Thursday, October 23, 2008

Moving Day

This little corner of the web has been fun for me, and some good blogmemories have been made, but I'm (mostly) packing things up and heading to a new location.

Although I may ocassionally find myself posting a muse from time to time, any real bike-related posts will now be at the bike-specific site. This site was a great journal during my weightloss progress, and I may still drop some of those thoughts here along the way, but please visit PacificPedalling to follow any of my bike thoughts.

Also, I'd love to take the opportunity to invite you to visit some of our network of bloggin' buddies as well. In no particular order, some that may be of interest to you: - Conrad shares some great mortgage industry info in this crazy economic time. - The team shares great tips for the 'green enthusiast.' - All about making life simpler, better, easier. - Deanna and friends share about re-using items in a new way. - Ryan Thorson helps outline a gameplan for tackling life head on every day. - Mark has a unique perspective on the market in volatile times! - this one has been dry, but look for posts to start piling up again. - Everything about those Macs we love so much!

We also have some new blogs that will be launching soon, but I'll probably wait to post them here until that time. Please come visit over at!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall Riding

Today was chilly. 34 degrees when I got up, and not quite to 40 by the time I was heading out with the kids. I love it. Anyone who's known me for any amount of time knows that this is my favorite time of year. When the air turns crisp in the morning, but we still get some nice afternoons, I'm right in my comfort zone. I'm thankful the Big Cyclist in the sky gave Oregon 4 true seasons to enjoy, but I always look forward to seasons of October through December. (Don't even get me started on Christmas yet...)

Although the official cycling season is over (I once again missed the Harvest Century, the last 'official ride,' because it's held on a Sunday,) Willamette Valley autumns are mild enough to allow for plenty of good riding days, as indicated in the photos here from my last ride. Still plenty of beautiful colors, fresh cool air, and general all around goodness to be taken in. The biggest difference is in gearing up properly, both with proper attire and gear on the bike. I'm now finding that I need a light jacket on most rides, and leg warmers to keep my old knees from cold pain. As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm also gearing up with proper lighting for early morning and evening rides, and fenders for rain..which I already have on a couple of bikes.

Although I'm not quite up for it this year, I plan to cut another 20 lbs, get a proper bike and possibly give Cyclocross a try next fall. In a nutshell, Cyclocross is like a muddy, wacky, obstacle course/bike race on road bikes modified to be ridding in dirt, mud, gravel, up stairs, over barriers, through barns, etc. For some reason I think this kind of racing may be a little safer than going all out on roads, and it lets you enjoy the season for longer than just when the leaves start to turn. Here's a recap video of the recent race just down the road in Rickreall:

And if nothing else, through the month of October, you can still cruise down to the Saturday Market here in Salem, fill up your basket with locally grown produce, baked goods, and other finds, and enjoy the ride with friends and family.

Buy local! Ride safe!

Friday, October 3, 2008

As If I Needed More Proof That People Aren't Paying Attention

Here, take this awareness test below. It's simple...count the number of passes the team in white makes. So you don't give the answer away (unless you want to cheat) don't read any further until you've played the video and taken the test.

How'd you do?

Earlier this summer, when we had crummy weather in June, I had commuted to work in the morning and it was a decent day. By end of the day, the rain had moved in and I was riding home in the rain. While riding along on the side of the road, and about to pass the driveway of a business here in town, I saw a truck about to pull out, and had this strange feeling he wasn't going to see me. As I got nearer to the entrance, he was looking the other way, and sure enough, just as I was crossing in front of his grill, he did a quick glance back to where I HAD been, and put the pedal down once he had seen no cars coming. I couldn't look behind me to measure exactly, but I'm sure he missed my back tire by a foot at most. Moonwalking Bear.

Last night, after a nice date night ride downtown to the Beanery, we were headed home through some residential neighborhoods, and had mentioned already that even though we have the right of way when there's no stop sign for us, people who DO have a stop sign, don't always pay attention, or care. Sure enough, as we cruising by a church in N. Salem, headed back to Keizer a lady in a late model mustang pulled up to her stop sign, just as we were approaching the intersection. We slowed down to make sure she saw us....she looked the other way, then looked RIGHT AT I was just about to say 'ok, push through,' when she looked the other way one more time, and then gunned it through the intersection. Once again, Moonwalking Bear(s).

I'm sure in both these instances, the drivers were so focussed on seeing if any CARS were coming, that they just didn't pay attention to other vehicles, and/or pedestrians. Had we rode according to the rules of the road last night, even after slowing down, one or both of us would be mushed up a bit. As it was, I nearly went down because I hadn't unclipped until she sped on through. I'm guessing this was probably what happened in a previous post of mine where a Salem cyclist was hit right behind my office. The report said the driver had run the stop sign, and the cyclist collided with her car. She likely slowed down, looked down the one way, saw no cars, and picked up the pace again through the sign. Another Moonwalking Bear...this one who got carted off in an ambulance.

Now I will flip the coin for a minute and point out that there are plenty of my biking comrades out there who are NOT obeying the rules of the road. Yesterday, not only did I see a gal on a bike, sans helmet (not a law, by the way...just saying) run a red on Liberty to turn onto State in front of me, and continued to sneak through lights for the next block or two, but I also saw a late evening group ride that blitzed through reds downtown. Doesn't do us any good when we ask for drivers to be on the lookout for cyclists, if we're not going to abide by the rules as well.

Not enough people will read this blog for it to make a difference, but to the handful of friends who do read, please remember there's a chubby mexican out on his bike from time to time, and even though you might be in a hurry, I just ask that you keep and eye out for the Moonwalking Bear. Even at slow speeds, and even with my impressive body mass ration, I'm no match up against a rolling ton of metal. (Man those guys were great in the 70's - Rolling Ton of Metal - but I digress....)

Hasta! (cue Billy Jean....for the Moonwalking Bear.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Riding Pretty!

Not me, but that lady that lives with me, and puts up with my nonsense. After a great day at the Saturday Market last weekend, I snapped this picture:

Recently, posted a link to Riding Pretty, and I couldn't help but send in this picture, since it fit the focus of their whole site - looking pretty on a bike. Again I'd I get so lucky? (PS - the link above takes you to the post with the photo above)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Age Old Question: White After Labor Day?

I've lived by two fashion mottos in my life: 1) according to GQ, you CAN wear blue and black together, as long as you mean to, and 2) no white after Labor Day. Ok, I really haven't followed the white thing....and the blue and black thing I just found to help cover some fashion faux pas I apparently made.

However, this year, I'm breaking the white after Labor Day rule. My summer project has been to build up a complete road bike from frame up. I didn't want to mess with my main Torelli, but did want to learn a little bit more about how to build and maintain a fully geared road bike. I started out building up a couple single speeds, but those are relatively easy to keep from messing up. Building something with gears, derailleurs and just more stuff in general, seemed a little daunting, but I wanted to tackle it. I can now say that I've completed my summer project.That's my new Cinelli Spirit, put together by...well, me! The white tubing is Columbus Spirit tubing, and the black stays, seat tube, and fork are carbon fiber...which has been scary for a big guy like me. I've seen some ugly pictures on the interweb of the results of CF catostrophic failures. I picked up the frame on a screaming good ebay deal for a fraction of it's retail cost. The Campy Mirage group (cranks, derailleur, brakes, levers, chain) seat, bars, wheels and tires came off a used Bianchi Eros I bought. I had to purchase a new bottom bracket, integrated headset, front derailleur clamp, seat clamp, seat post...and for good measure I bought a new Campy cable/housing kit. Before doing all the work, I started with just this:

My first time working with CF, but I am proud to say I cut the steering tube by myself, although I was a tad nervous. I just went out and got a 32T blade for my hacksaw, used masking tape for a guide and to help with splintering, gently held it in my bench vise wrapped in an old tube, and rotated the tube after cutting down a bit on each side. Then took an emory cloth and polished it down. It wasn't too much more work than cutting a steel tube, just a little more tedious.

Big props also to Tori at Gracie's Wrench. They have bike classes and also do consulting for businesses in all things that have to do with cycling. I took what was essentially a Derailleur 101 and 102 class while wrapping up this bike. I felt like I *could* have knocked it out on my own, but having a pro help point out all the little gotchas allowed me to feel like it actually got done the right way. If you're in need of bike classes, I can recommend them wholeheartedly. As a bonus, GW is located in the shop at Vanilla Cycles, so I got to see some of their gorgeous frames up close as well! I'd be tempted to order one...but the current wait time is 5 YEARS to get one built....yes, I said YEEEEEAAAAAARRRRSSSSSSS........

In the midst of the Torelli 20th madness that happened, this little guy sat waiting, and so I finally got to take it out for a ride on Tuesday, and I was pleasantly surprised. The CF stuff almost feels a little *plasticlike* compared to my all steel bikes, but after a few miles I got used to it. The bike is light, and like the Torelli, climbs pretty well. I threw on some cheap pedals and cages, so I'm looking forward to trying it with some actual clipless pedals and cleats for comparison.

It's both a scary and exciting feeling to wind up a bike to normal speed, clicking through the gears, working the brakes, cutting into corners, and knowing that you put together every part on the bike to make it work that way. Very fulfilling, and a proud moment in my short cycling career so far - riding the bike I put together in my garage. Will it be one of my lifelong bikes that I keep forever....not sure. It could actually be for sale sooner than later, but it'll be fun riding it in the meantime, and looking forward to the next project.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dang. What A Day.

I should have known the day would be wacky when we walked out to the car to head to school and found 4 of Keizer's Finest patrol cars screeching to a halt to snag a bad-guy-on-foot down at the end of our street. Course, nothing says "I'm Local" like standing there in my jammies, coffee cup in hand, baseball cap covering my Bob Wiley hair, watching the action.

After getting back from playing Mr. Mom Taxi Driver (two movies that should never really be referenced together) I put on our new Share The Road plates that have needed to find their way onto the Honda. Since the Mrs was headed out of town, and I'm pretty sure the temp plate expired, I figured it was a good day to get it done. I'm pretty pumped to see the little cyclist fella on the car, and it's especially ironic since our eldest is learning to drive on this car...but won't set any part of her body remotely near a bike. One bad experience on a dusty trail in LaGrande, and that was the end of the interest in bikes. Sigh.

After lunch I spent some time at South Salem Cycleworks checking into the stuff I'd need for the overhaul of the 20th Anniversary Torelli I've been pouring over in the previous couple posts. After settling on a direction, I headed back to the office, with a quick drive through pit-stop for an iced skinny latte to help get through the afternoon. So far, so good.

Shortly after getting back, we heard the sound of police sirens, and before long we had a whole gang of our office team on the sidewalk that borders our office property looking at this scene:

For those of you familiar with Salem, that's Commercial Street in the background, heading into downtown, just before Applebees. That Neon is parked on Tryon, a little side street that runs alongside our parking lot. Note the smashed windshield, dent in the drivers side fender, and missing hubcap on the front wheel. According to the StatesmanJoural, that's what happened with the driver ran the stop sign at the cross street, and the cyclist you see laying on the ground in the photo ran into her while riding down Commercial. And since the question will come up, no, he wasn't wearing a helmet.

We didn't see the accident, just the aftermath. The cyclist was coherent, and obviously in a lot of pain from his loud groans and screams. I'm happy to read that he appears to be ok, aside from a possible broken leg. His bike was rested up against the stop sign, and the rear wheel was toasted, but hopefully that will all be covered under insurance.

That's the second accident 'in the hood' in this past week. My personal feeling is that Salem is nowhere near a bike friendly town like Portland or other larger areas where more bikes are present, and I often feel like I am taking a little bit of my life into my hands when I ride around here in traffic. Seeing this one today reminded me that as a recreational cyclist who also spends a great deal of time behind the wheel of a car, that I need to be extra careful every time I head out on the road. Please do the same when you head out.....remember, I'm often out there on two wheels and no airbags to protect me!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Torellis and The Tree

I've now had the pleasure of taking each Torelli I've ridden out to The Tallest Black Cotton Wood in North America. (Sounds like a date after I read it back to myself.) Anyway, it's just out about 12 miles from our house and makes for a nice 22 mile loop to Willamette Mission Park and back. Here I am on my lunch ride yesterday with the 20th Anniversary Torelli, still in all it's funky frankenstein-ness, well, here's the bike anyway:

Working back in time one bike at a time, next is my current do everything Torelli shortly after getting it from the shop:

And the original ride that inspired it all, me on Nicks red Torelli, way back in the spring of '07.

It was just after that ride on the Red Gran Sasso that I called up the LBS that built it and said 'make me a twin of this bike,' and ended up with the blue Gran Sasso above. I love these steel bikes!

A couple notes about riding the frankensteined Torelli above. I hate to say it, but it really rode pretty nice. I hate to say it because I just can't get into those wheels, and for sure not on that frame. That frame really deserves some classic Campy. Not necessarily old, just classic...more like the polished group and wheels that are on the red bike above. That change will definitley happen.

I've often heard people say 'that bike climbs like a goat,' and have always thought 'yeah, whatever...YOU either climb like a goat, or you don't...not the bike.' However, yesterday I may have changed my mind. When climbing up Ravena, I was amazed how little effort I was putting into my pedaling. I haven't been riding for over a month (well, aside from my short commute to work) so it's not that I'm particularly strong right just felt like I was on a bike escalator. Pushing down one pedal, but getting two strokes worth out of each one. It was really weird. Good, but weird. I hope I can replicate that when I change out everything.

Still some good riding days left before the rain comes...and really, still good riding days in there too. Get out and enjoy the sun!