Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sick and super tired

Aside from being silly busy right now, I'm sick. I rarely get sick enough to actually stop doing stuff. I think the last time I got sick where I had to stop, it was self-inflicted. Interesting that it was nearly 2 years ago to the week that I was down and out.

Glen's garage. How many Elephants do you see here? 

I've been powering through my sickness all week. That's my way and that's how I roll. Normally that works for the minor colds that I get. But today I hit the wall and I couldn't keep going, so I bailed out of school after two of three classes. It drives me nuts to miss class. As with all things in life, the basic requirement to anything is simply showing up... so missing just one class bugs the crap out of me, even though I know that's not really rational.

So I came home early to sleep. And of course I couldn't sleep. So I resigned to just laying there, forcing myself to do nothing. And I couldn't do that. But since I had made my mind up to come home and not do stuff, I couldn't stand the thought of grading another paper or writing any of the many things I should be working on as the end of the quarter looms. Coming home sick gave me the rationale to just blow off the whole school thing for afternoon.

Bikes are pretty.
You can gripe about mis-matched stuff on this bike, but there's a functional beauty about  this bike that works for me. I would like some 40mm 650b cross-style tires.

Old habits die hard. As I laid there, not sleeping and not doing stuff and thinking about doing stuff, I pondered the RB-1 issue. The RB-1 issue is familiar. Essentially: the RB-1, as built (with drop bars and fattish tires) -- is similar enough to three other bikes hanging in my garage that to call it redundant wouldn't be redundant enough.  Anyone who has paid attention here for a few years will see that this is a familiar story, with different bikes playing the lead role and even the same bikes recycling roles... if you follow.

What I resolved was that I was covered on the drop-bar, fast, but off-road capable bikes, and what was clearly lacking was a short-haul, townie, platform-pedal, fast, multi-geared, grocery-getter-commuter-trail bike. It became so friggin obvious. And with that, I was in the garage removing the drop bars from the RB-1 and replacing them with my favorite Origin-8 Space bars and the fantastically functional $12 Sun Race plastic friction thumbies.

Click for big to see that great Ritchey crown... and my ill-centered brake cable hanger. 

This change both resolves and complicates other issues: it frees up the drop bars (Noodles) for the campus bike, which really wants to do the odd commute home with me come spring and therefore ought to have drops. But, the change also casts just a shadow of doubt on the future of the MB-2 in its traditional role as summer bike. Though, given the MB-2's status as the sole single-speed, it's hard to imagine casting it out all together. Further, by eliminating some drop-bar, fast, but off-road capable bike redundancy, the status of Phil's RB-T, presently shod with studded tires, will be coming to the fore as spring quickly approaches. Perhaps that ought to be the campus bike and the present campus bike can come home as the resident fixed-gear. It's true -- the tiny bit of tooling around on the campus bike has made me interested in doing a bit more riding on fixed gear again.
Tubus Fly. Best production rack ever.
End of discussion.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

(River City Red) Beer and Bicycle (Alliance of WA)

Glen's disc'd CX bike.
This picture has nothing to do with this post.
Except that it's bike related.

This Friday (Feb 22), Barb, former Spokanite and now Seattlite and ED of BAW, is coming back to host a bike hang.

Of course no bike hang can happen without beer, so Barb is doing it right and has convinced Gage and Co. at River City Red Brewing to provide some beer for the event. It's not as if Gage needs convincing. Every time I've pitched a bikey event to Gage, he's supported it somehow. And I'm one of many pitchers. Gage is a guy that walks the walk... he pedals the pedals ... uh ...he's consistently putting his beer where his mouth is... BAM!

Anyway, here are the facts from the Facebook event:

We're getting together in the Community Building lobby for some bike love!
RSVP here or to, please, so we can have a head count for beverages & light snacks.

- Beer courtesy of River City Red
- Raffle with prizes donated by Two Wheel Transit, Wheel Sport East, North Division Bike Shop, Pedals2People, Mountain Gear, Fitness Fanatics, and Bicycle Alliance of WA (maybe more to come!)
- Chance to hang out, talk bikes, and dream of spring
- Donations appreciated to benefit Spokane Bikes/Bike to Work Week and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tony's Loop (and a HD report)

Tony's Loop was introduced to us by Mr. Aleto. It starts innocently enough with your basic counter clock-wise Hangman Loop -- down Hatch, out Hangman to Valley Chapel. Then you go up a monster gravel climb called Stoughten that eventually hooks into Palouse Hiway at Steven's Creek, which is also a gravel climb. That pops you out at the top of Big Rock.

The snow/weather combo was such that -- for a while -- stuff kind of jammed up: snowy-ice built up in my top derailleur pully to make my chain jump and snow packed into Bill's fenders to (mercifully) slow him down.

But check out how beautiful it was. None of these photos do it justice: the clarity of the blue ski coupled with the bright white snow and the sunshine was just glorious. I was surprised that we didn't see others out on the Hangman Loop.

As for Highdrive Trail conditions: I'd put it at Red -- stay away. I don't have any good photos, but with the warmer temps, there's a lot of slop. Glen and I took a loop yesterday that dropped off the top and down into the south trails and eventually came back north on the middle trails. We tore up a lot of trail just being out there.

Friday, February 15, 2013


You would think I'd have learned by now.

The last thing you ever want to do, even privately, let-alone publicly in blog format, is to talk about how you've not gotten a flat. I can't believe my hubris.

After yesterday's off-handed pronouncement of Hetre durability, of course when I went out to the garage this morning I found the following:

There are three flats in this picture. It's like a virus.

Be warned. Do not suffer my fate.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


The pant strap is from my buddy Patrick. The strap is Pearl Izumi, but I've not seen these in the states. It's from Japan. As is Patrick. There's a small LED light that slips into a sleeve behind that red panel. Smart. But what I've really come to appreciate is the width of this strap. It's become a daily driver since I'm always wearing pants in my new-ish life. I miss wearing shorts. A lot.

As for the thermos, it's not great as a thing to keep things hot for a long time. But it becomes great with virtual pal, Tarik's, virtual mug plastered on it.

I've had a bunch of flats this week. And they've interfered with my schedule in minor but annoying ways. I'm beginning to rethink my position on turd tires. I'll say this: it was not the Hetres giving up the ghost; it was the Pasela, and the Tourgaurd version at that. Ouch.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

HD trails are mostly ridable

Contrary to the mud shown here, the trails are not muddy -- they're wet: that light film of dirty water/mud-like funk that happens this time of year, but they're not muddy in that sinking and destroy the trails way. 

There are sections of snowy crud in the shadows. I had to walk once. That's pretty good for early February. 

All of the exposed trails are in great shape -- especially the Highway 195 parallel'ers.

Click for big to witness non-muddy mud.

c'est ne pas mud
I picked the wrong day to forget my glasses.

Cleans up well.
Wish I could say the same for me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

True commuter style

This is a minor sub-goal of mine: ride in normal everything clothing-wise. For many thus is a no-brainer. For me, the shoes and the cotton dressy shirts are hard.

But not awful.

Clearly, I can't show up to work like this. But I take the bus to work, so this could work.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Grey, bleak, muddy, foggy, icy: Must be February riding in Spokane.

Top o' Greenwood. Bill's only rule: "no face shots."
Joe and Bill on a herd of Elephants

Man, that color holds up like there's no tomorrow. Looks even better against the back drop of shit-grey snow.

Down Houston.

Speck of Joe.
Here's some pics of Joe going up this hill about 4.5 years ago.

Fish Lake Trail at Thorpe Road.

Muddy slow road.