Sunday, July 26, 2015

Two To Tango, Three To Salsa



 Salsa demo was yesterday morning out at Tranquility Park in Omaha, of course just to make things interesting we had a little rain roll through over night Friday night into Saturday morning. I showed up a little bit early to do a little prospecting to make sure that the trails would be OK to ride on and as it turned out so did Brian from Salsa.  This was a blessing as I didn't bring a bike with me and was just planning on walking some of the trail, luckily Brian had a whole van full of bicycles so that we could go out a little farther and test more of the trail, which ended up being in really good shape despite Mother Nature's attempt to literally rain on our parade.

Photo Jul 25, 9 07 54 AM

Unfortunately for me the bike nearest the back of the Salsa van was the brand new 27.5+ Pony Rustler, so I was forced to ride it for the prospecting lap. I can see a lot of these bikes being sold this year for Salsa, it's almost identical to their longer travel 29er, the Horsethief except with a different tire size. Although because they both run the new Boost hub standard front and rear and have identical geometry, it is my understanding that you can run 27.5+ on the Horsethief or run 29er wheels on the Pony Rustler... you could buy either bike and have two options just by buying a second set of wheels. My only question would be, since they are identical and can run either wheel size, I wonder how long it will be before one of the bike lines is absorbed by the other. For example they could have just offered the Horsethief in a 27.5+ option and wouldn't have needed a newly named bicycle model. I guess only time will tell but I can tell you one thing for sure, it was an awesome bike to ride.


I tried to convince Brian to just let me take this one home and say that it must have fallen off the back of the van but as you can see, he wasn't buying it.

Photo Jul 25, 9 26 13 AM


Once it was determined that the trails were good to ride it was time to unload and setup bikes, tents and tables in preparation for the masses looking to ride. It's pretty amazing the amount of bikes they can fit into one of these vans, it was a good solid hour of unloading and assembling bicycles.


Align handlebars, secure front wheels, pump tires, check suspension, install pedals and repeat; Rick showing us how it's done.


Thankfully I stopped on the way to the demo and picked up some cream filled, glazed and frosted energy pills.




10 o'clock sharp and bicycles started rolling out of the tents and down the trails.



Of the bikes that Salsa brought out the Blackborow got my nod for best colorway, that green up close is even better than the pictures on the site... but they couldn't come up with some catch name other than just green? For 2016 the Mukluk and the Blackborow share the same frame geometry, making them virtually the same bike except the Mukluk will still run 4" tires and the Blackborow keeps the 5" behemoths allowing you to chose the best tire size for your personal application.


And they are super light weight?!? I don't think this is exactly what they mean when they say that the big tires offer lots of flotation but what do I know, I'm not a bike manufacturer.

Photo Jul 25, 12 00 47 PM

I've ridden the aluminum Bucksaw and it's a blast, the carbon one is just as fun but seems to be much, much faster when he rubber hits the dirt. If I had carbon Bucksaw kind of money I'd love to make one of these mine, still my all time favorite Fat Bike. I also love the fact that while there seems to be a trend toward 5" tires, Salsa has stuck to the 4" on this bike, 5" might look better on paper but in my experience the 4" tire seems to be better on the trail where it matters, especially if you are trying to use your Fat Bike year round. Maybe I need to setup a GoFundMe and see if the kind folks of America wouldn't mind chipping in a few dollars for my Bucksaw fund.



While I was out riding the Bucksaw the clouds opened up and starting dousing us in liquid sunshine, chasing both people and bikes under the tents.


The rain might not have lasted long but it was long enough to bring an end to the demo ride, thankfully we were able to get quite a few people out on the trails during the fist three-ish hours of the demo.

Being the first demo I've ever worked at, it gave me a whole new perspective about what it takes to put one of these things on and that's only from the bike shop side and doesn't even touch on how much work and sacrifice guys like Brian make delivering bicycle happiness to countless numbers of people over the course of a year. On the surface it sounds like it'd be a great job but I'm not sure I could do it, I know one thing, I'll never be able to just show up to a demo ride again without having a better appreciation for what it takes to get it up and running.

Thanks to all those who came out and sorry to those who didn't make it before we got rained out, there's always next time though.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Tour de Brew LNK - Skate for Change


Yesterday we found ourselves at another Tour de Brew LNK ride, this month's featured brewery was the relative upstart Zipline Brewing located right here in good ole Lincoln Nebraska. For a brewery that's been around for only 5 years or less they really put out a quality product, some of my favorite local beer for sure.


We managed to prepare a little better for this one and get a much better jump on traffic coming from Omaha, as a result we made it to Moran's Liquor Works to partake in the festivities and samples being served there. Standing room only, which is good if you're a bar selling beer but probably not the best if you're a liquor store giving beer away so hopefully these rides are producing some return business.


Once the samples were tried at Moran's it was off to Cycle Works to try the Lemon Drop Pale Ale that Zipline had brewed for the event. Lemon might make you think shandy but this was less lemony and more pale ale but with just a hint of lemon it would still makes a great lighter summer sipping beer. Tents seemed to be a theme for this ride, Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth had theirs up and as we would find out later Empyrean had theirs up as well... indoors.


Only two more rides until they raffle the Pugsley off, had to pick up my ticket last night lest I forget and miss out on the opportunity to make her mine. I would suggest that you all do the same next month but why would I do that, the fewer of you that buy a ticket, the better the odds are for me.


The Kitchen Sink Cookie Company was back with new cookies... doesn't it sound delicious?


With a name and description like that I just had to try one, thankfully the cigarette ingredient turned out to be a candy cigarette and not actually someone's burnt down tossed out butt. It was, of course, very delicious as all of their cookies have been that I have tried.


Had to drool over the new Salsa Cycles catalog, they have some really rad new bikes coming out for 2016 and some new paint on older models that just screams 1980 and who doesn't love the 80's. Best of all there is a demo this Saturday at Tranquility Park where you can ride all of the new models.


From his I pooped today button to this shirt, Gary's flair is always on point.


Speaking of flair, Gary's ride (Black Betty) got a little flair of it's own... Bam-a-lam indeed.


Crowds got large, stomachs got hungry, so it was time to head downtown in search of food.



$200 for a Baconator with fries... and they said that raising the minimum wage wasn't going to significantly raise the prices people pay for fast food. Seems like another of those political truths.



Not having that kind of cash on me, we opted to head to Dempsey's and some more affordable food prices.



I don't know about you but at less than $10 for a Bloody Mary with a slider, a chicken wing, bacon, olives and assorted peppers; it's a relative steal next to what Dave Thomas was offering... god rest his soul. Seriously though, someone needs to put together a Bloody Mary tour, between Dempsey's, Longwell's, Leadbelly, the Green Gateau and Jake's Cigar Bar we could easily pull one together and maybe even find another spot or two that would make it a nice ride. Who's with me? As a bonus a couple drinks like this and you wouldn't even need to eat anything else.


I was so in love with that Bloody Mary that I forgot to even get any pictures of the fabulous Smoke Stack burger that I had at Dempsey's, oh well, off to Empyrean it was. SEE I TOLD YOU THEY HAD A TENT INSIDE!!

Click the image above to watch the video... it's not an out of focus picture... Thanks Flickr.

We didn't make it early enough to grab a table and were relegated to standing around a barrel, it was crowded and hot as balls!


Feeling my own family jewels starting to transude and not wanting to leave a pool of my essence on the floor of the Empyrean tap room I decided to head outside and do some bike watching until the raffle... yes it was actually cooler outside. This New Belgium cruiser was pretty cool, not sure how many iterations there are, I know of three different colorways, but this one is probably my favorite.


Couple of fixies, probably wouldn't own one of my own but as a lover of the single speed I can admire their simplicity.


This old Gary Fisher was my favorite of the night, not the most expensive bike even when they were new (sub $400) but to see one still around and in such good shape was kind of nostalgic.


Once the Bahm brothers started heading in, it was time to head back to my spot around the barrel and mind my tickets hoping for winners.


Before we got down to the nitty-gritty they brought up one of the guys from this month's charity, Skate for Change, to talk a little about what their charity does. I can't remember the dudes name, asked the fiance and she said it was "Oh f&ck I can't remember" but while I don't remember exactly what his name was, I'm positive that was not it.


It's time!!!



While there were some other fantastic prizes, Cycle Works had a $40 and $60 dollar gift card as well as a complete tuneup, two that I was especially hoping for was the growler with refill from Zipline and the $100 gift card from Moran's... I won neither.


Actually, nobody from our group except Gary won anything this time around... the luck of that guy.


So much awesome in this picture! While our group came up nearly empty handed, this lady won on all three of her tickets and she was more than a little pumped as she rightfully should be.


Did I mention that she was just a tad excited? Someone get that lady a lottery ticket STAT... and they guy in the yellow shirt some band-aides, seriously, chaffed nipples are no joking matter.


While I didn't win anything, I didn't exactly go home empty handed either. I did pickup the winning ticket for the Pugsley, just you watch, and two other scrumptious cookies from the Kitchen Sink Cookie Company... if you're a fan of oreos pick up the double dutch, it'll cause a mouth-gasm. Sad to think that we are down to two more of these rides for the year and I'm going to miss the next one because of the Lady Antebellum concert, so really only one more for me; but we are going to organize that Bloody Mary tour though right, so there's that too look forward to.

Seriously though folks, don't forget to pick up your $20 raffle ticket for the Pugsley, it's $20 for a chance to win a $1500 fat bike... that's like one tenth of a Baconator with fries!

Don't let me just walk away with the bike, as much as I'd love to add it to the collection I'd also love to see it go to someone who would also love it just as much as I would and who might be more in need than I.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

ThNNDDR - Wagon Train


This ended up being our theme for the ThNNDDR yesterday. I had a plan, we will call it Plan A and it was to ride the single track out at Wagon Train but that plan didn't work out because a little rain decided to roll through and make the trails a tad too moist to ride. I also had a plan B as well, that plan was to ride gravel if plan A didn't pan out, it's always good to have a backup plan because life doesn't always stick to Plan A. I have discovered though that there rarely is ever a need to go beyond plans A & B. You see plans C, D, E and F always seem to travel together and  almost never work out and they have friends that they always invite along. You see F is friends with U who is a mutual friend of C, who never goes anywhere without K (everyone loves K, I mean who wouldn't love someone who is always protecting us from the worst scum of the Universe) of course the twins E and D eventually show up and when that happens... well, lets just say it's never good. So as you see two plans is all you really need to figure out, after that it's best just to call it a day and find something else to do.


Had another great group show up for the ride, 5 of us in total if you count yours truly.


The dirt might have been too wet to ride but the gravel was in pristine conditions, a little moisture helps keep the dust down and that is always a good thing.


Dusted off the photography skills for the ride also... never did understand why I didn't become a professional.


Even ran into a few fellow Cycle Works/Mooses's Tooth riders, guess gravel was on everyone's minds yesterday.


Well OK not everyone, this guy looked content to just ride around in circles in the grass like he was some sort of lawn version of a NASCAR driver.



Gravel was good, heat was a little less than it had been at 9 a.m. and there was even a nice little breeze. Unfortunately around 5 miles out Janelle started having some issues with her front hub, not wanting to get any farther out and have it fail altogether we pointed our wheels back toward the parking lot.


Safely back at the start we ran into this fellow rider who only helped to confirm my initial thoughts that the trail was too wet were accurate. Unfortunately it was only after a full lap that he too came to the same conclusion.


After a small break for water, to let my non-single speed ready legs recoup a bit and to make sure Ed and Janelle got all loaded up, a few of decided that we were going out for a few more miles.


Ran out of digital color film in the camera but somehow water towers always look a bit more interesting in black and white anyway.


Got in another 10 miles before the heat started to pick up and we decided it was time to head in and call it a day.

Won't be a ThNNDDR next week because of the Salsa Demo or one the following week because of the State Games of America but look for a return of the ThNNDDR on August 8th.