Monday, December 31, 2007


Reading back over the past year of the BigRingCircus I can draw some conclusions.

For a guy with a bike blog and a Titus Racer X I sure could ride more.

I have never had a bad time at Santos.

If things go south, Mystery the Untameable Stallion is usually there.

I like breakfast.

I'm not home very much.

I tend to exaggerate, but not too much.

That's about it, to deduce more than that would be a reach, proving that there are very few truisms in this life.

Tomorrow I will be en route to Mexico and I fully expect to blog in Spanish, or morir ententando. I'm not sure how much you readers will enjoy that, but let's just see what happens.

-Bienvenidos Ano Nuevo.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Imbalancing Act

"Just put your front tire on it and then look at the other side and go".


Words to live by my friends, alongside "watch the hips", "focus on what you want, not what you don't want", "I wouldn't step there if I were you", and "F*ck it dude, let's go bowling."

I snuck out to the park specifically to session all the skinny bridges and catwalks out there, so the next time I rode I could wow my friends with my seemingly nonchalant skills. The downside is that if you fall off and break an ankle then you have to drag yourself to the road. If you konk your noggin you might have to sleep there for a little while, and if you do something really awesome, nobody will see it and you will have to do it again. In spite of all of this, I seem to get better quicker in the company of myself. I had just "sent" a section of catwalk and was pretty much ready to roll back to the car when who did I run into? You guessed it, the pride of Mayberry, Barney and Andy. No wait, I can do better- who did I run into? you guessed it, the WHAM! of the woods, George Michael and Andrew Ridggely. That's better.

No, of course you know who it really was, Bigworm and the W.B. Zip-neck said it best, "Dude, your face read equal parts joy and fear when you saw it was us."

A brief ass-whipping followed, in which the skinny bridge was shot, the roll-in rolled in forwards and backwards, and the rooty climbs assaulted over and over. The bad news is, those guys are in pretty good shape. The good news is, I'm running out of trail that intimidates me around here.

I'm sure that statement will change all that.


Oh, and go by Bigworm's new hangout, and say hi. Now I know why he can't continue his BRC column "Ask Bigworm". He ditched me like Stephen Colbert ditched John Daly on the Stewart show.

take two-


Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Story in Pictures

The Little Black Dress

Land Rover

The Fender Stratocaster

Chuck Taylors

The Windsor Knot

The Titus Racer X

Friday, December 21, 2007

Get Wrecked

I am so glad I will be in Mexico while the Wrecking Ball is embarrassing the rest of you down at San Felasco. That guy is definitely on the Marion Jones "Victory is at Hand" program. The two of us snuck out for a hooky ride yesterday afternoon and something is going on. No more self-deprecating jokes, now he says things like, "I'm fit" or "Hey, pull my finger."

Not sure what that finger business has to do with anything, but still--I'm warning you. A few months ago I could have picked him up like a Pomeranian and marched uptown to Bed, Bath, and even Beyond that. Now he is more pugnacious, like a beefy Pekinese or a really tough Pomeranian. The only hope the rest of you have is if Bigworm welds the seatpost of his new Giant Trance just a few centimeters high for the ride. If he doesn't flat out drop you all it will only be because he is a nice guy and he isn't finished telling his story yet.

And that wave was big, but the next wave was as big as the biggest wave that ever wove in the history of waving, so that's the one I dropped in on...

And speaking of dropping, did I tell you guys you were in trouble at San Felasco?


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bikes I have loved, no pictures necessary.

The die was cast with the rusty red Schwinn Scrambler that my Dad took me to buy at the Schwinn Shop in Sebring, Fl. A single brand carrying an entire shop? Nowadays that would never happen. The Scrambler was stolen, returned mysteriously, and it gave me freedom. It took me around Lake Jackson, through miles of sugar sand to steal a redneck kiss to a Lionel Richie song.

Tommy Torso came home with a Yellow 16 inch Jamis Dakar in 1989. I traded my Bottecchia vintage road bike on the spot and asked only that I never have to release the Dakar from my embrace. He accepted without hesitation and came home with a beautiful navy blue Cannondale, the 800 Beast of the East I think? I always thought he was a sucker for the deal.

The Bottecchia was also a gorgeous machine, dripping with vintage
(70's) Campagnola Super Record components. It was not the Dakar that made me stray, it was riding in the woods. It now lives with an unabashed fixie, but it still has all its gears. Patrick, maybe you know him? Great people, absolutely worthy.

The Fuji Palisade, turquoise, that I got for Christmas when I was 17 or 18. The white handlebar tape and the turquoise paint with purple trim perfectly matched my Chess King outfit and my "bi-level" haircut. God took away my hair for the things I did to it. I thank him to this day for my granite pate.
I took the Fuji to college at FSU, cut the bars into bullhorns and raced 5 triathlons and 2 or 3 local crits.

The Kona Kilauea that Joe sent me in Jackson Hole Wyoming in 1993. Although the bike was sleek and ice green, it was the being trusted and remembered by Joe that made it sweet. I helped his ass move three sets of furniture just the other day. First suspension experience too, and I thought I was pretty hot shit.

The Jamis Dragon- Lipstick Red, Honestly, and this is hard to admit, it was the last time I remember feeling fast.

The 1986 Fuji Del Rey, grey and black, because it is a respected yeoman of its era and I got it for free from my sweet sister and bro'in law. It took me up the Pacific Coast with sturdy dependability and style. It comes out only for Sunday cruising and diplomatic events.

And now, of course, the Titus Racer X. The ride I had at Tom Brown Park and Cadillac this afternoon was worth the price of admission, wow. I dumped it off the skinny bridge twice, but next time I got that thing's number.

No disrespect to other bikes that showed up every day and did their job. Every good team needs role players.

Got a bike that needs a little respect poured out for it?

Do tell.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Water and Light

Did anybody read about the guys who were going to make a seven hour, seven mile dive in order to verify the connection between Wakulla Springs and some hole in the ground elsewhere? In doing so, they would prove beyond a doubt that all kinds of filth from all kinds of places is ruining our mysterious waters. Mainly though, I bet they just wanted to do it because it would be 'epic". Not like, "I rode to Munson and then rode it backwards, it was epic." More like, "I rode to Munson while on fire." That kind of epic.

It has been well documented that Juancho is a fan of caving. Wiggly, squirmy, muddy, dark caving where you are completely surrounded by air. Not much of a fan of anything without immediate access to air. I could have nightmares just from talking about what those guys are up to, or down to, in this instance.

I'm just saying, it seems like I would have heard by now if they made it through or not.

Now, about this issue of lights. Everybody keeps telling me to get a light and go night riding. "Riding at night is so awesome!" "I love to ride at night, I'm more one with the forest." Or they say," It's so quiet and peaceful at night." "Sometimes we play capture the flag."

Let me tell you what is really going on-

These people don't have jobs like mine where they can ride at 10:37 A:M on a Tuesday morning. I know what it is like riding at night, it is dark. If I succomb to the night riding schedule it negates everything I have worked for to separate myself from a 9 to 5 lifestyle.
Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!

And those lights, I shouldn't have to decide between paying the rent or buying a flashlight for my bike. That's just not right.

And what about the little forest creatures? Aren't you disrupting their cycles? A group of riders with HID/LTD/BIG/ABC headlights looks just like the Alien ship in Close Encounters (A movie from the olden times for you younger readers) floating through the forest. It is terrifying I tell you.

Anybody got one I can borrow?


Monday, December 17, 2007

Don't Never Did

I was talking with my friend Bird a couple nights ago, sitting in a disheveled garage on a moldy couch, drinking a beer and watching it rain. The crux of the discussion was fixed upon the notion of "My dream is to.." We engaged in an analysis of efforts expended towards goals vs. efforts spent reacting to other people's goals, as in- everything else that happens to you. The bottom line is, there ain't nobody looking out for your dreams but you.

I'm not sure where that leaves us, but I thought I would share it all the same. It sounded less Hallmarky in the garage. It even sounded tough, like Buzz Aldrin and the Intimidator chatting about how much ass they have kicked.

In this same garage, with this same rain, another couple of friends and I harrumphed and snorted about yet another friend who could not join us to sit on five gallon buckets drinking beer in the dank, flourescent-lit garage because he was wrapping Christmasd presents with his girlfriend. "Ha!" We laughed, "What a loser!" "Christmas presents? Girlfriends? I sure am glad that's not me!"

The next night I was sitting on the floor making handmade Christmas cards with a lovely young woman and all I cared about was getting my hands on the bric-a-brac scissors.

You got a dream? Go make that shit happen.


Saturday, December 15, 2007


The Titus spent the week locked in the truck of a rented Chrysler Sebring, scratching at the latch like a British tourist waylaid along the highway. I occasionally peeked in at it, to monitor its well-being, then I would slam it back to darkness and go get some sushi, or a bagel. Too much work, too much concrete, not enough time. Say what you will, I had the best intentions.

I picked up Mel (Not his real name) in a labyrinth of modular homes in Marion County and for some reason I had to accept a shirt from his Mom in order to spring him.

Speaking of springs, we rolled the back highway through Blichton, Williston, and Chiefland up to Fanning Springs, the well-known center of Juancho's spiritual power. The water is lower than I have ever seen it, and I have been swimming in that hole since I made the trip as a college freshman, which was at least 5 or 15 years ago. I believe the dwindling of my spiritual essence is behind my lack of power and dominance. Could Sitting Bull fight when the buffalo died?

All the same, to fly off the deck into the sweet blue water filled my soul (already overwhelmed) with love and promise-

Then we stuffed some pulled pork and slaw on top of all that love and promise. If Huckleberry BBQ sold t-shirts, you would all get one. I would send you the pork, but it seeps through the envelope.

I embraced the holidays and bought Willie Nelson's classic Christmas album- Pretty Paper. I grew up with it and it isn't too late for you to grow up with it too. It let's you be sad and happy at the same time, which is what the holidays are all about.

Happy Chanuka, Juancho

Monday, December 10, 2007

All Systems Go

I will be gazing across the water towards Cape Canaveral by this afternoon where the shuttle Atlantis either already took off, or will soon take off on another mission to what I suspect is little more than a poorly kept trailer in the sky, the International Space Station. Like the shuttle, my new mission is inexorably underway. Miles were logged this weekend, with four consecutive days out on the new bike. Aside from a drool problem which threatens to prematurely degrade the top tube, all heat shields are in place and I expect a smooth ride. The only thing between me and total redemption is a lot of time and pain. My time, your pain!

I don't want to go to work this week, down in the yawning maw of the Beeline Expressway. I exit this morning with my bottom lip leading the way by a good yard and my arms folded across my chest like I'm in a straight jacket. I have found over the years though, that I can do many things I don't want to do by simply leaning forward into the breach and bringing my feet with me.

Conch fritters and Law and Order in a hotel bed is no way to train.

In order to avoid any awkwardness during the San Felasco weekend, I have booked travel on a commercial airplane to a foreign country. That's right, I'm calling an "international" as in, "I would love to kick your ass at San Felasco, but I will be out of the country." Take that you hijos de putas!

I will be collecting Mel (not his real name) on Friday and bringing him to town for the weekend. So far we have not discussed a ride, but we have discussed dining at Huckleberry's BBQ in Fanning Springs so make of it what you will.

To my gentle readers who do not lay awake at night scheming to dismantle my hopes and dreams, I will miss you this week, and I am sure I will manage a dispatch from the road somewhere.

Every journey begins with a single schlep...


Friday, December 07, 2007

Birth Announcement

A "bike-build" is a lot like a home birth, except maybe a little more nerve-wracking. I came reeling in from the golf course like a 1950's father to be, just in time to see the Titus on the stand and the bottom bracket going in. After that it was just an hour of pacing, changing CD's (This bike was built to Dinosaur Jr. and the Misfits for those that are interested in that sort of thing)and sipping Samuel Adams Nut Brown Ale. Pete had the doors locked and he was in the zone. Naked frame to S'quatch destroying machine in about one hour. It was a pleasure to watch him work. Even when he used a ball pen hammer and a power drill I was totally confident.

I swear it's a perfect fit.

I pulled the Jamis from the garbage can where Pete stashed it and set it safely aside for the Wrecking Ball or Hi-Tops whoever gets to it first.

The first ride will be just the two of us, but after the consecration we (the Titus and I) will be looking for every single one of you, and I got a chip on my shoulder too.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

One More...?

Ever feel like if you could just get one more good night's sleep, one more paycheck, one more cup of coffee, one more hour, you might be able to get your shit together?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Titus Eve

So, it is a little awkward standing around here, just waiting. Everybody knows the Jamis has seen its last ride, and the new bike isn't here yet, soooooo, how's the weather in your neck of the woods? Kids doing OK? Did you ever get rid of that irritating rash you were telling me about?

A little foot tapping, a check of the watch, maybe if I push the button again the doors will open. Any minute now...

In the meantime I will take a moment to congratulate S'quatch on his recent gastric bypass surgery, look at the amazing difference.



Anyway, maybe if I push the button again...


Tuesday, December 04, 2007


When I told my friend Mel (Not his real name) in NYC that I sailed off my stairs in my fuzzy WigWam wool socks, wearing spandex, holding a cup of coffee and a bagel, he laughed so hard he had to hang up on me.

Maybe I'm losing my sense of humor, because I just don't see the comedy.

The accusations came, sly and not so sly, regarding my intent. Suggestions were made that I would go to such extreme measures to avoid an early (9:00 A:M) bike ride. What I have learned from the experience is that if the world will arbitrarily knock you flat on your ass, then cascade you like a hefty child on a downhill slip and slide into your front door during breakfast, then you might as well hang it out there a little bit more on the trails. Why be risk averse in the woods? If I only have a finite number of full body slams within me, I prefer to take my beatings from the woods. Dirt is softer. Look for a new commitment to aerial maneuvers from me out there.

The Titus Racer X is in the mail. It will be here Thursday, and with the help of my TOTALLY BEST FRIEND PETE we will begin the conversion after hours when the shop is nice and quiet, and the alchemy most potent for the Dark Arts.