Sunday, July 24, 2011

Denver B-cycle in a mural

I noticed this the other day near 26th and Lawrence. Fresh produce and Denver B-cycle depicted in street art. What's not to like?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Surly Cross-Check hootenanny

Three Surly amigos.
This evening I participated in a mini gathering of the tribe of Surly Cross-Check owners. Sandy and Tracy have each recently drunk the Kool-aid and are now full fledged CC riders. We met at Great Divide to sample some of their fine beer, then were off to Biker Jim's for some fine tube-shaped cuisine. Both were ideal accompaniments to the ferrous goodness of our Surly steeds.

I've always thought of the Cross-Check as being the chameleon of bikes, able to do just about anything and to adapt to changing surroundings at will. Depending on the components it has worn, mine has spent portions of its life as a cross bike, a road bike, a mustachioed ersatz Rivendell, a svelte-tired 29er mountain bike, and a few other iterations in between. Taking a look at the differences and similarities of our three Cross-Checks and their individualized builds further supports the chameleon hypothesis.
Jack of all trades. My 2001 58cm bean green Cross-Check, set up as a single speed upright townie. I've been enjoying the recent addition of a Surly Open Bar and Ergon grips. This bike is reborn into something even better every couple of years. However, it is a bit envious of the greater quantity of braze-ons found on its modern siblings.
Stealth with flair. Sandy's 2011 58cm gloss black Cross-Check, with a mostly stock build of wisely chosen parts. Additions include an Old Man Mountain rack and snazzy aluminum fenders. Some bikes adopt characteristics of their owners, and I wouldn't be surprised if this bike had a beard the next time I see it.
Rolling artwork. Tracy's 2011 54cm robin's egg blue Cross-Check, fixed and color coordinated like nobody's business. The silver components underscore the sophisticated blue and umber hues. Don't think I didn't notice the bottle, Tracy. Topped off with a couple of Schwalbe 40s, this is functional form at its finest.
The three of us talked about the finer qualities of the venerable Cross-Check and took each other's bikes for a little spin. So similar, yet so different. It's amazing how little has changed during the ten year interval between production of these bikes, indicating no pressing need to change a good thing.

My Cross-Check still rides like new, and whenever I revamp the components or shuffle between gearing formats, I get a new bike all over again. For a bike addict, that could just about be the perfect situation. Now if only I could figure out a way to run the recently announced 4.5 inch Surly Big Fat Larry tires on my Cross-Check, I could stop daydreaming about adding another bike to the ranch.

Upon my return home, I took out my other Surly for a ride, carrying the whole family with me on the Big Dummy.

This unusual point of view was afforded by the rear-most rider.
My co-pilots on the Big Dummy for the evening.
Self portrait by Goldilocks.
This captures the mood after a circuit on the dirt trail.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


'How many?' now requires two hands to answer.
We had a big sixth birthday over the weekend. As has been the case for all of her birthdays, the temperature was very hot, but this year it was also muggy following several straight days of rain. We were still able to fit in a bike ride though, with many cousins in tow. In all, a good way to celebrate the day.
My co-pilots were quick converts to the virtues of the Big Dummy.
Cruising through the grass in a fancy dress on a dirt bike.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

101st post: Happy anniversary to Big Dummy Daddy

A very wet bean green Cross Check. Although it may not be apparent in the photo, I'm drenched to the skin.
This little blog has been in existence for one year as of today. If you, like me, are inclined to receive some sort of odd satisfaction from seeing numbers on the odometer roll by, this is also coincidentally my 101st post. So there's that. On to the start of year two...

Since the beginning of the year, I've been loosely keeping track of notable factors of my bike riding. One of those factors is weather related. In February, I rode during what was likely the coldest day of the year. After today, it's now probably safe to say that I've ridden on the wettest day of the year. I don't know what the rain total was, as I don't often watch the news, but I do know that I encountered several places downtown where the water was up to the hubs of my faithful old Surly Cross Check. I also know that the rain was pouring down in such copious amounts that I wouldn't have been much wetter if I'd been swimming instead of riding. In the end, it's difficult to complain about any rain in our semi-arid region, and riding through puddles with a fender-equipped bike is always fun.
Sister-in-law Jennie (on the right) accurately referred to our group as a peloton. Brother-in-law Jeff (center) showed off some bunny-hopping for his boys. Nieces and nephews experimented with dirt biking. Way to go with all the cool bike stuff!
It also rained yesterday, but not nearly as much. In fact, even though raindrops created moiré patterns on the street, it wasn't enough to deter us from our usual evening ride to the park, this time with many visiting relatives in tow. It's always nice to have a couple of co-pilots accompany me on the Dummy, and to have enough bikes on hand for virtually any combination of visitors. That could also be taken as an indicator that I have too many bikes, but I'd rather think that it signifies that I'm an accommodating host.