October 05, 2013


My 2009 Defy Advanced was stolen from my garage in northwest Spokane this morning.
Has Shimano Ultegra shifters and hardware, Brooks saddle, and Shimano SPD pedals.  Also rigged for a Garmin wireless bike computer.  Please comment below if you see or know anything!

March 19, 2013

March Winds

I love spring for many reasons, and the wind is not generally a complaint of mine.  But last night my ride home was horrendous.  The wind was in my face for the last mile.  Even my well-practiced snot rockets were off kilter. 

When I got off my bike my lungs were burning from the effort, mostly attributable to the fact that I haven't really ridden much in the last two weeks.  But I think it had something to do with the wind as well...

I'm reassessing my commitment to the Ronde Von Polouse next month...

March 13, 2013

Longitudinal "Dryer" Cracks

This morning I threw a leg over my bike for my commute.  It was nice.  The road was just wet enough tha have me concerned, though.  With a broken rear fender I'm prone to receive the dreaded "racing stripe".

In the dark (by the way, the dark is hard to take after having the light for a few weeks.), my lights revealed a sheen of wet that was fortuitously interrupted by longitudinal cracks in the pavement.  By riding on the downhill- or curb-side of the cracks I was effectively reducing the amount of water my tire could fling at me.

Which was fine until I came to the newly refinished Post Street.  I don't usually make a habit of cursing smooth pavement but...

March 08, 2013


I apologize for this week's silence.  I've been working overtime on a very intense schedule.  No biking this week.

It's getting better, though.  Tomorrow is Saturday!

February 27, 2013

Needed: Pants

Half-way to work this morning I had just started down Nemesis Hill when a thought ran through my head, "My bag feels a bit lofty today."  At which point I had a heart attack and began swearing.  I try not to make a habit of denying gravity's help, but I had to turn around immediately.  The prospect of wearing tights to work was unbearable.

The bonus of my absent-mindedness was a 50% increase in calories burned!

February 26, 2013


I've heard the rumblings of cyclists complaining about bicycle detection at traffic signals.  It's something I experienced long ago from the perspective of a motorcycle in another state.  This morning, though, I gained some empathy for the situation in Spokane. 

I rode up to a red traffic signal and waited.  The cross traffic on the more busy arterial was free flowing with a green light and a white walking signal.  After about 30 seconds slowly ticked away, a couple of cars came up to the line on my right and made right-hand turns.  Coincidentally, the walk signal turned to a flashing hand, and I figured I'd be good to go momentarily.  After those cars made their turn, and I was again alone the flashing hand went solid, but the light did not turn yellow.  It remaind green, and after several seconds, the white walking man re-appeared.

At this point I was severely tempted to run me a redlight.  Without the aid of a massive car I was bound to stand and stare at a red light. 

Eventually a couple of cars came up behind me and to my left, and the light was triggered, but the damage has been done.  I will now distrust traffic lights when on my bike.

February 25, 2013

Lycra to Wool Ratio

I'm a bit Yahuda Moon and a bit Joe King.  I wear lycra for the chamois, and wool for the warmth.  Performance jersey, natural fiber gloves.  It works. 

My Lycra:Wool ratio is roughly 5:2 in the winter.  More like 5:0 in the summer.

Saturday I made it out for a long-ish ride in the cool February sunshine, and threw a cotton hoodie in the mix.  Turned out to be a great combination.

February 24, 2013

Smooth Rider

I've just finished painting my basement, so thought it appropriate to use the fresh wall for a photo shoot! 
This is my road bike.  A 2009-ish Giant Defy Advanced.  It's loaded up with Ultegra stuff, a couple of roundish Easton things, a Brooks saddle, and only Camelback water bottles.  Not necessarily a racer, but a comfy ride.

February 14, 2013

Rockets in the Wind

OK, snot rockets are not all I think about on the bike.  But it seems like almost every time I get my heart rate up, I end up needing to clear my airways.  What I've realized over this past month being back on the bike is that care must be taken on the bike to remember that I'm not running.

Running...at least when I do it, is not particularly fast, and thus there is little wind.  That's not true on the bike, because even I can go fast enough to feel wind in my face.  About three times now I've given the old heave out of one nostril just fine, but when I switch and blast the other... well let's just say laundry day moves a bit closer.  Or, more truthfully, several bits closer.

Then when I concentrate too much on keeping the process clean I end up weaving down the road a bit.  I'm getting better though.  Getting better.

February 13, 2013

Triple Truck Ruckus

It's only a matter of time on the road before interactions with the crazies happens.  I'm really suprised it took 4 weeks for me to have any, but it must have been building up cause this morning I got three!

I don't know what it is about guys in their trucks.  Attitudes seem to be magnified proportional to the size of the truck...but maybe that's just my perspective.

1.  I'm at a major intersection of two arterial streets.  The street I'm on has two lanes in each direction.  I'm lined up in the right lane behind three vehicles that have their right-hand turn signal on.  One vehicle is in the left lane.  The light turned green and the vehicles in front of me began to move.  As the line slowly moved into their turning motion, I noted that the single truck in the left lane was NOT moving.  The vehicle in front of me turned, and as I entered the intersection the truck to the left finally began moving...and it became apparent to me why he had NOT been moving. 

He had waited for the queue of headlights to roll out before making his last-minute lane-switch-right-hand-turn.  BUT he had NOT seen MY headlight.  Thankfully this individual is so engrained in his last-minute behavior type that he DID see me at the last minute and paused long enough for me to clear his path before continuing his illegal maneuver.

2.  As I entered the Garland Business District which is posted as a 20 MPH zone I saw a nice truck ready to turn onto the street behind me.  I made a concerted effort to increase my pedaling effort which would bring me up to about 17 MPH on my single-speed commuter.  As soon as the truck was fully into the lane behind me I recognized the engine rev of an individual about to break the law.  Sure enough, the truck came rolling past on my left straddling the double yellow.  I snarkily gave him a huge thumbs up as he did so.  Then I refrained from looking at him 50 yards down the road where we both toed the line at the next red light.

3.  Truck number three came from behind as we approached a green signal with a single lane in our direction and a left-hand turn lane.  This time the diesel engine rev was unmistakably moving into the left-hand turn lane, and also unmistakably NOT slowing down.  I just shook my head as this guy rolled straight through the intersection.

Sometimes I wonder if it's my fault they break the law...wait, no I don't!  They are big enough to make their own stupid decisions.  Typically we don't get to hear what's going on in someones mind in the moment they make a decision, but two out of three times this morning I did hear just that. 

February 12, 2013

Performance Bike

I like to go to my local bike shop.  I like to chat with the mechanics and watch them tune my bike.  But I don't like to by maintenance pieces or gear from them.  For those things I go to the internets.  And then I end up spending extra so I don't have to pay shipping.

As I'm getting back into riding more this year I've been making my mental list of items I "need".  It just so happened that I was in Boise this weekend, and had some time to scoot over to the Performance Bike store.  I've wanted to go there for a few years now.  It was everything I had hoped for.  The same great deals on the web, but with actual talking people to answer my questions. 

After about 30 minutes of browsing and picking and choosing and putting things back and picking more I had over $200 of stuff in my arms.  I called my wife and asked what my budget was.  Her answer..."$100". 

I re-stocked a few items and went to the counter.  My load rang up to over $180.  I pointed to one last "non-essential" item to be removed from the list, and brought it down to $163.  You know...cause "$100" really means "significantly less than $200".  I'm still debating with myself whether to tell my wife or let her discover it on her own.

I wore my new helmet today, and was terribly pleased with it!

February 07, 2013

Weight Loss

One of my major motivations for biking to work is my health.  I'm generally not an unhealthy person, but that is largely because of my choices over the years to live an active lifestyle.  I have evidence to suggest that I am prone to gaining weight.  This evidence has most recently been assured by a 20-pound weight gain over the last 8 months. 

20 Pounds.  Feels.  Wrong.

It also feels motivating. 

That's why I'm biking to work again.  That's why I want to participate in a few races this spring/summer. 

I feel so much better without this extra part of me.  All self-consciousness aside, I physically feel better and healthier at a lower weight.

By the way...I can't believe only two people have logged their opinions on my Redlight Poll.  It's right over there ---------------------------------------->

And it's anonymous.  I really am curious how other people feel about sitting at a redlight on a bike!

Color Matching

One of the benefits of commuting by bike is the independence afforded me.  In fact, I'm most notably aware of the fact that I get to choose my own outfit, bring it to work, and put it on without my wife's interjection. 

At home she's always getting on me for how well I match my colors...often mumbling something about engineers as she walks away. 

This happened just yesterday.  Today, though...I am free.

February 05, 2013

Farmer Blow = Snot Rocket

I know I'm off my game when a snot rocket has me weaving all over the road.  Gotta get that under control!

February 04, 2013

Nemesis Hill Sucks Wind

Rode home from work today.  I wasn't really into it, but I wasn't willing to throw in the towell against my nemesis.  As I approached the incline I realized my rythm wasn't going to jive well.  I stood up and pumped, and quickly my legs felt thick and sluggish...cause they were.  By the mid-point I was suffering.  I was breathing heavily and my mind was wandering.  I attempted to pin down the fleeting thought, "I did not want to walk it".  Finally the crest was in sight.  I was weaving a bit more with each pedal stroke.  My mouth was open wide, and I was certainly spraying saliva with each heave of my lungs, but it still seemed that I couldn't get enough air.  Eventually the ground leveled out, and all I could do was gratefully sit.  Another battle was in the books.  I did not suck.

January 31, 2013

Shrink and Fade - Shadow Play

There's at least one nice thing that results from riding to work in the dark.  It stems from the fact that cars have to use lights.  It's particularly nice for those ninja-cars that are silent as cottonball ping-pong.

This morning I watched my shadow backlit by yellow shrink toward me and then fade to my right.  It's the 'fade to my right' part that really sings to me.  The shrink part can actually be a little unnerving, but that 'fade right' is money!

January 30, 2013

Red Light Temptation

Consider this scenario:

On your ride to work you come upon a red traffic light at about 6:40 a.m.  The light is at the intersection of minor arterials, and there is absolutely no traffic in sight.

How temptated are you to run the light?

If you were to rate the temptation from 1 to 10 is it:

1 - I have standards and do not flex
2-3 - I'm not prone to run lights, but standing here in the street feels strange
4-5 - Who's gonna know? *as your feet twitch and your fingers start to relax on the brake levers*
6-7 - You stop, look both ways, check behind you...double check the 'flashing hand' walk indicator...
8-9 - You pre-conceive the situation and stop only briefly enough to verify your preminition
10 - Temptation? No, this is a standard situation, and is completely normal to roll through.  Those detection loops never respond to cyclists anyway.

I've placed a poll to the right for entertainment value.  So let's see how tempted people feel...

For me, this morning, it was about a 3 or 4.

January 29, 2013


I'm gonna go out for sliders instead of riding today. 

Actually, I chose this morning to shower at home so I could shave. 

As it turned out, I walked out to head to the bus and found skid marks coming into my driveway from the street.  Later, from the bus, I saw a truck spun around on the road.  Glad I chose NOT to ride this morning!

January 28, 2013

Post-Shower Goodness

Today provided a nice thought-provoking ride to work.  The snow was not too deep or scary, the temperature was not too cold.  I was down to the proper number of layers.  I was early enough to avoid the crazy, late drivers on the road.  It was good.  My sit bones were even in a better way. 

I had plenty of time to shower and get ready for work; including enough time for the water to warm up plenty before I got in.  A quick shower and then back out.  As I reached for my towell, I felt a hair in my mouth.  Not one to let that linger, I brought my hand to my mouth and used my towell to brush the hair off my tongue.  And then I gagged as I realized I had just LICKED my gym towell.

A Little Motivation

I'm the kind that needs a carrot dangling out there to keep me progressing.  So I'm looking for an event to put me in 'workout for reals' mode. 

I've been eyeing the Ronde van Palouse.  It's gritty, it's intense, and I know a few people who have done it.  I even volunteered as a lead car one year.  It's an epic race, and I think it would be perfect as my first road race.  Perfect to kill me.

I haven't committed yet.  I'm just throwing it in the ring as a possibility.  I may be throwing a few more in there as well.  Actually, one that is for sure on my list is the Wednesday Night Mountain Bike Series.  I did one of these a few years back and had an amazing time!  It would be awesome to hit the whole series. 

Anyway, just a couple of items on my bicycle bucket list.  What's on yours?

January 24, 2013

Ohhhh My Sit Bones!

Tuesday evening I rode 3.7 miles home from work.  Wednesday I wimped out.  This morning I buckled down and rode/skated to work, and I felt every. single. bump.  Every one.  Then on my reverse commute I found that indeed it could be worse.  I forgot how awesome fun it is to get through this stage!

In other news I climbed Nemesis Hill tonight.  It was terrible, but I made it.  Truth is, it was much better than going down it this morning.  That was scary.  I've had scary moments in my life, but skating down an ice-slick on a bike at 25 MPH with cars right behind me and dangerously rutted snow on either side of the wheel track I was riding...  One though was screaming through my mind, "STAY VERTICAL!!!".  Needless to say, my bike seat was as thin as a dime by the time I reached the bottom.

Kinda makes me wonder, "Why am I doing this?" until I get on the scale and confirm that those love handles are not an illusion.


Last year my boss began commuting to work by bike.  He has a 10-mile commute, and...

This was a post I never finished in 2011.  The end of that sentence is, "...I suck."

January 23, 2013


In an attempt to be less boring than "Today I'm a wimp..." I hope to share the occasional picture that relates to biking in some fashion.  
I therefore present item #1. The Iron Bridge over the Spokane River in all its snowy glory.

Wimp, but Not Total Wimp

I rode my bike home from work yesterday.  It was hard.  I am not in shape.  I did not face Nemisis Hill.  I didn't even look at it.  Just turned off on the earliest convenient road to Easy Street.  Wimped right out...but not totally...I mean, I was out there!

Then this morning my bed was so warm and I had no desire to get up after a later evening prior.  So I wimped out completely and drove in to work...late. 

So I'm not only a wimp, I'm a compulsive 'wimp of the moment'.  Hmmmm... gonna have to work on that.

January 22, 2013

Geared Up

I'm about 75% committed to riding home from work today.  25% of me wants to be lazy and warm and ride the bus.  The rest of me says get out there and skip away from that bus schedule.

I geared up this morning for my bus ride in to work.  I brought in clothes for tomorrow, clothes for the ride home, shoes for the ride home, the key to my bike lock and an air pump.  I keep a bike at work generally whether I'm commuting or not.  It's handy to ride it for various errands.  It's been long enough since I last rode it that both tires were basically flat.  They are properly tuned to 90 psi now (did this before work so it wouldn't become an excuse at the end of the day).

So here's to a great commute home this evening!  Wish me luck.  It's cold, snowy, and...cold.

January 16, 2013

A New Season

I'm not a Resolutionist.  To be fair, I've been contemplating getting back on the horse for a while now.  Then today I found that this blog hit the Bicycle Alliance Blog List.  What does that mean to me?  That this little piece of blogosphere still has a flickering light...and that I may just need to give it a nice whack to make it burn strong again.

Truth is, I spent the last few years running like crazy.  I put the blog aside and I largely put cycling aside. 

My abscence was due to a long courtship with the elusive and wiley marathon.  Each year I put more time into it in attempt to meet my original goal: 4 hours.  In 2012 I did it.  So I'm done.  I've run less than 10 times since.  I still like running, and I'll still run.  But no more marathons.  It's not my thing. 

Similarly, I have realized I'm not a bicycle advocate.  I'm no longer a daily cycling commuter, but I am still a commuter.  I like cycling, and I like talking about it, but I'm not here to make statements.  Just to rant now and again and hopefully inspire others to share. 

I've got a few ideas about some rides and such that I want to accomplish this year.  With my weekends back from that darn marathon, I'll have plenty of time to ride.  Maybe even race.  We'll see.

Now where's that bike pump...