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.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What happened this year?

I'm in a funny place. I'm nearly 26 years old. I graduated from college 3, almost 4 years ago. I've done this and that-- did trail maintenance on Mount Rainier for a summer, worked in a fancy restaurant, chaperoned my old college cycling team, coached a junior cycling team, went on a bicycle tour across the country with a close friend, moved back to 'Seattle' to work in a bike shop.. and I'm sorta done with dinking around. I wouldn't mind another adventure. :) The Sierra Cascades and Great Divide are on my list. But I'm done with dinking around. I've been waiting for that clear path to emerge-- for the brambles to pull away and reveal the journey I was meant for.. but I feel like I just keep whacking at bushes that keep growing back.

Meanwhile, I keep riding my bike.

My first mountain bike! I was spoiled-- full suspension off the bat. I took it to every local mountain bike destination I could get to.

I went to a Bike Swap for the first time! I unloaded an embarrassing amount of bike stuff-- then put my profits into a new complete set of Arkel panniers.

Still learning how to mountain bike! Also discovered Whidbey Island as a great weekend ride. MMM-- Cappuccino!

I really immersed myself in Seattle bike commuting-- and often used coffee as a carrot. I think I filled up a couple Stumptown punch cards. And I discovered the strange thrill of riding across I-90.

I got to visit my college town, Walla Walla, for some good, ole' fashioned wheat-field riding that made me fall in love with cycling in the first place. It was wonderfully juxtaposed by later house sitting in West Seattle, which meant riding through the industrial part of Seattle every day. Then top it off with track racing on the velodrome and some multi-modal foldy rides!

The variety of bikes I ride begins to make my head spin!

I went for a mountain bike ride.. and ended up PARAGLIDING? Also- more track racing; steadily climbing the ranks from beginner's night to Friday Night.

First adventure race. More track. More foldy.

Xterra: off-road triathlon. Street Scramble: urban orienteering by bike.


More musing than riding. Lots of wistful map reading, but less riding. Tried cyclocross again, but ended up selling my cross bike. Losing bike steam, looking forward to orienteering season.

Tried luring myself out the door with cinnamon rolls. Sold my Long Haul Trucker, the front end of my Xtracycle. Sold full suspension frame/fork, built up steel Salsa Ala Carte! Orienteering season begins!

Of course, I've acquired another bike. I just can't help it. From Craigslist, I bought an old but pristine Specialized Hardrock (Chro Mo!). After new tires, fenders, shifters, locking skewers and a basket-- it'll be ready for puttering around town and pedaling to the trail head for a mountain run!

I'm moving to Issaquah!

It's even closer to the track!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

So, What's in that Bag Thing of yours anyway?

I've got a trunk bag. More specifically, an Arkel TailRider. I love it. And it's always on my bike.

Some people like those itty bitty bags that carry the most minimal flat kit and nothing else. That's great for a bike that you want to behave like a sports car. You wouldn't want to burden a race horse with a mule's load!

But my bike is a mule. A workhorse. And he carries my comforts and securities.

So what's in there anyway?

Well, here is a "surprise search" of the current contents of my TailRider.

First of all-- I've got a bright triangle hanging off the back of it.

The east side pocket houses my 'tool kit':
  • spare tube
  • tire levers
  • ginormous multi tool
  • temporary spoke fixer-doodle
  • a box filled with other doo-dads:

  • tire boot (temporary patch for a cut in the TIRE, not tube)
  • spare chain link
  • spare bolts
  • little roll of velcro
  • AAA batteries for my red lights

The west pocket houses the battery pack for my Down Low Glow and another spare velcro strap. Sometimes there are snacks in here, too. :)

Open it up, and the first thing you'll see are the spare clothes I decided to bring with me that day. Almost always that includes my Showers Pass rain jacket in case of a downpour. I also like a second set of gloves in case I over/underestimated the weather or if my first pair get soaked. Sometimes I might even have a spare hat, booties, or some other layer of clothing.

Under that, I keep a bus schedule and maps. Even though I have an iPhone, it's nice to have a hard copy so I don't rely on cell towers and battery life.

Oh! And my pump is in there, too-- to complete my tool kit.

In the lil' side mesh pockets are other treasures-- like snacks and a copy of my health insurance card.

I don't have a chain guard, so I have these metal bands to keep my jeans out of the way of the chain. They're quick and a bit more casual looking than the yellow velcro sort.

Chamois butter! Or anti-chafe lotion for your butt. Sometimes reapplication is necessary, so these lil' packets are handy.

And of course, PLAYING CARDS. For when you meet up with a friend at a coffee shop and you feel like a few rounds of Gin Rummy.

  • Spare front flashing light. *I rely on my rechargeable light most of the time, but I've had an AA-battery-operated light in my bag for back-up.
  • More snacks. Clif Bloks or Fun Size Snickers bars.
  • CO2 cartridge & applicator-- I have a sizable pump for infinite air, but sometimes in the rain, dark, or sketchy neighborhood-- it's nice to fix a flat faster.

Is this a gross over use of the Hipstamatic iPhone app? Yes, but I lost my Photoshop in my hard drive crash-- so bear with me!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Hide-a-Bike Makes an Appearance

Alright, what is this "cheap bike whose purpose is to lock in the woods while out on a trail run" you speak of?

And why don't you just spray paint it so it looks less attractive and steal-able?

Because it's SO PRETTY! :)

This bike rocks. I can tell already.

And it doesn't even have its front rack/basket yet.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Point is to be Cheap

So I got this new used cheap bike.

It's a Craiglist bike. Steel rigid. Purple. I paid $80 for it.

I put on new tires, new pedals, new brake pads and soon- new brake/shifter levers. And a Wald front basket/rack with struts.

As I'm picking around the store (I work in a bike shop), I ask, "these tires or these ones?" I hear, "well, isn't the point of your bike to be cheap?" "Yeah, well, but," "then I'd choose the cheap ones."

"These pedals or these ones?" "Well, isn't the point of your bike to be cheap? You don't want anything desirable looking on there." "Yeah, well, but" "then I'd choose the cheap ones."


Choosing cheap is not my natural impulse.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bikes-- it's like they grow on trees!

So, it's kinda funny.

I just weaned my bike corral from 6 down to 4.. and now I have another one. Sigh.

It's just inevitable.

(...here comes the justification...)

But THIS bike is the "cheap bike." The bike that's cheap enough to get stolen without causing a heart attack.

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm moving to Issaquah!-- which means I am just miles if not meters away from all sorts of awesome trailheads. (eeeeee!!) Of course, I want to ride my bike to the trailhead! But that means stashing my bike in the woods.

So this is the Wood Stashing Bike. Could also do double-duty as Lock Up At Bike Stop Bike and after I put a big front rack/basket, it could even be the Town Bike. Who knows!

But it is oh, so charming. Like a mutt at the pound. Photos coming..

And for the record, I own:

  1. Trek 520 ........................(road touring, my all around bike)
  2. Salsa Ala Carte .............(rigid mountain, for off-road adventures)
  3. Dahon Speed D7 ..........(folding, for multi-modal commutes)
  4. Masi Coltello ................(track, for racing at the velodrome!)
and now..

5. the Wood Stasher :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Many of the excuses that people come up with for not riding a bike are easy to defeat:

It's rainy. (Wear a jacket.)
It's too far. (Take a bus partway.)
I don't want to wear lycra. (You don't have to.)

And so on.

But one excuse is hard to deal with: the place in which I live is not friendly to bicycles.

I wouldn't tell someone to ride down a four lane arterial and enjoy it. Bicycling is supposed to be FUN.

The town I currently live in isn't the best for bicycles. But I was a cyclist before I came here, I have good traffic skills and I am determined to escape the suburban mess and find peace on a far-away squiggly road. But it's a fight to get out. I feel like there are parts I have to "endure" in order to reach the "good stuff."

And while I live where I live for financial (and other) reasons-- I found that saving some money does less for my happiness than really great bike ride starting from the front door.

I'm moving to Issaquah!

View Larger Map

Lookatthat! Cougar MOUNTAIN, Squak MOUNTAIN, Tiger MOUNTAIN, Oh MY!

Oh, and there's also Grand Ridge, Duthie Hill and Soaring Eagle-- all of which I can bike TO, no car required!

Oh, and the Lake Sammamish trail and the Iron Horse that'll take you all the way to Eastern Washington.

And the local brewery serves locally brewed Rogue beer.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Petite Sweet, Arlington

..next time. When I go for a longer ride.. that whole wheat cinnamon roll is MINE.

But this time,

Oatmeal raisin cookies!
And hot coffee to swig it down.

The best winter ride motivator: halfway cookies!

Mural Tour

My dad and I were riding along the streets of Arlington, when-- whah? Hey! --gotta pull over!

MURAL! Both sides of the street.

One side featured the local river- each scene melting in the next.

Even the park benches melted a bit, too.

On the other side-- Washington's diverse landscapes from mountains, to forests, to ocean!

Including the little stuff- like these little purple fungi thingies I love finding in the forest!:

Washington- we've got it all. Trees green year 'round, ferns bigger'n you-- mountains, rivers, volcanoes, rain forests-- dry on the other side, rolling with wheat-- go the other way and: OCEAN!

There were more murals in town, too!


Smartwool Neck Gaiter: FAVORITE WINTER ITEM!

This Smartwool Neck Gaiter is my current favorite cycling accessory. I don't know what I did before this little tube of brilliance! Necks are SENSITIVE and catch a lot of cold breeze stickin' out there like that!

This simple accessory makes a BIG difference in my comfort level.

It's not tight, so it doesn't feel constricting. (And I HATE constricting. Ask my mom. I always took my jackets off as a child.) But it's snug enough that you can pull it up over your chin or nose if you need to. If you pull it up and combine it with a headband or beanie-- you can create a 'balaclava' effect, without being totally committed to wearing a balaclava. And I don't like being committed to the clothing I'm wearing.

I'll be wearing this thing fall to spring!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Whitman Cycling: Most Improved Woman

As a freshman on the Whitman College Cycling Team, I was chubby, fresh off of knee surgery, and bore relentless enthusiasm. That summer, I entered a stage race so over my head that the race organizers let me start an hour early. (Then it became more of a stage RIDE than RACE, I guess). But that didn't budge my enthusiasm one bit. I was a happy clam! I was riding my BIKE!

By the time my sophomore season rolled around, I was 4 pant sizes smaller (14 to a 6). My goal was never to lose weight. It would take me an HOUR to eat enough breakfast to make it to mid-morning snack. I just really, REALLY loved riding my bike.

That spring, I made it onto our Nationals squad-- and we won the women's team time trial, the team omnium, podium'd our girls in the criterium and Mara won the road race.

At the year-end team party, I was awarded a skin suit to recognize my vast improvement.

So to the next Most Improved Woman on the Whitman College Cycling Team:


Just keep riding!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Surly Long Haul Trucker $650

FOR SALE!: EDIT: SOLD!! Glad to know that this bike will be touring the Pacific Coast!

Happy tours, my ol' friend!

I rode this Surly Long Haul Trucker with an Xtracycle kit for about a year (March 2008-May 2009) when I was living in Walla Walla. It was AWESOME.

Ever since I left to go on a cross-country tour on my Trek 520 (June 2009) then moved to Seattle-- it has been parked, unused.. shivering.. wanting happy legs to pump it over hill and dale. My 520 has been getting all the action because it's what fits on the bus.

So I've detached the Xtracycle (which will go to my pregnant sister! Yay!) and offer you this rad touring-commuting-adventure steed for a good deal and to a good home.

Size 50cm frame, fits about 5'3" to 5'6". I'm 5'4". My 5"6" friend got the same size. Really it depends on your proportions. The top tube is longer compared to other touring bikes, which is how my taller friend ended up on the same frame size as me. I've put a stumpy stem on it, because I assume this bike will go to a shorter person.
Custom build. All parts were picked out piece by piece.

26" wheels, too! Stronger for their size, little or no toe-overlap, and a lot more tire choices!
Go street or knobby! (OR STUDDED! ;)






(It's on TOP of the clear coat)
Sticker over it or keep scratchin'!



The only real dings on this bike are where the Xtracycle attached to the frame on the kickstand/fender bridge. You'll end up clamping the same spot if you use a kickstand anyway.
Dab a little nailpolish- and TA DA: not a big deal.

So get a Surly LHT that spec'd a bit nicer than Surly's full build, with stronger hand-built wheels and only been ridden for a year-- for $650.

Available to see in Bellevue, WA. NO SHIPPING. Cash only.


And do pass along to potentially interested friends!

The Adventure Errand

Ah, yes-- it's been too long since I've had the chance to bike to the grocery store and surprise a cashier. So when icy streets prevented my mom from driving to the grocery, I quickly volunteered to ride!

Rolling down the neighborhood streets, a woman calls out--

"You be careful out there!"

"It's okay, I've got STUDS!"

" !! Oh! ha ha ha!"

I carried a 12 pound turkey, another 10 pounds of potatoes, and while I was there-- I thought I might as well grab some winter ale, too.

And YES, all the parts of my Safire have been transferred to a Salsa Ala Carte and Surly Instigator Fork! More on that soon..

Instead of driving and stressing out about getting a car stuck or struck-- I just hopped on my bike and had a ton of fun!

..Though studded tires, hydraulic disc brakes, mountain gearing and a sweet steel mountain frame did make it EXTRA enjoyable. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Riding to the Shot

My camera and my bike are truly intertwined.

I was riding and I was riding and I was riding-- and it wasn't "a RIDE" until..

..until I got a shot.

Okay, it's a Ride now.

A glowing tree..

A distant pasture..

That was a RIDE.

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