Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Another view of Lake Union and the fog.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Since that time I've been carrying my camera and tonight it was out on the prowl again. I don't have a great attack video but he was thinking about his prey for the night. You can just tell from this video.
Hiding in the bushes!
That jogger was almost dead meat!
Afterwards when I didn't have my camera out another cyclist came by and I warned him and the cat did jump and he did swerve to miss it, but the cat was brushed by the back tire and ran back into the bushes. I went and looked and he was no where to be found, so that may be the last attack on bicyclists for a while until he has a new place to jump from.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
On my way home, I rode with another buddy from work, Tim, and we saw three more cyclists stopped fixing flats. We stopped right after that and rubbed our tires hoping that we hadn't picked up any tacks ourselves. We were lucky so far.
The rest of the ride home was uneventful, but Tim mentioned that he has had a lot of flats by tack in the last month, and had tried various ways to avoid them. He tried using Slime tubes, Kevlar tires, tire liners etc all to no avail. I resolved to take some time on Saturday and see if I could locate the source of these tacks and clean them up.
Saturday at the crack of noon I headed to the hardware store where I bought a magnet on a stick.
I drove to the park near the Eastern side of the floating I-90 bridge. I had seen people with flats as far away as the Eastern I-90 bridge but James had said he thought he picked up the tack on the Western highrise. The riders I had seen were at the other end of the bridge. So I parked and started down the trail.
I resolved to sweep one side of the trail and the other side going back. From my test trials in the hardware store, I realized you have to be pretty near the object to snag it. When you walk and swing this magnet it traces sort of a "Z" down the path. The arc doesn't quite cover the whole area where you walk. If this was land mine sweeping, I'd be dead, but it's not.
I now realize that bicyclists are jerks to pedestrians on this bridge. Almost no one said "On your Right!" or rang a bell or horn so that I could hear them coming. With the traffic driving by at 60mph, bicyclists, myself included tend to push it and when a cyclist rides by and close to you at 20+mph, it's not pleasant. I'm as visible as it gets as I was wearing my highway worker vest and some lime green gloves, I look sort of like a blind person and still they mostly passed way too closely, and with no warning. Now that's not all riders but it is a lot of them. Anyway after two hours of a slow pace across the bridge I was pretty hopping mad at the too close riders, thinking about other uses for a cane.
Well after a little more than an hour I reached the Western high rise with only this to show for my trouble. Yep metallic dirt, probably rust from cars or bits from the re-bar in the concrete in the bridge.
I did pick up these bits of junk. Not really sharp, but who needs this trash to wash into the lake.
When I turned around to go back across the bridge I noticed a real blind person. This woman with her cane was over near the overlook fishing around in the bushes. I asked her what's up and could I help, and she mentioned that she had dropped her main cane and could I see it? All I could see were bushes, but when I used my magnet stick, I was able to push the bushes from side to side, and low and behold, found her cane. It was about 4ft below the observation deck and I was able to snare the loop on the handle with my stick and return it. I had been wondering why I had bothered to sweep a clean bridge with a magnet, but now I realize that I was supposed to be here and help this woman.
Next here comes a guy walking his bicycle! Yep another tack flat. He told me that he noticed the flat tire on the other end of the bridge and had walked across the rest of the way.
So I went back across the bridge. Near the Eastern high rise I met this family who was also out looking for tacks. Only unlike me, they had found some.
This girl had spotted about 20 tacks. Turns out her parents bicycle commute from Mercer Island to Seattle at about 6:30am and had both gotten flats. They had come back to look today and found a few tacks and were headed across the bridge to look for more. I saved them that trip and we headed back to where they had found their first tacks.
With my magnet and an extremely slow sweep along the trail and the side I collected these tacks.
You'd think that a pleasant bit of trail like this wouldn't have tube tearing menace in it. This is very near the spot where all the cyclists gather to meet for rides around Mercer Island. It's no where near the road, so someone had to walk or ride a bike here to drop these tacks. My theory is that it's a disgruntled pedestrian. But it could be a driver who is mad and knows where the bikes go. Or maybe some crazy love triangle among the cyclists who gather? I must watch too many soap opera movies. Crazy people don't need a reason to do crazy things.
I think I got them all and if next week you find one in your tire, I'm sorry but I spent as much time as I had to do this. I'm just hoping that whoever did this realizes that it's bloody dangerous to have an unexpected puncture. You lose a lot of control when the tire goes flat fast and if it's the front one you could lose enough control that you actually injure yourself or someone else.
We need to remember we are all on this planet together and we need to share the roads, not make them more dangerous for each other.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Everyone has two sides. Front and back, to be specific. This light, fast jacket has breathable Climawool® Lite in front, dense wool blend in back. A jacket that recognizes the essential humanity in us all. It's pretty deep. Innovative "dual-construction" Climawool® Lite/kni...
A great jacket for bicycle commuting
Sizing: Feels true to size
Sleeve Length: Feels true to length
Pros: Warm, Lightweight, Great Color, Comfortable
Best Uses: Bicycle Commuting
Was this a gift?: No
I bought a previous version of the breakaway in a color that is no longer offered. (Mustard) And it's been a great bicycling jacket. Then when the Vim jacket came out I bought one and put it away because I've noticed that Ibex doesn't always keep a good design around forever with bicycling coats. The Vim has pockets on the front, (bad for bicycling but I never put anything in there anyway) the Breakaway has one on the chest for my ID & a few $$, and one in the back to stash my battery for my helmet light, or my balaclava when it gets warm enough to switch to just a hat.
Now of course they have the new breakaway which is even better for bicyclists because of the reflective arm bands. The only thing nicer from the Vim coat was Velcro tabs for the wrists vs elastic. With the tabs you can adjust the air flow up your arms as the day warms up.
Also the windproof front handles Seattle Mist/light rain fine. You can skip the extra rain jacket unless it's pouring.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
A commuter's best friend, these Showers Pass Club Convertible pants seal out the weather. They're also breathable and can be converted to knickers when the ride home turns warm.
Pertty good rain pants for commuters
Waist: Feels true to size
Length: Feels true to length
Pros: Dries Quickly, Breathable, Warm, Comfortable
Cons: Zippers on pockets poke, Chafes
Best Uses: Road Biking, Commuting, Wet Weather
Describe Yourself: Avid Cyclist
Was this a gift?: No
I bought these pants to use for commuting here in Seattle. The first thing I noticed after taking a short ride was that the zipper pulls poked me in the fold of material at the waist when I bend over on the drops. The solution is for Showers pass to turn the zippers around so that when they are closed the pulls are at the bottom. Until they do that, I've elected to keep the pants but open the pocket about 2 inches so that the zipper pull is down a bit farther.
I've ridden in these pants for only about a week, but it's fall so I've had all kinds of weather. Warm/wet (high 60's) they are a bit warm, so unless its pouring I'm not bothering. I did try riding with the legs zipped off in "mist", but my socks were soaked by the time I got to work (water rolled down my leg into my neoprene booties) and I was still too hot. Then next day the temperature dropped to the 50's and it hailed, poured, blew sideways and I rode for about a 1/2hr in that mess. I was damp inside of the pants from my own sweat (I have hills on my route) but way less wet than I would have been without them. The legs are long enough to go over the top of my booties so no water ran in that way.
I've got a air horn air bottle mounted on the top bar and the bit of reflective tape on the pants just below the knee hit it on each stroke which was a bit irritating. These pants are a bit baggy on the lower leg. They are heavier than carrying a plain coated pants so when I think it only "might rain" they will get left home.
I have the Showers Pass Roadie pants as well, and they are not as waterproof as these, but then those breath better too.
I gave these 3 stars, for 1) installing the zippers upside down, 2) being too baggy around the lower leg. (I ride for 16 miles/1.5 hrs c/ rolling hills on my way to work) But recognize I have yet to find the "perfect" rain gear for bicycling.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
As you can see it's open forest and the area we went was nice and gradual trails. Easy stuff which is good because I'm a beginner Mt. Biker and have no desire to crash and burn.
All in all it was a great day out. Although my wife did fall when we returned. The disk brakes she had were sticky and she locked up the front wheel and did an end-over. I think those brakes were "crap" but the shop claimed of course that while touchy they were within spec. Whose stupid spec I don't know but it seemed to me like they could have been less sticky and worked just as well. Fortunately my wife isn't holding it against me, and so we are looking at Mt. Biking up here in Seattle. Unfortunately the bike shops which seem to rent bikes are no where near the Mt. Bike trails. Oh well. I'll figure something out. I have a rack and all.
Monday, August 15, 2011
The big thing I find on line is that there is a lot of fear by people who have invested a big part of their ego in their car. And why not? Car ad's make it seem like you will be sexier, more appealing if you buy "this car." When the truth of the matter is that if you exercise more you'll be healthier and that will give you the body that others admire. It make may also make you a "sanctimonious jerk", because you'll tell others that they too could be healthier if they rode as well, wishing for them the same health benefits. But they won't see it that way. They see that they just spent $30,000 on something that's no longer cool. So they'll defend that choice until gasoline rises to $7/gal and they can't afford to drive everywhere anymore. Oh well. Change is coming there is no stopping the rise in energy costs.
Bicycles are changing the cities. And also the big change I'm seeing is not only are young folks riding to work, but women are riding. This is a group that traditionally would not ride because of perceived safety issues. Therefore either their perception of the safety has changed or it really is safer. I tend to think that the latter is true. The long process of building out bicycling trails, and safe routes through the cities is finally paying off. At least in cities where they have made the effort. NYC, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis. And it's spreading because dollar/person it's a very inexpensive way to fund mobility. With the economic crisis we are living through cities are looking to maximize the dollars they have and bicycling is looking better and better.
So see you out there! And don't forget to wave, we're having fun and still getting around the city.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
It's an Italian wine company and the only requirement is that you wear the jersey and take a photo of yourself next to your town name! I think you get to drink their wine as well, but I don't know where to find it here in the USA. But still, "non sono un acquailo"!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The video below shows what its like to bike commute through Capitol Hill on a typical evening in Seattle. Traveling east on Pike Street, there is no bike lane or sharrow, but it is a popular route nonetheless—I’ve ridden it more than a 20 times
My guess is that to a sizable chunk of the populace, riding through the city in a scenario such as the video shows is not an appealing prospect
I tend to ride behind the city down Western Ave but it's a similar pedestrian car dodge. I just have Waaaaay more lights.
Monday, May 23, 2011
It was an outrageously beautiful day! And it looks like there were about 20,000 riders riding to work.
http://blog.cascade.org/2011/05/lets-do-the-numbers-ghcc/ Official Cascade Bike to work day blog
I even rode with two people who had no idea that it was going to be "bike to work day" and they had ridden in because it as really the first warm day of the year. Goes to show what some nice weather will do for folks.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Bike & Car Accident, Mercer Street & East Lake Seattle WA
Anyway at first glance you may wonder who was in the right, but if watch carefully, you'll see that the walk sign switches to all clear for the cyclist. You may also notice that the cyclist is wearing earbuds. That's not legal either, and IMO, dumb. I'm hoping I would have been watching to the right and not cut in front of a moving car. And I would have been going slow through those cars in the cross walk as I would have expected them to try and move forward to get out of the crosswalk. Not that any of them should have been there in the first place.
Still miraculous that no one was hurt seriously.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
This is the road leaving my neighborhood.
Still a great day to commute via bicycle.
Pliers! That's often the ticket, Broken shift cable? Tie one end to the frame, and use the pliers to put some tension on the cable and put the dereailer in the position you want. And what kind of pliers will you be wanting? Why locking pliers... which is why the Leatherman Crunch is my tool of choice.
Bent chain? Use the pliers to give it that 1/2 twist to straighten it out long enough to ride home. Comes with a philips screwdriver, standard screwdriver, file/metal saw, tiny screw driver bottle cap opener and of course a serrated blade for trimming those cable ties off.
Can't tell you the number of repairs I've used this tool for, but as I've always said, "how far are you willing to walk?" "Oh, well what tools would you need to ride the rest of the way to the bus stop/home?" And if your answer includes a pair of pliers, well consider the Leatherman Crunch. Expensive, yep, but well worth it.
Or you can wait until I ride by and flag me down, and I'll lend you mine.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Amazon has them here:
Small Figure Carabiner 2 pack
It's basically just two clips and about 8 ft of 1/8th diameter cord on each clip. That's enough to clip to the rack, tie an end to the rack, and then loop the cord around everything I need to hold in place, and back to the clip and cinch it tight. Lighter than a bungie and more secure. More work, so I'll probably still bring along a bungie or two, but sometimes you have something that just won't sit in the right place, like a replacement rim and this is just the tool to have with you.
Doubles as a tarp holder if you are out camping as well.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Now compare that to one of the worlds worst customer service organizations. I had a NiteRider headlamp that quit working. I called them, nothing, please send it in with a $30 check. Ok, I did that, the battery had failed, $80 more please. Sent it in, got the new battery. Six months later again failure, sent it in again with another $30 service fee, bad charger. Now I've owned a ton of cell phones, laptops, cameras all with rechargers and not one has had a charger failure. But ok, in for a penny in for a pound, sent another $80 for the charger. Six months later it's again dead, but this time I'm pretty sure it's the battery and I'm totally done with them. Not a single more dime will I send to NiteRider. Dinotte charges a reasonable fee for new batteries, $50 (4 cell) and their lights are brighter, last longer on a charge and don't conk out every 6 months.
Now I don't mind paying for shipping, but we are talking $11 for a USPS any weight medium sized box. I don't mind paying for replacement batteries, but $20 to plug the battery into a charge testing device to tell me it's bad? That's ridiculous and the turn around each time was a month, not a 1/2 a week.
Besides I commute and lights are life itself. It's worth it to have the best.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Here's my Amazon review. I keep a daily journal of my miles, times etc, and so I was able to look back and see when I replaced this tire. It was approx. 2,800 miles ago last summer. Now 3K miles isn't bad but when I look at the tread it would appear to me that there is plenty left. And at $50 ea. I'd prefer that these tires lasted longer.
Anyway the shop recommended a Panaracer so that's what I bought. I have a cycling friend who recommends Armadillo's from Specialized so when the front tire wears out, I'll get one of those. I've tried Schwalabe's and they are very very heavy and with my fenders I don't have clearance. I could replace the fenders and then mount them with more space and I will eventually do that, and then I may go for the heaviest tires. We'll see.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Those other long johns? The Dodo. Our Long Johns? Sort of like a crazy combination of Stephan Hawking, Muhammad Ali and Indiana Jones. In other words, it doesn't get any better. Superfine merino wool in a form-fit cut. Double-panel construction.
Good c/ commuter knickers for fall days
Inseam: Feels too long
Waist: True to size
Pros: Retains Body Heat, Comfortable, Breath-ability
Cons: Too thin
Describe Yourself: Avid Cyclist, Outdoorsman
Best Uses: Under Clothes, With Knickers
Was this a gift?: No
I'm a 4 season bicycle commuter and I bought a pair of the commuter knickers and was unhappy with them until I added a pair of these long underware and some wind proofed wool boxers. Together with my wool socks & Shak jersey & Vim Jacket I've become immune to cold and rain. The long underware is even comfortable inside at the office 68F. (The wonderful properties of wool.)
My only grip is that the layer of wool is too thin. I wish for a shak weight of long underware for those colder days and the durability of the Shak. I wash everything every two weeks (10 days of wear riding) in ivory soap which is really mild and hang dry them but I can see them thinning out already. (oh yeah being a guy I'd like a fly flap)
Monday, March 28, 2011
You gotta watch this in full screen. Notice that there are no hay bales, parked cars along the route, loose dogs. It's all in a days run. I am so glad my commute is nothing like this.
I've often wondered how people learn to take jumps and stairs etc without losing their teeth learning. I'd guess slowly and with full gear first and then just keep adding a few more stairs and a little more speed. Still though I've been blessed with the gene that says "no way buster! you are going to die." Guess that's why I'm here and still alive. But I admit it's fun to watch someone else risk their neck.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Which has a wide variety of nice stuff, that seems to be holding up very well, but the designs/fashion are boring. (boring can be good, as in it does what it's supposed to do. Just very little fashion flair to it.)
And http://www.VintageVelos.com which has some really nice jerseys, shorts etc. with classic Retro Team styles.
Of the two, ibex shak jerseys are more tightly knit, and warmer. But with a Ibex Vim coat over a VintageVelo Jersey you get the best of both worlds. The Vim coat has wind panels down the front of the chest, and on the front of the arm. That's great for the ride in from 30F, to low 50's. The long sleeve VintageVelo Jersey has the pockets in the back, and for the afternoon ride home in the mid 50's is perfect. In the summer when the afternoons warm up to the 60's and beyond, the short sleeve jersey is fine, with arm warmers for the morning. I happen to have Ibex arm warmers and leg warmers and VintageVelo shorts. But that's a matter of availability. Ibex had them when I needed them. The arm/leg warmers are made of the same thick black merino Shak wool and don't slide down. Can't say enough good things about them.
Customer service both companies are really good. Although VintageVelos will give you close to personal service if your problem warrants it.
I've also become a hipster, or rather hipsters have discovered that knickers are good for bicycling in the cool weather. And since clothes make the man, I guess we are of the same clan. I've made my own knickers from wool pants I bought at Goodwill for the last 30 years. Using the lower part of the pants for the material for the knee tabs and the crotch gusset. Cut them below the knee with enough fabric for a hem, split a couple of seems, cut the fabric, make some tabs, sew on some velcro, and you are done. Takes a good Saturday afternoon but it's not hard sewing. Recently I picked up a pair of Ibex knickers on ebay on bargin basement pricing and they work pretty well. So if you are not handy with a sewing machine it's a good alternative.
Wool boxers, for cold mornings, and the wind proof front ones for really cold morning rides. Highly recommended for keeping things that should not be cold warm.
Top off your head with a wool skull cap and you are warm enough on cold days. Or use the thin wool balaclava for those really cold days, say high 30's, or wet low 40s'.
Nice thing is even when wet you'll still be warm. And given a place to hang it while you are at work, and it will be warm and dry for the ride home.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Everyone has two sides. Front and back, to be specific. This light, fast jacket has breathable, lightweight 4-way stretch fabric in the front, Shak lite wool in back. A jacket that recognizes the essential humanity in us all. It's pretty deep.
Good for winter bicycling in the PNW
Chest Size: Feels true to size
Sleeve Length: Feels true to length
Pros: Warm, Breathable, Durable, Lightweight, Wind Resistant
Cons: Needs 2 B longer in back, No back pocket
Best Uses: Bicycling, XC-Skiing
Describe Yourself: Advanced
Gear Usage: Winter Sports, Fall Sports
Was this a gift?: No
I bought one because I was afraid that Ibex would discontinue the line. I've got an older Ibex cycling jacket and when that wears out, I'll break out this Vim jacket. I like the bright Red color, it has good visibility. Wish it had a back pocket and was a little bit longer in the back.
I wear this on days that it's threatening to rain. It's waterproof enough for a light rain or a short cloudburst.
I wear it on days 35F to 60F. Above that it's too warm to wear over a jersey. (short sleeve wool Jersey 50F & above, and long sleeve wool shak jersey 50F and below.)
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
To that extent I bought the lime colored survey's vest. It's a class 3 highway rated vest. That is to say you can work on a 55+mph road wearing this.
A couple of things to note: This vest has pockets. When I'm commuting it's very handy to have a place to put things when I'm walking from where I lock my bicycle up into the office. The vest is made of a mesh fabric. I'm not looking for warmth or wind or rain protection with this vest. I do wear it on top of everything else and therefore I don't have to care what color my rain coat is, although it's also bright orange. Or my jersey which are bright but not as bright as these colors.
I picked a velcro fastened front. It doesn't really matter. I have a friend who bought the zipper front one and they both fit about the same.
Lastly this vest has reflective tape on the sleeves. That's good for cross street traffic and when you are leaning down on the drops even if your chest is partly covered by your arms, there is some reflective materiel showing in all directions.
The minor disadvantage of wearing a vest on top of your rain coat is that it tends to keep the vents a bit more closed. I work pretty hard riding so it doesn't really matter. If it's pouring I'm wet, either from the inside because I've got everything closed up, or the outside because the vents also let water in.
Lastly who else wears reflective vests? Yeah you got it, cops. Want to hit a bicycle cop? I thought not. Now while I don't look like a cop up close at 100yds from the rear can you be sure? No, better slow down until you are sure. And thus the vest has accomplished it's goal, I've been noticed and cars passing me do so more carefully than without it.
Add reflective gloves, and flashing red lights and stick your arm out to signal a turn, and people pay attention.
You can get your own vest from any place that caters to construction workers. Or order it from Western Safety or Amazon.com http://www.westernsafety.com/
This is not for the squeamish.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
So where do I get and mount an airhorn? Well Amazon sells it here:
And this is how I have mine mounted on my bicycle.
And this is how I use it,
I just roll my forearm onto the switch while maintaining a grip on the brakes. You can just reach over and tap that horn but if the car makes a sudden move you might also want to apply your brakes.
I have found that a sudden horn surprises most motorists. First they have no idea where its coming from. Second they tend to look a bit sheepish after getting "caught" cutting you off.
The second place I find this horn useful is coming up to an intersection where cars are thinking about taking a free right on the red light. A light tap on the horn tends to help them see me and not continue rolling into the intersection. Not a full blast, a couple of light taps.
The third place is passing a bus which has stopped to pick up passengers. I shift to the left lane and as I come around I give them 2 light blasts. This is the same signal that bus drivers use with each other to alert each other that they are coming around.
The last place I use this horn is with pedestrians. It's really too loud and scares the bezejous out of them. So either hit the horn lightly well far away or ride up slower and use your voice.