(Double) Weekly Roundup: The Green Heck Edition

It’s been a long time / I shouldn’t have left you

Scratch that, I’m happy to have left pretty much everybody in the United States behind for eight great days overseas in Europe. I drove a one-off green Lotus Evora Sport 410 at Spa, the Burgerkingring, and the Lotus test track near Hethel. (That’s the only one where I managed to get the nose of the car dirty, by the way.) As vacations go, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do… but the good news is that it was actually a working trip for me, because I was actually there to cover a new joint project between Ross Bentley and Ron Simons (of RSR Nurburg and 75 Experience fame) and to watch fifteen Americans experience the Nuburgring in hardware ranging from a Megane RS265 to a Maserati MC12 Corsa.

The funny thing is that Bark was doing something even more cool: driving the Acura NSX GT3 at Gingerman Raceway. We will see if he comes back with a report on that.

Let’s catch up on two weeks’ worth of missing contributions right quick.

Continue Reading →

(Last) Weekly Roundup: 911 Is A Joke Edition

At first you’re like, “Holy shit, this guy was a doctor who helped out on September 11th!” Then you think about it some more and you’re like, “Emergency room doctor! That’s cool. I owe my life to those guys.” Then you see the sticker and you’re like, “Oh. He’s a doctor who owns a 911.” Sad trombone.

I hope last week’s contributions don’t disappoint you in the same fashion.

Continue Reading →

Weekly Roundup: Goodbye (Second) Porsche, Hello (Next) Lynskey Edition

And then there was one… For a solid decade of my life, I owned three Porsches. Now I’m down to just one. The Boxster is gone to a very fit blonde friend of mine who wants to make her mark in the trackday community. It was hard for me to sell it. Some of the most memorable moments of my life took place behind that cocoa-brown leather steering wheel.

About a third of the proceeds from the sale went to the bike you see above — a 2017 Lynskey Pro29 with most of the available upgrades. Three months ago, I bought an older Pro29 off eBay with the intent of returning to weekend mountain biking. The frame was in perfect condition; the helix-twisted-tube Lynskey bikes are effectively immortal. But every single part on the thing needed a refurb or a replacement. As fate would have it, it is possible to trade your old Lynskey in on your new Lynskey. So that’s what I did. The old bike was good but this one is a revelation. It handles better than a 24″ BMX cruiser and it somehow manages to fit perfectly. She needs a name, but what name could I possibly give a big titanium-hearted girl from Tennessee? Have to think about it.

Tomorrow I’m going to shake the Lynskey down at a local trail. It’s going to be hard to sleep tonight. That’s how excited I am. Anyway. To read more about my Boxster sale, and plenty more besides, click that jump, my friend.

Continue Reading →

Weekly Roundup: Pull From Flat Edition

This was a big riding weekend for me and my son — we started off Saturday afternoon by visiting the Mega Cavern trails on in Louisville, KY. It was John’s first time doing actual “dirt jumping” and I think he acquitted himself pretty well. After dinner and an overnight stay with Uncle Bark, we returned home today via Ollie’s Skatepark, just south of Cincinnati. John had a pretty bad crash before I even got my helmet on; his front tire slid out and he tumbled off a box jump to the concrete floor. But he picked himself up and returned to riding.

As for his dad… well, I did okay enough at the Mega Cavern. At Ollie’s, I tried airing-out the six-foot halfpipe and hung up my back wheel on re-entry, which was ugly and painful. It’s alright. Click the jump to see a quick video from the Mega Cavern, which is a four million square foot limestone mine turned into a multi-purpose facility. If you are claustrophobic, you won’t like the idea of being a half-mile away from the nearest exit. John would occasionally ride back to the entrance “so I have it memorized in case the lights go out.” Smart boy.

Continue Reading →

Weekly Roundup: There But For The Grace Of BART Go I

Nine days ago, at 9:30 on a Friday night, the contributor and spouse known as “Danger Girl” stepped onto a BART train at the Oakland Coliseum station. She was on the way to San Luis Obispo to visit a family member who was terminally ill. I don’t like it when DG takes public transit; I’ve seen too much stupidity happen on various subways and elevated trains to ever feel totally comfortable with the idea of my wife in that situation.

But not even in the most racist, classist, bigoted productions of my fevered imagination did I ever predict what actually happened the very next night at that station: forty to sixty “teens” mounted a coordinated attack on occupants of the BART train stopped there. In under five minutes they robbed every single occupant of the train, beating five of them severely enough to send them to the hospital. Some reports indicate that the “teens” singled out a particular family for a vicious attack.

About two out of three BART trains do not have a functioning security camera; this was one of the exceptions. One arrest has already been made. All that this means is that the “teens” will have masks on next time. Don’t expect the police to arrest a majority of the perpetrators. The beauty of participating in a robbery like this is that you have a measure of what biologists call “predator satiation”; the cops will grab a few of you for the proverbial slap on the wrist and the rest will go free.

Danger Girl’s days as a BART rider are officially over starting now, but surely San Francisco and Oakland locals are starting to consider the best way to counter the next one of these attacks. What’s ironic here is that California is the home of the argument that you don’t need a high-capacity semiautomatic weapon for self-defense. That’s normally very true; I’ve always said that a five-shot small-frame revolver is sufficient to settle most social situations. Imagine, however, that you are on that train with your children when you see sixty “teens” running towards your train with robbery and assault on their minds. Wouldn’t you like to have seventeen in the magazine with a spare mag on the belt? Yes you would.

Speaking of assaults on decency, let’s see what I got published this past week.

Continue Reading →

Weekly Roundup: The Green Machines Edition

It’s been a three-month process, but my custom Lairdframe is finally assembled and running. Compared to the Freed 21 that I built in February while I was waiting for this project to come together, it’s lighter, roomier, and vastly more expensive. I didn’t spare too much cost here; it has nearly a full pound’s worth of titanium components as well as the infamous six-pawl Profile Elite hubs.

To my immense annoyance, I’m not riding it nearly as well as I rode my slapped-together bargain-basement Freed. I had free reign to choose my geometry, tubing length, tubing diameter, and various other specs. Maybe I just chose poorly. We’ll see how it all comes together.

The third-best thing about the frame, after the custom “Kraken” seat stay brace and bottle-opener chain stay brace, is something that I did not expect, because I didn’t order it that way. I’d specified a Lamborghini lime green candy coat. Somehow the signals got crossed and I received “Emerald City”. As you’ll see in the photo below the jump, it’s really handsome. Click to see the bike and to catch up on last week’s contributions.

Continue Reading →

Weekly Update: Mirror, By Mirror, By Mirror, I Keep Holdin’ On Edition

All you have to do is drive one car next to another car for some photographs. Is that okay? Sure it is. Can you do about 40mph? Sure you can. Can you get to within an inch or two of the other car? Great. Can you stay lined up? Thank you. We need to go around the whole track like that. Fine, right? Did I mention that the cheaper of the two cars is worth $212,000, and the more expensive of the two cars has a race that it absolutely cannot miss in a few days? You’re still good with that, right? Great! Let’s do this for an hour.

Sometimes the juice is worth the squeeze. As you’ll see over the weekend, I recently had the chance to drive a proper factory-built McLaren GT race car at speed for the second time. (You can read about the first time here.) How’d I do? The answer is: depressingly well. The only thing standing between me and a ride in the Continental Tire GS series is, well, everything else about me besides my ability to race: my age, my poverty, my work schedule, my height, my weight, my fragility, my temper, my background check, my Zodiac sign.

Let’s roll the tape of what I wrote for you this past week.

Continue Reading →

(Last) Weekly Roundup: You Find Me In The Club Edition

“Would you like to visit our nightclub?” the person at the hotel door asked. “Let me give you a ticket, miss.” I blame this on Danger Girl, who looked very glamorous in her gold sequin dress and white leather boots. I looked positively homeless; I was wearing an old Tyrwhitt buttondown and NB 990s. On the presumption that I was her valet, or perhaps father, they let me in too.

After an hour of bouncing around aimlessly on the main floor, staring up at the dancers and listening to a second-rate DJ pretend to be a bleach-blonde steroid-using variant of Tiesto, my knees called time on the affair. I was already peeved because a bouncer had shoved me out of the way to make room for a group of VIP investment bankers and their ensemble of prostitutes. It takes some shoving to move me, you know. “Don’t punch that guy,” brother Bark advised. “All twelve of his fellow bouncers will kill you.”

I don’t need to go back there. Contrary to 50 Cent’s protestations, you will not find me in the club. But you can find me on some of your favorite websites. Let’s take a look.

Continue Reading →

Weekly Roundup: Nothing’s Sacred Edition

Four and a half years ago, my son and his mother went to the Heritage Guitar Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he took delivery of the above-pictured guitar, hand-made by former Gibson luminary and legend Marv Lamb. We have some great photos of John in the factory, pointing at various things and kind of cavorting around in the shop. In the years since, I’ve repeatedly turned down offers for the guitar, explaining that I would never sell something with that kind of sentimental value. When Marv had a stroke and stopped working a few years ago, it served to further strengthen my resolve on that point.

Earlier this week, I sold and shipped it to a friend in Florida. No regrets. I’ve been thinking a lot about sentimental value: what is genuinely valuable and what is merely sentimental. I’m putting the money I got for the guitar towards this year’s karting and cycling season. We’ll trade a few possessions for a few experiences. I hope John will forgive me for selling it — if he even cares. I suspect that he will not.

Speaking of things that I closed my eyes and sent into the big bad world this week, here are a few stories and articles for you.

Continue Reading →

Weekly Roundup: I’m Having Some Trouble Coping Edition

Perhaps “having some trouble with the coping” is a better way to put it. I’d like to do more half-pipe and quarter-pipe stuff but I have trouble with my back wheel “hanging up” on re-entry. The last time I really “aired out” a big quarter-pipe was back in 2002 or thereabouts. I was on my Haro Nyquist x24 and I probably went 3-4 feet up on this ratty wooden ramp in Lancaster, Ohio. I completely hung up on the way down which led to me being ejected from the bike and falling six feet onto my ankle. That still hurts today. Maybe I should find somebody to coach me a little bit so I can release my inner Mike Dominguez.

I don’t think I’m having trouble coping. This has been a big week for personal growth. I’ve thrown away or donated hundreds of pieces of clothing. I’ve filled both of our 55-gallon trash cans — twice! And I’m in the process of selling a couple hundred items on eBay. Right now, my seller listing is just bike parts, but over the weekend I’ll be listing about twenty different pieces of auto-related memorabilia including some limited-edition Porsche and Land Rover clothing. Soon I’ll be putting up dozens and dozens of brochures and catalogs from as far back as 1996. If you want something specific, particularly when it comes to the German or British marques, let me know and I’ll start digging through my collection.

In addition to all of the above busywork and winter-time skatepark riding, I’ve also managed to get six articles out the door this week. Let’s take a look.

Continue Reading →