Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Paris Roubaix is April 8th

Where will you be?

1. Will there be a TV/computer streaming the race where you are?

2. Will there be a pre-ride?

3. Will there be beer?

If you answer yes to those last 3 questions, please speak up! I'll be out of town, but here in spirit.



Btw: "Friends of the Bluff" is the org that is cleaning up the HD trails. Aside from their yanking out existing built trail infrastructure, I think they're doing good stuff. And I'm thankful for that. If you want to be involved search "Friends of the Bluff" on Facebook and be a friend. It would be a "good thing" to have a mountain biker or two fully-engaged with this group. Not it!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Too far on the do-goodery?

The car door made for a neat and unique trail bridge here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A real rotter

Bill's appreciation of how the gray skies wash out the landscape this time of year has made me sort of take notice.

Friday cold ride today.

Snow. Then icy shards of ice-rain. Then some rain. Then it got clear. Now that the ride is over, it's sunny and warm.

This is not a great example of the genre, but of the two, I think this picture better illustrates the basic concept of "desolate beauty."

Ephrata Grand Fondo/ue is next week. I was hoping to be awesomer for it, but that's how these things always work. It'll be fun. But not fast.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012



I'm in the Seattle neighborhood for work. Specifically, I'm staying in Greenlake area with my sister and commuting to "a large software company" in Redmond every day.

The commute is great.

I've not taken any pictures so that's lame, but it really raises the bar on the quality of the prose here... and the title'ing.

Anyway -- there's a giant lake between Seattle and Redmond. A guy can ride from Seattle to Redmond if he's into it -- by going north over the lake via Burke-Gilman (good: easy for direction following, off-street path, flat. Bad: well-used by many walkers with dogs on long leashes, super-monotonous/boring in it's flatness). Or, a guy could go over I-90. The route here is a bit more diverse, sort of convoluted, but lots more options for fun, and there's something really cool about crossing Lake Washington on a sparkly day on I90.

The most direct route, would be riding over the 520 bridge. But there's no bike/ped allowed there. So, this software company has a bike-specific shuttle bus that leaves Montlake every 1/2 hour on weekday mornings. You ride up, load your bike on a big trailer that holds 12 bikes, and lounge in a company-provided bus.

I was slightly disappointed that they didn't serve coffee and have a freshly pressed newspaper for me, but I suffered through it.

The shuttle is so great. There's a return service in the evening too.

Another great thing is that I've been riding Alex's super-fly Travel-Gifford. Man, I love 26" wheels. I may or may not have ridden down a flight of shallow stairs this morning when I took a wrong turn off the Burke-Gilman to get to Montlake. And if I did, I felt not a shred of guilt or worry about potential damage to those burly-assed fat tired 559's.

The plan is to take the fun way back tonight via some dirt. This is a classis Alex route.

I will take photos. Alex is due for a flat too, so I'll be sure to get that on film.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Waves of the Roadway

Bicycle, oh bicycle
Transport me high
Take me to places...
Both far, and nigh

Two birds of a feather
Above in the sky
Let's ride that old wind
And by...

Soaring together
Past fields silvery bright
Great oceans of stars
Flood up the night

Waves of the roadway -
They rise and they fall
The song of our freedom -
Hear it call...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mail call

Arrived on the same day. Coincidence? I think not.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The original mini

What the hey?

I don't know anything about this, except that Glen sent me this pic about an
hour ago.



Saturday, March 10, 2012

Some stuff

Went on a hard ride yesterday. It was dense with climbing. Among Bill, Mark, and Tony, I was the slow guy. I hate that. My goal is to be able to stay within reach of these guys on climbs by the end of the summer. Track of the ride is here.

A while back I carried on about my high-value, all-purpose WTB cx tires. I still dig em, but the rear smoothed out pretty quickly. I swapped today. Put a new one on the front and put the front one on the rear.

Nice treehouse.

And I cleaned the gunk off the main trail/CX bike. It was pretty caked up after the last couple weeks of trail riding through the slow thaw on the HD trails.


I ordered a gallon of Boeshield on Thursday night. Should be here any day. It was $100 shipped for 128 oz. Compared to about $7-8 retail for 4oz, that pencils out favorably. I should be set for a year or so on the lube front.

Speaking of the HD trails, I took my favorite trail ride this morning. It's a Highdrive ride that is optimized for coasting the trails. Picture above shows the track. The red bubble thing is at the entrance to the trails. It's pretty much all downhill on swoopy fun single track down to the bottom.

And when I do the guilt-version of the ride, I pop out on 14th and laze it out up hill on roads. Sweetness. When I do the guilt-free version, I ride the trails back up.

Dig it:

That spot at about mile 5 is where it's riding home. If that isn't great, I don't know what is. (Thanks Kurt). The track is here. Aside from my commute, I've probably ridden that route more than any other over the last 6 years or so.

This afternoon Glen took me on a short trail ride above the Fish Lake Trail. Pretty nice little loop with some perfectly technical bits. "Perfectly technical" means that it's a bit tricky at moderate speeds. So it interesting, but not in violation of the blood clot riding law. And as Glen noted, "if you fall, you could land on a pointy rock, but you'll probably just land on the soft forest floor."

This little log structure was tucked away back there. Kind of cool.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Beer alert

Just fyi...

Officially, I'm not drinking beer.  But practically speaking, I am. Good thing too, because there's a bit of beer stuff swirling at the moment.

1. New Belgium's La Folie Sour Brown is at Huckleberry's. For now. According to beer guy there, this is a limited deal. So get in there. I noted it here. It's good stuff if you're into sours.

2. Also -- buddies Steve and co from Northern Ales will be at Huck's a couple Saturdays from now (24th?) doing a beer thing. I would say it would be a good thing to go to that and bug Steve about bringing back his sour again this year. Otherwise, it's just one crazy dude asking him all the time.

3. Finally -- tomorrow night at the Elk: Dry-fly barrel-aged Boundary Bay beer. 6pm.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Elephant v2

Full disclosure: I'm a shill for Elephant. While I didn't pay for the labor on this bike, I did pay for the tubeset. I provide labor to Elephant Bikes in trade for bikey stuff.

Elephant v2 is finally done. This is the bike Glen wanted to build for me almost as soon as he was done with v1:
  • It uses the tubeset that he originally argued for (OX Platinum OS 747).
  • Head angle is increased from 72 to 73 degrees
  • More room for fatter tires. V1 *just* fit Quasimotos. This one fits Quai's just right.
  • A bit taller seat tube.
  • Shorter chainstays/more compact rear triangle.
  • Better color -- Signal violet.
After riding the Legolas with similar tubeset and in anticipation of the summer camping/Nat'l Forest season, I finally got in his queue in December.

Nearly all parts are from the v1 build.

I dig it. I've only ridden it about 20 miles so far, and it's great.

Pictures below provide a few more details.

Kore canti brakes. Jury is still out on these. I think there are two kinds of canti-brake people in this world: 1) those how like stiff, quick pull canti's, where the pad instantly engages and then the rest of the lever-pull is a squeeze that provides just an incremental force, and 2) those who prefer squishy brakes that apply constantly increasing pressure nearly all the way down to the end of the squeeze. That's me. And these brakes are of type 1. I've been digging the Shimano 550 and the CX-70 lately. I suspect the CX-70's will eventually find their way onto this bike.
Fenders are VO 58mm. 

White Hetres. That's the rack I made at Pat's last year. Dig it. I kind of miss the clear-coat, but I also don't care that much. 

That's a good clearance shot. Cranks are the homely SR's that shipped on the Trek 520's back in the 80's. The crank is 86 BCD, which allows the super-useful 46/30 combo. But 86 BCD chainrings are long dead. I've got about a decades worth or so. Then I have another solution in the pipeline... assuming of course I need to have a solution. Lots can happen in 10 years. Also, dig that crank/chain-stay clearance. Lovely.

Hard to see -- but you can see the barrel braze-on pointing to the tire... where a fender should be attached. I had Honjos when I built this rack. Honjos extend way out there in a great way.  I'll probably end up ordering another set of VO to put the rear fender on here and tie it in properly. Right now it's ziptied.
Big shifting change from v1: Campy 10spd brifters against a shimano 8 speed. Works like a charm. Best of all worlds for me: cheap chain/cassette replacement, nice shifting. DT shifters have been removed from all bikes, though I will carry a friction DT in the toolkit on this bike for long Nat'l Forest junkets.

I like this touch. The fender tab is right under the bolt that attaches the rack through the crown.The top one holds the bottom one in place.

The violet tape on the bars is electrical tape that's been bouncing around Glen's shop for a while. As soon as I saw that color a about a year ago, I was hooked. The bike color matches it just about perfectly.  Based on few comments already, I've noticed that there are some distinct gender associations with this color.

V1 had internal wiring, which I generally found too fussy. This one has small clips and I'm just going with a blinky on the seatpost instead of a wired rear LED.

Maybe someday, if this wheel dies, I'll go with a Schmidt hub. They're so sweet.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

S24O Seattle run

Pat and I took a quick trip to Seattle Friday afternoon. Our mission: to pick up a frame jig. Pat got that. And so much more.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Something witty and irreverent

This should really go on the Elephant site, but it was among the pics on my phone. This is a bike that was just finished last week. Bling!

The HD trails are not even close. There was about a 2.5 day window a couple weeks ago where they were drained, non-tacky, and fast. I hoped the bit of warmth and sun we had yesterday might have cleared them up. No luck. It was a super slog on the way home up the trails.

This pic was supposed to show the little pellet snow hail things that were falling. They may barely be visible on "big," but I sort of like the view shot that resulted instead. Moody windy day yesterday on the trails.
What's this? That would be Elephant v2. With luck I will be riding it  tomorrow afternoon or for the SOS ride on Sunday.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sleepers: The North Face Apex gloves

I got these gloves -- as I get most mittens and gloves -- on blowout pricing at the end of the season last year at REI. They're North Face Apex gloves.

I didn't have huge hopes for them. They appeared too light for below freezing, yet too heavy for 40'ish and above riding. What attracted me to them was their price and the funny wind-blocky, water-resistant-appearing shell.

I'm glad I took the chance on them. They have turned out to be good-enough for my short commute on super cold (well-under freezing) days and really shine on long rides in the "cold and wet" zone (35-40/rain). My fingers/hands don't get too clammy in them and the guts of the gloves don't herniate out the finger holes when I yank my hands out after riding for a long time.

For non-wet rides in the warmer cold zone (above freezing but below 45 or so), I still go to my OR Flurry gloves (noted here). They're the perfect warmth to breathability to usable balance of glove greatness.

But for daily commutes in pretty cold and/or wet conditions, these North Face gloves have become my go-to pair.

The careful reader may wonder why my oft-praised, and highly-gone-on-about, customized mittens are not my "go to" pair. There are two reasons, but one big one. The minor one is that my daily commuter bikes use brifters and gloves do offer a slightly better shifting advantage over the mittens. But really, that damn orange on those mittens is just too orange. Can you believe it? I honestly can't. But that's the truth.