Paul Andrews

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Today’s Ride: Guest Post

In Bicycling on February 28, 2009 at 6:08 pm

My ride today was nothing unusual, just the Ridge-to-Ridge sashay with a lot of errands thrown in.

But I found a post from Mark Matassa that looked pretty inviting. With photos! Mark and Mich are friends from journalism circles and fellow travelers of the wheel as well it looks like.

Seattle is a great cycling city. At any one time I visualize any number of people I know partaking of the spoken mode. Last night I ran into a representative from Sustainable Wallingford who talked about Spokespersons, a group that does a once-a-month ride and gets together regularly to network on transportation. Roll on!

What a Hoot: Dalmation Riding Bike

In Uncategorized on February 27, 2009 at 1:19 pm

The old joke about a dog standing on its hind legs gets updated.

GreenWheel Converts Bikes to Electric

In Bicycle Commuting, Equipment reviews on February 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm

From BikeRumor: “GreenWheel is an all-in-one electric powered wheel being tested by MIT scientists. It contains the motor, battery and electronics all inside the hub, with only the throttle having to be mounted on the bicycle’s frame.”

Sounds interesting, particularly since you could (conceivably) swap the wheel on and off, depending on whether your route that day needed an e-boost. Around $200, recharging as you pedal, long lifespan. No word on weight but battery technology is getting pretty impressive on that front. Still in testing phase at MIT. Full report from Discovery News.

Looking at photo I’m wondering about the spoke pattern and stability. Otherwise it looks compatible with existing bike technology. Right on! er, Ride On!

Fat hub, but it fits!

Fat hub, but it fits!

Salsa Stem Recall: Breakage Warning

In Equipment reviews, Mountain Biking on February 27, 2009 at 12:48 pm

For full list click on photo

For full list click on photo

You hate to see this from a trusted, respected brand. Salsa in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission is recalling Taiwan-made stems, the failure one of which resulted in a broken wrist. Three reports of breakage were investigated.
Sold aftermarket and on Salsa bikes

Sold aftermarket and on Salsa bikes

CromotoStem has the full list of affected stems. About 8,600 units were produced.

The second mountain bike I owned, one of those Rockhopper hardtails with the tan elastomer forks, had a bad set of bars that I snapped right off coming down a slope. Fortunately I was able, one-handed, to maintain control of the bike. I took the bars back to Elliott Bay Bicycles, where Bill Davidson examined them and said they were the result of a bad casting. Specialized replaced the bars but I also wrote a letter advocating a recall. Within a few months the whole batch got recalled.

Although I’ve suffered a lot of breakage over the years, mostly on frames, that was by far the scariest. It disturbs me that Salsa quality control did not catch these stems, but such is the state of global manufacturing these days.

New SRAM 2X10 (XX) MTB Gruppo?

In Equipment reviews, Mountain Biking on February 26, 2009 at 6:55 pm

BikeRadar has the scoop. Some highlights:

A single-lever, double-tap shifter setup similar to the road system.

Smaller cage options (medium and short), given the reduced chainring capacity.

Possibly carbon crank arms. Chainring teeth options speculated include 26/39, 28/42 and 30/44T. Cassette options: 11-32, 11-34, 11-36T.

Bipartite rotors, alloy spider, steel donut.

Here’s the visual:

Remember, all unconfirmed

Remember, all unconfirmed

Fluidride Cup Schedule Announced

In Bicycle Racing, Mountain Biking on February 26, 2009 at 6:33 pm

The 2009 lineup is out, kicking off April 3 through 5 in Port Angeles.

To get a feel join the Fluidride Forum and start planning! See y’all there!

Be sure to check out the rockin’ vids (scroll down the first link)!

Today’s Ride: White on White

In Mountain Biking, Today's Ride on February 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm

True to forecast there was fluffy white stuff all round this morning. I guess in Seattle we still consider it a novelty, although we’ve gotten mercilessly dumped on this winter. Hopefully today’s spritz will quickly disappear.

But having promised to get out and ride, and having a rep to uphold, and not wanting to disappoint my fan base (photo below), I ventured out on the Intense 6.6 for some x-sno games. It was slippery, but hey, I had my matching white Lopes pads to protect me.

I popped over to lower Woodland Park, ready to rock. The first problem, of course, was the iced-up derailleur:

Snow fun: Clogged drivetrain

Snow fun: Clogged drivetrain

Eventually if it’s cold enough, you get to the point where the derailleur won’t shift. Today wasn’t going to be a problem, the snow was too wet. I tooled around for awhile, then headed for the jumps down below.

Note white matching pads

Note white matching pads

C’mon. That’s a joke. I was on a bike, not a snowboard.

Where the snow wasn’t melted it was fun. Where it was it was mucky. I got a nice wet brown stripe down my back. Soon enough my fingers went dead so I decided to head back home. Not a great ride, but given the conditions I’ll take it.

In any case, the elements showed off the custom pearl paint job on the Intense, which I call White Flite.

White on White

White on White

The main thing was not to disappoint my fan base. Who could break this heart?

Also white on white!

Also white on white!

Portland’s Forest Park to Add Singletrack?

In Mountain Biking, Trail Access on February 26, 2009 at 6:49 am

Anyone who has spent time in Portland marvels at how bike-friendly the place is. For all its bike-worthiness, however, it has been surprisingly stingy with singletrack for mountain bikes. This is even more curious when you consider one of the great bike shops on the West Coast, Fat Tire Farm, lies within the shadow of Forest Park. (You can ride mountain bikes in the park but only on the freeway-like fire roads and a very short connector trail.)

Now comes word of some movement to increase trail access in the park. Let’s hope the effort can move forward. Forest Park is heavily used by strollers, runners and hikers, but for all of that there’s plenty of trail to go around and mountain bikers should pose no problems as long as everyone is polite all round.

Tiger Mountain: Time to Move Forward Positively

In Bicycle advocacy, Mountain Biking, Trail Access on February 26, 2009 at 6:18 am

A recent Bike Intelligencer posting on Tiger Mountain access has generated a lively if not acrimonious discussion on the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance Yahoo! forum.

It seems there’s lots of energy to talk. Why not siphon that energy into action as well? As I posted to the list:

A simple proposal: Whenever one of the MTB trails is closed temporarily (usually means nearly all of the season), we ask for temporary access to another trail. Tiger Mountain Trail is the obvious one, with southern exposure, very little hiker use. A road/trail combo gives you a great loop, incorporating Iverson. And in fact the club could easily put a short trail connector between Iverson and TMT. If you don’t know what I’m talking about check the Tiger Mt. map.

Temporary access would show the world doesn’t end with MTB usage. In fact, the trails would wind up in better condition as a result of EMBA access. We could guarantee that. EMBA doesn’t have to do this alone; we could solicit STM (if it’s still active) and other clubs. Plus I know some pretty good trail builders, not club members but active riders, who actually live right next door to Tiger.

Re trail activism, two thoughts: First, the club needs to tell us members what is actually happening with the trails — before decisions are made — and give us names, email addresses and phone numbers to make our voices heard. Public opinion does work! But when all of a sudden we see tape on NW Timber Trail and an announcement it’s been closed for the foreseeable future, it’s way too late and makes us feel snubbed in the process. Second, the club can do so much more to rally the troops: E-mail blasts, posting on this list, and other e-activism a la MoveOn and the Obama campaign (Republicans know this too and have been just as effective; right now they’re pimping Twitter of all things) give club members with day jobs and busy lives a chance to do something; the club could even set up a Web site contribution bot to raise money for a specific cause.

There are some pretty influential people in our community who mountain bike, and we can use our connections politically. But we need to be able to act early, meaning more communications from club leaders who are official points of contact, naturally, for agencies.

Finally, it seems mountain bikers are way too defensive vis-a-vis other user groups. We seem to accept a certain rep, but it’s based on ancient mythology propagated by the Harvey Mannings of the world, who have been overwhelmingly marginalized by now. The Obama generation, as I posted earlier, doesn’t much distinguish between hiking and biking on trails. If we are polite and state our case firmly, we can overcome the bogus stigma attached to our sport. I have hiker friends, very good friends, and never miss an opportunity to tell them the wonders of my sport. They have learned not to trot out the canards about trail damage and rudeness to me, because when I ask their data points and then give them mine, it’s no contest.

(BTW, the damage to upper Iverson is severe, due not to winter storms but to logging on the south side of the west road. Every time there is logging, new damage surfaces, whether from drainage or from wind exposure. It is ludicrous to suggest that mountain biking causes eco concerns given the depredations of logging in a “managed” forest such as Tiger.)

Today’s Ride: Burke-Gilman to University of Washington

In Bicycle Commuting, Today's Ride on February 25, 2009 at 11:29 pm

After a disastrously downpourish morning the sun came out this afternoon. By late day things were drying out considerably. I had to be at a 6:30 p.m. seminar at the University of Washington, so I decided to pop over from Fremont on the Burke-Gilman Trail. The 18-mile paved trail follows former railroad tracks around Seattle out north to Bothell and is a major commuter route for cyclists.

To connect to the trail I climb from home up to Phinney Ave. N., circle around the Woodland Park Zoo and then drop down Fremont Ave. N. to the canal. From there it’s a straight shot to the University campus and Kane Hall, where the seminar was to be held. It wasn’t much of a ride, although I tooled around in Fremont for a bit and then did some stair drops on campus just for fun. I’m testing a new night light as well and wanted to try a variety of venues.

After the seminar I wheeled through Ravenna Park, which gets pretty dark in places, then back along 65th to Green Lake and home. I cut through lower Woodland Park, which is absolutely black at night, really stretching out the light’s capabilities. More to come on that front.

I meant to say that on yesterday’s ride I ran into Seattle’s primo cycle-everywhere, Shannon Markley, outside of Whole Foods on Roosevelt Ave. N. Shannon had been caught in that day’s gusher and was still complaining of wet feet. Otherwise she’s well prepared, having waterproof (not just water resistant) top and pants. Shannon goes absolutely everywhere by bike, day or night, and knows all the tricks. It was great seeing her and comparing notes.

Tomorrow snow is forecast. I don’t mind, a little snow can’t keep the Bike Intelligencer from its rounds.

Scaling Tiger Mountain in the white stuff

Scaling Tiger Mountain in the white stuff