Wednesday, December 31, 2008


As you can see from my latest mug shot above, I'm a quick healer and am pretty much back to normal. At this point I'm ready to put this whole sick episode behind me and look forward to the future. And speaking of the future, tomorrow starts a new year and that means another New Year's Day Ride! The trails should be frozen hard by then and we should enjoy another fun New Year's Day at our home away from home, Brady's Run.

A few loose spokes:
Thanks to whoever has been cutting out the fallen trees at Brady's Run. Much obliged, partner.
I tried to register on Sunday and found it was already registered.
Curious, I typed it in the address bar and found it links to a bowling apparel site. Appropriate, I suppose.
I watched the movie "Burn After Reading" last night and absolutely loved it. Brad Pitt is a cyclist in the movie and delivers the best performance of quite a few exceptional performances.
The lines which made me laugh the hardest were when John Malkovich calls Brad's bike a Schwinn and Brad laughs and says "You think my bike's a Schwinn?". And then while he's being driven away by Frances McDormand he remembers his bike is left locked back at the park and he says "My bike! I can't leave it there, that's just a Kryptonite lock. You can open those things with a Bic pen". There's more subtle bicycling related humor peppered throughout the movie which made me laugh to beat the band. I love that the Coen's put substantial thought into cycling humor that only probably 2% of their viewers will understand. I can't wait to see it again.

Ride on.

Monday, December 29, 2008


I dropped off my official voluntary police statement today and I asked the officer if he thought they'd find this guy that hit me. You know, do they have any promising leads. He chuckled a bit and said he'd have to check with the boys down at the Crime Lab. Said they've assigned four more detectives to the case! He said they've got them working in shifts!

So, of course. I'm feeling pretty good about this now. If they do find the perpetrator, I'm going to go to his house and brace the kid - should be a pushover.

Ride on,

Sunday, December 28, 2008

This aggression will not stand, man.

Thanks everyone for the well wishes. I'm healing up nicely, other than my right eye being swollen shut. I'm sure it's just a step in the healing process. So far I've resisted any pain medications but it's been quite tempting to swallow a few.

Of course I've been reflecting on the "accident" quite a bit over the past few days and I'm bothered by a nagging feeling that the perpetrator knew who I was. As probably most of you know, I've recently raised my profile in the community by taking over my father's tavern. I suppose in that business you can make a few people unhappy (disgruntled current and ex-employees, drunks cut off, etc.) and who may, in an altered state of mind, do something irrational. The problem for me is there really aren't too many other people out riding bicycles alone, so I stand out a bit at any time, but especially at night.

Assuming all people have good intentions, then it's always best to have multiple blinky lights and reflective tape for high visibility. But when you know that some people have bad intentions, then it may be best to not draw attention to oneself. Interesting dilemma.

One things for certain, I'll ride differently from now on. But for sure, I will ride on. Otherwise, the terrorists win.

Ride on,

Saturday, December 27, 2008



Yes, folks, there are pure evil people in this world and unfortunately, they sometimes lurk behind us, just out of view. On my ride back to the 'hoe last night Mr. Plow and I were intentionally hit from behind by a car full of scum. I heard them speed up and hoot and holler, just seconds before they slammed into my bicycle from behind, sending me and Mr. Plow down hard on the pavement. This at the intersection of 4th and Wayne in Beaver. They then sped off, turned around and came back to apparently see the damage. I was a little foggy and didn't get a good look at their vehicle (other than it was a dark colored SUV) as they came past and proceeded to hit a parked Porche on 4th Street. This was enough, however, for them to stop and apparently inspect their vehicle (again, no care whatsoever for the person they ran down) and then they sped off.

Crazy world out there. Someone ought to sell tickets.

I'd buy one.

We'll be back...

Friday, December 26, 2008


Another year is almost complete. The passage of time is unstoppable. And so are the BABES. Let's kick off the new year with a mtb ride, shall we?

Date: Thursday, January 1, 2009
Time: 11:00am
Place: Brady's Run County Park - Arboretum

Also, it's not too early to start thinking about the "Fist", which is less than 6 short months away.

This years date: Saturday, June 20, 2009

More information on the 2009 "Fist" will be forecoming.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The 2008 Punk Bike Enduro is in the books. Check out the babe pics, happybikes pics, thick pics, the professional quality of chuck's pics, and please do take the time to enjoy the Dirt Rag Slide Show.

And a little Dirt Rag write up.

I have nothing more to add.

Next ride... This Friday, December 19th in beautiful downtown Pittsburgh. Ride 'bout town and then to the Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival and Whiskey Daredevils show at the Thunderbird in Lawrenceville.

Don't forget the Wednesday Night Rides.

Next "especial" BABE ride... New Year's Day, I suppose. Anyone?

See you.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Are You... enthusiast?

Well, are you, punk?

Okay then.

Sunday, we ride.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Single Speed Worlds - Oh Nine!

The date for the 2009 Single Speed World Championships has been set. It's August 6-9! (Have to love those dates... in an embarrisingly childish way). It's in Durango Colorado. I'd sure like to make that ride. In fact, I can think of only a few things that might keep from it this year...
And while thinking of those few things, my mind started wandering back to the last (and only) single speed championship I attended back in 2005. A fine, fine weekend, full of great memories. So I dug up the old BABE report and decided to re-post it here. For those with a few minutes on their hands, why not take a read and see if you may be thinking the same thing I'm thinking... why not do it again next year...

BABE Report, 2005 Single Speed World Championships.
State College, PA
August 20-22, 2005

Coach (Scott)
Me (Frank)
Jesus (Keith)

104 cubic feet isn't enough space. 104 cubic feet is not enough space for 3 grown men and their toys for two days. Therefore, a large piece of luggage, 8 cubic feet perhaps, had to be hoisted onto the roof. Many bags of various materials, shapes and sizes, 4 coolers and a cooler buddy, 4 bikes and three tents, Pillows, Jesus, the Coach, and me. We’re ready for anything.

We head West, away from the sunrise, at 11:30AM. An hour after the first beer was cracked. Top open, windows down, music blaring.

Here is the BABE Report:

So I'm going nowhere without pepperoni and fontinella cheese. And the only place I know to get what I want is the Green Garden Giant Eagle. That's why we head West on a 3 hour East bound trip. Upon arrival, I make a B line for the deli counter where I know they keep the good stuff... Margherita pepperoni. I'm standing there patiently waiting my turn, when the nice young lady ahead of me gets her olive loaf and steps away from the counter, most likely to the Bean isle. I happily step up to the meat display to place my order. The man behind the counter and I lock eyes... for like, 20 seconds. He refused to say a word. Finally I break the silence and say “Are you ready for me?”, and he responds "I'm looking at you ain't I?". Well, this isn’t going unchallenged. I jaw a little bit with him, and being a top-notch customer oriented service man, he gives me the attitude. After a few minutes of word jousting, I have my pepperoni, my cheese and a few various other items which will go uneaten, and we’re on our way. At the checkout counter we read the sad tragic tale of a poor death row kitten. Distraught and yet, strangely enthralled with the story, we spend $1 for the Weekly World News and head back to the ‘hoe. The BABES are not without their political connections. A presidential pardon? Perhaps, but we'll need to know more.

From here, it’s pretty much 3 hours of relaxation, music and anticipation for the weekend ahead.

Pee break. Time to stretch the legs and find some lunch. We’re not quite sure how far it is to State College at this point, but we feel it’s pretty close. We walk main street and see nothing. Dart into the Uni-Mart for a quick check of the facilities. Sorry, restrooms for employees only. This forces our lunch decision. It’s gonna have to be close, cause we gotta go. The next place we come upon is a small Italian pizza and pasta shop. Aaahhh out of the heat. Oh correct that, staying in the heat. We knew it was bad when the entire staff was huddling around one oscillating floor fan. Whew! At least they have cold beer and bathrooms, so we’re eating here. A few calzones, a few beers and of course a philly sub(?!?) and we’re out the door. Nice town but it’s time to get on to the show.

We head north, past the brew pub and onto route... what... there was a brew pub in town?!?... where’s the hells our “beer-dar” fellas? Sum-bitch, we plum missed driving right past that. Oh well, we’ll get’er next time.

About 45 minutes later we’re pulling into Mt. Nittany Wheelworks for registration. Although not until after we see about 5 Jaguars, 4 BMW’s and 3 Saab’s... all dented... and rusted. Mmmmm, let’s ride this town on bikes boys.

Anyway, I get out of the vehicle with a beer in hand and of course I’m greeted by a parking lot full of... um... well, let me quote the coach... “frightfully fit people”. Isn’t this the single speed worlds? Ain’t I supposed to be seeing beers... and beer guts? Well, this is certainly interesting, but never mind, we stroll up to the registration tent. We quickly sign up, get our SSWC05 beer mugs and socks and head into the shop. Nice shop. The people here are top notch. Friendly and smiling faces. We get some advice on where to camp and head back into the ‘hoe for a trip up the hill.

We follow the directions and, without a single error or turn-around, 5 miles later we’re into the Rothrock State Forest. Uh oh. Those are some damn big rocks. And this is a mighty long hill. We’re in for some fun.

We head up the road, kicking gravel and dust up in our wake, looking for someplace to camp.
After a few miles we follow the Seven van up an off shoot road. This leads to a radio tower... or make that 3 radio towers and a cell phone tower. We look around for a minute and I’m pretty much having none of this place so we head back to the car only to be confronted with two of the creepiest men I’ve ever seen, and with the largest foreheads imaginable on a human body (insert inbred Deliverance music here). We quickly high tail it back to the Tahoe and head deeper into the forest. Another two miles go by and things are starting to look up. Less cars around, some nice vistas and... uh, oh, more frightfully fit people. Not a beer in hand among ‘em. They’re pre-riding the course for tomorrow’s race. Oh brother!

We continue into the forest.

At the bottom of the next valley, Jesus points left up the hill and off we go. Another few miles in and we top out. This is starting to look promising. I had a vision of being on top. Not much farther up the road and we see an opening on the left, so we pull in. Out of the car and we quickly see other tents up by the road. We head to the back and see a trail. Ba-da bingo! We found a camp site. A beautiful camp site. A camp site I might dream about. This is home. We’re 6 miles into the forest.

Camp goes up quickly. Beers are consumed, lighters are lit, and leaves are raked by topless men. Man, this feels good.


Soon, a plan is hatched. Go back into town for a few hours of socializing and be back to camp by 9:30PM. Cook up some pasta to “carbo-load” for the race, sit around the camp site and have just a few more brews. Perfect. We are, indeed, professionals.

We leave for town around 7:30PM. Not being one to pull up right to the bar, we park just outside of downtown for a quick bicycle spin into town. As we’re unloading the bikes, I look over and see a girl. A girl with a fixed gear bicycle. She’s just sort of standing there. I say something about a “fixie” and immediatly she’s heading our way. “I just drank a shot” was the first thing we heard. She was in a scavenger bike race and the last stop she had to do a shot. “How YOU doing?” Her name is Laura and she tells us she's moving to Pittsburgh the next day. I’m thinking I’d like to give her a taste of Pittsburgh tonight, but, of course, being professionals, we are committed to being fully prepared for the upcoming day. But funny, sure is a small world. She helpfully directs us to to Zeno’s bar and also on where to find the fixed gear scavenger hunt after-party in town. Nice girl.

We ride a few short blocks to the bar. It’s down some steep steps into a quiet, beer drinkers heaven. Nice pub. Great beers. Victory Hop Devil on hand pump cask and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA’s to boot. Sweet. We’ve not yet put our butts on a seat and the girl in the corner cry’s out “Singlespeeders right?”. Uuuh... why yes!

A few hours go by. Peter, a fine Mt. Nittany Wheelworks employee stops by our table and gives us the run down on tomorrow's frace course. The resulting description sounds like John Madden channelling Emeril. Every other word is “POW”, “BANG” and accompanied by flailing hand motions.

The band starts setting up, but it’s time to get back on the bikes and get to the official SSWC05 party. We head out into a soft gentle rain. Quick ride one block over and we’re at Tony’s Big Easy, the martini bar where the SSWC05 late registration is taking place. We stroll in, see some friendly familiar faces and commence to socializing. It’s a nice place. A big place and filled up pretty good with singlespeeders. Frightfully fit singlespeeders. After a while we find the quieter bar in the back through the hallway. We’ decide this is more "BABE" speed and we settle in for a few more cold ones. After a few quite moments, a firm figured and full strutting blonde woman strolls confidently into the bar. Someone asks her if she’s in for the bike ride tomorrow, and with all the indignation she can muster, she squawks “Hell no... I’m a figure skater!!!” Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus, did she just say what I think she said? My neck audibly cracks from turning so quickly. Well, she decides she wants to talk to some singlespeeders and she saddles up beside us. I’m not 60 seconds into a conversation with her and she mutters “I don’t know why men don’t ever ask me out on a second date.”. At this point, after hearing the previous 60 seconds of her laments, I’m kind of wondering why any man has ever asked her out on a first date. In 40+ years of living, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an apparently fresh young woman expire so quickly. In the words of the coach, “I think she startin’ to turrrrrrn”.
Jesus walks beside me.

Enough is enough at Tony’s, we decide we need to find out where the fixed gear scavenger hunt after party is. Jesus, who was walking beside me, is pretty sure he remembers Laura’s directions. Good pal Jeff Wuerthele, who’s pretty sure he knows his way around town, decides to come along. We start working our way through town when we come upon Maurice, Thanita and Michael Browne from Dirt Rag. We stop to chat a few minutes. It’s a little fuzzy what happens next as I see a group of people skipping/running down the alleyway sending sparks from their shoes. It’s Sov from Surly and a bunch of other wing nuts. They continue on their way. When I turn around I see Jeff lip locked with Thanita. That doesn’t look quite right, but it ends after 30 seconds or so and the Dirt Rag crew continues weaving down the alleyway. No harm done here.

Suddenly, Jeff points up the road and we start off again. We get lost. Pretty damn quick too, I might add. Eventually, we do find the party spot, the old party spot. A few fixies on the lawn, but, this place is done. It’s 12:30AM. The night, at this point, is every so slightly off schedule. It then proceeds to get lot of schedule.

We decide it’s time for Zeno’s again. We head back into town. Only this time, Zeon’s is packed, there’s a loud band (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and they’re charging a cover. Coach slaps down a twenty and we’re in. Jesus, who was walking beside me, looks at me with the “what the hell are we doing here?” look. I feel the same. I squeeze and rub through a few people and we’re in the pool table/foosball room (this is a college town). Within seconds I’m being asked if I’m really “Vernon” and if I really work for East Providence Township. I mutter something about laying asphalt and Jesus and I decide it’s time to go. Just as we make about a half a step, here comes the coach with three beers around his grimy claws. With his middle finger 2 knuckles deep into the center beer. It turns out, unfortunately, that one was mine. I get at downing it. A few minutes later, a nice young lady walks by, stops in front of the coach and says “so who got the finger beer?”. Coach points to me and says “he did”. She shakes her head and walks off. Kinda made me wonder if she knew something I don’t know. It’s time to go.

We climb out of the dungeon and back on the streets. The gentle rain is done. We ride uneventfully back to the ‘hoe.

We manage to drive a whole three blocks before we realize it’s time for some food. Aaaah, Perkins. They have food. And lots of it. A “Terrific Twelve”, or something. 5 pancakes. 3 eggs, home fries, bacon or sausage, toast and coffee. Absolutely terrific.

We leave and head back to camp. It’s 2:15 in the morning.

Finally, at 3:00AM I craw into the tent.

Cruelly, at 6:00AM I craw out of the tent.

Coach quickly sets about whipping up a blueberry-pancake-like substance and some Folgers instant. Perfect. We eat. We chug a few waters, take a few shovel-in-hand trips into the rather sparse weeds to bury our "products" in the rocks and by 9:15AM and we’re piling in to the 'hoe for race time.

Pre-ride inspiration from Coach.

We literaly scream down the 6 miles of forest road, with Slim Cessena’s Auto Club blasting. Back to the base of the mountain. We park at the entrance to the ski slopes. There’s lots of cars... and lots of... frightfully fit people. And race Nazis. Race Nazis? Why are they yelling at us? A racer’s meeting?
“What’s a racer’s meeting coach?” .
“Nothing, just keep drinking your Pabst”.
“Yes sir”.

Eventually, we saddle up and head for the "racer’s meeting".

There is no racer’s meeting.

We hang out for a few minutes, I drink a Red Bull, coach drinks a beer. Lots of people. Lots of industry type people. Gary Fisher nestles in beside us. Hey, there’s Jeff Jones. Marla Streb, of course. Those guys. Dirt Rag crew in force. The Surly nut-jobs, Carl “Snarl” Schlemowitz. Nice.

Then, we told to drop our bikes and walk to the next field. A Le Mans style start obviously.

Well, not quite. A few incoherent babblings by the race organizers and we’re told to start running. Not running back to our bikes, but running up a hill, running across a road, running down some rock gardens, running across a bridge, running through a parking lot, and running back to our bikes. Has to be a quarter mile if it's a foot.. Well, anyone that knows me, knows... I ain’t running. So it’s becomes a nice morning stroll. We laugh along the way.

Pre-Ride Pack and me.

We survive the spreading of the pack and I grab Moe (my bike). “Shot time” guys, I yell out! So Jesus, coach and I share a swig of the good stuff. I slip the flask back in my flask holster, take a slug of Pabst. Another slug of Pabst, then pee again. I take another slug of Pabst, straddle my bike and... whoa... where’s Jesus. Jesus left without me. Only a single set of footprints in the sand today, and Jesus is not carrying me.

I proceed down the road, to the base of a very large mountain. I come across the first race steward. He looks at me kind of funny.
“Are you racing?”.
“Uh, yeah, I have a number here.”.
“Well get moving, you’re behind the sweepers!”.
DFL out of the gate.

I quickly pass the sweepers. I feeling pretty good considering the lack of sleep, the many beers and whiskey already in my system. Did I mention I’m at the base of a very large mountain?

I start to climb. I climb. Climb a little more, then aahhhh... sweet single track... and rocks. I’m glad I hung back because I know earlier this had to be a mess. I know how riders are in technical terrain. Way too much walking for me. I’m here to ride, so the slow start is a blessing.

I plow through the first rock garden. Something doesn’t feel right. Mmmm... tires aren’t flat. Oh well, I keep riding.

Soon I’m behind someone riding in a skirt. Specifically, a man in a riding skort. He rides pretty good. A little slower than I’d like, but not too bad. Through the next rock garden... across three bridges and... something’s just not right. I keep riding. A little further and the guy in front of me stops. I stop. I look at my front wheel. It’s touching my fork. I have a problem. The nice man in front of me turns and looks at me, and as I’m wiggling my front tire from one side of the fork to the other, he looks down thoughtfully and says... “you’re a little loosey”, and then rides off. Maurice Tierney is such a smart ass.

So he takes off and I’m left trying to figure out what happened to my bike. The sweepers catch up and just watch me as I’m still DFL at this point. I reset the wheel and take off again. I’m riding smooth now. Feeling good. Rocks and more rocks. Climbing. I’m all about this stuff. I can’t wipe the smile from my face. I continue on and start to catch up with some other riders. I’m passing people pretty quickly now. Most of them just have a blank look of confusion like they’ve never seen rocks like this before. I have, although never so many and for so long. I’m having a blast.

All of a sudden I come around a bend and find a rather large fellow riding a full suspension Kona singlespeed. All dolled up in black spandex. A full beard and a pleasant smile. It’s this guy... Rose

He and I talk for a while as we work our way through the rocks and it turns out he’s from Pittsburgh but he lives in Minneapolis now. He asks if I’ve ever ridden a place called Brady’s Run. Turns out Brady’s Run was the second place he ever mountain biked. Small world continues.

We spend a good 10 minutes in each others company, but he rides a little too slow for me, so I wish him a safe ride and step on it a bit.

Just a little further along and I catch up with a rather large group of riders stopped and just plain hanging out. It’s the Dirt Rag/Dirty Harry’s/Surly/Evil Cycling crew. Has to be 20 of them just sitting around smoking cigarettes and fondling their flasks. Of course, I have to stop and join in. After a few minutes, a bright eyed young lad pulls up looking like he just walked into a candy store. He smiles innocently and I witness the following conversation:
Young Lad: “Sure is a rough trail.”
Maurice Tierney: “Sure is.”
Young Lad: “Someone told me this is the worst section of the trail.”
Maurice Tierney (leaning into to get close to his face): “Well son... someone lied”.
With that, the whole crew starts heading back to their bikes.

I let them all go as I’m not interested in having that crowd behind me. I grab a Gu. A few minutes later, Rose comes up behind me. We chat a few more minutes and start off again.

The trail starts up again and it gets kind of smooth and really soft and loamy. The soft momentum killing section of the trail. Feels good, but I want the rocks back. In a few minutes I start passing the Evil Cycling crew again. Then the bike starts acting up. You see, my brakes have been making an awful squealing noise all morning and now I’m getting a vibration from the back end. Something’s not right. I stop and check out my chain, my hub and everything looks in order. I get back on and ride on. The bike riding and tracking okay, but something’s not right. I stop again. And again. I don’t know what the hell is wrong but decide at this point I’m riding the bike into the ground if I must. I just want to ride. I continue on. Despite the squealing brakes and shimmying back end, I’m still riding well and haven’t even come close to crashing or coming off my bike. I live for this stuff and I’m going to continue living as long for as long as possible.

As I reach the crest of the hill I can’t believe the vista. I behold an absolutely crystal clear and gorgeous view across the valley. If this was West Virginia, I fell like it was heaven. But I know we’re still in Pennsylvania, so it’s merely beautiful. I keep riding.

I keep coming across a lot of unhappy looking people. I think they didn’t know what they were in for. I keep riding and smiling.

Suddenly, I come across a man alone. He has a flat. He looks a little confused and lost so I stop. I ask him if he has everything he needs and he looks up at me and quite seriously asks in a British accent “Would you happen to have beer?”. I get off my bike and start helping him out. His name is Andy. I pump his tube and we chat a bit. He continues to work and I tell him my woes with my rear wheel. I hit the rear brake and show him how wobbly the rear wheel is. He shakes his head.
After a few minutes he says I don’t have to hang out with him and I realize he’s right. I need to start riding again. I offer him a hit on the Surly flask, but he declines. “Maybe a little later then” he says and so I swig alone and ride off.

Not too much further and I decide it’s time to eat the bagel I brought. I’m sitting there chowing down on my food and I look at my bike. Then it hits me. Did I ever tighten the brake calipers after putting on the new rear tire? I can’t seem to remember. I walk over, grab the caliper and pull. Sure as hell didn’t. That’s what was making all the racket. It was the squealing loose rear end. Damn stupid of me. Lesson learned. I tighten the bolts and start feeling a whole lot better. Things are looking up. As I take my last bite of bagel, Andy comes pulling up. “May I borrow your pump?”. “But of course”, and I hand him my tool. After he’s done, we head back out along the beautiful mountain top ridge. I’m feeling great. My belly’s full, my bikes finally tuned up and my legs are strong. About 200 yards later I begin to hear talking and I know I’m getting close to the first check point. There’s a little sketchy drop off and then I’m into a gas line field with a pretty good crowd of people. It’s Checkpoint #1.

As the Evil Cycling crew are here sitting in the shade smoking, a race volunteer comes over and asks me how the ride was. I say I love it. I tell him these are the best trails I have ever ridden. He thanks me and tells me I’m going to love the down hill that’s right behind me. I say “but the arrows are pointing that other way”. He politely tells me the race is over for me. For all of us it seems. For if you don’t get to checkpoint #1 within two hours, you have to exit the trails. Before I have a chance to get bitter, Rose sites down on the hill side, lights up a cigarette and in the most disappointing voice he can muster says...
“I’ve spent the last 30 years carbo-loading for this event... and I failed”.
Sov (sparky from the alleyway the previous night) looks up at him and says “Hey, we’re all winners today man”. My lower lip begins to tremble and I hold back the tears. I’m not bitter. I’m just happy to be here at all.

We all hang out here for about 20 minutes, just soaking up the beauty of the mountain. This gives me time to finish the bourbon in my flask. And there’s more bourbon in there than I thought. After polishing off the last swig, we start the descent back to the start. I’m feeling good. Real good.

Checkpoint #1, AKA The End.

The trail is lovely. In fact, it’s smooth as glass compared to what we just came off of. I tease one of the race coordinators that they kept the best trails to themselves. He winks.

We ride for quite a while and it is nice. Before long we’re at the finish line.

I hang out and watch a few of the riders coming down to finish the race. Amazing. They’re finishing the entire 25.5 miles in the same time it took me to finish 10. I wouldn’t trade my day for theirs for anything. Life is good... but now it’s time for beers.

I start back to the go-kart track.


Beers and conversations flow freely. The sun is high and the air is warm but crisp. I meet new people and see some old. Andy from the mountain top hangs out with coach and I, and we drink beers. I talk to Shiva Steve, the Marylander who comes up to the Punk Bike Enduro rides in Pittsburgh. He rode this race on a fixed gear. Nut. A nice nut, but a nut just the same. I see Drevil. Coach introduces me to Ryan, a rather pleasant and tall fellow with Elvis sideburns. His first words to me are that I’ll have to meet his wife as she loves men with loves salt and pepper hair. I need to remember this.

Jesus rolls in a few hours later. Hats off and kudos to the only BABE to finish a Single Speed World Championship. JESUS! It is good. Soon Jesus drinks beside us and we await the go-kart races. The races come. Round and round they go. The roar of the motors seem strangely out of place at a bike race. But it’s fun watching. We quickly become loud and derogatory.

Butch – 2005 Mens SS Champion.

At some point, while I had my back turned, our neck of the woods turned into a Marla Streb cheering section. As sad desperate cry’s of “show us your tits” went unheeded, coach and I finally obliged the crowd and show off our mams. Marla sees us and laughs as she comes in for the final lap. She wins.

Showing support for Marla, the only way we know how...
...with man-boobs.

The race is over and here comes Marla our way. She stops by and I mention my left nipple is sore from working it into a frenzy on those last few laps. Good man Andy sees the photo opportunity and quickly makes it happen. Our nipples are gently soothed by the 2005 SSWC winner.

The Marla Streb Nipple Incident

As we begin to leave we run into Ryan and his salt-and-pepper-hair-loving wife “Kat”. We invite them to the camp ground for meat. They accept the invite and we head back to camp.

Ryan and Kat in their Roadmaster

At camp coach fires up the grill and the meat is on. We eat burgers, dogs and cheese and pepperoni. Kat mentions she really likes meat. Plenty more beers are consumed and it is good.

After dinner, Kat decides she needs a smoke but can’t seem to find anything to make it happen. She head back to the Roadmaster station wagon to see if she can find anything. After a few minutes, I decide to make sure things are alright. As I make it to the car I see her hanging deep inside the rear door. I ask:
“Have any luck?”.
“No. All I could find was this machete and this empty can of Red Bull”. Machete?
Seems it wasn’t cigarettes she was interested in after all.
Back at camp, with the machete and Red Bull, we make things work out. After about an hour, Ryan and Kat leave for their hotel. We’re all quite relaxed. We clean up and get ready to drive back into town.

Back in town and it’s straight to Tony’s Big Easy for post-race festivities. Free beer is flowing and it is good. Jesus is hitting the beers for all they’re worth. Coach and I are sipping martinis. All the familiar faces from earlier are here. Andy, Ryan, Kat, Sov, Rose, Browne, Fisher.

Marla – 2005 Womans SS Champion

After an hour or so of smooth talk and gentle laughs, it happens. Derby time. In the street behind the bar. Skids, flaming Brittney Spears, deep fryer grease, roman candles. A spectacle to behold, but I alone stay in the bar. Just me and the bartender.
And it is good again. About 20 minutes later people starting running back in pretty quickly. The cops have finally arrived.

The BABE crew stay on until about 1:30AM and then it’s time to eat again. We go back to Perkins for another round of the Terrific Twelve. We eat hardy.

2:30AM and we’re in our tents snoozing to the sounds of night.

6:30AM and we’re out of our tents. Time to start breaking down camp. It goes quickly. Soon we’re on the road heading back into town. Coach suggests we stop by the Motel 8 and see if we can find Andy for lunch.

We pull around the back and spot his bike. Back to the front and coach jumps out to see if the front desk can ring his room. But before he can get to the front desk, who comes walking off the elevator?.... Andy. We all leave together and go straight to Mad Mex for grub. A few margaritas and beers and burritos and it’s time to say goodbye to State College and the 2005 Single Speed World Championships. It was good. Real good.


Favorite quotes from SSWC05:
“Nice set a Gams!”

"I spent 30 years of my life carbo-loading for this race. And I failed."
“We’re all winners today, man.”

"Hell no!!! I'm a figure skater!!!"

”I think she's startin' to turn.”
”Thanks for your meat guys!”

”All I could find was this machete and this empty can of red bull.”

"We'll be in the Buick Roadmaster."

"My wife loves men with salt and pepper hair."
"My rose bud is ready to blossom."
"That was right after someone threw their bike onto the bee's nest."
"I really worked my left nipple into a frenzy back there."

"I think I'm leaking. No, not my bike. Me."

"I'm moving to Pittsburgh tomorrow morning at 9."

Monday, December 1, 2008

You Understand, Right?

Long Overdue Updates...

Winter Wednesday Night Rides - Meet at Ice Arena at 6pm. Brad Sheasley leading. Grab the lights, strap on the booties and get along little doggie.

Punk Bike Enduro is Sunday December 14th this year. Costume contest. Let's get it on. BABE Short Bus leaves Hollywood at 9am sharp. Okay then.

Whiskey Daredevils and Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival, Friday, December 19th. Ride first, then show. Details in a week or so.

Need more information? Google it or send me an email.

It's all so very simple.

Ride on,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Collage is the greatest of all the arts.

Some BABES went for a bike ride last Sunday evening. It was a nice mellow ride around the towns. A bit diverse of our usual town/city rides. Of course, not unusual was the ride interupted by taking in some music. An artist I've enjoyed for many a year came to our little old Beaver and shared his amazing songwriting with us. His name is Matthew Ryan. He brought with him a joy of a person named Molly Thomas who accompanied on keyboard, violin and I'm pretty sure I saw a mandolin in her hands. A few photos here.

Perhaps my top two favorite love songs of all time were written by the same man. Dan Bern. Estelle and Gamblin' With My Love (Pete Rose).

You know, it's easy to get down. To get discouraged. To want to crawl into a shell and hide from the world. But then, something happens. Something always happens. Thank God.

So take a few minutes (okay, almost 10) to enjoy a beautiful love song...

I like the diversity of our riding experiences. The diversity of the BABES as people. The balance. The texture of our differences side by side with our similarities. Music and bicycles can be an adhesive for so many unique souls. Let's stick together (sorry for the bad pun).

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I think I may like a new blog. Not to replace this one, but in addition to this one. One reason this blog is not often updated is that I have many thoughts that I feel are not appropriate for this forum. This blog is about fun and the coordination and presentation of information related to cycling and, specifically, cycling in the Beaver Area. I don't ever want to preach anything here, but I feel a strong urge to publicly comment on things often unrelated to the cycling world. I suppose it's a need to balance the fun and not so fun aspects of life (there's that "balance" word again).
Of course, the comments I will present will be based on honest observations with an emphisis on positive and optomistic thoughts. Life and the world are complex organisms but with, what I feel, are very simple and basic fundamentals. I don't really feel that "things" should be so complicated. I'll explain things in the new blog, if you care to endulge it. Again, I don't want to sully this blog with non-cycling related thoughts. Perhaps there's no better venue to espouse than "Cooler Buddy", but for now, I feel it's best to segregate the thoughts. And ironically, "segregation" is one of the ideas in my head right now. I wonder about that idea. About how we try to outhing our nature (or creator). It's a big thought... no, it's a huge thought it in my mind right now.
Anyway, I've been thinking about a lot of things lately, and so I've created a new blog that I feel will be a better venue for my thoughts unrelated to specific cycling activities.

I'll post address the first post soon. Very soon.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Ho Boy Interview...

Ho Ho – Okay, let’s get right to it. Why did you decide to put on the Filthy Fifty October Ho Down?
Ho Boy -I didn’t. I’m just the mascot for the event and now, evidently, the spokesboy.

Ho Ho – Oh, well, tell us how you come to be associated with the ride.
Ho Boy – I know Frank. We met back when I was working for The Cowslingers. He, Leo Love and I hung out a bit after a few Cowslinger shows. Leo’s was the drummer.

Ho Ho – I think everyone in the audience knows who Leo is.
Ho Boy – Well excuse me. Anyway, here’s a sample of the work I did for them.

Ho Ho – Very impressive. “For losers like you”. A unique way to refer to one’s fan base.
Ho Boy – I do what I’m told. I think that was Greg Miller’s idea. Greg was the lead singer.

Ho Ho – I think everyone in the audience knows who Greg is.
Ho Boy – Oh yes, right.

Ho Ho – So back to the ride. What can you tell us about it?
Ho Boy – I believe it’s about 50 miles of bicycle riding.

Ho Ho – Do you know the origin for the idea of the ride?
Ho Boy – Frank said he was inspired by the Dirtier Dozen ride, which he’s ridden the last two years. He figured, why not do something like that here to showcase the lovely Beaver Valley Area.

Ho Ho - Why is it called the Filthy Fifty October Ho Down?
Ho Boy – Everyone will be filthy, the ride will be about fifty miles long and it'll take place in October.

Ho Ho – What about “Ho” part?
Ho Boy – Frank said it would be both a “Happy On Road” and a “Happy Off Road” ride.

Ho Ho – Shouldn’t it then be called a “HOR Down”?
Ho Boy – I don’t think Frank liked the sound of that. I think there should be a hyphen there. “Happy On-Road”, “Happy Off-Road”.

Ho Ho – I see. Very well. So everyone should be prepared for off-road riding?
Ho Boy – Are you drunk?

Ho Ho – No.
Ho Boy – That’s too Bad. Why the “X” on the bag? Are the contents why you are called “Happy”?

Ho Ho – Um, let’s just get back on track here.
Ho Boy – It’s your interview.

Ho Ho - Will there be other activities besides bicycle riding?
Ho Boy - Absolutely, Frank wants to showcase the best of the Beaver Valley Establishments.

Ho Ho - Define “establishments”.
Ho Boy - Taverns.

Ho Ho - Oh, so there will be alcohol consumption.
Ho Boy – Duh.

Ho Ho - Moving along, any other activities for the day.
Ho Boy - Yes, but the activities will be dictated by a number of factors and I’m not a liberty to divulge them at this time.

Ho Ho – Will the ride go on rain or shine?
Ho Boy – Yes.

Ho Ho - Does the ride cost anything?
Ho Boy – The ride itself doesn’t cost anything, but if a participant wants to partake in any extracurricular enjoyment, I’d advise bringing a few bucks.

Ho Ho – Define “A few bucks”.
Ho Boy – I don’t know, it’s up to the individual to figure that out. I suppose we’ll all know more after the ride is over.

Ho Ho – Well there you have it folks, barely any worthwhile information, but hey, I tried. Ho Boy, is there anything else you’d like to say?
Ho Boy – Where are your friends?

Ho Ho – You mean these guys?

Ho Boy – Yes, they look like fun, why don’t you bring them to the ride?
Ho Ho – I’m afraid they're not very athletic.

Ho Boy – It’s more about fun.
Ho Ho – I’ll see what I can do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Loose Links From a Tight Chain

It's been a few weeks since I've posted and while I haven't had anything major to say or announce, I've accumulated a few loose items that I'd like to put out to everyone...

Thank You...
For three straight weeks we've had a fabulous turnout for our "mini" work days at Brady's Run Park. We were certainly inspired trail achievers and made many trail improvments up by the ball fields and even made serious head-way on cutting in our new trail which will offer an alternative to "The Bastard". And speaking of trail work...

PTAG Work Day at Brady's Run - Sunday, September 7, 2008...
This will be a fun day of trail work, food, riding and beer. Many of you have come out to other PTAG work days and so know what a good time these are. A good cause, good people and bike rides. Good times. I hope to see lots of you there.

Upcoming Rides...

BABE Pittsburgh City Ride - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - 6:30pm - meet in Strip District here...

BABE Pittsburgh City SHACK*SHAKER FUN Ride - Friday, October 3, 2008 - 6:30pm - meet in Strip District, same location as above.
More information to follow, but there will be a BABE ride to the
TH' LEGENDARY SHACK*SHAKERS show on Friday, October 3rd. This band puts on one of the best shows I've ever witness and is not to be missed (if you enjoy life).

Pittsburgh Alleycats "Pittsburgh Calling" Alleycat - This fall - date TBA...
Pittsburgh Alleycats is putting on a Halloween Alleycat this year that should be spanking fun...

Filthy Fifty October HOE Down - Saturday, October 11, 2008 in Beaver County...
October will provide to be a busy month for the BABES with the Filthy Fifty October HOE Down ride on 10/11/2008. I'll be posting a dedicated entry for this ride, so check back for the more details. The only details I have are it'll be 50 miles long. It will entail both on-road and off-road riding. We'll make a few refreshments stops. We'll have fun. I'll post more details soon, but the main theme of the ride will be "Don't do anything foolish".

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Music, Bikes or Beer

You only get to pick one. Yep, sounds like hell to me too. Fortunately, we don't live in hell just yet, so we get to enjoy all three next Friday, August 8, 2008, with our friend Joel and Michelle at the 31st Street Pub.

It's Bob Log III,
Scott H. Biram
and Pittsburgh's own Buddy Nutt.
All one man bands. I consider this the show of the year so far. People I like at a place I like in a city I like.

Let's ride. We leave at 6:30pm from here...

In other news, I picked up a few flyer cd's today. Damn good stuff. Ever hear of Ezra Furman? Me neither. The cd is called "Banging Down Doors". How about Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. Yep, first time I've heard of him either, but I'm sure you can see why I picked it up. After one listen, I can highly recommend these fellas. So I'm out here doing the leg work for you, so don't let my effort be in vain, check these guys out. Google 'em or something.

Trust me.

Trust Jesus.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Two Paths

Virtues. Someone asked me what was my best. Patience is most natural. A few of the others come pretty easily. A few others with which I struggle daily.


I think Patience gets you through times without Kindness better than Kindness gets you through times without Patience. I suspect Wrath will get you through times without Envy better than Envy will get you through times without Wrath. Wikipedia has listed at least a hundred vices and virtues recognized world wide. Seems like a lot to keep track of. I like the original seven. Or an even more succinct guiding tool...
My mind can work out the nuances.

The photo below conveys the Dirtier Dozen, 2008. Heat. Weariness and a determination to stay strong. Off the beaten path. On a beaten memory. Strangers. Friends. Bikes and beer. No championed entity. No time, sights or sounds. Only Moment. There were lots of these.

Monday, July 7, 2008

More Rides Please!

We had so much fun on our Thursday night last week, we're doing it again the next two weeks as "training" for the Dirtier Dozen on July 19th...

If ever there was a ride well suited for BABES, it's the Dirtier Dozen and we must be prepared. So, in the spirit of "training"...

The Fool Hearted Two Moon Ride - THIS Thursday, July 10, 2008 in Pittsburgh
The Two Hearted Full Moon Ride - NEXT Thursday, July 17, 2008 in Beaver Valley

THIS Thursday's ride will begin at 6:30pm in the strip district of Pittsburgh. We start by quaffing a few ales from Cooler Buddy and then ride around town, eventually ending up somewhere. After we feel satisfied with our riding and imbibing, we'll ride back to the Strip District.
NEXT Thursday's ride will start at 6:30pm at the Beaver Valley Bowl in Rochester to quaff yet more of that adorable Bell's Two Hearted Ale. After a few of those, it'll be on the bike to ride around town, eventually ending up somewhere. After we feel satisfied with our riding and imbibing, we'll ride back to Rochester.

These are road rides, so any sort of decent bike will do.

If anyone is interested in joining me, give me a call, reply to this email, or just show up at the ride locations listed.

Don't forget to bring lights. A white front and a rear read blinky light is recommended for optimal visability.

I hope to see you at one or both of these rides. Please, I implore you, don't turn me into the lone biker of the apocalypse...
Ride on,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rides Anyone?

The Two Hearted/Two Musicians New Moon Ride - Thursday, July 3, 2008
The Moraine/North Country Brewing Ride - Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm going to do a townie ride this Thursday evening. It'll start at Beaver Valley Bowl in Rochester to continue quaffing that delicious Bell's Two Hearted Ale left over from Saturday's Lebowski Fist extravaganza. After a few of those, it'll be on the bike to ride around town, eventually ending up in New Brighton to see two musicians playing some acoustic music on stage at Wooley Bully's. After sufficient entertainment has been accomplished,
a pleasant ride back to Rochester will ensue.

If anyone is interested in joining me, give me a call, reply to this email, or just show up at BV Bowl at 6:30pm on Thursday.

Don't forget to bring lights. A white front and a rear read blinky light is recommended for optimal visability.

If the weather is agreeable, I'll bring along "25 pounds of sounds" to enhance the ambiance of the evening.

Also, on Sunday, I'm planning on doing a Mountain Bike Ride at Moraine State Park with an after ride beer at North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock. Leave at 9:30am from the Brady's Run Ice Arena.

I hope to see you at one or both of these rides. It's Summer, let's get it on!!!

Ride on,

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Are you an Achiever?

A web site has been established to promote the Lebowski Fist Event.

It contains a map of the bicycle ride route and the flyer that's being posted up around the city.

I hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Post Comes Around

My friend Mike Camp called me today and invited me to his house this evening for a few beers. Of course I accepted and rode Mr. Plow over the few short miles to his home. We sat in his garage, surrounded by bikes and beers, listening to music. The best part was he picked up two cd's the other day using the techniques I outlined in my Scout Niblett post from May 25th. Both were "buck" cd's costing only a dollar. And gems they turned out to be. I'm listening to one now. A band called the National Lights. CD title is "The Dead Will Walk, Dear". Of course you can see why he picked it up. Turns out there's a great picture of the band inside. Sitting on a fallen tree over a creek. All that's mising is the bikes. The instruments are another clue to the quality. It's a good cd. And for a buck. We listened to others. It was a joy to listen to a cd that wouldn't have been picked up had I not discovered Scout.

This is the way life goes. Will the circle be unbroken.

Memories and Dreams

I read a quote a few days ago. "When your memories exceed your dreams, the end is near". A childhood friend of mine died a few weeks ago and I found this quote very relevant to his life. Jeff possessed an incredible talent for remembering quotes, emotions and details from our childhoods. I found this both amazing and disturbing. I was amazed he could remember so many things and yet, so disturbed that he had very few dreams and aspirations with which to balance the memories. He was, unfortunately, always like this. He was an incredibly smart, understanding and compassionate man. And yet, he achieved very little success in either his personal or professional life. I think much of the reason for this relates back to the quote I mentioned earlier. Jeff was obsessed by memories and not by dreams. I think it's better to be the opposite. I'll miss Jeff. I hadn't seen him much recently, but I thought about him often. He was a good soul. He made me laugh. Now, if I could just erase the memory of the $50 he owed me, I could dream well of him again. He'd laugh at that. I hope he just did. Goodnight sweet prince.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Scout Niblett

One of the best perks of working in downtown Pittsburgh is CD shopping at the local record stores. We don't have anything small independent record stores in Beaver County any longer. But in downtown, there's still Dave's Music Mine in the South Side, Paul's cd's in Bloomfield and Eide's Entertainment in the Strip District. I know there are others, but these are the ones I frequent. Since working in downtown again, I've probably picked up at least 40 Cd's. Not spending more than $10 on a one of them. I personally want to support the artists and discover new music, but I don't want to spend $18 at Best Buy taking a flyer on an unknown artist. Well, truth be known, I don't want to spend anything at Best Buy. These are still locally owned record stores. I want to do my part to help them survive. And don't even mention on-line music shopping. I'm proud to say I've never purchased a single song online. On-line music shopping leaves me cold. There something about riding my bike after work to the South Side or Bloomfield and sniffing through the bins, finding something that looks interesting, slapping down some cold hard cash and walking out with an unknown artist and going for a celebratory beer somewhere.

On Thursday of this past week, during lunch hour, I walked down to Eide's and perused the "buck bin" as I like to call it. This bin mostly contains promo CD's for upcoming releases and since I'm always promoting music to people, I figure it's there for me. Anyway, this past week I scored three great cd's for a total of $5. Well, I'm here to do some of that promoting.

Now, I use lots of triggers to decide which cd's I will pick up and look at and which ones I'll pass over. The first trigger for me is the artist's name. I'll usually pass over an artist named "Vomiting Death Clowns" (only one of of those words would cause me to skip it, can you guess which word?), but one named "Honky Donkey Ponies" will probably be in my hands pretty quickly. The second pick-up trigger is the cd's title. This one's a little more tricky, but again, if I like these sounds of the title, I'll pick it up. Once I pick it up I look at the cover art and see if there's anything interesting there (Hey, is that Jesus on that Donkey Pony?). Next I'll flip it over and give a look at the song titles. After that I'll open it and check out the inside cd booklet. At this point I'm looking at instruments used (Banjo=good, Vibes=bad, although, believe it or not, I actually found a cd one time that had a banjo and vibes on the same songs. It was Pete Wernick's "On a Roll" and, being an optimist, I let the good outweigh the bad and so I bought it. It's a pretty good cd, but as I suspected, the songs with the vibes suck! But it wasn't every song and he can play the banjo quite well... but I digress.). After instruments I'll see if there are any cover songs on the cd. This is important. A Tom Waits cover usually indicates good things. Even a Madonna cover can be good if it turns out it's a bluegrass band or something (Yes, The Meat Purveyors (great name) did an inspiring blue grass Madonna trilogy). So use your own judgement on this one. Next, I'll go to the end of the booklet looking for "thank you's" and other notes as to who inspired the artist or perhaps worked them or toured with them, etc. If the cd passes these tests and it's $10 or under, I'll usually take a stab at it. Of course, the closer the price to my upper limit, the more criteria it has to pass.

Anyway, back to the reason for this post. One $3 cd I spied last Thursday was by an artist called Scout Niblett. This was good. The cd title was "This Fool Can Die Now". That stretched the single to a double. So I pulled it out but found no cover art as there was no cd booklet inside. Promo cd. So I turned over to the back and read the promotional verbiage. First good sign, recorderd by Steve Albini. Contains duet's with Will Oldham (aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy) keeps this cd heading towards third. Words like "emotive vocals duel with country infused harmonies, bluesy guitars, crashing drums and soaring strings" make this recording look like a potential stand up triple". Now looking at the song list shows the first track called "Do You Want to be Buried With My People". Hey, that's a might big lead out there. Another track called "Kiss" and another called "Elizabeth (Black Hearted Queen)" and one called "Dinosaur Egg", with the last song titled "Fishes and Honey" and this one' showing all indications of stealing home.

So of course I buy the cd and once I get back to work I promptly google "Scout Niblett" images and I'm immediately presented with this image...
Yes, she's riding a bike. And not just any bike, a beautiful old Schwinn cruiser with coaster brake, a fender and a rack. No helmet, sensible footwear and an infectious smile makes this appear to be a home run for me. Then I put the cd in my computer and headphones on my head and immediately realize the bases were loaded. My apologies for the baseball metaphors, but Ladies and gentlemen...
we have a winna!!!