Friday, January 31, 2014

Trusty turd

The old MB-2 spends most of its old life hanging in the garage, neglected. Even though I've it pretty dialed in for a summer BMX style ride, the fact is, I just don't ride it much anymore.

But in the fall, I nerd it up and put the fenders/flaps, lights, rack, and studded tires on it. Generally, Spokane doesn't have a lot of days that require studded tires. In my experience, studded tires are excellent on ice and hard-packed snow that acts like ice. There are conditions where bits of ice lurk under fresh snow. And there's also the scenario where it's icy on the edges of the road but not on the car-part where the salt goo is applied.

All of these riding conditions are great for the old MB-2. I'm grateful for it this time of year.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bit of snow

6:15 AM commute. All down hill.
But I still had to pedal a lot.
Much friction.

It was snowing.

This is what a picture might look like if one were to attempt to take a cell phone pic in the dark in the snow without a glove in the cold on the way down the hill after inadvertently hitting the zoom function.

Hours later. Home-bound.
See that trail? That hill? I pinned that shit.

Hill #2. See the footprints? That's not god carrying me through the hard parts.
I did not pin that shit. 

It was just above freezing on the way home, which made for crisp tracks.

The streets are hard packed snow. Unless it snows more tomorrow, I'll probably ride a studded bike.

Maddie. Barely not smiling.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dinky Egg Loop

It's been too long since we've seen Bill and his bum on a bike.
The "Egg Loop" is about a 15 mile loop out south and west with a bit of dirt road. Since we've not been riding much we decided to do a short ride.  Bill said it was "Dinky." Good word.

The ride pops out down there at Latah on 195. This is the new freeway overpass crossing. This kind of mega infrastructure bums me out. My opinion is that we should not be encouraging the outward/sprawling growth of the city.

Officially, it's not open. But sprawl and all -- this is a handy bit of bikey infrastructure. 

I didn't photo the protected path on the north-bound side of the freeway. But it's way better than mixing it up on the shoulder with 70 MPH traffic. The path eventually spits you out into a cul de sac that terminates Inland Empire Way.
If only that guy with the private bridge would allow bike traffic to cross...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ben Burr Trail

From: Travis Nichols
Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2014 9:55 AM
To: John Speare
Subject: Ben Burr Trail




I don't know if you have been following or know about the proposed improvements to the Ben Burr Trail.  I am really excited about the proposal and what it means for connectivity on the South Hill.  You can find my comments on why here.

We are in the final days of public comments and from what I am told the project's future is is a numbers game and the more people we get to submit comments the more likely the city is to move forward. would you consider submitting comments or perhaps solliciting you long list of cohorts to do the same?

 For your reference and consideration here are some resources: 

·  The PDF of the 10/22/13 presentation at the East Central Neighborhood Council.

·  City of Spokane Engineering Blog with opportunity to post public comment there

·  11/14/13 - Spokesman Review

·  11/8/13 - Out There Monthly

·  11/7/13 - Inlander

·  11/21/13 - Spokesman Review

·  1/23/14 - Out There Monthly - Locking Horns

Comments are now being accepted by the city via email submission to Julie Happy, City Communications Manager, I would suggest you also CC council members Ben Stuckart ( Mike Allen ( and Jon Snyder (   If possible CC Dan Buller ( the engineer assigned to the project.



Thank you for your consideration!






Monday, January 20, 2014

Midnight Century 2013 -- Finisher Coasters

Thanks to buddy Bill, we have the swag for finishers of the 2013 Midnight Century.

Bill designed these coasters and printed them on his old school super heavy-looking letterpress.

If you are on the finisher's list then you get a set of four coasters for your man/tough guy/ladies room.

Contact me to get them.







Friday, January 17, 2014

Foggy commute

At about 6 AM, the internet told me it would be about 45 F on my commute home this afternoon. That was a damn lie. 

I froze my ass. But mostly I froze my fingers.

But I'm a tough guy. A soldier. I won't carry on about it.


Sunday, January 12, 2014


After the crazy sun and warm weather yesterday, I figured RSP would be mostly ridable. My expectation was that we'd get into the trails and be able to haul ass and rail into the dirt as we did on our first fat-bike outing at RSP a few weeks ago.

I was thinking a few northerly-facing sections might be covered with ice and snow, there would be a lot of soft spots, but mostly riding would be clear.

And that was pretty accurate -- if you're only measuring broadly: anywhere there wasn't a trail my thinking held up. Unfortunately, the trails have been ridden and trodden upon verily over the last few weeks, so the they were sheer ice almost exclusively.

We arrive at about 7:20 AM this morning. We were bumming as we pulled into the 7-mile trailhead and saw all the iced-over trails. Glen hopped on his bike, rolled over a section of trail, and the bike just instantly slid out from under him.

The picture above shows a pretty standard trail. I think we were both sort of silently pondering a bail-out plan, but we ended up tooling around a bit.

After a while though, we found it pretty fun to avoid the trails. In fact, there were sections where the trail sort of provided a general direction. With fat bikes and low pressure, just cutting through the forest was pretty easy. And fun. Especially descending through sections of non-trailed forests. We cut down a couple of steep long hills, rolling and hopping over deadfall and avoiding branches and trees as we picked up speed.

We ended up riding for over 2 hours. It was great.

I'm thinking it's probably not great form to go cutting through the forest off the trails. That approach doesn't scale well. And riding the edge of the existing trails is not something that scales well either. Over time, with many riders doing these things both approaches would pretty much trash bits of the forest and overly widen the trails I suppose.

But I realized a couple things here: firstly, I was reminded as I often am when I set my expectations for bike trips, that they don't often turn out as you think they will. The key to enjoying shattered expectations is to reframe and figure out how to make them fun.

Liza likes to tell me of time in highschool when she was hanging out with a mutual friend of ours at a restaurant. A song came on that she thought was cheesy and she mentioned this to our buddy.

He agreed it was a cheesy song.

"But," he said, "Try this. Imagine this is your most favorite song of all time. It's the song that changed your life because you love it so much..."

When you listen to a cheesy song or end up on a shitty ride, this is a great place to approach the shittiness from. It's true: try it with a lame song. If you really reframe, you can love any crap song or shit ride.

Rolling up and seeing this sheet of ice everywhere can make you turn around, or make you get creative about different ways of having fun on your bike.

The second thing I realized was that I really want to figure out a cool camping trip for the Pugsley. Low pressure, fast spinning, slow rolling over logs, mud, snow, ice, etc is really working for me right now. I'd really enjoy a few days of that kind of riding capped by camping under the stars with some TenFidy.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A bike and a burger

I was gonna get rid of this bike for a while. I still might. I should, because I have an obscene number of bikes and I'm ridiculous. On mornings like today, where the slush is all icy and scarey and there's black ice where there isn't slush, I love this bike. The trusty MB-2. It's got studs. It's got fenders with a flap. It's got dyno lights. It's a single speed. I could get through the rutty slush icy descent to the bus stop this morning without sliding. And on the way home, when everything was slushy-melty watery, I could jam up the hills without getting gunky water slushy shit mucked up and sprayed all over me.

The ideal of this bike would have disc brakes, ultra-light steel tubing, and a carbon fork... yes: with 26" (559) wheels, though I could go with 650b. But as a non-ideal, this bike, as-is, is pretty damn ideal. It's a friggin' consistently reliable giver.

I want to stop trying to optimize every damn bike thing I can imagine. This bike is better than "good-enough;" it's bad-arse. I'm not going to get rid of it.

Whole other deal here. That burger was the bomb. The picture is no good. In fact, it kind of looks pretty gross. But it was a breakfast burger: jalapeno, sauted onion, bbq sauce, fried egg, Sriracha.