This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The car is not a destination.

I cannot understand why this thing keeps happening.  As any loyal reader of this quintessentially unread blog knows, I ride my bike places.  Even semi-unprofessional writers have a full schedule of self-indulgent crap we make up that interferes with biking.  So, instead of an obligatory group ride, I choose to bag the car and go somewhere.  It seems difficult to understand.  Here we are in the midst of an El Nino winter with nary a flake of snow on the ground 
and cyclists at our annual Recovery Party were shocked that I rode my bike.  
How else was one supposed to get to a bike gathering?
The damn things were meant for more than riding back to a car.
What can I say, the car is king among cyclists, it dictates the destination for each of their rides.
It was fun at the annual gathering again and I won the annual award 
for the least amount of auto mileage in the group @2500 for 2015.
There was beer, too much food and more beer to go around.
After it all, I went out to the streets 
with only the court appointed cyclists to keep me company.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The enduring market value of uselessness....

More electronic gidgi-gadgets are being pandered around the internet on a regular basis these days.
Things like the Recon Jet sunglasses, idiotic bone transmitting music systems and shared surveillance through Strava have made me look at the tech developed in the past 28 years.  
I picked 28 years because, well, I have an old bike I still use.  It has down tube friction shifters, a 6 speed freewheel and room (gasp!) for 32mm tires if I want.  It's still my road bike when I want to tag along at a weekly club ride.  I can keep up with a 16-18 mph group without hurting myself.  Since I bought that bike the whole world of club riding changed. I like to listen to all the things others have and depend so completely upon.  Since then tech advances have been numerous, sealed bearings were the new thing then, I opted out and went for traditional bearings.
 Brifters have been the most significant standard by which all performance has been gauged.
Next clipless pedals promised constant application of power, 
New saddles were developed on an annual basis, heavier, diaper quality,
chamois for the shorts were needed for the new saddles, 
aero cable routing, free-hubs with 8-9 speed cassettes,
sealed bottom brackets, now disc brakes,
 deep V wheels, aero spokes, 

electronic shifting,  
tubeless tires so you won't have to worry about this,
carbon fiber everything 
and more electric whatthefuckever. 

     While I have tried most of it, only the new BB and free hubs are useful.  The rest is good for racing.  Most will be common on bikes sold, but mainly because it will be inconvenient for manufacturers to produce bikes with more than one component choice.   Brifters are essential for competition, but since I experience no inconvenience at B or C level club rides, they have no practical benefit.  Clipless pedals provide a false sense of efficiency, increased hotfoot and the need for ridiculous shoes.  New saddles have questionable use, I would still prefer leather and am too young for diapers.  Disc brakes make carbon wheels survive fast mountain descents I never experience.  Of course expensive carbon wheels will be necessary to off set the additional grams disc brakes produce.  The deep V wheel design with reduced aero spokes, (yawn) save an ounce or two.  Electronic shifting, are you kidding me?  I haven't found a use for indexing yet.  Tubeless tires can be  useful if you ride in mountain bike races or live where goat head thorns are common.  Since I don't I won't.  Most traditional tires are produced with reasonable flat protection.  What is to be said for carbon fiber?  It's lighter, but of veeerrry questionable durability for everyday use, and ridiculously expensive.  I've had the pleasure of seeing it the source of  disappointment of riders in charity rides passed by a senior citizen on what appears to be a garage sale beach cruiser.

Friday, January 1, 2016

It's all over but the ice and snow.

 If this El Nino winter is anything like the last I saw, we can look forward to soooo much.   Winter here will be condensed into 7 or 8 weeks of freezing rain to glaze over a meager snowfall.  Already we are seeing floods from all the snow that melted on it's way down.  Nothin' to do but put on the studs and plan for next year.  This past year was full of bike ridin'.  
I made an epic journey though the Great Allegheny Passage.
to the CO canal trail to start off the year.
met new friends dealing with their first flat since childhood, 
climbed a few hills,
and crossed a few thresholds in the process.
I found my way all the way around the bottom of Lake Michigan and was able to make the trip through Chicagoland exclusively on bike infrastructure.  Have we come a long way or what?
I met more nice people on that trip, like the ones who heard me screaming and lifted the tree off me at the Indiana Dunes Nat'l Park.  Let that be a lesson, if you spend enough time in the woods,
 you will see a tree fall.  Don't let it hurt ya. 
Riding trails this year I met lots of nice people
 with a similar brand of insanity
.  The trip across Illinois and back further illuminated
 the growth in bicycle travel.
On the way too and from my 45 year class reunion,
 I found one can travel from Rock Island, on the Mississippi
, across Illinois and past Chicago to Michigan
and only spend 5 or 6 miles on the street.
 Yes, we have come a long way.
Oh, yeah, 
there were, ah, people, in the woods and stuff.
Even on the roads we are finding more accommodations.
The western coast of Michigan has been labeled USBR 35.  A designated route has been identified and dedicated all the way from New Buffalo to Sault St. Marie on the Canadian border.
Of course there were plenty of club rides
a weekend with a Rivendell riding group, 
as well as a Barry Roubaix get together 
for those with vintage inclinations.
Bicycle themed pieces actually took some honors at Art Prize this year.
I got to see my first cyclocross race.  Hey, if that chick can do it, 
maybe I have enough blood and guts for next year

The club rides didn't stop in the fall and 
more people are showing an interest in gravel grinding.
I'm pleased to say that my stable only required one modification this year.
Although the fancy, colorful tape was cool looking and all
I have to admit I still like leather.
I started the new year by hanging over at the Hair of the Dog Ride
at Rupert's Brew Pub downtown in Kzoo.
I managed to drive my car just 2573 miles during 2015.
Another year in history and it was.....

Saturday, December 19, 2015

So much for this year's flu shots

     We've had unseasonably warm weather here in "da mitten."  I have missed it all by catching a stupid cold virus.  I am protected from all the exotic stuff floating around killing us old folks the past ten years, I got a flu shot.  Unfortunately it still doesn't protect from the commonest of colds.  I spent a 60 degree weekend in December curled up in front of Netflix and squinting at POI reruns between jello shots of Nyquil.  WOOHOO!  I did stumble out to wrench a bit on the herd.
Everything needed a little tweek here and there.
The Hunq needed new leather for the handlebars.   I had removed the Dia-Compe knobs when I found I couldn't  get replacement covers.  The new cloth harlequin wrap looked really cool, for a few weeks, but got dirty, didn't feel as nice as the leather and I was always finding myself reaching for the knobs.  So, I ponied up the dough for a new set and leather to go with it.

      I'm a happier rider, the knobs create a remarkably comfortable place to rest and make the Bosco Bars the most versatile I have used.  Unfortunately, Dia-Compe seems to not make the knobs anymore and there are very few scattered over the interweb. I'll just have to improvise new covers when the time comes.
I got new Silver shifters for the Trek,

      They don't look much different than the old Suntour but have a solid precise feel to them when shifting gears, and some mysterious rachet mechanism which holds the lever in position without affecting the shift movement itself.  If that doesn't make sense, it's because I don't understand it.  They are just damn good and work with modern derailers which are made with gorilla strength springs meant for index shifting.
I swapped out the tires on Byron
 So, at least one of the the bikes will be ready in case El Nino blows out and the snow finally arrives.
 It was the first time in, like forever, that I had ridden all 4 of my bikes in the same day.
Having this selection of bikes available made me feel really smart for a day.Nothing needed done to the Hillborne.  I just rode it.
The remarkable aspect of this bike is it's unlimited appeal.   It's almost as fast as my road bike, but infinitely more comfortable, stable and consequently more fun.  I bought it 3 1/2 years ago and have been N+0 since.   It begs to be ridden longer distances more often but is perfectly at home running a short errand.   I have to search for an excuse to ride the TREK these days and it's more likely I'll find something more demanding to make me choose the Hunq.  Between coughing up my lungs and blowing snot rockets onto my sleeve, I made it all the way out to the over priced yogurt shop to get a bowl of expensive fruit with yogurt topping.  So the ice cream shop is always a fun and viable destination.  It reminds me of the second charity ride I went to on the bike.  An "experienced" and well geared spandex hamster asked "Why would somebody want a bike like that?"  I said, " I can take this comfortably on a ride like this, go to the grocery store, or over the Himalayas. What can you do with that?"  I pointed at his crabon crotch rocket, he rode off (with impressive speed of course) shaking his head.