9 straight days of bicycles

Discussion in 'General' started by BailOut, May 25, 2009.

  1. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    Hello, all. I have been away for a while but I feel my past week and coming week are worth sharing. :)

    Some folks live within the bicycle culture full-time. As of today I do not but I am 6 days into 9 straight days of bicycles. :smile:

    Tuesday: Mountain biked the Galena Creek/Jones Creek/Whites Creek/Zolezzi "Beat Me Up" trails with the Tuesday Night Ride Group (Reno, NV).

    Wednesday and Thursday: Attended the annual Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Conference at South Lake Tahoe, NV (I caught a ride to and from the conference and achieved zero waste for the whole time, including the party on the first night.).

    Thursday night and Friday: Attended the League of American Bicyclist's "Traffic Skills 101" course in Carson City, NV, which included classroom time, skill drills and a group ride (I again caught a ride and achieved zero waste.). I strongly recommend this course for anyone that bicycles anywhere for any reason.,

    Saturday: Took my Little Brother on a mountain bike ride on the Manzanita segment of the Steamboat Ditch Trail (Reno, NV). I don't know exactly what changed in that young man but all in one ride he figured out the 7-speed gearing on his bike (this has eluded him for several rides despite my attempts to familiarize him with it), gained a huge amount of stability and speed and actually attacked the rougher segments of the trail where he used to cower in that kind of terrain. I am so proud of him! :woot:

    Today, Sunday: Bicycled the grocery run and some other errands (haircut, lunch, bike shop), a round trip of 25 miles. It was a heavier shopping day so my trailer was loaded with 80+ pounds for the return trip. Along the way I ran into a fellow that was biking from Boulder, CO to the West coast via Yosemite. We rode together for a while and I gave him some routing advice for getting out of town and towards Yosemite. :Banane35:

    Tomorrow: I will bike to my wife's employer's home (mansion) after I finish our own yard work and gardening as he allows us to use his pool when he and his wife are out of town (which they frequently are). It's a 12 mile ride with a 1,000 foot elevation gain. I will be able to ride back with my wife as she will be driving there in the morning to do some work (she gets a comp day for this). When we get back home I'll barbecue and cook some corn in the solar oven.

    Tuesday: I'll be mountain biking with the Tuesday Night Ride Group as usual.

    Wednesday: This is my usual night to volunteer at the Kiwanis Club's recycling bicycle shop so that's where I'll be. It will be a little different as I'll be giving the initial training to 10 Job Corps folks, and I'm looking forward to it. :)

    Thursday evening I think I'll relax. :Banane39:



    This time last year I hadn't been on a bicycle in 20 years and couldn't wrench on bicycles beyond fixing flat tires but I have come a long way since then. I have become a stronger, smarter, more technical rider and a competent bicycle mechanic in the last year. I surprise myself sometimes. :) It is not feasible for me to ride to work as there is a 4,500 foot elevation gain and a 2-lane road with no shoulder in the way but, as you can see, when I'm not commuting I use bicycles for just about everything else.

    If anyone is curious the road bicycle I use is a 1994 Schwinn CrissCross that I refurbished and my trailer is a years-old single-wheel B.O.B. Yak that I found on Craigslist and refurbished. Here's a picture:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. rdprice64

    rdprice64 Still Learning

    That is a great nine days! Keep it up. It is so good, in so many ways.

    This week wasn't as active for me Mon-Fri biked to the gym and back (4.2 miles) each morning. Today I did the grocery run with the kids and backpacks. It would be much easier with a trailer like yours!

    You should join the alternative fuel challenge and log your riding: http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20968

    -Rob
     
  3. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    Welcome back Brian! Sounds like it's been a busy week for you so far.
     
  4. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    My bike is in the shop and gets picked up Tuesday.
     
  5. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    Hi Brian,

    Great to hear form you. Looks like you are having a great time bicycling.

    Nice trailer BYW did you purchase that or make it.
     
  6. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    Heya Judd,

    It's good to hear from all of you as well. :)

    The trailer is a B.O.B. Yak that I found on Craigslist from a couple in the Northwest corner of Lake Tahoe. It had been neglected and stored outside for years. It had lots of rust and all the original decals were highly photodegraded but they were only asking 30% of retail for it.

    I refurbished it by cleaning, sanding and painting the metals, buffing the bushings, replacing the washers, grinding the bolt heads, lubricating everything and reconditioning the tire. I was new to the painting thing and forgot to use primer so the paint is chipping everywhere. I'll probably repaint it soon.

    While you can forget it is behind you when not climbing or accelerating a single wheel model is more difficult to park (they and your bicycle must remain balanced at all times) and to load (they must be loaded with most of the weight low and to the front so logistics are needed, especially when you factor in refrigerated vs. non-refrigerated items). Double wheel models (such as child trailers) have more rolling and aerodynamic resistances and tend to have a slinky motion under hard acceleration and while climbing but they are much more friendly to load and park.

    Things were not rosy for me when I was learning my new trailer but I improved as I continued to work with it and am comfortable with it now. You can read about my first runs here: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=440981
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  7. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Welcome back, Brian! :)

    Awesome work on that bike and congrats on the large percentage of non-motorized travel! :thumbs_up:
     
  8. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Brian:
    I know very little about bikes, but would like to get one. Here is one posted on Craigslist locally. The name means nothing to me, but is it worth overhauling? I do need a mountain bike. We have a very nice state trail over 50 miles long on an old railroad bed within 1 mile of my home. It is surfaced with compacted chat.

    gary fisher mtn bike - $25 red mountain bike....tires are flat, chain is rusted...but frame is still in good condition. it is red and yellow.
     
  9. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    Hi Mike,

    Yes, that would be worth an overhaul. The Gary Fisher brand is solid, tubes only cost $3/each and you can get a new chain for about $20 If you don't know what to look for I would take the bicycle to a shop for an inspection before purchasing. Try to take it to a shop you will get parts from so that their time isn't ill-spent on the inspection.
     
  10. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    I did exactly what I said I was going to do today (Monday, Memorial Day), meaning I biked 12.5 miles over to my wife's employer's home for some swimming pool action after finishing my chores. That 1,000 foot climb over 4 miles was gnarly (West McCarran at Virginia St. to the top of Caughlin Ranch Parkway, Reno, NV) as the grade just never stops! I admit that I had to get off and walk the bike for a minute or two about half way up when my legs burned out.

    That's alright, though. This time last year I wouldn't even have attempted a climb like that. :)

    Never in my life did jumping into a swimming pool feel so good! :Banane40:
     
  11. aaronl

    aaronl Alternative transportation advocate

    Keep up the riding! I know how tough that climb must have been - I climbed 1290 ft. over 3.4 miles today.
     
  12. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    I am impressed. Good work.
     
  13. SlowHands

    SlowHands Hypermiling Ironman

    Hey Brian welcome back. Nice work on the bike and trailer!
     
  14. laurieaw

    laurieaw Sorceress of the North

    welcome back, brian
     
  15. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    Thanks again for the kind words, all. :)

    I was able to squeeze in a little more biking in this 9 day period than I originally planned. I lost my 2 carpoolers a few months ago as their schedules match 100% but mine does not. They have been carpooling together since then, with one being dropped off by her husband on his way to work at the other's home.

    I had one of those conservation epiphanies recently in that while our schedules don't always match up they do indeed synchronize 2 to 4 days each week. The driver's house is just 3.7 miles away and a bit uphill from mine. Why not bike to his house on the days we sync and join their carpool?

    I did just that this morning. :)

    It's not all roses, though. First, I forgot my keys. I wasn't driving so I didn't think to grab them but that ring also has my office keys. Oops. Also, I was cut off in the designated and solid-lined bike lane at a right turn by a GMC Yukon XL driven by a lone woman talking on a cell phone. It was enough for me to slap the side of her vehicle twice to let her know I was there and that she did wrong (my biking equivalent of honking).

    I also had the trailer with me this morning as I will be bringing home a network switch this evening that is too large to fit in a backpack. That slows things down a touch, and I got a text message from the office that I had to stop and respond to, and I had to adjust the seat once, but I still made the trip in about 19 minutes.

    I am continually glad that I took that traffic skills course last week as it has made me a much more confident road rider. I had to use several of the techniques I learned in that course this morning as the route takes me through a busy highway underpass with on and off ramps (Damonte Ranch at Highway 395), in front of a huge shopping area replete with Wal-Mart and lots of coffee/juice/fast food places, through an intersection at the major north-south artery (South Virginia St.) which is also the detour for a highway merging ramp right now, through a non-stop bike lane pass through at a busy right turn (Zolezzi Lane) in and then a left turn across a busy road populated with 3 subdivision's worth of commuters (Arrow Creek at Wedge Parkway).
     
  16. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Welcome back, Brian.

    Wish there were more bikeable route here.
     
  17. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Good going getting all that riding in, and very nice Craigslist score on the BOB trailer! For those not familiar with them, they're about $250 new so getting one used is a great find.

    Although we don't do it often, we have used it a few times to haul stuff home from the grocery store (only 1 mile away, though there's a decent hill on the way back). Holds 4 standard paper grocery bags with ease, though 4 fully loaded bags can make it a bit of a handful.

    I've also taken my BOB on several dirt-road camping trips in the mountains and desert. For 1-night trips it's overkill and you're better off with panniers, but for 2 or more nights (or desert touring, where you're smart to carry at least 8-10L of water) it's awesome. Flip it over when empty and it makes a great camp chair or picnic table too. As you mentioned, on flat ground you don't even know it's there except for the low rumble of it bouncing along behind you. And even the basic non-suspension model can handle surprisingly rugged terrain with ease.

    Recommended mods to the trailer if you end up using a lot:
    - One of my touring buddies has installed a kickstand on his, near the front where it can support the bike and the trailer together. Makes parking a LOT easier.
    - Same guy had a small grab handle welded to the top front of the trailer. Makes it a lot easier to grab onto, maneuver and keep things upright.
    - There are much better tires (wider, faster-rolling AND more durable) tires available than the stock one.
    - I've used hose clamps to install water bottle cages in the dead space at the rear corners of the trailer.
    - I've also removed the crummy stock fender, which interferes with loading into the car, bends easily, lacks clearance for big tires and easily packs up with mud and goo. In its place I've built a partial-coverage fender out of coroplast and duct tape, which works better, weighs less and still looks decent.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  18. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    Thank you for the trailer tips! I see a weekend project in my near future. ;)
     
  19. rdprice64

    rdprice64 Still Learning

    Do you think it would work just as well with the cloth bags too? How to you keep them in the trailer, bungee cords or rope or something else? I always just make my kids ride with me and each of us totes a backpack, but having the trailer would definitely add some flexibility.
     
  20. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Cloth bags are a little trickier because the sides aren't stiff and objects can try to push through the side of the trailer. If you lined the sides of the trailer with something rigid like a sheet of linoleum, that would solve the problem. A single sheet about a foot wide and 3-4 feet long could wrap around the inside walls of the trailer and do the job perfectly. Another option is a large Rubbermaid tote -- my friend has a tall one that fits the floor of the BOB perfectly and just about doubles its cargo capacity due to the extra height.

    Although we often use cloth bags, we haven't tried it with the BOB and so far have accepted the paper bags (which we do reuse) as an environmental tradeoff of not driving to the store.

    For containment I use the mesh bungee-net from a Yakima car-top basket. It has about a dozen hooks and I just stretch it over the top of everything in the trailer.
     

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