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, April 2, 2011


You're orienteer-whaa?


It's more fun than running.

A sample race with elite orienteers: http://www.finnvangelderen.com/O-film/

Friday, April 1, 2011


It's been a while since I last posted. That doesn't mean that I haven't been riding- I'm actually commuting by bike more regularly these days. It's just that my journaling of bike commuting has played itself out. I have new adventures to tackle: orienteering, trail running and off-road triathlon top the list. While that sorta fits in here, I feel like I need a new space for these new pursuits.

So An Adventure will go on hiatus for a while. I may return here to post about any bike tours I do. Meanwhile, I'm getting to work on 2 new blogs. Yes, 2!

One will organize trail running-related activities for women.

The second will be a seasonally focused photo blog of life outside: trail running, mountain biking, etc. One of my favorite things I've done on this blog is the photo compilation video I did of a winter in Walla Walla. It's not the quality of the video that I'm crazy about, but just the fact that I was outside so much that winter, that it resulted in a dense collection of photos. My goal on my new blog will be to go on enough adventures that I can create a video compilation for every season.

Thanks to all that have appreciated and enjoyed this blog. It will remain as a resource for you touring and Xtracycle folk. And when I get my X back (it's on loan), or go on tour- I will return here to share.



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oh, Snow!

This is how it went down. It was cold and it was grocery day, so I put on my Smartwool neck gaiter.

I went into the grocery store and bought ALMOST too many groceries to carry home.

Then, when I came out- my bike looked like this:

Hey!! Whaddya doin' on my bike, Snow?!

Then I woke up and the yard looked like this:


Good thing I never got around to taking off my studded tires!

It only looks like a snowball donut because I walked it down the driveway. The studs did great in the packed snow, slush and ice. It'll do anything except deep powder. Well, and ruts are quite an adventure. That's where handling skills come in.

Then- bus.

Before you readers of snowier climes roll your eyes- this is Seattle! Salamanders do not like getting snowed on! I prefer the mild and mossy forests.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Verdict

I look out onto Bellevue Way and assess the weather. Rain, cold, wind, dark.

I assess my energy levels. Pretty good, but I'd like to hit the trails pretty hard tomorrow.

I assess my calorie intake. Plenty full. Had 3 servings of breakfast, plus lunch, trail mix and that coffee cake I couldn't resist.

I assess my motivation. On the fence. Ride sounds nice, but a good, tough quality trail run sounds even better.

Verdict: bus.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Topeak Bar Extender

When I toured across the country, my Arkel handlebar bag was always with me- on and off the bike. It held valuables, calories and anything else I wanted instantly accessible- like a pad of paper for making ambitious grocery lists or miscalculating mileage.

There was only one problem- the bag, like most, sat high enough that it would prevent a handlebar-mounted light from being useful. My on-the-road solution was to jam my light in the side mesh pocket and hope that I'd been eating my carrots. It worked okay, but wasn't a great long-term solution.

There are a few ways to solve this problem.

1. Get a lower mounting bag like randonneurs use. But I like my bag, and I like where it sits.

2. Mount a light onto the fork. A great option if I had a MiNewt 250 cordless, but my light utilizes a cord and separate battery pack, which would be a mess. I couldn't mount there when I have front panniers while touring anyway.

3. Hack a mount onto a front rack. Perhaps if I had a 'flat top' front rack, but I've got an OMM low rider- which isn't conducive to hacking.

So the solution is: Topeak Bar Extender! It raises my lights UP, over my bag.

Review pending.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Theorhetical DIY Ironman Bike Route

Hm. So I mentioned that I'm simmering on plans of concocting a Do-it-Yourself Ironman. No $700 registration fee-- just mark a date on the calendar and do it on home turf.

My Prerequisites:
  • The route has to be fun. Good scenery, no boring laps.
  • The route has to be convenient. Start and finish close to home.
  • The route must be efficient, so as to not take too long.
  • The route must incorporate awesome food stops.
  • Transitions between legs should allow for an unhurried, complete change of clothing. I'm going to wear socks, dammit! And an actual chamois.
  • Incorporate 'checkpoints' so that friends may join in for a portion and to keep on schedule.
  • I should be fairly self-sufficient, and not overly relying on car support.
  • It should be FUN!

So here's what I came up with; I think it achieves everything except efficiency. Riding in the city just takes longer- more stops.

My Projected Timeline:

5:00a - Start SWIM @ Lake Sammamish State Park.
6:30a - Finish swim, TRANSITION into bike kit.
7:00a - Start BIKE toward Seattle.
9:30a - EAT BRUNCH @ Portage Bay Cafe in Seattle.
10:30a - Continue BIKE.
pm - Late LUNCH stop @ Black Diamond Bakery.
7:00p - Start TRAIL RUN @ base of Tiger Mountain.
Midnight - FINISH! With a bonfire. And MORE FOOD.

The kinks that I see in the plan are these:
  1. The bike will take so darn long because of all the city riding.
  2. Running in the dark in the woods sounds spooky, even with friends, headlamps and a 5 mile loop.
  3. I'm concerned that I would be too reliant on outside support to pull it off.
  4. There are some trail running adventures (my most recent love affair) that I could plan instead that would have far fewer logistics!

Hm. Still stewing..

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rode Home

I've been living in Issaquah for a month and a half now; time enough to tweak and try different commute combos. I've ridden my folding bike, touring bike and mountain bike. I've ridden in jeans, dry-quick travel pants, lycra and fleece. I've ridden just to the bus and all the way into work.

But I hadn't ridden my bike all the way back home, in the dark, cold night.

You know, it's actually not so cold! I was actually HOT on my ride home, thanks to my dang hot Craft base layer. And it's not so dark either, behind 300 lumens of light.

I wasn't even sleepy, riding at 9pm. My gently laboring lungs kept me awake.

And it doesn't even take longer than taking the bus. In fact, it's faster. And cheaper. And there was cool spooky stuff to stop and take pictures of.

I'm a fan.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, February 6, 2011

DIY Ironman

I've had this idea brewing- and maybe I've posted on it before- but the idea has resurfaced full force: a Do-it-Yourself Ironman. Just wake up one morning, swim 2.4 miles at the local lake, have brunch, bike 112 miles around town, stop for a pastry, and run a marathon on your favorite wooded trails.

A 'certified' Ironman costs around $6-700 for registration alone. Given the accommodations, camaraderie, course design, motivation and prestige you get from an official Ironman, it's actually a good deal.

But are those things worth $700 to me?

Accommodations made possible by hundreds of volunteers are well appreciated, but could it be more personal to rely on a couple friends instead?

The camaraderie of completing an Ironman with hundreds of other athletes who have prepared for the same task is inspiring- but how cool would it be if you could invite your friends to complete portions of it with you?

Enjoying someone's course design is certainly worth the money and enables support features like transition zones, aid stations and roads closed to traffic. But how rad would it be to use your local lake, roads and trails for the big feat?

Plunking down cash for an event might motivate you to actually do the deed, but shouldn't we be able to write a date on the calendar and say that's that?

And prestige? I don't need a medal to show off, I've got a blog to brag on. :)

Plus- I ain't spending 700 bucks on a race.

Logistics to follow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Commute Time

As the new year rolled around, I noticed that I've been posting about half as much as I did when I lived in Walla. Maybe part of that is because I am no longer cruising around town on an Xtracycle, attempting to carry any and everything by bike, just because it was fun. The Xtracycle doesn't fit on the bus, here in the city, so it's temporarily retired.

But to offset that decline, I've tried so many new things since I've moved to the Seattle area: mountain biking, track, putting my bike on the bus.

Then a friend pointed out that I spend a whole lot more time commuting in Seattle than I ever did in Walla Walla. Dang, I really do. Walla Walla is 5 miles wide! It only took 10 minutes by bike to get.. Well, anywhere! Now it takes an hour and a half to bike or bike/bus a route that takes 20 minutes in a car. Now I really get the commitment it can take to be a "bike commuter."

What used to be blog time is now commute time.. Until I got an iPhone that is! I can snap a photo, whiz it up in Adobe Express, do a little thumb tapping and BAM. I've blogged, on location.

We'll see how this goes. I feel like I don't write so guud when writing at the pace of my thumbs, but perhaps I'll learn.

I'm open to new ideas.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Drive Better

I met a man in a coffee shop who was concerned that he was going to hit a cyclist while driving. You know, because people drive and text and all that stuff.

I told him that driving and texting is illegal. And besides, did HE drive distracted?, I asked.

Yeah, he sometimes is distracted.

By what?

Oh, you know- by any little thing.

So.. Do I have this right? You are a poor driver and so you want everyone else around you to make accommodations for you to be a poor driver?

I think you should drive better.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sometimes it IS peaches!

I recently wrote a post about a totally botched bike commute. Just nothing went right. It all wanted to go wrong.

Well, sometimes it goes the other way!

I was out orienteering (WWW.CASCADEOC.ORG) in Shoreline and planned to meet my friends afterward for grub and drinks, then ride/bus home.

The directions were easy-- turn right on Greenwood and keep going 'til you get there!

The traffic wasn't bad-- 4-lane arterials are usually terrible for cycling, but I took my lane and there didn't seem to0 much traffic going my direction... I didn't feel cramped or rushed. It was rad.

I pull up to Naked City (it has nothing to do with being naked! It's just extremely good beer!), but don't have a lock with me, so I park my bike in the window and sit at the table in front of it. Problem solved.

Friends show up, I have an awesome scotch ale and great sandwich, we chat, pay the tab and I change into my bike gear. The plan is to ride to Mercer Island, then catch the express bus home.

I ride in the cool, damp night-- well lit by my awesome lights. Breath vivid, skylines supreme, sweat light.. and pull up to the Mercer Island Park & Ride. My bus shows up in 10 minutes.


What a seamless ride.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lots of Foldy Lately

I'm still experimenting with my commute. I'm learning exactly how long it takes to get to the transit center. It's slightly downhill.

I'm comfortable putting foldy on the front of the bus now-- he just seemed too small to hang on, but I've seen other people do it lots of times now.

I keep an ankle band (for keeping my pants out of my chain) in my coat pocket. And earphones, which I've learned need a good push to get plugged in all the way (sorry!).

It's only 3 or 4 miles to the bus, but it's far enough to get actually soaked if it's raining. I've worn all sorts of jackets between here and there. My casual rain jacket, my orange bike commuter rain jacket, my Gore water resistant rain jacket, my yellow wind jacket..

If I feel gutsy, I wear my jeans. If it looks reliably wet, I wear "travel pants" that dry quick and pack my jeans in my bag.

And slowly emerges- a routine.

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