Friday, December 2, 2016

Beyond My Bicycle Budget

Does Johnnie Walker Black taste better than Red? In the past when I was a scotch drinker I also worked in Canada. Canadian whiskey prices were much lower above the border than in California where I lived. So I became fond of Walker that was priced out of my California budget. Ask any bartender or cocktail waitress if the bar customer can tell the difference between "well whiskey"  and expensive label drinks after a couple of shots. I would suspect the answer would be no.

Fuji Pro and Schwinn Paramount 1938

I have been riding bicycles for more than a few years. I don't drink scotch any more but I have two sailing friends that drink scotch. One buys his at Costco the other imports his from Scotland both taste the same too me. Back to the bicycle thing, I prefer my wheels to have matching rims, tires and hubs. My fixed gear rear wheels collection includes one clincher, two sew-ups (tubular). I can make an almost pair of tubular but not so with the clincher. I need to purchase a matching pair. Prices vary from dam cheap to several thousand.
Painting Bob Jackson 3 years ago

My last matching pair were Zipp with a carbon disk rear and Zipp rim with Phil Wood hub and bladed stainless spokes. The most expensive Zipps out there now are close to $4,000.00. I am still stuck in 1950s price range.


Schwinn Paramount

My knowledge of current prices comes from reading Bicycle Blogs and Internet searches. My budget is beyond purchasing bicycle magazines to look at and there is no reason if I can't afford to purchase the mag I sure as hell can't afford the shiny stuff inside.

This clip is from YouTube and is my son Dylan recently jumping stairs at UCI. The reference to El Toro is the stairs at El Toro High School which is located in Lake Forest. Before Lake Forest became a city the area was called El Toro. The Main street is El Toro Road, El Toro Library and Post Office then they got fancy and changed the name. There isn't any natural forest there or any real lakes. The El Toro Stairs add rails and attracted zillion of skateboarders then later twenty inch bikes. My daughter Frances went to ETHS but you will not find that in her bio. The area around the campus is somewhat hilly and when the school was built they did't grade it level so the parking lot between the Gym and office building has a small slope on it. Same with the stairs from the lockers down to the office. Many years past I was skateboarding with Frances and she fell there and banged her head. Neither of us wore helmets, probably no skater did then. Anyway Frances has not been right since then. (Father Humor).
N. Y. Bike Snob makes a living bashing Freds and I enjoy reading it. This morning I was reading a local blog where the author described the pleasure of shelling out almost 2k to buy a Brompton so he could use public transit and save the operating cost of his fossil fuel 4 wheeler. A fold-up can be purchased at Big 5 Sporting for $199.99. If one has the money to buy a Brompton please don't think I am whining it is good for the manufacturer to sell product. My neighbor suggested I get a folding bike and suggested Big 5. I have ridden the trains here in Los Angeles with my bike and there is ample room but I don't do rush hour so a fold-up doesn't fit in.

My current bicycle collection stands at seven. Included is one Specialized S-Works Cross Country that retailed for around five thousand USA dollars. My out the door price after discounting was $3,500. Now that was several years ago but the current S-Works CC is $11,500.00 plus sale tax in Los Angeles, California adding $1035.00. The S-Works shown in the link in a 29 inch whereas mine is only 26 inch.

These price increases don't make too much sense but I am not a MAMIL or a saddle based weekend jolly.  All these clever descriptions (middle age man in lycra) can be confusing as I first thought it was another reference to something similar to Rapha or Assos. After receiving a nice compliment yesterday about my tanned legs I coined a new acronym "OFSSL" (old fart still shaves legs).

Currently I am trying to get some Thorstein Veblen books and since he existed before e-books I might just have to ride up to my local library (it is all up hill) and get an old fashioned style book with pages. Velben Goods and the Theory of the Leisure Class. Being of a discursive nature Velben got me thinking about reading Vance Packard books and his bashing.

This is not me riding.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Discursive Rambling: Nails in the Bikelanes

A short bio on picking up nails. When I started living on my sailboat my dog DeDe moved back and forth between myself and my son Dylan. My morning with the dog usually started out with a walk. Someday's we would head south to the beach about a mile away. She liked that route because of all the squirrels we would encounter. On alternate days we would go east toward the wholesale fish market and stop at the overfull parking lot where she could run on the grass. On the way back at 22nd Street and Miner Street I found several roofing nails in the intersection, picked them up and threw them in the trash containers.

DeDe taking a break

A few day later at the same intersection I saw some more nails and thought they must be falling off a truck but their wasn't any construction around . Several days later we proceeded up Miner towards the grassy area below the baseball field. To my surprise that path found me picking up more nails. This time I put the nails in my pocket and when we got back to the marina I put the nails in a plastic container. As time progressed and our dog walks continued my nail collection expanded.

DeDe riding in a dock cart

The marina manager at that time was riding his motorcycle to his office and was passing through the nail infested area each day so I showed him the nail collection and since he was concerned (most people don't give a fuck) he reported it to the Port Police. He also informed the marina east of us that borders Miner Street about the roofing nails in the street.

I continued to find nails and would take a handful to show the manager. Occasionally I would find nails on the walk to the beach and the driveway into the marina parking lot. The manager called the Port Police for a third time and then stopped calling them because they told him to stop calling.

daily pickup

When my nail collection exceeded one thousand I took a bag of nails to Joe Buscaino's (Councilmember, 15th District City of Los Angeles) office on Beacon Street where I showed the nails to Nicole Wells, Manager of City Services, after discussing the problem I left the nails with her.

After leaving the nails at the Councilmember's office I stopped saving the recovered nails but didn't stop picking them up. Why bother?

Then my dog started having problems walking any long distance. Then she stopped walking and I had to haul her around in a cart. Since I didn't have to walk the dog and thought it too strange to walk alone I started jogging, some call it running, where over time I increased the morning run to six miles. One of my paths was by the USS Iowa over to the Cruise Ship Terminal and back through Ports of Call over to the Lane Victory and then back to my boat. On that route I started finding the nails again and started putting them in my pocket.

My Vintage Bob Jackson

The nails were kept in the back of my car and if I ever saw uniforms in the parking lot I would show them my nail collection. The usual response was they were really not concerned about it.

I started marking on my monthly wall calendar the daily amounts. Some days the count was zero and someday's as high as 35. People are always leaving things they take off their boats on the bench by one marina building and one day I picked up a discarded plastic jar. Today my jar contains 1,768 nails for this year.

1768 nails this year

Picking up nails is good exercise with the bending over but can be a a royal pain in the ass if I am riding my vintage road bike with old school cleats and toe clips. My mission when riding is not to stop and pickup nails if I had not planned too. Yesterday I was going up Stephen White Drive from Cabrillo Beach headed towards Whites Point and kept seeing nails in the street. What a pain in the ass to get back in the toe clips on a hill.


Nails found when I wasn't looking for them
One of my neighbors started riding in the mornings and I rode with him for several weeks and we would ride through the parking lot of 22nd Street Landing where I noticed more nails. Now if i ride in the morning I find the restaurant parking lot with three or four nails several times a week. Who ever is doing this crap has to get off the street to toss these nails.

If I ride by Ports of Call I always find nails by the driveway of the Acapulco restaurant. These nails I pickup are shiny and been placed there recently. These nails in certain parts of my route have been placed there within the last 24 hours because I had ridden there the previous day and picked up whatever I
could find.

always find nails there

Monday, November 14, 2016

Morphing into Fred

Some how my basic rules are being bent.

 Back in May I was reading The Rules by Velominate and books about Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike. Five months later I am reading bicycles blogs and have grown a fucking beard.

Fenders on Schwinn

Saturday I sidestepped one of my basic rules: "Don't use your car to transport yourself to go ride your bicycle, ride the bike where you what or need to go."

There was an event in Long Beach and I live in San Pedro. If you stand on a hill around here and there are plenty you can see the skyline of downtown Long Beach looking to the east. It is not that far away. Unfortunately you can not ride a bicycle directly because LA Harbor, Terminal Island and Long Beach and the path over the closest bridge only allows for cars and trucks.



Flag in Anaheim Street

Two methods, one that is most absurd is to catch the Catalina Express in San Pedro go by boat to Avalon switch ships and return to Long Beach on the Express. That crazy path I found using one of the popular mapping programs.

The second path is to ride along the harbor going north to Wilmington then head east and cross the LA River bridge on Anaheim Street. Since Anaheim Street is where I wanted to go that made some sense and I have done that before and it is ten miles to Long Beach. Add the six mile course of "Beach Streets" and the return is only twenty six miles.

My choice was neither as I chose to use my Nissan to haul my lazy ass over the bridges and then park my car and unload the Simionetti.

Rationalization is the use of feeble but seemingly plausible arguments either to justify something that is difficult to accept or to make it seem ‘not so bad after all'.

After violating my rules I then needed to lie about it to make it okay. This is how one develops the Art of Being A Fred. 

A partial list of not following the Rules.

1. Installed a rack on my Schwinn
2. Installed a reflector on Schwinn
3. Adapted two handlebar bags and hose clamped them to rear rack
4. Added a bell on handlebar
5. pedaling using flip-flops
6. riding while wearing baseball hat
7. riding with cut-off shorts
8. wearing a hoodie
9. turning a road frame into a Fixie
10. Mounting brakes on a fix-geared bike
11. putting flat MTB handlebars on a road bike
12. Installing Shimano SPD platforms  on a DurAce bottom bracket
13. Using BMX grips
14. installing a set of fenders on my Schwinn

Actually the rear rack was discarded and the handlebar bags is sometimes is used in a Fred-like fashion.




Dirt Pump Track
This list of my sins could go on but I fear I may have lost a few readers who needed to stop and vomit.

The reading of bicycle blogs got me interested in attending Fred Festivals where Fred's associate with other weirdo's that are really strange such as roller bladers. Even roller skaters which I must confess I used to be really good at. 

Back to Saturday: The City of Long Beach has this street festival called "Beach Streets" where the streets are blocked off and all type of riders and walkers take control. A park was step up for roller skaters, skateboarders, a dirt pump track for BMX and MTBs lots of time and effort was expended. Along the way many bands were playing and bike racks were installed in from of the numerous bars and eating places. The Tommy's Hamburgers had Mariachis playing in their parking lot.

To see dancing in the street check out one of the side bar widgets.




Ramps and rails for kids

While all this was going on, where everyone seem to be have a real fun time, protests against Trump were filling the downtown streets of Los Angeles.




My son Dylan is sponsored by them




Another video of street riding in Los Angeles


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Curmudgeon

This morning (Saturday 11/5) is rather foggy and I maybe not sure my self.


Usually I take a short ride looking for roofing nails placed in the streets (that is another story) here but it is too wet now.
22nd Street

The other day I rode up to Point Fermin and went through the hole in the fence to enter Sunken City.



Nudie Fixie

Sunken is all uphill from my sailboat at the marina and recently I have been riding my pseudo fixie with a 42 x 17 combination which equals 65 gear inches. On the way back I ride down and back up the steep hills that make up the area between Pacific and Gaffey (two main drags in San Pedro). When I first converted the road frame I used one brake but it didn't have the stopping power so I bought a set of Shimano brakes off of eBay.

When I was next to the Sunken City fence I found a nice Prickly Pear with three large bulbs.

I have picked these before but never got stuck. This is my third day of Ouch so maybe that is why I am cranky.

A week ago my son Dylan returned from Costa Rica and I picked him up at the airport. He then drove his car back to Southern Orange County but didn't make it all the way. His car started to rattle and he pulled off the freeway right at Epic Bike. Further inspection revealed his lug nuts were coming out on the driver's front wheel. He has a set of very fancy trick looking wheels and apparently while the car was sitting next to my Nissan in the marina parking lot someone tried to remove the wheel by loosening the lug nuts but didn't finish the theft. It cost Dylan $150.00 to replace the damage hub.

People steal bicycles, laptops, iPhones and various other items. Recently I removed a tool chest from by Nissan for fear of losing it while parked in the marina lot.

At the bottom there is a YouTube video of Dylan riding on the beach during his recent trip. The camera work is all solo nothing there on the beach but himself using a camera on a tripod and a helmet cam. Following that video is the action at a High School in Costa Rica where he performed a show in the gym where he had to enter from the outside where it was raining. Very, very slick.

Last Saturday when Dylan left the marina here my Samsung Galaxy decided to stay in the VW and travel with Dylan. This resulted in having a smart phone vacation until I could brave the 405 freeway and make it to Epic Bikes and get my phone. Epic is really full of bicycles and not expensive designer clothing only rich Freds can afford. See Banker Supply. Or visit another Bike boutique in South Pasadena Cub House.

Speaking of expensive bike stuff I found this Blog this morning: Keep the golf out of cycling

As you can see from the title of this blog, curmudgeon, might be my middle name, it used to be Humbug but I had it legally changed.

Here is my Simonetti parked in our San Pedro's finest ghetto Vons next to a Harley parked on the sidewalk.

Only three locks on bike need some more

The word Boutique is missing from the San Pedro Dictionary. San Pedro has it ups and down which makes for interesting riding all the hills here. There are lots of homeless here and many ride bicycles. Many homeless live out of their shopping carts or back packs. The Vons lot usually has a few pan handlers asking for "change" but I never get hit up if I am wearing my cutoff wanglers.

Sunset spokes


Last month I was researching blog writing and cane across wordpress.com. After clicking on their site I started receiving email with links to Bikinginla. This site has many links to local bicycle rides

Where I live in San Pedro it is probably the farthest south you can go in the City of Los Angeles and most of the LA events are not very close and I refuse to use my fossil fuel vehicle to haul my ass around. Many of these events are free and many are not. It appears to me that having to pay $50.00 for a membership to ride once a month might be excessive based on  my budget. The last time I raced MTB as a USA Cycling rider I had to stop eating for two weeks as I was broke from paying the entry fees and couldn't afford to shop for rice and beans.

Senior discounts are not part of USA Cycling package and most races in Southern California don't have age classes for old farts.

Cost for this crazy fun!

Please see race application for Price Increase Dates and Application Deadlines!
Solo Double: $695.00
Solo Triple: $865.00
Solo Quintuple: $1285.00
Team Double: 2 Pers$770.00/3 Pers $870.
Team Triple: 2 Pers $940.00/3 Pers 

Speaking of the high cost of racing this Ultra Ultra Iron man charges $1285.00 to enter.

What ever happen to the free Sunday ride and racing to the next signal or cross walk with your buds???