Friday, February 24, 2012

Road find day

This picture isn't from today. It's from this day. On this route.

First road find today: 10 mm wrench. Tony called it a speed wrench or a quick wrench or something like that. It's got the closed, ratcheted thingy on one side.

Then Bill found a little piece of glass.

Jon scores a 13mm ratchet socket wrench on 4 Mounds climb. He also found some sun glasses (not pictured). He's shaving a bit of his famous beard next week. To see it, come to Jone's Radiator next Weds at 8 pm.

Unfortunately this giant bottle of Fire Ball Whiskey was empty. But it's a nice bottle. Glass and all.

Barrel wagon thing from Ft George Wright. Wright was a ruthless dude. His job was to come into this area in the mid-19th century and teach a lesson to the natives, who had the audacity to fight back and push Steptoe's army out of the Palouse. That kind of aggression does not stand. What's sort of interesting is that Wright was ruthless as hell -- there are multiple accounts of him hanging Native Americans on a whim to prove a point. He once asked asked a gathering of Native Americans who in the crowd had fought at a specific battle. About 30 men raised their hands. He picked 4 at random and hung them in front of all. Apparently his ruthlessness was not ruthless enough. He was chastised by his superiors for being soft on the Indians. In any case, they named a fort after him. The fort needed water hauled, so apparently this wagon hauled this tank around at Fort Wright. And here we are, riding by on our bikes on a Friday afternoon. Finding stuff.

Here's a little more crazy for ya. This is really hard to see. And Maddie's been mucking with the camera, so I didn't realize it was set to "take the tiniest picture resolution possible" mode. But that's a miniature rail road track, with trestle there. So most cyclists know about the mini-railroad guy out on Smyth, but this one is a narrower gauge track. And it's on Pine Bluff or Carlson Road.

Our track is here.

Finally. Check out It's a beer drinking site. Sign up and be my friend. It's fun to watch what beers friends are drinking. I got nothing in this -- I just want more virtual beer drinking friends. Then you're really not drinking alone! Everyone wins. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Surly rules


Remember my lame attempt to adjust the New Hub and subsequent whine-fest that followed?

And my mea culpa?

I still have 3 Surly "new hubs" that I ride. One is perfectly adjusted and has never been fussed with and is at least 6 years old. The other is on my perpetually changing fixed/single speed road bike du jour (with The Eberlizer at the moment) -- this is the one I've changed and "adjusted" multiple times and is never ever right. And the last is on a 120mm wheel that will live in my garage forever.

Well, the big news is that now the guts of the Surly hubs have shoulders on the axles. And the guts in the newer hubs fit the old "new hubs." That's why I love Surly. I love them. Shimano/Campy, are you seeing this? This is what happens when bike dudes design stuff because they love other bike dudes, verily.

"Do you see what happens, Larry? Do you see what happens when you find a stranger in the alps? This is what happens, Larry! This is what happens when you feed a stoner scrambled eggs!"

Anyway, now I can get new guts for my hubs and never have to adjust again. Oh happy day.

Meh blech. Overnighter?

Buddy Pat Rick sent me a super cool Japanese cyclo-tourist magazine.

Buddy Jon came over yesterday and showed me his light and cheap military surplus bivey and his homemade tarp (made for about $12 and is comparable in weight/quality as the $100+ siltarp version). If you've been on the fence for a bivey, this one is a no brainer -- it's Gortex, it's bigger than the comparably cheap REI version, and it's subsidized by US taxpayers! What's not to love?

Looking at the bikes in the magazine and thinking about Patrick and talking to Jon make me want spring here now.

 Note the use of 26" wheels. And note the mini.
Lovely. Note that this image is up side down.
Note my extreme laziness.
I want to go hang at the river and do some long forest rides and drink Northern Ales.

Given the snow at elevation in the Colville Nat'l Forest neighborhood, such dreams will remain dreams for quite some time unfortunately.

Liza leads the Pats down old 395 last summer.

In the meantime, Jon wants to try an overnighter at RSP. Why not? We're heading out this Friday night. Likely land by 8 or so. Home by 7 am. Yep: S12O. At some point, we should contact the boss out at RSP and let them know that their bike camping spots will be occupied this weekend, and to make sure all the rangers get the memo that it's a bike camping spot.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Too serious

For the last few weeks, Bill and I have been doing hard rides on Fridays. Last week and today have been especially tough. The rides are part dirt road and part paved. They're around 50-60 miles and include around 3000 feet of climbing. And we attempt to maintain a moderately-fast (for me) pace.

Sometimes Tony or Jon joins us.

This week, our goal was to do the same loop we did last week -- which was fairly miserable and cold --to see if we could improve our time a bit on a non-rainy day. We screwed up a turn so that plan went to heck. Luckily Tony had an alternative route up a really awful hill (Stoughten Road) that popped us out on the Palouse.

Here are links to the Garmin site for each ride -- I love this stuff;
This week Tony joined us. Tony is a strong dude. His cruising speed is pretty fast for me, and he's on a cross bike with nobbies, while I'm on a road bike with 28mm slicks. On a continuum of difficulty, I'd say normally, I cruise the flats at about a 6 (of 10). With Tony, it's for sure a 7. And climbs. I think I'm normally about a 7. But I go to maybe 8.5 with Tony... or with Bill, for that matter. Which is sort of interesting. Because I think I've only done a 10 a couple times. I'm afraid of something there. One goal this year is to try hitting 10 a few times. Bill thinks that may be the key to unlocking my climbing potential. Of course, I think loosing about 20 pounds would really be the key.

In any case, as we finished the ride and pedaled down Ben Burr, Bill remarked that, "these rides are getting too serious." I think he was joking. But I also think he's right.

There's a great thrill in rising to a challenge and to feeling a sense of accomplishment after a hard, long ride. No doubt there. 
It's come to this. Since the last thing I'm thinking about on rides is taking a picture. I take pictures of my dirty clothes. Sweet!

But I think we need to back off  a couple Friday rides by enjoying a ramble through the dirt roads of the Palouse with friends.

For years I've avoided being a "serious cyclist." I really love riding and to be "serious" about it has always frightened me a bit -- for the potential to make riding unfun and for the potential of being disappointed in my performance as a serious cyclist. But in the last year or two, I've really come to love the fast, hard, challenging rides. I'm also noticing that the more I do harder rides, the more fun all of my riding becomes.

I no longer see a wall between the two camps of "riding for fun" and being a "serious" rider. They're mutually beneficial, as long as their always balanced by a requirement to enjoy the ride -- in whatever format that may be at the moment.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012



Thanks to my buddy, The Eberlizer, for forwarding me this gem. Not sure why it made me laugh hysterically a couple times...cause the guy is good and it's just a poor old bike being abused. Maybe it's the sound the bike makes everytime he lands it. I don't know for sure. But laugh mightily, I did.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Some pictures

Post-ride, pre-spray

Post-ride, pre-shower

Taken from the pub formerly known as the PTI

Maddie and The Boy

Last known picture of the Park Pry Tools before they gave up the ghost

Backyard on a cold morning. Or, "Just an excuse to show off the awesome tree house. Again."

Bill and Otto.

HD trails - I've seen worse

Joe, Justin, and I checked out the trails this morning. Wet. Icy in spots. But generally, the trails there, being composed of a goodly amount of sand, tend to drain well. There were a few mud spots, but we rode without guilt.

And pushed a couple times over the icy bits.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Ryan Cleek photo. Sniped from BikeRumor site, who sniped it from PinkBike site.
Buddy Chris just forwarded me this from the BikeRumor site, which was picked up from the pinkbike site. Hm. What does this make this regurgitation?

If you want to skip my value-added editorializing, you can go straight to the source at

Otherwise, here's my long-winded take on it.

It's a pump track concept bike with wonky cranks. Specifically, the cranks are offset, "... they’re installed such that the rear one is angled down slightly, giving them about a 170° angle."

The designer explains the concept a bit in the comments: the offset crank "reduces inequalities of force between your left and right legs, reducing fatigue and making it more stable. This is particularly beneficial under the high G’s."

Ok. Whatever. I want to try it. And I'd like to see a Ben or a Bob rip into Pat's track on this bike.

Pat's pumptrack as seen from the moon on a clear day.
But mostly, I think it's a good thing that someone at a big bike place is thinking about pump-track specific designs.

When we time-trialed the bikes, Pat's Specialized P1 always got the fasted time, so something is working there already. Lightening up the bike and fussing with stance seem like good things to try. Also, I'm wondering if the front-end doesn't steepen up a bit with a shorter carbon fork (compared to the monster that is on the P1).

Weird part is that in the bikerumor article, it's a "concept bike," but in the pinkbike post, it's a 2012 offering, complete with specs.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Muddy mini Mercier

Trails aren't good at mid-day btw. To anyone who pays attention to trail stuff and weather changes, that's obvious.

But I had to verify on the way home from a store run. Turns out there's a fair bit of mud there.

However, the word is that early morning is great when they're still solid. I'm hoping by mid-week I can take the trails home after work.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Making the mini mine

Swapped saddle, bars, stem, wheels and tires. Put a pump on there. And a bag. And a nerdy rack.

I've ridden this bike a couple times to work and I've tooled around errand'ing on it. It's fun. I really feel the bumps and holes and such. And it doesn't "roll out" at all. But it makes up for that stuff in its nimbleness, toughness, and wheelie'ness.

No less than 8 zip ties.
Nimble: I can turn on a tiny dime with this thing. I'm pretty sure I could just about trace a manhole cover with the front wheel.

Tough: When I was a kid, all I rode was BMX, so I had no idea there was a concept of breaking bikes or wheels. Which has been an expensive and ongoing lesson as I've "grown" into 26" and 700c wheels. I can hop off every driveway dip I pass with this bike and fear no breakage of anything.

Wheelie-potential: If I can't wheelie/manual this bike by the end of the summer. It'll never happen. Ever.

I built these wheel way back when the mini was in the Elephant queue. When people talk about "bombproof" wheels, these would be a great example: 36 spokes, Deore hubs, on 406 mm Sun Ryno rims. Paired with big 2" Intense BMX tires. Word.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Best ride of the year

So it's only Feb 3. But still, "best" is the "best."

Jon, Bill, and I did the Valley Chapel - Mt Hope - Jackson road loop today. It's got good climbing and the dirt roads right now are perfect. Jackson in particular was freshly graded, smooth, and still frozen under the thin layer of dirt on top.

The day was cool but clear and beautiful.

And the pace was "spirited."

Here's the route + numbers.

All-in-all, a very satisfying ride.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Losing my cool

Dang it.

I just flipped a driver off on my way to work. It was a full-on, rotate my body, get eye contact and bird-flipping second.

That hasn't happened for over a year. I really try to keep it cool. I expect people to do the wrong thing so I'm always able to let stuff roll off. But this morning an aggro driver got the best of me.

By the way he beat a gap and cut off another car to pass me, only to end up behind a left-turning driver -- I knew -- I KNEW -- he was going to pull out in front of me. The John-I-want-to-be should've just backed off a bit, slowed, and let the guy be on his way.

But the real John held his line, only to swerve by the inevitable cut-off. And in doing so was justifiably pissed off and most importantly, deeply wronged. Ugh.

So I added a bird to this already angry world. Of course, he caught up, passed me and gave me a solid middle finger complete with rage-filled eyes.

My bad.

Dude in the convertible Saab: I'm sorry. We were both suck-ass drivers this morning, but I really do hope your day gets better.