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, May 29, 2010

Flat Kit Tip

A little tip for putting your tube in your flat kit.

Take off the lil' collar nut, because a) you don't really need it and b) if you think you need it, there should already be one on your bike and c) it can rub your tube wrong while in your kit and put a hole in it! Really. It's happened to me before.

Put your tube in a plastic sack so that it SLIPS easily into your flat kit and has an extra layer of protection from rubbing on other things in your kit.


And in case you wanted to catch what's inside my flat kit:

*I have many bikes and each has a different flat kit! This is just ONE example of A flat kit that I carry on my light/fast bike. My commuter bike, on the other hand, has a much larger pump, a larger multi tool that includes a chain tool, spare batteries, and more! My mountain bike has a chain tool, a spare derailleur hanger, lube and even a emergency whistle and flint!

The BASIC flat kit should have:
  1. Tire levers to get tire on and off
  2. Patch kit
  3. Tube in case the patch kit doesn't work out or for a faster change
  4. Source of air-- whether pump or CO2
  5. A multi-tool for on-road maintenance. Even if you don't know how to fix it, a passing cyclist may!

Other items that are nice to have in a flat kit or rack bag:
  • Tire boot, for patching the TIRE, not the tube. A dollar bill or wrapper also works in a pinch.
  • Cash, for buying a phone call, bus fare or a Snickers bar.
  • Chain tool and spare chain link.
  • Spare batteries for lights.
  • Spare generic/temporary derailleur hanger (most common for mountain biking).
  • Emergency snack, like a lil' bag of Luna Moons!
  • Tiny bottle of lube.

It's also a good idea to carry with you:
  • Cell phone
  • Identification
  • Debit card
  • Insurance card
  • CAMERA! ;)


Sometimes-- rain feels nice.

It wasn't cold. Just wet. Like salt shaker sprinkley wet. I turned back home only because it was dinner time. Had some dark, dark chocolate and cold milk to fill me back up. Delicious. (Oh, and then I had dinner, don't worry.)

Let's Go Ride a Bike!

Do you think that I can check off EVERYTHING on this list?

May 17-June 6: Social Cycling

• Go on a group ride
• Leave a nice note on a bike, or say hi to a cyclist at a red light
• Schedule a bike date with a friend or partner — dress up!
• Recruit a non-biking friend for a ride
• Ride with your family

June 7-June 27: Learning Experiences
• Perform a maintenance task — big or small!
• Decorate your bike
• Read a book about cycling
• Carry a load on your bike — groceries, etc.
• Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride

June 28-July 18: New Territory
• Ride a greenway
• Have a bicycle picnic
• If you don’t normally ride to work, commute by bike, or by bike/train or bike/bus
• If you do commute, take the long way home: add distance to your usual ride
• Explore a new part of town by bike

What are you waiting for?


Friday, May 28, 2010

Thank you, RAPHA

Usually, when flipping through a cycling catalog that features women-- the women are, 9 times out of 10, not actually ON their bike, but instead are wearing pastels, sporting lipstick and their hair is down. The bike just looks like a prop.

But I didn't really realize HOW conditioned I was to seeing women represented this way, until I saw RAPHA'S photoshoot. 

I can't tell you how stunned with joy it makes me--

that these women can RIDE their bikes.

Scenic Loop, Walla Walla, WA

I got to visit Walla Walla over the weekend. :)

And I had to decide: WHICH RIDE?

It wasn't that hard.

It's really, and appropriately, called Scenic Loop-- one of my all-time favorite rides in Walla Walla. After cruising down Mill Creek Rd, which is some of Walla Walla's most boasted cycling, take a hard right detour up Scenic for a wonderful tire-skipping ride on a gravel dream climb.

It's not easy, but it is rewarding. Drop it into the little ring as you disappear into the trees. Soon, you'll be shoulder to shoulder with the hills across the valley while searching for a washboard-free line to take. Keep it up, and you'll crest to see Walla Walla in the distance. Then hope that the gravel isn't too fresh an' deep as you wiggle back down. And once you hit pavement, even chip-seal will feel like silk. An awesome feeling. 

Who said 23mm race tires weren't made for gravel? They're perfect.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Light Up!


What I LOVE about my Down Low Glow: well, first of all-- it's FUN to ride on a cloud of light. And if you like compliments-- you'll get lots. 

From a safety standpoint, it creates 360 degrees of visibility. The DLG lights YOU up, so that instead of looking like a moving dot (like a typical blinky light), you look like a moving PERSON on a BIKE. 

The DLG also lights up the space on the ground AROUND you, causing drivers, whether consciously or not, to give you more space, because your space, again, is defined to be bigger than a dot. 

It's also great SIDE visibility. When cruising down an arterial, I'm always having staring contests with drivers waiting on side streets to pull into my lane. I want to make sure they know that I'm there. With the DLG, sometimes they'll actually wait for me to pass just so they can stare at my light!

"DANGER High Voltage"

At the entrance/exit to the I-90 bike tunnel

Thursday, May 20, 2010

City Scape Part 2

An average American City Person's life is bombarded with
frantic energy
and perceived obligations--
resulting in a life spent in past or future,
and hardly present.

Riding my bike is the one time of day,
when I have the best hopes of
being present.

It allows me see,
and interact.

City Scape

I got off the bus wearing street clothes, intending to catch another bus the rest of the way home. It would be a while until it came, so I didn't rush. I just walked thoughtfully down the street, escorting my bicycle, examining textures--

and inserting myself into them.

Friday, May 14, 2010

More Track Racing

So.. after my first Thursday night of racing (last week), I left the track confident. I made moves, they stuck (sometimes unintentionally) and I won. I was batting 100% and felt like I hadn't even kicked in my 5th gear yet. 

Based on last Thursday, I thought I had more gas and horsepower than the entire group-- which surprised me, since my legs are uber-endurance right now.. I mean, I got 4,200 miles of base this summer! On an 85lb rig! And I'm certainly haven't been training to race road (stage races, criteriums and such). With the slight exception of a casual cyclocross season, I haven't raced with focus since college (class of '07). I was pleasantly shocked to find I had any juice at all!

But really, what happened last Thursday-- I was patient and sat in for the first half of the race, made my move, then the group was too disorganized to nab me. Patience + smarts + speed + luck = win.

But last night? Oh last night, revenge was paid upon me and I got SPANKED-- Hagens Berman, I'm looking at you! 

Here are just SOME of the things I did wrong:
  • I was not patient.
  • I didn't hold my wheels. (I let people edge me out and take my place).
  • I did WAY too much work on the front for no good reason.
  • I didn't position well for the sprints.
  • Once I didn't HOLD MY LINE. (Ride straight.) (Sorry!)
  • I marked (chased after) moves that I should have left and didn't mark moves I should have met.
  • Once again-- I rode an extra lap after one of the races finished. I even brought someone with me! :) 
  • And I need to figure out when it's okay to "pass underneath," because most times it is NOT OKAY to pass on the inside.. except in a few gray area situations.
I'll let the video evidence say the rest:

*sigh. Well, time to go hit the track! Gonna get in a workout before watching the fast folks race.

Love to my ladies in Group 1. You're awesome. (and I'm sure you Group 2 ladies are nice as well.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Last Thursday was the first night of the pre-season at the Marymoor Velodrome. The official season (when you earn points) begins in June, but all throughout May, beginners and veterans alike attend pre-season races to get the feel of the track again.

Thursday night is for all those who have just completed a track class (requirement for racing) and need to practice group skills, tactics and to keep pedaling after the finish line (or your bike will buck you off!).

My first Thursday night? Well? It went well. :)

Thursday Night Preseason at Marymoor Velodrome from Rebecca Jensen on Vimeo.

The first 4 minutes are my 2 races edited down. The last 6 minutes is footage of Tom's last race, complete with commentary from his friends and co-workers. 

Touring-- cush steel bicycles, upright and stable geometry, LOTS of gears, LOTS of gear, ride slow, ride long, see the world.

TRACK-- stiff aluminum bicycles, aggressive and snappy geometry, ONE gear, no brakes, ride as fast as you can for about 5 minutes in an oval.

And yet-- I love them both. :)


Friday, May 7, 2010

It ain't wheat, but it's still fascinating

I am surely not riding through Walla Walla wheat like I used to-- but the city is still fascinating.

Seattle Texture

Water and industry

A lot of trucks barrel through here, but at least I have a bike lane!

And if I don't feel like riding the whole way,
there's always the bus!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Seattle Bike Blogger Meet Up

Last Saturday, I attended a "Seattle Bike Blogger" meet up. The meeting was encouraged by Paul, our local Bike Intelligencer blogger, to put our heads together and come up with-- well, something.
Boat Launch on Alki

The consensus (as it seemed to me) was that we bloggers have the advantage of being social organizers without the politics, waivers, expense and red tape of bigger organizations such as the Cascade Bicycle Club. While Cascade puts on fantastic events (Seattle to Portland ride, Bike Swap, Bike to Work Month and more) and can be credited for getting people movin' and groovin' on their bikes-- they do not have the ability to put on smaller, more intimate-scale, low-key, pop-up events. This is also the difference between Seattle and Portland.

Here in Seattle-- we like structure and rules. We pay the registration, sign the waivers, dump a paycheck at Gregg's Cycles (disclosure: I work there!), and ride laps around Mercer Island (home to Bill Gates) before riding from Seattle to Portland with 10,000 other people who may or may not know how to handle their bikes and finally declare ourselves "cyclists." But what about everyone else? What about riders who ride plain clothes, or with their children, or on single speeds, or on single track, or cargo bikes, or just some rickety thing they bought off of Craig's List but they love it and ride it to every corner of the city, to coffee, to work, and the bar? If you ride a bike, but don't relate to the cover of Bicycling Magazine, what culture is here for you?

Bike Parking outside of Canal Coffee
Those are "perfect gauge" railroad ties

Now, I don't want to say that Seattle has ZERO non-lycra bike culture. Mike, from Seattle Likes Bikes, rattled off a list of bike culture groups, events and rides that fall into just this category we're interested in. We just want more of it and to bring it all together. Seattle, after all, is pretty big. Portland is more like a town.

Industrial West Seattle

So, what do you think? What kind of bike culture would you like to see more of in Seattle?

Related Posts with Thumbnails