Thursday, October 3, 2019

Boise hidden places #1

Have you crossed this path before?

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

What will they think of next?!?

Have you seen the latest thing?

Now you can get a MOTORCYCLE that has pedals like a bicycle, so you can pretend you're riding a bike!

They seem to be getting more popular all the time.  Some are disguised to look like a bicycle, but with really fat tubes or a giant battery-wart where the water bottle is on a regular bike.  Others make no pretense - they just look like some kind of lightweight motorcycle, with fat little tires, etc.

Most of the "poseurs" who ride 'em aren't very good at pretending, though.  They either don't pedal at all, or they pedal 30 or 40 RPM, as they roll along at 20mph or so.  And they look just as cool as a cucumber.  Pretty obvious that they're not supplying any propulsion.

The weather's starting to turn, and I'm betting most of the motorbicycle poseurs are even more "fair weather" than the casual cyclists.  Time to hang 'em up for the season.  Can't be uncomfortable, after all...

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Bicycling the Rail-Trails in North Idaho

When do you plan your summer vacation?  If you're already looking at 2020... put NORTH IDAHO BICYCLING on your short list.

I went in 2012, and again in 2015... and last week I hit it once again.

It wasn't quite as breathtaking the third time as it was the first... but only because I wasn't seeing that spectacular scenery for the first-time-EVER.  I hope I can squeeze it in every 3 or 4 years, until my kids declare that I'm too old to ride a bicycle any more... and then maybe 2 more times after that.

The Missus was kind enough to loan me the Family Truckster.  I drove from Boise to Pinehurst on Monday (Labor Day) where a tent spot was waiting.  I camped there 4 nights, and rode downstream to Heyburn State Park for the 5th night.
- Tuesday I rode up the Route of the Hiawatha in the morning, and back down in the afternoon.
- Wednesday I hooked up the trailer and dragged my camp to Heyburn, along the Coeur d'Alene Trail.
- Thursday I rode back to Pinehurst.
- Friday I rode upstream to Wallace, then back to Pinehurst.
- Saturday I was compelled to pack up and head for the flatlands.  (It's the only way I might get to use the Truckster again some day.)

(More photos can be viewed HERE.)

"Tireless advocate"? Maybe not so much any more...

The masthead on the "Bike Nazi" declares that I'm a "tireless advocate for the most efficient form of human transportation ever devised - bicycles!"

And that's how I started out, way back in 2007.

But I've grown weary.

For one thing, over those 12 years I've lost a bit of vim and vigor.  My average speed is probably down 3 or 4 MPH.  (I still try to ride as far... but obviously it takes longer.)

But in addition...
1) I'm retired as of March, so my "transportation" needs have changed considerably.  No more daily commute.
2) Considerably more people seem to be bicycle-transporting in 2019, at least when the weather's nice, than in 2007 or 1986 (the year I permanently and meaningfully embraced bike transportation).
3) There are more alternatives now, than there were in years gone by.  I'm thinking in particular of electric scooters and bicycles.  (I would never consider either, recognizing the value of getting some "bonus exercise" as part of the compensation package for riding a bicycle.  But I can understand the appeal of E-vehicles, especially if they're getting people out of cars.)
4) I have no idea if people are reading my blather or not.  And if they are reading it, are they finding it motivational?

The frequency of my posts has dropped off considerably... especially since I ditched the daily commute.  BUT - I still ride every day when I have a bicycle available... and I still do a lot of transportation cycling.  Nowadays it's running errands and such, rather than commuting to work.  So hopefully I'm still setting a good example.

Watch for me - I'll be the Hi-Viz Fat OLD guy on the bike!  (And if you're reading, I'll still try to do some word arrangements from time to time... when I feel like I have something to contribute.)

Monday, May 27, 2019

New bicycle - new horizons

From time to time I've been putting a few miles on the new MOUNTAIN BIKE.  (My "toy" bike.)

It seems very capable.  I'm wondering if I should've gotten the Size L instead of the Size XL.  (I went with my shirt size.  Once I'm riding, it's very comfortable, but it's like a Clydesdale when I'm hopping on... at least with the seat adjusted for comfortable road riding.)

I've gone on a couple of exploratory missions along a canal bank that runs nearby our house.  (The Missus has used the path routinely for walking exercise, but for 29 years I've lived within 1/2 mile of it, and have never set foot or wheel on it.)

It runs all the way over to Boise Motor Village.  Here's the Porsche dealership.  (I like that snazzy gold convertible with the black stripe.)

A little farther upstream - the beautiful campus of Bishop Kelly High School.

The canal isn't deep - probably waist deep in the deepest spots.  The scenery is at its best, this time of year, even along an old canal bank...

Continuing... we get to the Borah High School campus, from the back side.

I got off at the same place I got on - Philippi near the Hillcrest Shopping Center.  (The most challenging terrain is near the east end - deep ruts created by 4-wheel vehicles driving on it when it was muddy.)

Today is Memorial Day.  Traditionally I hop on the motorcycle and visit some of the area cemeteries to review flowers and flags.  However, the forecast was for unpredictable weather today, so I stuck close to home... but I did take a detour over to the two Fields of Honor, at nearby Morris Hill Cemetery.  The price of freedom is visible there.  (It's good to take a moment to feel gratitude for the freedom I enjoy, and for the brave men and women who have given it up for that freedom.)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ride to Sandy Point

On Thursday, 4/25 - just because I can, being that I'm a retired guy nowadays - I took an afternoon ride up Lucky Peak way.  The riding was nice... the scenery likewise.

The Greenbelt is gloriously un-crowded on weekday afternoons, I'm discovering - at least until school is out.  In June, all bets may be off.  (It's never very crowded east of Eckert Road or thereabouts, however.)

The past couple (nice!) weekends have brought the amateurs out, adding their little slice of humanity.  I'm always quite amazed at how many seem to not realize that the Greenbelt is a transportation corridor.  They seem to be in their own little world, when they stop to chit-chat and block the entire width of the path, or walk 3 or 4 abreast.  (I guess people complain about the "riding abreast" thing with cyclists on the roadways... but even cyclists are astute enough not to stop in a traffic lane to chew the fat for awhile.)  I think I'll start doing road loops on the weekends, and just avoid the most crowded times... do my Greenbelt riding during the week.  (I highly recommend retirement, based on the experience so far.)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

New bicycle!

I took delivery of a new bicycle.  The first showroom-new bike I've had in 10 years.

A few weeks back I reported on the crack that developed in my Cannondale "daily rider" frame.  Cannondale honored their warranty and said they'd replace the frame, but they don't make any "rim brake" bikes any more, so an alternative they offered was a steep discount on any bike in the fleet.

I decided to get a "toy" bike, since I already have the Surly LHT which will be my "daily rider" going forward.  (In fact, I've put 500+ miles on it since March 15, the day I retired.)

I ordered a last-year's-model mountain bike - it's called the Trail 6.  As seen below:

On April 20, I took my last ride on the broken bike (which was creaking with enthusiasm!)… and rode home on the new beast.

The thing is huge!  (It looks normal-size, but it's a size XL frame, and those are "29" wheels.)  It's got a long wheelbase and rides pretty luxuriously.  Other things that are new to me - there are 2 crank rings - small and super-small.  And a wide-range cassette on the back.  The hydraulic disc brakes are pretty nice - and they make much more sense on a mountain bike where the wheels are much more likely to get covered with muck.

I don't intend to make many changes.  It's got my "dual" pedals (flat on one side, SPD on the other).  I put the Anatomica seat on it, and added a Cateye computer.  (The one that tells you how many calories you burn - haha! - and also how much carbon you're NOT creating by riding it.  I'm WAY more earth-friendly than any of those celebrity tree-huggers!)

I intend to use this bicycle later in the year to cross another pastime off the bucket list - I'll ride it over to Stack Rock.  And probably some other places, too... but I'll get a slow start because it's gorgeous and I don't want to sully it, at least right away.