Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dirt biking killed the mountain bike star

Went out on the trails tonight -- the Anthills, nearly out my back door.  The rootiest trails around.  Riding a mountain bike is very different than riding a dirt bike, which I've been doing a lot of lately.  Years (almost decadeS) of mt biking definitely helped me get started with dirt biking.  The main carryover skill is choosing a line.  As you ride, you constantly scan the trail just ahead and choose a line you want to ride, hopefully avoiding bad roots, bumps, puddles, flaming logs, etc.  Yes there are flaming logs out there in the National Forest.  But go back to the mt bike and things are different.  Riding dirt bike has made me cautious.  You don't want to drop the dirt bike.  The mt bike, you can be more aggressive leaning into corners, and you don't have to worry about falling over -- the bike weighs 26 lbs versus 280 lbs for the dirt bike.  Dirt bike has longer wheelbase.  The handling is different, causing me to steer less than needed on the mt bike...  Roots: a problem with dirt bike.  You don't want to hit a root at the wrong angle, i.e. while turning at all.  Big knobby tire + mud + root + turn = slide!  Not the case on mt bike.  Tires are grippier and much, much softer, and weight of rider+bike system is far, far less.  This means on a mt bike you don't slide when going over roots at an angle.  Mt bike has no rear suspension and much less travel = much bumpier ride and more standing up when riding over obstacles.  Anyway, dirt biking has messed with my mt biking skills.  But that might not matter much since the trails here in Houston are getting overgrown -- it must be spring.  Soon the spiders will claim the trails, and I'll stick to the gym or the bike paths until late November (frost = spider death). 
In other news, I love my Klein.  Too bad no more Kleins.  The bike is perfect.  I don't want a new mt bike.  It has the original tires, chain, etc.  It needs some TLC but goes fine without it.  It's really light.  Probably time for a shock rebuild, but just need to give this bike major props, kudos, and boo-yahs.  Klein, I love you.  Now shopping for a used Klein road bike.  Yes, I love steel (Rivendell) but I like the stiff Al frames too.  And I want STI.  Down-tube shifters are a pain.  Their days are done, done.
Finally got around to some long-delayed tasks.  One was: refurb shoes.  I have a shoe "problem", it's true.  "So many shoes and so few days to wear them."  I got these AE cloggy things stitched up in four places, now for some laces.  Then I smeared the wondered Bissel.. Bizwax... (?) stuff with beeswax.  It's some oily stuff in a metal tube, smells like kerosene, rub it in with your fingers, ooooo!  After, the shoes look all dark and nourished and waterproofish.

 My Clarks got the same treatment.  Yummy shoe oil in a tube!

Today I rode the Anthills and got frustrated with my decayed skills.  So I crossed Buffalo Bayou at Dairy Ashford and rode the "high road" on the north side out to the Beltway.  I was hauling butt!  It was nice to crank, I normally ride at a la-de-da level, I realize upon reflection.  Hopefully this new intensity is back to stay.  The Klein is easier/more fun to ride fast.  Bike paths are not built for drop bars and down-tube shifters, and poor brakes to boot.  Too many evil, lurking Rabbits of Death.

The frontispiece photo is some Art I made in high school.  Normally all my attempts at art/craft are epic failures.  This one turned out pretty cool!  I have a T-shirt stamped with this image.  Can you figure out what it is? 

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