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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

currently reading

Beyond the Wall
by Edward Abbey

Down the River
by Edward Abbey

why they call them Mary bars

After test riding the flying mule a bit I’ve got an idea of why they call them Mary bars. When they’re upright you feel like you’re flying up above everything – you feel like Mary Poppins. And yes, you do catch a lot more wind, but so far I don’t care – I’m just enjoying the hilarity of it.

the flying mule

Can you ever have too many posts about handlebar grips? Probably not. So, triple layer cake didn’t last very long. It just didn’t feel right. It was mildly uncomfortable. I don’t exactly understand why. My hands are comfortable on the road bars with bar tape, but not on the Mary bars with bar tape. So I peeled all those layers off and I’m back to the old Ergon grips. But not everything is back to normal. While I was tinkering around with the grips I decided to flip the bars upside-down – which in reality flips them upside-up as I’ve been running them upside-down since I got them a few years ago. The difference is that now they are pointing slightly up-wise versus down-wise – you can’t possibly be following this, but oh well. Essentially, my hands are riding higher and my riding position will be more upright. It looks like Mindful Mule is flapping its handlebar/wings and ready to lift off. Ever morphing…

Sunday, August 29, 2010

triple layer cake

This might be a window into my insanity but I’ve now got three layers of bar tape on the Mary bars. The top layer is white and about an inch and a half in diameter! It looks like two broken wrists. Maybe I should get people to sign my handlebar casts. It’s pretty ridiculous. It’s pretty awesome.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

it’s still good

So I’ve got this old U-lock (actually, I kinda prefer the more English, Canadian, Australian term, D-lock – makes more sense) and it’s been acting up on me. The key gets stuck a lot in the keyhole and takes some effort and patience to get it unlocked. I’ve been a little worried that I’d end up locking my bike to a post forever if I couldn’t get it unlocked. Also, the plastic coating is falling off the lock. I was thinking about getting a new lock – maybe one of those short, thick, single-loop cable locks just slightly larger in diameter than the u-lock. They seem pretty versatile. But if I go to a bike store I’ll also end up getting a new rear light because my current light is extremely Jimmy-rigged with tape and zip ties and sometimes takes a few minutes to turn on or off. Totally frustrating. And I’d probably get new grips even though I’m liking the double wrapped bar tape. And, well, I’m sure I’d find something else I’d really need and end up spending a bunch. So instead I put a few drops of oil into the keyhole. Why didn’t I think of this before? It works perfectly now. It’s still taped up where the plastic coating is falling off and looks like hell but at least I should be able to lock/unlock at will. I should replace that rear light though. It’s just that it’s sometimes amazing to see just how far totally decrepit equipment will hold on.

Monday, August 23, 2010

old white bar tape

The handlebar grips on Mindful Mule are getting a little worn. Not a big deal. It’s not like they don’t work. They’re just a little broken down and grimy. Especially with this heat. Not that it’s been hot. It’s been quite a cool summer. Although it’s “supposed to be” 98 degrees tomorrow. So with the heat rubber grips get a little soft and sticky. I’ve been using the Ergon grips for a couple years now I guess. They’re kind of flattened out to provide a nice platform to rest your hands on that they say is better for your hands and that may be. I’m not sure but I liked them. I took them off today though. And although mtb handlebars have a smaller diameter tube than road bars I wrapped the Mule’s bars (On*One Mary Bar) with old white bar tape from the fixie. It makes for a little bit of a thin handle but seems like it will be okay. It looks and feels okay. Maybe even good. So what else is there? I may add a second wrapping if they’re too thin. I don’t know yet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

currently reading

Earth Apples
by Edward Abbey


The Adventures of a Cello
by Carlos Prieto

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Two flats yesterday. One on Hil’s bike. One on Mindful Mule. I guess it’s goathead season again (just kidding)(and a pun!). But these were on the road. Three in each tire it seemed. At least I’m getting my tube patching skills refined.

Went into a park to fix the first flat. Got the rear tire and tube off but then couldn’t find the leak. But I know that park well and so walked over to the fountain on the other side. Tube under water makes bubbles at the leak.

Didn’t want to put the rear wheel back on to roll the hundred yards though so just held the wheel in one hand and the bike in the other and walked it over rolling on the front wheel. Reminded me of that Pippy Longstockings scene when they ride partially assembled bikes. How’d they do that? Was she a witch?

Anyway, I guess walking across a park with a disassembled bike draws some attention. Most of the people that hang out (it’s sort of a hangout) in that park probably recognized me as I do some reading and waiting there often, so weren’t too concerned by me. However, just as I was dunking the tube in the fountain a cop car pulled right into the park up on the walkway next to me. Maybe they thought I was stealing the bike or drowning a duck in the fountain, I don’t know. I didn’t look over at them as I wanted to let them try to figure out the situation for themselves without explanation. You know, practice their police work.

It was kind of fun to be under suspicion and be completely innocent. In the end they must have figured it out as they never got out of their car or talked to me. Or maybe they were just like, “There ain’t no law against stealing bikes. Hell, one less bike’s what I always say.” And drove away.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

amazing things seen in the Arroyo this week

Life in the (clogged) drinking fountain. Little fish. Actually they’re probably tadpoles. I don’t think they’re mosquito larvae (but probably they are.) What’s a pollywog?

A small landslide coming down the western edge. Amazingly, the empty space created by the loss of earth formed just the perfect peek hole to reveal the moon setting behind the ridge – cosmic timing. A lunar gravitational induced slide.

Brown Mountain biking trail closure extended

For the past year one of the most popular (and best!) mountain bike rides in the area, Brown Mountain and El Prieto, has been officially closed by the National Forest Service due to unsafe conditions created by the Station Fire that swept through the San Gabriel Mountains last August.

The original closure order was set to last through the end of September 2010. The mountain biking community has been eagerly awaiting this late summer reopening date (except for those of you that have been sneaking in illegally.)

However, this patience will need to prevail a little longer. The most recent update issued for the burn area keeps the Brown Mountain and El Prieto trails off limits for an additional five months, until December 30, 2010.

The Forest Service has recently been able to reopen limited areas of the burn area including the Magic Mountain Wilderness, a majority of the Pleasant View Wilderness, the West Fork of the San Gabriel River, Rincon Shortcut Road, Millard Campground, Chilao, Bandito, Horse Flats, Meadow Loop, Manzanita Loop and Coulter recreation areas.

For the next several months those looking for accessible mountain bike trails in the area might consider rides starting at Chantry Flats and/or Monrovia Canyon.