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Today’s Bicycle Commuting Report

I wouldn't call it biblical rain.

There were, after all, no frogs falling from the sky.

But when I was ready to ride away from the Review Tower this afternoon, it was coming down hard.

Two sodden colleagues, John and Kip, came into the lobby from the back door looking as if they had been fetched up from the mouth of a great sea serpent. “At least you missed the hail,” said one. 

I waited a few minutes and then set forth.

To bolster my spirits, I hummed a tune by Brother Claude Ely.

“Ain't no grave,” the Pentecostal pastor sang. “Gonna hold my body down.”

Today’s Bicycle Commuting Report

A woman who looked like she might be about my age backed out of a driveway right in front of me this afternoon.

We all make mistakes. And she was driving a huge ass Canyonero (or whatever). I imagine those things have a few blind spots.

Still, she was backing onto 29th, across a bike lane. Seems like you would want to look for traffic. Wouldn't you?

I was going pretty slow and had anticipated this possibility, so stopping was no big deal.

I said nothing. I made no gesture. But I looked at the woman as I passed.

We were both wearing sunglasses, so I suspect a bit was lost in translation. But she clearly said something, perhaps to the grandchild in the front passenger seat.

If you had to guess, what do you think she muttered?

A) “Effing cyclists … think they own the road.”

B) “Effing cyclists … why don't they realize cities were built for cars?”

C) “Effing cyclists … they'll sneak right up on you!”

D) “Good grief … I need to be more attentive.”

E) Other.  

Today’s Bicycle Commuting Report

Once again, coming down the South Hill in the morning was easier than going back up it in the afternoon.

Trying to avoid a case of aphid-lung

Lots of Spokane area bike riders will tell you.

This time of year offers some of the best afternoons for cycling.

But in certain neighborhoods where there is an abundance of trees, there is a challenge for bike riders: Trying not to inhale aphids when rolling through an insect cloud.

The best advice, of course, is the classic all-purpose counsel that has served well in countless situations.

Keep your mouth shut.

SpokeFest has incentive for early sign-up

BICYCLING – The orgnaizers of SpokeFest, the annual September bicycle celebration that branches out from downtown Spokane, are offering an early sign-up incentive:

Register online by Saturday (June 30) and you will be entered into a drawing to win one of two iPOD Nanos donated by Huppins or a Novara Corsa Comfort Bike from REI.

Choose from four different routes on Sept. 9:

  • 1 or 2.5-mile Park Loop and Bike Safety Rodeo,
  • 9-mile Spokane Falls Route,
  • 21–mile Classic River Route
  • 47-mile Four Mounds Route.

All of the rides and events start downtown and finish at the SpokeFair on the Post Street Bridge next to Riverfront Park.

Read on for more details.

One question for Friday the 13th Eve

Are Inland Northwest entomologists who ride bicycles more able than the average Spokane area pedaler to recognize instantly just what sort of insect has flown into their mouths?

www.biology.duke.eu 

A Top 10 for Wednesday morning

My bike ride to work this morning was a bit brisk. And I couldn't help but wonder what drivers of cars passing by thought when they saw me.

My guesses:

10. “What a maroon.”

9. “Bet he's sorry about that DUI now.”

8. “That's about as silly as those high school kids wearing shorts when it's frigid.”

7. “I've heard of being concerned about your carbon footprint, but that's ridiculous.”

6. “Wonder how many layers of gloves he's wearing.”

5. “Nice array of lights.”

4. “He probably thinks he's cool.”

3. “Those cyclists don't pay any taxes!”

2. “What's he going to do if it snows this afternoon?”

1. My presence didn't even register. People tend to be lost in their own thoughts about MasterCard balances, constipation issues and resented promotions of workplace rivals. 

Grand Boulevard, 5:30 a.m.

You know that thing some women do when they want to apply a touch of perfume but don't want to overdo it?

Sure. They'll squeeze off a couple of spritzes out in front of them and then lean into or walk through the fragrance while it's still suspended in the air.

Well, that's sort of what I've been doing on my way to work the last couple of days. Only it hasn't been by design. And I'm not referring to cologne.

I keep riding my bike through invisible clouds of incident-aftermath skunk scent. I'm not sure if any of it sticks to me. But the stuff certainly is powerful.

Reminds me of a certain cartoon character.

www.sarcasticbite.com   

Check out this man’s bike tour of 14 national parks

BICYCLE TOURING — OK, so it was done first in cars during a 1920 showcase event.

But one cyclist/writer says there's bicycling merit to the Playground Tour, a 4,500 mile, four-month bike ride through the Western United States.

Rick Olson, editor-at-large of adventure journal Wend Magazine, spent June – October of 2010 peddling a bicycle (nicknamed “Buck”) across miles of western landscapes, recreating on two-wheels a historic auto tour of 12 National Parks that took place in 1920 to celebrate the creation of the Park-to-Park Highway.

“I was inspired when I saw Paving the Way, a documentary about the creation of this amazing bit of the US highway system,” says Olson. “I wanted to bring attention to this great achievement and at the same time highlight the need for more bike friendly routes around the US.”

While en route, the Playground Tour raised money for the United States Bike Route System, supported by the Adventure Cycling Association. The goal of this effort is to create the world’s largest bicycle route system.

Bikes will rule in Silver Valley’s Bicycle Jam, July 14-17

CYCLING — The Silver Spokes Bicycle Jam sounds like a two-wheel spectacle, with a family bike triathlon, criteriums, time trials and a hill climb and the Silver Mountain Downhill— not to mention some fun rides for the less competitive.

It's all scheduled in the Wallace-Kellogg area July 14-17, along with music and vendors adding to the festivity.

More information is posted on Chamber of Commerce websites for Kellogg  and Wallace.

Meantime, Read on for a schedule and more details.

Sun Valley Bike Festival features 400 miles of single track

CYCLING — Sun Valley is unveiling a new cycling event this summer — the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival with events running July 11-17.  

The festival showcases the area’s 400-plus miles of continuous single track trail and 32 miles of multi-use paved bike paths.

Watch the USA Cycling’s Olympic Mountain Bike Cross County National Championships on the slopes of Sun Valley’s rugged Baldy Mountain. Other activities include the Avett Brothers in concert, Fat Tire Criterium and “Geared: the Culture of Bicycles” exhibit at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.

At the lower River Run parking areas, a technical Expo will be open daily, featuring top cycling vendors from around the world displaying the newest and latest in cycling gear and equipment.

Two-seater bikes stoke rally in Spokane

BICYCLING — More than 600 tandem cycling enthusiasts are freewheeling to Spokane Friday through Sunday to celebrate the holiday weekend in the 26th annual Northwest Tandem Rally.

The Spokane Regional Sports Commission is helping organize the event. Based out of Mukogawa Ft. Wright Institute, the rally includes organized rides of up to 94 miles through the West Plains and through the small towns of the Palouse before they loop back to social events in Spokane.

The “it takes two to tandem” pedalers will head west out of Fort Wright in a mass start for their first ride starting at t 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

 Read on for more details.

City headed wrong direction on bike route

BICYCLING — City of Spokane, keeping bicyclist safe one poorly executed step at a time…

Bicyclists meet to sort out regional projects

BICYCLING — The Bicycle Alliance is bringing its Hub & Spoke outreach tour to Spokane, and the group is inviting area cyclists to meet up at the Steam Plant Grill at 5:30 p.m. on June 23. 
 
The group plans to discuss how cyclists fared in Washington's legislative session and update cyclists on the Alliance's current projects. The group also want to hear what’s on the minds of local cyclists. 
 
Light appetizers will be provided, cash bar available. 
 
RSVP to Louise McGrody or to the event posted on the Alliance's  Facebook page by June 13 if you plan to attend. 

Oregon burg hands out $4K in tickets to bicyclists

CYCLING — Police in the town of Amity, Ore., wrote more than $4,000 in traffic tickets Saturday during an annual charity bicycle ride that passed through the community, the Associated Press reports.

Some riders told KGW-TV they thought police were at the intersection to allow riders through since it was an organized event.

Not so.

Police Chief Dan Brown told the TV reporter his officers have tried for years to get the bicyclists to comply with traffic laws and says “we had to take it a step further.”

About 3,000 people paid to participate in the organized “Reach the Beach” tour from Portland to the Oregon coast.

KGW says that at one corner in Amity, 14 bicyclists received traffic tickets for $317 each. Amity police say riders were not stopping at the stop sign.

Reach the Beach organizers say they warned riders in brochures that they must follow all traffic laws.

NIdaho Blogs: Fear & Suffering

At Stebbijo's Place, Stebbijo publishes a few photos of Doomsday individuals who were on the busy corners of I-90 & H95 Friday afternoon, predicting the world was coming an an end at 6 p.m. Saturday. You can see more photos & read Stebbijo's thoughts here.

Feature Blog: When my son was learning to ride his bike, he was afraid of falling down and getting hurt. So I always made sure to run along with him while he was figuring out how to do all those complicated bike things at the same time, like pedaling, steering, braking, and balancing. I never let him fall. A dad I know scolded me. He said, “You have to fall down and get hurt to learn to ride a bike.” This is the same dad who also once told me, “Bullying is good for your kids. It toughens them up for the real world”/Idaho Dad, A River Runs Through It. More here.

Hucks Online numbers (for week of May 15-21): 45201/28952

Question: Which theory do you subscribe to — allow your child to learn by falling off a bike or run alongside to prevent him/her from being hurt by falling?

Hucks Poll: We Don’t Ride Bikes

  • Monday Poll: A majority of Hucks Nation either doesn't ride bikes or rides them only occasionally. 49 of 108 respondents (45.37%) said they never ride bikes. Another 21 of 108 (19.44%) said they ride bikes only occasionally. Only 5 respondents (4.63%) said they ride bikes every day. Other votes were scattered among those who ride bikes 2-3 times per week, 22 (20.37%). And those who ride bikes once a week, 11 (10.19%).
  • Today's Poll: Are you personally affected by the current flooding in North Idaho?

Hucks Poll: We’re Underpaid

  • Weekend Poll: 94 of 173 respondents (54.34%) said they're underpaid when asked to describe the level of their wages. 50 of 173 respondents (28.9%) said they're adequately compensated. 25 of 173 (14.45%) said they are unemployed. 2 each answered they're paid too high or didn't know how to describe their level of compensation.
  • Today's Poll (in honor of Bike to Work week): How often do you ride your bike when the weather is good?

Don’t procrastinate: STP bike tour almost full

BICYCLING — The most popular spring and SUMMER organized bicycle tours have filled or are filling fast.

I have a story coming Sunday with a calendar of the most popular local and regional events through August.

The Seattlet o Portland ride (STP), July 9-10,  which takes on 10,000 riders, was 80 percent full on Monday.  I just checked in it's 93 percent full for the 200-mile fully supported tour.

It’s the largest of the region’s cycling events. Info: cascade.org/

REI recalling 160 Novara Fusion bikes

BICYCLING — REI is recalling about 160 bicycles because of a potential fall hazard.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says the alloy steerer tube on certain Nova Fusion bicycles could separate from the fork, causing the rider to lose control, posing a fall hazard to consumers.

No injuries have been reported, but there has been one report of the tube detaching.

The recall is for bikes with serial numbers U95Y07321, U96Y28393, or in the sequential range of the last four digits U96Y28876 through U96Y29128. (Serial numbers are located on the underside of the bike)

These bikes were sold at REI stores nationwide and at REI.com from November 2009 to November 2010 for between $600 and $900.

The company says consumers should stop riding the bicycles and contact their local REI store or the REI customer service center to arrange for a replacement fork to be installed free of charge.

Consumer Contact: REI at (800) 426-4840 anytime or go to the recall page of REI’s website.

Chilly Hilly bicycle tour to live up to name this weekend

BICYCLING — Western Washington's annual “Chilly Hilly” bicycle tour should live up to its name this weekend.

Thousands of bicyclists are expected to take part Sunday in the 33-mile bike trek around Bainbridge Island. The National Weather Service says rain is in the forecast, with Sunday temperatures in the low 40s.

Cascade Bicycle Club, which organizes the tour, says more than 6,000 riders took part last year.