Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Twenty Three Miles

I didn't do a 'ride' today. I never set out to put on any real mileage, I was even kind of thinking I'd try to take it easy today, and yet just moving myself hither and thither netted me twenty-three miles. It's not really all that astounding, there are people that ride twice that in a daily commute. But, it's a couple gallons of gas in my truck. It's twenty-three miles I wouldn't have ridden otherwise, whether or not it was a 'ride'. It was twenty-three miles during which I could make my legs harder than they were when I woke up this morning.

The greatest wrestling coach, pretty much ever, Dan Gable, used to say that every minute of his life he was training. If he had to get across the University of Iowa campus, he did it at a run. My 'commuting' mileage could also be 'training' mileage, it's just a matter of perspective. Why not hammer on the way home from the grocery store? A fifty pound bike loaded with thirty pounds of crap is probably good resistance training. One hundred forty miles is a long way to travel in a day, particularly if you expect to finish by running a marathon. I'll probably need to seize every single opportunity I can get to prepare myself. One smelts iron with great heat and effort after all.

Monday, December 29, 2008

T minus...well, we'll see...

There will come a day when there are more letters behind my name than "B.S" Shortly after I gain those extra letters, I'm doing this. Anyone who wants to accompany me is welcome for any and all of the 4,262 miles, side trips non-withstanding. Just sayin'.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

I went over to DNA and Capt'n E's and we fried, well, pretty much everything.

Then I rode home in several inches of fresh snow, which was interesting to say the least.


Merry Christmas everybody!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I blame my mother

There are those who consider Mt. Biking in the winter time to be "hard core", and commuting 100% by bike, year round, in Montana, to be patently ridiculous. Personally I consider both to be perfectly natural, especially since I live in a town with a high concentration of badasses. But for those of you who consider me outside the norm...well, it's not my fault. I place the blame firmly on the shoulders of my parents.

Consider Exhibit A. My Mom decided that since there was still five feet of open water on the lake (in December) that she would get her paddle on, never mind the ice and freezing water.


So it's not my fault, blame nature and/or nurture, but I take no credit/responsibility for my predilection towards "inappropriate" wintertime activities.

Next we'll get into my Dad. He and I decided to ride bikes on that same lake, two Decembers past. I don't have pictures, but after he fell through the ice, and extricated himself, he ran up to the house to change, and we then finished a ten mile ride, back on the ice.

Like I said, not my fault.

Mom. Dad. Love you guys. Thanks for the adventures.

Update: Here's my Pops out on a little ride.






Monday, December 8, 2008

Long Bike porn

Some cyclophilic buddies of mine have been conducting a series of real world (as well as patently ridiculous) tests pitting the Xtracycle against the Madsen. Keep your eye on the Practical Pedal blog for juicy updates.

Being present for some/all of this has afforded me some opportunities to snap some pics of the various long bikes belonging to my peeps. Here's a few. (BTW, I shouldn't really have to explain this, but if you click on each pic, it will open a much bigger/higher quality pic...just sayin')






I'm a dyed in the wool Xtracycle fan, but I will say, you can haul thirty or so gallons of water in the Madsen, which is interesting to say the least...rolling hottube anyone?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Idiots

The folks at Miscellaneous Haberdashery seem to have taken stupid to a new level. It was really funny tho. Sorry Cap'n E!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bidness fo shidness

I'm a big believer in monogamy, I just want that one perfect woman. However, I can not fathom not having less than...well, I've got a few bikes. Enough that one of them (gorgeous Bianchi with gold inlaid spades and Bianchi script on the lugs, and matching gold Deep V's...muey bueno) hung from my garage ceiling for the last month or so because it had a flat tire, and I had just built up another fixie, which I've been digging. It's an old Trek 520 touring frame and it had the dual distinctions of being able to run 35 mm studded tires and riding like silk made out butter. And then, of course there's the Xtracycle, which is a go-to if there's even a remote possibility I need to haul anything lager that a couple cinder blocks (you'd be surprised). The long and the short if it being I'm not really hurting for transportation. Hell, worst case scenario I could drive my car, which has only been started once in about three months and only to move it to the other side of the block (long story).

However, I had set the Trek up geared a little higher for a race we had a while back. Of course that was fine (great actually) with 23 mm slicks. But when the snow started to fly, and I ended up on my ass a couple (ok, like 8) times on my way home from the bar one night, I promptly threw my Schwalbe Marathon Winters on the Trek. Now, bigger heavier tires require a little more torque to get rolling, and today, while trying to beat a car between stoplights, I felt a little pop in my right knee. It didn't hurt all that bad and I didn't think all that much of it, but it didn't feel right.

Then of course came the straw. Once I got home I felt the need to bust out a few miles on foot (I'm not a 'runner' but I do run). When I got back from my jaunt, my right knee was hurtin'. It wasn't hurtin' bad, but it hurt enough, and I decided to gear the 35 mil stud adorned Trek from 42x15 to 42x17 (the 17's been sitting in my messenger bag for about a month, I'm just to frikken lazy to do something til I get a swift kick in the butt, or in this case a pop in my knee).

While I was getting my hands dirty, it occurred to me that one of my other favoritest bikes was just hanging there unusable for no reason besides my colossal procrastination. So, I took the requisite ten minutes and patched a few tubes (since I was at it), pulled a piece of metal the size of the tip of a nail (good chance that was the issue) out of the tire, and got another of my other favoritist bikes back in action. This, of course necessitated a ride...so I busted out just shy of 12 miles around the BZN, which is sublimely quiet on a Monday night at 11:00pm.

I've said this before, but there's just nothing like getting back on a bike you haven't ridden in a while, it's like having a beer with a best friend that's been on hiatus for months, best part of my whole day! I <3 my bike!

Good to have you back Bianchi, I didn't realize how much I missed you until we were flying down Oak at about twenty miles an hour, and I was hammering up Willson as fast as my anaerobic threshold would manage. Careening through campus, and navigating the eerily dark 8th street with just shy of a full charge on my LED headlight batteries, riding a bike is really my favorite thing.



Today's millage: 19 miles bike (total including commute), 4 miles running. I prolly better get back in the pool here pretty soon. It seems like some fat dumbass (i.e. me) once said something about doing some triathlons.

Not really sure why...

I've never really been all that concerned with my mileage. I ride a lot. I ride a lot even by the standards of people who ride bikes a lot. But lately, for reasons not worth discussing I've been a little obsessed with it. I think it has to do with the realization that I kind of hate winter and I think it's because I don't ride enough in the winter time.

So I've begun tracking my daily mileage using Pedometer. Wednesday I put on well over 30, Friday I put on 12 miles. Last night I did a little over 19, and tonight it was 16. Really all it's going to take is making some circuitous routes home from work, and a few early morning 10 mile spins.

The "harshest" time of the year for cycling is nigh, but I'm pretty sure the only real barriers are in my mind, hopefully, it'll just become habit, the way it always done when I'm consistently riding. I'm really just trying to regain my normal equilibrium after all. I'm going to try to keep track and use this here blog to catalog it all. Of course, I'm fairly sure I'll loose the disciplined impetus to blog about this. Hopefully the riding will just continue to be a habit. It is what I do after all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ah HA!

No, I'm not getting into ironically notable-by-way-of-obscurity '80's bands (although, now that that's come up I could do with some Journey, Steve Perry's falsetto really is the greatest thing ever). No, I'm talking about rediscovering something a little more significant to me. It's not that I forgot about bike riding, or even that I haven't been riding, just not the way I was a couple months ago. Blame the earlier sunset, the cold, the wet, the snow, whatever, for many reasons I'm not putting many miles on lately.

Concurrent with my drop in mileage, I've been in a %&$#ing SHITTY mood of late (ask my friends and co-workers, no one can really stand to be around me right now). There are also a number of reasons for that, grad school and certain members of the opposite sex playing somewhat significant roles in my ill temper, but there is definitely a correlation between my mood and my mileage. Today was particularly bad, and I walked (ok I stomped, like a toddler having a tantrum) out of my lab around 5:00 pm and hopped on my fixie just because I couldn't really handle anything else at that point.

I wasn't really headed anywhere, the sun was setting, and the temps were starting to drop below thirty, so I certainly wasn't planning on putting on any significant mileage. However, this being Montana, and me being a dedicated bike commuter, I did have the lights, clothes, and studded tires to handle pretty much any of the standard winter-time barriers against doing some riding. I headed south out of town. By around mile five I was feeling really good and I realized that a ride, a real ride was exactly what I needed.

I made my favorite post-work way-home south-of-town loop, and got back into Bozeman feeling warmed up and better than I have in a few days. I certainly wasn't in any rush to get off of my bike. By this point, I was remembering all those conversations I'd had with various friends over the years regarding the malaise of not riding for a while, and I decided to keep going. I headed north. I hit up some snowpacked trails, and some rutted out gravel roads. I spun over sections of desolate asphalt and navigated traffic-filled highways. My trusty little LED headlight illuminating just enough road to allow me to navigate the terrain, but also leaving a few unseen surprises, just to keep it all interesting. I hammered up climbs and spun out coming down the other side. I spent a couple hours listening to the cacophonous sound of my frenetic thoughts being tempered by the soothing bzzzz of my studded tires. I rode back into Bozeman, exhausted, and chasing traffic from stop light to stop light. My legs were like lead weights from spinning a 42x15, studded tire adorned fixie, for around thirty miles, and the rest of me felt good, real good.

I rode my bike. I haven't done that in a while, not really. I'm still stressed about this and that, but I remembered what it seems I'd forgotten.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Blog!

Yes. New blog, apropos of very little and/or nothing. It'll unfocus on the mediocre, mundane, and utterly anti-thematic, and it would probably be best if it was never read by anyone at any time. In fact, it will most likely be the buffer for all that late night drunken blogging I feel the need to do.

Meh...

Whatever...

It's here Micellaneous Haberdashery.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You want to know why?

People sometimes remark to me that they're a bit taken aback by the violent reaction from the cycling community, or any one individual on a bike, when there is any sort of altercation between a bike and a car.

http://www.kansascity.com/news/breaking_news/story/894806.html

Really!?!?

Friday, November 7, 2008

News Flash

The American auto industry is extremely flat footed! Frankly, I'm pretty amused that part of the dead weight pulling GM down is Hummer. I mean, if you can't sell Hummers, that's a problem. Remember the early Nineties when people were looking askance at 'rice burning cars'? All of this American Hubris is a fascinating thing to watch.

I'm sure this bodes nothing well for our distraught American economy, but every house of cards comes down eventually.

I noticed that gas is $2.19 a gallon on my ride to work today, so you can't buy a Hummer, but you can fill one with gas again. All those people hopin' an prayin' for gas to come down from 4 bucks got what they asked for, it just came on the heels of what may yet turn into GDII. My ride to work cost me about $1e-10, so I still feel pretty good about the cost ratio of riding my bike vs driving a Hummer. Maybe GM and Ford can melt down all those huge trucks to supply the bike industry with raw materials so Surly doesn't have to raise their still quite reasonable prices just because the cost of steel is rising.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Perfect

There are a few brief windows between seasons where you get an absolutely perfect temperature for a morning ride. Today was such a day. Soon it'll be cold, and icy, and after that wet, and slushy, then raining constantly, and ultimately summer will reappear and getting to work will entail a lot of sweating. I've got all sorts of special little gear bits and clothes to deal with all those varied environmental fluctuations, and I enjoy aspects of all those types of conditions and the challenges and special skills they present and require.

But today is clear, cool, beautiful. Today's ride was perfect.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why?

Why do this? Why tackle physically demanding sections? Why do a seven hour ride? Why do a 60 mile fixed gear race in a hail storm and laugh through most of it? Why switch to riding a single speed mountain bike, and spend 90% of your rides so far beyond your anaerobic threshold that you end every ride so weak you nearly pass out? Why put yourself through physically torturing situations on a daily or weekly business?

It's not just that it feels good to be done with a long ride, it's more than that. We actually enjoy suffering in the moment we're pushing ourselves at the limits of our endurance. We like that feeling that we're about to explode and then reaching down to push a little harder. Not all addicts are cyclists, but clearly all cyclists are addicts of one sort or another. What the hell is wrong with us?

I'm not saying I like it when I'm hurting, but I seem to continue to throw myself into situations that I know are going to be physically and emotionally demanding and midway through I'm gonna wonder why I did it in the first place...but I keep riding, and when I'm the most exhausted is when I feel the need to push myself the hardest, and then it's over, and I can't wait to do it again. Do we REALLY like something about pain? Does that make any sense?

I know there are a lot of other things to a ride than pain and suffering, but that's a big part, and I kind of doubt we'd like it so much were it not for that fact.

I wouldn't call myself a masochist, but I seem to seek out things I know are going to hurt.

Whatever...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Perspective

The weather turned to crap today. It makes a harmonious backdrop for my mood.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Race of the Dead.

The cats over at The Fix have another race in the works for this weekend. This one is gonna go down in the dark so bring yer lights. Be at Bogert park at five thirty on Saturday 10/25. Oh, and wear a costume people...

See you there!

Update: There's going to be a "Critical Mass" centering around Bogert about the same time. Be sure and bring your withering looks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Worst case scenario...Part 3...The lake

For parts one and two, look here and here.

Ten minutes of climbing after the penultimate stop, with snowflakes alighting around me like tangible benevolence from above, the terrain levels out. We've arrived in an alpine basin at over nine thousand feet above sea level. I roll up to a stop near the rest of the group. 'There's Hyalite peak' states one of us. I shut my lights off, it's pitch black, then my eyes adjust to the indirect starlight mostly obscured by clouds. There, outlined against the sky I see the sharp outline of Hyalite Peak, it's not the most majestic mountain in the world, but I'm still standing at its base in the middle of the night. We marvel for a time, but all of us are feeling anxious about getting back down to the trail head, it's been a tough night, and we've got a wicked, gnarly, decent through a dark snow filled night.

Heading back down the trail is mixture of fun and extreme anxiety, the switchbacks at the top are some of the steepest I know of. To my left is a sharp drop, and under my tires is a trail basically carved out of scree. I'm wet, cold, tired. Carving through each switchback, I giggle with glee. The immediacy of threading through never-ending rock gardens never dulls. I had started this ride with five weeks off from real riding, now I was relying on instinct alone as my skills had lost a step or two to say the least. The trail is loose and every move feels like a chance to tumble. Onward through the darkness surrounded by my personal LED produced halo, I advance cautiously, and recklessly, dichotomy is the theme on this night, maybe also the theme for my life at this point. Speed is a relative quantity on a mountain bike, on a night ride every single thing you come across is immediate, and you must react with presence of mind honed from years of experience. If you've never done a night ride, you should.

We finally make it back to the car. Twelve miles are behind me...and now after well over a month, I know I've got some real rides in my near future. The dark, snowy, wet, cold, rocky, technical ride was perfect. Everything went wrong, and that was exactly what I needed to greet every single ride that has come since without a hint of hesitation. I faced it all, if it had been less tasking, I would have gained far less.

The worst case scenario was the only thing that could have brought me back.

Share your practical cycling knowlege

Cyclists, in my experience, have a much greater sense of community than most other groups. Every cyclist I know has multiple stories about helping, being helped by, or good interactions with, another human just because both were on bikes. Now, the guys at the Practical Pedal want to make that sense of community viral.

convivialcity.com/ is a new website out there where practical cyclists can share knowledge and community with each other. Check it out. Share what you know, meet some new people in a different city. Ride some new places.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yet again...

I have nothing to do with this...I just really like Xtracycles



I also have nothing to do with this...see above...



According to the guys at Surly, stop action Big Dummy builds are the new black. Personally? I'd say Xtracycles are the new automobile, just one that won't destroy the planet. The word automobile means 'something capable of moving on its own'. A bike won't move on its own. Neither will a car, you fill it with petroleum by-product for that. A person is automobile, and a person on a bike is far more automobile than a person without a bike. Logic follows. I win.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

There's a new fixie in town.

Winter'll be here eventually, and last year it lasted until May. I like my load bike an all, but some times I just want to ride fixed. Now, my Xtracycle isn't the only bike I can run studded tires on.







Here are a bunch more pictures

Bueno!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Worst case scenario...Part 2

If you give a schitt about continuity, read Part 1 here.

After roughly an hour of climbing, the light gets beyond sketchy and one member of my crew suggests that it's time to get the artificial light running. There are a few machinations and some MacGyver-type stuff to get one person's light functioning fully, but ultimately we're all suited up for phase two, in the dark. The sprinkle is turning to rain. It's not heavy, but it's an element. The trail isn't mucky to the point of being impassable, but everything is slippery, everything has an added layer of complexity. This ride is as much about skill as physical endurance. I'm beyond my anaerobic threshold at this point.

The ride continues. By this point, I have faced two of my three worst fears on this ride. One, I've tweaked my shoulder twice when my rear wheel slipped on a wet root across the trail, and while it hurt, it wasn't the sick pain I associate with actual injury. Two, I'm not going to win any races any time soon, but I'm keeping up, on a ridiculous trail, in the rain, in the dark, on a single speed. Number three? Well there's a night-time decent coming up...

The ride continues, over rocks and roots, creek crossings, log bridges, just past the half-way point there are steady patches of snow on the trail, and the sprinkling rain has become sleet, and it's turning into snow. I'm hurting, and I'm laughing, this is one of the best rides I've ever been on. Somehow, it wouldn't be as good if it were run-of-the-mill. It wouldn't be as fun if it were easy. We mountain bike to face adversity, greater adversity makes every aspect of riding better. I'm far more sharply attuned to this ride. My mind is quiet, and focused. I'm in the moment. Not many earthly endeavors give me that.

Past the gnarly switchbacks, over deepening snow patches, close to the top, I come upon the leading member of our ride. He's waiting, and he's got a smile on his face. I un-clip and hop off my bike. There's now a light snow falling on us, and it's pitch black. We're almost at nine thousand feet of elevation. Even in the dark, I can see the snowflakes nearly glowing in the dark, it's ethereal.

'This is a magic ride'. I get a laugh of agreement, "Exactly, that's exactly how I would describe it" is the disembodied reply. At this point, we're nearly to the lake. It's cold, wet, becoming untenable, but we've nearly bagged the climb, no one's stopping. Of course, there is still the decent, and my feet are completely numb...my hands are getting there...the precipitation is only continuing. But my group is strong, and we're feeding off of each others' enthusiasm. An easy ride wouldn't have evoked this response. Facing adversity made it better. The weather had turned against us, when we hoped it wouldn't, and that turned out to be the element that made it better, not worse. Of course...we do still have to get down. The lake's not far now...

Stay tuned for Part 3...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sometimes, the worst case scenario is also perfect...Part 1

I haven't been riding off road in over a month, courtesy of a should injury in July. I had been thinking in the last week though, that it's about time to get back to it. I started considering the options, there's Sourdough (easy enough that I see people pushing baby strollers there), South Cottonwood (easy, but actually a dirt trail), and a few others. Mostly I'm procrastinating, cuz I'm scared like that.

Yesterday morning, while checking my email, I see a proposal by a friend of mine to do a little night ride. To be clear, this person is an absolute badass, and no ride that she would engage in would be exactly easy (more like intensely arduous), and the trail she's proposing to ride is technical, parts of it are nothing but loose rock fields, and it's getting late in the season to go up above 9000 feet, and she wants to do it as a night ride...my initial reaction went something like this 'huh, ...nope'.

Then I started thinking 'I'll just throw my gear and my bike on the Xtracycle and take everything to work with me...just in case'. Now the true vacillation begins. 'I'm not doing this'. I haven't ridden in well over a month, so I've got my gear spread out all over the place, both of my trail bikes are in pieces, the bike I had to settle on would be a single speed, 'I'm not doing this'. But eventually I arrived at work, Single Speed in tow, one freeloader bulging with the requisite clothing and lights for a chilly night ride. I send my friend an email. Where does she want to meet?

We get to the Hyalite creek trailhead, elevation ~7000 ft, at about 7:00pm (this time of year, dark thirty is about 8:45 and we've got a tough climb to Hyalite lake, which is around 9000 ft). Everyone gears up, everyone I'm with is an experienced rider, and I'm more than a little nervous about how this is going to go, but I'm also back in my element, it felt great. People who have done this ride will tell you that it isn't exactly a tune-up type ride. It's gnarly, full of rock gardens, creek crossings, and at times it's steep, and we were going to do half the climb and all of the decent in the dark. I was right to be nervous. We headed up the trail at a moderate pace. Within a quarter mile the trail gets rough, full of rocky little ascents and roots. Everyone spins out a bit on the roots, because it had rained pretty heavily earlier in the day. Everything is greasy with fresh mud. Then it starts to sprinkle...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A subtle difference...

My Xtracycle started its life as a medium-to-low-end Trek road bike. I picked it up whist working in my first shop. This dude comes in and wants to trade in a one-year-old bike, which 'we' were only gonna give him a hundred bucks for, but 'I' gave him two hundred, and he was happy. I then bequeathed it to my dad because he said at some point that he wanted to do a century, and I thought it'd be better than his mountain bike for that little adventure. Well one century turned into anther, and another, etc. and several years later, when he picked up a custom built Bianchi (full campy, beautiful), he gave me the Trek back. It was, to say the least, beat to crap. It was effectively a single-speed, as its shifters had pretty much seized, and the rear hub made a flat out frightening sound over fifteen miles an hour.

I used it for a couple years as a commuter, but eventually I discovered fixed gears and the sad, tired little trek road bike was relegated to a set of back-corner ceiling hooks in my garage. Here it would sit, forgotten, ignored, utterly broken down. Unbeknownst to me at the time, lurking deep in that seemingly broken little bike's soul, was something more amazing than the R and D department at Waterloo could have ever dreamed of.

I first saw an Xtracycle on campus a few years ago, and instantly wanted one. When I found myself in a position that I could afford one, I just got it without really knowing what I was going to build it up with. I had just joined a community bike co-op and I felt pretty confident that I'd be able to find a frame to build up my new load bike. Then, hanging in the far reaches of the garage, I saw my broken-down, neglected little Trek 1200, a serviceable bike, if badly in need of a complete rebuild. 'Hmmm...a load bike built on a roadbike chassis could be fast and nimble' thought I. So, that's what I went with. Immediately, I made the decision to lean for disk brakes, going with Avid Road disk brakes (a fortuitous decision). It was a decent bike, fast and capable.



But the drop bars weren't the greatest for getting up to speed, especially with a load, so I opted for a mary bar, and since I had gone with the road disk brakes I was able to use an old set of servo wave XTR shifter/brake lever pods, which are amazing!

The second iteration of my Xtracycle was just like the first. Only much more stable, better handling, and far faster from a dead stop.



Then, early this summer, the true potential of my resurrected little road bike was realized. DNA called me in July, and asked if I wanted to go on a little bike/backpacking/car camping trip. We would ride from town, twenty miles into the mountains south of Bozeman, camp, live large, and ride home happy and without using drop of petrol. 'Hmm...' thought I, 'I'll need to put some cross tires on the Xtracycle'. Now, that was a good idea, as far as initial ideas go, but my second thought was even better. 'I wonder if I can sneak a mountain bike tire into that cyclocross fork'? So I grabbed a mountain bike wheelset, and voila, since I had disk brakes, I found that I could switch between mountain and road tire/wheel combos with absolute impunity, making my once forlorn, broken-down, roadbike, an almost infinitely capable load-hauling bike. Road or off road, it became clear that this bike would do everything I asked it to do, and probably things I'm not capable of conceiving of.



Post camping trip, I left the knobby set up on my Xtracycle, and I've been riding it that way ever since. As fast and nimble as the road set-up is, I love the rugged do-it-allness of the mountin bike wheelset and tires. With winter fast approaching here in the Rockies, I've decided to leave it that way. The 26 inch wheels handle well, and it's still fast and capable, and it will now quite easily accommodate a set of Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires, with full fenders.

So here's the latest iteration of my favorite bike. It probably won't be the last, but that's the thing about an Xtracycle, it does what you want it to do, and things you maybe didn't think possible.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Just cause it's stupid doesn't make it wrong

Ok, I know, I know. Stuff like this is basically BS and a blatant attempt by a not-so-clever ad campaign to capitalize on an energy and financial crisis that is strangling average Americans. Much like Trek's One World Two Wheels campaign (which I myself have vaunted.) ClifBAR is pushing cycling as a way to make money. They're a business, that's what businesses do. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm just as cynical about peoples' motivation as the next guy, but there is one relevant detail to keep in mind. This is one more voice trying to get more people on bikes and less people driving cars. Is it soulless? I kind of doubt it. It's certainly not all that hip, but if you want soulless go here, here, or here, and get on the waiting list for a hybrid SUV (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one) and pat yourself on the back for doing something (nothing) to better the world around you.

Na, I'll take Trek, and Clif, and whoever else is marketing bikes instead of the inefficient alternative. Sure there are going to be things about this that irritate those of us who have been cycle commuting since way before suburban white kids rediscovered fixed gears or gas was four dollars a gallon. I'll agree that it's cynical, and I'll still smile when I see a fifty year old guy riding his mid eighties mountain bike, with a rear touring rack mounted on it, out of the grocery store parking lot, past a line of (still) gas guzzling 'hybrid' SUVs.

C

Thursday, August 28, 2008

unintendedly ironic quote of the day.

So, a few days ago, myself and sundry and diverse others from the BBK went to a meeting about the Rouse improvement project. Basically they (the DOT) are going to widen the road and the Bicycle Advisory Board was concerned that cyclists are represented in any traffic planning that goes on. It quickly became apparent to all of us that cyclists weren't going to be left out of the conversation, so I just sat back and listened. About half an hour into the meeting they had a question period. A young woman in the crowd raised her hand about midway through and the moderator handed her a microphone. She begins by stating that she's resident along Rouse Ave, and that the road in front of her residence will lose it's on-street parking should the plan go through. She then asks what contingencies are being offered to ameliorate this unfortunate turn of events. The presenter hims and haws a bit about some off-site parking area, but basically he's not sure, because clearly there's no immediately obvious solution to this 'problem'. At this point the young woman becomes quite agitated and starts to get a little aggressive in her 'query', at one point stating "...well obviously I have two cars and I blah blah blah. At that point Sam and I turned to each other and both said to each other, a little derisively, "OBVIOUSLY!"

I've got a solution for your problem lady. Sell your cars. Bikes take up way less space.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All the way across the pond?

I was surfin on my lunchbreak and I ran across these little beauties. I thought to myself 'hey, those are cool, I'd like to have a pair for the Xtracycle.' Then I noticed the pound sterling icon next to the suspiciously low price...

:(

Much like my new spats, which I had to wait until after spring was over to get, and the rain cape I am still waiting on, I prolly going to have to jump through unimaginable hoops to get myself a pair of kick-ass blinky pedals. Why does all the good schitt come from the UK? Well, probably because here in Uhmerica, we don't believe that one should get anywhere in any way that doesn't involve internal combustion, and the Brits are a little more progressive about transportation.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

mmm...fixie

I'm going to try riding on of my fixies today. I've gotten back about 75-80% range of motion with my left arm. I might regret this, but it's been raining in the afternoons and, at the moment, this is the only bike I've got with a set of fenders.

Besides, it's beautiful, who wouldn't want to ride that bike?

Update: OK, so I ended up not riding the fixie. There was a minor mechanical issue and I decided that was a sign that I was pushing things. I did ride to campus (mostly) two-handed...ish. It's the small victories sometimes.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Score!

So, I was 'helping' a buddy move tonight, in quotes cuz I've only got about one and a half good hands right now. When I asked him what to do with the wok, he replies 'I don't know, do you want it? Oh and here's the steamer as well.' I hadn't really expected to be hauling anything tonight, however, I was quite fortunately on the Xtracycle.



So, I now have another worthwhile tool to add to my kitchen.

Two things I suggest you don't try to suffer through life without, really good friends, and a load-hauling bike.

Obey!

I'm watching tv on a Saturday morning (sue me, I'm hurt) and there was just a credit card commercial on. As images of sexy electronics flash across the screen, the monologue states 'we are a nation of consumers, and that's ok...' In the midst of a financially untenable situation, owing in large part to conspicuous overuse of credit, we are being told to just continue spending money. It's not just a credit card company, our government is urging us to spend money rampantly as well. After 9/11 Dub said go to the mall, and a year ago when this talk of recession started up we get a promise of 600 dollars and the admonition to spend it as soon as possible.

We live in a country of such wasteful excess that the mainstream answer to our financial problems is to spend our way out of it. Aside from the patent absurdity of this concept, it is also frightening. What Discover card doesn't seem to realize is that if this credit fueled tailspin doesn't end soon, they're going down with the financial ship. Our entire financial system is built on credit, and we have credit card companies trying to convince addicts to just take one more taste of the junk. A credit card company feeling that they have to lobby Americans to spend money means we're really in trouble.

I realize that the concept of conserving has gained a modicum of traction recently. Four dollar gas even has Americans riding bikes more, but in a country where less than one percent of people choose to ride a bicycle instead of drive a car every day, I'd say there's some room to grow. It's heartening that large bicycle corporations are starting to see commuting as a viable market, but this is still just a reflection of our addiction to buying shit. Our entire concept of this identity as 'consumers' has to change. This is far beyond mere capitalism.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I heart Xtracycle

I'd'a driven my car today, I had a legitimate reason, my roommate even gave me shit for trying to get a wheel into a bike with only one working hand. Putting my left shoe on was also kind of a chore, just the left one though.

But having a bike that would carry a load allowed me to keep the load off of my body. So, while it took a while to get to campus, I got there with nary an issue. Maybe I should change the subtitle of this blog to 'Angry Musings of an Xtracycle Fanboy' hmm...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

ah well

i'm injured right now. it's my shoulder, so carrying my messenger bag is gonna be an issue. typing is also kind of a problem, hence the no caps. anyway, i dont know if i can ride to work tomorrow, but since i've got an xtracycle and i don't have to carry anything on my back, i'm gonna find out. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Your car sucks

According to Michael Zezima, your car sucks. I was going to write something semi-quantitative about cars compared to bikes in their impact on all of us, but then I found Mr Zezima's post, and he pretty much has it down. Cars suck. Cars kill people. Cars fuck up the planet. Cars enable us to live completely unsustainable livestyles, which in turn requires us to have an exceptionally excessive military presence in oil rich areas, killing more people.

Update: keep number 6 in mind when you turn the key. 121, is a LOT.

How lazy are you America? People die so you can sit on your ass for an hour a day to get to your office job where you sit on your ass for eight hours a day. Read that again! People die ! I'm a little emotional about this, because I recently read about a local cyclist getting hit by a car, apparently he's ok, but when some drunk dumbass in a two ton vehicle hits someone on a bike, the cyclist is in grave danger.

With all due respect Mr. Ford, regardless of the benefits of the automobile, I'm not convinced the price is worth the unimaginable cost.

Dorky vs Safer

A Bozeman cyclist was struck by a drunk driver on Monday night. Apparently the kid is alive as he was released from the hospital. But fractured vertebrae sounds kind of serious to me. Aggravated assault? Anyone know who we need to lobby to get that changed to attempted manslaughter? I'm not sure if I think ten years is enough, since he'll probably get off somehow, but we'll see.

I'm getting a helmet mirror. I've resisted it for a while based on the fact that I think they look kind of dorky. Maybe it won't keep me any safer, but I'd like that split-second warning anyway. Especially with assholes like Lamont Anderson driving around out there.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What's the internet again?

Don't worry Mr Stevens. The bars on your jail cell are just a series of tubes. I've tried to keep my political fervor in check as much as possible on here. But for a dirty pol tied to big oil, which powers my favorite form of transportation to b$%ch about, I'll stretch the relevance a little.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The fixie goes political

Barak Obama is apparently the politician of choice with the hipsters. That may be the only thing that gives me pause...

Click on it few times.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Excellent

I did a great (if short) road ride tonight. We headed out on Manly, up Sypes to Summer cutoff, way north and then crossed Springhill, south through a subdivision to Airport east to...hmm there I can't remember where we turned. But you twist and turn down a pleasant country lane til eventually you end up on frontage and come back into the BZN on valley center.

Here's a better discription and it even has a map. Boy, somebody is sure on the ball.

Christmas in July...or something like that.

I'm starting to think I almost like commuting in winter better than summer. For one thing, it's cooler. But I also don't get to work feeling like a portable steam room in the winter time, even though I do sweat quite a bit regardless of how cold it is.

In other news I've reached what I think is a milestone. Today, I've worn the ass out of a third pair of pants, or is it fourth...

Polo

Polo was good last night. We finally got back some of that good old fashioned competitive spirit. Some new people showed up, and DNA didn't put a leg through a spoke shearing of a disgusting nugget of skin. Those who weren't in attendance missed and were missed, expect a healthy amount of shit talking. I definitely need to get real polo bike together though. My cruiser isn't exactly a 'beat em off the line' kind of machine. And that back wheel...hmm...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just peadal already. It's better. I promise.

DNA is a lot of things. He's a dependable friend, a brother in arms, and a partner in crime. But, most importantly he is what the Samurai referred to as a worth adversary. I don't care what anyone tells you every ride is a race and you either throw down or you don't. Now, when we ride we aren't exactly competing, but neither one of us is holding back, if you know what I mean. It's an unspoken rule, except I've learned that when he say's 'C-Note, I'm gonna hold back a little' it's time to put on the big girl panties and bring my fucking A-game, cuz the shit's gonna hit the fan. And I'm not just talking about Dawn Patrol mt. bike rides, after work rides or early season road rides to burn some fat off. No, I'm talking about the impromptu hammer fest through the streets of Bozeman at midnight when we've both had a smidge to much to drink. Sometimes one of us is on an Xtracycle, or a fixed gear, or a touring road bike with a BoB trailer on the back. It's keep up er shut up, and frankly I wouldn't have it any other way. Cycling is, by it's very nature, a competitive thing and sometimes you gotta run whatcha brung.

Tonight we showed 317 some love, after all, they've been good to us, and post 'give me a whiskey/whatever (make it a double) we headed through the unlit streets in a drunken aplomb...FAST. We both took advantages where they presented themselves, but the fact remains that I had fun that I wouldn't have had if I'd driven to the bar. Nevermind the fact that driving while drunk is lame and stupid and illegal, and riding a bike intoxicated is perfectly legal if slightly stupid and begging for trouble.

Anyway, the point is that since we were both riding bikes we got to push our physical limits, and have a great deal of fun doing something we love, and that had we driven to the bar, we would have been idiots putting others' lives in danger, with no respect or regard for our fellow person, and most importantly I wouldn't have had an opportunity to flat out hammer, and my life is better for having had that hill to climb. It feels good to make your heart race and your lungs heave. Some of us ( actually most of us, just that some seem to have forgotten) take pride in a resting heart rate below 50 bpm, and you don't have to train for a marathon, you just have to put the power to the pedal.

Ride your bike. I promise it's better than whatever else is in your garage. (Better doesn't equate with 'easy')

...of course some coporate actions are necessary

It's always nice to be part of something Grass-Roots. But the fact of the matter is that making sweeping changes in the way this country moves its collective fat ass from place to place is simply going to take money and clever ad agencies. I'm just being pragmatic here. It's nice to see that the large bicycle manufacturers recognize that practical cycling isn't just a niche market. The Kona Ute is a perfect example of this. Even though Surly ultimately made the Big Dummy much better than the Ute (in my opinion) Kona still beat them to the punch, and the Ute is much cheaper. I'm not really surprised by this of course, if you watch the news for five minutes all you see is schemes to avoid paying 4 dollars for a gallon of gas. Anyway, this is Trek president John Burke discussing the writing on the wall, so to speak.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What is it?

I see things and hear things like this from time to time and aside from deeply disturbing me, it completely baffles me. How is it that someone in a car feels so threatened by a cyclist that they can become enraged? Is it that you have the perception that cyclists are somehow slowing you down?

One night on my way home I actually had a guy in a 'pimped out' import pull up next to me and start revving all four cylinders. Really?!? Posturing to a guy on a bike? With your car? Maybe it's the fact that with hundreds of horsepower you're still slower than me, and I doubt you're having a good time in that rolling metal box. Or, maybe it's the fact that drivers are vastly in the minority and all that insecurity from being too weak to pull your own weight is just too much for you. I keep vacillating concerning gas prices, but assholes who think there's a good reason to try to kill someone with their stupidly unnecessary car make me wish gas was twenty dollars-a-gallon.

I hope this guy goes to jail for this. If you're weak enough to drive a car every day, at least take some responsibility for your slovenliness.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beer and Buses?

My latest post on The Fix

Bozeman has this thing called Music on Main, and it's basically evolved into an excuse to drink while walking through the middle of main street. In order to keep everything all benignly American, local bars hand out bright pink wrist bands after people show an ID at the door, and then serve drinks in an 'inconspicuous' plastic cup so people don't have to be alarmed by seeing a bunch of twenty somethings walking around with 'gasp' alcohol. It's amazing how four years of high school so completely dictate everything about how people behave in every single facet of their lives.

Sorry I digress...how does this pertain to bikes? These wristbands have emblazoned on them an admonishment against Montana's second favorite pass-time.



(For those of you not savvy enough with the internets to click on the above picture, it says "DUI, you can't afford it. Be Smart. Ride the Bus" (Not-so-cleverly edited by yours truely)

Me being me, I felt the need to alter it a bit to turn it from a rather preposterous suggestion to a far more practical alternative to something powered by fossil fuels. Seriously, what would you rather do; sit on an odd smelling bus full of strangers (that you waited twenty minutes for), or have a pleasant midsummer evening ride on the most efficient form of transportation yet devised by man?

It reminds me of King Solomon who said 'there is nothing new under the sun'. I've remarked many times to sEtOH, Captain E, DNA, and the Coyote that over the last eight weeks, more and more people have been riding bikes around Bozeman. Every day on my ride into work I see another middle-aged guy wearing a Bell helmet with a neon yellow nylon cover riding an old school touring bike down one of Bozeman's main drags.

What does this all mean? I have no idea. But clearly you are smarter than American Big-Business. Cuz some generic ad company is pushing riding a bus, and true blue patriots are naturally falling into the most spontaneous solution to the sloth of fossil fuel that there is. (OK, Miller isn't really the 'true blue patriot' I'm just as much of a slave to a clever ad campaign as the next idiot. But hey, they play to a certain crowd.)

Whatever. Share the stoke with the other riders you see. They get what so many others continue to refuse. They get what you've probably embraced for far longer than it was fashionable. But hey! They get it! And even if they don't get it, you should help and encourage them until they get it. Cuz the future looks bleak for American obesity and increased habitual cycling has all kinds of benefits. And, even if it weren't for any of those things I know for certain that there is something about riding a bike, and if we get everyone to get that then everything else will be ok.

Be safe out there! Make sure your family knows you care, and tell your friends that they kick ass!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

People both suck and are awesome

This is cross posted from The Fix

The first part of this post is me being pissed and the last part is me being stoked, so if you'd rather read the good stuff, skip to the end.



I got the following email from youtube tonight.

Dear Member:

This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by The Collective Films claiming that this material is infringing:

RockySprints - Seasons Premier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3MRcRM4vH0

Please Note: Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to prevent this from happening, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube's copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.

If you elect to send us a counter notice, please go to our Help Center to access the instructions.
Be aware that there may be adverse legal consequences in your country if you make a false or bad faith allegation of copyright infringement by using this process.

Sincerely,
YouTube, Inc.


Apparently The Collective thinks that me posting video of ya'll racing RockySprints somehow falls under the jurisprudence of their copyright. I was so irritated about it that I sent them an extremely inappropriately crabby email about it (sue me, it pisses me off when people suck at life).

Here's another example of me 'infringing' on the holy copyright of The Collective (who at this point, can officially kiss my ass). Watch it quick, The Collective's lawyers are probably huddled around computers as you read this waiting to pounce. For anyone from 'The Collective' (what are you, The Borg?) who reads this, it's all in good fun...oh, and get over yourselves, it's not like you're Metallica, actually since there isn't a shred of your intellectual property in anything I posted, you're worse than Metallica. Congratulations, that's hard-core douchebagdom.

I'm sure it's all a 'misunderstanding' just because I mention in the info that it's at the Seasons premier. But c'mon, what do you pay those lawyers all that money for?
>:(

On a happy note The Kitchen was flat out humming tonight. That place is really starting to develop a good vibe. Every week there are new people showing up with this look on their faces that I can't describe, but you can tell that they are stoked to get a bike running. It's a really addictive environment, and I walk out of there every night tired and happy. DNA dropped by and got a 24-inch-wheeled Giant running for a little girl whose parents couldn't really afford to buy her a bike, or get her to soccer practice, since gas is about 30 dollars a gallon now. That's what we get out of The Kitchen, we get to hand somebody something that will make their lives better. If you have the time, money, or spare parts, I promise there are worse places or ways to disseminate them than getting more bicycles on the road for people to get around.

So, I guess I got to see the good and the bad today. I s'pose they call that life and it's up to me to chose to take the good and leave the bad.

Ride safe out there!

C Note

Update:

I got an email reply from the collective. It went like this:


Relax dude. Your video was accidentally caught up in a bigger attempt to get
pieces of our complete film off of youtube so we don't have our material
ripped off. Sorry. You can put it back up if you want and I'll do my best to
make sure it doesn't happen again.

Take it easy.

Jamie - The Collective


I now of course must apologize for equating them with star trek villains and greedy rock stars...and the douche-bag comment may have been a quarter step too far...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Be safe out there...

Update: The young man Suz and I came across passed away due to head trauma. If you're inclined, send up a prayer for his family. I can't imagine what they're going through right now.




I had one of the most sobering moments of my entire cycling career today. Suzanne and I rode the Bangtail Divide, it's twenty-five miles of epic singletrack, ending with five miles of down-hill on Grassy Mountain. A mile from the end of the trail I came upon something I hoped I'd never see, and that I pray to God I never see again. At the top of a switchback there were two paramedics and eight guys standing around an eighteen-year-old kid. They had him hooked up to a pump to help him breathe because he had punctured a lung, and they were stabilizing his head because he had broken his neck. As near as Suzanne could figure from listening to the kid's friends, he had launched off of a roller about fifteen feet from the switchback, but cased the landing and landed on his head on the next section of trail below the switchback, which means he fell about eight feet straight down. I later saw his buddy pull his bike from the bushes about ten to fifteen feet off of the lower trail. One of the first guys on the scene told us that when he showed up the kid wasn't breathing and that his friends started performing CPR, while the kid coughed up the blood that was in his lungs.

We do this because we love it, it gives our lives meaning, brings us a greater spiritual center, there are many reasons; and the fact that there is a huge potential for injury is part of what makes all of those positive things so much more intense. But none of that matters when you're watching a kid struggling to breathe because of the fluid filling his lungs, and praying he doesn't die before they get him to the hospital.


I'm certainly not going to quit riding (I've got a dawn patrol scheduled with Mr. DNA in the morning) and I'm also going to continue to get everything out of cycling that it has to offer. But I'll never forget my harrowing view of the dark side of this sport.

So be safe out there. You always want to make it to the next ride.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

drinking and driving...er...get a bike...sissy

Maybe it's just me, but when I drive I have this insecure feeling that a cop is about to pull me over at any moment. Now, just to be clear, I never drive a car if I've been drinking. But, to be quite honest I don't even think twice/once about riding my bike whilst hammered (which I am tonight, quite). I even saw two officers of the peace, and both gave me a wide berth while passing me on my well lit bike. This gave me no pause because, in Montana, it's legal to ride a bike while drunk (look it up). Now, on the way home this evening from a stint at the bar, I had my nite rider LED commuter light (it's effing bright) on 'blinky' mode. The last half mile towards my house is down-hill and I had a cross-wind slightly in my favor. There was a light truck about two blocks down when I made the turn onto my street and I can't resist the challenge of catching a lazy person driving a car, so I got on the pedals...hard...and caught the pickup within four blocks. Now, catching a car on a downhill, in town, isn't all that remarkable. But, when the truck pulled over after a block and I passed them...as they pulled back onto the road...and realized that they had pulled over b/c they thought I was a cop car...well what can I say?

I JUST MADE A CAR PULL OVER WITH MY LED BLINKY LIGHT!!!

Ride a bike, or all cyclists will think you're a pansy. Oh wait...if you drive your car to work, every day, when you work two point five miles from your job, and gas is, like, four dollars-a-gallon, and on it's way to five...umm are you kidding? Get a bike. Your H2 just looks stoopid now.

Alleycat

That wily Mr. DNA is at it again. There's an alleycat coming to Bozeman on Sunday. Check the Bozeman Fix for details. And I heard you'd better bring yer A-game for this one, cuz the kids have been cooped up to long this spring and we've had way to much time to plan for this.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Trail Etiquette

I cross posted this on the Bozeman Trail Report.


DNA and I were having a chat last night at the second annual Bozeman Meatloaf and Martini Challenge (I'm not sure if that's the official name, but there was a meatloaf competition and lots of martinis, you get the idea). One subject that came up was our responsibility to other trail users whilst out on a mountain bike ride. I'm not talking about IMBA's rules of the trail, although you should certainly obey those. I'm talking about rules of etiquette, which should govern your behavior towards the people you meet in your travels. This is both because we have obligations to treat our fellow man/woman with respect, and because I'm tired of being treated like a second-class citizen because certain cyclists who scare the shit out of hikers and make us all look like speed crazed gravity junkies who spend all their time watching X-games and drinking Red Bull.

Be aware of the number of people that may be hiking or riding horses on a particular trail at a particular time, you may either have to check your speed in anticipation of meeting other trail users, or perhaps make some logical decisions about whether you should ride a particular trail at a particular time. Sypes canyon on a Saturday afternoon in June is a bad time to walk your downhill rig to the top and make a 20 mile/hour decent. Ride somewhere else at that time.

Acknowledge other trail users. Say hi. Be friendly. Don't just shoulder past a family of four and be on your way. We're supposed to be having fun out there, share a good vibe with the people that you meet. Leaving people with a good impression of cyclists is probably going to more than anything else to change the sometimes negative light in which we are seen.

Don't intentionally skid on the trail, and especially don't skid up behind hikers. It does trail damage and it frightens people. Again, sometimes you have the responsibility of preemptively slowing down in anticipation of meeting another trail user. There are downhill specific trails for your eight inch rig. Part of riding on a multi-use trail is being aware that other people will be present and adjusting your speed accordingly when you can't see far enough ahead to pass people safely and humanely.

I'm sure there are several other specifics that one could codify, but in general we simply need to apply some Golden Rules to our riding. It is our responsibility as mountain bikers to treat other trail users with respect. Part of the fuel for trail closures is the fact that cyclists appear as a threatening presence to others, we owe it to our sport and our fellows to change that.

Cheers,
C-Note

Saturday, June 14, 2008

RIP Tim

If you know me, you know I'm obsessed with American politics. It came as a great shock to me to come home tonight and turn on the TV and learn that Tim Russert has passed at the age of 58. Via Con Dios Tim.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I know I say this a lot

...But this really pisses me off. The jerk offs in California are probably the worst perpetrators of America's overuse of petrol, and rural Montanan's are suffering the most for it. Don't get me wrong, I wish people in Montana drove less, I just don't think single mothers in rural counties should have to decide between getting to work every day and feeding their kids. Especially while exurbanite, upper-middle-class douche-bags don't really care because 250K a year is still enough to drive an Escalade 100 miles a day. I had hoped that rising gas prices would get people to make more conscientious decisions about driving, but the only reality is that poorer people suffer and wealthy people go on the same as always. Welcome to America.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shameless

I feel a little ridiculous posting something like this. But I really do feel like the xtracycle has changed my life.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I'll never get it.

I just don't understand what manner of insecurity evokes people to yell out of the window of a moving car toward a cyclist.

DNA and I were at some local bars tonight and on my way home I broke a chain on my fixie (try to avoid this if you can). For some reason, after retrieving my broken chain from Durston avenue, a drunken gentleman in the passenger side of a half-ton Chevy pickup felt the need to yell 'there's no blahblahblah in Bozeman, you Fuck'. In general, this would elicit a U lock thrown though the window from me, but on this particular night I only felt disdain tinged with ambivalence. The normal anger this act would elicit any other time just wasn't there. In that moment I went past feeling anxiety about cars to feeling far superior to those insecure enough that they feel the need to yell obscenities at people on bicycles. I don't really understand why people think driving a particular type of mechanical conveyance is reason to feel important. You bought a car? Great. That says nothing about your character, it only speaks to your credit rating.

I will state emphatically at this point that people who ride a bike to work every day do, in fact, think that people who drive (you) are weak. We think you are soft and pathetic, and that you have made yourselves unwitting slaves to that which makes you ripe for enslavement.

I am ambivalent to someone issuing inanity out of the window of a car because I find those who drive daily beneath my concern. So, pay four dollars for a gallon of gas America. You are weak and you deserve to reap the reward of your slovenlyness.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Moab


Really, that's all I need to say, and in the minds of people who know there are images and feelings conjured that cannot and need not be expressed in words. Ok that was lame...but spending a few days riding around trails like this makes one a little euphoric.



Suz and I had an unbelievable trip. The weather was perfect. It actually rained off and on the whole time, which was the BeesKnees as far as I was concerned. We crammed the two days we had with AmasaBack, and the Sovereign Trail (which has been changed considerably for the better since I was last there), as well as spending a day hiking (actually slickrock scrambling) in Arches.



I rode the single speed down there, and while maybe not the 'best' bike for the gnarliest terrain I know of

I certainly didn't regret having only one bike with one gear. I probably would have had more fun on a big travel bike, raucously burning down epicly technical sections of broken rock. But I'd've missed the subtle satisfaction of using years of skill to flow through and over sections that will ask for everything you have just to stay upright...that, and the disbelieving looks from others after cleaning something on a singlespeed that they had trouble with on a freeride bike.



It was one of the best trips I've been on in a long time, but after a few rough days I was more than ready to head up to Salt Lake to a hotel with a shower, and then to Jen and Dan's wedding, which was beautiful, as well as drunken ridiculousness even considering strange Utahian drinking laws.

Cheers

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Leaving for Moab

We're leaving for Moab today. I'll try to get some pictures posted whilst we're on the trip, so check back often...actually it would be best if you made this your homepage, just so you don't miss anything :D

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some quick math

This got me to thinking.

I commute around 10 miles a day, which is 300 miles a month. It's actually a little more than that, what with random grocery trips n such, but I digress.

My 4runner gets about 15 miles to the gallon, so that's about 20 gallons of gas per month. If gas is 4 dollars per gallon, that's around 80 dollars per month, just in gas, not counting oil changes, tires, etc, which all add to the price of driving, here's a more realistic calculus for the cost of driving a car.

My xtracycle cost me around 400 dollars back in November. If it hasn't paid for itself by now, it will have by the end of the summer.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Crap

The Suz and I are going to a wedding in Salt Lake City next week. This is going to necessitate a little side trip. It's a difficult life I lead.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A quesiton of perspective.

So I was at a get together with some peeps tonight. Someone is getting married and this necessitates a large gathering of people from out of state. One of those people is a gentleman from NYC, who used to live in Bozeman, and worked at a shop with my boys. This cat came out last summer and spent the week riding around on a fixie DNA slapped togther for him. This time around our visitor had in tow a young lady he is courting. Towards the end of the night his girlfriend was getting tired and giving him hints to call it a night. It occurred to me that obviously this time he wasn't staying with DNA and I asked him were they were staying. He replies (I promise this is actually going somewhere, just bear with me) with the name of a local motel, and I then query if they rented a car in Bozeman. To which his girlfriend replies with a 'yes' that implied that the answer was so obvious that there was no need to have asked the question in the first place.

The great part about the group of people I hang around with is that everyone in the room immediately started offering to loan this couple the use of bikes (since we all have several) in order that they could get around without being encumbered with a car. We even got into a complicated discussion about what would be the best way to get bikes to these two. It was so spontaneous that I didn't even think it was odd, until I noticed the bewildered look on our buddy's Girl's face. It snapped me back to reality and I realized that to most people this would seem completely absurd. It does, however serve as a fantastic and ironic view at the paradigm of my friends verses what you might consider 'normal' people. To us we were lending a hand to someone in need. But to this poor tired girl, who just wanted to get to her motel and relax, we were presenting her with an onerous burden.

Maybe this is a 'had to be there' story, but I chuckled most of the way home, interrupted only by calling a guy driving a red pickup a word that I won't repeat here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In local sports news

There was an interesting article in the Chronicle today

My favorite part is the quote from the bartender. "I think that they have these all over town,” one of the bartenders said. “I don’t think anyone can beat them. I don’t know their names, but they like Olympia-brand beer.”

That's right. We are Nameless. We are Unbeatable. And we like beer.

Word.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

REALLY?!?!

SO...tonight DNA and Capt. E and I were hanging out with the regional Trek rep. Now, this is unassailabley cool for a bike nerd like me, and regardless of the fact that I am smart enough to be aware that this guy isn't exactly telling the guys at Waterloo what to do, I still find a certain mystique in hanging with a rep. But, I have to say that something that came up during the conversation gave me pause. Whilst discussing Schwalbe Tires, which you should be familiar with if you've ridden a bike for more than ten minutes, the topic of winter bicycle commuting came up. Now, I can't remember which of us mentioned 20 below rides to work, but the Trek Rep's reply was "you guys only do that to say that you did"...

Wow! If the $#%&ing Trek Rep doesn't get that commuting by bicycle in 20 below weather is actually more pleasant that commuting by bike in 90 degree weather, then I've been wasting my time, because even the choir doesn't get it.

SIGH

In the interest of full disclosure, the guy seemed super cool and did buy us a few drinks, I'm just disillusioned that even a 'bike guy' with a dream 'bike job' doesn't seem to get it. Really?? The guy that works for Trek doesn't get it? We either have a long way to go (best case scenario) or, I'm wasting my time...hmm...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Fixies = BETTER

I found a really interesting link on fixed gear gallery. Maybe some of you have seen this...perhaps all of you have seen this, I would gather that most of the readers of this site also check FGG. Ether way, this is an artical discussing the physics of riding fixed. Now, I don't know all that much about classical phisics, I'm more of a quantum guy. But, I do know that John and I were on a ride today, both of us on a fixie, and about midway through we were passed by a dude on a pretty standard road bike while making a sustained push into a headwind. I was in the lead at this point, so I tucked in behind our 'benefactor'. After a mile, I slacked off a bit, but we still hung within twenty feet of the freewheeler. Coming back into Bozeman from the East on Frontage, there's a pretty good climb up what turns into Main Street. It was here that DNA and I blew past the guy on his high end carbon road bike using good old fashioned American muscle (just not the kind you find in a '69 Chevelle) and even though I was dying on the downhill, we never saw the guy again.

So when you reach into the quiver, remember, not only do you look like a badass on that fixie, but you have a ninjalike advantage as well.

C-Note

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Not that we need it

Sadly there is yet another reason to ride a bike instead of driving a car. Regardless of how 'green' you make operating a motor vehicle, it is still an incredibly inefficient use of energy. The sad irony is that Americans reap the benefits and the poorest people bear the brunt of the suffering. Would it kill you to ride a bike to work one day a week? How about two? If you do it enough you'll stop even wanting to drive, I promise.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This is a joke right?

Ok, it's April 15th. It was seventy degrees yesterday. I woke up this morning looking forward to a nice, warm, even leisurely ride to work. :)

I then look outside to this :(



Awesome. And by the time I met my girlfriend for lunch it looked like this.




Awesomer. I think, in fact, that this was one of the least pleasant commutes I've had this season. The snow was not so much snow as it was crystallized rain that turned instantly to slush once it hit the ground. Fenders aside, my feet were still soaked when I got to work.

Now, I realize it sounds like I'm whining right now, and the reason for that is that I am whining right now. But seriously, I rode all winter, religiously, through below zero temperatures in the dead of night.



And damnit, I'm sick of this.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

mmmm...Statistics

So Trek has started an organization called 1 world 2 wheels, it's all about getting people to ride bikes as transportation and fun. Now, granted, Trek is a corporation, and therefor I'm sure their intentions are not quite benevolent. In fact, I'm sure what happened is that they have market research, which shows that now is a good time to push bicycle commuting as a new market they can tap into. But hey, that doesn't mean that it won't do some good for the world. Besides, I'd rather trust the benevolence of a bicycle company than GM trying to ram how green their Suburban hybrid is down my throat.

1W2W is also partnered with IMBA, and in their most recent newsletter they posted some interesting stats, which I will now bequeath to you.

- The average person loses 13 pounds in their first year of commuting by bike

- In 1964, 50% of kids rode to school and the obesity rate was 12 %. In 2004, 3% rode to school and the obesity rate was 45%

- More than half of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively.

- About 40% of all auto trips are made within 2 miles of home. (Think about that, how often do you drive 'just to pick something up')

- A 140-pound person burns 476 calories per hour while mountain biking. If you're 195 pounds you'll burn 664 calories. (If you're an American, you're prolly a fatty, go ride your bike)


- More Americans work in bicycle-based recreation than are employed as lawyers. (I'm not really sure what the hell that one means)

There are others, but those are my favorites.

And, there is of course the best reason, in my opinion. It's a lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rediculous Dichotomy

Ah biking to work. I woke up to roughly four inches of fresh snow today...IN APRRIL! And I was still sweating like crazy when I got to work.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

But it's April

So after a 'healthy' night of drinking with Mr DNA I woke up this morning (afternoon) frikkin stoked to go for a mediumish road ride. Of course this being Montana, even though it's April, I looked out the door to this.



Great.

Well, I do still need to rebuild the rear wheel to my Langster. So, with a little help from the late Sheldon Brown's Wheelbuilding page I set down in front of the TV to do just that.



Of course since I am going to the trouble of building my own wheel, I like to give it some flava that it wouldn't otherwise have. So for no particular reason I went with anodized purple spoke nipples.



As big of a pain in the ass as it was to deal with having one of my bikes out of commission because Specialized put a cheap-ass hub on their fixed gear, it is nice to have a warranty replacement Surly track hub.



People sometimes ask me why I like riding fixed. I really have no tangible reply (even though it does, in fact, feel much better than any other bike I've ever ridden) other than it is the only style of bike that I own completely redundant copies of.

So now my two favorite bikes can finally meet. Biantchi meet the Gangster. Gangster...Biantchi.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

LIverdance Trois



John has a couple, soon to be a threepeat, posts up about our trip to Boise for Liverdance. It was quite the trip, as I have never been there and having knowledge about the city is a key factor in doing well in an alleycat. We returned exhausted, with more friends and some good stories, so I'd say that equals success. Just don't drive through Jellystone in a beat up Toyota Corrolla when the park cops are training their nubes. The tend to freak out about things such as not looking like suburban families of fourpointtwo.

Hopefully I'm going to get into the park for a road ride this weekend...mayhap I'll get some good pictures to post...