Friday, February 28, 2014

Bicycle and Ped Happenings.

BPAC (Bike and Ped Advisory Committee) happened on Wednesday night and there were some interesting items.  These include recent bike count data, a parking day event (where parking spaces are reclaimed as room for people not cars), and the upcoming Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian conference.

I'm feeling a bit lazy about typing, so here some shots of the handouts. 

Sorry, the bike count pics refuse to rotate this morning.

You'll just have to turn the phone or monitor.

Definitely what parking spaces should be used for.

This is a cool local conference and it's free.  You do have to register if you want to attend.  I'll have more on it in a bit.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Adventure Cycling route released - 518 miles of off road fun in Idaho!

Just found this new route release over at  518 miles of off pavement riding....and hot springs to boot.  The write up below is totally stolen from Adventure Cycling....all credit to them.

Adventure Cycling is excited to announce the release of the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route Maps!

Maps are now available for Adventure Cycling Association’s Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route (IHSMBR). The brand-new, two-map set guides cyclists through the breathtaking landscape of central Idaho along a spectacular 518-mile off-pavement route, offering four substantial singletrack options and featuring access to more than 50 hot springs in the Gem State.

The first IHSMBR map section features the main, off-pavement route — a looped route that primarily follows dirt roads for 518 miles, with a few stretches of pavement in the mix. Cyclists planning a trip on the main route need only to have a basic understanding of mountain-bike riding technique. However, cyclists attempting any of the four singletrack options, featured on the second, supplementary map section, should know their own ability and prepare for challenging conditions. Some sections of the singletrack are expert-only riding (or hike-a-biking for those who aren’t experts).

The Singletrack Options Map features 228 miles of singletrack, which is a departure from anything we’ve offered before. Riders who choose to ride any of the four unique singletrack sections should be prepared to face river fordings, unmanicured trails, downed trees, and plenty of hike-a-bikes. This can be daunting to some, but for those seeking a true backcountry experience with epic views, primitive camping, and mountain biking, it can also be incredibly rewarding.

Hike-a-biking on the singletrack options

We know you're as excited as we are to get out and ride the IHSMBR this summer. For those who have never bikepacked mountainous singletrack before and are thinking about attempting these sections, Adventure Cycling Cartographer Casey Greene, creator of the route, recommends 5 ways to prepare for the singletrack:

Do some off-bike training before your trip

This can include hiking, running, climbing, backcountry skiing, or upper body strength training. The point is to mix it up and get you body used to different scenarios so when it's late in the day and you're faced with a 1000-foot, off-camber hike-a-bike, you’ll be able to make it to your planned destination.

Lower your mileage expectations

First, figure out the mileage you’re accomplishing on dirt roads in a day. Then, to be safe, cut that mileage in half, or even a third to plan your mileage for these singletrack options. It all depends on the conditions you encounter on the trail — the conditions will dictate how fast you can move. For instance, one week a trail might have tons of downed trees, the next it may be cleared.

Take it easy

Don’t kill yourself out there. If you’re red-lining it up a climb early in the day, you may run out of juice before making it to your destination, which could be a sweet hot spring. Consider hike-a-biking to save some energy, and take lots of breaks if you need to — especially to stop and enjoy the scenery.

Go as lightweight as possible

It’s pretty simple: The less weight you carry, the easier it is to carry that weight up mountains.

Bring extra food

Trail conditions may force you to be out longer than expected. It will ease your mind to bring an extra half-day's worth of snacks.

Rough trails, river fordings, and downed trees are some of the obstacles riders will face
on the singletrack options.

At this point, I hope I haven’t scared everybody away from attempting these singletrack options. They are hard, I’ll give you that, but they also travel through some of the most spectacular country I’ve ever pulled a bike through. Some of the descents are world class, as are some of the hot springs. I could go on and on about an awesome view here, or a good fishing hole there, but at the end of the day, I think it’s best to let everyone pick up some maps and go discover central Idaho for themselves. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Post and photos by Casey Greene

To celebrate the release of our newest mountain-bike route, and our first-ever route featuring singletrack, we'll be giving away two complete IHSMBR mapsets this week. For a chance to win a mapset, simply comment on this blog post. We'll draw two winners at random on Friday. The winners will be contacted via email. 

Online press release:
Tweet: New 518-mile off-pavement cycling route provides access to 50+ hot springs and beautiful wildlands in Idaho:
Facebook/Newsletter: Maps are now available for Adventure Cycling Association’s Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route. The brand-new two-map set guides cyclists through the breathtaking landscape of central Idaho along a spectacular 518-mile off-pavement route, offering four substantial singletrack options, and featuring access to more than 50 hot springs in the Gem State.

BIKEPACKER is written by Casey Greene and Paul Hansbarger, Adventure Cycling staff, guest bloggers, part-time adventure seekers, and gear nerds alike.

Ten things every cyclist should do!

I found this over at, buried several pages back.  While it's great from a mountain biking standpoint alone.....I'd argue it could be framed from any type of cycling you enjoy.  Either way it's a good 10 things to do list.  How many can you check off?

The list:

1)  Build a bike
2)  Ride at night
3)  Ride in the snow
4)  Ride in another country
5)  Sleep next to your bike
6)  Ride a new trail
7)  Cross a mountain range
8)  Ride in a bike race
9)  Visit a bike park
10) Ride to the sea

With varying degrees of success I'll lay out my list....

1) I definitely built up wifey's Soma from scratch and building an xtracycle probably counts.

2) I've done tons of night riding (although most of it on roads).....the most memorable is probably the only time I went night riding on a mountain bike. The grade 3 shoulder separation that resulted and the quality time in the emergency room at 2am did not make this a popular idea with wifey!

3) Peavine is awesome for this.

4) You pretty much have to ride a bike at some point when your in the Netherlands.

5) Technically, I slept right next to my bike in a snowstorm.  So what if I was in my truck camper.  I have many tent nights in Moab and on Cycle Oregon right next to the bike for street cred. 

6) This one is a gimme....everyone who rides, rides new trails.

7) I don't think I have this one.  Maybe during Cycle Oregon last year....I'd have to check the route.

8) Sagebrush cyclocross series last year.

9) I haven't ever been to a bike park....I'll have to hit Northstar this year.

10) Nope...never biked to the sea....adding to the to do list.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pay to play parking...and you probably have the right tools to avoid it!

If you haven't heard, the city of Reno has a sorted history with parking meters.  Only a few years ago, it was pretty much free parking in most places in Reno (unless you wanted to park in the downtown parking garage).  With the tightening economy, they eventually put in parking meters on all the downtown spaces.  Then they got fancy and wanted a smart system that could tell if a spot was being used and had local computer terminals.

Here's a picture of the former...and the later....which turned out not to work too well, and was scrapped at a rather large cost to the city.

Once the fancy system failed, they returned the old meters  (which worked just fine) to some of the high traffic areas.  However, we still hadn't spent enough $$$ messing around.  They argued it was just too inconvenient to have to carry change to use a parking meter (the horror)!  So, this week we got round three parking meters....basically the same thing we had originally, but they take credit cards.

While this is probably a really good solution, the city sure has wasted a ton of time and money to try to make money of downtown parking.

If you want to steer clear of the whole mess, just ride your bike.  The parking is always free and almost always closer to your destination than if you drive!  The other up side to all these new parking meters, is each one provides an additional free place to lock up your bicycle!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Stellar weekend approaches....where will it take you!

Ok, kids.  It's gonna be an absolutely awesome weekend.  This should mean some blue bird groomer runs, delving into the back country for some hidden fresh snow, or an epic bike ride.  What's it gonna be....

Whatever it means for sure to get out and enjoy it!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Intersection design that works for Bikes, Peds, and Cars!

Just saw this one over at  Give it a look, it's actually a pretty well thought out idea for how to design better intersections for everyone.  It does favor a separate cycletrack style approach to design which I have mixed views about.  But hey, if they don't put a yield sign at every driveway intersection to the cycletrack (like we do out in Sparks) they work pretty well!

Sunset riding....

Beautiful winter evening commute.  Sierra wave cloud in full effect, sun setting over the mountains, and a bike ride where you only have to grab a light vest and light gloves in February.  Just puts one of those stupid grins on your face for absolutely no reason.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How do you make a smart car even smarter?

Bingo!  Custom Bike Racks!

I noticed this guy while riding through the Siena Hotel parking lot this morning....actually how could you miss this thing!  And then I saw the bike rack.  Yep, you already have a car that probably gets 60 miles per gallon and it has prefabricated ports that mate to a custom bike rack. 

Now I'm not saying I'm a fan of the smart philosophy is I can afford a bit more gas when I need it because of the regular riding I do.  However, if you did want to do a road trip and bring the bike along for some riding, I don't think you could possibly do it for less $$$ than with this setup!

Monday, February 17, 2014

A bike ride....little road, little dirt, squeaky seat, and a straight shot up Virginia St.

I think the title kinda lays it all out there.  I went for a bike ride on Saturday morning before it got too windy.  It was ridiculously warm and sunny....and Rose was already on wind hold.  I didn't really have a plan so this is the shape the route took.

Basically, I left home with no idea where I was going.  So I cruised down to the whitewater park and then South on Arlington.  Why....because it has a bike yes, people do use them if you put them in.  This left me climbing up Skyline Blvd., but not before I was treated to some bicycle art in a yard down by the golf course!

It's in good enough shape that someone should buy it and fix it up into fighting shape.  Anway, I climbed the hill up to Horseman's Park and decided a little dirt would make things better.  So I grabbed the ditch trail over to Manzanita Lane.  I saw about 15 people running just on this little section....nice. 

 Then it was some downhill fun back towards town.  The problem was, I developed some type of squeak in my seat....that made noise every pedal stroke.  Supper annoying and I didn't have a multitool (yes, I was unprepared) to fix it.  Solution....redirect the ride to my favorite bike shop (Great Basin Bicycles).  Never mind that it's about 5 miles south of where I was.....  Somehow, I managed to get there and even swung around past Harrah's Ranch.

The guys at Great Basin kindly let me tinker until the squeak was resolved thought to be resolved.  Which was good of them because they were slammed with training classes and repair work.  I guess the crappy winter is good for someone!

Since the wind was picking up and blowing due North, I decided a straight shot home might be nice, so I headed up Virginia St.  I was also curious to see how it was to ride the length of Virginia since it's been in the news as a corridor study.  There is a bike lane along much of it, but it does have places like this (by home depot and whole foods)....

where the bike lane disappears without warning, leaving you in the mix with traffic or to ride in a 6 inch wide gutter.  So, yeah, it really isn't ridable unless you really will take the lane in certain places.  As you get farther north, there are many places where the right lane is bus (or bike) only.  However, these lanes come and go and morph into right turn lanes, so the chance for an incident with a car is pretty high.

Also by this time, my "fixed" squeak had returned so I detoured by my old employer (Reno Mountain Sports) for the use of an allen wrench.  This time the fix was good and my journey continued through mid-town (where bike lanes were recently nixed from the plan).  Fortunately, traffic speeds in midtown are pretty low and the single lane allow you to mix with traffic without too many problems.

I contemplated stopping by Public House or Craft for a beer, but it didn't happen.  So in the end I just rode home and puttered around the brewery and did bikey chores.  Later, a trip down to the Reno Homebrewer rounded out the day.  Hopefully, your weekend produced some random things you enjoyed too!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Construction sign placement....

I realized that there isn't a place that is "good" to put these....but you can't help but notice they are always blocking either a bike lane or a sidewalk.  They are never placed to inconvenience a driver.

I encountered THREE of these on the way in to work this morning (pictures of two).  I mean come on...the sign isn't enough....we have to throw in a cone to make sure a cyclist gets pushed fully into the lane of fast moving traffic!

I know that the guy setting these out isn't thinking about it....and where do you put them that doesn't inconvenience someone.  It does create a potential hazard either way.  For this last one (right outside my office) I corrected the situation easily!!

The angle isn't great to show it....but with about 10 seconds of effort I moved the whole setup onto the grass.  Still gets the message across and I didn't have to ride out into traffic!  Kinda ironic that the whole get up was placed pretty much on a bike lane symbol, next to a bike lane sign.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bums and Birds...things you see on a commute.

Ok, I'm adding this in right off the bat.  I know I should say "Homeless" and not Bums in the title....but it doesn't roll off the tongue, so just take it's just a blog.

I had a fun commute today...not sure why.  Just finally not feeling sick, warm weather, or something.  A lot of curb hopping, taking single track sections that depart from the river path, and general screwing around.  I stopped to take a couple pictures just because these things caught my eye.

I didn't say they were good pictures...fuzzy pic of the guys waking up on the river.  I do like their chosen method of transportation.

I'm definitely not a bird watcher, but this heron(?) sitting on the pump barge in the sewer treatment plant was kinda cool.  If anything in a sewage pit can be "cool".
I know what your thinking....these things were worth stopping to take a picture!?  Well, I'll admit that they aren't going up in a frame anywhere, but even these questionable photo ops are more interesting than the alternative to riding the bike!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dangerous construction diversion on Mill today.

Given the general state of awareness of most drivers, this isn't a great diversion idea on Mill St. 

It doesn't look too bad when no ones there......

.....but the reality is, they are taking two lanes of morning rush hour traffic and constricting it to zero lanes (e.g. using the bike lane as the only traffic lane).  Probably not the best diversion idea!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Is your car making your coworker sick!?

Yeah, this title does mean I've been sick and it's lingering.  Thanks to an office mate who brought back a nice virulent strain of H1N1 from his recent trip to Mexico, the entire office has been a ghost town for about a week. 

My question is this....did his car make me sick?  And to answer my own question, I'll actually say "Yes".

Here's my logic (and you can see if you agree).  First off....we work in an office were people are pretty type A and actually like the work they do.  So I want to say no one hates coming to work and they don't tend to take sick days.  However, here's the scenario.

You wake up and you don't feel that great....not horrible....just not top notch. So what do you do. You don't "want" to go to work and make people sick (no one here is that kind of jerk anyway), but you have project work that needs to get done. So you rationalize and say you'll get ready for work and see how you feel. So you drag yourself out of bed, lean against the wall while you shower, and forgo breakfast because you just don't have the energy to make it. And at this point, since you made it this far without passing out, hacking up a lung, or vomiting, you decide you're probably "ok" to head for work. And why not, sitting down into your plush automobile and pushing pedals, turning a wheel, etc. is probably the least energetic thing you've asked of that sick body all morning. And as such, it kinda makes the decision for you. And then, there you are in the office getting coworkers sick.

Now a moment to clarify....I'm not trying to blame.  I'm just saying the above is kinda how we all roll when feeling a bit sick.  And when you want to do your job well and get things done on time you push through.  But it does sometimes make things worse, not better.

Now lets consider an alternative morning scenario....

You wake up and you don't feel that great....not horrible....just not top notch.  So what do you do.  You don't "want" to go to work and make people sick (no one here is that kind of jerk anyway), but you have project work that needs to get done.  So you rationalize and say you'll get ready for work and see how you feel.  So you drag yourself out of bed, lean against the wall while you shower, and forgo breakfast because you just don't have the energy to make it.  And at this point, since you made it this far without passing out, hacking up a lung, or vomiting, you decide you're probably "ok" to head for work. 

And then it dawns you, that you have two options on how to get to work...option 1 is get bundled into your bike gear, throw a leg over the top tube, and start grinding out what will obviously be 7 slow miles to work (so you should probably leave earlier to boot).  Then work the day, and ride those same 7 slow miles home.  Or .....option 2 is walk in the cold morning down to the bus stop, wait in the cold for the bus, ride to work (perhaps having to transfer buses) repeat the process at the end of the day. 
Neither of these sounds anywhere close to reasonable, so you call in and let work know you're not coming in, and at the very best, working from home.  As a result, everyone else stays healthy and doesn't lose a day or two themselves.
 So, what do you say.  I say alternative transportation saves the day in yet another way!  I'd argue that probably, your car did make me sick this week!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Keystone Complete Streets Meeting.

The meeting kicked off last night with a capacity crowd.  I mean 100 plus people, so it's obviously getting the attention it deserves.  In my opinion the crowd was weighted 70% for,30% against the project.  We got some additional details in terms of traffic counts, accident stats, etc., but don't have the various design options.  So the funny part is neither side really knows exactly what they are for or against. 

 RTC wisely doesn't have an open comment section in these meetings.  Instead you fill out a question/comment card and hand it in.  They are then read by the project leader and answered by the RTC, City of Reno, or NDOT person best suited to be knowledgeable about the topic.  The questions/comments ranged from Bicycles are dangerous and shouldn't be allowed on our roads.....and RTC is ruining Reno, to why aren't we doing this to every street.  So really full circle....

I added my own comment:  For North Keystone (Raley's North to McCarren), City of Reno only plows one lane in each direction during the winter.  Even this year during a light winter, this has meant that for 2 weeks after the December storm the outside lanes were only marginally drivable.  Yet somehow traffic flowed just fine (no delays) why don't people think 1 lane in each direction with a turning lane will work!?

I didn't even note that in big snow years the outside lanes are unusable for MONTHS at a time!!

So anyway, that was the meeting.  Hopefully, it's going the right direction.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Keystone Complete Streets Meeting in 2 Days!!!!

Keystone Complete Streets Meeting!

Another big meeting to help get complete streets pushed through on Keystone.  Come give your two cents if you don't want the status-quot for 4 lane roads through small neighborhoods!

Here's the details:

I've plugged this one before....and here it is again.  Please come if you can.  This project faces real opposition from some vocal folks who don't actually live in the neighborhood.  So the more supporters we get from folks in and out of the neighborhood the better!  Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 3, 2014

How to tell if your a "real" cyclist!

This made me laugh.....probably because some of it hits a bit close to home!  And's not the shaving part, but might be the coffee and beer part....

Keystone Canyon and Fenders....Do they get along?

It was kind of a grey, blase weekend.  Not the kind of day that makes you want to grab the bike and head out into the cold.  However, wifey kicked things off on Sunday announcing that she would be doing twenty miles of running.  So...the dog and I joined in on the initial 3 miles (our dog is older and kinda high mileage, so that's all she can handle....but she refuses to be left behind).  After that I was sweaty and already dressed for the conditions, so I decided to test out the Fargo with fenders on some rough terrain....and I needed pictures of the Keystone construction.  Here was the route:

Basically, up to the radio towers, over to the top of the UNR downhill course, down Evans Canyon, and up and over the Keystone connector.  A nice little loop.
Some of the Keystone single track is smooth....just perfect for fenders without rattly noise.

And some of it is bone jarring....and tests your fender install.  The fargo passed with only minor fender noise in the roughest terrain.

Back to smooth sailing.

The current configuration....getting ready for some gravel touring at some point.

Evolution of Keystone Canyon Trailhead.

Well, I blogged about it.....I went to meetings with the developers.....I requested all the best options that were available....and now it's here.  Development at the doorstep of the best local trail network in town.  It shouldn't affect the trails, it's just the whole idea of developing Peavine.  We don't need it and it's the last place you can glance outside the loop and just see Sierra foothills without (too many) homes and apartments cluttering them.  I guess that's "progress". 

 On the up side.  The developers seem to be as good a group as you can hope for.  They are going to do things like post signs in the trail head parking lot, that it is not to be used as overflow parking.  They will be gating off some of the illegal off road truck access points and upgrading / creating additional trail head locations.  They should also be fixing up the dilapidated infrastructure along the existing roadways including lighting.

Anyway here's a few pics of the trail head area: