Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kettle Crest recon

6 miles out and back was all we had time for. We'll be back. It's super good.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why you should pay attention

when blowing up a Quasimoto tire on a Synergy rim.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sister Bets

I don't know how I missed these pics from yesterday's mud ride.

Betsy has some natural skilz in mud-bogging. She's happy to commit, which is a requirement to power through mud and to bounce over various dead fall, which she did, giggling and whooping the whole way.

She's rocking a Torker Graduate, which is a pretty solid value at around $550: nice geometry, internal-gear  hub, front drum brake. If it came with 26" wheels in her size, the bike would be a classic, but of course, it's got 700's wedged in there, so it's merely interesting.

The mud was a bit silly. It's going up past the rear derailleur here. A lot of horse activity. And of course, our tromping through didn't improve things much.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Seattle hang

Sailing with Alex.

Locking up bikes with Alex.

Brouwer's. Good beer. Good food.

BMX park two blocks from my sister's house. Whoa Nelly. This picture does not do it justice. See that ramp there in the background? It's very steep. If you're clipped in on a bike with a low bottom bracket, you gotta commit. No slow roll ups.

I may or may not have tipped over in slow motion and tumbled down the aforementioned ramp. It was the old,
"bottom out on the big chainring at the top of the ramp transition slow tip, oh shit" maneuver.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Past bikes - bike #12

This one is a real chestnut. It's a 1990 Bridgestone MB2. I bought it as frame/fork/hs at Recycled Cycles for $20. It has the distinction of being my longest-lasting frameset. It has survived many a purge.

First, I nerdified it by making it an cheapish SUV version of a Riv bike. Parts on there came from bike #10.5 -- one of the many that will go mostly undocumented. It was a Novara given to me by a buddy.

I think I may have built it up as a mountain bike too at some point, but I can't find evidence of that. Most of the MB2's life with me was spent as the front part of an Xtracycle. Which ruled. Then buddy Jon borrowed it for about 3 years.

After the bike came back from Jon, I stripped it down and asked Glen to replace the rear dropouts with horizonatals. Since then, this bike has served as either the winter work horse bike or the big BMX bike.

This is the setup that makes me want an ultralight version of this bike: super thin-wall OS tubing, a bit steeper headtube, 26" wheels, hydro discs, and carbon forks like this:


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sun Spider reconsidered

This whole idea so far has been mostly a failure. And other bike nerds told me so. And I'll add that I''m impressed by the great restraint they've shown in not publicly saying so. Because, well, I wouldn't show that restraint.

Anyway. Let's try this.

The oft-carried-on-about "river place" is pretty perfect for this one-trick-pony of a bike. The quick runs to the "sandy beach," the fishing spots, and the "end of the road" are in a series on a flat dirt road.
So that works well for the gearing on this bike. But even better: it works for the braking, which I think the Sturmey Archer guys sort of blew off in their eagerness to get the 2-speed kick back gearing figured out. I bombed down Howard on this bike today. There's a section there between 23rd and 21st Aves where it gets sort of steep. Laying on this coaster brake was frightening: the hub did a lot of knocking and even a bit of squeaking/squawking.

Whatever. So, the main destinations at the river are flat, and that's a good thing.

There's some sand here and there and some pretty wide open, but bumpy fields. So those attributes sort of justify the tires.

There's also a scenario that could be interesting whilst and at the same time is sort of irresponsible and stupid: the boozer is 3 miles of flat railroad away (or 3 miles of twisty rollers on 395 with no shoulder -- think closing time to complete the scenario). I got no other rubber that could handle rail rock and railroad ties like this Spider can. Just saying.

The bars, obviously, are awesome. Thanks Glen. I got a bit carried away with pushing them out, so I'll need to remedy that, but otherwise, they rule. The Lil' Joe bag fits a growler and a sweater in an eerily perfect way. Don't tell me that kind of perfectness happens by chance.

The only fix I need to make before it lives, forever, at the river, is to remove those super ultra bitchin Suntour bear traps and replace them with something suitably plastic and cheesy.

Party on.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Palouse dirt

Friday ride with Messrs Aleto and Bloom on the fine back dirt roads of the Palouse. We travelled on many new-to-me roads.

Here's the route:

Here are some pics:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


We discovered yesterday that Maddie *just* fits the tandem. We can tool around a bit this summer. But next summer has some serious touring potential. Assuming she's up for an adventure, and I don't push too hard.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Past Bikes - bike #11

By Spring 2004, we had moved back to Spokane. I had spent about a year on the iBOB list and was pretty into the idea of an XO1. About the same time I connected (virtually) with a guy named Alex Wetmore through the iBOB list. I can't remember how we discovered this, but it turned out that this Wetmore guy and I had worked on the same team at "a large software company in Redmond" for the past few years.


Anyway. He had an XO1 that had been crushed and repaired, coupled, and repainted that he wanted to sell. I bought it. And it was too small.

I built it up with moustache bars and really wanted it to work. I took my first long ride on this bike. I rode to Colville on it.
Specialized Armadillo tires. WORST TIRES EVER. I rode them for one ride.
This is actually when the bike was built up as a single speed with an ENO hub. It was the second wheel I built. I didn't have a tensionometer. I bombed down Bernard/Grove for my first ride. By the time I got to Sprague and Washington, the rear wheel was wobbling all over the place. All the spokes had loosened up.

Eventually, Liza ended up riding it and it fit her well. Then she started riding something else and we ended up selling it. I regret that. It's ironic, since Liza's current bike, which she loves, is an XO1.

An interesting, but typical thing happened at about this time in my bike life. The iBOB/Riv thing really sucked me into an online world that was fascinating to me. I learned a bunch quickly -- a lot of it, in retrospect, turned out to be dogmatic belief, as so much bike stuff is. But what I found myself doing was getting into fetish mode. You see this all the time with online communities and with bike stuff, it gets crazy quickly. I began to seek out the next perfect bike. Over the next handful of "Past Bikes" you'll see a bunch of bikes -- all basically the same, with slight variations. It's sort of embarrassing. But I was at a point where I spent more time thinking, seeking, onlining, and building bikes than I did riding them.

Here's the pre-blog post on the XO1.

I still love the idea of the XO1 (a true road bike with 26" tires)  and if I found a 55cm one for cheap, I'd have a hard time not buying it.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Past bikes - bike #10

Grant would be proud.

Bike #10 was a Schwinn Paramount mountain bike. It was the "PDG" series, some which were lugged and made in Japan (mine) and others that were TIG'd and made in Taiwan.

This was a great bike. I bought it from Recycled Cycles and it was set up with all original components: mid-90's XT everything. Nice stuff.

It was about 2003 or maybe 2004. I bought this bike right before we moved back to Spokane. I was spending a lot of time reading iBOB, which leads to Rivendell. This was a good segue into cycling as an adult in that it didn't push me into the "you must race to be serious" adult rider. I still think the most "serious" of cyclists are those that ride day in and day out through all weather.

And I see with way too much frequency, adults coming back to cycling and immediately being sold the "race lite" schtick. And I think it mostly sucks, cause a lot of that race-derived stuff takes a lot of fun out of cycling for some people (not all!). The *only* reason cycling works for me as long-term thing is that it's just friggin fun.

Off the box...

Anyway -- Petersen got in my head, as he does. And so as soon as I got this Paramount, I tore the bars off it and put some Albatross bars on it. His holiness, GP, is not the only one to blame for this -- I really had some wrist and and numb finger issues from my cross-state tour that made me afraid of straight bars.

So, the Paramount became my daily commuter when I moved to Spokane.
Yes, that's a Softride. I still think they're rad. So there.
Then I got Bike # 11 (wait for it...), which became my commuter, and the Paramount was turned into my first single speed mountain bike. And for that it ruled. Though I was still around 240 pounds, so I had pretty limited range on that thing. But in theory it ruled. And in practice it did rule. I rediscovered the HD trails on this bike and was thankful. Verily.

Here's my pre-blog webpage on the Paramount.

The PT still works

Quick Sunday afternoon sesh confirms it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Deep Creek with Glen

I've taken a couple trail rides with Glen in the last week or so and they've both been fantastic. He leads and takes a perfect, sustainable pace. He's been poking around the trails of Spokane for the last 20 years so he's got all sorts of cool stuff to show me.

This morning we drove out to Riverside and tooled around the Deep Creek area for a couple hours. Highlights: a handful of technical basalt-strewn trails, lots of climbing, and one great vista. Here's the track and numbers.

My mountain bike is feeling really dialed in. I like climbing on it. I'm borrowing a crankset from Glen right now, but a new Deore triple is forthcoming. I still can't get the XT hydro's out of my mind since riding Alex's at Ebey, so I'm pondering stuff to sell to finance the SLX model.

As we rode today, I thought a lot about the potential up at the river for mountain biking. The Kettle Crest Trail is just right there. It would be cool to have someone dump me at the Sherman trail head and I could pop out at Boulder and coast back down to the river. Just pondering. I wonder if that section south to north would be a good one?

I would dig talking to someone who has done a bunch of biking up there. If that's you, please email me: john at phred dot org.