Saturday, October 31, 2009

First video attempt

Liza and Elmer's simple video was a hit, so I figured I'd horn in on that action and over-do it with a fancy video. Note the fade and music and credits. Hmm? Hmm?

But the bummer is, even with the fancy effects, the actual content is damn boring. Especially compared to Liza's simple and authentic moment that she so effortlessly captured.

I'll start attaching my camera to the bars on my bike for normal rides. I spent a week trying to make the camera work on my helmet. I couldn't get the angle right. It was hard to watch without feeling a bit queasy. Plus I've already got a light zip-tied on my helmet. So adding the camera added too much weight and out-nerded my already-to-high nerd threshold.

Anyway, my hope is that given enough hours of footage, I'll stumble (or crash) into something interesting. If I do, I'll set it to music and show it here.

Here's what I was carrying in the video:

The load was tall enough to interfere with steering, so I had to set it way out, which is not ideal for handling, but the bike still did well. The load was about 30 pounds.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bike hang

I like talking and talking about bike stuff. Most normal people have a threshold for bike talk. I do actually have a threshold too. But it takes a couple days of bike-only talk to reach it.

Last night, a buddy, Nate invited me to Benniditos for a beer. He said to invite others. So I sent a mail out to a few buddies. It was nice to sit around and talk about bike stuff.

Normally when I hang out with bikey types and non-bikey types, I try to temper the bike discussion a bit. But when it's all bike nerds and the only hard commonality is bike obsession, then it's just pure bike nerd bliss.

It got me thinking, as winter comes around, it would be nice to have regular bike hangs, where the point is to not feel bad about talking about bikes for 2 hours or so with a group of bike nerds. Last night, we had a builder there, a female CX racer, an aspiring rack-builder, a no-car commuter guy, and me.

Discussion was around CX racing, CX bikes, 29'ers, internally-geared hubs, selling whole bikes vs parting out, best winter mittens/gloves, new Keen SPD footbed width, Taylor and his general radness, starting up 50-75 mile weekly ride-abouts in the spring, and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember.

And all without rolled eyes or exasperated sighs.

I have a 2 hour opportunity every Weds night. How about that? Bike hang at Benniditos South on Weds at 5:30-7:30. I can't make every weds, but I could make most.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Doing stuff

I've been out. And I've been doing stuff. But nothing interesting or particularly blog-worthy. There is a bar you know.

I've been digging Pat's rack posts.

I'm trying to talk Liza into doing some posts or at least more video posts.

I blew away about 4 months worth of bike pictures this week when I installed a new OS on my laptop. Dammit!

I hung out with Alex a bit this week and saw the v2 rack for my cycle truck. It's stainless. It has a U-lock holder. It rules. Hard.

After cyclocross tomorrow, come by the Pedals2People annual meeting. It's at our house. We'll have food. RSVP is nice, but not required. There's a bunch of P2P stuff going on right now. It's one of those exciting scary big change times.

If you've not voted, please do. This city needs Jon and Amber for any hope at a happy, sane future. I 1033 needs to go away and I can't believe that R 71 is even on the ballot, but it is, so we must approve it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

3 Things

#1. Mr. Blaine has dispatched an update on the Fish Lake Trail.

They have started paving again and are all the way to the temporary trailhead at Rosamond and Lindeke. The parking lot of the new trailhead is paved but they are still working on the bridge over I-90.

Bring on the commuters.

#2. Cyclocross
Today is the second race of the year for the Emde series. I've not raced this year. Next Sunday is 7-mile, my favorite course. We'll be having the P2P annual (and public!) meeting, so I'll miss that one too. My heart is just not in it this year. I may hit the last race at 7-mile in mid-November.

I think Jace, Steph, and Chris will be racing their first CX races today at Liberty Lake. Travis should be out there too. Good luck y'all. If anyone goes and takes pics, send them along.

#3. Joe

Joe was my first riding buddy when I moved back to Spokane about 6 years ago. When I moved here, he owned the aptly named, Joe's Coffee, down by Benniditos. He made amazing muffins, scones, and quick breads. And he had the best drip coffee in town by a mile.

I remember the cold winter morning I went into Joe's place. The windows were totally steamed over and the 3 tables were taken and interesting old-timey music was playing. Good spot man.

Anyway, Joe liked my bike. It's hard not to connect with someone who likes your bike. I ended up spending a chunk of time every morning at Joe's. Eventually, we started riding.

Joe is always down for a ride and he's always down for whatever or where ever when we ride. Good egg, that Joe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ta-da! Cycle truck pictures!

Behold the Stuff Hauler 80, or the SH-80. (The previous name is not dignified enough and it overstated the official load-carrying capacity by a factor of 10).

I'm nursing a cold here so I don't have the strength to express my normal verbose big fat opinion on every little nuance of everything. But here are the pictures of the built-up cycle truck.

Quick thoughts:
-- I'm going to find a BMX tire for the front. Something cheap (compared to Schwalbe) with a wee tread and a round profile that is about 1.75 inches wide. Once again, I'm stuck wishing that the Panaracer Pasala (non-tourgaurd) was made in a weirdo size.

-- The most I've hauled on this bike was a measly 10 pounds or so. I really honestly couldn't tell there was a load up there. I'm amazed by how well this bike handles. I may have to follow Tarik's lead to determine the Pumpkin Load-Hauling Profile of the SH-80.

-- I like the Origin8 Space Bars for this bike. They feel right. They didn't feel right last time I tried to use them. I may tilt them down ever so slightly.

-- Most of the other bits are from the old Xtracycle. Joe is now the proud owner of said steed.

-- On the way: double kick-stand and a front fender.

-- In other related news: Alex, builder of this bitchin cycle truck, has been independently verified and universally recognized as a cool guy. I've gushed plenty here. So, enough said.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Farewell trusty Xtracycle

Maddie and Liza rolling on the Xtree, nearly 4 years ago.

Click pic to read more about this bike.

Of all the bikes I have built up right now, the Xtracycle is the oldest. I got it at the beginning of 2005. Maddie spent a bunch of time riding the front of this bike. It's been a great bike and it's helped to illustrate for us just how easy it is to haul lots of daily stuff without a car, which in turn, allowed us to be nearly car free for a year or so.

For about the last year and half, it's been loaned out to different friends.

I picked it up from the last borrowers this morning so that I could take it apart. I'm going to use many of the parts on the cargo bike. As for the frame, I'm going to stash it away for a while. It's a neat frame. I may make it a single speed for tooling around the trails. Or I may build it into something else. But for now, it will hang in my basement.

As I disassembled the bike this morning, I found a couple chestnuts. The rear cassette was super loose, as were the bearings in the rear hub. I didn't realize that the hub on the back was a re-spaced Shimano 600. It's pretty shot. I'll rip it apart this afternoon and see if the cups are pitted as I suspect that they will be.

The headset was stiff. I attempted to adjust it but couldn't get it just right. I discovered why when I took it apart.

The Xtracycle attachment will go on another bike. If you live in Spokane and you want to buy this, let me know. I'll sell it with the bags for $100. There's plenty of life in it, though the snap deck is well-weathered. I won't ship it.

If you want the high zoot Val kickstand, it's an extra $50. More on the high zoot kickstand at the bottom of this page.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Jeff and Lisa are the heart, soul, and backbone of the FBC. Over the last couple years, the simple format-- a bike ride on the full moon every month -- has coalesced the fledgling bike culture of Spokane into a bonafide identity.

The last FBC ride I went on, in June or July, had about 175 cyclists. The cyclists represent just about all the different types of cyclists you'll see in Spokane: racers, hipsters, fixed-gear newbies, 20-something professionals, traditional cycling club curmudgeons, commuters, free riders, retro-grouches, and just plain old Spokanites on their trusty garage bike.

The vibe is wide open. If you show up on a bike, you are welcome. All of these labels really do wash away as the night progresses and the beers flow.

Whether or not you ride with FBC, you really should appreciate the value of the community it provides and the uniquely Spokane result that has emerged from Jeff and Lisa's dogged persistence in hosting these rides month after month.

So, it's really cool that the community has been recognized externally.

Check out the new Knog catalog (huge pdf). It's more of a snapshot of global bikester hipsterism than a catalog, but I suppose in PR'sville, that's what makes for a good catalog: you're buying a lifestyle, not a product.

The catalog profiles hipsters on bikes in a bunch of cities around the world: Budapest, Cologne, Paris, etc. Right in between Portland and Melbourne, you'll find a four page spread on Spokane. And the FBC.

Well done Jeff and Lisa. Your efforts have put Spokane bike culture on the map.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kogswell build v1

This is sort of a funny looking bike. But I like funny looking bikes. I like the way the small wheels look on this bike. The huge head tube does not agree with Liza's sense of bike proportion.

I'm building this bike up as a long-term project that may or may not work for my buddy Jon. He rides year round, every day. He rides hard and fast. He's not a bike nerd in the "sit around and fuss with the bike and make it perfect" way. He just wants to get on his bike and go. And it needs to work always. With zero-to-minimal maintenance.

His 4-year old, mid-range hybrid-urban bike has held up admirably, but it's giving up the ghost. He's been replacing bits for a while and he's interested in a new bike that better suits his commuter-that-needs-to-look-nice needs, which is still fast and tough.

So, that's why the careful observer will note that there are some odd-for-me components on this bike: straight bars, weird saddle, v-brakes. Some day, this bike will run an internally-geared hub, a front rack, lights, kick stand, chain guard, devil tires. I'm hoping it will hold up to the daily beating that Jon hands out.

I'm going to take a couple months to build it up, loaning it to Jon for a few days at a time to get his feedback. He's coming by today to pick it up for some weekend riding. He'll hate the gears. They're friction and he loves his indexing and he's slightly hard-of-hearing, so he's going to get ghost shifting if he doesn't hear the derailleur asking to be trimmed.

But I didn't have any 8-speed indexed thumb shifters. This is all built up with stuff I had laying around (except the bars and brakes -- I bought those from Pedals2People.)

This is the second frame I've built up in the last year or so that was designed with fenders in mind. What huge difference this tiny design difference makes.

My only complaint with this frame so far is the dropout orientation relative to the chain stay bridge and design -- which narrows quickly and forces you to deflate the tire to mount it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Yet another frame on the way

If all goes as planned, then Pat will be bringing this beauty back to Spokane this Sunday.

It's a cargo bike that Alex made. If you only click one link, then click this one here, it's the one that goes to Alex's blog and explains the greatness of this bike.

I'm very excited. I think it's been at least a year since Alex told me that I could have the frame set when he built his v2 of the bike. He's not yet built the v2, but I couldn't resist bugging him, so he's letting it go early. And he's building a new rack for it too (wider, instead of as long) so that loads will be closer to the head tube for improved handling.

I traded Alex a pile of bike stuff for this frame set, but not enough. I've said it before and I want to be clear: I am a lucky bastard.

Every single time I haul some awkward load on my bike I think of this bike. Every time I haul a huge pile of stuff in a cargo trailer I think of this bike. Every time I lament the selling of Maddie's tandem, I think of this bike. I think of this bike a lot and it's going to be great to use.

With the arrival of this frame set and the Kogswell, I once again have too many bikes. The 720 frame set will be archived. As will the RB-1, for the winter anyway.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Inbound frame - Kogswell P/R 26"

I made a slightly compulsive buy the other night. This is the Kogswell P/R that takes 26" wheels. I once had an XO-1. It was too small and I sold it. I love the idea of a bike that has road bike geometry and takes 26" wheels. The clincher for the P/R is that it has standard diameter tubing.

Minus the standard tubing, my Rawland is very similar, so I've never really been super serious about pursuing a 26" P/R, but the right deal came along right after I finished my second bourbon-over-ice the other night and I jumped. Paypal makes things pretty easy.

I plan on making this part trail/winter bike and then I'm going to see if I can build it up into a perfect commuter for a buddy of mine. There's a story there that I'll tell as I build the bike up.