Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Annual Mileage Update
There are only 4 riding days left in 2011 and I can't miss any if I am going to achieve the goals. Stay tuned.
Monday, December 26, 2011
People from Texas are Tough!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
It is About the Ride
It was the Mileage Goal that got me out the door this morning for a ride. It quickly became about being on the bike as the day broke clear and crisp with long shadows and sparkling snow. I am reminded of the saying "As soon as you roll-out on the bike, you are doing what you came for." It's about the ride.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
December 20, 2011 Stats
YTD Mileage - 4,797
Monday, December 19, 2011
When 5 becomes 30
Regardless, once again this probably falls into the category of who cares, but it is a goal nonetheless. Somewhere around September or October, I looked at my year-to-date mileage and resigned myself that there would be no way I was going to hit the goal with winter approaching and just thought I would ride as long as possible. Through the magic of studded tires and no real winter to speak of so far I have continued riding outdoors on a daily basis.
I was putting in my mileage the other day and realized that I am not only a couple hundred miles from 5,000 for the year, but may also hit the milestone of 30,000 miles since 2006. Over half of the 30,000 miles have been on my 2005 Klein Reve which still has the same cassette and chain rings that came with the bike. The remainder of the miles have been spread between two Trek Madones, the Gary Fisher Superfly and a Klein Aura that I had for a couple of years.
There are 12 days left in the year and if I do not get sick, hurt, snowed-in, run over, or too busy I might make either the 5,000 or 30,000 mile mark. I will post an update on the 31st on how I did. Until then, Merry Christmas and safe riding.
Friday, December 2, 2011
P2P Grand Opening Tomorrow
Monday, November 28, 2011
Looking Back on this Seems Appropriate Today
Some Like It Hot
Friday, November 25, 2011
A new experience - Black Friday Ride
About 11 people showed-up riding mountain bikes, cyclocross bikes and even a couple of 29" single-speed bikes. The single speed guys were very tough riding the variety of terrain with only one gear to work with.
The route is known by locals as the Northwest Passage and meanders from White Road on S 195 all the way to the trails along the Spokane River past Doomsday Hill. There is no way I would have ever been able to negotiate the ride even with a detailed map nor am I certain I could repeat the ride solo again since I was looking down trying not to die most of the time.
It all started with a ride from Hangman Golf Course up to the meeting place on 43rd Ave. The cyclocross tire outfitted Superfly was the steed of choice for this adventure. There was some ice on the road, but the bike handled it without incident. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the serious looking crew assembled at the Rocket Market.
After introductions, we ambled down to the south where the fun began with climbing the grade to the top of White Road. After that it was some technical single track along a cliff, fast descents and a death-defying leap across train tracks in front of an oncoming train blowing its horn for all it was worth.
More trails, fast descents and a spin through High Bridge Park and Peoples' Park put us down by the Spokane River. More trails, a flat tire and some regrouping brought us to the foot of Doomsday Hill. Most went up the hill while those from the south took the highway back to Hatch Road.
It was a great ride with a great group all out for the same reason - the love of riding bikes. It all added-up to about 40 miles for me and a really big grin for most of the morning.
Thanks guys! See you next time.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Thanksgiving Day Ride
The road was even dry in a lot of places.
Apparently a lot of other folks had the same idea as I saw runners and cyclists as far out as Baltimore Road. It really felt good to be out after a week on the trainer. I am hoping to do the same tomorrow morning.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Time for the studded tires.
Pair of carbide-studded tires $130 to $180, good for year after year
Not falling on ice and breaking your elbow $15,000?
Out-accelerating the motorists from every stoplight Priceless!
You know you want 'em. :)
Thursday, November 17, 2011
New Women's Group Forms in Spokane
There is even talk of cycling tours and numerous rides during the season. We know some of the coaches that have been identified so far and know them as accomplished athletes that balance work, family and outdoor lives.
We are still working-out the details of our affiliation, and very excited about the possibilities of working together in the coming year.
Check them out at: http://www.galsgetgoing.com
Sunday, November 6, 2011
CX0 Tubless Update - Riverside State Park
Yesterday I had the good fortune of riding with about 15 riders through Riverside State Park trails between 9 Mile Dam and 7 Mile Bridge. This was THE off-road test of which I was dreaming when I installed the Bontrager CX0 Cyclocross Tires on the Gary Fisher Superfly back in October. The setup for the day was tubeless with about 40 psi front and rear on in the 700x38 tires.
This ride was a good test for several reasons:
- The course included a lot of climbing and descents with some varied trail surfaces and technical challenges.
- There were 14 other fat-tire mountain bikes available for comparative purposes
- It was a blast!
Friday, November 4, 2011
And We Are Live!
Saturday, October 29, 2011
CX0 Tubless Update
Today was the first chance I had to run the tubeless setup on the HD Bluff Trails. The last run across the bluff was with tubes and 80 psi in each tire to avoid pinch flats. They gripped and handled well at that pressure, but the back end jumped around like a pogo stick.
Today I set them at 40 psi and rode to the south hill on the road and then jumped on the trail at Hatch road. The reduced pressure made all the difference in the handling and improved the traction both front and rear. They still roll fast through the hard pack and have enough traction to climb the steep rocky stuff.
I think this is the right setup for what I want this time of year though it might get a little pricey having to replace the rear tire every 500 - 600 miles.
I would call the experiment a success in that the 700x38 cross tires improve the road characteristics of the Superfly while making it fast and nimble on the bluff. The ultimate test will be next weekend with a ride planned in Riverside State Park. I will be happy even if they do not perform well in that environment since I do not normally need to ride my bike to the park for XC riding.
I will give an update next weekend after the ride.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
It is not perfect by any means and we will be tweaking and adding to it as we develop new content and features. There will be daily Tip of the Day and you can read-up on any of the products we carry along with reviews as well. There is also a user forum that lets people share what is on their cycling minds - though it is not specific to Two Wheel Transit.
Feel free to poke around and see what is new and let us know what you think.
Thanks for your support.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Tubeless CX0 Update - Day 1
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tubeless CX0 Update
I applied the same process to the front tire but noticed that there was still a lot of soapy water sloshing around in it when I removed the tube. As a result, it had washed the old Stan's sauce off of the hooks on the rim so it was not sealed as well as the rear. It took more sealant and a couple more shots of pressure to pop and seat itself on the rim.
Remember that these are not specifically listed as tubeless tires so this application may not work. I pumped them up to 80 psi and will check them in the morning to see if they hold. If so, I will do some riding with lower pressures on the bluff to make sure they remain sealed during use. I will have a couple of tubes and lots of air with me just in case.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
More CX0 Update
I think going the tubeless route is a must for the roads around here. Doing so would provide a level of self-sealing for punctures while allowing for lower pressure for the off-road riding.
Monday, October 10, 2011
700x38 Ride Report
The road performance is outstanding. These tires are light and give good traction with little rolling resistance or noise. They make the carbon fiber mountain bike feel almost like a road bike and a lot of fun to ride on the road. I also did a test run across the bluff on dry trails to test the off-road capabilities.
The tires performed well for climbing, stopping and maneuvering on the dry trails. The were also fast rolling and improved the flick-ability and quickness of the bike. I did notice that the rear would break free if I hit a berm while carrying a lot of speed, but is was nothing unmanageable.
The big difference was the feel of the ride itself. Going from high-volume, tubeless tires with 30 psi to low-volume 80 psi meant for a lot of chatter when riding over the rocks. I pumped them to the maximum pressure for the road and to ensure I did not get a pinch flat over the rocks. It was not the end of the world, but you could definitely feel the difference.
Overall, I think the ride quality is worth the trade-off for speed and noise since I mostly ride the bike on the road for now. The wheels are still set-up for tubeless tires, so I may just find a tubeless cross tire to see how low I can go with the pressure and still keep a fast rolling tire.
Now if I could just get that trail of soap bubbles to stop following me around.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
700x38 and Change
I have been running 2.25 tubeless tires on the SF with very good results since June. But with strictly road riding now I find them to be a tad heavy and noisy. As a matter of fact, they tip the scales at a svelte 800 grams each which is great for maintaining momentum over rocks and stuff, but not exactly ideal for bombing around the south hill. After several rides I started thinking of switching to road tires since 29ers are actually 700C wheels on the bike. That would take care of the road, but I still enjoy hopping on the HD Bluff trails on a regular basis so road tires would be less than ideal for those occasions.
I know some riders who switch to their cyclocross bikes for the tougher conditions this time of year. This got me thinking about switching to cyclocross tires on the SF as a way to lose weight, reduce noise and rolling resistance while maintaining the ability to ride on dirt. Rider 1 told me of riders on the pro mountain bike team he used to manage who trained on cross tires because it forced them to pick better lines. Sounds like a perfect fall experiment.
I chose the Bontrager CX0 Team Issue 700x38 tires for their low profile, aggressive side tread and reasonably low weight for this experiment. A pair weighs less than a single 29-3 MTB tire so I already shed 1,000 grams. It is curios that these are listed as cross race tires but they exceed the maximum width of 33mm listed in the USA Cyclocross Rules for 2011.
The transition was fairly easy since I just needed to remove the tubeless valve and rinse the Stans juice off the rims. A couple of things to note with the new tires are that they are directional so you have to pay attention to their orientation and they tend to stick to the side of the rims so they don't seat all of the way at first.
This meant that I had to put a lot of soapy water on the beads to get them to pop in place. It looked like a Disney movie where the bubble machine was out of control when I inflated the tubes but I did get some satisfying "POP" noises as the bead seated.
The visual result is a bike that looks like a burly commuter or hybrid.
A short run up the street indicates some promise for this setup. It felt reasonably quick and fast for off-season riding. Plan on some updates in the near future as I get some miles in on the road and trails in the coming weeks. I'll be the one leaving a trail of bubbles in the rain.
Until then - See you on the road.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
In Case You Are Looking to do Something with the Kids this Weekend
Trips for Kids (TFK) founder Marilyn Price recently sent the following
message to Bike Bits, along with a PDF link to a great story from
Canadian Cycling Magazine: "I'm writing to tell you about one of our
chapter directors, Rick McFerrin. Rick had started our TFK Twin Cities
program in 2001, and then started another TFK program in Calgary when
he moved there in 2005. Last year he and his wife cycled from Calgary
to Mexico with their three kids (ages four to ten), and then they all
cycled back to Calgary." Here's the link to the story (in PDF format)
about this amazing journey:
Friday, September 30, 2011
Two Wings are Better Than Two Wheels (Sometimes)
Friday, September 23, 2011
A couple of weeks back I wrote a blog about Charles Pelkey, a former VeloNews staff member who was fired from his job the same day he got a cancer diagnosis (http://twowheeltransit.blogspot.com/2011/08/i-was-just-riding-along-and.html). Charles, as you may recall, is a multi-talented guy, who has a new website with live, minute-by-minute coverage of cycling events (liveupdateguy.com), but he is dearer in my heart for being a lawyer who rides a column called "The Explainer."
For those of you who noticed, the Explainer space on the VeloNews website had remained well after Charles' dismissal and I was beginning to think it extremely cheeky that VN had continued to trade on his good name and erudite explanations. Well, it turns out that the space was being reserved as negotiations were apparently going on behind the scenes to get Mr. Pelkey back penning this column as a freelancer. Not the same as employment, which tends to come with insurance, which one finds handy when one is battling cancer, but nonetheless.
But without further ado, here is a link to the latest Explainer entry about clenbuterol issues - http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/09/news/the-explainer-reaching-the-threshold-and-a-doping-explainer_193156. Charles does an excellent job of answering difficult legal and technical questions in the cycling world with accuracy, insight and in a very reader-friendly fashion. Please take a second to click on the link so that Charles and VeloNews notices that it is a needed and appreciated service.
If you want to catch up on prior Explainer columns, here is the link for that - http://velonews.competitor.com/category/explainer.
Charles touches on his cancer fight in his latest Explainer column and I heard from him recently that chemo is tough but he is doing okay. Please take a second to check out his column.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Great Way to End the Shop Ride Series
The weather was a perfect temperature in the high 70's which means a few of the riders heated things up with a blistering pace. It was all in good fun and the ride regrouped several times to ensure no one was dropped.
Fortunately, Tom brought about 1/2 of the shop in his panniers because there were numerous flats and fixes that needed attention on this particular ride. We had a couple of shop first on this ride - a kid threw something at the group (where were his parents?) as we rolled through the West Central neighborhood, and Patrick from the Scoop was waiting for us at the finish with his Scoopmobile full of great ice cream. What a treat!
He had great flavors like huckleberry, peanut butter fudge, and strawberry - all of which I needed to "sample" in my post-ride depleted state.
Thanks to all who rode with us this year through rain, lightning, sleet, heat, wind, smoke, and tough kids. A special thanks to the sponsors of Team Two Wheel: McSpadden General Contracting, Davids Pizza, The Scoop, Desautel-Hege Communications and NAS Pension Consulting for helping the team with jerseys and racing. Also to team members: Andrei, Gage, Lynn, Paul, Scott, Taylor and Tom for racing their legs off, representing the shop and making the shop rides a success.
Look for the classic white and black shop jerseys at Spokefest next Sunday.
Bruce and Geoff
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Time to Add Some Fibers to the Diet
I tend to work-up a sweat on climbs so a 30 mph descent into colder air really gets my attention. This weekend I had to pull-out my secret weapon to staying comfortable this time of year - Merino Wool head to toe.
The wool provides a super comfortable loft for warmth and superior wicking for moisture management which gives it the broad temperature range needed for this time of year - all in a single layer. Ibex Giro Full Zip Long Sleeve Jersey, El Fito 3/4 Bib Knickers and Teko Mid-weight Hiking Socks. There is nothing else I would rather be wearing - period. I like the hiking socks since they are longer and thicker than regular cycling socks while still fitting comfortably in my road shoes.
If you are like me and want to comfortably extend your outdoor cycling season as far as possible - consider adding some (wool) fiber to you diet - it might be what the doctor ordered.
See you on the road.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
The Nicest Thing Said To Me On A Bike
Here is the scene. A group of twenty riders and about 20 miles out of town with a long way to go to get home. Far enough along that we were all warmed up, all breathing hard and hearts pumping. We came to the bottom of a longish and steep climb and the group started to split up. First it was a couple of clumps with little separation, but then the lead group spit out a few and the hind groups splintered into ones and twos as the impetus went from "stay with the group!" to "survive the hill!"
It was said in a slightly derisive/slightly amused tone and it wasn't intended as a compliment. In fact, it may have even been a veiled put-down, since the clear statement was that I was the weakest guy on the team; that someone "had" to look out for me. And is absolutely true that I am the weakest link in the chain. I mean "someone" has to be the weakest guy, right? And what's the downside to having stronger teammates, really?
Anyway, it struck me at the moment as funny, as well as true. He was just thinking about self-preservation, but even if it wasn't meant as such, I took it as a compliment.
When you watch pro racing, there are times that domestiques are called by the team director to fall back and protect a leader, or to pull a potential winner back into the group after a tire or bike change. That is a sign of respect for the leader and, frankly, it is just doing the job for the non-leaders. That is definitely not what was happening here. This would be more like a leader/rouleur falling back to help an aging and out-of-shape teammate back into the peloton who shouldn't have been on the road in the first place. In other words, that just doesn't happen in pro racing. And it wouldn't happen in any race I was in either.
But this was a group ride and the astute fellow who spoke to me knew that almost "no matter what," that I had some teammates who were not just teammates, but also friends, who would notice I wasn't there at the top of a climb (not surprising anyone) and they would take some action to make sure I wasn't left behind. It might be as simple as saying, "hey, let's wait up while everyone gets on" or it might be drifting off the back of the group as it rolled along flatter roads to offer me some shelter on their wheel and a pull back to the group. But, no matter how it was done, they would look out for me. And that, my friends, is a nice feeling.
So, to Rider One and Two, who were there for me that day and lots of other days, I say, "Thanks!" It is always good to be on a ride with you guys and I look forward to it many more times. Right up until the point you get tired of hauling me back to the group.
Reminder - Shop Ride Tonight at 5:30pm
Monday, August 29, 2011
Last 2011 Official Shop Ride This Thursday
Team Two Wheel will be on hand to offer autographs, riding tips and regale us with stories of racing and adventure on two wheels. The ride will cover the 20 mile loop from the shop to 7 bridge and back and is no-drop as always.
We would love to have a large turn-out for the final ride this year - so please mark your calendars.
See you on the road.
Friday, August 26, 2011
I was just riding along and . . .
The worst words in a bike mechanic's life are, "I was just riding along and . . ." This is usually followed by a tale of innocence that somehow results in a tangled mass of broken bike parts that is assuredly covered by warranty or it's the mechanics fault and therefore a shop expense. These would be funny except for the deadly serious approach by said innocent customer.
Former VeloNews editor Charles Pelkey was recently "just riding along" when he ended up a mass of broken parts himself. Before July 27, he was a well-respected journalist working for a major cycling publication. After July 27, his position at VeloNews had been eliminated and he was diagnosed with cancer.
As a writer and editor at VeloNews, I was quite aware of three particular job duties he had. He is, in addition to a journalist, a fellow attorney and was writing a column called "The Explainer". It is an unfortunate side-effect of our current society that all sports involves an extraordinary amount of legal wrangling and cycling is no different. Charles would wear his lawyer's hat, use his cyclist perspective and then come up with an explanation of the legal processes surrounding doping cases or other courtroom matters that the man-on-the-street could understand and appreciate. It was a voice of sanity and much appreciated, even by those who understood the legal process.
Charles next specialty was live-blogging for races. I have gotten up many an early morning to read the minute-by-minute report of races in Europe which Charles was providing by watching a live feed of the race and reporting the action online. It is surprising how live and how real the action is when you are reading it, but it absolutely takes you onto the road where you live the attacks and counter attacks in your mind's eye, and then feel like you are there for the final rush to the line. It is just as exciting to read it line by line as see it on TV, and often for our beloved one-day races that is not an option. I confess to also using these feeds to supplement my desk-bound attention to these races from my office and they are a great way to keep up but not have you slack-jawed staring at a TV or video feed during the grand tours. Luckily for us, Mr. Pelkey has taken this skill with him on the road and is now reporting on races from LiveUpdateGuy.com. His coverage of the Vuelta today was supplemented by ESPN's Bonnie Ford and Mad Dog Media's Patrick O'Grady (creator of the "Old Guys who get Fat in the Winter" cartoons, among much else). It was by far the fastest way to know about Tyler Farrar's crash. Oh, you didn't know about his crash today? You should have been tuned in.
Charles' last specialty, of which I was aware at least, was the jovial and kind-hearted rejection of amateur bloggers who want to step into the limelight. Yes, I was one of said bloggers who contacted Mr. Pelkey to offer my services. I thought that VeloNews wouldn't have realized that they needed the cycling tales of an overweight 40-something enthusiast, but that if they would just take a look at this plucky star-in-training, it would be a match made in heaven. I would speak directly to their primary readership, that is made up of other overweight 40-something enthusiasts who want more and better equipment, more time to ride and more time to contemplate our collective obsession. Alas, it was not to be, but Charles couldn't have been pleasanter about it.
As a result of these specialties, I was mightily sorry to find out that not only had Charles been dispatched by VN, but that he was facing surgery and chemo treatment along with the impending end to his medical insurance. It's a cold world sometimes.
Thankfully for Mr. Pelkey, he has friends and resources and, just for good measure, he has a ChipIn account from NY Velocity. He has asked people to hold up on donations for now, but just in a case, here is the link - Pelkey ChipIn.
And lastly, just so you know there is some humor in this dark story, here is a Twitter exchange between Mr. Pelkey and someone well known for his work in cancer, Mr. Armstrong - http://twitpic.com/5xzbyo.
So there I was, just riding along when . . .Best of luck to Charles Pelkey on the road ahead. Along the way, be sure to stop by for live updates of bike racing at LiveUpdateGuy.com.
As much as I hate to admit it, it is probably time to replace my rear tire. If you can't tell from the photos, it is down into the 2nd layer of threads. Most likely the result of my panic stop yesterday which means I rode another 14 miles on it with 3 high speed corners and a 37 mph descent after it occurred.
Nothing risky or dangerous about that....
Thursday, August 25, 2011
A Case of Contributory Negligence?
See you on the road.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
A Day at the Track
|7 Eleven Velodrome; Colorado Springs, Colorado|
Monday, August 22, 2011
Day 1 Medicine of Cycling Conference
Yesterday was Day1 of the Medicine of Cycling Conference. It was held at the US Olympic Training
Center in Colorado Springs. This conference is designed to try to bring together physicians interested in cycling to share their expertise as team doctors and generally improve the medical offered to cyclists.
Topics this day discussed being a team doctor for amateur and professional teams, osteoporosis in cyclists (a significant issue because cycling doesn't “load” the bones to strengthen like other weight bearing activities like running or even walking), sport psychology (talking about the psychological characteristics of champions and over-training or rather under-recovery), cardiac concerns, concerns specific to women and exercise induced asthma (how it effects performance and what to do about it).
Lunch was in the dining hall with the athletes that are there training. Lo-fat healthy food to power these young bodies efficiently and effectively. No burger and fries here. There were several countries represented, Holland and Australia were ones that I was able to identify with some certainty. It was amazing to see the many young athletes relaxing, but reminding myself that these are some of the finest athletes in the country and perhaps the world.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
47 F - Really?
Remember the shop ride Thursday night at 5:30 pm. Pizza will be served afterward courtesy of Summit Ridge Christian Fellowship which means we will have some Tri-guys along for the ride. Leaves and returns to Two Wheel Transit, 1405 W. 1st Ave.
See you on the road.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Some Like it Hot
Today, I was thinking of doing just that, but various activities kept delaying my departure to the point where I would be about 5 or 6 hours later than normal. This would not be critical as the temperatures would still be in the 70s. As I pondered this scenario, I started thinking back to the seemingly endless winter and late spring and summer and how looking forward to summer heat is all that sustained me during those times. Today, I wanted to feel the heat that I dreamed of for months on end. To do so meant I would have to go about 3pm to experience riding at the high temperature of the day - 90F.
As I rolled up Baltimore about 3:15, I could feel waves of heat radiating up from the pavement. Occasionally, I would feel a bit of breeze, but it too was just like a blast furnace on my face. I usually, start perspiring toward the top of the two mile climb, but today it evaporated as soon as it hit my skin so I felt amazingly dry. My throat was parched at the top of the climb and the tepid water in my bottle felt great. I savored the heat knowing that the days are getting shorter and I felt just a little bit of fall on yesterday morning's ride - it was as if I hoped I could somehow store it up to use on a dark, cold day in December.
Another thing I noticed is my knees did not feel sore as they usually do on the morning rides in cool temperatures and just out of bed. My cadence was higher (not a bad thing for me) since I knew I would blow-up trying to push higher gears. I still did not feel uncomfortable even nearing the top of my second climb up Jamison - just a really dry throat from the effort of the climb. I was comfortable throughout the ride and found I was really enjoying it - to the point of thinking how I can get some more hot rides in before the weather turns cold. By that point, if I have a bunch of hot rides under my belt, the change will feel good even though I have to add a layer of clothing. Hopefully, I will be ready for it and feel I pulled the most heat from this short summer as possible.
See you on the road.
Friday, August 12, 2011
The Measure of a Man
Well, now that I think of it, it isn’t so much how they ride a bike, but how they ride a bike in a group, and even better over a number of group rides. When you ride with a group of people, you get a strong sense of who they are, and not just who they are on a bike, but who they are as humans in both their strengths and their weakness. I think you get to see just what someone is made of and maybe for the same reason that you get the measure of a person when you go through something stressful together. I think, though, that going through a car wreck or a hurricane or a jewel heist is a more compressed or one-time version of that stress and some people shine when they might not otherwise. Riding a bike often results in putting you under pressure, and it does so regularly in some groups, and then the good and bad become elevated or more extreme. I suppose a group ride is a bit more like a marriage, with some easy times, some hard times, some really really hard times and somewhere an underlying idea that you can stop showing up when it's not worth it anymore.
As a result, you have the chance to see how people react to stress and pressure; not only their own, but others’ as well. You see what happens when they are strong and you are not, and vice versa. You see what happens when they run low on food, or energy, or time. You see what happens when accidents or mechanicals occur. When the wind blows or it rains or snows or the sun is baking everyone. When these things happen, you see the good and bad in people. You see those who look after others, you see leadership, you see selfishness, you see thoughtful and un-thoughtful actions.
Even when the ride is rolling along and no one is under pressure, you hear what people have to say. You hear comments about sex and money and business and religion and politics and other people and sex. Or you notice people not making comments about one or more of these things. You hear about plans and goals and intentions in life or sport or business. You hear about successes and failures in these same arenas. And you hear reactions to all of these things happening to other people. I hasten to add that I don’t mean to sound like every group ride is a rolling philosophy session or time on a psychiatrist’s couch. Some rides take place with nothing more meaningful than a discussion of bikes and fitness, or breakfast and passing gas. But when you add up day after day, or weekend after weekend, and in particular when you add up year after year, you really get to know the people with whom you ride bikes.
I ride, sometimes, with a group of guys who have proclaimed on their jerseys, "Non siamo qui per fare degli amici. Siamo qui per girare!” Which translated means, “We're not here to make friends. We're here to ride.” And maybe today, just like 20 years ago when those guys started riding together, it was true, but along the way, you can’t help making some friends, and you can’t help taking the measure of a few of those riders.
And to bring this rumination to a close, I have to confess it was inspired by considerations of one of those riders - the eternally strong Sam J. He recently had the opportunity to do me and my family a good turn, and he did so in spades. And while I am deeply gratified by it, I am not surprised. I had taken the measure of this man a long time ago. While we rode bikes.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Cool new taillight!
Another interesting feature: they're adjustable. The flashing modes can be sped up or slowed down by holding down a button. Adjusting the steady mode changes its intensity. So if your commute is partly the Centennial Trail, and partly roadways, you can set up the steady-burn mode pretty low for the CT where you don't want to be blasting people, and then switch to one of the full-power flashing modes when you hit the street.
Here's an impromptu video clip I shot:
And here's the runtime chart from the back of the package:
We currently have four of these, come check 'em out :)
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Midnight Century, 2011 edition
This year, I didn't get nearly as much training in, so I was about 6-8 pounds over my "raceday" weight and felt feeble. Where's my leg strength gone...? Maybe I'm just getting old. :( But now the course is familiar, the weather was perfect, and my bike was set up really well for this ride, so I just pressed on, resolving not to overdo it.
We started at 11:59PM. I thought it would be cool to beat the official sunrise time of 5:34AM, but between painting smiley-faces and direction arrows with spray chalk, and stopping to fix a problem with one of my lights, I had too much off-the-bike time to hit that target, and came in 11 minutes after sunrise. Here's the Garmin's results.
My vision was flickering, a sure sign I was reaching my endurance limits. I soft-pedalled home and discovered a shortcoming in my MC planning: recovery food! I had only two pieces of bread left, so I made a fat peanut-butter & honey sandwich and guzzled the last of my chocolate milk, plus a Powerbar and a bowl of cereal. After a soak in the tub and a nap, I rode down to the store and rectified the food situation: ice cream... cookies... ooo, pizza! And more chocolate milk. There, that oughta do it. :)
Friday, August 5, 2011
The Little Bike Commute that Could
On days that I know I will be driving, I typically get a road ride in before I need to go to work. This means making sure that I ride early so I am back and showered in time to take it downtown. The other day, I was planning on doing just that until some email responses and other tasks extended beyond the time I had estimated and my morning ride became impossible if I was to make it to work on time. Dang, I really needed a ride that day.
Fortunately, it occurred to me that I still had enough time to grab my stuff and bike to work and still get my needed riding in for the day. Normally, I bike commute when I have ample time - not when I don't have enough time. In this case biking the 11+ miles on my bike was going to save me time - wow, what a concept.
Next choice was which bike and route to take. Should I bomb in on the road bike or thrash in on the mountain bike and enjoy the High Drive Bluff trails on the way? I am not sure why, but the mountain bike seemed to make the most sense that day. The ride was a nice combination of both road and dirt trail though a little warm due to the weather.
One thing I noticed though was that my off-road riding was not as confident and fluid as I remembered it being last time I was on the bluff. The grass and foliage on either side of the trail was much taller and more dense than I remembered and interfered with my sight lines and the lack of moisture made the surface a touch sketchier than this spring. All of which conspired to make me ride a little slower. Would I make it on time?
I probably lost a little time on the bluff, but the last mile on the road was heaven as I went flying down from 14th to 1st and made every green light along the way. Yes, I made it in less than an hour and felt exhilarated upon arriving. This experience has made me rethink the whole time issue with respect to bike commuting and look for more opportunities to combine my need to ride and the need to be at work.
The ride home was a little more relaxed and a great chance to enjoy being outside on a bike on a warm summer evening.
See you on the road (or trails).
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Famous Ed's shop ride
Tonight's shop ride started from Famous Ed's up at 57th & Regal. Wow, that was some great turnout! I didn't count, but there must've been at least 30 of you out there, making it one of the biggest turnouts ever. Do you folks prefer the South Hill over our usual Riverside loop, or was it just a good conjunction of the planets tonight?
Reminder - Special Shop Ride Tonight at 6 PM
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
A Bike, a Summer Morning and a Tailwind
Friday, July 29, 2011
Now I Get It
Oddly enough I heard a motorcycle close by and shortly two motorcycles passed me. At least I knew I was on the right path.
Now I Get It. No crashes and I am sure almost anyone could have done it faster, but Now I Get It! No air for me, although there were clearly some ramps that had been used by others.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A Trip to the Hardware Store
Each person who rides has their personal inventory of reasons to get out on a bike. Depending on the day, these include: exercise, transportation, community, enjoying the outdoors, competition and recreation. For one particular rider it appears to be like a trip to the hardware store.
On a recent ride we were returning home on Highway 195 and I hear him exclaim "Oh!" behind me and come to a stop. My mind is reeling with possibilities as I stop to see what happened. Did he flat, or cramp, or get a critter in his spokes? What would cause a cyclists to suddenly abandon forward momentum in a headwind?
As I rolled back to his position I saw him examining something as if he were a Spandex-clad Indiana Jones with a valuable ancient artifact. There he was with a huge smile on his face and what appeared to be a large metal hook. He was mumbling incoherently about how this would be perfect for his pickup or tractor or something as he eyed his new prize.
If you have spent much time on the area roads you may have noticed that they are littered with all sorts of things from glass to car engines and tools. This guy is a professional at a well-respected financial institution who uses his bike rides for a hardware scavenger hunt. I can only imagine the list of desirable items he has scrolling through his head on each bike ride. It probably ranges from 12mm sockets to a Flux Capacitor. He was raised on a farm so I guess he knows what to do with all the tools and implements the rest of us routinely dodge while riding. Me, I have enough old parts and things I never use in my garage.
I have occasionally read about this type of behavior in the Cycling Spokane blog, but never witnessed it in person. Apparently it helps keep the roads clean and reduces their carbon footprint by recycling. The item in question easily weighed more than this person's bike so I was even more amazed when he stuffed it into his jersey pocket and remounted his bike. Then he spun away with his jersey stretched to the point of just barely clearing his rear tire.
The good news is the extra weight allowed me to quickly catch back up and match his pace for the remainder of the ride. I have a new strategy for riding with him now. I will litter the road with shiny tools and parts before riding with him on days when I am feeling a bit sluggish and get a secret rest stop each time he stops to examine a new artifact. Eventually, he will have so much extra weight in his pockets that even I will be able to match his pace. Sometimes smart is better than fit when it comes to cycling.
See you on the road.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Birthday Wrap Up
Monday, July 25, 2011
Speaking of New Views
We have never done a remote start shop ride, but want to try one on August 4th from a cool location and ride one of Spokane's signature rides. We hope it works, but need everyone's help to make it a success and spread the word.
Famous Ed's is a very cool neighborhood bar and restaurant that also serves David's pizza. It is located at 2911 E 57th Avenue and will provide a great starting and stopping point to ride the Hangman Valley loop that evening. The start time will be 6pm (for this ride only) to allow everyone to get up there and ready to ride.
All other Thursday rides will continue to leave from the shop at 5:30pm.
After riding the loop in reverse we will gather again at Famous Ed's to recover with some pizza and your favorite beverage. The owners even said we can bring our bikes inside if we like.
As always, this is a no drop ride at recovery pace and we will regroup at the bottom of Hatch, top of Baltimore and whichever route we take to get back up the south hill.
We hope to see you there. Please help spread the word by letting your riding pals know about this ride.
Friday, July 22, 2011
A New View
|Hey Subaru, thanks for yielding to oncoming traffic....|
See you on the road.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Cycling is the New Golf - No, Really
Like golf, cycling together let's you wear brightly colored clothing that may not be viewed as welcome in other settings. A lot of money is raised for deserving charities through golf tournaments and organized bike rides. Of course neither is fully appreciated when viewed on television by non-participating friends, spouses or teens.
These days you hear more business people who plan bike rides with clients and associates to create a closer bond and opportunities to discuss business in a more relaxed atmosphere. There are even phrases that are correlated between the sports. Here are just a few:
In golf you play through - in cycling you say "on your left" as you pass a slower rider. Or what is your handicap compared to what is your gearing? Fore is replaced with car-back to warn of an approaching motorized vehicle.
Golfers have been known to stop for a beer or two after a round on the links which is also true for cyclists -think Famous Eds, the Elk or the Flying Goat.
In our opinion there are many things that make cycling better than golf. You do not have to make a tee time, you can start and finish just about anywhere, you get real exercise, you do not typically lose as many balls and you do not have to worry about a foursome.
We are sure that now that this theory has been put out there that more similarities and examples will come to mind so stay tuned for a future update. Now, if the requisite golf tournament for high school reunions could just be replaced with a 50 mile group bike ride.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Shop Ride Tonight at 5:30
See you there.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Well, It Finally Happened
A very dear customer was in last week and we discussed their new bike and whether they had been out on it yet. No they said, the prior two weeks were too wet to ride. I asked about the following week to which they uttered the words I thought I would never hear this year - "It's been too hot to ride outside this week."
It was as if all conversation in the shop stopped and all heads turned in the direction of the unthinkable phrase. Time seemed to stand still and the magnitude of the words sunk in. I asked for a clarification and received the same response. Slowly the shock abated and conversation began again, though in more muted tones.
Usually, riders start altering their riding times when the highs hit somewhere in the mid 90's, but that just means they go earlier in the day. If memory serves me, it has only reached 90 once this year so it seems far from too hot to ride.
I am going to get out every day there is not ice on the road even if it is for a spin around the neighborhood. If it is too hot, then that means a ride to the Scoop to cool off.
See you on the road.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Two Wheel Transit applied with Shimano to be a Di2 Electronic Shifting Demo Center. This meant we needed to have a suitably equipped bike for the purpose so I volunteered my 6 Series Trek Madone. The system has been installed on the bike for almost 4 months and has proven itself to be reliable, accurate, quick and solid. As a matter of fact the battery just indicated that it was down to 50% which is proving to be better charge life than advertised by Shimano. The other cool thing is that there is nothing that goes out of adjustment with normal use - no more shifting adjustments or tuneups. My only complaint has to do with my clumsiness when stopping occasionally I initiate an unintentional shift that makes starting again a little more difficult until the shift completes.
I am going out on a limb and predicting that electronic shifting will be on the majority of road bikes sold 3 years from now. The introduction of Ultegra level electronic shifting is a precursor of things to come. Next will be mountain bikes and the XTR system. Time will tell if I am right.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Shop Ride Tonight at 5:30 with Pizza Afterward
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Andy Schleck's Madone 6.9