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.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bicycling Walla Walla in the Winter

On Thursday, the hills glowed like amber instead of shivering blue.

Today, I wore short-fingered gloves on a 3 hour ride.

And just a few days ago, my friend Jim heard a sparrow's mating call.

I used to loathe the coming of winter in Walla Walla. The snow, the ice, the cold-- it meant riding indoors, watching whatever half-entertaining movie the library had to check out. Now, with my Surly, my studs, and my cyclocross bike-- winter in Walla Walla has become something else entirely. It's a time for silent roads and frosted grass. So here is the first FOND farewell of the belly of winter in Walla Walla.

Oh, yes-- there is more cold and chill to come. And don't get me wrong-- boy am I ready for bare legs any day now. But nevertheless. I close a chapter.




MUSIC: Coldplay, "Life in Technicolor" on Viva La Vida

*A larger, better resolution version is viewable on Facebook.

Couse Creek

I took my junior team out for a longer base ride than they're used to and invited Whitties (Whitman College students) along for the ride. Inevitably, as it goes, we went a bit faster than "base," but it was far more exciting to fight wind with a group than on your own. Also a good day to learn about drafting. :)

-click for larger image-



HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD! :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

HEY! COOL!!

Currently on the Adventure Cycling homepage it says:

JILL HOMER
An Adventure Called Bicycling blog recently reviewed Jill Homer’s book Ghost Trails chronicling her grueling and transformative experience in the 2008 Iditarod Trail Invitational. For a very compelling but quick version, check out Homer’s incredible online journal detailing her journey.

Hah! I'm glad that Jill's book is getting more coverage-- but it's extra cool that Adventure Cycling even bothered to mention my blog as their means of finding it!

For me, this is like getting passing name mention in Velonews (which, incidentally, I have had just a few). Though instead of being a page away from George Hincapie, I get to be a paragraph away from Willie Weir. 

Adventure Cycling, by the way:
  • Makes amazing touring maps for cyclists.
  • Publishes an Extra Cool magazine. (Actually, it's called "Adventure Cyclist," but I think it is Extra Cool.)
  • Leads Crazy Amazing tours.
  • Does a proud amount of outreach.
  • AND, they answer your e-mails! There are PEOPLE to answer your questions! And they're FRIENDLY! (I am really picky about bike shop/etc. service, which is why this is so thrilling to me.)
A while ago now, I actually made it my mission to work for Adventure Cycling. Really.

Step one: ride across the country. :)

Bike on Bike

I don't have a "TrayBien," which is an accessory made by Xtracycle for carrying bicycles on your bicycle. I do have a fork clamp, with "someday" plans of making my own. Meanwhile, I just strap them in. I've gotten quite a bit faster at figuring out the best configuration. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Get yer stickers!

Right now on eBay you can buy one, several or all of these amazing stickers:

These stickers are designed by ME. They are narrow (1.5" x 5") with bicycle frames in mind and spread a POSITIVE bicycle message (rather than the haughty attitude of many such 'message' stickers).

I am selling these stickers for two reasons:
1) To spread some bike love.
2) To raise a little bit of money for my trip across the US by bicycle this summer!

I have thought about fundraising for a cause as well, but I need to at least be able to GO on the trip first! I have most everything I need-- except RACKS-- which are pretty important for touring.

So. Support my adventure. Spread some bike love.



The current price for these are a minimum $2.99 plus 50cents for shipping/handling. You are more than welcome to donate more :) . If you would like more than one, you are welcome to bid on one sticker and let me know over e-mail that you are bidding on more than one sticker (at a minimum of $2.99 per sticker).




Monday, January 26, 2009

A Book Review: Ghost Trails, Journeys through a lifetime; By Jill Homer

Men in oil-stained Carhartt jackets and shiny snowmobile suits crowded around the counter, filling half the building with traditional Alaskan values and amused facial expressions. On the other side of the bar, which was set up restaurant style, were table after table of Europeans in down jackets and ski boots, skinny cyclists in knee-high overboots and lycra-clad runners wearing sneakers when it was 20 degrees outside.
Ghost Trails, Journeys through a lifetime is not just Jill Homer's account of the 2008 Iditarod Trail Invitational. 
“If my daughter wanted to do that, ride a bike across the tundra,” the man said as he nudged another guy sitting next to him, “I’d kill her. I would. It would be a less painful way to die.” His friend laughed.
It's a story of a young woman..
Something broke. I broke. I fell off my bike a final time, knelt into the snow, and just sat there.
breaking herself
“Cause, you know, money really doesn’t matter,” Geoff said. “You don’t need a whole lot for food and shelter. You can eat grilled cheese and sleep in a tent.”
“I don’t like grilled cheese.”
and figuring out what she wants from life. 

Homer is a "suburban Utah girl," who is honest about her weaknesses and questions herself frequently. Nestled between each chapter on the Iditarod trail, Homer shares a story from her younger years. These stories build the foundation for how she came to pedal the Iditarod, not just literally or physically, but emotionally and perhaps spiritually. When we do share the trail with Homer, we see a human portrait without pretense. 

I recommend this book not only to those interested in ultra racing and adventure, but those open to asking the bigger questions about where their life is going and how to savor it.
“Hippy Lady! Hippy Lady!”It took me a moment to realize that I was the one she was calling Hippy Lady. This girl, who just a few years earlier I would have considered my peer, was calling me Hippy Lady.
Visit Jill Homer's website to read her blog and buy her book!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Mountain List; bicycling Walla Walla

I've always been curious about the Walla Walla Valley.

I've always loved poring over a map, plotting rides and adventures.

I love leaving the house with a new road to ride circling in my head.

But I've been taken to a new level of curiosity.

Now that I have my cyclocross bike, my stud-able Surly, and mountain bike shoes; I am no longer bound to the pavement. I am free to surf the gravel roads, skidding and crunching up impossible grades and burning my brakes down the other side. Now I peruse the Umatilla National Forest website, clicking through fire lookout cabins available to rent. I contentedly click around Google Maps with the 'Terrain' view turned on. I eat king size Snickers bars for lunch. I like hunger and I like knowing each curve and crease of the land, not just each asphalt line.

And I have a LIST:
  • Government Mtn.
  • Saddle Mtn.
  • Pikes Peak
  • Klicker Mtn.
  • Lincton Mtn.
  • Blalock Mtn.
  • Basket Mtn.
  • Jasper Mtn.
UPDATE Feb.1: I have scratched Jasper Mtn. from the list so that I can focus on a smaller area.


View Larger Map

I must summit these mountains by the end of May. Now, climbing these "mountains" are not huge feats, per se. They top out around 3500'. But they will take me up and down this valley. And they will show me the crease of the land. Bring me to vistas. And for each one I summit, I will eat a giant, king size almond Snickers bar.

Now, MY list may involve sweat, gears and carbon fiber. But YOUR list doesn't have to. Explore the place that you live. Your list could involve the coffee shop you've always meant to try, the park you wanted to relax in, or any number of urban or rural things. Because truth is, identifying goals and making them concrete is the first step to a real plan of action. Otherwise our wishes only remain wishes. And that's not nearly as fun.

Snickers Snow Day

I had a king size almond Snickers for lunch today.

It was awesome.



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Naked studded Surly Xtracycle goes for a ride!


















I will come back for you Lincton Road.






MUSIC:

Modest Mouse, World at Large

Happy Birthday biggest sister!

I made you a card.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thoughts on Painting the Road

Today I rode the time trial course for my junior cycling team fundraiser. I took a can of red spray paint and marked the turns with big, blocky red arrows. Along the way I added a few 'Go! Go! Go!'s an 'Up! Up!' and one 'Z O O M!' near the end. I hesitated before painting these extra words. Was I spoiling someone's view? 



I decided that I was only adding to the culture of our place. My arrows were alongside old worn directional medallions and arrows from several previous cycling events. My event would be just one in the line of many more to come.  Besides, there are some roads in the world that look like THIS:



And I like those roads. It isn't the graffiti that we usually see-- people 'tagging' their name to mark their 'territory.' It isn't even political. It's all about excitement, encouragement, culture and pride. Year after year, some names will fade a bit more while new ones appear. History literally written in the streets.

So I hope my little encouragements only add another layer of folklore to the growing cycling traditions in the Walla Walla Valley.

Go! Go! Go!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ghost Trails; riding the Iditarod trail by bicycle


“And you’re gonna be in that race? That Iditabike?”
“Yes,”I said.
Brown hat laughed. “You’re crazy. All of you. Crazy.”
“Yeah,”I said. “I get that often.”
“If my daughter wanted to do that, ride a bike across the tundra,”the man said as he nudged another guy sitting next to him, “I’d kill her. I would. It would be a less painful way to die.”
--Ghost Trails, by Jill Homer





I'm in the middle of reading Jill Homer's book, Ghost Trails. A complete review pending! Meanwhile, you can check out her blog: http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Duties


Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

--Barack Obama

Now, what will YOU do? Here are some philanthropic, bicycle-related ideas:

Find out how you can get involved in bicycle advocacy through the Cascade Bicycle Club (Seattle), the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (Oregon), the Bicycle Alliance of Washington (WA State), or the League of American Bicyclists (USA).

Start attending your local Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings.

Start a cycling team that advertises charities instead of corporations.

Join a bike tour and raise money to fight disease.

Start a local bike ride to raise funds for cycling safety.

Put on a backyard bicycle maintenance and traffic riding skills workshop for your friends, neighbors and co-workers and encourage them to bike commute.

Get that bike out of the garage and find a community bicycle shop that recycles bicycles into the hands of those that need them.

Get out there!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cottonwood Creek/Lone Fir LOOP



This Powerade doesn't belong to me.
 I just happened upon it.
Its galactic blue hue seemed at the same time
like a canister of rocket fuel sent from the future
or a ripe berry for picking,
a fortunate, sweet and delectable harvest
springing forth with determination
from a desaturated land.



Very nearly proud for finding the summit,
my sweaty brows turn to find
a dark herd
listening to my tires crunch.



Relief, anticipation, speed, reward.
Endorphin H I G H.















View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Spread the word!

PRINT AND SHARE!
(click image for a larger view)


More info:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lone Fir Rd./Cottonwood Creek Rd.

A few reasons I like to get off the asphalt and explore gravel roads:













Are you a squiggler?

I was riding down the street when I noticed another bicycle track beneath my feet. It was curiously squiggly for a bicycle track. It wiggled, it weaved, it wandered.

I thought to myself, I wonder how squiggly I ride.

Well.

I happen to ride STRAIGHT like an arrow.

Xtracycle: bottle opener feature!

video

Saturday, January 17, 2009

PVC Cycling

How should I judge..


..bicycles (quadcycles?) made of..


..PVC piping?

Are they ingenious and resourceful?
Flimsy and childish?
Fun, but not practical?
Practical, and also a lot of fun?

Well, whatever you think, you can get plans for various 4-wheeled PVC designs for $20 including shipping and handling at American Speedster.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bicycle/Pedestrian Committee, Figuring it Out

Although I've been to a number of Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings by now, I still feel like I have a lot to figure out.

We are currently discussing a city bike plan that was written in 2005 with a 6 year outlook. Somewhere in that document, it declares that the city's goal is to have 15% of Walla Wallans utilizing cycling and walking as a major source of transportation in six years. FIFTEEN PERCENT. Isn't Portland at 7 or 9%? Right.

So, naturally, I ask, "have we been keeping track of how many people are cycling and walking?"

"Well, the state did a count this year."

"Right, but the STATE did a count, and that's just a coincidence. Did WE do a count?"

No.

Okay, we're not taking measurements. Are we at least taking steps to improve our cycling and walking infrastructure?

Looking at this list of 22 items of improvement that were desired for cyclists and pedestrians, what did we get done? Oh, a sidewalk, a sidewalk, one audible intersection, a sidewalk, a chunk of bike lane that disappears into 4-lane strip mall madness.. I can appreciate that it is great to have more sidewalks, but I'm much more of a cyclist than a pedestrian and I feel left out. So getting a few sidewalks while the bike lanes hardly see BASIC MAINTENANCE, I am not encouraged.

So what I want to know is-- why even bother writing 15% into the document? Is it a joke? Is it to placate me? WHYYY???


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bicycle Stickers

Bike stickers designed by me!

Promote a positive bike message.

Stay tuned for information on how you can get your own!


Put 'em on your Xtracycle deck..
"BIKE WALLA"

Your top tube..
"Spread some bike love!"

Your fender..
"ride HAPPY"
Will also be available in another color.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bicycling Walla Walla: Cheers to Waitsburg!


Photo left: I carried an empty growler in my backpack for 20 miles and a full growler for 20 more!






The scenario: You're in Walla Walla, you've brought your road bike and you just can't sip another wine.

The solution: a ride to Waitsburg. Either bring a backpack to lug home a growler (as I did) or add an extra hour or two to your expedition to enjoy your beer over a pizza.

Laht Neppur Brewing Co. is a relatively new brewery in Waitsburg, 20 miles north of Walla Walla. Laht Neppur brews on-site and offers a full spectrum sampler. Currently you could enjoy (descriptions from their website): 

  • Hefeweizen: Our lightest ale, smooth with a soft finish
  • Kolsch: (German style beer) Light fruit flavors, more complex with a hint of hops
  • Spiced Autumn Ale: A festive seasonal beer with a holiday spice taste
  • Golden Ale: A step up from ordinary pale ales, more body with a light honey finish
  • Nut Brown: Light roasted malt with a lingering nutty finish
  • Oatmeal Porter: Roasted coffee flavor with a chocolate finish that lasts
  • Cream Stout: Dark roasted coffee flavor with slightly bittersweet creamy chocolate finish
  • India Pale Ale (IPA): Lightly aromatic with lots of citrus and grapefruit. Lasting bitter finish
  • Scottish Ale: Malty goodnes that warms you
The atmosphere is unassuming, as reflected in their grub menu: BBQ pulled pork with chips, chili dogs, hot wings, pizza and other hot and saucy relatives. You'll also find a big screen playing 'the game' and friendly service. Also, it should be noted that families are welcome and there is an outdoor seating area. For more on Laht Neppur, visit their website.

You may also be interested in:

Jim German Bar. Upscale. Jim German also manages the bar at 26 Brix.
There you can get:
French 75
A favorite post WWI expatriate bracer from Paris.
Gin, lemon, rock syrup finished with Cremant.
$7.00

Whoopemup Hollow Cafe. Hearty. Expect to be more than full upon departure.
There you can get:

LUNCH
The "Waitsburger" 
Fresh ground ribeye with grilled onions & Dijon special sauce served on Our house-made buns
Choice of cheddar, pepperjack, or swiss cheese 9.95
add hotlinks 2.95 add bacon 2.00 add pt. reyes blue cheese 1.95
add grilled portobello mushroom 2.00  

DINNER
Bry's Famous Jambalaya
with andouille sausage, tasso ham, duck, chicken, okra and rice 20.95

Whetstone Public House. Warm. A "full service bar with affordable drinks." Their house-made pizzas are fantastic with any of their 10 beers on tap. Check their website for occasional musical guests.


THE ROUTE

If you ride Lower Waitsburg Road into town and Middle Waitsburg out of town, you will be riding part of the Tour of Walla Walla road race course and face a sizeable climb, likely into a headwind, as you leave Waitsburg. (Be sure to click "Show Elevation" when viewing the map.)

This area is fairly exposed and doesn't have very many trees, so it is not recommended on especially hot or blustery days.

Length: 40 miles
Difficulty: Medium, Hard on a windy day!

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Bicycle Light Testing

*CAUTION*

Serious GEEK OUT ahead!!



If you're read my previous post on my 'light condition', you'll recall that I had a huge 6-volt flashlight clamped to my handlebars and two closet lights screwed precariously onto my fork. The closet lights, as expected, were just the first thing to go. That's where I draw the line of tackiness. I still want to utilize these lights somehow, but not by interfering with my beautiful fork. The 6-volt flashlight was doing alright. The threads of the u-clamp-thingies needed some Loctite. The light didn't 'spread' very much to light my way, but it was a great 'spot' for being seen. It finally came off though, when it just took up too much space on my bars. Now I have a super LED flashlight (thanks, Mom!) strapped on with nothing more than a beefy rubber band! I have to say, it is doing quite spectacularly! It doesn't have any better of a spread than the 6-volt, but it packs a serious punch of be-seen light for its small size.


Oh! And it's FRIDAY. Which means I copy my brother-in-law and post music. :)

I bring you.. Tegan and Sara.



Skip to 1:18 to skip the pre-song small talk banter.

Also, Back in Your Head.
And, Walking with a Ghost.

CCY Junior Cycling Team Uniforms!

To see the final jersey design, click HERE.

To see the final short design, click HERE.

To visit the CCY Junior Team blog, click HERE.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Copenhagnizing the Winter

I haven't posted any Copenhagen praise for a while. Now that it's the heart of winter, I think it's good time to check in with our friends at Copenhagen Cycle Chic.


This is how you look fetching.


When it's Zero degrees C.

Yep.




Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2008 Team Poster


For news on how you can get your own, visit:

Bikery Racing, CCY Junior Cycling Team: JOIN US!

-Click image for a larger view-

Previously, I've held off from recruiting because I don't have much money to work with. But I figured it out during the cyclocross season, so I figure I can figure it out for the road. So I'm going for it! 

(Oh, and if you want to donate any money or gear to the team.. let me know. ;)

Bikery Repair, Session TWO

-Click image for a larger view-

Registration forms due at the Wa-Hi Career Center by Friday, January 20.

YES, there are two spots reserved for ADULTS! More information at the Bikery Repair blog.
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