Friday, September 29, 2006

Riding with Ryan is Hazardous to your Health

Jeff, Barbara, Ryan, Kathy, and I did Timberline today. Ryan does not know this but when he is riding, the rest of us cringe (well Kathy probably doesn’t) but the rest of us do. Not because we dislike Ryan, it is quite the opposite he is a very cool guy. On top of his prestigious career at DoIt, he is a thespian and attends Burning Man every year. I am not sure it gets cooler than that. Ryan also races, and because of this, he is very fast. Generally when he rides you see him at the beginning for a few minutes and then you see his back side for a few more until he disappears off into the distance. We cringe because he makes the rest of us look bad.

Kathy joined us late so for half the ride, the climbing half, it was me and Ryan up front with Jeff and Barbara in the rear. I decided that I was going to try my best to keep within sight of Ryan and he was doing a great job of holding back. I pushed pretty hard I did not really think it was that hard until the group decided to do an extra hill to the water shed and I attempted and failed. I waived Jeff on who protested saying “come on, you can do it, blah, blah, blah” and I told him no, I felt like I was going to puke. So he took off up the hill and out of site and I started to get all dizzy and clammy and then sat down and puked like 4 times! The funniest part was how incredibly impressed they all were when they came back for me and I showed them what had happened. I also feel this sick (literally) sense of accomplishment.

My husband’s 2006 Specialized Stumpy Expert just arrived so he wants us to go for a ride tonight. I passed; I think 13 miles on a MTB followed by vomit is enough for me today.

Setting a Bad Example

My wife and I were picking up my son from school yesterday using the cruisers and bicycle trailer. We rode by what seemed to be a 100 yards of idling SUV's. Just sitting there idling. Burning a non-renewable resource, but not going anywhere. I rode right up to the front of the line.

On the way back, we decided to go the back way out of the school. This took us by the buses, and the kids boarding the buses. I'm riding along side, when this lady pokes her head out of the bus and starts yelling at me that I'm breaking the rules! There are no bikes allowed by the buses. She finished by telling me that I was setting a bad example for the kids. I've been out of public school for almost two decades, and I'm still getting yelled at!

I kept going anyway, and almost ran over two kids that ran in front of me. So I'll give her the "dangerous" part. But setting a bad example? What about the people out front idling their cars and going nowhere? Now I think that's a bad example!

New Flickr Badge

I've added a Flickr Badge to the Blog! I have dozens of pictures to upload, but have already reached my maximum for the month. Keep checking back for more pictures. Click on the badge for a full size slide show.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My 1st Attempt at Ebbetts Pass

Today I did something I've been wanting to do for years now. Ebbetts Pass. You can read about my 1st attempt HERE.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Coiler

Back in the Fall of 2003, I bought a Kona Coiler. And while I've had a couple thousand miles of fun on the bike, I think I bought the bike my ego wanted...or perhaps the bike that would help me become the rider I fantasized about becoming. Three years later, I've almost never "hucked" the bike off anything that I wouldn't do on my race hard tail. I guess I am and always will be an XC guy. Still, the bike is a hoot when pointed down a steep hill. Good line selection is not a priority on this bike since it rolls over everything. This makes it a good bike for some of Tahoe's granite boulder laden trails. A perfect example is the trail shown in the picture. This picture was taken at "The Bench" on the Tahoe Rim Trail. This section of trail has ledges and drop-offs galore...almost all cleared by the big chain ring. This section of trail is pretty brutal, and it seems we take casualties on every ride. The Coiler has always gotten me out and back with no mechanical problems, and in reasonable comfort. I'll have to try the trail on my hardtail and compare the results.

For everyday riding though, where most of my time is spent riding uphill, 35 lbs is just too much to be carrying around. The taller center of gravity on the Coiler makes it harder to turn in the twisty single track, which is my favorite terrain to ride. Right now the bike is sitting sans pedals in my garage...the pedals were moved to my wife's new road bike until she can get some new road pedals. I still plan to ride the bike from time to time, but I have given up on my big air/freeride pipe dreams!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tim’s Universal Law of Bicycle Quantification

Do you ever hear from the neighbors, "Why did you need another bike? You can't ride them all at once you know!" or "Geez, how many is that now?"? I've often wondered how many bikes were too many.

To quantify this quandary, look to Tim’s Universal Law of Bicycle Quantification at Bicycles and Icicles.

This law is something to think about next time you're at the shop and you see that bike that you simply must bring home. That bike that you lie awake at night weighing the pros and cons of owning. The bike that cries out to you like a Tell-Tale Heart...

Glenn Lucky

Local Cyclist pulls a 30,000 lb semi-truck and trailer!

Glenn, who lives with the effects of Cerebral Palsy, is a well known character in the local cycling community. He's been riding his tricycle, usually towing a trailer filled with local ads, for the last 21 years. I feel like such a wuss when I'm driving home and I see him muscling that trailer up Indian Hills. It's a reminder that I need to do more to live without a car, and take advantage of the health and fitness that I have. We see Glenn out riding frequently and he always has a very pleasant cyclist's hello.

Good job Glenn! You are an inspiration!

Friday, September 22, 2006

2007 Specialized

The 2007 Specialized Bikes are now on their website! There's some pretty wild stuff, like the $6500 Stumpjumper S-Works Carbon with "AFR Shock Brain shock with Brain Fade". Some of the stuff seems overly complicated for regular old trail riding, but I guess that's how you drive new technology... On the road side there is the new $3800 Fixed Gear Single Speed Langster. Very cool looking, but I wonder how many of these they actually sell. I notice with Specialized that there seems to be big price gaps. I'll find something that I would almost like if it were spec'd a little higher, but then the next model up is several hundred dollars more. There are some pretty cool colors and paint jobs for this year though...maybe some of the best I've seen for a major production bike!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Another Road Bike Ride

I took the day off work and did a road ride with the wife! Full story HERE.

The Stingers

When I went to move my bike away from the filing cabinet in my office to get a file out I found this little gem plastered to the front. I am glad it hit the bike instead of landing in my open mouth!

The Stingers is the name of my daughter's soccer team that I coach. I think we should have shirts printed up with this image...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Team Estrogen

Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went the Police Academy, and they were each assigned very hazardous duties. But I took them away from all that, and now they work for me. My name is Charlie....

(From the left: Kathy, Sandie, and Barbara)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Roadie Ride!

My wife bought a new road bike last weekend, and we broke it in with a tour of the Carson Valley. The story and pictures are HERE.

Friday, September 15, 2006

When the Wind Blows the Plastic Off your Bike Helmet, Its Time to Go Home

All morning, I have been looking out of my window at the most amazing wind. The huge trees across the street were really bending and I could see occassional small branches fly by. Did this stop me from riding today? No, Jeff and I rode anyway. We made our way slowly to the bike path. It was quite a lot like riding underwater. We agreed to go to the top of the path and then head back. As soon as we got past the wall, a blast of wind filled with dirt and small rocks hit us. The plastic part of my helmet completely lifted off and blew away. That was our queue to turn around and go home. We headed over to Kings Canyon on the way back and had an incredible high speed run down Kings Canyon. Even on the flats we were excellerating! It was fun but I must admit that I was relieved to get back to the office.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Inbred

All the new 2007 designs are coming out, and it's fun to look at all the innovations, but at the same time it can be a bit nauseating. It can make your head swim to hear people debate VPP vs. Single Pivot vs. 4 Bar (sub debate, pivot on the chain stay vs. seat stay...), stable platform valving, blah blah blah...

To combat the confusion, I stop thinking and get out the fully rigid single speed. Pictured is my 05 On One Inbred, with 32x16 gearing. Nothing to fiddle with...just hop on and pedal! And weighing only 24 lbs, the bike feels like you control it telepathically.

This bike has definitely made me a better rider. Picking a good line is very important on a fully rigid bike. Having a firm hand on the grips is important too. If you try to cover the brakes in technical sections like you do on your suspended bike, there's a good chance your hands will fly off the bars. You learn to ride smooth and even, so you can keep your hands on the grips. This technique has definitely increased my speed in the corners. You also learn to blast up short climbs. Instead of the typical downshift that you might do on your geared bike, you stand up and hammer up the rest of the rise. Going back to the geared bike, you'll find this works well too. In fact, you'll find that you pass most of your riding buddies near the top.

I also think this type of bike makes an excellent winter bike. There are far fewer bearings, bushings, and seals to worry about compared to a full suspension bike. The last bearing/bushing kit on my full suspension bike set me back over $200!

And let's not forget the upper body workout you get on a single speed. There's a great deal of standing and pulling up hard on the bars for leverage. You get to hurt in all new places...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The MinusCar Project

The family rode down to the corporate coffee shop tonight (our local coffee shop can't afford to stay open late), and as we were enjoying our beverages we were amazed at all the cars zipping around. What amazes me is that people need to drive everywhere in our little town of only 4,000 people! Everything is so close by that it doesn't make sense to drive when you could easily walk or ride in nearly the same amount of time. It's also irritating that people have to drive over the speed limit to get around when it's only costing them an extra minute if not only seconds. I think our town could do a lot better by having posted bike routes, more bike racks, and more biker friendly businesses. My wife was once turned away at the bank drive-through because she was on a bike, and many businesses have NO BICYCLES/SKATEBOARDS signs. The town has a wonderful skate park, but failed to make it safe to ride to it. Kids are forced to ride the dirt shoulder, or take the overgrown with weeds sidewalk. These are just some of the things you notice when traveling by bike I guess.

If you need motivation to cut down on your trips by car, look no further than the MinusCar Project website. Here you will find motivational essays from folks around the country discussing how they've cut back their reliance on a petrol lifestyle.

New Helmet Study

"Bicyclists who wear protective helmets are more likely to be struck by passing vehicles, new research suggests." The study claims that motorist drive closer to cyclists wearing helmets!

As for me, I'll continue wearing a helmet. The main reason is that my bald head burns so easily. Secondarily, I ride mixed terrain and firmly believe in wearing helmets off road. Here's a picture of what was left of a helmet after it saved my buddy's life (yes that's blood)...

I also like the quote from article, "We know from research that many drivers see cyclists as a separate subculture, to which they don’t belong..." We all say that we wish more people rode bikes, and we do to some degree, but I think we all take pride in being a separate subculture!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The 69er!

The 2007 Trek Bikes have been released! One new bike that looks interesting is the single speed 69er. The ad claims the rear 26 inch wheel is for acceleration, and the front 29 inch wheel is for cornering. This is not a totally new concept, Carver Bikes has a similar bike called the 96er (I wonder how Trek came up with the name?!?), but the new fork is pretty wild. It's a custom Maverick double crown, inverted fork, looking similar to a modern motocross fork. I prefer a rigid fork on my single speed for lightness and no pedal bob when standing, but if the new fork has a lockout, it may work. Gearing is 2:1 (32:16) because the rear wheel is a 26. It'll be interesting to read the reviews!

New Bicycle Paths

Here is some interesting information regarding new bicycle paths that will be constructed along the new freeway through Carson City...

NDOT and Carson City are working together to perpetuate and enhance the non-motorized roadway system in the Freeway area. New multi-use paths along the Freeway will connect to existing facilities, such as bicycle lanes, paths, designated routes, or sidewalks.


How to be a Bike Snob

This article cracked me up!

How to be a Bike Snob

If you are a cyclist (and considering where you're reading this, I think that's a safe bet) the following moment either has happened, or will someday happen: you are on your bike, riding along, when a car passes you, with one or more bikes on its rack. After doing a quick assessment, you think to yourself: "Junk." Or it might be an equivalent word, probably with the same number of letters.

That, my friend, is the moment you became (or will become) a bike snob.