Saturday, March 31, 2012

Blame game

Some people to have a one-size-fits-all solution to problems: Blame a mountain biker.

Over the past couple of weeks, I started noticing that small branches were being cut from spruce trees along nearly all the trails north of Campbell Airstrip Road. Someone appeared to be trimming the lower branches and leaving them atop the snow beneath the trees.

It struck me as odd, because it looked like someone had done a lot of work with no apparent benefit, but I was too busy enjoying my rides to give the issue much thought. Until, that is, I learned that people have been calling the superintendent of Far North Bicentennial Park and blaming mountain bikers for the freelance pruning.

Seriously? Mountain bikers? Why not skiers? Or hikers? And what about horseback riders? Or dog owners who don’t pick up their mutts’ turds? Any of us could choose our least favorite user group and make random accusations when something like this happens. And any of them would make an equal amount of sense. Or have an equal lack of it.

But most of us don’t. Unless we’ve witnessed something, or see a cause for suspicion, we scratch our heads, wonder what happened, and wait for someone official to figure it out. That’s normal.

Right now, for instance, I have a personal bias that makes me think I could predict which user group is the source of those calls blaming bikers for the tree trimming. But I don’t have any way of knowing, so I’m not going to point fingers.

But whoever it is, they’re pissing me off a lot more than the vigilante tree surgeon.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Speedway rocks Spenard

Nobody's gonna be topping this any time soon.

Speedway Cycles celebrated it's grand re-opening
with a first-rate party on Friday night. It was
a barn burner. Rock bands, cold beer, bike people
filling the shop floor ... damn, it was fun.

Congrats to Greg and his crew on a great new shop,
and for staging one hell of a bash to break in the new place.

Fatties and rock 'n' roll.

Tim and the boys at the bar.

Rad tattoo girl!

Open wide and say "aaaaaaaaaah!"

Greg, the Bike Monkee and Jules
give Spenard some class.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stopping chain suck

I love it when I can MacGyver a cheap and effective solution to a problem. I’ve been looking around lately for a device for preventing chain suck, because I’m concerned about damage to my aluminum Fatback frame. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one locally, and online reviews of several commercially manufactured models were mixed.

With a helpful idea from a sales guy at a big-box hardware store, I came up with this arrangement. I bought a foot of vinyl tubing for 41 cents, then cut a short piece and slit it down one side so I could wrap it around my drive-side chainstay. I clamped it down tight with three zip ties, positioning them so they would help block a chain from entering the space between the bike frame and the front chainrings.

It ain’t the prettiest bike accessory in the world, and it’s certainly not indestructible. But it’s light, it’s cheap, and the combination of zip ties and vinyl should provide a decent buffer for at least a couple of chain-suck incidents.

And if the whole thing gets ruined in the process of protecting my frame, I can install a new one for next to nothing.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Random fat-bike photo of the day

What do you do after flying from McGrath to Anchorage
after finishing the 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational?

Well, if you're Sebastiano Favaro, Pavel Richtr,
or women's division winner Ausilia Vistarini,
you throw a leg over your fat bike for the ride to your B&B.

And if you're Pavel, you start the ride while still inside
the terminal. Is it any wonder the Crazy Cat Lady loves him?

Congrats to Pete Basinger for his sixth ITI victory,
and to Paramount wrench Dave Kelley for taking the red lantern
in his rookie year—a brutal year of deep snow
that forced a lot of excellent riders to abandon.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Pressing the pause button

Bicycles & Icicles is going to enter a sleepy spell for a few weeks due to real-life responsibilities. Please check back for less-frequent updates until the silliness resumes on a regular basis.

Besides, you should be riding your bike.