First: notice at the top right of this page that we have cached the archives of old blogs. Click on the word 'archives' and you get to the old stuff.
O.k., so there's this band outta Wichita called Split Lip Rayfield. SLR play some kick ass Grass-metal or Core-grass or something like that, and they rock balls out, or at least did until the sad news of throat cancer in their lead singer, Kirk Rundstrom. And being musicians, you can imagine their insurance plan. Which is why there is a fund raiser benefit concert for him this thursday (4/20, dooder) at Lee's Liquor Lounge in our fair city, MPLS. Our own Eric "people say i look like Ron Moffit" Sovern will be slaying 'em on banjo (he plays a pretty good banjo, son, but give the devil his due / he'll bet a banjo of gold against yer soul to say he's better'n you. chorus: Sovern finish up your beer and pluck that banjo hard / cuz the devil showed up drunk last night and passed out in Kirk's yard / And if you win you get this shiny banjo made of gold / and if you lose the devil gits his soooooooul!). Get on your bike this thursday night, see some fine-ass local music, and help a brother out.
And speaking of good music, the other night my lady and I went to see one of our favorite bands. Hailing from Austin, Texas, and operating under the name of Grand Champeen, they might just be the best rock-n-roll band you've never heard of. Straight up rock surging with buttloads of talent and surplus energy, and yet no posing. But then, when you sound and play like GC you don't need to pose. You won't meet a funnier, nicer bunch of guys either. Part of the reason I like them is that they play like it's a packed room no matter how many people are there. These cats just dig on playing music together and it shows. But you missed them. And that is all I have to say about that.
In other news, I've been riding fixed gear offroad since late last summer. I wanted a do-it-all bike, capable of commuting, getting groceries, riding trails, basically whatever came its way. It needed to be tough but not overly heavy and versatile without being complicated. Since I had a spare 1X1 frame doing nothing, I built it up with fenders and a rack and upright bars. And I have to say it's been super duper cool. Fixie in back, because there's not much to go wrong and fixies do well in winter around here; hydro disc up front because you need to stop, and the hydro disc is the best all condition, all terrain brake going (Zito doesn't like the brake because it isn't fixie-pure, but then Zito also has a knack for needing a brake after the fact). I have Wellgo pedals that are SPD clip-in on one side and a true platform on the other, complete with adjustable pins, so I can ride it with cycling shoes or whatever I have on at the time. Grab-n-go. The upright bars combined with the fenders and rack make it look like grandpa's bike, but it don't ride like grandpa's. The fenders (ultra-modified for near-maximum coverage) and the rack are necessary to make it all purpose functional, and the bar puts me upright for better visibility and it doesn't hinder the offroading, either. In fact, the bar keeps my head up so my neck doesn't get sore and my weight slightly back so as to maintain traction better than most mountain bikes I've ridden. This is especially noticable, of course, during out-of-the-saddle climbing. And finally, the fixed gear. I'm running 175mm arms with those wide pedals on 26" wheels so I do smack rocks but the fixie drivetrain actually makes me faster all around, especially on trails, where I have greater traction and speed control. Where others slide out in hot corners, I adjust my cadence slightly and rail, in full contact and full control. Obstacles are still obstacles but a little patience and practice is all it took to feel comfy going over log piles and whatnot. It's geared 38/17 currently, and I plan to make it a dingle (38/17 and 36/19) to make it capable of even more.