Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Long Dry Spell Gets Even Longer

Everybody's always making these great road finds. Except for me. Chaps my hide. Coupla weeks ago, I almost stopped for a spoon that had been run over so many times it was completely flat. That's how desperate I am.

Well, me and my favorite bike club are getting ready for Tuesday's "Double Trouble" Road Race. So yesterday morning, club pres Mike and I were out sweeping the course. (That's a fine-looking corner, if I do say so myself.)

And all of a sudden there it was . . . a dime! It looked like it had been run over by an army of dump trucks, but it was beautiful to me. I know, I know. I wasn't technically on a bike, but I was doing something bikey, so it definitely qualifies as a road find. (Road find rule #23.a.7)

Only trouble is, I emptied my pocket into the tip jar at Lindaman's last night. So now that I don't have it, the find doesn't exist. (Road find rule #14.c.3) It was sweet while it lasted.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Enough Is Enough!

There's some Jennifer Lopez movie or maybe more than one where she puts her foot down on some shit that's going down and gets all badass. I'm all over that. The idea, not Jennifer Lopez. (I *wish*.) Holy krap, I can't believe I thought that out loud. My wife is gonna read this and I am gonna be so totally toast.

Ummm, . . honey, . .if you are reading this, . . uhhh, it's not how it sounds. This is about bikes. Trust me. PLEASE.

I'm desperately trying to get this derailed train back on the tracks and here goes:

I can't haul a decent load. I know it and you know it. Hauling this half-rack a mile to my house made me Jennifer-Lopez-top-heavy-crazy tonight. (Holy shit, I stuck my foot in my mouth again!!)

Honey I don't mean *that* kind of top heavy. Just look at the picture. PLEASE. All I meant to say is that I've had enough of this lameness:


Anyway, things are about to change, thanks to Jerry in Illinois, who you will meet.

And that's all I can say, because you know how superstitious I am about spilling my bike-build beans.

Monday, May 25, 2009


My efforts to balance bike life with the rest of life are pretty much spinning wildly out of control right now, but that's how it is and in the meantime, I've been trying to sort out my new Brooks B17 on the short rides I'm able to manage. I'm a newb to Brooks and I gotta say that I'm not feelin much love. One the one hand, there's something that feels really good about the structure and shape and material that you don't get from synthetics. But right now, that stuff is all way secondary to the discomfort. I can't seem to find the position that works for me.

In the position shown here, I slide down the slick surface and end up on the nose. Not a good feeling, and I have to continually push myself back:

When I adust the angle one notch back to this position, the front of the saddle puts serious hurtful pressure on my appliances:

Maybe my seatpost adjustment isn't fine enough and there's a sweet spot somewhere in between. Maybe the saddle just flat doesn't fit me. If so, maybe one of the 500 other Brooks models will fit better? Hmmm, which one. Maybe I need more break-in time, but that's a scary, painful thought.

Should I go back to Two Wheel Transit, where I bought it and ask for help, or should I write it off as a lesson learned and eBay it out while it's still in good shape.

Not sure about the whole deal. Advice?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Buh-Bye, George

This post is way OT on the whole bike thing, but ties in nicely with saying so long, which seems to be the theme of this week.

A while back, I posted about my disappointment with our new GF grill. Despite my initial reaction, my loyalty to George ran deeper than I would ever have guessed and I went to great lengths to make things work out. But the short cord was only the tip of the iceberg. Turns out the new grill cooked at a temperature slightly less than the surface of the sun. Me and my buddy George turned some expensive meat into leather.

As of tonight, I am so done with amateur hour. Respectable machinery is in the house:

So George, while you and your spoiled brats are spending your millions, I want you to know that I wrapped your junky grill up in some beautiful Christmas paper so that I can give it to someone I don't like next holiday season and I am about to have the best pork chop of my life that I just cooked on my new Cuisinart, which I will cherish forever, and if anyone ever asks me about the best way to cook meat, well, you pretty much know what I will say. Later, old man.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Adios, Amigo

Sometimes, if your wife wears the pants, fear can make you say the craziest things. Like for instance when, a coupla months ago, I told you that the Secret Bike was the last bike I would ever need. Insanity - you know it and I know it. But at the time, I believed it. That's how spousal fear can twist your mind.

Today, I set the secret bike free. There are two reasons I did this:

1. I have Xtracycle fever.

2. That bike caused me nothing but pain.

Let's talk about number one. In today's economy, my rule is no new bikes unless they are financed through the sale of existing bikes or parts (or various other devious methods). The secret bike had a cash cow bullseye on its back. How unfortunate for it.

Now let's talk about number two (not that number two). We raced together twice and practiced once. And while we were un-freakin-believably fast together (and I will see to it that this un-truth becomes the stuff of legends as the years pass), the total time we spent together was one hour and 57 minutes of pure torture. For me, not the bike. Actually, I think the bike enjoyed it. And that's why I enjoyed selling it on Craigslist for a hundred bucks more than I paid for it on Craigslist. I'm sure it will succeed in making someone else's life just as miserable as it made mine and as I pocket the cash, I'm fine with that.

There was no tearful goodbye, just the exchange of currency. Godspeed, Secret Bike.


Now for this: All 26InchSlicks silliness aside, tomorrow night is a big deal at City Hall, as there will (hopefully) be a vote to incorporate the Master Bike Plan into the city's Comprehensive Plan. I say hopefully, because all kinds of crazy stuff happens at city Council Meetings. I was there for the last go-around when the vote was tabled and honestly, that could happen again.

But here's the deal. There is a group of smart bike people with great energy and vision and political savvy that have been putting in untold hours to get to this point. I hear Spokane cyclists wondering what they can do to further the cause. Showing up tomorrow as an obvious and respectful cyclist would be huge.

That's my pitch, but for way better information , go here. I hope to see you tomorrow night.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Playing With Fire

I'm in a seemingly highly-enviable position: I have two bikes competing for my affection. Maybe this looks like a good thing to you. And maybe you need to buy a clue.

I've been around long enough to know that any sense of control over your bikes is an illusion. Ultimately, bikes render you powerless and leave you grovelling.

Case in point:

I abandoned the Monkey today and leaned on the skinny sexy bike to help me through a rough patch. (It's well documented that I'm a scab, but that's beside the point.)

Any ordinary big-boned bike would have spent the day sulking. But the Monkey is no ordinary bike. The Monkey has character with a capital C and went for a makeover while me and sexy were gone for the day.

When I rolled into the driveway aboard sexy tonight, it was . . well . . . YOWSA!!!

Before . . .

and after . . .

(If the skinny sexy bike tells you that I dropped it on the pavement and rushed towards the Monkey, that is such a lie.) But in my defense, let's get real. Is there anything sexier than leather? If your answer is no, I'm calling you out. You are such a major big liar.

Anyway, I'm in trouble. The skinny sexy bike is just sitting there, looking fabulous, and knowing it, all passive-agressive. The Monkey is feeling all meaty-sexy and just plain old tiger-agressive. I feel like a swimmer in shark-infested waters with a cut on my leg. I'M INNOCENT!!! All I ever wanted to do was go for a ride.

And no, I do not live on a farm.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Excuses Exschmuses

I should be in bed by now instead of blogging. After all, I have to get up at the butt-crack-of-dawn. My truck is in the shop and Patty is tired of loaning me her car. So here, in the middle of Bike-To-Work-Week, I'm forced to ride. Forced??? Jeez. What has become of me?

It's just that it's 17 miles one way. And the weather's gross and getting grosser. And I'm too busy to deal with all the preparation. And work is sucking the life out of me. Excuses exschmuses.

I'm obviously in a bike rut. But tomorrow morning, my situation will force me to break out. I don't have any idea if these circumstances are pure coincidence or if I somehow have something to do with leaving myself no choice but to pedal.

The only thing that's for sure is that I'll be back in the saddle. And that adventure will be mine.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

First Kiss

Based on their reaction to my post titled "Sponge Bath" I'm guessing Hank and Jacque will be all wound up at this point. Sorry again fellas, no erotica here.

But on the eve of the BTW Kickoff Breakfast, I'm more than a little excited myself. Not because I love crowded gatherings in Riverfront Park (trust, me I don't), or because of the camaraderie (trust me again, I'm more of a loner), or even in the hopes that I'll get a BTW t-shirt or water bottle (not that bigga deal).

What has me so excited is just thinking back on the days when I was discovering the whole new world of bike commuting as a car-bound, out-of-shape, workaholic, 30-something.

Re-discovering the simple joy of riding a bike is one of the few things (maybe the only thing) that will make you feel like a kid again in the middle of your life. And like your first kiss, you can't go back . . . it only happens once.

Dayglo or hemp or Lycra or cast iron or carbon fiber or silly putty . . . I could care less. Pedalling yourself from one place to another rocks for so many reasons.

And maybe most of the folks that are participating in BTW week have already had the first-commute experience, but I know that there are a couple or 47 of you out there who are about to have one of the greatest days ever.

I don't even have to tell you to have a blast, because I know you will.

Is that lipstick on your collar???

Mom's Day

No way I can get heavy on you guys about this. It would just go on and on. I would end up balling and you guys would end up rolling your eyes. So let's just say that the reason there are so many awesome kids in my family is because there are so many awesome Moms in my family. You moms all rock. Happy Mother's Day.

And the reason I know for sure that it's Mother's Day and not Father's Day is because this morning's ride led Patty and I here . . .

. . . and not here . . .

(I did sneak in for a preview yesterday, though. I'm no foodie but I love BBQ so let me put it this way: I could easily see myself living secretly in the attic and coming down for scraps at night.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Back To The Basics

Life takes its twists and turns and can get pretty heavy at times. The heaviness can squash your bike life, if you're not careful.

I thought I saw the opportunity to minimize my obligation to big boy responsibilities this year and just go hang out on my bike and train and race under the delusions of youth and grandeur and get all intense and immersed in bike racing stuff.

What the hell was I thinking. I pushed the pendulum way far to the right and on its way back, big boy responsibilites slammed me into the wall on the left. I had fun, but I'm pretty sure my season is over because I need to take care of some pressing shit at work and in my back yard. Reality bites. So tonight I needed to find a way to feel better.

I've posted a bunch about this before so I won't bore you with links, but when things kinda suck, a trip to the park with your dog and your bike so totally rules and can help you get your head on straight. It beckons primal rotating-wheel and canine stuff. Good shit.

The only thing about going to the park after dark is that you will meet night park people. People that aren't afraid to come up to you in the middle of a dark night in a big open space and start talking to you. Tonight we met Alan and his dog Fred. They were totally cool. Brandy and Fred did their dog dance without getting all pissy. I appreciate that.

But sometimes you meet night park people that are downright weird. I guess that serves you right for hanging out in the park at night. At any rate, weird is fine. But scary is different. I've never met anyone truly scary so far, but I can feel their presence. I hope I can continue to avoid them.

Anyway, I'm getting way off track here.

And I'm not sure what my point is exactly, except that maybe when I look at my dog, who's entire focus in life is chasing an LED-lit frisbee as if the future of the planet depended on it, to the point of drenching herself with her own slobber and how a trip to the park makes her day . . .

I guess I'm not even a little evolved, because my need to ride a bike is not much different from my dog's need to chase a frisbee. A bike ride, however short, makes my day.