21 January 2013

You stink

One really nice thing about the hoard of well-dressed-in-denim touristy-folk ranging hither-and-yon in any given direction, always within sight of the parked Pink Jeeps atop Chicken Point, is that they all smell wonderfully. Like soap and shampoo, clean linen and floral perfume.  When you're riding uphill on a singlespeed in Sedona you notice these things.  Because you're going slow.  And because you stink.

The blister on my palm hurts.

Singlespeed in Sedona is hard. Rigid singlespeed is harder. Drop-bar rigid singlespeed is, no question, the hardest.  Wrap those bars in cotton-tape alone, and, you're not being tough, or faithful to some long forgotten classic vintage.  No.  You're just being stupid.  You deserve your blisters. And your sore legs. And the broken spoke in your rear wheel.

Once, years ago, my wealthy aunt and uncle visited northern Arizona and asked us to drive down and join them in Sedona for the day, which we did.  After brunch, they surprised us with the news that they had booked us an exclusively chauffeured Pink Jeep Tour of our very own (they bought-up all the other seats). I've biked around the Chicken Point area a thousand times, for going on some 25 years now.  But that trip was my first, last, and only Pink Jeep tour through the area to-date.  And, I must admit, it was a lot of fun.  Not just for the good company: my wife and our well-beloved aunt and uncle.  But also for the comedic-cowboy commentary provided by our admittedly very skillful driver.  We took the company's signature tour out to Chicken Point and got to do the whole-shabang: the slow-screechy skid down the steep slickrock near Mushroom Rock, and the gnarly Devil's Staircase descent, too.  It was a hoot, and well beyond my own meager skills as a four-wheel-drive driver.

I mended my broken wheel down at the shop this afternoon; needed an FR-6 to remove the freewheel (not sure why I've never bought one of my own).  It's been quite a while since I've been able to spend any kind of time down there.  Nevertheless, I am pleased that there are a few of my former coworkers hanging around the place who still remember my name, and that they're willing to let me use a tool or give me a hand now and then when I need it.  However, just in case the place was filled with new crew members (this has happened the last few times I popped in), I arrived bearing the proper oblation.  It never hurts to hand-off a six-pack of Fat Tire to the mechanics before you ask to borrow a tool.

Beer can accomplish great things, especially in a bike shop.

12 January 2013


It was 19˚F when we came inside
after digging
a snowcave
in our backyard this afternoon.

06 January 2013

Archival Footage: On Being Prepared

The following post was originally published in the summer of 2005 as a part of volume 1, issue no. 2 [.pdf] of Bi-opic, a publication of FlagstaffBiking.org.

05 January 2013

Archival Footage: Flow

The following post was originally published at FlagstaffBiking.org on June 29, 2004.

Ken often speaks in mumbled whispers. And I think he knows it.

Decades of cheap headphones, hanging out too close to over-loud concert speaker towers, as well as being a teen-aged drummer with dreams far bigger than my talent, have irreparably cost me some 10 percent of my hearing, so says the doc.

Chatting in the bike shop, with all the noise of cash registers, bad ‘80s music, and customers all around; or when he’s riding up-ahead of me; or when he’s on the telephone (even my answering machine struggles often with his tone and occasionally hangs up on him), I regularly cannot make sense of what Ken is saying. 

It's possible that it’s really not his fault; I’m about 50-percent convinced that it's the background noise that interferes with the way his voice flows to my damaged ears.

 On the other hand, he might just be messing with me.

03 January 2013

Chima, not China

The guy behind the counter was so pleased.  "You know, the next release will be the first in a long time that isn't based on a film franchise," he informed us.  "It will be based in China."

That's what I thought he said.

But, having now done a little research in preparation for this post this evening, I've come to the conclusion that he probably actually said, "on Chima" rather than "in China."  Not that it really matters.

I have no idea what a Chima might be.

What does matter is that I learned this interesting fact because my daughter and I were at our local strip-mall Game Stop video game store, scouting out used video games earlier today.  Lego video games, in particular.  Just to see what our options looked like.

It's no secret.  I play video games.  But, until this week, I've never been a Lego video game player.  I tend to prefer shooters rather than action-adventure RPGs, as a rule.  But, thanks to my mother-in-law, grandma-Susan, we (my daughter and I) have become quite the Lego-videogame-playing duo of late. 'Cause, ya see, grandma-Susan bought her Lego Star Wars, The Complete Saga for Christmas.  And, as it turns out, there's almost nothing in the world that's more fun to do than to spend a few solid hours on a cold, windy winter's afternoon, playing two-player-cooperative Lego Star Wars as a dueling daddy-daughter duo.  We both agree.

Doncha know.

We played both today and yesterday after I got home from work, and, as of this writing, I am pleased to report: we're completely done with Episode 1, and well in to Episode 2.

As happens, we scored a near-mint Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 (for a mere $16.95) on our visit to ye olde neighborhood Game Stop this morning.  And I'm pretty sure, probably sometime in the year 2015, when we're all done playing through each of the 160 levels of the Complete Saga of Lego Star Wars, we'll bust it out and play through Harry Potter as a daddy-daughter duo, too.

Lego two-player-cooperative video gaming.  Good stuff.  Who knew?
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey