Super Bowl Sunday Rain Ride

I’ve gone out a couple times riding in Annadel with friends from work. On Superbowl Sunday, Josh and I went 16 miles or so, in the rain.

Super Bowl Sunday in Annadel. Muddy rain ride.

I was a few minutes late, and caught up with Josh on the long climb up Warren Richardson, and we did South Burma – Buick Meadow – Marsh Trail down to Lake Ilsanjo.  At Buick Meadow, I went up Quarry a bit, until I saw Josh come out of the trees from Burma, and stopped to turn around. I almost get rear-ended by a guy who had ninja’d up behind me. “JESUS!” I say (it wasn’t Him), “I had no idea you were back there!” He says, “Sorry, I thought you were pulling aside to let me by.” I’m like, “Nope. I thought I was alone out here.”

Josh comes up, and he’s like, “I hate tools who don’t announce themselves like that. It’s rude and dangerous.” I told him I used to do that, just figuring people would hear me coming, and saying something would be intrusive, until I rode with my friend Scott and his daughter on the Springwater Corridor in Portland. Hundreds of bikers, dozens of them overtaking us. Every time someone would slide by silently on the left, Scott would say loudly, “On your right!” Josh was like, “Oh, man, that’s great. ‘On your right!'” I was like, “it took me about five times to get it.”

Super Bowl Sunday in Annadel. Muddy rain ride.

On the last bit before the lake, I popped a couple little mini-jumps off some rocks about the size of 7 speed freewheels. Just as Josh says, “I’m so tired I’m not even hitting any of those ‘features,'” I landed sort of crooked, and cut right into the back third of Josh’s bike, forcing both of us off the trail, “What? What what what?” onto our sides in the dirt and grass. We looked like mountain biker cutouts that had blown over in a high wind. Josh was like, “WHAT? What was THAT?” as I’m laying on my side laughing. Worst mountain biker ever.

We got up, admired the giant rough  boulders we had NOT hit, and rode around the lake, planning to climb to the top of Warren Richardson to bomb back the steep downhill to the cars (you can ride offroad almost 40 minutes longer if you drive to the trail – who knew??). After resting and talking for a few minutes, I got ready to go, and he said, “I ain’t moving.” Okay, that’s funny. I ride halfway up the hill, around the corner and out of sight. No Josh. I wait a minute. Nothing. I ride back down.  He’s straddling the bike, staring off into the same point of nothing that he’d been staring at two minutes before.

Super Bowl Sunday in Annadel. Muddy rain ride.

So we rode back to the lake and down Canyon, around part of Spring Lake and back to the car. All in all, total success.

State of the Gravel Roadster 1-24-14

state of the gravel roadster

The Gravel Roadster has given up many of its parts (wheels, bars, brakes and seat) to the Singular Gryphon frameset I’ve been riding for a month or so. I’ll review that bike later, but I want to get some real 29er tires for it. The Gryphon is a mountain bike, and the Gravel Roadster was a road bike. “29er Road Bike” – Can I trademark that?

This is a 43cm Fisher Utopia frame (very light aluminum hybrid) with a Kona P2 fork, single ring and 7 or 9 speed cassette. I’m 6’2″. If I were to build this from blank paper (or an actual budget), it would be exactly the same, but in a larger size. This one frame fits a huge range of rider sizes, and if I can get a longer seatpost and another wheelset I’ll probably resurrect it.

Right now the frame, fork, headset, stem, crankset and seatpost are wrapped up in that Niner box. Any takers? Cheap.

Riv Jamboree Poster draft




My friends in the Rivendell Owners Group (Bunch? I don’t know) are putting on a shindig in July. Rivendell Bicycle Works is 20 years old this year, which is pretty cool. I remember when “Ever Since 1994” was funny, because it was like… 3 years or something.

I volunteered to make a poster, because I don’t enjoy calling and planning and pestering in order to make an event actually happen. I’m not even sure if I volunteered… I kind of just did it.

The next step, apparently, is to turn the art into some form of permanent commodity: poster, tee shirt, bandanna, etc.

So: which style, and what should we make?

The first pen outline has its proponents on Flickr.

rivendell owners bike jamboree



The watercolor version is about 5% more chromatically amped up than it is in person. I enjoyed filling in the color, especially the red/green at the bottom. Two layers of scumbled color. Definitely the most work in this one, but if it isn’t as satisfying…   oh well. Rivendell Owners Jamboree July 12

The black block print one is the au courant style I was imagining from the get-go. I like it as a graphic. Also easiest to print. 
rivendell owners bike jamboree - china camp


Bruce Gordon’s retail store opening

I sent an email around to the cyclists at work, alerting them to the Bruce Gordon Retail Space Grand Opening, with the caveat that “he has a reputation as a curmudgeon, but he’s always been nice to me.”

I laughed out loud when Bruce came through passing out tiny buttons that said “Bruce Gordon Was Nice To Me!!” He had bags of them, and a pin press for making them.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Someone told me that earlier in the day, Ross Shafer had taken one, looked at it and handed it back. “I can’t take this, Bruce, you’ve NEVER been nice to me!” Apparently they were an answer to pins he’d made years ago, saying “Bruce Gordon Was Rude To Me.” My friend Mark showed me one later, along with a BG Cycles pocket protector.

Bruce Gordon Cycles "where the touring nerd is king." POCKET PROTECTOR!

I’ve met Bruce at a couple bike shows, but introduced myself as a friend of some of his old Dempsey’s friends (see above). After hearing some good Bruce stories (“You can’t afford one of my bikes – CLICK”) around the (Dempsey’s Red Rooster and PSA) beer kegs, it seems that a beer connection might start things off on a much better footing than a bike connection.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

The bikes are great. I saw them at a NAHBS, and bought a CD of excellent photos of them (“I paid five dollars for a HEINEKEN on the train – I think I can buy a $5 CD of bike pictures.”) It was very cool to see them in a smaller venue (if you will).

The retail space is extremely small, with Two Fish, White Industries, Bruce Gordon and Honjo items for sale. Nice stuff. MOAR!

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

After looking at all the bikes twice, once for the overall effect of 37 years of bikes, one bike a year, all in Bruce’s size, and then again to see the details, I drifted around the shop space, then hung out by the keg as the head of the Sonoma County Bike Coalition held court.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Integrated seat mast?
Bruce Gordon, 1977.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Road-going fixed gear? Single brake, bell, light, rack?
Bruce Gordon, 1980

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Green tigerstripe mountain bike with a fastback seat cluster?
Bruce Gordon, 1983

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Flintstones bike?
Bruce Gordon, 1,000,000 BC

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

In addition to bikes, I like shops.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Bruce Gordon retail store opening

There was some cool engine-fancy happening. My first car was an MGB, my dad had (has) a Triumph motorcycle, Angelina has a Vespa, and we were married in a hearse, so I had some things to talk about on that front, too.

Bruce Gordon retail store opening
Bruce Gordon retail store opening
Bruce Gordon retail store opening
Bruce Gordon retail store opening

Around the kegs, we chatted about hiding new bicycles in friends’ garages, Cadillac engines vs flathead Fords, and how long people keep riding the same bicycle. Gary (king of the tap) said, “My wife is still riding the bike I made for her when I owned Merlin.”



I chatted with Maurice Tierney (he lives around here now), and he encouraged me to contact the new Dirt Rag art director, and maybe do some more illustrations for them. I said I would, but I haven’t.


Mt Burdell Again

The dog and I went for a ride on Mt Burdell again today, putting in two hours on the last day of the year, and seeing down the sun on 2013. Again, great dogs, great cyclists, great hikers. A shibe mix, an old dog named Duke, and someone thought Chick was, “Two? Three?” She’ll be 8 next month.

My Burdell
Mt Burdell Panorama
My Burdell
My Burdell

We spooked a murder of turkey vultures from their roosts on a cattle trough. This is them, wheeling around until we were gone.

Mt Burdell

That’s what I look like. I never smile.
Mt Burdell

Here’s the trail, carved 18″ through the topsoil. Mountain bikes are pretty low-impact, compared to a D8 Cat.
Mt Burdell
Mt Burdell
Mt Burdell

Ride to Healdsburg and Forestville

I got out yesterday on the Quickbeam for a long (for me) ride, up to Healdsburg from Santa Rosa, and then out Westside Road to Forestville, and home.

map of the route


The ride out was nice; I felt strong, but went all the way out Fulton and by the airport and through Windsor, instead of cutting over to Eastside Road. I caught the same guy at two different stoplights, once on Fulton Road, and once on Old Redwood Hwy north of Windsor. I’m pretty sure he went a faster, nicer way. Next time.

I saw lots of cyclists coming South of of Healdsburg as I rolled in about 2:00. I cut through the hobo tracks by the old train station and got some pictures. I sat in the park, ate a Luna bar, drank half my water, and then walked around Healdsburg for a bit. It’s been upscaled a bit since I was there last, but I know there are still freaks out in the hills.


I tried to pick up Eastside Road to get out of town, but what I thought was Eastside looked like a freeway onramp, so I walked the bike* a block North and got on Westside. Which is fine; I love that road.

I stopped at a pretty roadside rock feature by a vineyard. It looked like a mini park. I needed to pee a little, but thought it would be gauche to wizz on the rocks and oaks.

Westside Road
Westside Road
Westside Road

Another stop at the Wohler Bridge took care of that.

Westside Road
Westside Road
Westside Road

When I hit River Road, I decided to pop into Forestville and say ‘hi’ to my brother. I stole a liter of apple juice, pet the dogs, and changed gears from the 80″ 44×15 gear to the 71″ 44×17. The Tire Savers need to be repositioned when you move the wheel, and the front one’s sexy ‘under-the-crown’ mount puts the whole thing too close to the tire, not just the business end.

Westside Road

As tired as I was, I should have run back out to River Road, which is pretty flat. Instead, I headed home on 116, tackling the steep pitches between Forestville and Guerneville Road I always forget about. That was pretty treacherous, because the entire shoulder was broken up with six foot steel construction plates every fifteen feet. I guess for “technical road riding,” I should have brought my new “29er road bike.” The C-Lines handled it pretty well, though. It’s not like I was going very fast.

So four and a half hours out, all told. More than half the daylight hours I was awake were spent out on the bike!

*I won’t ride the wrong way, or on the sidewalk, if I can help it.

Richard Sachs’ ledgerdemain

Richard Sachs explains “why he left the recording industry.” I like that kind of recorded minutiae, and I think it’s art in its own right. It’s definitely the marks of a thinking mind.


I think e-Richie could nail all these ledgers to a board, and frame them under glass. “ATMO.”

In a much less organized way, I have a giant piece of watercolor paper under my laptop, and I’ve been keeping notes and marginalia on it. I have all the drawings and measurements for laying out Angelina’s book on it. If I still like it in a couple of weeks, I may cut out the most interesting rectangle and frame it.


Reverso levers and bar-end shifters!


humblecyclist on flickr set his Long Haul Trucker’s Albatross bars up with both reverse brake levers and bar-end shifting… at the same time.

New brake levers and shifters for my LHT

Paul Thumbies holding Shimano shifters, coupled with Soma reverso levers on Albatross bars. Super-cool. Humblecyclist says after 4+ years of this setup, the only weird part is the reverse shift direction (down for larger on the rear).

“It only takes a few minutes of riding to become comfortable with this “backwards” shifting – after that it just seems normal. It is all worth the setup and configuration necessary to get the full access of the Albatross bars.”

My version would be a single front brake on the left, and a single “normal” bar-end shifter on the right. Dangerous, bad, and wrong.

State of the Quickbeam 12-21-13

First day of Winter… 58 degrees tonight sitting on my porch in California. It’s been a while since I documented my bikes; the Quickbeam has C-Lines and thornflickers, but it’s about the same. Except no fenders or lighting, since it never rains here and never gets dark. So… pretty much totally different. The weight of the bike as shown is 25.5 lbs.

I went for a little spin around downtown, the JC, and the MacDonald neighborhoods. There are Snoopys all over town, since Charles Schultz lived here.

The Quickbeam currently has a 44t ugly Rocket Ring, a 15t D/A cog and a 17/21 Surly Dingle cog. With 37mm Soma C-Lines, it’s geared with 80″, 71″, and 57″. I think the 44t ring is going to move to the Gryphon to replace the 48t ring, which means the Ross will probably give up a ring or two, or I’ll just put the stock 40/32 back on the Quickbeam. This Arabesque 600 crank belongs on the Ross anyway.


I still love the WTB dirt drops on the Quickbeam. The tape faded, and the shellac turned it white in the rain. The Salsa stem might need a respray with the Plasti-kote “Shamrock,” if I can get another can.


The Soma C-Lines are very nice tires. I didn’t like the Tektro 720s when I first got them, but they improved greatly with Koolstop pads. I put the original low-profile brakes back on the rear, though, since these hit my heels. I think every Quickbeam should have a Nitto M12 rack. It connects to the canti posts for a clean look, and it’s very strong. I use a basket, attached with hose clamps. Other people use zip ties, but I don’t trust ’em.


Stock Tiagra brake levers on the WTB dirt drops. The gray plastic bit on the right lever broke and disappeared a couple years ago. I was going to replace it, but it doesn’t seem to matter.


Front view. Quickbeam badge, Wilderness Trail dirt drops’ sexy swoop, green Brooks Special saddle in the background.

Side view. The bike-holder-uppers were sourced from Rivendell. This is the first time I’ve used two on one bike.


Today was great

Today was my birthday. I always take my birthday off work, because I want to do exactly what I want to do, and I don’t really like a workplace fuss. Yesterday I was almost giddy, hitting DECLINE on 5 meetings that would have taken 6 hours out of my workday. Birthday. And cut across lunch. And no time to ride.
(oh my god, another one?)
(what the… that’s lunchtime!)
(oh yeah, there’s the regular other Wednesday meeting – crucial that I be there for UI approval before launch)

Instead, I took my dog out on a leash-free mountain biking excursion in Marin County.

Upload, damn you!

Two and a half hours of riding the brand new bike (Well, the frame is new… to me. The headsets is new! And the cables!). Even the bartape is old, but I flipped it around so the faded/unfaded markings make a zebra stripe. I like it.

Riding on Mt Burdell with Chick!

Up on Mt Burdell, there are nice roads going across the face of the hills, and then steep climbs to get to the next level. There are some singletrack steep descents that are not signed against bikes, but technically the dogs should be on leash for them.

Upload, damn you!

The Gryphon rode great, the smooth Schwalbe tires hooked up on the dirt climbs, and baby heads were no problem. I was pretty surprised at the traction on the rear Marathon, but the dirt conditions were about perfect. Crusty, not dusty or muddy.

Upload, damn you!

Halfway up the first climb I realized I’d overdressed, and shed the gloves, balaclava and outer layer. Rolled them up inside the sweater and tied them to the bars.

Upload, damn you!

We met a couple dogs, and my dog was great with them, and met some cool people hiking up. Bike people. Ibis Mojo, Santa Cruz Bontrager Race, early Litespeed kind of bike people. This Singular Gryphon is a real conversation starter. Another guy we (I) talked to was riding his passed-away friend’s passed-on hardtail Fisher. He takes pictures on his rides on the bike and sends them to his friend’s mom. I love that.

Upload, damn you!

A fellow with the dog that I talked to (“Gaucho’s” owner), said the Rangers mostly come out when the cows are in the open space. I asked him how you know the cows are out, and he said, “You see them.” Oh, yeah, right.

Upload, damn you!

Chick (the dog’s name is Chick) was tired, and I think she hurt her paw. I was a little sore, and the headset needs a bit of tightening, but I call it a very successful first “real” ride on the Singular Gryphon, and I’m so happy to have a place to ride with the dog!

Upload, damn you!

In the rest of the birthday day, I got some new clothes, and my 13 year old took me out for fries, and a stranger in Safeway bought me a sixpack of Lagunitas IPA. She looked at the backed-up line of people buying beer and wine, all guys, and said, “I bet I’m the only one buying this because I’m mad at men.” I said, “I’m getting this because it’s my birthday and I bought some beer, thinking ‘I’ll get something I’d never get. Something special! And it tasted terrible.'” She was like, “Oh, that’s awful!” When the checker rang up her KJ Chardonnay, she told him to ring up my beer, too. I said, “Thanks, that’s sweet. I hope your bottle works for you. And kills all men.” She laughed.

Coffeeneuring DNF

The campaign to hit 7 cafes by bicycle in 7 weekends succumbed to circumstance last weekend.

My Saturday bike ride down to the A Street (Santa Rosa art district) to visit the coffee place down there was foiled by the fact that I left the house an hour after the festivities were supposed to be over. I saw a giant-sized bicycle-ish steampunk contraption riding away, and some decent encaustic painting/collages, but couldn’t find any coffee. The Peet’s and Starbucks facing each other across D Street both close at 9pm. Oops. Signs on the sidewalk, lights on, but people cleaning out drains and flushing espresso machines. I wonder if the baristas give each other the evil eye when they lock their doors in unison, or if they go down to get a beer and a shot together.

My Sunday plan to ride over to Acre Coffee in the Montgomery Village to meet up with my friend was foiled by a dog door.

I’ve had a chore for a couple of weeks now (discharged today), to put a dog door in my mother-in-law’s door, so her Bernese Mountain Dog can let herself out, without the winter air getting in. I pulled the supplied door out of its packaging, and held it up to the door, held it up to the dog, and tried to get Rosie to jump through it. She ran around the yard with the frame around her neck like a collar.

So, I took the door back to Pet Whatever, talked them through their return policy and customer service (maybe I could order it online? “I thiiink you can use the credit online.” Is there a nearby Pet Whatever that might have it? “Oh no, the closest one is in Petaluma.” I’ll go there. Can you call and see if they have one? “What? Oh, sure, I could do that. Just wait ten minutes while I deal with this sudden deluge of high-maintenance customers”), then drove 20 minutes to get the in-stock LIVESTOCK sized dog door. The whole transaction put me arriving at Acre Coffee exactly on time if I drove, but 20 minutes late if I stopped off to switch to a bicycle. Which would be stupid.

My friend and I had a great two hour visit, gave directions to two people – a possibly homeless man (cleaned and well-clothed in a Western Farmer style, but semi-incoherent and pushing a pram with a LOT of stuff in it) who needed to find his doctor’s office (for an appointment the next day – best to be prepared); and a woman who had driven 5 hours from Eureka, bound for Martinez. She’d gotten off the highway 20 miles too early, mostly because she was tired of driving. She was bound on driving through Sonoma on 12, which would not have helped her situation.

The Acre espresso is Portland Style, slightly muddy, but tasty. Interior design is very good, but the Petaluma one is better.

But it doesn’t count, since I didn’t cycle there.

Yesterday, my plan to bike cycle with the dog to the coffee stand at Pacific Market like I’d done the other week was foiled by my friends and their dog knocking on my door to make sure the kid birthday party was still on for 2pm. I was like, “Yes, plus let me get my clothes on so Chick and Duke can walk together!” The dogs LOVED that. Long walk through downtown, back to the friends’ house, and then hot-foot back home to prep for the party. No riding, no coffee.

Today, I actually got an Americano at Holy Ground (tasty), by bicycle, as part of my three-part odyssey to get the Gravel Roadster hooked up tubeless. Bike Peddler guys are super-awesome, Big Apples are too loose to go tubeless, but Marathon Supremes will. Supremes look like regular road tires next to Big Apples.

Coffeeneuring DNF

Interesting Bontrager for sale

Our friend Cyclotourist has a Bontrager in Redlands CA that he wants to sell for a good cause (rent for the bike coöp).

Is it a Race? Race Lite? Privateer? It’s loaded with XTR, the hubs are Ringlé, and it has a Marzocchi Bomber fork (uncut steerer, new looking).

Yes, I want it.


Silver, slanted decals.


Prettiest crank I’ve seen in a while, and USA stamps on the chainring.


According to Yojimg, he of the Bontrager Info Page, tube gussets at the bottom bracket make it pretty clear it’s a Race. The head tube isn’t relieved, though, so it’s not a Race Lite.



Further, he says:

That looks to me like a size XL post-1995 made-in-Santa-Cruz Bontrager Race.  Here’s why:

1. The seat stays use the later single-piece design, which I believe dates it to 1995 or later.
2. It still has the canti-brake cable stop, meaning it’s older than 1997-98.
3. The top tube is very nearly horizontal, and the mono-seat-stay is quite long, meaning it’s bigger than a size L.
4. 1-inch steerer tube.
5. The front of the head tube is not milled, so it’s definitely not a Race Lite.
6. The rear dropouts don’t look forged (like this: so I don’t think it’s a Privateer.  Also Trek-built Privateers never came in that color or with that color of decal.  However, it could be a repaint/repowder.
7. True top-pull front derailleur (without a cable pulley to redirect 180º for a bottom-pull front) so it’s later than 1994.
8. The TT and DT gussets at the HT look a little different than others I’ve seen.  As such, it might be a Privateer, but I don’t think so.
FWIW, the serial numbers likely don’t mean squat.  The story I heard was that they literally stamped random, 4-digit numbers on the dropouts before they were welded to a frame, and just tossed them in a box.  My ’93 RL is 0423, while the ’94 Race I had before that was 2494.
Most of what I know about Bontragers can be found at

I love the idea of unique identifiers thrown in a box for future use. “Yes, they’re unique. No, they don’t represent a fixed date. Why the fuck would you care?” It’s like an ISBN. It does the job it needs to do. Don’t overthink it.

Many thanks to my awesome friends. I hope one of you buys this Race for $1000 and makes me sorry I didn’t snap it up at $600.