Thursday, October 23, 2008

did I hear 25 BILLION????

So last week with the news of the auto industry,
in the back, almost laughable part of my mind,
I thought 'what next, they'll bail out the auto
industry and airlines too?'

Well, a sidenote, as you get older you do those
'things' that your parents did, that you thought
you'ld never do because it's SOOOOO OLD(personish).
Like listening to NPR, well my life is so about
practical that this should be relabled 'elastic
grey sweatpants blog'. I'm not cool, my 7 year old
dirty cross bike with reflective slicks and fenders
is not cool, so why should my choice of radio.

So today there was a brief mention of:

A. GM trying to merge with Chrysler.

B. The auto industry implying that it to will need a bail out.

C. The government has already guaranteed 25 billion in loans.

D. All of the above.

SORRY TO SAY IT'S.... D! So be prepared to hear about how 'BAD'
it'll be to the economy if we don't bail these guys out too.

With that I leave you a fact,
DINOSAURS WILL DIE! Change will happen, evolution is a natural
occurance. It's not the 40's, 50's or 60's. We're a stupid bunch
collectively to try to keep fossil fueled cars, and to federally
fund them.

cleaning house...

making the decision, finding the motivation,
that's the hardest part. If it's layering up
for a damp ride or finally deciding what to
do with the remaining bikes. By nature I'm
an enormous pack rat, defined by the boxes
and boxes of magazines in the attic, and
clothes I haven't worn for years, and each
time I think of getting rid of them I always
offer the excuse 'well, I might actually want
to wear that sometime', even though I haven't
for over 2 or 3 years = pack rat. I sold and
traded all the old school bmx stuff (and the
magazines), now it's time to clean up the rest
of the bikes.

Good bye track bike. I meant it. I tried to
honestly make good use of it, but the cross bike
has been my go-to everyday for everything. Of
course in the bike addict mind selling means there's
more room and $ for other bikes. so another cross
bike build? Is two even more fun?

So the single speed is still up in the air. It's cool,
like a big bmx bike, but again, never sees any ride time.
Do you just let it go? Do you regret it later? I still
haven't decided yet...

Now the Lemond frame, I had an Olmo with full Campy Record,
pure roadie/italian/lycra love. But the Olmo was semi compact
and on the small side, so why not trade out for classic
geometry and steel, but the frame was a little too big. Fat
& tall guy with short legs, suck. So the PLAN became: sell
the frame & fork, put the group on a steel cross frame! Deal!

And of course, being a bike addict/horder, the Olmo has been
sitting on the work bench for two years because I can't let
go of ANYTHING with two wheels, but I'm trying.

Think it'ld be awesome to build a Surly Cross Check....
with Campy Record.

(It's 9 speed, I don't have $, even without a car.)

oh yeah, it's all on ebay right now......I'm taking action.

at the end of the longest line..

that's where you'll find me...

it's all too true. For years this has been my theme song.
EVERYONE has a theme song, sometimes they're just not aware
of what song it is.

if you've ever seen 'I'm Gonna Get You Sucka!' then you know...

Friday, October 17, 2008

yeah me!

Back in May I got a couple of pictures into a local gallery
for Bike Month. Kind of a fluke I figured, because who really
takes pictures of bikes, like a flavor of the month. Then came
the second show, this month of city scapes, another pastime of
mine, so exciting? yes. Big? Not so much. Now is the third show,
'Futura', which I was unprepared for and had to pull some stinky
stuff out, so it's a gamble if I'ld have any submissions accepted.
Well, they accepted three out of the five, NICE!

Now the second one I didn't really think would happen. I've been a
reader and fan of DIRT RAG for years. When I first moved to the
right coast, all I owned was mountain bikes. Then I realised that
there are very few public trails out here, and everything involves
a drive, a planned trip. So I picked my skateboard and bmx bike,
but I'm finally too old, too lame. So it went to an unsuccessful
attempt at being a roadie, now I just commute by my cross bike.
ANYWAYS.... I figured the next step in my photographic trials &
errors would be submitting to a magazine/national contest. Well,
the next thing you know- it's DIRT RAG & RAYS MTB PARK photo
contest, entries due in one week, but when I mountain biked, I
rode, I didn't take a camera with me for years. I think there's
only one photo I have of Moab, yes I'm an unprepared idiot. So
I submitted the cross bike at Rye, New Hampshire, sunrise on the
beach, not feeling very lucky on this one. Well, it made the cut.
The 25 finalists to be displayed at RAYS for voting. So if you
ride Rays (which I'm sure you don't), then vote for me so I can
win some product (which I won't). But non the less, still cool.

Maybe one day I can be employed by Petersens/Bicycling, take
pictures of $500 derailleurs, and go home to stashes of unused
product that I get to keep..... ah, the dream.

a bitchy little 1%.... or less

I responded to a post on (a great link to
all things cycling, an if you're a fan of snob there's
an interview). As I was typing I realised, hell I may
as well just repost this.

The start was how a roadie had pulled up along someone
commuting by mountain bike and without any small talk,
started giving pointers on how to 'get more power' by
adjusting seat height. Then pulled away and started
passing stopped cars on the left.

Now I'm not sure where I sit with this, except as usual,
somehow I'll always end up being a hypocritical judgemental
asshole, that's just a given. I honestly tried to be a roadie.
Drive to some spot out in the country, clean expensive bikes,
drooling over the latest Colorado Cyclist catalog, counting
my miles like an accountant doing numbers. But, alas, my
tattoos exceded the allowable quantity, and I looked like
a defective sausage squished into a jersey & shorts. Italian
sizing is not flattering on fat guys. So I just ride to work,
and everywhere else I need to go, then I just 'fell' into this
lifestyle of a commuter.

Anyways, it's funny how as set of the community or population,
cyclists are a very small minority, 6% down to under 1%
depending where you live. And within that micro percent are all
these subsets, roadies, fixed gears, commuters, mountain bikers,
triathles, recreational,etc... And how we all interact has got
make you wonder what the noncycling public thinks.

As I thought about it, I rarely give advice to anyone cycling,
unless it's asked for. I mean who really wants to hear what I
have to say. Then I remember the kid by my work, that I
constantly give him shit for the way he locks his bike, and one
day when it's gone, he should find me first- since I probably
hid it from him. He probably hates seeing me pull up. But I don't
say anything about him not wearing a helmet. Shit, for years I
would commute by mountain bike, gas was $1.20 so I rode for fun.
But I wouldn't wear a helmet, obey the rules of the road, I
pushed meaty knobbies everyday- screw slicks, and I'm not wearing
lycra spandex crap, just baggies. I enjoyed my right to be a
little intellectually stunted, as cool as I thought I was.

The second part of the act was the guy passing stopped cars on
the left. I blow stop signs, daily. But I don't pass on the left,
and I try not to be to agressive unless someone else is. My fear
isn't that the angry driver will hurt me, but that they'll take out
their juvenile rage on some other unsuspecting cyclist later.
So is that guy who rides against traffic & cuts off cars responsible
for creating the angry driver I encounter later? Are the guys in
Critical Mass that block traffic responsible for creating the
"I hate cyclists" attitude I encounter daily?

That's one of my biggest hang ups, sitting around trying to
"connect the dots". I realised I live the life I live now because
one specific person didn't hire me, and another guy did - sixteen
years ago. Sometimes you can trace things back to one simple event,
so am I responsible for the asshole who runs you down? I don't
want to know.

The post followed up with the amount of complaining we as cyclists
do involving the treatment we get. Well, it's hard when all day you
get treated like shit because you're not in a car. And that other
person you go home to doesn't want to hear it, because it's like
listening to people bitch about work - we all hate work! And if you
make it sound too dangerous, well then you just created a new
problem, the unsupportive "other". They already don't understand
the stacks of magazines, torn apart bikes, dirty parts, and charges
at the local shop.

Well, I guess the conclusion is:
- I'll really try to bitch less about bad drivers - they'll always
exist, and it'll never get better.
- I WON'T offer any unsolicited advice, unless we're on a first name
basis, or I want to intentionally piss you off.
- But, if I wave or nod in passing, you better acknowledge back,
or I'll draft you all the way home (even if I'm not going that way).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Empty streets....

...well, I wish. There's always talk of 'Contested Streets'
(a movie), or 'Complete Streets' (a program), but I'll
take the simple plan of EMPTY STREETS. It's easy, take
a huge pressure to keep up with (and be better than) your
neighbors, mix in easy to obtain credit, use marketing to
get around ANY common sense, and then dump into the lazy
and selfish pan of America, and you get:

A. An overweight, financially overextended SUV driver not
driving due to gas costs.

B. Several people in one car. Does that REALLY HAPPEN?

C. Closure of car dealerships who were banking on the
SUCK-cess of the SUV.

D. Record sales DROPS in the auto industry.

E. Statistically speaking, less assholes on the street.

I'll go with A, B, and D. Because even though I no longer am owned
by a car, I'm still an asshole (judging from the behavior from the
drivers I see daily). And I really don't count how many heads are in
the car that nearly hit me,just the license plate so I can yank the
valve stem cores later, because there's always a later in small towns.

With all the news of financial problems, at least the paper broke
'the latest news' that, well, most auto sales were down 32-38%. Now
that's 2007 compared to 2008. And the previous year wasn't that
good, so I'm gonna guess that 2006 to 2008 is more like 50%. And if
you're a business, well it looks like you'll be out of that business
soon. It's so bad that GM is rumored to be looking to join with
Chrysler (Ford said no).

Now will the government bail out the auto industry? And the airlines
when they go? Wow, we could have state made cars like the.....Yugo?

Locally, four car dealerships closed, which just means less cars going
out onto the road. Now you can argue about job loss, but selling cars
is just as beneficial to the community as selling drugs on the corner.
Don't sell cars, sell...... maybe some economical solar, or how about
a solution to the cable cartel that extorts me to what i figured is
about $2000 a year for my 'all-in-one' package.

I broke the car habit, but my need for worthless time wasting tv
makes me feel like a cheap whore. But that will be next on the list
of things to change.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

have a cyclist at work?

the other day a coworker with a good sense of humor
initiated the "what if I hide your bike?" jokes.
I reminded him of my love for people hiding in boxes
and jumping out at him. This started the bike shop

Years ago I worked at one of those everywhere ski/
snowboard/mountain bike/skateboard/rollerblade/
running shoe shops. Maybe it's the juvenile mentality
of mountain bikers (definately not roadies), but put
a couple of them in the back of the store, the 'tech
shop' was more like a cave. A cave inhabited by Beavis
and his partner, filled with bike lust, part weighing
weanies, and a wall of tools capable of destruction.
For now i'll skip the stories involving fire and paint

Quick pranks: most of these were perfected on the Campy
worshipping roadie that commuted home with me, which is
the follow up to a prank, BEING NEXT TO THEM AS THEY
REALISE WHAT HAPPENED. Maybe I found it fair since I was
pushing huge knobbies home everyday because 'slicks don't
belong on a mountain bike!'.

1. saran wrap over the water bottle. lid off, wrap on,
trim to fit, lid on! laughter as they grab the bottle
miles into the ride. as classic as the saran on the
toilet - which you never do at your own house- because
YOU will have to clean it up.

2. tilt saddle nose up, ever so slightly. it's noticable
after 10+ miles.

3. for the newbie that always cyclocross mounted through
the store and rode out the front door: pull the left
crank arm, reinstall 45 or 90 degrees off. be prepared
for them to eat shit as they attempt to click in the
other shoe.

4. 'what's that sound?' take nut/bolt/screw tie to fishing
string, remove seat, tape string to inside of seat post,
drop string with bolt on other end down the seat tube of
frame. put seatpost back in .'what's that "tinging"
sound my bike makes'. 'go buy me a drink and I'll fix it'.

Enjoy your Monday.

one less SUV

Everyday as I head out to work, I seriously have
NO idea what's going to happen. Beyond enraged
drivers, just trying to jockey for my little
spot of tarmac. Besides some unusually long lights
and weird traffic for the holiday weekend, I pull
into work and find this:

no cops, no fire truck. No one inside, the driver
made it out ok. So we just watched it burn, and
pop, and some little bursts. Then it took the next
car as the fire truck pulled up. Someone always has
a dumbass comment as I pull up or leave with my bike.

But at least my stuff doesn't catch fire, and I didn't
have to run out and move my car in a panic. What the
hell will I find tomorrow?

old and comfortable (slicks)

there becomes a point where you just don't care.
You give up and realize that 'cool' is not practical.
It's a struggle.

And so were the knobbies on the cross bike. I knew that
the rolling resistance would be more than a road bike,
but less than a mountian bike - basic physics I got it.
The rear went quick,it was time for a new set, and with
a little poking around the local shop we came across
these- Kenda 35c reflective sidewalled, $20 for the set,
awesome! Felt like I dropped 5 minutes on my way to work.
Couldn't actually tell you since the computers gone, and
I don't wear a watch (don't know why). But the cross just
doesn't look like a cross bike anymore. But rolls well.

It's been commuterized, just need some racks & bags. The
fenders are off since it magically jumped 20 degrees with
no rain for this week.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

so fixed gear

.....why do I not ride you? I dusted you off for
a late night crawl downtown. I made it three blocks
before I turned around to grab my cross bike. Sorry,
but it looks like you'll be on ebay soon. What is it
that even drove me to build you? My cross bike is the
ugliest bastard of a pile of parts that somehow functions
as a bike. And from the previous post, has become the
fashion equivelant of elastic waist grey sweats. Practical,
and that's all.

Maybe it's the natural or logical step for someone who
has hit 21 and still rides a bmx, or for the late 20's who
wished they stuck with bmx, still want to ride, so there's
the fixed gear alternative. Or for the over 30 set, you can
build a bike that looks like your favorite 80's freestyler,

but no one will give you any shit for riding a 'kids' bike.
Maybe it's the 80's rehash that's filled the mall, music, and
whatever else is looking for something 'new', oh yeah, bikes.

But as I think of the cross bike as the ultimate do everything
bike, but I hate SUVs so much I won't give it that tag. As I
added the fenders for rain, lights to keep from getting hit,
and now swapped out the knobbies for slicks, well, it's become
practical and unstylish, like a rusty wood paneled full size
station wagon, everything a track bike isn't. Maybe that's why
I felt some urge to have one,besides the obvious bike addiction.

But if we were assigning car comparisions, fixed gears are the
mini coopers of cycling. New, exciting, simple to customize,
a perfect marketing for vehicle for hipsters looking for an
identity. At least I don't have minis doing j-turns or 'rockfords'
on the street. They just attempt to scream for some attention
with the British flag roof and checkered mirrors. So...

equals this....

...but chooses this for an identity-

...and in 15 years will be looked at like this.

59cm IRO listing this week, ISO cross with potential,
for long meaningful relationship.

Friday, October 10, 2008

a wish for tv commercials...

if we could take away one of the many worthless
commercials out there and replace it with a decent
one on riding your bike.

(thanks to Masiguy for highlighting the video,
i don't like to push brands, but thanks hutchinson
for a great video!)

there was so much talk about the $20 a month for
commuting to work by bike, but really? One, my
employer won't pay it, secondly it's almost not
worth the hassle, like giving a co-worker money
to pick up something to eat, then pestering them
for your 26 cents in change left over. $20? When
people commuting by car can claim ten times the
amount? It's just another degrading reflection
that non-cyclists have of someone on a bike.
Either you got a DWI/DUI, can't AFFORD a car, or
you're some extremist green environmantal tree
hugger. Well, maybe I just haven't grown up, I
repeatedly look through bike catalogs like a porn
addict. If I could afford my addiction, there
would be bikes stashed behind the couch, in the
shower, in the pantry, on top of the dryer......
I ride because I refuse to grow up. I think.

And I've still kept that promise I made to myself
as a teenager, to never wear a suit to work.

Go ride your bike in a way that puts a smile on
your face. And make a promise to your self to
keep pushing the pedals. Now go ride, I am.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

the Alley Cat virgin

Yes, that was me up until the other week. Drunkdodger 5002
took that from me and gave me a pair of sore legs for my
commute to work the next morning. But it paid the small
community of cyclists well that night! You may have some
opinion on alley cats depending on what "label" you give
yourself as a cyclist, or you may question how "cool" they
are (so you're aware, they're not cool, just fun as hell -
like a scooter, I guess). Although alley cat cards have
become the Office Space flair for cyclists. How much FLAIR
do you have?

Now I guess if you live in a large city (NYC) or have a
really active cycling community (austin), then you can be
selective on what events to lend your coolness to, but for
the Joe Six Pack of cities, including yours, YOU need to
make a concentrated effort to be part of anything bike
related. You need to bring the party, be the party,
otherwise you end up with 6 people looking at each other
thinking 'what the fuck? why even try?'. That was the big
REVELATION last month. (god doesn't reveal anything to me
except that I usually will be the butt or on the recieving
end of some crappy joke. I had a BAD LUCK tattoo, but it
was too obvious, like wearing a "i'm with stupid" shirt
while entering a room with George W).

So I made the effort to be at ANYTHING bike related, and
life is better for it. An alley cat that I thought would be
10 or so familiar faces brought out 29! 9 or so dropped out,
I learned the hard way to plan my route, met some new people,
but ultimately two people drove this culture by riding and
planning the routes (after riding home from the 9-5) and
MADE this happen, and I did my part in showing up.

There was also Critical Mass on a miserable rainy friday
evening, that ended with some good people having coffee at
the Co-op food market. The local bicycle coalition meeting
at the coffee shop, that DIDN'T require pushing tables
together because only a couple showed up. Or the Long Bike
Back ride, which if you had a friend ever hit by a car, you
would be there for principle alone (and whenever there's
more than a couple of cyclists, you can TAKE THAT LANE!)

So if your local scene sucks? Well, I'ld have to say...
IT'S YOUR FAULT! Our Critical (non)mass was 6-8 people, if
I didn't bolt on some dorky fenders and get off my warm
couch, it would've been one less. JUST BE THE PARTY.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


it's really THAT simple. I never really gave it much
thought, I mean EVERY bike (geared) that I've had since
the 90's always had a computer. I really don't know why,
maybe just like you needed a cage, bottle and assorted
'add-on sales' gear. It's just always been there, to fill
that Cliff Claven need for useless facts. My average speed
to work is 15 mph, I hit 26mph down the first hill home.
Counting the miles added each day, for what?

My single speed doesn't have a computer, I just run errands
with it, do I need to add those miles to what I've
accumulated on my other? And it's really not a big life
changing awakening, I finally realized that I just want
to ride. It's really THAT simple, it's not to finish the

Removing the computer was the least expensive addition
to my cycling that brought the most happiness. There
shouldn't be such a thing as training or 'junk' miles.
Ride because it brings the same happiness as when you
were a little kid with a deck of cards and tape making
motorcycle sounds up and down the sidewalk, or making
jumps out of bricks and little pieces of wood. Ride
because it's not about saving the environment, but about
enjoying the ride home.