Sunday, February 28, 2010

Man down

Last week I wrote that, come hell or high water, I'd be back on singletrack Wednesday night. Then hell and high water both arrived at the same time. I've been ridin' the recliner with a fistful of decongestants and box of Kleenex ever since.

The only good thing about being down with a head cold is that it gives a person time to kill. And there's no better way to kill time than to make a slideshow of pics from rides over the past year.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Survival mode

I’ve got a bunch of crap going on this week and, unfortunately, very little of it involves riding. So far. With all this warm weather, commuting conditions suck, and I’ve needed my car every day this week anyway. Hell, I even broke down last night and put the road bike on the trainer and spent about an hour spinning on the hamster wheel as a DVD played on the big-ass TV.

Which reminds me, in case I haven’t mentioned it lately: Riding a trainer sucks.

Wednesday night, come hell or high water, the fat bike’s back on singletrack. In the meantime, I’m trying to find time to figure out the sweet new camera that should boost the quality of photos on the ol’ blog, and I’m making plans for a very cool trip with Jules and the Monkee.

This week has sucked ass so far, but there’s good stuff ahead.

Speaking of good stuff, the week hasn't sucked for Jules, who scored a free Camelbak at Saturday night's Frigid Bits event, and then won 10 free stickers for proposing "No Waxing Required" for the new Bicycles & Icicles frame stickers.

The readers have spoken, and the stickers have been ordered.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fingers around the fire

You can always count on a Frigid Bits event to be great when the burn barrel is involved. After a fun two-hour ride with a bunch of tight singletrack, the beer and dead animals tasted damn good. After the crowd thinned a bit, the holdouts even sang Happy Birthday for me, and posed for a one-finger salute. I love winter mountain bikers.

The night also marked the inaugural ride of Scarlett—my friend Amber's new Fatback with a custom paint job. A skull on the head tube, lightning bolts, a flame-covered fork, and a purple-to-pink fade with her name on the chainstays. It's definitely one of a kind, and will keep a shit-eatin' grin on her face for a good long while. Speedway did its usual nice job on the build. (Click on the detail shot for a closer look.)

And speaking of shops, thanks to Speedway, Paramount, Chain Reaction and The Bicycle Shop for generously donating some nice swag for last night's ride, which was a fundraiser for Singletrack Advocates.

Don't forget to click on the right side of this page to vote for your favorite slogan to be placed on the frame stickers I plan to order this week. But don't give Jules any sympathy votes after her earlier comment that she never wins anything, because she won the finest piece of swag last night: a nice new Camelbak donated by Greg over at Speedway.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The polls are open

The Great Sticker Contest of 2010 has come down to two finalists, and I'm genuinely torn. I like the attitude behind my original concept of "One Less Skier," but I enjoy the wit and subtlety of "No Waxing Required," which was the brainchild of my friend Jules. It certainly works on more than one level.

Since announcing my little contest, I've heard from enough of you to learn that I'm certainly not alone in facing hostility from bike-hating Nordic skiers. So, based on your experiences, tell me what you think, folks. There's a poll on the right side of this post so that you can vote for your favorite sticker.

Regardless of which is chosen, Jules wins the amazing and breathtakingly generous prize of 10 stickers. (After all, I can't exactly give the prize to myself.) I expect to see at least one of them gracing the frame of her new Pugsley very soon.

The poll closes at 6:30 p.m. on Monday (Alaska time.)

After that, to paraphrase Neil Young, live music is better, and bumper stickers will be issued.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Contest time

It's time for the first Bicycles & Icicles reader contest, complete with a prize. For a year or two now, I've been meaning to print up some stickers such as those fine samples from Handlebar Sandwich.

Given my recent fed-upedness with the attitude fat bikers get from the tight-ass Nordic ski crowd, I'm looking for something with a little attitude. Something that carries a pro-fat-bike message, or at least a pro-bike message.

This is where you come in, dear reader. The leading candidate for my inspired stickery is shown above, but you may have a better idea. If so, click the e-mail link to send suggestions my way, or simply leave a comment with your idea. If your idea is chosen for the sticker order, you'll get 10 free stickers. (So make sure you don't cast your brilliance to an "anonymous" comment. I'll need a way to contact you.)

Let the brainstorms begin.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Here to stay

I decided to lay low last week and fight off a cold that was lurking around the edges and threatening to take me down. Fortunately, the strategy paid off and I never really got sick—just spent a few quiet evenings falling more out of shape.

So it felt good to hit the trails Saturday morning and be reminded that some things never change. I still get sluggish after a week of reduced activity. Fat biking is still fun anyway. I still frequently forget what I’m doing and say “hi” to Nordic skiers. And they—most of them, anyway—still scowl like selfish pricks whenever they see a bike.

Allow me to pause for a moment and mention at this juncture that I don’t want to see a single comment from anyone attempting to tell me that “most mountain bikers are skiers, too,” or that I should be nice and not write or say divisive things because we should all just get along and share the trails. I know all that shit. That’s why I’m annoyed.

I’ve been trying to play nice with XC skiers in this town for years. I stay off their “ski-only” trails. I’ve attended meetings between user groups. I’ve been vocal—even obnoxious—in encouraging other riders to practice good trail etiquette on a year-round basis. I’ve tried to remain friendly when encountering skiers, only to have 90 percent of them glare at me as if I were some sort of criminal. Countless other winter riders have spent years making the same efforts as me. And what has it gotten us?

Kicked in the nuts, that’s what it’s gotten us. Over and over and over.

Arrogant skiers still treat us like second-class citizens. They still accost us on the trails and question our right to be there. They still fight our efforts to gain access to public lands. And personally, I think they still believe that if they resist long enough, we’ll give up and go away.

Fuck ’em. I’m running out of patience with their attitude. I’m tired of playing nice and getting kicked in the nuts. And if they think winter mountain bikers are going away, they’re out of their narrow little minds.

I’ll continue to be a responsible trail user, but I own the public trails as much as anyone else. I’m gonna ride my bike. I’m not going to apologize. I’m not going to beg for acceptance. And I don’t care who doesn’t like it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All You Haters

This video, found over at Girl on Bike,
is a great parody of hipster/messenger culture.

All You Haters (Suck My Balls)

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Found on the Web

If you haven't seen this bike ...
uh, well, keep not looking.

Bird on Eagle River

It's been awhile since I last posted a Phabulous Phinger Photo on the blog, so it's good to see someone think fast and keep the movement alive.

Because of a misunderstanding on Friday's meeting spot, Carl and I missed each other at the start of our ride on Eagle River. When I finally got to the parking lot he had intended, he had an hour head start, and all I could do was follow his Endomorph tracks upriver while hoping he'd stop often to shoot photos.

When I finally rounded a bend in the river and saw him rolling toward me, he didn't miss a beat as I pulled out my camera, and voila, we have our first new addition to the Finger Gallery in months.

Strong work, Carl.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cold juice

When is someone going to develop a battery that won't turn to crap every time it gets good and cold? I mean, seriously, with all the technological improvements we've seen in winter riding over the past couple of years, I think batteries are one of the main pieces of gear that still need improvement.

Tonight's ride was in temps of about 4F ... from what I could tell. I had to hold my digital thermometer at just the right angle to get a reading off the LED screen as the battery faded.

The NightRider light on my handlebar did it's job for more than two hours, and was still working when we got back to the cars, but the power indicator turned red less than an hour into the ride, even though the battery was fully charged for a three-hour burn.

But my camera presents one of my main frustrations in temps below 20F. Despite numerous attempts, I got a grand total of one image from the trail tonight—the one you see on this post—and I didn't know if I had it until I got home. As soon as I took the shot, the battery wheezed under the load of saving the digital image and the screen on my camera went dark except for the "change battery pack" message.

After wrapping my hand around the camera (while still inside my pocket) for a couple of minutes, I managed to get a couple of shots in the parking lot at the end of the ride, but just barely.

Battery companies of the world, get your shit together and give us better products. Much of the world is cold this time of year, and not everyone sits inside catatonically staring at new episodes of "Lost" every night.

Is it really too much to ask for a battery that can function for a couple of hours at 0F?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Burnin' it

What happens when you combine a few riders, a small fortune in fat bikes, open flames, flammable liquids a small pile of cheap beer? That's right, a good time around the ol' Frigid Bits Burn Barrel.

This shit never gets old.