Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring break

Little sister is happy about her first real ride on the Big Dummy.
As per usual, we didn't end up going anywhere for spring break this year. We had some tentative plans for a quick trip, but the girls of the household each ended up getting sick, so we decided to take it easy and stick close to home. The week started out similarly to many past spring breaks of my experience: with a snow storm. Though the storm was heavy at times, the snow it left was typical wet spring snow, and melted quickly. This has made for copious mud, which kept us off dirt trails for the most part.
This snow fort had a well-constructed foundation, but was no match for the onslaught of the sun. 
For a time, it was chilly enough to warrant the boots, but the snow didn't stick around long.
We stopped in to see some people at Denver Bike Sharing, and she sampled some of the newest members of the Denver B-cycle fleet. Those with a tri-geared fetish may be happy to know that all B-cycle bikes are 3-speeds.
At the History Colorado Center museum, she took me for a drive in a Model T Ford. It was the best type of car: non-emitting, simulated, immobile, and with spoked wheels.
Experiencing what it might be like to be a clothing-challenged super fan, also at the museum.
We did a little hiking at Daniels Park to enjoy the view.
Today, the weather couldn't have been more perfect. After a nice meal, we all saddled up and took a ride through the neighborhood and local park. It was lil' sis's first real ride on the back of the Big Dummy, and she seemed to enjoy the experience quite a bit. She spent much of the time giggling and babbling, while intermittently drinking from her new water bottle and pointing to scenery along the way. I have a few modifications in mind to revamp my homebuilt Xtracycle-based kid seat, which are of high priority in order to meet the needs of upcoming rides. I'm starting to piece together an overnight bike camping trip to include all of us; kids, dog, and parents.
Getting the hang of drinking on the move.
Oma was along for the ride.
Back seat passengers on my Surly Big Dummy.
Scout, my faithful riding buddy.
By midway through the ride, she had mastered the use of the bottle cage.
We took a riding break for some waterfowl spectating and walking practice. 
Proud of her newly installed BaileyWorks handlebar bag. It's pink, of course. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Winter threw Spring a welcome party

Dressed like a rancher on my two-wheeled tractor.
Yesterday evening started with sprinkling rain, then progressed to sleet. By morning there were a few inches of snow on the ground. When Scout and I took our mid-morning ride, we were greeted with 6-8 inches of fresh snow and swirling blizzard conditions. Perfect bike riding weather.
I let air out of the tires until they were mushy and perfect for surface conditions.
The bottle cage on my new King Cage Top Cap Cage Mount makes a perfect glove holder when taking a photo. 
Falling, blowing snow over the lake.
It was business as usual for the geese and ducks.
I still can't get over how great fat tires roll in 6+ inches of new snow.
Unrelated bonus photo: Avery County Cycles sticker on a urinal at Wahoo's on 20th, seen a few days ago.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The riding of the green... and the red

Rolling on my green Surly Cross-Check.
Scout and I started off the day with a ride, per usual. It was only a bit more than coincidence that today, St. Patrick's Day, I was on a green bike. My Bean Green Cross-Check happened to be the closest bike to the door of the bike barn, so it was most convenient to be pressed into service.

A bit later, I was off for the fourth annual distribution ride to shuttle Denver B-cycle bikes into the system. About 300 people signed up to deliver bikes from the Denver Bike Sharing office North of downtown to the 56 stations currently operating in the city. While waiting for the official signal to go, I hung out with a lot of local bike people, took in some fine entertainment, and had some excellent food and drink, including the best kind of breakfast burrito: hot, tasty, serendipitous, and free.

Phil, Denver B-cycle's head mechanic, is always hard at work wrangling bikes
Proud B-cycle riders lined up for a photo.
Jared is an intrepid Denver B-cycle mechanic, elite bike polo player, and prodigious facial follicle cultivator.
This Worksman brand three-wheeled hauler is equipment for a new pedal-powered entrepreneurial enterprise, and owned by Jeff, another fine Denver B-cycle mechanic. 
This lucky lady was the winner of three hefty packs of high quality bacon as a door prize. 
After a while, everyone had been assigned a bike and a station to which it should be delivered. Following a bit of fanfare and some posing for the official photographers, we were off in a sea of dinging bells. The system opens for business tomorrow at 5:00 am. I, for one, am extremely happy to have the red bikes out and about once again.

If you live in the Denver area, get a membership here for a reduced rate until April 22nd. If you're going to visit Denver, a 24-hour subscription is simple to buy, and there is no better way to see the city. I hope to see you out there!
A crowd of people in red shirts on red bikes.
Yep. That's me.
Nearly under way.
Eric from Fort Collins, my riding buddy for the day, and I were the first ever check-ins at the brand-new Auraria Campus station. Along with many others, I've been working for nearly seven years to help Auraria become more bike friendly, so this station is a big achievement. 
Docked and ready for the next rider.
Lucky Number 234 was my steed for the ride. 
Unrelated extra photo: On the way home I saw this social media inspired sticker graffito.

Friday, March 15, 2013

81 days and counting

My Pugsley sporting a borrowed 29er wheel on the front for a test fitting.
I haven't had much time for the old blog as of recent, but that doesn't mean that I haven't had time to ride. In fact, I've now ridden a bike every day consecutively for the past 81 days. I don't have an established record of consecutive days of riding, as I've never previously kept track. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who have by far surpassed this number, like this guy, but keeping up the streak has become enough of a game that I'm now angling to hit 100+ days in a row. This all started with the TSBC challenge toward the end of last year, which has, at least for me, been ongoing and wildly successful. Thanks again, Tarik!

As for the photo above, I have not yet jumped to acquisition of a set of 29er wheels for my Pugsley, but continue to weigh the possibilities as I gather funds. As the photo shows, I test fitted a symmetrical rear 29er wheel on the Moonlander fork of my Pugsley, and am happy to report that it all fit perfectly. By extension, I can also report that there is a new-to-us bike in the family. Nope, it's not mine. Julie enjoyed riding on dirt and gravel last year enough that she asked me to help her find a more suitable off-road machine than her venerable, but pavement-centric Breezer mommy bike. As you may have guessed, the new bike is a 29er, details of which are to follow in a subsequent post. As you may have also guessed, I'm probably even more excited than she is about the prospect of a future filled with dirt biking family rides.

Until next time, enjoy a few random images of things that I've seen or encountered since I last posted here.
I made a trip to Boulder, where their B-cycle system remains open year-around. It was nice to be back on the red bikes. 
Bike gawking opportunities abound in Boulder, where I spotted this ship-shape Kona Ute at a grocery store.
I was a fan of Peugeot mountain bikes in the old days, so I enjoyed seeing this one in Boulder, which is a cobbled together survivor with a 700c front wheel.
This is a bike blog, but there are a few motorized rigs I enjoy enough to include. I spotted this circa-mid '70s era International Scout during a ride.
I've long admired the simple utility of International four-wheel drives. I've written before about the lost prowess of quality American manufacturing of days gone by, of which vehicles like this are an enduring monument.  
Yesterday, I took part in a Denver B-cycle event to celebrate the opening of two new stations at the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Here, Mayor Hancock speaks just before the ride.
My inaugural Denver B-cycle ride of the season was on Number 045. The system officially opens for the year next Monday.
Here are some of the VIPs riding B-cycles to the event. Believe it or not, I'm one of them. Not shown: me in a suit. You'll have to take my word for it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Installing a King Cage Top Cap Cage Mount

Here's what you get with the King Cage Top Cap Cage Mount super adventure fun pack.
Recently, I picked up a King Cage Top Cap Cage Mount from the King Cage booth at the NAHBS. Ron Andrews, the guy behind King Cage, was at the show with his wind-up monkey and bending equipment, cranking out cages in front of a mesmerized crowd. It's quite a thing to watch. He, himself, makes all of his products from U.S. sourced materials in his garage in Durango. His titanium and stainless steel cages can be found on some of the best bikes in the world, and have been the choice of numerous pro riders. I can't think of a better business setup than Ron's to make a self-sufficient living, with the flexibility for plenty of time to enjoy life.

In any case, I had been interested in his top cap cage mounts since I encountered one on Nicholas' Pugsley last Fall. When the opportunity arose to get one for just $5, I couldn't say no. I would have walked away with many more of his items if it wasn't for the fact that I was down to just $5 at the time.

Yesterday, I took a few minutes to install the Top Cap Cage Mount on my Pugsley. It really couldn't have been more simple. Here's how it went:
Unbolt and swap the stock top cap for the King Cage model. Make sure it's tight and aligned with the stem.
Bolt the bottle cage to the top cap cage mount.
I don't have a King Cage bottle cage, so this stainless steel Blackburn will have to do.
That's it! Here's the completed installation holding a bottle.
I rode the bike around a bit, just to see how it felt to have a bottle cage right there in the cockpit. It didn't seem intrusive, nor did it rattle or bump around. Between the two cages on my Moonlander fork, and the one now on my stem top cap, I can carry three bottles while still having my Revelate framepack in place. I'll be back at a later date with any further impressions, but this looks to be a great addition.