Friday, January 30, 2015

S24O bike configurations....some thoughts.

I've been tinkering with different bag and rack configurations lately in preparation for our little s24o trip down to Davis Creek park.  Right now I'm running a frame bag, handlebar bag, and seat bag (all from Revelate designs).

This is my "minimalist" setup...meaning the configuration should limit me from bringing too much gear because the bags can only hold so much.  This is a good thing for me because I'm an over packer.  And I seriously am...for instance if I'm bringing a stove for a brain've got two stoves....and they only weigh a few ounces each....bring a backup.  The reality being I probably won't even fire up one stove, let alone need a backup. 

With that in'll notice I still didn't take off the rear rack (which weights more than 2 pounds) even though I'm not using it.  You know...because if I leave it on and have stuff I have to bring at the last minute...I can throw in the two large rear panniers that go there!  Or, I could help someone out if they are over packed and struggle on the hill climbs...I'd have room to take some stuff from them.  Arghhhh!!!  See, my brain wants me to carry a lot of gear and just suffer!

So if you're planning on joining in on this little ride.  Start thinking about how you want to roll.  Fully packed or light weight!  If you're like me, it might take a while to beat your over packing instincts into line!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New bike lanes vs. new parking spots....

Ok, I'm actually not opposed to this (Mid-town doesn't have a lot of parking)....but I think we need to call out the double standard that the City of Reno is working with.

Basically, in less than a few months time we saw the idea proposed to eliminate a traffic lane from Center St. (behind Junkie) and put in about 15 parking spaces to serve Mid-town go from an idea to "we're doing it". My problem is with the process. If we want to remove a lane for a complete street process (California, Mayberry, Keystone), it takes a minimum of a year....and often longer.  There are proposals, design work (multiple options), multiple public meetings, design changes, and finally the idea is presented to the Reno city council for approval.

Even when all the proper procedures have been followed, a council member like Naoma Jardon can take a completed project like the Keystone street design, and scuttle it with a comment stating simply that she's worried about reducing lanes because it will impede people from getting to work.  Interesting that she's on board with reducing traffic lanes on Center St.....since it's a direct line for people coming from central/south Reno to get to the business district downtown. the way, bicycle lanes were nixed for Mid-town just last year....lanes that would have allowed hundreds of people to easily arrive and spend money.  This "solution" will allow 15 people (assuming single occupancy vehicles) to arrive in Mid-town to spend money. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Slow Roll Round Two!

The inaugural slow / snow roll had almost 75 people.  If you'd like to join us for some bikey fun put the date for next month on your calendar!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mambo No. 5... by bike horn . read the title correctly.  You can listen in by clicking the picture below to go to their page.

And yes...some people may just have too much time on their hands!  And....I just played it like 5 times in a row.  So apparently, I have too much time on my hands.  I'm offically filing this under cheesy but good!

S24O to configure your bike.

Ok, if the S24O post a few days ago got your blood pumping and your googling under the topic of bikepacking to a frenzied pace....then this post is for you.  I'm planning a group ride from Wingfield Park down to Davis Creek Park....stay overnight (camping)....and ride back to Reno the following day.  You are invited!  And to be totally clear...I will be providing the route and the start time/meeting place, beyond this you are technically on your own.

Anyway, this post is basically going to be pictures I've found on the internet (mostly from the Oregon Outback ride) that will show bikes in various states of "camping mode".  So depending on your interest, budget, and commitment.  Find a bike that has a configuration you like....or one you think you can get your bike looking like.  If you can accomplish're probably 90 percent of the way to joining us on the ride!

On to bike configurations!

A classic bikepacking configuration....handle bar bag, frame bag (bag custom made to fit the large triangle of your bike), and a seat bag.  Also....girls bikepack.  This is not just a boys club!

A nice mountain bike setup....small no frame bag.  Note the fairly small carrying capacity.  Keeping in mind bikepacking is often a minimalist pursuit.

Minimalist doesn't mean no coffee, hot food, or even what appears to be freshly butchered steak!

Here's a bike set up with a large (porter style) front rack and a seat bag.

Lots of configurations here....traditional rear rack and panniers with handle bar bags.  Front and rear pannier combos.  Mountain bikes...road bikes....they'll all get the job done!

How about just a front rack with a wire basket and a rear rack / large seat bag?

More examples that show almost any configuration and bike will do!

It takes all types!

Somewhere in what ever bag / bike combination you devise....there should be a celebration.  For these guys it was one bottle of beer.  Pick your reward for the campground!
Now...for the record, many of these are highly customized setups (and can cost $$$).  You can certainly get by with a simple rear rack (from your local bike shop or REI) and a well organized duffle bag strapped down to it.  Add a small back pack if you need additional room.  It might not be the pimped out setup you envision for your future trips...but this all about getting out the door in the near future and getting started with you bikepacking adventure.  So get the setup started and I'll get back to you in the near future with a post on exactly what to put in whatever bike/bag configuration you've got set up!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Midtown has a logo.... and it's a bicycle!

Yep, midtown is definitely bicycle territory!  Now if only Virginia St. had bike lanes or sharrows!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Aces Baseball Steps up to the Plate...with an Apology!

Earlier this week I posted about the Reno Bike Project Snow / Slow Roll.  Part of my post criticized Aces baseball as their security asked our group to leave the property because we were blocking traffic to the venue.

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from a founding father of the Reno Bike Project letting me know that the blog post had found it's way to the President of Aces, Erik Edelstein.  It seems that Erik contacted the RBP directly to apologize for the misunderstanding and with a desire to make things right.

So, I will retract my earlier call to stay away from Aces Baseball if you enjoy arriving by bike. Instead, let's give it another go and see if we can't all "play ball" (sorry couldn't help myself).  I know I'll definitely be back after this....after all it is a great venue to have right in downtown Reno!  So if this little blog happens to find it's way up the ladder again...Thanks Erik, the personal touch makes a difference and we'll be back to Aces Ballpark again!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Group Bikepacking / Intro to touring ride / S240....and you're invited!

Okay kids, this is it.  Always think you wanted to go on a bike tour?  Did the planning put you off?  Never seemed to have enough time?  Think you needed a new bike and a bunch of gear to do it?  Well, if these were the things holding you back...then this is your chance to get out on your first tune up tour.

We'll be doing an S24O bike trip (sub 24 hour overnight) departing from Wingfield Park in Reno and setting up camp at Davis Creek Park for the evening, followed by a return trip to Wingfield park the following day.  It's about a 21 mile each way with between 1100-2000 feet of climbing depending on the route you select.  We'll be offering two routes depending on your climbing prowess and your desire to avoid higher speed roadways.

Worried about gear, bike setup, the fact that you've never ridden 40+ miles in 24 hours time?  Not a problem.  We'll be having both blog posts and some actual in person / non-cyberspace meetings to show you the ropes.

So on to the details (or at least the ones that exist right now)...First up, the proposed dates are either the weekend of March 14th or March 28th (to be decided).  Detail number two....

Route options:

Option 1.  No really busy, high speed roads....but more climbing (e.g. elevation gain) to deal with and a tiny little gravel section (sorry...I couldn't help myself).

Option 2.  Big wide roads (and wide shoulders) with more traffic at higher speeds....but significantly less climbing.
Or....we could combine the two routes can be combined into a nice loop if you don't want to see the same scenery twice, the hills beat you down on the way in, or you're looking for more traffic to hitch hike your way out of this mess somewhere in the middle!  Anyhow....these or other proposed routes will be up for debate at some point.

Ok, hopefully that gets your mind spinning about the possibility of tagging along on this little adventure.  I'll be posting soon on gear selection and bike stay tuned if your interested!

A little early spring cleaning on the river path.

And yes, that's my thumb in the shot.  A pro photographer I am not!

From Rock park West along the trail....all the dead trees and underbrush have been pretty thoroughly trimmed and chipped.  Thanks to Sparks parks and rec for sprucing up my ride. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

And another one bites the dust.

I'm not sure where this leaves us....I believe we're already 3 and 0 for the car vs. pedestrian count this year.  This morning another pedestrian was killed by car while in a freshly remarked drugs or alcohol involved...which is really even worse.  This just means that people aren't paying attention.  Perhaps both driver and pedestrian were at fault.  However, if you're in charge of a 2 ton vehicle and kill someone who is legally in a cross walk....the burden falls your way.  Details below:

For the record, we all think we pay attention when driving, riding, or walking.  The reality is that statement is pretty untrue.  If you disagree....take the little video test below:

So...did you pass?  The real question it analogous to our level of attention when we're driving on or attempting to cross roads?  The sad truth is we're even seeing some TV and Newspaper coverage about safety on the roads, watching for people in cross walks, and being reminded of the actual rules regarding our roads right of ways....and we're still killing pedestrians at an alarming rate!  So both sides....drivers and those eyes and look for each other before rack up another statistic!

**Or we could be sarcastic....yet, totally make a valid point with this comics line of reason.***

...we could redesign automobile safety systems with the people around the cars in mind, rather than the occupants inside?  That would probably have an immediate effect, eh?

View image on Twitter

Reno Bike Project "Snow" Roll.

Who would have guess that 75 (!) people would have showed up for a bike ride called the Snow Roll in the middle of January....but they did!!  If you missed it don't despair as the Reno Bike Project is trying to make this a monthly thing.  So with that reassurance, here's what you missed.

We gathered at high noon at the Aces ball park (where we were told we were not welcome!?) because we were blocking people from accessing the businesses.  As you can see this was obviously a huge and very real problem....

So, despite the fact that these guys owe the City of Reno $600,000 in back taxes and that the city is helping their business by putting the ice rink can't gather for a ride.  We moved to the parking lot across the street, as requested, where the bike racks are....and then they kicked us out of bike rack area!  Long story short...Aces baseball sucks.  Oh....and to top it off....our event got them free press coverage from channel 2 news!

After all this, we found a nice vacant lot that the Aces doesn't own to gather in.  We represented almost every type of bike possible.  Road bikes (racing and recreational flavors), mountain bikes, fat bikes, bamboo bikes, tandems, cruisers, tall bikes, trail along bikes, trailers, and even a recumbent!  By my reckoning the only bike types we were missing were a folding bike and a trike. 

As we waited....more people just kept showing up!  By the time we rolled out we were pushing 70+ and catching random folks as we rode.  Amazing how a bunch of bikes taking over a street picks up random cyclists who just want to see what's up.  It also turns the head of just about every pedestrian and driver you pass! 

We followed the route above, headed for a stop at Hub Coffee for free hot chocolate and some bicycle socializing!  I only snapped one picture because I was blabbing with new people, drinking great coffee, and making plans for a group mini-tour (look for details on this you're all invited).

This however was enough to make me get out the camera....

Yep, a kayak being towed via bicycle.  I told you we had darn near every bicycle configuration possible!

After 45 minutes of enjoying the spring like weather, we rounded everyone up and rolled back down 1st Street to the evil Aces empire.  By this time most of the crew was hungry (from our exhausting 2 mile ride!)....and we were planning to eat at Arroyos (part of the Aces evil empire).  Needless to say, plans were altered and about 30+ of our riders ended up over at the new Depot Brewery.  They weren't concerned at all about our bikes clogging their bike racks, locked to their fence, or scattered around their entry way.  Apparently, they recognized us as customers and not a problem to be dealt with via security guards! 

After a few really good beers (the IPA, Sour Wheat, and Saison all get a thumbs up), great food, and more bicycle conversation, everyone finally remounted bikes and headed for home.  All in all a great first slow roll!  Be sure to join us on the next one!

Friday, January 16, 2015

A bicycle themed restaurant in Reno!?

Looks like bikey themed ideas are continuing to grow here in Reno.  It's a bit out of the way for my commute, but I'm making a point to get out there sooner or later.  The location is 6147 Lakeside (out by windy hill) if you want to ride by!  The real question is do you get a discount if you come by bike!?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A reminder of where cycling can take you!


Some of the recent pedestrian articles I've posted have had a decidedly dire and problem oriented theme.  I thought it might be nice to take a look at place (Copenhagen) where a lot of thought has gone into pedestrian and cycling safety.

Reno City Council Vows Action on Unsafe Streets.

Click the article for the full story
Click above for the full article.

Unfortunately, it takes pedestrians dying to get a little action from pretty much all of our city and government entities.  Yes, they do the studies and identify locations that need improvement.....but $$$ for those improvements are rarely "available" until after incidents occur.  Let's hope the city councils actually follows through on this. 

Unfortunately, I'm skeptical.... and I'll give an example why...Starting with this quote from Naoma Jardon from the article:
Councilwoman Neoma Jardon, her voice trembling after Sheltra showed his video (where a pedestrian is struck by a car), promised immediate action.

"That was very sad," she said. "These are not red dots on a map. These are lives."
A great quote....however, councilwoman Jardon has repeatedly argued against complete street projects (most recently Keystone Ave.) that would reduce traffic speeds, number of lanes and crash potential, and create a more friendly environment for people who what to walk or ride bikes.   Her previous argument for not supporting this type of pedestrian friendly redesign.....she's afraid it will delay people getting to work. 

So, fingers crossed that she and the council have turned a new leaf and are ready to make Reno a more pedestrian friendly town!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Reno's dangerous roads...try actually crossing at a cross walk!

So...if you think Reno's "dangerous roads" only kill pedestrians who behave irresponsibly or foolishly...and drivers stop and allow people to cross in a responsible and polite this little RGJ video.

***This is done at mid-day (low traffic)'s significantly more difficult to get across either of these intersections at morning or evening rush hour***

You'll see that it's a very real (and dangerous) challenge to cross a lot of roads in Reno.  So remember this little demo next time you get behind the wheel...and try to give our pedestrians a break!

A new brewery to bike to!

It's been open for a couple weeks now....but I finally managed to get down to the newest brewery in Reno, The Depot, over the weekend.  It's the old train station that you've probably driven by a hundred times on 4th Street and never given much thought to as it's been boarded up for the last 25 years.  It looks a bit different these days!

The front entrance on 4th Street...nice to finally see this building without boards!

The restored interior bar/restaurant area.  Very nicely remodeled.

While there is car parking in the rear...the bike parking is immediately adjacent to the door!  And yes, I suck at photography.

And the bike parking was almost completely full!

In addition to restoring the building to it's original glory.  The project also restored the surrounding grounds, so there will be some patio activities once the weather warms up.  The entire place is surrounded by a rather impressive iron fence (6' plus high) with brick columns and lighting.  While I'm sure they might not like it, this makes for a nice overflow bicycle lock up point!

So get down and check it out.  The Voyager IPA I tried was a very good example of the style and while I didn't try any food on my first pass, everything I saw served looked really good!

Monday, January 12, 2015

There are dead people in our streets.
From the whole article by clicking.

Yeah, the title is a bit dire....but it's true.  We're knocking off pedestrians left and right and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.  The question is how do we resolve the problem.  The short answer is there isn't an "answer" to this.  Everyone just needs to be more attentive (both drivers and pedestrians).  It's harder than it seems for both parties to actually make this work.

A pedestrian trying to cross the street at a marked cross walk that isn't at a corner with lights (think mid-town area trying to cross Virginia St.) might stand on the sidewalk waiting to cross for several minutes.  Technically, vehicles are supposed to stop when pedestrians are waiting.  However, the reality is (as drivers) we don't stop unless the pedestrian makes a move.  Often this is for legitimate reasons....a line of cars in front of us blocks our view of the waiting pedestrians, or the pedestrians don't look like they are sure they are crossing, or we didn't see them early enough to stop.  However, there are also many times I (as a pedestrian) have made direct eye contact with a driver while waiting in inclement weather and they just are going to bother to stop....because it's inconvenient and takes 30 seconds out of their day.   So both parties have to play the game.

The real answer is to be respectful to the other party (driver or pedestrian).  If you're driving....slow down and do the speed limit, remember you're wielding a multi-ton vehicle, keep an eye out for more vulnerable road users.  If you're for traffic (it's your job too), cross quickly when you have to...don't amble along and make cars wait unnecessarily.  Both parties....hang up the damn phone. 

Anyway, if everyone pays a bit more attention, hopefully we can decrease the number of deaths in 2015.

Friday, January 9, 2015

2018 Cyclocross Nationals will be in Reno.....according the facebook rumors!

Looks like 2018 will be a big year for Cyclocross in Reno.  Yes, it's a ways out.....but we have to design the most epic cross course in history over at Rancho SanRafael so we need a little time.  Right now it might just be a posting or two on facebook....but I bet it turns into a huge even for Reno!

Are Beer (and Whiskey) and Bikes Up your Alley?

If the title got your attention, then you've got a new location to visit.  The Depot is now open on 4th Street just east of Louie's Basque Corner.  Here's a little video clip to wet your whistle!  Sorry...there is a commercial first.

Also....if those aren't good enough directions to get you there....then you haven't spent enough time on 4th Street and you have to do your own homework!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Lunchtime wandering....

I decided I'd actually get out of the office at lunch since the weather was so nice.  You know, just a little 1/2 hour break.  I figured it might be a good chance to check out the new SE Connector bridge and ride along the river a bit.  Here's the route I planed.

Basically, roll out from my office heading east on Mill St. to McCarren, jog over to Clean Water Way and ride through the UNR Farm and then catch the bike path over the newly constructed SE Connector.  The final leg was to grab the bike path back to Rock park and around to the office.  Perfect....except for the SE Connector is all fenced off.  So at least I had a nice little ride along through the UNR farm and got to enjoy the nice day.

Clean Water traffic and fairly pretty.

The new bridge under the SE Connector.  The bike path is just before the bridge.

Unfortunately, it's fenced of with a very stern NO TRESPASSING I just continued on out the road.

Which was totally worth while because these guys were just hanging out waiting for me to snap some pictures!

It also marked my turn around point as apparently the sewage treatment plant is a bloody city treasure and the public isn't allowed anywhere near it.  Granted why would anyone want to visit....this just seems a bit stern.

Also, one final note....if you happen out this way on any bike (or heck....even walking), watch the new cattle grates.  The gaps on these things will swallow you up if you don't pay attention!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Reno Slow Roll Bike Ride.

Ok, on January 17th at high noon the Reno Bike Project will be kicking off the inaugural Reno Slow Roll.  Basically just an excuse to get out and ride your bike with like minded folks.  So come on down and join in.  Details below:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Oregon Outback....a plan begins to form.

I wanted to do this ride last year, but even though it's an "unofficial" ride, it had so many people sign up in the early stages that the Velodirt folks asked people to basically stay away.  This year they are going completely hands off...meaning what you see above is what you get.  Basically, if you want to do it, show up on this date and time.  The route looks like this in overview:

In keeping slightly true to form....I'm planning to cheat.  In this case I'm going to cut the ride short when I cross highway 20.  I'll be detouring West and finishing up the ride in Bend, Oregon.  Basically because BEER and a little place called Brother Johns!  And also if this goes as planned, the guy who should/will be riding this with me lives there.   It also makes this a convenient stopping point to keep this a two to three day ride (220ish miles) and fit my work schedule a bit better.

So anyway, that's the plan.  What are you doing with your new year!?