Thursday, December 31, 2009

Review: Ibex Vim and Ibex Dash Hybrid

The Ibex Vim Hybrid. A nice jacket, but not the cycling-specific
holy grail that the Dash Hybrid (or Breakaway) was.

I’ve written a number of times (here, here, and here) about the Ibex Dash Hybrid jacket. The jacket has a soft-shell wind and water resistant front made from “Climawool.” Climawool is a herringbone woven fabric that has many of the same qualities of Schoeller. The back of the jacket is made of a woven wool and spandex blend. So the front keeps the wind and moisture out, while the back of the jacket lets the heat escape while keeping you happy and warm.

I forever pledged my allegiance to the Dash Hybrid on a rainy 80 mile ride last fall where the average temperature was 38 degrees. I was damp but warm the entire time. No other jacket has ever performed like that for me.

The Dash Hybrid is a great jacket, so I was bummed when it fell out of the Ibex lineup a year ago. I wrote to Ibex and asked why they dumped the jacket. The response was that a new and better version was on the way in 2009. So, a couple months ago, when the 2009 Vim Hybrid was introduced, I wrote again to Ibex and asked if they would send me a jacket to review.

I’ve been using the jacket for a month or so and here’s the skinny. The Vim Hybrid ($195) is a great 3-season, all purpose jacket. Like all things Ibex, the jacket is extremely well-made, looks nice, and is super comfortable.

Dash Hybrid.
Soaked after a fall in a frozen puddle. Although wet, I'm still warm.

Unfortunately however, it’s not an improvement on the Dash Hybrid. The Vim Hybrid is a much thinner jacket than the Dash; I can’t get it to keep me warm in temperatures under 30 F without adding too many layers under it. For a cycling jacket, I want a form-fitting jacket that feels good with one or two thin layers underneath. With the Vim, to stay warm in the cold, I have to add too much bulk. The Dash, on the other hand, is weighted for colder weather. Two thin layers under the Dash are all I ever need to stay warm down to the teens.
Another disappointing aspect of the Vim Hybrid is that it’s not cycling specific. Unlike the Dash, which is cut a bit lower in the back, the Vim is a traditional cut, which exposes a bit of my lower back when I ride. The Vim also lacks the rear pocket. And instead of a small chest pocket the Dash has (perfect for a phone or an mp3 player), the Vim has two traditional hip pockets, which I think is the crummiest place for pockets on a cycling jacket.

Alex wearing the Dash (or it may be the Dash's predecesor: the "Breakaway").
Note the nicely cut long back and rear pocket.

I think the Vim would make a great 3-season, all-purpose jacket and I look forward to trying it out for early spring rides and trail running to see how it holds up to warmer and rainier days. But my plea to Ibex is to bring back the Dash Hybrid. The world needs a cycling-specific, technical, wool winter jacket, and the Vim is not it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cycling Spokane in Aught Nine

Ok. Let's keep this brief. Tight. Concise!

Bike Advocacy and City Stuff
We're on a roll. In 2009, the Master Bike Plan passed and is now baked into our comprehensive plan. The City hired a full time Bike/Ped coordinator.

Jon Snyder, another daily bike commuter (Richard Rush is the other) is elected to the city council. Although it doesn't appear that the region will land a $50 million dollar wad of cash from USDOT for active transportation any time soon, we have more work and attention going towards cycling than the region has ever known.

The goal for this area last year was to get some projects going. Off the top of my head, this year the Fish Lake Trail was given another few miles of paving and a nice trail head. (Last I heard, there was an earmark still surviving in a federal legislative bill to finish this trail -- by putting a bridge over the tracks). Five-mile road got a bike lane and will have sharrows on the descent come spring. We got sharrows (misplaced, but that will be remedied in the spring) on 37th and on SE Blvd. I know I'm forgetting something.

Next Spring we'll see completion of the downtown bike lanes (roughly: 4th St, Howard to Buckeye, Riverside, Jefferson). Hopefully, we'll find the money to stripe Addison heading north. The money for the completion of the Iron Bridge is available. That's my favorite by a long shot. There are likely others.

While it's wonderful that we're seeing this work done, it's still piecemeal and spending here represents a tiny fraction of the transportation monies spent in this area. This year we had at least 3 pedestrian deaths. Probably more. Councilman Snyder has made Complete Streets the centerpiece of his goals as a councilman.

In a nutshell, the concept of complete streets means that when the city does work on a street, all users of the street (car, pedestrian, cyclists, disabled, etc) are taken into account for the design of the street. Seattle adopted a Complete Streets policy a couple years ago.

My goal in this area this year is to help Jon get the word out on Complete Streets. There is a very-near-zero chance of the city adopting a Complete Streets policy if citizens are not demanding it. We must be vocal.

After watching the last few years of this cycling advocacy stuff from the inside out, I've realized that you must speak up. Often, it's just a phone call, or an email. I'm not talking about rushing city hall with pitchforks here. I have cycling friends that tell me that they are "not political." By taking such a stand, they are taking a political stand for the status quo.

DiiiiiissssssMount: high horse.

The Bikes

I've got a pretty solid line up that has been serving me well: the 747, Rawland, Urban RB-T, CX RB-T.

Bikes that came in 09:

  • The tandem. This has been around for a while, but we finally built it up and rode it. And I can't wait to ride it more next year.
  • The CB-Zip: an impulse buy that took a few weeks to engage my impulse. It's got studs on it so I've barely ridden it. I look forward to putting some super fat non-TG Pasalas on this baby in the Spring. I may do some overnighters on it too. On paper, this baby rocks. On the road, with studded tires, it's a monumental turd.
  • Shogun: this old chestnut had to come home. It has found it's true calling as a non-fendered, trial-riding, city-commuting, Pasala-wearing fixed gear. I grab this bike a lot.
  • Kogswell: Dang. I guess this was sort of an impulse buy too. Great frame. Takes 26" wheels and has standard tubing. I got a silly deal on it. This has to be some kind of record. I think I rode this bike about 2 miles before loaning it to Jon. See "bikes that went away" below.

  • Cycle Truck: as far as "stuff" goes; this bike tops the list for the year. It's a joy to ride. And without getting all gushy -- everytime I ride it, I really feel the love for Alex and his love of cycling that has evolved over the years that led him to design and build this bike. This bike is a snapshot, built of steel, of that love he has for cycling, as were the racks he's made for me in the past. Riding this bike, especially with a big load on there, really does something for me that's difficult to verbalize.
Bikes that went away or to loan in 09:

  • Kogswell: On loan to Jon Snyder. He calls it the "City Council One." We still need to get an internal hub and a chain guard on there for him. And I really want those Ritchey cranks back too. So there's work yet to be done. Pat and I are also going to build a rack for the front. It's damn hard to get that bike away from Jon. He rides the shite out of it. So making fixes and upgrades usually don't happen until something fails catastrophically.
  • Trek 720: One of my favorite bikes. My buddy Patrick is borrowing this beauty at the moment. I'll likely repo it in the spring.

The RB-1 is neither a comer or a goer. It's wrenching at my heart. It rolls great and it's fun to ride with those Hetres, but I don't like how it climbs or accelerates. That sounds cheesy, but I feel like I should really love it more. I may find a new home for this bike in the new year. Or I may just stash it back in the bike cellar and see how it feels in a couple more years.

Goals for the new year: couple the black RB-T. Ride Alex's new amazing bike.


The big deal here is the Pedals2People move. Come the new year. (Shit! that's in 2 days!) we'll have a new space out on East Sprague. There's so many moving parts here that need attention. We are very lucky to have a group of volunteers to make this work.

But we really need you: if you ride a bike, go to P2P next year and spend some money. We're pushing the envelope on this one and will really need community support to make a community bike shop. We'll have a yearly membership program that allows you access to a stand and tools any time, we'll have our world-record-setting pile of used parts for sale, and we'll have classes taught by pros.

Are you a pro mechanic that would like to donate your time to teach a few classes next year? We would love your help too.

Elephant Bike
Glen has been around for a while building bikes quietly for a few folks in town. This year he really stepped it up and teamed up with Simon (previously of WS-south) to sell some fixed gear high zoot bikes. In addition, he's got a queue of CX bikes and a pretty steady stream of fixes coming in too. It's been fun to get to know Glen, whose bike experience always surprises me. I'm trying to get him to blog or find someway to share his vast bike related experiences, he's got so much potential blog gold there.

Jeff and Lisa continue to grow this event. It's downright huge now. This year their hard work paid off with some international recognition. Not bad.

Bike events
SpokeFest grew again. Cyclocross grew too. I think CX is a good barometer of general bike growth in a given area. It's a very accessible sport for cyclists to try. So seeing that grow is a good thing.

One goal from last year was to get some bike races in Spokane City proper. We didn't see that, but I've heard mumblings that such an event may coalesce this year.

Not sure if the Weds Night Bike Nerd Hang counts as a "Bike Event," but it's nice to sit around for a couple hours a week and focus on nerdy bike talk.

Looking at last year's wrap-up post is sort of depressing in this department. If last year was my best year of riding, then I'd say this year, well, wasn't maybe the worse, but it wasn't as good as last year. I just didn't ride as much. Period.

There were some highlights though that ruled.

I did a bunch of spring and summer rides with Willy that were really fun. He's a good guy to ride with and I miss him.

Liza and I did two tandem rides. They were great.

Maddie started to come into her own as a two-wheeled, geared rider.

The Midnight Century was too hard for me. That was disappointing, but the ride was very satisfying and the follow up meal was hard to beat.

I did a bunch of overnighters to Badger with different friends. Fun stuff.

I think the longest ride of the year for me was about 120 miles or so. I want to do more of these next year. And at least one 200+ miler.

I discovered a few new roads, but I think 2010 will be the year where I do some driving to riding for some overnighters. I want to spend some time up there by 4th of July pass area. I want to drive to Chewelah and then ride northeast into the hills.

I want to spend some time up in the Colville National Forest this year: up around Sherman and Boulder passes. I want to explore the dirt roads and old wagon trails back there, but I also want to do a day loop where I go over both Sherman and Boulder passes in one day.

I want to race the Walla Walla CX race at Stanger Farms. I want to go to Portland and watch the CX finals.

So much for concise.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Snow Peak denied

I built a wheel Sunday morning.

Liza and Maddie are out of town for a week. I'm also off work until the 1st week of January. I always like the idea of these sorts of arrangements, but after a few days, I realize what a creature of routine I really am and I miss the ladies. I also tend to devolve. I drink too much beer. The house crumbles around me. I stay up late watching crappy movies.

So in addition to all that frivolity, Patrick (of Scoop fame) and I decided to take a couple days and go snowshoeing/camping. There's a forest service cabin off of Sherman pass that is about a 6 mile hike to a place called Snow Peak. The cabin is stocked: it's got a wood stove, wood, ax, dishes, etc. We reserved the cabin for last night and tonight.

I will explain to you why I am writing a blog post now instead of what should be Day Two of camping.

In a nutshell: we didn't plan well.

The longer version: we took the wrong initial trail, which put us out about 2 miles. Had we left a few hours earlier, we would have been able to absorb this error. Our second error was no map. We both foolishly assumed that the path to the famed Snow Peak cabin would be obvious. And as we've since learned, it is obvious, once you've been there.

At about 4pm as darkness encroached and snow started to fall, we were forced into a decision. At this point, after snowshoeing up 1000 feet over about 6.5 miles, we were both pretty tired, hungry, and thirsty.

a) Hunker down in a rough shelter (think backyard "fort" made of branches) that was about 100 yards away.

b) Continue down the trail we were on which may or may not lead to the cabin. At this point we thought we may have passed the cabin inadvertantly. Or it was further down this trail.

c) Attempt the walk back to the car.

In actually, we only really evaluated a) and c). Since b) seemed insane. And even more truthfully, I didn't entertain c). My money was on a) -- since we'd already made some rookie errors, I didn't want to gamble the another, and we had everything we need to survive the night in our fort.

So we did. It was cold; about 10F. Our fort held out most of the snow, but not all. And luckily, there was an old tarp in the fort which provided more cover.

That was a long night: 12 hours of cold drowsy spurts of sleep.

Good lessons though. We should've had a much better understanding of the route and timing going into this one.

This picture doesn't show the snowy-frostiness of my gear very well.
I used the trusty Ibex Dash Hybrid for a sleeping pad. I think I prefer more loft.

We had breakfast in Kettle Falls and talked to a couple guys that were on their way up to the area. As it turns out, we were about 2-3 miles away from the cabin. Had we taken option b), we may have made it -- but we may not have seen the cabin in the dark.

We plan on trying again in the spring.

Tomorrow's Bike Nerd Hang is at South Perry Pizza. 5:30pm

In the meantime: think of a place for January hangs that is less beer-centric. I wish the Shop was open later.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Baby it’s cold outside! Fish Lake Trail Dec. 27, 2009

Twenty-nine miles doesn’t quite qualify as “epic” but given the bitter temperature today’s ride on the Fish Lake Trail merits some kind of adjective treatment. “Freakin’ cold” comes to mind.

My sweet husband Eric Abbott (who blogs over here about his road bike racing and training) went for a 40-mile ride yesterday with his buddies from Spokane Rocket Velo. They used the new segment of Fish Lake Trail for part of the ride, and when he came back he reported that it was a really nice ride.
Since he has inspired me to train for racing too (it’s a “mixed marriage,” as I’ll be riding with the women of competing club Baddlands), we set out today for a zone 2 ride for me (specific target heart rate) and a zone 1 (recovery) for him.
We took off from the new trailhead on W. Sunset Highway just off Lindeke (behind a little quick-stop place). It was 1:30pm and the sun was shining. This should be great!

It was, but it was not a ride for the underdressed. Fortunately we had layered up since we had Eric’s experience from the day before as a guide. I’ll share in case you’re heading out for a two-hour ride during which you will sweat, the sun will start to go down, you'll face a light headwind for part of your return, and the temperature will drop from around 30 to something below that….
I was wearing a tank top, arm warmers, base layer, fleece long-sleeved top, fleece vest, and light cycling jacket (for the pockets) on top; bike shorts with leg warmers and thin fleecy running tights over those; wool socks, commuter biking shoes, full shoe covers designed mostly to keep out moisture and toe caps over those as extra wind block; earmuffs and thin cycling hat under my helmet, which has a wind cover; lobster-claw gloves; a face mask made for skiing; and sunglasses.
What I wish I had worn: one more layer on the bottom, maybe my wind-blocking North Face pants from Mountain Gear; a warmer hat because the earmuff pressure/hat hem interaction hurt after a while and I had to take the earmuffs off; full-on insulated booties of some kind over my shoes; and a better wicking layer next to my skin (turned out the tanktop was 100% cotton, and we all know cotton kills). My hands were fine—love those lobster-claw gloves! I should have taken along clear glasses for when the light dropped, since I still needed the windblock effect of wearing glasses.
The route is great, and there were quite a few people out enjoying it on foot, bike and skate. A couple of things it might be handy to know:

  • Heavy-duty railroad crossing at Scribner about 7 miles out from the Government Way trailhead (watch out for those big bolts in the road). It sits at the bottom of a quick climb up to Cheney-Spokane Road, which you have to take for part of the route. Coming back down I really had to stand on my brakes so I didn’t hit the railroad crossing unprepared at a bad angle.
  • Two road crossings (one at Scribner) involving gravel, sometimes heavy—got through okay with our skinny road tires.
  • One long climb on Cheney-Spokane Road (no matter which direction you’re going—this seems unfair).
  • Handy-dandy Fish Lake and Cheney (Mullenix Road) trailheads for water refill and biology breaks, complete with hand sanitizer (which is really cold as it dries….).
We turned around at the Cheney trailhead and headed back. There were plenty of icy patches along the route, and some glittery-diamond stretches that were pretty but slippery. Strange swooping tread marks that laced across the ice proved to be the marks of an inline skater.
We raced a small bird along one stretch—it stayed just ahead, swooping low over the little creek that runs along either side of the trail for a distance—and spotted a pretty bird that may have been a belted kingfisher (but we’re not birders). Passed two trains heading opposite our direction, which made us think about the railroad legacy that left us the opportunity for such a great trail. Upon our return to the car we realized that the remnants of Gatorade mix in our water bottles had started turning into a slushy.
Did I mention it was really freakin’ cold?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tried and liked - 2009


I didn't realize how much I missed commuting to work until I started again at the beginning of the year. My commute is often the highlight of my day. Anyone who bike commutes a lot must think the same thing I often ponder: "Why don't more people do this?"

Seriously, I see people all grumpy with their coffee and cell phones blasting around in their little bubbles of talk radio and climate controlled all-wheel-drive living rooms and I wonder what it would take to get these guys on a bike? Man, they're missing out.

Cycle Trucking

I'm pretty new to the cycle truck, but so far I'm amazed how well this bike handles, loaded or unloaded. This bike will live mainly at the Pedals2People shop so it can be put to good use and lots of people can ride it.

We'll be doing regular loads to Earthworks Recycling center with this bike.


Maddie and I or Maddie and Liza logged many an hour (if not many miles) on the Bike Friday tandem back in the day. But this year is the first time that Liza and I did some tandeming. We only did a couple rides, but they were good. And our overnighter was one of my favorite trips ever.

We're looking forward to doing more of these next year.

Shimano MT60 Shoe
I need to do a full-on review post on these shoes. They rule. Alex alerted me to these beauties: they're Gortex and they're relatively normal looking spd shoes. They're good in cold down to around 20 or so. They hold the water out. For daily drivers and commuting, they're hard to beat. I hope Shimano continues to make them. For some reason, the bike industry as a whole doesn't seem to appreciate simple good non-flashy products like these shoes.

A super well-made bike

Even though I got the 747 just over a year ago, I really didn't get to ride it until this year. Looking over the last year's posts, I don't really go on and on about this bike, which is kind of a shame. Mileage-wise, this bike sees way more miles than any other bike I own. I ride it to work frequently and it's the bike I grab when I want to go long or fast. I really try to keep it off the trails though.

This is a custom bike in that it was made as a one-off by one of the most respected frame builders in the business (Jeff Lyon). But it's not "custom" in that it was made for me. It was made for the Bike Quarterly double-blind planing tests. I was lucky to get my mitts on this frameset for a pretty good deal.

It really rides like no other bike I've ever owned. That's partially due to the fact that it has standard diameter tubing that is very thin (747 refers to the butted profile of the tubing: 7/10 mm tapered to 4/10 mm) and therefore flexy. It's also due to the steepish front end and mid-trail. And perhaps it's due to the fact that it was built by a master? I don't know.

I do know that I love riding this bike. I love climbing on it and I really love fast descents on it.

I keep breaking spokes on the ancient rear wheel. The bike has therefore been out of the line up for a couple weeks. I finally bought new spokes and I'll have time to re-build the wheel some time this week.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bill That Could Provide Bike/Ped Money Extended Again

Staci Lehman of Spokane Regional Transportation Council

Those of you who are observant have probably already noticed that Dec. 18 has passed. What’s the significance of the date? For the non-transportation groupies out there, that was the expiration date for the extension of SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy For Users), the funding and authorization bill that governs United States federal surface transportation spending.

So what does that mean? Are we without a bill that provides funding for transportation projects now and all construction projects will grind to a halt? No, that won’t happen. On the 18th, the ‘Omnibus Bill’ was passed, which extended SAFETEA-LU AGAIN until September of 2010.

Why should you care? Because we (we being Spokane Regional Transportation Council) partnered with the Rails to Trails Conservancy on the ‘SmartRoutes’ project to try to get Congress to double the non-motorized transportation budget from $4.5 billion to $9 billion in the next federal transportation budget. If that happens, when they finally get around to reauthorizing the bill, there will be more money available to build bicycling-friendly facilities like bike lanes, trails, paths, etc.

In the meantime, a couple other bills are expected to be voted on in January that relate to transportation. Jeff Selle is SRTC’s Manager of Government Affairs. After Congress reconvenes in January, he says he’ll write up an entire analysis of everything going on right now that involves transportation.

So, if you’re one of those people who gets that holiday letdown feeling after the holidays, just know that you have that to look forward to. And while you’re waiting for that, you can use the time to catch up on reading the SRTC blog so that you can become one of those transportation groupies I mentioned earlier.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Last (drunkard) bike hang of the year

Alex with his fancy new bike. Super fancy. And Rory's Lyon. Pic by Rory.

My buddy Don is a musician. He had a girlfriend once who figured out an interesting thing. That interesting thing is that one of the best nights of the year to do a show is Christmas Eve's eve. The 23rd of December is probably one of the best party nights of the year and likely the most understated. Everyone is home for the holidays, they want to get away, and they likely have the following day off of work.

Well, that's the deal this Weds night. It's the 23rd: Christmas Eve's eve. We'll be doing our bike nerd hang at Huckleberries at 5:30 PM. The bike hangs have been fun. On the "slow"nights we have around 8 people. On the "big" nights we have around 20. All nerds. All talking bike stuff (with the occasional political rant).

This is likely the last good night of bike nerd drinking for a few months. I may just be speaking for myself, but my January bike nerd hangs will be all about drinking tea and water and other low calorie/sugar drinks. I've caught at least one other bike nerd attempting to order a light beer lately, so I suspect I'll not be alone.

So, come one, come all, for the last bike nerd drunkard hang of the year. This Wednesday. 5:30 PM at Huck's.



Glen and I rode a pair o Pugsleys (Pugsli?) on Friday. The guys at Vertical Earth in Coeur d'Alene rent these bikes by the day.

I've been wanting to do this forever. The snow was mushy and sloppy. Having 4 inch tires didn't really benefit us for these conditions. We couldn't get a good bite for climbing and descending was like a sled. The giant contact patch of the 4" tire didn't really help in the control and steering department.

We both wrecked. We both hurt ourselves. But we both had a good time. We're looking forward to trying again when it's colder and when the snow is packed down by snow mobile tracks.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Complete Streets for Spokane?

Spokane’s streets are incomplete. This doesn’t just mean we need to fill the potholes. It means we need to finish the sidewalk system, redesign old streets, and make sure we design new streets to take into account safety and freedom of choice for every type of user--pedestrian, cyclist, person with mobility problems, single-occupancy vehicle, bus, or freight. When we do this, we’ll have Complete Streets.

Right across the state line, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, became the first city in Idaho to adopt a Complete Streets policy back in May. has an atlas of the places considering and adopting such policies. There isn’t a balloon icon for Spokane, yet—but there may be soon.

In the City of Spokane, we now have pro-bike City Council members Jon Snyder and Amber Waldref, who have spoken out in favor of a Complete Streets policy, joining bike advocate Richard Rush on the council.

When a street is designed only for cars, only some of us are getting our money’s worth as taxpayers, since we’re all paying for streets.

It hits us another way as taxpayers, too--mobility, cost and transportation barriers may keep people from getting and keeping a job. in the SmartRoutes Spokane study (PDF here), they found that one in every four people in Spokane County living below 100% of the federal poverty level does not have a vehicle for transportation. These people are using transit, walking, or riding a bike, but without the full infrastructure that makes these safe, accessible choices.

We’d be healthier with Complete Streets, too. A report prepared by the National Conference of State Legislators found that the most effective policy avenue for encouraging bicycling and walking is incorporating sidewalks and bike lanes into community design – essentially, creating Complete Streets. The continuous network of safe sidewalks and bikeways provided by a Complete Streets policy is important for encouraging active travel and helping combat our country’s spreading obesity epidemic.

Want to do something about it? You’re invited to an organizing meeting to discuss the campaign to create Complete Streets policies in Spokane: Wednesday, January 13, 5:30-7pm, at the Central YMCA, 930 N. Monroe. Save the date & spread the word.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wooly bastard

Winter wool shirts. With some shorties in their too.
Liza's shrunken cashmere at the end, now one of Maddie's faves.

About once a month I wash my wool. (Can you tell I'm on vacation -- stay tuned for many riveting posts like this!)

I think caring for my wool is probably the most anal I get when it comes to taking care of stuff. But it's damn pricey stuff and it lasts for many years if properly cared for.

I quarantine my wool to keep it out of the normal laundry cycle. When I wash my wool I follow a strict procedure that I've developed over time:

1. I presort the socks to make sure they're all paired up. If I have a single, I'll search for the mate. When I find the mate, I run the load. I always find the mate.

Sometimes I'll spot wash/pre-wash the bad looking stains. We use Fels Naptha bar soap. It works like a charm. Like a charm!

Long underwear and socks. Some guy is selling these
Ibex long johns on ebay (NIB) right now for $45. That is a deal.

2. I stuff the load of wool in the front-loader and add a 50-cent-piece-sized puddle of Eucalan wool wash. Set to delicate and set my stop watch timer for 24 minutes.

3. Eucalan is made for washing wool and has lanolin in it. Lanolin is the natural oil that resists water. Good stuff. You don't rinse when you wash with Eucalan. The idea is maintain the lanolin in the wool. You run the delicate cycle wash, then skip the rinse cycle. Hence the 24 minute timer.

Every 4th wash or so, I'll wash with normal, mild liquid detergent and do a full delicate cycle with rinse.

4. After 24 minutes, the wash cycle is complete, before it gets to rinse, I manually move the cycle to spin/drain.

5. After the super Asko spin cycle (1200 revolutions per minute!), the clothes are mostly not wet. I hang them. In the summer, they go on our back line, but this time of year, it's in the basement.

Maddie attempting to not get photo'd

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Funny named cool bike

The Rivendell Sam Hillborne

Rivendell is a great bike company. The company is Grant Petersen, who should pretty much get credit for the 650b American renaissance and for the keeping embers glowing on steel, lugged bikes for the last decade or so.

About 5 years ago I bought my first Rivendell frame, the Atlantis. It was by far the finest touring bike I've ever owned. I've never owned another touring-specific bike, but the Atlantis was a great versatile bike for rough stuff and touring. A year or so later I bought a Quickbeam, which I sort of regret selling. It too was a great rough stuff trail riding tough guy fixed gear bike.

I've got a thing for orange bikes.

I got rid of my Atlantis when I discovered that I prefer standard gauge/diameter tubing. Keeping a $2000+ bike hanging in my garage for the occasional loaded tour didn't pencil out for me. Same deal with the Quickbeam. I preferred the ride of my 720 and my Shogun, both standard diameter tubed bikes and both were silly cheap.

I should mention that many people could care two licks about tubing wall thickness or diameter. My not preferring this tubing doesn't mean jack to most. And that's the way it should be. I like the springy lively noodley feeling of flexy steel frames.

Your basic Rivendell build.

Anyway, this is all a preamble on the Sam Hillborne, which is a frameset that Rivendell is now selling. I like this bike. I think this is a great foundation for a great all rounder, high-trail bike: CX, commuting, touring, trail riding. This bike is smart. The size 56 can take 700 x 44 mm tires (39 mm with fenders). It's got braze-on's galore. And it's a great value: $1000 for the frameset. It's lugged and has a nice paint job.

This frameset, with a typical Rivendell - Noodle-bar -triple chainring build, would make a great road bike for mountain bikers and new commuters who are unsure about the "road bike" thing.

Reading this, I realize this reads like some kind of phony ad. But it's not. I get nothing from Rivendell. I rarely order stuff from them anymore, but I am very thankful to Grant Petersen for being around and making it ok to ride comfortable bikes with platform pedals, high bars, and steel tubing in an industry where high tech and racing rules all. Reading Grant's stuff was a huge part of my re-entry to bike riding as an adult. I will follow Rivendell and Petersen as long as they're around.

Can you identify these two dudes?

From a guy named Todd. Via DB.

From: Todd
Date: December 14, 2009 4:25:37 PM PST
To: David Blaine
Subject: google street view

Pretending you know every bicyclist in town,
I'm sending you this link to see if you can identify
the guy here

And then there's
this guy behind him

I'm sure they're your friends so I just had to alert you.


Mountain bike guy

I don't know these guys, but I've figured out the story.

My story is that the guy on the mountain bike just proposed to the tri-guy's daughter, and the tri-guy is taking the mountain bike guy out for a beating.

Do you know these guys? Or can you come up with a better story for the ride they took on the day they were immortalized forever on Google Street View?

Weds night bike nerd hang at South Perry Pizza. Tonight. 5:30.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Looking for input

1991 Bridgestone RB-T. My favorite. Not the best-made bike
in the history of the world, but there's a lot of soul there.

A week or so ago, I posted about how Elephant Cycles is now certified for S&S retrofits, aka "coupling" a bike. I'm definitely going to couple one of my bikes and I've been about 90% certain that the bike on operating table will be my soulful RB-T. It's a great bike. I can ride road or trails on it. It has that "magic" some call planing (some pontificating on that idea here).

Anyway, there was a time when I was really hip to the idea of coupling my already hacked RB-1. On paper, it's a much more versatile bike, which makes sense for a bike you'll be traveling with. And it takes my favorite tire of all time, the Grand Bois Hetre. But I'll be a monkey's uncle if I can do a ride longer than 80 or so miles on it without feeling weird. I don't get pains, but it's just not comfortable the way my blue RB-T is, or my 747 is. But really: I just can't feel the magic on the RB-1. It doesn't feel like my black RB-T does when I climb or push out of the saddle. So, I took it off the list of S&S consideration a while ago.

1993 Bridgestone RB-1 with hacked canti brakes and 650b fatties

But then I got to thinking: most of my travel riding will not be epic long rides. They'll likely top out at around 50 miles. And they will more than likely include dirt and harsh roads, because that's the stuff I'm drawn to. So maybe the RB-1 is the bike to couple.

My other bikes are off the list for various reasons: fixed gear, Rawland, blue RB-T, 747. Mostly they're off because they're too single purpose, or in the case of the blue RB-T because it's too fussy to pack with fenders and rack and all. Same with the 747: fenders and single purpose -- I have vowed not to do hard trail riding on it.

So, you can help. Got an opinion? Let me know. Which bike do you think should be chopped in half and made into a traveler: The Black Soulful RB-T that is just SO easy to ride, or the Cushy Fast Hacked RB-1?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Moving P2P

The Armada -- Rear: John, Ryan, John, Pat, Ben, Taylor, Joe, Travis, Billl, Drew. Middle: Justin. Front: JT, Wes, Beth, Mike, Liza. Where's Nate?

There's more info on the P2P happenings on the Pedals2People blog. We moved the shelving out last week. Today we moved all the stuff down to the new space. We got an armada of help. The plan was to meet at the garage at 1PM. I was thinking it would take three hours or so. As it turns out, the garage was empty in an hour! Crazy.

There's Gnate.

The shop is coming together and it's pretty exciting. We need to get the stuff all organized. And we need to figure out the hours. The thinking now is that we'll attempt 3 days a week --four hours or so a day. If things roll well, then we should be able to add a day or two in the spring. Freaky stuff.

Joe and his big load o wheels

Here's my first post on P2P from May of 2007.

Justin sweeping out the empty garage

Maddie's custom double-cup-drinking-straw. Made with custom drawn seamless triple butted straws.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Like a wolf on a fold, again

Dang it got cold quickly. Dig my mailman. The high today will be about 13 F. He's wearing shorts. It's dudes like this that make me love Spokane.

The pond at Manito is frozen solid. And with no snow, it seems we would be missing an opportunity if we didn't do some studded tire testing.

I remember watching ancient instructional movies in highschool about how to drive on ice. (For the younger readers: there was a time when you singed up to take Drivers Ed like you sign up to take PE -- you learned to drive at school!). They showed a guy driving on a frozen lake somewhere. He was driving in a convertible and the camera man was behind him, so you watched the driver work the steering wheel as he discussed his form.

Anway, if you have studded tires mounted on your bike and you've not tried them out yet, go hit one of the local ponds to get the feel for fast cornering on ice.

It's official: South Perry Pizza Bike Nerd Hang. Tomorrow at 5:30.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We now have our very own S&S'er

This just in. It's a happy day for cyclists in sunny Spokane. Mr Glen Copus has been certified as an S&S reseller and installer. This means you can bring him your favorite steel bike, he'll hack it in half, and install these nifty little couplers that will allow you to pack your bike in a suitcase. The idea is that the suitcase is small enough so that airlines can't charge you outrageous cash to fly your bike in a giant box.

More info on the S&S site.

I've been hemmin and hawin for a few years on coupling a bike. I had one for a while but never flew with it. The fact that we're going to Alaska for a week next year and Glen is certified justifies me hacking one of my old chestnuts and making it a traveler.

Speaking of Glen. Dig the gate he built for us in our new Pedals2People space.

If you are thinking of a custom bike, especially a fancy fixed or a CX bike, get in his queue. He's a great builder and a great guy to work with.

Finally: Next bike hang is likely at the new pizza place on Perry and 10th. If you know this place is open and will be open next Weds at 5:30, please leave a comment and we'll do it.