We do more than just ride bikes...

Sometimes, we ride our bikes in order to also skate ski, lest anyone think we have one track minds or anything. We're well rounded people around here.

I Gained Great Insight Last Night

Last night as I was riding my bicycle home from a pleasant dinner party I gained new insight into my life.  A Jeep Cherokee speeding by me on Olive street let me in on a little secret that it seems I would have known about myself but apparently didn't - that I'm a faggot. 

I've always found myself attracted to the fairer sex and have even dated a few of them with pretty good success.  So you can imagine how much it took me by surprise to learn that not only I, but apparently all bicyclists are faggots.  According to this speeding prophet who was so excited to share his news, stuck his whole head out the passenger window to inform me that, "Only faggots ride bikes!" 

I was quite taken aback by this news as it means not only am I a faggot, but apparently all the people I've been hanging around with lately.  Now I'm a pretty sensitive guy when it comes to peoples life choices and I thought I had a pretty good sense of who people are but this new information has proved me wrong.  I have some friends who I'd have never guessed were faggots.  But, according to the wise man in the Jeep on Olive street those friends of mine are all just faggots. 

So in conclusion I welcome all the faggots in the land to stand up, quit being shy of your faggotness and let the world know just how faggoty you are.  And that you're proud to be a faggot.  Long live faggots! 


Anyone who knows me knows that while I love bikes and ride bikes daily, I still really like cars. However, I'm not a fan of this whole bailout thing, and while I won't get into it here, I will put this up:
See the rest of the story here.
EDIT: Originally from here.


So ahh...

Anybody wanna play some polo tonight? eh?

Get your friends, and get to the place at 7.

Bozeman Fix Now On Utterli

Today I set up a couple of Utterli groups, one for this blog, and one for the Practical Pedal.
For you normal folks, Utterli takes Twitter a step further by allowing text, audio, and visual posts via computer or cell phone. There's a bit of a Facebook-like quality with Utterli as well, since one can create groups which anyone can belong to. Fix Utterli updates will show up on the big white box to the right. The hope is that stuff not really worth putting a whole post about will end up there.
So yeah, we're going to throw more useless content at you. We're nerds, what can I say?




Whad the huh?

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to be your computer on acid while getting hit by lightning enough to send a video to Marty's grandparents in the future and checking it on Compuserve express delivery pants game.

Yes, it's a game. (?)

Fixed Gear Cyclists are Jerks?

Over on Fixed Gear Gallery, there's a little discussion about the MPLS Fixed site and forum. Now, I've been accused of being pretentious and snotty (it's lonely at the top, but it's comforting to look down upon everyone on the bottom), and then there's the tri-geek who beat up the cyclist who recommended that he get a light, but I think that the MPLSF guys take the cake.

"Please explain, in a paragraph or more, why you would like to join MPLSFixed and what you hope to gain from - and contribute to - this forum, Single sentence applications like "I like bikes" will not be approved."

To which I propmtly tried to join in, because one of the only thing better than snorting in derision towards the lowly geared riders is hanging out with people who are almost as good as me.

Think I'll get in?


Let the Smack Talk begin

Cap'n E picked hisself up a load-haulin' bike that wants to out load-haulin' bike THE load-haulin' bike. Naturally, this prompted the Practical Pedal folks to propose a little Madsen / Xtracycle shootout.

Time to haul some schitt!!

Winter Cycling Primer

Those of you in Bozeman noticed that since the weather a few days back the streets are a bit slick. And now, after a couple of days, some salt, and some sunshine they're also pretty messy.

That does not mean, however, that you need to stop commuting by bike, much less stop having fun riding through town.

For fun and effective winter riding, you need to focus a bit more on three things: Tires, clothes, and fenders.

Tires: Carbide Studded. That's it (for BZN, at least). Anything less than two carbide-studded tires won't do crap. Sorry, that's how it is. There's one discount brand (Innova) with hardened steel studs but those tend to wear out faster than the MASH SF crews' rear tires.

Good studded tires are expensive- there's no way around it. But if you're serious about winter commuting they're necessary. Can you imagine a tennis player without wristbands? Exactly.
Expect to spend about $150 on a set. Think of it as an investment (they'll last a few years) and insurance (you'll (usually) stay upright). Now that you've made the decision to get a set, you need to decide on what width. In 700, Schwalbe makes a 35 and 45mm. I've got the 35's, so I might be a bit biased.

But that's only 'cuz they ROCK. Nokian makes 45's as does Kenda. Personally, I prefer the Schwalbe's tread for street use. In 26" the narrowest I've seen is 1.8, again by Schwalbe. Full size 26x2.1 and wider can be had by Nokian and Kenda, but if you're looking for the best all-around winter commuter tire, go with the thinnest you can. A wider tire tends to feel a bit more stable and predictable on glare ice, but will wander and drift when you hit deep/churned snow and slush. Thinner tires with a more rounded profile will cut through the thick mashed-potatoey snow a lot better.

Clothes: Multiple thin layers. Preferably wool. This morning, at 9 degrees I had thin Smartwool underwear top and bottom. Mid-thick wool socks, my favorite Endura knickers, Nike soft-shell jacket, a thin cap under my helmet, and fleese-lines leather hardware store gloves rounded out my ensemble. Since I ride clipless, I got a pair of Pearl Izumi GTX Mid GoreTex cycling shoes. A little bit spendy, but less than dedicated winter cycling shoes and they still provide decent warmth. They also look like sneakers.
Aim for being a bit chilly when you first get on the bike, that way you're less likely to get overheated a few minutes into your ride. Sunglasses with lightly-tinted lenses help to keep yer eyeballs from freezing!

Fenders: You wanna know what's worse than having your girlfriend (or boyfriend) find out your secret miniature dachsund puppy porn collection? Bike commuting without fenders. Really. Even when the temps drop to well below freezing there's still plenty of the messy slushy stuff that will get flung onto your crotch from both wheels. How's that sound, Mr. Poopy-pants?

I'm also a fan of fixed-gear bikes for winter. And summer. Spring and fall too. Anyone who wants to maximize their riding vs. maintenance time should consider one. Plus you have more control in the snow and ice. Unless you're riding like this guy.


Studded Tires Don't Make Up for Dumb.

Incidentaly, this is what happens when you mix alcohol and......well thats usually all you need to cause an incident such as this. The snow doesn't help but in all likelyhood this would have happened just as easily on dry pavement. Note the location of the victim v/s the bike. Clearly this guy was high-sided. Clearly!

Not Bike Related!

Some one didnt ride a bike today. Yet. But I did get some turns in. Hey, its part of my fix! It was bitter cold, about 5 degrees and sunny! Good times!

Fresh Snow = Scenic Route

The snow had stopped falling about an hour ago, the sun dipped below the horizon about two. The temperature when I woke up was a balmy 50 degrees, now it had plummeted a full 35 degrees to a mere 15. Now, it feels cold. In less than a month, fifteen will be welcome.

Clouds still hung over town, reflecting the orange glow characteristic of sodium vapor lights. They continued at a stately pace towards the east with a barely perceptible breeze enough to just notice your hair being brushed. Over the Bridger Mountains, over the Bangtails, over the Crazies, each time depositing a bit more snow on the western foothills and slopes.

I stood on the sidewalk in amazement at this sight. Streetlights reflected off the thin layer of ice on the road, buffed to a sheen by passing cars. Two inches of fairly light snow on top, enough to easily slice through with my 35mm tires but just dense enough to drift through turns if I wanted to. I was headed home from a friend's place, and it was a quick North then East route to get home, not even a mile. I wouldn't even be warm by the time I arrived.

I headed West instead. The side streets, silent with most people staying in this first real winter night, were blissful. My studded tires made a subtle sound on the smoother ice, much like a zipper. The rare slushy areas at intersections posed no problem either with my full fenders and ample Surly mudflap. Fixed gear for freedom in this season- freedom from skipping chains, slipping freewheels, frozen derailleurs, icy brakes.

Turning on to Main street I let the front get a bit loose and deftly brought the bike back to a state of dynamic stability by giving the back a wiggle- now there's two wheels drifting...nice. Stopped at a light, a Suburban pulls up. The driver is safe and warm in his steel and plastic cocoon. I am safe with the control my bicycle provides and warm from the joy that only comes from physical exertion. The light turns green, I easily get the holeshot. I ride the wave of green lights for five blocks, the Suburban falls behind a bit more with every light. Finally I turn off and head out to the industrial part of town. The familiar orange glow is more visible now and clearly delineates the clouds. An occasional streak of red and white light signals a car on the interstate. I cross the tracks and take a quick left onto the spur trail towards the old mill. A mile of powder and even more solitude is my reward. Over the bridge and back on the dirt road to head back into town, I'm riding faster and quieter than I ever have here without the dry gravel slowing me down.

It's another lap down main street, then catching and passing an Audi driver. I've got a few more side streets to ride before I get home, but by now I'm getting the feel of the tires when I'm cornering, leaning a bit more, taking the turns a bit faster. I roll in my driveway and brush the cold powder off my legs before walking in to my place.

Winter provides some of the best cycling opportunities. You just have to see them.