Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday morning river ride

Joe, Patrick, and I took a nice trail/road ride out to Riverside State Park and up to Palisades. Wet. Foggy. Sort of muddy.

The highlight for me was a little trail that Patrick showed us. It skirts Doomsday hill and pops you out at NW Blvd. The route in the map here is approximate.

View Larger Map

This little bit of dirt will make going out to the new Slick Rock more interesting.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ice Bike

Last week I built up my snow bike.

Tonight, I finished building up my ice bike. I toyed with the idea of doing a 2-speed internal coaster ice bike this year, but in the end I decided to go with what I've been doing for the past few years. A simple fendered, studded, fixed gear bike is great on the ice.

This year, since I have the sweet super-raked Kogswell forks on the Trek, I took the Alex-rack off my porteur and put it on here. That makes mounting the light easy and carrying stuff easy.

This is the same bike that Stuart raced a couple times this year for CX.

Here's to winter.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New to me rail trail

Since I had my honkin fat knobbies on my Rawland in preparation for snow, I figured it would be fun to go find some dirt and trails today. I rarely find new stuff, so today was a banner day. This rail trail is probably well-known to most mountain biker types, but it's new to me.

View Larger Map

It's a nice loop. You enter on the Riverside State Park part, go up to the grade using the never-ending-infinite-loop that is "Trail 25." Just stay on the grade. There are no fences, no blocked anything.

You pop out at Euclid and Old Trail Road. Which was a surprise to me. Here's a photo at that intersection:

Last February, I found my self at the same spot and took the same picture.

My full coroplast fender didn't last long on the front wheel. I sheered it off a few days ago messing around on the Highdrive trails. These big tires throw a lot of gunk. My coat and pants took a lot of mud/water/dirt today. So, I went back to my old standby coroplast front fender design:

Not as great of coverage, but it keeps the majority of gunk off of me, if not my cranks/bb area.

Monday, November 24, 2008

CX 08 Wrap Up

Pic shamelessly and permissionlessly taken from Jeff's FBC site.

The last cross race of the Inland NW CX series was on Saturday. Unfortunately, I had to scram as soon as the rookie race ended, so I couldn't watch the A's or hang out for the end-of-season awards. I hope someone took pictures. I'd love to see the podium shots.

All up, I had a great time riding this year. I was nervous going into the season since I didn't really feel that race-worthy, but after the first race I knew that didn't matter. Cross is at once the most miserable, rewarding, and fun experience. I'll never be in good enough shape. You look forward to the race all week, then during the race all you want is for it to end, then when it ends, you wish it were longer and you can't believe it's over.

At the final race on Saturday, I pushed myself harder than I've ever pushed myself at anything. My throat was burning for an hour after the race and I was hacking all of Sunday. I'm ok today. I think everyone was really fired up for the last race, so it was much faster. I was only able to hang on to the lead pack for the first 1/2 lap or so before I felt like I was going to vomit and crap at the same time.

Even after killing myself, I came in 7th. My worse place yet. I wish I could say that I didn't care, because it's all just fun anyway, but I can't. I was really hoping to do better than that.

All up, I came in 7th for the season in the Rookie class.

I achieved the goal of not coming in DFL for the season, so really I am satisfied with my first year of CX. This was a good milestone in some grand plan that I've not yet nailed down.

There's next year. My goal this year was to race rookie and not come in DFL. Next year it will be to race B and not come in DFL. Hopefully we'll see Team Fred grow a bit too.

I feel the need to thank some people: Thanks to Marla and Michael Emde for putting this on. This is a ton of work and they're not going to be millionaires any time soon doing this stuff. Thanks to Shawn Leston, who pushed me a couple times this season to step it up; I really appreciate that. Michael Ward: you pushed too in each race; I look forward to racing with you again next year. Mark Knokey and Mike Sirott are just nice guys who shattered the racer-roadie stereotype I still sort of clung to. Nice guys all. And to the inaugural Team Fred roster: Stuart, Jon, Patrick, and Travis (honorary). Maddie cheers helped the most; thanks Liza.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Multispeed Fixed Gear

Well, it's nearly here. And it's got a flippin bar-end shifter option. That's cool.

It ships in 120mm OLD only, though it looks as if they are considering a 130mm version.

Hmm. I've got a wheel in the hopper that will be 117mm OLD. An old track hub (120mm) laying around somewhere, and now the new SA fixed 3 speed will take 120mm.

Imagine one bike, brakeless in the rear that could take one of three wheels: a two-speed kick back coaster, a regular fixed, or the fancy SA fixed 3 speed. If a guy set them all up with the same size cog, even a rear fender would live happily with this family of wheels.

Old sport touring frames with horizontal drop outs are not nearly as ubiquitous as they were a few years ago. The Shogun would've been perfect for this little project. Or maybe one of the 1st generation Specialized Allez bikes.

The bike gods have a way of providing. If it's meant to be, the right frame will find me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A few random bits

Cyclocross happened on Sunday at Farragut. Jon has a good summary over at the OTM blog. Stuart raced B's and came in 3rd.

Stuart rocking the old 720 something fierce

Jonathon and another racer on the run up

I put campus pedals on my blue RB-T. Campus pedals have SPD-compatible clip ins on one side and are normal platforms on the other side. I don't why they're called campus pedals. We had these pedals on Maddie's tandem (which now lives in Missoula). I decided to try them on a faster bike just to see what it felt like.

I took a loop around town tonight wearing my tennis shoes on my RB-T. I had a ball. It's nice, as a matter of convenience to ride normal shoes, but why is it so much fun to ride on platform pedals?

Did I feel that 12 year-old BMX thing a couple times?

I did notice my feet wanting to lift off the pedals on the up-stroke a bit as I grinded up hills.

I think I'll keep these pedals on for a while and see how things evolve. I may consider a set of these pedals for the Rawland too.

In case you missed the memo, it's Bike Nerd night: Tuesday Nov 18th. 6-8 PM at Salem Luthern Church.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Second Anniversary

Almost missed this one. Happy 2nd to me. Here's my first post two years ago.

The pic above was sent to me by David Nelson. The Fat Tire Trail Riders organized a "get the old cars out of Beacon Hill" day of service. They removed 13 cars today. Nice.

The pic below are some of my favorite women: Liza, Maddie, Beth, and my MIL, Maria. While the FTTR's were out doing good, Mike (Beth's husband) and I sat and ate cookies.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Snow Bike

For winter I use two bikes: a snow bike and an ice bike. Snow bike is all about fat knobbie tires.

I snowed the Rawland last night.

I took off the super sweet rollin' Hetres and put on the knarly neo-motos.

I hooked up a front nerd light for the generator hub.

And I carved up some coroplast fenders. Specifically, I hacked Mary Verner for the rear wheel and chopped Richard Rush for the front wheel. I am grateful for both of these local public servants, and I saved their signs specifically for fenders.

When it comes to coroplasting, a Kent I am not. But that's the beauty of coroplast; even an impatient hack like me can make a set of fenders with enough zip ties.

Liza hates these fenders. My buddy Joe is abhored by the idea of putting coroplast on this bike. I can understand that. Coroplast fenders sort of incite an instant visceral reaction: yes or no. I think Liza feels the same way about coroplast fenders as I feel when I meet someone wearing a beret. Big no. It's just one of those things.

Really, I'm not crazy about coroplast fenders either. But I'm less crazy about the disc-compatible full fenders I've seen, they are just too rattley. John, at REI, made a good hack on his disc'd townie that is worth looking into:

John's hack

I think next year my goal will be to put 58 mm Honjos on the Rawland. I think I could hook them up so they'd work well -- even around the discs -- by using John's hack in the front and positioning the rear stays very low in the back. The Rawland has the sweet under-the-seat-stay hole for the fender too, the fender will easily clear the top of the mondo motos.

I just set up my first set of Honjos on my 747, and learned two important truths: 1) they are just not that hard to set up. I was dreading it, but it wasn't so bad. However, the genius-artist that made my 747 frame also assumed it would have fenders, so that made it easier. 2) Honjos have now joined the premier level of "best of class" bike component. Why bother with any other fender when Honjos exist? They are lighter, provide better coverage, are way stiffer, and just rule harder than any other plastic turd full-fender. Yes they are expensive, but they're lifers.

I'm tempted to just go and get the mondo Honjos for the Rawland this year -- but it's been a decedent year on bikes. I gotta take it easy. The Honjos will run at least $60. I think I'm into the coroplast fenders for about $1 worth of zip ties.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Winter Bike Plans

Picture courtesy of David "won't be long now" Nelson

I'm not ready for snow yet. I've not yet recovered from last year's relentless winter.

But, it's coming. Today, a buddy of mine stopped by with his bike and it was already shod with studs. He's ready.

Another friend just emailed me a bunch of snowy pictures. There was no text in the body of the message; just pictures of snowy bike stuff and a subject that read, "Won't be long now."

My plan for snow bike this year is the Rawland with big fat knobbies. I'm gonna go with coroplast fenders. Sorry Joe.

My plan for ice bike this year is the same: fixed 720 with studs. At the moment, Stuart is racing this bike in the local CX races, so I can't convert it yet, but I plan on racking it with the big ass rack from my 520. The 720 has Kogswell forks with 65 mm of offset, so the 720 will be happy with a front load.

Liza, of course, will have her trusty Rockhopper with fat studs that will do it all. She's so zen.

I post some pics of these bikes built up later.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Last long ride of the year

I planned on cycling about 130 miles today. Then I decided a century would be better. Now, after 85 miles of steady rain and high-30s, I'm done and enjoying split pea soup in Kettle Falls.
It was a good ride. The 747 has proven itself. Jury's still out on the Lake boots.
Mobile post.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Spokane Bike Nerd Convention - Nov 18th

Bike to Work, 1992
Photo courtesy of Eileen Hyatt

Mark your calendar: Tuesday night, November 18th.

Third Tuesday is normally the Bicycle Advisory Board meeting night. But this month is special, instead of our riveting monthly meeting, the city is hosting the last Master Bike Plan Open House.

We did three open houses last spring to show the draft maps for the Master Bike Plan. The maps are ready to roll and need one final public viewing to be bona fide. In addition, there is some policy in the Master Bike Plan Supplemental Draft that is also included for review.

Once these pieces are reviewed and the public has had a chance to provide final input, they will go through the final bit of editing and word-smithing, then they will go to the council. The council will vote to include these bits as updates to our comp plan.

There's more to the Master Bike Plan than just some maps and a bit of policy, but this is the actionable stuff as far as engineering is concerned, so it's being front-loaded so we can get moving on finding money and also have official routes. Official routes are required for opportunistic fixes as streets are otherwise repaired and repaved.

I call this event a bike nerd convention because that's what they are. And for that they rule. We should go have beers afterwards or something.

Anyway, here's the rest of the info:
  • What: Master Bike Plan Open House

  • Where: Salem Lutheran Church, 1428 W. Broadway

  • When: Tuesday, November 18 from 6-8pm

  • Who: Anybody interested in the Master Bike Plan

  • Official city web site: here

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Night Bike Thoughts

Not a bike picture. Maddie and I did some sewing this afternoon.

This was a good bike weekend.

On Friday I took what seemed to be an effortless 60 miler on the new bike. This is by far the finest bike I've ever owned. I don't know if it's the "small-batchness" of this bike that makes it such a pleasure to ride, or if it's the tubing or the Grand Bois Cerfs. I suspect it's a bit of all three.

I'll follow up with a more detailed post on the 747 and/or build a page for my stale site on it.

On the Friday ride I went out north to check out Rutter Parkway. I'd heard a lot about Rutter when I manned the maps at the Master Bike Plan open houses a few months back. I finally rode Rutter and really enjoyed the scenery. As many people mentioned, it's pretty tight and the twisty climbs are a bit hairy. Pretty area though.

I looped out to the Pines area for lunch at my mother-in-laws. Great home-cooked Sicilian food, hot coffee, and good company. What a life. I'm a lucky bastard.

Friday night, I stopped down at the Swamp for a beer to hang out with the FBC'ers for a bit. There were some good costumes. Check out the pics for proof.

P2P Lunch Break: Jace, Mike, Beth, Ben, John, Liza

On Saturday, Pedals2People had our annual meeting. This is our second year and we followed the same format. We do our internal come-to-Jesus meeting during the bulk of the day from 10-5, this is mostly figuring out the plan for next year. We take a lunch ride. Then at 5 pm it's a public potluck. That's fun.

Photo courtesy of Mike.

Today was my second cyclocross race. I had a great race and I feel really good about it. I came in 4th or 5th. There were a lot more racers this time: I think around 20. It was so much fun. I'm not hacking up a lung right now, so maybe I could've pushed myself harder.

I'm feeling unusually content tonight as a result of the race. Like all is well in the world. It's odd. And every time I stand up I feel light-headed. A cheap buzz. Nice.

Taylor had a good race. I think he came in 1st or 2nd in the mountain bike category.

Travis. Two weeks ago after a fall at Farragut.

Travis swooped in right before the B's raced and hemmed and hawed about racing B or Rookie. He decided at the last minute to give B's a shot. He held up, but the speed difference between Rookie and B was a big jump today. And this course was not single-speed friendly: the first 1/3 of a mile or so was a paved gentle climb straight-away. So the roadies just blasted up it.

One thing that made the race so much fun today was riding out to the race with a bunch of friends. Taylor, Derek, Jeff, Patrick, Nate, Mike and I met up at the Rocket at 10 AM and rode out to 7-mile. It was cool.

And once there, it was nice to have friends cheering.

I wish I would've taken a picture of this posse on the way out. Oh well. Jeff said he'd post some on the FBC site.