Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Bonus Post

Hey Kids,

One of our very own bloggers has broken big and gone international!  The Adventure Cycling Association digs on one of Jasper's epic adventures, and we do, too:

Check it out here:


Big props to Monsieur Gates.  Take a bow!  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turning The Screws

The snow and ice are here, putting an end to the long road rides of cycling season.  I know making a graceful transition to xc-ski or snowshoe season is the normal thing to do here, but I'm mostly a bike guy.  No, the arrival of ice and snow signals the start of another season altogether for me:  wrenching season.  Not wrenching as in its-all-too-terrible-to-be-kept-off-the-roads wrenching, but a season devoted to the turning of actual wrenches.  And every other tool I own.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Vélivre: Reading and Riding

Winter is the perfect time to read about cycling. And although I heartily condone reading cycling blogs, the best of which can be diverting and enlightening, at this time of year I also like to read cycling books. Perhaps there’s something about this longer form of writing that enables it to sort of stand in for the longer bike rides I miss at this time of year. My winter spin class is short, concentrated, intense; it provides a somewhat satisfying workout, sure, but it’s not as enjoyable or rewarding or immersive an experience as going for an actual long bike ride. Similarly, blogs tend to offer tasty morsels, the salty snacks of the literary world, while books offer a more substantial and filling literary feast.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Music and Cycling

So here we are: snow covers the streets, the temperature chills the body, and day light fades early.  So, the road bikes sit on trainers in Val’s garage, sheltered from the cold, dark, winter.   To ride but to go nowhere, to train indoors takes a particularly stubborn dedication.   We ride in consort to videos and we listen to music to motivate. Spin classes at health clubs (they will remain nameless here) play vapid music.  I want to start a play list for indoor training that does not deal with mainstream music and that provides the incentive to get on the bike and ride hard.   

Could you please make suggestions? 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lunar Cycles

“And so to sleep!  And I dreamed that I rode my bicycle seven times around the moon and climbed a hill to find Orion at the top.” 

Charles S. Brooks A Thread of English Road (1924) Illustrated by Julia McCune Flory

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Adventure(les)s of an Indoor Cyclist

The daunting months of winter have arrived to suck the cycling marrow out of me and to asphyxiate the air in my pneumatic aspirations. I can well imagine cold, blizzardly nights, city roads virtually impenetrable, nary a car in sight. Certainly I can still ride a bike outside in the winter. I did buy snow tires recently and plan to try them out soon. But I do not plan to ride the summer distances. Still, I feel the need to ride my bike. Of course, this is not a new problem for snow bound cyclists. (Val will no doubt be talking about his Pugsley (I am envious). What options do I have except to pull the trainer out of storage, set up the bike and go nowhere as fast as possible?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Full Moon Ride

I could forgive you for thinking me drunk.  I am talking a little too quickly, a little too loudly, probably a little too much.  I feel light, a little giddy. Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" comes on the radio and I turn it up, promising to buy it and blast it next time.  I focus on keeping the truck in its lane, want to bounce in my seat.  I am self-conscious about all of this and a little embarrassed.  I cannot do anything differently though, and, in my heart, don't really want to.  I have had nothing stronger than tap water to drink--the full moon and a strong bike ride are to blame. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Last Rides

“My ideal cycling day is in November or December, when a keen frost has held the earth in its icy thrall for some time and the roads are beaten flat and smooth. When not a breath of wind is stirring and the sun shines brightly and with a warmth which is genial, but tempered by the sharp clean air. Then to the well-trained muscles mere exertion is a joy… the wild scamper down-hill affords an intoxicating pleasure, and one can gaze forth on the glories of an ideal winter scene until one is possessed with the soul-sufficing enthusiasm which animated the bard.” 
                                                         R. J. Mercredy “Winter Cycling” (1891) 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Requiem for Cyclist

In a week dedicated to commemoration and remembrance, I want to acknowledge the dangers, not the pure pleasures, of riding a bicycle.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Here's a surprising thing about starting up a blog about cycling: every time you get on a bike, you can't help but think about what you might write in the blog.  This might seem self-evident, too obvious even to comment on, but I'm not really talking about the existance of the link here.  I'm talking about the power of that link, about how much space it takes up.  The entire Dusty Musette crew managed to get out for a ride together this weekend, and, not four kilometers into the route, someone asked "what are you writing about this week?" and the whole conversation turned to our potential musings. Having to say something every week results in a lot of time spent thinking about what you might want to say.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Code of the Semi-Serious Cyclist: Part 2

The Semi-Serious Cyclist takes breaks during a ride. 

To eat, to drink, to pee, to take photos, to check blood sugar, to investigate road treasure, to watch nerds fly model airplanes, to check out local finery, to look around. Or, simply, to rest for a few minutes. Taking a break mid-ride is not necessarily a sign of middle-age fatigue or general out-of-shapeness (though who cares if it is?); rather, it is evidence of the SSC’s commitment to civility, natural curiosity, and the long leisure tradition of cycling.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I break shit.  I break a lot of shit.

That's today's bill.  Or rather, that's the thing from today that will result in me forking over another hundred bucks sometime in the very near future.  Put that on top of the chain I busted on the fixed gear the week before last.  Put that on top of the frame I busted at the start of the season.  It's getting to be an expensive year.