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.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mountain Biking in the City

It's amazing to me that something THIS refreshing is available IN the city. This is St.Edward's State Park, in Kenmore, WA. 

To see what other trails are close to the Seattle/Western Washington area, go to EVERGREENMTB.ORG and check out the "Trail Info" section. There you can find user-created reviews and descriptions of local trails.

What kept me from venturing into mountain biking for so long is that I found it very strange to have to get in a CAR in order to go ride my BIKE. Why would I do that when I could hop on my road bike and leave from my front door?

Well, I no longer live in Walla Walla where it only took 5 minutes to get out of town and into solitude. Work, the grocery store and my friends were also a 5, 10, or maybe a 30 minute bike ride away. Now I live outside of the big city and work in it. I ride my bike for nearly an hour in order to ride a bus for another hour. Cars, buses, freeway traffic-- they have infiltrated my life. But instead of being sour about the whole situation, I can take advantage of it. On Wednesdays, I borrow the car. Handy things those cars. And on Wednesday mornings before work..  I get to swing by St.Ed's with my mountain bike. Yes, just swing by. It's on the way to work.

While I do look forward to someday living closer to work and riding my bike to work, the grocery and my friends' house..

I won't complain.

This is Byron!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bike on the Bus

Morning Glow

Loading my bike onto the bus from Rebecca Jensen on Vimeo.

I have to admit, there was a time when loading my bike on the bus was intimidating. What if I take too long? How do I get it on there? Will it really stay on?

A: You won't, it's easy and YES.

All ya' do is: 

1).  pull the rack down (probably gotta squeeze the lever)

2). plop your bike in the wheel wells

3). tug on the spring-loaded thinger

4). and snug that down on top of your wheel, close to your brakes/frame (see picture in video)

I don't even have to take my panniers off! (So long as they're not loaded down too heavy). I do take my Light & Motion lights off, though. While they are very weather-proof, they're not cheap.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


What sports can do:

"..she is a very good soccer player. She works hard, listens to instruction, never quits and always gives her best. She's always trying to get better. She's aggressive, but plays within herself... I would like to have her tryout for soccer again... hopefully she has learned something about soccer and life." 
--Note from my soccer coach to my parents, 1997

Sign your kids up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Nipping and Riding at the Armstrong Tract

A little before action..

..and after:

Really, the place needs a lot more lovin'. The Armstrong Tract of the Pilchuck Tree Farm (Arlington, WA) has a lot of great singletrack, but it's grown over to the point that it feels like a herd of cats are playing mouse with your shins. So my friend Jess and I went out there and snipped a little stretch. And then we discussed a weed whacker intervention.

And then we rode. 

You know, I like to think that these posts do more than over glorify my little adventures. In my last 5 mountain bike rides, I've taken 3 friends out on the trail for their first mtb ride or first in a long while. I like to think that my gushing about the wonders of mountain biking has a little to do with that.

Share the love!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Best Mountain Bike Ride Ever (SO FAR)


..today I started to feel like a "mountain biker." I started to find that rhythm. Ka-tump, ka-tumping over logs, relaxing the hands, scooting my butt way back on the saddle (and once on my tire.. hmm..). At one point I cleared an uphill root section to such surprise that the smile that shot to my face nearly bounced me off my bike as I burst with glee. And I got to work hard. As a beginner, it can, yes, be hard to work hard, because you're constantly stopping, remounting, and discovering the magic of hydraulic disc brakes (WHOAAAA!!--- oof!). But today I worked a section, then worked it back, worked a section, then worked it back. I may have been lost, but nevertheless, that's what brilliant about mountain biking: the same half-mile tread continues to entertain because you can always hit it better, smoother, faster.

I love mountain biking.

Commute by Bike & Thoughts on Comment Section Debates

I have a guest post over at Commute by Bike!

I wrote a basic maintenance article that also included information when parts should be replaced. When you buy a new bike at a bike shop, the sales person should inform you that your cables (that make your brakes and shifters work) will stretch out and need adjusting (and then offer a free tune-up). However, the bike purchasing process is so long, there usually isn't time to also bring up the other maintenance issues that will pop up in the future. My intent in writing this article was to address those parts of the bike that need regular replacement. If you know about these parts in advance, you can keep an eye on them and replace them timely. Unfortunately, for many-- they don't find out until the part is already worn out and has worn out other parts in the bike in the process. For instance, if brake pads aren't cleaned and/or replaced regularly, the rims on your wheel will wear down faster. To read the article, click HERE

The article was surprisingly hard to write and I still think that it could be done better. I tried to make the article brief, informative and not intimidating-- which was hard to do!

Something else that surprised me (well, not really) was the comments section. Here's how it went down (in my own words), though from another perspective, I acknowledge that it could be described differently:

Someone accused me of writing an article that DISCOURAGED new cyclists, because it suggested that people don't have the skills they need to ride a bike. He said my article focused on the negative, not the positive, and suggested lower-maintenance commuter bikes (internal gears, chain guards, etc) as the solution.

Then someone disagreed with him and said that the article was more about the "do it yourself" mentality, which is empowering. He also likes bikes that he can fix at home.

AND THEN, the other guy whipped out some statistics with links and everything! Because clearly, HIS bike is the way to go.

And then my eyes glazed over a little..

And then a mechanic chimed in as to what a commuter bike should be..


I don't take any of these comments personally, as clearly the conversation has become a tangent far away from my article. It is possible that this is simply a level-headed, polite debate for fun; but something bothers me about these conversations: the hot debates about what gear, bikes, practices are right/wrong/best/dumb. While on one hand, these conversations can be good-natured and lively... unfortunately, they often turn righteous, snobbish and angry. 

I have unsubscribed from bicycling blogs that go beyond celebrating something wonderful about a bicycle and go so far as to tell me that this bicycle is the only bicycle and all other bicycles and their riders are inferior and stupid.

Instead, the philosophy I subscribe to (pun intended), is touched on by John of the Cycling Spokane blog in THIS article. It's an appreciation of ALL THINGS BICYCLE. Sure, you've got your preferences. You've got things that work for YOU. But something else works for somebody else and THAT IS OKAY.

The secret mission of this blog is to prove just that. Follow this blog over time and you see posts on:

RACING (yes! In the much-ridiculed spandex! On carbon fiber no less!)
TOURING (wearing both spandex and loose clothing at the same time! On steel!)
COMMUTING (on an Xtracycle, a folding bike, a touring bike, an old mountain bike and more!)
MOUNTAIN BIKING (in wool and full suspension!)

So that's my message: ride and wear what works for YOU, because THAT is what is so special about bicycles-- they are as diverse as we are.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Just Pokin' Around

Bushcraft Northwest

At the end of January, I will be taking a weekend-long workshop from Bushcraft Northwest. I have wanted to learn skills like these ever since I was a kid, so I'm very excited to finally follow through!

The Winter Workshop will include:

... fire building, navigation, knife techniques, traps, snares, food gathering, how to pack light and stay warm, etc. Safe use and importance of the ax during wintertime will be covered in depth. The emphasis of this workshop will be on how the core skills change and adapt with this beautiful yet unforgiving season. Full meal provided on Saturday night. Fresh stream water runs through site. We will have a large outfitter tent with woodstove for getting warm, drying clothes, and sleeping in for those interested. Please bring whatever food and camping items you'd like for your comfort during your stay. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hub Deep and a Good Ride

Today the puddles went hub deep. [GRIN.]

Which made it a good day to have a friend to laugh with.

I am pretty sure that it helps to scream "BONZAI!" before launching into such lagoons.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What to do with a wet January

Yeah, so it rains in Seattle. So what? In the winter, it looks like THIS:

I could get used to this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Smell it

The water

and the trees

smell wonderful.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Today I had plans to meet up with my friend to go have a blast volunteering for the Washington Trails Association. I live quite north, she lives south and the work party was even souther. In order to make a carpool work, I needed to meet her farther south-- so I decided to catch a bus.

The bus stop is only a few miles away from my house.. and my friend didn't have a bike rack.. nor is leaving a bike at a trailhead very wise.. perfect solution? Folding bike. Plus, it's just fun.

Folding my Dahon Speed D7 at the bus stop from Rebecca Jensen on Vimeo.

BONUS! Here's a short video of our work party! (And yes, they are called "work PARTIES!")

WTA at Grand Ridge from Rebecca Jensen on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My bike and I

St.Edwards State Park

When I lived in Walla Walla, the lay of the land called for road cycling. Ride five minutes in any direction and you will find an abundance of quiet, rolling, wheat-lined country roads. If you like fishing your wheel on gravel, options multiply two-fold.

Now that I live in the greater Puget Sound area, the road cycling... well, it can be had. There are some quieter areas, bearing beautiful rides-- but you need to know where you're going. This is not a place where I'd "go get lost" because you're more likely to accidentally find a strip mall than find an abandoned barn.

So instead of trying to make Seattle road cycling as good as it is in Walla Walla, I am taking advantage of what Seattle does better than Walla Walla-- mountain biking. 

And wow, it does it good.

Wallace Falls

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bike Wash 2.0

Bike Wash 2.0 from Rebecca Jensen on Vimeo.

I recently made a video on how to thoroughly wash a bicycle. This is version 2.0 as applied to my, yes, NEW (Happy Birthday to ME!) mountain bike.

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