Next Full Moon

Monday, September 8th the Hood Rat Stuff Moon

17 August 2014

emerge unscathed

The trails are dry. Dried out. Tracks from days and days and days and days are right there, in the trail, for all to see. This is concerning when certain trails are (supposedly, hopefully, as much as possible) secret. Well, because entrances are getting blown out. Too much exposure, you understand.

On the other hand, I don't know if it's the extended drought or just timing, but a lot (a lot) of the deadfalls are rotted and dry enough to move off trail. A couple of those log cuts where the trail crew (sucks) didn't do more than just cut out the section blocking trail, and the log is at a diagonal so the cut is an awkward corner- yep, cleaned up. That emergency exit trail is going to be a lot (a lot) faster now.

Meat Life? Meat Life Volunteerism? I'll do some on a trail, in the woods.


J and I put some new meat on the (other) trails. His buddy, _____y, joined us for some kid stuff.

_____y has a clapped out "excitor" 20" dually which needed more love than I could give it then. We did what we could without new cables/housing/long enough seat post. He's got a Xmas request in, and since it's August he just danced with the one that brung him. I can respect that.

His folks don't ride, so he doesn't do this sort of thing. I reckon all children are made of rubber and boundless (OK, easily replenished short burst after easily replenished short burst's worth of) energy, so I don't coddle. We got snacks and we got drinks (sodas, even!) so we got going. He caved mildly about 7.6/8 of the way and was told that he was crazy, which he took in stride, and we rode the rest of the way out.

If you are tired of your usual, I recommend toting a 9 year old's idea of fun out to a rope swing. Shoot some BB gun/soda can skeet and live it up.

14 August 2014

come away with a different point of view

I like switching between a bunch of different bicycles. There was a time I tried to pick a bike. I expect there is that time for all of us. I guess for some, it sticks and they ride off happily into the sunset. Me, I have come to some more and less comfortable terms with the undeniable fact that I enjoy the shit out of lots of different rides.

Now I will mention, again: one aspect of the goodness of said fact is that the different rides are not only simply fun, a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom, but are complexly inter-related. To wit that the riding of one ride influences the sensation, informs the tactic, and contributes to the fitness (in every sense) with which we ride the other(s).

Think about that. Stare at your stem, drag a big heavy wheel up a solid climb, feel the effortless purring of a skinny tyre down a zippy and sustaaaaaaaaaaaained drop, etc. Don't just feel those contrasts, feel the hell out of them.

Relatedly, unless you are willing to stare into that Abyss, it won't be looking back at you at all. It might check it's phone and casually run you over without a meaning or a ripple, but that is dissatisfying to me. Some folks talk about a "meat life"*- sheeeeit. Meat life ain't coming to you, you got to go look for it. You might find it some dark night, backlit by a driving fog in a tight cone of headlight sound-tracked by heavy breathing. Maybe that's too far fetched. But it's true.

Also, I got a buddy who says he figures folks really love a bike for 5 years or so, and then get a yen for something else. That sounds right, more or less.  I figure a great bike is great forever**. Hopefully, you'll get reminders at least every 5 years or so.  If you are lucky, perhaps you will get reminders more frequently.

Finally, as a wise ass in a seedy bar once asked Mysterious B___ S_____ and myself: Do you even ride bikes?

*The term "meat life" scares me and makes me giggle.

** I leave out suspension bikes as individuals, as I consider them throw-away bikes with a finite use window dependent on: material(s) durability, design, the current standards of "useable" travel, planned obsolescence, trends in fashion, your bros' opinions, etc. As a category of bike- they have a place. You may love the shit out of suspension bikes in general, but any particular squishy bike more than mmmmm4.62 years past it's release date seems ridiculous and unenjoyable.

13 August 2014

in the future

Summer has ended over here. Summer is sticking around, and will likely last through to nearly October, but Summer is done with the first day of school. Schedules and likes being what they are, J and I saw Summer off with a little, small bike camp out.

It is interesting to see the progression. Last week's attempt had him huffing and puffing up the dirt climb pretty quickly. Not so this time. You know how it is, when the route is known it takes some pressure off. You can gauge the required effort better, if nothing else. He was gauging pretty good. He told me it wasn't so hard this time.

We got to the top and he asked if we were going to take the extra dirt climb. I typically skip that with their camping rides, as it is extra effort for not a whole lot of pay-off, and there are currently 2 downed trees and it has lots of poison oak plus those thorny brambly vines.

"This is fun!"

We dropped the bike path connector, with it's buckled root-strewn pave and took the side streets. We stopped at the fruit stand for snacks and a rest. We chilled in the shade at the park. Pretty much a repeat of attempted weeklies past (this is #5 for this version, according to my partner), with small refinements.

An OK sunset preceded a glorious moonrise, some Secret Boys nighttime getting around, burritos, and sleeping in the dirt. Early roll-out for extraction and doughnuts.

Summer is done, but we are not.

12 August 2014

lies and hype

I should just go ahead and change the name of this blog. It could also be "stuff I forgot".

I forgot to mention that the CaliRoots Festival happened. I'd been interested in seeing Don Carlos, and Yellowman puts on a good show, but it is Israel Vibration that really moves me (even without Apple). I rode by the fairgrounds after work and the sounds were OK. Rather than spend $ and hassle through the crowd (nowadays I can't do it- the overwhelming throngs of tank-topped bros in it for the weed, etc) I leaned my bike against the fence across the street and had myself a little party. The last 3 or 4 songs were pretty tuff. #dancelikenobodyswatching

I said that to say this: I did see my loveley co-worker, R______, on her way in. She called me a Geezer(!), and meant it in the nicest way you can mean it. She meant it. That was pretty good. It's my 1st, of what I assume to be many. I'm 45, for what it is worth.

Finally, I forgot that I remembered what gravity is like. You know, how it just insists. Constant tug, you can really depend on it when you are swinging the bike through one turn and into the next. Gravity is plumb down. I dig that. Fast descents are another plus.

11 August 2014

you are your own master

Hit me.

Going, going, gone. Rolling around this peninsula doing hood rat stuff. Looking for a full moon, finding only fog. Oh sure, it's back lit so there is a strange illumination to be had, but it's juuuust enough to sit in the woods and drink a beer and listen to the sounds. It's not as good as it could be, though what ever is? You appreciate what is there to be appreciated and the contrast gives value to the truly sublime moments. And, plus if you aren't out there looking for them those moments will remain in the shadows anyhow. We only get 12 cracks a year at this full moon stuff so make them count.

Mr. P is living la vida loca these days and reports that the terrain everyplace is not conducive to the full moon experience (viz. letting the front end ride). That is, sadly, a true statement. I forget that not everyplace has white sand trails extending out into scrubby (friendly, bumpering) chaparral. Insert sad trombone here.

Also, if you forget you're riding a fixed gear and try to coast, don't worry. Your bike will remind you what's really going on.

06 August 2014

skull dump

1/2 a day flies by before we get serious and down to the business of piling up our camping gear. Much of it is in a dirty shambles from being used for the Grand Canyon trip, so we use more time trying to find this or that. Eventually, it is all gathered in the front of the garage and we sort things into the proper places for me to haul all the stuff for an overnight except the boys' packs. I'm taking it easy on them because, again, we are riding a fair bit to reach this week's secret camp spot.

J is a mouthy little half-wheeler, and I have to stay on him about riding within himself so as to be able to maintain. He will burn right through his energy and then get fussy if I don't. D, on the other hand, will drag this out as slowly as he is able, so he must be hustled.

I just got that bike built for him, and it's too small. Dang. I reckon I'll swap in a taller and longer stem with some swept back bars. It isn't the aggressive trail bike, after all.

 We ride. We talk (quite a bit) about traffic awareness and safety- those drivers ain't looking out for us. We talk of inconsequential things and we talk of consequential things. We talk a lot of shit.

J shows off his one-handed riding and crashes right next to me. We get him out of the road- this is why we take the sidest streets- and hang out as he collects himself. He rung his bell, but isn't hurt.

We stop for burritos. There will be no cooking. We got more pressing matters at hand. The boys have to learn the game of world domination...

Risk! When I was a boy we spent days over that board. It is still engaging, and especially so in the woods at night.

We've been keeping up pretty well with the (attempted) weekly camp outs. They don't know I'm hardening them up so they are able to go farther and farther, but that is what is happening here.

04 August 2014

everthing you could think of

Step 1)* establish a "base camp".

Step 2) use this "base camp" as a springboard to days' adventures.

Step 3) repeat.

Following these simple guidelines will net you a Good Time, every time.

True blue day trippers, the plan was for the wife and I to ride and the other family members to hike/squabble/pout. We all crammed into the vehicle and burned non-renewable resources to reach the Rainbow Rim trail. FWIW, the maps available on site at the GC are wildly inaccurate, and roads are both left out and included even when they are no longer "real". Once again I am hit over the head with an iteration of the Be Prepared rule, viz. bring a good map, dummy. In light of this, we decided we'd all get out of the truck at one spot and do an out and back from there, rather than the original plan which had been to drop us off at one end and retrieve us at the other.

The Rainbow Rim is a beautiful alpine singletrack with gentle contours and stunning views. What little we saw of it, anyhow.

Before we'd even made the next point, I flatted. To make a long and aggravating story short: there were mulitple issues with patching which really boiled down to dried out glue(s) and only an asshole packs for a bike trip (especially one far from home) without making sure that the spare(s) in the kit are the right size(?!?) and the patch kits are fresh. As usual, I am that asshole. How you think I got this nickname?

With some cussing and some perseverance and the tearing with the teeth of one tube to boot another and the use of 4 hands and a lot of luck, we made it back from the 2nd flat. We called that the turn-around-point. Now, I dislike mechanicals as much as the next idiot who isn't proactive with preventing them, but I'm firmly in the camp of the-worst-day-on-a-bike-in-the-woods-is-better-than-the-best-day-at-_____. My sweetie only agrees to ride bikes because it's important to me (she'd rather hike) and the mechanical issues surrounding bikes are one of her main issues with the whole endeavor. Thus, it was a real drag for her but she never complained.

We juuuuuust made it back before the tyre began to go down again. Who's coming out with the large barreled fat tyre frame pump soonest?

*sorry. I had to do it.