Saturday, October 22, 2011

So Cool

I was doing a little surfing tonight and wound up here . . .

More about Ground Truth Trekking and the Donlin film project here.

May not be your thing at all, so FWIW.  To me it's just fascinating and inspiring as hell, on so many levels, so I thought I'd share.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Cry For Help

Middle fall is a particularly sweet dogbike time of year . . . it's dark early and the weather is awesome and Brandy and I head down to the park almost every evening with our glow-in-the dark projectiles and have the place all to ourselves.  She gets all crazy athletic while I, umm, lamely chuck something and enjoy the fireworks.  She's a pretty amazing dog.

The normal routine is that I eventually strain every tendon in my throwing arm and issue the command "let's go home".  At which point her dog brain registers 'lame master ready to quit', and we head home together, me on the bike pedalling for all I'm worth just to give her that last bit of exercise and her, efortlessly keeping up.  Also part of the routine is that she carries whatever throw toy she has in her mouth from the last catch home with her, and drops it in the driveway.

It's a sweet gig and it totally works.  I suspect Adam probably had this exact same thought in the Garden Of Eden.  But as we all know, he got burned pretty bad.  I think the main lesson of that biblical episode was that "Fellas, you're doomed for the duration of the world to be lulled into complacency about how swell your world is, while unbeknownst to you, the females in your life are particularly unsatisfied.  This discrepancy does not bode well for you and I'm sorry, but there's very little you can do about it."

Apparently the lesson that has been served about a hundred triillion times since that initial enactment has been served onto me by a female in my life and then compounded by the fact that this particular female is also a canine eager to top it off with some dogly head games.  I don't stand a chance.

Last night on the way home, she dropped her toy about 50 yards from the house.  WTF, this has never happened.  I went back and picked it up.  But not before I gave her the business - needed to let her know this isn't how we do things and who the boss is.  Point communicated, one time deal, then.  (Complacent, stupid male am I.)

Swell. That was so much fun that tonight, she drops it about 3 blocks from home.  She obviously knows what she's doing, because while I must turn around to go pick up the stupid-ass glowing frisbee from the middle of the street, she books home and waits for me.  You know the old saying about how it's better to remain silent and let others think you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt?  I didn't say a thing when I got there.

Offer you an apple, boss?

She's obviously pushing my damn buttons.  It's pointless for me to argue that I'm anything other than that archetypical complacent male, caught totally off-guard.  I'm at a loss and that's why I'm reaching out . . . . If you think you understand even one ounce of female dog psychology, please shed some light on this situation.  I feel unbelievably vulnerable, and my fear is that it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Squeezing In A Ride

Patty and I road-tripped to Seattle for the weekend. The occasion was a party: Jacque and roomate Brita were born on the same day of the same year. How flippin cool is that? And this year marks their 30th. They were gonna keep things low key. How flippin lame is that? Luckily, they came to their senses and decided to throw a speakeasy-themed cocktail party birthday bash. These two dames know what they're doing when it comes to house parties and it was a gas.

I suspect you'd have no trouble looking at a bunch more pics of pretty girls in roaring 20's outfits, but this is a bike blog damnit, so snap out of it.

It was a relatively quick trip over and back for us, with quite a full menu once we got there. Squeezing in a ride didn't seem likely, but riding in Seattle is always fun and I'd identified maybe, possibly, a window of opportunity. So I packed my newly cable-splitterized contraption in the trunk, just in case.

Sure enough, the window materialized, and I found myself in the darkness of the hotel parking garage, assembling my bike for a ride.

It took me 7 minutes to put the bike together. It should take about 2. But I really haven't put the coupled halves of the bike together that many times yet and let me tell you, they're pretty damn squirrelly, what with parts flopping all the hell over everywhere while you're trying to screw two separate joints together at once, with just two hands. Not sure if the garage had security cameras but if it did, I'm pretty sure I made the guard's whole shift. At any rate, me and the bike were finally ready.

My potential next-year cross-state tour on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail occupies my mind for a significant portion of every day now, and as a result, no trip to the west side is not gonna involve some sort of recon. In this instance, we were staying in the U-district, which is hella close to the very last few miles of the route - on the Burke Gilman trail out to Ballard. One of the things I hadn't figured out was where I was gonna do the ceremonial dip of the tires into the Sound.  It's now figured out - Golden Gardens beach.

Cool ped-bike tunnel at the end of the BG trail, there at Golden Gardens.

Shilshole Bay Marina. A boatload of boats.

It was a wonderful mid-October afternoon in Seattle and I immensely enjoyed the adventure of sneaking in a ride where one should never have fit and piecing this little bit of the trip together.  The subtle point (or maybe not) is that if I'd have had to haul a bike over on a roof or hitch rack, it would have been way too much of a hassle, given what we were doing and where we were staying and parking and security issues and all that.  Even more than that, the bike would have gotten way in the way of what the weekend was all about.  But with this coupled gizmo in the trunk, I was able to work in a ride and keep it real.

I know. You could give a shit about my stupid-ass ride and next year's trip. Fine. Be that way. Here's some more eye candy, then.

P & J. Hotness.

J and her true BFF's from high school. Rad.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Floor Pump Hysteria

At my age, I should be remaining calm and collected at all times. As a matter of health risk and decorum.

Thing is though, I've been terribly upset with the total shit floor pump designs out there. And I've been quietly trolling for a decent solution for a long, long time. And today, I think I may have stumbled across the baddest mother of a pump. And I'm all manner of prematurely amped up about it.

I'd seen it before and it totally caught my eye, but the head looked like a POS because I was stupid and didn't understand what it was. The pump is a Specialized product and on my way out of Wheel Sport East after replenishing my brake and shifter cable stash, I happened to ask Mr. Grob (yep, same guy who sold me my rad pump track bike) about it. Jake doesn't eff around - when he says something, you can take it to the bank. And he told me this was a good pump. With a "smart head". Works with both types of valves.

Right. If only that were possible.

It's a $60 pump and I bought it. I wanna believe.

Well, I got the damn thing home and hooked it up to a coupla tires that were running a bit low. HOLY. LIVING. HELL. Who knew pumping up a tire could actually be fun.

Introducing the Specialized Airtool Comp.

Super stable base and a mega-diameter gauge with confidence-inspiring action.

Best of all though, the smart head  just flat works.
I topped off the tires on all eight bikes we have around right now.  My appetite was not even close to satisfied.  So I hit our car tires. They were soon at rated pressure and my soul was left longing. I headed down the block to pump up some of the neighbors' tires.

Car alarms quickly sent me scurrying home.

I'm telling you though, I think this might be the real deal.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

DaVinci Easy-Split Install

If you own a bike with S&S couplers and you don't have cable splitters on said same bike, you are a fool. I have an S&S coupled bike that I got from Glen. I am was a fool. Don't you be a fool too. Instead, be like me, and get some splitters from Glen.

If you don't have a coupled bike, you are either on a budget or you are a fool. If you are on a budget, that's cool. If you are not, you are a fool. You should get one from Glen. If you do decide to get coupled and cool, don't be a fool.  Spring for the splitters.

As if I haven't already helped enough, let me walk you through the installation process:

Those three black things in the middle are the splitters.
You'll also need some new cables.

Splitter close-up.  The two set screws anchor one half of the splitter to
one half of the cable. Things will make more sense in a minute.

First under the knife was the rear brake cable.

Instructions say to stay 2" away from the nearest cable guide.  Done, then.


The part of the splitter with the two set screws attaches to the the lucky end.
The unlucky end goes away forever.  It seems harsh at first,
but it's just the cycle of bike life.

In its place anew, a young (lucky) cable.  Thereby perpetuating the cycle.

All connected, just like nothing ever happened.
Save for the fact that both ends are scarred for life based
on the violence thay have just witnessed.

Lather, rinse, repeat for the shifter cables.

It should be pretty clear at this point that no one has ever been more ready for a fold-your-bike-into-your-trunk road trip than me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What Friends Are For

A few of us showed up at Glen's tonight, to help put together Dylan's new Elephant cross bike.  Good thing, too.  Not sure how he'd have gotten it done by himself.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Serious Hang Potential?

Patty and I bike-dated down to the new Flamin' Joes on 29th tonight. Only the best for my gal.

There's no bike rack, so we had to chain up to a downspout (lame). I want to think there are plans for a bike rack, time permitting. So I'm not issuing a demerit just yet.

Once inside, big-bar, fun-time character.  The towelabra . . .

. . . and bottlecap-entombed tabletops . . .

There are about a million wing flavors, including the original set . . .

There's a code red challenge (not sure why bogger dumped this picture on its side, but whatever, blogger) . . .

This is what our actual order looked like. It was BAD. In the good way.

Beer-wise, this is the tap list.  Not super-inspiring, your regular sports bar deal . . .

Here's the craft brew list, also just okay . . .

But here's something a little different . . . big bottles are apparently the big deal here, and the list is long (again, not sure why blogger dumped this picture on its head) . . .

Here's what a big bottle looks like in the hands of a patron . . .

So there's a party-time, gee-wiz factor to the place for sure, and I'm good with that, if not all hyped.  But what has me pretty damn excited is the view through my bike hang spectacles.  This picture doesn't really do it justice, but the place has a ton of room and can accommodate some pretty badass crowds. I don't know if you remember the Chapala layout, but there were all these sort of individual, compartmentalized dining rooms on the main floor and then a whole 'nother balcony level.  With the remodel, the main floor has been completely opened up and there looks to be massive seating on the balcony level too (we didn't actually go up and check it out).

IMHO, our biggest bike hang problem over the last coupla years has been crashing in with a big group and overwhelming the establishment.  Think South Perry Pizza debacle.  The south hill neighborhoods are conducive to and filled with more boutique-ish establishments.  Until now, there hasn't been that place that has the general capacity to not be phased by a 20-ish large group rolling in. Until now.

All that's necessary for a good hang is a reasonable beer list, some honest bar food, space enough for everyone who shows up, and good enough service to make us feel appreciated for dropping our hard-earned dollars.  After that, we're good on our own.  Based on initial impressions, I'm thinking Flamin Joes might deliver. So yeah, I'm excited.