Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Driverless Future?

A very interesting article on the future of transportation from Mother Jones that makes some interesting points about some trends at the intersection of transportation and technology, which also relate to cycling because we cyclists share the road with cars.  While the thought of driverless cars can be initially alarming, consider that the systems responsible could detect cyclists and pedestrians at a much higher rate than human drivers, and also wouldn’t be subject to the emotional responses that humans are, for example, giving cyclists the finger while buzzing them unnecessarily closely.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

An Interesting Article on Saddles

An interesting VeloNews article on Saddle Setup.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Benefits of Shifting to Cycling

The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy created a study that found cities could save $25 Trillion over the next 35 years by embracing cycling.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Riding the Yakima Area

https://www.strava.com/activities/415053946








Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nice and Eightmile Creek

I travelled east last weekend to the Winthrop area to partake in yet more biking, hiking, and camping with the Velomihottie.  This time, we car camped, taking the bikes on the trunk rack and ended up staying in Nice, which turns out to be a campground in addition to being a cycling Mecca on the French Mediterranean.  The campground was a simple 3 unit affair that offered a great deal of shade, which would be handy in the summertime, but meant that it warmed slowly for us from the cold fall mornings.

The first morning, we rode up Eightmile Road after a hot breakfast and coffee and tea to warm us up.  The road surface changed from pavement to gravel within the first couple miles.  As is often the case with roads that follow rivers up a valley, the rise in the road is almost imperceptible, except that here, the false flat and gravel conspired to give the initial part of the ride a feeling like wheels had been dipped in sticky honey.  However, gorgeous views of colorful fall foliage on the valley walls beside awaited us every time the view opened up.  Even when secluded in deeper forested sections, the dry air brought a delightful scent of sage to our noses, which are more accustomed to the heavier wet air west of the Cascades.


As the road continued on, it began pitching up and flattening out at irregular intervals, accompanied by the sights, sounds and smells of the open pasture that this area is a part of.  We encountered several cows and calves along the route, who mostly seemed to not mind us riding through their midst.


On gravel roads such as this, often the descent can be more hair raising than riding up.  On some of the steeper downhill sections, the washboard road surface which had been only mildly annoying on the ascent as one tried to keep traction down became a major source of full body vibrations which on a couple of occasions made me feel like my head was buzzing acutely in a way that was somewhat like being tipsy.  But we both made it down with no more significant issues, trying to pick the best line between washboarded tire tracks, the less washboard but more rocky center, and pine needle covered edges that were less bumpy but not the greatest for traction.


All in all a great ride in a Nice area that was new to me and very unlike the riding anywhere west of the Cascades.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Carbon River

Last weekend, I enjoyed a backcountry camping road bike ride with the Velomihottie that was a great adventure.

The aforementioned Carbon River.
How is this even possible?  The last 5 miles of the Carbon River Road in Mt Rainier National forest has been closed to motorized vehicle traffic since 2006, but remain accessible to hikers and cyclists.

The road winds along the river and leads to the Ipsut Falls Campground, which is still set up for car camping.  Based on a call to the Ranger Station in which the Ranger advised the road was probably 80-85% passable by bicycle, we decided that carrying packs with all the camping gear we’d need for the weekend would allow us to carry the bikes over any rough patches.  I also brought half a dozen inner tubes as flats seemed a distinct possibility over the unknown terrain.

Making Camp.
All of these precautions proved unnecessary – we only walked our bikes about 50 feet over the 5 miles the road followed the river.  After setting up camp, we went for a hike to the Carbon Glacier, which is apparently the lowest glacier in the US.  This route also intersected with the Pacific Crest Trail where it crosses the Carbon River with a long pedestrian suspension bridge that bounces and sways as one walks across it.


A view up the valley from the hike.

After a restful, quiet night absent the vehicular noise which often accompanies car camping sites, we had a backcountry breakfast and coffee and tea, then headed up for another hike, this time toward Mowich Lake.  The scenery astounds and amazes with beautiful, lush, mossy greenery along the forest floor, and filtered light from the high canopy above enhancing the greenness, while occasionally opening up to spectacular views to peaks and ridges above.

Breaking Camp.

Monday, February 23, 2015

North Cascades Highway 2015

I took my first trip of the year into the higher mountains to see what the status of the North Cascades Highway was.  The road is closed to motorized traffic at milepost 134 every winter, and reopens once it's been plowed all the way through and over Rainy and Washington Passes. This happens at different times each year depending on snowfall and avalanches, and there really is no way to know how far you can go without just getting out there and going.  Part of the appeal is riding this beautiful stretch of road without the cars, RV's and motorcycles which are endemic to it once open.

This year's winter has been both warmer and dryer than usual, and hence, I was exploring the route much earlier than I have in the past.


Looking down to Ross Lake on a beautiful, sunny February day.

There was a rock slide covering about half of the road about half of the way up the 12 miles it was navigable by road bike, and a couple of icy patches where water runoff crossed the road in the shade, but it was a wonderful day for a ride.


Climbing ever closer to the snow line.

Eventually, all good things must end, and after an initial crossing of snow across the road, the second snow field was much longer (and would only continue getting more so the further I climbed) so this was the point I turned around.


The proverbial end of the road.