Thursday, March 31, 2011

Women Welcome!

Back in the saddle after an injury break, and here's what I found.

Spring is doing it's best, and so was I.

Good to be on the road with bits chirping, new signs on old trails.

Keep it springing,


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fenders and Mudflaps!

Went for a little spin yesterday through some puddles. Pictured above is the spray from the front tire hitting the mud flap. What you don't see is street water hitting my shoes...because it mainly doesn't.

I love my fenders and mudflaps. I know most folks hate fenders, but I believe that they just haven't experienced quality fenders mounted properly. They make a rainy day that much more enjoyable.

And then when I ride behind somebody without fenders on a rainy day, I just think it's plain discourteous of them. Why should my bike, my handlebar bag and I get muddy? Why should I get dirty glasses and eat grit, etc. because they go fenderless?

Yes, I could stay farther behind them, except not if I'm going to pass them on a busy road. I mean I live in the Pacific Northwest for crying out loud: it rains. Of course it's worst on a brevet or other group ride where a paceline might be in order. Damn near impossible to stay clean among the unfendered.

And even many of the fendered bikes aren't set up adequately. Many of the fenders don't go down far enough or the fender is a poor design. Part of the problem is also that quality fenders aren't sold most places. The demand isn't there. But they are out there, and if you're one of those unfendered riders who rides in the rain (how not in this neighborhood?), how about giving those of us in your wake a break so we don't have to give ourselves a brake!

Thus endeth the Fender and mudflap rant. I do love my fenders and mudflaps! And so do others. On a recent brevet, a guy walked up to me who had passed me in his truck to say how much he admired my dashing (hammered) fenders. They're just cool!

PS: You can't quite see the mudflap, but it extends out to the left of the fender. You can see the farthest left splash point. That's how far it extends.

Keep it diverted,


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Big Blue Schwinn, Little Blue Schwinn

At the Puget Consumer CoOp in Seattle.

Close-up of Little Blue Schwinn.

I wish I had this helmet!

Keep it to scale,


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wisconsin Governor Walker Cuts Bicycling Funding Too

Photo by AP photographer John Hart.
The photo above is of 100,000 or so folks at Madison, WI this past Saturday protesting Governor Walker and the Republican legislature's attacks on collective bargaining rights and his my-way-or-the-highway approach to governing. As to highways, his "Wisconsin is broke" budget will increase spending on highway construction--a payoff to his highway construction campaign funders.

This same budget cuts bicycle funding as this Milwaukee-based cycling blog, Over the Bars in Milwaukee, describes.

From my 11 days in Wisconsin, I can tell you this: this struggle for the soul of civil society in Wisconsin is far from over. Efforts to recall the Republican 8 are going very well from my observations. I haven't witnessed such an outpouring of previously inactive residents taking matters into their own hands in a long, long time. Folks don't like being hoodwinked or shoved around, and that is how they feel in Wisconsin. You can fairly taste it, it's so pervasive.

Keep it fair and for the greater good,


Monday, March 7, 2011

I Opened a Local Bike Shop Specializing in Randonneuring

Then I woke up, and realized I was in Madison, Wisconsin. I don't own a bike shop, but I did stumble upon this Williamson Bicycle Works (my name is Williamson) in my travels. I'll bet actually owning a bike shop is a pretty tough row to hoe these days.

Below is the sorry photo I took of the actual shop I saw. I didn't realize they had two locations, and the lovely photo from their website above is obviously the more beautiful shop.

I also discovered a local fried fish shop where I got dinner. Yum. I had wondered why there were so many varieties of fried fish until I remembered the Great Lakes. Now, I just have to find some of that squeaky cheese or Wisconsin Cheese Curds. In that wiki story they allude to a New York Times story about how the sound of eating cheese curds is like "balloons trying to neck"! First I heard of them was yesterday from a local who told me you have to get them fresh to experience the squeak.

So off I go in search of fresh and therefor truly squeaky cheese!

Keep it squeakin'


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fall City, Granite Falls, Falling in Love with Fall, Part 2

This is Part 2 of a post I began months ago. For a refresher of Part 1, please go here. Hint, there were cool pictures of horses' heads poking out from a barn.

Given it has been so long since the earlier post, this post will be a little disjointed. Mainly pictures.

Do Woolly Worms predict Winter's severity? I sure don't know, but I wasn't taking any chances. I avoided every one I came across. Then, I got down for a closer look. Legend has it that it is the size or color of that middle band that is the tell-all. Clearly, this one has a rather funky middle band, don't you think?
Eventually, I figured why not just ask him/her. This tiger moth caterpillar, the proper term, didn't answer but just balled up when I queried. Maybe that is the answer. Maybe he/she was telling me I better curl up this year. I don't have a control from another milder year to compare/contrast, so who knows? Now that we've had our Winter, mostly, did this little furry guy correctly predict for us?

These fellows weren't saying either.

OK, if you squint and look for two narrow reddish-orange fishy-looking things in the middle of this photo you'll spy two spawning Sockeye salmon. They certainly know Winter is on its way, whatever the severity.

At the Alaska in Pictures website, they have this picture below of a spawning Sockeye.

Fall Flowers.

But here, I do remember what I was going to say. This is the Skykomish River looking downstream toward Two Bits, an old Steelhead fishing hole of mine and many others.

Here's the Sky looking upstream. All this Fall day moodiness and fishy-smelliness reminds me of my old fishing pal, Boz (no, I didn't mean to say he is moody or fish-smelly). Sadly for me, he moved to New York. It was understandable, as he and his wife needed to be back East with grandkids and such. But I sure do miss fishing or plotting to go fishing or reminiscing about fishing with Boz.

Remember these old Northwest, fishy haunts, Bozzie? Of course you do. You are nothing if not a genuine adventure-is-just-around-the-corner kind of guy. I love that spirit, and we had some times together. I learned Steelhead fishing at your wadered knee, and I loved it all. Best to you and yours in New York. And don't bother with getting all the facts straight as you regale your kith and kin of all your Northwest fishing legends. Facts don't matter, but the spirit of exploring our natural world with good friends sure does! Tight lines, buddy!

 Here, I came along this beaver-chawed tree right along the roadside. I guessed the "X" meant this tree was designated by the authorities for removal. Or could it be the beavers mark their trees first?

Here is my bike for scale. This is one large tree this ambitious beaver was taking on. On a later ride, the tree was gone, neatly sliced off by a chain saw. Efficient, but not nearly as charming.

Keep it spirited,


Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Hills of Pittsburgh

This is Dan of the blog ranDanneuring. As you can see he's at the top of one of Pittsburgh's hills, Mt. Washington maybe?

I checked out his blog the other day, and his Ground Hog Day post has a great video from a TV show on WQED TV. This is the public station I was weaned on, so it was cool to see. But the video is fantastic.

I will say no more but you ought to check it out. And you gotta love those Pittsburgh accents!

Here's the video. I hope yunz enjoy it.

Keep it climbing,


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Indians on Indian Cycling Phenomenon

Rohan Kini owns a the local bike shop in Bangalore, and I tried visiting with him on our last trip. Sadly, we missed him. He tweeted about the latest story in the Financial Express called "Wheels of Change".

To get Indians sense of the state of cycling in India today, it is a good read.