Monday, April 27, 2009

Not a good day

On the way to work I nearly got hit. Closest I've come in a long time. Totally my fault. I was taking heading west on Second Ave. My target was the new coffee shop, Taste, which is on the west side of the street. After I turned right onto Howard, I proceeded to U-turn to lock up in front of the restaurant. I didn't check before I U'd. Of course, a car had also taken a right onto Howard right behind me, and he was now gunning it to overtake me on the left. yowsa. Close call.  
Good lesson for me. I think I'm a pretty good and safe rider. That's a new scenario for me to be aware of.
On the way home, I approached a curb that I bunny hop about 4 times a week. I do it so often that I've apparently stopped thinking about it. I apparently think the bike is going to jump on its own. Because today I totally shanked my rear wheel on the curb. Lame. Lame. F'ing Lame. 

There's a huge honkin dent in my rim and it's totally out of round and it sucks and I'm mad at my lazy self for being so out of it. I was able true it up to ride it home, but there's a huge bump in the ride. 

And of course not a single bike shop in Spokane stocks the Velocity Synergy rim. Errg.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More pics

Tool kit comparison
Maddie's new-to-her bike
Willy cruising
Next Willy adventure: tandeming!
Mobile post

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mid-week update in pictures

Before the photo show, there are a couple nuggets to share.

1. There will be 10 new bike racks in Spokane soon. Thanks to DSP and the Spokane County Commute Trip Reduction Program. These are the standard inverted-U racks. They were made here in Spokane, at Tipke. Home of Glen of Elephant fame. They are only $50 for qualifying businesses (mainly the business needs to be in the general downtown area defined by GTEC). The cost of these galvanized, then powder-coated beauties is around $280 -- so $50 is a great deal. And if you are in the Business Improvement District (core downtown basically), then the rack is installed by the DSP people. And... Out There Monthly gives away an 1/8 page ad to each business that installs a bike rack. Five businesses have already bit and there are only 5 more racks to go.

2. Start taking pics of cars that park in bike lanes and posting the pics (with visible license plate numbers and as much context as possible to show the car in a bike lane) to In the past, this was a nice way to sort of get the annoyance off your chest, but there was no other reason to do so. But things are going to change. Lieutenant Drollinger of the Traffic Enforcement division of the SPD was at the BAB meeting last night. He is going to work out a process where the COP stations will monitor so that letters are sent to people that park in bike lanes. Serial offenders will get a visit from Spokane's Finest. The system is not going yet, but he is enthusiastic about fixing the issue and he's the guy in charge we've been looking for.

So, with that: some pics...

Standard Maddie-on-the-way-to-school picture. You'd think that if you've seen one, you've seen them all. But you're wrong. The point of these is to show the fashion skills of Maddie. This outfit is really coordinated in a way that is unusual for Maddie. Fluke? or Maybe she's trying to match more.

On the way to Piccolos with Jon. Or an alternate title: "Road photos: how to make friends with garbage truck drivers," or, "The last picture John ever took, may he rest in peace."

Lunch at Piccolos. When I whine and moan about how "I'm not feeling good about my fitness level" for CX, point back to this post. Good food. Mine was a meatball sandwich. Jon went for the soprasada.

Running at Playfair. Every Monday and Weds at 12:15. That's my running deal. Though lately my knee has been bugging me so it's been pretty quick. My buddy Travis joins me some days. You can too. The Playfair track is really soft and spongy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ride Report: Stony Peak

Picture by Willy

I got a last minute riding partner for my Friday ride this week. Willy joined me for a recon ride out to the Tum Tum area. It was a hard ride with a lot of climbing and we rode it pretty fast. It turned out to be a bit over 60 miles with a fair bit of dirt roads, some backwoods jeep trails, and nearly 5000 feet of climbing in about 6 hours.

Stony Peak is a mountain about 5 miles east of Tum Tum. Instead of going out on 291, we approached from the east by going out Hazard road/Wild Rose Prairie area. I charted a way more ambitious route on my GPS which we followed to Stony Peak. It was good to have the GPS. At one point we ended up in some state land with a labyrinth of jeep/moto-cross/quad trails that would've put us who-knows-where. By minding the GPS, we made it out at the right spot.

I rode the resurrecto RB-1 to see if it was a good candidate for this kind of riding. It's great for the ride out, but once I was in the hard climbs and dirt the compact double setup on it didn't work so well. I was continually double-shifting. The gearing (44/30 up front with 12-26 in the back) works great for city riding, where I can leave the chain on 44 for 90% of my riding, but on super hilly climbs, it wasn't so great. I'll be riding the Rawland for future long dirt/trail/road rides.

Stony Peak was neat. We climbed and climbed. We pushed our bikes for one section. And when we got to the top, the view was crazy beautiful and very vast. There was a trailer up there. No people. But there were a couple chairs where we sat and looked at the view as we ate our lunches. It was certainly worth the climb.

Picture by Willy

The rain came and we were on our way. We took a really well-maintained road all the way down. It was a fast and fun descent. Then on to 291, where we rode the quad tracks into Suncrest, did the big descent down to the river, and eventually on to the Centennial Trail and landed at Benniditos for beer and beer buddies. And home with an hour to spare.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Boycott has ended

Maddie was boycotting the bike for a while -- even on the rare days where riding a bike would've been lovely. Her main complaint was her old helmet. It never fit her right and she always fussed and freaked out when the straps got all twisty and weird. We spent a bunch of time trying to fix and adjust the helmet but it just became the wall in the way. It's the Sicilian in Maddie: once something has proven so lame and unreliable, there comes a time when no more chances are given. So she was boycotting the bike until she got a new helmet.

We held our ground for a bit since the helmet was fine. But after a while, the more I pondered Maddie's request for a helmet, the more it made sense to me. I am extremely picky and fussy when it comes to comfort as I ride. I also though about all the wanky bike crap that I buy on a whim. Why were we holding such a hard line on this? What's the lesson here?

So, this weekend, Maddie and I checked out the helmets on the Nutcase site and found one of the XS helmets for her. Maddie has a small noggin and a kid's helmet is just too big. According to the Nutcase sizing chart, Maddie still wears a toddler size helmet. The helmet arrived yesterday and it really is a perfect fit. It's also very high quality.

So she's back on the bike. Now we need to work on the frozen thumbs.

Friday, April 10, 2009

West Plains, Four Lakes, Roller Coasters

It may have been a mistake to build up this bike. It's really capable and it makes me question the whole make up of my fleet. I did a lot of riding that would probably be categorized as "mountain biking" today. Or "cross country" in the vernacular of mountain biking sub-categorization. But I also covered a lot of ground on paved and dirt roads: riding that would totally and completely suck on a typical mountain bike.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Winter pants review

Administrative note: If you commented on my blog in the last week then I just found the pile o' comments to approve. Sorry about the delay. The "email me when a comment arrives" feature does not appear to be working for me...

I like the idea of finding wool pants from Value Village for daily riding in the winter. My buddies Alex and Jon do this and it works well for them. I've not had such great luck; I tend to blow out the crotch on Value-Village wool pants.

This year I splurged on some high-zoot pants from REI. Back when Liza worked there and I could justify any purchase with my spouse-30%-discount, I bought some REI Acme pants. These retail for $159, and after a full winter of wearing them at least 2 of 3 days, I'd buy them again for full price. These are fantastically tough, comfy, versatile winter pants. They cut the water and wind good enough and with some poly long johns, my legs always felt warm enough. The ad copy talks about how they are abrasion resistant. When I took my bad fall I thought for sure I'd ripped these, but there was just a little rough spot. They're stretchy and they dry incredibly fast.

A far distant second were my molten-sposh resistant pants. I got these at Value Village for $2 in the uniform section. They are super comfy. I want to think they are wool but I can't find the material that "Oasis" makes these pants from anywhere online. They are actually too warm when it's over 35 F. They're reasonably water resistant. I didn't get the opportunity to test their abrasion resistance.

The cons with these are how they bind around my thighs. They're not terrible and they're good enough for short rides, but they bug me for long (3+ hour) rides. Also, the legs are pretty flared at the bottom, which is an easy fix, but I'm lazy when it comes to sewing, so I never got to it this winter. They take some time to dry too. The bottom line: these are a great value if you want to put some time into them and if you're thighs aren't huge. Plus they're molten-splosh resistant!

My least favorite pants this year are the ones I put the most time into. These are sturdy thick wool pants. I blew the crotch out a couple times and finally put in a gusseted crotch. Actually, my mother-in-law did that work. I put Velcro tie-down deals on the ankles. I think I spent $8 on these at Value Village. These bind a lot and they want to be worn high up on the waist, which is typical for older pants. The binding and the cut made them not work in the end. Which is a bummer, because they are super warm.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Couple randoms and a question

We'll lead with the question: I wonder how the Blazing Saddles Chili Ride was today? Given the weather, it must have been a great turn out. I wish I could've gone.

Random 1: That picture there is from lunch last week at Coffee Social.

Random 2: The Paris-Roubaix P2P party is next Sunday. It's at the Steam Plant Grill at 1pm. Watching PR is a good add to any Easter tradition.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

More fancy bag goings on

I've been using my new Pelican/Swift Industries bag for the last couple weeks. I really like it. My original idea was to a big bag that sort of stayed on my RB-T. But it's so easy to move around, I've been swapping it between my RB-T and my 720. I also don't like leaving on my bike downtown for more than a couple minutes, so I take it off when I'm gone for more than a minute or two.

A really good friend (and impossible-to-replace P2P volunteer) is moving on Monday. Ken and Siobhann are moving to Minnesota. We're hosting their going away party tonight. Ken is a big fan of DeLeons carnitas, so I went down and got 5 lbs of pork, some salsa, and some DeLeon tortillas. I packed it, along with a bunch of other crud in the bag and even had little room to spare.

Great bag.

Tarik-style picture of crud

Here's what I fit in there (with a bit of top room to spare):
- 3 pints of salsa
- 2 sharpies
- 24 flour tortillas
- 36 corn tortillas
- 4 buckets (5 lbs) of carnitas
- U lock
- sunglasses in holder thingy
- 2 bitchin' 80's bike decals
- 1 fancy girly dress from Grandma
- 1 O2 rain jacket
- rainlegs
- 3 limes
- Easter candy
- wool beanie
- wool neck gaiter