Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

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.

Vision quest

December 3, 2014
The view from an overlook atop what I think is Trail 365A, south of the Embudo Canyon trailhead.

The view from an overlook atop what I think is Trail 365A, south of the Embudo Canyon trailhead.

Yesterday was a bit overcast, and there were things to do, many, many of them, so I didn’t sneak out for a skull-flushing bike ride until 3 p.m.

With Mister Boo still on a rigorous doping schedule — jeez, you’d think he was riding for Astana or something — I can only get away from Rancho Pendejo for a couple hours at a time. So, given that, and since it was late, I just explored a couple unfamiliar trails branching off the Foothills Trail near the Embudo Dam trailhead.

I didn’t drop down the other side toward Interstate 40, but so far I haven’t found anything I can’t ride on the old Voodoo Nakisi Monstercrosser®, which has 700×43 Bruce Gordon Rock n’ Roads for traction and that nifty 22×26 bailout gear (23.6 gear inches) for emergencies and/or sloth. Had I known I’d wind up liking this bike so much I’d have ordered two framesets and built a disc-brake version with wider rims for really fat tires. Alas, the model is no longer with us, having been discontinued.

The Boo has another follow-up appointment with his veterinary ophthalmologist this morning, and I’m hoping that he’ll enjoy longer intervals between medications henceforth, for his sake and for mine. I’d like to start getting some longer rides in, and I expect he’s getting sick of me grabbing him by the skull four times a day to hose down the only eyeball he has left.

Ridge lyin’

November 7, 2014
You never saw this. You were never even here.

You never saw this. You were never even here.

This is so not a 20-minute ride from my house. No, sir. Nuh uh. Never happen. Horrible place for cycling, Albuquerque. Don’t ever come here.

One, two, tree

October 18, 2014
The big maple in Bibleburg is doing its annual thing, carpeting the block with fallen leaves.

The big maple in Bibleburg is doing its annual thing, carpeting the block with fallen leaves.

The big silver maple back in Bibleburg is quite a sight come fall. Also quite a bit of work. It’s a rare year in which we don’t get more than a dozen 32-gallon bags of leaves off the auld fella.

The maple in the backyard in Duke City is a smaller edition, but further along in its seasonal disrobing.

The maple in the backyard in Duke City is a smaller edition, but further along in its seasonal disrobing.

But it’s worth it, because that tree sits on the south side of The Old Home Place®, and keeps the afternoon sun from cooking us like a pair of rotisserie chickens.

We have some class of a maple here in Duke City, too, but a much smaller model, on the east side of Rancho Pendejo™. It’s further along in the leaf-shedding process, but tidying up its droppings should be a damn’ sight easier on the lower back.

This also suits me right down to the ground, because frankly I’d rather be riding a bike than raking leaves. I’ve been discovering the wanderings of Trail 365 north of here, and it makes for some fun riding on the old Voodoo Nakisi. I surprised a couple of mountain bikers in a blind corner the other day and one exclaimed, “Nicely done,” clearly thinking I was on an actual cyclo-cross bike instead of a MonsterCrosser® with a triple crankset and 700×45 Panaracer Fire Cross tires.

Actually, check that, I’ve dialed the front tire down to a 700×42 Continental CrossRide. So I guess I am a manly man after all.

 

Moving in, on, and around and about

October 9, 2014
The main living area at Rancho Pendejo. A couple Brangoccios will soon adorn that far wall.

The main living area at Rancho Pendejo. A couple Brangoccios will soon adorn that far wall.

Rancho Pendejo is coming together, bit by bit, inch by inch.

The Pink Room is now Livable Green, as is the master bedroom. The living room is likewise livable, but not green, with the furniture more or less arranged, some works from my old college pal Michael Brangoccio on the walls, and the home-theater setup ticking along nicely, serving up Blu-Ray, streaming video via Mac Mini, and KUNM-FM. And the kitchen is open for business whenever I’m inclined to cook, which lately is not often. Folks actually make edible grub here, and it’s been fun playing culinary explorer.

The bike stops here: Just east of Rancho Pendejo sits the Cibola wilderness.

The bike stops here: Just east of Rancho Pendejo sits the Cibola wilderness.

We’ve also been exploring the local trails, which are abundant, eclectic and accessible pretty much from the front door.

The excellent Tramway bike path can be found just a couple blocks west on Comanche Road. And there’s a bike lane on Comanche itself that runs most of the way west to the North Diversion Channel Trail. The Paseo del Norte trail will get you there, too, but there are a few hiccups along the way.

Just a couple blocks east is Foothills Trail 365, a short stretch of which makes a nice out-and-back run for Herself. I’ve been hiking around and about there, jogging the uphills to see how the knees feel, and yesterday I took the Voodoo Nakisi out for a short exploratory ride on the trails that fan out from 365 and stumbled across the entrance to a bit of local wilderness, all of three miles from Rancho Pendejo. Fat city.

We got a light rain last night, and there’s more of the same in the forecast, so I’ll probably give the trails a rest today, maybe have a whang at the Tramway instead. It goes without saying that neither of the two bikes I brought from Bibleburg sports fenders. Duh.

Bienvenido a Nuevo México

September 26, 2014
The view from Tramway, on the descent to Interstate 25.

The view from Tramway, on the descent to Interstate 25.

I managed to squeeze in my first ride as a born-again resident of New Mexico yesterday.

Nothing special, just an hour or so riding the Tramway bike path north from Rancho Pendejo, peeping out the terrain, getting a feel for things. We’re just a couple of blocks from the path, which links up neatly with the Paseo del Norte trail about 20 minutes up the hill. Other east-west feeder routes abound, and I hope to explore them directly.

I think this is Sandia Peak, as seen from the base of the road to the tram.

I think this is Sandia Peak, as seen from the base of the road to the tram.

Lots of folks on bicycles out and about, most of them roadies, though there’s also some class of mountain-bike trail network in the area that I’ll inspect at some later date. Right now, the old plate is full to overflowing with chores and annoyances.

For starters, we have no Innertubes at the new place, and won’t until Oct. 3. This forces me to play “Hipster In the Coffee Shop,” a role for which I am far too unhip.

Also, and too, the cell service is only slightly evolved beyond the log drum, smoke signals, or two tin cans linked by a waxed string, so using the iPhone as a mobile hotspot is right out. One bar on the iPhone does not a data connection make. Coupled with the dearth of Innertubes this renders communications a bit, shall we say, spotty.

Likewise, we have almost none of our shit — the movers won’t show up for another four days or so, so we’re getting by with some stuff we bought from the previous owner and whatever we could cram into the rice-grinders.

Speaking of which, two of our three critters have more or less successfully made the transition via Subaru to new quarters. The lone holdout, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), spends the wee hours walking the battlements, inspecting the perimeter, and issuing challenges to foes only he can see.

As did Herbie Goldfarb in “The Milagro Beanfield War,” I find my brain going all foamy, like a vanilla milkshake, from lack of sleepzzzzzzzzzzz. …

It never rains, but it pours

August 30, 2014
The Templeton Gap Trail has a fine new concrete surface east of Goose Gossage Park.

The Templeton Gap Trail has a fine new concrete surface east of Goose Gossage Park.

One of the downsides of bidding adieu to scenic theocratic Bibleburg is that I won’t be able to enjoy the new bits of bikey infrastructure the city has been laying down.

I managed to slip out for a short ride today and found that the stretch of Templeton Gap Trail that takes cyclists from the Pikes Peak Greenway to Palmer Park has a new layer of concrete (it used to be beat-to-shit asphalt and dirt).

Shiny new blacktop adorns Templeton Gap Road.

Shiny new blacktop adorns Templeton Gap Road.

Also, Templeton Gap Road has a fresh coating of shiny blacktop and a nifty new bike lane. It has yet to be stenciled as such, but hey, it’s a holiday weekend, right?

Well, for some people, anyway. What with the Vuelta a España and live blogging thereof, the pending move to Duke City, guests in and out of The House Back East™, visiting newsie pals, goggle-eyed dogs requiring doctoring, chats with roofers, landscapers, gutter guys, real-estate types, bankers and mortgage-loan officers, Herself in the first month of a new job six hours to the south, and rain rain rain every god damn day, downtime has been a rare bird around these parts, buckaroo.

That said, I have not been shot dead by the laws and left to lie in the street for hours. Nor am I beheaded by ISIS, invaded by Russians, or infected with the Ebola virus.

I do have to go to Interbike, though. I’m not certain which horseman of the apocalypse that is.

A Giant among men

July 7, 2014
This stretch was one of the fast downhill bits of our old 'cross courses.

This stretch was one of the fast downhill bits of our old ‘cross courses.

Stifling again today, with the high somewhere in the mid-90s and the promised rain nowhere in sight.

It was already 80-something as I stepped away from the iMac and started slathering on the sunscreen after a bracing few hours playing second-chair tuba in the Live Update Guy Symphony Orchestra during stage 3 of the Tour de France.

What a fella wants after all that chin music is a bit of the old bikey ridey, and a little shade to do it in, so I rode south past Colorado College and America the Beautiful Park to Bear Creek Regional Park, where the Mad Dogs used to run their cyclo-crosses back in the day.

The shade is spotty over there, especially if you climb westward through Bear Creek Terrace toward Gold Camp Road, which I did. Then I zipped down 26th Street into Old Colorado City and turned east, toward home.

Nobody would have mistaken me for Marcel Kittel, who I figure can play The Batman anytime he wants to. I’m sure Ben Affleck would be happy to step aside, especially if Marcel has gotten his bad self up to speed.

Bar tender

June 26, 2014

Ride To Work Day is to the serious cyclist as St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve is to the serious drinker — amateur hour, a grim reminder that bars aren’t for everyone.

I generally pick an obscure route and an off-peak time for my cycling on this particular day, but I was both lazy and pressed for time yesterday, and used part of a heavily used bike path to get from point A to B and back again.

As I was on my way home from a pleasant outing in the hills I nearly centerpunched a noob riding on the wrong side of the path in a blind corner just past a clusterfuck of an intersection that’s already plenty dangerous for anyone who’s actually paying attention.

No harm, no foul, but still, damn. It’s nice to see new folks on bikes, but it sure would be nice if they saw us grizzled old veterans, too.

 


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