Friday, November 30, 2007


I spend today doing chores for the Bicycle Advisory Board (BAB).

First, I met with a guy named Eric, who is a cyclist who lives out by Albi stadium. If you've been paying attention a bit, you'll note that the "Pool Bond" passed. In the pool bond is $40 million to complete a sports complex out at Joe Albi stadium. In addition to the soccer and softball fields, which are sort of interesting, the new complex will include a BMX park. Very cool. So there's that, and I'm interested in that. My buddy Jon at Outthere Monthly made an interesting observation a while back: take a look at what the city did with the skate park under the freeway. It's not really a success. Who was involved with planning that project? Take a look at Hillyard's: it's a success. Why? As the city looks to build another kid-attraction with the BMX park, we should make sure we can answer the Why around the skate parks before we deploy the bulldozers.

But it wasn't BMX'ing that brought me out to Albi this morning at 8 AM, it was a potential for a multi-use path that could be built between Albi Stadium and Aubrey White Park Way. Wierd, right? There's a bunch of goo that is not interesting really to go into here: but it has to do with some land swapping between the city and a cemetery, some typical developer chicanery going on next to Riverside State Park, and some local neighborhood folks that want to see a bunch of urban forest conserved.

View Larger Map

The end-result is that we could see an opportunity for a really neat connection, which I've kind of guesstimated here based on the tromp through the snow that Eric took me on. This would be a great commuter as well as a great recreational connection. If you're on Aubrey White, the way into this neighborhood today is up Rifle Club Road and onto 291, which is a flipp'ing nasty road to ride. The next opportunity to get up into the NW neighborhood is way down at Downriver.

After Eric showed me around the area, I rode downtown and went to a BAB meeting where we attempted to chisel out some basic framework bike routes for the city. We've been building up to this meeting for a long time, in fact we had Louise McGrody from BAW fly in specifically for this meeting. In addition, we had a fellow from the Nat'l Park Service (where we scored some grant money for technical assistance in building our master bike plan) also join us. This was good.

We came up with a high level frame work and some pretty concrete ideas on prioritization. I think the next step will be to sharpen it up a bit and start shopping it around the neighborhoods for feedback.

We're getting somewhere man. This is good stuff.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Liza's b-day gift came a few weeks early. She wanted a kick sled, so we did some research and found one that is imported from Sweden. We just got back from the maiden voyage and I have to say I am impressed. With the compact snow we have out there right now, this thing hauls.

I really want to hook it up to the bike -- dog sled style -- but she won't hear of it. Damn.
Liza plans on running Maddie to school on it a couple times a week. This sled is efficient, but it's still a good work out. If she uses it a lot, Liza is going to be one fit woman by the end of the winter.

The sled has metal runners like ice skates, which work great on ice and this compact snow. We also got some snap-on runners that are 35mm wide for fresh snow. I wonder how well they'll slide.
We bought the sled from Vermont Kicksled. It's a cool little mom/pop company; I talked to the owner on the phone for a while and he answered all the questions I had and was a pleasure to deal with.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

First Snow Aught Seven

We woke up to snow this morning and Maddie had a huge cow. She loves the snow. Here's Liza on the Schwinn snow bike, shod with Hakkapeliitas.
I took the Turd out, which has big fat urban-type knobbies. These are no good in the snow. I figured they'd rule because they were so wide and they have knobbies, but the knobbie profile is rounded so these things just slide around. You really do need the hooked knobbies that stick out at the sides to get traction. It's all about the front wheel and keeping it in control.

I put the Hakkapelittas on my 720 last night and it's a breeze to ride. The snow right now is mostly powder, with some areas that are a bit more compacted from cars driving over it. I would not call it "hard packed." This snow is hard to ride on because it's unpredictably unstable. This snow tends to slide out under the weight of the front wheel. Compare this to hard packed snow or ice, which is predictably stable. It may be slicker, but you know it's going to hold up under your front wheel.

Conventional wisdom says that studs are only useful on ice and hard packed snow. I need to put some non-studded knobbies on the turd and see if they perform the same as the Hakkapeliitas that I have on my 720. Is it the studs or the proper knobbies that make riding my 720 easier?

I also think the next set of studded tires I buy will have the full studded surface. The Hakkapeliitas only have studs running down the center of the tire. Which makes sense for city riding, but a little overkill in the stud department would be interesting to check out.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Aught Eight

Damn it's cold. 19F.

I have about 2 hours before I need to fire up the grill for the turkey.

I think I'll take a quick spin on the High Drive Trails.

But first, some stuff:
  • Brad Stark has introduced a resolution to provide monies for bike facilities in the 08 budget. The blurb in the "The Voice" in SR today was wrong on the details. Specifically: routes/designs have not been settled. More on that next week.

  • There is a ride this Sat night. Liza and I are going. Any ride that starts at the Pear Tree can't be bad. Ride details here.

  • I have repo'd a loaner for life and feel a bit bad. I'm taking back my other RB-T to make it an offroad/cyclocross tough-guy bike. Therefore, I need to find another all-roundery-type bike for my buddy. I have a feeling that I'll find something between now and next spring.

  • I ordered two sets of forks from Jeff Lyons. The first set will transform my 720 into a low-trail fixed gear beauty. I'll use the second set of forks to do a Wetmorian conversion on the tough-guy RB-T. Both forks are Kogswell forks. Jeff will add canti studs and will rake them out to 65mm. I also asked him to add some barrel braze-ons in case I want to rack them at some point.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cyclocross and Snow Bike

Last cyclocross today.

Here's Jake:

Here's Taylor of EPM fame:

Here's our snow bike for the year:

More on the snow bike here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Rainy Ride

Joe and I went on a wonderful ride today. I figured out a cool thing: If you have 4 hours for a ride, take a 2 hour loop and make it a 4 hour ride. This is what we did today and it was great.

"Summer Only" road. We love these. The first half of the ride was one of my favorite local rides. Instead of looping back on Gardner, we found Cedar (via Sherman and Gibb) and came down the wonderful descent into the Latah commercial area.

Yes. These are real. The guy also has camels. This is on Cedar Road.

Great apples. We had to cut around the worms/worm holes, but they were perfect apples and likely not sprayed.

We stopped at Latah Bistro and had a great bowl of soup and a beer before heading up the hill.

From Latah, we came through Vinegar Flats, then up the bluff trails on the way home. Made for a good workout. I was feeling that beer.

With still a half hour until we had to be home, we opted for the final cup of coffee. Nash makes a great americano.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Long Beach, California

I've been in Long Beach, CA since Monday.

I understand why cruisers make sense here. There are miles and miles of paved walkways along the ocean. Flat, slow, pleasant. Cruisers excel in this department. There's also a ton of carbon/full kitted racer types, most going about the same pace as the cruisers. It's weird.
I've seen a few brave souls commuting.
It seems like there are two types of roads here: slow back streets and 50 mph multi-lane gashes chopping up otherwise walkable neighborhoods. The gashes create the many smaller locales in the Long Beach area: South Beach, Downey, Bellflower, etc. If you want to cross a gash you must walk to a crossing light, which seems like it's usually at least 1/4 mile or so away in either direction.
I think if I lived here I would surf. Our hotel is on the Pacific Coast Highway, which is the final gash that separates humans from the ocean. Our hotel room looks out over the ocean. The last couple mornings, Maddie and I have got up at 6 am, got a coffee and chocolate milk at Jack in the Box and sat in the sand, watching the surfers come out for their morning ride. You can tell right away that like anything worthwhile, that it takes skill to surf. Some surfers battle frantically against the waves while others just seem to work with the waves and enjoy the ride.

Monday, November 12, 2007


It's been a year since I started this blog. My first post on Nov 10th, 2006 is here. I've nothing deep and philosophical to say about this fact.

Check out the bike above. That bike belongs to my buddy Patrick. As far as I know, that is his first set of coroplast fenders. Nicely done. Great coverage.
You can tell a lot about a guy's patience threshold, general sense of aesthetics, and of course how he votes, by studying his coroplast fenders.

Richard Rush just sent an email asking for his campaign signs back. Sorry Richard. There are not many green/white campaign signs. I'll be hording mine for just the right bike. And I'll probably grab my neighbor's too.

The Oregon bike builders show was this weekend. My buddy Alex went. He's sure to post a blog on it. But I see he's uploaded his pics here.

click to go to James' site for more pics

Finally, in the "yet another person designing what they want and just getting it built themselves
department," here is James Black's "cargo truck" bike. It's got twenty inch wheels, removable/convertible racks. The idea is that you could have a child seat or a bigger rack with universal fittings that you can slide onto the main "mast." Dig the NuVinci hub. I like how small the bike is and I like his idea of providing two dropouts on the front fork to adjust trail for the load. According to this thread, he says that changing trail does not require a brake adjustment. Smart stuff.
The same fork concept was used on some random and rare GT bikes in the early 90's. It's a great idea. A friend of mine has one of these GT bikes. I think I want to get a hold of it so it doesn't disappear.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ye Ol Workbike

I spied this 'merican made beauty in the passage way between Madeline's and the Pita Pit downtown. Turns out it belongs to the Pita Pit. Pita Pit delivers, but according to the woman at Madeline's, the Pita Pit person is "rethinking the bike delivery" bit.

I'd say if anyone was in the market, this bike may come cheap -- at least save shipping if you've been thinking of ordering one.

This bike is great for downtown. But since it's a single gear, any dreams of it going up and down the south hill are out -- as long as I'm the guy riding it.

However, a certain ice cream shop on the south hill is co-owned by a certain couple who happen to live in West Central, which happens to be a flat ride into downtown, where folks -- I'm sure --would love to buy locally made ice cream from a guy-or-a-gal-on-a-bike.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Preliminary Election Results

Right on. Preliminary counts suggest that Verner and Rush won. Nothing's final yet, but despite a huge infusion of money and mean jabs/ads by their opponents in the last few weeks of the election, looks like they came out ahead. The fact that voters here were not swayed by the money machine and the Rovian-style spin jobs they had to endure gives me hope.

In fact, I am downright inspired by the fact that the folks of Spokane appear to have elected these two progressives. This is not the town I grew up in. I think this is the first step to building a great city for our kids.

Now the real work starts.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hauling to P2P

Tonight was Pedals2People garage night. I was feeling pretty good about my load: one bike stand, one half-rack of beer, and a big box of lights from the BAW Get Lit program. I only have to go a couple miles with my load to get to the garage. And it's basically flat.

After we'd been at the garage for a hour or so doing work, Patrick pulls up with a real load: a basket full of crap and two bikes stuffed in a Burely Trailer. He humped this stuff up the south hill -- from West Central to 42nd and Grand. I had to tell him to smile though when I took this photo.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cyclocross at 7 Mile

My buddy Scott and our kids went to the cyclocross race today at 7-mile. We ran into Taylor of EPM fame and all watched the race. This guy in the picture was a lot of fun to watch. He was riding a single speed steel bike. He had the logos taped so I'm not sure what it was. But it had vertical dropouts -- he was running a chain tensioner.

I liked this guy because he was pushing hard the entire time and he looked like he was having a lot of fun. It's kind of hard to tell from that picture up there, but he's airborne. This next photo shows him taking off the other side of this road.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cyclocross is Happening Now

Last year I went to the local cyclocross races for the first time. The last road race I remember seeing was when the Olympic Time Trials went a block away from my house back in 1984(?). They zipped past in a flash on the climb up to Highdrive. Until I saw cyclocross last year, that 20 second glimpse of bike racing I witnessed as a child was the extent of my time as a spectator to any kind of cycling competition.

Cyclocross is great as a spectator. The course is small and you can walk around in the course while the riders are grinding by. And of course it's more fun because the racers are riding on trails, grass, dirt and running up steep hills while shouldering their bikes. Watching a good cyclocross racer navigate hard spots is fun too. It takes skill to maneuver what is basically a fat-tired road bike across a challenging course.

Kids like it too. Spectators beat on cow bells. We borrowed a cow bell for this year, so that will keep Maddie occupied for a bit longer.

Anyway, the 2007 Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series event calendar is here. It's nearly over and we've not yet gone this year. There is one tomorrow at Riverside State Park - 7 mile. Another at Farragut State park next Sunday, and the finals are at Highbridge Park on Sun, Nov 18th. Races start at noon and they are free. It's a great family outing.

We plan on picnicking and hanging out at the Highbridge race for sure. I'm not sure if we'll get our act together to get out to 7-mile tomorrow.