Sunday, February 28, 2010

Taking A Road Not Taken Before

Decisions, decisions. I could either watch the gold medal hockey game between the U.S. and Canada or I could go for a bike ride. Not a difficult choice at all--and I really like hockey. But I'll spare you what I think about the Olympics.

I decided to check out the Children of the Sun Trail (map in PDF) that parallels the North-South Corridor. Right now it only goes from Farwell Road to Freya about 1/4 mile south of Gerlach.

At the point the trail crosses Fairview, I got curious about where Fairview would lead me and decided to take a detour and see. The gradual climb turned steep near the top where I found what appears to be a "Lion King" themed yard. There are other animals I'm not showing here. The "Entrance" and "Parking" signs are weathered. I have no idea what the story is here. Two alpacas watched over me as I explored.

The sword in the stone didn't fit the theme, but it looked pretty cool.

Continuing on, I crossed over the hill and screamed down to Stoneman. That speed limit is a recommendation, right?

I turned around and headed back up and over to the trail. This was my second ride since last October so the climbs to say this politely...frickin' arduous. If gasping for air makes you climb faster then I reached the top in record time. I figure I have an excuse since I had still and video camera gear in my panniers. And the batteries were fully charged which makes all the difference in the world.

View Fairview in a larger map

This would be a good leg of a club ride, especially if you like hills, scenery, horses, and dogs that don't chase you even though they have a clean shot. Some Mastiff-like beast let me pass with nothing more than a warning bark and a German Shepherd couldn't be bothered to look my way.

I zipped down the hill back to the trail and continued to the south end. From there I shot video of the trail back to Farwell. It took me 12 minutes to ride. For your sake I trimmed the video down to under three minutes. The paved asphalt trail is easy to ride with gentle climbs. There are a couple of sharp turns that are at the bottom of descents and are not designed for higher speeds so be mindful of that. And it's ugly.

I got home a few minutes after Sidney Crosby won the most exciting game ever in the history of hockey for Canada in overtime. Maybe, but there is no instant replay of a bike ride.

Riding up

Joe and I ride every Sunday morning. We have been since he got his new job at The Shop about a year ago or so. In the last few months, more people have been coming along. Today, Joe invited Jake, who showed up with Ben. Jake and Ben ride singlespeed 29'ers. They're strong and fast. They gave us a good work out.

We left Sandifur Bridge stayed on the west side of the river until TJ Meenach, then crossed the river and popped out at Bowl and Picture. Nearly all of the ride was single track along the river. Lots of technical, swoopy, rocky, sandy stuff. I couldn't keep up with Ben and Jake technically or fitness-ly, but they waited. It was a fun, hard ride. I just woke up from a nap. I never nap.

Maddie couldn't do this last spring. Now it's not even worth a second run.

This ride was good timing, as I've been thinking about getting a hardtail mountain bike. Something with traditional trail geometry and suspension forks. I'd like to try riding a few different bikes before I purchase. I like the Rawland, but I'm ready to try something a bit more mountain-bikey and less roady.

Jake and Ben both ride a Voodoo Dambala. One thing they like about this frameset (aside from the < $400 price) is that the top tube is a bit longer, which allows a shorter stem, which sort of seems right to me. But I don't know why. I need to think that through for a while.

I watched them climb and because they're on single speeds, they had to do a lot of standing and climbing, which is how I prefer to climb. I'm not going to run a single speed, but I want to find a set up that encourages standing on climbs, not just sitting and spinning.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spring Racing in Eastern WA

The spring racing season is almost here. It's been a few years since we've been able to claim a "season" of racing in the Spokane area. This Spring, we have six weekends of racing to brag about. That isn't counting the Tuesday night Twilight Series which runs Tuesday nights all spring and summer (more on that later). Here's what we have:

March 7th: Wawawai Landing Time Trial & Hill Climb Race. Near Pullman WA

March 28th: The Muddy Huetter Roubaix Hosted by Vertical Earth in CDA

April 3-4: Frozen Flatlands Omnium hosted by Baddlands

April 10th: Ronde van Palouse , hosted by Spokane Rocket Velo

April 11th: Rocky Mountain Roubaix, (near Missoula MT, but close enough)

April 16-18: Tour of Walla Walla, probably the biggest race in the state. Sold out already.

Mandatory race photo #9: Two points if you can name the venue ;)

edited to fix formatting

Wheel Building And Maintenance Class

Wheel Maintenance at Pedals2People.

I missed out on the first two days of the wheel building class held at Pedals2People where they built a wheel up from scratch. Last night was diagnosing and repairing problems. Lots of spinning and spoke turning and not without at least one major challenge ending up in Joe's capable hands that required some unconventional work.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rad wipe out!

The best spill of my life happened to me on the way to work this morning. I went through Manito Park on the Rawland. I was being all fast and dorky. Turns out watery grass is pretty slick.

Check out that skid! The fat part is where I slid on my side through the watery-mud. Just ahead of the fat skid you can see where my wheels started to slide. Dude! All up, it looks like I slid about 25 feet or so. Rad.

No injuries. No broken bike bits. I wish I could say the same for the turf at Manito Park. Sorry 'bout that.

Lot of mud on my pants. Thankfully, Gnat and Steph dropped off some pants at the P2P shop the night previous, so I didn't sit in mud all day. What luck!

Kid haulin

Maddie has always been a good sport in trying out different bike-kid-hauling solutions. The bike trailer was her least favorite. She loved the companion carrier. And she loved the segelino. The tandem was fun for about a year.

But the latest version is great. Right up there with the segelino. I ride the SH-80 to The Scoop every morning for coffee. About once a week, Maddie wakes up early too and goes with me. This is how we roll.

The Scoop is about 5 blocks away. When we do longer hauls, like our Saturday morning run to Pear Tree Inn for the best breakfast on the south hill, we suit up proper with helmets and all that.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Minutes: Bike Hang Planning Committee, Venue Selection Subcommittee

Meeting opened
Quorum declared: 2 present
Motion for Viking Bar, Wednesday, 5:30
Chair called vote
Chair declared motion passed
Request for roll call
Count shows: Ayes 2, Nays 0
Motion to adjourn
Meeting adjourned

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sweet new bike

Look, another new bike. Custom geometry, composite construction, integrated rack, low spoke-count wheels, double kickstand, handmade and imported! (Rwanda)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Road Finds on the Palouse

We went for a ride on the palouse this morning and found some cool junk.

These steel wheels were arranged carefully and have rusted to a deep orange over time. They marked the entry to someone's property.

The next bit of junk we found was junk in the traditional sense of the word: abondoned and forgotten, fulfilling no purpose. Both piles looked lovely in the February sun.

When Worlds collide

I always thought it was cheaper to make alot of something than just a little. Maybe not.
That Seven is about a foot wider than my car!

Rickshaw Radness

How long has this been here? I go by here 2+ times a day and just noticed it today.(The rickshaw, not the market.) Gnate, you need one of these. I think there's enough room in the seat for Barney.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I got the RB-T back from Glen. He put S&S couplers on it. And hooked me up with a fancy Campy seatpost and a nice old Dura Ace headset.

I rode it today for the first time. It's the same old great bike, but now it travels better. Yay.

I'll get a soft case for it. I plan on practicing the tear-down and build-up so I can do it blindfolded in under 2 minutes.

The tube around the coupler keeps out the gunk. I'll get a smaller one for the top coupler.

Glen found the same crack forming in this bottom bracket that he fixed on the RB-1. Looking into the bottom bracket, it's obvious there was not any brass coming out of a couple of the brazes.

In addition, the seatstay was showing signs of separating at the seat collar. Just like the RB-1. Hmm. I'd say that's a trend. Glen did the same fix and brazed on a canti cable guide/hanger to stiffen up that joint.

If you're a comment reader then you may have noticed my comments earlier about the tubing on this bike. Cutting the tubing provides a non-ambiguous measurement of the wall thickness. The 91 RB-T appears to use 8-5-8 tubing. Who knew? That explains it's noodley wonderfulness.

All in all, it's a fine bike and I love it more than ever. I took the trails home tonight and it's the same righteous bike. With the 35mm Pasalas, this bike is about the perfect all-rounder for me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ronde van Palouse

Folks, we're in business. Complete details on the 2010 Ronde van Palouse road race can be found at .

And don't forget the Bike Hang tonight at the PI @ 1730 hours.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Yet another post about Jon!

It just so happens that tonight was the annual Bicycle Advisory Board report to city council. I attended and it struck me that I've yet to see councilman Jon in action. There he is. Aglow.

These two frame-sets are for sale.

1991 CB-Zip; 56cm. Original headset included.
1990 MB-2; 52cm. Trashed headset included.

$75 each. Add $50 + shipping costs if I have to package and ship.

Bike nerd hang. Weds 5:30. Park Inn.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Follow up

From the last post. The rack is a perfect fit. The bag slides on and off effortlessly. The bike rides nicely with the small load he had in the bag. Easy no-hands riding. It should be easy and happy handling up to around 20 pound or so.

God I hate that rear rack.

Jon is very happy.

Rack for Jon's Kogswell

I can't stand it. My plan was to do a blog post on this rack once I got it on Jon's bike. The idea was to show the whole enchilada, with Jon's fancy Orlieb office bag and a smiling council man. But damn this is a cool rack. It must be shared with the world.

This is Pat's work. Man it's tight. I hate being such a softy sensational puke about this stuff, but it's impossible for me not to mention the love in this work. I see it in Glen's work too. And the stuff Alex does. It's a love for riding and bikes and fun and people that just comes through the way they work and what they produce and how they interact with people as they do their thing. Cool shit.

Anyway, note the initials. That's Jon Snyder if you're not sure. Could be John Speare though too. Which might be handy someday? The diagonal bit on the front of the rack is optimized for Jon's Ortlieb office bag, which has diagonal-only supports, since it's meant to live on a rear rack -- the diagonal mounting reduces the chance of heel strike.

I'll still post an all-up pic and report of the bike. But I just couldn't stare at this rack any longer and not share it.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Not a bike bong.

Steph and I drove over to Elephant Bicycles, where we found Glen menacing John's Bridgestone with a hacksaw. I snapped some pix with the camera phone. Evidence.

Glen looked pleased to have sawed John's bike in half.

John had some initial doubts.

John cheered up when Glen gave him a job to do...

Meanwhile, Glen set to work repairing the damage.

And added these beauties: S&S Couplers. These couplers will allow John to disassemble his frame and fit his bike in a small suitcase when he travels to Alaska.

The couplers also allow you to fold your bike in half. A handy trick if you want to transport a bike inside a car trunk.

It's kind of a big deal, actually, that Spokane has a skilled local frame-builder licensed to install S&S couplers.





lots o'


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


One of the participants in yesterdays Traditional Bike Club group ride had his alloy seat post snap.

He's not a big guy (160 pounds), he wasn't putting any unusual stress on it (17 MPH on a flat city street) and it wasn't over extended when it just let go with a very loud snap.

Fortunately, no disaster ensued, but the outcome could have been ugly under other circumstances.

Any opinions as to what happened and why?


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hitting the Wall

Spokane Cyclist's know that the word "palouse" is an old French word that roughly translates in Spokanese to "endless hills and constant wind". I had the pleasure of previewing the Ronde van Palouse course today with Tony and Mark.

Every cyclist also is familiar with the term, or at least the phenomena of, "Hitting the Wall". At about mile 80 for me, Tony asked me if I had bonked or if I was just tired. "I don't know", I said.

But it was clear that my legs just were not working anymore. At every undulation on the road, my legs and the bicycle would cease to continue. If there were no hills, I am confident that I would have had no problem hanging with these fine racers. Thanks for waiting for me and dragging me home guys. It was a great day in the saddle!

Cluttered bench, cluttered mind

My work shop is never too orderly. But lately it's really degenerated. I think it mirrors my overall mental state of late. I've got a bit too much going on at the moment. I need to wind back a hair and focus on the important stuff. Like riding.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Does The Jobs Bill Mean For Local Bicyclists?

Staci Lehman, Spokane Regional Transportation Council

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the proposed jobs bill so thought I’d post what I know. Which, unfortunately, is very little as it has passed the House but not the Senate yet so it’s hard to say how it will shake out. The Senate is reportedly not going to pass the bill as it currently reads, but is on the verge of proposing a much smaller bill than the $154 billion one that the House approved.

With the unemployment rate hitting 10%, the purpose of the bill is to stimulate job creation. So why would the average person reading a blog about bicycling care about the jobs bill? Because it includes a transportation element that could translate into the construction of a local ‘enhancement’ project.

Enhancement projects are federally funded projects that expand travel choices and enhance the transportation ‘experience’ by improving the cultural, historic, aesthetic and environmental aspects of local infrastructure. Projects can include bicycle and pedestrian facilities, streetscape improvements, and other investments that enhance communities and access.

The House version of the jobs bill was passed with $800 million dedicated to Transportation Enhancements programs nationwide. Early speculation is that will translate into one enhancement project constructed per region. By ‘region,’ we mean Spokane and Kootenai Counties in our area. The bill is expected to work like last year’s stimulus funding- projects to be considered would have to be ‘shovel ready’ within 90 days. And while we have a lot of local bike and pedestrian projects that need to be built, it’s not clear yet if any of them could be ready that soon. It’s also not clear what other stipulations would be put on projects to be considered.

At Spokane Regional Transportation Council and Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization (SRTC’s sister agency), we are working with area jurisdictions(Spokane, Spokane Valley, Spokane County, Coeur d’Alene, Kootenai County, area small towns, etc.) to sift through their ‘to do’ lists to determine which projects may qualify.

So now the waiting game starts- waiting for the Senate to either approve the current jobs bill or propose their own; waiting while the two branches of government come to a compromise on how to combine their two versions of the bill; and waiting to see if local jurisdictions have projects that are eligible. I’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Three road rides I want to take this year

View Sherman-Boulder Loop in a larger map

This would be a spectacular summer day ride. I've ridden Boulder Pass before and it's one of the nicest, low-traffic stretches of road around.

View Tiger Loop in a larger map

A 200 mile loop. Includes the Tiger Highway, which I've never ridden. I wonder if I could do this in under 15 hours?

View Columbia overnighter in a larger map

A good overnighter with two hardy days of riding.

Bucket panniers

On the surface, bucket panniers are easy to laugh at. They look low-brow. They're very non-aero.

But there's greatness to bucket panniers that are obvious after you use them. They are waterproof. Submersible? Maybe not, but they float, so you've got a chance to save them if they find their way into water.

They're cheap. Especially if you make them. But they're not as cheap as they look. To make them well costs more than you probably would guess.

They're just a bucket. I'm not a pocket person. I like Ortlieb bags because they're just a big sack. I prefer to organize with stuff sacks/bags.

They are a platform. When built correctly, they provide a huge platform to load stuff onto.

Alex Wetmore photo. More pics and tour report here.

But here's the big one. To anyone who does a lot of bike camping or touring, some times you just want a place to sit. And often there isn't a bench or a log or anything but the dirt. These buckets make great camp stools. And tables.

The bucket on the left is an old one that I made back when Arkel sold their hook kit for $16. Can you imagine a day when that fine piece of machined goodness only cost $16? It's $48 now. But that's still a bargain if you make the buckets yourself.

The bucket on the right is a v1 try from Ryan and John at Pedals2People. They're trying to figure out a way to build a bucket for under $10 and have it work well. If they can do it with easy-to-buy hardware store parts then P2P will sell the buckets and will do bucket-building classes. I'm trying out the bucket for a few days. There are a couple changes we need to make, but it's getting close.

Btw: when we talk about bucket panniers we must always remember to give credit where it's due. The best of the best and the original bucket panniers are the brainchild of Mike Cobb. I'm not sure if he's still selling these, but he's got a page.

Bike hang tomorrow (Weds) night at Huckleberries. 5:30 PM