Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How to crash in a cyclocross race....

 Don't bunny hop the barrier completely and bounce the rear wheel into it.  Allow rear wheel to completely rebound....  Be sure to completely commit to eating shit by removing hands from handlebars!

Use now free hands to catch the rapidly approaching ground! make this look really good, do not clip out yet!

Tuck and roll....for dramatic effect don't unclip second foot yet.

Show everyone your Lycra clad ass!

Complete roll / slide through and unclip.

Begin recovery.

Ok...almost begin recovery....

Start smiling because you see someone is getting this on camera....grab bike and slam the brake levers back into place while running the next two barriers.  Continue racing for 3 more laps!
Oh...and if you're wondering.  I'm the chump eating if you were thinking I'm being a bit harsh with the comments it's ok, because I'm insulting myself!

The Holidays Begin!

I'm sure everyone is geared up for Turkey day....but I got a little reminder that the holidays are officially here on the ride home last night.  Just as I came into the city center I heard the chanting 5,4,3,2,1.....and as I yanked out a cell phone for a quick picture the City of Reno Christmas tree lit up!  Hence the fuzzy on the fly picture.  But hey, I'll call it another perk of bicycle commuting!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Epic Rap Battle....Road Biker vs. Mountain Bike.

Ok, some of the language / images aren't good for kids or if you work in a very restrictive workplace.  You've been warned....(although it's pretty mild).  If you dare give it a's pretty funny.

Happy Cranksgiving....biking for the hungry makes national news!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sorry about the commercial (yes, ironic that it's a car commercial)....but the story is worth it.  And bicycles in national news is always a good thing!  And it shows a bit about bicycle a "friendly" cabbie honks at the New York group ride and gives them a "you're #1" salute (around the 3:50 mark if your interested). It will also make you proud of your commuting skills, as several of the celebrity riders almost collide with one another and talk about how out of breath they are!  All in all, a nice way to see bicycles in the news!

Sagebrush Cyclocross Series Wrap Up.

Well, the Reno Sagebrush Cyclocross series came to an end on Saturday.  The weather couldn't have been better.  A total mix that no one could predict until the moment you left the starting line.  It was sunny and low 60's with high winds for the early race, and then temperatures dropped as a front moved through for the second race and it started to rain (although it didn't last)!  Then it was back to sunshine for the last race.

A sunny, beautiful start for the Men's C, Men's C+35, and Women's B and C groups.

As usual, Reno Bike Project put on a fabulous breakfast of pancakes, hash browns, and bacon along with all the orange juice, coffee, and fireball you could stomach!  I opted for a bacon / fireball shot breakfast.
Breakfast of Champions 5th place riders....

The course looked a little something like this:

A really fun version of the classic Clayton middle school location with a lot of small barriers in tight corners that "could" be ridden.  This of course translated into a bunch of over the handlebar crashes (including yours truly).  I know the Cranking Glass Photography guys got a bunch of shots of this and I'll post them as soon as they update their sight! 

The end result for me was a 5th place finish in the men's B category, which landed me in 3rd place for the years series (personal note...YES!).  This result is a little deceiving because there is a huge field of men's B +35 racers who are notably faster than me.  But hey, they chose to race against the other old guys and I threw my hat in the ring with the guys half my age, which gave me a shot at placing a bit better!

Here are the series results for the B's.

And the B +35.

Anyway, it was a good way to finish off the season.  I'll update this with a bunch of pictures as they become available.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dirty Friday.

I found another tenth of a mile of dirt that I can add to my morning commute.  Not sure why I haven't done this before.  I walk the dog here pretty regularly, but it never occurred to me that I could add it to my daily ride.  I know what you're saying....big deal.  Well, it might not be a big deal....but it did put a smile on my face this morning!  Did your Friday commute do that!?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

River Path Evaluation (Lake St. to Wells Ave.)

Here's another portion of the river path, from the Automobile Museum to Wells Ave. reviewed with comments from one of our newer local bicycle advocates (David).  All the photos and observations are his (with a few edits from me for clarity).  A big thanks to David for doing this section of the path.

Location Map for comments and photos.  Working from East to West.
#1 Below is what once was a stop sign @ lower wells and the river path westbound. 
The path width at this location is 14'. Remove or replace device? 

 #2  Slightly further west at Brodhead Memorial Park there is a medium (<3") root protrusion on the south side of the path just before the Kuenzli Street access point. Path width is still 14'.

#3  Adjacent to the Kuenzli street access point there appears to be a tree stump and 2"x2" sign post base painted in high visibility paint on the north side of the path that likely should be remedied for safety. 

The path narrows here due to downhill (slope) creep. 
Usable width is now 8' and distance to the protrusions is 10'. Below are three examples.

#4  Next up for review is the Kuenzli Street overpass. 
Usable path width is now 10'. 
Guard rail present. 
Please note in the following photos the condition of the installed lighting fixtures as currently vandalized and non-functional. I can attest to these two fixtures having been in this state for over five years now (Three photos).

#5  Second Street overpass. 
Usable path with 10'. 
Unlike its pretentious Kuenzli Street counterpart there is no guard rail present. 
Again note the condition of the lighting fixtures, vandalized and non-functional (three photos).

#6  Past the Second Street overpass a "S" curve exists just prior to the auto museum. 
Usable path width varies and is at a minimum of 8'. 
Please note that the lamp in the picture is likely in a failed condition. I noted on my return after dark (but did not photograph), conservatively 80% of the lamps in the reviewed section are non-functional.

#7  Just east of the auto museum exists an outcropping of one gated structure and what appears to be a control or power mechanism is contained within the gated structure. Protrusions of metal lids at ground level (multiple).
Steep decline towards the river, without barrier.
Control/power device obstruction without barrier. Not clearly visible in dark conditions.
Very narrow usable path width @ 6' to 7'.

#8  Approaching Lake Street, adjacent to the auto museum.
Path width is 8'
One or more root protrusions of the smaller variety (<1") on the north side of the path. 
The irrigation system (Automobile Museum maintained) frequently leaks, flooding sections of the path, leading to rapid degradation of the newly repaved path.  How about some desert landscaping!

Night Riding and Good Route Planning.

Yep, it's dark out there after work these days.  I had to make a quick run to REI after work a couple nights ago.  As a result I ended up riding on this portion of Kietzke (between Reno Toyota and Vasser) in an attempt to make it to a lower traffic road (Vasser).  While there are now bike lanes on much of Kietzke's still not a fun or safe place to ride (even with good lights) at night.

So how do you avoid this type of situation.  The short answer is route planning.  I chose to ride out through the Reno Toyota and go down Kietzke Lane to Vasser (Red Route).  What I should have done to have a safer ride was head back out via Harvard Way and connect up with Vasser a little farther East (Green Route).

In my case I choose the red route on purpose (I normally do take the green route), just for a change of pace.  I have quite a few lights on my bike and person (4 total) so I wasn't too worried about being visible to traffic.  However, after even this short section on Kietzke, I was reevaluating this choice.  The sad truth is that while there is bicycle infrastructure on this road....I just didn't feel like people were expecting, looking out for, or aware that I was right next to them as they zipped along at 50 mph or more.

I'm tempted to use the analogy of "putting lipstick on a pig" for the bike lanes on Kietzke Lane.  While route planning is definitely the answer to safety.... I'm left wondering how to further implement bicycle infrastructure with respect to certain road types (e.g. 4 lane "highways").  Are we better off developing this type of infrastructure just so we can say it's there, and we "can" ride there.  Or should we be developing a network of neighborhood "greenways" (like my green route) where there aren't painted bike lanes (there aren't on much of Harvard Way), but bicycles are prioritized via sharrows or some other shared roadway designation on the lower speed, lower traffic streets?

Anyway, something to think about....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Solar Freakin' Roadways!

Imagine just how cool this would be if they really started putting these in everywhere!  And isn't Nevada pretty much the poster child for this type of thing with 300 days a year of sun.  If we built this type of technology here in Nevada, it would make the Tesla deal look like a little start up in Midtown!

**Disclaimer -- I love the little start ups in Midtown.  Go Midtown!**

Monday, November 17, 2014

A New Bike Rack to Me and some Bicycle Advocacy.

Last week we had a meeting of the minds with a small group of local bicycle advocates.  We do this about once a month at various locations (that serve beer) around town.  For this particular meeting Chapel Tavern was chosen.  While the meeting itself was based on evaluating the Truckee River bike path and the bicycle boulevard (Riverside Dr.), a few things besides this did catch my attention.

First up was this:

A nice hanging bike rack at Chapel Tavern.  I've never noticed it before....I just always locked up on the patio to the metal railing.  However, this rack is a great use of long as you have a cable lock rather than just a U-lock!

The second surprise at the meeting was that we had a few new faces.  Two fine gentlemen joined us for a beverage and expressed some new ideas.  The first friendly face took on a challenge that I'm afraid can't be accomplished without some extra bodies....mainly mapping out the condition of the Truckee River path along it's entire length.  He very kindly took the length of path between Wells St. and the Lake St. off my hands for an analysis similar to one I posted last week.  The second gent, had some great ideas of biking and walking in the form of "Bike Trains"...or groups of kids and adult supervisors that meet up each morning and form a "train" of kids making their way to school. 

We'll have to touch on this topic in more detail in another post, but I'd like to thank both guys for joining us and adding to the growing group of people who represent our bicycle community!

Glow in the Dark Bike Path.

This ends up being kind of a repost....since Reno Rambler had his version up on Sunday.  Damn, that guy is good.  Anyway, it's worth a repost.

The recently finished Van Gogh Bike Path is, not surprisingly, in the Netherlands (where they know a thing or two about using bicycles).  It's modeled after Van Gogh's Stary Night and powered by solar panels.

I'm struck that in an age where the Dutch are doing custom cycle infrastructure (and other glow in the dark bike paths) like this, that we still struggle to justify what I'll call "POP" (paint on pavement) bicycle infrastructure! How is it that one group of people can see things so clearly....and so many others cringe at the thought of loosing a few vehicle parking spots for a bike lane (Ehhem....Midtown!).  Hopefully, projects like this will inspire others to make a transition from the vehicularly mundane to bicycle bliss!

Oh...if you want to see the original article click here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cyclocross makes the local news!?

So....I'm completely stoked to see a story like this actually make the local headlines.  On the other hand, I'm guessing it must be a slow news day for them to cover this.  Either way, this could be a huge plug for Reno biking in general if we could land the event! 

And I can't help but throw in a little personal editorial on our competitor cities (think Bike Snob sarcasm here folks).

Louisville, Kentucky....these guys just hosted the single speed cycloscross world championships like a week ago.  They've had their day....let's move on!  Also, insert Redneck joke here....

Hartford, Connecticut....East coast, nuff one wants to go there.  And what do they say back east, "Forgotttaboutit"?

And then there's Bend, Oregon....what to say about Bend.  If you like "craft" beer and like your waiter to have a minimum of a masters degree, I think there's a brewery or two that fit the bill.  Although they're hipster enough that PBR will be available.  They also have "a" bike trail built by some guy named Phil (I think).  When I hear people talk about it, they usually say "whoops", so it must be a mistake to go ride there.  It's also a great town for cross racers (who are notoriously lazy) because you don't even get out of your car to pump your own gas (in fact it's illegal).  And if you can't figure out how to fill your car with gas, there's at least a bike lane or two in you might be able to ride around, if you wanted to take your life in your hands.  So yeah, if it can't be in Reno, Bend is probably a strong second choice.

So good luck other towns.  Once the dirtbag cyclocross community hears Reno is in the running with legal prostitution, breweries and distilleries in non-fixed up warehouse space, cheap hotel rooms with gambling only steps away, and real 80's bands playing don't have a chance of landing this Olympic caliber event, unless Reno turns up its nose at it!!!

River path evaluation begins (Fisherman's park section).

Well, I grabbed a tape measure and my phone this morning and picked a section of the river path to evaluate.  Here's what I found.

Green = Good width and pavement condition, Yellow = Moderate width and fair pavement condition, Red = Narrow width and poor pavement condition.

And a few pics to go with the sections that need improvement....

Looking back (West) at the section that begins to narrow....the pavilion pavers are significant bump and hold water and debris.

Looking East at the 10 foot section...not bad but there's no reason for it to narrow.

The pavement in this section could use some crack sealing and a sealant coat.

The beginning of my red section.  A steep hill (where people will likely need to pass others) narrows to 6 ft and has deplorable pavement conditions that border on dangerous.  Riders can easily hit 20 mph on the downhill and then hit these bumps.

More deterioration at the top of the hill.

Overview, looking West back down the hill.
So that's what it takes to evaluate roughly a 1/4 mile section of the path.  If it's in good condition the pics aren't really required to document it.  In places where the path has issues the pictures help for whoever has to think about rehabing the path.  All in all the measuring, pictures, etc. only took me about 5 minutes for the whole section.  So if you want to document a section feel free to do something similar and pass it along!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Three blocks of finding fun.

I detoured on one of my "normal" commute routes today to avoid waiting for a long light.  E.g.  I turned right on the red and rode up just one block and then swung a left.  This left me paralleling my normal route.  After a couple blocks it also put me in a kind of alley way, that had a nice little stretch of gravel riding.

It isn't particularly noteworthy, but it did add something different and fun for a few blocks of the commute.  So, what did you find interesting on your ride to work?  If the answer is nothing, try diverting a few blocks just for the heck of might just find some fun!