Friday, September 30

Ramming Speed Friday: Busted

...the commute barrier that is. Final September mileage total?

601.63












4,070 miles for 2011 so far. If I can maintain my monthly average I'll crack 5,400 for the year.

Ramming Speed Friday? Yeah. 17.5 mph average.

Which reminds me I guess I need to decisively decide the cutoff for a valid Ramming Speed Friday. I'm going to arbitrarily decree 17.0 mph as the minimum average required.

To celebrate I think I'm going to take my family to this peaceful protest tomorrow:



Viva La RevoluciĆ³n!!!

CRAZY UPDATE

603. I ran down to the store to pick up the ingredients for "600 Mile Month" celebratory ice cream sandwiches. So I ticked two more miles.



When I came out of the store there was a..."gentleman" sitting next to the Cannonball smoking a cigarette. I noticed a laptop computer sitting on the deck of my bike.

"Oh, sorry!" He said and removed the laptop.

Xtracycle as public space?

Dragon Tail Commute: Resistance is Useless!

Yes, I am padding my miles. BUT...I'm trying to make my circuitous rides meaningful. I'd been wanting to scout out some potential singletrack along the Ralston Creek Trail for awhile, so last night I cut out of Coors Valley, up Easley to the Fairmount Trail, Fairmount to the Blunn, Blunn to Ralston Creek and then RCT out to Ward Road.

I did find some dirt trailage. It was nice for being in suburgatory (to steal a term). I also found a guerrilla pump track and did a few laps. Its a little closer to my house and easier to get to than the Golden Bike Park. More on that later...

My average was 10mph. I felt like I was flying but I wasn't. Anyway, I turned south on Ward and climbed the steep hill to Ralston Rd on nice bike lanes. I dropped on south to 62nd, took it across on really nice bike lanes to Simms, turned south again on more good lanes and cut east on the W 58th frontage road to Oak Street. After crossing W 58th I was back in familiar territory and cruised home as the light seeped from the sky. It was a good ride and I felt productive finding new stuff and new routes through town.

This morning I decided I'd ride the route I had mapped showing a 91% road free commute. And that was the easy part of the ride. It took me an hour and 42 minutes to ride the 18.3 mile route.





I stopped once to shed my long sleeved shirt and to put some air in my rear tire. It was at 45 PSI so I hopped it up to 55-ish hoping that would help. Note to self: check air pressure before ride, not 3/4 of the way into it.

I think ultimately what has been slowing me down is a combination of mechanical and dietary factors. I've eaten significantly fewer carbs this week. I've been trying to get protein in non-meat ways. The other factors is a brake pad in contact with a rotor on the bike. Hydraulics! I know nothing of your ways!

Anyway, did some quick cubicle maintenance and the wheel seems slightly freer. I'll do my best to crank out a 21.01 mile Ramming Speed Friday this evening. If I can crack 600 this month I'll never feel pressure to do it again. But if I don't I know I'll get over 500 again soon and have to work extra hard to pull down another hundred. So be it.

Tomorrow is the IMBA "Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day." I think I will.

LUNCH ADDENDUM

Ran down into Golden for lunch at D'Deli. Got a half sandwich with the same stuff as my Colorado Classic from Spinelli's Market the other day. Spinelli's was better.

Added 5.71 miles to the pile. 15.31 miles to go.

Out front of D'Deli there is a nice bike corral in an on street parking space. Golden is awesome!



Thursday, September 29

Beard Shaped Object

As the holy winter commuting season approaches I am preparing by growing a reverent "beard" shaped object, a BSO, to show my self-righteousness. My BSO will be an outward display to the unbelievers of my devout dedication to daily commuting through the frosty air between December 21 and whenever the Front Range thaws out in the spring.

Who am I kidding? I can't grow a beard! But I'm not going to shave between now and spring and we'll see what sort of mold spores attack my face.

I look mangy right now. There is a bald patch under my left jawline. I think its where I incessantly stroke my BSO to see how long its getting. If it were a proper beard it would replenish itself faster than my digits could scrape away the hair.

I'm not a leg shaver, never will be; so explain to me the guys who shave their legs but wear a BSO.

Anyway, if the BSO keeps my face warmer than not having one I'll do a proper BSO review later in the winter-time.

End of the month update: As of the end of my morning commute I am sitting at 543 miles. September 2011 is officially my highest mileage month EVER! And this month's mileage has been mostly utilitarian in nature. Ah, yes! I have done some MTB commutes, but they were still commutes and typically only added 3-5 miles to my normal riding.

Wednesday, September 28

Dirty Morning Commute: High Plains Drifter

The summit plateau of North Table Mountain is much more desolate than South Table's. There is less intrusion by man-made objects. Its higher, giving a more island-like feel, and you just have the sensation of being at a high elevation. Like South Table, but more so, the top undulates and rolls, both blocking views and revealing the landscape in increments.

This morning was my second North Table MTB commute. The first time I rode the OBS. This morning I spurred the Smurf up the slopes of NTM. As a testament to adequacy of the Smurf for my needs, I did the exact same 18.8 mile ride 23 minutes faster on the new bike.

Not only did I do the ride faster, but I got much higher up the east facing gully on the Mesa Top Trail. I didn't get to the top, and I have a long way to go to make it all in one push while staying on the bike, but it gives me a training benchmark for Leadville. Not only should it stay relatively dry through the winter (assuming hte Old Farmers' Almanac can be trusted) but it is accessible while being a stout challenge for me. The gully climb gains 400 ft in 0.36 miles.




East facing gully, NTM

When I rode the OBS I only got a few pedal strokes up the initial steep section and I ended up walking the remainder. Today I got almost past the initial section to the first reprieve (there are two on the climb). The second steep section is loose as well as wicked steep.

Compared to the first climb at Leadville, St. Kevin's, which is 876 ft gain in 2.25 miles I think we're looking at a good training run.




St. Kevin's

The dreaded Powerline comes first as a descent, which is apparently a deal breaker for many riders. We'll come back to it later, but first, the next major climb is Columbine Mine. Egad! Over 3,150 ft of gain in 7.8 miles!!!




Columbine Mine Climb

Columbine gets you to the halfway point. At the top you turn around and go back down. There is only one significant obstacle left...Powerline. At nearly 80 miles into the ride you go back over Sugarloaf Mountain via the Powerline Climb. While not as big as Columbine, you have so much mileage and elevation dragging behind you it can ultimately shut you out of finishing. Many people walk up the climb. Many collapsse on the sides of the trail weeping. Many give up. Many don't make it that far and get pulled from the race.

With most of the race behind you Poweline throws a climb 3.5 miles long that gains over 1,400 ft. Shazaam!!!




Powerline on the return

So while my gully climb benchmark will be a good measuring tool for me, it will in no way replicate what I'll face during the LV 100. I'll have to look further afield for those challenges.

In the meantime I will continue to grind away at the Mesa Top Trail. I'd hope to bring it down to my level through sheer erosion, but I want to rise up to the level it offers instead.

PS, No photos during today's ride because my phone went dead. I'll get some good ones of NTM soon! Promise!

Tuesday, September 27

Fascist Free Commute

Awhile back I commented to my wonderful wife that I wish my commute took me through Olde Town (Arvada). I love riding through town but its east of our house and work is west.

This morning I had a load of library books to return and a Bean on the deck. I decided we'd take the long way and drop the books in Arvada instead of Golden. I am trying to pad my monthly mileage after all.

It didn't take us long to lighten the load at the book place. Then we were pedaling on east to pick up the Ralston Creek Trail at Lamar. The MUP was quiet and in a short time we crossed the bridge and were on the Clear Creek Trail headed west toward Golden.

Since I had Bean I couldn't take the long way through Golden. I needed to ride through Applewood to get her to the babysitter's house. So at I-70 we exited hard left and re-entered the realm of moto-fascists. You can imagine that after last night's encounter I wasn't really keen on interacting with any motorists, but the passage through suburbia was peaceful, if not biketopic.

Denver West was busy, but no one harassed us. South Golden Road was the same.

Then I was Bean-less and headed on to work as light as a feather. Well, a feather with an Xtracycle conversion on the back.

So for today I have less stress-related weight gain than normal and I'm happy about that. As I sit writing this at lunch I am hoping for some kind of widespread utility fiasco that will shut the building down for the rest of the day. Maybe a malfunctioning fire alarm or something in that vein.

ADDENDUM

I've been meaning to tell this story for a few days and keep forgetting, so here goes:

I took Boone to the LBS to get him a new helmet a few days ago and he rode with me on the Cannonball X. We turned onto Grandview headed toward Olde Town as an older lady on a department store bike careened toward us from the west.

"Oh! What a nice tandem!" she exclaimed as we turned a few bike lengths in front of her.

Boone replied somewhat meekly: "It's not a tandem."

The lady weaved across Grandview with no regard for lanes or apparently her own safety. I was getting up my steam and she had a full head as she pedaled past us in the opposite lane. When she pulled even with us she repeated:

"What a nice tandem!"

"It's NOT a TANDEM," Boone corrected firmly. But his purist views were lost on her as she snapped left and careened into a side street and away from us.

On World Carfree Day as I was driving toward Olde Town on my way to pick up Mandy and Boone I saw the same lady walking west on Grandview in the same area. As she walked across a side street she meandered into my lane. She was looking down at her feet (high heels) as she walked and did not see the steel death of Gump bearing down on her.

She did seem like a very happy person, if somewhat detached.

EVENING ADDENDUM

Arg! I called the CSP aggressive driver hotline on Mr. 638-RRV tonight. Ridge Road is posted either 30 or 35 mph. Mr. 638-RRV blasted past me within 3 feet going at least 50 mph. I caught up to him at the four way stop at Miller Street. Once I had committed his license plate number to memory (638-RRV) I gave him an "a-okay" sign. He rolled through the intersection and pulled over waving me to come up to his open window. Instead, as I pedaled past I called: "Slow down on this road!"

He passed me again, the second time much slower, and called: "I was going the speed limit!" Which is a lie of course.

I know he was doing far over the posted speed limit be cause I as doing 20 mph, only 10-15 mph under the posted speed limit. He passed me going much, much faster than I was.

Monday, September 26

The Secret to Surviving on the Roads

Dear Readers, I have discovered the secret to surviving crazed drivers on the road...

Get a car.

I did not know this but I am a big @#$%ing loser and I "need to get a car."

And just as an aside, if you are a moto-fascist and you like driving through busy grocery store parking lots while on your cell phone, apparently it is a totally acceptable defense to deny everything.

Me: "Hang up your phone when you're driving! You cut me off back there!"

Moto-fascist, license plate 381-IAM: "I did not you @#$%ing loser! Get a car!"

She turned to walk away from the bike rack toward the store entrance. I had finished locking my bike so I called out to her as I also headed toward the entrance: "Just hang up your phone while you're driving. You're going to kill someone!"

She turned and stormed back at me.

"Are you following me?! Are you trying to start something?!" And she made a move to push me. I shouldered past and went about my shopping.

So Ms. 381-IAM remember: deny everything. You don't really know what you did anyway. You were more engaged in your phone conversation than in your driving. If you had even glanced in my direction you would have been blinded by my MiNewt 250 set on "death-by-strobe."

Oh, and I won't be getting a car anytime soon. Cars are for losers.

2012 Goals a Few Months Early

For those of you that know me beyond this blog, you probably know that I've always been a picky eater. When I was younger I shunned anything green and would have happily subsisted on a diet of waffles, cheeseburgers and pizza.

After I met my wife I slowly began increasing the range of foods I would eat, and I've come to appreciate so much more, including an increasing array of fruits and vegetables.

I'm still fairly picky, and a significant reason is because I'm somewhat sensory defensive when it comes to certain textures, but I've worked pretty hard to try and overcome my own pickiness over the past couple of years.

Recently, after a series of food oriented documentaries on Netflix and as a part of my preparation for Leadville next summer, I resolved to radically improve my diet. For some time we've been striving to eat less processed foods and more locally and organically produced foods. In most cases we've been able to avoid the worst stuff. And while I've learned to make better choices I still eat a much higher proportion of meat to other foods.

Enter Fork Over Knives, the latest Netflix documentary we've watched. The filmmaker and those interviewed promote a completely meat and dairy free diet and all plant based foods. I fully believe that there is something in our environment that has caused the higher cancer rates of the past few dozen years and the obesity and chronic illnesses we see in the world today where people consume a western diet. Based on this film and many other things I've read and been exposed to I think it is mostly our food that's making us sick.

I'm almost 38 years old, and I'm pretty healthy for the amount of abuse I've subjected myself to. I've never smoked or drank, never been a night owl, but I have always been very active on a poor diet. And as I approach 40 I realize I've been very fortunate to have gotten away with being so healthy for so long. It's time for me to grow up and start eating to live, not living to eat. I need to cut out the things in my diet that are not going to help me stay healthy and active into middle age and (hopefully) beyond.

Then there are my political beliefs and my conspiracy theories (with plenty of evidence to support them) that reflect a strong inkling that Corporate America wants to keep us feeling bad and foggy minded so they can sell us drugs and poor medical insurance.

But before I wax rebellious, let me get on to the point. 2011 I deemed "the Year of the Longtails" and 2012 I am calling the "year of Sun Powered Transportation."



What this means is that I will be radically changing my diet. I will eat a primarily plant based diet. I'll avoid meat and dairy for the most part. I don't think it is a bad thing to consume some meat and dairy. But based on my history I need to almost completely cut them out, and perhaps for a time completely cut them out, to make a clean break from my bad diet.

By doing this I will be cutting out as much fossil fuel support to my bike and be replacing my energy needs with renewable and sustainable energy supplies. And that is the ultimate challenge.

The more fossil fuel dependent links in the chain I can eliminate between the sun and my pedals the more success I will achieve in my 2012 goals.

I will need to know where everything I consume in 2012 comes from whether as food or for material needs.



My criteria for determining if a product is acceptable for consumption will be as follows:

1) must be locally produced (within 200 miles)
2) All foods will be whole or minimally processed
3) Foods will be primarily plant based
4) Companies will use and promote healthy and sustainable production practices and reduced carbon footprint whenever possible
5) For material goods we need we will get either make ourselves, buy locally made or find suitable used products or substitutes

A large component of the challenge will be identifying companies that produce goods and foods that meet the criteria. As I do I will report on the companies and the products they produce. I'll attempt to visit (by bike) as many of them as possible.

Businesses I will definitely be visiting:

Star Acre Farms (3 miles)
Rocky Mountain Soda Company (10 miles)
Longmont Dairy (30 miles)
Miller Farms (40 miles)

I'd like to find a way to visit Honey Stinger (Steamboat Springs – 160 miles), Rocky Ford (175 miles) and some others outside the metro area. As the year progresses I am sure we'll discover other local businesses that provide the things we need.

Successfully completing the challenge will be a 100% locally produced diet within six months. In the beginning I will strive for a 100% local diet, but it may take some time to find local substitutes for regionally or nationally produced goods. But starting January 1 I will avoid all processed foods and anything with high fructose corn syrup or man-made additives. Since I know now what this challenge is going to entail I'll be working on making the full transition by January 1, and I may modify my goals at that time.



If I have a setback or if I stumble at any point I promise I will fully research the origins and processes used to produce any foods I consume that do not meet the criteria, and I'll report them to you here. My penance for making a mistake will be complete disclosure to you Dear Readers.

This challenge to change my diet will also exhibit the scale of modern food production. My goal is to reduce it from an industrial scale to an individual human scale.

The Year of Sun Powered Transportation will begin on January 1, 2012. For now we're still in the Year of the Longtails, and you can expect to hear more along those lines as the autumn moves along and the winter commuting season begins. In the meantime I'll be doing my research and screwing up my resolve to make this work. I'm starting right now, at this moment, to eat better and change to a plant based diet.



Not only will it be about food, but 2012 will be about cutting out material goods not made locally or by hand. The other half of the goal is to stop buying new stuff made in some other land. To further reduce our carbon footprint we'll buy only locally made new things or find a suitable used substitute. Or we'll make what we need ourselves.

More to come on this subject...

In other news, I'm on track for September 2011 to be my biggest mileage month to date. If I had not opted to lay off the biking over the weekend (I needed to give my body a rest) I would be pushing 600 miles by Friday. As it is I should top 550 which puts me well over my previous record of 528. At this moment I'm sitting at just under 462. My normal commutes should provide an additional 80 miles and I plan on doing a couple of longer morning commutes later in the week to boost my miles.

Its a bit contrived, but I'm a number hog so it's okay. I contrive stuff at the end of the month if I see I can hit big numbers, but the past three weeks have been all my normal running around with no thought of 600.

Saturday, September 24

My Take on the Cannondale Trail SL 2

With the proper tire inflation the bike rides like a dream. With proper tire inflation my new MTB propels me beyond the frustrations and stress of cubicle life.

And so begins my official review of my new bike. Recently I purchased a blue and white 2011 Cannondale Trail SL 2 from Arvada Bike.



I did my research as is partially chronicled here at the Pavement's Edge. I compared it to more expensive bikes and finally decided this bike made the most sense for a few reasons. My preference would have been to buy either a Moots, a Spot or a Yeti because they are all Colorado made. In particular I wanted the Spot Rocker with a belt drive. Alas, I have not published my best seller yet, so no Spot.

At first I wrestled with the 26 versus 29 question, but after some side research in the vein I settled on the standard 26 inch size because I'm an average sized guy. I couldn't see that a 29er would give me any advantage beyond the coolness factor of being on the bandwagon, so I stuck with what I know and love.

But once I made some important decisions I got down to brass tacks so to speak. I studied the Kona MTB options as well as Raleigh's models. Kona was a bit pricier and Raleigh has the unfortunate stigma of being made in China. In the end I hacked the field down to the Cannondale. Once I decided on the brand it was even easier to pick the right model. The Trail SL seems to be a good line, and the “2” had all the right componentry.

I visited Richard at the LBS and ordered the bike. I got a great price because we're nearing the end of the year. I love great prices.



It took a little over a week for the bike to come in and the guys at AB to build it. And then I raced home that day to the bike my wife had picked up for me.

Blue. White. Shiny. It even had that “new bike” smell.

So on a lightness scale of 1-4, four being the heaviest this bike is a 1. My first “mountain bike” was the four. It was a Huffy Mountain Storm. The next MTB I owned was the Cannonball. It was a 3. Then the OBS- a distinct 2 on the scale, and now the Trail SL 2 is a light and airy “1.” According to my bathroom scale the bike weighs 30 lbs and I weigh...wait a minute! This review isn't about me.

Anyway, the bike is LIGHT. It has an 6061 aluminum frame. Richard tried to sell me on steel, and I like the idea of a steel frame for all of the industry approved reasons, but I decided the Cannonball has been a great bike because of its aluminum frame, and therefore taking a chance on a more modern Cannondale aluminum frame wasn't too bad an idea.



In one review I read prior to deciding on this bike a reviewer commented on the handlebars being wide. I knew I could “fix” that problem easily enough myself, so I didn't consider that as a factor, but after getting on the bike the first time I have to agree with said commentator: the bars are wide. This is not a problem on the trail so much, especially in the wide open spaces of the west where there are no rhododendron overhanging the trails. However, the few times I've commuted on the roads on the bike I've noticed a wee bit 'o fatigue that seems to be from the wide posture the bars put you in as you ride. Before Leadville I may opt to trim them slightly. I don't think I'd take off even an inch on each side.

Just glancing at the bike it seems to have very similar geometry to the OBS. Designers at both Specialized and Cannondale may gasp and clutch their chests, but in a very general sense the bikes appear to be of the same DNA. I understand there are nuances. A simple comparison between the chainstays of the two bikes reveals some significant differences right away.


Specialized Hard Rock geometry


Cannondale Trail SL 2 for comparison

Because of this and other differences the Cannondale Trail SL 2 lives up to the BikeSnob NYC standard “laterally stiff, yet vertically compliant.” I also feel as if the bike allows a better power transfer. On the OBS when I would stand up on the pedals I never felt like I was launching out of the gate like a freakin' racehorse. But on the new Cannondale I definitely can feel the power getting to the bike and propelling me forward in a way that makes me wish I had a seatbelt on the derned thing. It's geared 3x9 (44/32/22, 11-32 ). The only bike I looked at that was significantly different was the Kona Honzo with it's odd 1x9 setup.

Speedy on the flats, the bike also climbs well for someone of my abilities. I don't try to tackle super steep dirt or just plain old steep loose and rocky, but so far I've noticed the bike is forgiving of my inexperience. I've been able to power through some tricky sections of trail that I'd just recently ridden on the OBS with much less success. I've cranked over some bigger obstacles that would have shut me down on the Hard Rock.

Flats, climbing...both good. How about stopping power? I was stoked that the bike has hydraulic brakes. Now, I've had two different shop guys give me different advice on DIY brake adjustment and repair. One guy who knows a little about my abilities said I could figure it out pretty quick. Another guy in a different shop gave the impression that it was rocket surgery and that under no circumstances should I try working on the brakes at home. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle and with experience comes much confidence.



My biggest concern about the Shimano BR-M445 hydraulic brakes was what to do if out on the trail and a line breaks. But the reality is that I don't carry spare brake cables with me when I ride, so the impact would be the same in mechanic versus hydraulic. I think I can figure out the home versus shop maintenance issue no problem.

As far as performance goes I have no qualms with the hydraulic brakes. At first they felt odd to me, but now that I've made a few bomb runs off South Table Mountain I like them just fine.

Shifting is about normal. I don't notice anything spectacular in that department, but I've had fairly decent shifters on most of my bikes and the Shimano Deores are good for my purposes. I've ridden the bike enough in a week and a half that I can tell I'm going to need the 30 day adjustment early.



The main reason I chose the SL 2 was because of the fork. Its a RockShox Recon Silver TK. The online reviews for this particular model were good and it was the single most significant upgrade (aside from the hydraulic brakes) over the other SL models. When I go back to the LBS for the 30 day I may ask a few questions about adjustment. With the OBS that was never a question (stock Suntour fork), but I want to make sure on this bike that I have everything dialed in just right. So far the fork has performed well. I'm not a huge guy so I'm not crushing the thing. But I haven't been terribly nice to the bike and particularly to the suspension because I want to wring it out now while I still have some warranty protection.





I'm learning all about rebound, sag and other fun stuff. I think I am getting the feel for the bike with its more complex suspension now and I hope soon to be learning to maximize its qualities to my advantage.

Well, that's the nuts and bolts of it. But how does it RIDE you ask. Well...

Here is the narrative from my first real singletrack excursion on the new bike back on 9/14:

Took the bike out on a mountain/prairie bike commute ahead of a series of cold fronts moving into the area. I was racing the rain which was predicted to start about the time I would normally be getting to work. I had dry trails ahead...but for how long?

I was going to hit North Table, because I love the loop trail along the eastern slope, but I opted for South Table because I can get up and down from it much faster if the weather deteriorates. And its more in line with my normal commute.

The bike climbs well. As I ascended up out of Applewood onto the prairie flanks of South Table I fought mild fatigue, but it was inherent in my legs this morning, not due to any design flaw in the bike.

I reached the mesa top via the Ancient Palms Trail and began a clockwise circuit on the Basalt Cap Loop, pausing only briefly at the NE promontory overlooking Applewood. Once back on the bike I felt my strength waking up. I positively screamed along the crusher fine trail, looping around and eventually back to the north where I escaped the loop trail for some unofficial scrapping over more varied terrain. On the Basalt Cap Loop I encountered some rocky sections which really rattled us up.

The bike floated well over some rough stuff. One small jump caused me some distress because the rear wheel caught hard going over a rock I didn't see, but everything is fine on the bike. On the second circuit I knew to pop a little higher over it and all was well.

The bike responds well, is nimble and very forgiving to my noob ways. I didn't go easy on the smurfy machine though. I pedaled hard once I was warmed up. I let the trail abuse the bike as much as possible.

South Table was a better shakedown than Van Bibber the other day. There is a lot of single track, lots of rocks, both buried and loose. There was a nice little rocky climb that I topped out and then descended. A second circuit of the Basalt Cap let me really open 'er up and I almost missed the turn at the promontory and took flight over greater Applewood.


Not the Cannondale Trail SL 2

The trail that drops down near NREL is narrow and bends around the hillside cutting off any long sight lines making it interesting at high speed. But the bike braked when I needed it to, absorbed the worst of the abuse and let me power on as I raced the imminent downpour that eventually materialized around 11am.

Here are the specs:

Frame - Trail SL, Optimized 6061 alloy, SAVE, 1.5" headtube
Fork - RockShox Recon Silver TK, 100mm, Solo Air, lockout, rebound, 1.5"
Crank - Shimano FC-M430-8 44/32/22
Chain - Shimano HG53, 9 speed
Rims - Maddux DC 3.0
Tires - Kenda Small Block 8, 26x2.1"
Bottom Bracket - Shimano ES-25 Octalink
Rear Cogs - SRAM PG-950 , 11-32
Front Derailleur - Shimano Alivio
Rear Derailleur - Shimano Deore
Shifters - Shimano Deore
Brakes - Shimano BR-M445 Hydraulic Disc
Pedals – Cheap

A coworker gave me a pair of Crank Brothers Egg Beaters and I've used them once.



The pedals that came with the bike are junk. It's a shame that manufacturers assume everyone will want to put their own pedals on a new bike. Why can't they just produce and include a decent, if simple, set of flat pedals? Is that too much to ask?

I have yet to settle on a nickname, though “Dirty Smurf” continually comes to mind. Here are some ideas I've been tossing around:

Dirty Smurf
Muddy Smurf
Bikey Smurf
Wheelie Smurf
Cranky Smurf
Handlebar Smurf

Maybe something else will present itself soon. Until then I'm just going to ride the heck out of the thing.

Friday, September 23

Ramming Speed Friday: Random But Here

Being the greedy lout that I am, I wanted to ride over North Table on my evening commute. Ramming Speed Friday doesn't just have to be about getting home in a short amount of time. It can also be about going fast on a longer commute home too.

I have this scheme, and my desire to ride NTM is related, to ride both mesas in a day...I guess in a single ride. So I wouldn't have accomplished that exactly, but I could say I've ridden both in the same day.

Anyway, I opted not to ride NTM because my family is waiting at home. There'll be an opportunity soon enough. Maybe next Friday I'll plan an early morning assault and nab both of them. Then I can just blast home without worrying about which mesa said this or who did what.

Careened through the Golden Bike Park though. That's always fun. And then I zigged and zagged myself over to Van Bibber OS and rocketed east toward home dodging OB-stacles. More prairie biking fun!

I felt pretty slow. I debated slapping up a "Non-ramming Speed" or "Not So Ramming Speed" post. After consulting the Pavement's Edge super computer A.I. app on my iPhone I discovered I pulled off a 17.3 mph commute! Wow...surprising since I was bogged down by my own lethargy, many pedestrians, traffic, headwind, etc, et al I just would not have predicted such a relatively high number.

The past couple of days I've been pondering cycling community, specifically the Arvada cycling community. I met a guy yesterday at a playground along the Ralston Creek Trail who rode the LV 100 this past year. I see people riding every time I'm out. I'm out a lot. Occasionally we talk to other cyclist, but mostly its like trying to hit a moving target. A nod here, a stunted salute there, maybe a quick chat at a red light...but little more.

Communities need a geographic reference point, a hangout if you will, and Arvada is no different. The Red River Gorge climbing community took over a run down pizza joint just outside of natural Bridge State Park back in the '80s and now Miguel's Pizza is world renowned. I'm not saying it needs to be a commercial business, but something, a place, a hangout, a focal point.

The cargo bike race would be a good start. I know, it would be more of a regional thing, that's the intent, but you don't just have to focus in with a microscope to create community and subculture.

Hmmm...

Prairie Biking: A Bona-fide Diversion

The Denver Metro Area is on the very western edge of the high plains. Golden has pushed up against the foothills of the Front Range and of course there is suburban style development all the way to and across the Jefferson County line to the west. But the metro area is fully within the prairie ecosystem.

Even the foothills and lesser summits of the flanks of the Front Range that lie below treeline are very much prairie in nature. Grasses abound and yucca punctuates the landscape. The farther into the mountains you go the more pine you encounter and granite becomes the stone of choice over the lesser grades of hardness below.

Around Golden there is a lot of basalt-type rock, igneous ramparts that ring the summits of the mesas and spills down in pieces into the plains below.

The trails of the plains are dusty, fringed by spikey plants, strewn with volcanic rubble. The sun beats down and sears skin. Reportedly there are rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears. Oh my!Vistas are broad. Grades are manageable. Surfaces are forgiving. Trails are accessible and friendly for the armchair prairie biker. Access is most often easy and convenient from numerous trailheads, but also most often easy to access on the bike from the road. Out the front door trail biking...

Winters are relatively mild. Conditions stay favorable throughout a high percentage of the Denver area's reported 300 days of sunshine each year.

But if you pedal just a few miles west, up into high climes you face deep snow long beyond winter, steepness, slick granite rocks, confirmed mountain lion and bear sightings, altitude, wind, hail, pestilence, anarcho-nuclear apocalypse...wait, getting a little carried away.

I love the foothills. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely lust after the mountains. Getting above treeline is my not-so-secret fetish. The foothills, much like the plains, provide fantastically built and maintained Open Space trails that are friendly to all users. The mountains just provide.

But the prairie realm...what does it really offer up to the aspiring knobby tire fanatic? Well, like I said, accessibility with an abundance of quality. I've heard of this loop called the Dirty Bismarck up north...s'posed to be good. Standley Lake has two track dirt. The mesas sport some semi-technical singletrack and some two track roads. Green Mountain will keep you wondering how such a grassy bump can seem so high and so big. Bear Creek Lake...eh, haven't prairie biked there yet. The user defined trails along the Clear Creek Greenbelt are fun and techy, weaving in and out of the treeclad creek bottoms. If you're observant or savvy with aerial photography you can eek out some quick fixes here and there all over the metro area, dirt paths connecting parking lots, dead end streets and short cutting through industrial areas. Cranking through high grasses, over rolling hills, cobbling together greenbelts, open space, poorly patrolled vacant properties...

And then you explode from the green world onto pavement, dust flying, chest heaving...and you crank on home along suburban backstreets.

Prairie biking's not as glorious as wheezing above 11,000' on some loose mining road along the edge of a thousand foot cliff, but it suffices in a pinch.


Ancient Palms Trail, South Table Mountain


Ancient Palms


Looking down Ancient Palms


S Table mesa top view (south half panorama)


S Table mesa top view (north half panorama)


Prairie Biker Silhouette





ADDENDUM

And then it's always fun to interact with wildlife (not my video)...

Thursday, September 22

World Carfree Day Failures

The bitter irony of World Carfree Day is that I have driven more miles today than I have in the past month up til today.

Of course I do ride my bike every day in lieu of driving. Of course I do that.

So I can't let this day pass without at least doing a good post on the event. Please forgive me in advance for my backsliding ways...

First off, I put our new plates on the car. We got the "Share the Road" plates. I only wish it were just that simple.



And then Gump has needed new tires for a few weeks. But with our schedules its hard to shuffle things around and get the lone car into the shop for anything now that school has started back.

Since Bean's babysitter is out of town until tonight I opted to stay home with her today and take the opportunity and get the tires put on. I made the decision before I realized today was "World Carfree Day." Alas...

So we drove Mandy and Boone up to school and back home. 9 miles one way. Then we drove over to the tire shop in Golden that was recommended by our mechanic. 9 miles. He had to order the tires. I should have called first. 9 miles back home. We're up to roughly 36 miles.

I wanted to take the new MTB up to Arvada Bike because I was hypochondriacking about my front fork. So instead of driving we hitched up the armageddon buggy, threw the smurfy thing on the trailer and cruised up to the bike shop. No driving miles.



Of course we had to go back to Golden this afternoon and get the tires. 18 more miles RT. And as I write this we're getting ready to head out the door to go pick up Mandy and Boone at school. 18 more miles. Roughly (I've rounded to 9 miles for each trip, actually distances may vary significantly) 72 miles total today. How many freakin' miles will I have to ride my bike to offset the damage I've done today?

Well, it had to be done. We're not yet ready to go completely car-free. We're car-lite for sure. We do try to minimize our combustion powered trips as much as possible. But today was just a bump in the road. BIG bump. We needed tires on the car. If we're going to use the thing we need for it to be safe and that is paramount. I couldn't, in good conscience, let my family travel around on bad tires any longer.





After today, World Carfree Day, I'll go back to my individual car-free life. And as a family we go back to car-lite. But for today we appear to be one family of the masses who seem to be ignorant of the significance of the day. But we're not.

I think if Mandy thought she could she would go car-free. For her its not as convenient as it is for me. She doesn't have a shower at work. She has to get the kids to school. If I take Lily I only have Lily. For Mandy it would be getting Boone to and from school five days a week and Lily too two days a week. Boone can't really pull the hills at a reasonable pace and he's too big for her to haul, especially if it were he and his sister together.

I'm not going to insist that she do it. With all the effort it would entail it is entirely up to her to make the call and I support her no matter what. For now, we need the car. But we've made the decision consciously. We've discussed the matter and we've explored the possibilities. For now this arrangement is what works best for us. As we can make the changes we want to in our lives we will.

As World Carfree Day winds down I am tired. All of that driving has wrung me out.

Wednesday, September 21

Simplicity is Biketopia

There was a time in my life I was enthralled by all things with engines. I wanted a Mustang with a 302 in it. I was envious of people with nice (fast) cars. Secretly, though only superficially, I wanted to be a mechanic. I fantasized about it. I waxed nostalgic in smelly garages with oil stains on the floors.

I didn't see myself as being mechanically inclined even though I scored high in mechanical aptitude on the ASVAB. I scored high enough that I had to beat the recruiters away for quite a few years after high school. For years I didn't believe my own instincts regarding mechanical things. I've started listening much more closely to those instincts.

In retrospect I guess I have always been somewhat mechanically inclined. But there's just been something about cars that has intimidated me. My theory is that there has always been too much at stake. When I was younger I relied heavily on my cars and I could never afford to mess something up. I never had money to sink into a car and being mostly inexperienced in working on them I just didn't have the confidence to dive under the hood.

As I grew older and stopped being in love with cars they started to become onerous to own. When all I wanted was something reliable to get me where I needed to go any hiccup in the operation of my car sucked money out of my pocket and put unwanted stress into my life. I never had the time, patience or cash to "tinker" with cars as an adult.

Enter the bicycle into my life.

When I gave up our second car and committed to being a full time bicycle commuter I realized I would need to become adept at maintaining my own bike. Not only would paying a bike shop to do simple repairs and adjustments be unnecessarily costly, but I already knew enough to realize I could learn what I needed to know and just save myself the time, hassle and money that would be involved by dragging a bike mechanic into the mix.

Delving into bike mechanics has been mostly rewarding. I've had a few stressed out moments, not knowing what to do and not knowing how I would get myself out of the pickle I'd wrenched myself into, but for the most part I've learned to do much more than I expected I would.

I can adjust derailers, brakes and disc brakes. I stripped and rebuilt a bike and added an Xtracycle extension. So I've never cut a stem and installed a headset. So I've never built a wheel. Those things will come with time.

I've found that I actually enjoy working on bikes. Even when I get stressed out by the prospect of a repair I cannot complete, I find therapy in wrenching my own bikes that I don't find in many other activities.

The cycling life is sublime. I love being able to finish up a repair on the bike stand, ease it to the ground, pedal off to the store, glide past the parking lot and up to the bike rack. Throw a u-lock around everything, stroll in the store and back out and return home in about the same time it would take me to find my keys, drive to the store, find a parking spot, walk halfway across the parking lot, amble aroudn the store and return.

Add the simplicity of maintenance and repair to the simplicity of riding and storing a bike and I guess you have it in a nutshell.Simplicity is bliss.

Tuesday, September 20

The Bike Depot (and Good Sandwiches)

Today was an amazing fall day. Bean and I had the day off. Her babysitter had to fly out of town for a family emergency and won't be back until sometime Thursday. We got up early with the school-goers and by 9:30 we were ready to head out into the crisp autumn-like air.

We fired up the Cannonball and then rolled happily through Olde Town and down to the Ralston Creek Trail. I had it in my mind to go check out the Bike Depot in Park Hill on the east side of Denver. I purposefully didn't map it out to see the mileage or the details of the ride. I mainly just looked to see how to get to the place once we got to Park Hill.

I also wanted to swing by Salvagetti and pick up my Winter Commuter Team t-shirt (from last winter) finally. We got it on the way home.



We cut a swath through downtown Denver. I love riding through the canyon-like built landscape. There's just something about riding in city traffic that appeals to me. I know, I know...



Anyway, we hit 16th Street and took it all the way to City Park. 16th has amazing bike lanes and runs through a really nice neighborhood. And then we had to detour around some construction at the museum to get to Montview. We took Montview into Park Hill to Fairfax. Park Hill is an upscale neighborhood. I was surprised that The Bike Depot was close by.

And I don't say that because they're a scruffy joint, NO! but from reading their webpage I got the impression that they're in a lower income neighborhood.



A little aside, I may do a more in depth write up in the near future, but basically they are a non-profit community bike shop. They take donations of used (or new) bikes and they refurbish them and then they have an Earn-A-Bike program where you can either show you have a need as a resident of the community or you can earn Depot Dollars toward the purchase of a new (for you) bike.

They also offer classes or you can volunteer and learn more about fixing your own bike.



I love the idea and I think what they are doing for the community is amazing! I'd love to see something like this in Arvada to serve north Jeffco. My idea has been more along the lines of a co-op or a bike shop that also deals in used and refurbished bikes. But the idea of a non-profit bike shop is very appealing. It would be a fantastic platform for local advocacy.

This building is mostly vacant in Olde Town Arvada, just across the street from La Dolce Vida:



It would be perfect for a bike shop.

Anyway, before I wax too fantastic, Bean and I enjoyed our visit at the Bike Depot. We met Shawn and he told us all about what they do and showed us around. I'd like to take a class or two with them and hopefully volunteer some time in the future. It's way out of my territory, but I just love the idea! I want to support good ideas that promote a stronger cycling community.

We left the shop at lunch time so we were looking for a place to snag something before the long ride home. Shawn had recommended Spinelli's Market on 23rd so we pedaled a few blocks south and then turned the wheel of the Cannonball west.

In short order we found Spinelli's and it was very cool! Its in an old building and is a true neighborhood market. We got a couple of sandwiches, Beanie a PB&J and I got their Colorado Classic: turkey, bacon, avocado, lettuce tomato and mayo on wheat.







We went across the street to a little pocket park and ate our lunch and Bean played on the playground for a little while. And then finally it was time to head for home.

Back through the middle of the city, back around Sloan's Lake (with a side trip to another playground), back through Edgewater and Wheat Ridge and into Arvada...

Home.

As we were rolling back through Olde Town I remembered I needed to run to the hardware store and asked her if she wanted to go. She mumbled she did. But a few blocks later I decided I just wanted to get home and I'd go back out. I asked if she just wanted to go home and got no answer. I glanced over my shoulder...



It was a good day out and about. The trip out and back to Park Hill was just over 34 miles.



Monday, September 19

Roadie Rabbits

The other night I was cranking hard down the CCT from the bridge over 44th. I had glanced back and saw a cyclist coming up behind me, but he didn't overtake me until well after I'd reached the bottom of the hill and the long flats between that bridge and McIntyre.

The roadie passed, cranking hard as I was easing off my pedals and he kept going, though he never completely left me behind.

I almost caught him at McIntyre (the underpass on the trail is closed due to construction) and was on his back wheel when we returned to the trail just past the giant pringle cans.

I stayed right with him through no-man's land, gaining ground at each curve as he stopped pedaling and I maintained a steady cadence. I wasn't trying to draft or drop him. I was only maintaining my normal pace as I gunned for home.

And then after the final bridge before I-70 I geared down and pulled around the bare-headed roadie. I wasn't fighting the bike. I wasn't struggling to pass him and make a point. I was riding a longtail cargo bike with kid seat on the back, baggy MTBing clothes and a helmet while Mr. Roadie was in his skin tight lycra, bare shaved head and on a lightweight road bike. It must have been a blow to his ego, because instantly he whipped around me and retook the lead.

I kept my pace, not trying to overtake him again, just holding steady. I can be a long-suffering guy.

Mr. Roadie never left me in the dust. I stayed right with him, almost retaking the lead as he slacked off again. It was a fun game, but he continued on the CCT as I turned off at Tabor. I was still almost right on his rear wheel.

Ahead of me crossing 44th were two more roadies. I caught them at the frontage road after crossing I-70. Furtive, over the shoulder glances followed... They stood up on their pedals to climb the short hill from the frontage road up Tabor and I caught them again where Ridge Road begins.

The roadies would fight to get away from me and I'd overtake them again just by maintaining a solid pace. It was fun.

The spurred me on though. I did knock out an 18.2 mph average.

Today I played road warrior again. I was heading out of Golden on the CCT and a roadie passed me standing on his pedals climbing the hill along 58. I was slow cresting the hill so I assumed he'd go on and I'd never see him again, but when I reached the bridge across 44th I was gaining ground back. He didn't know it, but it was on.

I didn't push hard on the flats but without trying terribly hard I caught him at McIntyre. We both coasted across and then as we started down the frontage road, but I geared down and took off knowing if I could take the lead before we returned to the CCT he'd be hard pressed to pass me no matter how fast he cold go.

I put the spurs to the Cannonball and straightened the curves through no-man's land. I was almost to the I-70 underpass and I caught a glimpse of a shadow coming up beside me. I hammered the pedals, blasted under the interstate, around West Lake and as I was passing Tabor Lake he finally passed and regained the lead.

I lost some ground as we approached Prospect Park, but I pulled the old cut-em-off-at-the-pass and put myself right back on on his rear wheel.


Cut-em-off-at-the-pass

Through the winding section of the trail in the woods between Prospect and the Wheat Ridge Rec Center I was right on his rear wheel. I hung the curves and got some good drafting. He pulled hard and I pushed right back.

We broke out of the trees onto the gravel parking lot and I didn't slow in the loose stuff while he did. I eased off a bit even when I could have gunned on past. He stood up on the pedals to crest the hill onto W 41st Street and kept right on cranking. I geared down and renewed my attack once we were back on the pavement. I hung right with him down the street, through the rec center parking lot, through the underpass at Kipling and on down W 41st and back onto the path heading for Anderson Park proving that even a longtail cargo bike can scream through an urban landscape.

I'd started wondering how far this guy was going to go. I was hanging right with him and we'd gone quite a few miles. At Anderson we'd been dueling it out for seven miles. Would he bail at Anderson? I had decided I was going on out to the Ralston Creek Trail and I'd return home via Grandview through Olde Town. Would he keep on going on the CCT, maybe turn on the RCT? He was pulling away as we bombed into Anderson.

Anderson was my mental turnoff, a normal place to cut my commute north toward home. But as he rocketed past the cutoff I realized it was still on. Digging really deep I thrashed the pedals soundly and pulled back up to his rear wheel. As we dipped under 44th in a ballet of precise sweeping curves I was planning my strategy for the trail ahead. My mind was mapping ahead, thinking of where I could make my move and hold the lead for the maximum amount of time. I'd wear him down. Heck! If he went on past Ralston Creek I might just see just how far we could take it. To the South Platte?

And then he threw out a left turn signal. He was leaving the trail at 46th. Sadly, he didn't even throw up a hand in salute or even give me a hearty scowl. I let him go and eased off my abused pedals.



In the long straightaway before the next bridge I adjusted my helmet, took a long pull from my water bottle and let the tension blow away behind me. I couldn't help but smile. I couldn't help but keep cranking at a slightly relaxed cadence.

I cruised to Ralston, over the bridge and up the RCT to Lamar and then over to Grandview with no major hindrances.

Grandview is always a pleasant ride and tonight was no different, except I worried about overtaking cars as the setting sun was full on in my face. Traffic was light and I rolled home in 57 minutes from work having covered just over 17 miles. Another 18mph average...the Cannonball should have been smoking when I screeched to a stop in the Bikeport.

Forget Cars

I've had it. I am just sick of moto-fascists. They are not worth the stress-related weight gain they generate.

I'm doing all this for myself. Yeah, I'm selfish that way. I'm not riding a bike so Joe Schmoe can have a parking space or one less car to deal with on his commute. I'm not doing this as a favor to the City and County to help them reduce maintenance costs on the roads. I'm not riding my bike every day so my doctor has one extra appointment slot free each day and so my insurance company can amass huge profits from me.

No! I ride a bike because it makes the most sense for me and my family. I ride a bike because its the best choice for me. It keeps us resilient. It has dovetailed nicely with our lifestyle and has driven us to a more preferred lifestyle. I ride because I have the right and protection of the law to do so. I ride because I have a significant amount of infrastructure at my disposal that is bicycle friendly. I ride because it is an efficient means of transport for me and my garbage.

I'm sicking of getting riled up because someone acts like they're hot stuff behind the wheel of a car. Or should I say: "oversized gas-powered wheel chair?" I don't want my purpose in life to be attempting to educate moto-fascists. I'm done with that.

No more open letters to moto-fascists. No more communication with the enemy. I'm pulling back. I'm shutting them out. I will ride to protect myself and I'll stay within the confines of the law, but I'm just sick of hoping people will take a hint and start being nice.

I was honked at this morning for doing something within my rights to protect myself from harm. I can't stop and have a meaningful conversation with these fascists, and if I gesture, scream or bang on their back quarter panel with my u-lock I'm just contributing to the cyclo-hatred these people wallow in each day. So there is no point in interacting. Other than to SUPERBARK to prevent my own demise I am going to stop interacting on any kind of meaningful level with these terrorists.

As long as they don't hit me everything is fine. Right?

Of course I will be memorizing license plate numbers and using the aggressive driver hotline as necessary. But from now on I'll be involved in a war of attrition. Once the post-carbon apocalypse comes we'll see who fares best...me or the moto-fascists.

Sunday, September 18

Sunday Surprises

"Are we riding to church in the morning?"

I avoided making eye contact with my wife. It was after 10pm last night. I had done nothing to get ready for a family commute.

6:30 am came so early. We both dragged our sorry behinds out of bed and then crashed one on the couch and one in the recliner to lie comatose in front of the TV.

Long story short we got out the door and made it on time.

A little background...last night we watched a movie on Netflix entitled Forks Over Knives. And I resolved that I'm going to go on a plant-based diet. I'm not saying I'll never eat another burger, but there will be significantly fewer burger in my future now.

For breakfast this morning we had steel cut oats. I like steel cut oats but they never really give me the energy I need to ride. I dolloped a little honey in them and wolfed them down before we ran out the door.

Needless to say I still didn't have the energy I wanted. My legs were a little hollow feeling on the ride home, but I made the ride home without passing out. Fait accompli!

We made a stop at Heinie's Market on 44th at Tabor. I go past Heinie's almost every day but we've never been in there. We had been planning on making a jaunt over to Sunflower after lunch, but Heinie's presented itself conveniently and saved us from dragging the kids out on another ride.

We locked up Kona Lisa and the Cannonball and ambled inside. Mandy had this weird sparkle in her eye.

While she was still working her way through the door from the stuff on display outside the kids and I started wrestling with the two remaining grocery carts. They didn't want to separate at all. A tall guy by the door reached over and gave our cart a push. I thanked him and then he said:

"I like your Ute and Xtracycle."

Somewhat caught off guard as usual, I replied: "I'm impressed you know what they are."

"I have an Xtracycle. I think I saw your blog the other day."

We entered into a conversation with Greg and his wife about our cargo bikes. He said he's been trying to convince her to get one. It was odd to meet a complete stranger that has seen the blog. That's a surreal experience for sure. But its cool that they're making the transition to a car-lite/car-free lifestyle. So Greg, if you read this: keep pedaling and hope to see you out there again!

The encounter made me absolutely certain that James Osborne's idea needs to come to fruition. Denver needs an annual cargo bike race-slash-festival. Front Range...maybe happen in Denver, but pull in participants from all up and down the Front Range.

It was a pleasant surprise to meet another Xtracycle family. It was a pleasant surprise to finally see what Heinie's is all about. We'll be going back there for sure. They're much more convenient for us than Sunflower and they mostly have Colorado produced food. Local. Sustainable. Staving off the post-carbon apocalypse a little while longer...

Due to the inspiration of a new bike my monthly mileage is in the upper stratosphere. If I only do my normal commutes for the rest of the month I'll be two miles under my highest monthly mileage ever. And I'm getting ready to go out this afternoon on an errand that will give me a pretty good lead over this past April's 528 miles.

Reason #526 the Xtracycle is awesome: Eight year old can't keep up with me on his bike, but has no trouble when riding behind me on the Xtracycle.

Boone got a new helmet. He was bummed because it didn't have twin blinking LEDs like his sister's. I told him I was bummed mine didn't have them either.

Saturday, September 17

A Trip to Town...

This morning Mandy went early to a yardsale fundraiser for the school. I woke to the strains of Spongebob Squarepants emanating from the living room. Bleary-eyed I hunted down the source of the offending blatter and told the kids not a single episode more.

They were fine with that. They've watched 46 other episodes on Netflix already.

I finally cleared the fog of sleep from my brain and rounded up the troops to head off to Olde Town.

Bean said we should walk to town and she could ride her bike. I said, why don't we all just ride. She agreed.



The little bugger surprised me at how well she can ride over rough pavement, up hills and at phenomenal speeds on a 12" single speed pink princess bike (PPB).



We ambled around Olde Town for about three hours. Finally it was time to head home and both kids were still in a pretty good mood. We'd visited La Dolce Vita, Griff's, Knit Knack (got Mandy a gift card so she could get started knitting/crocheting), the library and we nobly resisted the urge to go in Arvada Surplus.





As we passed under the water tower I first noticed the ominous skies to the west. We made it past Zephyr on Ridge Rd and Beanie wanted to stop. And then she was reluctant to go again.

It was easy enough to strap the PPB to the Xtracycle and then we were racing the weather home.





Bean's first ride to town. 1.5 miles. Awesome!