Saturday, December 29, 2012


With just five riders for the 8:00 pm start we missed the carnival atmosphere that comes from a large more diverse group - the first time night rider, a light without a charge, or the inevitable mechanical breakdown that comes when some of the bikes have not have been ridden in some time. But still, we did have our moments. Like the wardrobe change which left Jim's pants dangling from a no-parking sign near the Lyndel crossing; and the frequent stops to share flasks of bourbon, root, and snap "courage" while imitating the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz.

We were back to "camp" before 9:00pm where we lit the fire and settled in under a clear sky and brilliant full moon. Bonfires foster easy conversation and this one was no different, until it took an innocent but awkward turn.  A casual gesture triggered it, and before we knew it we were knee deep in a good old fashioned outing (as in "out of the closet"). Not the conventional LGBT closet - no - this was a very dark damp musky closet. We did out best to stuff the new knowledge back into the closet and to seal the door shut. Unfortunately the Saturday morning email suggests we were not entirely successful.

We were treated to a great selection of exotic microbrews, Nathan's hot dogs roasted over the open fire (on forks "made in a fork factory"), and more flasks of "courage" before calling it early Saturday morning. The bikes and backpacks were covered in frost lit by the still brilliant full moon. Really spectacular.

Best beer presentation went to Mike (the Irish one). His entry won sort of by default but what it lacked in debauchery in made up for with high marks for practicality and combustion.


     -- The Cowardly Lion at the top of The Bobsled Run

"There Goes Tokyo"
     -- Uttered during Friday night's whirly-bird reenactment

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fire and Ice (actually mud) for Tonight

Preparations for the 7th Annual Bike Bonfire and Beer Exchange are in full swing.

Weather for tonight is 29 degrees at ride time, dropping to a low of 27 degrees at midnight.  Balmy which also means muddy.

Nothing left to do but charge the lights, load up the beer, kiss the family good night. Oh and take the following Beer Bonfire and Beer Exchange fun quiz:

What is "Sheep Dip?"
  1. Liquid formulation of insecticide and fungicide which shepherds use to protect sheep from parasites such as blow-flies, ticks and lice
  2. Half filled bath of hot soapy water shared amongst friends, used to wash off the disco dirt post clubbing or boozing before everyone crashes out on your sofa and floor
  3. Scotch whiskey enjoyed by mountain bikers around a campfire somewhere between Durango Colorado and Moab Utah
Who was featured in a full page spread in the June 2012 issue of Mountain Bike magazine?
  1. Glenn Armstrong
  2. Claus Van Traup
  3. The D2M gang
  4. Chiggers
Which of the following transportation accidents are associated with previous bike-beer-bonfire events?
  1. Riding Miller's lawn mower into the bonfire
  2. Riding Kirk's bicycle over the bonfire
  3. Riding Cathy's beach cruiser through a rock garden
  4. Riding Kaleigh's ATV over a flaming kerosene torch
  5. All of the above
Andy has a new baby-blue bike seat because:
  1. He's color blind
  2. It's slightly more manly than the hot pink one he was riding before
  3. It matches his baby-blue spandex shorts
  4. It's the only color seat Rob had in the trunk of his car
The Overlook is popular on Friday evenings because:
  1. It has a jacuzzi
  2. It has great music
  3. It has a beer tree
  4. None of the above
The 2012 trip to Raystown will be remembered for:
  1. $12 worth of firewood
  2. Night time unicycle riding
  3. 10 seatposts x 1"
  4. The First Floor Queen
  5. All of the above
  6. None of the above (it won't be remembered)
Which of the following is NOT true about the "Green Lane Tickler?"
  1. It is about 8" long
  2. It is flexible
  3. It tickles the inside of your thigh
  4. You can only get them at turnpike rest stops
Please make a nomination for your favorite Bike Ride Beer Exchange acronym::
  1. BEER (BEer Exchange Ride)
  2. BONER (BONfire Exchange Ride)
  3. BaRBIE (Beer Ride BIke Exchange)
  4. REHAB (Ride ExcHAnge Bike)
  5. ________________________ (write in nomination)
See you tonight!


"Keep riding, Nancy. It's just water and dirt.
     -- Huck And Roll

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Obsolescence, Averted

I am a bike part pack rat. My garage is filled with old bikes and parts.  Wheel sets on their last legs are hanging from the rafters in my shed.  I have milk crates filled with old bottom brackets and cranks.  Boxes of bolts, cables, and derailleurs.

And an old steel frame with a 1" head tube.  That head tube size is a casualty of the bike industry's relentless innovation.  Some of the changes are real improvements (remarkable there is anything left to innovate) but others just seem to be strategies for selling more bikes.  Like the new 12 mm x 142 mm axle standard or 650B mountain wheels. Or the 1-1/8" head tube that obsoleted this bike about 10 years ago.

But I digress.

I have found a use for that old friend with the little head tube.  Instead of collecting dust in the shed it is creating smiles in my back yard.  That's right, nothing warms the heart quite like the combination of a bicycle and Christmas tree lights. You've just gotta smile.

Happy Holidays,

Friday, December 7, 2012

Foul Weather Alchemy

The basic ingredients were not that appealing:
  • Dark (5:00 PM)
  • 37° 
  • Rain and sleet
  • Seriously sloppy trails
But two more ingredients...
  • Bikes
  • Beer
...and some Friday alchemy turned it into pure gold.  It always does.  


"Oh Goodness"
  -- Biker chick who wanted to pass me in the root garden...and Kirk