Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cold Hands? Heated Grips

If you are like me, then it is really hard to hang the bike up for the winter.  Staying warm and hence good gear are the key to winter riding.  Center stage: heated bike grips unveiled by AME.  AME has been making bike grips for some time.  They have also been producing heated grips for ATVs, motorcycles and PWCs but previous attempts at making heated grips for bicycles have come up short...until now.

6 different heat settings and lock on bar mount round out the features.  Cost is limiting at $300 for grips, battery and charger.  However, if you already have a battery for your lights, and it meets tech requirements, than you can just purchase grips and connector for $140.  Better but still spendy.  Cost will more than likely come down as distribution expands.

Click here for more info from AME

Add to your Christmas list!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pilgrams and Indians Ride (Spokane, WA)

A neighboring bike club (The FBC) in Spokane is holding a group ride this Sunday.  Disregard their club name, this a nationally syndicated club with FBC Spokane being our closest chapter.  These guys have done some great advocacy work for cyclists in Spokane.  Many of the their city council members and even the mayor have joined them on some of the monthly rides.  They have also worked at Spokefest and many other local biking events.  But all that aside, they love to ride and have fun!

Here is a link to their site and below is their ride post:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cranksgiving Was Taken

Well Lifetime Members For Life, it's November and time for the 40th Full Moon Fiasco. This month will be the Pilgrims & Indians Ride. You are encouraged to dress as any of your favorite Thanksgiving super heroes and come ride. Get there early for spoke cards as there will be fewer than last time.

We will be meeting at our usual spot of The Swamp on Sunday November 21st at 8:00pm. Be prepared for a medium ride as we make our way across town to our awesome destination. If it snows, well, we will get to ride in the snow.

Anyway, thought it would be fun to go down and join them.  Grab your bike, lights, costume...and of course some beer money, and let's go ride with our fellow Pilgrims and Indians.  Incase you don't know the Swamp is at 1904 West 5th Avenue, Spokane, WA 99201

If you are interested in going down for the ride, shoot me an email

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veteran's Day ride recap

Weather was forecasting rain, but ended up being a nice night for a ride.  No rain, no wind and the temp was rather mild.  Great night ride with a startled cat and deer as animal sightings.  Rode out to the Flea Market area in Sagle and back.  Ride conclusion at McDuff's for burgers and beer. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Veteran's Day ride

Veteran's Day is this Thursday.  The purpose of Veteran's Day is pretty clear; however, it doesn't often get the general public attention that some of the Hallmark holidays receive.  Most of you know I served in the Marine Corps.  While I did serve during a time of war, I never got orders to the front lines.  My unit was packed and waiting a couple times, but it never happened.  At the time, I was bummed I never saw any "action" but looking back I am lucky to still be alive.

So, I thought why not get together on Veteran's Day and ride.  I often do a lot of thinking when I ride, so I know what will be on my mind.  If you want to think about your Betty back at home waiting for you, fine.  Or if you want to think about the $1 beers waiting, that's fine too.  But seriously, this post will be the extent of the soap box, Thursday will be just be a ride and some fun. 

Let's meet at the Pend Oreille Winery parking lot at 6pm and we'll cruise the bike path out to Sagle and back.  Yes, we'll be back just in time for $1 beers at Eicks.  Of course, bring your headlight and a taillight.  Weather looks good.  Hope to see you there!  

Team Laughing Dog/RAAM sip 'n shop recap

Saturday's sip n' shop/auction at the Pend Oreille Winery was a huge success bringing in over $3,000.  And that amount will continue to grow with the sales of raffle tickets for the Bistro Table.  The place was packed and we killed the kegs donated by Laughing Dog and cut into Steve's wine reserve.  There were many silent auction items and people were very generous on both sides of the table.  I hear you might still be able to get a Grateful Dead Tee if you missed out...

David Barth & Wayne Pignolet
Wayne gave a run down on the RAAM race and the Laughing Dog Team while David talked about autism and his son Jackson (who has autism).

What an amazingly supportive community we live in! Thanks to all.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bead Lake Trail

Saturday Larry and I ventured out to Old Town and rode the Bead Lake Trail.  Larry had never done this ride, so I was excited to introduce it to him.  This is a great little ride that offers some nice views of the lake.  It is 6.4 miles in length and 800' of elevation gain.  Aerobic technical ratings would be advanced.  The best ride is to do an out and back, although you could also work in Road #3215 for a loop.

The trail starts off Road #3215 just up from the campground and skirts the East side of the lake. Along with some cool views of the lake there are several exposed sections of trail. The drops are not super steep or long, but the tread does get narrow as it crosses several rock outcroppings. The first 4 miles of the trail are super fun with lots of short ups and downs.

At the North end of the lake, the trail follows Lodge Creek for awhile and then starts a steep climb up the hillside back to Road #3215. Although not very technical, but there some rocks and roots throw into some steep inclines that make from some very challenging sections. My internal inclinometer was telling me I should stop soon. The last 2 miles are the most challenging, but the whole trail is ridable. This section drew some rumbling from Larry. I got that he was even less thrilled with some of the climbs.

stupid camera flash
 As a side note, there is a trail intersection at the North end of the lake for a trail that heads back down the West side for a ways. There are some fun sections, but for the most part not really worth taking your bike on as it is a hiking trail.

Once you join back up with Road #3215, it is a burner downhill back to car. You don't really realize all the elevation covered on the way out as most of it is fairly gradual. But on your return trip, save for a couple short climbs, it is just a fast return. Even with running rim brakes and having a slight mechanical, the return trip is where Larry started to come around.

there we go...note the smile

The Bead Lake Trail was only a 45 minute drive from Sandpoint, so if you are looking for something new and easy to access this is a good choice.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bike stuff this weekend

Couple fun bike events this weekend. 

First, Team Laughing Dog is hosting a night at the Pend Oreille Winery Saturday from 6-9pm.  Team Laughing Dog is preparing for their Race Across America next June and raising awareness for autism.  There will be beer, wine, food, raffle, live music and silent auction items.  I saw some of the auction items last night at Laughing Dog and there is some really sweet stuff.  So, come on down and check it out. More info at

Then, Sunday the Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series will be at Ephrata, WA.  I know it is a bit far, but there are only 3 more races left in the series.  Click here for race flyer.

Don't put the bike away yet!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don't like wearing a helmet cuz it messes up your hair?

Yes, it's an airbag for your head.  You can pre-order one for only $375 at but good luck with the reading.  I really don't have much to add to this, you just have to check out the video...

Monday, November 1, 2010

North Umpqua River Trail (Roseburg, OR)

A blog about biking in and around Sandpoint, Idaho you say?  This is the last stop on my tour of Oregon and therefore my last entry.  Heading North out of Ashland I stopped in Roseburg to tackle the North Umpqua River Trail.  Maybe not as "famous" as the McKenzie River or Deschutes River Trails, but it no doubt has gotten some high honors.  It is on IMBA's list of epic rides, click here to view.  The Umpqua River Trail follows the river, duh, for 16 miles between the Swiftwater and Tioga recreational areas.  It is listed as an advanced ride.  It can be ridden as an out and back, loop with the road or a shuttle.  Going North from Swiftwater is the preferred route and the one recommended by IMBA.  It features 2,600' of elevation gain and some great technical challenges.

First, where the hell is Roseburg?  Well, it's about 2 hours from Eugene and then it's another 22 miles East from there to the Umpqua trailhead.  This is probably the reason it doesn't get much attention, it's out of the way and not super easy to get to.  It would be like coming from out of town to ride Long Canyon.  Well worth the trip, Umpqua did not disappoint.

The first few miles of the trail has a very wide tread and follows close to the river. You pass yet another waterfall, surprise in Oregon. The river had an amazing green color and tons of good looking pools. Fishing is very popular here as almost every variety of trout resides here. Steelhead being at the top of the list. As a side note, steelhead trout are amazing fish. They are native to the Pacific Ocean from Alaska down to Baja. They are born in fresh water rivers, like Umpqua River, were they live for their first 1-3 years. As juveniles they migrate down stream to the ocean to mature for another 1-3 years. After maturation, they follow the scent back up the river to their birthplaces to spawn and live out their days. What a cool cycle.

Beside the river and the sweet looking fishing pools, the forest is amazing.  The trail takes you through some old-growth forest stands of Douglas-fir and Pine.  Many of these giants are as wide as I am tall!  Under the canopy of old trees lies tall ferns and younger growth, all of which seems to be covered in a dense mat of moss.  It feels very rain forest like and damp.  It is hard to stay focused on the trail as your attention is constantly drawn away by nature's artwork.

The natural beauty is obviously a benefit on this ride, but the trail would be great on it's own.  After the first few miles along the river, the trail climbs to the top of Bob Butte and some rocky high-top meadows.  The trail gets more technical and the climbing is fairly steady.  Once you crest Bob Butte it's a ripping down hill with several tight switchbacks.  Beyond this, the trail ungulates up and down as it meanders along the river.  Many of high points on the trail offer some extreme exposure.  I was focused on the trail, but at many points it was at least a 400' drop down to the rivers edge.  If you're not into exposure or intimidated by heights, this is not the ride for you.  Otherwise, I recommend staying focused and on the trail.

As opposed to some of the other Oregon trails, Umpqua is well marked.  Ironically, there aren't really any other trail intersections.  Nonetheless, a well marked trail, even down to each bridge being number and creek names displayed.  

This was a great ride.   I was spent and wet AGAIN.  Ahh, the joys of riding in the Fall.  There are several other rides in this area that are also supposed to be worth checking out.  This was a big IMBA Epic to check of my ride list.

A final note, some of you have asked "if I'm worried to do these big rides alone?"  Or what if this or that happens?  You can play the "what if" game all day.  Yes, there are risks, life is full of risks.  It's about managing the risks.  I always plan and prepare and for every ride.  I treat them all as if they could be "epic.  My packed Camelbak goes on every single ride with me.  It weighs close to 20lbs now and holds gear to address most issues I might encounter on the trail.  Of course, I can't plan for everything, but experience dictates the most probable.  I map and study the trails, options and bail outs before I go.  I let someone know where I'm going, approximately how long it will take and notify them as soon as I'm out...props to Jane.  I've been very fortunate, most of the things in my Camelbak I've never had to use...and hopefully they continue to gather dust in there.

Hopefully something in my blog will spark you to plan your own ride.  Don't take my word for whether a trail is good or sucks.  Do your own research and planning and then go ride.  And please let me know your perspective if you do, I love feedback.