Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Today is the first day of Bike to Work month. See more information from the League of American Wheelman. Bike to Work Week is May 13-17 and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 17. Bike to School Day is May 8. The share of Americans commuting by bike has grown by 47 percent since 2000 this is really driven by  Bicycle Friendly Communities which have more than doubled their bike commuter share since 2000.
When I look at the list, I know I have been living in the right places, there are only three platinum bike communities, Portland, OR, Davis, CA and Boulder CO. The other places I have lived Eugene and Corvallis are gold, Sacramento only silver :-(We have some work to do in Sacramento but I still think we have the best urban bike path in the country with the American River Trail.  Lots of events in the local area include  I’ll be logging my miles, I’m told these miles are used to help justify funds for bike programs. I'll let you know how I do. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A drop in the bucket.

In 1990 or so I was planting trees in Northwest Montana with a group of semi-idealistic treeplanters called the Kootenai Collusion. We spent long days on the hill and sat around campfires at night. One of the crew, I think it was Roger Vance, a true minimalist, was extolling the virtues of the square plastic bucket one evening, waterproof, makes a good seat around the campfire, packrats don’t get into your food, endless uses…..about the same time I was trying to figure out how to have room for my bike panniers in the van for a long trip to Mexico we were planning. The two thoughts percolated for a while and before long the idea of transferring pannier hardware over to a bucket was born.

The very first pair was made by swiping hardware off an old pair of Needleworks panniers, but that was not vey sustainable so some trips to the hardware store and the first Bike Buckets were born in Missoula Montana. They immediately generated questions from people and so we decided to make some more and try and sell them at the farmers market. I think we made two pair and they both sold very quickly. One of the pairs was bought by a guy who planned to circumnavigate the US with them. Sometime and several moves later we got this postcard from him.

In the winter of 1991-92, I took a workbike building class with Jan VanderTuin , which would become the prototype for the center for alternate transport in Eugene.  This was an inspiration to scale up and we decided to go into “production” on Bike Buckets. We made a deal to get used fruit buckets from Nancy’s creamery (Ken Kesey’s family’s Yogurt company) Then trick was finding hooks, I liked the look of hooks on the Jandd Panniers and packs so I called them up and they agreed to sell them to me, I was impressed that they would enable a “competitor” . The buckets started selling pretty well at bike stores in Eugene. We got asked to write a Story on how to make your own for Rain Magazine. After that we started to hear from people all over North America.

When I went into farming I sold my hardware supplies to my friend Vince who started to make and sell them in Portland. Vince was a better marketer and businessman than me and the buckets became commpnplace in Oregon. He eventually “sold” the whole enterprise to Citybikes who still sell them today with the design modifications made by Vince.. Now the City of Portland sells kits based on that design and I’m happy to see Jandd is still supplying the hooks. I thought about this recently when I saw some bike buckets in use in Davis and I did a Google search on Bike Buckets, wow. I don’t know how many Bike buckets have been sold or made by now, nor do I know how many independent origins these have come from (In genetics we call this convergent evolution or homoplasy), but I am sure many groceries have been carried and I am amazed and humbled by how many people have been enabled by a simple idea. Even though I’m sure its just a drop in the …..

Monday, April 22, 2013

You promised canteloupes

Sunset Cantelow Ride

Sarah kept asking "where are the canteloupes? You promised canteloupes"...but all she got was a ten percent grade and a beautifull view of pleasant valley at dusk. Since Sarah is working night this week this was a "morning" ride for her. We made it to the top with no stops and then we had a nice long evening coast into Winters and an outdoor dinner at Buckhorn, I love California.

Sarah cresting the top of Cantelow

Friday, April 5, 2013

Bike Culture in the Netherlands, sarah and I just booked our tickets for ten days off Dutch "culture' this summer!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring in Sacramento

Last Thursday and Friday I discovered how easy it is to escape the city from my house and did short training rides along the river north from there. On Saturday Sarah and I had a training ride planned for the afternoon and decided to do one of the river loops, where you ride north from the city along the river and loop back around the airport and come back to the city. It was a glorious spring day with warm temperatures, mustards blooming.

Sarah got to practice her flat changing skills after a bad pothole and she did great! Notice the greasy hands! Unfortunately we had a surprise birthday party to go to, which meant we needed to be on time. When we turned south we learned that some of that glorious spring ride feeling was really a tailwind, (now a headwind) and 20 mph went to 12, we were running late...We pushed it hard all the way home and managed to make it in time for the surprise. I'm very excited about more training rides to come. Mt Tam on Friday!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

My first training ride with Team Kaiser Thrive for NCAC

So, a week and a half ago Sarah and I showed up for our first ride with our uber-orgainized team. I'm used to the Monsanto Mavericks, where we show up, decide where to ride and fend for ourselves. So imagine my shock and awe when I realize this group has printed maps, and full SAG support for a 38 mile training ride...Wow!

We start in Folsom so I know I'm in for a nice ride, oaks and foothills, I'm all in. We have a beautiful spring ride through the foothills between Aubrurn and Folsom, with Jason our team leader lapping us on the big hills.

On the last 10 miles back to folsom, Jason our fearless leader, says he needs to take off quick to make it back for a family hike, so he spilts on down the road. Tara, the ride organizer challenges a few of us to chase him down, this is what I call fun; 3 person chase team after a solo breakaway.  We catch him after a long chase a couple of miles from Folsom. When he sees us he looks back, gives me one of those Lance Armstrong "the look" moves and takes off on me. I'm done chasing so I circle back and ride in with Sarah.

I'm going to like this team, 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Climb That Never Ends

So its been a while since I updated this but I'll try and catch you all up. First off, thanks to all who have donated so far to my MS150 fundraising efforts. I'm no fundraising machine but I am up over the 700 dollar mark and have less than 250 to go to make my 1000 goal.

Labor day weekend. Had a great ride today with Joe King, just a quick little "stretch your legs" out to Winters and back (30 Miles). Joe was looking great decked out in Livestrong Yellow, just back from riding the Philly Livestrong challenge. That's two Livestrong centuries he has done this year, so I'm not going to give him a hard time if he does not ride with us next weekend.

Last weekend was an Epic ride. Erin and I were in Santa Cruz staying at the Davenport Roadhouse, 12 miles north. This is a totally sweet spot: awesome food, nice beach, and great bike riding. We were there for Erin's half marathon Trail Run in the Redwoods. This was a women's only race so I had an excuse to ride my bike. After two run-ins with rattlesnakes on trails in the last two weeks, I was ready to be on the road.

This was one of those days on the California coast where the fog has lifted and the sun is warm but the air is cool. It was spectacular. I was riding alone so the music was going and I didn't so much ride as I danced the whole way. It's days like this that life is about. I got out early after a great breakfast at the roadhouse. The ride was straightforward up the coast 25 miles to Pescadero. This is open country and with organic farms to the east, nothing but ocean to the west. I was headed for the bottom of what I call the Half Moon Bay San Ggregorio loop (see below). Ten miles before Pescadero, I turned up a side road to Gazos Creek.

These are rolling hills which seem like they wouldn't be too hard but a few of them are really steep. You also have to watch out for the motorcycles; they think this road is fun too. Unfortunately the testosterone and the horsepower is more abundant than riding skill. We've seen more motorcycle accidents than we care to remember... the pavement always wins. Admittedly we bicyclists may have the same lack of brains and surging testosterone; fortunately, we lack the horsepower.

I stopped in the Loma Mar store, which sits at the bottom of the big climb (this is a good place to reflect under the redwoods before heading up). It does not seem like it should be a bad climb, but it is. It is one of those climbs that seems to never end. It reminds me of this song Erin's daughter Adrienne sings, appropriately called "The Song That Never Ends" (trust me it doesn't). Anytime I ride this, about 3/4 of the way up, I feel like I'm just around the corner from the end. I'm really only about half way up. For encouragement, there is a sign along the way (below). Not sure how to interpret that. The steepest part is at the top, gotta love that.
Normally, we would go over the top and down to La Honda. On this particular day, I turned around at the top a sailed down. From the top of the mountain all the way down to the coast I flew. By that time, the wind had picked up (just as I had planned) and was howling headed south. I made the 25 miles from pescadero to Davenport in just over an hour, crediting my speed and strength to my awesome conditioning. Nothing like a 25mph tailwind to make you feel like you are on top of the world. I was.