Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pasela TG's (aka Old Man Tires) flat again

For a few weeks I've been noticing more gravel and debris along the side of the streets.  I was glad to see the street sweepers were out cleaning a couple of the East-West streets I cross like Garland, but they haven't made it to the main streets I ride.  So somewhere along Broadway I felt that funny feeling - what, is my wheel loose and going to fall off? - soon I realized the back tire was dangerously low.  I made it to Riverfront Park before walking the last couple blocks in to work.  The culprit turned out to be a little crumbly piece of safety glass. These tires ride nice, but I'm not too impressed with their flat protection.  Maybe I just attract nails, glass and debris and need a bomb proof tire.

Panaracer T-Servs look like they might protect against flats better, but I'm not ready to shell out close to $50 bucks each for them (I want the ones with the reflective sidewalls, mostly for the look).  I don't really want to buy new tires, so I think I might try those tire liners.  Maybe that'll give me enough protection on the mean streets I ride on.

Speaking of gumwall tires, I got a laugh out of the guy over at All Hail the Black Market. He was trying some Bruce Gordon Rock 'n Road gumwall tires and said "They look like old man tires." (Towards the bottom of this post.)  Maybe that's why I like the Paselas.  Except for that flatting thing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DBL's - Daytime Biking Lights

I've often been commuting with my lights on in the daylight this past summer and I've noticed something: I see lots of drivers approach an intersection as if they're going to roll through it, do a double take, see my high-powered-disco-strobe-flashing-annoying-front light and then come to a complete stop.  Could be my imagination, but I think the lights make drivers notice this biker coming down the street more.  It could be the reverse - it's me who's noticing the drivers stopping more because I know I have the lights on.  They would've seen me and stopped anyway. I should probably do a proper scientific study.  Maybe somebody already has.  But in the meantime I think I'll keep riding with the lights on in the daylight.

Monday, September 24, 2012

1st Cyclocross race of the season - some random thoughts

1. Riding my bike out to Riverside for the race instead of driving didn't take too much out of me, in fact it may've helped my "racing".

2. I keep hoping every year that the old man 50+ race will be only 30 minutes long instead of 45.  But that's hardly worth coming out and racing for.

3. That woman I heard say 'he's got no technique" after I jumped over the 2nd barrier and tried to get back on my bike probably wasn't talking about me, but could have been.  It pretty much describes my mounting style. Fumble around a bit trying to find the pedal with my left foot, then swing the right leg over.  I gave up trying to do the jump over for now.

4. Either I'm getting better, or the race leaders are slower this year, as I didn't get lapped until their last lap (my 3rd or 4th lap, I lost track).

5. I don't know why I bring my Garmin, I never remember to start it at the start, or to hit the lap button.  It'd be nice to have some lap info so I could compare laps.

6. Luckily Hank asked me "are you racing this next race?" just before our race started.  I hand't seen anybody lining up yet, but that's because they moved the starting spot back from last year and I was looking in the wrong spot.  Made it to the start just in time, but the race official didn't have my name on the list, so I wonder which race I actually signed up for.  I thought I signed the Masters 40/50 race sheet but who knows.

6. I need to get better at riding fast on dirt.  Probably just need to get a few more races down as I haven't practiced with the cross bike on dirt too much this year.

7. The course seemed bumpier than the last two seasons.  Thinking of taking my mountain bike next time.

8. I didn't get laughed off the course for putting platform pedals on my real 'cross bike, a Redline Conquest Pro:

I was having a terrible time last year with toe overlap in the slow, twisty portions of the courses, partly due to my size 44 mtb shoes which seem about an inch too long for my 9 1/2 size feet.  Size 43 is too small for me, and I didn't have time to find some 9 1/2 shoes to experiment with so I thought hey why don't I use platforms? Dave at 2 Wheel transit had sold me some $20 Redline pedals for my mountain bike and they worked great, so I bought another set and put 'em on the cross bike.  They grip pretty good.  They look a little funny on the cross bike, but they worked great. No worrying about clipping and unclipping.  I'm just about completely over clipless pedals, too bad I have 3 pairs of the SPD compatible shoes.  These pedals are pretty wide so I might invest in a narrower pair now that I've found they work for 'cross.

9.  I didn't get laughed off the course for wearing those long knicker-manpri's over lycra bike shorts.

10. If I bought that nice Elephant single speed they had for sale at the race, I could race at 10:15am instead of 12:15 and get it over with.  Or I could ride both, cuz it'd be a shame to leave the Redline sitting around not racing.

11. I couldn't buy the Elephant cuz I biked to the race and didn't have anyway to get it home.

12. I don't really need a new bike.

13. Really.

14. The Salsa Vaya is still tempting me.

15. This is my 3rd year of cross.  Just like last year, I wake up early Sunday and wonder am I crazy for doing 'cross?  I'm old and slow, nowhere near competitive.  I'm not much of a racer. Blah blah blah. Maybe I'll just stay in bed.  Then I think Ok maybe I should do today's race and maybe a couple others.  I finally pull myself together and ride to the course.  I wake up a bit. This is going to be fun.  I'm hooked again.

Friday, September 21, 2012

54 YO Biker ISO Single Track

It was my birthday, early July afternoon, 95 degrees out. We'd ridden our bikes up at Palisades Park in the morning, but now I had to try out my new toy:

This was just the ride down the Merkel Trail to Riverside, I'll spare you the long slow ride back up. I think I'll take the camera off the wide angle setting, some of those scenes make me feel a little queasy, what with the bent trees and horizon. 

If you're still with me, down below is a bonus clip from a ride at Mt Spokane sometime in August.  I'd taken Trail 110 up to the intersection by the Mt Kit Carson Loop - holy crap! that's a workout! - and then wandered onto a trail that soon petered out.  I read an article recently about some landscape repair that had to be done to an illegal bike trail on the mountain, so from now on I'm going to stick on the real trails, if I can figure out which is which. Not too familiar with the trails up there.

By the way, if you have the Falcon Guide "Mountain Biking - Spokane & Coeur d'Alene" there might be a typo on Ride 23 Mt Spokane - Mt Kit Carson.  It says to take Trail 105 just past the park headquarters, but when I stopped to talk to a ranger there, he said well there's no trail 105 that I know of, but there's trail 110 there.  And so there was.  I got kinda a funny look from him, like "you're planning on riding up that trail?" but I ignored it.  Maybe I shoulda asked a few more questions, or read the guide book's description closer: "series of steep switchbacks", "continue climbing", "climb steep and winding".

Shoot, this is too funny, I just read the directions for the ride and looked at the map closer, and it turns out I rode it backwards from the book's directions. It says about trail 105 (110?) "you'll be coming back this way". Oh well, I was looking for a good workout, and would probably have gotten a good workout going the other direction, too.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This really annoys me - truck on Broadway

I always hate it when a driver can't wait for a biker to clear the intersection, but turns into it as I'm in the intersection or just approaching it.  This has happened before on Broadway, but last time it was a police vehicle:

If you watch closely you can see this guy pull out into the intersection, and then slow down as he starts to turn.  I think he knew what he was doing.  When I caught up with him at the light at Monroe, I asked him "didn't you see me?". He said "Oh I thought you were over to the side more". Well, I was over a little bit more than usual.  Still, it's unnerving to have a large vehicle turn towards you or in your direction no matter where you are on the road.

He was in business type clothes.  I'm always surprised by the number of people who use those 1/2 or 3/4 ton trucks as their daily commuters.

P.S. That annoying clicking noise in the video is just a lack of grease in the head tube or steering tube or somewhere in that vicinity which has thankfully been corrected now.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Last Weekend Wrap-Up and then some

As another famous blogger says "Me! Me! It's all about me!"

ok this is getting to be like old news now and it's long and no pictures. You're just lucky if you're reading this whole thing through that I deleted this weeks' Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday rides:

Last Thursday - went on my very first ever Shop Ride, which was 2 Wheel Transit's last shop ride of the season.  We started out at their future location on South Perry and headed up Southeast Boulevard, to Regal and then I'm not sure where. I remember we turned left up Jamieson at one point.  There are some nice views up there. The group got split up after a bit, and so after awhile I just tried to stick with one group as we headed back down the South Hill.  It was a fun ride, about 15 miles for me, some had more or less depending on their route.  It was a good group to ride with, and there was a mix of road and 'cross bikes and a hybrid or two. I'm not sure if I'm big on riding in a large group, but it's a good way to get out of the house and meet some new people.  The great folks at 2WT fed us with pizza and gave us a tour of the new shop-in-progress afterwards.

I learned a lesson - Bike Commuting/riding tip #4.2aa - Carry extra batteries, stupid! Or a back-up light.  Yes, my front light died somewhere on the ride.  It was getting near dusk when it was time to ride home, so I walked over to the convenience store and found they had 4-5 pegs filled with AAA batteries, a few 9v and D batteries, but no AA's for sale. I headed towards home while it was still light out and stopped at a 7-11 on 2nd Ave and picked up a 4-pack of batteries. It was dark by the time I made it to NW Blvd.  Sure felt strange riding in the dark already this time of year, and gave me a preview of fall and winter riding.  I like riding in the dark for some strange reason, but it sure seems like the sun is setting way too early.

Friday - I forget. I must've ridden to work and taken the 7-Mile loop home. Getting a little predictable, but another good 20+ miles.

Saturday - took it easy.  Renewed my USA Cycling license and finally sent away to WSBA for my race numbers.  Looks like I'm really going to do 'cross again this year, there's no backing out now.   Worked up some energy in the evening and rode my blue Redline to downtown Spokane to watch the Twilight Crit.  A pretty cool event, I made it in time for the kids race which was fun to watch.  Then came the Masters 40/50+ and Women's race.  Holy Crap! am I glad I didn't sign up.  Those guys were booking it around the course, leaning into the corners.  The course was open to the public after the Masters/Womens race so I took one half-embarrassed lap around the course during the "Citizen's Ragtag Rally" as they called it (don't care for that name, but then I had nothing to do with putting on this great event so can't complain).  I started out without my helmet on - gasp! - and thought better of it. Didn't want any pictures getting back to the Mrs.

Sunday - oh let's see...oh yeah we rode down to do the 5th annual Spokefest. We thought about doing the 47 mile Four Mounds option but ended doing the 21 mile route.  Through mishap and maybe bad judgement on my part, the gears on the blue bike which had been running so smooth after its tuneup, are now rattling up front and refusing to go in the two lowest gears in back.* Took Spokefest fairly easy, except for one spot on the return section.  A guy in a team jersey with a noisy bike passed me on the right and this annoyed me for some reason.  Got my competitive juices going, so I hung with him for a bit and then passed him on a hill.  So there.  In a real race I doubt if I would've caught him.

My wife missed seeing BikeStyle Spokane at the vendor tents this year as she was hoping to find some new bike gloves.  I had a german sausage, beans and a sno-cone to fuel the ride home, so we broke our long standing 3 year tradition of stopping at Doyle's Ice Cream on the way home from Spokefest.

Sheesh, this is more like a bike diary, I'm a regular Samuel Pepys.

*I've discovered it's not a good idea to lock your 30 pound U-lock to a strangely shaped bike rack and your seat tube above your front derailer. The lock slid down below the derailer and twisted it around a bit. And also riding on an almost flat rear tire the last few blocks home can do some weird voodoo thing to your rear derailer. I managed to get the front derailer working without rattling against the chain last night, but still need to fiddle with the rear a bit more before I cave and take it in to the shop.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Nice River views along Aubrey White Parkway

..but I am sorta training for cyclocross.  I'm trying to get in shape, I'm serious, stop looking at the river canyon.  No time to stop and admire the view.  No time for picture taking (oh that's right I don't have a phone or camera with me anyway).  Stay focused.  Pedal hard.  Maybe this year you'll have some energy left after the first 'cross lap.

I'm lucky to be able to combine training rides with commuting home rides, because I have to force myself to train.  Training can take all the fun out of biking.

So I've been doing some variations of the 7-Mile loop on my way home from work. With a 30-pound U-lock in my backpack, I'm hoping to build some muscle and endurance.  I'd gone out a few times on Gov't Way to the Military Cemetery to hook up with the Centennial Trail and ride to 7 Mile, then back on Aubrey White and Downriver Drive.  I reversed it last week, and that's when I looked up from Aubrey White Pkwy and noticed the nice views to my left along the river.

I should probably extend the ride a bit out to 9-Mile.  Spokane has some nice rides.