Close encounters of the Stokemonkular kind

I love coming across stuff like this: “Something interesting happened on my evening commute yesterday… I was coming down a slight grade, not pushing super hard, maybe 19mph, when this guy on an xtracycle loaded with gear blasts past me. Intrigued, I jumped anaerobic and followed him for the next mile. I think we averaged about 26mph.”

Yeah, that was Mike.

There’s a similar account of a good-natured “duel” in the sidebar of Xtracycle’s listing of Stokemonkey as an accessory:

i had great fun last night on the way home from picking up a big load of veggies with carl aboard. joined roadie commuter at a light, and passed him. he caught me huffing at the next light. he was going balls out, and i was just keeping up, not wanting to look like i was working too hard. carl was yelling “faster papa!” roadie kept looking back, shaking his head to see me 15′ behind. i passed him uphill after a mile or so, protesting “no fair! – where’s your kid and groceries?”

8 thoughts on “Close encounters of the Stokemonkular kind”

  • Tom

    It was me following Mike, and me who made the post.

    Yeah. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Loaded xtracycle with like 32mm tires seemingly effortlessly cruising >25mph on the flat. That’s why I had to follow him and find out what his secret was. :)

    Just wanted to stop and let you know, it looks like the grassroots marketing campaign (I don’t know if there is one, but I guess there is one now) seems to be working.

  • George

    That is way cool:-)

  • Bill Manewal

    My favorite encounter so far: climbing San Bruno Mountain (just south of San Francisco, the one with the radio towers on top at 1314 ft. elevation) on the Stokemonkey SUB.

    About half way up I see a very fit cyclist in lycra aboard his carbon fiber gram counter’s dream bike, cranking away. I get on the throttle and, sitting as upright as I can, pull up along side him with the greeting, “Nice day for a leisurely ride, yes?”

    He does a double take and says with both wonder and derision in his voice, “That bike sure looks heavy!” I crank the throttle to full and push for all I’m worth and as I pull away from him, replying in my most casual voice, “Yeah. Just over a 100 lbs.”

    I swear I could see smoke coming out of his ears as he tried to compute what just happened. Funny how many cyclists can’t take in that the red thing spinning the chain in the middle of the bike just might be a motor!

    Then I slowed up mercifully for him to catch up and let him in on my “secret”. We rode together until the climb got very steep at which point he stood up out of the saddle, tromped his bike (and knee cartilages) very hard and left my 60-year-old butt behind.

    Ah the male ego, such a fun thing to play with!

  • Todd

    More than half the people who notice the red thing call it a generator. When I explain that it’s a motor, they say “O, so it generates its own power?” “No. Batteries.” “So it charges the batteries when you pedal?” “No, that would lower my range and speed.” “But, but…” Perpetual motion is a very popular dream.

  • 'Full Throttle' Mike
    'Full Throttle' Mike February 3, 2006 at 5:14 am

    (Hi Tom)

    This little happening was quite a bit of fun: In the distance I see someone riding very smoothly, so I put the hammer down for myself, and full throttle for Stokemonkey. As I’m catching up with the rider, I see that Tom is wearing a hat/helmet? that looks like a crazy court jester and is riding a fixie, or at least a single speed, w/o much gear, cruising at a good clip. So, being the considerate cyclist that I am ;-) I blow past him. I see him pick up speed and get on behind me. I back off Stokemonkey a bit, and go into the red zone myself, figuring that this is a more competitive match-up. Just blowing him off my wheel seemed very unfair, and maybe demoralizing. So, we blast through a fairly industrial neighborhood going as fast as the cars. I’m watching the shadows we’re casting to see if Tom is still with me. His hat/helmet casts this weird tentacled shadow, so it’s easy to tell. I figure I can keep the hammer down to the bike trail, but would have to let up when we reach it. I make the turn onto the trail, and Tom follows. We have a nice conversation, and I let him know I’m cheating, but he still thinks it’s cool. Then I go into my X/SM pitch about carrying lots o’gear at high rates of speed. hehehe

  • 'Full Throttle' Mike
    'Full Throttle' Mike February 9, 2006 at 7:00 am

    Have to put this somewhere, and I guess here is as good as any other thread…

    I spontaneously decided to try time trialing (TT) into work today. I had a dr’s appt that went long, and I needed to get into work quickly. I thought I should use the car as I only had 1hr and 15mins to get in. I decided to take the bike. Starting out I felt quite strong, so I put the hammer down, hoping to hold the TT pace for at least 1/2 the ride.

    Checking my speedo 10 miles in to the 19 mile ride revealed a 23.3 mph average pace. 23.3 is a blistering average for in-town riding. I was starting to sag before I looked at my speedo, but the high average buoyed my spirit.

    The second half of the ride is more uphill than the first,so I expected a bit of a drop-off in speed. I hammered on a few of the hills, and took it easy on a couple. Again Stokemonkey kept the average speed up until I could catch my breath.

    Turning the corner into the cooldown stretch, the speedo read 23mph average. Total time to work: 49 minutes. It takes 32 minutes to get here by car travelling at 70mph, and burning 1 gallon of gas. Time difference: 17 minutes. Non-renewable energy consumption difference: ~2 orders of magnitude. Joy factor: Priceless. Hehe, now the ride home will be a different story. Fortunately I can let Stokemonkey do most of the work.

  • Martina

    Mike — that’s so cool!
    I have another good stokemonkey story: I had a lot of stress at work yesterday, but needed to pick up my son from pre-school (10 miles roundtrip)I was close to asking his paternal unit to do so, but I ended up going — It was so relaxing, me, my son in his trailer, the warm sun and the monkey keeping me from having to pull too much!

  • tricky coyote

    These passing-lycra stories remind me of my favorite: Sam George, 50-year-old editor of Surfing Mag, back and forth passed a group of roadies on the uphill with his “beautiful polynesian girlfriend” on the back, riding an unMonkeyed cruiser Xtracycle. More than merely motor machisimo, there’s magic in big load bravado.

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