Wednesday, September 29, 2010

East Sprague got racked

A bunch of these went in today, including a few next to P2P.

Rack building with Pat

Pat rules. He's a bike nerd. And an engineer. And he likes to make stuff. And he's got a well-equipped shop for making stuff. And he's super generous with his knowledge, time, and stuff. What's not to like?

Pat is going to teach me to build a rack and probably some other stuff. Last night, he gave me the basics on cutting, coping, and brazing. Very basics. The basics are pretty straight-forward, but doing these things well will undoubtedly take some practice and experience.

The first item I'm going to build is a light bracket for the cycle truck. I had a couple over-engineered ideas for making this bracket, but Pat came up with a simpler design that I think I may actually be able to pull off.

Here's the joint I brazed last night. Crappy picture, but it was a crappy braze too. The brass didn't fill in all the way around the tube on the inside and ther's a bit of a gap on the outside. I'll get better.

Stay tuned for more.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Count And Be Counted

The Cascade Bicycle Club is conducting another Bike and Pedestrian Count on Oct 5-7. You can find the Washington State Department of Transportation announcement here and the Cascade Bike Club announcement here.

The purpose of this project is to help with transportation planning by collecting actual usage counts.

Here are the Spokane locations where they need volunteers to count from 7-9 am and 4-6 pm each day.

E 5th Ave and S Sherman Street
W 4th Ave and S Washington St
W 2nd Ave and S Howard St
W Spokane Falls Blvd and N Howard St
E Mission Ave and N Perry St (Centennial Trail)
W Buckeye Ave and N Post St
Addison St. & Rowan Ave. intersection
Driscoll Blvd. & Queen St. (3-way intersection)
17th Ave. and Bernard St. intersection
Southeast Blvd. & Rockwood Blvd. (3-way intersection)

You have to register to create a login and volunteer. Nothing difficult, but the system will now allow you to have a weak password.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review: Arc'teryx Rampart shorts

Every spring I try to find a good pair of shorts to wear for the summer. When it comes to pants/shorts, I try to find a good daily driver and stick with them for a while. Luckily in the summer, I swim or submerge enough to keep shorts mostly non-funky. This means, I really do wear the shorts daily, maybe washing them once every couple weeks or so. TMI? Sorry.

The point is that I wear shorts really hard. For a couple years I used the REI Sahara convertible pants -- and pretty much just wore them in short-mode. I liked the REI shorts ok. I liked that they dry quick and that they had good pockets, and the zip-into-pants mode made them handy for S24O.

What I didn't like was the huge-ass-honkin cargo turd pockets on them that I always filled up with crud. And I don't like pants that are not actually sized -- like, I want a 34" waist pant. I don't want an "L" that requires a belt or whatever. Picky shit, I know.

Also: I blew through the butts on the REI shorts -- after a month of riding, my sit bones would work through the fabric and there would be holes. Even though the pant/shorts only cost about $55 (actually a lot less when Liza worked there -- with the super discount), which is a good value, that value decreases when the ass blows a month later.

So this I decided to try the high-zoots. This spring, I bought some Arc'teryx super shorts at Mountain Gear. They cost $85. $85! Eighty-five bucks. Shite! And I've got to say, they put out pretty good. There are some quality issues, which at $85, I find pretty indefensible, but I did wear them at least 5/6 days for 4 months straight.

I don't know the actual model of these shorts -- I don't see the exact model on the current Arc'teryx site. But I think they're the Ramparts.

The good:

- They're sized. And a 34" fits like most of the other 34"s I own. In fact, they're a great fit and feel good while pedaling.

- No ass blow outs. I find that pretty impressive. I'm not a padded bike shorts guy -- and I don't wear padded underwear. I just have flimsy REI poly-plastic briefs. So, there's not much protection for the shorts as they're abraded between the sit bones and the saddle. These shorts show no signs of wear at the sit bones after a summer of riding.

- They dry fast.

- They have plenty o' pocket space, but not the honkin-super-cargo-turd pockets. They're perfect. I always carry a phone, chap stick, knife, earphones, cash, wallet. Keys on belt loop. It all works well with these shorts and feels comfy while loaded and riding.

The bad:
- Some of the seams are pulling out. The rear pocket and the two front pockets are coming un-sewn. $85? Cheesy. Even if I wear them daily for months. Especially since the fabric appears to be ready for another summer of riding... a bit more quality in the stitching department of the high-use areas would go a long way on these shorts.

- I'm ok with the hold in the right rear pocket -- it's a product of a lame wreck and I was amazed that the entire rear of the short didn't get ripped in the event -- so I guess this should be in the "good" camp: they're abrasion resistant.

- It would be ideal to see a more gusseted crotch area -- to make riding a bit more comfortable for those that like no seams below.

The net:
These are great shorts. I don't know why they need to cost $85. I know Arc'teryx is the latest "serious" brand to be seen in, so you're paying a premium for that.

I noticed that the latest REI Sahara convertible pant/short has adopted non-cargo-y side pockets, which is cool. Given this change, I'll probably try the Sahara again next year for $60 and see how the butt holds up.

And I'll sew up my Arc'Teryx shorts and get another summer out of them. But I probably won't buy another pair.

Dec 2010 -- UPDATE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I followed the advice of a commenter and sent the shorts to Arc'teryx warranty people. A new pair of shorts is in the way. No cost to me other than sending them the shorts. Nice.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Sept 24th

Chilled bike ride with Patrick. We connected with that super bumpy rocky rail trail that goes from Euclid Road, above Riverside State Park, and pops out near Trail Road.

We came down a trail that was too rough for my poor Elephant. I felt bad for abusing it, but everything held up ok. That's Patrick behind the blade of grass.

My MIL, Maria, prepares olives every fall. I asked her who taught her the method. She said she just watched her mom do it while growing up in Sicily. But her mom never explained it or let her help. Maria cooks/prepares a lot of yummy food and she learned it all like this -- just watching. I find that interesting. I'm such an annoying question-asker, but that's not how it worked in the old country in the old days I guess.

Her sugo recipe is here. This is the first fall in at least 6 years that we're not making sugo.

While Maria crushed olives, I laced up the new dyno-drum wheel for the cycle truck. Shit lacing up these little bastards is a pain. Luckily, a buddy has my tensionometer so that gave me an excuse not to finish the job today.

When Maddie got home we climbed the neighbor's plum tree and harvested. I think if we didn't eat the plums on this tree, the neighbors would've cut it down by now. We have a nice shoot on our side of the fence that should start bearing fruit in a couple years, so if they chop it, we'll be ok.

Maddie can eat an amazing number of plums. We'll end up drying most of these. Tomorrow is apple day. We'll be making apple sauce and apple butter. I love fall.

Cyclocross 2010

The 2010 Cyclocross racing season is about to start in the Inland Northwest! This year will be better than ever with new venues, new promoters and we hope more racers than ever.

The season kicks off with "The Schmuck" in Colfax WA this Sunday September 26th.

The Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series follows the next weekend and goes through November.

Gear up those 'cross bikes and get ready for racing. It's on.


Anyone you know?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Winter bike 2010

Here's the winter bike this year. In the past, I've rolled with an ice bike and a snow bike. For crazy deep snow, I'll still run the Rawland with Neomotos, but for daily driving, the MB-2 is the plan this winter.

I scored the 7-speed Nexus hub wheel on the iBOB list about 6 months ago. Glen horizontalified the MB2 last spring.

I'll put the basic Hakkapaliita studs on it come ice/snow time. For now it's rolling my favorite 26" tires: the 1.75 (non-tourgaurd) Pasalas.

Once the tandem season is officially over (which coincides exactly with the snow/ice season), I'll pull the generator wheel and light off the tandem and put it on this beauty.

I also have some different bars pending. More city style. And if I can wedge the Softride stem on there with the new bars, I must have it.

This frame has put out like there's no tomorrow. It xtracycled for about 4 years (2 or so years of that it survived the Snyder treatment -- no small feat), and before that, it was a Hummer.

This picture does not even come close to capturing the rad sunset we had for about 15 minutes last night. This is Maddie on the front of the cycle truck.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An unusual Alex loaner

This is the latest Alex bike loaner for when I come back to work on the west side. It's way different than the normal loaner. Past loaners included a Quickbeam, an 83 Trek 520, a P/R, an 83 Trek 620, the original RBT urban bike, the cycle truck, the Ivy Cycles, and others I'm forgetting.

Riding all these great bikes over the years has really impacted my bike education. In fact, I ended up building versions of most of these bikes at one time or another.

This is a Rocky Mountain frame that Alex just recently fitted with shocks. He thinks the frame is a 95 or a 96 (Glen? what say you: the distinguishing characteristic that Alex figured you would recognize is how the chain and seat bridges were fitted to the stays, which was wedged in and tacked, instead of brazed).

It's got a Rohloff, Mary bars, and freaky Cane Creek weirdo v-brakes.

I couldn't get much of a feel for it on the 1/4 mile of trail that I rode today, but I think it would be fun to bomb down some hills on.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rene Herse sighting!

On Argonne, in front of Bottles (great selection, by the way). Walked out to find a dull black frame hiding behind a purple fleece-wearing gentleman digging in a well-used Gilles Berthoud handlebar bag. I subsequently, and within milliseconds, spotted the dull gold lettering on the downtube and struck up a great, day-making conversation with Jim Britain (sp?), a nice fellow who works at Fitness Fanatics.

Bought in 1970 from a shop in California (where Jim worked), the frame's seen many miles and sports the tell-tale "beausage" marks.
- 58x56 Rene Herse frame, black with gold lettering.
- Original rear rack, and he's got the front to go with. Rear-ended by a car, so he replaced the original Le Foil fenders with some Planet Bike black ones.
- TA triple, though the Rene Herse original double is still in his parts bin.
- 650b Super Champion rims on Phil Wood hubs.
- Rene Herse stem. RH cable hangers. Mafac cantilevers and brake levers. Ideale saddle.

Absolutely made my day.

Flashed - REI Flash UL backpack

Rachel won the current version of this pack at Spokefest last week.

I love this pack. I dialed mine for the Midnight Century by adding reflective stripes and snack/bottle pockets.

Mobile post.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Alex beat me to it on posting about the new rSogn. This bike is shaping up to be a great all rounder, or as Alex says, a "rough stuff" bike. It's very similar to the Elephant I just got, which was based on Alex's Gifford.

Assuming the bike materializes according to plan, it hits all the stuff I care about in a perfect commuter/trail bike: steepish angles/low-mid trail, fits Hetres and Quasi-motos, standard gauge 969 tubing, 1 1/8th" steerer, canti brakes.

If you have ever been on the fence with trying a low-trail bike, I can't imagine a better opportunity than this Rawland frameset at $500 (for pre-order by mid-Oct).

The only gap is that they're not making a small size. If Liza liked low trail bikes I'd be rallying to get four other buyers - Sean, the Rawland owner, says he'll do a run of Small sizes if 5 people pre-order. I would be in on that if we could get a fork with less rake -- to land the trail in the 60's for Liza.

By the way. If you are in Spokane and you like the looks of Liza's Fuji, it's on the block. We'll start at $400. It's got SRAM 7 speed IG hub, dyno front with E6. Barely used Nifty Swifty Rivendell tires. Fancy Terry saddle. Rear rack and front bag not included. And the crappy front long-reach front brake has been replaced by a v-brake. (Rear hub has built in drum brake).

We're selling Liza's Fuji and my RB-T frameset to fund a new Liza bike. The ideal score would be a 52 cm 1993 Bridgestone XO-2 or XO-3 frameset. Got one?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cycle truck love

Yes. More love. Sorry for the soft tone of late. I'll go tough guy next week.

The announcement (and subsequent blog comments) of the forthcoming Civia Halsted cycle truck has reminded me that I've wanted to post a cycle truck update for some time.

While my cycle truck doesn't see anywhere near the miles my other bikes see, it is a peer in the "frequency of use" category.

I make a run on this bike at least every other day. Any time Maddie and I want to go to the park, or pick up dinner, or refill the growler, or run to the store, we hop on the cycle truck. In fact, Maddie doesn't really ride her own bike anymore. Why would she?

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, some quick history. Alex made this from an old Trek mountain bike. That story is here. This was his v1 attempt at cycle trucking. He just helped Rory make another one out of my old Turd frameset. Which is great to see. I got that silly frame for $5 at a garage sale and it has suffered mightily and provided many hours of hard duty for me. I love that it's getting re-purposed once again as a work bike. But I drift.

It's not clear to me exactly how I wormed my way into Alex's world to get his cast offs and v1's, but I enjoy the position. This cycle truck has been the top of the heap of Alex deals and I've had a number of Alex deals over the years. But I drift again.

So, here are some pics with some notes.
This front rack is new. I should've put my U-lock in the holder to illustrate its greatness. I'll be building a new front rack for my Elephant this winter. From now on: u-lock holders will be mandatory on all racks. It just rules.

The webbing with the carabiner is the seat belt solution. The law of the land here is Maddie is always seat-belted and helmeted when on the front of the SH-80. That's a good rule. The seat belt is actually the money piece. I can stop fast without worrying about her flying off. The pilot rule is also top speed of 10 mph when hauling passengers. It works out.

This photo shows one of the things I'd change, and something that Alex and Rory did change on their version. And that is putting the load and the wheel further out front. I'd slacken the head tube a bit and rake the bejesus out of the fork to achieve that. Tall loads on this bike interfere with cables at minimum and steering at worse.

One commenter on the Civia discussion emphatically disagreed with putting a double on a cycle truck. He thought a single was all you needed.

I'm not going to argue emphatically, but I like the range the double provides. On Sunday, I hauled 65 pounds of kid and gear on the front of this bike and another 35 pounds of gear on the rear rack and nearly 200 pounds of me along with 40 or so pounds of bike up the south hill. It's only about 400 feet of elevation gain over a couple miles, but it kept my heart going. I like having the 24x32 for that.

And I love taking the cycletruck out on club rides too. Or just keeping up with traffic when unloaded or lightly loaded -- 36/12 makes that pretty easy.

And I like the pant guard too. The beauty of the ubiquitous 110/74 BCD crankset makes such a setup cheap and easy.

Alex has made me a bitchin new fork. He's not 100% sure of this one. Really, he said he's only 99% sure that he likes the weld of the steerer tube on the fork. And that 1% bugs him. So he's built me a fork with the insanely wonderful Pacenti crown. Yowsa. See Rory's fork for example. In addition to being 100%, the new fork will also give me more clearance for the PB fender I have wedged in there.

I also have a new wheel on deck. Velocity rim with SA dyno/drum. I'll be building a light mount for this rack this winter. It will likely go under the deck and be protected. We'll see on that.

My favorite rear rack of all time in the world: The Tubus Fly. Why would anyone ever use anything else? Well -- if you regularly haul 50+ pounds, then the Tubus Cargo makes sense, but for EVERY other application on a standard "safety bike" the Fly is so perfect. More drift.

I like to use bucket panniers on this bike. It just feels right.

The B&M battery rear light will be replaced with the dyno version once I finish the wheel and hook up a dyno light.

The big ass bag is handy for coats, etc. It also holds two growlers perfectly. The double kickstand is essential, but needs to be cut down a hair. Full fenders with flap and pretentious RCW sticker completes it.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Surly love

I mentioned hording in my last post. I've said (and un-said) lame and wrong things about Surly hubs. Some person started following my blog who is a Surly guy. And Surly has just put up some new stuff on their site. All of this Surly-ness prompts a quickie.

Hording: God I know I have a problem with hording. I am unloading though. In the last few months, I got rid of my two RB1 frames (well, one was Liza's; one was mine), a Kogswell frame, a fully built up RB-T, and my beloved Trek 720. There's probably more, but a lot of bikes find me and then go away, so I don't keep exact track. Next up is another RB-T frame and another RB-1 frame.

The point: there is a frame I'd love to horde. Because I fear it will go away. I fear it will go away because people don't get how rad it is and it will go the way of the Instigator. Anyway, it is a 58 cm Surly LHT with 26" wheels. That's the frame set I want to horde. I don't need it now, but someday I will and I fear it will be gone. I am strong and I will not horde. It is the old way. But I'd trade an RB-T and/or an RB-1 frame for one if that worked for someone. Doh!

Other interesting Surly new stuff is on their blog (thanks for the link Ventura).
  • There's a new trailer that looks overbuilt in that Surly way. Hauls up to 300 lbs.
  • There's a bike called the Troll which looks to be a direct competitor to Salsa's Fargo.
  • There's a new Pugsley rim which is drilled and light looking. (For a giant rim)
  • And there's a Pugsley complete bike for $1550. Which is great. Since Salsa just released a Pugsley compete that ships for about the same cost. I've been wanting a Pugsley forever, but I just can't justify it. Which is kind of weird. We need to encourage everyone who thinks they want a Pugsley to buy one. Then in about 3-4 years, I should be able to get the frameset, wheels, and tires nice and cheap ... used.
  • And there's some other minor updates to Steamroller, KM, Longbike, etc.

Anyway, the point here is to show some Surly love. The Surly people make solid, high-value bikes. I don't own any, but whenever someone asks me what they should get as a commuter, I always say a x-check or a LHT: best value around for a daily single bike-owner commuter.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My first Spokefest

After being too broke to afford the measly $12 entry fee last year, I was excited to get to participate in Spokefest this year. To top it off, I have a shiny new bike which I just love (and I really didn't love, more like loathed, my old bike because it was the same Walmart POS I had purchased when I was 15 and never, ever taken care of).
To make things even better, I have been riding regularly, so the idea of a 20+ mile ride culminating in a mile-long-climb didn't scare me to death.

I got my parents to watch my two year old, because not only did the idea of hauling a trailer around for 20 miles not sound particularly easy, my daughter can get out of the 5-point restraints. If she couldn't get out (perhaps if we used a lot of rope?) then she would just scream the whole time. And who wants to be towing a screaming child for 1/2 to 3/4 of the ride?

Thank goodness for grandparents.

And thank goodness for chickens in my back yard. A breakfast of fresh eggs was just the fuel I needed for the ride.

With the grandparents preoccupying the child, and eggs in my belly, we headed down to the park. Not a block from the house I noticed a strange sound with every revolution of my wheel. After hopping off and investigating, I discovered a large broken off thorn in my tire.


"I'm gonna leave it in. Maybe the air will stay that way??? ... Besides, I have my patch kit. It's almost 9:10," I said to my husband, "let's go."

I'm glad to say we made it to the park and checked in all in the nick of time. As I was walking back to the line-up area, the speaker started addressing the crowd. By the time I got in position for the classic 21 mile loop, they had started the national anthem. As it concluded, I looked down at my bike and discovered my rear tire was completely and utterly flat.


So... while 2000 people rolled out of downtown Spokane, I started patching my tire.
Fortunately, having a large thorn stuck in your tire makes it really easy to find the hole in your tube.
And hey, if I hadn't been stuck there late, I wouldn't have bumped in to Nate, whom came down to check out the booths but not to participate in the ride.

Finally, 20 minutes later, after washing my hands, we were off. It didn't take us long to catch up to the last of the group. About halfway up the hill on Riverside, on the way up to Government way, we encountered a family with a few five-or-six year old children, a woman hauling a trailer, and a few other adults.

We continued along, and passed a lot of people going up that nasty, nasty hill shortly after the route had entered Riverside State Park. What a killer hill!
Luckily, from there, it was pretty easy riding the rest of the way to the river crossing. Nevertheless, my husband and I were excited to see fruit and toilets at the musical refuel station. While I was there I took the liberty of entering the REI drawing, and won me a tube of chapstick on their wheel of "fortune."
I really hadn't paid attention to what the drawing was for, but I sure was excited about the chapstick: my lips had been dry since I had arrived at Riverfront Park!

After our little break, we headed out again. Of course, by this point most of everyone else had left as well, so we were still near the end of the pack.
But that's ok, it's not about going fast - as fun as that can be - it's about the beautiful ride! That river was so gorgeous, what a treat to have it in sight for nearly the entire ride!

The last half of the ride was great too. I wanted to speed on past a lot of people, but my husband was not up for the task. Having reduced his riding when he became a stay-at-home-dad, and being mounted upon a mountain bike, he was in no shape to keep up with me, so I stayed back with him. After all, it's all about the views, right?

Well, for the most part.
But when we got to doomsday hill (and oh had I been dreading that part), off I went! At a backbreaking 5 miles per hour, I cruised right up that hill!

Really, I did! All the way to the top!

Oh my god.
Did I really just make it all the way to the top?
Do you know that hill is 1 mile long?
And I thought my legs were on fire halfway through?
And I thought they might give out 3/4 of the way up?

I totally made it up that hill!

I am victorious!!!

My husband on the other hand, was pooped.

He walked up the last half.

It's ok honey, all the other people were pooped too.
Although both of us were most impressed by the man who had hauled both a trail-a-bike and a trailer up, and hadn't stopped the whole way. A-mazing!

After catching our breath, and listening to a man recount how he repaired the brake cable housing on his Magna bike with some popsicle sticks and duct tape, we headed out for the last leg of the ride.

That was so easy.
And so pretty. Some great views up there on Summit Blvd.

By this point in time, the crowd had thickened up quite a bit. I guess we gained a bit of ground as we powered up Doomsday. And so, we may have been the last to leave, but we weren't the last to cross that finish line and give Bill a high five.

As I got off my bike, I felt like I could have kept right on going. Maybe the 47 mile route is in my near future. (Because even if I come in last, it's all about the scenery, right?)

Thanks so much to all of the volunteers and sponsors who made this event happen. It was so much fun! And it was great to see some of the added safety features like police, first aid, and bike repair out there on the route with us. This event makes a ride like this possible for people who aren't comfortable going out on to the roads or riding long distances by themselves. And "everyone" really was there too. I was amazed at how many trailers and tag-alongs I saw. So many families riding all 21 miles - way to go!

I'll definitely be back next year!

Oh, by the way...
As if I hadn't had enough fun just getting out there and riding, I got a call this morning that I had won a raffle.

You know, that REI raffle that I hadn't really paid attention to.

What's a "flash pack?"

Oh. Huh. Pretty cool. :-)

I've been Shimanoed again

Damn you Shimano!

If you love Shimano, stop reading now, cause it's rant time. I don't carry on much, but I'm going to now.

Let's warm up with the new XT hub.

Apparently, the new XT (m77x) hub is failing all over the place. Here's a thread on MTBR forum. And one on point83. One on Bike Radar. My buddy Alex has also told me stories of many a LHT owner in Seattle having XT hub issues.

It sounds like there's two problems introduced by the latest Shimano innovations:

1. New aluminum axle. Since it's aluminum, instead of steel, as god intended axles to be, it strips easily. It strips because it has a nipple looking thing on the end to step down the diameter so the hub fits into a standard drop out. (See circled bit above)

2. And since it's aluminum, of course it must be oversized. Which reduces the amount of room where the bearings live in the freehub. Which means it uses smaller bearings (3/16" instead of 1/4"). (See arrow).

Main failures are stripped axles and sticky/blowing up freehubs where the bearings aren't holding up.

So that's lame. But that's just the beginning.

I've bitched up a storm about my sandals in the past. The quickie version: I love the old Shimano Sandals. They weren't perfect, but they were good enough. And then they went away and were replaced with lame shoe-sandals. Then, in a glorious twist of fate, Shimano abandoned their lame shoe-sandals and brought back a new version of the classic sandals. This ended well, but it took 3 years to come together.

Now, Shimano has quietly dumped their MT-60 shoe. This is a cryin' cryin' shame. I did a tiny mini-review of these shoes about a year ago. In short: they rule. They're comfy daily drivers that are Gortex lined and work 95% of the time I'm not wearing my sandals. Even in the dead of winter... and yes, I own the Lake Winter Shoe. bleh.

I love the MT-60 and it's going away. And there's no replacement on the Shimano site for them.

Why? WHY? Why does Shimano always do this?

Why didn't I horde?

I know the world is full of real problems, but man this drives me ape shit. What is this? This need to "innovate" endlessly where innovation is not needed. Errrrrg!

End rant.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Land Yacht

Spokefest 2010. Kira and I took it to the limit on this one and pulled O in the trailer behind the tandem. Her idea. Honestly, this was our 4th time riding this beast.

At the halfway-point-musical-rest-stop-cookie-fair, I put to use a trick I learned in high school about navigating crowds politely but with purpose. Eyes unfocused on anyone in particular, stride slowly at a constant pace, and don't stop moving. The water parted, this time at least.

Next year, I'll have to make a mental mark where Owen wakes up and complains loudly about the indignity of it all. Helmet. Seatbelt. Shoes and socks. They're all hindrances right now. This happened last year as well. So far he's 2 for 2 with participating in Spokefest each year of his life.

CDA redeux

Andre, Pat, Alex and I spent a day and a half tooling around the Couer d'Alene National Forest. I'm hoping Pat or Alex will have all the maps and ride report detail. I'm going to skate by with a few pics and some witty commentary.

In no particular order:

The obligatory Alex flat. This was about 15 minutes from camp. We had ridden about 50 miles. It felt like most of it was up hill. Alex picked out an alternate way to the camp. He called it the "Wuss Route" because it looked like it cut a few miles off the planned route. We'd done a bit of the planned route before and it ended with about 6 miles on the one lame road in the entire CDA Nat'l Forest, so Alex picked out the Wuss Route, which was almost all climb. It was a lot of climbing, but it was worth it and it was a pretty route.

We car camped. I slept on a foam mattress that is more comfy than my home mattress. We had beer aplenty. Good food, cooked on one of 5 burners. A proper ax for collecting wood. I went to bed at 8:09 on Friday night and slept like a babe.

Speaking of babes, congrats to Pat and Elissa, of Scoop fame, who had a baby girl early on Saturday. Pat: I guess it was a good call that you didn't come on this one.

The Elephant. Perfect bike for this kind of riding. I can't decide if I like it more shod with Hetres and fenders for city living, or with knobbies for forest riding. It's great in either case. You can see the same pic, but with a different bike and in June here.

Saturday morning we had a couple hours to explore. We found some roads on the GPS that were closed/blocked off. There's so much to explore up there.

I plan on spending some time in the Colville Nat'l Forest next summer. I really like taking long day rides through the forest. It's quiet. The climbs are wonderful and the views at the top of the climbs are huge. The old roads and structures are cool too.

Bird's eye view. Nearing the top of the Wuss Route.

Alex and Andre flew over so they're on borrowed bikes. Alex rode the Rawland. Andre borrowed Pat's new 29'er. No issues.

Fun ride.

Pat post

Alex post

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Big Ride Tomorrow

The Spokefest 2010 registration and packet pick-up at Mountain Gear this afternoon was a hectic 3-1/2 hours for the volunteers. That's a good thing. When we finished at 6:00 pm the count stood at over 1700 registered people. Tomorrow's weather looks promising so hopefully a good number of last minute registrations will occur. It would be great to hit 2000.

One gentleman I met is here for his third Spokefest. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio. You know you're doing something right if you can get someone to come here from Cleveland every year.

For those of you doing the ride, you'll meet Bill Bender at the finish line where he tries to give every rider a high five. Give him the high five and tell him thanks for making Spokefest happen.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pre-CDA shake down

2 day CDA forest bike trip starts tonight. This bike is so wonderful. With fatty Hetres or with knobbie Quasi-motos, it's a pleasure to ride.

The funny yellow turds hanging off the rack are a rain jacket and a synth down vest. In the bag goes food and a water filter. A tool set and an emergency bivvy live in the rear bag.

We'll be car camping, then riding all day, then back to fancy-pants camp with tents, an easy-up, two stoves, beer, ice.

Alex will be on my Rawland. His buddy Andre will be on Pat's new mountain bike, and Pat will be on his Karate Monkey, since the bottom bracket on his Elephant blew up yesterday.

Speaking of Rawland -- check out the discussion on the Rawland blog. Next version of the Sogn is going to use OS 747 and 858 tubing. This will be the go-to recommendation bike, but they're only doing a small run. I'm trying to talk Liza into the small (747) as her do-all bike and a replacement for her Rock. But that's a huge sell.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: Gerber EVO JR clip folding pocket knife

I've carried a pocket knife for the last 10 years or so. About 4 years ago I settled on the Gerber EVO Jr. In the last 4 years I've probably bought a dozen or so of these. I've lost a couple, but typically they fall apart before I loose them.

All but one has failed in the same way: a screw that holds the knife together falls out of the handle.

Why continue to buy a $20 knife that fails so frequently? I like the features and I haven't spent time to try to find similar knife made by a different manufacturer.

For the record, I'd rather pay $40 and have it last longer.

I continue to buy these knives because I love the size and feel of the knife. It's easy to have in my pocket always. The blade is a good size for me. I use the knife multiple times a day for a myriad of tasks: cutting a tube or whatever needs cutting; cleaning/scraping stuff; cutting my finger nails; playing mumbly-peg; cutting food; digging out crud from wood or in the ground; etc; etc.

The blade has the serrated bit too -- so I can saw/hack through thick plastic, chunks of wood, and other stuff that the blade won't work through. When the blade dulls I typically just use the serrated bit for everything.

The blade locks, which I think is essential for actually doing stuff with a pocket knife.

The blade also has a little knob on it to make flipping the blade out fast and easy. I can work it like a tough guy in a 50's movie. I could totally shiv somebody with this little bugger if I wanted to.

Finally, I like the shape of the handle (palm) end of the knife. It's perfect for opening up bottles (using the lighter method). A close look at the boneyard pic above there shows wear on the ends of the knives from bottle opening.

In the end though, I'm more annoyed than happy with this knife. I've grown to love the features, but it bugs me that I have to buy a new one every few months.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Farewell Kogswell

This one is staying local. P2P saint,Volsen, is going to bring this one alive.
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