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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

2 People and a Pumpkin on a Bicycle

The other day my friend Lina and I were both preparing to go to our friend Lish's birthday party. Lina, like myself, happily rides her bike to get places. Unfortunately, when leaving the house, Lina discovered that she had a flat tire! She thought about walking to Lish's. No worries, I said. I'll come pick you up! And so me and my pumpkin did.

video

I love my Xtracycle!

Hmm, yes.. another day at the office..

I've got my file box, my binders, a floor pump, a jacket and I don't know what else.


Oh, another commute to work. Yes, let's see-- 7 wheels to work on, a bucket of cleaning supplies and a new Park Tool floor pump.

If I hadn't concluded this before, I am officially not just satisfied, but impressed, by how much the Xtracycle can carry A) For its size, B) For handling like a regular ol' bike whilst unloaded, and C) For handling almost like a regular ol' bike whilst loaded. My reliance on a bicycle for commuting has been made possible by this conversation starter. HMM, maybe I should start a Guest Book for all the people that stop to ask, "so is that a converted tandem or something?"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Walla Walla Cyclocross

Video footage of the cyclocross race at Charles Stanger's farm is posted on the Bikery Racing blog! Check it out.

Pears

I meant to post these with the Bennington Lake panorama video, but had trouble uploading. Here they are now.

Explore Bennington Lake. You'll find a curious concrete funnel. If you're 9 years old, or me, the air of the place will take you far away from where your feet actually stand. It's in this alternate universe that I found these pears so fascinating. 






 There is a pear tree at the top of the ledge..

..and another apple tree down the way.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SAPOLIL CELLARS!


Sapolil Cellars is as excited as we are to become a CCY Junior Cycling Team sponsor!

Bill and Abby, of Sapolil Cellars, are enthusiastic cyclists that make some tasty wine. Their tasting room is also home to a packed schedule of blues and grooves. Here are some upcoming events at the Sapolil Cellars tasting room, downtown on Main St.:

October

Fridays, October 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st
Featuring Sapolil Cellars’ own Latin Infused Jazz trio ‘Papa Loves Mambo’. 7 – 10 p.m. Sapolil Cellars Wines by the Glass, and Specialty Chocolates by Petit Noir. No Cover.

Saturday, October 11th
Special Engagement, co-sponsored by the Walla Walla Blues Society. Sapolil is proud to present Son Jack Jr. Delta Blues. The Real Deal. He combines great fretwork, solid vocals, and highly original songwriting. Visit his website at www.sonjackjr.com, 7 – 10 p.m., No Cover.

Saturday, October 18th
Coyote Kings Live! ROCKIN' BLUES AND BLUESY ROCK ~ SMOKIN' HOT!
Robin Barrett and “Mondo Mike” Cook, along with The Queen of Blue-Eyed Soul, Michelle "Mush" Morgan on vocals, and Professor Pete Crawford on keyboards. 8 – 11 p.m., No Cover.

November

Thursday, November 6th
Mike Wagoner, lead of the The Mike Wagoner Band will be playing solo, 7 – 10 p.m. Call it organic folk rock . . . think Neil Young meets acoustic Led Zep with a little bit of Wille Nelson country, a touch of Van Morrison soul mixed with a unique blend of roadhouse blues, western swing, fresh originals. No Cover.

Friday, November 7th
Exclusive ‘1st Fridays’ with Dr. Mark Brown. First Fridays of every month, this extraordinary musician offers genius talent with our baby grand, precise accompaniment with a trumpet, often times with a harmonica, and most often with perfect vocal accompaniment. 7 – 10 p.m. No Cover.

Saturday, November 8th
Coyote Kings will be recording a new CD, Live @ Sapolil!
Don’t miss your chance to be part of this live recording of their distinctive and energized Rockin’ Blues and Bluesy Rock – Smokin’ Hot! No Cover. It all starts around 8 p.m.

Saturday, November 15th
The Mike Wagoner Band. This is a trio with rich vocals and an amazing range of material. The show includes organic folk rock, a unique blend of roadhouse blues, western swing, and many fresh originals. No Cover. 7 – 10 p.m.

Fridays, November 14th, 21st, 28th
Featuring Sapolil Cellars’ own Latin Infused Jazz trio ‘Papa Loves Mambo’. 7 – 10 p.m. Sapolil Cellars Wines by the Glass, and Specialty Chocolates by Petit Noir. No Cover.

December

The 2nd Annual Winemaker's Event is currently being planned for Saturday, December 6th. Details will be sent to our mailing list soon, and posted on-line after that. Attendance will be limited to 50 seats.

Monday, October 20, 2008

SeaTac Cyclocross

Weekly practices out at the farm has left me antsy to race, so I hopped in Justin's car (our lovely Allegro Cyclery mechanic) to Seattle and raced the "mountain biker's course" at South SeaTac on Sunday. I got a great taste of cyclocross that left me ready for another lick.

Things I expected:
  • I started slow and timid, but gained confidence throughout the race.
  • I didn't have the guts or experience to pass on singletrack, so I tried to take all the chances I could get to blow around riders.
  • 30 minutes was too short for my taste.
Things I did not expect:
  • I felt comfortable at the barriers.
  • Despite not having practiced it, my run up was pretty good. A spectator even shouted, "hey, we've got a runner!" in response to my performance.
  • One of the run-ups is called the "thigh master." I didn't think it was so bad.
  • While I took a longer, 'safer' route, the sand pit was no problem.
  • Not being able to clip while my cleats were clogged with sand cost me a lot of time.
  • The announcer called me the "Lightening Bolt from Whitman" which I enjoyed.
Other conclusions:
  • I wish I had started racing cyclocross in September.
Will I be racing A women or B women in the Inland Cyclocross Series? (includes our home races)
  • A women.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Local Cyclocross!


Directions, times and other information on the upcoming cyclocross races in Walla Walla has been posted on the CCY Junior Cycling Team blog! Check it out!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

'Round Bennington We Go

A few days ago I got my friend Matt off his butt and around the lake on his bike. I think that soon he will figure out that riding a bicycle at length, repeatedly and consistently has its benefits and pleasures. I believe that our ride around Bennington was persuasive. We took a few moments to enjoy our surroundings..

video

Visit the Fleet Foxes website for more music that will sweep you away to a place smelling of leather and hay. They will be playing at the Moore theater in Seattle on October 19!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Preparing for Rain


The fenders have officially been living on my commuter for a few weeks now. I took my fenders off for the summer and after the first reminder of rain, they scampered back on.

The rain had only been teasing.

We've had a dry, dry fall so far and I haven't really had to deal with commuting in the rain and looking presentable afterwards. You see, dressing for rain as a recreational/competitive cyclist (at which I have more experience) is completely different than dressing for bicycle commuting. First of all, you're working much harder (we presume) on a recreational ride and secondly it doesn't matter if you show up to the coffee shop with a mud face and sopping shorts. The added tricks of bicycle commuting is that you don't want to be sweaty, soppy or muddy. We presume.

Keeping the mud away isn't terribly difficult. Some cool fenders and mud flaps should keep the dirt off your slacks. However, sweat and sop pose the problem. A lot of rain wear is not terrific at ventilating. If you're not wet from rain, you're wet from sweat! Also, vanity must be considered. A lot of rain wear is just plain geeky and how are we going to promote bicycle use if you look like an astronaut?

I've been thinking for a long time about getting a "rain cape" such as one made by Carradice in the UK or stocked by the Center for Appropriate Transportation in Eugene, OR. A rain cape is basically a poncho that is looped over your handlebars, to create a sort of portable tent over yourself. This keeps your torso and thighs dry, but your lower legs can still be vulnerable to road spray. Booties and spats, as stocked by CityBikes in Portland, OR solve that problem too. 

It seems to me that the cape/spat combo should keep you dry without cooping you up in a hot, sweaty rain jacket and pants. So why am I writing about these products theoretically instead of having already purchased and tested them? First, I'm wondering what details a 'cycling
 specific' rain cape will have to make it worth $70 instead of a cheap basic poncho. Second, while I see the value in high-visibility yellow, I'd like to look at least halfway chic on my bicycle.

"Does anyone here like bicycles?"

Last Friday I walked around the lunch room of our local high school with flyers for The Bikery (a repair shop for youth to learn bike mechanics and critical thinking skills and have a chance to earn a bike) and as I approached each clump of kids I asked, "does anyone here like bicycles?"

It was interesting to watch their eyes flicker across the faces of those chewing on chicken strips around them. Does Jane like bicycles? Does Joe like bicycles? Do I like bicycles? A representative of the group would finally commit, "Well, what kind of bicycles?" or "No, not really." Then most everyone agreed. Sometimes fingers were literally pointed across the round table, "hey, don't you like bicycles?" I slide the flyer their direction. Well. We're starting a bike repair club..

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bicycle/Pedestrian Meeting

Points of interest from the latest Walla Walla Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting:

  • We're updating our bike map! I am just giddy about this. Walt, the cool guy who draws up the maps, gave me a proof to mark up. It made me feel special. I'm meeting with folks next week to talk about getting sponsors to sign on to have their place of business marked on the map for tourists. The hot topic is whether this poses a conflict with the Chamber's promotion of businesses. Whatever, I'm just excited about having a big colorful map laying on my dining table to draw on with highlighters and pencils.
  • There's bicycle parking congestion at the Farmers Market! I am giddy about this too. I like that this problem exists to solve. The frustrating part is that the consensus is that the City and Downtown Foundation are NOT willing to give away ONE motor vehicle parking to allow space for TWELVE bicycles.
  • There will now be time allotted for public input at the end of each meeting. I have to admit, I didn't really understand how it worked before-- but you are always invited to join us and pipe up on what's important to you!
  • I've got homework! It's time to take a look at the 2005 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and UPDATE it. I feel lucky to be in on this process so early during my time on the committee.
NEXT MEETING: November 12, 11:30am

Not from Walla Walla? Surely your town or city has a Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee! If not, then you can start one!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

CCY Junior Cycling Team T-Shirts!

Here is the PREVIEW* of our CCY Junior Cycling Team T-SHIRTS!:



Remember, if you donate $100 or more in our Adopt-A-Racer program, you'll qualify for a free CCY Junior Cycling Team t-shirt to sport your team pride! You can print out the donation form HERE or stop by Allegro Cyclery on 15 S. Spokane St. in downtown Walla Walla.

*subject to change!


Monday, October 6, 2008

And now for some controversy..

Living in the U.S, it is easy to assume that promoting helmet use while riding bicycles is a good thing..

..until you consider that promoting helmets has been shown to reduce the number of cyclists on the road..
..and less cyclists on the road has been shown to decrease cyclists' safety.

Sort of ironic, isn't it?

There's also research out there that helmets don't really help (except in high speed situations such as racing where they are quite helpful). I have to admit that I don't know anything about this research. I'll read it and get back to you.

I personally wear a helmet both while training (riding faster) and commuting (riding slower in traffic). I wear it for a variety of reasons, including a self-awareness that I am a "cycling role model" in Walla Walla and I coach a junior cycling team and.. well, I could even lose my job if I refused to wear a helmet. I also have other reasons why I wear my helmet that I won't list here- but I don't bother anyone about wearing theirs (except my juniors).

For now, though- let's bring up the subject with some satire from the folks over at Copenhagenize.



Read their full post HERE.

Did you know that their bicycle accident rates are a tiny fraction of ours and practically no one wears a helmet over there? (And we're obsessed with them!) Hmm. Seems to me that the solution isn't in the helmets so much (which enter a bicycle accident equation during the accident) as it is in smart street design (preventing the accidents from happening in the first place).

Instead of giving us foam hats as we navigate the battlefield- why not make the battlefield less dangerous to begin with?

If the only arsenal you have left is attack ads, clearly there's something else wrong

The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that McCain's campaign is launching "an aggressive new attack [campaign] aimed at painting Obama as too radical to lead the country." Gee, what does McCain think about relying on attack ads to win an election?

In his own words:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Bikery: Repair Shop!

I've mentioned the Junior Cycling Team that I'm coaching. The other program that I am designing, running and managing is The Bikery: A Bicycle Repair Shop for Youth.  (I do get paid for this, by the way. I'm not THAT amazing.) I've been working with the local high school to use their space-- so things have taken longer than I'd have liked them to (it is a government institution), but we are finally about to be up and running! Aaah! I have to admit, I've been more focused on the team since I've been reaping more success on that front and I have kids on the team NOW. Working with an active program and making it better is more fun than struggling to start a program. Time to turn the burners on. We're opening shop in just over a week!


My other bike is a bike.

I've got a few stickers on my Xtracycle. "$0.00 9/10" is a favorite. Also, "Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules" and "Drive Less, Pedal More." My new sticker that I got while at the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, however, takes the cake as new favorite:



My other bike is a bike.

he he he. 

Now, almost anyone can say "Pedal More, Drive Less," but you've got to be Super Awesome like me to qualify for "My other bike is a bike." It's like the Cool Kids Club- and I'm part of it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cheers to JAMIS!

I am so excited about JAMIS!!

Jamis just made some AMAZING donations to the CCY Junior Cycling Team. I'm really looking forward to working with them and showing them to what great use we will put their gifts!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

You Could Call it Normal

Carrying loads on my bike has become so normal, that I frequently neglect to take a picture of what is a novelty to someone else. Today, for example, I picked up 2 bike frames from the bike shop:

No problem. I don't even think about 'whether or not' I can fit something on my bike. I just do.

Something else that has become normal: my Down Low Glow! The other day I was at someone's house late at night and as I left she asked, "do you have lights on your bike?"

Pfffh!! Do I have lights on my bike? Boy, do I have lights on my bike!


It's just another day in the neighborhood.
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