Friday, November 10, 2006

1st Post

The purpose of this blog is to record some thoughts and happenings related to bicycling in and around Spokane, WA. I love cycling here.

It's really ideal in many ways. First, you get four seasons; I've always loved that about Spokane, and it's wonderful for cycling. You get hot hot dry summers; amazingly crisp, colorful falls; lots a snow in the winter; and soggy, cool springs. Each of these seasons are fun and challenging to ride in. And just as you're burning out on the same old same old of a season, a change in weather comes.

Right now, I'm relishing in unpacking the layers of wool it takes to stay warm for multi-hour rides. I love this time of year because I get to wear all sorts of wool all the time. I'm also battling the frozen toe problem again. I can't wait for some good snow. Here's one of my favorite pics of all time:

Liza after her first long ride in the snow last year.

Secondly: I love riding in Spokane because in 15 minutes -- and I mean this -- not the "15 minutes from downtown" type hype that you read in a real estate ad -- in 15 minutes I can ride from the door of my house to absolute rural, no traffic, dirt roads. Which are pretty much a must-have for any ride over 2 hours. In addition, I can leave at noon or so on a Friday, ride for 5 hours and be camping at some amazing place: the Columbia River; atop Mt Spokane; on a deprecated campground on a small lake... then home by noon on Saturday.
Third: traffic. It's light, for now. And streets are insanely huge and wide. And if your predictable, visible, and courteous -- drivers are great here. There are very few places I will not ride my bike in this town. In fact, given the right time of day, I can't think of any where I wouldn't ride.

Anyway, the deal with this blog, is that I ride my bike quite a bit in Spokane and think of all sorts of stuff to go on about as I ride around.

Here are a couple of things I've thought of recently:


Bernard Street, from 14th Ave to 29th Ave, was just resurfaced/paved this summer. It's a wide street. Not wide enough for 4 lanes, but wide enough for two, huge, fat lanes. It's typical of many Spokane streets: lots of room for cars and bikes to travel without the need for bike lanes/signs, etc. During the resurfacing, it was striped with parking strips. Almost no one has ever parked, or has started to park (since the striping) on this stretch of road. So what used to be a usable, fat lane for bikes and cars to peacefully coexist in, is now a confusing, under-utilized parking lane. A buddy of mine followed up with the city to get the scoop. No one seems to know who okay'd the striping. It's just there, messing everything up.

Cyclocross in Spokane Valley
I went to my first cyclocross race (as a spectator) this week with my wife. Very cool. Man, that looks like fun. Too bad I'm such a slow turd. I think I have the technical chops to maneuver a relatively skinny-wheeled 700c bike through the course, but I'd last about 1/2 lap before collapsing. That could be a good goal...

The woman in the picture there is a friend. The bike is a custom painted pink Crosscheck. She calls it the "Girly Surly." She (her name is Cari, but I'm not sure if it's spelled Cari, or Kerry, or Keri...dang me) did really well. By my count, she came in 4th, but I don't really know what division she was racing in, and the races contained mixed divisions racing in the same races... so maybe she did better than that.
The race was promoted by There is another round of local cyclocross this weekend. Check out the link for more info. We'll be there.

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