a while, I enjoyed a nice quiet morning for a change, one in which I didn’t have to be funny and/or focused before breakfast. It’s a far cry from ditch-digging, but some days it’s definitely harder than it looks.

Around 10 I got out for a spin on the Opus Legato, one of three review bikes on deck for Adventure Cyclist. It started out as a fairly standard out-and-back but at some point mutated into a “let’s see where this road goes” kind of ride. I found a scenic new alternative to 4th Street (Guadalupe Trail) when heading down Tramway with the bosque in mind, and on the way home checked out a couple of bike routes that were new to me.

By this time it was noonish and in the mid-80s, which added a degree of difficulty to the climb back up to El Rancho Pendejo. And then I remembered we have air conditioning. So, yeah, bonus. Now I seem to be hungry for some reason, so I’m gonna whip up a mess of Rick Bayless’s tacos de chorizo con salsa de aguacate.

Seems the recipe is no longer on his website, but there are plenty of others. Pick one and use it to take the taste of a Lindsey Graham presidential campaign out of your mouth.

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.

 


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