Bikemonger’s Desert Soirée

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather

We’ve often mentioned that February is usually the busiest month on our bike calendar for the year. The weather is phenomenal and friends are visiting, SingleSpeed Arizona kicks off the party, and then 24 Hours of Old Pueblo brings all the friends together again. This year we invited a special friend from England to our big show. Charlie the Bikemonger. We’ve got a rowdy history with Mr. Bikemonger, as you’ll soon discover. So we lured him to the desert with tales of cacti, Mexican food, surfing, real whiskey, and killer trails.

As this was Charlie’s first journey to America, I asked him to recap his experience. What follows is the Bikemonger’s photo essay of his experience. Be sure to read this with your best southern English accent….

Wind it back a few years… These two damp tired yanks pulls up on their bikes at SSWC Ireland, they adopt us Brits because we have whisky, wine, tobacco of sorts, and shelter… It’s pissing it down. We get on real well. Go forward a year or two… So, I get this damned stupid Facebook message from Dirty at drunk cyclist.. “Hey buddy are you coming to Alaska for the world champs, got a place to stay?”  Hell no, Alaska is the other side of the bloody world, and if I’m going to Alaska for a drunk weekend, it will be for months… Into the wild stuff, you know what I mean.  So I declined.

“Hey, we are doing a ride near you soon, wanna come” now that sounds reasonable, so I agreed. “Count me in, where are we going?”… and then the reply…. “We are riding across Iceland, that’s kinda near you, Bitch”. Damn those canny colonial chaps, called me bitch, so I had to go. But that is another story. However whilst sat in a volcanic spring with single malt and re-hydrated beer, in Iceland, dodging volcanoes and earthquakes, and even bloody hurricanes, they told me about SSAZ, their home town, and the 24 hours of old El Pablo (or something like that). And I must say it all sounded warmer than Iceland.

Well, surviving Iceland with Jesus and Dirty, I came to trust these two deviants, and within a few hundred days I was at one of the London airports with a bike that had no frame, and a rare mini Simmons surfboard. I’ve never been to the American colonies before, but I’ve been a skater since 1977, I love Ween and the Dead Kennedys, and I’ve never met an arsehole American (yeah I know, what’s the chances of that?) … So here we go. Bring it on.

You know chickpeas, and lentils… What’s the difference between a chickpea and a lentil?

In brief… As a series of words that sort of represent the crazy best business trip ever (OK it didn’t feel like work but don’t tell my accountant)

Picked up at Phoenix and the whole place, even the airport is really fucking American. Everything looks just like the movies, and their customs guys are hard bitches.


Beer, Jesus’ house, Chewy and Spinner, Kerry and the others. That Pale Verde bar, it’s 8am UK time I am on the Tijuana hookers (it’s a drink you know), sofa as a bed. Sara has the nicest presentation of “good morning”. That is not prison slang, she just says the best “good morning” ever.

Charlie found the stash.
Charlie found the stash.

Pickup truck takes me to SSAZ, in some weird cowboy town with an awesome bike shop. My new titanium vassago 29+ frame is waiting for me, so I start building with help from Tom, Paul (components chap) and a great guy from Niner. All brands I have backed over here in the UK. Building a bike under an illuminated bar sign, in the desert, is not something you get to do often in the UK, I think I might like this place. Beer, cakes, probably some food… And then Teleported in a u-haul to some desert for fire, whisky and sleep. Man, sleeping in the back of a pick up truck, it’s ace, you can’t do that in England, you would drown.

Like a Brit to tea, Charlie assembles his Vassago.
Like a Brit to tea, Charlie assembles his Vassago.
Shadetree Bikes ~ Phoenix, AZ
Shadetree Bikes ~ Phoenix, AZ
Coaster Culture in full effect.
Coaster Culture in full effect.

SSAZ was incredible. Dirty has resurrected a great mountain trail…. Mile after mile of remote crazy rock gardens, bitching heat and no puddles. Stayed focused, kept an eye on my water, played it cool, did alright. They don’t have mud out here, just dry dust, it’s just like that one day a year we get in England when we can ditch our waterproofs. Awesome race… I totally won the single speed European offshore championships (I was the only euro there). Met a great gold toothed hermit, drank beer, and didn’t die. Then music, excellent thrash band in a sort of cattle shed behind the Flat Tyre bike shop. kaolin the bike shop overlord, what a guy, I need to hang around guys like this, just so it makes me look respectable.

IMG_9097 IMG_9016 IMG_8993 IMG_8990

Jules from surly almost pissed in her camel back….

Careful now...
Careful now…

I recall gunned up sheriffs and fire.

Spinner does his thing.
Spinner does his thing.

Next up was a great big road trip blag to Baja Mexico… Seafood, machine guns, chili, surfing, weird Mexican wine, more fish, beer, remote desert surf, dust roads, and I bought an awesome poncho. I could bang on about this leg of the business trip for a thousand words, but it would get on your tits, because it was just brilliant and you weren’t there. But I must tell you that beer bloody Mary’s with chilies and beef jerky are a frequent morning snack in my bike shop now.




Back to AZ, and off to the 24 hour race. What a scene, everyone was there, and the course was so flowing. The right honourable righteous bastards at “back of the pack racing” set up a camp that is better than my house. We had kegs of beer, food, music, chairs, TV and constant coffee.



Before the race a quick roll down to another whisky tree (sorry forgot to mention the SSAZ race had a whisky tree). Hold on I’m out of sequence now… Screw it… Anyway. Jesus and I are rolling the tail end of the course heading to the start. I’m following him and I spot something in my peripheral vision… A fucking great rattle snake, Jesus had scared it, and now it was pissed off. I skidded out, lay the bike down about 4 foot away and ran like fuck in the opposite direction.  I flapped around like an idiot. I found Dirty and told him, he returned with a snake grabbing pole and a dustbin and went snake hunting. That is not normal. In England we have one poisonous snake and no one ever dies. We have a king, proper castles, taxes… And you guys in America are at least 200 years overdue on your taxes… But we don’t have anything that will kill you… Other than football fans and a really high fat diet.

Whiskey Tree giveth, and Whiskey Tree taketh away.
Whiskey Tree giveth, and Whiskey Tree taketh away.

What happened next… I’m not sure. There was some racing, and more bars. And then I went to visit the freezing northern colonies of Minnesota. I went from a lovely 30°c (that’s European temperature for “nice”) to -25°c (that is beard freezing and scary) in a single day. My remote family at Surly looked after me in fine style, made new friends at 45NRTH and actually did some real business stuff. The QBP gang made a freezing wasteland a welcoming and fun freezing wasteland… But a great big part of my heart (probably the bit bunged up with cholesterol and chile) will always be in AZ.

Surly is as Surly does.
Surly is as Surly does.


Oh, yeah… Chickpea and lentil… What the difference between Chickpeas and lentils???

I’ve never paid $80 to have a lentil on my face.

p.s. ~ Hey Charlie, Arizona was a Territory, not a Colony. Good luck getting your taxes.

Buried in the middle, is the weakest British invasion ever.
Buried in the middle, is the weakest British invasion ever.
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather

38 Replies to “Bikemonger’s Desert Soirée”

  1. Pingback: Bikemonger’s Desert Soirée | PEDAL CANTON

  2. When I hear “colonial” from their tea-sipping, warm beer-drinking mouth, I want to go upside their heads with a piece of well-seasoned Appalachian hickory.

    Were it not for my Dad the Army Airborne staff sergeant, my Mom who did Rosie the Riveter duties in a munitions plant, and all and sundry of our Greatest Generation, these winkle-scarfing wankers would be sprachen der Deutsche.

    You’re welcome.

  3. Oh, and I almost forgot-Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.


  4. And it’s spelled “whiskey”. You’re in America. The very least you could do is to learn some proper English.

    And yes, there are at least elebenty-twenty things on these shores that could prove lethal if you’re not smart.

    And yet we live. Go figure.

  5. Oh yeah, one more thing before you go slinking back to that island shithouse you call home-

    “Chile” is a country in South America, which is also not a colony.

    “Chili” would be the proper spelling for the food item that, by the grace of God, is native to these shores.

  6. “200 years overdue on your taxes”? No, we decided we ain’t paying. Even killed a bunch of y’all just to make our point. We’re really good at that. Killing, I mean. Don’t believe it? Just come around to my house and try to collect.

  7. Englishman goes to America, has a wicked time, says everyone is great and has a splendid time. Makes jokes. You get annoyed. Jokes.

  8. Man, I’m not trying to prod with sticks, but there’s no need to take offence. It’s not meant to cause that. Charlie, like me, fucking loves Surly, and for me, Surly is as American as it comes, no bullshit, solid as fuck. My Surly got firebombed in Berlin, but it’s still going strong. It’s just a little healthy ribbing.

  9. Joe, just wanted to say you’re a tremendous thundercunt who *seriously* needs to get a sense of humour – or maybe it’s just been a while since you got laid. Either way, life must be pretty shitty if a couple of jokes gets you this riled up! Greets from the UK ;) xx

  10. Joe, you really are the most spectacularly ignorant nazi cockmonkey and your beautifuly reasoned critique of Charlie’s writing is just an argument for chlorination of the gene pool.

    oh and like Charlie I have learned the correct Queens english, because we’re from England. .we kind of fucking own the language :-D

    Lots of love
    (you appear to missing this in your life and and butt fucking your pig/sister/mother, doesn’t count)

    Back of The Back Racing

  11. When you’re sipping a single malt it’s ‘whisky’. When you’re chucking back JD and Cokes it’s ‘whiskey’.
    You’re welcome.

  12. @Joe….lol
    I went to USA and thought it was fantastic. Brilliant people and all lovely
    Your remarks about WW2 are a bit pants.
    Yeah the USA help win by supplies but the US was never levelled by Nazi bombers and nearly totally wiped out like we were here in the UK and in Europe yet we still fought tooth and nail. Churchil asked for help but the President refused and only came in on the war HALF WAY THROUGH IT. Pull ones head out sir.
    Anyhoo have a nice day

  13. joe the electrician always thinks he is funnier than he really is.
    He must be one of those guys that laughs hysterically at his own jokes.

  14. @ Mark,

    I’d point out that that same Churchill cocksucker was responsible for the massacre of Australian & New Zealand troops at Gallipoli.
    Let’s also not forget those wonderful inventions of the Poms in the Transvaal, concentration camps & scorched earth policy.

    Major problem that I have with this post is the dipshit nailing a bong before what I’m assuming was a race, do that near me sir & I guarantee that you will be face planting a tree, that should mellow you out.

    So in conclusion, everyone from Joe’s last post down, Fuck Yez all.

  15. (start cockney accent now) woah there fella… keep ya cock on. (close cockney accent)

    Its just a humorous historical inaccurate reference. Next time I will tell you about Hitler and my part is his downfall.

    Thanks for looking after me, Pat & Chris assigned “charlie handlers” to keep me out of trouble.. World class trip, world class location. The best of times. thanks.. sincerely.

  16. @Hurben
    If someone has a problem with another pulling a bong hit before a race perhaps said someone should pull their balls out of their wife’s purse and walk the fuck away like a real man. Just because you don’t agree with someone’s pre-race ritual and/or get someone’s sense of humor doesn’t give you the right to be a douche. In the state of Arizona medical marijuana is legal. For all you know this gentleman has some debilitating medical condition and this is the only way he can work thru the pain to be able to ride. Don’t worry though, I’m sure any second hand smoke you may get from being outside standing next to someone taking a bong hit won’t hinder your closed mindedness and you can still act like a 8 year old bully….

    @charlie the bike monger is rad. This recap of events is rad.

    Back of the Pack Racing

  17. Mr. Bikemonger’s travelogue is brilliant. Good fuckin; work, lad.

    As for Joe and Hurben, I prescribe a solid dab of an indica-heavy wax or oil; a solid four hours of ‘couch-lock’ will mellow youse guys right out. Safety first.

    Me? I rolled ninety miles of backcountry gravel in the North Cascades this weekend; perfect weather, the smell of a hot pine forest, critters frolicking, the various wildflowers in riot, etc. The summer solstice is pure distilled wonderfulness at 48 degrees north. Rubber side down, brothers and sisters; see you out there.

  18. I pulled bong hits in-between laps at this weekend’s 24hour race in NM…I dare you to step up to me about your concerns


  19. @Hurben,
    Why don’t you just shut your fucking pie hole. I’ll rip a bong before the race, rip your legs off and whip your ass if you like. Like @whorechatta said,”why dong you take your balls out of your wife’s purse,” you little BITCH! And Joe, FUCK YOU!

  20. @WhoreChata

    thank you for your well thought out & polite,, ( reasonably), response.

    My feelings are that coming from a site that has made pillorying Lance Armstrong for drugs use a sport over the past few years, it’s a bit rich to be defending it, (as in hypocritical).

    Please let’s not get into an argument about type of drugs etc. you’re introducing a foreign substance into your system, full stop.

    Balls, yes, (let me check), still there, after 15 years of combat, skydiving, mountain climbing, motocross & every other stupid macho activity known to man, they’re still there where they belong.

    BPR have a chapter in NZ, please feel free to ask them to contact me to continue this robust debate, I’m not hard to find plus Dirty has my email address if needed.

  21. Damn kids…ain’t the herb supposed to slow your roll? Getting all uptight and shit. Chiiillll Winston!

    Calm thyself, and rideth on.

  22. Meh, it’s the internet. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. And we’re also entitled to not give a fuck about them. We just want people to read about cool shit.

  23. It is a single speed race for fuck’s sake. Through fucking hell mind you. This was the hardest shit I have ever done. @hurben EAT A FAT DICK! SSAZ isn’t one of the Queen’s sanctioned races, so fuck yourself. Yeah B.P.R. is well represented in New Zealand. Look into it. Especially while sitting on one’s couch acting like a hero. No doubt your tough but SSAZ tough I doubt it. Bro.

  24. So let me get this straight. If Hurben sees you smoking pot while riding/racing, he will do his best to cause you to crash into a tree. Did I read that correctly?

  25. Marijuana is NOT a performance enhancing drug, it is an experience enhancing drug. So, if someone having more fun than you makes you upset…then you should be upset. Otherwise, knock it off.

    It is nothing to do with you at all.


  26. Charlie the bike monger is the tits! Great post!

    Whoever said nazi cockmonkey; brilliant! You are a wordsmith!

    “Keep yer cock on” – also fucking brilliant! I intend to incorporate these into my daily lexicon immediately if not sooner.

    Random thought as I gear up for my Tuesday morning ride here in the Carolinas; I wish the bite valve of my camelback had the texture and resemblance of a womans nipple.

    Carry on.