Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Give 'em The Boot

When I was in my early 20's I did a fair amount of backpacking and mountain climbing. I remember seeing a pair of Italian Leather Hiking Boots at Alpine Outfitters (when their location was in the Downtown Mall). I thought that they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I got talking to the proprietor about them and he said that $200.00 was a lot to pay. He then told me he knew a guy who was a Boot Maker who could build me a custom pair of boots for about $150.00. I contacted the man and he said to come out to his workshop for sizing and material selection. The guy measured my feet and noted that the left foot was 2MM shorter than the right from the heel to the tip of the big toe. I was very impressed by this and when he said he would like to recommend the Full Grain Elk Hide, I told him he was the boss! He said he was a little booked up but should be able to get my boots to me by the summer. I gave him a one hundred dollar bill and said call me when they were done. That was in May of 1976. Around July 15th I called him to see what was going on with my boots. A group of friends and I were going to climb Mt. Shasta on August First and I wanted to get them broken in. "Oh yeah Jim," Began the voice on the other end. "I've been meaning to call you. What kind of welt do you want on those boots?" I was perplexed and basically asked him what the Hell a welt was. "A welt is the stitch which connects the upper sole. A Norwegian welt is double-stitched, strong and stiff. Other welts (Good-year, McKay, etc.) are not as strong but allow more flexibility." He explained. "I really don't care what welt you use, just get me my boots!" I almost screamed. I heard nothing for another 3 weeks so I drove back out there and popped in to his shop. The S.O.B. saw me enter the shop and he immediately yelled out, "Jim, I was just trying to call you! What kind of Rand do you want me to use?" I was young and thought that everybody but myself must know what a Rand was so I calmed down and asked him about it. "A rand is a wide rubber strip protecting the stitching that holds the upper to the sole." He kindly explained, then he discussed my options. He then informed my that another hundred dollar bill would really help him to finish up. I was pissed but then in true 70's style, he invited me out back of the shop for a fat doobie and I was putty in his hands.
September rolled around and I still had no boots. Occasionally I would start thinking that by now I should have had a couple of hundred miles and a hand full of Pacific Northwest summits on those boots and I would start to get angry. But then I would burn a fatty and everything was groovy! Climbing season was rapidly coming to an end and I was at school (Art Major) so things just kind of got put on hold. I heard that a friend was going to be out near the boot shop and I asked him if he would just kind of spy on my boot status. My buddy returned like some kind of boot aficionado and began explaining how the Vibram Sole Company was going through a whole new re-tooling and that getting them was almost impossible. "It would have been nice to hear it from the Fargin' Boot Guy!" I yelled. I immediately drove out and asked what the Hell was up. "The darned soles have gone from $25 a pair to $60. Also, I took the liberty of using a bellows tongue which uses wide gussets. It's a little spendy but well worth it!" He smiled. I remember going out back with him again and I remember peeling off another hundred dollar bill too! Around Thanksgiving time I happened to hear on the local news that the boot dude had been busted for growing marijuana. Since it was his second offense he was going to prison for a while. "Not to worry Dude!" A young voice was heard to say upon calling out to the boot shop for information. "I am the boot shop man's son. I will finish up your boots!"
Well, to make a long story short, after the fire, the burglary and another $500, I finally got my boots in 1986. By then I was no longer into climbing unless I had a bicycle under me. Upon getting home with them I pulled them out of the box, but when I went to put them on I discovered that they did not fit, too tight! I'll be darned if I hadn't grown a whole shoe size and an inch and a half in height somewhere around my 30th birthday!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Augustinian Augury

I am pleased to announce that I will be embarking on yet another month-long Odyssey of adventure starting on August First. With the help of powerful, mind-altering substances (known as caffeine and YouTube) I will twitch and jerk my way through yet another painfully ill-conceived, seat-of-the-pants writing project, replete with long hot days of gross inattentiveness to my job and general unsocialized behavior at home. All to further demonstrate my vast knowledge of the spell-check feature of my blog account.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Viva Le Tour

Well we got back from Paris late last night. It was truly one of the best Tours I have ever covered. San Fran Cup got stopped at customs with a huge bag of Los Croissants and a demi-kilo o' Black Currant, Parisian roast cafe'. Again, I just want to thank everyone for watching and remember, Vous pouvez former un singe à faire presque n'importe quel emploi, mais il ne pourra jamais gagner le Tour de France!"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pasta Pesto Salad

Boil one pound o' Penne pasta, al dente. Mix in 7 oz. Trader Joe's, Genova Pesto when noodles are drained and still hot. Make a Tossed Green Salad with any veggies you like. Drain and rinse one can of Garbanzo Beans. Rinse one tray of Grape Tomatoes. Now arrange these ingredients on the table and invite your friends to build they're own salads. Dressing suggestion is Trader Joe's Organic Creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing. Serve with a Toasted Sunflower Seed Mini Loaf and Unsalted Irish Butter, you know where to get them too!

Friday, July 24, 2009

They say that true insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. But who's to say, It aint working! You can't tell a knot-headed, flea infested bum that he is a failure, but you can invite him to eat your shorts. Preferably as you are riding away from him on your bicycle!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shasta Hillclimb 2008

Shasta Hillclimb 2008 I am really looking forward to this event. As I have previously mentioned, I will be going up in the big, hollow, Carpet Mart van. Can take many passengers and bikes. Have lots of fun! Why I talk this way? Too much Thai Food! Mr. San Fran Cup treated us to approximately one-cubic-foot o' Thai Food last night which we ate at my house while watching the Tour De France, stage 17. Thank you Friend, I will work on your bike anytime!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Up All Night

The problem could be coming from the large outer bearings that are usually on each side of the hub. Replace these bearings. On the coaster brake arm band side (which attaches to the frame with a clip with holes and a bolt and nut) there usually is a metal cover . This cover goes over the large bearing and the outside of the hub to protect it from dirt. If this cover is slightly bent or elliptical , the hub , while turning, could be rubbing against it. What brand coaster brake hub is this ? Some of the lower quality Taiwan or Chinese imitation Shimano brakes were very noisy right out of the box. What the issue seems to be is the metal brake pads inside the hub are rubbing on the knurls of the brake clutch. There is a spring inside the hub that pushes the clutch away from the brake pads, and when this spring is bent or messed up, the clutch rubs on the inside surface of the pads making the whirring noise.

I have replaced springs and "custom bent" them in a few attempts to solve this problem, but no success so far. This noise does not seem to affect the operation of the hub. As far as my "MEAL"... I shall have it Wednesday! San Fran Thai!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Reality Check

That was then...
This is now!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Make Mine Tea !

Did I ever tell Ye about the time I got the net dropped over me head and they hauled in for 72-hour Eval? Now, I'm not sayin' that the nine jugs o' Fair Trade, Organic, Peruvian High-Roasted Coffee that I drank was to blame but... When a man tells you that coffee makes him a tad nervous, offer him a cuppa tea!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Guess Who !

Who would ever guess that this fine looking young man would grow up to become Satan! I mean Ronnie James Dio.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tour de France History

As you can see, I am a genius! It takes a special man to know which YouTube Video or Image to post on his Blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Can't Tell You Why

As many of you know, my brain is sometimes prone to intuitive spasms and just like that, a voice (that sounds remarkably like Steve Carell's) screams out "Scottish Oatmeal!" Oh and then the voice says, "Good Night Bone-Head!"

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I rode with my Jan Ulrich of a brother yesterday and made some interesting observations with regards to single-speed vs. multi-speed bike riding. The single-speed rider will always be cast in the light of some kind of Super Hero. The geared rider will attempt to not use his gears, making a vow, either publicly or privately, to find one gear and to stay with it, no matter what! But as we started grinding up a long incline I heard behind me the unmistakable sound of a drive train moving over gears. Later, Tim yelled out to me that he was not going to use his little chain ring as we started out the Hornbeck Trail. I yelled back that there are no little chain ring sections on the Hornbeck! It wasn't until a few miles in that I realized he meant he was using his Big Ring; I thought he was talking about not using #3, Baby Ring! So there he was, happily grinding away from me, cross-chained like a echelon pace line, stomping like a diesel engine.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Many Incarnations

I am getting my Redline 925 bike set up for the Mt. Shasta hill climb on Aug. First. I am using a 34x18 fixed gear for the way up and a 34x18 free-wheel for the ride down. I am driving up in the cavernous Carpet Mart Van and only have room for 10 more people. Tell me if you want to go!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Alright, I'll admit it. I have been laughing and making fun of this man for years now but yesterday he proved me wrong. Talk about a Cinderella Story! Thomas Voekler is the French equivalent of Popeye The Sailor Man and God knows, he ate his spinach yesterday! This is shaping up to be one very entertaining Tour!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Think it Through

So this is the grave of Jules Verne. Imagine his adult children trying to get the grand-children to go visit Grandpa. "Come on kids! We're going to put flowers on Papa's grave!" What are ya... Fargin' NUTS! If this is the kind of crap that it takes to be "The World's Most Interesting Man" you can have it! P.S. A particularly good Tour this one is shaping up to be!

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Only Hope!

Since this guy showed up out of nowhere, I suppose I must now merely aspire to the position of "World's, Second Most Interesting Man".

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pleasantly Surprised!

I am absolutely delighted to hear that after four years of not having a Team Time Trial Stage at the Tour de France, it's back! Tuesday July 7th, stage four is a Team TT. The Team TT is one of sports most beautiful and potentially ugly spectacles ever. Sort of like a 9 man bobsled run, things can get a little weird out there!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Time To Go!

The Tour De France rolls out today. Good Luck to all!

Friday, July 3, 2009

I Can't Find My Glasses!

This dude scared me when I was little, now I am him!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Frankenstein rides Again!

Although not nearly as cool as this beautiful example of a Mixtie bicycle, I have been working on a old Univega mixtie. Jack from Red Bluff left it here after the last swap meet, sans wheels. I've recently received a 700 wheel with a 6-speed freewheel from Fire Captain Ausbo. Even though it was originally a 27" wheeled bike, I found a rear brake that will allow enough adjustment to land the brake pads on the 700 rim walls instead of the tire sidewalls. I have been late nights down in the laboratory and am getting ready to unveil what I call The 27-Hundred Mixtie. The bike has a 27" wheel on the front, 700C in the rear. Curiously reminiscent of a modern, sloping geometry bike-look.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Heaven from the grill

Where can a guy get a proper oatcake and a good cuppa tea?