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!