Friday, July 31, 2015

Spongebob Ghostlypants Rides My Bike

I'm hardly an aficionado of random defacement, but I can appreciate the cleverity (not a real word - cleverity (v): the act of being clever) in this case. When Caltrans, or whoever painted a big square splotch over some graffiti on this underpass, it was artistically clever that someone envisioned it as a ghostly Spongebob, drained of all color.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

This Bud's for You, 29 July

It helps if you are familiar with the tune "Heroes of Our Past" as sung by the Dropkick Murphys (and with due respect to the intent of the original). I don't believe any other version (if there are any) will do:

And so the story's told of a hearty group of men, it's a tale of their triumphs and their woes.
Be it climbs and fast descents or the hectic final sprint
that inspires men to attack and ride away.
And should we falter with our spirit in this ever changing race
we can look back to those heroes of our past.
With their stanch determination and ferocious iron will,
no competitor could quell them in their task...

with twenty yards to go, a look over the shoulder at a comfortable gap

first across the line yet again for

Monday, July 27, 2015

Upcoming: PVBC Bicycle Photo Scavenger Hunt

The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition hosts numerous bike and ride related events over the course of a year. Maybe you already knew this because you are a member, receive their email newsletters or have liked their page on Facebook. But then, for whatever reason, maybe not. 

Anyway, they have one of those fun 'events' coming up at the beginning of August - a photo scavenger hunt. Open to teams of up to five riders, the competition will take place between the 7th and the 9th, and then end with a bang and a bash at the Dale Brother's Brewery with prizes awarded and, i imagine, a general fun time.

Form your squad now, come up with a team name, and submit all relevant information to the PVBC by the 7th of August to participate. While you are at it join the PVBC, a chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition so that you can keep abreast of all their other upcoming events.

Monday Blues: The Campus Curse

What is a Roadmaster to do. Dorms are only so big, space inside at a premium, and so you spend the night outside. One night, a weeks worth, all the nights of your existence. Without any means of self-defense you fall easy prey to thugs and random vandals. They aren't interested in the chain - all those nights in the ocean air have made a rusty mess of it, but during the darkest hours the pedals and cranks are removed easily enough. Once that happens, immobility makes you a sitting duck, and the next night they stomp your front wheel into a shell of its former self.

One day the owner comes out. He curses, maybe mourns a little, but there is nothing to be done now. You are one of the abandoned, a campus derelict.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Le Champion

Once again the Tour brought out some of the best from its competitors, and some of the worst from its spectators. Overcoming all was the 2015 champion, Chris Froome. Call him ungainly, if you must, but don't call him unlikely; for the second time he and Team Sky bested all challengers and challenges to finish in Yellow.

Some things I will remember from this Tour:
1. Steve Cummings win brought the South African MTN Qhubeka team its first Tour stage win on Nelson Mandela Day,
2. Four big sprint stage wins for Andre Greipel,
3. A solid performance until struck down by the ultimate disappointment, yet again, for Tejay Van Garderen,
4. The continuing improvement/maturity of Nairo Quinatana showing glimpses of the ability to win overall soon,
5. The failure of the big showdown between Grand Tour champions to materialize. Maybe it was too much to ask, but I really hoped for a dramatic seesaw competition between Froome, Contador, Nibali, and with Quintana and Van Garderen thrown in for good measure.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Seeing is Believing

There is a simple truth

She never does what I tell takes my advice

Therefore I have come to expect one of two courses of action to result when I tell her what to do share my words of wisdom - either the words will be ignored, or they will be construed as a cue to do the opposite. 

And so I offer up this post to Rachel, Girlz Gone Riding, and whoever else may have been on the Girlz beginners' ride this past week, who convinced her that going up curbs was, not only possible, but well within her technical ability. I waited days for just this one, when I could see for myself.

Curbs one week, Baldy the next? Anytime is a good time to learn something new. Get out and give it a try ride.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ride in Peace, Eric Steven Glasnapp

You know, there were some things I was never very good at, never will be good at. Trigonometry for instance, conversing in any language other than English for another. There are some things I have become expert at - picking onions out of a salad, or celery out of a tuna fish sandwich. There is another thing I believe I am quite good at, though it is something that does not require the least bit of talent or proficiency - keeping my four wheels out of the bike lane. It is a pretty basic task, really, one that any driver worthy of license ownership should be able to master in no time.

So, why is it such a complicated maneuver for some? Except for when they follow the bend of a curve, the lines are always straight. They don't flop around in response to a strong gust of wind. It might add an extra element of riding fun if the lines were applied in a wave pattern, but I am unaware of any city or county engineer giving a green light to something like that. Those things might make it more difficult for drivers, but a straight line? Not difficult at all. 

Based on my observations, drivers, largely, do a pretty good job of keeping to a single traffic lane. Sometimes they don't, but they quickly jerk the wheel the opposite way and they are back where they are supposed to be. They tend to be even more adept at keeping their motors on the right side of the road; the center line in usually pretty sacrosanct.

Except, of course, for when they are doing something other than driving.

Yeah, invariably, drifting across lanes, across the center line, into a bike lane is a result of one of two reasons - impairment or inattentiveness. 

And because one person was not attentive to the task at hand, another person did not make it home from a simple bike ride.

Ride in Peace, Eric Steven Glasnapp.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cycling Claremont: Special Olympics Host City

Claremont is one of the regional host cities for athletes participating in this year's Special Olympics in Los Angeles. This evening the Ibis H. took me to Memorial Park where a concert  was held for all the participants being housed here; there are contingents from Curacao, Latvia, and the Republic of Georgia. Oh, and Bolivia, don't forget Bolivia (as I did when I originally posted). The Latvians seemed more interested in playing a little soccer along with the El  Roble cheer squad (who by the way were doing a terrific job at welcoming everyone), while the Curacaoians and Boivians were all into dancing to the tunes being belted out by the Ravelers. One of the athletes was very much into befriending everyone, and she wove her way through the gathered audience shaking everyones hand. 

If you find yourself around any event venues during the games, I encourage you to check them out; I am sure everyone participating, in whatever capacity, will appreciate it. Bonus, you also get to witness people putting their heart into doing what they love.

regrettably I did not have my good camera with me

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

As It Is

"Damnit." Failed again.

I have a difficult enough time with sand as it is. Continuing to turn the cranks around while speed invariably decreases normally seems to be a futile proposition. Much more efficient to dismount on the fly and run. Perhaps. Unlike that bit of tricky trail that you never fail to clear once you finally succeed at it, this double obstacle is hit and miss for me. For some reason the need to duck down while continuing to power along, as often as not, proves to be too much. As it is with many of these things, the obstacle to overcome is as much a mental one as it is a physical one.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Blues: Space

a fraction of a bike parking lot at UCSB

Too bad parking lots such as this one are limited to cities of Europe and university campuses here at home. By my unofficial count I tally approximately eighty bikes locked up here. When you factor in the travel lane, space for backing up and turning, how many motor vehicles would fit within the same amount of space? Ten, maybe? Turn that around and how much space is required to park an equal number of motor vehicles? 

Think of all the things that could be used with that space, all the activities that could take place. I know, the point has been made for generations now, and probably goes back to the advent of the motor. So how many American generations does it take before society realizes that there is a better way, a better use of space?

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Dirty Chain Gang Rides Again, 19 July

And a more ornery bunch of mudslingers you're unlikely to ever see.

I am afraid I have probably gone and made a mess of the Apple Dumpling Gang theme song, but so be it; if you're going to hang me, you'll have to catch me first:

Well they saddled up in Claremont Town, knob tires and all them gears
And they rode their way across the sage frontier
As they sought their fun and glory, their legend up and sprang

And they soon became the Dirty Chain Gang
And they called them the Dirty Chain Gang.

It wasn't long, they'd been gone from the city line
And people knew their names from far and near (Far and Near!)
Well they shook up Marshall Canyon and Claremont Hills to boot
Some folks was out to hang all the riders of the Dirty Chain Gang
And they called them the Dirty Chain Gang.

It wasn't Jesse James or old Black Bart for whom the posses rode
Even though there was a price upon their heads
It was Pete, and Trish, and Matt the town folk up and sang
And all them other riders called the Dirty Chain Gang
And they called them the Dirty Chain Gang.

And they called them the Dirty Chain Gang.

The bunch stayed extra close to home this weekend - riding up through Burbank Canyon in the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park and then down through Marshall Canyon over in La Verne. All that highly unusual July rain that hit yesterday made the trails extra fun today - the surface d.g. was extra grippy, while Marshall Creek and the puddles in shady hollows along that down hill run existed entirely for us to splash through and arrive home covered in mud and grit.

More photos can be found in the Flickr album (the same photos in the slideshow below).

Created with flickr slideshow.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Randomness

Today at the Tour de France: I knew Greg Van Avermaet was a strong rider, but was anyone betting that he could hold off Peter Sagan in a two-up sprint? That he managed to do it while leading from the front, made the win that much more impressive.

It has been a while since I last rode the Felt. Ever since discovering that I really liked how the KHS 29er rode, this one has been collecting dust and spider webs. Oh, the son might pedal around on it if I cajole him to hit the trails with me, but that is a rarity. Anyway, I have got the idea lodged in my mind to bring it out when the Dirty Chain Gang rides again, this coming Sunday. So I dusted it off, put some pedals on it, raised the saddle, and took it for a spin at Bonelli in order to reacquaint myself with how it rides and handles. It was a good outing.

The Bonelli Pine may not be a famous as its cousin, the Monterey Cypress, but the way it grows out over the water and this bit of rocky shore is pretty appealing.

Peace from the 2012 Series Points Leader, or someone wearing the jersey, anyway.

And finally: Evidence that riding a bike is just better. While heading home from Bonelli I was stopped at a light. Catching some movement out of the corner of my eye, what do is see coming down Garey and through the intersection but some dude riding Superman style, stomach to the saddle, arms out front, legs straight behind, flat as a board, clearly having some fun on his commute to where ever. 

Yeah, just like that, but with more traffic - the Superman pose as demonstrated by Tiffany Cromwell from a Pin on Pinterest.

Have a good weekend y'all - French Festival this Saturday (also runs through Sunday) means I get to do some riding up in Santa Barbara, followed by crepes and oo-la-la. Then Dirty Chain Gang on Sunday. Not a bad couple days ahead.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bikes in Film: While We're Young

Pretty hip flick which had some decent moments, but would have been just another movie the wife wanted to see if not for the riding scenes. Alright, so clearly Adam Driver did his own "look ma, no hands" riding, but the guy on the smaller Schwinn does not quite look like Ben Stiller to me. Well, maybe it is just a case of "race face" and a low-quality photo.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This Bud's For You, 15 July

For some reason Triumph as been cycling through my playlist a lot lately:

"All your life you've been waiting for your chance
Where you'll fit into the plan
But you're the master of your own destiny
So give and take the best that you can…

Fight the good fight every moment
Every minute every day
Fight the good fight every moment
It's your only way."

Sometimes, when I am especially lazy, I would like to make these vague music / lyric references, then simply say something like "use your imagination." No further explanation. You'll either see it, wonder if there is some additional point to the rambling, or move on to something more relevant.

Well, I am not sure if tonight's Bud's Ride victor had been waiting all his life for the chance to win the weekly crown, but who knows? Anyway, this Bud's for you:


second and third

fourth and fifth

the lead group of six winding it up - actually 1st, 2nd and 3rd are winding it up. I think 4th and 5th have already realized they are out of it

Nothing Like That

I don't wish to be an anti-Froomeite, I really don't. I would prefer to give him the benefit of doubt, as I once did for L. Armstrong. But then all those "I have never tested positive" and "what more can I do" sound so very familiar. Then, when he goes and destroys the hopes of every living thing around him, it seems all too familiar as well. There is just too much doubt in professional cycling anymore for me to get as deeply into it as I once was. The action is as good as it ever was, but that dark cloud constantly shadowing the peloton is like a warning - "keep your distance, it is best not to get too close." It sucks, of course, for anyone [is there anyone] not a part of that taint, but that cloud casts everyone in its shadow.

We are deep into Tour time now, two weeks in, and at the start of the mountain stages (always my favorite). I should be stoked for the show and pageantry; there are even three coworkers willing to talk the Tour on any given day, yet I am struggling to keep interested. I have only watched a couple stages, but I check the results in the paper each morning, and at least ten websites / blogs keep me informed on all the day's action and what is still to come. And so I hang back, a few bike-lengths at least. 

There was a time - when people found out I raced bicycles on my weekends, they would invariably respond: "Oh, like the Tour de France." "Yeah, something like that" I would respond. Today the disconnect is strong and wide, commonality a hazy waver on some distant point up the road. "Yeah, something like that" is now more likely to be "Ha, no, nothing like that."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How to Wear A Cycling Cap: Fred De Bruyne

Wear one when you are all in.

"Look at his feet, look at his feet" (check CyclingNews to find what that means).

Let me be frank for a minute - in a rather short period of time (a span of eight years) Belgian Fred De Bruyne kicked butt, stomping his competition, and winning many of the biggest races of the time. Those wins started in 1954 when he won three stages of the Tour de France. Two years later he won another three stages, in addition to Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. In 1957 he added the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and Paris-Tours to his, now stellar list of Classics victories. 1958 brought second wins in both Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Paris-Nice, and then in 1959 De Bruyne claimed a third win at Liege. He capped an already impressive career palmares with a 1961 win in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. If those road wins were not enough to make him one of the most prolific "big-race" champions of the era he also, as did many road racers in those days, take his talent to the track where he won the Six Days of Ghent in both 1957 and 1959. For three straight years 1956 to 1958 De Bruyne won the year-long Desgrange-Colombo point competition.

De Bruyne kept close to the sport following his retirement - he became a team manager, a team spokesman, a commentator, and wrote the biographies of Rik Van Steenbergen, Rik Van Looy,  Patrick Sercu, Peter Post, and the memoirs of his own career.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Blues: Smoke's No Joke

David Harmon was commenting on the smoke from some flares drifting across the road during the final few kilometers of last Friday's stage at the Tour. Essentially he said the riders were at their maximum effort, their lungs "fully open" and that having to inhale all that smoke was no joke. You could see the riders moving as far to the other side of the road as possible, but still passing through the cloud of soot, and Harmon noted that the UCI officials should be made aware of the trouble, to which Sean Kelly responded "sure, we'll tell the UCI. The smoke's no joke."

Anyway, later that morning I was out for a nice peaceful ride along the SGRT when I couldn't help but notice those two jokers riding up on me from behind. Regrettably it was what they were riding that was the cause of my sudden apoplexy. Those little minibikes are, of course, notorious for the inordinate amount of black soot they belch out. The smoke's no joke quickly came to mind, and though these two were relatively exhaust free the din of their approach, pass and departure was enough to shatter whatever semblance of calm I possessed. 

The SGRT is a motor-free zone folks, but since there is never any enforcement south of the Santa Fe Dam, well, I guess you are only in the wrong if you get caught…

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

How Many Does it Take?

Yeah, the old joke wasn't originally made for either the Psycho-lists Dirty Chain Gang, or mountain bike flat tires. Never-the-less, and as the shoe fits, lets see if I can get it right:

1. One to hold the bike,
2. One to take off the rear wheel,
3. One to supply a new tube,
4. One to put the new tube in,
5. One to pump up,
6. Two to stand around and joke,
7. One to stand around and take photos,
8. One to discover the front tire is also flat,
9. One to supply a second new tube,
and repeat.

I think that covers it - nine DCG riders. Good thing we had that many this morning or we would have been in trouble. Seriously though, it was another awesome ride with a great group. As usual, some of the more technical sections put both my hardtail, and myself on edge. I would say this was a bit more advanced than the ride of two weeks ago, but bikes and riders came through unscathed. Two new sections of trail for me - the alternative to the crossing of the dam (quite a little climb involved there), and a goat track back up to the road. Follow it all up with breakfast, Portland Naked Bike Ride stories, a lot of laughter, and I could not have asked for a better start to the day. I don't think I am alone in that belief.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Weekending C&V: Rollfast "Press Bike"

Unlike its more widely marketed cousin, the Rollfast "Hopalong Cassidy" bike, this Rollfast "Press Bike" had a very narrow target. Reporters on the mean street beat in big cities, and the quiet lanes of country towns could be seen riding in hot pursuit of all the stories of a day in early and mid-century America. Long sleeves pushed up to their elbows, coattails flapping in the breeze and, if Superman taught us anything, the ever-present necktie waving horizontally behind them, the intrepid newspaper men would mount their Rollfast to quickly make their way to whatever story might be breaking. A bank hold-up, the arrest of yet another crooked politician, a broken fire hydrant, or a cat stuck in a tree. Let the Tour de France charge through town, the reporter, with notepad clenched between teeth, could be seen pedaling furiously, weaving between team cars in an extraordinary effort for just a momentary backside glimpse of Coppi, Anquetil, or Poulidor. Surmounted with Kodak's finest Vollenda 620 [actually I am not sure of this particular model], the shots might often be fuzzy but, until GoPro perfected the technology, there was no better way to get up close to the action. Oh, and then…

Yeah, good story perhaps, but I don't think so.

as seen at the Long Beach Bikefest

This is a D.P. Harris Manufacturing Company 'Rollfast' bicycle. According to Dave's Vintage Bicycles the D.P. Harris Hardware and Manufacturing Co production of the Rollfast bike goes back to the 1890s. In the early 1900s Harris teamed with the H.P. Snyder Company. Snyder eventually came to manufacture most of the bicycle, with Harris providing some of the parts and taking care of marketing. While Snyder made the Rollfast model into the 1970s I can make out the name D.P. Harris Mfg Co on the head badge of this one suggesting they may have been the primary partner at the time this one came off the line, possibly as early as the 1930s. 

That stuff is alright, but what I really like about this bike is the Press badge and camera mount. I don't believe either were standard. While the badge seems possible (I could see a newspaper reporter riding around 1930s Gotham in search of stories, the camera mount seems just for fun -  the shutter speed of the Kodak would be a bit slow, and completely useless on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dropped His Rattles

"The danged thang come straight outta Hell if it came outta anywhere, I tell ya what! A green flash like to cause me to drop m'rattles, and some dumb somabitch perched atop, s'pposedly in control'a the durned thang. Eyebis [Ibis, ed.] it was called. Huh, ibis that's one we won't be see'n ridin' 'round here anymore. Hell, once I realized what was a goin' on I whipped aroun' so fast he probly pissed his pants, I tell ya what!"

"Heck, i'm surprised he didn' fall over paralyzed with fright, or heck, dropped dead not another ten feet along the trail. If there were any real justice in the world…"

"I tell ya what."

"But no, i reckon he'll go on home to tell all his friends 'bout how he rode away unscathed from the biggest, baddest rattler he'd ever chanced upon. Maybe he's one o' them blogsters, goin' to write about it, let them folks who don't need t' know 'bout it, all know about it. You know what I mean, son. Hmmmmph."

"Gettin' so a snake cain't cross the trail in peace anymore, without some durned fool a tryin' to imprint his tire tracks across m'backside. How's that for respect? I tell ya what - it ain't in the least bit!"

"Justice, huh? Hows about just a little respect. I cain't get so much as a smidgen of the one, let alone t'other."

You can just make him out in all that buckwheat. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a certain knack for crossing paths with the rattle-tailed creatures. While I believe this dude was smaller than the behemoth that lives atop Telegraph Peak, it isn't by much, and puts him safely in the number two position. 

There I was, just starting the dirt portion of the Cross Town Loop in the evening - I had hopped off the paved Thompson Creek Trail and onto the dirt trail of Powerline when I suddenly happened upon the dude heading across the path. In the second it took for my heart to skip a beat I threw the bike to the right, and narrowly missed crushing those beautiful rattles. In all the instantaneous confusion, I am sure the creature was convinced he was being attacked and swung around faster than you can imagine possible. As I came to a stop and swung around for a photo I glanced down at my leg just to make sure. Trying to look impressive before another rider on the TCT, I was carrying a little extra speed this time; if I had been going just a little slower, he might very well have got me.

It is unlikely he will be at the same spot twice, right?

How to Wear a Cycling Cap: Roger Hassenforder

Even when they are all bent out of shape.

Hassenforder rode professionally between 1952 and 1965, beginning with the Bertin-d'Alessandro Team, before moving on to a procession of others - Mercier-Hutchinson, La Perle-Hutchinson, Saint Raphael-Geminiani, Alcyon-Lerous, and Bertin-Porter 39-Milremo. Interestingly most of this major victories came in the Tour de France where he won eight stages and, in 1953, wore the Yellow Jersey for four days. Beyond those wins, Roger was a three time champion of the Criterium International (1954, 1956, 1958), won the Tour du Sud-Est in 1953, the GP des Allies and Ronde d'Aix-en-Provence in 1954, the Tour de Picardie in 1955, and a stage of the Vuelta in 1957. Other wins came in less-known races as well.

If you ever find yourself in Kayserberg, France check out Chez Roger Hassenforder, the restaurant/inn established by the former Tour champion at the end of this racing career. If I read correctly, the establishment may no longer be owned by him, but the current owners have retained the memorabilia connected to him. Felix Levitan, Tour Director, said of Hassenforder: "He has an athletic body, a round head halo of frizz, amazing eyes, lively, fun, spontaneous smile and a vocabulary to thrill," calling him the life and soul of his team. This website has some short, fun clips from the 1953 and 1955 Tours.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Blues: Fuji Royale

That is a bike built for a tall person. However, judging by the way the seat is slammed almost all the way down, I have to think that it is oversized for the person riding it. That might not be the case, but considering the evidence presented that is my verdict. Late '70s to early '80s. A post from a couple years ago noted that Fuji began to offer a side pull brake option in 1981 and that the 1980 and '81 model Royale's were not equipped with braze-ons for water bottle cages. Pretty standard fare here (even the nicely imprinted 'Fuji' crank arms were standard at that time), nothing spectacular, but after some thirty-five years it is still doing what it was meant to - getting the job done.

Blue: A color, a mood or emotion, a genre of music. Tune in each Monday for another installment of the Blues, with a cycling twist.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Biking Claremont 4th of July

Were there more bikes that people? Was Indian Hill flowing curb to curb with patriotic bedecked two and three-wheelers? Should Cycle Claremont be revived? Is there not a defunct local golf course that could be made over into a bike park? Is anyone out here not wearing red, white and/or blue? Has the city's finest bike patrol been reduced to a single rider? Why do the campus police (Claremont Colleges) not ride bikes, rather than those little electric carts?

I have missed the last couple Independence Day celebrations in town, and forgot how much fun they are - from the pancake breakfast in the morning, to the festival, through the parade, and into the evening get-togethers and fireworks, it can be a full day.

Created with flickr slideshow.


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