Friday, May 28, 2010

Rocking the All Rounder

John is a P2P volunteer I met at our West Central tune up this year. Nice guy. Turns out he has a 1996 Rivendell All Rounder in a size that works for me. I invited myself over to ride his bike and he graciously accepted.

I've always wanted to ride this bike. It's basically a higher-quality version of the XO-1. I had an XO-1 for a while that was too small, but I enjoyed riding it. I expected the All Rounder to have a 25.4 top tube and be a bit flexier than it was. The tubing is Reynolds 753, which is nice stuff: a mixture of 747 and 858 double butted tubing. The bike rode nicely.

John is in terrific shape. He was on a big honking Trek double-suspension mountain bike. After a quick 3 mile flat start, we did about a 3-4 mile climb up out of his valley on pavement. He was cooking and I had to work to keep him in sight.

We rode around the northwest corner of Couer d'Alene lake. It's a crazy beautiful area with nice climbs, dirt roads, and peeks of the lake through thick forest. I'm going to spend some more time over there this year. I think it would be fun to ride dirt roads and goat paths from the north to the south end of the lake on the west side. Maybe make it an overnighter.

John also knows a way up Mica Peak on the east side. I failed hugely last time I tried to track a route down that sucker, so I look forward to riding up the east side with him. Yet another reason to get my mountain bike story figured out.

Maddie is really enjoying climbing. It's the perfect thing for her right now. She gets into jams up there and where she used to get frustrated and quit, she now focuses, takes her time, and figures it out. I've nearly cried in joy a couple times watching her figure out a hard section by sticking with it, thinking it through, and powering up the wall. Cool stuff.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A day in pictures

My plan was to take a bunch of pictures today, then pick out the best one and post it here. None of them are worthy of standing on their own, so I'll post a bunch. With commentary. Lucky you!

Many layers of nerdom: Rainlegs atop knee warmers. It rained heartily most of the day.

The Shop.

The plastic on the crotch area of my Rainlegs has finally given up the ghost. Generally speaking, that's a pretty unfortunate area to fail.

It's all delaminated. I sent an email to Rainleg people and they assured me that this issue has been resolved in the 2 years since I bought these. I love em, so I'll try another pair, but if they fail like this in two years, our relationship is over! Plus, I can always make my own. It doesn't rain that much here -- I probably use these 15 or so times a year... so that's a pretty quick failure in my book.

Until I decided to post all these mediocre pictures, this was the single picture that I was going to post. I was on my way out of the office when I had to run back up the stairs and get my keys. On the way back down I saw this scene... I like the shadow of me brooding on the wall. Too bad the bike/door area isn't more clear and crisp.

This one looks fast. Even though the end of the tunnel is all washed out and lame, I like how this picture kind of shows movement.

My favorite restaurant. My favorite bike. You can just make out the photographer in the reflection.

It's time to put a roof on the tree house. Thanks to Pat, I have a design that makes sense to me. I need to get the wood, horn in on Pat's fancy tools, and set aside a weekend to knock this sucker out. I'm excited to do that, but I don't see a weekend free until end of June! Shite. I'll probably end up fitting it in the butt-ends of my days and ways.

Tonight was the last night of a P2P wheelbuilding class. Matt, owner of the knuckles in this picture, had a high-zoot 28-spoke racing wheel, laced 2-cross. Last night, Matt and I thought we had it all laced up and ready to tension and true for tonight's class. But alas, we had it strung wrong. Thank god for Glen "the rock star" Copus. He saved us. Again.

See that? That's Glen smiling. That's his, "my job here is done" smile. Matt's happy too.

We've decided to do another wheel class offering: a one-night, single wheel build class. Likely $30 + wheel bits. Probably 3 hours. Our current 3 night, 2-wheel class is a big time and money commitment. If we decide to do the cheaper one-nighter, we'll announce it on the P2P blog.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Click to enhonkin'

I took this picture by mistake yesterday as I turned on my camera while riding.

I like it a lot. Ironic that it's probably one of the best pictures I've taken.

Looks like I need to tweak my right fender stay.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Geeking out: 1993 Bridgestone Dealer's Packet

My buddy Willy, who just moved to Seattle, left a parting gift for me last week.

It's a dealer packet from Bridgestone from 1993.

There's so much to like about this bit of history. I like the minimum pricing explanation, the co-op advertising particulars, but the best part is the tubing explanation for the RB-1. The RB-1 "book" came as a home-jobber-bound leaflet thing. There are some hand-written and photocopied notes that explain specifics and particulars about the different combinations of tubesets that were used on the RB-1. I actually think the book was written based on the 92 models, but the differences are minor and only really interesting to the nerds that love to pour over this stuff.

For the record, I'm really not as in love with Bridgestone as it would appear on the surface. After owning and abusing many Bridgestones, I appreciate them for their simple practicality and their smart designs based on good stuff that appears to work -- and still holds up for me. Specifically, I like steeper angles; I like standard diameter steel; I like bikes that take reasonably fattish tires. But I'm no collector in the awe-struck sense. I admit to being annoyed at seeing Bridgestones pampered, polished and only ridden on sunny days. These bikes were made by the thousands (but not 10's of thousands mind you) and they were of average production quality for their day. To me, they must be ridden hard to be enjoyed to the fullest.

With that, here's the scan of the dealer packet:
Thanks Willy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cool Bike Rack

While out running during my short trip to Yakima I happened across this bike rack in front of a sign shop. High scores in the coolness and bike-friendliness categories.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Phil's RB-T

A couple weeks ago, I got this email from a guy named Phil:

Hello John,

You don't know me John. I live in Spokane Valley, and I follow your cycling escapades on "Cycling Spokane". I can tell you like Bridgestone bikes. I'm looking for a loving home for a nice RB-T. :-)

I used to be a serious cyclist, but now I have a bit of a heart problem. The medication I take doesn't allow much vigorous exercise.

Long-distance, loaded touring was one of the things I used to enjoy the most. Especially in British Columbia and places north, where it's not much fun if you can't ride at least 6 hours a day.

My RB-T has sturdy front and rear racks and fenders. There only about 20,000 careful miles on it, and it's never been over 40 MPH. ;-) I think it's about a 1990 model.

My wife wants me to get it out of the garage. ;-) And I know I'm not going to tour again. So, if you're interested in a free RB-T (rhymes doesn't it), send a reply, or give me a call.

I sent a reply. And went and met Phil and picked up the bike. He toured all over the place: Alaska, BC, Washington. Tons of miles. Cool guy.

Now I'm a happy owner of a 56 cm 1994 RB-T. My favorite production bike of all time and in my size. With a BG front rack. Crazy.

I'm taking a two-day dirt overnighter in about a month, and I'll be taking this bike.

Thanks Phil.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pacenti Pari-Motos are here

These are high-zoot tires.

I've not ridden them enough to really carry on about them yet, but after a quick spin around town, it's clear that these are nice tires.

I am a shameless lover of the Hetre and with the Pari-Motos I'm feeling a battle for my affection coming on.

Pacenti calls them "event tires." Which means fast, but I think it's may also be a coded warning that means "prone to puncture." Which I don't care about. Tires are easy to change. And super-supple fancies like these barely require a tire lever.

Be sure that I'll have more to say on these as time goes on. I'm still trying to figure out a way to dial in this Kogswell. I need to fuss with the stem length.

Here's what you get at Taste for riding your bike to work this week. I think today is the last day. Just ride there and bring your helmet and you get a cookie!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guest Post: Sharing the Ride of Silence

Guest blogger: Jeanna Hofmeister

Photo: gNate

Everyday, cyclists are killed by drunk, aggressive and just plain inattentive drivers. They are too often texting, talking on their cell phones and in a hurry. It’s happening all across America, and it’s happened too many times here in my hometown of Spokane. Somewhere along the way, we Americans neglected to develop a “share the road” society, where all modes of transport are equal. Sure, we’ve passed laws… but the laws don’t seem like they’ve changed our behaviors much. This is not a rant, just an observation about reality. A reality I’d like to change.

Last night, I pedaled with 100 common-minded strangers through the streets of downtown Spokane on the first annual “Ride of Silence.” We gathered at the ghost bike… a monument of sorts to keep fresh in people’s minds the fatal crash between a bicycle and vehicle. (It’s not hard to imagine which one died in this tangle.) Not long or fast, the scant two-mile ride was an effort to make visible the fact that bike riders share the same roads, must abide by the same laws and have the same rights and responsibilities as the drivers of motorized vehicles.

At first, I was disappointed, seeing so few riders show up for such an important event. Then Spokane’s most avid bike activist, Barb Chamberlain, read this poem. Suddenly, 100 riders seemed pretty awesome.

The Ride of Silence...
Tonight we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But tonight we ride and no one attacks
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering those we held so dear
Tonight's ride is to make others aware
The road is there for all to share
To those not with us or by our side,
May God be your partner on your final ride
- Mike Murgas

Wordlessly, we set out and for the next 20 minutes, rode through downtown… a silent peloton of flashing tail lights and hand signals and riders deep in thought. I know. You’re probably thinking “Really? How could a 20 minute bike ride have some major impact on you?” All I can say is that it did. I had a lump in my throat the whole ride, glancing frequently at my favorite riding partner/husband who had driven 92 miles to take the silent ride with me. And I wondered what I would do if he, or our daughters or our grandkids were killed while riding their bikes. The thought shatters me. Enough so that by next year’s 2nd annual Ride of Silence, I will make sure that most, if not all of my family is there to ride with me, even the littlest ones. And, I will do everything in my power to see that maybe a thousand or two thousand or more riders will show up and prove that we can all share the road.

We owe it to those who haven’t survived trying. And to those of us who have.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

June 19 Hang- Save the date

Bike hang season is long past.

But on June 19th, at my house, we're going to have a hang.

June 19th is a Saturday. It will be an afternoon thing. I'll have some beer; it will be good and it will be plentiful. But let's potluck the food.

You are invited if:

- You are a bike rider that likes to nerd out and talk bike stuff. Or just a bike rider that likes to hang out with bike nerds. If you know me, then you know that "bike rider" is literally defined as someone who rides a bike sometimes. It's not code for any sub-genre of bike culture (e.g., racer, fixed gear hipsta, advocacy nut jobber, traditional bike club curmudgeon, etc); all are welcome.

- You have been to my house before. Or if you are with a bikey friend that has been to my house before.

The reason?

Well, Justin really misses the hangs, so this is partly for him.


But I miss the hangs too and it's summer. And summer, bikes, and beer go together like peas, carrots, and the FBC.

And, my buddies Alex and Larry will be in town.

Alex and Larry.

It will be a lovely warm afternoon hang. Let's shoot for 5pm or so.

Don't expect to see reminders here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Get fed on the way to work tomorrow

View Bike to Work map in a larger map

Tomorrow is "energizer station" day. This is part of Bike to Work week. The deal is that there are different organizations hosting tables of free food for bike commuters. These tables are spread all over the region. If you only ride one day next week, clearly, this is the day to ride.

I think it would be fun to make a ride out of this: map a route and see how fast you can make the loop, getting free food along the way. Sort of an alley-cat treasure hunt thing.

Anyway. Pedals2People is hosting a station at 25th and Highdrive. Really, it's just Liza, Maddie, and me. I'm not sure if other P2P'ers will be showing up or not. We'll be laying out the following spread from 6:30 am until 8:30 am:

- Pasta salad
- Clinkerdagger's signature pea salad
- Fresh tropical fruits
- A Barron of beef
- A leg of lamb
- A giant Coke-glazed ham
- Pork butt, which isn't ham, which *is* butt
- A rasher of bacon
- Eggs benedict, with real hollandaise out of a can.
- Made-to-order omelet bar
- Fresh croissants
- Freshly baked muffins
- Waffle bar
- Sundae bar
- Biscuits n gravy
- Pigs in a blanket
- Partidge in a pear tree, speaking of which,
- Home fries, in the style of Pear Tree Inn
- Hash browns, in the style of every other shitbox breakfast place
- Made-to-order crepes (flambe, of course) with 6 fresh fruit topping options
- Hand-dipped chocolate strawberries with single-source, fair trade, Venezuelan chocolate
- Hand- squeezed (by vestal virgins) orange juice, pineapple juice, and grape juice
- Mimosa's, with top-shelf Chateau Easy-Lay Champagne
- Coffee, espresso, Spokane cappuccinos (seved 32 oz only), and frapollas

Ok. Just kidding.

We'll just have cliffbars, crackers, cheese, and we may pick up some fruit. For coffee, you'll need to go 2 blocks east and ask Patrick, of Scoop fame, for the BTW day special.

See you there.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sweet Road Find

Some cyclists find wrenches. Some find a coin or two. And some find road kill.

I find automatic watering systems. It looks like all the parts are there. Can anybody use it?

Addendum: Fort Spokane

One of the few moments when the bicycles commingled on the trip - here John opened up my world to the prophylactic wonder of ibuprofen. Pusher.

We wrongly assumed the sign referred to the more obvious of the spigots and had to search a few more feet to find the streams of living water.

Dinner. Warm(er) salami (Oh, the horror of exercise-induced ham burps!), warm(er) string cheese, Powerade (pink flavor).

And here, my view of John for most of the day. In my mind, I'd try to determine how many miles he'd be ahead of me by our next stop. I believe he generously gave me the space of solitude for this, my first bicycle ride of longer than 50 miles at a stretch. Truly. Fracking. Hard.


This coming Sunday, May 23rd, will be the Second Annual Science Content Ride, a joint venture of The Spokane Bicycle Club and The Inland Northwest Land Trust.

We will depart from Yokes Market, 14202 North Market, Mead, at 1:00 PM, and ride north on Yale, Boston and Bernhill roads to the Susan Camp Conservation Easement (not typically open to the public) for a 30 minute walking tour guided by INLT staff who will describe the landforms, flora and fauna and history of the area.

The 16 mile route is suitable for all riders (mostly flat with one three mile section of rollers), and no one will be left behind. Bring the kids, but don't tell them that they might learn something.

There will be a "pie stop" at McGlades near the end of the ride.

Guests who are not members of SBC or INLT are welcome.

Helmets are required.

More information at 251-5173.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fort Spokane over nigher

View Fort Spokane Overnighter in a larger map

Justin and I did this ride yesterday and today. All up, 180 miles. We did Springdale-Hunters-Fort Spokane yesterday, then Fort Spokane to home today. Good ride. Perfect weather. Lots of time in the saddle. About 10 hours yesterday and about 4.5 hours today.

Justin finishing the climb between Springdale and Hunters.

One of the best descents ever. Certainly top 3. It's about a 15 mile descent from the top of the small pass down to the Columbia River.

We guerrilla'd at the visitor's center portion of Fort Spokane park. We slept aside the ruins of what was originally built as the Bachelors Quarters for the soldiers at Fort Spokane. It later served as a "sanatorium" for Spokan Indians that had contracted TB. Fort Spokane was also home to the "education" and "civilization" of Native American children, who were systematically stripped of their culture, pride, and childhoods by both military school teachers and the Catholic missionaries. Weird to think that 100 years later we'd be drinking beers, enjoying the view, and sleeping soundly so close to where so much suffering surely must have taken place.

Tarik: what do you see here?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ride in Silence, Ride for Safety: Spokane Joins International Ride of Silence May 19 to Draw Attention to Bicycle Safety

Cyclists generally ride as a pretty chatty bunch, but we ask you to ride in silence the evening of Wednesday, May 19. Like hundreds of cities around the world Spokane will hold a Ride of Silence™ at 7pm to mourn those who have been killed and to raise awareness of cyclists on the road.

The assembly point will be at Sprague and Division where a white “ghost bike” memorializes David Squires, killed March 2, 2010 when he was hit by a driver who reportedly had been drinking.

All riders are welcome. Try to arrive around 6:45pm and meet in the parking lot by Meineke Muffler (which will be closed). For those who need to drive to the assembly point, parking is available at the America West building thanks to building owners Mick and Shelley McDowell.

Rules for participants:
  • Follow all the rules of the road (including riding no more than two abreast)
  • Wear a helmet; high-visibility clothing recommended
  • Have lights on your bike; it will be approaching dusk as we finish
  • Ride at no more than 12 mph—an easy pace that enables anyone to participate regardless of fitness level, and a pace appropriate to a funeral procession
  • Remain silent during the ride
  • Riders will wear black arm bands and those who have themselves been in a bike/motor vehicle crash also wear a red arm band (supplied by organizers)

The Route
  • Riverside west from Division to Cedar; left on Cedar
  • Cedar south to First Avenue; left on First
  • First Avenue east to Washington; left on Washington
  • Washington north to Riverside; right on Riverside
  • Riverside east to our starting point

The Numbers

Police data show that from 2004 to 2008 there were 353 bike/motor vehicle collisions or crashes reported to the police in the City of Spokane alone. 

That’s 70 per year—more than one a week—and those are just the ones that were reported.

Spokane Valley Ride of Silence

In Spokane Valley, Paul Warner and his family have organized a Ride of Silence in honor of his sister Gloria, killed two years ago in a bike/car crash in Gig Harbor. That Ride of Silence begins at 7 p.m. at the Mirabeau Park parking lot next to the waterfall and runs 12 miles on the Centennial Trail.

Endorsing Organizations

We reached out to participants at the 2009 Bike Summit to ask organizations, businesses and individuals to endorse the Ride of Silence as a safety message that asks everyone to share the road. 

We're pleased that the Spokane Regional Transportation Council, Spokane Regional Health District, SpokeFest Association, Mayor Mary Verner, members of the City Council and others are on the list. We’re still hearing from people so the final list will be posted in the comments to this post later. 

For more on the origins and history of the Ride of Silence see their site.

More Numbers

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Just a reminder that the dedication of the newly paved portion of the Fish Lake Trail from Sunset Junction to Scribner will be held at the Milton Street Trail Head tomorrow (Friday, May 14th) beginning at 3:00 PM.

A good turnout would demonstrate support for the trail and other infrastructure projects to the elected officials who will be present and show appreciation to those who worked to make this project a reality.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May wheel building class at Pedals2People has openings still

This month at P2P.

Three-night class.

$60. Bring your own wheel bits. Leave the series with a set of wheels you built yourself. What a great thing!

May 24th, 26th, 27th.

More info and registration info on the P2P site.

And a "what's it all about post" on my blog is here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Even more carrying on about my bike projects

This should just about wrap up the Project Posts of late. I'm mostly done with Projects 2 and 3 for now.

The "mountain-bikify the Rawland" project is as done as it's going to get. I put a longer stem on it and moved the stem down to get a bit more stretched out. I also put Stuart's bling saddle on there since I stole the B17 for Project 2. The last detail I need to work out is getting a new brake caliper mount for the front fork. The one that's on there is wonky and the entire pad doesn't grab the disk. I'm borrowing some hydraulic brakes from Glen to see if they're the bee's knees or not.

As for a mountain bike, I'm pretty much resigned to just finding one that's ready to roll. Main requirements are a decent suspension fork and hydraulic disks. I'd prefer steel. I'd prefer 26" wheels, but those are preferences, not hard requirements. The perfect looking bike to me right now is the Voodoo Bizango, but I'm pretty sure it's around $1500 more than I'm looking to spend at the moment. So I'm spending time on Craigslist and poking around the LBSs looking for last year's close outs, which it looks as if I've missed by about 4 months.

The Kogswell came out nicely. It's grand to be back on the Hetres. The super low trail (30 mm) of this bike is a bit too lively for me. Before I put the rack on it, I took it on the trails last night and blew right off the trail for a pretty good spill. I'm pretty sure it was a combination of the super low trail that is super sensitive to steering input, the zero-tread Hetres, and the now-dry trail conditions which is sand over hard pack (think ball-bearings on wood floor).

I've since put on the front rack, which has slowed down the steering a bit and it feels even better with a bit of weight in the bag.

I'm going on an over-nighter this Friday night and I'll bring the Kogswell. With my sleeping bag under my saddle, I should be able to fit all the other crud in the front bag.

The Kogswell is a nice bike, but with the OS 9-6-9 tubing, the steel is pretty dead compared to the Kogswell Gen2 frames and most of the other bikes I prefer that have standard diameter, thinner-walled tubing.

I wonder how many people read that statement and think, "oh what bullshit! You can't detect a real difference between tubing wall thickness and diameter... what a show-boater." Plenty probably. Oh well.

In any case, the Kogswell is a fun bike and it will be fun to tool around on until Glen finishes my Elephant Gifford. Glen will be using standard gauge 858 tubing for my bike, but aside from that (big) difference, there's not a huge difference, geometrically speaking, in the bike Glen will be building for me and the Kogswell P/R.

Bike To Work Week Begins Next Week

Bike to Work Week starts next Sunday. Don't let Auntie show you up. If you haven't registered, then go over to the Bike to Work Spokane and do so. Here is the schedule of events:

* May 16 – Education Fair at River Park Square. Bike corral on Main Avenue. Commute Challenge begins.
* May 17 – Pancake Breakfast in Riverfront Park, 7-9am; Music by Liz Rognes. Commuters attending the Kickoff Event will get to RIDE THE EDGE with the freshest and newest coffee from Spokane's own Roast House coffee.
* May 19 – Walk & Roll to School Day: participating Spokane Public Schools
* Various days that week – Energizer Stations at locations countywide. Check out the map which is still being updated.
* May 21 – Wrap-up Party at Steam Plant Grill, 4:30-6:30pm. Registered participants only--must RSVP. You can register here. If you registered last year, then you need to log in and update your registration for this year.
* June 12 – Four-week Commute Challenge ends. Make sure you've logged your biking!
* June 30 (date/location still being confirmed) – Conclusion of four-week Commute Challenge; picnic and results announced.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Project Party!

Maybe it's the spring. Maybe having some time freed up. Truthfully, though, it's just the way things always are with projects - it's dull without them. Project A arrived with the tandem a few months ago - John provided the handlebars I'm test-driving (thanks!) and the rest belonged to the bike already. The stem feels too long.

Project B is the mountain bike, disassembled months ago to overhaul the fork. It's been bothering me since, just sitting there forlorn. I want to get it up and running before the mountain bike series starts next week...


This Friday, May 14th, there will be a short dedication of the recently completed section of the Fish Lake Trail.

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner will be the keynote speaker, and State Senators Lisa Brown and Chris Marr and other officials are slated to attend, along with the people who put in a lot of time and energy to make the trail a reality.

The ceremony will be held at the Milton Street Trail Head at the bottom of Sunset Hill beginning at 3:00 PM.

Pedal on down and show your appreciation and support.

Note: Other sources have posted the time as Noon, but the mayors staff has confirmed that the time is, indeed, 3:00 PM.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Project 2 blocked

Avert your eyes from the steerer tube region

Per my plan, I started Project 2. I spent the majority of my day mother-daying. Luckily, I'm surrounded by mothers, so I had to really dish out the super brunch. Consequently, I only got a couple hours to put together the Kogswell.

If you build up bikes a lot at home then you know the aggravation of being blocked by not having that one silly little part. Ugh. How many times have I been foiled by a brake cable stop hanger? How many times??

Well, add one more to the total, because I didn't have a 1 1/8th inch hanger to hook up the front brake.

If that were the only issue, then I'd still be riding the Kogswell to work tomorrow. But, alas, I don't have a flipping bottom bracket cable guide! Arrrrg! I swear I had one. And I think of all the frames that I just got rid of. All of them had a guide when I unloaded them. Bugger!

To the untrained eye, my shop looks like a disorganized mess, but I really can find stuff pretty good. Of course, I'd bet money there's a bottom bracket cable guide buried in that mess somewhere. And I'd say there's good money on a bet that the guide will show up tomorrow afternoon, after I go buy one.

Another successful sleep over in the tree house. Yes.

It turns out that the princesses were out in force yesterday. Maddie and her 3 year-old cousin, Livvy, were in gaga princess land. Seriously, they were speechless for a bit. And speechless takes some doing for that pair.