Sunday, January 18, 2015

What "Friends" Are For

I mentioned in my last post that I'm kinda sorta smitten with the Salsa Blackborow. That's storyline 1.
And then, there was an annual fatbike gathering in the the Methow Valley, this weekend. I had decided not to go, because I really didn't have the time to spend in Winthrop to make what amounts to about an 8-hour round trip drive worthwhile. And I didn't really want to spend the money. (Haha, hold this thought.) That's storyline 2.

As of late Friday afternoon, I had no idea regarding what/how/if the January BikeEVENTure was gonna happen. Storyline 3.

All 3 storylines came crashing wildly together this weekend in a spontaneous, fiery, chain-reaction collision.

It all started with a text from my jackass *pal* Dave, who had gone to Winthrop for the fatbike get-together. Included in the text was a pic of a spanky new Blackborow on the floor at Methow Cycle and Sport. In guess what? My size. Actually, the pic was all that was in the text. Quiet as a church mouse, otherwise. A-hole.

In hindsight, maybe my sub-conscious mind was made up at that exact moment, but I can tell you for sure that my conscious mind never got the memo, because it was a long a restless night. Long story short, though, I had decided by 6:30 on Saturday morning that I was taking a road trip. To, ummm, "check it out". Yeah, right.

Fast forward a few hours and I was loitering in the buzzing bee's nest that was Methow Cycle and Sport, waiting for the owner, Joe, to return, so we could "talk shop", if you will pardon the pun, about the shiny, sexy, fattest of the fats residing on the floor. When who should walk in, but Dave and his merry band of demons.  (I won't mention names, but their initials are Angie and Abel.)  Momentarily surprised to see me there, it didn't take long for them to figure out that I was totally whipped and in a state of zero control over my desire, and they did not hesitate to pile on. It got ugly.

Long story short again, my credit card got duly swiped, and I entered into full ownership. Only trouble being, the 30+ strong group of attendees had sorta blown their wad on the "official" morning ride. I, on the other hand, had spent my morning with my ass planted in the driver's seat of my truck, and I was full of new-bike piss and vinegar. Luckily, three awesome dudes - Chris, Shawn and John - threw down, and we hit the trails.

Major mondo meat.

Shawn (of NW Fatbike fame) near, with Chris up ahead.

Chris, rockin' his badass homebrew neon orange pogies.  Word.

Shawn and John.

We were compelled to stop and photo-nerd-out.  Of course.  You would have laughed at the hilarity of the dork-fest, had you witnessed it.  Which you did not.  Unfortunately for you, fortunately for us.

Steamy trailside ungulates.

Joe had an early vision of what fatbikes could be in the Methow and he has taken a lot of risk and put a shit ton of effort into developing a rideable trail network,  and stocking Methow Cycle and Sport with fat bikes and accessories. It takes big stones to do this and I hope it is beginning to pay off for him and develop some legit momentum and revenue. His decision to bring my Blackborow in ended up paying off, and it never would have happened without this gathering, which he has embraced and supports in a pretty major way. He sponsored a Saturday night hang at the shop, with food and beer and the works, which was rad. I have never felt better about supporting a shop. Joe walks the walk.

That's the rental fleet, in the foreground.  I counted nine bikes and I think there were additional bikes that were rented out.

Joe's personal light-ass rigid Borealis hanging from the rafters here.

The Blackborow itself is amazing. I'll have more to say about it as we do more giddy-upping, but it's super versatile (which is what attracted me to it in the first place), and what surprised the hell outta me on my first ride is how playful it is, given what it is, with the massive amount of rotating mass and all. It's gonna be a very purpose specific bike, but for those specific purposes, I just cannot wait for the adventures that lie ahead.

And all kidding aside about the friend thing, I am really blessed to have a great group of bike friends, composed of guys like Dave. It's killer that he sent me that text and it's even more killer that I got to share the experience of getting my hands on the bike in the presence of Dave and his posse that wandered into the shop. That will always be a really special memory. Thanks, Dave.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fleet Management

Two steeds fled the stable this weekend, courtesy the magicality of craigslist.

My 2012 Trek Fuel EX8, which I bought new in the Fall of 2012.

My 2015(?) Bikesdirect Motobecane Lurch, which I bought new in the Fall of 2014.

I had some great adventures aboard both bikes, and I'll be hanging onto the memories, if not the bikes.

Aside from a coupla specialty bikes, the dog bike and wheelie bike, I now have exactly three bikes:

L-R:  Surly Karate Monkey city bike with Alfine 7 internal gear rear and Alfine dyno front hubs.  Elephant S&S coupled road-ish & gravel grinder bike.  Salsa Bucksaw full suspension fatbike

Its been a long time since I've had this few bikes, and I feel remarkably bike-unencumbered as I write this.  I hope that the Karate Monkey will undergo some sort of rad ebike transformation during the coming year.  The Elephant will do what it has always done, I think, which is to get me around comfortably and efficiently on the tarmac.  Amazingly, I now own exactly one mountain bike and exactly one fatbike and they are the same bike; the Bucksaw.  I anticipate that I will be spending many hours aboard this bike in 2015, on a variety of surfaces and ride purposes.

Will the stable grow again?  Most likely, or even most certainly.  But not quickly or spontaneously, I hope.  I seriously doubt that I'll be shopping for another road bike this year.  I don't think I'll be shopping for another mountain bike either, but maybe another fatbike.  I won't say I'm in all out lust mode just yet, but I feel a certain undeniable heat building in my loins over the Salsa Blackborow.  Damnit, that is one versatile, well thought out fatbike.

In the present though, I'm just having hella fun with the Bucksaw, and here I can rightfully use the word lust.  Or honeymoon.  Lustfully delicious honeymoon.  Whatever.  Yesterday was an epic 3 hours on Antoine Peak, which was exactly the time it took me to ascend and descend just once, which is about 3 times what it takes to do that same thing any other time of year.

Today was a short trip to Palisades to devour some frozen chunk.  The bike just laughs at this shit and turns the ride into hilarious fun for me.  I don't know of any other bike that can do this.

Finding time to ride in 2015 will continue to be my biggest challenge, but the Monthly bikEVENTure Plan is in full force and a major piece of the puzzle, says Jack.  I remain convinced that it's the quality, and not the quantity of miles that counts, and I'm more determined than ever keep my riding fun and weird and adventurous.  As such, I'm highly optimistic about the year ahead and I have full confidence in the abilities of my three stallions to show me a good time.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Fatty New Year

Today.  Riverside.  10 Fats.  0 Skinnies.  (Nothing against skinnies, to be clear, just how it worked out.)  Thanks to Two Wheel Transit for organizing.

Great way to welcome in 2015.  Hope yours is a good one with lots of bikery involved.

The venerable Mr. Arbuckle