Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Memorial Day weekend…was…well…

{words by brian}

Memorial Day weekend…was…well…I’m trying to remember.

I do remember riding my bike.

I rode my Rush Hour on Saturday to my friend’s house for some BBQ and ‘priming’ before the Rat City Rollergirls took to the mighty flat track at Magnuson Park. I remember a great ride to the hanger, throwing rocks at a floating High Life can, getting a squeeze from my favorite Derby girl and PBR Tall boys. (It’s the little things that make a day great)

I remember trying to go for a Mountain Bike ride on Sunday.

The weather turned to a 100% chance of miserable Sunday morning in Seattle. Trying to get my friends fired up for a muddy mountain bike ride was extra tough. After a couple hours of debate, prep’n, coffee, and checking the weather on the Internet we took off for Middle Fork. Unfortunately, we didn’t check the trail status. Closed. Downed trees still liter the trail making for a sweet place to take the bike for a walk, not so much a ride. We did, eventually, find a ride. Not as good, but I’ve been jones’n for dirt lately…too much asphalt in the daily riding.

The birthday BBQ for a Hooverville bartender provided more than enough entertainment to forget about the ‘mis-ride’ earlier.

I remember an actual Mountain Bike ride on Monday and bocce.

A quick trip to Tiger Mountain with a Seattle newbie made for a revelation. Colorado Single Speeding…you can use smaller tires, V-Brakes, and have a rigid fork. Washington Single Speed rides require disc brakes, suspension (helps), and huge tires.
My 97 IFab is a touch outdated for such things. My new tires are so big they rub the rear triangle under torque, and my downtube provides no protection from the mud flying from my front tire. I bring along extra V-Brake pads on my rides because they wear out so fast here. (I know, I can hear ya’ll now…”you’re using your brakes too much…what a sissy”) However, it’s still one of the funnest bikes I’ve ever ridden.

After a hosing off, I pedaled across town for more grill’n, bocce and a 5 liter bottle of wine.

I’m having a hard time remembering my ride home though.

Friday, May 25, 2007


{images by carey}

{click images to enlarge}

{flats suck - but this was probably the most picturesque place to have one}

{my new kicks and container stacks}

{lunch at the skate park - Hammond & A. Brown}

{trevor & hammond}


Thursday, May 24, 2007


A quick announcement for you all to digest over the long three day weekend.

Our good friends at are putting on the BIG WHEELED BALLYHOO June 23rd -24th in Decorah, Iowa. We have sent them a fleet of XXIX’s, single speed and gears for anyone wanting to try these kick ass machines out. Or if you just want to mingle with like minded folks that ride 29ers you should head out to Decorah for a weekend of riding, music, beverages, and demos.

For more info click HERE


{words by brian}

This winter was particularly ugly in Seattle. Rain, Sleet, Snow, Ice, Locust…you name it, we had it. Well, maybe not the locust. This extraordinarily craptastic weather took its toll on the city, my bike and on my Chrome Shin knickers.

One particularly icy day I tried covering 20 feet of my commute on my hip. No damage to rider or bike, but the slide into second burned an apple size wound in my Shins. Staring at my injured riding partner I swore I would do anything to make sure that they received the proper attention and would be nursed back to health. I contacted the lovely people at Chrome and (sobbingly) told them my tale. They reassured me that all was not lost, that they could possibly be patched to prevent further damage.

Days felt like months. Weeks felt like years. My Carhartts and Dickies were stepping up to the challenge, with the loss of our ‘starter’…but like trying to replace a tall Americano from All City with one from Starbucks…they just weren’t the same.

My Shins were returned to me yesterday. Wrap Christmas, my first single track ride, a fat Colorado powder day, and a six pack of PBR tall boys into a box…that’s how happy I was. There’s a patch where the hole once was, a nice little reminder of that icy day, but other wise my friend was back and ready to ride.

Already my legs feel fresher, my bike feels faster, and the beer tastes colder. Life is good again.

(Thanks Chrome)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


{words by carey}

Left the house at 6:24am exactly; and I mean exactly. I know this because I purposefully looked through the window of a parked car to see what time I was on the bike. The plan was to push it today and try to get to work in under an hour on my single speed.

Well, it actually took an hour and 30 min. I wish I could say it was because there was a 25mph head wind, or that I was fatigued from some epic night I had; instead, it was because I had to exchange info. with a driver that hit me. It happened fast and was over in about 15-20 sec., but it was loud and shocking for all who witnessed it. As I look back, it must have been an interesting picture for bystanders: a girl who just got hit hard by a car casually gets up, grabs her bike, and then picks up the mangled side-view mirror that tore off with impact, slings it under arm and walks toward the sidewalk where the car that hit her is stopped - crazy. I remember looking around the intersection (2nd & Jackson, which is probably the busiest intersection in Pioneer Square with a mix of people, bus, and biker traffic) and seeing people standing still with dropped jaws. It was all very surreal - I had stopped traffic, I had stopped people, I had basically paused motion and color. It was pretty creepy, and I swear I didn't hit my head, so no hallucinating was involved. I asked the first person I saw if he witnessed the accident; when he spoke all color and motion started up again.

Fortunately (but really unfortunately), I have been hit a couple times before, so as soon as I got up I went into "get everyone's information mode." At the curb I asked the first guy if he saw it: "Yes, it happened so fast I don't know whose fault it is." First witness taken care of. Next, the driver: his hands were shaking when I handed him my business card; he kept knocking on the passengers window, yelling, "unlock the door, unlock the door." The passenger, meanwhile, was stunned and just staring forward for about 20 sec. until he finally flicked the lock. While we were exchanging info. a woman walks by my bike, bag, and the destroyed side-view mirror and says, "that girl has a sticker on her bag that say, 'Ride a F***ing Bike' - that is so awesome!" and then she walked away. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, "What the heck?"

So, the driver and I parted ways and my bike seemed undamaged; I hopped back on and analysed the collision for the next 19 miles. I realized that I set myself up for some type of challenge as soon as I looked at the clock at 6:24am (I never look at the time that intently when I leave). I wasn't just "riding to work today," I was going to push my commute time; I was going to break a personal record. But really, I am just "riding to work" and that is how I should think about riding in the mornings.

Be safe, be prepared, and make sure you mount your bike with the right thoughts and attitude for every ride.


Friday, May 18, 2007


Like the “Big Foot” or “Nellie” in Lockness…the elusive Sally-ass-a-saurus is caught on film. While no one can confirm the authenticity of this picture…the 2 broken spokes I have from lugging this freak’n wheel up Beacon Hill makes it seem pretty real!


Thursday, May 17, 2007


{words by carey}

- I wish I was more so these days. That invisible hand I have mentioned in past posts (though lately I have visions of a wind god blowing on his hot chocolate) keeps pushing against us, work-bound in the mornings and home-bound in the evenings. It's inescapable these days; the summer brings sun, tans, joy, and a wind that loves to change direction. I suppose, like Brain mentioned in his last post, it was sick of its regular course. It got bored coming from the South all winter; it needed to "change" things up. Which means I have been changing my bikes up as well: single speed 2-3 days and fast carbon with gears the rest. You can only commute so long on a single speed, putting 50 miles in a day against the wind to and fro. Call me a wimp if you like, but I will ride it all week long with no wind. I do like my weekends to be filled with mountain biking (on a single speed), so a couple days on a geared bike during the week is a nice rest. Which, by the way, do the miles I put in after work up in the mountains count toward my commuting miles for the challenge? "NO!" What a bummer.

I want to leave you all with a video link to a band that has intrigued me for the past 6 years. Two of the band members are (or were) avid cyclists, which is why the album Tour de France exists. The band I speak of is Kraftwerk. As I have been pushing myself through the wind for the past two weeks the song Aerodynamik (on the Tour de France album) kept popping into my head. Enjoy the video and click here........for an awesome article that Rouleur published in their gorgeous magazine.

Also, it's "National Bike to Work Day" tomorrow and I hope to see every single one of you that reads this blog on their bikes. Make a presence in my dream tonight or tomorrow so I can see your beautiful ride and where you work. And, for good measure, keep biking after this national holiday; I promise you will become addicted. Okay, now to Kraftwerk. These guys kick ass (just imagine listening to this song while you are cranking against the wind - pretty awesome!).


Although I guess today it could be called “Jeudi Gras Mambo” since it’s Thursday...

Got my first flat tire of the month yesterday on the ride in to work. Not too bad considering I’d put almost 400 miles in for May, especially with the condition of some of the roads I ride in on (Yea, I’m talkin’ to you, Rainier Avenue South...). Anyway, Brian was kind enough to help out by documenting the tube change on film. I don’t think I’m ready for any speed change contests.

Today was cloudy but warm. Ran out of coffee beans last night, but had some fancy-pants ground stuff my sister had sent me from Switzerland so I tossed that in the French Press this morning. It made a couple of damn fine cups o’ java. I tip my hat to the Swiss. It put a needed extra kick into the legs.

Had the iShuffle filled with my New Orleans music playlist: a Jazz/Funk Gumbo seasoned liberally with The Rebirth Brass Band, Dr. John, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Prof. Longhair, Louis Armstrong, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and The Meters. Nothing like riding in to the boogie & swing of some sick stride-piano, trumpets, trombones, and especially the Tubaluba (R.I.P. Tuba Fats!)

Highlights/Lowlights: Everything was great today...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


As I have been swamped with work (which means riding solo to and from work) - I am glad my co-workers are documenting more of their trips and thinking about writing. Here is a new post by Brian. Enjoy.

{words by brian}

Last night riding home, Matt B and I got to talking about how hard it is to break a habit. How easy it is to stick with what is familiar, how comfortable routines can become, and how difficult it is to break them.

Driving the car into work everyday can be pretty enticing, especially in Seattle during the winter. It can be as crappy as your mind can imagine: wet, cold, dark, and windy. The comfort of a climate controlled car is everything riding a bike is not.

Change...? Set my alarm clock an hour earlier...? Give up the short drive for a long leg burning ride...? Give up coffee on the drive for a water bottle filled with tepid water...? Why do this again...?

So I applaud everyone on our commute team for changing up their routines to ride their bikes to work.

It also got me to thinking about change; I’ve become a slave to my own patterns this winter. I’ve been riding the same bike routes, stopping at the same coffee shop, and riding the same bike. I’m not a creature that gets lulled into a pattern easily, but I found myself in a bit of a rut this winter. So this week I’ve changed up my routes…I haven’t ridden the same one twice and I’ve been stopping at a new coffee shop in the mornings…delicious. I’m not going to change up my bike right now as my wallet has an echo to it, but... my Rush Hour does have a “fixed” cog on the other side of my flip-flop…hmmmmmm.

Just random. The pics are all from this morning.

Monday, May 14, 2007


{pictures and captions by kevin - click images to enlarge}

Miles 0-1: Madrona Hill, overlooking I-90; and goose topiary.

Mile 2: Leschi sailboats

Miles 3-4: Heading under I-90; rowing crew out on Lake Washington

Miles 4-6: Lake Washington Blvd, fellow commuters; Seward Park entrance

Miles 8-10: Reflection in Pub window; The “Ugly Mug” on Rainier, almost to Renton; stop for an espresso as others fly by

Mile 15: Tukwila, and the second best way to commute to work

Mile 16: Joining up with the Green River Trail

Mile 17.5: Green River Trail, continued

Mile 18: Crossing the wooden bridge near South Center

Mile 19: The Raleigh office, meeting up w/ Brian (perfect timing)

Saturday, May 12, 2007


{words by carey}

If a man with one eye can have colorful visions of bulbous glass, then I can certainly ride my single speed up that burly hill!

We have changed coffee shops these days: All City in Georgetown has become our haunt. Georgetown is one of the last little pockets in Seattle's industrial area that hasn't been taken over by the "lofties." It's gritty and skeletal, with vacant warehouses standing tall on the edge of Airport Way, making you feel like you're riding through an urban canyon. Every little establishment that exists in this district is specialized (coffee shops, record shops, bars (9lb hammer), chopper shops, pizza joints, etc.) and filled with unique locals. All City coffee exists amid this raw grittiness and this is what I love about it. The other day, I was sipping an espresso in the sun when a Boeing jet flew so close over head that I was able to read the numbers on its belly; the sound was magnificent.

I bring this all up because affixed to a newspaper box outside All City is a sticker of Dale Chihuly with the words "SLIGHTLY IMPERFECT" stamped over him. Though I'm not a huge fan of Chilhuly's work (or glass as art in general), I do respect him and his craft. What I liked about this sticker was the fact that the words "SLIGHTLY IMPERFECT" were juxtaposed with someone that is extremely successful. This is a subject (perfection/imperfection) I love to discuss and it was awesome to see it stated so simply on a sticker. This blog, I believe, exists as a "slightly imperfect" venue of ramblings, stories, and images. It's an honest expression of our obsession with bicycles, riding, and life. The bicycle is a PERFECT machine and we the riders are the words "slightly imperfect" stamped upon it. But this is great, because it's the imperfections (the fatigue, the challenges, the flats, the crashes) that keep us striving for that perfect ride. It's the perfect ride we crave (and it happens a few times each year), but if we rode our PERFECT machines PERFECTLY everyday, I think we'd loose interest pretty quickly. So, thanks to all who read this blog - good luck in attaining your perfect ride.

And...for those who like numbers (and have read this past posting), our commuting team for the month is doing rather well. Out of 800 teams we keep swinging between 8th and 14th (yes!) and that is only with 8 riders, while our other competitors have 10. Click here to check out our personal stats and click here for over all team stats.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007


It's been great having new voices on this blog; I am happy and relieved that you will be entertained by others. This week in Seattle has been gorgeous and it seems our skin is showing signs of sun exposer (finally!). Here is a quick post in pictures; as always click on them to see the details.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post; it will include one eyed artists, drag races, routes, commuting stats & some visions.

{bicycles will always be bigger than cars!}


{words by brian}

This past week, on two separate occasions, I was reminded of why I often feel superior when riding bicycles.
Mind you, I don’t really need a reason to feel good about riding my bicycle instead of sitting in a car, but these two incidents just helped remind me why trying to get around in a car (and polluting the city) is just plain silly.

Incident #1: Mariners vs. White Socks.
First I’d like to thank SAFECO Field for providing bicycle parking at the stadium. The lovely “No Parking” street signs spaced every 50 yards is the best you can do? Honestly, how hard is it to add a couple bicycle racks in the initial planning of the stadium?!

But I digress … my moment of smugness came after the game; the hordes of fans pouring out of the stadium were making mad dashes to the parking garages in order to beat/sit in traffic. Luckily, I was bicycle bound, weaving in and out of the people crossing the street and passing the cars tied up in the post game rush. This just brought a huge smile to my face with every pedal stroke. I couldn’t help but think, "I’ll be home before some of these people even get out of the parking garage - I love my bike."

Incident #2: Going to meet friends for Apres Labor

The only time I re-think living in the South end of Seattle is when I go to meet friends. The South end isn’t exactly the "popular" place to live or visit, so most everyone I hang with lives up north, which means I have to make the long haul in order to be social. Taking the quickest route I know heading northbound, I encountered a small traffic “diversion.” Apparently one of the three bridges that cross the Lake Union Canal in Seattle was closed (a sink hole sucked a bit of the bridge's foundation with it). Bummer for the folks caught in rush hour traffic; they had to take another bridge.

Moment of smugness came on my way through this diversion. Cars had now clogged the streets for miles and I was able to ride along with relative ease. I figured I added maybe 10 minutes to my commute while these poor saps added at least 40 minutes to their's. I can only hope a few of them saw me passing as they burned away $3.50 a gallon, and wondered…


{words by kevin}
Hmmm... Strange vibes on the ride in this morning. Not particularly pleasing ones either.

First case in point: About 3 miles into the ride: I’d just come down off the ridge and onto Lake Washington Blvd and I’ve got a real nice rhythm going, ticking it out at about 23mph. About a half a block ahead of me a car backs out of the driveway into the street, sees me, and stops. Had she kept backing out I could have gone past without slowing. As she was now blocking the whole lane from curb to oncoming traffic I had to slow almost to a stop to squeeze past her. Killed my nice rhythm.

Point two: Further along and I’m passing three cyclists heading the opposite direction and suddenly one of them touches tires with another and goes down. Hard. Glasses flying, waterbottle flying, expletives flying. I yelled “You alright?” as I rode past. He grunted a rather melancholy “Yeah” and so I continued on.

Point three: Dead raccoon lying in the middle of the road just past the Renton Airport. Didn’t make it across. Hate to see that. Buzz kill.

The ride home last night was tiring. Stiff headwind the last 10 miles. You know the wind is really blowing when Lake Washington has whitecaps. The legs were really heavy this morning (also due to a bit too much Chateauneuf-du-Pape last night). Had planned on just meandering in this morning, but ended up riding fairly fast in the end. Just felt like going once I was out there.

Highlights: No wind!; Only having to stop once during the entire 19-mile ride (good traffic-light karma); Jane’s Addiction (how can you ride slow during “Mountain Song”?); Really cranking it out even though you’re tired just because you feel good, have a great song, and it’s great to be alive and out on the bike - even with heavy legs; Honey on toast apr├ęs-ride.

Lowlights: See above strange vibes.

One last thing: I think “Basso” must be Latin for “Full Of SH%@”...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


{words by kevin}

This morning marked my third ride in to work this year – brilliant weather. Sunny, warm (even at that hour). Stopped above the I-90 floating bridge to just enjoy the sunrise and the view. Then it was back down to the lakeside and on into work.

Highlights: the aforementioned view and sunrise; Mark Lanegan & PJ Harvey’s “Hit the City” in my ear (maybe my new fave riding song); passing a long line of dead-stopped cars caught in traffic near the fun center & the feeling of smug self-righteousness; and watching the squirrels scatter on the trail.

Lowlight: coming down over the railroad bridge full speed into a blinding, opaque cloud of who-knows-what as an AirGas truck vents it’s trailer right over the trail. WTF?!?

Friday, May 4, 2007


When I awoke this morning, I decided that I would make today's ride in a day of signs. Well, at least a day of photographing signs. But the rain came falling down, which meant the camera went staright into my bag; I was able to snap a few before the torrent.

Also, Brain and I were graced with the presence of another rider this morning, Matt B. He was also gracious enough to write a little bit about his first commute this year. Enjoy!

{words by matt b & photos by carey}

The first commute...

It's never an easy thing to get back into. Bike-commuting used to be easy for me. Wear an extra layer, toss some shoes in my bag, and I was out the door about ten minutes early for a 4 mile ride, tops.

Easy....but that was then, this is now.

I've moved and changed jobs. Now a commute that used to take 20 minutes by bike now takes me a half-hour by CAR. I gave in and started driving to work, and it got harder and harder to think about riding in.

Fast forward 7 months.

Bike to Work Month hits and here comes the self-guilt. All the "I should'ves" in the world don't change the fact that Matty's bike computer only says 170 miles for the YEAR. So time to "Man Up" and get my fat butt in the saddle.

Get up an hour early, ride to meet Carey and Brian for coffee, and then ride in from there, Carey snapping photos of fun signs along the way. Sounds easy enough. The coffee wakes me up, we talk as we unlock our bikes and off we go.

Why haven't I been doing this the whole time? Then the sprinkling starts. No worries, this is Seattle; if you can't deal with a little drizzle then you would NEVER get out for a ride.
Never mind the fact that only Carey thought to have fenders on her bike. We continue being gently rained on...then not so gently rained on. By the time we were half-way to Raleigh, we were officially in the middle of a rain storm. I picked a great day to start this up again...

We keep up the pace and then Brian points out that a mean-spirited little rain cloud seems to be trailing us. Of course, the Sun was out behind us and we could see clear skies in front of us. In retrospect, if we had stopped for five minutes, the rain would have passed us by... but we aren't that smart.

We finally roll into Raleigh, completely soaked, cold and happy. A hot cup of French-Press coffee seldom tastes as good as after a wet morning ride.

It's never easy to start riding again, but I'm glad I did; honestly, it isn't that hard to get back into the rhythm. Now all I have to do is KEEP doing it.

Tonight, pray for clear skies.....

{georgetown records and fantagraphics}

{this sign is huge & we pass by it at about 7am - which turns my stomach every time}

{matt b's bag, posted twice because it's so cool,)
& a scooter shop - click to get close.}


{words by Kevin & photos by Carey}

Rode to work today for the first time this year. Feel a little annoyed that it took this long, but that old nemesis "inertia" had a stranglehold on me; I just couldn't pry my ass out of bed early enough on those dark, cold winter mornings. Not when the dogs are curled up next to you in bed and it's dark, dark, dark outside the window...

But the ride was great. Looked like rain, but the sun actually came out a couple times and the traffic was light at that hour.

Highlights of the ride: The smell of fresh cut grass; the buzzing sound of my new Fulcrum wheelset whilst freewheeling; early morning fog on Lake Washington; John Coltrane, Iron Maiden (Paul Di'Anno era), Jeff Buckley, and Tom Waits on the iShuffle (kept low enough that I could hear the traffic sounds over Mr. Waits' demonic growling); and hot coffee after the long ride.

Lowlights: empty banana peel left on the side of the road by some anonymous, lame, selfish cyclist. Yes, I realize it's biodegradable, but until it degrades it's TRASH on the side of the road. Show some class.
Pack it in, pack it out. Humphf!

{riding home through seward park}

Thursday, May 3, 2007



These were the words a cyclist shouted with right hand raised as we passed him on the trail at 6am this morning. We all chuckled at this sudden outburst, but realized after a few more pedal strokes that the guy is right. Riding our bikes is "sticking it to the oil man." Besides this jolt in an otherwise quiet morning the ride in was spectacular and refreshing.

During the month of May, Seattle's Group Health puts on a "Commute Challenge" for anybody who wants to participate. Teams from four to ten people log miles for the entire month and the team with the most miles, of course, wins. But there are several other categories a team can win, such as the most miles for a group of new commuters or the solo category for individual cyclists. I rallied a group of Raleigh riders to compete and we signed up as team B.E.E.R. - Bicycles Eliminating Ethanol at Raleigh. The idea is that Ethanol, though marketed as an alternative to fossil fuels, is a fuel nonetheless. We believe in human powered energy, pure & simple. The best way to reduced auto emissions is to get more cars off the road, not devise fancy new gasolines.

It's awesome to see 13 co-workers enthusiastically wanting to be part of the team. In fact, a few rode in today that haven't been on a bike all winter, which is totally great in my book. We also have a side competition going with Seattle-based OR (Outdoor Research). The loser has to serve up a BBQ and a keg of Manny's, so we'd better turn our cranks, because Manny's in a keg is an awesome elixir.

Bikes: Brian-Rush Hour, Matt-Podium 5, Carey-ss Professional
Coffee: What the heck? Coffee shops in Seattle don't open until 6am, that is just criminal.
Rant: Ride to work! Ride to work! Ride to work!
Commute Challenge Stats


The second post of the day is an announcment for a contest that our sister company Diamondback is involved in with Dirt Rag. It just went up yesterday and runs through August 1st - check it out here, and here, and then enter here.

"Let us know what turns your cranks and we’ll let you know if the way you did it turned ours by awarding you with a trip to Las Vegas to check out the 2007 Interbike International Bike Expo, along with a brand spanking new Shimano Deore XT equipped Diamondback Mission 3."

Good Luck!


Ok, so I have been called out by more than four people about the fact that this blog is getting neglected. Yes, it's true, I am a "slacker"(thanks Kevin {smile}). But that all changes today, as I will leave you with three posts by day's end. Number one is this post, informing you all that I haven't forgotten about you. It's really interesting how bad I feel when I don't file a post, but sometimes work pulls me in so many directions that to write something worth reading is hard to do (it's quality over quantity, right?).

Enough with the excuses; I will leave you all with a couple pictures of some track bars (Deda all steel sprint bars) that have some sexy lines. Thanks to Tim Jackson for the images and for having the same obsession with track bars that I do. And have you all seen the integrated stem/bars that Sacha White puts on some of his track bikes? Oh, and look at those custom stops just above the grips, mmm...