Thursday, August 31, 2006


A couple of weeks back, the fully shaved, rain-hating DaveIT sent me a list of 54 ways to know if you're addicted to bicycling. Aside from being amusing, this kind of shit comes in really handy when when a guy's trying to come up with something to post on a blog.

But 54? Nobody spends that much time reading my blog. I mean, really. If you took your laptop into the bathroom to read on the crapper, I'd be lucky if this was one of the dozen sites you'd surf before your moment of glory. You know I'm right.

Hey, don't feel bad. I don't take it personally. We can't all be voracious and deeply intellectual readers like our brilliant president.

So I've made it easy for ya by breaking the list down into chunks of 10 at a time. Besides, this way I have some more stuff to use the next time I'm completely out of stuff to write about.

1. Your surgeon tells you need a heart valve replacement and you ask if you have a choice between presta and schraeder.

2. You convert your car's brake and gas pedals to clipless.

3. A Power Bar starts tasting better than a Snickers.

4. The bra your significant other finds in your glove compartment belongs to your Trek and not the cute waitress at Denny's.

5. You wear your heart monitor to bed to make sure you stay within your target zone during any extracurricular activities.

6. The funeral director tells you no, you can't ride your Cannondale in the funeral procession, even if you keep your headlight on.

7. You experience an unreasonable envy over someone who has bar end extenders longer than yours.

8. You're too tired for hanky-panky on a Friday night but pump out a five-hour century on Saturday.

9. You no longer require a hankie to blow your nose.

10. You have stopped even trying to explain to your spouse why you need two bikes ... you just go buy another one and figure it will all work out in the divorce settlement.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I used to want one of those dog tags they sometimes advertise in the back of bike magazines. Seemed like a good idea to have my name and my wife's phone number so that paramedics would know who to call if I ran into a tree or got taken out by some dumbass in a Hummer.

Unlike my son, my daughter's still young enough to listen when I speak, so she paid attention when I casually mentioned a time or two that, one of these days, I should order a dog tag.

So she bought me one.

She went to the grocery store with her mom and noticed one of those vending machines that will engrave a little metal plate with your pet's information. Dad wants a dog tag, Dad gets a dog tag.

Not exactly what I had in mind, but it works.

Fortunately, it's not shaped like a bone.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

It's still up there

I was beginning to doubt its existence,
but it's really there.

You know, the sun.
That big, bright thing
we used to see fairly often.

Sunday was the first
beautiful day we've had in weeks.

The trail to Powerline Pass
was wet with runoff,
but rocky and solid enough to ride.


Wet, sloppy and a little tired.
I sorta feel like a bicyclist again.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Worst URLs

I'm running a little short of bike-related stuff because of this stinkin' rainy weather. I got this from a friend last week and I've been meaning to throw it on the blog:

The top 10 unintentionally worst company URLs

1. A site called ‘Who Represents‘ where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name … wait for it … is

2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at

5. Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company …

6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:

7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always

8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is

9. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their whacky website:

10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Welcome home

Our man Buckwheat arrived home
in Skagway this morning.

Seven thousand miles.
Eleven months.
Miami Beach to the Bering Sea.
Walking, pedaling and paddling
every inch of the route.

A hundred kids left school
to escort him through town
and he received the kind of welcome
that only a cool small town
can provide.

Sleep well tonight, 'Wheat.
You've earned it.

(Thanks to Jeff Brady for the photos.)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Crappy day

Things can always get worse.

Monday felt like a shitty day. The prototype for bad days. The mother of all bad days. The day by which bad days are measured. The kind of day that little annoying days hope to be when they grow up and become serial-killer days.

It was the kind of day that starts with wading through cold, knee-deep floodwaters on the way to work. The kind of day that ends with a bike commuter driving to the office at 7 p.m. to retrieve the bike and gear that had to be abandoned at noon because of unforeseen emergencies that led to hours of expensive and fruitless frustration.

Yes, brother and sisters, it was the kind of day that leads to an evening on which you want to do nothing but pull the car in the garage, lock the doors and pour the wine.

But you’re a bicyclist and you own a roof rack. Your day can get worse.

Sadly, a loud crunching sound above your head is a sign that you are not about to pull the car in the garage, lock the doors and pour the wine. You’re about to back the front end of your car out of the garage as you realize that if you needed a glass of wine a few minutes ago, you're about to need a couple of large Camelbaks full o’ that shit.

Suspension forks just aren’t meant to bend at that angle. Roof-rack crossbars aren’t supposed to be V-shaped.

As hard as it can be, one must remember all that crap you hear about silver linings. Ten-year-old Rock Shox forks are overdue for replacement anyway. Beloved, 10-year-old M2 Stumpjumper frames are as bombproof today as they were a decade ago (especially if they get a little energy-absorbing help from a dying fork and a collapsing cross bar).

When Jon at Paramount Cycles makes you a good deal on new fork, that helps, too.

And—maybe best of all—your favorite bike wasn’t on the roof rack that day.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

No brainer

I took this picture a few weeks ago
while riding home from work.

Klatt Road near my house is usually
a road with fairly light traffic but
nearby construction has clogged it up
most of this summer.

The traffic slaves stagnate on the left.
I ride that blissfully free-flowing
bike path on the right.

It's enough to make a person wonder:
Why would anyone not ride a bike to work?*

*Besides week after week
of miserable, morale-killing rain.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Understatement of the week is reporting a story about Dubya pardoning Randall Leece Deal, who was convicted on moonshining charges in the 1960s. (Hey, it's not as if he's in charge of a war or anything. What else does the president have to do between readings of "My Pet Goat?")

Deal played a small role in the 1972 film "Deliverance," which CNN says was "about four Atlanta businessmen who have unpleasant encounters with locals during a North Georgia canoe trip."

Unpleasant encounters? Well, maybe for those good ol' Georgia boys at CNN in Atlanta.

Personally, I'd say gettin' ass-raped by a grimy, toothless hillbilly would be freakin' horrifying, not "unpleasant."

When I'm reminded of that movie, I often think of a ride I once did outside Los Alamos, N.M., when we encountered a pretty inbred-looking dude in a battered old truck on a remote forest road.

One of the guys in our group, T.J., started nervously yammering about how the guy probably had guns and could have raped all three of us.

Mountain bikers tend to talk about a lot of gross things—saddle sores, bowel movements, exposed bones—but no regular guy wants to pedal through the woods with another guy who won't shut up about the possibility of gettin' buggered during a bike ride.

Especially when the yammering guy is already known for being so homophobic that some of us thought he might be protesting a little too much, if ya know what I mean. After a while, Jeremy and I started thinking T.J. might actually be hoping to run into Scary Pickup Guy again.

I started finding excuses to not ride with T.J. after that. The dude was creeping me out.

Besides, he didn't take care of his bike.

His brakes squealed like a pig.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Friends on the road

Finally, an update on our man Shelby, who's doing his thing in Kyrgyzstan where they have a little problem with, uh ... weeds. (Not to mention a severe shortage of vowels.)

If anyone's still under the illusion our folks in uniform don't make sacrifices, take a look at your fellow mountain biker. This dude moved to Alaska last fall, showed up at Frigid Bits races and froze his ass off with the rest of us last winter, then Uncle Sam shipped him out of here just in time to miss the summer riding season.

Those who remember Shelby from those dark nights on Goose Lake will be glad to hear that he should be back in Anchorage and riding his Kona by early September. That'll give us time to drag him out on a few rides and show him that we really do have trails you can't skate on.

Seriously, Shelby. We really have dirt. So hurry on back to the land of indoor pot production.

And there's good news from my friend Buckwheat, who has spent most of the past year crossing North America by foot, bike and canoe. People who have read this blog for a while will remember when his bike was stolen in British Columbia last spring.

After spending this summer floating the length of the Yukon River, Buckwheat has reached the Bering Sea and is on his way back to Whitehorse, where he will begin walking the final 110 miles home to Skagway. He's several weeks ahead of schedule and will get home with time to recover and adjust to normal life again before returning to work at the beginning of October.

He sent me an e-mail from Nome a couple of days ago and said he's living proof that a person can walk 4,000 miles, pedal 900 and paddle 2,200 without losing weight. So thanks to all the folks who gave him hot meals, warm beds and good conversation between Miami Beach and Nome.

Way to go, 'Wheat.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Groovy Gustavus

I was recently fortunate enough
to spend some time in Gustavus.

Just a couple of hundred years ago,
a glacier covered this place.
As it retreated, it left a flat plain that's
perfect for a town full of
singlespeed cruisers.

Traffic is almost nonexistent,
the drivers are friendly,
and the scenery is superb.

And Deb lets you pick the berries
that are close to the road.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


People are starting to post comments saying I've seemed angry lately, so I'm almost reluctant to rant about this newspaper ad.

I said almost.

This thing ran in Friday's "Play" section of the Daily News. I'm never fond of advertisers using images of mountain bikes to sell unhealthy products, but McDonald's pimping it's crappy burgers as "fuel" is a bit over the top.*

Hell, if you look closely enough, the bike that kid is riding is probably the same Magna P.O.S. I complained about a couple of days ago. I hope he got through the photo shoot with no broken bones.

I know they're not actually targeting a physically active demographic group with this stuff—they'll be happy if it lures in a bunch of chubby kids on BMX bikes—but it still rubs me the wrong way. This is one small step away from puttin' the Marlboro Man astride a mountain bike as he lights up while overlooking a scenic valley with a sweet singletrack running through it.

McDonald's is simply evil. That company will do anything for a buck. It'll use photos of people exercising one minute, and hand them toy Hummers the next.

You know why Ronald McDonald's orange hair is so big? It's to hide the devil horns just above his forehead.

* To be fair, they probably do make decent fuel if you happen to be in need a good source of flammable grease—with a couple of McDondald's cheeseburgers and a cell phone, you could probably blow a big hole in a Boeing 747 way more effectively than you could with a bottle of water and some hair gel. But you didn't hear that from me.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Big Jonny update

The original Drunk Cyclist has been released from the hospital, and damned if he isn't becoming a media darling in the interest of bicycle safety. Next thing you know, he'll go and get respectable on us. He might even get religion. Now that's scary.

That must have hurt

Somebody abandoned this Magna Piece Of Shit in the weeds just off the intersection of Brown Bear / Black Bear trails on the Hillside several days ago.

The bike is so new it still has a bar-code sticker on the head tube. Some sucker apparently bought it (or stole it) under the assumption it was a legitimate mountain bike and then decided to hit the trail. And I bet he did exactly that when the “downhill” fork—as the manufacturer proudly labeled it—folded like a wet potato chip.

I wonder if this bike’s rider still has his or her front teeth. Then again, considering that this was the kind of person who would leave trash for someone else to clean up, I wonder if the hillbilly had any front teeth before the crash.

Maybe this thing should be hung in a bike shop with a sign that says, “Why don’t we sell bikes for $85 like Sprawl-Mart? Because ours don’t do this.”

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bottoms up

I was talking to someone today about how I always lock up my main bike, even when it’s stored inside a locked garage.

She smiled and said, “Yeah, and I bet you leave your car unlocked.”

Well, duh.

Who cares if my car gets stolen? I mean, I really like my 4Runner, but I’m not emotionally invested in a car.

Jeez, waddya think I am, some sort of weirdo?

Speaking of weirdos, one of the finest is down. Big Jonny of was hit by a car last Saturday as he was pedaling home from a group ride. He has multiple lumbar fractures and a whole mess of road rash, but his toes are still wigglin' and his sick sense of humor is intact.

He’s a good man with a passion for bikes and a beautiful baby girl at home. I’m glad she still has her dad around and he's expected to fully recover. Take some advice from his friends and tip a couple of drinks in his honor. It’ll make him proud.

And he'd do it for you.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Flash 'em, baby!

Damn. I've gotta get me a pair o' these babies.

These things are so cool,
I wish they made 'em for butt cheeks.

Then I could ride in a thong.

Just kidding. That'd mean I'd have to wax my ass.

Speaking of getting my ass waxed, Carlos has
cooked up another Crusty Bits race for this

The exact course is classified, but he
promises water crossings, a rock garden, a "nice" climb,
fast doubletrack, a drinking challenge, and
a mandatory front-tube change on every lap.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

But remember, Carlos is involved,
so some carnage is probably
part of the plan.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


I've had all I can take.

I skipped town just as the Floyd Landis story was breaking, but eight days away from newspapers and the Internet didn't make the bad dream go away.

Pro bike racing is in the toilet. They should just turn out the lights and close the doors until somebody with a spine comes along and shows they can clean up the sport, if that's still possible.

I already punted cable service several years ago and didn't even watch coverage of Armstrong's last couple of Tour victories. Now I've lost the stomach for following the sport in print and online.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Maybe the tests were bad. Maybe the samples were tampered with. Maybe Floyd was framed. Would you believe it if he were one of the Europeans?

To hell with the whole damned lot of 'em. Who knows what's real anymore when we watch an athlete do something amazing?

Coppi did it. Anquetil did it. Why shouldn't a Mennonite kid from Pennsylvania take the juice?