Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fun with Aero

I used to like doing little experiments with bicycle aerodynamics. When I was doing club ITTs in the early 90s, I had the wheel cover and clip on aerobars. In trying to get more aero, I invented an "aero glove" prototype. It was made from a milk carton and shaped into a fairing (I didn't know this was illegal) that would flow the air around my shoulders and head. I sewed the fuzzy half of Velcro on the knuckle of my left glove, and attached the fairing on the glove that way. I tested it by riding up a hill and coasting down watching my speedometer. I did multiple runs without and with the glove, then averaged. My conclusion was the fairing worked. I coasted faster with the glove than without. I showed up at the next ITT with it, and they wouldn't let me use it. These weren't sanctioned races, but wanted them to be fair. Before I could make the right side glove, I abandoned the idea because it was illegal. 

But before that, way back in the early 80s, I once made a fairing for the front of my Univega* (when it was my only bike) for a non-sanctioned bike race from Columbus, NM (at the border) to Deming, NM (30 miles N on I-10). This was part of the Deming Duck Races, called the Great American Bicycle and Canoe Race. They wanted participants to decorate their bike so I made the fairing out of the aluminum sheeting from the newspaper printing press. It is heavy enough to shape. I then found an aluminum rod and made a frame which I attached to the front rack. The bullet shape fairing was held together with tape since I didn't have a rivet gun. I even made a lower fairing on the struts of the rack. It was all inspired by looking at a Honda Goldwing. I painted the fairing with aluminum paint then used electric tape to make P-40 Flying Tigers shark mouth on the front. It looked cool! I used cardboard and made a boat tail rear fairing on the rear rack but it looked silly so I didn't use it.

Anyway after all that work, I show up at the starting line of this silly race and the "official" looked at my bike and said it wasn't fair. I said that they encouraged to decorate the bikes and this was my decoration. I was the only one who thought about decorating his bike. It was a hokey race, but people were serious about it. About a 2 or 3 miles after the start I flatted and actually stopped and PATCHED my tube. I still came in 3rd place. That shows you the caliber of riders that were in the race. They didn't want to give me a trophy because of the bike...basically I was DQed. Oh well!

*Note:The Univega is a touring bike with straight gauge tubing and cantilever brakes. It had front and rear racks, and probably weight at least 30 lbs. at the start line...not that it mattered.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bali Hai

I'll tell you a story...This pic is somewhat of an experiment on my camera's settings. Didn't really capture the image the way I saw it this morning. 

That is Isla Borracha (Drunk Woman Island), about 6 nautical miles NE of the mainland. It is my Bali Hai (if you know anything about old movies). It looked mysterious and beautiful the way the low angle light plays on those valleys. The first time I saw it, I wanted to go there.

One Sunday way back in early 2002, I paddled across in my kayak (Klepper Aerius II), alone, without telling anyone where I was going. It turned out to be a long open-water paddle that crossed a major shipping lane where I had to wait for a container ship to pass so I would not get run over. 

I thought there would be a place where I could buy lunch, like the other islands off the coast, but there was none; just a ramshackle fishing village, and a neat cove where people take their boats to picnic. 

Though I was bonking hard, I needed get back to the mainland, so I got back in the kayak and paddled back in choppy afternoon seas. I obvious made it back safely, but haven't tried that paddle again. 

Anyway, I still look at this island the same way every time I see it. Bali Hai!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Riding Babylonia Again

Today I went out for a ride and tried Babylonia; first time down since my crash. I first rode around El Morro some and took a few pics. 

I always count the ships waiting where I have a theory that more ships waiting means production bottle necks. Since I've been counting, the most I've counted was in the low 30s, and the least was in the high single digits.The number seems to hover between 13 to 20 on average. Today I counted 13 ships waiting to load or unload oil.

A pair of black vultures hanging out. They do this a lot; black vultures pair up and stay close to each other. 

A self-timer shot of descending the Babylonia Trail today was more difficult due to recent heavy rains. The rains have further eroded the slope and carried away rocks in some areas, and deposited more in others.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bad Crash

Lately I haven't been writing much. It seems everyday the routine is much the same. My son Benjamin keeps growing and learning new stuff and that's pretty cool. 

Today was May Day - Labor Day and I went out for a bike ride. Did my usual out and back warm-up ride, then was going to head up El Cerro when I recognized a bunch of my bicycling friends hanging out at a Eazy-Up at the base of the hill. Jim Burke was playing the guitar, they had work stands set up to adjust your bike, it was a cool hangout. Darren has been buying bikes off e-bay and getting them shipped down. Today he had a Specialized Stumpjumper Expert full suspension. He offered for me to check it out. I hadn't ridden a geared bike in a while so I decided to go up The Rails and Fausto trails, then across the top of El Morro, then go down on The Babylonia trail.

All went well to a point. The bike handled well and climbed super. It was nice having gears to basically cruise up The Rails. Going up Fausto was about the same as on my single speed rigid Merlin. It went up pretty easy. The bike was light enough to haul up the hike-a-bike section. 

Where  my ride/plan fell apart quickly was on the Babylonia descent. This technical trail is steep, loose, and technical. At the drop-in, I nearly lost it, the fork diving too much and nearly lost control of the bike into a bush. The front end kept doing the same thing; squishing and wallowing. I could not control the bike. At one point halfway down, I laid the bike over (common mistake) but got back on quickly and kept heading down. The next section was the trickiest, the trail is steep with an erosion gully dipping across the trail with some large embedded rocks in the trail at a dogleg turn. I didn't make it. Instead, the front end got crossed up and I kept going down the trail where I did kind of a slow motion Pete Rose-like slide into the ground...unfortunately those large, firmly attached rocks were there to stop my face. I hit with a lot of momentum on with the left side of my face. My sunglasses went flying off and felt my teeth impact the rock through my lip.

The first thing I did was check if my teeth were still there, or loose, or broken. All good. Then my glasses...thought I lost the left lens but instead just gouged them deeply on the upper part of the rim and lens. I sat there for a few seconds, picked myself up and then picked up the bike. It seemed okay. 


I got back on, somewhat in shock, and flailed down the trail successfully not crashing. I get to the tent and when everyone saw me, their faces got real grave. Apparently my glasses cut my forehead above my left eyebrow and I had quite a bit of blood on my face. After a minute trying explain what happened, I had to sit down. I was feeling very light headed. Don't know if it was shock or a mild concussion, but I sat there for a while listening to Jim's singing and guitar playing. 

Jim Burke

I think I'll stick to riding my full-rigid Merlin. Love that bike! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Good Advice!

My first meme. A friend sent me the quote, and found a photo I took in 2007. That is a (now closed) area between Guanta, Anzoategui, Venezuela and Los Altos, Sucre, Venezuela.

mimbresman.com is Active.

My business partner and I have a new website up with some new and original Mimbres Man cycling clothing. Those of you not familiar with Mimbres Man, I was one of the original bicycle clothing companies for mountain biking back in the mid-1990s when mountain biking was quickly evolving. Fun times. Looking forward to designing a new generation of togs. Keep an eye out! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wife's Immigrant Visa Progress?

Status...(a stream of conscientious approach)...well, about 3 weeks ago, I finally got my Affidavit of Support packet in the mail (DHL). This packet included the government form, my tax records for the last 3 years, and other documentations supporting my case. Well, last Thursday I got an e-mail from the National Visa Center (NVC) that I needed to include the DS-230 form (the actual immigrant visa application). I can't believe I never submitted that. That was a big oversight! Anyway, I waited till Friday to try to print out the bar-coded coversheet (required) and my printer wasn't working! I saved it on a pen-drive and tried to take it to a cyber-cafe to print it, and everything was closed on Friday due to Good Friday. Same with Saturday and Sunday. Monday, I finally printed the document and was able to read it more completely (I like reading hard copies). That is where I discovered about the missing DS-230, so I went home to fill out this PDF then tried to print and nothing...printer not working. It is a PDF that can't be saved. I kept it opened, took my computer and printer to a computer guy down the street and we kind of got it to print, then canceled the printing because it was slow and ink levels were low. They guy thought I needed to buy a new ink cartridge and things would be okay. I swapped out both ink cartridges and I could not get the printer to recognize the computer (either computer) and vise-versa. So arrrgh! Decided to go back to same cyber-cafe and fill out a new DS-230 on one of their computers (about 45 minutes) and when I went to print, the document was not being recognized by their printer. Arrgh! So we went to cyber-cafe #2 and I filled out a 3rd DS-230 and went to print and finally success. I collated everything, got some new pics of Tania made (first she had to get her hair done) then finally put everything in an manila envelope and put it in my messenger bag and rode to DHL. 1 block from DHL, I hop a curb and my chain skips off and jams between the freewheel and frame. I don't have either of my multitools with me. I try unjamming it by pulling on it and just get my fingers really greasy! Arrrgh! The rear wheel won't spin. Fortunately I am just a few meters from a tire repair place so I carry my bike over to them and ask for a 6 mm allen wrench for the ENO hub. The tire guy and me get the chain unjammed and back on the cogs, but my fingers are really greasy and there is no water or Go-Jo or even a rag offered at the tire place, so I ride over to DHL with black fingers. I wipe my fingers off the best I can on my gloves and gingerly hold the manila envelope with my dirty fingertips while I wait in line. After a 15 minute wait, it's my turn. My manila envelope is covered with bicycle grease, looks like hell, but we pack it in a DHL document envelope and I barely had enough money to cover the mailing cost (about $20). But it's in the mail! Hopefully we will know something in 20 days or so....fingers crossed.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Super Grand Prix

Found this catalog online yesterday and all sorts memories came back. 

In 1978 I really wanted to get back into bicycling. Before getting my driver's license I rode my bicycle all over town and really enjoyed it. Getting my Jeep dampened my interest for a couple of years, but when gasoline was creeping up to $1.00/gallon I went to my local bicycle shop (LBS), The Bicycle Shop

Hal, owner of The Bicycle Shop, was a Raleigh dealer and he gave me one of the new catalogs to look over. He also gave me a few old cycling magazine which I poured over learning about frames, sew-ups and riding techniques, etc. It was one those magazine's where I read "...the frame is the heart and soul of the bicycle..." It also spoke about the importance of wheels...

Hal was really pushing and expecting me to order a Grand Prix since it was the most popular bike in the Raleigh line. About a week later I went back and ordered a [green] Super Grand Prix (pg 8) because it was the best bike I could afford, AND it was the first in the line-up which had aluminum wheels, plus the bar-end shifters were cool (I wanted a Competition G.S., but could not afford one). I asked Hal not to install the 'suicide' brake levers because I thought they looked cheesy and cheap, and real racing bikes didn't have them.

1978 Raleigh Super Grand Prix
I was 17-years old, and this was my first post-driver's license bike and it was the one that allowed me to go on and enjoy big rides. I rode the Inner Loop for the first time on it, plus did several centuries.Also introduced me to toeclips and presta valves.

I took my Super Grand Prix with me to Idaho in the summer of 1980 where I worked for the USFS. The bike rode on a bike rack on the front bumper of my CJ-5. When I got  to the cabin, 30 miles north of Weiser, ID up a remote dirt road, I learned that a timber-cruising crew would be based there as well for a few weeks. These guys were "old" in my mind. They were all 22 or older and one of the guys was a cyclist. He had a purple Gitane with Vitus(?) tubing and Campy(?). It was nicer than my Raleigh. 

One day we drove out to the pavement and rode to the other ranger station in our district at a place called Brownlee. Brownlee was on rim of the Idaho side of Hell's Canyon. We kept seeing fully loaded cyclists on this road and they looked hot and tired climbing out of Hell's Canyon. At the ranger station we hung out with other timber-cruisers that my riding partner knew, had some water, then reversed our route and headed back to our start point some 35 miles down the road.

In Cambridge, ID all the touring cyclists were camped in a park under the town's water tower, so I stopped to talk to them (my riding partner didn't want to stop for some reason, but reluctantly did). I talked to a guy and he told me they were a Bikecentennial group on the TransAmerica Trail and had started about a week before on the Pacific coast in Oregon and were headed to Virginia. That little conversation solidified everything...I knew what I was going to do the next summer (1981). 

I started my 1981 Mexico to Canada trip on the Super Grand Prix. I rode it from Palomas, Mexico to Albuquerque where I met my Bikecentennial group; GPO 619 (Great Parks Odyssey departure date 06/19/1981). While in Albuquerque, we were doing a shakedown ride and my bike got stolen at the downtown Convention Center where I had it locked up with two other of our bikes (also lost a Raleigh Professional, and a custom Sam Braxton (amazingly it was recovered by a pair of APD officers that same afternoon). 

My ride might have ended there, but fortunately I had a compassionate father who knew this was a dream and goal of mine to do. He sent me some money (about $500) and I bought my Univega (which I still have) to continue and complete my tour. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

1981: Bike touring from Silver City, NM to Animas, NM

The other day I posted on Kent Peterson's blog about when touring from Mexico to Canada  in 1981 and meeting a cyclist in Socorro NM who had a stash of 700c tires when I needed one. 

Been thinking about this lately...

Today I was telling Tania about that same ride, but when I was heading to Mexico via Animas and NM Highway 9. It was June, southern NM and already triple digit temps. I rode from Silver City to Lordsburg, then to get to the Animas highway, I rode about 8 or 9 miles of I-10 (that sucked). Made it across the Lordsburg Playa (dry lake bed) then turned south onto NM 338 towards Cotton City and Animas (in NM’s bootheel) . 

Don't know what the temps were exactly but it was just after high noon and all the water I had probably was 2 small water bottles. It was hot (did I say that?) and riding along the edge of the Lordsburg Playa was like being the rider at the beginning of High Plains Drifter, everything was all shimmering. I kept riding forward because I didn't really have a choice. In the distance I could see some trees which were in Cotton City (Cotton City might have a pop. of 100).

I was hot and getting desperate and I knew there were not any stores in Cotton City so no place to get out of the sun. I was going to need water. 

I was about 3 miles out and I could make out a building which was surrounded by trees. My plan was I was going to have to knock on their door for water. I didn't have a choice. 

As I got closer, I could see that this building was a church and it had shade and a sprinkler turned on watering the lawn! Small miracle! 

I parked my bike and jumped in the sprinkler and drank. I drank at least a waterbottle full and felt good. As I lay there in the sprinkler, I actually felt chilled when a minute before I was overheating. I spent about 10 minutes there in the shade and the sprinkler then decided to ride to Animas. 

It was hot again. I got to Animas feeling defeated.