Monthly Archives: March 2006

A Fool’s Errand

Artwork submitted by Jackson, young circus aficionado.

It is springtime Tallahassee weekend which means nothing more than a good reason to wander town and country enjoying the good weather, the blooming flowers, and your friends and neighbors. Tomorrow I plan to attend and participate in “A Fool’s Errand” a local bike rally/race of sorts organized by Patrick of the Fixed Gear community. Like John the Baptist I will wander among the unchosen people, fishing for lost souls to bring to fat-tired bliss. Due to the gritty investigative journalism you have come to expect from the BigRingCircus I have obtained crucial information regarding the event. Apparently time bonus points will be available to those choosing to get a tattoo during the race. I think I will get the face of Joe Mezzina tattooed on my ass to honor him now and forever. Of course, being scheduled for April Fool’s Day, I have to wonder if the race will take place at all.

If you want to race, be at All Saints Cafe at high noon tomorrow. Race ends at Tom Brown Park about 2:00 P:M in conjunction with some collegiate something or other activity.

On other fronts…

The Circus will be closed for renovations most of next week, unless anyone wants to mind the store while I am in Helen, GA working in the Bavarian village and riding Unicoi State Park and other fine trails.

It is a beautiful morning here in Tallahassee, and I hope it is the same wherever you wakeup.

Check back later, as I have lots of morning left to remember what I intended to cover today.

Nobody’s Fool

Ode to Swamp Ape

big foot oh big foot on your skinny wheels
have you turned french?
what the (rhymes with luck)?
what’s the deal?
is it something big bad juancho said?
was it from getting ‘served’ so often?
or from falling on your head?
why oh why
have you left the woods behind?
ooh the “shoosh” of the sand
lo the smell of the pines
the guys who always ‘waited miss you so much
and we all swear sasquatch baby
you almost found the touch
on the road – i suppose i should say
as kerouac opined back in the day
he spoke of space – opening and wide
he cried out for freedom
as the pavement slid by
but time has passed, sasquatch – the world’s in the bin
clearly, the only space left is –
where the sidewalk ends
so prance on the blacktop till your skin fries off
play in the traffic ’til the smog makes you cough
salivate like a starving dog for the paris-roubaix
glue yourself to OLN and le tour
for july’s month of sundays
for we know you’ll be back big foot our old friend
because you are one of us – good god – you’re like kin
we all know its just a glitch in your spiritual software
a reaction to politics – or to andrew loyd webber’s remake of Hair
the lycra don’t suit you, the roadie’s are all dicks
you’re getting sucked in and its making us sick
we won’t ask you to come back – cause we still are your friends
but please tell us dear sasquatch

by Scotty B.

edits by Juancho

Juancho-2 Sport Athlete

This is not a photo of me. This is a photo of the founder of the Tallahassee Rock Gym, my former employer. In the sale of the Rock Gym a couple years ago, a rider was attached to the contract granting a small number of Rock Gym Mafia permanent lifetime climbing privileges.

I am one of those mafia.

Mystery, the untameable stallion, also known as the hardman, insists that we must go climbing on our upcoming sojourn to the Blue Ridge mountains. Yesterday, I went to the gym to prepare myself-physically and mentally- for the challenges of rock climbing. I have already begun the physical preparations with the inclusion of pull-ups into my gym routine (Yes I still go to that pestilence-ridden creepfest, Thanks again S’quatchy!). I am currently working on 3 sets of 1 single pull-up. Very humbling, very embarassing, but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was my swarthy physique. 3 sets of 1. Picture it.

I approach the counter of the Rock Gym yesterday, and I am greeted by a spritely alterna-cutie named Sarah. The new ownership has already made some strategic improvements.

“Hi, I’m Juancho Valdez. I have a lifetime pass to climb here”. I have never used this privilege because that statement sounds so obnoxious, but I am acting under orders so it must be done.

She gives me a scrutinous appraisal and says, “I’ve always wondered what you looked like, I’ve seen your card a thousand times”.

Well, get a good look baby, get a real good look.

Four painful trips up the wall later and I was cooked. It wasn’t so bad though. My fingers tried to remember. The rope felt normal in my hands. I only dazed off a couple of times while I was belaying Mystery and he never knew the difference, so it’s cool. I think I will go back. This variation is in keeping with my “Day Like No Other”.

I need to be mixing it up out there. This damn blog gets my best material.


A Day Like No Other

You can set your watch by certain events in the neighborhood. Spontaneity is not entirely welcome. Deviation from established norms and patterns causes undue stress on the 10th Ave gang. It is “Wapner 4:30” around here for the most part. If the world ever comes to an end, it better not happen on a Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, and sometimes Saturday, because that is the gaming schedule and it will take more than a bomb, hurricane, earthquake, or a wild pack of zombie dogs to disrupt 10th Ave. Similarly, as sure as the sun rises, I am easily found on my back porch, muttering curses about gaming nights (I don’t play). Those of us who ride, actually just me and Bushyhead these days, we eat, ride, drink some beers, and pass out. Not a lot of energy or enthusiasm for the charming variations available in life. A whole Saturday can be planned as follows?

“Everything with hummus.”
“Nah, Northside.”
“Pork Chops?”
“Sure- Pork Chops”.

Not this past weekend however, I really mixed it up out there.

A bonfire party over on MLK Jr. BLVD, where I met a man with many facial tattoos. He is moving to Barcelona to busk with his 13 year-old son like gypsies. I think he plans to be a statue. Not sure about the son’s talents.

The following morning it was a vegan benefit for farmworker’s rights ( I made an omelet before I went). Youthful vigor and idealism abounded, I had forgotten about idealism and vigor.

After that it was off to the Unitarian church to hear my octogenarian, Jewish neighbor play jazz standards from Fats Waller to Bill Evans. He was slick. Mood Indigo, I Get a Kick Out of You, Ain’t Misbehavin. Some Unitarians, who believe in nothing I reckon, could not resist attempting to get me to join them some Sunday in their unfettered lack of belief. I declined.

I’m with the band man.”

When I finally returned to the hood after my adventurous day, the 12 sided dice were clicking, and the porkchops were marinated. Yes, you can set your watch by events around here, and for the most part, I really like it that way.

-I hope it is understood that I rode my bike too- duh.



I’m all tapped out. I left it all on the field. I brought it all.

I’m talking about the blog, not the bike. I’ve got plenty left for the bike this weekend.

Here are the scraps left in my mind this morning…

Congratulations to AucillaSinks on the 10 year anniversary of the Fern Trail. For those of you from out of town, the Fern trail is the major greenspace conduit that cuts right through town. It was born as a renegade trail and survives due to popular appeal I guess. Maybe someone lobbied someone else or something. Anyway, the dude who cut this and many other trails in town drops by the BRC now and again, and if that doesn’t make us cool then I don’t know what to tell you.

April 11 the BRC will be one year old, which means I have been more successful at maintaining a website of nonsense than a serious relationship with a woman, so I have that going for me too.
I will be celebrating this event with a tour of Southeastern trails as Mystery the untameable stallion and I travel to Dupont State Park, NC, Tsali, Pisgah, and wherever else we damn well wish. Yes, I will be bringing a light this time, and probably a jacket. All are welcome to rendevous with us.

I enjoyed the poetry slam yesterday, I think it lends the site a touch of class.

Between secret sessions at the gym, hemorrhagic rides with Bushy, and the occasional out of town solo mission- like James Brown says, I feel good!

That dumbass with the radio show blew me off when I didn’t find any tracks for the panther. I’ll show him some “tracks” if I ever meet him.

Sasquatch is reading some french book about road biking, and he intends to post “good” quotes from time to time. This of course makes my satiric heart leap for joy. It’s money in the sarcasm bank, prepaid.

After payday, I’m going to buy a bunch of BRC stickers, then I will travel the world placing them on your cars, bikes, pets, and such. I intend to finance this trip through the sale of stickers…to you. We’ll see how it goes.

Get me off the stage, I’m bombing up here today.

Have a bigringcircus weekend! (Bikes, recipes, and cats remember!)


On Razorback, by Luvavet, Reddick, FL

The world slims down
To a tunnel of trees
Punctuated by the crackle of leaves
And I leave the cackle of my life behind.
I tackle the root strewn hill
And ponder lightning fast
What it means to be a quitter.
In a rare approach,
My inner voice urges me on
With a triumphant cheering
And I hit the top

Suddenly lighter and


With my heartbeat
Galloping and chest heaving
Like a racehorse
My proud voice says,
And I laugh
And ride away
Down the backside.

Use it or Lose it


If a beautiful morning like this morning doesn’t foster a sense of urgency then I’m afraid there may be no hope for you.

It is chilly, and the air is soft. The red glow at 7:00 A:M is a guarantee of an epic day. I’m serious, this is likely to become one of the two or three prettiest days of the year.

What are you going to do about it? Sure you have to work. So do I, but still, what are you going to do? Are you going to take a moment to step outside, take a deep breath, and mark the arrival of Spring? Are you going to knock off early and go for a ride? Lie in the sun and read a good book? Take all your clothes off and run leaping and whooping through the neighborhood like a wild toddler on the loose?

These days make me crazy. Drunk from the tea olive. Ready to walk off the job. What is the value of one single Spring day? Do you really think you can afford to squander it?

When our days come to an end, what will it be worth to you then?

The window of opportunity is small. Summer is coming. Summer is great, but it isn’t Spring. Spring is short because it is precious. We will have torturous summer days and languid summer nights to burn. Summer will last so long you will barely recollect other seasons. Spring begins and ends right now. It’s like caviar, they only give you a tiny little bit at a time. Spring is diamonds. Spring is the last sip of water. The last kiss between star-crossed lovers. The last buttermilk biscuit. Summer is a bowl of potato salad.

Days like this are when the jobless hippies can lord it over you. The homeless appear most brilliant of all. Those with nothing they have to do, nowhere they have to be, this is their day.

I know, this is fool talk. There will be another day like this, more convenient, on a weekend. Perhaps after reports are turned in, calls are made, portfolios are managed, and clocks have been punched, there might still be a sliver of afternoon left. You can scrape the plate for the last key lime pie slice of this amazing day.

I wish I was 10 today,


Road weary

I might as well get a road bike, as much asphalt as I cover.

At least Santos ( is in between home and my destination.

For the Locals: I found someone’s pocket knife/ house key combo on the Fern trail, or was it the Albertson’s trail? Somewhere over there. If you hear of anybody losing something like that, send them my way.

I may post from the road, but you know how that is…


The BRC- Not what you expectorate!

The Soloist

There were plenty of reasons not to go for a ride. I checked into my cabin late in the afternoon, after spending 6 hours in the car. The Birmingham area radio stations were all in a nervous frenzy concerning reports of tornadoes in the area and severe weather expected to increase in intensity as the evening progessed.

I looked to the sky, nothing but blue skies and sunshine. There was a little chill to the air and the occasional errant swirl of wind blew the Oak leaves around at my feet. There wasn’t much daylight left. I didn’t really know the area. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

The adolescent classic, A Separate Peace, laid on the table next to the worn porch swing, an invitation if ever there was one to relax, kick my feet up, and enjoy the waning Alabama sunshine.

Even as I convinced myself to not ride, I was putting on my cleats. Pouring my husky frame into the man-o-tard, checking the Mule pack for: tube, patchkit, minimag, extra layer, fuel, cell phone, tools. I felt an uneasy, nervous, energy.

Click, click. Away and up the hill. I would just roll down to the trail head and scout around, not stray too far from the cabin, keep an eye on the weather.

You see, I’m a soloist. No ride politics. No route discussions. No fast. No slow. No help.

It wasn’t long before I answered the call of the trail and found myself digging harder for gears I intended to leave alone. The singletrack was winding ever upward. The allure of what might lay around the next corner had me in it’s grip. This is often the Siren’s Song of the adventurer. The seductive “what if” that leads us to spend nights huddled in the woods awaiting daylight, or the thrill of seeing a wild thing, a trickling brook, an ancient tree.

Grinding up the mountain, now on a doubletrack, heart pounding in my ears, sweat pouring, helmet clipped to my pack, I pedaled to the mantra, just one more bend, just one more bend, until I fell into a climbing trance. Nothing hurt, or everything hurt, leaving no basis for comparison.

A particularly urgent gust spun my helmet around onto my shoulder, like a polite reminder. “A-hem, you might want to consider putting me on and turning around now.” Just one more bend, just one more bend. I cross six or seven waterbreaks on the way up, enjoying the cool water running over my feet while the boys in my engine room shoveled coal in the furnace. It would be a wet, chilly ride down.

Keeping an eye on the time, I stopped after an hour of climbing, figuring it would only take 20 minutes to descend the same route. I sat on a stump. I looked around. I talked to my bike. It gave me a sideways glance when I did that. Thunder boomed somewhere beyond the hills.

Time to go.

The downhill was a screamer, with tires off the ground as often as not. The sky grew darker.

I settled in on the porch swing with a glass of wine and watched the storm blow all around me.


A sweet snack

I like the way Jill from Alaska spells it out. Check the link in the post below.

She is obviously a fat tire girl. God bless her.


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