Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beam Me Up

Whenever I come across one of these relics, I think it should have a sticker that says, “My Other Bike is a DeLorean.”

Allsop dreamed up the suspension “beam” 20 years or so ago, in an era when the concept of suspension was so new that many people thought it would be cheaper and more efficient to “suspend the rider, not the bike.” Hell, I worked with an aerospace engineer in those days, and he knew I was a bike geek, so he once excitedly told me how he thought this was a brilliant concept, and he had ideas on how to do it. He thought it was the future of mountain biking.

The problem was that such well-intentioned folks didn’t realize that suspension is about more than rider comfort. It’s also about control and performance at speed, and that means keeping the tires in contact with the ground. You can’t just have a bike bouncing all over the damned place, even if the rider is comfortably cushioned by a flexible carbon-fiber beam and a spring-loaded stem. 

But you have to respect Allsop’s commitment. I mean, look at that bike frame. It was as if someone said, “Seatposts? Bitch, please! Our idea is so damn good, you’ll never need one. We’re goin’ balls to the wall and building a bike that is 100 percent dependent on a $200 doo-dad that’ll float your ass in ‘Softride’ comfort, dude! Seatposts are SO ’80s. Fuck ’em!”

This stuff was either going to be The Bomb, or it was simply going to bomb. We all know how that turned out. Allsop now manufacturers towing accessories, and bike racks for cars.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Time to ride

It has been all mountain bikes, all the time since I put away my road bike after the Fireweed, and anyone crazy enough to occasionally check this blog might recognize that my neglect is a sure sign of a good summer.

Heather just can't get enough of her bikes.

Who has time to blog when the weather's warm and the trails are dry? Hell, I haven't had much time to think of many blog topics, much less write them. Anchorage trails, Crescent Lake and Resurrection Pass have all been getting my attention, with Lost Lake and a couple more on my to-do list.

Last weekend, friends and I were in Hope for the annual sufferfest known as the Soggy Bottom, which lured Moab's coolest fifth-grade teacher -- Pete Basinger -- back to Alaska for a visit. 

Pete goes hunting for some mayhem.

I chatted with Pete after his sub-11-hour finish, when he looked relaxed and unmarred despite a hard crash. He chronicled the whole thing over on his blog, which is actually up to date. Go check it out.