Saturday, February 26, 2011


Maddie prepares her station for wheel lacing.
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I saw this over at the Lazy Randonneur blog.

About 8% of my rides are helmet-less. About 92.4% of those rides incur a helpful comment from someone regarding my helmetlessness. I find that maddening, but I never ever ever respond with anything more than a nod and a smile.

Please don't leave a "my helmet saved my life story" comment for me to ponder.

Helmet talk is the abortion discussion in the bike world. Everyone's got an opinion. Everyone's sure that everyone with a different opinion is an utter moron at best, and morally suspect at worse.

I admire the Lazy Randonneur's restraint. He just posted the comic without the sermon. Impressive.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pre-quick-mini review: Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover

Mr. Photogenic. Pic by Maddie.
After declaring the Micro Puff Vest my best favorite clothing purchase of 2010, I asked the Patagonians to send me a Nano Puff Pullover to review. And they did. I asked for a Large and I requested that it be not-black. I'm done with black clothing. Non-black is the new black. You heard it here first.

So when I opened the package and saw this extremely turquoisey blue, I was a bit shocked. But as a wise woman once informed me: it's not the jacket that makes the man. It's the man that makes the jacket! So I wore it out proudly and without apology.

And by gum, things are looking up.

Seriously. Ok. So I'm probably not subjective since I didn't pay for it. But after a measly 2 weeks of wearing this jacket, I'm amazed. There's the color thing, which is basically just that it's visible from a cycling perspective. But the color thing goes farther. I swear to god I get more smiles from unknowns -- men, women, childers, even dogs -- wearing this super blue jacket, than I ever get wearing anything else. It's both a conversation starter and stopper. Not many blues do that.

Action shot. Photo by John.
But warmth wise, I'm completely and utterly confused. This scrawny-ass, super light, super packable, insignificant pile of recycled plastic is warm. Dare I say it's nearly as warm as a full-on 600ish down jacket? Not sure I dare quite yet on that front. But it might be.

I've been tooling around all week in temperatures that have peaked at about 15F. That's cold by any normal non-Arctic standard. I've shoveled, walked, and cycled aplenty. The most I've had under this wispy little pullover is a long-sleeve medium-weight wool shirt and a thin wool vest. But usually, I've been wearing one ultra-thin weight LS wool + a basic thin wool SS tshirt under it. That's it.

I've been plenty warm. The test is my morning commute, which is 4 miles of downhill coasting into frigid zero degree icy air. The pullover blocks the wind and keeps me warm. How? I'm pretty sure it's magic.

Of course, I have criticisms, because that's how I roll.
1. For serious cardio workouts: forget it. This guy will kill you. I spent an hour or so hammering on the single speed today at about 10 F. Once I start climbing and hammering, I start sweating and this thing gets clammy. I can't imagine trying to XC ski in it. But that's not why I wanted this pullover. I wanted it for tooling around town on the bike and as my main camping pullover: so I can bring a smaller sleeping bag and so I have a for-sure warm solution for the post-ride camp hang.

2. A great little bikey addition would be a rear zipped pocket, with body-facing mesh. With a little design work and ingenuity, this pocket could be used as a pocket, or a vent.

I've got some more hammering to do on this pullover. I need to do a camping season with it. I need to wear it in a down pour. And I need to see how it holds up to a year or so of beating.

And the GoLite folks just sent me their bad-arse 800 fill down anorak. So look forward to a tete`-a-tete showdown between the GoLite anorak and the Patagonia pullover in a future review.

The pullover packs down small into the chest pocket.
But at this early stage of the game, I am seriously impressed with the Patagonia Nano and I can't shut up about it. I'm curious what's next for them though? First it was "micro," then "nano," now what? What's the 11 of small?

Well, turns it out it's pico. The Patagonaia Pico Puff Pullover. I'll definately want a purple one of those. To pick peppers in.

SMKPMMR this Sunday

Ice. Snow. Near-zero temps.

Because we must.

Leave the Foutain at 8:42.

Slow and social. But not really fit for kids.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

'nother rack

Deck mostly done.
Sweet. Joe bailed out of class tonight so Pat called me to start on Liza's rack.

It's going to be a copy of this. Which is of course a copy of Alex Singer.

I think the rack scales nicely to Liza's bike.
The idear is that it will be supported by normal v-shaped stays going down to the rack eyelet at the dropouts, but will tie into the fender for stabilization. Simple and light and good for the kinds of loads Liza carries, which aren't huge and 93.6% of the time are in a single "front roller" Ortlieb (the small ones).

Eric is also rackufacturing. Dig those stays!

Stupid is as stupid does

This doesn't quite capture the pathetic nature of the ordeal.
How to puke your guts out, feel nearly dead, have hot/cold shakes/sweats, and be practically immobilized:

1. Take a 70 mile ride on a cold day.
2. Minimize water in take to about 3 cups.
3. Drink coffee instead of water on the ride. Eat a meat stick too on the ride, for good measure!
4. After the ride, eat hot wings and drink 3 beers.
5. Wait a couple hours.
6. Eat half a chocolate bar.
7. Then drink three more beers. Be sure to mistake your body's plea for hydration for hunger and eat a sausage patty when you get home. With cheese!
8. The next morning, ignore every signal your body is telling you that you are on the verge of collapse and continue with your routine as normal: take your daughter to breakfast. Eat a lot, drink 3 cups of coffee and don't bother with the water. Finish your daughter's hashbrowns too. Don't want those going to waste!
9. Take a bike ride with your daughter. Ignore that odd light-headedness and the pain in your back, neck, bones, muscles, tendons, brain, soul.
10. Don't drink any water!
11. Nap.
12. Entertain family. But don't drink water!

That'll do it. If you follow those 12 easy steps, you can then puke until your stomach turns inside out, break out in cold sweats and hot flashes, and then become utterly immobilized as your body conserves every bit of water it can. Fun times. This takes a full two days to recover from.

Liza thought it was my duty to share this embarrassing tale.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Bike hang

Pacific Pizza. 8pm. That's down by the Elk. I'm trying to make it easy for any TWT people to show up.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hog Canyon denied

The plan was to ride out to Hog Canyon and Fish Trap today to figure out the S24O potential out there.

I forgot my map. And my GPS helpfully includes maps for Libby Montana and Orcas Islands, but due to a foiled experiment in the CdA Nat'l Forest last year, the GPS does not include the map section for Fish Trap lake. So as I got to the end of the track that I created in my GPS (figuring I'd use the maps/GPS maps for final navigation), the roads disappeared from the display.

Cool building in Tyler.
Sounds like a big failure, but really, it wasn't. I think I may be nearing the end of my south-of-Cheney and general Medical Lake exploration. Maybe I'll do one more session out there, just to make sure. But there's all sorts of stuff not to like.

It's pretty scabby and rocky out there. Which can be pretty in its own way, but on cold, grey days it's not. There's also wind. And a lot of beat up, falling apart, torn asunder, and burned out single-wide trailers. Kind of a shocking amount actually. Which is generally depressing, scenery-wise.

Lame that this picture needs a caption, but that's not just snowy ground.
It's a swampy icy snow covered swamp. It looked a lot radder in person.
The Medical Lake area has some pretty bits here and there. And even out in the scabs south-west of Cheney there are some picturesque old ranches. But I'm just not feeling the love for that direction. I kind of thought that would be the case, and I'll give it one more shot, but I'm not as bullish on the area as I was a week or so ago.

Non-plussed dear outside of Medical Lake.
So even though this is sounding bummerish -- the good thing is: I got a good ride in today: about 70 miles. I was able to keep my average pace at 15 mph, which is all I ask in life. And I narrowed down the chunk of overnighter-potential exploration.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Road Racing in 2011. It's on!

So I've been delinquent with posting about bike racing. Well let me catch you up. Yeah, it's on for 2011.

Various teams around Spokane have been working very hard this fall and winter to get ready for the 2011 season. We're pretty excited. 2011 will be the best race season Spokane has seen in many years (if ever). Here's a tentative road race schedule to wet your appetite. Hopefully I'll be persistent enough to update you on the specific races as they come up. In the mean time, take a look at this schedule and start planning your season.

March 6th: Wawawaii Landing TT and Hill Climb (Pullman WA)

March 20th: Muddy Huetter Roubaix (CDA/Post Falls)

April 2nd and 3rd: Frozen Flatlands Omnium (Cheney WA)

April 9th: Ronde van Palouse (Spangle WA)

April 15, 16, 17: Tour of Walla Walla (Walla Walla WA)

May 7th: Liberty Road Race (Spangle WA)***

May 21st: Post Falls Circuit Race -still pending(Post Falls WA)***

June 5th: Cheney-Rock Lake Road Race (Cheney WA)***

July 3rd: Whitworth Criterium (north Spokane)***

July 16th: Liberty Road Race #2 (Spangle WA)***

August 14th: Mount Spokane Hill Climb (Mt Spokane WA)***

Tuesday Nights, April-August: Baddlands Twilight Series Racing (various locations around the area)

*** Indicates part of the Inland Road Race Series presented by Larry H. Miller Lexus

A year later

Here's Jon's Kogswell, almost exactly a year ago. Fancy and new.

Jon rides this bike like a demon. He rides all of his bikes as if possessed. I'm pretty fascinated by Jon and how he rides and deals (or doesn't) with his bikes. I wrote a magazine article about it (pdf).

Jon showed up to last weekend's Sunday SOS ride on the Kogswell. The SOS ride is not a technical trail ride, but it is a trail ride. Jon is sort of the king of unintended underbiking, so he wasn't too phased by having the "wrong" bike.

We went through the graveyard and on the river trail and re-grouped under the mega church there -- by the exposed water pipe/fence. And I noticed his rear fender stay had become unattached. In fact, his stays and fenders area all bent up.

Thankfully the fenders are steel and the stays are 5mm aluminum rod, so nothing's getting getting all shanked up in the wheel. This is a big benefit of steel and aluminum fenders in my mind. And the fact that they can be bent back, to a degree.

As I'm fussing with the fender stay, Justin asks innocently, "is that a broken spoke?" Sure enough. Jon also has a broken spoke. We speculate on how long it's been broken. I should've looked closer at the break to see if it was dirty or not, but I wanted to ride, so I didn't get all GP on it, I just twisted it around another spoke to keep it in place.

The 26" wheels (not 650b) were a big selling point for this bike becoming a Jon-bike. I figured 36 hole 26" wheels were a good overbuilt solution for a guy like Jon and they could probably hold up for a while, even with a broken spoke. Sho'nuf.

It's Wednesday now. Jon is still riding the wheel with a broken spoke. My guess is that he'll ride it until another one or two or three spokes break and the wheel just won't spin.

Both of his back up bikes are also dead at the moment.

Two Wheel Transit is his shop -- head's up guys.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Road find: bus tub

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Macro shots, HD trails, brifters

Oiled chain. Ready to ride!

I don't understand why the setting on cameras that take close up pictures is called "macro."
Shouldn't it be called "micro?"

High Drive trails are mostly ridable.
There are some wet sections, but as long as the lack of precip continues,
I think a guy can feel ok about riding the trails right now.

Freeloadin' feather.

This is how the HD trails look for the most part.
The middle trail is in great shape. The big exposed piece overlooking
195 is the perfect surface: fast, compact, no loose stuff.. It doesn't get any better than it is right now.

I love being able to shift a lot and shifting while standing-climbing.
I love not inadvertantly shifting the bar-end shifters when I'm standing-grinding.
I love the button to shift down -- instead of another mini-lever on the main lever.
I don't like how these brifters feel though. There's just too much there comepared to the
small, normal-ish, aero brake levers I have on my other bikes.
And I freak out when I'm descending quickly and the brake lever slide-pivots out of my gloved hand.
I need to spend more time riding these mitten-less before I do anything drastic though.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Medical Lake neighborhood

My buddy Bill and I took an exploratory trip out to Medical Lake and the surrounding areas. There's some overnighter potential out there. Specifically, a home-jobber looking "resort" on the west end of Medical Lake that could probably be fun for a crowd:

View Larger Map

The West Medical Lake Resort has a dock with benches for fishing. And across the road, a big open field for camping and carrying on. It could work for a large, rowdy early-season overnighter.

We found a nice stretch of dirt road, which when coupled with some rollers, and a bit of a headwind, wore us down pretty quick.

I don't want to know how far we rode today. I feel like we rode 100 miles, but it was probably like 35 or something. I was pretty tired.

Lame that I didn't take my fancy ass new camera. What the hey?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

High And Outside

My brother John is far more skilled with tools 'n' such than I am. Just for grins he decided to make a pannier of sorts from an old piece of luggage. The mounting bracket on it is attached to a 1/8th inch piece of plexiglass on the inside.

He says it looks funny, works okay, and weighs in at 4-1/2 pounds on the Safeway vegetable scale (more funny looks).

The title of this post? That's where the center of gravity is once you load this bad boy up with beer and snacks.

Camping season cometh

Taylor: living the dream. Yes those are 25mm tires.
It's still well under freezing every night. And the high rarely gets over 40F during the day, but it's never too soon to start obsessing about the pending camping season!

This year, my goal is to start in March. Maybe even early March.

My go-to no-brainer default quick over night spot has always been Badger Lake. But after the last trip there, where we were kicked out, I'm thinking about going legit. I love Badger because it's easy, close, flat, has a swim option, is hard for car people to get to, and requires zero planning. So any new default S24O destination will have to meet the same criteria.

I had coffee with Patrick, of Scoop fame, this morning and he noted the fact that DNR has a lot of land around here and camping is mostly legal on DNR land.

The dotted lines are non-motorized access only.

The first place to explore will be the Fish Trap and Hog Canyon areas. These are about as close as Badger; you ride to Cheney, then instead of heading SE out of town, you head SW. Looking at the Fish Trap map (pdf), which covers Fish Trap and Hog Canyon -- there appears to be lots of space to explore that are accessed by non-motorized paths. Sweet!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pretty forks

Alex made these for my cycle truck. Yes that's a Pacenti crown.
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Jones Radiator at 7:30!

Glen C predicts the vanquishing of some sunshine fund this evening...see you there.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


From this photo, one might surmise that I am really interested in the Super Bowl outcome.

The truth is that I really don't care and I won't be watching the game.

The lesson is - Don't eBay with a belly full of Guinness!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Tires and racks

P2P bound.
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Challenge Paris Roubaix vs Grand Bois Cerf

Totally unrigorous, unscientific, it's-worth-what-you-paid-for-it opinion: Cerfs are cushier.

I'm in serious hair-splitting territory here in a distinctly 1st World comparison.

Both are wonderful cushy fast tires for their mere 29 mm width, but alas, the Cerfs are cushier and are therfore worth the extra $2 premium at Compass Bicycles.

Both riden verily at 80 psi.

That's it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cold commutes

Manito Pond is frozen as perfectly as a proper skating rink.
Now's the time to work on your mad studded tire bike riding skilz.
News flash. It's cold.

The morning commute the last few days has been hovering at around 10F.

I didn't ride that.
I barely walked it.
In New Mexico it's so cold that cyclists are evaporating.

Shop Cat at Croteau's is always warm.
Digesting mice heats a cat up.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

First beer hang of the year

It was a hang in Glen's shop.

A new project was hatched. More to come as it materializes.

But all I can say now is, "Yay."


Oh yeah: and I enabled blogger's mobile template, so if you visit this site on a phone, the experience will be much more focused.

I'm luke warm on the template. I dig how the formatting is optimized for my Android, but I don't like how all the navigation stuff in the right-hand gutter goes away. I hope google improves the template over time.

That's a simulation of how Cycling Spokane
looks on a phone. For now.

If you are viewing this on a phone, and you're still seeing a mini-desktop-looking-page, then blogger/google is ignoring your browser for some reason (Opera mini on Android is ignored, which bugs me; of course the standard Android/google browser works well).

If you are running Opera-mini, or any other browser that google ignores, you can override the slight by saving this link for your phone access: