Weekly Roundup: Ladies’ Night Edition

“Why are all these women riding around here?” John asked. “Just because they call it Ladies’ Night and then women come out for some reason?”

“It’s more than that, John,” I replied, as another trio of Millennial girls in yoga pants wobbled past us on rented Trek dirt-jumper bikes. “It’s only fourteen dollars to ride tonight if you’re a girl. Normally it’s thirty bucks on Saturday nights.”

“Why would anybody ever do anything just to save fourteen dollars?” He was legitimately puzzled.

“Let’s hope that’s never a problem you have,” I laughed. It made me think about a couple of weekends in the winter of 1987 where I didn’t have the eight bucks I would have needed to go race — or my bike needed parts that I couldn’t quite afford in order to be ready. They say that sort of thing builds character but I don’t recall feeling characterful sitting in the house while my friends were racing. There was no character-building involved in sitting in the school cafeteria on Monday morning listening to the other kids brag about running both races on a weekend. Sixteen dollars!

For our Saturday trip to Ladies’ Night, I built a new-school Haro Master reissue more or less from scratch. Just to amuse myself, and because I can afford it, and because I have enough character to last a lifetime when it comes to self-denial stuff like that. Fuck character. Let’s stack the living room with bikes. Let’s buy a 6.2-liter truck with ventilated seats and use it just to drive to the indoor MTB park. Let’s have handmade English shoes and Brioni suits and let’s put the dinner tab for eighteen people on the Platinum Amex. And let’s hope that my son always remains slightly mystified as to why you’d change anything in your life to save fourteen dollars.

(Oh, and let’s hope he grows up to run down the yoga-pants college girls just like he does in the video.)


This week Road&Track debuted the 2018 Performance Car Of The Year piece. It was a staff piece with four bylines plus the anonymous “R&T Staff” byline for parts of it. Some of you will be able to detect faint traces of my writing in some of the heavily-edited text, the same way that a thousand-year-old gravestone might give up a few clues to someone with wax paper, a pencil, and a lot of patience.

For some unfiltered enjoyment, try my AMG GT R review and the PCOTY Deep Dive pieces that are Web-only.

TTAC is currently experiencing some tech-support drama but when it clears up you can read the following pieces:

Ask Jack
Range Rover Evoque Rental Review
QOTD
Trackday Diaries

If anybody needs me, I’ll be polishing my trio of Haro reissue bikes, waiting for the next Ladies’ Night…

13 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Ladies’ Night Edition”

  1. Widgetsltd

    When I worked at JLR, I always thought that the Evoque was pleasant to drive although I couldn’t justify what they charged for them. Most of my drive time in those was with the Aisin 6-speed automatic prior to the 2014 refresh. They really do have off-road capability: I watched a LR dealer service advisor run one (a dealer service dept loaner car!) through a 10 yard long mud pit with about a foot of standing water at the Hungry Valley ORV park in Gorman, CA. He drove it all day, through all of the same obstacles on all of the trails that we took the bigger Rovers on. I was in a 2011 Range Rover 5.0L V8 Supercharged. It took the mud pit and the trails with ease. Of course, the muddy water killed the low-mounted alternators in the Evique and the big Rangie. We didn’t figure out that we had lost charging until we were down the trail a ways. Regarding your regulatory “wish list” – Diesel particulate filters are very effective at stopping particulates as long as the filter isn’t cracked. VW and others got into trouble over excessive NOx emissions, which are a bit of a hazard on their own and are most noted as a precursor of smog.

    Reply
  2. phr3dly

    Portland has an indoor track called the Lumberyard. The owner is a friend of Ray’s and modeled it after that excellent establishment.

    As an early-40s dude, I’m a little out of place riding there with my mid-40s friends. But it is a hoot. That said, I’ve gotten more injuries there than I have doing real mountain biking.

    What always amazes me are the kids like your son. 6-8 year olds who can rip. Some of them at the Lumberyard are clearing 6-7 foot tabletops, and when they fall they get right back up. These days when I fall, I wind up tearing internal things that I never knew I had, like “meniscus”, whatever TF that is.

    I hope my 5.0L V8 has enough payload to haul my mountain bike as well as your 6.2 does yours; I am pretty excited about the bed lighting and side-mirror spotlights; should make the post-nighttime-ride bike washing that much easier. Mountain biking sure has gotten expensive though, 20 years ago we didn’t need a $50,000 truck just to go biking!

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’ll have to bring John to check it out.

      The funny thing is that we have some of the fearless “groms” at Ray’s as well, and John is very much NOT like them. He has to plan everything out and practice it and really understand what he’s about to try. He tries to talk to the other young riders about stuff and they can’t communicate. I have to explain to John that these kids are doing it via intuition and courage, that they aren’t analytical people, at least not at this stage in their lives. And I have to personally accept that my son is a lot more likely to be Ron Dennis than he is to become Ayrton Senna. 🙂

      I learned about the meniscus when I was sixteen… the knee, as a whole, is a worthless back-asswards device that ruins my faith in so-called “intelligent design” 🙂

      Reply
      • Ronnie Schreiber

        If I was God, I wouldn’t put the human knee on my resume. It’s like hanging the front door onto your house with a bunch of rubber bands and leather straps.

        Of course if you think about what the knee has to do, including walk backwards, a regular hinged joint might not work.

        Reply
  3. E. Bryant

    Man, I really miss the local indoor track that closed down a decade ago 🙁 Despite the fact that it lacked any yoga-pants college girls, it was still a great way to get some exercise on a weekend evening and feel, just for a little while, like I was young and invincible.

    Reply
  4. ScottS

    That article on the LR Evoque really hit home with me. I’ve owned three Land Rovers with the last one being a 2003 DII 4.6 liter. I have to say that I had decent service with them up to about 100K miles. At that point, everything on a Land Rover starts to break. Stupid shit like the plastic A-pillar cover and the cowl at the base of the windshield just start to crack and disintegrate. The electrical systems, to borrow an old saw about British automobiles, have the durability of cobwebs. Headliners fall down, brand new batteries go flat and leave the car impenetrable, and on and on. Yet I loved them all! The new unibody Rovers have drifted very far from the target audience and purpose of the older Land Rovers. I’ve been in every new model since the DII and I too have said the final goodbye. My wife’s GX470 at 140K miles is a better car than the Land Rovers were brand new, but there isn’t much left today that fulfills the unique niche of those old solid axle LRs. The Discovery, both generations, hit a sweet spot of price, capability, and luxury where the new LRs seem outrageously overpriced and no longer suitable for really going off-road.

    I recall an article you wrote a few years back saying basically only the well of can afford to drive a used car. It was a great article and highlighted a basic truth about the cost of operating cars and the impact and choices this bestows on different social classes. I’m here to tell you, nobody has enough money to operate a Land Rover past 100K miles and out of warranty!

    If I were the “Car Czar”, the only thing I would add to your list is the establishment of emissions and fuel economy standards to heavy, commercial diesel vehicles. I would raise the tax on diesel fuel such that the commercial fleets participate in the funding of highway construction and maintenance commiserate with usage and wear and tear they are responsible for. Currently, these heavy vehicles account for about 5% of the transportation fleet and 23% of fleet pollution. I would ditch the EV credit and let the market sort out what we drive in the future, not the Fed.

    Reply
  5. Hank chinaski

    Waiting until college to start chasing yoga pants will put him behind the 8 ball.
    Thumbs up on your car czar ideas. I might throw in something about converting short haul fleet vehicles like school buses and garbage trucks to CNG. In my neck of the woods the dirtiest vehicles by far are diesel landscaper’s trucks.

    And a 10% cuv ugly tax.

    Reply

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