Monday, May 23, 2016

Quick Update on the Kenda Flintridge Pro's

I am very happy to report that the tubeless-ready Flintridges on non-tubeless rims haven't blown off while I'm biking 30mph down the Alberta Street or Post Street hills.  I took it pretty easy the first week or so, even turning into corners gingerly.  After a few rides I started having more confidence in them and now don't worry too much.

When inflated under 40 psi, they can feel a little squiggly on the street so I keep them in the lower range of 40-50 for street riding.  The sidewalls state inflate between 30 - 50 psi.

Here's a closeup:

They're a lot knobbier than they need to be, and at first the rolling resistance seemed higher than the Clement X'plor MSO's.  They roll better now on pavement, maybe because I've worn them down a bit and found the sweet spot for psi.  On dirt and gravel they are great, and a blast to ride.

I'm still curious what'll happen if, I mean when they get punctured by a nail, staple or glass, so I've been heading straight at glass on the road and riding through construction sites. No punctures yet, but I keep a couple CO2 cartridges and tube in my pack in case the tire deflates all the way and doesn't stay seated.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

This and That Photo Dump

attaching a seat to a post shouldn't be that complicated:
 Debbie's Tri bike was loaned out to someone who used a different seat. Still not sure how to put the pieces together.

Bringing home another Topeak rack for Debbie's commuter.

Flowers in Palisades Park

The River Trail below Government Way Housing Devo & MegaChurch of Bad Drivers.  The last time I rode this trail I thought you know I really don't like this trail anymore. Slippery, rocky and boulders in spots.  This time on my Fargo with lower tire pressure it was fun again.  I think I'm actually getting better at it.

A realter (oops i mean Realtor) placed their open house signs on the Centennial Trail.  Kinda startled me when I realized I was heading straight for one.  I took it upon myself to move them off the trail.  If there's a next time, I will go to the open house and politely tell the agent to keep the signs off the trail, or I will toss them over the cliff.

There was a terrible tragedy on the Division Street Bridge where a driver drove his rig onto the sidewalk and killed a bicyclist who was biking on the sidewalk.  A few yahoos in the comments section of the Spokesman Review made the usual comments, which I had to respond to, and took a snapshot of one before it got deleted.

I biked down to the Spokane Trump Appearance one Saturday. Didn't go inside. I was told to get a job, pay taxes (because if you're for Clinton or Sanders, you must be on welfare), and to get out of the country.  A lot of assumptions by the trump followers about us protesters. Also was told that Democrats believe in one party/one nation/one rule (or something like that), And that Obama created ISIS - when I tried to explain the real origins of IS, the guy told me to "know your history, dude".  And one young woman said, "so y'all believe in gay love" and we're going um we can't believe you just said that. She then said "you know what god did to Sodom and Gomorrah".  I said, um that really didn't happen, and she was flabbergasted.  I couldn't help myself, didn't mean to impugn her religion. I grew up in a mainline Protestant denomination in the 60's & 70's - we weren't taught to take the bible literally.  And I studied the Biblical document origins quite a bit when I was younger.  I loved it when she said we're against the 2nd amendment, and the young Sanders supporter next to me yelled out "Bernie's for the 2nd amendment!"

Another That same Saturday morning we biked 10 miles to go to breakfast a half mile away at Downriver Grill.  We found it's nice to have a short ride home after a big meal.:

Riding up Pettet Drive while it's closed to traffic.  When finished, there will be a trail up on the hill over to the left, and new pavement with bike/multi-use path on the street, all part of the Centennial Trail missing segment completion.

 New bike lanes and sidewalks on Rowan Ave.  When the whole Rowan project is complete, it'll be a nice bike ride most of the way to Trader Joe's on Division.

Somewhere up on 5-Mile Praire.  I think.

Our dogwood in bloom earlier this month.  I want to tear out more grass from the yard, but there's a bit of disagreement about how much.  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

This Month's Latest Greatest Commuting Setup

We had an early bout of plus 80F temps a couple weeks ago, which got me working on my summer commuting gear.  I try different things in summer - usually switching to a smaller, lighter backpack for starters.  Through winter I've been using the Chrome Bravo 2.0 I got last fall:

Lots of room and waterproof compartments but hot and heavy. I have a lighter non-biking backpack I'll use in summer, sometimes carrying on my back, sometimes on my front rack.  Sometimes I pull out the Ortleib panniers, but they don't play nice with the Salsa rear rack.  The latches don't attach tightly to the tubing, so it bounces up and down and drives me crazy.  The lower tab attachment wears away the metal on the rack.  Been considering for about the last year the Porteur Bag that Velo-Orange makes for the front rack; but it has the drawback of not being as convenient as a backpack.

Then I started thinking I need to make a pouch out of frame bag material to carry a U-Lock and velcro it to the rear rack.  That'd get some weight off.  Then I looked at my Revelate Tangle bag I use for excursions or general mountain/road biking and thought…wait a minute.  My medium size u-lock might fit in the deeper right side pocket.  And so it does!  Then I looked around some more and pulled out a handlebar bag from the basement bike stuff stash.

In the frame bag I have the u-lock, pump, tool kit and assorted sundries.  In the handlebar bag I can fit a shirt, shorts or slacks, and a slightly squished lunch.  Kinda funny looking at the bike that I have both a front and rear rack but not using either, but at least I can carry pizza on the way home.  No weight on my back and it stays cooler. Perfect.

But wait..

Look what came in the mail:

The Chrome Kadet

Almost sent it back because of the way it hangs diagonally on the back instead of lower like many messenger bags, and because it doesn't hold much more than the handlebar bag.  But it's a nice lightweight well-made bag.  I can wear it or carry it on the front rack.  The Kadet is good for weekend rides around town, too.

So the Kadet/Tangle is my latest greatest commuting set-up.  For now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Arc'teryx A2B and the Return of Knickers Friday

ok, first here's the Knickers Friday background: I work for a large corporation with a business casual dress code.  We get to wear jeans on Fridays for $1 for charity. Also, capris are allowed in the summer and they're worn by many of the womenfolk in the office.  I'd been threatening to wear knickers on Fridays for a long time but never actually did it. Then one autumn day over a year or two ago I found out that the dress code had changed and capris were now allowed past September 1st. It wasn't just Memorial to Labor Day.  And it's non-gender specific - the code doesn't specify females only, the purveyors of the dress code probably just didn't think any guys would wear them or it went without saying.     

Voila! Thus began Knickers Friday and I started wearing my Kuhl Krux shorts on Fridays.  Raised a few eyebrows in the office and around downtown, especially when I continued Knickers Friday in winter.  But it was all in fun.  A bike buddy at work did join me for a bit, but overall Knickers Friday wasn't a big success.  It never really caught on with the menfolk, even when I offered free donuts to manpri/knickers wearers. I get some razzing about them, but again, it's all in fun.

Fast forward to one Friday last November when I'm walking past the office of one of the upper mgmt. directors in another department.  She's coming out of her office at the same time, and says "nice shorts, Scott".  I say thanks, and that they're knickers, pointing below the knee.  I think, hmmm I'm not sure but there may have been some sarcasm in her comment.

Later that day I get an instant message from our HR Director asking me if I could stop by and talk.  Sure, unsuspecting, and thinking it was regarding another matter.  I walk into her office on another floor, and she says what's with the shorts?  I say they're knickers, manpris, and I've been wearing these on Fridays for over a year.  The upshot of the conversation was I could still wear knickers, they just had to be longer.  It wasn't specified how long.  (oh yeah, I remember her saying, well if you want to be cold…).

So started a long search for some 3/4 pants or knickers with an inseam longer than the 16" of the Krux shorts.  I thought I wouldn't have any trouble finding some longer hiking or biking shorts, but I couldn't. REI, Mountain Gear, etc but no luck.  A bike buddy at work likes the Prana Menace knickers, but there's something about the fit/looks I don't like in them, and I wanted a cotton blend instead of all polyesterish material.  I thought I was going to have to cut some jeans or slacks and make my own.

Finally one day in mid-December I'm checking REI again, drilling down in the menus and i see you can search by inseam length.  Suddenly one item with an 18" inseam jumps out at me.  I click, and up pops the Arc'teryx A2B Commuter Long bike shorts.  I may have come across the A2B's before but they're not cheap - $129 msrp now.  But the price at REI was only $63.83, probably last year's overstock or special buy.  And there was only one size available - mine!  Two colors available: dark grey or tan.  I took that as a sign and quickly order the tan ones.  Then I think again and order the gray ones, too.

Here they are next to the Krux shorts for a comparison.  It was difficult to get the waists an inseams to align, the Krux are up a little in the first picture:

When I tried on the A2B's, I wasn't sure if they were really that much longer on me than the Krux or if they would pass muster at work.  In the meantime, I had changed managers so the first Friday I wore them I showed them to him, and he said, eh, they're below the knee I think they're fine.

The A2B's are nice quality shorts, well made and seem more durable than the Krux, which aren't really made for cycling. The material is heavier, so they might be warmer in summer.  They do have all the supposed requirements for commuting - reflective bits on the back pocket and cuff, extra pockets, a higher waist in back.  The fit is good. They might be a little too stretchy in the waist, but at least they're not too tight.  The material isn't denim, and could pass as slacks or Dockers material.  A nicer material than the Krux.  Heck, maybe I could wear them every day of the week.   

That's my Knickers Friday story - I wonder if it'll ever catch on. It's nice to have one day of the week where I can just leave work on hot summer days without having to stop and change into shorts. 


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Old Man and the Hybrid

I'd been enjoying commuting on my Marin Muirwoods for a couple weeks.  It's zippy and works some different leg muscles than my drop bar bikes.  The Big Apple semi-ballon tires smooth out rougher residential city streets and handle the urban dirt trails with ease.

One day I was riding home on the newer Centennial Trail section past Kendall Yards just before Boone Ave. It's a little uphill section leading up to Summit Ave.

this here hill
I was taking it easy but not going too slow when a youngster in his 20's maybe 30's passed me.  By the time we got  up to Summit Blvd - a nice flat, wide street around the river ridge - he was a little bit ahead of me.  And then I started catching up to him, without trying, so I backed off a little.  I didn't want to pass and have him think I was Cat 6'ing him.

The next day it happened again, except a different biker passed me and then went slower than me on the flats.

Maybe this is similar to being behind an RV or camper on the highway:  even if they're doing the speed limit or a little more,  you feel the need to pass them.  You see an older guy on a hybrid and you got to pass him, especially if he's going uphill.

Well let me tell you - the Muirwoods is not your grampa's hybrid.  It can climb.  I mean I could go faster uphill if I wanted to.  Honest.