Wednesday, May 30, 2012


My mom passed away over the Memorial Day weekend. It sucked and it ruled. I will miss her terribly, which sucks. But she suffered so long and hard, and now she isn't, so that rules.

Me and my dad and siblings are full-on into honoring her as mightily as possible and it's shaping up to be a fantastic celebration of her life and that's all very personal, as it should be.

But I do keep a bike blog, and therefore I can't help but post up a little something mom-bike-ish. Part of my grieving therapy, I suppose. The best memory I have with my mom, bike-wise, is the whole deal surrounding my undeniable lust over a Yamaha moto bike. I don't have a sharp memory of dates, but I must have been ten-ish. Or twelve-ish. Not sure, exactly. At any rate, the moto bike was basically a bike that was developed by a motorcycle manufacturer by lopping off the engine and tranny and adding pedals. If you were to go back and look at Yamaha motorcycle frames from that same era, you would see a major, major resemblance.  It was the craziest thing, probably early 70's time frame.  You actually went to a Yamaha motorcycle dealer to buy one.  I don't have actual pictures, so I stole this off the interwebs (thank you to whoever I stole it from, I rarely do this, but it's for a good cause) . . .

The excitement that I experienced surrounding the acquisition of this bike is beyond description. I can still taste and smell the bike and the dealership and the glossy brochures that I fell asleep with during the wait. I don't know what ever happened to it, and I don't know the exact financial details of it's purchase, but I guarantee you that I earned most of it, because Mom would have set it up that way, to make sure that I appreciated it. And did I ever. A little while after taking possession, I organized a "bmx race" in this empty field known by me and my buddies as "camels hump". Shrewd dude that I was, I made the course mostly downhill and kicked ass all over my friends, who all had rigid stingrays. Can't remember exactly what the trophy that I awarded myself looked like, but I certainly enjoyed receiving it from myself. Anyways, point of this whole thing being, I had this totally off-the-wall bike obsession (it started that early, apparently) and Mom supported me 100%. She was always about getting outdoors and being active, even before it was fashionable.

Check out the glasses. Mom is so badass. Probably righting some fashion wrongs in heaven, as we speak. 

I'm out for now, then. Catch you in a few days.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday Stuff

Justin was over tonight for the first time in a while. He's had some minor events going on in his life, like moving into a house he just bought for example, which have delayed the finishing of his rack. He was clearly eager to liquify some metal when he showed up.

The rack was already almost done, except for some finish details, amongst which was the light mount. Which he totally nailed. It's serioulsy awesome.

There was a point at which the fitting and tacking was done, and it was evident that it was time for Brandy and I to head down to the park and get outta his hair so he could get into the brazing zone. We took the cue.

Rack projects in general are fraught with peril and this one was no exception. A minor snafu resulted in a moderate amount of hot setting and just a bit of cold setting.

Water quickly under the bridge, though. This rack is pretty rad. Since we can't get it to powder tomorrow anyway, he's gonna ride it over the weekend, to make sure all the angles and dangles are satisfying. The angle between the deck and the stays makes it look all kinds of fast while standing still.

I was gonna call it a night after he left, but apparently I just couldn't. I decided to fix the slow-leak front flat on my Elephant. Evidently this the year of the thorn. Karmically speaking, I have obviously done something not good; I just don't know what. My biggest fear at this point is the sense I have that karma hits dense people the hardest.

Upon pumping up the newly-repaired tube, I was treated to an explosion. I always do a quick check around both sides of the the rim/tire to make sure the tube isn't pinched in that space. Except for this once, lazy bastard am I.  Paid the price.

Scared the krap outta the dog. Worse even for me.

Pretty cool Thursday, then. Wonder what Friday will bring.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

So Done

I've been burning the candle at both or maybe three ends. Obviously.

But I really, really, need to get through and past the building of the racks, so that I can get on to other equally important stuff. Thus the big push.

Little fanfare, or even words at this late hour. Just the goods.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recon Marathon

Saturday last was fully consumed with a recon trip to an important section of the JWPT. Section being, a 35-40 mile stretch of the line that hasn't been abandoned - part is still active and part is non-active, but with rails and ties still in place and not rideable, even with a badass fatbike. The usual detour is to get out on the highway or side roads and just get through this section and get it over with, but this sounds like a miserable intermission to my planned symphony, so I turned to who else . . . Google Maps. Which (who?) quickly pointed out that there are some "waterways" in the area, alongside which there looked to be the promise of some form of bikeable passage. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Before I could launch the recon effort, I needed to figure out a better solution for transporting my portly steed, because I will be needing it (the solution and the steed), and also because I'm sick of loading this heavy-ass turd into the back of my truck. This is the rack for the job, I think. We got it last year so that we could interchange it between my ancient truck and Patty's shiny new sedan, depending on our whims.

The solution turned out to be fairly painless . . . all I really had to do was drill out the rivets holding on this molded plastic jobbie . . .

. . . remove it . . .

. . . and voila!

Oh and also do something about the stock rear wheel strap that was about a thousand miles too short. Thule and Yakima must be so totally hoping this fatbike craze will quickly fade away and die.

Problem solved and back to the main story line then.  This is the alternate route that I'd mapped, along what I surmised to be irrigation canals between Warden and Othello, but the necessity for the in-person visit is that you never really know, until you get there.  Maybe the passage-ways were gated and off limits to all but the keepers of the canals. Or whatever else you can't tell from the online peekhole. Maybe this, maybe that.

Upon arriving in Warden of course, I had to spend about half an hour getting confused by my gps and getting my bearings, but I eventually found the trail, just as it enters Warden.

Shortly afterwards, however, it turns into the full meal deal. You could maybe ride beside it for a while, but I think that option would quickly disappear and besides, it would suck.

So I followed my pre-planned route and was quickly rewarded with this awesomeness . . .

Photo practice, the price you must pay for reading this blog . . .

About a quarter of the way into my total ride for the day, I flatted. And no sooner did I get it fixed, than I flatted again. So in somewhere around 80 miles of recon, I've flatted 4 times. All from thorns. If this flat-to-mileage ratio holds up, I can look forward to 18 flats on my tour. We're talking here about a horrifically mistuned instrument amidst my symphony. First chair needs vacating type of stuff. Something I need to address in the next few weeks, then.

This is reportedly a bike blog and so I'm working hard to keep the agricultural and livestock pictures to a minimum, but those activities define the region and the sights, sounds and smells were wonderful, as far as I was concerned. Even the really smelly smells.

Some bike and canal pics, then . . .

This next picture is significant in terms of yours and my twisted online relationship. You're looking at hours of blood, sweat and tears (not to mention piles of cash), pedal-propped against the rail, leaning towards the irretrievably deep canal. Precariously balanced. I didn't breathe once during the setup, shot, or subsequent lunge to get my hand back on it. All so I could deliver the photographic goods. This is how much I love you guys. Let it never again be questioned.

Blowing through a section of super-fine-powdery dirt . . .

A mysterious preview regarding my rad new western hat, which looks even totally radder upon me, I shit you not . . .

Airport security in these parts is pretty much non-existent. I could have ridden right down the middle of the runway, probably. And don't think I didn't consider it . . .

The second half of my recon was done hurriedly, by truck, under the threat of darkness, so there was no time for pics. But it proved out awesomely stunning and remote. All up, 32 miles of canal-side riding, 300+ miles of driving, and a totally consumed day. A bargain, in my mind, for turning most of one day's ride on the tour from something to put up with into something that stirs your soul.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Rackufacture: Fatbike Rear Rackage Package

Upon a quick search of my own damn blog, I discovered that I never posted on the base rear rack that I put together for the fatbike.  Sadly, this is how bad my memory is getting. I just finished up the modular deck that attaches to the base, so I guess I might just as well show 'em both in this post. Not a lot of time for blather, so I'll mostly let the pics do the talking. You're welcome. Click any for slightly bigger, as per the norm.

No idea why blogger rotated this pic.  The rotational activity within blogger
has encroached into the paranormal realm as far as I am concerned.  The only thing
I know for damn sure is that I have no control over how it shows up and no way to change it.

I know what you're thinking, because I'm thinking the same thing - that's one super f'ugly rack.  I'd hopes that once it came back from powder all shiny that something aesthetically magical would happen. Nope. Looks like something that belongs on the top of a Range Rover. At this point I guess I've modified my expectations and just simply hope that the functionality will vastly overshadow its looks.

Meanwhile, Brandy wishes I would dump my ridiculous failed obsession and focus fully on hers.

Looks aside, there are a number of functional features that I would like to point out . . .

Some loops for passing a "lashing strap" through.  There's a bit of lasher R&D going on here, in the hopes that we
can sort out some do's and don'ts prior to putting together a light and efficient lasher for  John's Elephant V2.

I've been reading about what great elements lines are supposed to be in photos and so of course I am compelled to act out.  This last picture then, is simply part of the krap you have to put up with, as I work through my photography phase.