A random collection of thoughts associated with the sport of cycling, as relayed by one hopelessly devoid of too many competing interests. It's a one track blog I'm afraid. But hey, if you like bikes you might enjoy it. So keep reading and the worst that'll happen is it might rot your brain..

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rain and Prince Buster

Lots of it. Coming down in buckets today and tomorrow. Someone has been trying to get me to race the 3/4 'cross in Bedford. Yeah, right. 45 minutes of slaughter, and I don't mean the band. Not gonna happen this time. Although, if the regular 4 races are all stacked with 75 racers I may have to start doing some of the 3/4 races, if simply to avoid racing with that many people. 75 guys hitting the first turn on skinny little knobbies in the wet grass? Oh, yeah, that'll be a piece of cake! No thanks. I crash rarely but when I do it's usually a painful affair, no need to push my luck. I'm still finding new bruises today after a really ungraceful head first rock tasting last night. That's what I get for attempting to ride a rigid SS like the Rip 9 in Foxboro. Endos on 29ers are fairly rare but they are weird, awkward and scary. It take a fair bit of unyielding momentum to bring these things up and over, there's usually a stall, and then it all goes down fast. At least, that's how it's gone the few times I've pulled it off. I'm not a professional so take my word for what it is. The good news is the bike is fine, save for a few scratches and a gouge in the bar.

If anyone else digs SS 'cross bikes check out this beautiful looking rig from Raleigh. Yes, it's named after a beer, and that's kind of lame (but then so is Internet cycling, bike nerds and bike culture) but it is SO wonderful to look at.

No pics, nothing much else is going on so I'll leave you with some music. I've been listening to a lot of The Specials of late, it's high time to revisit what they lifted maybe?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trek Carbon Bikes.. Our Local MTB "Pistadex"?

If you are a regular reader of Bike Snob NYC then, well, you know where I'm going with this one, and you know what the Pistadex is.. For those who don't peruse the daily diatribe linked above I'll summarize; BSNYC tracks the (often outrageous) prices people try to fetch for their Bianchi Pistas. He does this because it represents to him, at least, the health of the fixed gear fad in so much that it exists as a fad. The Pista is an obvious representation of said trend, in that it's as ubiquitous in it's scene as a T-Top Camaro (or, possibly a Fiero) is in Foster Glocester. If prices are high then the movement is still alive, if they get ludicrously low (or, even just reasonable), the scene may be in it's death throes. This is cause for alarm, or celebration, dependent on your point of view.

As an unabashed bike nerd I, like many of you, scan the local cesspool known as the bicycle classifieds on Craigslist. I brave the harsh conditions of this corner of the internets like a horrible cat 4 'cross racer attempting an actual bike race (something I know a little about). Stumbling about shell shocked, and confused, I suffer the piss poor spelling, grammar, lies and all around chicanery that is CL. Attempting to digest the scribble is akin to crunching one's nuts on the nose of the saddle during a horrid blurry eyed re-mount attempt (something else I may be familiar with).

Over the last few weeks I've noticed a trend in over priced, and outdated, URT bikes. The asking prices for these rolling echo chambers indicate a few interesting things I never considered; URT bikes must be making a comeback, 26" Spinergy Rev X Rocks are a hot commodity, and "Carpet Fibre" bikes are a really big deal. Also, anything fabricated by Trek from carbon fiber (or aluminum) apparently does not lose much value after 10+ years of sitting in a dusty basement, shed or garage. In this market wobbly Judy forks, notoriously fragile frames and dry rotted tires are like the accrued interest in your Money Market account, they can only add value! What else loses only 1/2 to 2/3 of it's value over a decade?

The Trek carbon bike market is, locally at least, quite volatile. In the cases presented below local = Quincy, MA. Check out the disparity on display in the ads below. Both bikes are being sold by the same local market maker. Perhaps he's amassed a small inventory of these fine steeds in the hope of one day reaping the rewards? What does this say about the health of the market?



Another, this time it's one of the hard tails known for it's built in ejector seat that will jettison you immediately upon frame failure. Market's looking up!


And yet another bike that apparently doesn't depreciate much over 10 plus years. It is related to Trek though, and the Fisher guy did invent MTB after all, so I guess I should know better. Still, nothing but another strong indicator of a bull market for old MTBs - even those made from lesser materials.


And one more, being sold by Keith Bontrager's nephew. That must be why it's worth the $500 (1/2 retail from 5+ years ago). Oh, and lest we forget, the "garage aging" process adds to it's value. Never mind that the wheels aren't even present for the photo shoot, they're undergoing attic dry rot/oxidation conditioning. You better snap it up now before this treatment bumps the price! Speculators should really take note of this gem.


The message I received after wading through all the CL detritus is this; no matter how much new bike one could get for $500 to $1000 these days, that money would be better spent on unsupported '90s technology. Screw the warranty and the performance enhancements, and forget the shifts in MTB geometry ( c'mon, what do the present day designers and builders know anyway?). Go for that old school cool full steam! Don't utilize the best parts of the old school, just buy the whole kit and caboodle.

As Mr. BSNYC himself states, he's not sure what new trend/market folks will support next. It may well be motorcycles, as he's hinted in the past, but that would require an awful lot of mom and dad's money, and it just doesn't scream downtrodden, dirty art student the way the simple bicycle can. It's hard to sneer at people from underneath a full face helmet - despite what Shaun Palmer might have told you. And, big time downer, the leathers cover up those tats too. Of course, it might be that pedal start mopeds are the next big thing on two wheels. This would allow folks to hold on to some of the last wave of style, while appropriating some of the coolness inherent in throttle twisting. And, muffler burns are always an option, so that's a plus! Nothing is cooler than burn scars and blue tinted smoky exhaust.

As for me, well, I'm betting the new wave will be ridden in on old plastic bikes decked out with 8 speed, Brahma Bars, Onza stems and purple anodized handle bars. And don't forget the Power Grips, Bassworms and Rockrings! If anyone needs these crucial accessories, I think I can help you out with some leads on where to find them.

If you're not convinced that the local fixed thing is dying, and that carbon bikes are going to be all the rage, I leave you with the Rickey. Why else is this beautiful frame, so full of fixie conversion potential, up for grabs for only 10 clams??? Why, I ask you, WHY?


I'll leave you with a wonderful illustration of how NOT to remount your bicycle. Do not try this at home...

Monday, September 15, 2008


A bunch of things have transpired lately, some fun, some mind numbingly irritating. Here are a few pictures from a fun ride up in the Boro of Fox. Notice that Brad is totally NOT hucking the gnar. Jeez.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

NEMBA - Join or Else

Lately I've been thinking about what we wanted to do, and what have done, this year with RI NEMBA. One of our main goals was to continue the behind the scenes work on Big River, Burlingame and Arcadia. This has been tirelessly attended to by people (Pete, Jim, Lennon) without whom the organization would truly suffer. While this work continues, we decided to lay out a fairly ambitious ride and event schedule for 2008. When we looked at our membership numbers we realized we needed to do better, a lot better. Out of all the MTB riders in RI would you believe we only have ~ 160 members? We figured if we offered more rides and were more accessible membership would grow. It's still relatively early yet so we'll have to wait and see.. Either way we are continuing to hold multiple rides each week (Burlingame, Arcadia, Lincoln Woods). The idea is to provide more of a service, so to speak.

People join, or choose not to, for various reasons. When I ask people I know not to be members to explain why they won't join the answers vary. For some folks it's all about money and they feel that NEMBA has enough (they often cite the Vietnam purchase to back this up). Some just aren't "joiners", yet they attend a weekly ride organized and communicated by members. Some people think NEMBA is a bunch of dorks and that as an organization it doesn't connect with how they ride, bro. Their excuse reminds me a lot of this:

Still some people feel like they won't "get" anything out of it. Maybe they're right. There's some truth to all of the above reasons I suppose, save the excuse that NEMBA is rolling in a vault of dough ala Scrooge McDuck. Locally we don't need the money. Simply put we need numbers of people, not dollars. Why we need people should be fairly obvious, but for those still scratching their heads, and thinking it doesn't matter, ask yourself which interest groups get the most consideration in your local parks. More members means more influence. The NEMBA name, or brand as it were, carries with it a lot of good will. That good will was earned by the work of past and present members. What I'm getting at with all this is this; if you ride trails on public land in RI you owe a lot of your unfettered access to the folks in RI NEMBA, and regional NEMBA.

Personally, I joined soon after returning to New England as I used maps and directions on the NEMBA site to learn new trails. I also ran into some trail patrollers who hooked me up with maps during my early forays into Arcadia. I felt like I was using a tangible resource and that I should, at the very least, join the organization if only to lend my name to the membership list. What I was "getting" out of it was the knowledge that there was well organized group of riders, and they willing to fight for my right to ride a bike in the woods. I realized that without their work in the preceding years I'd most likely have a limited selection of trails to ride.

So yeah, that's it, that's the spiel. If you really feel you don't need to join, but you want to use the resources, that's OK too. The guy below feels for you, hell he probably is you..