Saturday, December 26, 2009

It comes...

...and it goes. All the insanity leading up to "the day" and it's gone in the blink of an eye. Hope everyone had a good day and had time to reflect on what's most important to them. I'm by no means a religious person (many might easily term me a heathen) so don't take this as a religious rant. For me, it's family and the overwhelming need for peace on earth and good will toward each other. If we as a species/planet can acheive these goals, we'll all be in a much better place.

Buon Natale.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Moe, Larry and Curly.

Group shot of the four-footed members of the family. Charlie (the puppy) has settled in as though he's been here forever. Gotta love dogs!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gentlemen, we have ignition...

Launch sequence has been engaged, rockets are firing. After much agonizing and deliberation, I pulled the trigger on a Salsa Fargo today. All parts from the Inbred 96er will swap over with the exception of the rear wheel which I'll need to build. Since I'll use the existing XT hub, I'm only looking at the cost of a new rim, spokes and nipples. Build pics to follow, for now this one from Salsa will do. All you guys out there, here are some words to live by from a man who's lived by 'em through 18+ years of marriage...It's easier to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

As fate would have it.

We've always had dogs, Labs specifically. Big surprise, I know. For a while now my wife and I have been thinking about rescue/adoption but hadn't really moved beyond the conversation stage. As fate would have it, the little guy pictured here basically landed in our laps. (We're not certain what his bloodlines are exactly, definitely some German Shepherd, possibly Rhodesian Ridgeback, Viszla or Pit Bull) Charlie, as we've named him was rescued from the streets by Happy Tails Rescue in Morrisville, PA (big props) and fostered by a coworker of my wife. Coincidentally, my kids are taking horseback riding lessons from the daughter of this fantastic lady and as fate would have it, Charlie was visiting the stables during a lesson. There was an instant connection and once I discovered he was being fostered, the wheels began to turn quickly. As fate would have it, Charlie was available for adoption and our application was approved, he's been with us since Monday.Take a look at the pics, in the first taken on October 3 , Charlie had just come off the streets weighing 12 pounds. In the second pic, taken October 26, Charlie had just come home with us at hit the scales at 32 pounds!!! He's a sweet, gentle little guy and he's adjusting to life in the nuthouse just fate would have it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

No snow.

Well, it didn't snow this weekend past. Just rain. And more rain. Then rain again. You get the picture, consequently we cancelled our ride, went back to sleep and hung around the trailer most of the day. We did eat chili and drink hot cider and I sucked down a few Pumpkin Patch Ales, none for the kid, he's only eleven. We'll try again next time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let it snow.

The season's first Nor'easter has hit (where else) the Northeast. Low temps and rain where I live just outside Philadelphia and snow to the north in Jim Thorpe where I have a weekend place. The kid and I are planning a leisurely, 25 mile singlespeed (he on his BMX, me on the MonsterX) jaunt down the Lehigh Gorge Saturday AM. When I say down, I truly mean down, it's a very easy 2% downgrade, perfect for my son's first long ride. A little snow will just spice things up a bit. Speaking of spice, Momma will have chili, hot cider and Pumpkin Patch Ale waiting for our return. Yum, delicious!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tom Morello

Thanks to the wonders of Youtube, I recently witnessed a performance of "The Ghost of Tom Joad" (quick Steinbeck reference there) from a 2008 Bruce Springsteen concert with Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave/The Nightwatchman. I've been a HUGE Springsteen fan for over 30 years, undoubtedly he's my favorite artist but to term Morello as "sitting in" would be an injustice. Tom drove this performance to new heights, his passion, with both guitar and voice have left an indelible impression on me. This was my first true exposure to Tom Morello, for some reason his work, both musically and morally flew completely off my radar. Suffice it to say, we're locked in now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Where did the time go?

Damn, it's been almost 4 months since my last post...I blame my job, sucks up to friggin much time and energy. It also provides creature comforts for me and the rest of the Black Dog Adventure Team as well as a convenient excuse for not writing.

Anyone who knows me, knows the regard in which I hold John Steinbeck, both the works and the man. Ever since reading an excerpt of The Red Pony in a school textbook as a young kid, I've been hooked. That small snippet steered me onto a journey that's lasted close to 40 years, even my honeymoon led me to the the central coast of California, site of much of Steinbeck's works.

Without a doubt, my favorite work of Steinbeck's and quite honestly a book I've grown to love more than anything I've ever read is Travels With Charley: In Search of America. The book, one of Steinbeck's few works of non-fiction, chronicles a trip the author took with his standard poodle Charley, starting from Long Island, NY and basically traversed the entire perimeter of the country in a pick-up truck mounted camper. Steinbeck's observations and reflections on the American condition in 1960 still ring fresh and true, almost 50 years later. If you've never read it, I HIGHLY recommend it.

Pictured here, Rocinante, Steinbeck and Charley's home for 3 months and over 10,000 miles.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Black Dog Adventure Team World Headquarters

Located in Jim Thorpe, PA this is where we spend every other weekend between April and November biking, hiking, canoing and kayaking and just hanging around the campfire. We'd be here every weekend but I work on alternating weeks.
We call the little fellow in the last pic "The Sentinel", he guards the place when we're not around and uses his net to trap trespassers.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Today's ride.

Left work today with the NEED to ride. Not, I want to go for a ride or I need a training ride (hell, the only training related activity I indulge in is the choo-choo variety) No, I needed to ride to get sweaty, dirty, muddy and bloody and experience the joy that comes with all of that shit. And I did. I'm badly out of shape but I had a ball and that's all I give a shit about.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mommys!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

As the bike turns.

For the past five years I've been riding singlespeed about 95% of the time. I sold off all my geared rides except for the Potts and been satisfied with things as they were. Coming off a winter of next to no riding and a spring that's been pretty much the same, I decided it was time to gear up. An XT/Mavic rear wheel, XT derailleur and cassette and a Dura Ace shifter later, I'm once again amongst the geared. Never one to set my bikes up conventionally, I run BB 7 brakes front and rear, which are finnicky to set up on the slot drop Inbred and require the rear wheel to be set more toward the rear of the drops than front. Okay running SS with a bolt on hub and tuggnuts, not so easy geared with a QR. Due to the brake restrictions, the rear wheel can't be run all the way forward and I need to use the tuggnuts still. Two tuggnuts and a QR make installing and removing the wheel a bit of a pain in the ass (yes, I tried it with one tugg only and the wheel cocked under load) The extra width of the twin tuggies effectively (or ineffectively) shorten the skewer length so that it's threads are not completely engaged by the end cap. I haven't lost my rear wheel yet so it should be okay...I hope!

The pic is worth far more than my babblings.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Update to yesterday's rant

Okay, the guy who went postal on me yesterday came back over today and apologized. I appreciate it and truly hope it's genuine, not forced by his boss who was present during the "discussion" Ultimately, none of this shit matters anyway.

Now for shit that does matter, how about a Dogfish Head Chicory Stout??? Yum, delicious!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009


I work for a home furnishings retailer managing the group who unload trucks and restock the store prior to it's opening. This past Friday, one of my folks was hit in the head by a steel divider(fortunately he wasn't hurt badly) used to keep mattresses standing on their edge from flopping over in the sales location(s) These dividers were supplied through a group within the company responsible for equipment used in all our stores. Monday AM, two of the individuals from this equipment group came over from corporate headquarters (located conveniently next door) to inspect the dividers that failed, etc. Before I get to the reason for this rant I'll explain how these dividers work: the mattresses are stored in steel racking and the dividers clamp (poorly) onto the support beams for the racking by means of a nut welded to the clamp and a thumbscrew. Suffice it to say, it's a poor design and the fabrication is as poor or worse. During my discussion with the two "experts", one of them repeatedly directed blame for the incident at "stupid coworkers" who loaded the racking, racking that is loaded by hand, one piece at a time and then unloaded by customers, by hand, one at a time. When I admonished him for his comments and pointed out this could have just as easily happened to a customer, he got loud and shitty. The balls of this guy, instead of acknowledging there needed to be a fix for this part, he foisted blame on a guy whose only crime was doing his job. Rare and special people, how do they manage to find me?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Where's the party?

A question I've been asking myself quite often lately. Work? No party there, the poor economy has forced me to reduce (decision made far beyond me) the worked hours of the 26 folks who report to me, guess who gets to pick up the pieces at the end of the day? I was recently invited to join a private group populated by a small number of what I thought were like-minded individuals. What it's turning out to be is a closed door society where I'm very much the odd man out. Still not sure why the hell I even got an invitation.

What do I know? I'm just a guy who likes bikes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Simpler times.

Remember when a six or two of these led to a late night binge on these? I can still get PBR anywhere but the White Castle requires a 50 mile ride to the closest location to my home. Thanks goodness my wife and my roots are on Long Island, which has no shortage of the delicious "belly bombers" Makes the trip back to visit the in-laws somewhat more palatable.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Identity theft...

Yep, I can now count myself as one more victim. Some rat bastard got hold of my credit card number and had him/herself a party. They bought themselves memberships from several different "by-the-month" services, the type that ship regularly each month and bill you accordingly, including one of the more popular acne solutions, little pimpled bastards. Fortunately my wife caught it before things got too out of hand but I'd love to catch the fuck(s) that did this.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

MTB cool...

...personified. Not only was he the most dominant multi-event racer of all time, he was one cool ass mofo, his choice of Coors Light not withstanding.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Internet nonsense

As many are, I've been a member at for quite some time. My usual haunts are the Singlespeed, 29er and VRC forums and it's the latter that's driven this post. There's an ongoing bitchfest on the Vintage-Retro-Classic forum that's boiled into an all-out, childish, name calling, finger pointing war between two distinct factions. I'll spare you the rehashing here as this bullshit is easy enough to find and read for yourself. The whole mess begs a few simple questions, why is anyone getting upset about what's said on the Internet and, why can't the same individuals filter through what they're not interested in reading and move past it?

Here's a pic for you to enjoy while I ponder the world's problems. What would Joe say about this nonsense?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A tale of two love affairs...

Steve Potts...artist, craftsman, visionary, fly fisherman, and all around nice guy built this for me 17 years ago and it remains my most treasured cycling possession to this day. With memories of the WTB-equipped Potts and Cunninghams drooled over during a visit to the long since gone Pt.Reyes Bikes still fresh in my head, I gave Steve a call and talked bikes for the better part of an hour. At the time I was riding a Wicked Fat Chance, tricked out with every hot rod part available, including the then new and rare, Rock Shox. I had quite a few bucks sunk into that bike and was newly married, so prospects of me getting on a Potts were grim...or so I thought. Talking over dinner with my bride that evening, I mentioned my conversation with Steve and she immediately asked "Aren't those the pretty bikes with the cool brakes we saw in California?" When I answered in the affirmative she then uttered the words I'll never forget..."Why don't you get one?" After regaining my composure, I asked her if she was kidding and she assured me she was in fact, quite serious!

The next few hours were a blur, phone calls to my LBS, another great, but long since gone shop, Breaking Away Cycles on Long Island. Over the succeeding weeks there were several conversations with Steve regarding the build spec and after about 6 weeks, this beauty was delivered. I've owned many bikes before and since but this one remains, and always will. It's a beautiful bike and it rides like a dream but to me it will always represent the selflessness and support displayed by my wife, then and now.
I titled this post "A tale of two love affairs", one for the bike and the other for the woman I share my life with.

Happy Valentine's Day Susie.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday AM ride.

Took the MotoMonsterX for it's maiden dirt voyage today, just a little singletrack that runs along Neshaminy Creek(about a minute's ride from my house) My lack of fitness aside, it was a fun ride although I need to relearn off-roading on skinny tires. Low temps, scattered snow and icy patches with a few hurdles and run-ups thrown in for good measure, damn I felt like Roger De Vlaeminck!!! I even had my Brooklyn cycling cap on under my helmet! Going to try to get out again tomorrow, maybe on the Inbred which has been renamed "The Jerry Springer Bike" by Fatbob29er.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


My take on the whole monster cross thing, definately not as monster as some, more so than others. Ah, what do I know?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fat front Inbred...

Man, that sounds like someting you'd hear on Jerry Springer..."Get outta mah trayler, ya dang fat front Inbred!!!" Nothing quite as lurid here, just got around to taking a few pics of my Inbred with Pugs fork/LM/Endo combination. My good bud Fatbob29er has politely nudged me a few times to do this and I really feel bad about the delay.

Got a few finishing touches to put to the MotoMonsterCross and I'll post some pics of that as well, just waiting for the arrival of Brown Santa.

Hell, where are my manners? A belated Happy New Year to all.