September 17, 2009

What is the Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow?


It looks like it's the Zip Trip at Spokane-Cheney and 195.  Who would have guessed.

A great rain ride this morning, mostly because my late night efforts to mount my fenders were vindicated, but also because I saw the boldest rainbow I've seen in quite some time.

September 14, 2009

Weekend Adventure and Spokefest 2009


Sal decided he wasn't riding on the back of my bike for 21 miles, so I rode alone while Veep watched the kids ride the short loop in the park and took photos.  Always taking photos.  I didn't think her camera would make our son a celebrity for a day, but it did.  At least at school.  Check out photo 5 on the link.  Sal's teacher called him a movie star, and his buddy at school wished he had his photo in the paper too.  And Veep even got recognized at Les Schwab, where she was getting new tires for my car.  



We got a flat on Saturday driving on dirt roads in Idaho that we probably shouldn't have been driving on in a small passenger car.  But I decided it was time to see something new and go somewhere we haven't been before so we headed south on a gravel road by the Cataldo mission.  The idea was to scout out some good terrain for skiing this winter and take a hike.  The St. Joe National Forest is beautiful.  We made our way to Crystal Lake which ended up being a great family hike--short enough for the kids but challenging and scenic enough for the grown ups.  I whole heartedly recommended it.  Afterward we kept heading south and dropped down onto the St. Joe river road--only after negotiating some steep rocky road.  When we hit asphalt it was clear that we had a flat.  I just wonder how long we had it before we noticed.


The flat tire delay kept us from getting back home in time for dinner.  The kids were complaining they were starving so, in a stroke of genius, Veep and I decided to keep the adventure going and stop at the Couer d'Alene Casino buffet--and see some thing else we'd never seen.  Needless to say, a casino buffet isn't really our style and, while it was sort of fun to do something different, we will probably never see the place again (especially now since it doesn't look like the new highway is going to go right by it).


As for Spokefest, it is always fun to see a lot of other bicycle enthusiasts crammed into one place.  I tried to ride the route kind of quick so that Veep could have a turn too.  I drafted off the Badlands Bicycle Club most of the way, then slowed a bit and started getting passed.  Not that I was racing, but I did catch a few people on the way up doomsday hill.  I don't think of myself as a climber in any respect given I weigh over 200 lbs., but I suppose all the commuting I do riding up and over the South Hill every day has actually helped.

All in all a good weekend--especially since I've worked the past two weekends and am working next weekend.  Sheesh, enough already.

BTW, Veep got a new lens which I think has inspired her to learn more technical photography skills.  I think it is paying off.  Thanks for letting me use some of the photos you so painstakingly take.

September 6, 2009

License to Ride


I had to renew my car's registration this past month.  And after a little deliberation I decided to drop some money on a "Share the Road" license plate.  I mainly did so because the extra cost would be a contribution to the Bicycle Alliance of Washington.  I struggled a little with the irony of using a license plate to promote bicycling.  However, when I'm on my bike and I see cars with such license plates two things come to mind:

1.  I figure the driver is somewhat of a cyclist themselves and, as such, will be courteous and drive safely near me.

2.  I also wonder if they are wishing, like I do when I'm driving and pass someone cycling, they were riding their bike at that moment rather than sitting behind the wheel of a car.

Neither one of these assumptions are probably true all the time but it's nice to believe that they are.

In other bike related matters, the other day I came across this article via the blogosphere.  While somewhat inflammatory and confrontational, he makes some good observations about how the tendency to create artificial rules and standards can actually make cycling less accessible to the general public.  Of course I wear a helmet (and insist my kids do too) and recently spent a bit of money on a new bike so I'm a lousy bicycle advocate.  In some respects I think the article feels like the ultimate chatroom/forum "shut up and ride" comment.

In other bike related matters, I'm excited about the upcoming, second annual Spokefest.  This is one of my favorite new Spokane events as it follows the tradition of cramming lots of people into downtown and Riverfront Park, as mentioned in Out There Monthly.  I am considering riding The Big Dummy with my five year old on the back.  I need to do some fine tuning of the shifting cable for the Rohloff and make sure the little guy is up for the 21 mile ride first.  I'd love to get my girls to pedal the long route as well but am not sure that is in the cards this year.  Maybe next year.

Finally, I wanted to share a couple videos.

This first video is from a blog I've started following recently.  It's maintained by a photographer who is on an extended bike tour of the U.S. with his girlfriend.  He is very talented and does a great job documenting their adventures by both stills and video.  This video caught my imagination last week, both because of the great scenery of the San Juan Islands (Orcaas Island here) and its nicely chosen soundtrack by Modest Mouse from nearby Issaquah. - Riding on Orcas Island from Russ Roca on Vimeo.

The only thing I would change would be to make it longer so I don't have to keep pressing play.

This second video was forwarded to me by my Dad who just got back from a year in China.  I know China is crowded, but 16 people on one bicycle?  This kind of steals the show from all the other artistic cycling videos that have been bouncing around the blogosphere.

But I'd have to say, the time and dedication artistic cycling requires really limits its accessibility for the general population.  They're skilled gymnasts, but terrible bicycle advocates:)