Saturday, December 24, 2011

Riding at 17 Degrees

between the eyes
without the pleasure
of ice cream

- TOchillyB

Friday, December 09, 2011

Maiden Voyage

- TOB or is the maiden voyaging?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Fatbiking Cuyuna

The Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trail System is a fascinating view into reclamation of old mining land...not necessarily our reclamation, but nature's. It's part of a larger outdoor recreation area. The 30-mile trail system is built on top of 200 ft. high iron ore tailing heaps that are now overgrown with aspen, basswood, birch and red oak. The summits look out over what used to be iron ore mines (some up to 500 ft. deep), now water-filled and used for underwater exploration and kayaking as well as for trout, northern, bass, crappie, sunfish and walleye fishing.

There are lots of ins and outs to the trail system, and it's a great place for riders of various levels to ride together. While losing a riding partner is possible, it's always easy to connect again.

The trails leave telltale red dust on everything, and they leave the clinks of glass-shard shaped rock in one's memory...Shred the Red, as they say.

This time, I shredded it fat.

The bottom of the climb.

Red dust from iron ore tailings covers everything.

Photo op on the climb  it's all about timing  * huff * * puff *.

More dust=more cleaning  sigh
Looking out over Alstead Mine Lake. Yes, we started from waaay down there...or somewhere close by!

ONE tiny puddle is all it takes, I guess.

If I'm not dirty at the end of a ride, fun wasn't had!
- OB livin' fat!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Don't Even Ask....

...because I couldn't explain it anyway!

- The Bag but it has something to do with Fatbiking on singletrack

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Commute

- The so busy Old I'm Bag exhausted

Friday, September 02, 2011

And so I Write about Bicycling

and so I write about bicycling

because if I don’t my mind whirs through the night

over my profession

of learning and joy and creativity

that hasn’t anymore

because test scores dictate

because budgets are part of the chess board

and legislators override professional judgment

and one of us is doing the work of two of us

and because it all matters too much,

and so I write about bicycling

because a matching kit doesn’t really matter

and joy can be found in a paceline

or outside of one

because clearing the log the first time is a celebration

and because great flow is as good as great sex

and because all of it is beauty

and joy and freedom



saves me

- ob

Monday, August 01, 2011

big man

sure pedal strokes
determination in your position
definition in your legs
your voice resonates confidence
passing on your left
you've become a cyclist
if we’re going to continue meeting like this
we’ll need to talk
because these days
I’m seeing just a bit too much of you

-tob seein' his entire backside through the shorts...but we've all been there

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Betty just has more get-up-and-go than...than...Aunt Lorraine, here! I blurted out, as I topped the hill. It had been a rainy few days and we grabbed the bikes with fenders and racks—the Long Haul Truckers—for our Saturday breakfast ride, and I forgot.

* sigh *

I forgot that I wasn’t riding Betty. Climbing? The LHT can’t be persuaded to get all excited about it. She’ll take me places and haul things that Betty won’t touch, but she won’t be something she’s not...and she’s just not racy.

You know an Aunt Lorraine. She can’t be hurried. Around her, life is relaxed and comfortable, but underneath all that deliberateness there’s potential for adventure.

Lorraine likes a good beer, three squares a day, and a gin tonic on summer nights during poker games. She’s a sturdy woman...not fat, mind you, but tall and solid. Fifty years ago she’d have been called a spinster. Now she’s simply a grown-up tomboy, independent as hell, who has her own way moving through the world.

Aunt Lorraine’s got a past, and when she’s in the right mood you’ll hear about some of it. She’ll trail off and smile, then offer you some more iced tea before the two of you head off in the truck...that old Sorrenson place just outside town is waiting to be explored.

Lorraine makes you see parts of yourself in a different way. Things that are neither good nor bad she simply paints in new colors, and you find yourself hmmmm-ing and nodding. She helps you realize there’s more to life than the block you live on, and there’s more about time than the here and now.

The way it’s always been?

There just may be another way.

- Old Bag learning new tricks

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Gentleman

And what about you? says he.

Me? Well... says I.

Would you be interested? says he.

Interested, sure. I love the idea, but the reality of 100 gravel miles? I don’t know, says I.

Nice thing is there’s time enough for dedicated training, says he.

Who else’ve you talked to? says I.

Well, there’s Wheel, here...Jerry’s interested...Dan, but logistics are tough being 10 hrs away...rides like this really aren’t Tim’s thing.... says he.

I’d be the slow one, says I.

Time is called when the fourth one rolls through. The three others
of the fourth. That’s why it’s called a gentleman’s ride, says he.

Hmm, says I. My brows scrunch together.

What about Jimmy? Have you talked to Jimmy? says the other.

What...and have him nurse MY ass along all day!?! says he.

- tob * I guess it's gotta be mine *

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Adolescent Nightmare

It had been a hot, sticky morning commute.

I was at my desk hoping to cool down before changing, but the library was warm and still...

don’t they turn on the AC in this place during the summer? is there a fan ANYWHERE?

My distress growing, I grabbed my bag and headed off to the nearest restroom

where I stripped off my cycling clothes, leaned on the door, and stared at the floor tiles

and smiled at the irony

of being in a junior high bathroom stall wearing nothing but flowered anklets and black shoes

and feeling relief.

-OB is this living the dream?

Saturday, July 02, 2011


I would have been just flinging my penis around I said in response to Wheel’s question. He’d asked why I hadn’t mentioned my racing background while on a ride with another couple.

We were riding with the local tandem club, and this couple was one we hadn’t ridden with before. The ride was 72 hilly miles around a wide spot of the Mississippi...about 2000 feet of climbing and descending.

The man, in particular, seemed surprised that they couldn’t keep up with us on the downhills, and he latched onto the obvious: our size must have been our downhill advantage. We had 55-60 pounds on them, which is significant on descents. However, with your size you’re also going to take more wind.... The scenario wasn’t seeming to make sense to him. We must have gapped them more than he expected.

Later in the ride, Wheel and I waited in the shade by the side of the road so we could ride into town with the group. We’d had a good energy spurt after lunch and had put quite a gap on our new friends. As the couple arrived, Tandem Man again mentioned the obvious. You guys just rode away from us! Then to me, I’ve noticed on the downhills that you go aero...I’ve never seen a stoker do that. The statement seemed odd to me, but I said simply that it’s automatic. I also mentioned that I grab the top tube with my knees. He didn’t pursue that point, however.

Had he pursued it, he could have learned that grabbing the top tube with the knees reduces frame wobble and prevents forward momentum from being wasted on side-to-side motion -- it also increases safety and handing. He may have reasoned that it helps to distribute that weight at a point between the seat and the top tube (without actually moving forward on the seat and compromising safe positioning) and it gets the knees out of the wind. Had he asked, we may have talked about weight that’s forward pulling the bicycle forward--consider a fishing line and sinker. He would also have learned that being in the drops, pulling-in the elbows and positioning the crank arms parallel to the ground contribute to a faster yet safer descent as well. And a faster descent is a great setup for the next hill. He could have had a few miles to practice with his stoker and feel the effects.

But instead, the chit chat moved onto some bicycle component.

Earlier in the ride there had been brief talk between Tandem Man and Wheel about men and their penises in the context of cycling. I commented that both men AND women have testosterone surges. Tandem Man laughed and agreed, but added that women manifest it with much more grace and subtlety during a ride than what men seem to muster.

The conversation drifted onto other things: choice of fork, how we liked the disc brakes, what other tandems we’d ridden, their other tandem was a mountain tandem, their wheels are lighter than....

I used to race mountain bikes, said Tandem Man.

So, when Wheel later asked why I hadn’t brought up that I used to race, I told him that most people hear racing and think speed. What I learned from racing was how to use everything I can to my advantage, that subtle positioning affects performance in profound ways. Those concepts would’ve been lost. In the end, bringing up my racing would have been nothing more than me swingin’ muh penis around, I told him.

So instead, we buried them on the hills...

...grace and subtlety, my ass.

- The O testosterone? me?? B

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grillin' and Chillin'

An entire 17 lb bag of Kingsford Charcoal with the lid zipped....

- OB amazed by the simple things....

Friday, June 24, 2011


5:30 on the concrete pedestrian bridge
I coast to a stop
over 6 lanes of Highway 100
grab onto the rusty chain link fence
watch lanes of traffic below
and smile at the smell of exhaust fumes
because for right now
I’m not a part of the rat race

- The Old it's summer Bag

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fatbiking in June

sounds like a ‘61 Chevy Impala convertible
baby blue
making the slow turn onto a gravel road
under the full moon
on a deep summer’s night

- ob

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

One of These Things....

is not like the other....

-The one of these Old things just Bag doesn't belong :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blockin' out the Scenery, Breakin' my Mind

And the sign said anybody caught trespassin' would be shot on sight

So I jumped on the fence and I yelled at the house, "Hey! What gives you the right?

"To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in"

"If God was here he'd tell you to your face, Man, you're some kinda sinner"

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind

Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

- OB with a bike that can go anywhere, but she's not allowed....

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Part 2

the cyclist
riding toward me
sat up as we approached
and threw out a big wave
I saw the front Larry
“Hey, BUDDY!”
I put out a hand
as a smile cracked across my face
and we passed each other
fat-tired fellowship
and sweet

- The fat Old Bag

Part 1

Friday, April 29, 2011


I popped into the shop down the road for a couple of spare tubes. It’s not a place where I spend much time or money. While it’s a polite enough place, the shop where I used to work is closer to home now than it was...and besides, there was that time this shop put the axle and spacers into Wheel’s rear hub facing the wrong direction....

Whatever. It’s less than a mile from home and for an immediate need, I go there.

After paying for the tubes, I did a quick scan of the women’s clothing section as I headed toward the door. It’s tough to shake evolution. Women are gatherers and have been for millennia. We scan our surroundings for color, shape and texture that catches our a bike shop that’s clothing, helmets, chainrings, SALE signs. Doesn’t matter.

I saw the jersey colors out of my peripheral vision and turned to look. My eyes stopped.


Not brass ones.

In the midst of the clothing rack rose a female mannequin whose nipples cast shadows.

The jersey it was sporting? No clue. It didn’t make an impression.

Typically the only nipples I zero-in on are on a rim. But these, I couldn’t NOT see. Instead of walking over to take a look at clothes, I walked out the door, pissed-off at what was being sold.

It's marketing, obviously to men. I don’t know about other women, but I don’t want my man to give me a jersey and dream of a plastic torso when he sees me wearing it.

While men comprise the largest segment of cycling-related purchases, there are women who are capable cyclists. We not only buy our own clothing, we buy our own equipment and can service it. Our men wouldn’t dream of attempting to buy equipment, much less clothing, for us because we’re that particular about sizing, materials and features. In clothing we want three deep pockets, a chamois that holds up over the long haul, and colors that appeal.

Do nipples draw women over to fondle the polyester? Creepy. Creepy enough to send me out the door.

To the shop manager: do you plan to feature a male mannequin at the top of the men’s rack? one with chiseled rod and balls sporting the latest men’s shorts? No?

Then ditch the nipples if you want women to hang-out and invest some dollars.

- OB with another reason not to go there....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


The Fatback came to life on Easter Sunday. Coincidence?

I think a red bashring is a necessity.

Reflective bits

The look-Ma-no-hands pic.

Raw frame with clear coat...industrial chic.

Brownie Lake rogue path off the Cedar Lake Trail.

This is the kind of paved trail I used to avoid....

With the mtb. trails closed until things dry up, we've been pawing around local wooded patches and either side of the RR tracks to find some interesting riding. For a fat lady, she climbs like a dream and she's at her best on gravel, sand, grass and crappy trails. She hikes up her pantlegs and barrels over anything in her way. The hubs = effortless. This was THE only frame left in my size late in the season. Lucky me. I'm liking it.

- ob :-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011


My second bicycle life started somewhere in the early 90s. Several years prior I’d ripped out an article from Shape magazine: supported bicycle touring sounded like something I’d like to try someday. The article ended up in my desk drawer and the thought rolled around the back of my brain for years. In my early 30s I found myself prepping for the Oregon coast with a group of friends.

I headed to the LBS for a tuneup on an old Schwinn Grand Sport. I left the LBS with a new, lightweight, black Giant Prodigy. I liked the red bike...the blue bike, green one, yellow... but I bought the one with the best ride.

Since then I’ve had a variety of bicycles, many in black. At first I likened black to ninja, but over the years the idea has become less numchuk and more little black dress: it goes with anything. I’ve since expanded to silver/raw, since that’s neutral enough as well.

So, I’m now debating a Long Haul Trucker frame and fork. The blue frame is a nice look. But the other night as I was talking to the LBS dude, he and I both mentioned our affinity for black frames. My reason?

Black goes with anything, I said, thinking anodized bits and parts and kit.

A quick Sharpie and the scratches disappear, he said at the same time.

I like the way this guy thinks.

- ob hadn’t thought of that one

Saturday, April 02, 2011

No Worries!

Muscle Memory
says he

says I

- ob feelin' sluggish

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Warm Up

- OB creek? trail? mudbath? luge run?

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I was facing winter with the worst fitness I’d had in 15 years.

It was a tough fall. The comings and goings of everyday tasks were tiring. For anything but the essentials, I looked for days were broken into two pieces: work, hang at home. Errands had no place. Exercise wasn’t a player. Socializing? whatever. I hunkered down and rode it out.

Physically, I felt like a glazed donut: fried and squishy, but without the sugary outside. Shuddup! I feel like crap, my uncle is going downhill, and my cat died...damned cat, anyway.

I took the bicycle out now and again, but riding was more complex than I cared to undertake. The season was changing and the decisions were too many: glove liners? windstopper mitts? which tights? how many layers? lube? tires? batteries for lights, schmutz on the derailleur....

It was easier to just grab my trail runners and head out the front door for a jog. I worked up from a few blocks to a couple miles. It got me outside in what was left of the daylight with a minimum of prep and time. But I can’t say I loved it.

In December when I headed out on skis for the first time, it surprised me that my legs were in decent shape. I’ve been out a few times, but skiing just hasn’t captured my heart.

Awhile back, I headed out on the bicycle into a brief bout of crisp sunshine and did a flat ride on the trails near home. The 15 mph headwind surprised me when I turned toward home. Hmmm, my bad: I wasn’t tuned-in to the conditions. I lowered my head and geared down.

I felt alive.

Last weekend, Wheel and I went for a short ride to the ATM. We totaled about eight miles, with temps dropping into the low 20s and clouds rolling in. Gray lenses in my glasses made things drab. My toes were frozen slabs by the end of the ride.

It was exhilarating.

Running saved my fitness. Cycling saves my soul.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Under the Influence

Wheel wants a fat bike. His interest has been growing over the past couple of winters. Admittedly, with the snowfall we’ve had last year and this, a fat bike would be the better ride...studded knobbies just don’t bite over a couple inches of snow. He has headed off to ride singletrack regardless.

Me? Winters are for skiing. Yes, a fat bike would broaden the possiblities for outside play, but the season is relatively short and I’m happy to make-do with what I’ve got, given the cost of a new bicycle. Besides, I put money down last August to hold a spot in line for a custom road frame (after considering Betty’s age and the current asking prices for stock bicycles), so that will be my next bicycle purchase.

After all, road cycling is my deal, right? There’s nothing quite like flying down the road at the speed of happiness...

...unless it’s bombing through the woods.... the snow....

He was off to demo a Fatbike.

I couldn’t really have him go without me, could I?

- OBoy!