Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunlit Ungulates & [Gasp!] Brazing

Yesterday. General vicinity of Loon Lake. Communion with the beasts.

Today. General vicinity of my garage. Communion with the beast.

Crazily, it looks blue, but it's black. Trust me. Or not.

Pull my thumb, says uncle Pat S.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Of Apples And Cheap Bikes

The four following pics from John's Fruit Foraging SOS this morning.  John and Justin hauled back bushels of wild, public-access apples, which they will process in different ways.  I have no such intentions.  I brought back exactly six, which is the amount that seems about right for immediate consumption.  I don't know about Justin, but there is some 24-hour apple butter reducing going on on John's stovetop at this very moment, and I tasted an early tester of the applesauce this afternoon, which was pretty awesome.  Serious pressure may come to bear on Liza, regarding a pie.  The whole thing is quite rad.

As far as the Lurch is concerned, yep, it was the first real outing, and there is good and bad to report.  The goodest of the good is that it made it the whole way, I suppose.  It's not super awesome, but it's okay.  The rear wheel was moving around in the sliding dropouts, despite an inordinate amount of pressure the the QR skewer/cam.  The seatpost kept slipping down and dropping the saddle height, which was super annoying.  I have plans for fixing both of these issues.

But honestly, why should I have to?

The answer to this somewhat rhetorical question is that I bought a bikesdirect mail-order bike.  It seems that it's just what goes with the territory.

I've had a couple of heated discussions/disagreements with some folks on the MTBR fatbike forum about the Lurch, and bikesdirect bikes in general.  Their position is that you get the same quality bike/components that you would through traditional channels, while saving hundreds, if not thousands.  I could not disagree more.

I'm not categorically putting down bikesdirect, just the opposite, actually.  I just think that with them, you pretty much get what you pay for (which is also the case with the alternatives).  And if that's all you can afford, then it's cool that you have this option, as long as your expectations are in check.

I mean, the amount of time and cash I've had to put into this bike so far to make it sort of work for me is pretty substantial.  The second half of that equation is that I don't know how everything will hold up, in the long run.  Some stuff has already been replaced and more will need to be as time goes on.   I'm guessing that I probably wouldn't have had to replace these items had I gone with mainstream brands.  And there's no shop to leverage when things get messy - they will help you, but they will charge you.  With bikesdirect, you're dealing with a remote mail order house over the phone and however good their service, it's just not as effective as walking into your LBS and working through an issue.

Maybe these bikes will end up being a great deal for some who just want to experience the different models and genres that are out there, without doing a ton of riding, which is great.

For the people that like to ride hard and ride a lot, I'm not sure how these bikes will work out.  I can very easily envision the scenario whereby you have more money buried in your mail order bike than you would have had you gone to one the major brands through your LBS and purchased what was right in the first place.

Once again, I am not trying to drag BD through the mud.   If they provide the opportunity for people to get on different bikes and try them out for a fraction of the cost of bikes that go through more traditional distribution channels, then I am all for it.  For me, though, at this 5 minutes, I can't see ordering another BD bike.  I needed to do it this time, and I think I've figured out why I wouldn't do it again.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Cliff Notes

Framesavering happened.  It went way better than last time.

I'm supposed to go "gather fruit" tomorrow, which I don't know what means.  I did the best I could to prep the bike for this unknown activity.  The rack solution is wildly inelegant, obviously.  You do what you have to.

There is some thought on the interwebs that fatbikes are superior wheelie machines.  I do not know why I even mention this.  It does not interest me.

Friday Cliff Notes

Don't click here unless you are intensely bored.

I somehow feel the need to apologize, so let me say that I am very sorry.

On the other hand, it's kind of on you, if you have come this far.

I know that I should get a life, but so should you, just sayin'.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday Cliff Notes

Some familiar pics from my humble blog show up HERE.  The author got to me through Dave Nelson and Ward Whitmire, two amazing fatbike pals.  It's neither earth-shattering nor particularly accurate stuff, but it's kinda cool, all the same.

For anyone who's interested in my lurch adventure and especially my perspective on what Bikesdirect is and isn't, my view is evolving rapidly.  I don't have time to cross-post everything, so my latest thoughts are HERE.

Good day.

The Art Of Copying

A close second for the title of this post was 'Girls Gone Wild'.

Now that I have your attention, let's get started . . .

Sometime this summer, I came to the conclusion that I needed 2 new fatbikes to replace the single fatbike that I set free this past Spring.

After much deliberation, I decided that I needed to pre-order both the first production full suspension fatbike (the Salsa Bucksaw), as well as a cheap knockoff of the Surly Pugsley/Ice Cream Truck (the BikesDirect 'Lurch').

The Bucksaw will cost me in excess of $5000, and the knockoff fatty will cost me $900.

At this point in my life, I should be WAY too mature to do the bikes/girlfriends analogy, especially since Patty and I just celebrated our 22nd anniversary.

Immaturity reigns supreme, then.

The Bucksaw has pedigree.  Not like socioeconomic pedigree, but more like character pedigree.  Think Molly Ringwald.  You're gonna be super nervous dating her, dare I say riding her (oh krap, I should not have dared to say that).  You get what I mean, bike-wise.  I hope.  Trying to keep it clean here.

Conversely, the Lurch clearly lacks self esteem.  It's not of it's own making . . . comparing the geo of the Lurch to Surly's Pugsley, Ice Cream Truck and Moonlander, well, let's see . . .

Even the name association.  Pugsley. Lurch. If you haven't made the connection yet, let me HELP.

I "picked up" the Lurch yesteday.  She was wandering the sidewalk outside of UPS headquarters just off the Broadway exit.  It felt kind of dirty, but obviously, that didn't exactly stop me.  I had been fantasizing about her top tube decal for weeks, if not days.

We arrived back at my place together.

'GENT'S' would obviously refer to me.  Sweet.  I feel more respectable already.

The top button of her blouse was undone and I tried not to look, but I could not help myself.

Unfortunately, I was kind of disappointed when she revealed herself.  She was flawed.  We all are, of course.  But still.

She's on the heavy side, too.  But who am I to talk.

Look, all kidding aside, I was raised with three sisters who pretty much drilled into me a respect for women, lest I be instantly smitten.

Which makes it that much more surprising that I am going to continue with my sophomoric analogy.

I am going to marry the Bucksaw.  I think.  Just sayin'

I don't want to have any regrets, though.  Also just sayin'.  It feels very right to be dating the Lurch, and rather amorously.

I picked up a spoke yesterday, during my lunch hour, and then installed it and trued and tensioned the front wheel last night.  If that's not infatuation, I don't know what is.

The BikesDirect drilling of the rims was quite lame and left shiny aluminum surfaces exposed, which offended my sensibilities and therefore required some type of action.  I recognize that my anality, if that is a word, has the potential to jeopardize the flowering relationship, but I am ultimately compelled.  I am who I am.

The godfather of Spokane fatbiking, Mr Dave Nelson, loaned me a Bud and a Lou to mount up to see if this bike would take the most extreme fat currently available.

Yep, with room to spare, is the answer.  Frick, that's a tractor.

Back to the subject of BikesDirect quality for just a moment, there was in issue regarding the disc caliber mounting tab.  It wasn't in the right place and forced the caliper into the disc.  I had to file the tab down to get the caliper reasonably centered.

Which pretty much illustrates the general nature of the BikeDirect/Consumer relationship - the deal is good and the product is worthwhile, but a certain amount of fussery is required.

The Motobecane moniker is something else that has been borrowed or purchased from days gone by and is obviously part of BD's marketing strategy, but the boldness of the implementation on the downtube doesn't work for me.  I decided I needed to deal with it.


This is the more appropriate level of brand display.

As of tonight, this is my girlfriend's best glam shot.  (IMHO)

From my perspective, she can only get better, thanks to my efforts. Conversely, she may see things quite differently and crush me with her vengeful wrath. Only time will tell.  Relationships are brutal.

Friday, August 29, 2014

In Transit

When you're waiting for something you've ordered, like seriously waiting, nothing makes your day like a ship confirmation.

A made day, then.