Friday, February 27, 2015

Under Pressure

Val keeps telling me to let air out of my fat bike tires. While I’m still pretty new to the fat bike, Val’s been riding his longer and follows what fat bikers say on the forums. He says that the serious fat bikers all claim that playing around with tire pressure is key to maximizing the fat bike experience.

On an intellectual level, sure, I understand how this works. Lower air pressure increases the surface area of the tire, providing better traction in soft conditions like, say, snow. I get the science of it. But the long-time roadie in me still has trouble letting air out of those valves. I’m so used to riding on hard tires and associating low tire pressure with inefficiency that I’m having difficulty adjusting to this new way of thinking. I know I should try it but I haven’t much.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bugle Lessons

A horn or bugle is used on club runs and at meets to give signals for concerted action; the lightest and simplest construction being preferred.

--Charles E. Pratt, The American Bicycler: A Manual for the Observer, the Learner, and the Expert. (1879)

I once wrote a half-serious post about wanting a cycling bugle for Christmas. Well, it took a few years, but my wish came true this past December. My wife gave me this fine specimen, made in India (?!). It’s the real deal, shiny and solid, a military-style cavalry bugle of the kind used by nineteenth-century cycling clubs to call out signals to riders. I love it. It sits on the piano in my living room, and has sparked numerous, usually short, conversations.  (A cycling bugle? Oh.) Now I just have to figure out how to play it.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Brown Sugar Blues

Shimmy, shimmy sugar—SHIT!
February slush-squish, root beer Slurpee, mashed potatoes
with gravy

What is this crap?

Front tire side-swerves, back tire spin-slips
You look so soft, your mish-mush patches of plantation raw—
Or is it demerara, turbinado, or dark muscovado?

I won’t be fooled by your sweetie-pie schtick
You are sweet misery on asphalt
Bastard child of global warming and half-assed snow plowing
Succubus of slirt
Take my eyes off you and I’m down for one lump, maybe two

Give me a meringue of snow drifts
Give me a skating rink of a road
Give me an archipelago of potholes

But—ENOUGH with this brown sugar!

How can something that looks so sweet suck so bad?