What this blog is about

Bicycle commuting, bicycle touring, bicycle racing; bicycle ADVENTURING.
To the grocery store, up a mountain, across the country or to the finish line--
it's all an adventure.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gear Review: Planet Bike Borealis Gloves

Planet Bike Borealis winter gloves
Approx. cost: $25-35

Cold hands, I do not like. These gloves, I like.

..I also like 
those SmartWool socks I'm wearing in these photos..

Features I like:
  • 4-fingered style: dexterous yet cozy.
  • Neoprene cuff: comfortable yet seals.
  • Wind and WATER proof.
  • TWO, count 'em, TWO places to wipe snot and spit on BOTH gloves. I like to keep my snot and spit SEPARATE, thanks.
  • No pink flowers.
Temperature rating (according to my body):
  • Teens- fingertips start to get cold after an hour if I don't move them.
  • 20s, 30s- heavenly!
  • 40s- a bit warm, but that's fine by me!
  • 50s- too hot.
  • It's easier to get hot in these, probably due to their waterproofing.
  • I find them still a little sweaty inside the day after a ride.

CONCLUSION: I love these!

Gear Review: studded bicycle tires

Nokian Mount & Ground studded 26" x 1.9" mountain bike tires 
(Note: NOT "Extreme" Nokian studded tires)

Approx. cost of a pair: $100

Unlike many of my gear purchases, I didn't 'over think' this one. It was snowing and I walked into my local bike shop and bought whatever studded tires they carried. I needed them then and there. I flinched at the price, but I reminded myself that I would be paying four times as much to stud a car.

On my ride home, I was initially a little bit disappointed-- but I shouldn't have been, I just had some misguided expectations. On that first day I was trying to bust through fresh piles of 6" snow. Busting through thick powder requires wider, fatty 4" tires or walking. The tires I had bought were barely 2" and certainly not meant for that.

However, once I started riding these tires on packed snow and ice, 
I really began to understand their benefits.

THIS is the kind of road these tires conquered:
(see photo to right)

I could ride on top of a sheet of ice and snow as if I were velcro. It made me absolutely giddy.

Also note that tire pressure plays a large role in tire performance-- I rode on the minimum tire pressure, if not lower.

In the end, the tires performed and I got great use out of them. Also, since I only need to use them for a short time period of the year, they should last a long time.

However, I did notice that Jill up in Alaska gave these tires a poor review. She's practically worn them out just in one season-- but Jill trains for things like the Iditarod Invitational (for BIKES), rides hers on asphalt and she lives in ALASKA. I use mine for about 2 weeks a year and hardly on bare road. From her blog:
Today I went ice biking on the frozen Mendenhall Wetlands. I've owned my 29" Nokian studded tires for about two months now and I can't say I'm real thrilled with them... full post here.
  • Great for packed snow and ice
  • Not great in powder
  • Great for a few weeks a year
  • Not great for long winters
  • Perform better with lower tire pressure

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Government Mountain Ride

The land had a sexy wetness to it,
having just stepped out of the shower.

Post-Car Adventuring, for the JOY of it

Post Car Adventuring provides "ideas and information for car-free trips to (mostly natural) areas commonly thought be to inaccessible without a personal vehicle." Visit their blog or buy their newly released book on adventuring in the San Franciso area.

From the authors:
The goal is not ideological environmental asceticism and/or anti-car militancy, but pleasure while engaged in environmentally and socially-responsible practices– in-line with what the environmental philosopher Kate Soper has called a ‘hedonistic environmentalism’ where human happiness and comfort is not ground under a radical-Jainist wheel of self-abnegation in the interest of decreasing personal carbon footprints.
--Post Car Press

Thank you!! I don't know if I could have said it better. Through my self-reflections and reporting on this blog, I've come to articulate to myself that the kind of bike commuter, environmentalist, friend and person that I want to be (but haven't always been) isn't self-flagellating. Interestingly enough, it's not only an inward paradigm shift, but a fight against an environmentalist stereotype that is inaccessible and elitist. It's incredibly annoying to borrow a suburban for whatever reason, only to have car-driving folk crow, "Ooooh! You drove an S.U.Veeeeee," in victory, as if the entire reason I ride my bike all the time is just to spite them. How about this:

Maybe I LIKE riding my bike.

Maybe I find it enriching.

And maybe I can eat more cookies.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

a REAL snow ride

On my internet wanderings, I came across Jill's blog, Up in Alaska. Jill is a journalist and makes riding a bike in impossible conditions, possible. Perhaps her most intriguing accomplishment has been completing the 350 mile Iditarod Invitational in 2008-- and then writing an honest and intimate story on her blog and in her book afterwards.

If you're grouching, grumping or puzzling about riding in winter conditions where you are-- I recommend a visit to Jill's blog for a snowy perspective.

*Photo from a recent post by  Jill.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CCY Junior Cycling Team Update

Our 2008 cyclocross season in review:

And a sneak peak at a rough sketch of our team jersey:

Visit the team website HERE!

Monday, December 22, 2008

UPS Delivery by Bike!

This was posted on EcoVelo and I could NOT pass up posting it!

UPS Delivery By Bike! Salem, Oregon

Friday, December 19, 2008


This is me saying, "BRING IT!!" to the snow.

*(My satisfaction with my new studded snow tires has been increasing.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

19degrees, ice, snow-- great day for a ride!

A few days ago I tried and failed to go for a ride. First I took out the cyclocross bike and tried busting through the piles of snow on the sidewalk. Nope. The tire tread was too small and it quickly turned into a snowball donut. Then I tried the Surly/Xtracycle, recently hooved with studded tires. Again I tackled the same mountainous sidewalk. Nope. TODAY I noticed that the area of cleared road was much wider. I donned my long johns top and bottom, Carhartts, 2 pairs of wool socks, full leather boots, a wool sweater, a down jacket, a wool hat, wool scarf, Planet Bike fleece-lined waterproof gloves, a helmet and glasses and tried again.


While I was a bit disappointed last time in how the studs performed in "lumpy snow conditions" (they didn't seem to offer improved performance over my regular touring tires), they absolutely rocked on hard packed snow and ice. I felt gloriously confident in my traction. I think real snow riding will have to require a real snow bike, like Surly's Pugsley, which accepts tires up to 4 inches wide for riding in sand and snow. Mine are only about 2 inches.

My toes quickly got cold, so the ride was short. Next time I'll have to toss some heat packets in there.

This (above) is what most of the road looked like: thick ice and dry snow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy 60th Birthday, Mom!

Hi, mom!
Thank you for being a WONDERFUL mom,
I am BLESSED to have you.
I love you!
Happy, happy birthday to you!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Unfortunately, I don't ski, but--

You can't say I didn't TRY. I even got studded tires for my Surly. Review pending..

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

US Gran Prix of Cyclocross, Portland

There isn't any footage of myself racing, but I ran around taking footage of the Elite fields-- mostly the women, since I can relate better and thus they were more exciting for me to watch.

The energy was festive and positive. There was a crowd gathered at a tricky section just waiting for someone to eat mud, and we'd all go, "OOOH!" or "YEAAAHHH!!" together but then immediately cheer them back up the hill, "Go get 'em! Go! Go!" Then you ring your bell, sip your beer, and eat your waffle.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

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