Sunday, March 25, 2012

Road bonks, and a complaint.

To start, furthering adventures with a Pugsley. Friday evening I took Snowblind out on a mud and snow ride, to try to dial in the fit a bit more. This is hard to do on a Pugsley, because instead of paying attention to how the bike feels, and how I feel on the bike, and deciding what needs to be adjusted to make it more comfortable, I find myself aiming at obstacles to see if I can climb over them. Steep uphills, technical climbs, rocks, boulders, trees... it's too much fun, because it climbs over everything, almost.

What? It's fun!

On a side note, remember all the snow in my post on Monday? It all got packed in Snowblind's rear rim:
The balance was definitely a bit off.
 Fatbikes are fun. Embarrassingly so.

Saturday saw a complete reversal to skinny tires. I took Surprise out on a good road ride. I fought headwinds in the big ring out to Mormon Lake, then cruised home.
Hard to believe there was 2 feet of snow on the ground earlier in the week...
I ended up pushing a little too hard, I suppose. I bonked and didn't realize it until I was in the shower after the ride and got hit by a dizzy spell, and went downhill from there. I recovered pretty quick, but still. Even on hard mountain bike rides, I've never hit the wall that hard before, and I even brought food with me on that ride.

Road bonks are harsh.

However, due to what I saw on Saturday's ride, I have a complaint. A complaint I aim squarely at my fellow cyclists out there.

*Dusts off the soapbox*

On Saturday's ride, as I got out towards Mormon Lake, I started seeing water bottles on the side of the road. Not the cheap plastic Arrowhead or Evian water bottles, (Though I did see a couple of those) but the bright-colored-cycling-specific-fits-in-a-bike's-bottlecage bottles, in the ditch next to the road. I didn't think anything of it at first, but after seeing 4 or 5, I started keeping count. And I lost count after 15. So let's just say 15 bottles on the side of the road. In a 25 mile stretch.

That's ridiculous.

Now... I've missed the bottle cage a couple times when I've gone to put the bottle back in after taking a drink. I've even had bottles launch out of the cage during a crash, so I understand that these things happen, and I've seen bottles on the side of roads and trails in the past. But never 15 bottles in such a short distance and length of time. I usually go weeks and months between seeing abandoned bottles.

So let's say you drop a bottle. Is it really that hard to stop and pick it back up? It isn't for me, but I ride alone a lot. I understand that if you're riding in a pace line, the entire group is not going to stop to let one rider retrieve a bottle. That would get real annoying real fast. If you stop, the group will not wait for you to catch up. So if you drop a bottle in a pace line... gone forever.

But 15 bottles in 25 miles? That's a lot of butterfingers.

This really makes me want to push an idea I've had for a long time now.

A cycling based adopt-a-highway, where people on bikes armed with gloves and garbage bags pick up trash and bag it, with banners that say "This mile of road is being cleaned up by Flagstaff Biking Organization or Absolute Bikes." Then, people with cargo bikes and/or trailers ride sweep, load up with the garbage bags, and take it to be disposed of.

That's the basic gist of it. There are a lot more details behind it. The problem I have is time, or rather, lack of it to organize something like this. I think I'll throw the idea at Anthony, at Absolute Bikes, and see what he thinks.

But if someone set that up, I'd volunteer myself, Henry the Packmule, and Scrappy the trailer. And I'd pick up those 15 bottles.

Keeping the roads and trails clean is all of our responsibility. Please pick up your litter.

That said...

Today was bike work day. Chains were lubed, creaks were silenced, and headsets were adjusted. And then Exe and I went for a ride with Su. It was a nice chill day to polish off the weekend.
Mileage: 4.8 puppymiles.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Snow Bikin'

What to do when given the day off from work on account of two feet of snow?

Go for a ride!

Though, by the time I cleared the driveway, (Again) had lunch, and cut apart one of Jack's Pugsley's old tires to use as a downtube slushguard on my Pugsley, got dressed up in my wintery best, and actually got out on a ride, the roads were pretty dry and clear.
Winter's last hurrah, on the day before Spring.
 I headed out to the airport, then came back, winding through neighborhood streets. Few, if any of the paths were cleared, and even Mighty Pugsleys can't float through 2 feet of fresh snow, no matter how little air is in the tires. It was largely a road ride on fat rumbly tires, with splashes through puddles and jumps off chunks of snow and ice to console me.
I was afraid this was the closest to snow-biking that Snowblind and I were going to get today.
 But, off one street, I came across a trail between two properties (that I'd been on before, which was why I went that way to begin with) That had sled tracks down the hill, and a fairly packed trail at the bottom, leading off to the woods. Score! I followed it for a quarter mile or so, until it started fading out, and getting too hard to keep riding on. So I turned around, took a picture, and headed back to the pavement.
Snowblind, enjoying a winter kickstand alongside some snowy singletrack.
It was amazing. As long as I kept the tires on the packed snow from the hikers, I had nearly perfect traction, even climbing up the hill back to the street. Had I let more air out of the tires, I probably would have done better, but as it was, it did fine. 4 inch tires are fun.

Almost home.
I need to enjoy the snow while it lasts... it'll probably be gone by this weekend.
Mileage: 10 or so.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

So, how 'bout that snow?

Yup, we got the snow. There's about 12-14 inches on the ground, with more falling.

It didn't stop me from going out for a quick spin on the newest addition to the stable:
Snowblind the Pugsley.
Said spin may have just been a run to the gas station to fuel up the snowblower. It was fun.
Mileage: 1.5 ish?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Man, This Weather is Trippy.

 It's supposed to snow tomorrow. That's what they say, anyways. As much as I want it to, because we need the moisture, I have my doubts, as evidenced by my view out the bay door from the shipping table at work:
Blue skies, smiling at me...
60odd degrees, light winds, chirping birds, and we're expecting a blizzard. I spent most of the day boxing up frames to send out,  lamenting about having to work inside instead of being out to enjoy the great weather, and riding on the nearly dry trails before the snow hits.

I may have also yelled at the chirping birds, and called them a bunch of little liars, for fooling me into believing Spring was here.

Moving on...

I got off work, and decided to enjoy the remaining daylight. I hooked up with the FUTS nearby the shop, rode up the brutal, torturous climb to the top of Observatory Mesa, where I hooked up with the Loop Trail.
Bi, at a corner TC, Josh, and I helped build on our very first trail day. Our work is still holding up!

I don't post enough pictures of my trusty, muddy, commuter, Bi.

Full Speed Ahead!
The Loop Trail eventually hooks back in to the FUTS in Cheshire, just north of town. From there it follows the Rio de Flag flow channel right into downtown.
Looking northward at the Peaks from the Rio De Flag FUTS.
From there it was a chill relaxed ride back home through NAU as the sun set.

I think I made good use of the time I had. Bring on that snow.
Mileage: 15 or so?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cross Bikin'

 When one has a ride half planned that includes equal parts asphalt and concrete, dirt roads, and singletrack, what does one do? One could hop on the mountain bike, which is practical enough, but mountain bike tires wear quickly on pavement, plus it gets rather boring rather quickly. A road bike is simply not practical, what with skinny slick tires, those never do well in dirt.

Enter the Cross Bike, or in my case, STeve, a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike, doing both jobs well enough to be enjoyable and fun. It's like the KLR 650 of bikes.

When I was first getting into bikes with some level of seriousness, I had discounted cross bikes completely, saying "Well, if I want to ride on dirt, I'll just roll with the mountain bike." But now I know there is some use to them, as today's ride proves.

I took off with a mind to ride streets through town, then head back on mostly dirt. I managed to stick pretty close to that vague plan. When I was rolling east on Old Route 66, I decided "Hey, I want to check out Picture Canyon, and it's right over there!" So I hit the dirt early.
Doesn't say no bicycles... off I go!
 I had heard about Picture Canyon, so named for the petroglyphs left by the Sinagua in the area, but I'd never been there. No time like the present, right?
I never knew there was a waterfall in Flagstaff.

Picture Canyon, where it starts widening out.

Yucca next to a redeveloping wetland... I love Flagstaff.

A little rapid further downstream.

I imagine the view from here being awesome later in the year, with leaves on all the oaks.

As it is, it was a great spot for lunch. MUFFIN!
 I didn't find any petroglyphs this time around, but I'm sure I'll be back. Picture Canyon is a short, shallow, but steep walled canyon, with a whole lot to look at.

After "lunch," the singletrack riding began, if only for a mile.
This looks familiar to me...

Looking back upstream into Picture Canyon.
 I ended up tying in to Rain Valley Road, Townsend Winona Road, then Koch Field Road, where I took a forest road south back to Route 66, with some views along the way:


 I wasn't ready to head back to town just yet and fight the wind back home, so I opted to head out towards Walnut Canyon, and ride a segment of the Arizona Trail on STeve, to see how we did on some tougher singletrack.
Looks like a game of Catch that got carried away.
 We ended up doing quite a bit of walking. The trail was really soft packed from the winter, and skinny tires don't do too well with really soft stuff. The tallish gearing on STeve didn't help much either. But, most of the trail was ridden on, which I'm happy about.

I hopped on Old Walnut Canyon Highway when the AZT crossed it, and cruised neatly back into town, where I tucked into the drops, grit my teeth, and ground against the headwind all the way back home.

Ok, it wasn't that bad, but I was definitely glad I wasn't on a mountain bike. I actually made pretty good time, though my legs are all twitchy now.

After getting home, I took a picture of Su. She looked like about how I felt.
I want the ball, but it's so far away...

Now... where do I go next weekend?
Mileage: 34.1

Sunday, March 4, 2012


 61 degrees, light winds of 5-15 miles an hour. Such was the forecast for today.

Not bad for March, I think. Especially not bad considering the snow storm we had at the beginning of the week.

One can't just let such good weather go unnoticed, so I took the Austro-Daimler out. Which I have named Surprise. Because, y'know, it's surprising.

I wound up blazing past both of my usual turn around points down Lake Mary Road, because I felt pretty good, and ended up riding around Mormon Lake. Overall it was a great ride, with less headwind than I'm used to.

I even stopped to take some pictures of Surprise out in the sun at the overlook... Click the pictures for higher res and better views:

Lugged steel bikes, they just look great.

I even took some pictures that don't have Surprise in them:
Looking across Mormon Lake to Mormon Village
The San Francisco Peaks, from Mormon Lake Overlook.
I toasted my legs pretty good this time, with a total of probably 15 minutes of stop time. All in all, a great day of riding.

Work tomorrow ought to be interesting.
Mileage: 55.9