Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

26 March 2014

the patient may die

Just for the record, if you find yourselves wondering, the Tektro hydraulic line for the Auriga/etc model disc brakes will   
edit: WILL  NOT work with the Shimano Deore lever and caliper BR-M615...

further edit: there is slight weeping at the lever connection. Dammit, it was too convenient to be true. So now it's the brake swap. Feck.

It has been my understanding that Tektro produces the Shimano brakes in their factories, and they sure look the same, so I figured I'd give it a shot seeing as how we had the Tektro line but not the Shimano. The Tektro is a cunt hair bigger (apologies to the ladies, but sometimes) but when I checked the connector bolts they threaded right in so I used the hardware included and so far it is holding oil and feels great! Well, yes, it is just in the stand. But I'm a ride that bike to work tomorrow and brake check the shit out of myself so hopefully all will be well in the real world.

If not, it's a last minute brake swap from the other bike. Cross your fingers, toes, and eyes.

Y Flaco es el hombre.

...and the trombone?!? Dang.

25 March 2014

open up your heart

Ah, Bitch Irony has done attempted to break my heart. It runs so deep. To begin, know that I am resistant to "new" bicycle tech. Well, on of account of having been that kid who wants the new new because it's new and surely the manufacturer has all the bugs worked out and is bringing to market a truly improved product that is a real world game changer and plus it's shiny this year. You understand. And then, I have been that guy in the back who only wants to run what they brung, too. These days I kid myself my current stance is one of balance and poise.

If I don't do it, somebody else will.

So then, looking back at this decade or so of dipping my toe further into the muck of disc brakery, you must recognize the extensive use of mechanical discs for what it is. What it has been. A nod to the Real real world practicablity of use, such that when (if?) one does experience technical probrems they are of an easily solveable nature, viz. fitting a new braided steel cable,etc and vs. the trouble and expense of replacing hydraulic line and potentially (likely?) pads as well, to say nothing of the toxicity inherent in the DOT fluid and how that reflects poorly on us as a species.

Like Galileo dropped a orange.

And then finally having gotten comfortable with the vagaries of the hydraulic systems, after finding one (1) that consistently and quietly works (Shimano, bitches...AND it's the non-toxic mineral oil!) I go and put it on my own bike and just love the hell out of it. It's easier on these tired out forearms. It works (mountain, anyhow...LMFAO @ the early adopters of the sram it down your throat hydraulic road garbage...but it's new! And shiny!). And after all the times folks have used their hydro and not had probrems, I slowly, creepingly, stopped considering them a sure-fire hazard and the shift has been gradual but certain that hydro is not necessarily evil, not necessarily a sure-fire fun ender if crashed.

You see where this is going. I patted myself on the back for getting the workingman's Deore brakes and keeping it real with this 3rd foray, having used the SLX to good effect after the weak XTR of 2006 or so. I put them on yesterday, in anticipation of this big dumb tour, and there was no trouble in sight. And then I went up that hill with a saw strapped on the bike- because it needs doing plus it's fun to have a mission and plus it's just fun to run a big saw. I figured I'd make a real test ride out of it. I put the big front wheel on the Ogre because it worked so nice in Death Valley and I wanted to be certain it is the right choice this go round.

And it will be, after I fix this severed hydraulic line.

Yep. Railing it a little bit faster than conditions (being my skills) will allow, I dumped the front end. Well, I was flush with so much success. Alas, the front rack clipped the line as the result of the bar twisting crash. And here is the irony- after having zero issues with the mechanical disc brakes that had been mounted on that bike for a couple years, including with that same front rack in that very same mounted position and with other crashes under my belt aboard same (because, let's face it) I had changed the routing of the rear brake line from the most lateral guides to the "protected" underneath the down tube guides, which change in clearance (of 4 or 5mm max, BTW) was my downfall. I had considered and authorized this switcheroo and thought myself clever.

Of course I've learned, now. Not like any of these type of issues is in my future anymore. 

22 March 2014

feverish activity

Guess who's all thumbs and isn't going bike camping in Coe next week. Yes, my life is not my own, and my superiors have informed me that that plan is unworkable. Which is tough, because (well, I wanted to go play) I am trying to finalize my set-ups for this upcoming tour. 6 days on the road ain't going to suck itself. There are substantial dirt sections, and folks in recent years have been taking their mountain bikes, so I'm thinking I'll revive the success of the Surly Ogre with the 29+ front (dyno)wheel for distance and comfort. It worked well on the Death Valley Ramble. Lots of load capacity and little to go wrong. I need that. I also lik the flatform pedals for the long hauls. It is nice to have the freedom to move around a bunch and I believe there will be the walking next to the bike for extended periods as well.

 Even after all this extensive riding around to and from and after work, I am not ready for this. Which is as ready as I'll ever be. When we form like Voltron, I will be the tail end bringing up the back.

This week I will be dehydrating hummus and baking kale chips, rolling around on foam cylinders, pulling out the myriad tarps to find the usablest one, making lists, and purchasing rations. It's a process. You got to find what strikes the best balance, if it works for you then it is undeniable.

18 March 2014

strange animals you never saw

Days off are for fun. Relax in the woods with some clippers and a pull-saw for 4 hours and what a you get? Trails clear of logs (the smaller ones, anyhow. There are a few still down that will require some real sawyering...under cover of darkness), free from eye-poking limbs, and NO POISON OAK within arms reach of the singletracks. Those are some results.

I been demoing a full squish (full carbon?!) with the 1x11 for the past week. While the Magura disc brakes squeal like they're a little overweight and their log book is way behind, I am enjoying the shit out of the experience. That 1x11 business...that is all right. No problems climbing the sustained, the steep, or the punchy. Lots of giddy.

The bloom is on over here, and I'm thinking folks going bike touring 2 weeks from now are gonna be missing the wildflowers, which will be past. Seems like a couple days in Coe are just the ticket for some climby flower viewing...who's got 2 thumbs and is off next Monday and Tuesday?

16 March 2014

another showdown scene

Out of everbody invited, only me and Adolph Herman Joseph Coors showed up for the Full sandWormsofarrakis Moon. We toured from 10th street liquors ("coldest beer in town") on out to the tower by the boarded up military shack the Sleaze Otter ran through that one time. I'd plugged the light in, and left it at home and my blinkie was blinked out, so all in black makes it a be safer offa the roads evening anyways. A homeless dude told me to get a light on the path out of town. The other tower is full of bees again, like it is seasonally. And that damned skunk was tail-up on the trail as he will be sometimes, at the intersection after the poison-oaked access. But he moved when I told him to beat it. For once.

All strapped up Saturday night.

Well, I wanted a close-up view of one of the old DANGER! ordinance signs. I love them, with the skull and crossbones they're waaay more effective than just strong wording.

Swapping the framebag around from bike to bike. Loaded with 10.L of water, it is some heavy load to push. It's OK, though. Still rallyable.  It's not as though it weren't fun or nothin.

Spring is sprung over here, for sure. Waking up was delight; the 1st of many warm and sunny mornings, I hope. Bird choruses and good green smells.

I put the B17 back on the bike, and my pants didn't have any holes in them when I got home this morning.

10 March 2014

I'm ragged but I'm right

So of course, as soon as they were available to me, I purchased a Brooks Cambium C17. I'd attempted to finagle a demo model when Brooks ran their advertising blitz a while back, but was denied for reasons unknown. I even wrote a regrettably curse word laden email to what I assumed was their robot mail service crying foul (mouth). Regardless, so far as I can tell from an admittedly brief (I'm not getting paid for this, you know) internet search, their chosen "testers" have been goddamned lax in their reviewing.

Knowing all that, you be the judge of my impartiality when I state: that saddle wore through 2 pairs of pants in the 1st 2 rides. 

Perhaps that is why the radio silence. You can and will take what I write as you like, but I counsel you to abstain from the throwing of good money after bad in purchasing this saddle. I wore an old pair of wool/nylon dress pants for the 1st ride, which is a usual style for me as they are weather resistant and comfortable. Pilled up and wore through in a single ride of 4 hours. I've had that pair of pants and ridden in them extensively for over a year with no issues on leather B17s. The next pair was a worn-out at the knees pair of Levi's, because I wanted to test the saddle without ruining a good pair of trousers. These now have a super worn crotch with a nickel sized hole at the center seam after the same route/time as the 1st ride.

I have nothing but praise for the B17, and no good to speak of the C17. Talk amongst yourselves. 

08 March 2014

I have begun a winning tradition

Ooo baby.

Digital records of analog events. Is it even worth leaving this chair?

Exhibit A:

It is.

Exhibit B:

It IS worth leaving this chair. Even (especially?) if the computer is all loaded up with viruses and in the shop, and so little documentation is to be had.

Riding bikes and drinking beers happens in the flesh, after all.

Feel so froggy lately, I wanna jump back. Legs as fresh as your creepy uncle. Aw yeah. There was a while there that I was allowing my ride schedule, such as it is, to be determined by other folks' show/no-show. I'm past that now and the satisfaction of riding whenever the riding is there is it's own reward fo sho. Again, I relearn that you can't let other people get your kicks for you.