Friday, June 24, 2016

Here's the summer bike JWP Trail plan(s)

Plan a:

1. Bike down to Spokane train station in late night/early morning
2. box Fargo up
3. bike and I ride train to Seattle. 2:15am departure
4. in Seattle: unbox bike, then bike to John Wayne Pioneer Trail
5. bike to Spokane

Plan b:

1. Bike from Spokane via Fish Lake Trail > Columbia Plateau Trail > Belsby Road > JWPT to Columbia River
2. turn around and make a loop back to Spokane via other roads.

Plan a is winning out, that's why it's plan a.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Stay Cool This Summer for Only $1,594.50!

I get emails from Map My Ride every month or so.  I get a kick out of the articles like 5 Ways to Improve your Average Cycling Speed because they really don't apply to me.  This month's article by Marc Lindsay is 10 Must-Have Cycling Items for Summer.  That's the title in the email, the actual article title is 10 Must-Have Items of Summer Gear for Road Cyclists.

"While extended daylight hours can make the summer a great time to ride, keeping cool will be a challenge. Check out these 10 items that will help you enjoy the miles and beat the heat during the hottest, most humid days of the year."

Sidi Wire AirCarbon Shoes  $499
POC Octal AVIP  Helmet  $319
Castelli Free 9 Socks  $16
Exteondo Feather Bib Shorts  $168
Capo Torino SL Carbon Sleeveless Base Layer $89
Rapha Super Lightweight Jersey $140
Rudy Project Tralyx (sunglasses) $250
Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix $19.50
MiiR Growler $59
Giro Zero II gloves $35

There you go, all for only $1,594.50.  (Feel free to check my math.)  For 3 months, and then you're going to have to get 10 Must Have Cycling Items for Fall.  Shoot, I'm not sure if I've I've spent that much total on racks, bags and helmets over my biking career. Maybe.

I've got a sneaking suspicion that Map My Ride doesn't think you really need all these items but the idea is that some people will click on the links and maybe buy something.  Naahhh...

Thursday, June 9, 2016

City Hills #4 - 6: Houston Rd, Downriver Dr., Cedar/Hgh Drive

We got hills! Lots and lots in Spokane, some short, some long, steep, no-so-steep.  Many days I avoid them, but some days I go looking for them.

One of my favorites is Houston Rd.  It's easy to bike to from home, and it leads to other gravel roads like Euclid Rd (see Version 2: Trail 100/Houston Rd/Old Trails/Euclid/Trail 25 and more), paved roads, Palisades Park, and you can loop back to Riverside State Park (also see Version 1).

It starts out off Government Way at the same intersection for the Centennial Trail parking lot by the Military Cemetery.  Just about a mile long, its a good climb with the grade varying widely, topping out at 14% give or take.  It's a good workout.

Here's the garmin map for Houston Road

1.02 mi
341 ft
Elev Gain

A short but good climb is Downriver Drive, riding up past the golf course to Northwest Blvd.  If I remember right, the grade tops out steeper than Pettet Drive.  It's a good one to to take on the way home from work, maybe riding back down and up for some hillpeats. I've never actually done that, of course.

Here's the garmin for Downriver starting where Downriver Dr splits off with Aubrey White Parkway,   up to H Street just below NW Blvd.
0.52 mi 166 ft
Elev Gain               Distance

Living on the North Side, I don't get to High Drive often but it's like the granddaddy of Spokane Hills. Long and high with good views, more intimidating than it actually is.  Earlier this spring I tackled the whole thing, starting at 5th and Cedar.  Cedar leads to the start of High Drive, which conveniently ends at The Rocket Market on 43rd where you can re-fuel and re-charge.  Overall it's not a real steep climb, but I remember Cedar being a good workout.

Cedar Street/High Drive garmin
3.57 mi
452 ft
Elev Gain

This is What Happens When You're Not Trying to Get a Flat

My tubeless-tired Vaya is in the shop.  You may remember it's the bike I'd been hoping to run over a nail or thorn to test the tubeless tires.  No punctures that I know of yet.  So Tuesday I rode my wife's blue Redline Conquest Sport to work.  It just got a tune-up and I wanted to test the gears and brakes.  It has regular tubed tires.  The result:


This is like the worst flat I've had in a long time.  I'm not sure if even the tubeless tire would've sealed very well. I thought it was an eyelet screw and it was stuck in the tire so good that I couldn't pull it out with my fingers.  Had to use pliers; turns out it's a nail bent in the middle.

I got the flat on Ash Street, between Boone and Broadway where there's a lot of gravel.  I'm not sure if the sweeper missed these few blocks, or if it's just gravel spilling out from the alleys, but it's like this every year.  The rest of Ash/Maple has been sweeped.  Been meaning to call the city.

Looking closer at the Street Sweeping Status Map, Ash Street between Dean and Broadway Avenues isn't green, showing that it hasn't been swept.  This is after the left turns lanes that lead to the Maple Street Bridge.  I've suspected the sweeper's route takes them over the bridge instead of down to Broadway.

One thing good about this flat: it made me look closely at the rear tire while fixing it.  The sidewalls of the Pasela TG's are looking old, and there's not much tread left.  Getting near time to replace.  I searched for some smooth rolling tires and saw Panaracer has an updated version of the Pasela with a new puncture technology they call ProTite.  "ProTite is 25% strong than previous puncture materials and advanced technology for puncture protection . "  

I doubt any puncture protection would've stopped that nail.  I will probably end getting the Pasela ProTite. Or the T-Serv ProTite instead since I don't like the Pasela's tan sidewalls.  The T-serv comes in black, red or blue - maybe I should check and see what Debbie likes since it's her bike now.

Friday, June 3, 2016

oh umm…why yes that's a new bag

I am about to have my debit card taken away from me or frozen.  Seriously, I'm trying to hold down spending.  But there's always this quest to adjust the bike setup, and darn manufacturers are always coming out with new products.  The Chrome Kadet that I recently bought is a great little bag, but sometimes it's a little too little; some days it's tough to fit in it everything that I carry to and from work.

The Velo-Orange Porteur Bag has been out for a year or two.  I'd been thinking of getting it or the Chrome Front Rack Duffel Bag for a while (at REI here - don't see online now at Chrome).  The VO bag requires use of the fence that goes on their porter rack.  You'll see how I got around that; there are other ways.  It attaches using short non-adjustable straps to the sides of the rack.  The fence keeps it from sliding forward or back. I'd read a few generally positive reviews and didn't notice the short straps until I took it out of the box. 

The Chrome is a better design (doesn't require the fence as it attaches in 4 spots with adjustable straps), holds twice as much, is waterproof, and is only $2 more.  Free shipping from REI, $12 priority mail from VO.  So wait…why did I go with the VO bag? 
(edit 6/4/16: whoa holy cow! just searched online and found the Chrome for $74.99 at Sportique. Never heard of Sportique.)

I didn't think I needed as large of a bag as the Duffel, and to be honest, I thought it was more expensive so hadn't searched for it lately.  Had kinda forgot it.  The VO has an outside pocket in the rear which is nice; no pockets on the Duffel. VO is MUSA. Looks very well made.

The VO has daisy chains on the bottom for alternate attachmenting, so I picked up some buckles and straps.  The straps kept sliding through the buckles, so I got out Debbie's little hand-held Singer sewing machine and sewed one end of the strap.

Go ahead and laugh.  I gave up on the machine and managed to thread a needle and sewed up the other one by hand.  Way back in grade school a next door neighbor friend was into sewing, and we used to sew a few things together.  I mean this was when we weren't doing manly boyish things like playing army, indians and cowboys, jumping our Stingrays over dirt jumps, having rock fights (true story, I'll have to tell you about that some day). So it brought back some dim memories.  Anyway, here's the result:

I attach the back straps over and around the vertical posts of the rectangular doo-dad on the back of the rack.  This works pretty good and is easy to get on and off the rack.  I don't like the short, non-adjustable side straps as they squish the bag down, so maybe when the newness has worn off I'll do some cutting and sewing to attach some longer ones on there.  Might seek professional help for that. 

The bag holds about 20 liters which is usually enough in summer.  I can think of some items that will be easier to carry now - flowers, potluck dishes, take-out.  The bag includes a hand strap so when I bring home Mod or Verraci's pizza I can carry the bag like a messenger bag (except I just tried it this way today, and it kept swinging off my back around to the front).  And since the fence isn't on the rack, can easily strap on a pizza box.  

Now all I really need (or want) is a Wald or Topeak basket for my Marin Muirwoods grocery/dog hauler/rain and all-around fun bike.  At least they're inexpensive.  

Tune in next year when no doubt I'll be back to rear panniers, having solved my Orlieb/Salsa rear rack interference problem.