Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

29 June 2014

ever since

Hi, buckaroos! It's Summertime for real, and that means thinking about new bicycles, new headset sizes, and cannibals. I just finished Savage Harvest by Carl Hoffman. (Spoiler: those savages ate that guy.) I figure the Rockefellers ain't reading this, so it won't add to their grief: I admit to taking a strange (savage?) satisfaction in the idea of the Mighty being brought so very low. I guess that says more about me than anything else but, to paraphrase Blowfly, I got to be true.

turn this shit up...

Don't misunderstand. I wouldn't wish that fate on anyone, and I am not interested in fucking Charles Manson in the ass, it's just...I feel a lot of folks are kidding themselves about the Nature of things. There's no joke in that story. It's well told and worth the read.

If I am going to ruin what shreds of credibility I have with this post, I may as well include the more relevant clip...

If you don't love Blowfly, we got nothing in common.


So, my clean cut son has a new-to-him bicycle. Remember JJ Shinburger's old Bridgestone camping bike? The one that J__ used on the Death Valley Ramble? It lives anew, as DR from PRs new skate commute vehicle:

Fairdale Bikes makes the Skate Rack (you can get one at your local bike shop). This set up gives the 14 year old DR the FREEDOM to get to the skate spot whenever he wants (and relieves us parents of the onus).

 As soon as it was all dialed, I made him ride over the hill to the Monterey skatepark. He knows the way.

Well, if I didn't make him, he would never self-motivate. It would always be too far or too hard or too something which keeps him from starting. I asked him afterwards how it was, and he said "not that bad." So now he knows he can do it. I'm a make him too tough to eat.

24 June 2014

now more than ever

Street bikes. Interactions with sour men in (jacked up trucks...of course) traffic can't sour me, though I will say I am not the one to consider myself a "example" of how-to cycling behavior vis a vis following the rules of the road. For one thing, too frequently bikes don't trigger lights, and for another I'm looking out for my echo, my shadow, and me. I certainly don't look for trouble where there is none.

As I am mostly commuting these days, or my rides are mixed terrain jaunts tacked on to one or both ends of said commute, I ride a lot in whatever pants I'm wearing. Wool underwear makes it all possible. But today was a pure pleasure cruise and so it was stretchy tight pants from the skin out. I forgot how easy it is to move in lycra. It's pretty easy!

...looks like Western screech owl (Megascops kennicottii) to me. A tussle in the woods? Yes, I take trails on my street bike if they look fun. It is exciting to remember you are on 32mm slicks in the midst of a course change.

Every ounce counts when you are street biking. I'm enough of a weight weenie that I take off my shoes. It is nice.

Bikes are fun. Street bikes are super zippy. It is fun to climb on them, and to go down the hills very fast.  Also, when I am finished riding the street bike, I don't feel nearly as beat up.

20 June 2014

Living in hope

that some day you'll be in with the winners? Stop. Please, for real. Stop and consider your hopes your dreams, your day in and your day out. Stop and check this out (the whole thing- you are just wasting time here anyhow):

Fact: Bonnie Rait is under appreciated. And, to my mind, fact: almost hitting yourself in the face with a bird you've startled up trail-side on account of how much rally you are carrying down with you is the very definition of success.

I cuddled my bike today. Leaned into the descent and hugged up tight with my cheek laid along the stem while all thoughts of slowness or braking fell away. My speed increased with jumpy acceleration and I was pulled willfully toward the bottom, Gravity was working so hard it yanked tears from my eyes.

If a simple commute can make me feel that nice...

19 June 2014

mirages and ghost stories

As Summer is in full effect right now, we continue to (attempt to) ride our bikes to a sweet camp out. Tuesday is as good a day as any other, and better than most. It is a day I have off, and weekdays are good trail days because many folks are working so the trails are clean. Etc.

In keeping with our ride to the ride ethos (where possible, when it's convenient and safe and more fun than alternatives and we aren't too pressed for time and the weather is nice, it's not too hot and the traffic is light...) we rolled out the door all dolled up. There is a required section of HWY 1 from the house, and I took up the rear guard position. It occurred to me, as we rolled along mightily, that we were all dressed alike. That was unintentional, but amusing. Light weight cotton long sleeved shirts to keep the sun (and poison oak) off and khaki shorts. The inherent embarrassment of this was pointed out to me by elder son, D______, who (at 14) is very sensitive to appearances and who felt his newly cut-off shorts were making him look bad to _____, who had just been driven past by his momma. I am sensitive to feelings, so I told him to not worry what soft people in cars think and cheered him with the assurance that he is the hardest fellow at his school and how none of the other kids his age could pull off what he was doing. Sadly, these Truths did nothing to raise his spirits.

By that point, we were arrived at the first trail section. We rode dirt slowly uphill, and had a brief discussion on fashion and peer pressure, during which I made excellently worded points regarding the folly of giving a shit what assholes say about you, and the wisdom in choosing a wardrobe solidly based in classicism for the reasons that A) it is classic because it looks well on a man, and B) trends will ever come and go, so it is always a losing proposition chasing the latest fleeting variation.

Needless: he firmly believes I 1)look stupid, and 2)don't get it. We are both 100% correct.

J______, who is 9 and in some senses wiser than us both, was oblivious and continued to half-wheel me. I told him to take it easy (we had a long way to go- about 16 miles!). Riding with these noobs is taxing. Lots of wasted efforts, lots of poor decisions in line choice, dangerous positioning in is a constant awareness type of mother henning. Cluck cluck. Especially crossing the highway, where we don't trigger the light. After all this safety 1st yakking, we have to wait on the sidewalk and use the pedestrian crossing button to then cross against left-turning traffic only to ride on the wrong side of the road (on the sidewalk) and cross the other street to make the right we'd initially needed...lessons learned at the knee of playing it fast and loose. As bicycling in a world paved for cars requires, sure. I hope the lesson is one of do what you must (safely as possible) rather than anything goes.

There was talk the usefulness of proper gear selection as we climbed. And climbed. Panting for breath will become sobbing if you let it. Don't let it. Whining does nothing to alleviate suffering, but it does make your companions want to leave you. Doing hard things is hard. Sometimes all you can do is let it be hard and keep pedalling. Some truths are so True you forget them. We rested at the summit and laid ourselves on the warm bike path pave while eating peanut butter sandwiches. It's all downhill from there!

Sure it is. I was "testing" the new front wheel. The 26" sorta half-fat wheel? A 50mm Surly Rabbit Hole surrounded by the 26"x2.75" Surly Dirt Wizard. Now, this may come as a surprise, but I am an idiot. No, it's true. (Go ahead, laugh- it's good for you.) I had grabbed the first 26" tube at hand, and it was a 26x1.5/2.0...which is pretty skinny, but it's what I got. Sure, I thought, rubber expands just fine. It'll be OK as long as I don't hit any sharp bits. Well, this proved false. The saddle-like join around the valve expanded so much and so awkwardly that it pulled apart and pinholed. Not once, but twice because the spare tubes on both the Big Dummy and D's 26" bike were also the 1.5/2.0 variety! Gah! I felt so stupid and mad. AND there was no patch kit on any of our 3 bikes! (not that it would really have helped in that regard as it would have continued being super blown out and wear hella fast, but you know. Duh. What asshole doesn't have a patch kit? Apparently this asshole. So. More angry stupid.) I tried not to be pissy to the boys as I stood there simmering and thinking. What I came up with was to deflate D's tyre and hope that it's tube would prove larger than the ones with which I was laboring so that I could swap in the thinner 2nd spare (well his tyre was only 2.2...)and I could use his fatter tube on my fatter wheel. This, so as to limp over to the bike shop which was happily only a mile or so away. There I hoped to find a more suitable/fat tube. Fortuna favet fortibus? Well, if you call a $20 retail DH tube a favor, then sure. Though I did have/get to use the tapered reamer to fit the schraedered tube.

Hardships behind us, we forged ahead the bikecentric way thru Cside(!) and stopped for burritos. These weekly campout rides are the quick and easy, you understand. It's much less about "camping" as it is about getting outside in all conditions and having a fine old time. Tall cans of cold Modelo help, too.

The secret spot camp was as nice as it always is. We hung the hammock and swang the swing and did other stuff and told stories. J likes to hear about when I was a boy, and so next time I think we'll bring Risk and have a game like back then.

The moon came up late, and was waning halfway along but it was plenty bright to pull me out of bed so I could stand around peeing in the woods and listening to the yodel dogs split and regroup and split and regroup as they chased softer prey than us- hard men that I ride with.

We were softly picked up in the AM. And taken to Red's Donuts on the way to work/home....

08 June 2014

mysterious disappearances

Unexplained absences. Virtual this and that. As always, I attempt to crack open the seamy underneath and get some bike riding done with an eye to start something. Nibbles on the line- the old familiar, faded and frayed "who wants to Party? and ride 'hard'?" It's ever one or the other with these people. Small success the last couple weeks getting folks (plural?!) out in the woods at night aboard bicycles, drinking beers, doing things. An injection of chaos and good-natured anarchy is a balm to the soul. So, plans. Plans for the wrecking of some things that well deserve ruin, and from which wreckage a new platform for the launching of further fun and relaxation.

So and so gave us a handle of Crown Royal, which is out there for the time being. Go get some. I hauled it out from home, via bicycle in a backpack, too, so it is shriven. Yes, it's a glass bottle. C____ B___________ told me he'd had occasion to utilize the shrine for it's highest/best purpose the other day when he needed tools he didn't have with him. I liked hearing that. It really isn't simply a box of whiskey.

I received delivery on the parts to make a new front wheel for the Big Dummy the other day.

With some help (it took some figuring) I got it all loaded

and rolled that ramshackle sleigh up the hill, along streets and trails, and took it home to my workshop, my dear.

That ain't the best comparison photo, but you aren't paying for this. It's the Surly Dirt Wizard 2.7 on a 26" Rabbit Hole vs a 2.4 on some Mavic or other. It eyeballs about 12mm wider, and maybe the same taller. I reckon more float is good when hauling a bunch of other people's camping gear (for example) around on some fairly tough trails. If I may say so. I'll let you know how she goes. Oh. It's a dynohub on account of adventure and fun take place at all times, and you're better off prepared.

Also, there is not a whole lot that's better than staying loose on the bike and putting the front end where you want it while the rear hops and slips and catches and breaks loose and hooks up and it's all just like it should be.

04 June 2014

I think we can dispense with the dull preliminaries

Everbody loves getting straight to the fun having. It does take a short bike ride to get to the bike ride if you wanna really get it on, though. We can certainly dispense with the drive to the ride, right?