September 21, 2012
If I didn’t have a family I would seriously look into this and just ride from adventure to adventure. 
Why not? 
- DR
(photo lifted from the Living Off the Grid Facebook)

If I didn’t have a family I would seriously look into this and just ride from adventure to adventure. 

Why not? 

- DR

(photo lifted from the Living Off the Grid Facebook)

September 21, 2012
Q&A with David Rangel: Photographer, Tattoo Artist, Cyclist, Restaurant Manager

So this is up right now.

- DR

September 20, 2012

I’ve really been trying to finish this exercise in taking pictures under streetlamps. They cast his awesome eerie glow and all of them are a little different. Besides The different gasses used, they all cast a different degree of light, depending on how high up they are, how old they are, or how dirty they are. It’s very taxing waiting the 25-45 seconds it takes for each exposure. I think it’s well worth it. 

All these are straight out of camera, as usual, with no crops or post-photo manipulation. 

As always, everything is for sale. Right now it’s $120 for a larger print (20”x30”) or $100 for a smaller one (up to 12”x18”). Unframed, signed, bordered, and pro inkjet printed on archival photo paper. 

- DR

September 19, 2012
Flickr Updated.

I don’t have an actual website; the benefit doesn’t outweigh the cost right now. So until then I will make do with Facebook, here, and Flicker for now. 

I’ve updated my Flickr and hopefully the “sets” will make more sense now. 

As always, everything is for sale. Right now it’s $120 for a larger print (20”x30”) or $100 for a smaller one (up to 12”x18”). Unframed, signed, bordered, and pro inkjet printed on archival photo paper. 

Click HERE to go directly to the sets page

- DR

September 17, 2012
Fauxtoseptiembre Epilogue

So my first photo show is in the bag. The rewards are selling a few prints, getting to hang out with a bunch of my friends and new people, and getting to say I put it out there. I have been stressing about this show for a few weeks now; anyone who knows me knows that. But now that it’s over there isn’t a feeling of relief. The stress is replaced with a desire to perform more. To shoot more. To show more. To offer people a window into my world; to borrow how I see things for a second or two. I enjoyed that people enjoyed it. Not the base emotion of largess, but something different. Something much better. It was pure satisfaction. It was telling myself I did a good job. I love taking pictures; I invest time and money in it. I never expect it to return. This is not my business and I don’t expect it will ever be. But watching people look, I mean really look, into my brain was a pleasant feeling. Having other photographers take the time to stop by and take a glance was a pleasant feeling. And, ultimately, someone buying a slice of that to take home is the greatest compliment I think an artist can receive. 

It was a good day.

- DR

[So many thanks to Hello Studio (Amada Miller) for letting me show my nonsense and Nick Hendrix for sharing the walls that night. It was a life highlight, for sure.]

September 10, 2012
I hate re-blogging. But I had to with this one. 

I hate re-blogging. But I had to with this one. 

(Source: chetatam)

August 29, 2012
Fauxtoseptiembre Show

DSC_5334

I’ve finalized the 6 photos I’m using for my show in September at Hello Gallery. I’m very honored to be showing at Amada Miller’s space and also to be joined by Nick Hendrix on the other two walls. I’m including all the photos in the set on this link, since I don’t feel like telling you which one’s I picked to show. Limited amounts of prints will be available for sale; reasonably priced, of course. The opening will be Sunday September 16th, time TBD.

Click the title link to be teleported to the Flickr gallery.

- DR

August 29, 2012
Mini- Premium Rush Review

I’ll post a deeper blog about it later, but the verdict is this: entertaining if you don’t like bikes but like Joseph Gordon Levitt. There was very little cool riding, mainly straight line through traffic, car-chase style. Good for cars; bad for bikes. The female lead actress couldn’t ride for shit. Even with CGI it was too obvious when her legit stunt rider was riding. JGL did a better job. Way too much “Fixie” culture refs and one superb Velocity product placement shot. Funny part is it was still more entertaining than the “legit” Fixie vids out there. Hill bombs and taxi dodging are boring. Show me some OG London Crits from like 6 years ago. That’s some real shit. Go see it. Support Hollywood by bike. But don’t think too much into it. It’s a movie about what THEY think you want to see. I give it 10 teeth out of 15 on the cog-movie scale.

- DR

August 20, 2012
When I see bikes like this it makes me really look forward to getting my Winter bike in February at NAHBS this year. The uniform opinion is that once you commit the money and time into getting yourself a made-to-measure bike there is no coming back from that. My fear is that once I have it I’ll want to sell all my other bikes that I’ve worked so hard to build up and enjoy. But I think that’s a small price to pay for getting the bike of my dreams.

When I see bikes like this it makes me really look forward to getting my Winter bike in February at NAHBS this year. The uniform opinion is that once you commit the money and time into getting yourself a made-to-measure bike there is no coming back from that. My fear is that once I have it I’ll want to sell all my other bikes that I’ve worked so hard to build up and enjoy. But I think that’s a small price to pay for getting the bike of my dreams.

August 13, 2012
the commuter that doesn’t commute

I love my commuter. I “curated” the frame and parts over the course of a few months when I decided I wanted to stop riding my ass-beating aluminum KHS frame to work every day or just around town. I’m a firm believer in having a bike to do what you want, not the other way around, so I set out to look for a new town bike. I found a mid-ninties Motobecane frame in Austin and had some 8-speed 105 parts laying around, with down-tube shifters and an old 8spd mountain cassette. That worked for a while until I got bored. Snagging a 9spd 105 group with STI shifters for super cheap let me finish out the build nicely. Stout Ultegra hubs (32h front and 36h rear) on Open Pros make bomb-proof wheels, so those went on. I had an urge to see the steel so I stripped it and sprayed an auto-grade clear coat over the raw frame. A fiz:ik Arione and Deda bar rounds it out. The perfect commuter.

The only problem is I don’t commute. Well not really. I live about 3 short blocks from my jobs. I live downtown and have a car that the wife uses to go grocery shopping, etc. I don’t live by bike like I used to. So this awesome commuter gets ridden about a mile a week, total, and never gets to stretch its legs. It’s still nice to know if it needed to take a tour or strap on a rack for a week it would fare well, though. And I’m glad I built it.

We’ll hit a nice 20 miler tonight. Just to give it some airtime. I’m sure it’ll be the most comfy 20 miler I’ve done in months.

- DR

August 11, 2012
REDRUM.

REDRUM.

(Source: fireflybicycles)

August 8, 2012
How to Keep Your Bike

So lately there has been a rash of bike thievery in San Antonio and the downtown area in particular. I’ve had bikes stolen before. It sucks donkey balls. There are two types of riders: those that have to ride and those that choose to ride. Those that have to ride for transportation NEED their bikes, so when it’s stolen it’s even a life changing event, not just a sad inconvenience. For those that CHOOSE to ride it’s just as devastating; most people that choose to ride love and cherish their bikes as tools of enjoyment and fitness that are irreplaceable. Getting a bike stolen is a profound and spiritual experience. There is denial: “I must have left it somewhere else”; “someone is playing a joke on me”. Then there is acceptance: looking around for it; telling everyone around that your bike is missing; maybe running down the street looking for it. Then anger: “IF I CATCH THE FUCKING DOUCHE-BAG THAT STOLE MY BIKE I’M GOING TO STICK MY FOOT SO FAR IN HIS ASS I’LL HAVE TO HOLD HIS NOSE SHUT TO TIE MY SHOES!” Then ultimately actualization: Damn. My bike’s gone. Need a new bike. Hope I find my bike. But I’m sure I won’t.

 

All this aside the main reason most bikes get stolen is simple: it’s a crime of opportunity. Like stealing hotel soaps. Or shoplifting. It’s usually easy and sometimes we make it even easier.

 

Let’s stop doing that.

 

First: Lock up your bike ALL THE TIME. If you can’t touch it; lock it up. If not, don’t be surprised if it’s not there when you come out of the Shell. The old “I was just running in for ONE thing” is a common lament among people who’ve had their grocery getter tossed into the back of a pick up truck. Another common one is leaving it unlocked next to a bunch of other unlocked bikes. The herd mentality of trusting that other people trust to leave their bikes unlocked in a group is weird. That’s ultimately you assuming that someone else’s bike will be taken if an opportunistic bike-yanker walks by. So you’re either screwing yourself or one of your friends. Or someone you don’t know. Invest in a GOOD bike lock. Not a trendy one. Or a pretty one. Or a cheap one. Don’t buy those colored tires you don’t need. Or that Chrome bag. Buy a fucking good lock instead.

 

Second: Don’t store your bike OUTSIDE. I don’t care how small your apartment is, do not store your bike outdoors. Not to mention it’s a shitty way to take care of your bike. Please store your bike inside. I’ve got a normal size apartment. I store a shit-ton of bikes in it. You can make room for one or two, I’m sure. This tip is geared more towards lazy people who don’t want to take the time to dedicate a spot in their house to bike storage or who think it’s easier to just lock up a bike next to your house and not have to deal with getting it through the door or getting the carpet dirty or some other silly rationalization for NOT bringing your bike inside.

 

Third: #2 applies to bike racks. If you aren’t in the car driving, lock the bike up. Lock the fork; lock it to the roof, hitch rack. If you only have a trunk rack or some other impermanent rack take your bike off and lock it up properly to a fixed object. I had a shitty car with a trunk rack once. I drilled two holes in my trunk lid and ran a U bolt through them to lock the bike to when it was on the trunk rack. Was it pretty? No. Did I care? No. The bike was worth more than the car.

 

Fourth: Make sure you have all your paper work on hand. Write down the serial numbers and dates of purchase and all that crap so that when your bike does get ripped you can have a much easier time with your insurance company or the police.

 

Fifth: If you see your stolen bike, take action. Call the cops. Follow the guy. Be smart about it. Lock up your bike with a U lock that can’t easily be compromised and then wait for the guy to show back up. Or just cut his lock and take it back. What’s he gonna do? Call the cops? (DISCLAIMER: sometimes people don’t like to give up stolen property. Just saying. Take care in your vigilante justice; people have been hurt or killed for less than a stolen bike. It happens.)

 

Having a bike stolen sucks. It’s happened to me. Some I could have avoided; some not. This article is definitely not intended to chastise anyone for not doing everything they can to prevent bike theft. I know I don’t follow these rules as law. I’m guilty of leaving the bike outside the Shell to run in and grab a Gatorade. Or piling it up next to a bunch of other bikes at Friendly Spot. But the idea isn’t to become a paranoid bike-locking freak. It’s just to remind us that a little time and effort can thwart an otherwise life affecting crime of opportunity.

 

Look, if someone wants your shit they’re going to get it. But let’s make it as hard as possible at least.

 

- DR

May 28, 2012
Tour de Toob 2012 Recap

So Tito Bradshaw has been putting on the Tour de Toob in SA for past three years.

The first year I didn’t go. I don’t tube. I’m not a big “let’s go to the river” kind of guy. Never have been. But like 9 people did. And they said it was awesome. They rode 40 miles from San Antonio to New Braunfels and tubed the Comal for a few hours, barbecued and hitched a ride back in some trucks. 

The second year (last year, see video courtesy of Danny Puckett) they had about 40 people and a trailer, to haul the bikes back, and a bus, to haul the riders back. I missed it because of work. Stupid work. But again, they said it was awesome. I vowed to not miss the next one. 

This year I made it, barely. I pulled a muscle in my calf the night before at work, was having serious fitting issues with my shoes that precluded riding more than 25 miles at a time, and was generally down on riding for a little while. But waking up Sunday morning at 7am and NOT having to go to work inspired me. Plus I had drunkenly posted on the Facebook page for T de T that I would make it, even with a pulled muscle. And the riders around here are like elephants. Or the mob. They never forget. (Okay, maybe I’m the only one like an elephant. But let’s get back on track.) I roll in to the Blue Star parking lot and am greeted by the sight of over 100 people ready to ride (apparently he had about 140 people registered this year, amazing), two trucks with trailers and a huge warm feeling of knowing that Tito had pulled it off again. Pleasantries were exchanged; sarcastic and off-color remarks were made; some people were still a little drunk from the night before. But it was the general positive attitude that makes a thing like this possible, and it was palpable. The really humbling experience about a morning like this is just how much cycling or bike riding can bring people together. It really did feel like everyone knew each other. It was almost that way literally. But those that didn’t know each other knew of each other, via Facebook, or riding stories, or from a party 3 years ago, or whatever. You knew the guy that knew the other guy. You get the idea. The ride was a no-drop, so everyone that paid could make it to the river to tube and eat and drink, and both the trailered trucks, one driven by up and coming cycling bastion Jake Johnson, the other by Penny’s (Tito’s fiance, who ride with us) parents were following to make the traffic situation of 130 cyclists through traffic manageable. After some taco time and a quick safety briefing, Tito called role and we moved out.

We rolled up through downtown and east on Houston towards the AT&T Center, where we caught the newly opened Linear Creek tail system and proceeded northwards. The trail is really cool and well thought out. It was obviously not designed for a caravan of over 130 riders to use it as a super highway to McAllister park, and some people criticized the route. I have a different opinion. There is no way to safely get 130 cyclists from downtown to loop 1604. No way. I think the route through the Greenway was a clever way to avoid traffic, keep everyone together by limiting speed, and generally more fun that taking a main road straight north. The thing is you can’t control how people ride. You can’t watch everyone and offer advice. Some people might not know to ride on the right. Or to line up nicely when going around a sharp corner or bridge. There was an injury on the path, probably due to congestion, but she’s fine and we are lucky for that. I still think it was wise to have taken the path. 

I had already decided before I left the house to ride nice and easy, probably sweeping up the back of the ride for stragglers or helping, as my leg wasn’t up to my normal “mash up to the front/hold traffic lights/let all riders pass/mash up the front” routine. But we got out of the city with few incidents and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. As we passed the loop 1604 headed towards New Braunfels it was nice to be on the open roads. I made me think of those videos I’ve seen of rides in Europe or California. Where people just ride into the openness for hours. It was fun. It was a struggle keeping everyone together and stressful as cars passed riders who were unfamiliar with the feeling. But everyone made it, and it was nice to see the look of satisfaction of the non-cyclists faces when we were only one mile away from our destination at the final regrouping point. We rolled into Landa Falls sometime around 1pm. The hottest part of the day, perfect for getting in that cool river water. 

When we hit the parking lot the smell of meat grilling and beer flowing was truly the call of the gods. And we partook. The lines were long for food, but there was more than enough for everyone, both food and beer. (Note: This begs the question: if ONE GUY can put together a party like this that cost $25 bucks per person with an excess of fun, food and beer what is everyone else doing wrong in San Antonio? Why do other events suck so badly?) People changed into river gear from riding gear and ate and drank and talked and got ready to tube. Props to Tito for stepping up and offering tubes to people who didn’t get one initially. (We all need to send him some more money for putting this on.)

Now tubing is tubing. I’ve never much cared for it. I like to be in control of situations and floating down a river in a smelly old truck tube (not that we had those; Landa Falls is the nicest tube rental place I’ve ever seen or heard of) avoiding drunk assholes is not the way I like to recreate. But something about today had me into it. I think it was knowing that we were about to take over the river for the next 5 hours. Or that as we were floating we kept seeing friendly faces and groups the entire time. It might have also been the segment of the river that was, apparently, a tribute to the Jersey Shore; complete with over-tanned steroid-dripping dudes and fake boobed Snookies listening to Oontz-oontz music and fist pumping. (Note: We actually did a lot of fist pumping during that segment, official apology to follow) The bottom line is the float was legit fun. Also fun was watching everyone around me get schwasted, since I also do not like getting day-drunk-in-the-sun. I like to get drunk in a bar, like a reasonable person. All in all it was an awesome day. Floating down a river for over 5 hours is surprisingly exhausting and when the buses trucked us back to Landa Falls I was done for the day. Luckily the people I was with had parked their car (thanks, Jeff, Steph, and Bart; though I take credit for scoring a parking space in a full lot) at Landa Falls so we said goodbyes, helped load trucks up and then headed back to SA. 

I got home, showered, changed, uploaded my Strava report, and put my bike away. 

Can’t wait for Tour de Toob 2013. 

- DR

Random, stolen Tour de Toob pics from Facebook. I don’t think anyone will mind. 

(The last 21 pics are on film by Alex Garcia and are awesome, thanks, ATG) 

May 23, 2012
The Stranger.

So I love my Ti bike.

Like I really love it.

But something made me ride a bike I have hanging on the wall. It’s a 1997 Giant TCR Compact Expert frame (with race number mounting hole; it was probably raced) with a mash-up of older Dura Ace/Microshift  drivetrain rolling on old style Open Pros with even older Ultegra hubs, rebuilt by me. I had it powdercoated Bengal Orange just for the fuck of it. I like orange, go figure. 

I tell you all this because it’s become my secondary bike. The bike I ride when it’s nasty outside and the super-tight fork clearance on my Ti bike might get fouled with a little mud. Or when the Ti bike isn’t working exactly right and I haven’t had time to fiddle with it. Maybe it has a random wall-mounted flat tire one morning and I don’t have time to change it. You get the idea. It’s funny that the Giant is relegated to this status now. All the components were dressed on the Ti bike that I rode as my only road bike for almost a year until I ponied up and bought a new, numbers-matching drivetrain for the frame (with new wheels, new saddle, new fork, new headset, etc.) and picked up the Giant frame on C’list for 60 bucks whereupon I cast all the old stuff unto it. So there I sit with two top-shelf road bikes. What to do? You can only ride one at a time, right? So one gets hung up and one gets rode. The Ti bike is comfortable and stiff in the right places so it’s hard to remember there are other bikes to ride. I see the Giant every day; it sits in a place of honor above my couch, bright and orange and silver and awesome. And I tried to find a place for it in my ride schedule, but it’s SO easy to just grab the same bike every day and plug n’ play. So it stares at me like a taxidermied antelope head with those cold, dead eyes. 

Until today. 

The stuffed head turned to me today and said “What the fuck, Asshole?” 

I guess it was right. I take it down. I swap out the wheels for an older set, but in better condition. I tune up the rear. Check the brake pull. Air up the tires. And ride it. 

In the annals of the cyclist’s mind there are a lot of dark corners. A lot of room for numbers and measurements and routes and fantasies. But none gets a rider going like that New Bike First Ride. It’s like a first date. Like getting a $1000 winning lotto ticket. It makes you ride faster, better, cleaner. Or at least that’s what it seems. So that’s what I attest this feeling to; the faux New Bike First Ride. But then I start to analyze it more clinically. Yes, the bike feels different, strange, new. But there are other things that are more tangible and literal. It’s made of aluminum so it’s stiffer. It’s a compact frame so it’s got better power transfer. It’s lighter, I think. The drivetrain is broken in and tuned to perfection; it is the smoothest running drivetrain I’ve ever ridden, including my brand new SRAM Force. The wheels are true. The fit is good. It has no weird creaks or clacks or clicks. It rides silent and deep like an Akuna-class submarine. In summation, it is a fucking awesome bike. And now I remember why. 

So there it is, The Stranger. The bike you purposely ignore. The bike you built before you built the bike you ride to the club rides. The bike that is jealous of your race bike. The bike that will force you to remember that you built an awesome machine that deserves to be ridden. So ride it. Once in a while, at least. And don’t let it gather too much dust. It’s just as important as your race/club ride/Weekday World/Cat 6 bike. 

And sometimes you get lucky and remember that just in time to have a kick-ass solo ride for no reason whatsoever. 

- DR

May 23, 2012
All Apologies….

So it’s been a minute since I’ve written or posted anything here. Not for lack of interest in bikes. Quite the opposite, actually. I spend time riding and working and working on family; blogging is the last thing to fit in the schedule. I’m going to try and post more, though. I have a lot to say, that’s for sure, and I will. Starting……NOW!