Monday, December 28, 2009


Friday, October 9, 2009


I Like cyclocross, and I like my Madsen. I hadn't ever thought to combine the two. I did once see pictures of a guy riding Cross on a Surly Big Dummy (without the Xtracycle stuff) but this is a whole new level of insanity!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Clipless for Commuting: Overrated?

I have been using clipless pedals and shoes on my commuting bike for most of the last two years. I originally liked it a lot, but now I question it a bit. Perhaps I am just bitter because I accidentally unclipped on my way home Friday and the bike beat me up for it. I have had a little trouble getting unclipped recently as well, so it may be a matter of maintenance.

I have spent a great deal of time on the Madsen including a time of commuting with a heavy load of tools and a cooler for a distance of about four miles. It has platform pedals. I can ride in any shoes, the pedal is substantial under my feet when I am not clipped in, and I don't have to twist and yank to put a foot down at a light.

I do like being stuck to my pedal, it has improved my form, but it carries its own set of issues. Just thinking out loud I guess. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Commuting Woes

I am back to the daily routine of regular bike commuting. My new job has me riding in more traffic, a longer distance and more difficult intersections. Not really a problem. My bike, however, sometimes gets to be a problem. I have neglected my bike this summer. I have had limited opportunity to ride it, and less motivation to maintain it.

Yes, I have been a lazy cyclist and an even lazier bike mechanic. My bike has old (not "vintage," just old; vintage generally means expensive when new.) components (ok, vintage shifters, but that's about it) and has seen a good deal of hard riding. It needs a little TLC to keep it going. Too bad I try to do everything on a pretty frayed shoestring. My tools are cheap imitations of cheap tools, and my newest bike (not counting the Madsen or Callie's cruiser) was built in the early 90's.

This morning, the chain came off on the outside of the chainring and got twisted around the crankarm. I shrugged and got out my chaintool. This is where the trouble really came to be. I had no problem breaking the chain, but for whatever reason, the cheap chaintool I had in my bike bag jammed, and I could not push the pin back into the chain. I was wrenching outside my friendly neighborhood Burger King and so after several minutes of cursing and breaking a really cheap multitool I borrowed a pair of pliers from the hamburger princess. The pliers allowed me to gain enough leverage to force the chaintool to turn and finish the job.

This reminder that cheap is seldom better was soon forgotten as the remainder of my commute went rather well. There is a section of my commute where I take the lane for about half a mile because the shoulder is filled with parked cars, garbage cans, and sometimes large dogs and small children. I can ride this stretch at a fairly comfortable pace at over 20 MPH. I don't think I impede traffic much, especially while the crossing guards are out. A few cars passed me, which is OK, but one BMW SUV quite close while revving hard. I would assume that the purpose of this was to voice the driver's disapproval of my presumptuous behavior of riding in the lane for my own personal safety.

I chuckled when I pulled up alongside him at the next light and then at another light a half mile further along. while he was in such a hurry to get around me to get wherever he was getting to, he was at those lights at the same time I was, and couldn't leave before I did. It is nice to live at a little bit slower pace. I know I'll get there when I get there, and On my bike I just have to keep moving in order to arrive at my destination. Others race between lights just to have me pass them at the upcoming intersection.

That can be an analogy for life. There is no sense in rushing through everything when the slow lane can be so rewarding. I could certainly reap dividends by applying that philosophy myself.
Keep the rubber side down.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Why I should blog for Globe bicycles, and a bit of who I am.

Some people have a talent for singing, some for dancing, or painting, or playing hockey. I have been told that I have a talent for writing. I wish that I hadn’t let practical concerns get in my way so much that pushed me a way from it. I try here and there to write, and I get a definite and joyful thrill from it. Too often, however, it is hard to find the reason to write that will push all the other concerns away and allow me to simply sit and write because nothing else can claim a higher priority.

I am writing this post today for three reasons. I love to write, I love to ride, and if the folks at Globe bikes like what I have written, I’ll be committed to write about riding. I will have to do it, and cannot make excuses. Sometimes, it takes just a little nudge to set great things in motion. It took a nudge like this to make me a bike commuter.

Just over two years ago, I had an ill fitting bike someone had given me and I seldom rode it. I had ridden to work a little in the past but had never truly gotten into it. We had recently moved and I had changed employment, taking a position in a city nearly thirty miles away. My wife and I had one car and it was not a good time to acquire another, nor did I feel that it was worth the disruption to my domestic tranquility to take the car every day, let alone that the cost of driving would negate the pay benefits of taking the new job.

A public transit district ran between the two communities, but no bus ran to where I was living or to where I would be working. It was a classic last mile dilemma. My wife suggested the bike. I groaned and protested. The local bus stop was four miles from home, and the closest stop to work was two miles away. This seemed like an uncomfortable amount of riding to me.

In the name of making long stories short, however, my wife got her way and I am glad she did. I fell in love with my bike commute, found all sorts of online resources and support to make my commute better, and built a thrift store mountain bike into a decent all-rounder with a rack, fenders and midge bars.

I commute in rural and midsized urban areas of northern Utah and southern Idaho. I ride through beautiful mountain vistas and crowded rush hour traffic. I have been surprised by deer, scorned by motorists, and snuffled by a Labrador in the back of a pickup that passed too close. I have been known to ride with merchandise of all sizes and shapes strapped to my bike. My cargo bike carries a ladder quite well.

I ride with my family. I have a cargo bike that was specifically designed to carry children and is quite good at it. My wife likes to carry kids in a trailer behind her pink cruiser. My youngest son needs special care to ride with us because of the effects of a series of small strokes he has suffered and is working to recover from. We have found a front mounted child seat that works well for him. My kids all love to ride and we often run errands together by bike or even all ride to an event or a restaurant.

When I look at Globe bicycles I see bikes designed for the bicycle lifestyle that I am trying to live and to hand down to my children. I need a bike that can handle the extreme climate of the Intermountain west under a committed year-round cyclist. I need a bike that can handle being hefted up onto a bus rack without being overly concerned about the novice at the next stop banging it with his huffy. The commuter bike of my dreams needs very little maintenance and can easily haul my daily load of a laptop, lunch, a paper and maybe a jacket or change of clothes.

To me a Globe Live 3 makes a lot of sense, disc brakes and internal gears eliminate most of the biggest winter commuting headaches, and the belt drive helps with the rusty chain blues that tend to rule January. I like the front carrier for packing my load around and for making lunch runs or small grocery stops. The Haul might also be a good option for me, but where my heavy hauling needs are addressed by another bike in my small stable, getting a dedicated city bike like the Live makes a lot of sense.

In short, I think Globe and I are an excellent match. I am into a green, low impact lifestyle, I commute by bike and mass transit, I even haul my kids on two wheels. I mow my lawn with a manual reel mower. I can put the Globe through its paces in morning rush traffic with a laptop bag in the front rack and blog about the commute on the bus ride home. I have the outlook of a guy trying to raise a family into a cycling lifestyle and a green mentality. I also look at this as the perfect chance to reawaken my somewhat dormant writing talent.

More than I am interested in a free bike I am interested in being rewarded for writing. I want to write about something I love and get something worthwhile in return. Thanks for reading my blog. Next time maybe I’ll tell you about commuting through school zones alongside dogs in the back of pickup trucks.

Lack of Posts

Boy, was May really the last time that I attempted to post something to this blog? What a sorry excuse for a blogger I am. I am about to post a bit of something that I wrote to try and ancourage the folks at the Globe division of Specialized to "hire" me as a blogger. Maybe that will get me in gear again.

Really, though I have lacked a real direction for this blog. I will address that. I want to write about bikes, what, I ride, where I ride, why I ride, and how I ride, in addition to some other cool things I see or hear about cycling.

Expect me to be picking that back up very soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month. Get out and ride! May 15th is Bike to work day, so do it! I will ride to Logan and back that day, your commute is probably shorter. Sorry about the Lack of posts lately. I'll work on that.

(This young couple is on their way to the prom somewhere in Seattle.)