Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category


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.



All dressed up (flak jacket optional)

January 9, 2015
We got our java on at Mangiamo Pronto in Santa Fe.

We got our java on at Mangiamo Pronto in Santa Fe.

Ah, January. My least favorite month of the year.

“Uncertainty” is the word that best describes the month named for Janus, god of beginnings and transitions. Wikipedia notes that the word has its roots in the Latin ianua (door), and come January it seems one is either slamming on my fingers or ajar and letting the cold air in.

Paychecks invariably arrive late, and I often get purged from the comp-sub list, so not only am I short of cash, I can’t even see what the editors have done to my work.

Do I still have work? The Magic 8-Ball I’m behind says “Outlook good,” but that thing was made in China, so for all I know this means management has traded me to Xinhua for an iPad Pro, a low-interest loan and some dim sum.

There are a few vacancies at Charlie Hebdo, of course. But I’ve forgotten all the French I learned during grade one in Ottawa, and I bet they make the new guy sit with his back to the door.

Happily, even an old, blind dog unearths a Milk-Bone now and then. As on Tuesday, when I got to ride my bike around Santa Fe and Madrid during a photo shoot for the Adventure Cycling Association, which will be unveiling its Bicycle Route 66 early this year.

It was the second round of a two-day shoot with Santa Fe photographer Michael Clark, and the models got java, lunch and American money for their troubles, which were few indeed.

Didn’t need my Saint Laurent flak jacket or nothin’. Just some Adventure Cycling kit, is all. La vie est belle, non?

Gimme a brake

December 29, 2014
The TRP Spyre mechanical disc brake.

The TRP Spyre mechanical disc brake.

I spent a little time in our freezing-cold garage this morning, adjusting the cantilever brakes on my Soma Double Cross, and then said to hell with it and rode the Novara Mazama instead. It’s Monday, Christmas is over, back to work.

The outside wasn’t much warmer than the garage, so I layered up: heavy leg warmers, bib shorts, three long-sleeved jerseys, winter gloves, tuque, shoe covers, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. Then I went exploring, riding unfamiliar streets on an unfamiliar bike.

The brakes on the Mazama are of a higher order than the stoppers on my DC: TRP Spyre mechanical discs. I’ve ridden Avid’s BB5 and BB7, and Hayes CX, but this is my first experience with TRP. A couple hours of gentle cycling on forgiving terrain hardly makes me an expert, but so far, so good. Nice modulation, plenty grippy when you need ’em to be, and they don’t screech like Ann Coulter when the laundry puts starch in her banana hammock.

I wasn’t asking much of them, I’ll admit. I’d been wanting to check out a couple of the neighborhood roads that have bike lanes attached, so I was riding them uphill and then dropping back to Tramway via a short, swoopy bit of single-track. It being the Monday after Christmas, most folks were doing their work indoors, which meant more trail for me. Yay.

Speaking of trail, someone who should be hitting same is Rep. Steve Scalise (R-You Kiddin’ Me?). The freshly elevated House majority whip claims he had no idea he was addressing a clot of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other such cuddly types when he spoke to David Duke’s European-American Unity and Rights Organization in 2002. That’s extra-dumb, even by House leadership standards.

His enablers are trying to whitewash (har har) the escapade as an example of poor staff work done on behalf of a then-36-year-old state legislator. Honky please. I knew what Duke was in the Seventies when I was a 20-something reporter and interviewed the sonofabitch over the phone. And I didn’t even ply my trade in Louisiana.

Happily, I still don’t. So it ain’t my cross to bear. Or burn.

Double Crossed

December 28, 2014
Bigger balls or better brakes? Well, I can buy the brakes. ...

Bigger balls or better brakes? Well, I can buy the brakes. …

One of my favorite things in the whole world is the expression on the face of some dude on a double-boinger when he sees a 60-year-old man on a steel cyclo-cross bike preparing to descend the snowy stretch of north-facing single-track he just struggled up.

“Careful, man, it’s slippery back there,” the latest goggle-eyed disbeliever puffed.

“Thanks, I appreciate it,” I replied, and carried on.

Boingy Boy was right, and I took it easy, in part because my old Shimano BR-R550s were working about as well as the 113th Congress (and squealing even more loudly), and in part because the slippery descent was lousy with hikers (another look I enjoy is the one on a hiker’s face when you yield trail to him/her, apparently a rare occurrence in these parts).

Mostly I took it easy because I’ve never descended worth a damn, on road or off it. But I like climbing, even on a cold, snowy day, and as we know, what goes up must come down. So I pretend I know what I’m doing … and pray that the double-boingers don’t turn around to follow me.


He used to cut the grass

December 7, 2014

I used to cut the grass. I should do it again today. But I’d rather take a nice bike ride, maybe dwindle off into the twilight realm of my own secret thoughts. It’s day four of Zappadan 2014, and I don’t know any nice songs for cutting the grass.

Except for this one. And no, I won’t turn it down. I’m not a very nice boy.


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