Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weight for me...uphill light bike vs. heavy bike.

Ok, yesterday we started to dissect a ride with a light bike (sub-20 pounds) and a heavy bike (30 plus pounds).  The numbers weren't all that different....less than 2 mph or a couple minutes time over ~6 miles.

Today is a follow up with comparison of the numbers on the way home (e.g. uphill).  I had to go back in time a bit (last July) to match my exact route because last night was a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting that gives a different route from my "normal".  So temperature could have played a factor in the numbers.   Anyway here they are.

Last nights ride home on the light bike.
Stats from the ride.
Same route on the heavy bike.
Stats from the ride.

So the ride time varied by 3 minutes and 30 seconds over 6.7 miles and the average moving speed varied by 1.4 mph with a elevation gain of ~600 feet .  Both are in favor of the lighter bike (as you'd expect). 

So if we combo the stats for the commute, riding the light bike will save you 5 min 30 seconds for the day and you'll travel about an average of 1.5 mph faster during your ride.  For this time gain because the light bike as no will have a sweaty back from your messenger bag or backpack, get to spend 5.5 minutes more at work/home, and if it rained you have a stripe up your back (no fenders). 

I'm not sure there is a clear winner.  One style of commute is supposed to be faster and nimble.  The other is almost a daily "tour" of Reno.  Either way, that's the comparison.  The only definitive finding is that either method is definitely more fun than driving!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Weight, Weight, don't tell me (that it matters that much)!?

Ok, I guess you'd have to be an NPR listener to get the title spoof.  Anyway, my point is I rode my light weight bike today.  No real reason, just was bumbling around the house last night and felt bad that it was dusty.  Now light is a relative road bike is a Cannondale Synapse from 2008(?) (back when they were made in the USA), so it probably weights sub-20 lbs.  However, when compared to the Salsa Fargo loaded with fenders, frame bag, seat bag, rack,'s light.


My question is how much of a difference does it make.  So here's the two rides (just going to work...aka downhill).  Not really that different.  If you look at the moving speed...the road bike is just 1.7 mph faster (moving speed).  And you could argue I knew I was doing this I might have been going for it a bit.

The real test is really how the weight will affect the climbing performance on the way home.  There's no doubt its easier to roll less weight up a hill (darn physics).  My question is does it really matter on a 11 mile round trip commute in terms of time / effort.  I don't think so, but we'll have to see what the numbers say tomorrow.

Cannondale Synapse (light)

Salsa Fargo (heavy)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When you just don't want to ride....ride anyway.

I realized I could have taken this picture any time...but it's from today (I promise), just to prove I rode.

Yep, that was my sentiment this morning.  I even went bed early last night....thinking I'd get in a run before the ride to work.  I tossed and turned and woke up a lot throughout the night.  In general I just didn't sleep well.  When I did wake up, I condemned the run option in favor of an extra cup of coffee.  It was 22 degrees out and I just wasn't feeling it.  I guess I'm not used to cold this year since winter has never arrived in the Sierra!

These thoughts quickly rolled into....hmmm....I could drive today.  At which point my brain announced to me that I was a complete pansy and that we would be rolling on only two wheels today...because that's the routine.  It's what we do every day, and today would be no different.

And there you have it.  Routine.  Yep, routine.  Sometimes that's why you ride.  Normally I'd argue that a little adventure, some exercise, slowing things down, or enjoying the things around you are what should put you on the bike.  But when the day is cold, the car is just sitting there, and the excuses start piling's nice that the routine keeps you in line!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Think you have bike handling skills....

Verdi Local Distillery by bike!

The Route.

Ok, as mentioned previously, I headed out from work on Friday and pointed front tire towards Verdi.  The point being to finally hit up the Verdi Local Distillery (the countries smallest distillery) for one of their open bar sampling nights.  Here's the picture and comment tour.

It was my usual commute home, followed by hitting up the western extent of the river path.  And then just a bit of road out East 4th Street to Mogel and Verdi.  This portion of the path used to be bumpy as, smooth as glass!
Upon arrival it was already buzzing with activity.  I took a self tour with my first sampling of sage whiskey.  Fermenter's at work.  Hey....these are made by Stout Tank and Kettle....same as my fermenter!

The Stills.  Currently quiet for the evening.  They are gorgeous though....makes you want to take brewing to the next level!

Out in the garage....pallet after pallet of Mammoth Brewery Epic IPA.  All part of a "bad" batch that Mammoth didn't want on the shelves.  However, it's really just slightly off it was handed off to Verdi Local to be used as mash for a custom "Epic" Whiskey!

The whiskey selection....needless to say I didn't come close to trying them all.

It was a dark ride home around 9:30 (they close at 8pm technically).  While a bit lonely, the traffic was light and the bike path portions of the ride where well lit!

If you want to join in on the action....tastings are the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month from 5-8pm.  Tastings are free, as are full drinks, due to their licensing status.  However, if you're not a deadbeat they have a tip jar where you can properly support them.  And they currently have their apple cinnamon whiskey for sale and their gin will be up next month!  So stop out and grab a bottle and get a tour.  It's a great little operation that we all ought to support!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Biking and Whiskey and Beer, Oh my!

Well kids, it's going to be a busy weekend if you like any of the items in the title.  Here's a few options I'm considering / doing.

Tonight from 5-8 pm there's a whiskey tasting out at the Verdi Local Distillery.  I've had a preview of their apple cinnamon whiskey and I'm looking forward to sampling some of their other wares!  I'm going to use it as an excuse to do a ride, but you could just join me out there!

Next the form of Freeze your Pints Off beer festival on Saturday afternoon!

Yeah, yeah, no one is going to be freezing anything given our recent weather.  In fact you might want to bring a cozy to keep your beer cold.  The event is being held at Under the Rose Brewery on 4th St. (just down from the bike project).  Details are above.  It's a great gathering of most the local breweries....very bikeable and should be a good time!

Finally, if you're interested in a S24O bikepacking trip, there will be a little gathering up at my house Saturday evening.  We're going to be reviewing some bike configurations, gear lists, and routes for the Davis Creek trip in mid-March.

There will also be some home brew on tap and we may throw on the Tour Divide video (bikepacking race / ride from Banff, Canada to Mexico) for some additional entertainment.  Right now it's kind of an invite event....but if your really interested, post a comment here or email and I'll get in touch with my address.  It should be a good way to meet other people interested in bike touring so don't be afraid to come.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

More motivation on why RenOpen Streets is needed!

This streetfilms segment captures a lot of shared ground with what RenOpen Streets is trying to bring.  Have a look and get excited about reclaiming your city for biking, walking, and people in general (rather than just cars)!

RenOpen Streets...what could it become.

The RenOpen Streets Program is still in its infancy, but we're headed towards something that is helps define great cycling cities.  If you're not familiar with the program it's pretty simple.  Close down a bunch of streets and let them be reclaimed by people rather than cars!  You it used to be even back when I was a kid.  A pickup game of touch football, a stick ball game in the street, set up a little park outside your business, expand your business into the street, etc.  It garners a spirit of community that is somewhat lost these days, and is generally just a great way to get out and walk or bike and explore your city (outside of a sound dampened metal box)!

RenOpen Streets Route for this year (one route ~ 1.5 miles):

Portland's Routes this year (5 routes ~ 7-9 miles each in length):

So...this is Reno's starter year.  If everything goes well, we'll make the even at least bi-annual and expand the routes in the future.  Just looking at Portland makes you see it could go pretty big!  The question is does your city do it!?  And if not, why aren't you ready to make it happen?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Behind the times...the second slow roll.

Unfortunately, I had to work on President's Day and couldn't attend the second slow roll.  In fact, I kinda forgot to remind you all to go.  I guess that's the down side of not posting on the weekends.

Anyway, the Cuter Commuter posted a few snapshots to I'm posting what I found!

By the look of the pictures they had a good turnout (50 plus?)!  If we can keep this up we'll be building towards some other big rides as well is my guess.  I'll try to do a better job of advertising the next ride.  Look for info in about a month.  Until then ride on.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A reminder about how much room various transportation modes take up!

View image on Twitter
So the next time you complain about traffic congestion....while might want to consider if you're part of the problem!?

Grocery run....

Saturday morning the Cuter Commuter planned a little group ride starting from Swill Coffee (Lakeside area) down to Trader Joe's for a grocery run / excuse to ride bikes.  Given the completely empty nature of my social calendar, I figured I might as well tag along!  Also Trader Joe's isn't convenient for my normal riding so it was an excuse to get down there.

The route.
I don't know why, but I didn't take any pictures....which is a shame because while the Cuter Commuter made some selective and smart purchases, I bought half the store.  So I had some massively bulging panniers that would have made for an impressive example of how much stuff can be jammed into them (or perhaps how not to pack depending on your perspective)!

By the time coffee was done, groceries were purchased, and we were riding towards was lunch time, so of course we decided to stop in Mid-town.  We settled on Laughing Planet since they have nice outside seating and it was already about 70 degrees!

Full bike racks, including a sweet tandem!  Mid-town is definitely the bikey hub of Reno!

And the food and beer certainly isn't second rate!

You know biking is rolling in your city when families are riding!
A little side story that I thought was funny.  While we were hanging out at Laughing Planet, Cuter Commuter's husband (we'll call him the racer) joined us with a friend.  They had been out for about 8 hours on a rather brutal training ride and were pretty much bonked out and in need of real food and beer.  They both weight about 150 pounds (at 6 ft tall) and ride bikes that probably weigh in at 14 lbs.  They are what many folks think of when talking about cyclists. 

As we were all leaving we were (shocking) talking about bikes.  As the racer's friend was checking out my Fargo...he commented on the stuffed panniers.  He followed up with trying to pick up the bike....which with his first attempt didn't even come off the ground!  With mild disbelief he tried a second lift and did manage to get it barely off the ground.  His comment that he only weighted a 148 lbs indicated he thought the loaded bike might outweigh him!  Which is probably a bit overstated but not by much!  Anyway....for some reason I found it pretty amusing!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Art of Passing.

I know what you're thinking.  That I'm talking about passing this gal on a busy street (Mill St.) and how to do it in the relatively narrow space of a bike lane.  You're almost right.

So a little context....I don't think I ride particularly fast or slow.  I usually roll anywhere between 17-22 mph depending on the grade, my mood, how I feel, etc.  This morning was no different.  I think I saw 18-19 mph on the gps just before this little gal zipped around me.  Yep, she passed me.  A quick hello as she used a break in traffic to pass my (apparently slow) self.

I had noticed someone behind me at the previous light, but it always seems weird to me to turn around to evaluate another rider, unless they spark up a conversation.  Besides, usually once the light turns they aren't riding at a decent pace and they disappear behind me.  Not this gal.  She went around me and clipped along at 21-22 mph all the way down Mill St.  And of course I picked up the pace too...  Partly because I'm competitive and don't like to be passed.  Partly just to ride with another person.  And partly because she was cute....well, as much as you can tell with a cyclist in sunglasses and helmet.

The point however, is the pass she made was totally text book.  She must have waited a bit to see if my slow ass would pic up the pace.  And then waited some more for a good break in traffic to move just outside the bike lane to pass me.  She didn't crowd me or try to sneak by (as folks..even me...often do).  And she make a quick concerted effort to get around me and back in the bike lane.  Not one of those slow overtakes where you just barely eke your way by and then don't maintain the pace once in front of the other rider.  So...there you have the proper way to pass....or be passed in my case!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How do your kids get to school....and a trip back in time (UPDATED).

Ok, this may seem a bit of an odd post....since I don't actually have kids.  You can thank one of my very old friends (we'll call him "the swimmer") who I recently reconnected with.  Talking to him reminded me of a lot of things, and for some reason this was one of the things rattling around in my head.

In the mid 1980's this was my route and the swimmer's route to school, if we chose to ride bikes.  It was just over a mile each way and included mostly residential streets (2 lane roads) and followed by some "totally awesome" (it was the 80's you know) two-track roads and trails around a gravel pit.  It finished by popping out at the sled hill ( they still make ziffy-whompers) and then down into the school yard.

And for the record folks...our parents let us do this starting in 3rd grade (8-9 years old).

Here's the routes of a few of the other kids too. 

And my parents weren't alone.  A slew of other kids in our neighborhood routinely made the trip.  As you can see...because we all lived close together, we'd meet up at various street corners and cruise over in a group (the bike train of the 1980's I guess).  While there weren't any parental escorts, there also were no fatalities....even though there were jumps, barbed wire fences, and large gravel pits on the way.  Basically, we had a blast every time we rode to was a huge adventure.

So....are your kids having an adventure on the way to school?  And if not...then why not!?

UPDATE:  And this is the bike that made it all happen back then....the Huffy Pro Thunder 3.  I bet that thing had more miles on it than some of Reno's local roadies!

Ok, so this isn't my actual bike....but it's still awesome.
UPDATE:  After I posted this, the swimmer dropped me an email with a couple of his rides from back in the days of our youth.  Makes you want to head over to ebay and shop for a BMX doesn't it!

Team Murray (both rims demolished by poor landings from humongous jumps!

Look at chrome on this Mongoose.  I actually remember the swimmer on this one.  And yes, I remember being seriously jealous! 

Lunchtime search for single track.

Ok, so I found a little take what you can get!  I just had a little time at lunch for a short ride, so I headed East on the River path.  There is one short section on my way from Rock Park that gives a single track feel.  Other than that it's just miles and miles of lovely bike path along a river.  I guess I'm just meant to suffer on a horrible 60 degree day with blue skies in the middle of February!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Davis Creek s24o Reroute....St. James's Gatehouse Bypass!

If you looked at my "trial run" of the s24o Davis Creek route, you might have noticed I got stopped cold at the bicycle unfriendly gatehouse of St. James's Village.  A firefighter helped me find an alternate route...but it dumped me out downhill / or a significant hike-a-bike ridge line away from where I needed to be.   Well, thanks to a little analysis on Google Maps....I think I've found a good way around the problem.  It also adds a little bit more single track riding to the tour!

You'll have to click on the image to blow it up (so you can read the text).  Basically, the green is where we wanted to go.  The red dot is the gatehouse that stopped me.  Yellow was my route last week...that doesn't go where we need.  Purple is the new solution!!!  Why fight the "man", when you can just avoid him! 

What would you ride?

Keep your mind (and your wheels) out of the gutter folks!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A 24 Hour Trifecta!

Now normally a trifecta this time of year should include skiing (especially when we finally have some snow)....but you take what you can get.  Instead my latest attempt included lunch time kayaking at the Rock Park Whitewater Park, a trail run this morning, and the morning bike ride.  Nothing spectacular, but I'm counting it!

Yeah...pulled out the kayaking gear.  It's been a while.  Found out that neck gaskets disintegrate in Reno.  Definitely got some cold water down the back!

How do you not go kayaking when the flows pop above 2000!!  Sorry...this is the best I can do...didn't bring a camera.

The dog got me up at 4am this morning.  Couldn't go back to sleep.  Might as well run in the dark on icy single track! wasn't a 60.2 avg. temp (more like 28)....gps just lives in my pocket

And the obligatory ride to work completes the trifecta.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Davis Creek S24O trial run!

Anyone who's ever done any bicycle touring knows that not everything goes as planned.  With this thought in mind....I figured I better ride the planned route for our little group s24o outing prior to hauling a bunch of people on an untested path.

The route...or a version of it.
So I headed out on a beautiful Saturday morning to see how things shook out.  I did ride with a moderately loaded bike including much of what I planned to bring on the actual trip.  Just to make sure everything was on the up and up.  I also had the privilege of a solid 20 mph (gusting to 35 mph) head wind for the first half of the trip.

Things started out a little fuzzy.  Basically, most of the in town route has good bike everything worked out.

Since it was on my route I stopped by the new Pedalers Deli.  Unfortunately, their hours are so limited it's unlikely I'll every make it inside.  A shame...I could have used a coffee.

The first small climb....up over windy hill.

The nice part of navigating the suburbs on the Mt. Rose fan.  They are all interconnected by emergency access roads.  They might be closed to cars but give bicycles a perfect way to connect through on low traffic streets!

The views were great all morning.  The down side is that windmill is spinning like crazy and I'm headed into the wind!

In an effort to make the ride interesting, I included sections of single track.  Headed up lower White's Creek Trail. 

Touring and singletrack...can it get much better?  A side note here.  A portion of the trail was rutted out due to all the rain.  I had to hike a bike for about 1/4 to 1/2 mile.  So yeah, it could be a bit better!

I also found a way to incorporate some fire road rather than busy Mt. Rose Highway.

After only a 1/2 mile of can make the connection from White's Creek to Lower Galena Creek Trail.

Although given the recent rain and snow, some of the trail is more creek than trail right now.
When you top out of the Lower Galena Creek trail you're on Joy Lake Rd.  You get a nice little down hill that leaves you here.  Just a short ride through the "village" would get you through to Davis Creek park.  Except...St. James's doesn't play nice with bicycles.  Meaning you aren't allowed in. 

Fortunately, a nice fire fighter at the local station by the gate showed me a little trail that gets your around the grumpy gatehouse guard!  Unfortunately, the short cut left me one ridge line short of the road I was supposed to be on.  I was also looking at a wall of storm clouds as I considered if I wanted another hike a bike section to complete my trip.

I opted to try to avoid the rain and head for home.  My GPS showed a road that lead right down to Old 395.  Turns out it was the construction road built for access when they put in the new highway.  It was "closed" for the cars.

For me it was a private highway right back to Old 395!  It is ridiculously steep and washboarded out.  Still a fun, screamer of a downhill though!

Complete with cows at the bottom!

The construction road dumps you out just below the big span bridge.

From there it was smooth sailing back down 395....wide bike lanes, light traffic, and a stiff tail wind!

I said stiff tail wind right....this downed billboard shows just how windy it was!

Rolling back up Virginia St.  Not a great street for biking...but at least I wasn't alone.  It's also as a direct route home as you can get and flat to boot!
So that's a quick version of the trip (well almost all of it).  I'm not sure exactly what to do about the St. James's Village issue.  We can skirt the gate house and correct my error on where to head from there....but it'd be nice if the whole route could be on the up and up.  I'm thinking of contacting them to see if we can get a day pass and make the group ride a bite less stealth oriented. 

Either's a good route and should be tons of fun!