Sunday, December 29, 2013

Coffeeneuring (Blog Clearance #3)

Ok this post is way past its shelf life, but here goes:

I first heard of Coffeeneuring over at The Society of Three Speeds and the Urban Adventure League.  I thought that's cool, and I'm always a sucker for some clever (and not so clever) word play.  There was a challenge going on and the idea was to do a coffee run once a week for 7 weeks from Oct 4 to Nov 17.  It was started by Chasing Mailboxes d.c.  (not to be confused with the other DC - Drunk Cyclist) Sounded fun.  But there were rules, based on Randonneuring.  19 rules listed here.  Nineteen, my eyes glazed over and I don't think I read them all.  That killed that idea. So I rethunk it and the whole idea of Coffeeneuring went downhill, sounded suspect.  If I feel like riding to get a coffee, I'll just do it.

Last winter's Tariq Saleh Bike Club 100 Challenge is more my style.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Back to Backpacking (year end blog clearance #2)

Since I started bike commuting, I've gone back and forth between using a backpack or rack/panniers to haul my stuff.  I first rode with an old backpack I had lying around.  After I got my first decent bike, the Marin Muirwoods, someone suggested getting a rack and panniers, but those just looked...nerdy/dorky.  Which usually isn't a problem but seemed to project a bicycling image that ol' self-conscious me wasn't comfortable with, that of a serious cyclist.

Then I finally broke down and got a Topeak rack and trunk bag with zip-down panniers bags.  It was nice to get the weight off my back, and I could haul more stuff with the panniers.  The bike handled a little differently with the loaded panniers, but I got used to it.

But it can be a pain to ride somewhere and then deal with taking the panniers off the bike and carrying them around.  Much easier with a backpack to just get off the bike.  So after awhile I went back to the backpack.

I used the backpack all summer long in 2012, including some long after work rides with a U-lock in the backpack, and it never bothered me.  But this past summer I got tired of carrying the heavy, sweaty backpack and bought some nice Ortleib panniers.  Ahhh, felt good.  Except sometimes I'd get halfway to work and suddenly panic thinking I forgot my backpack.

The only problem I have with the Ortleibs is there isn't an easily accessible pocket on the outside.  Yep, I'm one of those guys.  Sure, you can stuff a lot in the roll-top panniers, but is it asking too much to not have to pay $30 bucks more for an outside pocket accessory to stuff your wallet, phone and keys in?  No, you have to unbuckle the bag, unroll it and dig around in the bottom of the bag to get to your loose items.  There is a zippered pocket at the inside bottom of the bag, but it's still a pain to get to.

But now with winter I've gone back to the backpack again. I'm alternating between riding the Vaya and a studded tire mountain bike without a rack, so it's easier to stick with just one hauling stuff mode.  Makes it easier in the morning to always use the backpack instead of switching between the backpack and Ortleibs depending on what bike I'm riding.

There's been a couple times this winter when I wished I had my panniers, as they're easier to fit heavy or bulky items in if I've stopped at the store on the way home.  Nothing like stuffing a nice flower arrangement for the Xmas dinner table in the backpack and hoping it looks nice by the time I get home. Luckily, Boehm's wraps up the flowers expertly for me.

Monday, December 23, 2013

honk! honk! (Year End Blog Clearance Sale #1)

It's that time of year again - time to reduce the inventory backlog of old, unfinished posts. These are all New Old Stock, maybe they have slight blemishes or missing parts but otherwise they are brand new!

Here's the first one, I think it was left unfinished due to a lack of interest and a good ending.  One of the work related personality tests I took once said, (besides confirming I was a space cadet), that my personality type (there were maybe 24 types comprised of 4 letters like JSNF) likes to leave things unfinished.  We don't like the finality of it, I guess, or it's just a good excuse to procrastinate.  Of course, maybe most tests of that sort you should take with a grain of salt.

If you would like, you could add an ending yourself.

Honk Honk!

I haven't been honked at yet this year.  Just writing that is probably a guarantee someone will honk at me tomorrow. (Edit: just a few more days to go!)

I was honked at probably 4 or 5 times last year.  I'm not riding any differently than I was last year, so I don't know what's up.  Maybe drivers are too distracted to honk.

Last year's honks I think were all for no reason at all, or so it seemed so to me.  The first time was kinda funny.  I was stopped at a red light on Broadway, heading west, at the intersection with Monroe.  I was over to the left a bit in case a vehicle came up behind me wanting to turn right.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they wait behind me.  There was a guy walking across the crosswalk in front of me carrying an old stereo component (I see this surprisingly often in town, they're usually heading to the pawn shop). There was a truck behind me. When the guy was about 3 feet from the curb, he turned around and said to me "the truck behind you wants to turn right".  In the 1/2 second it took me to process what he said and automatically half turn my head to look behind me, the light turned green.  The truck's horn honked.  Seriously, there's a guy still in the crosswalk, the light barely turned green, and you're honking?

I often ride home on Broadway in front of the Courthouse.  I try to ride to the left of the parked cars to stay out of the door zone.  I can keep up with the speed of traffic if I want, since everybody isn't going too fast here, and really shouldn't be.  There are a lot of pedestrians-soon-to-be-drivers-or-bus-riders crossing the street in the area.  If cars want to pass bikes here, they just move to the left into the center turn lane a little bit.  Oh but not one guy - he couldn't quite grasp the concept and laid on the horn.

Then there are times when I'm just biking along and a honk comes out of nowhere.  I rode from Aubrey White Pkwy to Gun Club Road to hook up with 7mile Rd and ride back to the Veterans hospital /old River Ridge shopping center area. 7-mile is a 4-lane road, and I'm in the right lane going east, sparse traffic.  A car in the left lane, one full lane over, honks. I thought maybe they knew me or were giving an encouraging honk - otherwise I don't know why they honked. It's not like I was in the way of anybody as traffic volume was low.  Heck, I'm not sure why it's a 4 lane road anyway, it seems to have the traffic volume of a two lane.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Pugsley N/R Meets Snow

I got the Pugsley Neck Romancer in April and I finally got a chance to ride it in the snow today.  It was kinda like when your puppies first experience snow. They go whoa what's this? but soon are romping and running around in it having a blast.

It's great to ride the Pugs on the dirt trails, but you know a lot of the appeal of these bikes is their snow capabilities. I was bummed because it snowed yesterday and I had the day off, but no time to ride.  The plan today was to test ride it in the street so I could see how it would work for bike commuting, and get some snow trail riding.

The verdict - good to go for biking to work.  Rolled good on the compacted snow in the middle of the street, worked great on the bumpy stuff, even with the high pressure of 12 psi for a fat bike that I started out with.  It was a little slower in the 3" fluffy snow than a mountain bike or studded tire.  The real test will be the icy ruts and bumps that we get in the streets later on in the winter.  I hope.  The only problem I can see biking to work is fitting the Pugs in the elevators at work.  Hoping it's not the bike that finally gets bikes banned in our building.

After riding in the streets for a while I headed to Joe Albi and to the Merkel Trail.

between the stadium back parking lot and

The Merkel trail was a bit iffy in spots and I had to walk a couple times.  I had let some air out of the tires but could've let a lot more out.  Did some semi-controlled sliding on the downhill sections.  It needs riding down a few more times to pack the snow down.

The usual photo ops from the bridge at the Bowl & Pitcher:

At the Bowl & Pitcher campground I saw another set of fat bike tires heading over the bridge, so I knew there was at least one comrade out there.  I met the maker of those tracks while on the trail up to the Centennial Trail, a chap named Dave on a 7 year old Pugsley.  We chatted a bit, and he noted my front tire pressure seemed high.  I was surprised to see it was, and when I did let more air out later down the trail the bike rode better.

I couldn't stay out much longer, but found a little single track on the way back that was fun to ride.  I forget what trail number this is, but it leads to a rocky, steep unrideable section:

Walked the bike back to one of the other trails to the campground.  I was tempted to stay out longer and  ride more single track, but Xmas shopping was calling.  Here's hoping there's more snow this winter.  But man I hate having to shovel the darn stuff.

Friday, December 20, 2013

NiteRider Lumina 650 - the bad and the good

Well let's get right to the bad:

Yes, that little micro-USB connection should be inside the unit under the open door.  I bought the Lumina 650 sometime last year and within a few months the little connection broke loose when I tried to plug it in to charge it.  I chalked this up to bad luck, and maybe riding over some bumpy roads had loosened the connection.  I exchanged it, thinking this was just a freak circumstance and wouldn't happen again.  But no, just this week it broke loose again, so I'm guessing bad design.  The connection is tight, difficult to connect just right, and not strong enough.  The handlebar mounting connection isn't solid, and the light rattles in it a little bit.  The battery seemed to last only 2 1/2 to 3 hours on low before it switched automatically to walk mode.

The good:

A huge improvement over the Planet Bike Blaze lights that I had been using. I started out with the 1/2-watt Blaze, and then got the 2-watt.  I usually had the Lumina set on low (200 Lumens) or medium, and I could actually see the road in front of me! Now I can't believe I commuted after dark with the Blaze. When I bought the Lumina I felt like I was splurging, but after using it the first time I realized it was one of the best bike-related buying decisions.

This week I've used a Blaze or a Princeton-Tec Eos (70 Lumens) I had lying around.  The Eos is brighter than the Blaze, but still doesn't light up the road.  Didn't like riding with either one, and felt a bit unsafe.

The good doesn't outweigh the bad in this case.  Maybe the 2014 Luminas are built better, but I'm leaning towards the Cygolite ExpiliOn 800 or 680 now. Worried they might have the same connection problem...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Post Street Bridge - Stop signs replaced

Rode into work Monday morning and was pleasantly surprised to see the stop signs for bikes crossing Post in the bike lane were replaced by yield signs. And the sidewalk on the west side of the bridge was finally opened up again, so less people walking in the bike lane.

From the other side, heading north on Post on the 2-way bike lane:

Not sure why they replaced the stop signs - maybe they realized that bikes don't need to stop here, as there's not a whole lot of traffic on the street.  The Stop signs may have been confusing drivers also as they were angled more towards the vehicle lane than the new yield signs.  (I was driving home with Debbie and some friends this way Saturday night, and had to reassure everybody that I wasn't running the stop sign since it was for the bikes.)  The bike lane doesn't cross Post at a good angle here - you have to turn your head to look back while approaching the crossing.  I think I prefer to take the lane when riding north and skip the bike lane.

Riding south on Post Street, I had been confused by how to get over to the bike lane on the east side of the bridge.  The single lane splits into a bike lane on the left and a lane for a right turn only:

I had turned left after the divider a couple times, but realized I was cutting across and heading straight into the north-bound lane on my way to the 2-way bike lane.

It suddenly dawned on me you're supposed to continue straight and go to the right of the Do Not Enter sign, ride between the islands, then cross in the bike crossing.

When this connection to the Centennial Trail first opened up, I thought I'd take it every once in awhile for variety on my way home, but would usually ride north on Post to Broadway.  But most of the time I've been crossing Post here, heading under the Monroe Street bridge to the Trail. It's a quick and easy way to get to Elm Street or Summit Blvd to head north.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Motorcycle Glasses & Mechanics gloves (Trip to WallyWorld)

A buddy at work is winter bike commuting for the first time this year and was having trouble with his sunglasses fogging up.  Asked me how I handled that. Well, I've been riding without eye protection, mostly because I don't like the cold plastic on my face, but my contacts have been drying out and acting up in our sub-freezing weather.  I told him I was thinking of getting some ski goggles.  I searched online, and found bicycling goggles are available, too, so was going to look into those.

Then yesterday I wandered into the motorcycle aisle at Walmart, and stumbled across some motorcycling sunglasses for $14. 

They have some foam padding which I thought might help with keeping the cold out, and have an anti-fog coating. I got the clear ones, but they also have ones with colored lenses. I also picked up a pair of Grease Monkey Gorilla Grip gloves. I was just thinking about getting a pair of mechanics gloves for repairing flats in the winter, and coincidentally these were in the same aisle as the glasses.  I can fit my hands with glove liners on inside so maybe can keep my hands dry and a little warm if needing to make emergency repairs.

The glasses look a little dorky, so they're right up my alley. (Debbie said they make me look like Barry on Storage Wars.)  They seem to have a wide field of vision.  Will give them a try tomorrow, I think I might like the size and fit of these better than goggles.  Next thing you know, I'll be shopping for accessories at the Harley dealership.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

ok, I guess it's a little cold

My solution:

Scout not included. Just noticed the reds in the shirt and the
jacket hurt my eyes. 

Long sleeved T-shirt. Usually cotton…I know I know - cotton kills but it's only a 5 mile bike ride
SmartWool base layer (found on sale 1/2 off!)
Light Jacket - either the red bike jacket or normal one works.
Long john's - either inexpensive Costco ones or SmartWool
Work pants - dockers or jeans
Wool footies over regular socks, same ol' 5 Ten mtb shoes.
Wool glove liners inside 3 fingered gloves.
Neck gaiter, hat, helmet.
Pedal fast!

This works for me, and I arrive at work a little overheated somedays - I might have an internal heat machine. As long as my arms are warm, I'm ok.  Which is funny, because off the bike I can get chilled real easily.

One day this week I tried no long johns and rain pants over work pants.  Bad idea!  I thought the rain pants would add a layer of insulation and protection from the wind, but they just made my legs feel colder.

Here ends the bike blogger's required annual winter gear post.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday Ride 2013

The dealio: John's report here;  Hank's with pics of each of this year's participants, except for himself (I was too lazy to get my phone out of my pocket, and neglected to bring the go pro) here.

Here's my Garmin report.  We started at the Scoop and I didn't remember to start the garmin timer (what again?) until a bit down the High Drive bluff trails, so the distance from The Scoop to River City Brewing is a bit more than 22.91 miles.

At the River City taproom. I only had 2 half-pints, but things got a little blurry.

After River City, Eric and I headed north, others headed back to The Scoop.  Started snowing a little on the way; my mountain bike tires worked fine.  Of course, Eric's fat bike tires didn't notice the little bit of snow.

I'm not a slave to the garmin and stats, but now I'm curious how far it is from home on the North side to The Scoop; and from River City to Scoop.  Hmmm,  a beer and ice cream trip, sounds like a good idea.

A fun ride, legs felt it on some of the hills, but best of all, I managed to stay upright this year!
Thanks to John for putting this ride together.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Trail 25 Where Are You

I've been riding out on the 25 Mile Trail at Riverside off and on this year, the goal being to complete the loop.  Didn't ride it much in the summer heat, but earlier this year I started out by the Bowl and Pitcher and followed it north along the river to Seven Mile Road, and then lost it at the Carlson Rd Trailhead somehow.  And that's been the story whenever I head out on it.  I'll follow parts of it along, and then come to an unsigned fork and take the wrong fork, or lose it when it crosses a road.  I should head out with someone who knows their way around Riverside, but my rides on it have been those unplanned ones where I just head out at the last minute with no destination in mind.

Saturday I woke up, wasn't planning on riding.  Was going to get some things done around the house but then decided to head out and figure out the rest of the trail instead.  I took my usual ride down the Merkel Trail, then to the Bowl and Pitcher, up to the Centennial Trail to where Trail 25 crosses it by the road to the Equestrian Area. This is the second time I started out here to go counterclockwise and try to make it to the Carlson Trailhead from this direction.

There's one or two tricky parts where it's not clear which trail is 25, but after a few miles I reached Old Trail/Inland Rd and the edge of the ORV park.  

Then after the ORV is the part that stumped me last time I was out - the intersection with Trail 300. Arriving at the sign post for Trail 25 & 300 from below, all I saw was an arrow pointing back the way I came for Trail 25 and one to the left for Trail 300.  There's a steep hill behind this sign which I hauled the bike up and followed a trail to a no trespassing sign; Trail 300 took me up the hill to the same area and a Trailhead on Garfield Road.  There's a sign there for Trail 300 that says access to trail 25, which baffled me because I knew 25 should continue on somewhere but all I could see was it leading back where I came from. I rode around a bit and then hiked down the hill to the Trail 25/300 sign. 

This time I took a closer look around, and noticed what looked like a trail in the other direction of the arrow for trail 300.  Aha!

the arrow for 25 pointing back to where I rode from. If you
were facing directly in front of the 300 on this post, Trail
25 goes to the right of it.

Below: I missed the trail veering off to the left here and went right following a lot of hoof prints. Man this was bumpy and frozen sandy - made me wish I brought the Pugs.  Eventually came to a trail marked as #25 and backtracked to this spot.  You can see the trail and a Trail 25 signpost to the left middle of the pic.

I actually have the park map produced by the Inland Empire Back Country Horsemen, and I was really wondering how I'd left home without it (again) - it shows the 25 Mile loop. That and a compass would've helped a lot.  As it was, both my phone and Garmin died and I was left trying to go by memory.  After a bit the trail led to the ORV area again and Trail 25 Mile Marker 9.  Then the trail headed directly into the corralled off ORV park and ended.  I was stumped again.  I hiked up a hill and saw what I figured was 7 Mile Rd, went back down to the 9 Mile marker. Went into the ORV Park and had some fun riding on it, but didn't see any sign of a trail for horses, hikers or bikers. Made no sense why the trail would be in there.  So I followed the fence line inside the ORV park up to 7 Mile Rd, found a trail between the road and park and came unto another Trail 25 sign pointing across the road.

There wasn't a sign for Trail 25 on the other side so I rode north-eastish to the Pine Bluff Rd parking spot.  Still no signs for the trail anywhere so I took a trail that headed down a ravine, across either Coulee or Deep Creek. Stopped to take a pic of Deep Creek area.

Not Trail 25

And then made it up to the State Park Rd to get my bearings.  I figured this wasn't right, so I backtracked to 7 mile Rd/Pine Bluff and found a trail that headed west and I figured must be 25.   But now I'd been out longer than I planned due to all the backtracking and exploring I did so I decided to head home.  I took 7 Mile Rd past the intersection with Inland Rd and the State Park Rd, turned right onto the gated-off gravel road.  Took a Trail marked as 25 that I knew from past rides would head back up to the Inland/Old Trails ORV area.  This is one of the maddening things about Trail 25 - some of the Trail 25 signs I think aren't for the actual trail, but are for trails leading to it.  But it's also fun exploring the different trails out there.  

I didn't feel like taking 25 back down the way I rode up, so I took a steeper trail (204?) down and headed back to Spokane.  It was a good ride, I wasn't sure where I was at times but could tell I was heading towards the river after awhile.  I thought briefly it wasn't a good idea riding around unfamiliar territory without a map or cellphone, but knew I could always find the river.  One of the things I like about Riverside - even with my sense of direction I can figure out which way is Spokane.  Sometimes you just have to listen for the reports from the Rifle Club on Aubrey White Pkwy.  

I think all I have left to figure out of the 25 Mile Trail is the section between the 7-Mile/Pine Bluff Rd area and Carlson Rd.  Depending on the weather, might be able to ride the complete loop this year.  Maybe, just maybe I'll get it all figured out.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

the Wileydog Death Glare

  Well, it's that time of year again…a car pulls out in front of me and I shoot them some Wileydog death rays, but it doesn't stop them.  The glare doesn't work in the dark.  And as I discovered on my commute on Belt Street one day, it doesn't penetrate frosted windows in the morning light, either.  A wagon with the windshield and passenger window mostly iced over started to pull out in front of me.  I glared at them - hopefully you never experience it as it can scar for life - and they didn't stop.  What?

  So I opened my mouth and somewhere from the depths -  it startled even me - came a deep full throated 'HEY'!  The Wileydog Banshee Yell.  They stopped dead in their tracks and let me go by.

  I've got to be careful with this yell.  My wife and I were walking in downtown Portland a couple weeks ago, about to step into the crosswalk (walk sign was on) when a car creeped into it.  The driver was looking the other way for traffic so I just naturally yelled "HEY!". They stopped, but I startled Debbie, too, and probably everybody within a half city block.  It might have been a little overkill in this case.  Best to save it for emergencies.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Get Yourself Some Cheap Plastic Fenders, oh yeah! part II

Planet Bike Clip-On Fenders (Hybrid/Touring) - $20

I've been thinking of investing in some quality fenders for the Vaya and ended up with these.  Maybe they look a little out of place on a nice touring bike, but I haven't had any luck finding ones that fit with the 40mm stock tires.  So they are going to have to do, at least until/if I move down to fender friendly 35-38mm tires (the specs say the bike has clearance for 38 with fenders).  That's about the only drawback to the Vaya - it'd be nice to have a little more clearance.

I know, in an ideal cycling world we'd all be on city bikes that come stock with fenders, and clearance wouldn't be a concern.  But I like the looks of the bike without fenders, don't like fiddling with fender stays or hitting the front fenders with my shoes, so luckily these are easily removable.  And best of all, cheap!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Don't Fear the Flat Reaper

After getting 3 to 4 flats in September, both on the street and trail, I've finally made my peace with flats.  They're going to happen. Might as well just fix it without drama and get moving again.  Sure, I could switch to a really really puncture resistant tire, but I'm not sure if even those stop the size of nails, screws, glass, and thorns we have in the streets sometimes.  Might as well just expect a flat and be ready for it.  The last one I was surprised how easy it was - find the puncture, get one side of the tire off, pull tube out partway, patch it. Wait a few minutes. Clean hands with wipes that I finally remembered to carry. Pump up the tire and go.  Of course, this was a nice, sunny day.  Might want to ask me how I feel when it happens in a torrential downpour.

Usually when a tire flats, I curse the bad luck and a hundred calculations/thoughts run through my brain...will enough air stay in the tire and I can make it work, fix the flat during lunch? Damn, gonna get my hands greasy! Can I make it to a bus stop and make it to work on time? I'm gonna be late! Hope my pump is in the bag. Hey, these tires have a kevlar belt, they're supposed to stop this sort of thing, it's just a tiny little nail!

A couple good things came out of those September flats. All that practice made me quicker at it. And I finally got to fix a flat on the Pugsley N/R in the comfort of the backyard and discovered it wasn't too bad.  (got a slow leak out on the trail somewhere.)  I'd heard people had trouble with the horizontal dropouts, but got the tire off the bike without too much trouble.  The bead of the tire seemed stuck on the rim until I got the air completely out of the tire and then it broke the seal.  Fixing a flat on the Pugs for the first time made me feel less anxious about getting a puncture out in the boondocks 20 miles away from nowhere.

I might still put some sealant in the fat tires, I think they're heavy enough to where a little extra weight won't matter, and the tubes have the removable core type presta valves making it easier.  For commuting, I'm just going to take my chances and try to avoid the street debris, knowing that eventually I'll feel that crazy little wobble in the bike handling that means damn another flat!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Drop-bar-pannierd-khakied-skinnytired River Trail

Since I wasn't planning on doing many if any cyclocross races this year, I didn't take lots of long rides after work during summer to whip myself into some kinda shape so I could come in second to last or dfl in the Masters race.  But holy cow we've had some great September-October weather that I thought I better take advantage of now.  Haven't done any dirt riding after work for a long time so last Thursday took the Centennial Trail to Sandifur Bridge to the cemetery and hit the River trail on the Vaya in dockers and a t-shirt, with a single rear pannier bag.  Beautiful warm sunny day. Relatively skinny 40mm tires.  Other bikers rock the drop bars here and the Vaya handles the trail pretty good, but for the rocky parts I do better with wider mountain bike or cross style tires.  Did a little walking.

forthwith some pictures.

I couldn't believe I haven't taken the Pugsley N/R on this trail yet, so Sunday headed out and rode it out and back. Really nice being able to roll over rocks sometimes instead of navigating between them.

Looks like there was a work party out sometime between Thursday and Sunday below the housing development, as pine needles were swept away and the trail leveled and widened in spots.  And a sign I haven't noticed before:

Forgot to take the rear light off before I hit the trail, and it went missing somewhere in Riverside State Park. The cardinal sin of mountain biking.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Post Street Solution

To get bikes from Riverfront Park to the Monroe St. underpass/Centennial Trail connection, there is a 2-way bike lane in the works on the east side of the Post St. Bridge.

The middle of the street is a one-way running north.  The bike lane crosses this at an angle, with a stop sign for the bikes.

It's an interesting solution. Not sure if if like this angled crossing, with no stop sign for the vehicle lane. I usually ride in the traffic lane now, the bike lane can get crowded with people walking. I have a feeling when it's open to traffic, I might still ride in the one-way lane, especially if I'm heading further north on Lincoln instead of turning left.  Depending on the speed and volume of traffic.

The underpass is a great way to get by Monroe Street and continue on the Centennial Trail.

West of Monroe:

Back on Post Street, lots of construction activity going on where the new park/plaza is going in south of City Hall, and Post reconfigured.  The first time I looked here, I was startled how much this has opened up the view.

These projects should look real nice when finished.  Hoping it works for bike, foot and motor traffic.

Monday, October 21, 2013

All Kitted-Up

I only first heard the term 'kit", meaning a bike racers outfit, a few years ago.  Probably about the time I started cyclocross.  Then I heard the term kitted up.  Some months ago a guy writing into a Bicycling magazine said something about how his son wanted to go on a bike ride, and he hesitated a bit because he'd have to get kitted-up. What a pain I thought. I like to be able to hop on the bike without too much hassle.

Then my smugness faded away as I realized I'd just gone on a bike ride on gravel and dirt in my own version of "kitted up", it being late winter:

headless biker and dog butts great photo skills
Looking dorky as usual. (The knickers are from Aero Tech, the fit is kinda strange.  These are size mediums with a lot of room in the adjustable waist. Usually wear 32-33 jeans. Came across this brand at the Seattle Bike Expo a few years ago. Not sold on them).

Then there's the Partial-Kitted Up version.
REI 3/4 hiking pants, REI button-up bike shirt, 5-Ten platform MTB shoes (another item not from REI, shockingly) but somewhat normal clothes.

And the Bike Commuting kit:

I guess not really a kit, as it consists of my work jeans (or dockers depending on the day) and a T-shirt. I can ride to work, change shoes and put a polo or button-up over the t-shirt and I'm presentable and within corporate dress guidelines. Trying not to feel too smug.

Riding in normal clothes - as you probably know, a big deal in some bike circles.  I try not to put too much into it or join the great debate over riding in lycra/bike specific or regular clothes. Never liked tight clothes or polyester, so I tend towards the normal clothes spectrum with some adjustments. It depends on the type of bike ride.  Heading to the store or barber - no change. Heading out for long dirt/gravel/road ride - might require a change, if I'm not already in shorts and t-shirt.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Little Urban Single Track

Part of my never ending quest to vary my ride home. At the end of Nettleton just south of NW Blvd - the park/wild area at the corner of TJ Meenach Dr/NW Blvd. And fantastic bike riding weather.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

last week sunday pugsley ramble

Not sure exactly where I went but this is as near as I can make it...down Merkel to Riverside Park Bowl & Pitcher area, across Centennial Trail up Trail 210, south on Trail 25 I think, across W Trails Rd on another trail, on what looked like old RR grade in spots, came across road thought was Houston but it wasn't and dead-ended, rode along working RR tracks, found Houston, stayed away from the Archery range, to the Military Cemetery, Trail 100 (?) along the ridge, lots of horse crap (you have to pick up after your dog but not your horse I guess) which made me think maybe I was in the "no bikes preferred" equestrian area by accident.  Didn't see any horses but I thought might be on the same trail that is marked "no bikes" to the left of the swinging bridge. Sure enough that's where I arrived back at Bowl & Pitcher, Trail 25. A few pics

interesting house up in the hills

off Houston...some type of old walkway?

 ...bout ready to sell my mountain bike as I like riding the Pugsley N/R better, it goes anywhere. Except I need the mountain bike for studded tire commuting. But I could replace both the mountain and cross bikes with a Fargo or Fargo type vehicle, then the Fargo could be the studded tire commuter.  There's always something, but I'd like to condense the bikes down.