Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

26 February 2014

a notorious creampuff

Here are some things:


Your "religion" is actually a Cargo Cult. Stings, don't it. If it makes you feel any better, you can send me your $15 and I'll tell you what to think and believe, take some of the pressure off. Same diff, only I will be a benevolent despot. I promise.

So...a big (BIG!) upcoming bikecamping expedition has me examining all of my gear selection. What you know about this?

Aw yeah. That fairing sock? in a flesh tone? with a integrated 6pack cooler? and some short shorts? You know, to get the mostest out of the aero-legs. It could be the next big thing.

Could be. Now, I'll hand you a list: Aptos Creek fireroad, Buzzard Lagoon, Highland Way, Summit Rd, Morill Rd, Wright's Station Rd, some stuff I can't categorize, Aldercroft Heights Rd, Old Santa Cruz Highway, Mtn Charlie Rd (in with a whisper), Glenwood Dr, Granite Creek Rd, Branciforte Dr, Mountain View Rd, Laurel Glen Rd, Soquel San Jose Rd, Olive Springs Rd, Aptos Creek fireroad.

Cross bikes. I sit here with recovery legs. It got so tough up Olive Springs with the cramping. I'd shift around on my saddle, trying to maneuver my pelvis into different alignments so as to spread the over-work over a wider range, which sort-of worked; the cramps would lessen, and then shift themselves over to a different group of muscles. No lie, I could walk my cramps around. Ridiculous. It got to the point where I was only actively engaging muscles to kick away from myself as everything else musclewise was roached. Then I had to get off and walk up the darkening fireroad. Horrible and glorious. I blame myself, since it is revealed that my hot button is being called "soft". Seriously, it's like taunting a caged animal

my response is Pavlovian. I first declined to add the heinously steep Olive Springs to the end of the ride, was accused of "getting soft", and before I knew what had happened I'd agreed to the extra like a reflex bypassing my brain. Dumb.

I have some work to do to be ready for the stern mileage headed our way. And since I'm heading in a new fashion direction for this outing, I have some outfits to plan. If you see any discount gold rope chains, let me know. I'm a get my shit together, boy.

23 February 2014

the distinctive mark of great classic style

I am recognized at the liquor store round the corner from the jay oh bee. They treat me with all the courtesy required by a humble man who doesn't drive a great big Cadillac and is, in fact, just riding a couple blocks over to pop a quiet top in the graveyard...I ain't special. I shut up and finish my drink. Pedal.

I am known at various points along related yet subtly ever-varied spots on the routes from this town to it's outlying dark, tree-lined or open maritime chaparral singletracks. It's only the Monterey Pines, the coastal live oaks, the Hooker's manzanita, the ceanothus, and the poison oak, but beggars cannot be choosers. Except in the sense that I have chosen these spots, and the skunks, the raccoons, and all the different owls who also choose them are my boon companions on a dark night. I flatter myself that my route is hard and my pace is high, but the reality is that I am working with boozy vision, chasing low-mid range bike lights down sandy, crumbly singletracks. Pedal.

I am accepted by the dark. Granted admittance, given a pass, have options laid out for me. I toast the lurid glow of Monterey and walk a few steps to the other side of the ridge to toast the garish lights of Salinas. I had left a pocket bottle of Old Grandad under the tree on that now-closed top section of 49, but last time around, there it was- emptied and tossed in the bushes. That treatment causes me to think it was some do-gooder pissing off trail who saved me from myself. That's just a waste, and I cannot be saved from the depravity sunk deep in my bones. Look at it: gently swaying along a trail miles from's absolute moral decay. Pedal.

So this next bottle, I hid it better. And, of course, some jackass drank the tallboy from the Caprock (remember before folks knew about it, and it was a regular bar?) and did not replace it. I figured that would be the case, and slithered on over to the new stairs. There's some beers there, and the masses don't know where it lies. Pedal.

I'd fixed the fixed gear. Tightened the BB, and reversed the chainring, so the drive faces are somewhat fresh. Good enough to get me further down the trails until I order actual new replacement bits. Home to workplace in the unseasonably warm sunlight, job interlude, then leave work thru Cside(!) with a little Frog Pond surprise singletrack and out and up So Boundary for a larger loop, pedal pedal pedal, don't stop. Except to piss in the street. Pedal.

It is a Good Feeling. Trails, trails, trails. Legs, lungs, no brain.

18 February 2014

a whole new blog

This one's for the people.

We crept out to the secret spot, my riding buddies and I. And we stowed our crap behind the tree (hung the food bag up high) so's to set the scene for some fast and loose.

There was the required fiddling with bikes that haven't been ridden in a while- the saddle height adjusting, and the refresher talk in regard to shifting. There was not the talky talk about gear and the new new. These fellas don't care (SO refreshing). They are in it for the smiles.

Well, and because I require their participation. Given the choice, there will always be the quick and easy. TV, computer, facetime, Minecraft, skate park, or whatever's next are the rathers but after the ultimatum there are no frowns to speak of and the little reservations are quickly forgotten when the trails shifts, narrows, and swoops.

 Secret Boys. We don't say.

Sun goes down, adventure goes on.

When we are done wringing the last drops out of this Good Time, we roll out.

 There is no sign we were ever there at all.

16 February 2014

Privatize it!

I can't be faded. I'm a nigga from the muthafucking street?

 Anybody who doesn't love the Nate D-O-double G is a body whose mind is confused.

The Full Skip Valentine's Moon offered a range of environs, straight from the street headed for naps in the dirt. Maybe it was the contrast from harsh artificial light bounced back from concrete or perhaps it was just the clarity of the Real real thing, but the section atop the ridge was some soft, 1930's black and white vampire movie type dappled moon and shadows romance with the trails. Singletrack through the moonlight? As much as possible, yes.

As always, there is a lot to be said for Willing. Thanks, homie MS, for being willing to leave the lights off and let the front end ride- antennae up and assimilating all sensory input with singular focus. All of us have that original human awareness to tap into our surroundings, it's just most of us cast it aside in favor of some constant contact with this make-believe-it's realer-than-real virtual satisfaction (you can keep it in your pocket! hold it in your hand!).

Sssssslow going meant the burrito joints were closed by the time we rolled thru Cside(!), so we stopped at the Safeway where Y____ bailed in a taxi that one time. Taking turns loitering outside to keep a watch on the bikes, we did a little shopping for late night dinner making options.

Our plans to go ride more became our plans to stand around the stove and drink beers. No big whoop. Those veggie kielbasas were fu_king delicious. I also confess to being so far gone as to find those Doritos rolled up wickedness to being amAZING.

Dudes in hammocks.

Compare and contrast.

That's morning in the woods.

We opted to stash our gear at the campsite and roll around the trails in the daylight for a bit.

...until it was time to begin the tired slog in to town and work.

I had budgeted a good while to make sure I got to work in time to shower off the camp smell, and we ended up having plenty of time to decide we were hungry, consider hitting up a taqueria, reconsider in light of our moral and financial insolvency plus the fact that we were still in possession of some fine vittles, and settle on the plan to post up by the rec trail like the dirty hobos we are and just live where we were...

Some degenerate had put this little love nest together...

with class. Synthetic rose petals and everything. It was a fitting site for hobo lunch.

A passing family would not let their children approach us. Closer than close.

Probably for the best.

14 February 2014

scientists and monsters

"Today is the day you perpetrators stop playing." People turn away from the Truth that Suga Free spits on account of it's uncomfortable. It's all True, though, and he says it with so much humor and flow. Some say attitude is a choice. If you enjoy getting your ears chewed off, you should check out Pimps Up Hos Down.

People who don't (I get it) should, at minimum, avoid buying used downhill bikes. You know those grunions don't take care of they shit.

11 February 2014

exciting and new!

Friday night is the Full Skip The Overhyped $ Required "Romance" Full Moon. That there moving image is a realistic probability. Periods of clouds, with possible gloriousness. Beers and whiskey in the woods lightless for certain. Fun is a done deal. Come down and get these trails which shine like glitter before the perfect set up is gone. Looking to roll from Carmel no later than 7:30. Cross bikes recommended. Distance? Duration? You tell me.

Your sweetie will totally understand.

P.S. options to camp...who's in?

10 February 2014

then light your torches and go!

 This internet, jeez. It is winter here, and for many of us that means decreased ass kicking in the out of doors. Kick ass adventures are some celebratory shit, maing! That's where you get your Good Feelings from. That is not to be taken lightly. I'm not talking about some SAD bullshit, either, I'm talking about the source of some postive, creationary, eff you en.

When folks are not having some type of Good Feelings on a regular basis, they begin to feel mean. And lowdown. They begin some rants on the internet? Somebody might be upset...for instance, that carbon is so heavily used in the bike industry on account of they feel it is a creaky, breakable and expensive sleight of hand. Prolly mostly that it is so damned expensive. Or, maybe mostly that they weigh nearly 200lbs and ride the shit out of their stuff (daily) rather than polish it and wait for the fucking Saturday ride to race their Cat 5 buddies to the 1.5 hour mark, only to replace it next year with the version 2.0 because if it's new, it's better, right? Clearly.

Perhaps it's these new guys, the ones all fired up about fat bikes, that are the next bogeymen. I hate the hipster infusion of (recent everything) "colour ways" and their co-option of classic men's fashion into a stale, jokey uniform of moustaches and whatever the hell they call that haircut from the 1920s...but a fixed gear bicycle is a joy forever and classic men's wear is classic because it works. Those are stone cold facts. Hey, a fat bike is just a fun time, it's not the fair target for hating the new school. I remember when.

Or, somebody might feel like giant bike company A,B, or C has instigated the complete ruination of cycling via _____________. A legitimate concern, I'll grant you. Particularly in this era of "flagship" and "elite" brand-only stores. The soul can leak out thru that hole real easy, but.

All a these customers coming in to the shop with their me-too and their give-me-a-deal might find their way to becoming in love with cycling for the simple sake of pedaling along on a kick ass adventure with whatever gear(s) on whatever surface. They might. The benefit of the doubt could usefully be given at first glance, on a temporary basis, on a case-by-case tip. It wouldn't hurt. And if they don't? fuck 'em. Sell homeboy that geegaw with a smile.

Look. Nobody likes to have their scene turned out. To see this bastion of hardness softened up and divided. There was a recent interview in Dirt Rag with Missy Giove (remember?) that had a relevant bit about having the mtb race scene invaded by athaletes. People were bummed that genetic freaks had come calling to their fun thing and turned it into something....mmm...less pure. Folks had been attending the mtb county fair because they loved it and it was it's own reward, and then the money and the Circus had come to town, and it was clowns to the back of the train.

None of that can make actually riding any less rad than it ever was. Let the fools and their shysters have each other. We have bikes. To the limited and self-selected audience reading these words: If you are not riding, you are blowing it. I personally don't see how that happens, as the riding is required or I start getting mean and lowdown my ownself, but I see that it does, so. Shut up and ride.

 Maybe take a ride to your local graveyard and drink a beer near a mausoleum. It's quiet. Well, it might be on your way home from work.

And, as regards the recent (and welcome!) wet weather, I remounted the fendered and fixed Schwinn Le Tour; an old and trusted friend. Some 32s and a hella raked fork swing me to and from my work and garden path type trail use. And, yes, that fender line is tight.

 None of my experience with technical rainwear has been positive, so I'll let y'all in on a secret you won't like: Carradice riding poncho and Filson tincloth chaps:

Well, I said you wouldn't like it. Yes it's heavy, yes it suffers if there's crazy winds or one is descending a col whilst being chased down by the peloton, and yes it actually keeps you dry and comfortable. I don't use this combo on short "training" rides, I use it for a day(s) on the bike. For short stuff that sees a warm shower and dry bed soon, I'll either use more aero "normal" gear or just trust in wool to keep me warm while wet. For long stuff, or camping, you can't be too dry or comfortable. I know you will, but...don't kid yourself.

05 February 2014

an unresponsive power trance

In answer to questions: yes or no, it depends. Etc.

A bike campout is available to you, even (especially?) on a weeknight. Just takes mixing the ingredients at hand. From here

to over here,

which is a new-to-me trail! It looks like it was laid in by motos. That's ok by is just a little connector, but it is dirt so I'll happily welcome it.

It is a mix of dirt and pave to reach the goods. Pave takes me to the liquor store, where I make damn sure the bike (looking right at home, as a hobomobile) is visible and "locked", which here means the front wheel is toe-strapped to the downtube. It's enough to prevent a smooth get away. Across the street are the burritos, where they recognize me and my order. I gather they don't get that many polite hobos who tip. The quick and easy. It's just a climb away.

I brought the clippers along for some minimal trail cleaning. Solo rides are the time for this, after all.  The temptation is always to keep hacking, to "improve" lines. I resist it. I cut out that one ugly manzanita ankle grabber, that one spiky oak branch that used to reach down and smack me in the face by the shrine, and (always) any poison oak nearing the trail. Otherwise, I leave those trails as tight as they can be. I like it like that. Maritime chaparral for all my friends!


I planned to show up at the secret spot before dark, so's I could set-up in the light. I figured on trying the hammock out for real, after all this time. Mission accomplished.

So, this was a test of the new new. The wheel size that time forgot worked OK. Apparently there was some confusion as to my conclusions, so: sure, smoke em if you got em but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. Hype. But and so the baskets. The baskets would not remount cleanly with the new/larger wheels, so I jury-rigged them and DAMN they suck. Weight outside of the wheelbase is not your friend. So much wiggle. I thought "what the heck, I have them and they're useful and how bad could it be? it's just a townie." and just plain NO. Sooooooo much wiggle. I stopped and put some toe strap cinches on there, and repositioned the load as far in the front as possible and all that. There was a lot of hate. Soooooooooooooooooo much wiggle. The water bag especially is a real nice thing to have loaded in your frame, where you keep your center of gravity.

 I strung up the hammock and hung up the pack to keep the critters out of my burritos.

Trail riding and beer drinking. On and on. I like to rally freshly set up trails and find that perfect flow. I like to sit in the dark and listen quietly. Opportunities for both by turns.

The hammock? It was surprisingly great. I really liked it. I set it up real low, because in my experience rotten shit is always happening and I'd hate to awaken falling from a great height. It was very comfortable! I was a little chilly and I feel like I woke more than I would have on the ground, but who ever sleeps continuously, alone in the woods, whatever the posture?

Good Times. From there, I rode in to work. Now you know.

P.S. When I got home this evening, what do you think the 1st thing I did was?

03 February 2014

forced to reevaluate your goals

I figured I had this bike, the $15 complete, 1989 StumpJhumper (the J is silent I understand), just cluttering up the joint with it's horribly good looking but dissatisfyingly small and spinny 26"edness. A bike around with which it would be possible to tinker. There is a lot of talk about the new new- when is there not in the bike industry?- and it is true I do not love the 26" for myself and my style of riding.

[aside: I feel that wheel size should be chosen to best match rider size/style and that 27.5"/650b-if-you're-nasty has a valid place if you are looking to retrofit a 700c bike with a larger volume tyre for some hott action ungettable on 25mm, or maybe if you are between 5'6'' to 5'11" and are real damn particular, otherwise it is a straight punch to the hard sell and some buy-it-because-you-lack type of snake oil.]

Anyhoo, I had nothing to lose and possibly something to learn, so I ordered some rims (25mm wide Velo Orange Diagonale 32h) and some tyres (2.2' wide Maxxis Ardent front and Crossmark rear- that Crossmark hooks up like a champ, too) and away I went.

27.5" and 26" respectively, in a science shoot-off.

There used to be a stop in the drop...

which I chopped. And later cleaned up with a file.

That derailler was crapped out and got replaced.

Clearance looks good.

I thought perhaps I might retain the Paul's cantis, but nope. For kicks, I put a v-brake arm on the boss. However the tyre is so tall the cable canoe rests atop it. It is times like these that allow me to bask in the warm glow of my bike-part hoard, though....WTB Speedmaster cantis c.1995. That is OG, son. The leverage is unfortunately reduced by moving the pads so far up the arm,but it runs and don't cost nuthin.

 Booty bin almost matching King hubs?!? Yep.

I been sitting on these for a while. This seemed like the time. It's been years since I rode a King rear, and I forgot how instantaneous pawl engagement is. It is a fucking delight.

Swapped out the dirt drops.

New parts are rims, tyres, cables/housing and purple lock-on grips because obviously. It's so nice at this point, I'll trade out the poopy chainrings and BB.

 Yes, I have been riding it. It's fun. The thing I notice most is the King's snappy get-up. The less than optimal cantis feature, too. As for the real point, the wheel size; the 27.5" climbs punchy or steep well. It is a slog on the longer stuff. I notice it's zzzzzzzzzzsmallness, just like a 26", and pine for a bigger momentum. Same on the flats. It handles nicely in the tight singletrack- speaking of which, the new 49?

 Holy shit. I have to say- whoever routed that, you did a real nice job. Thank you! Seems like you were constrained (by BLM distance regs?), and there were a couple too-tight serpentine folds that I think are going to wash out, but you clearly had to dump elevation and your mandate was clearly Good Times. That's a man date I like to go on. Well routed, player. Fun up, fun down.

In the end so far, I remounted the rear baskets and threw on the porteur rack and it will be a fun townie and spare camping bike. It's fun, but not a dedicated trail bike for me. Also, I could potentially use those wheels on that old Salsa La Raza, whenever I actually get that running again.

If, for whatever reason, you got an old 26" bike you wanna swap over, it is likely doable. Even easier if using a disc specific wheelset.

That is all.