Thursday, August 28, 2014

Corking is soooo 2008.

As with everything else in my life everything I do is at least 3 weeks late. In fact I'm so prone to tardiness that anyone who knows me will always time their arrival to meet at least 30 minutes late. This way they don't have to wait around for me to show up. 

The same thing goes for news. I'm always behind the times. So let's review some news, or as I'd like to call it: "olds".

Here's a picture of the police brutality that ensued:

Actually there wasn't any police brutality but it makes for a more interesting story if you really think about it...

Anyway, apparently this massive clitoris of cyclists was weaving its way through the streets of L.A. and "corking" intersections in order to keep all of its members together. For those who don't know what "corking" is, it's basically a few riders blocking traffic at intersections so that everyone else can roll through the crossing without getting stuck at a red light. It's a common practice with "Mass" bike riding events and one that even I find annoying. Here's a five minute video to show how happily motorists react to corking in jolly ol' London m8!

As someone who drives a lot and is always in a hurry (because I'm always late) sitting through a red light is already kind of irritating. Then the idea of still being stopped even after the light turns green would infuriate me, especially when it's because a group of cyclists happens to think they're bike ride is a freakin' parade (Parades also upset me - who the fuck are they all waving at?). So these ladies were observed by the LAPD while they were corking an intersection and they got a citation (actually only one of them did). So they got all upset about it and they want everyone else to think it's a big deal. They're claim is that they're introducing a bunch of noobs to cycling that are too scared to ride in traffic on their own so corking was necessary to keep everyone together blah, blah, blah. 

Well I have news for you; if you're planning a bike ride of more than 5 riders, you're guaranteed to have stragglers. Instead of corking the road there are other common sense alternatives that don't involve stopping traffic for no reason other than your bicycular enjoyment. Furthermore, even if you had a permit to cork, does stopping traffic and potentially pissing off drivers seem like a good way to promote cycling? To me it's almost the same as those idiotic Lucas Brunelle videos where he rides like an ass-hat in the most congested cities and grabs on to the wheel-wells of cars as they drive along the road. It gives anti-cyclists one more reason not to recognize cycling as a legitimate mode of transportation. 

Hello, I am a stupid ass-hat wearing a stupid-ass hat. - Lucas Brunelle (probably) said.

Anyway, to the ladies at Clitoral Mass who are wondering how to avoid receiving citations in the future, I've prepared a list of suggestions. Before writing them off as the ideas of an idiot (me) please know that I assembled a think tank of the greatest minds. It included this guy, that guy, some guy from my neighborhood and my best riding buddy. So you know this advice is SOLID.

1. Re-group: You've grouped once, and you can do it again! Simply wait for the slow-pokes to arrive at another point along the route. It could be another traffic junction, a Jack in the Box, or even a Taco Bell. It's even easier if you give everyone a route sheet at the start so they don't get lost. ("Excuse me sir, but did you happen to see a large bicycle clitoris pass by?")

2. Split the ride: That's right, separate the ride into a slow group and a fast group. Slow people will ride slower and fast people will ride faster. People will eventually fall into the group that's best suited to their abilities. Or they might just say: "Fuck it, I'm gonna have dinner by myself at this Taco Bell."

3. Stop inviting slow-pokes: Here's how:

"There's no easy way to say this Laura, but you're just too slow and I really hate having to wait around for you. Also, *Gina says you smell."  - DONE.

*Gina's a little biiiitch.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Climbing Is Fun - If You Want It.

If you live in Southern California and you consider yourself a true cyclist you need to ride up to Mt. Baldy at least once. It's arguably one of the most beautiful and most difficult climbs in SoCal and it's not too far from anywhere in LA or OC. 

Right now, as far as I know Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) and Glendora Ridge Road (GRR) are closed to automotive traffic. GMR and GRR are two of my favorite roads and without cars they're even better. I avoid riding down Mount Baldy Road mainly because it's just a straight shot into the mountain with too many cars and a pretty crappy shoulder in some parts. If you put the extra miles in to ride GMR and GRR you'll suffer, but you'll at least get amazing views in the meantime.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about then check out this link. Otherwise here are some pictures I took that weren't blurred by my hyperventilation and occasional vomiting as I dragged my fat carcass up this mountain: 

Narrow and winding, it sometimes feels like the road that never ends.

Proof that I'm not the only person that likes to climb.

The ribbon of road sits literally on the ridge of the mountain with steep drops on either side.
A ride from the base at the beginning of GMR to the top at the ski lifts at Mount Baldy will add up to 50-55 miles round-trip. I don't know of any water between the start of the ride and Mount Baldy Village so big bottles are a good idea. There also isn't much shade so don't be an idiot like me and show up at 1:00 in the afternoon. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Forgot to Bring My Ovaries, Can I Still Ride With You?

Right now I'm terribly angry.

Someone told a woman about how fun it was to put a bike between her legs. That woman told another woman and she told another...  Now we have quite the mess on our hands and there's no panty-liner big enough to soak up this disaster. Women have found their way to bike advocacy. Just as we were forced to share our right to vote with them, we'll soon be forced to share our love of bikes with them.  This is displeasing to say the least.

We don't have wieners!
They've called their bushy syndicate the "Ovarian Psycos" (sic.) and I don't know if I have a problem with their name more because they're so pressed to make sure you know they have ovaries OR if it's because they spelled psychos wrong. In either case, it's the equivalent of calling a men's bike club the "Testicular Nuhts" which sounds pretty dumb. Then again I am the writer of a blog named after a malfunction that occurs due to poor bicycle maintenance so what the hell do I know?

The Ovarian Psycos have organized a monthly ride called "Clitoral Mass," which I assume is how large a clitoris can get before it explodes?  As we already know, it's a rip-off of Critical Mass which is a bonafide and official bike organization. Frankly, I would have preferred to call their ride "CicLabia" but I have no say because I'm a dude. Also because I'm a dude, I'm unable to tell them that they have to experience this before anyone will take them seriously as a social bicycle advocacy group. It's widely known that your bike club is just a loose outfit of hoodlums until a member gets tackled by a cop on a video that eventually finds its way to local news. Anyway, before I get off topic I'd like to share a video they've put together as an invitation to anyone with a vagina to join in their monthly cycle cycling festivities.

So I guess I won't see you there, but if you see a poorly cross-dressed person trying to sell a Schwinn Circuit to other fellow Ovarian Psycos - it most definitely isn't me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Real Schwinn-er

Breaking News!

If you own a 1987 Schwinn Circuit you're better looking than someone without a 1988 Schwinn Circuit.

What? You don't have a 1987 Schwinn Circuit?

Schwinn 1987 Super Sport / CircuitSchwinn 1987 Super Sport / Circuit

Well, great news! I have one and I'm going to sell it to you! For just $300 you can have this shiny piece of 80's steel perched between your legs. It's a 56 cm frame that's been very well cared-for.

The bike is largely original with a few exceptions, like the saddle and seatpost. The paint is 6/10 for the scratches and minor pitting on the chrome stays. Other than that it's a fully functioning bike with brand-new tires. Don't miss an opportunity to be better looking and possibly more sexually active* with this excellent bicycle. 

*Actual results may vary.

Sub-Equatorial Stupidity

I usually try to avoid hitting people with my car, like, I really try not to run people over. Which is why whenever I do hit people with my car I get really upset, because they mess up my car! I'm so glad Kimberley Davis feels the same way. During an interview after she mowed down a cyclist she made an heartfelt case for herself: 

“I just don’t care because I’ve already been through a lot of bullshit and my car is like pretty expensive and now I have to fix it,” ... “I’m kind of pissed off that the cyclist has hit the side of my car. I don’t agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist. I wasn’t on my phone when I hit the cyclist.”

Everyone looks at least "half attractive" in a grainy, cropped selfie.
Ugh it's just so upsetting when I have to clean off blood smears and fix dents on my "pretty expensive" car because someone to hit it with their body. Well Davis knows these hardships all too well. She also makes a great argument in support of texting on the road: 

"I don't agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist.  I wasn’t on my phone when I hit the cyclist.

Which basically means that if she was texting she would have never hit the cyclist. DAMN! If only she'd been on her phone, some poor biker wouldn't have a fractured spine. Anyway she's really upset now, and rightfully so since her license has been suspended for 10 months. Ouch! That  hurts more than spending three months in the hospital! Well, best of luck to Ms. Davis. Maybe she'll try cycling during her lapse in license status?

Meanwhile, on the correct side of the world, someone has decided to map all of the bike crashes in Los Angeles in 2012.  Apparently there were 2,043 reported accidents in 2012.  That's over 5 bike accidents every day.  For a place the size of L.A. that's not too bad, but it's still pretty crappy. I was also surprised that Ventura Blvd. wasn't in the top 10 considering it's the road with the most assholes per mile. It's going to be interesting to see if there's any decrease in bicycle accidents over the years after the "Great Streets Program" is finally completed.


The Great Streets program actually covers some of the most accident prone streets in L.A. Starting with Van Nuys Boulevard, Figueroa Street, and Crenshaw Boulevard. Coincidentally these are all streets where I hardly feel safe even in my little pickup truck, riding a bike there can get even more sketchy. So I think it's OK to get a little excited when the Mayor of L.A. says:  

"[w]e'll saturate your street with services. We'll make your street accessible to pedestrians, wheelchairs, strollers and bicycles–not just cars. We'll create an environment where new neighborhood businesses can flourish. We'll pave the streets and make them green streets — clean and lush with plant life, local art, and people-focused plazas." (Via Streetsblog)

It's also worth noting that Mayor Garcetti will probably piss people off along the way. Improving streets doesn't always make everyone happy, especially when it means people might not have as much parking and protected bike lanes may lead to less lanes for cars. Which may lead many to question why people even need protected bike lanes. 

To which I'll respond with this:

This is why it's a good idea to have protected bike lanes.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Santa Ana River Trail Exploration

The Santa Ana River Trail is convenient in so many ways. It's only about 2 miles from the wigwam I live in. It offers a good 30-something mile ride along unhindered, car-free pavement. I usually ride it starting where it intersects with Orangewood Avenue and go South to the beach. Then I turn around and go back to my wigwam where I raise griffins and miniature ostriches. The other day I thought, what if instead of going South I went the other way. You know, what the hipsters call "Ironic South". I went all the way to the end, which is how I imagine Christopher Columbus felt when he finally fell off the edge of the sea into oblivion, or what we call modern-day Texas. Before I got to the very end though, there was a lot going on. 

First I had to pass through the Gateway of the Five Freds.

Flat bars and an aero-tuck. The Five Freds race through the ages.
Having passed through the Gateway of the Five Freds I made my way closer to the Ironic South Pole. Soon though I had to answer a riddle while keeping my hands in plain sight:

"How many SWAT guys does it take to parallel park a truck?"

It takes 2 SWAT guys to park a SWAT-mobile.
I was lucky enough to answer the riddle correctly and go on my way before the SWAT trolls found out I was transporting expired NyQuil for sale in the neighboring county. As I rode along the path I noticed they were building a new train station. I rode by and yelled at the construction workers telling them to forget all the OSHA crap and hurry the hell up. 

They tried to appease me by working faster but I still wasn't satisfied.

Having fulfilled my duty of yelling at people and acting like a complete jerk I came upon a miracle. A traffic jam had formed and people just started abandoning their cars and walking. Either that or people were parking really far away from the Honda Center and walking towards it for the latest Backstreet Boys reunion concert while others simply sat in traffic for a really long time. Nevertheless I buzzed past all the commotion and continued. 
My mission was to ride the Santa Ana River Trail as far to the Ironic South as I could. 

That's right ladies, walking is a good idea.
I soon came upon a winding road with yellow flowers. I also yelled at the flowers as I did to the construction workers. They did not respond, which was disappointing. I don't intend to yell at the flowers again because riding my bike and photographing them at the same time is exhausting.

Curvy roads with flowers on either side make for good riding.
I trudged on and rode at my cruising speed of 35 mph (I get closeout deals on equestrian grade EPO) but soon I had to come to a screeching halt. Some IDIOT had installed a fence in the middle of the path and it was LOCKED! I started cursing and stomping my off brand "Especializados" shoes so that thunder echoed throughout the land. As the townspeople cowered in fear I soon realized that I had gone as far to the Ironic South as I could and that I finally reached the end of the Santa Ana River Trail. I claimed the end of the trail for the Queen and decided to return towards my wigwam.
The end of the line. Sort of.
Was it dangerous? 

No not really unless you're scared of homeless people that live under the bridges. They have a habit of walking onto the path without looking which can get interesting when they pop up around blind corners. Riding the Santa Ana River Trail has pretty much always been a good time for me. Now that I know where it ends I can finally say I know the entire length of it like I know the names of my miniature ostriches and griffins.

Was it tiring? 

The way towards the Ironic South Pole was easy as cake. The way towards the regular South was hard. The wind doesn't like to let me hold my 35 mph cruising speed and I had to slow down and get into an aero-tuck not much unlike the aero-tuck of the Five Freds.

Did I make any friends? 

Haha, no.

So there. If you ever wondered what the Santa Ana River Trail was like you can thank me for finally giving you the most in-depth guide that there ever was. You're welcome.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Masi Gran Corsa

Please accept my somewhat-sincere apology for not posting any updates for a while. I happen to have a life that is obsessed with pulling me away from the only thing that really matters, which is updating this blog.

Before you prepare yourself for a blog update full of humor and cheesy rhetoric I must confess something:

The only focus of this post is to convince you to purchase a beautiful Masi Gran Corsa that I've acquired from my vast network of contacts. Basically just people that no longer have a need for a bike either because they are getting old or lack space to store bikes. In this case both.

Masi Gran Corsa bike frames were built in Italy and shipped bare to California where they were painted, assembled and sold. In terms of craftsmanship they are some of the nicest riding steel bikes available.  This model is a 62 cm sized frame although I measured 60 cm from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the top-tube. Either way it's too big for me. If you want more information regarding Masi bikes don't ask me. I don't know much about these bikes but I became somewhat of an expert after reading about them here.

The bike has a full Campagnolo Record Titanium 9 speed gruppo including the hubs and headset. The carbon brake levers are without signs of scrapes or other damage. This bike was babied and well-cared for. It comes with a computer and a set of Wellgo SPD pedals.

Take a look at the pictures...

Reynolds 531 gets all the steel junkies excited.
Full Campagnolo gruppo.
9 speed straight block cassette. It's almost a 10 speed!
Hub-ba hub-ba!

New tires.
Saddle has MASI written all over it. Can you tell?
I shot these wheels with my gun and my camera, and nothing happened. Bullet proof.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Old Bikes, New Gimmicks

Here in California it's been sunny and warm for like 2 weeks. It's been so warm in fact, that I've started researching ways to stay cool. You see there's nice weather, the kind that doesn't require you to unzip your jersey, then there's half-unzipped jersey weather, and finally there's totally unzipped, flapping in the wind jersey weather. That's basically all the types of weather I know, but now I've learned there's a new kind of weather that requires you to pay $250 for a device that basically pisses on you.

Meet the KoldRush. A device that you've never needed, until NOW!

My favorite thing about this video is that neither of them ever acknowledge that they could just use a water bottle to do the exact same thing. Perhaps carrying an extra 5 pounds of water and AA batteries makes more sense. Especially since you can cool yourself off while you wait for your wife to pick you up when you get a flat tire. A flat tire that you can't fix because you've ditched your saddle bag for a water dispenser.

Save yourself some money and just do this:

Ancient technology called a "plastic water bottle".

In my last post I mentioned that a friend of mine found a bike in the trash. The bike was a Raleigh mixte and it looked like this:

It fit his wife so he asked me to get it set up for her to ride. Her only requirement was that she couldn't ride the bike with its current handle-bars. Her idea of a nice bike is just a beach cruiser so "roadie bars" were too weird for her. So I grabbed my tools and started working.

I started by hacking off the bars with a grinder. I know I should have pried the stem open but I couldn't find my good screwdriver so I ended up with this:

I lack finesse, apparently.

The new bars!
Then I tried to true the rear wheel which was so badly bent that I ended up cracking the nipples from over-tightening. When I learned the rim had a flat spot on it I ditched the wheels altogether and ordered some new ones.

The new wheels are rounder, true-er, and shiny-er than the old ones. I think that's an improvement.

Busted nipple. Did I mention I lack finesse?

The new wheels.
For a bike that was found in the trash it wasn't in bad shape. No obvious signs of rust, bearings were in good shape and the chain has plenty of life left in it. It needed brake pads, wheels and some serious derailler adjustments but it's more bike than what you can get at Wal-Mart or Target. You also get the satisfaction of knowing that someone put a lot of time into building this bike in the first place.

It's brown, I know but brown was cool at one point in history.
Here's some detail shots for the bike dorks:

Awesome details at the head tube.
Back in the day bike manufacturers branded the components even though they were made by someone else.
This bike was sold originally in Deerfield IL at "The Pony Shop".
The head tube is split into two narrow tubes with the rear brake cable in the middle.
SunTour downtube shifters.
Yes it's a Brooks but it's made of vinyl not leather, so don't get all excited.