Friday, September 28, 2012

Poker Tour Time!

Just saw this over at  Time for the one and only (original bi-annual) poker tour!  Here's the details...and it's only a week away, so get the bike tuned up!

Poker Run

Over the river and through the woods....or across the lane and into a pole!

I don't know if there's something in the water or what....but drivers on my commute are having a hard time staying on the road (let alone their lane).  So please everybody, riders and drivers, let's have an extra cup of coffee and try to focus on the morning commute a little bit!

He'd probably have been better off if he was riding the bike strapped to the top!

And only the week before.....

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Sooner or later it's gonna happen.  The bicycle is going to fight back for all those days you intentionally hit the puddles, took the rougher route, or didn't give it the seasonal cleaning.  Sometimes it even conspires with other bikes in the stable so you don't see it coming. 

In this case, I was helpfully wheeling wifey's ride out of the house a few mornings ago.  When all of a sudden it bit me.  A platform pedal to the back of the Achilles!  I hardly noticed it at the time but by the time I got to work it had for a good photo.  It's pictures here on the deck of the xtracycle, because we all know which bicycle of mine would have called for a "hit" like this as a little payback.  So, apparently, I need to spend some TLC time with the xtracycle and get her cleaned up before something really happens!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Major Specialized Bicycle Recall!!

From the Associated Press:

12,000 bikes recalled for defect that could lead to injuries

Specialized Bicycle Components Inc. is recalling approximately 12,000 bicycles because a part can potentially break off and lead riders to fall and get hurt.

The company, which made the announcement in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said Tuesday that the front fork on the bicycles can break. It has received four reports of front forks breaking, resulting in facial fractures, head and shoulder injuries and cuts. The bicycles were manufactured by Kinesis of China.

The recall includes some 2008 and 2009 models of Globe bicycles for women and men. The models in the recall include: Globe Elite, Globe Sport, Globe Sport Disc, Globe Centrum Comp, Globe Centrum Elite, Globe City 6, Globe Vienna 3, Globe Vienna 3 Disc, Globe Vienna 4, Globe Vienna Deluxe 3, Globe Vienna Deluxe 4, Globe Vienna Deluxe 5 and Globe Vienna Deluxe 6 bicycles.

The bicycles were sold from July 2007 through July 2012.

Consumers should stop using the recalled bicycles immediately and bring them to an authorized retailer for the free installation of a free replacement fork. For more information, call 877-808-8154.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Effective Park Improvement.

I'm not sure if I've written this up before or not.  Either way here goes....My ride is usually along the river path (as anyone who's been here before knows exhaustively well).  The path is really a big asset for the city in my mind, but I'm not so sure about everyone else since it's not heavily used.  What I have come to see is that it's not given much attention by the city or RPD and the level of homeless folks on the path is a pretty constant reminder of this. 

Brodhead Park is a perfect example of this.  It's a nice grassy park right on the river, close to downtown, with a lot of trees and shade during the summer.  A perfect place to bring the family for a river side picnic if it wasn't for a permanent camp of multiple homeless folks.  Don't get me wrong....I know it's attractive for them too and they have a right to use the parks, but they don't improve the atmosphere and when the camps exist in the same place every day for weeks they are not called day users.

I'm sure they don't appreciate pictures, but I a shot off the handlebars to illustrate the point. 

 This little group isn't even one of the regulars and the total count was probably about 15 people in various states of disrepair.  This particular park is right behind RPD headquarters on East 2nd St. and these guys definitely aren't harassed by the police.  However, if RPD cared at all (or the city did) they would have a foot patrol through here just so the officers could get some fresh air and exercise before spending the day in their patrol cars!  It would definitely move some of the less desirable folks along!

In the mean time, (and on the up side) the parks department seems to have found an effective way to clear out the rif-raf by initiating a morning sprinkler session!  I'm all in favor of having these babies run on the hour every hour for 2 minutes!  That ought to give some lush grass and move some of the more permanent residents along!

So kudos to the Parks Department and their new "management" plan.  I'm gonna request a bit more regular watering and see if they go for it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tootsie Troubles.

Well, it's getting to be that time of year.  The mornings aren't quite as warm as they used to be and the angle of the sun is a little lower.  Don't get me wrong, it's certainly not cool out yet....but riding in shorts, t-shirt, and sandals is a little chilly!  I've added a smart-wool shirt over the t-shirt most of this week.  After they last few mornings, I'm seriously starting to think the sandals might not be working.....  In other words cold toes!!

I snapped a few pictures of the problem area on the ride in earlier this week.  Please note the pleasant sunshine warming said toes at the time of the first picture...and that the speed is a relatively relaxed 16-17 mph.  Nothing that keeps the toes cold during a good part of the ride.

The real cold toes issue is that the first 2 miles of my commute are all down hill and require very little peddling.  It's these first few miles of coasting that get the piggies chilled and then once peddling commences and the blood starts pumping all the digits get nice and warm again.

So what do you think?  How long into Fall can you rock the sandals on the daily commute? 

Monday, September 17, 2012

How to get a car out of a ditch!

The tow truck extraction sequence:! 

Typical Monday Morning or Serious Distracted Driving!?

So on the limited portion of my ride that is on busier streets I don't normally have any problems with drivers.  This morning was different....this lady just kept tailgating me and I'd finally had enough.  So I slammed on the breaks and swerved into the left lane.  As she tried to pass me I slammed into the side of her car and drove her off the road into the ditch!

Ok, so none of the above happened....and I had the usual uneventful ride in to work.  Until got to the driveway for work, which is where this was.

 Apparently, It was a lady and a small kid and I'm guessing some seriously distracted driving!  This means she not only drove into the bike lane and didn't correct, but continued over the grass (and didn't correct), and then into the ditch.  Some really distracted driving probably caused by attending to the spoiled youth of today.

Any which way you look at this it's one of my biggest concerns while riding.  It only takes a second of answering the phone, attending to junior, or hunting for a song on the ipod and you're driving in the bike lane.  The speed differential on this section of Mill is about 30 mph (50 mph for cars and 20 mph average for bikes) and the resulting trauma for the cyclist is definitely in the "you're dead or really seriously injured" category!

Here's the view from my window, just for fun:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fun Bicycle Event News!

Just ran across this at the Poedunks mountain bike site (it's a new link if you haven't checked it out).

Looks like a fun event.  If you have time be sure to get involved!

A Different Bike Commute.

Sorry the posts have been a bit lite this week.  There has been a lot of activity with NAB meetings (Neighborhood association board) with bicycle based themes and it's been tying up my spare time.  Today its all in the past and I decided it was time for something new, so I picked a commute route I rarely ride.

It started with riding the wrong way (as in away from my destination) so I could take a detour through Rancho San Rafael Park.  In all honesty, it's only about a 1/4 mile detour from my house.  How do you say no to a road with no traffic, grape vines, and gorgeous sunshine!

From here I empty out on to Sierra St.  Recently the recipient of multiple blinky cross walks for pedestrians and awaiting a October remake as a complete street (road diet).  And boy oh boy does it need it.  This is not a safe street to ride (which is amazing since it's serves as a primary road for UNR). 

Yes, this one is from yesterday when I did a little recon drive.

The next few are via my ride this morning.

As you can see any extra room is pretty much used for parking.  The current lane dimensions don't allow for cars to move over very far to pass a cyclist.  And lord knows they aren't going to hit the brakes to wait and pass safely!

After a nice 38 mph coast down the hill I hung a left onto 2nd street / East Glendale and took it all the way out to Rock Blvd.  There's no designated bicycle facilities on this route but it's fairly wide and not too uncomfortable to ride.  The worst part is all the traffic lights.  I've ridden and driven this section before and there is no way to time the lights on a bike or in a car.  Fortunately, this does keep the traffic count light!  Here's a few pics along the way.

Comm Row climbing wall....totally cool!

In one of the little hotel type parking lots someone has a pretty cool urban garden.

The cursed lights that make this a no optimal commute route!
It really does make it more interesting to change up your route.  So if you have a little extra time try exploring a new path and see where it takes you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bike blog boredom....change of commute!

Lately it seems I'm just not inspired to write much about the commute, even taking pictures seems forced.  I guess that I've seen all the "normal" interesting things along the commute route just one to many times.  I've been here before and it helps to change up the commute during these funked out times.

I was late leaving the house today so a drastic exploratory ride wasn't in the cards.  So, rather than my normal variation of the river path, which is 4th Street, I decided to return to the old alternate commute (Mill St.).

For the record...I do drive to work sometimes and I hate the lines and they make me rage.  It's one reason I ride, less stress!

 Man o' Man, did I forget was riding in dual lane traffic was like in just a few short months!  There are a few sections that don't have bike lanes on Mill (or wide parking areas that go unused) and I pretty much take the lane on these sections.  Even with being centered up in a lane I had a guy try to use the 1/2 side of the lane to pass me with another car in the left lane.  What are people thinking!?

I watched traffic interactions between cars a bit after that and I don't think it's that they just don't see bikes.....they behave in the same manner with respect to other cars!  Perhaps I shouldn't used the work "respect" in the previous's not really appropriate!  They just try to shove their way ahead like the other drivers aren't in just as much of a hurry. 

I was musing about why their so aggressive and in a hurry....since most of them probably are going to work and don't really want to be there.  And then it hit me, just driving or idling (as is the case most of the time) they are burning precious gas and just look at how much it must cost them!

Also for the record, since I do drive a car, these prices SUCK!  Another good reason to ride.

It must really grind them when I pass them when their backed up at lights (sometimes 30+ cars), rolling to the light at the front of the underutilized bike lane!  It's actually pretty fun...from the Hospital to the Airport I passed 37 cars this morning (over approximately 1.5 miles) and in the following 1 mile stretch before the next light (where the speed limit is 50 mph) only 27 passed me back!

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!! I know it's petty to keep track, but it shows that even in non-city traffic areas you can stay ahead of automobile traffic if you catch the lights right!  Anyway, it definitely gave me some new material write about so I guess I better explore some additional alternate commutes.  Until then, enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

City of Reno.....Why you no redevelop!?

You'll notice the "Freight House District" just across the river.  Between me and the baseball stadium there are about 5 vacant lots just waiting for redevelopment.

I know times are tough....but these pictures were taken last February and the view is same today.  You can say that property just isn't moving, but this one in the pictures isn't even up for sale.

So I guess my question is how long can a "developer" (since they don't develop I put it in quotes) hold land hostage in a deteriorated, eye-sore state before the city steps in and does something?  I'm no fan of imminent domain land grabs (because it happens to less fiscally well off people most times), but I'd sure go for it to get some of these eye-sores turned into a decent park!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Good news for local bicycling!

 Borrowed from KRNV:

South Lake Tahoe awarded $475k for bike paths

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRNV & -- The City of South Lake Tahoe has been awarded $475,452 in grant funding from Caltrans through the Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA) among 111 applicants.This grant was written by the City’s grants coordinator, Lori Marino.
The City of South Lake Tahoe has identified through annual inspection, several Class 1 bike paths that have exceeded usable life span and are in desperate need of complete reconstruction. The pathways identified, provide key connectivity to various neighborhoods and business districts within the City limits. The rehabilitation project includes full depth reclamation and replacement of approximately 1.97 miles of Class 1 bike trail and will include structural section, paving, striping and signage.
Focus of reconstruction is intended in the areas parallel to U.S. Highway 50 on the west side from Los Angeles Ave. to Motel 6 and the Upper Truckee River (including bridges); one segment on the east side of U.S. 50 from Helen Avenue to the South "Y" to include the following areas: Harrison Ave. (Los Angeles to Tulare), Rubicon to Tulare, Eloise to Ponderosa, Silver Dollar to Rubicon, and Helen Ave. to South Ave. and Linear Park.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $620,452. The City was awarded $475,452 in grant funding through the State BTA grant and will provide a local match of in-kind Engineering services in the amount of $45,000.00. The South Lake Tahoe Recreation Facilities Joint Powers Authority (JPA) has pledged a matching contribution of $100,000 through Measure R.

Who says cargo bikes are boring.

I bet this kid thinks this bike is so cool....well, I do anyway! 

daily morning awesome 20 Daily Morning Awesomeness (35 Photos)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Puddles in the Plaza!

Well, I just wasn't really expecting this mornings ride.  Things were really hectic at work yesterday evening and wifey needed to get home by 5:30 pm.  She's headed out for 60 miles of walking to support breast cancer research and needed to meet up with her ride.  Long story short, I left the xtracycle at work and beat feet for home, planning to ride the mountain bike in the today.  Needless to say, as I walked out the door I was thinking, "It will probably rain tomorrow".

Go figure....

The first part of the ride was just fine.  Some residual puddles from last night, but no worry about getting a stripe up the the back due to water.  And hey, how often do you see puddles in the plaza in Reno?

Just East of Reno in Brodhead park it really started coming down.  You can even see some of the rain drops streaking through the picture!  Against all odds, it continued all the way to work.  Which is where the bicycle with fenders and my rain coat were cozily stored.

The result was some damp cloths (seriously not a big deal).  In fact, for a ride in Reno this was actually pretty darn refreshing!  And the xtracycle makes a great drying rack here in the office.  So if you got caught in the rain, congratulations, we "earned our stripes" today!

(And if you not a rider this means we had a wet / dirty strip up our backs due to the spray off the rear timer.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Burner bikes abound!

Keep you eyes open this week, the burners are coming back and there are some great art bikes around.  If you're in the market for an art bike of any kind, I'd stop in to the Reno Bike Project.  I know they take back a bunch of burner bikes at the end of the festival and you can probably get them for a great deal if you don't mind the dust!

I saw these two in the valet parking at the Sienna.  I mean where else do you go after the burn...a casino hotel with valet parking of course!  Either way the bikes were a fun find on the morning ride.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mountain biking truckee....Sawtooth Trail.

The original plan for the weekend was a combo camping trip / running trip / mountain bike trip up to the Sawtooth trail.  We figured on boondock camping at the trail head and then boys would bike and girls would run (20 miles of run for the record).

The problem was one camper vehicle was on the fritz when we planned to head out of it became a rather fun one day adventure instead.  It also turns out to be a good thing because our camping plan (based on our knowledge of the area 5 years ago) was now an illegal camping plan.

Anyway, long story short.  Girls headed for Truckee to run 20 miles along the river at something like 5 am.  Boys slept in and headed up for a 10 mile mountain bike ride about 3 hours later (I believe this means boys are smarter!).  The plan was everyone would finish about the same time and the fun would continue at the 50/50 brewery.

The ride looked something like this (only with many bumpy, rocky sections that make up the Sawtooth trail not being highlighted).

The man with no nickname does some last minute repairs (as usual)!

The preacher buckles his shoes (or bows his head to pray for a good ride)....I'm not sure which.

Yours truly poses for a mandatory photo op.  

 Please note...the ride has some spectacular views.  The problem is if you look away from the trial for more than a nano second your probably going over the handlebars!

Making it look easy.

A "gracefully" executed turn by the preacher!

The guys leaving me in the dust on a nice clean section of trail.
  At the end of the ride we were just about on time for the meet up at 50/50, so trailhead beers were chugged in order to make the agree meet up with the girls.  50/50 proved well worth the work!  The girls had a good run (both making 20 miles with no trouble) and we managed to meet up with another friend of mine (who we ran into on the trail) for beers and lunch.  All and all a great start to the long weekend with good friends, good beer, and good trails!