Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bringing home dinner

We had salsa, bean dip, sour cream and cheese at home and a hunger for nachos. But no chips.

Picked up some Tostitos at Rite Aid after work. Thanks to the wonderful modern science of packaging, they made it home unharmed over the bumpy streets of Spokane and we were able to indulge.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday day after Thanksgiving ride

Over in Seattle for the weekend, and took a ride around town. Found the bike route in Lower Queen Anne to Interurban, to Discovery Park and the Magnolia Scenic Loop, where this picture was taken. A few good hills. Thankful that Two Wheel Transit replaced the 13-26 8-speed cassette with an 11-28.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ok it was a little chilly Wednesday

I get a lot of mostly friendly comments from people about riding my bike to work when temps are in the 40's and 30's. But really, that's not cold on a bike, and you don't really need much clothing to stay warm when temps are in the low 30's. At least I don't and I'm not that tough!

Last Wednesday I have to admit it was getting a little cold at 7:30am:
 It actually didn't feel cold after I'd gone a couple blocks, even though I just had on a light windbreaker over a long sleeved cotton t-shirt and regular t-shirt with Dockers. Should've worn woolie bullies on my feet and a wool shirt, but I left home in a hurry and didn't even put on long johns.

A couple fellow bikers have mentioned to me that they don't ride after it gets below 45....what's up with that? I like to ride too much to let some mild temperatures stop me. I blame it on cyclocross. After carrying your bike across an icy cold stream at Stanger Farm, or racing in the snow and mud at Walters Orchard, the commute to work in less than ideal conditions doesn't seem so bad. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mullan, Idaho to Lookout Pass

Lookout Pass Ski Area on the Idaho/Montana boder has plenty of snow and is planning on opening this Friday Nov. 18. So it's about time I reported on my little trip from the end of the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes in Mullan, Idaho to Lookout Pass over an old railroad bed. I had found part of the trail on a little reconnaissance trip done with my brother-in-law Shawn at the end of a family outing on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, but I was stumped on just how to get to Lookout Pass.

I found some slightly confusing directions on the Friends of the Coeur d'Alenes' website and one day last July I set out with my trusty Redline Conquest Sport. It's my beginner cyclococross bike with 32mm street tires. No cushy fat tire suspension bike for me. (maybe next time as the trial was a little rough in spots)

It's a few miles from Mullan to Shoshone Park where the ride begins:
The directions say to turn left here to Shoshone Park, but you can go right here and take a shortcut to the Junction with Mullan Pass Rd. You'll miss the fish hatchery though. 

At the park. I cheated on this trip and drove all the way here instead of cycling in from Mullan

At the fish hatchery. Took me a while to figure out but you go left here. It's also the only way out.
To the left is FR 133. I think. Forest Roads are not big on signage, I guess. It's part of the adventure.

This sign is in a snowmobile parking lot, which I fugured out later was also the Junction with Mullan Pass Rd, and is actually just above Shoshone Park. If you go right in the first picture instead of to Shoshone Park, you would end up here also. From here, you go right to Lookout Pass...which surprisingly took me a while to figure out! I thought it meant thataway to the freeway.

A mile or two or more after crossing under the freeway and climbing

This is at the Stevens Lake Trailhead - this is a switchback you take at the end of the parking lot 

I wasn't sure if I was still on the right trail at this point. It looked worse in person.

Near the top, looking towards Idaho.

Made it! Wasn't too hard of a climb, being an old railroad grade. Just a bit of a rough ride in spots.
Looking towards Montana from Lookout Pass parking area. I went down the same way I rode up, but next time I'm going to make a loop, crossing the freeway here and taking Mullan Pass down. Or maybe take Mullan Pass up. Or maybe continue on from Lookout to the Hiawatha trail. Who knows...

In Search of the Dwight Merkel trail to Riverside State Park

In the wooded area behind Albi Stadium and the Dwight Merkel Sports complex, there's some trails used by us locals for dog walking, jogging and biking.

After my shoulder healed earlier this summer,  I got brave and rode my cross bike down this slippery, twisty, gravelly trail off the north side:

And ended up in the housing area at the bottom of this picture:

Ever since the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex was built in North Spokane near Joe Albi Stadium last year, I've wondered about the planned trail from the complex down to Riverside park. Where was the start going to be? Maybe I should volunteer. I looked all over the but couldn't find anything posted about the trail.

From the bottom, I could see another wider, gradual, straighter trail heading up the hill. Turns out they already built the trail to Riverside!

there's the housing development on the left side

It took me a few times riding up the trail to find what I think is the start of the trail at the top. It's the same spot I started at, but at one of the junctions with other trails you have to stay left and climb up for a little bit:

There are a couple other junctions like this where I think you need to go left to stay on the trail to Riverside.

Here's another picture from the trail looking west. I've been meaning to head down there on a nice sunny day with the good camera instead of my phone, but apparently that's not gonna happen.
The easiest way to find what I think is the start, is to enter the wooded area here behind center and left field:

There's info on the trail here from the Spokane Parks Dept. There is a link there to a Facebook page with pictures of the trail building back in July 2010.

A random picture taken from above, near the cemetery:

Bicycling Magazine vs Bicycle Times

A few months ago I was at the bookstore picking up a copy of Bicycling magazine - you know, the one that usually has some fit, athletic types on fast road bikes on the cover:
I noticed another magazine with an illustrated cover of a sorta dorky looking cyclist. No glossy photo? What kinda mag is that? Bicycle Times. The title reminded me of High Times.
I almost put it aside, but then I looked at the cover closer. Then I looked back at the Bicycling mag. Then it hit me - the Bicycle Times mag guy looked a lot more like me than the athletes on the Bicycling cover. And Bicycle Times had a good article on clothing for commuting in all seasons. I ended up buying and enjoying both, but I think there were more articles in Bicycle Times that related to me and my cycling life. I'm a commuter/recreational//semi-serious cyclocross racer/light trail type of biker, and the Times always seems to have articles geared towards riders like me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Presta valves. Hate 'em

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with these valves. I was just starting to like their little twisty knob tops but then I got a flat on my way to work wednesday. No problem. I was on a bus route so my bike and I caught a bus and made it to work. Patched the flat on my lunch hour. Had a little trouble, like usual, wiggling the air pump tube off the valve stem and heard that sickening sound - a big swoosh of air as it escaped the tire. I immediately knew what I did. I tore a hole in the tube where it's attached to the valve stem. Again! It's at least the 5th time I've done this. Someday I'll get these darn Presta valves figured out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Look out for that....

...DIP in the road!
This about 2/3rds of the way down Pettet Drive aka Doomsday Hill. See where the white line is  deflected a liitle bit just past the sign? That's the small dip in the road mentioned in the previous post. Luckily I was holding on tightly to the handle bars the first time I road home this way at around 30 mph, unaware that I was almost going to be tossed off my bike.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Crossing NW Boulevard, part 2

Since mid summer my favorite ride home from work has been this:

Go north up Post, left on Broadway. Take Broadway past the Courthouse, through West Central all the way to Summit Blvd. Stay on Summit as it becomes Mission, take a left on to West Point. This section on Broadway and Summit is a nice mile or two uninterrupted by stop signs or lights until Pettet Dr.

Left on Pettet down Doomsday hill. Watch out for the dip in the bike lane about 2/3rds of the way down! It's a little jarring at 30 mph - hold on tight.

Continue down Pettet under the TJ Meenach bridge to Downriver Dr. Take Downriver Dr to the right turn up to the golf course, left on Columbia Ct, then left on to "H" Street and voila! NW Blvd. This is a little more friendly section of the Boulevard, where it's narrowed down to two easier to cross lanes. Sometimes there's still a long line of traffic coming from the east, but the wait isn't too long.

From here I've been turning left onto NW Blvd and extending my ride home by making a loop around Joe Albi Stadium/Dwight Merkel Sports complex back to NW Blvd, south to Garland then north on G street, over to Driscoll and then home.

There are a few tricky parts to this ride, particularly at the bottom of Doomsday. You have to keep an eye out for the traffic coming down the hill that may be turning right; then also there might be traffic at the stop sign on the right pulling out in front of you. I try to slow it down here and be ready for anything. The next section on Downriver Dr is a narrow road with no shoulder to speak of, but I haven't had any problems on it.

I like this route. It's a good work out as I can kep a steady fast speed through most of it, and it includes a good hill climb.