Saturday, October 14, 2017

Coffeeneuring Challenge 2017: Ride 1 Admiral Bird

Admiral Bird and the Passage
The Coffeeneuring season has kicked off and despite a late start today I have ride number one of seven in the books.  With an "any day of the week" rule in effect this year I should be able to complete the challenge despite some busy weekends coming up,  I am still on the job search trail so I have the flexibility to ride to a coffee shop at 11 am on a tuesday.  As you may recall last year my theme was only places within a mile of my house and no mermaids.  This year the theme is no repeats, as in I can't go anywhere I went last year (still no mermaids).  I live in probably the most coffee shop dense place on earth (Seattle) so that shouldn't be a problem.


I didn't get started until about 1 pm, I had lots of excuses about not riding today:

  • It was cold, it didn't break 50 until after noon
  • my knee feels stiff
  • I haven't been riding much
  • I'm broke and have mostly been French pressing at home lately
  • I wanted to ride the Passage but it needed air in the tires
In other words one long whine!  So I put on my big boy pants, shorts actually, and made it happen.  I had thrown together a quick list of places earlier in the week and had decided to start with the Admiral Bird.


I have walked by this place a number of times thinking someday I will have to have coffee there.  And today I finally did.  Its a store with a coffee shop in the front have and a flower shop in the back.  The sign in the first photo above rotates and has Admiral bird on one side and Flower lab on the other.


The coffee shop portion has a mid-century diner vibe and great light with tall windows on two sides.  They also have some breakfast items; waffles and breakfast sandwiches on offer.


I just opted for a standard coffee and pastry option, which was fine but won't be stealing me away from C&P anytime soon.  I confess I started my day at C&P not sure I was going to ride so I am well caffeinated today.

The data:
  1. Where: The Admiral Bird, West Seattle.
  2. Date: October 14th at 1 pm.
  3. Consumed:  Americano and a Cinnamon roll 
  4. Details:  Cool day but no rain, bike rack near the front, a place I had never visited before.
  5. Mileage: 6.60 KM/4.16 Miles

The ride was fine and I didn't even need the granny ring on the slight incline on my way there.  That bodes well as with this years theme I will need to go farther afield and that will mean real hills. 


The Admiral Bird is right next to Alki bike and board so I spent some time ogling the shiny blue Jamis Aurora in the window with painted to match rack and fenders.


Ride.Smile.Caffeinate.Repeat

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Willapa River Trail


One of my goals for this summer was to ride the Willapa river trail, I had considered riding it at the end of July but did the John Wayne trail instead.   My job didn't end up working out so I am back to square one in my search, which sucks but does give me a flexible schedule.  I was driving to Portland anyway to visit my Mom so I decided to get in a quick ride on the way down.


I wasn't exactly sure where to access the trail and as it turned out I drove right over it as I was looking for an access point.  I have noticed on long trips that my mileage is noticeably affected when I have a bike rack on the trunk and especially if I have a bike hanging on it.


So for this trip I decided to transport the bike in the car, which required a bit of disassembly.  Putting a trunk bike rack on and off the car isn't quick, but neither is disassembly and reassembly of the bike, but I did get great mileage!


In order to get the bike to fit in the car I needed to remover the seat and seatpost and the non drive pedal.

And of course the wheels.


Once I had the bike back together it was time to hit the trail.  I had a bit of rain on the drive down but I lucked out on my ride and it was like I had stolen a bit of summer on October 1st.

The total trail is about 60 miles long but it's not entirely built up, however for today I was only going to ride about 45 minutes total out and back.  The trail is a mix of pavement and gravel but I had almost entirely pavement on my ride.



On my short and flat ride I passed over rivers on trestles.


by cut corn fields
and alfalfa fields

A swampy area - this is a low lying valley that gets a lot of rain.


And cows, a few smells brought back my days visiting my grandparents ranch when I was a kid.


In a few more weeks I expect all the trees along the trail will be giving a spectacular show of fall leaves.



In late September I failed to take advantage of riding on a few lovely days so I was grateful to get a second chance at riding in lovely weather.  October tends to be a transitional month in the PNW, you might get 2 weeks of Indian summer or it might start raining tomorrow and not stop for 6 months.


I have plenty of bike projects to work on and might need to thin the herd a bit to raise some cash, I just need to find the motivation.  Hope you all get a chance to ride before the rains come.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Two new retro-modern frames on the market

After a torrid July its been quiet here in blogsville so far in August.  With a new job and a few weeks of very smoky air - from the British Columbia wildfires- there hasn't been allot of time for working on bikes and after one ride in the smoke I decided to not ride again until it was gone.  The smoke has finally cleared, so to speak, but I haven't been out on the bike yet.


The Ritchey road bike did get sold after one refresh of the CL listing and it went for full asking which was nice.  I had grand plans to get two more bikes prepped and listed this month but I don't think that will happen.


One of those is the Motobecane Mirage, which  feels like its about 50% done but still needs a few sessions to be close.  And the other is the Raleigh mixte I picked up from bike works two years ago.  I am just tired of looking at it and the plan is to spend an hour or so getting it functional and then pricing it to move.


I may not have been wrenching on bikes or riding them recently, but I am not blind to a couple of new arrivals.  The first is the Rivendell Roadini which is in pre-order currently for $875 (frame-set).  I was going to jokingly name this post my next bike, but even with a new job I have enough demands on my income that  I won't be buying even a value priced Rivendell anytime soon.


I have lusted after Rivendell frames for nearly a decade and if I'd had more $$ back in 2009 the Handsome devil would have been a Riv Sam Hillborne.  You may have noticed that I really like lugged steel frames and Rivendell still makes them that way.  See the lovely seat tube cluster.


And fork crown.  Usually after a pre-order the price goes up so I am not sure how long these frame-sets will stay under the $1000 mark.

The other retro-mod frame I have my eye on is the Soma Stanyan.  This is actually a reintroduction of a bike that had been archived by Soma.  The original had chromed lugs and a thread-less headset.  I was very interested in them back then but the higher price tag (than a standard Soma road bike frame) and the thread-less stem put me off.  I do like Soma's stuff and even built up and briefly owned a Soma Smoothie.


The Stanyan also has lovely lugs as you can see in the bb cluster and unlike its predecessor its build for a old school 1" quill stem. It's less than the Roadini but at an estimated price of $725 (frame-set) it's not cheap either.

I do have a number of parts that would look nice on either bike but I have no where near a full build kit and as I mentioned before my income has other demands on it.  There is also the fact that I have four bikes already in the stable and the Roadini/Stanyan would overlap half my quiver.  The Grand Touring/Passage combo already fill that niche and although I could build up either of the retro-mod frames as a stripped down go fast roadie, that is just splitting hairs.  I really need a garage before I split hairs that fine lol.

Until next time Ride.Smile.Repeat

Monday, July 31, 2017

Lets ride some gravel Pilgrim!


Friend of the Blog Jim, is constantly posting awesome photos of his gravel rides over on his blog, including a recent trip on the GAP trail (which he conquers on his Surly Ogre).  Inspired, I wanted to get in some gravel riding myself this summer.  The original plan was to ride on the Wilapa Hills trail on the Miyata trail runner, but I did some figuring; 1) the Miyata needs alot more tweaking and test rides before I am comfortable going on a remote trail with it so the Handsome Devil got the nod, and 2) when all is said and done the Wilapa trail is about a 200 mile round trip to the trail head and I was only going to go about 15 miles on the trail ride.  It occurred to me that the John Wayne Pioneer trail - that's the Iron Horse to you and me pardner- was only about a 70 mile round trip to the trail head and I had done a part of it once before.


Someday I would love to go to and through the tunnel, but a 40 miler was in not the cards today.  I was aiming for a 20 km round trip before the day got hot.


The trail uses an old rail road right of way and the section I was on is a steady 2% incline up to the tunnels at Snoqualmie summit.  A 2%  incline isn't too hard but it never lets up for about 20 miles, or in my case the first 10 kilometers of the ride.  That can be a bit of a grind but I had a nice shady trail.


The occasional trestle




And sometimes the HD would get a breather while I took in the view.






Although the trail palette is mostly cool greens I did see some occasional color.


I made a note of this picnic table on the way up and stopped on the way back after I had ridden to my 10 km turn around.


The view was great and I wanted a little snack to stave off the fatigue I felt on my last long ride.  Overkill probably for this ride but a good excuse to stop and admire the view.


The beauty of putting in the work to ride 10 km up a 2% grade is that you get to fly back down with very little effort.  With 20 km of gravel in the books I went to the McMenamin's Anderson School in Bothell for lunch and a pint.  They have been open for 2 years and I keep meaning to go but they are on the other side of town, traffic, life, blah blah, so today I finally made it and I will definitely go back.  With any luck the Wilapa Hills trail on the Miyata will happen in late September or early October.

Ride gravel. Smile. Repeat.

PS this is post 19 for the month, a new record and not one that will be broken anytime soon.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Riding for the Cycle


To borrow a term from Baseball I rode for the cycle this week.  In my case that means I rode all four bikes in the fleet.  Last Sunday I rode the Handsome Devil in Portland on the Sunday Parkways ride.


On Wednesday the 1986 Schwinn Passage got the nod for a 22 mile ride around Lake Sammamish where it performed admirably.


On Friday the 1986 Miyata Trail runner got a short shake down cruise to a local pub, still undecided if the next step should be tweak and ride for the next 2 months or go straight to the tear down.


Today is farmers market day and the usual domain of the HD since its a pack mule, however, I noticed when I wheeled it in from the car last weekend that it had the hiccup/stutter of brake rub on rim, so I made a note to put it in the stand before further use.  I have a feeling this is a result of an incident from driving through Mt. Tabor park in Portland.  A combination of large speed bump and (I think) pothole was jarring enough to shift the rack - the strap and hooks on the lower part of the trunk came loose - and pop the bike off the rack.  Fortunately I was going less than 5 mph so I stopped immediately to fix the situation.  I did some work on it before the parkways ride but it felt like it was harder to ride than it should have been.  In the bike stand the rear wheel was fine with a minor tweak but I decided the front needed some looking at.  To get the pads to not rub I had to set the noodle wire so loose that the brake lever need full depression to work.



As soon as the wheel was in the truing stand I knew I had an issue...


The very fat 47c tire, which I had to deflate to get the wheel out of the frame, is too big to allow for truing without removing the rubber first.  It needs to be done but not right now so I went with another solution for the market run.


The 1978 Motobecane Grand Touring is my lightest most racy bike but it's rear rack makes it a good back up for when panniers are needed.  And so to complete my cycle MotoGT got pressed into service.  While shifting the RD I was reminded this bike could really use/deserves an overall this winter.


Since today was more about beer tasting than produce shopping one pannier was more than adequate.


I started off with a Ruud Awakening IPA


followed by a Hop 15 Imperial IPA - probably my favorite from today


I moved into non-IPA land with an American Wheat


And I finished things off with a Czech Pilsner from a local brewery.  In retrospect I screwed up the order but it was nice to make up for not being here last week on my birthday.

Hoping to have a gravel ride tomorrow to report on.  Ride. Smile. Taste beer. Repeat.