Sunday, August 26, 2012

We may get a tandem. That's what married couples do, right?

My fiance and her new Sirrus
Just a brief note today.

After being with this woman for almost three years, never having a fight or raising a voice, taking countless rides and one tour with her and being insanely happy, I decided the only smart thing to do was keep her forever. And to that end, I asked her to marry me. She said yes.

In some ways, it makes things more formal between us. But in others, it doesn't change much. We are going to be together for a long time. As it stands, I have to live to be eighty to make all the tours and trails we want to do.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

gathering dust, shaking it off

We've been off of our rides of late. Doing some hikes.

Mostly I think it's a function of too many people and too much heat. All those days over 100 degrees wore us down. And when the heat broke, it turned in to a traffic problem.

Fortunately, we live somewhere where the solution is obvious. Go west and climb in to the mountains. Wandering among the tall pines can get the head uncluttered and settle the nerves.

We're off to Arizona for a week to visit family. And unfortunately we'll not be biking.

But, when we return, I have a strong desire to meander County Road 8 out of Phippsburg. The gravel miles have been lacking this year, and time in a national forest would be welcome, too.

Best of both worlds. Shaking the dust off by raising it on the backroads.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our LBS and The Girlfriend Test

Olympus XA, Maco MW 100 

I'm kind of a snob about where I buy stuff.

I admit we bought my girlfriend a cheap bike to begin with because she wasn't sure she'd like riding. Turns out, I was creating a monster. Now she hates doing much else.

Which is good, because she figures in to the litmus test of how we chose bike shops. I call it "The Girlfriend Test."

She goes in to grab a part, and based on how she is treated, we decide to shop there or not.

Testing went as follows:

Performance Cycle on Colorado: Argued with her about size of tube she needed, ultimately selling her the wrong size. Attitude was "She's a girl. What can she know?"

BikeSource on Colorado: Wandered store for 20 minutes. Ignored. Left.

Ok, so the chains are right out. Let's try the little guys.

Bicycle Doctor: Way too busy to get to helping her, all three times. Good for them that business is good, but we kind of like getting waited on.

Cycle Analyst: Worst of the lot. I called ahead and asked if a particular tire was available. It was, they had over a dozen in stock, I sent her over to buy a pair. She walked in, and they told her they didn't have that tire and what she really needed was a pair of Schwalbe Marathons or something. I'm sure they were nice tires, but putting $160 worth of turing tires on a $50 frankenbike was absurd. She didn't buy from them despite some shady pressure tactics.

Which brings us to our current LBS.

Turin treated her right from the get go. Right answers, right attitude, friendly. And we're in there buying things on a frequent basis as a result. We bought two new bikes there in the last year, and I'm already looking at another. Instead of treating her like she was an idiot simply because of her gender, they actually seem to love waiting on her. The owner commented he likes her because she's so enthused about riding, and a happy customer was the best thing ever. As tight fisted as I am, I like giving money to local people who take care of folks right.

Turin Bikes, Denver CO

Now if I just had more storage space, I'd see about that new bike . . .

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Family Portrait

My Globe Daily 3, my girlfriend's Specialized Sirrus
Taken with my Olympus XA, Ilford Delta 100 pushed to 400
The composition is pretty poor, but these are our bikes. I've had my Globe for a year or so now, she just got her Sirrus. I'm running out of lungs chasing her. Seems moving her to a bike that's about ten pounds less and higher geared is going to lead me to having to spend more time off the saddle in high gear.

But she grins non stop on the thing, and spends time plotting on sneaking a ride in constantly. Her first commute to work, about 15 miles each way, is tomorrow. She already put a rack on it for her panniers by herself. She can't wait.

So there we were, where the trail ends, north of Thorton, bright sun, good time being made, about to turn around and dash back to beat the thunderstorms.

Want to know the truth about bicycles?

It's pretty cool and lots of fun to ride them when you're a kid. And that never changes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Sometimes, you just have to go where there are no people.
Headframe, abandoned shaft mine, Cripple Creek Mining Distrct

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Geared Hubs, revisited

It has been just over a year with my Globe Daily 3. A year of gravel, chat, bike paths, city streets, commuting, touring, and some of the best spinning of petals I have ever experienced. Here's what I like about this bike.

My Globe 3, north of Denver in Adams County
 Shot with an Olympus XA on Kodak Ektar 100
Previously, I've ridden frankenbikes. The last before this one was built on a frame from 1964. Heavy, and rough. This bike seemed to have come from another world, at first. I felt as if it was pulling me up hills and could coast forever. The difference between a 50 pound bike and a 26 pounder was like day and night.

I had wanted reliability. The Globe has delivered. Aside from a few brake adjustments, chain cleaning and  lube, and a couple of tubes, there has been nothing to do with this bike except ride it. Which is exactly how things should be in my world. And I wouldn't have needed the tube replacements except for a sidewall defect in the rear tire.

I change things as they become problems. The seat was an issue according to a lot of reviewers. I'd have to say it's just adequate. It works with bike shorts, but not so much without. I'm looking in to a Brooks, but I do a lot of parking on streets, so I'll have to remove it when I lock up. Caliper brakes aren't the best, but I can fix them in the field. Discs and such, not so much. I've really only had issues with handlebars. The limited hand positions keep leading to numbness. It's time for this to change. Perhaps a new head, but definitely new bars. I find myself racking up serious miles, day in and day out. Being comfortable wouldn't hurt.

It likes to roll along at around 12 to 15 mph. That range seems ideal, for four to six hours. The hub has been like every one I've owned, flawless and bulletproof. I could go faster, but I'm not looking for that. I like thinking and talking to my girl while I ride. Target heart rates don't enter in to that.

This bike will be around for a while. And that's about the best recommendation I can make.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bit of bad news . . .

This is a goat. An Angora goat to be precise. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of this post. Except for this fact: I shot this with my Nikon F3.

The very same F3 that gave up the ghost this week.

Honestly, the camera is not the thing that determines my ability to take a picture. It's the eye, it's always been said, not the gear. Which is true.

That being said, however . . .I miss my F3. When I was in J school in the 80s, I lusted after the F3. The hot shot pros used them, and they were fabulously expensive. I'd never be able to afford one. Money would always be between me and that camera. Then the digital revolution made things cheap in the film camera world, and I snagged one.

And now, I'm off to go down the rabbit hole of KEH to get another one. The insanity . . .

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I need to spin the cranks for a bit.  I know, just a few miles away, there are some trails that need to be covered. But, it's barely in to the double digits out there, and more snow is bearing down on us. Now is really not the time to head out. There are limits on how much cold I can endure and how much snow I can navigate. Even if the sky is beautiful, and my ears miss the siren song of spinning tires.

I'm being productive. I've begun mapping a route out past Fort Collins for the spring and summer. A century of gravel and rolling hills. Looking at the roads with google earth and plotting. Looking up some much needed gear and making some judicious purchases. I'm testing some emulsions and development/agitation strategies for some new work I'll be undertaking next week.

Waiting. I've never been good at it. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

North Platte and Sand Creek

It was almost 60 last saturday.  Those temps mean one thing this time of year- a break from the winder doldrums, and a ride!

Most folks in Denver go South on the Platte River Trail. Towards suburbia, and maybe a jaunt up the mountains to Morrison and Red Rocks.

My girl and I swim upstream. We go north, in to industry and decay.
Past the slumbering park, waiting for summertime screaming and squealing of delight to resume. Getting to ride a part of the trail not open to bikes. This is usually only for pedestrians, but the new light rail bridge construction has the other side of the trail closed. It's nice to see something new on a ride.

Past the unused bridge where doomed cattle went to slaughter, across the river from the stockyards. The smell on the breeze reminded us it was Stock Show season, and made us grateful it wasn't warmer. We went to see the show the next night, watching the clydesdales pull an eight ton sled. Tractor pulls sans tractors.

We always stop at this park. It was once a water treatment plant for the city. It was abandoned and known as "Pirate City" for a while, rife with gangs and scrappers. Now it's full of remaining concrete pipes and shapes, with sayings written by school children wanting us to be nice to each other and not tell secrets, because that's mean.

Most folks want something more bucolic than this. But there's a certain attraction to the back sides of a city, where work gets done and the supports that allow the day to day living to carry on can be seen. And through it, a zipping lane of cyclists. On every face this day was a smile.

Smiles my girl and I shared in, as the trail wound down in to nice solid chat.

We'd stolen a day from winter. No snow, no slush, no frostbite. Just endless sky with puffy clouds, and sleeping grass, waiting for spring rains to return to outrageous shades of green. A day to remind us why we missed our rides, and loved our bikes.

I used the last of my outdated Ferrania film from Italy in my XA on this jaunt. This little walleyed camera is growing on me.