Friday, September 5, 2014

Back on the cycling.

Heading over to India and Nepal for a couple of months, in a few weeks time, to join my friend Goat.
Some of you may remember him, from such adventures as riding the spine.  Any who this post is pretty much a straight up bike nerd rambling. So lets get to it shall we.

The bike frame is a modified Surly cross check. Has a disk tab, paragon sliding drop outs and a few extra braze ons for rohloff cable routing. The frame was modified a few years back by Darren at farfarer. As it goes Soma bikes now has a frame which is similar to what this cross check was turned into. So if ya into this frame you can buy something pretty much the same, minus the fuss from them.

Up front is a surly 1x1 fork. The  80mm corrected version which has a axel to crown of 413mm. The standard Cross Check fork is 400mm axel to crown. Seeing as though I am running a surly Knard 26"x 3" tire up front, which has a out side diameter similar to that of a 650b. on the rear is a  Scwable 700c by 50c. So the geometry is not changed noticeably, apart from the feel of a chunky tire.

Pipe down all you nay sayers, I know there is always so much opinion about having two different wheel/tire sizes. But of all the trips I have taken, I have never had a tire or wheel issue. If I do on this trip you can say I told you so. Until that time don't loose any sleep over it.

I can also hear some of you saying why? Well that answer is, I like the sponge of a fat tire, and don't like suspension. Maybe that is the BMX lingering in my blood.

The bars are Nitto drops.

The bags which look like a great acid trip are from swift industries.

Front rack is from far farer 

The rims are both from Velocity. The rear is a Cliff hanger and the front is a Dually.  The Rear is last up to a Rohloff hub. Great strong rim, which has held up really well.

I reckon thats covered all which is of interest. A huge thank you to Kyle from Belmar bike shop.  For putting the braze ons on the fork and being a massive nerd, but not a snob. Well worth a visit if you live in the area. He knows a huge amount on all things to do with any kind of bike.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A great deal has happened since last writing on this thing, many wonderful moments. Moments which are mine and mine alone. To try and convey these nibbles of life, is not really possible, due too both my lack of writing skills and the fact pictures and words can only express so much. The moments I speak of are not of huge excitement or interest to anyone but myself I am sure anyway.
So here are a few more photos from the trip. It was a wonderful time.
Tomorrow I start a shot bicycle trip of two or three weeks to Byron. Where I will work a while. (not to long I hope)

Friday, February 7, 2014

I am in a queue waiting for the desk to open, to clam my boarding pass, when out of nowhere comes blasting. 

“Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive”

What the fuck! Who in their right mind would play this song in an airport? It is impossible to listen to and not drop to the floor too pump out fifty pushups. Before I even realize what is happening, my hand, which was relaxed only seconds ago has become a fist, pumping the air, as if I am in a march for revolution. The speakers continue to pulsate. 

“So many times it happens too fast
You change your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive”

Oh good God the desks are open, the line is starting to move.
When I get hit with one of those bullshit airline surcharges, there will be no diplomacy left in me, it will be nothing but Rocky vs Apollo. Why this song? Why now? Oh fuck here it comes! 

“It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all with the eye of the tiger”

Now in conjunction with the fist pumping, which was getting me a great deal of unwanted attention, my leg has stated to stomp the ground uncontrollably Do they want a riot? Because Jesus, Marry and Joseph I am about to give them one. 

“Face to face, out in the heat
Hangin' tough, stayin' hungry
They stack the odds till' we take to the street
For we kill with the skill to survive.”

One desk, two desks, I can’t believe this shit! Five desks are open. I have seen nothing but single checkouts open, with up to 1 hour long waits since being down here. But now, every desk is open and the line is moving fast.

“Risin' up straight to the top
Had the guts, got the glory
Went the distance, now I'm not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive.”

Wait! What is this? A men, with a family of four, is loosing his cool at desk number three. Looks like I am not the only one affected by this foot stomping little number. Oh his wife has joined in, they are pissed! Security, SECURITY!!!

“It's the Eye of the Tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all
With the Eye of the Tiger.”

Oh no! I am up next. Should I pretend that I have missed placed my passport? Yell bomb and run? Go to the bathroom, splash some water on my face? Yes, good idea. No shit idea, there is about one hundred people behind me. SHIT! What am I going to do here?

perdon senor. Senor, SENOR!!!

The songs over. Enya is now playing, well at least in my head. No extra surcharges, no handcuffs and escort out of the airport. 
No need to panic. 

“The Eye of the Tiger
The Eye of the Tiger
The Eye of the Tiger ”

U.S.A here I come.

Monday, February 3, 2014

I did not even realize fully the freedom I had while cruising around on my bike. Well I guess I did, but maybe it was not appreciated to the fullest joy. What I am trying to say is it became the norm, my dream had become a reality and in doing so, the romance of the road was replaced with a feeling of normality and dare I say it, even routine. We all know that not a single moment of this wonderful ride we call life should be taken for granted, but somehow, for most of us, that is exactly what it becomes. Our loved ones become familiar and we forget to tell them how much they mean to us, a hot shower becomes just that. A hot shower. Nothing more, nothing less. But lets be honest, if only for a moment. A hot shower is fucking amazing! Flicking the bathroom light switch, to somehow, as if magically light the room, is so far beyond my realm of understanding that I just take it as common place. Yet if such a thing happened a mere 200 odd years ago you would have been burned to death for sorcey.. Which I guess would light the room anyhow. But would be a huge bummer. 
This thought crossed my mind as I sat in a bus, with limited vision of the surroundings and not even the freedom or spontaneity to stop and take a wiz. 
Let me feel you in on why I am on a bus. Money, or lack of it, could be a more accurate description. So I am heading to New Jersey to help a friend paint a house. 
But don’t panic friends out there in cyber land, I will be south and continuing on before you know it. 

Until then stay tuned for more cold updates from New Jersey.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Here are a few things the guide books did not tell me about Latin America. Well to be completely honest I have never read a guide book on Latin America, Partly due to Instagram fucking my attention span, so I could not focus on a book if I tried and partly to the fact I enjoy just heading out each day and seeing what I see.

Should you find yourself lost and in need of directions, there is not a great deal of point in asking for any. Even if you speak fluent  spanish, (which in noway do I.) you will not understand where on this big beautiful world you are being sent. The same thing goes for asking how long it takes to get somewhere. If you don't believe me, then simply take this test. Ask three separate  people the time to a destination. I can assure you that three different answers, ranging from two hours to two days will be given. The best part to this game is when you find yourself on a dirt road and they see your on a bike. The time is sliced at least in half. Now I am not sure the skill level of the riders who commute in Baja and other such places, but I am here to tell you, it is impossible to get to wherever it is in the time which you will be told. I am not trying to imply that my dirt skills are that great, however I did try many times and still am trying, to reach the destination in the allotted time frame given. Even when riding with complete disregard for my bike and personal safety, I could not come in close. Not once have I managed to beat the locals clocks, and to be honest it is really undermining my confidence. Come on! What the hell! The locals I ask are normally on beat up 125cc bikes with no suspension, no breaks and all kinds of shit onboard. 

You will shit yourself! It may just be that you are going for a surf on a empty beach and you are to lazy to pull your pants down to cop a squat. Maybe it will be your refusal to buy water in single use plastic bottles and you convince yourself that the bucket of water next to a well, is pure glacier water. The chances are, said bucket will do more then refresh your parched palate. Free bucket water for the most part also comes with a free bowel cleanse. But fuck it right? No one likes going to a beautiful place only to find plastic everywhere. Yet answer me this, who does not like craping their pants at a beautiful vista? Now here comes the good news. You have made it to a toilet, taken your time and really enjoyed the dump, only to find? Yep, no paper. First comes the panic, which does not last long, for by this point you have already shat yourself at least half a dozen times, so the thought of a stinking crack is not that bad. But you will be dammed if you let this lack of paper ruin your feeling of joy. So with a swift kick of the cubical door you pull yourself up into a bow legged waddle over to the basin, while trying to act like nothing out of the ordinary is happening, as you stumble passed the two people pissing in the urinal and try to warn the person waiting for the throne, in some of the worst broken spanish ever heard, that there is a distinct lack of papel higienico,  you back your ass into the basin for a solid wash down. With a smile from ear to ear. Knowing you are giving tourists a good name.

Now I am not the most efficient person on earth, that title belongs to my dad. I come in a close second. But Latin America is one of the funniest places I have ever seen for efficiency. Lets start with the boarder crossings. Why all the photocopies? By the time you are done at the boarder you pretty much hold enough paper in hand to transcribe war and peace. Would a simple stamp in the passport not do for the bike? But who has ever heard of bureaucracy being simple? So maybe I started with a bad example. This picture may do a better job of expressing how things are done.

But now I think about it this might be high efficiency, why cut the grass back? just paint around it.

Most are not out to rip you off, it is only the ninety seven, point five percent of them who are.  If one should wave you down. You have three options. 
1. Stop. Sounds kind of boring right? 
2. smile and wave as you go by. Most of the time nothing will happen. As they can not be fussed about much.
3. Stop, take a picture of them, get in a heated augment, tell them to "get fucked!"Twist the throttle and take off in a cloud of dust. This option will make your heart rate go though the roof and may or may not land you in prison. Should you end up in prison, don't panic! The book deal will make the pain of all those long nights with Lil Loco drift away.So that pretty much wraps up what I have learned thus far on the journey though the Americas. Life is great here. Don't trust the prime time news. If I have not been killed yet, I highly doubt that you will. So get of the couch and go experience the world. Or stay on it and wait for my next thrilling update.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Not much has been going on of excitement to anyone but me I guess. So a couple of pictures is all I have to offer. 

Ecuador has been proving to have some very beautiful camp spots on the side of the road. Although to camp at a hostel is only around $3 - $7 over a week or a month it all adds up. So being on the verge of having nothing left. I have been free camping as much as possible. 

This was an abandoned garage. I think someone in the big houses on the hill must have seen my cooking flame, for at about 12.30 in the night 3 cops showed up. Lucky for me they did not care I was there and I was allowed to stay. Moving in the middle of the night puts me in a shocking mood.

This is 3 German guys I meet. They brought this old V.W bus in Chile and are headed up to Colombia, then back down into Brazil. 

The greatest satisfaction you can obtain from life is your pleasure in producing, in your own individual way, something of value to your fellowmen. That is creative living!

When we consider that each of us has only one life to live, isn’t it rather tragic to find men and women, with brains capable of comprehending the stars and the planets, talking about the weather; men and women, with hands capable of creating works of art, using those hands only for routine tasks; men and women, capable of independent thought, using their minds as a bowling-alley for popular ideas; men and women, capable of greatness, wallowing in mediocrity; men and women, capable of self-expression, slowly dying a mental death while they babble the confused monotone of the mob?

For you, life can be a succession of glorious adventures. Or it can be a monotonous bore.

Take your choice!

Neil Gaiman.

Thanks for send me that quote Siobhan. Good one!