Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Monday, November 10, 2014

JIM "Jimmy T" TIERNEY...Headin' Home Via The Southern Tier Route.

"When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before."
~Mae West (1892-1980)

"I long, as every human being does, to be at home wherever I find myself." ~ May Angelou

Jim Tierney came through Silver City a week ago Sunday.  Traveling the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Route, he was on his first long distance touring trip.  Being new to this kind of effort, he was beginning to understand that this type of cycling is different.  I told Jim that a touring cyclist isn't better than other cyclists, however, there is a difference in their determination of effort.  A certain stamina is required, mostly mental but certainly physical, too, that motivates a rider to get up on day 45, pack up the bike, and ride another day.  Yes, racers, as well as other riders, need to have a set determination to get on the bike and ride, too.  I believe touring cyclists, particularly those doing long distance touring, have to pull from a mental reserve that is challenging, to say the least.  He'll learn as he goes along, as we all have.

Jim was a trip.  Funny, interesting, and good to chat with, too.  Having finished his bachelor's degree from Old Dominion in Virginia, he decided to take on an adventure before settling into more routine work.  Good decision, in my opinion.  Something that I wish I'd done when I was his age, but, that was then, this is now.
Jim is discovering the wonders of Red Breast Irish Whiskey!
Well, I couldn't let him drink that good stuff by himself!
Jim's Ride: A Specialized Tri-Cross.  A nice rig...
The complete setup with the BOB trailer...and his VERY COMFORTABLE sleeping pad.

Preparing the load on the BOB trailer.

More prep...securing the load.

Now, what was this thing again???
Managed to get a few videos of Jim with my new iPhone 5S.  The photos above are from the iPhone, too. No need for any other camera, which I like.  The first video is at our house when Jim was preparing to leave. The second one is out on Rt. 90, after riding with Jim halfway to Faywood Hot Springs (where he would spend the night), where we said goodbye and Jim headed on to Las Cruces, NM.
Jim was doing well on the bike and will interrupt the trip when he gets to San Antonio, TX, to meet up with his family in New Orleans, LA, for Thanksgiving.  Should be fun!  If you'd like to follow Jim's travels, go to Track My Tour.  Jim has another site, Biking With Jimmy T, where he describes a bit about himself and the Dave Thomas Foundation, which he's raising money for on this trip.  Take a moment to read up why he chose this foundation to fundraise for.

Ok, as usual, a tune to exit with...hmmm, let's see...what would work here?  Just discovered that Richard and Linda Thompson have a son, Teddy Thompson, who is a singer/songwriter like his parents.  And he's good, too.  Here's Teddy "Don't Know What I Was Thinking".  Now, sometimes, and I'm certain that Jim has thought this once or twice on the road, as we all have at one time or another, while on the bike out on the highway, a rider can wonder about what s/he was thinking when they decided to get on the bike and do a long tour.  This one's for you, Jim.  Best wishes for your new work in Florida after you finish this tour.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Grand Bois Cerf Blue Label Tire From Compass Bicycle...A Real Winner! 5 Stars

"To prepare for a race, there is nothing better than a good pheasant, some champagne, and a woman." - Jacques Anquetil (1934-1987), First 5 Time Tour de France Winner

Ah, that was when bicycle racing was real.  Ok, this is a revisit from new tires that I bought and put on my Vitus road bike back on 5/27/14.  Click here to read the original posting.  I had used two Grand Bois Col de Madeleine tires on the Vitus but was unimpressed that they only lasted a short time and had several punctures, which are never fun.  This is not to disparage these tires.  They were fast and comfortable to ride for an extra light tire (extra leger), however, these are more for racing than training or just doing rides.  Roads here are tough and your earn what you burn in calories here.

The Grand Bois Cerf (French for "deer") Blue Label tires, however, have been very good with no punctures, to date.  Always afraid to say things like that.  Now, I expect to have a flat the next time I'm out on the Vitus.  Just this week, I rotated the tires, rear one to the front, front to the rear, because of tread wear, which is to be expected.  The tires still look good and have performed really well for me.  Online, you can find other reviews of this tire, as well.  Many compliments out there.

Grand Bois Cerf Blue Label 700x26 tire
I give this tire, for now, a 5 Star rating, since it has performed so well.  I've put over 1,000 miles on them or more.  It smoothes out the road surface yet is a faster tire, in my opinion, than other tires I've used.  Certainly a subjective opinion, not based on data or testing by me, but, if you're looking for a great, fast, comfortable tire...this is one to consider.  I realize every rider has different needs while on the bike.  This tire will meet and exceed the needs of many who ride the roads.  In a few months, I'll let you know again how this tire is doing.

Compass Cycles sell these tires at a fairly reasonable price...$57 for the standard, 222 gram tire or $76 for the 184 gram extra leger (ultra light) tire.  Depending on what you're looking for in a tire, these are a good choice.  The standard for training; the extra leger for racing.

Now, to exit this posting...a tune for your listening pleasure.  Patsy Cline singing "Blue Moon of Kentucky" back in February1963.  Enjoy this incredible singer...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Love IS A Many Splendored Thing With Side Effects!

“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” ~ Robin Williams

“See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time.” ~ Robin Williams

First, I am truly sorry that this genius was so troubled that he believed he needed to end his life.  One of the truly amazing humans on the planet didn't make it through a bout of depression.  God speed and thanks so much for being you.

Love.  I think that the "little spark of madness" is what has helped me in my life.  Certainly, the lack of blood flow to my brain has never served me well, I assure you.  Finally, getting past the attractions, the desires, the OMG moments, and really falling in love with someone, my wife, Eileen, came late but, happily, before I died.  It's an amazing feeling all in its own right, but it does mess with my life.  When I was single, being "in love" wasn't really in my life.  Sure, there were many people who were important to me for many reasons but no one because I truly loved them.  Sounds negative, eh?  Don't mean it that way.  Yes, I love my family, friends, some things I own, some things I've done, but truly love someone?  That came later.  Thankfully.

The major pain in the ass part?  Well, when I was single, living by myself, I handled being by myself quite well, actually.  Now, having Eileen in my life and truly being in love with her....when she's gone for a while, like this week...she's at Cascadia, an Irish music camp, on Whidbey Island, WA, along with many of her friends and cohort musicians playing the music she loves.  Eileen is teaching Intro to Irish Fiddle there for the second year now.  And me?  I'm home with the cats doing some male bonding with furballs.  And I miss Eileen a lot.  I mean, a lot.  That didn't happen when I wasn't in love and when I lived by myself.  I have all the distractions and interests that I had when living by myself, but now Eileen has entered the picture.  When my Mom died, I knew my Dad must be having a hard time, having been married to my Mom for 58 years, but, until I fell in love with Eileen, I really didn't have a clue what not having someone you love around you day to day felt like.  And I don't pretend to have any inkling of what my Dad must have felt after 58 years.  How terrible that must have been.  But, like my Dad, I wouldn't have missed falling in love.  Not for a moment.  So, whoever made this possible.  Thank you...

A tune to exit with...Sam Cooke doing "You Send Me".  One of my oldies but goodies from way back when.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jake At 1zero6, Charlie Kharsa on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Race, And???

"You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there." ~ Yogi Berra

A bit of a hodgepodge in this post.  While out on my bike a few weeks ago, I encountered a cyclist, who, by the looks of his bike and his appearance, was obviously a Great Divide Mountain Bike Race racer.  His name is Charlie Kharsa, he's 49 yrs old, and he's from Davis, CA, where he and his wife work and live. She's a school teacher; he's a house painter with plans to go back to college to get a degree in criminal justice and, hopefully, a job with the State Parks system in California.  Right now, he's a mountain bike racer and loves to do ultra bike racing. 

I was out for a ride down Rt. 90 when I met up with Charlie.  He was headed south to the border of Mexico to finish the race...his last day on the bike race.  Once he made the turn on to Separ Rd, he would be closing in on the last stretch of the Great Divide Race.  What made this last stretch harder for him is that he was only able to use a single gear on his bike.  Forgot when that happened, but I was impressed with how he was managing the climbing with one gear and all the stuff on his bike.  These riders are tough.  On my way home that day, I saw two other Divide racers heading towards Separ Road.
Charlie Kharsa, Great Divide Mountain Bike Racer, at Separ Road and Rt. 90.  Still smilin'...
 On a different note, this past Friday, Eileen (a.k.a THE WIFE around these parts, pal!) and I went to 1zero6 for dinner.  Our friend, Jake, is the owner/cook.  He prefers to be called a cook.  Not into pretentious chef clothes/coats nor are there tracks in the ceiling from his nose (not egotistical, like some).  Now, he is proud of his place and his cooking skills...and we're damn happy that he's in Silver City so we can hang out with him and sample his food moods.  While we talk about Jake as being a bit eccentric and not your run of the mill cook, here's some photos to back up our commentary...Jake in his summer, Kung Fu, Ninja, Karate Guy outfit...LOL!!!  We love this guy!  And we're happy to be considered friends of his.
Mr. Karate Kung Fu Guy

Mr. Karate Kung Fu Guy giving me his Mr. Karate Kung Fu Guy Ninja look...

Jake's having trouble keeping the Mr. Karate Kung Fu Guy Ninja look happening...

Jake being Jake in his "cook" outfit...
If you should find yourself in Silver City, NM, for any reason, on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, be sure to check out Jake's place and do yourself a favor...make reservations BEFORE you get to town, so you can get a table and the food you'd like to eat.  If you pay with cash, y'all get a 5% discount on your bill.  BTW, we had a great meal last Friday night.  Always good.  So, while Jake may not be in his Mr. Karate Kung Fu Ninja outfit when you show up there, have a seat and be prepared for a very good dinner.  And look around at the very cool ambiance.  Nothing like it elsewhere in town or New Mexico.

And???  Well, nothing more to add, so it's time to exit this post.  Here's a song that I never knew that Marvin Gaye had performed, "Sunny".  One of my favs way back when..

Friday, July 18, 2014


"Even a single lamp dispels the darkness." ~ Gandhi

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

FEELING THE EARTH MOVE IN NEW MEXICO...An Earthquake in Arizona???

"It's snowing still", said Eeyore gloomily. "So it is." "And freezing." "Is it?" "Yes", said Eeyore. "However", he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately." ~ A. A. Milne, The House At Pooh Corner

Last night, around 11p.m., I had just gotten in bed and was waiting for Eileen to join me.  Since we don't have A/C or an evaporative cooler in the house, it sometimes can be a bit warm when we go to bed.  Often, we'll take a cold shower before going to bed, which cools us down and allows us to fall asleep.  I'd finished my shower and was waiting for Eileen.

Seemed like I was relaxing a bit when I thought I heard Eileen come into the bedroom.  I'd felt the bed move.  I didn't look up but did open my eyes and I didn't see Eileen.  The bed moved again.  I sat up to see where Eileen was, thinking she might be crouched down at the foot of the bed, making it move to mess with me...but no Eileen.  At that moment, Eileen called out to me from the kitchen, asking if I'd heard that "noise".  No.  No noise, just movement.  Eileen came into the bedroom, scared, wondering what the noise had been.  She also thought someone was outside the house by the bay window, rattling the window.  Uh, no, don't think anyone could "rattle" the windows. She climbed into bed, still scared, and we were talking about what it might be.  Since she hadn't been the one moving the bed, her idea that it was the house "settling" didn't seem to fit.  I mentioned that the only time I'd felt a structure move was during the earthquake I experienced in L.A. when I was living there back in 1976.  Seemed to me that a house "settling" would be a single movement, but an earthquake could be a continuous movement.  Then we fell asleep.

In the morning, I turned my phone on and saw that someone had left a voice message sometime during the night.  The time of the message was 12:07a.m.  As I started the message, I was walking out of the bedroom into the kitchen.  Lo and behold, Grant County had experienced a 5.2 magnitude earthquake around 11p.m.!!!  Actually, the earthquake epicenter was south of Safford, AZ, approximately 52 miles from Silver City, NM.  Volcanoes and earthquakes are mentioned frequently in the oral history of the Navajo and the Apache in the Southwest, as well as with other native groups in this part of the country.  Having lived in the Southwest for over 30 years, this is a first for me.  And it was the first earthquake that Eileen had ever experienced.

Ok, time to exit this post with a tune.  "The Dance" by Garth Brooks.  No connection to this event, for sure, but a song, and a country singer, that I really like.  Hope you enjoy it, too...

Monday, June 16, 2014


"Opportunities multiply as they are seized." ~ Sun Tzu

"We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we have only one." ~ Confucius

As a consumer who happens to be a cyclist, I often hear/see/read about products online, in magazines, or another cyclist has an item that catches my eye.  During this year's Tour of the Gila, held annually in Silver City, NM, I happened to be in Tyrone, NM, during the Time Trial leg of the Tour.  A friend, Karl Frisch, is a professional wrench and lives down the street from me in Silver City.  He was working for SRAM during this year's Tour.  The energy of the event is palpable...and the BIKES!  Whoa!  My credit cards were weeping.  A LOT of money in bikes there!  While talking with Karl, I overheard a guy, who was riding a Lynskey bike (yes, we cyclists notice these things...sort of like women noticing other women's clothes), talking to one of the other SRAM wrenches.  He mentioned that he worked at REI and had this cool, compact, bike tool that a guy he knew was making.  Well, something along those lines.  Made a mental note of what he said: Fix It Stick.
This Fix It Stick compact bicycle tool gets a "5 Star" rating from me.
I don't get paid to review bike products, or any other product.  Nor do I get  free product to do a review.  Even if I did, I'd still review it as I see it.  Those who review products for money and/or for free product and always say good things about the product are worthless, at best, and dishonest, at worst, maybe more.  Yes, someone can like a product and someone else may not.  I get that.  Ok, not going down THAT road.  It leads to hell.  So, Fix It Stick.  A few days after the Time Trial, I searched for Fix It Sticks.  Still wasn't sure if it warranted the exemplary commentary the Lynskey bike rider/REI worker said about it, but, what the hell, take a chance!  I ordered one...the one with replaceable bits.  $36 bucks.  Fair price in the scheme of things.  It was still in production and shipping would be by June/2014.  I got mine a bit early.  And I was immediately impressed with the solid build of the Fix It Stick.  No slouch materials or crap from China.  I ran it through some basics and I liked it.  When Eileen decided she was going to start riding her bike again as adjunct training to her running, some adjustments needed to be done to her Surly Long Haul Trucker.  Headed to the shed for my full sized tools, but stopped in my tracks and thought, hey, let's give the Fix It Stick a tryout.  Better to do it at home than on the road, IMHO.

This Fix It Stick rocks, my friends.  Rocks!  It's sturdy, made of very durable, quality materials, and feels sturdy in my hands.  It can be used as a T-style wrench or an L-style wrench with just a simple move of one part.  It gets into those places that can be troublesome and provide leverage frequently missing with some of the other "all in one" bike tools.  Was it worth the $36 bucks?  Damn right!  I liked it so much that I immediately ordered one for my nephew and sent it off to him.  Told him to send it back to me if he didn't like it and I'd put it in Eileen's bike bag.

Brian Davis is the brains behind this tool.  Sent him an e-mail telling him how much I liked the Fix It Stick and that I was sending one off to my nephew.  He liked that.  It looks like the price is $35.99 including shipping.  In my opinion, well worth it.  It is, hands down, the best bike tool I've seen in my "career" as a bike rider.  I replaced the tools that I was carrying in my seat bag with this one tool.  It comes in a carrying case made from a tube.  For most riders, only a few tools are necessary when riding around where they live.  Touring cyclists, however, have a greater need for more tools, just in case, to work on things that come up and home is not nearby nor a bike shop.  The Fix It Stick allows me to have several of the tools that I need as a touring cyclist in one small package.  I can bring other tools and fit them all into one bag in my pannier.

Your experience may be different, but, if you're looking for a compact bicycle tool that really works, I think you'll like this Fix It Stick.  You won't regret having one in your seat bag...just in case.  

A tune to exit this post with...The Temptations doing, "My Girl".  Way too many memories with this tune.  I was trying to learn how to dance about this time and some guys I met in college were teaching me.  Too, too funny.  Enjoy...I still love this one.