Posts tagged: bicycling
WINTER SPORTS — My recent blog post on the transitions at Mount Spokane State Park indicated the biggest change this seasons is the elimination of the Discover Pass for WINTER vehicle access to the park through March 31.
The handy chart above, courtesy of the Spokane REI store, helps illustrate the change.
Read the story for details.
CYCLING — I've just learned that the city of Spokane is eliminating its Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator position.
As of Dec. 21, Grant Wencel, who's held the postion for more than four years, will be terminated and the job will go dark.
Here is a reaction from Bradley Bleck, who's been closely involved with the recent advances in bicycling routes and status in city transportation planning:
As someone who has served on the (Bicycling Advisory Board) for nearly seven years as a volunteer and member, who worked to help bring a bike/ped coordinator to the city, I can only see it as a significant step in the wrong direction, one that will make both recreational and utilitarian cycling in the city much less a priority.
CYCLING — Pedaling a bicycle across the United States is the equivalent of a graduate degree in American Studies, only you'll be in better shape than when you started.
I made the journey in 1976 betwixt college and career (left), and on Monday my daughter, Hillary, at the same age, finished her TransAm trip 37 years later.
My favorite youngest daughter and her cycling partner Katy Howell reached St. Augustine, Fla., completing the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Route across the USA. Hillary started riding in September from San Francisco to San Diego, and then eastward through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Whahoo!
I told her it was going to be cold when she returns to Spokane at the end of the week. She said she'd wear wool socks under her Chacos.
My main word of advice to Hillary before she departed was to focus on the people, not on making the miles. She and Katy excelled at meeting people. They have a trail of friends now.
Following is Hillary's first look back at her travels in a post after reaching the Atlantic:
After 2 months and over 3,000 miles of blood, sweat, and gears (and tears!), I finally made it to the Atlantic Coast on my bicicleta! It has been a truly profound experience - traveling with only women in a part of the US that is so different from my Washingtonian bubble of a reality that it felt like a completely different country. I never ceased to be blown away by the incredible hospitality we encountered… countless people who accepted us as complete strangers into their homes… who provided us with the luxuries of a warm shower, a fresh,fluffy towel, or a home-cooked meal. The guardian angels who warned us of sketchy towns to avoid or gave us a lift when we got lost and ended up on gravel roads. Although many warned us of the crazies that were out to get us, we encountered only nice and gracious people. This journey has made me deeply appreciate my life and the freedoms I have - the freedom to travel, to be educated, to ultimately leave my home town and see a different state, or 8… Or the whole world! The access to fresh, local food… Access to recycling and composting and environmental awareness. But most of all, a self-confidence that I couldn't have acquired any other way. A belief in myself, and a belief in humanity… That humans are innately good. Thanks to all of you who helped me fulfill my dream. But now, I am looking forward to having more than 4 pairs of underwear!
BICYCLING — Cyclocross is “the steeplechase of bicycling, a hybrid sport of mountain biking and road racing,” according to one rider in Sandpoint last weekend, where S-R photographer Jesse Tinsley caught the action with his video camera at the last race of the cyclocross season.
Inland Northwest outdoors groups are sponsoring a wide range for free programs this week. Among them:
See map and directions to Riverview Retirement Center auditorium,
TRAILS — A packed house showed up last night at the new Jefferson Elementary School for the city-sponsored meeting to unveil new plans for the $6.8 million project that will repave and remodel High Drive while changing access to the South Hill bluff trails. The meeting provided a lot of answers to concerned neighbors and perhaps raised a few more questions.
One comment from the audience caught my attention as an illustration of how wide the views range on developing a public asset such as High Drive. The comment from the man, Dave, reminds us that private property owners often take very narrow views of public interest on city right-of-way.
To paraphrase Dave:
The city should focus funding earmarked for sidewalks to poor neighborhoods where people need the walkways to get to the bus rather than waste the money on a sidewalk in an affluent neighborhood where it isn't needed.
First, Dave apparently doesn't look out the tinted windows of his vehicle as he drives to and from his South Hill home to observe all of the walkers and runners who use High Drive each day.
Second, more walkers and runners would enjoy the premier views of High Drive if they didn't have to walk in the road especially around dangerous curves.
Third, it's crazy that the city has gone this long without providing a sidewalk or path the length of High Drive, one of the finest pedestrian routes the city has to offer.
TRAILS — As today's news story points out, City of Spokane engineers are ready to present a new plan for the $6.8 million High Drive street project after public criticism of initial proposals this summer and fall sent them back to the drawing board.
The project is of major concern to the hikers, cyclists, dog walkers and runners who flock to the 25-mile trail system along the South Hill bluff. Initial proposals would have reduced access to the trails and eliminated up to 80 percent of the available parking.
The city will unveil the revised design in an open-house meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7, from 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., at the new Jefferson Elementary School, 123 E. 37th Ave.
OUTDOOR GROUPS — The Spokane Mountaineers, an outdoors club that's been exploring the region's mountains, waters and trails for nearly a century, will describe their activities in the annual Meet the Mountaineers presentation, Monday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m. at the Spokane REI store, 1125 N. Monroe St.
Members plan to offer a visual tour of club schools, programs and outings, including bicyling, climbing, conservation, hiking, paddling, and skiing.
TRAILS — The City of Spokane's plans to “remodel” High Drive in 2014 while updating sewer lines could change bike lanes and reduce parking options for the popular South Hill bluff trails.
Traffic flow, pedestrian walkways, and bike lanes will also be affected, according to the Friends of the Bluff.
TRAILS – Idaho state Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, hasn’t given up his plan to travel the length of Idaho this fall by muscle power to promote trails, experience rural areas and raise funds for the Redside Foundation that supports the health of Idaho guides.
But he said a leg injury has forced him to change his plan from hiking the 950-mile Idaho Centennial Trail to continuing on a bicycle.
He’d hiked 220 miles in 10 days from Upper Priest River Falls to Mullan, but a few days later on the stateline trail along the Bitterroot Mountains, the leg injury got too him.
His Facebook posts show him biking down the old Lewiston Grade and advancing to Riggins and the Mountain Time Zone.
On Wednesday, the outdoor educator and climbing guide said, “Left the bike up north, caught a ride Boise, put on a suit and am headed to interim Energy, Technology and Environment Committee meeting.
“However,” he added, vowing to finish his Idaho end-to-ender, “I am not shaving my face until I get to Nevada!”
OUTDOORS — After a summer hiatus, Inland Northwest outdoors groups are reviving monthly free programs. Among this week’s offerings are:
Bicycling programs of the Spokane Regional Transportation Council explained by Ryan Stewart, senior planner, 6:30 p.m., Monday, at Riverview Retirement Center, for Spokane Bicycle Club.
BICYCLING — Time's running out to register for Spokane's premier bicycling event.
Choose from four rides ranging from a fun-filled loop in Riverfront Park for kids to 9, 21 and 47 milers through Riverside State Park.
OUTDOORS — Spokane is featured in Outside magazine's 2013 list of 18 Best Towns for outdoors enthusiasts.
Park City, Utah, was ranked No. 1 by a feature in the September issue.
I'm proud Spokane is in the spotlight. I know that even a lot of folks who live in this area don't realize what we have in terms of four-season recreation for a wide, wide range of interests.
Other great outdoor towns on Outside's list range from Honolulu to Boston, with niches like Bozeman, Mont., and Minneapolis, sprinkled in between.
While I agree with the distinction, Outside's writeup on Spokane is vague, lacking and slim on details regarding why this region is such a great place for people who love the outdoors. I'm OK with that. Discovery is part of the adventure.
Best Town stories often are low-budget deals for the magazines. This is an example of that, including a outdated photo of the Riverside State Park footbridge from a Seattle-based stock photography outfit. Geez.
We're still underrated in so many ways…. shhhhh.
I'll continue to help you count the ways as I've been doing since leaving Montana to make Spokane my home in 1977.
BICYCLING — They're pedaling from Spokane to Sun Valley in five days starting this weekend in memory of a sister who died at 17 but donated parts of her body so others may live.
Bravo to the Lebsacks for putting meaning into a bicycle tour.
BICYCLING — Hundreds of cyclists are resting their legs this week after Saturday’s Eight Lakes Leg Aches ride west of Spokane. But there’s plenty of events remaining in August, such as:
Le Tour de Koocanusa on Aug. 10 out of Libby, Tour de Lentil metric century on Aug. 17 out of Pullman, White Pine Pedal Mettle on Aug. 17 out of St. Maries, and the Conquer Schweitzer hill climb on Aug. 18.
See details on these and dozens of other rides through October in The Spokesman-Review’s 2013 Northwest Bicycling Events Expanded List.
Field reports: Badger slated for rotenone… warm weather prompts angling restrictions… Avery pub-grill destroy by fire… Junior Rifle Team open house… Kettle Crest trail reconstruction underway…Fire prompts Clark Fork River closure…Seven bighorns killed on Montana roads
SPECIAL REPORT ON WOLVES:
WILDLIFE — The photos show the wolf that chased the Sandpoint bicyclist in the Yukon last weekend as reported in my outdoors column.
The photos (click “continue reading” below to see them all) were snapped by Pennock, Minn., resident Becky Woltjer, who was in the RV that stopped to rescue William “Mac” Hollan from the wolf that had become obsessed with his bike, nipping and tearing at his rear bike packs even after Hollan dropped the bike and took refuge in the RV.
Alberta resident Melanie Klassen helped chase the wolf away by beaning it in the head with water bottle.
The photos also show Hollan saluting the RVers after the wolf had left and he resumed his Point to Bay bicycle tour from Idaho to Prudhoe Bay with his two cycling companions.
Read on for Woltjer's Facebook account of the incident, and why she felt compelled to give a stranger from Idaho a big hug:
WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — “Credit them for having bear spray,” said Nancy Campbell, Environment Yukon spokeswoman in Whitehorse, referring to a Sandpoint bicycle tourist who, while separated from his companions, was chased on the Alaska Highway by a wolf.
As today's Outdoors column points out, short bursts of bear spray bought Mac Hollan time to be rescued by motorists even though the relentless wolf kept coming back to nip and rip his paniers and tent bag as they raced down the highway.
“We tell everyone to have bear spray with them and in a holster ready to use any time they go into the backcountry, which can be a few steps off your back porch in the Yukon,” Campbell said.
Hollan said he and his friends had fully prepared for encounters with bears by having bear-proof food canisters, keeping clean camps and keeping bear spray readily available clipped to their handlebar bags.
“I never dreamed I'd need it for a wolf,” he said.
WOLF OR DOG?
Some readers are pointing out that chasing a bicycle or motorcycle is abnormal behavior for a wolf but normal behavior for a dog, such as a husky or wolf hybrid that may look like a wolf.
Indeed, no one, including a biologist, could verify this was a wolf involved in this incident or the June 8 incident with a motorcyclist in Kootenay National Park (photo above) without getting DNA documentation. That could be done from saliva on the packs, I suppose, but no one is likely to fund that effort.
The lesson, regardless of the animal's species, is that having bear spray readily available is a wise prepareation for muscle-powered travelers.
UPDATE, July 14, 10 a.m. — See photos of the wolf attacking the bike and an account from the RVer who helped rescue cyclist Mac Hollan from the wolf's relentless pursuit. Also, I've interviewed one of the motorist heroes who drove the wolf away from Hollan's bike. Read her account of the story in today's Outdoors column. — RL
BICYCLE TOURING — A Sandpoint, Idaho, man and two companions riding bicycles on a 2,750-mile tour to Prudhoe Bay as a fundraiser for a school charity had a tense encounter with a gray wolf last weekend.
Mac Hollan, 35, who will be student teaching at a Sandpoint elementary school this fall, posted this chilling detailed account on his Point to Bay Facebook page on Monday.
Two days ago I was attacked by a wolf while riding down the ALCAN. With all the planning for bears, road safety, and everything else, this scenario was something that none of us had ever considered. But, if you read on you will find out how I found myself alone on my bike being chased down and attacked by a Canadian Gray Wolf.
It was around 2:30, about 60 miles west of Watson Lake on the ALCAN,… I was a bit ahead of the guys when I heard something to my right. Thinking Gabe or Gordo had caught up without me noticing I looked over my shoulder and was shocked at what I saw. The first thought that ran through my head was “that is the biggest damn dog I have ever seen!”. This surreal moment of shock and confusion passed immediately was the “dog” lunged for my right foot and snapped its jaws just missing my pedal.
WOLF!!! At this point I received the biggest jolt of adrenalin I have ever had in my life. Without so much as a thought I shifted my bike to the highest gear possible, started to mash the pedals like never before, and reached for the bear spray in the handlebar bag. I threw off the safety and gave the wolf a quick blast in the face which served to slow him down so that he was now 20 feet behind me but still not stopping. He hung back for maybe 20 seconds and then raced forward and attacked my panniers, in the process ripping my tent bag and spilling my poles onto the highway.
I gave him another shot of pepper spray, which again backed him off to about 20 feet behind. Despite pedaling like I have never pedaled before, the wolf kept pace with me easily. It was at this point that I saw an 18 wheeler round the corner and began to wave, shout, and point to the wolf frantically. As he slowed I began to breathe a sigh of relief, thinking if I could just get off my bike and into the truck fast enough I would be safe. After taking a good look at the scene the driver resumed his speed and drove on.
This same scenario would happen to me 4 separate times, with my desperation growing with each car that passed me by. Every time the wolf would begin to close on me again, I would shoot a quick blast of bear spray behind me to slow him down.
As I came around the corner, to my horror I saw a quick incline, and knew that I would not be able to stay in front of this wolf for much longer. I just kept thinking about all the shows I have seen where wolves simply run their prey until they tire and then finish them. It was a surreal moment to realize that I was that prey, and this hill was that moment. The only plan I could think of was to get off my bike, get behind it, and hope that I had enough bear spray to deter him once and for all when he got close enough.
It was also at this point that I realized I might not be going home, and I began to panic at the thought of how much it was going to hurt. About .2 mile before the hill an RV came around the corner, and I knew this was it. I placed myself squarely in the center of the road and began screaming at the top of my lungs “help me, there's a wolf, please help me” while waving frantically. Seeing the situation the driver quickly passed me and stopped on a dime right in front of my bike. I don't know how I got unclipped or off my bike, but I swear I hurdled the handlebars without missing a beat or letting go of my can of bear spray. When I got to the backdoor of the RV still screaming, the door was locked. In an absolute panic I began to climb in the passenger window, but the driver reached across and threw the door open to let me in. By the time I shut the door the wolf was already on my bike pulling at the shredded remains of my tent bag. I began to shake, and cuss.
More cars began to pull up and honk at the wolf, but he would not leave my bike, as though he thought it was his kill. It took someone finally beaning him in the head with a rock to get him to leave. At this point Gabe and Gordo showed up looking confused and concerned with a set of shattered tent poles in hand. While I know I got the names of the man and woman who saved me, for the life of me I can't remember them now. I do remember the woman giving me a hug that felt like the greatest hug of my life.
Still jacked on adrenalin, all I wanted to do was get out of that place, and get out fast. The folks in the RV were nice enough to watch our backs as we got a ways down the road before leaving, and gave one final wave as they passed by. I gave them a card for the ride and I hope they are reading this so that they know how much I am in their debt and how grateful I am that they stopped to save me. Otherwise I honestly don't think this story would have ended well.
We made it about 10 miles down the road before the full adrenalin rush wore off and then everything seemed to go into slow motion and I just felt dizzy and tired. We pulled over to a roadside creek where I stumbled down to splash water on my face and basically sat in the creek and lost my s%$t. The full implication of what had just happened to me sank in, and I just lost it for a good 15 minutes.
We have spent a lot of time talking about the incident since, and the only conclusion we can come up with is that the wolf was old, sick, or injured, to be chasing something down on the highway. I would not doubt I am the first cyclist ever to have this happen to them on the ALCAN. That being said I have tried not to let this experience change my positive feelings about being out here, but I do look over my shoulder more, and am a bit jumpy.
While other things have happened since the last update, this is all I can really remember. We're in Whitehorse, Yukon now, having pulled off a century before 2:30. We're planning on doing some bike work here and relaxing for the afternoon. That's all for now.
Point to Bay is a charity bicycle tour from Sandpoint, ID to Prudhoe Bay, AK supporting the Sandpoint Backpack Program. The Sandpoint Backpack Program provides students in need with backpacks full of food for the weekend to ensure they return to school on Monday fed and ready to learn. This ride is 100% self-supported, and 100% rider funded, meaning every bit of your donation goes directly to students in need. The 2,750 mile ride begins June 17th, 2013 and will take roughly 6 1/2 weeks to complete. For more information please follow the links to the Point to Bay website. Full bellies, full minds!