Car-Free Vacation Contest


by Byron on Jul 26, 2006 at 12:04 PM

Xtracycle, who make it easy and fun for cyclists to meet all of their transportation needs, are promoting car-free vacations with a contest, tips, and evangelism. The contest is for 2 Xtracycle Free Radicals Hitchless Trailer Kits that’ll turn your bike into a Sport Utility Bike.

One of our Fall projects is the Bike Hugger Super Commuter and we’re going to post all about how we built it with an Xtracycle and Stokemonkey. From there a vacation is sure to follow, but not before we build up the Custom Carbon Davidson race bike.

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An 11 x 26 with Force


by Byron on Jul 25, 2006 at 12:36 PM

As if the promise of SRAM’s new Force group wasn’t enough, they’re shipping it with an 11 x 26! Like Matt Pacocha says in his review of the new group for Velonews, I never understood why gruppo manufactures didn’t ship a gear bigger than a 23 with a 11. SRAM is offering a group that works “as well as anything else out there,” is lighter, less expensive, and has an 11 x 26 for us older riders.

I predict Force is going to be hit and in the peloton there’s already buzz about it being a good working group for crit racing season.

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RAGBRAI rolling across Iowa


by Frank Steele on Jul 23, 2006 at 9:11 PM

Possibly the world’s biggest rolling party is underway in Iowa, as the 34th annual edition of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa traveled from Sergeant Bluff to Ida Grove on Sunday, the ride’s toughest day.

Ridership is limited to 8,500 full-week riders and 1,500 daily riders. This year’s ride has gotten some extra attention because some guy who used to race bikes will be riding along on Thursday.

Like the Tour de France, “teams” play an important role in RAGBRAI, providing team buses or trucks to carry bikes for injured, hungover, or exhausted riders; teammates to ride along with on the road, and an infrastructure for the acquisition and transportation of large quantities of beer.

On the Des Moines Register’s weblogs, Erin Crawford relays the first legend of RAGBRAI XXXIV (they’re numbered like Super Bowls): The story of Kevin Dudak.

Kevin was driving an RV to Iowa from Denver when the bike rack fell off. The driver behind managed to stop, got the bikes off the road, and waited for the RV to turn around to get the bikes. No sign of them.

Noticing a “RAGBRAI” tag on the bikes, he had a friend Google the unknown acronym. The friend found a former rider, who called RAGBRAI’s office, who tracked down Dudak’s cell phone number. Next thing you know, he’s got his (and his father’s) lost bike back.

RAGBRAI blogs: | Erin Crawford

Wall Street Journal | Ragbrai Journal | Bicycling posts

Allen has promised to post every night from the route. | Photos tagged “ragbrai”

RAGBRAI official site

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Castelli back in the US


by Byron on Jul 23, 2006 at 5:21 AM

The Oregonian reports that a US distributor is bringing Castelli back to the US and this time doing it right. Much like Asso’s struggles in the past, Castelli had the demand but couldn’t fill the orders. The article includes the history of Castelli and how the Portland-based distributor is hoping to evoke memories of the brand. I think it’s great, my favorite winter cycling cap is a windtek Castelli and I cherish it.

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by Frank Steele on Jul 21, 2006 at 12:07 PM

A little Friday afternoon fun:

I’ve seen a few freestyle/BMX shows, but never anything like this.

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Bike Hugger Shirts


by Byron on Jul 21, 2006 at 6:28 AM

hugga shirts By popular demand, we’ve got shirts being printed and they’ll be available soon. I know I’ve wanted one and will wear it off the bike, at races, events, and everywhere else.

The response to Bike Hugger has been great, better than expected, and we appreciate it. Here’s an example from Winky

I love this – in fact I love it so much I want to buy t shirts. Isn’t that the ultimate show of loving something creative and idealists – turning it into a retail experience.

Considering a retail experience, if the shirts sell well (and I think they will), we’ve got a whole line in mind, as well as schwag. If you’re interested in a shirt, post a comment and we’ll get them to you first.

Going into the Fall and the next cycling season, we’ll sponsor a women’s cycling team and you’ll see us at more events. Look for even more Bike Hugger.


Preorder a Bike Hugger Shirt from our store. They’ll be ready to ship in about 2 weeks.

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Bicycles on Trains


by Byron on Jul 20, 2006 at 4:14 PM

During a business commuter train ride to Portland on the Amtrak Cascades, I got to talking with the Conductor and cycling came up. He’d just finished the STP and was, as he said, “hooked.” I told him another great ride is the MS 150 and Courage Classic. We did discuss how he wasn’t really ready for STP, but he knows what to do now!

It was fitting that the conducter was a cyclist as Amtrak is not only cycling friendly, but pro-cycling. They’ve got signs on the trains welcoming bikes, pamphelts, and are actively promoting cycling.

This bike hugger felt right at home and next time I’m bringing my bike.

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Seattle to Portland, 1-Day, Solo


by John Calnan on Jul 19, 2006 at 7:03 PM

Just what have I gotten myself into?

I had set a goal last year of riding in the RSVP. That was two days, 188 miles. I accomplished that goal, but friends it was not pretty. I trained from February on, riding 1,700 miles in preparation for that ride.

This year, some friends set a goal of doing the STP in one day. So I’m 50, a bit rotund, and I’ve been “serious” about cycling for one year. Sure! Sign me up!!

After a couple of different offers of riding companions, I was feeling that a lack of speed compatibility, along with a desire to run my own show, led me to the decision to ride the 200 miles solo. Some of you may be like me, in that I can successfully talk myself out of a 50 mile solo training run at mile 10 (hey, 20 is a nice, round number!). One thing I was certain of: there were going to be some interesting conversations between me, myself, and I during this trip.


I tried to not “stop” riding this winter, and usually got out once or twice a week. Training got more frequent and serious in March of this year, and I managed ride 2,300 before the big day July 15th. The difficulty in training was setting aside time for long mileage. I had committments to lead rides for the Cascade Bike Club, and to help train my wife for her RSVP attempt this year. Consequently my longest mileage prior to STP were rides of 75, 92, and 101 miles. I had no idea how that was going to set me up for success or failure on a 200 mile ride, but I started with the idea that if I got into trouble, I could always call for help and my wife Terri would swoop in to the rescue.


I had the forethought and good fortune to get the day off on Friday before the ride. Unlike my frantic night-before the RSVP last year, I had time to contemplate, pack, and most importantly nap during the day. I get wound-up before a big ride it seems, and I manage to get 4 or 5 hours sleep, max. By Friday night I was ready mentally and physically, and I could relax.

Morning, Sunshine!

I woke at 2:45 AM. I didn’t plan to leave until 5 or so. I got up and ate a good breakfast, showered, dressed, filled bottles and camelbak, and pumped tires. The camelbak was water, bottles were reserved for “sports drink”. (“Sports drink” tastes pretty good at first, then starts to taste really bad about halfway through the ride. The last 30 miles, it tastes like heaven. Go figure.) OK, so now it’s 4:10, John. I re-entered the bedroom, laid down on my side (so as to minimize the crunching sound of the Clif Bar wrappers in my pockets) and power-napped for 30 minutes. Then it was up, kiss the wife, and out the door of my house at 4:45.

I live in Auburn, close to mile 27.5 on the STP route. I chose to avoid the start line frenzy of my 8,999 companions by leaving from home and doubling-back on the route to get the full mileage in. This was a good decision, and my planned northward detour worked out to get me the needed mileage.

The first 100

I had ridden this route as far as Yelm, so there weren’t really any surprises (with the exception of the staleness of the peanut butter sandwich in Spanaway). There were volunteers showing along the route in greater numbers as the day wore on, warning us of bad railroad tracks and even covering then with old rugs. I snagged a banana from a nice lady in McKenna at about 18 mph (thank you, ma’am!). I started to have some pain in my left wrist, which I think was due to me being too tense, or bending my wrist, or some vague bike fit issue that I’ll have diagnosed next week.

I made it to Centralia and the midpoint food stop before 11 AM. I ate a creamsicle, another stale peanut butter sandwich, and filled my bottles and camelbak. I had pre-measured 8 refills of sports drink into snack-sized ziplock bags. (This is a good idea if you like a particular sports drink!)

The second 100

After you leave the Centralia/Chehalis area, the scenery picks up and gets downright beautiful in places. The clouds of morning gave way to mostly clear skies, sunshine, and HEAT. I’m feeling pretty good at this point, thinking that I may just be able to do this thing and arrive before midnight! When we hit the town of Napavine, we are stopped by a policeman who informs us that because the annual parade is happening, we will have to walk our bicycles through town so we don’t run over their children. There’s only one through-road in this town, so we walk. After a few blocks we remount to ride down an alley, across a lawn, through a gravel buffer to a mini mart parking lot. This vigorous 100 yard jaunt is brought to an abrupt halt by yet another of Napavine’s finest, who has us dismount then wait for the train which also arrived in town (but didn’t have to walk). The cross-training portion of the ride ended after another couple of blocks of clomping cleats, and we were back in the saddle and doing the rollers south toward Winlock.

I didn’t stop in Winlock, and didn’t see the world’s largest egg. Shame on me. I did stop at a mini mart in Vader and buy ibuprofen for my wrist, which now was uncomfortable both pulling and pushing on the handlebars. You climb out of Vader with the sun square on your back at this time of day. I’m tired, and trying to spin my way to the top with limited success. I get a snippet of conversation from a pair of biker-boys passing me about having to pass “Steady Eddy” yet again. Sure, I’ll be “Steady Eddy”, and remember I’ll pass you exactly one time less than you will pass me today, guys.

The Advil helped the wrist, as did the ice pack and ham sandwich I obtained at the Longview stop (ice pack on wrist, ham sandwich in belly, not vice-versa). The Longview Bridge is an awful stretch of roadway-little shoulder, huge expansion joints, and steel plates across the path in places. The alternative is to swim with your bike, so buck up & just slow down on your descent.

The last 50 miles rolls and rolls and rolls. The pleasant scenery died about Longview. We were quite lucky to have a tailwind for much of this section, which was a huge help. I made almost every stop (on the advice of a friend who’s done this a dozen times), and got my hydration, nutrition, and rest. It was hot enough that I also availed myself of the opportunity to put my head under the faucet at these stops to keep cool. These stops helped break up the monotony (and the never ending conversations with myself).

At about 15 miles to go, folks would occasionally set themselves up along the route to cheer the riders on. This was an incredible lift, for which I am very grateful. I also got a private rooting section as I crossed the Broadway Bridge in Portland, as fellow cyclist, blogger, and bridge-tender Scout was working that bridge that day. We had a lovely 3 minute visit, when she shooed me off to the finish line festival. I hit the line at 7:45 PM, exactly 15 hours after leaving home. I had no idea that I would be announced as I entered the park to cross the finish line and pick up my “One Day Rider” patch. My wife was there waiting, and after dinner and a little wine to celebrate, my head hit the pillow and I headed off to the land of nod.

The ride was a great accomplishment for me. Huge mileage, double what I had done in a day, ever. Also huge because my training wasn’t probably what it should have been in terms of long mileage days. It’s hard to enjoy the day if you’re wondering whether you’ll make it for the first 3/4ths. Will I do it again? Uncertain. If you had asked me right afterward, I would have said “absolutely not”. Of course, that’s what I said after last year’s RSVP. But this really isn’t a pretty ride, it’s an event. A life-force thing more than a scenic tour. I’m glad that I did it. I’m proud that I did it in one day. I do love scenery and wildlife, however. Therefore, I’ll be back at it in a few weeks, RSVP’ing once again!

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Cyclefest Outdoor Cinema


by Byron on Jul 19, 2006 at 4:21 PM

The biggest Tour de France party on the west coast is tonight at Warren G. Magnuson Park. The event is sponsored by Outdoors NW and Raleigh Bicycles and features a mondo outdoor screen, food, beer, and more. And it’s free!

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