Tuesday, June 29, 2010

a reason to do what you love and love what you do

A man I never met, Dave Blumenthal, and only know through another bicycling blogger's blog (Kent Peterson) died on June 24th after sustaining injuries from a collision with a vehicle while riding in the 2010 Tour Divide.

Borrowing from Kent's words about Dave, I hope when I am gone, people will say I lived my life fully and passionately and that my thoughts, actions and words revealed a man who knew many things and most importantly, knew how to live and knew what things are most important. Dave's last blog post should bring you to tears.

As I soon (a few weeks) begin the longest ride in my life (the 2010 Seattle to Portland ride, a scant 200-something miles in two days) I pray for the health and safety of fellow riders and myself and hope to return with smiles and photos and stories to share.

Despite the risks we face in life everyday, we cannot let that stop us from enjoying the ride. Be safe. Be smart. Be kind.

MIT's newest electric bicycle

What do you think of this?

It's a technologically advanced bicycle wheel unveiled by MIT in late 2009.

Described by MIT's web page: "Though it looks like an ordinary bicycle wheel with an oversized center, the Wheel's bright red hub is a veritable Swiss army knife's worth of electronic gadgets and novel functions."

Technologically, it seems to offer a lot of functionality in a compact package. Again, MIT's web page: "The Wheel uses a technology similar to the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), which has radically changed Formula One racing over the past couple of years,” says Ratti [Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT SENSEable City Laboratory and the Copenhagen Wheel project]. "When you brake, your kinetic energy is recuperated by an electric motor and then stored by batteries within the wheel, so that you can have it back to you when you need it. The bike wheel contains all you need so that no sensors or additional electronics need to be added to the frame and an existing bike can be retrofitted with the blink of an eye."

This retrofit is where I think the marketability of this product lies. If virtually any bike could be adapted with this cleaner alternative to a petroleum-fired engine, such as the "Whizzer" bikes and are priced lower than currently available electric bicycles, then I think there are consumers who would buy this, especially as baby boomers age and want to find transportation and recreation alternatives.

Going back to the MIT mock-up, I do find it interesting the bike they've fitted up with this rear wheel appears to be a fixed-gear (or at least single speed... it does appear to be fitted with a coaster brake ala the OSO bike).

Any thoughts..?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

my poem about the naked bikes at Fremont Solstice


There is good naked and bad naked, that is what I have found.
You don’t need to venture too far -
you’ll find the answer right here near the Puget Sound.

I ventured last week to the city, to an event celebrating solstice,
there I found a parade, a naked loud parade, one that you’ll be sad you missed.

Before the parade started rolling - came people on bikes painted in all hues,
costumed, bedazzled, flaccid and floppy –
all splayed out for cameras with the TV news.

Riders honked and hooted – in high heels and some bare footed
they circled and rode straight, popped wheelies and rode figure 8s
they waved and they giggled and as they did, their parts jiggled
Like Godiva perched upon her steed,
a smile and a bike was all a rider would need –
to feel a part of this controlled insanity,
witnessed by thirty thousand others and me.

But is this “good naked” or “bad naked” I had to think.
It was quite cool that day, so some things tended to shrink.
Others were affected by the pull of gravity.
By the end of their run, I felt like a dentist, having seen so many cavities.

So good or bad, you decide – I won’t vote – there’s no loss or win.
But please don’t judge me next year – if you see me in green paint and a tube sock on my Schwinn.

[as performed by Nate Jones at Liberty Cafe, Renton, WA, 6-23-10]

Monday, June 21, 2010

round and round like a record baby

I rode 50 miles around Lake Washington this past weekend on Sunday in prep for the STP that's about a month away.

Took about 4 hours with one 10-15 minute stop at Starbuck's for refueling. You know, there aren't Starbuck's on every corner, so you gotta stop where you can find them [for those who are logging on from Borneo, I'm being ironic].

We're ready. So ready, I sometimes wish the ride was tomorrow. I think we'll nudge to 60 or 75 miles next.

And as a bonus: WHY OH WHY is this song stuck in my head!!!??? Enjoy folks, but don't say I didn't warn you!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

let's cheer on Kent!

Kent from Issaquah, locally known for his long distance cycling adventures and being a cool dude (I bought parts from him when he was involved with Bike Works in Seattle), is now in the midst of the 2010 Tour Divide, a 20-something day bike race that spans almost 2,800 miles from Canada to NM.

A pic of Kent from his blog...

Kent is doing it on a single speed MT bike. No derailleurs. No multiple cogs. Just one pair of legs and one gear.


Head over to his blog for updates. And comment there to send him well-wishes.

~ Nate

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Mary, owner of the local art boutique/ecclectic gift shop/homemade stuff emporium known as happy delusions has a bike in her window display (my crappy cell phone pic below).

Though it was once one, it's no longer a typical run-of-the-mill Raleigh 10-speed bicycle. Now it has been "yarn bombed" by her knitting crew (a.k.a. "Stitch-n-Bitch" crew). By the time they are done, the goal is to have every speck of this bike covered with yarn.

Sure beats a toaster or tea kettle cozy, doesn't it?

Mary has a 3-speed of her own (believe it or not, she never rode a bicycle until she was an adult!?) that she's stored up above the wares in her shop.

I think it is a Raleigh as well.

What other kinds of art bikes have you seen..?

Monday, June 7, 2010

bikes in the 98057

I saw quite a few bikes out and about in Downtown Renton (WA) in the past few days while riding with the kids.

Here's Rachel on her current bike (she doesn't know what might happen for her pending birthday) just before helmeting-up to go ride. We were hanging at the Liberty Cafe.

Must be a family out for Indian food at Naan and Curry!

Check out these avid reader-bicyclists' bicycles at the Renton Library (actually, since the annexation vote was approved, now it is technically the King County Library System Downtown Renton Branch).

The question I would ponder is whether the bicyclists would have made the trips prior to the racks being available or whether the availability of some sort of bike parking helped and to what degree.

Here's a good overview of considerations for installing bicycle parking.

Friday, June 4, 2010

read the post but enjoy the comments

Much like I read through many cycling magazines not for the articles, but for the ads (and many articles coincidentally, of course, do tend to be written about the products being advertised - funny how that works), I find any blog posts or news articles about cycling recently seem to be overshadowed by the posts left in the comments section.

Here is a recent blog post affiliated with the Seattle PI regarding last month's Bike to Work activities. There are 131 comments and counting.

The comments range from TriplePac's "Road tax by Gross Vehicle Weight. Howzat for reality (and "fairness")! Let's Roll!" and spaceagepolymer's "Interesting how the people who are against bikes seem to be against everything. I bet you're fun to be around." to an unregistered user's "Seattle people are the dumbest people on this earth!!!! All you care about is being 'green' without any logic or forethought. Morons!" and another unregistered user's "This is an awesome article. Biking to work is really stupid and self-righteous."

And SeattleSounder slips in "Arguing in blog comment forums is kind of like racing in the Special Olympics... you may win the race, but you're still a retard."

And there's many, many, more.

So, read the article, feel free to comment here or on the PI web site. I just wondered whether citizens of other metropolitan areas have nearly as much built-up angst against a mode of transportation or if this is just a Pacific Northwest thing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

about 6 weeks until the STP ride!

I gotta focus and get some more hours and miles in the saddle!

200+ miles in two days??? We can do it!

And then at the end of July, I'm in the track class at Marymoor.

I'm happy to see summer almost here. :)

If you are seeking a Seattle area event, this Saturday, June 12th, there's there Flying Wheels in Redmond, WA.

Like hills? There's the High Pass Challenge in September.