‘Higher’ education

June 3, 2015
Like, wow. Like, bow wow, man.

Like, wow. Like, bow wow, man.

In 1973 I was a 19-year-old college dropout with a part-time job and no car, riding a bicycle everywhere.

But I went back to school, got that diploma, and today I’m a 61-year-old man with three part-time jobs and no car, riding a bicycle everywhere.

Stay in school, kids.

 

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.

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.

Live, from San Lorenzo al Mare, it’s Saturday morning!

May 8, 2015
Pretty in pink? Well, not so much.

Pretty in pink? Well, not so much.

Didja miss Live Update Guy’s coverage of Paris-Roubaix? Of course you didn’t.

So, naturally, you’ll want to follow along as Charles Pelkey, the Old Guy Who Gets Fat In Winter, the Man On the Scene (MOTS), an otherwise-idle Irish-American ne’er-do-well and the rest of the LUG Nuts Repertory Theatre and Monty Python Appreciation Society call the Giro d’Italia live, as it happens, starting with tomorrow’s team time trial.

In addition to the usual ploddingly tedious race coverage your servers will pile your plate to the rafters with plenty of the old Non-Race-Related-Blah-Blah-Blah®, topped with a nice marinara and maybe a little grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mangia, mangia, eat up awready. You look skinny.

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.

 

So comrades, come rally. …

May 1, 2015

Some news of the day (to be updated as I find it):

• Some workers of the world really have united.

 

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?

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.


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