Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

29 January 2012

Serious Moonlight Tour

!st edition, players. Next Saturday, February 4th will be a nice close to full weekend night, and it. Is. On.

I don't see snow in the forecast for us. This can be the Full Kickass Dirt Connector Moon here in the Land of the Lotus Eaters. I will blow your minds with the sneaky get-thrus. You will blow your pants out with the gut busting efforts. We will blow the cobwebs away with some exhilarating descents. Meet at the top of the incline at half past the monkey's ass, and bring your squishy bike.

I will bring mine.

Tonight was light enough to ride by already. Well, not the technical stuff... but you could make the sweet sweet singletrack happen. 2 way dirt commute repeat. I'm feeling that old chest thumping type frogginess creeping in. You know the one, where you can kick and kick again while charging up twisty narrow ways?

28 January 2012

wanna see something gross?

Well, who doesn't? That's hardly a fair question. I didn't take any photos you understand, but after yesterday's totally kick ass dirt commute (dirt both ways, mind you- and it is dark in the woods at night right now) I found a tick on my rhymes-with-tick.
I know.
You know you're a mountain biker when...?

Well, I threw him in the toilet and pissed on him. Sorry you had to hear about this.

And, Mysterious B___ S_____ is, I'm sure, disappointed with me for not being punk enough to leave it there.

26 January 2012

Good Times never expire!

By now those to whom this matters will already know that Joselyn's Bicycles has closed up shop. If you did not know, uh...surprise!

I have worked in several (that's more than a few, but less than a bunch) bike shops in my time, so I know a fine establishment when I see it. Joselyn's was a sleeper; what seemed overcrowded and 2nd tier upon the casual looky loo was actually a tight ship in the classic submarine style. They'd store smoked hams and nets full of cheeses tucked into the piping because it's all necessary and there's only so much room when you are underground (can we mix metaphors? or does that muddy the water?). The "BIG" brands were already sewn up, so it was Giant and Jamis- solid performers with good value for the dollar.

We've all been into the shop that can't be bothered to help, or that has nothing but shitty attitudes for any one but "PROs", etc. This was not the case with Joselyn's Bicycles. The staff were wildly varied in their bike interests: BMX (race or street), flatland, commuting, trail riding, cyclocross, road, bikepacking. It was a real shop. Any discipline was welcome and at home with somebody. The mechanics were among the finest I have known. Everybody was passionate about bikes. Everybody was a kook. Most of all, Fist Frank Panto...the proprietor...the hub of all this bike love.

Fist Frank sponsored athletes and players in all those categories mentioned. He himself rides in more than a few but less than a bunch of them. We all have our shortcomings and our faults and our poorly disguised obsessions and our thinly veiled depravities and our flat out craziness, and none more than Frank. But let's not dwell on what an ass Fist Frank is, let's celebrate what an asset he has been to the local scene.

Joselyn's will be missed, but Frank will not. He is still here. You will see him out on a ride. When you do, ride up behind him real quiet-like and softly grab hold of his seat. Sit there, in his stinky draft, and when he finally notices tell him it's not unusual to be loved by anyone.

Thanks for the ride, Frank.

P.S. Those of y'all shopping bikes and parts online? FUCK YOU. Your local scene can only thrive if YOU make it thrive. Support your local bike shop. Those are the people working for safe routes to your schools, performing maintenance on your trail systems, sponsoring your race series, helping you with repairs or parts before/after hours, knowing the secret spots, ready to help with route advice or area specific tyres or dialing your sag or drinking your beer or any one of a thousand things. Don't talk about it, be about it. Local Bike Shop!

23 January 2012

keep your guard up

...and you knocked my love. and you know that's a lie.

I had this fancy post all rigged up. It was a side by side comparison of the 2 bikes I'm thinking about right now. The formatting got wonky and I couldn't fix it nor do I have the motivation to sort it out now. So. It wasn't a total loss, though. Putting thoughts down in cyber ink made the choice clearer.

I'm gonna ride. I ain't gone cry, no.

The last trip through Coe (aboard the full squish) was a driver. What with my swellbow tendonitis being like it is- better...better and better but still nagging and since August?!- I needed the ease of the flat barred squish versus the earlier trip aboard the full rigid. The Surly NeckRomancer still looms large in my 'magination, and it will mine (oh yes), but longer tours and those with significant road sections demand a rollier wheel. This has led me to decide I will redact my current Salsa Fargo (1st generation is not sus corrected) in favor of something with potential to spring the front end.

Looking at my options as they stand, I am wavering between the next generation Fargo (with it's man sized head tube) and the Surly Ogre (with it's little baby house cat head tube). I've nit-picked my way through the specs, and I am leaning to the Ogre. It has horizontal drop outs (offering a happy multiplicity of set ups...), frame/fork is ~2 full cans of beer lighter, it's green colored, and is cheaper. I reckon having the frame bag will negate the water bottle mount issues. The Fargo would still offer more (in a rigid configuration) and I really like having bottles on the backs of the fork legs, but running a sus fork would put paid to that anyhow. And a bottle underneath the down tube is not so great.

I guess it's unimportant given that this all clown fun.

17 January 2012

my posse's gettin big and my posse's gettin bigger


Those guys at Salsa are really running with this fat bike deal. Full squish?! I scoff. But then, I scoffed at the Pugsley when it was introduced (I thought it was too one note to be of use)...I know I'll give it a try. Untried, I think it is not a best-use type scenario. I appreciate the fat bike for it's simplicity, it's partial squish with no linkages to fail or wiggle.

And, plus those guys at Surly just really wear their heads up their asses on their sleeves. And I love that.

16 January 2012

if a stranger offers you a toy, some candy, or a puppy...

...take off.

Having received one of the Surly/Revelate Frame Packs (orderable through your LBS) the next logical step was to see how many cans of Hamm's it'll hold...

It is sized to fit the 22" Surly Pugsley or Neckromancer (waiting...), but I figured it would likely fit a number of my frames, and this is happily the case. It will be a useful piece of bikepacking gear. Any weight off of my back is a weight off of my back. Let the bike carry it.

D brought his skating bro, __indiana Jones, who rode the 24" mtb which hasn't seen use now that D has bumped up to 26". It fit him well, and he had a rock solid attitude for his 1st mtb outing- not one word of complaint, and showed willing the whole time. I like it.

J ruled it on the 20". A few bitter tears on the way back on account of tired frustration. I said what I say- "Those tears ain't helping you breathe." I help him on the up hills where I can, and walk his bike up the sandy, sandy ups- but he's a little guy with little legs pushing little wheels in a big wheeled world and that can be hard. He comes back strong with some Oreos, some honeyed almond/cashew mix, and some water.

Stand up tall, pretend you're strong in the hopes that you can be.

Oh. 14, with room for maybe 4 more if you put the tool bags somewhere else. The rubberized waterproof zippers are stiffffffff- seems like the frame bag will not be for quick in/out items. Perhaps they'll loosen up with use.

12 January 2012

roll with the punches

Are you clean?

Are you warm?

Have you been sleeping well?

I had the greatest shower of my entire life on Tuesday evening, followed by a deeply warm and soft 10 hours of delightful slumber. Fresh off 3 days/2 nights bikepacking in the 2nd(?!) largest State Park in California. Now it is Thursday and I am already taking cleanliness, warmth, and comfortable sleeping arrangements for granted.

I was to meet my fellow travelers out at ______ Camp wheneverIgotthere pm Sunday night. So I did like we do and made it to loaded about 30 minutes past full dark. This trip was to coincide with the Full Wolf Moon, and it was up in force. The last people were leaving the parking lot as I registered, and we saw no one else until returning to the lot 3 days later.

Heading out by my lonesome into the dark with a vague familiarity, a map, a full squish "test bike" from the shop, and a case of beer evenly distributed through my rig was...daunting. Thrilling. Satisfying.

86,000+acres of open space in front of me, all laid out in a procession of silvery ups and downs. My loose plan fell apart immediately (for the better) and I began to climb singletrack. And climb. And roll, and then climb. I did meet my party, much later than expected, and we partied. Camp was nicely chosen- out of the cold wind, and warm since it was well above the literally freezing hollows. Morning came right on time.

Play-by-plays are boring.

Some thoughts pierced the haze of joyous exhaustion, though:

*don't worry about having the perfect gear set-up. Just find a workable arrangement and get after it. You can refine your rig through trial and successssssssss!
The other 2 bikes had some slick custom rackery (and mocked my idiosyncratic jury rigging?), and their loads were tight...but it was their snacky ways that were the True measure of bikecamping mastery. Salt and pepper cashews?! I have so much to learn.

*and in that vein...make sure your food situation is not just adequate but fucking delicious. I still underestimate the boost some tasty snacks can give. My sweetie helped me plan my food, and it was nearly perfect- very little left at the end of the trip=no waste(d effort). I was well pleased with the dehydrated tofu; it filled a hole in my protein bin.

*my saddle bag was buzzing my rear tire (well, it had all my cookware, food, bike tools/tubes/patchkits, and a 6er in there) the 1st night when in full travel mode. This did not happen after we strategically emptied those beers, but the point about distributing your load well was not lost on me. I had a saddle bag, a handlebar bag, and a pack.

*full squish was wonderful. The beating I took was so lessened. You don't think about the effort/strain it is to deal with compensating for all the (constant) vibration from riding rough stuff, to leave aside the jarring of larger impacts, until you have taken it out of the equation. I am very innerested in how the fatbikes will perform as a camping bike. I like the simplicity of no moving frame parts but a lot of cushioning.

*if you go to Coe, ride Cross Canyon Trail from East to West. The whole thing is kickass. Even the substantial ups.

We used the SteriPen to good effect. Until the water was too cold for it to work. Later, the battery crapped out. Tablets for back up are always a fine idear.

Esbits are trouble free...

I took my summer weight Wiggy's bag (made in Junction!), and figured I'd be fine with my clothes on, some down booties I swiped from my daughter, and a down coat...NOPE. I was so miserably cold the 2nd night.
Eye openingly cold.
I was up well before dawn for some moving around and some coffee. Our water bladders had frozen solid. There was hoar frost on the bikes.

My totem? The one legged chickenhawk in a climbing contest.

I saw a lot of this as I climbed and climbed and climbed.

It was a real fine time.Our finishing trails were singletrack that was good enough to merit being ridden for it's own sake- let alone ending a trip. I'm thinking hard about taking the kids out there for their Spring Break. We can slip around the ridges as much as possible. The park is SO big, a day's ride will get you well beyond the range of any but the dedicatedest backpacker.

Coming home was bittersweet. I will try to hold on to the good perspective suffering and hard fun have to offer.

Meanwhile, Full Moon back at the ranch...Suckers, liars- get me a shovel...those of us who rallied are winners. Those of us who did not, are losers.

08 January 2012

press relations have soured

A few thoughts in relation to our recent long driving Road Trip...

Did y'all see "Crazy Heart"? My favorite part of that movie is Bad Blake getting out of his car and his belt buckle is undone. That is the only way to log some miles comfortably.

Fast lane, slow lane. Learn which is which.

Old friends who "jokingly" assign themselves the 2nd tier by saying "we are old". WTF? As cliche as it might be, stupid as stupid does. Or something. Give me a break! I'm fucked if I'll knuckle under based on numbered days. Everbody's gotta start where they are; handicaps fall where they may so let's get to the getting anyhow. What's the alternative?

POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE, MY PEOPLES. You are kidding yourselfs if you think you got hardships anyhow, you.

Lastly, for now, the Full Wolf Moon is nominally scheduled for Monday the 9th but has been postponed until Wednesday the 11th. Unless I beg off cuz I'm old.

06 January 2012

Sometimes it happens that veils, rumors, concerns, thoughts, attention to details, commitments, possibilities, coulds woulds and shoulds...fall away, run out, wind down, drift off, ease up, and step back.

Then you're just riding trails.

02 January 2012

squares don't roll well

A ____'s love is very different from that of a square. This has never been more apparent to me than Right Now.

Today started out so familiarly, with the fixed cross bike and the new/used chain required by the last minute inspection/lube (as the old/used chain was so worn it rode the tooth tips of the 46). Well used routes of pavement to dirt to pavement to dirt to pavement...found me at Alfredo's just after sunset.

Some of y'all will recall how they let us put the bikes in the bar, and some of y'all will recall when they've refused us. I thanked the barman for allowing me to put my bike in the corner of the bar. After I'd asked for a shot of Wild Turkey and a cold Coors I told the barman, J__, that I had an odd request and began the process of explaining Velocache. Hopefully this all works out, because no sooner had I finished that arrangement I opened my mouth real wide and put my foot right in there.

I asked the owner, D___, just how many bikes we could bring in, hypothetically, and then pressed it one more rejoinder when told "no more than 3". Wow, was that the wrong approach. I pointed out that practically speaking, 7 bikes could physically occupy that space (if the table were scooted slightly towards the bar) and then he'd have 7 folks spending at least $10 each. This would in no way affect the rest of the bar- it's never filled, and no one sits at that table anyhow as it is directly below the TV. Both the gentlemen were deeply offended. I apologized. I thought I had it saved when I got a laugh about turning it into a "biker bar."

Then I asked about the possibility of a 6er of canned beer for the ordering. Wowow.
"This is not a canned beer bar." I was not aware there was that distinction.
"Strike 2, Dick! What's the 3rd gonna be?!" I guess folks don't want to associate with the type of lowlife (viz. me) who would order a canned beer inside. There were questions as to my age, and how long I had been in the bar business. I was invited to name bars wherein I had successfully ordered a canned beer.

I apologized again and said no more. I don't need any 3rd strikes, whoa.

35ish mixed miles. The old school singlespeed loops aren't all there, but there are (again) some real nice swoopy connectors between Parker Flats Cut-off and Happy Trails.