Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

30 September 2012

next and then

After all this gallivanting on top of the future, a return to the present. Riding the kids to school, riding the self to work(s), etc. These things are not best accomplished on borrowed plastic.

So, to work it is the clown bike on the sneaky dirt. Whoa! hey! there are so many enforcers over there at the moment. I popped out quietly to see the white truck with the emblem parked sideways and I stopped quietly in the trees to see and not be seen. One of the advantages in wearing "normal" clothing on the sneaky commute is the ability to blend in with the Pinks and Normals when needed. I parked the bike discreetly and left my helmet with it and walked out for a look looking just like your average hiker...a little waiting was in order. A few minutes pause in the trees and it was green means GO! the rest of the way.  Anyhow, that bike is a P-I-G pig. I will be removing the B73, as it is a wallowing hog of it's own for any kind of hard climbing. That front spring is not doing me any favors trying to levitate up that one quick access. Trying to perch on the rivet and spin is incompatible with full suspension saddles? Yes, and surprise! The stock Surly front hub continually loosens itself. I can feel the balloon dive sideways under breaking (which- the breaking and diving- is what causes the loosening, I am sure). The fat NeckRomancer is...narrow in it's appeal. I am glad I have it for the camping, but I don't love it for the rest. There, I said it.

On the way back up and over, I almost came across a enforcer again?! Fortunately, I am an experienced ________er, and I approach entrances, intersections, and exits with open eyes. I see you before you see me, is what I'm hoping. Seeing him 1st, I promptly turned around and retreated a bit for more waiting. Waiting will pay off, and again it became clear for some coasting. I do enjoy some sneaking. If the payoff is sweet singletrack? I relish some sneaking. It keeps out the riffraff. You know who you are.

Taking the kids to school- well, J is my own and there are 2 others from our street who ride with us regularly and some more who come and go- I have been hopping on the kids' green bike. That how we refer to the incredibly understated Schwinn Cimmaron: bi-laminate construction, bi-ovalized tubing, made in Japan, with Wald baskets and the ruined-yet-proud B66. I love that bike. It is so unassuming and ready to get busy. It has motivated me to mimic it's readiness with the build of this Last Chance sourced StumpJumper. Last Chance Mercantile is the junk shop at the dump, so it is aptly named. Every now and again there is a treasure among the trash, and I'm the sort who will search. I feel it's better I have it than ("someone who actually needs it"- anon. riffraff) a villain who won't appreciate it.

  A spare camping bike for my brother? A loaner for dirtbags from out of town? The Equalizer? It will make a fine beater for school shuttling and trips to the local SavMart, where cases of Hamm's can be had on the cheap. Anything further calls for some man sized wheels.

Eh. It's a work in progress. I like to tinker. Waiting on some eggplant Neubaum's cotton tape, which will really tie it together. The BB clicks ominously, the cassette is a wee slippy, and the sweet XTR cantis (c. 1996 oh yeah) will NOT lay down a fat skid. The rear wheel has a hop in it that is undeniable, but "better than it was". This (the ridiculous hop) was fun to attempt to fix, since it was so bad. The whole bike cost $18, what's to lose? Maybe the color scheme had something to do with the cheapness (perhaps was the reason someone saw it as trash) but it appeals to the iconoclast in me. The lines of the bike are so roots that it appeals to the idolater in me. Back in the late 80s, when 1st I began to ride the mountain bikes a StumpJumper was second only to an MB1 on the want list. It's only taken me 25 years.

29 September 2012

How long has it been?

At least a month. Full It's Supposed To Be Clear Not Foggy Moon is tonight...

Who wants to disregard official missives, blatantly disobey edicts from the dicks, and generally ride bikes like it ain't no thang? GO! 7:30 at the graveyard? Run what you brung mixed pave and dirt. No crying.

26 September 2012

Lick Stuff!

Carmel to Aguajito to 68 to Laureles to Toro to Robley to Laureles to CV to Cachagua to Tassajara back CV to Carmel proper, aboard the bits of glue and fabric. 

I was disinclined to skip any pave. Twisty back roads wherever possible. Tell you as of today that 68 is a messy wreck right now with all the sloppy overlay. I did not love that. The valley past the village is always good, though. Having ridden the Cachagua lolipop both ways, climbing Cachagua and heading back via Tassajara is the way. Oddly, I passed 3 people doing the reverse. Weirdos.  Great climbing, great descending.

I feel very aggressive on this bike. Even with the stem reaching for the sky, there is an easy 3" drop from saddle to bar. It's been at least 9 years since I rode (shall I call this regularly?) with anything approaching that far below saddle height. What the?!? A 61cm is a XXL? That's insane. The bars are too narrow. My shoes are too soft. My saddle isn't perfectly adjusted. I changed cleat position. Etc. As for the aggression, that much more flexion at the waist is giving me the power and majesty of a brightly burning tiger. Felt like I could reach out from the abdomen and pull the pedal stroke around. Hey! Trouble for you...cuz I just kept feeling froggy. Even after the multiple and varied quad cramps the option to push remained. Not so much during- there was the option to yell and shake. Really quite impressive cramping today. I did find the sun out the valley, out from under this coastal haar, and the heat was a factor.

I was really feeling the sun. First, I was glad to see it. The morning was cold fog so thick it was drizzly. Later, the capsacin based analgesic I'd smeared on elbows and knees hotted up. HOTTTed up. Whew. I just reanimated it with a hot shower 12 hours after application and it is back. No joke. Anyhow, the warmth of the sun drenched climb really lit me up.


25 September 2012


Well, maybe for some. I guess my higher-ups shoulda listened to my idears when they had the chance...cuz now it looks like someone else took that ball and ran with it. I will be setting up a table and settling in for some wheeling and dealing for sure. I got a lot of bicycle treasures with which I can part. And I know some of y'all have some stuff I don't yet know I must have. Who's hoarding the C-Record Delta brakes????

Oh. There's a new bike shop in town.

And, speaking of flyers and folks who should listen, FORA are a bunch of assholes:

Yeah, yeah. If you want a clearer view go to their hive and poke around. My point is that this is bullshit and if they think they can catch someone (not me) who is HOTTT like me (but is not me) let em try. Those trails have been cleared and used for as long as I've been paying attention here (~10 years) and closing them smacks of money grubbing, ass grabbing, land grabbery, and potential skull duggery. Aside from the several year stint when they were overlain with detritus from the fucking bulldozing, Happy Trails have been just that. Happy. This is an attempt to force unHappiness on the people (the people the people people the people, the people people from everywhere watching the show) and it is not Right. Fuck tha po-lice.


And, plus while I'm on the rant tip, I rode your little PIPELINE- MOUNTAIN BIKERS ONLY  trail over there in Toro Park. Much as it pains me to talk shit about a trail on which clearly were labored many hours: it sucked.

Y'all need to learn how to flow. Full stop.

Drive?!?! over (20 minutes minimum) there and spend 45 minutes climbing (actually quite pleasant) only to dump all that effort on riding the brakes down some poorly routed fall line drainage broken with occasional off-camber/washed-out obstacles? Hell no.

24 September 2012

can't fight corruption with con tricks

 Still getting insults regarding the angry robot bike. Keep 'em coming. I deserve it.

It is amusing to me that some folks seem to really mean it. They are unsettled and righteously indignant, as if I gave a ish. I just laugh. It's light (to me, and this really struck home as I was shouldering it up that one off-camber uphill rock garden), shifts via bionic thought waves, and don't cost nuthin! No plasticized substrate off my nose. I'm riding it and putting it away wiped down.

FYI- you can stuff some 28s in there, though the rear must be crammed in uninflated. No fast wheel changes for this guy. Those are some steel beaded skinwalls I had laying around, but they are just my training rubber. They are working out great. (greatly?) Today saw some straight levitating up the hill and then leaving the pave for some dry and drifty dirt action. Save for a loosened headset after the steppy drop into the high maritime chaparral, the carbon puppet took it all in stride. Obviously (I would think), there are some trail features one does not attempt on a slick tyred street machine, but I did not pull any punches and rode it like I owned it.

Along the hillsides above Monterey are street sections I am typically inclined to avoid in favor of some stitched together route of dirt connectors. Today, after the main dirt I found myself skipping the lesser pieces for zipping down and zipping up the asphalt. It's just so fun.

This bike requires focus, though. No handed is fine, stable- but any input to the bars is immediate. It is NOT the bike for having some beers and some laughs, for reasons beyond the fact that it is on loan. It is so very willing to change direction.

So far, I'm having a nice time.

22 September 2012

knowin nuthin in life but to be legit

That Meet Your Maker deal was a whole lot of fun. I had never bothered to stop and check out Camp Loma on any of my bike trips in that area, be they mountain or road. Aside from the meth-influenced "marauders" who had been surprised in the act of stripping the copper wiring just prior to our arrival, everything was smoooth music. We were very careful to lock up the bike which we weren't riding, though...

Friday saw a quick dirt loop through Demo. We went up via a trail that was new to me. I love to learn new trails, on account of the more trails you know the more opportunities for a Good Time. That's just simple math. Later, I found myself unable to play ping pong or to shoot beer cans. I had contributed too many targets.

Saturday was road riding day. That's a day I enjoy. Speedy climbing and speedier descending through rough pavement under Redwoods is...sublime. I cannot say enough praisey things about it, so leave it at that. I will say that it is a delightful return to the road riding. I haven't had a "real" road bike for mmmm7ish years (been using my cross bike) and a dedicated street machine is FUN. My carbonite rocket was fast as could be, and the robotick shifting was digital. I rode waaay better than all those other guys. I especially enjoyed that evening, when the hippies showed up on their steely cyclotouriste rigs and were heard to comment (and I quote) "There's a lot of mainstream carbon fiber bikes for a custom builders' ride". I laughed. Perfect. There was my wonder bike, a carbon LandShark and one other spacy fibered Cervelo amongst the dozen or so custom bikes.

Those fellas were all wearing what I consider to be "my" style- which is mainly Goodwill Pendelton and dead guy wool- and I don't especially dig seeing it used with such affected posturing (the bare feet were really over the top). What can you do, I guess. It is the fate of the timelessly stylish to see one's taste co-opted and co-rupted repeatedly. I should bite my tongue, anyhow. It takes somebody who has got the right sensiblity to ride their sweet steel tourer to a fine camping spot.

Sunday was more dirt loops through Demo. I love to ride trails. So, it is with some difficulty that I say: Demo kinda sucks right now. I'm not the steepest downhiller in the bunch ever, and as dusty/slippy /loose/straight down the fall-line as it is this time of year, I'm even less inclined to get after it. The fellas I was following were shredding, too, and that makes it tough. I walked some stuff. The demo bike- oh, I took a demo StumpJumper FSR Elite 29er from the shop since none of my rides has suspension anyplace- was pretty great. The 2013 has the Brain suspension set-up, and it climbs well (very well) but it's stiffer than I'd like on the down. I did totally (totally) love the remote activated dropper seatpost. Really. The 2x10 36/24 11-36 was quietly perfect. Makes me really want to check out this 1x11 with the 10-42?!? Simpler drive-train equals better drive-train to me.

Anyhow, the highlight of the weekend, for me, was the old guy jumping the log. Yes, better than the stream-fed swimming pool, the gently swaying beer can target line, the double-fried polenta mush-balls,the undeniable honey dew melon, the excellent company of fellow bike geeks, the fancy bikes, and the lies. Watching that guy very nearly break himself with his super narrow bars with bar-ends and his sandal topped flat pedals, and his extreme nose-down saddle, and his story about how it was his 7th warrantied frame was topped by the easy way his enthusiastic frame inquiries were deflected by a group of custom builders atop their own-made bikes. Slick.

If you are in the market for a sweet custom bike, and you aren't going to break it by riding recklessly and over your head while weighing 260lbs, you could do worse than to contact one of these guys:

Black Cat Bicycles

Frances Cycles

Hunter Cycles

Inglis Cycles/Retrotec

Rex Cycles

17 September 2012

introducing the completely new

No, really. Dangit, I'm missing interbike this year. You know, on account of stuff. So. Seeing as how I'm currently- like, right now- missing out on being drunk way too early in the day for other peoples' comforts and then going on to make a ass of myself, I figure I'll point out some things I would have pointed out while hooting appreciatively and rummaging around in my truck tarp materialed bag for another ice cold beer.

1st up- we've all already seen Surly's 29+ Krampus. I'm skeptical of the 1x drivetrain's usefulness overall, but I know and am sure it is a fun bike to ride. Perfect for demoing while loaded, anyhow. Sad to miss it.

2ndly- crashing the tent at Surly during Dirt Demo has been a fine waste of time. Lots of beers and shittalking. I lik that.

Also- reaching overload with the above and wandering boozily with an eye to demoing some of the more frivolous/far-fetched wares. Like the strider bike, etc. Rallying same in ill-advised conditions.

WTF?!?! Raleigh has a drop bar mixte in my size?!? With painted to match fenders and a Brooks Swift?!? I continue to be impressed with the clear and present sensibility and True Bike Love evinced by those guys. Commitment to maintaining their (our) glorious steel heritage and whatnot. And since I am not wearing my bike shop employee hat at the moment, I am at liberty to divulge that all that carbon fibre bullshit that you want so much is throwaway- and we both know it. Ah. Feels good to be able to say that instead of smile and nod. Thanks to Bikes For The Rest Of Us for pointing out the mixte (in my size?!?! Nobody ever makes one above a 58.) and sparking in my black and shriveled heart a shiny flame of love. I really want that bike. I would have relished the opportunity to wax on about it to the Raliegh folks. Nice work, people.

 And, obviously, whatever new newness I don't know about already from the computer. Looking around at whatever catches my eye.

I don't really care about road discs, but it would have been useful to see what's going to be rammed down our throat in the next model year.

Someone would have had a bottle of rye, and that's worth looking into as well.

People complain about interbike being in Vegas, but I relish it. C'mon, it's once a year seeing old friends and blowing out the pipes. Oh! how I mean that. And on that note, it would have been nice to attend the underbike party, especially seeing as how it has come around to the Double Down- a quality dive, of which my last memory is being escorted out the door with my arm bent back during a forced moment of clarity. Good Times.

Mostly, it would have been nice to see those of y'all I only ever see there. Hi! I apologize. Have fun, ride hard, be safe.

14 September 2012

what you have been waiting for

That for which.
Soul. Soul. SOUL.

And, plus I took "ownership" of this yesterday:

That is correct. Your eyes are seeing a plastic, electrified version of a street bicycle. That is the photo with which I announced to my friends that I am, variously: a "sell-out", a hypocrite, "thinking outside the box", and a f*g (disclaimer- c'mon. I know how this was intended, and by whom, and we love the gays. They have the best clubs and good senses of humor. No disrespect.)&that "I'm pretty sure [I] have to shave [my] b-sack now"...depending on who is talking. My own sweet wife said it looked ___. No one loves it.

You're all jealous losers.

That is a bicycle I would NEVER purchase, even if I could. It goes against every tenet of cycling and Life I hold dear save one- holy afterburners, Batman! that thing is going to be a _other_ucking rocket. So fast.

I am against child labor in foreign countries. I am dead against plastic. I am deader against electrified shiftiness. I am against radial lacing- ain't seeing even 175lbs ever again. I am against internal routing- seriously, what a pain in the ass. I am against glaringly silver chainrings on an otherwise matte ride.

Why do I "own" it? Well, because it rides so nice. At our shop, we have what's called a "dealer agreement" and are required by this to purchase a certain number of bicycles at certain price points. Our owner, who is not coming at this from a cycling background, is coming at this from a background of being a flexible and open-handed fellow. To satisfy part of this agreement , he has instituted the policy of employee leasing- whereby we agree to build a certain number (so lowball! if you could have been there for the late night drunken speculation at the New Stairs regarding what that number might turn out to be..) of bikes off the clock in exchange for the use of the bike (almost whatever one we wanted) for a year. Next model year, the bike will be sold at cost and we all win.

So now I have the perfect storm regarding this plastic, electrified street bike. I grudgingly concede that carbon fibre rides hella sweet. But that ish breaks and is breakable. This frame is made from the orphaned tears of tatterdemalion(!)  6 year old Taiwanese robotic orangutangs, not by one of my so-called "friends" down the road. I would never, ever purchase it for myself, even if I could afford it. If my frame is made from blood sweat and tears- they should be the blood, the sweat and (most of all) tears of someone I can heckle at the local cross race.

As for the electric, well- it's middle fingers up to all of you, and especially to me. Gimme some friction shifting barcons and all is well. Repairable. Unbreakable. But- hand it to me for a year? Why the efff not?

So. I'mma show up at the Makers Meet tomorrow in Santa Cruz and talk mad shit about how great this bike is...from the back.

And if y'all need more, check this out.

10 September 2012

don't make me nervous

I seen your qualifications. I'll raise you some willing. That's enough to get me up and over on dirt, back up and over on dirt and upUP and OVER the other way. Whoa. There's some down in there, which follows. A lot of looking on the one hand, 22.4% maximum stated (though I am certain that was exceeded), and a lot of payoff on the other.

A lot. A lot of payoff. And no small part of that is that it could have suuuuuuucked. I know I am not going to be handed the secret stashes without being handed some beatings. Luckily, that dog barked with no bites. Poison oak doesn't bother me so much.

All that to say this: cracks are beginning to appear in what seemed like a clampdown.

09 September 2012

don't let it go to your head


How much better could it get? I could be riding more. We can all say that, always. I try to keep it at the forefront- it is, after all, what keeps me happy. Cycles, etc. These days it is some commute upon commute, which is really the only way for me (you/us) to maintain whatever it is being maintained.

Commute. For real and for ever. Sure, easy for me to say, it's like this place is air conditioned all tucked up next to the Pacific- but it is True.

My commute is one I have perfected. It has extensive dirt options. I can commute it any one of several ways depending on how pressed for time I happen to be. I know how long each section and it's possible routes will take on average, so there is no guessy pressure or anxiety.

I will be leaving that job soon, and the (only) thing I will miss about it is the commute. It is so good. Lots of hard efforts, logs to ride over and duck under, multiple switchbacks, and always with the flowy lines.

It bears repeating that a good commute will whip or keep you in shape for all that fun ish you got planned.

And, plus, I tuned up several of the household bikes so that's heartening. Not that there aren't several more in various states, but. I did find the seat sandwich for the Brooks B73, so I fit it on the NeckRomancer. Whoa. What a jalopy.

No sneak attacks from this guy- you can hear me rolling.

Finally, it doesn't hurt that I know where the beers are hid along that homeward leg.

06 September 2012

break down the door

Meet Your Maker
Santa Cruz County
Friday, September 14th through Sunday the 16th
Indian Summer is upon us, and there is no better time to come and visit Santa Cruz county and ride the roads and trails that make this place the cycling destination that it is. We’ll be staying at Camp Loma, high in the Santa Cruz Mountains, right in the thick of the best road and trail riding in the area.
$70 per person includes:
·        Camping Friday and Saturday night at Camp Loma, 29650 Highland Drive. We will have use of the camp during the day on Sunday.
·        Pancake breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.
·        Swimming in the on-site, creek fed swimming pool.
·        The camp has showers, a kitchen, and a fire pit amphitheater for your ghost story telling pleasure.
·        Road and Mountain bike rides planned for Saturday and Sunday. Let us show you our favorite local rides.

Brought to you by Hunter Cycles, Frances Cycles, and Black Cat Bicycles.

Free beer provided by Santa Cruz Aleworks

Please RSVP to

05 September 2012

pitilessly exposing the depravity of the true addict

 These are not my pictures, and (sadly) not my adventure:

 Atop a high point on the CA coast.

 _ick and Kam_on made an inspiring loop, which afforded the collective "us" an opportunity to ride a little ride to the familiar swimmin hole. Our little small adventure was to meet them at a certain point and then to hang out and swim and drink beers and eat snacks and swang off ropes and jump off low cliffs and catch lizards and run our mouths.

We arrived separately, 1sy 2sy. Each new arrival was met with rousing boos.

The boys and I were there, at the parking lot, making last minute adjustments to our bicycles when I heard a weirdo stop to say "Nice bikes". Being busy and not wanting to engage in small talk with The Public, I kept head down working and said "Thanks". So I missed the big return of The Skipper. Witness him above; head down working.

 I was bummed to see alla these bikes at the turn-off. Well, because I was concerned that they would all be at the swimmin hole. Crowdin it up.

No worries. We never saw them.

J was a true jackass on this one. He was excited and showing off in the worst ways. I lost some parental cool a couple times. Sorry y'all had to see that. And I'm not talking about the BB gun.

 It's the worlds' smallest lizard.

Eventually, we left:

I had a great time with you all.