Thursday, December 24, 2015

Missing gNate

What went down tonight was a rad, mostly non-organized, semi-regular, seasonal bike hang.  With thanks to Justin, without whose initiative we would be that much more adrift.  Glen traditionally hosts this affair, and always BBQ's some type of rad sausages.  No girls showed up, so we were free to get sophomorically weird and hilarious, if only in our own opinion.  The absence of carbs and abundance of protein on the makeshift buffet table may have also had its effect on us, I am not sure.  It is a complex equation.

See if you can spot the unicorn

One thing that IS indisputable and irrefutable within the mist is that three core dudes were conspicuously absent tonight . . .

As for Wade, there is no excuse, that any of us could come with in our tribunal, to justify his absence.  As with any family member that has gone astray, love is the operative emotion, and we just want Wade to get right.  Wade: please get right.

And please also remember that my sister-in-law is your boss, as an added incentive.

Here's one example of why we can't let go of Wade without a fight:

The larger backstory of that torrid moment is here.

As for gNate and Eberly, that's a whole 'nother deal.

Those dudes saved my life not that long ago, on a mountain high above Loon Lake.  The whole mess is documented here.

The Cliff Notes version is that I was wrecked, as you can clearly see:

Meanwhile, these two happy bastards . . .

. . . saved my life.

So I owe them, of course.  But they also owe me.  As in an explanation of why they weren't with us tonight.

Eberly had this whole elaborate excuse about how he's on the verge of finishing his degree program and couldn't drop everything to attend this super rad affair in another city, . . . blah, blah, blah.
Fine, whatever.

gNate, however, has not weighed in with any substantive reason for missing the hang, nor has he weighed in at all.

Consequently, certain people are looking for answers . . .

gNate, have you a response?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Super Sad, Super Rad

My buddy Chip emailed me this afternoon with the breaking news that Jon Snyder resigned from his position on the Spokane City Council (super sad).

 Reason being, he was appointed Washington's first Director of Outdoor Initiative, a new post created by Gov. Jay Inslee (super rad).

 The news immediately reminded me of a line from the movie Shawshank Redemption . . . "I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend."

While the comparison may seem super sappy and overly-dramatic, the fundamental sentiment rings true: It would be flat out wrong to cage the magnitude of Jon's integrity and passion and vision and energy within the boundaries of Spokane politics. He has bigger work to do. I will miss him, though. His city council shoes are huge ones to fill. His leadership gave me great comfort.

My buddy John first introduced me to Jon, and it was kind of momentous for me, because it was my first-ever significant personal connection with a local politician. Through Jon, I have had the great privilege of experiencing high-level public servant integrity. Jon embodies the virtue of "for the people", with his every word and action.

It will always be a source of pride for me that I built a front rack for the bike that Jon rode all the hell around Spokane in the course of conducting his business these last few years. The story is here.

 And I will always be incredibly grateful for Jon's recent support of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail at the local/regional level.

With this said, my personal issues, interactions and memorabilia are so incredibly insignificant, in terms of the work he is doing. On this very day that he resigned, a profound and impactful letter to the editor that he wrote was published in today's Spokesman Review.

Holy hell. That's the level of priority and awareness that this guy is operating at.

Thanks, Jon, for everything you have done for Spokane!  And congratulations!  And go get 'em!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My New eBike: What, Why

I've gone . . . electric.  [GASP!?!]

I'll give you a minute . . .

K, time's up.

Here's the deal, then.

I've been getting more and more interested in electric-assist bikes, or pedalecs.  Reason being, bike commuting has become, for me, not workable.  It's the time commitment - at 34 miles round trip, with a chunk of elevation at the home end, and frequent wind, it can take me an hour or better to get to work and and 1-1/2 or better to get home.  Throw in a shower at each end, and I'm looking at 2 extra hours vs the drive.  At a stage in my life where demands on my time are at an all time high and my energy level is inevitably decreasing with age, the equation doesn't balance.  My thought has been that maybe, this technology could be a way to work a bike back into my transportation scheme.

Ten, or five, or two years ago, my bike ego and resultant indignant sense of human-powered-purity would not have allowed me to even consider this heretical option.  My, how things change with time and technology.  I could go on, but Mr. Money Mustache explains my line of thinking far better than I ever could, in the first part of his post, HERE.

Where MMM and I diverge pretty radically is with respect to DIY kits/fiddling.  Here again, I just don't have the time, much as I wish I did.  I needed the plug and play option, and Bosch offers it NOW.  The system is so well engineered and so well integrated throughout the bike.

In a super-tight nutshell, here's how it all works:

  • Nothing happens unless you pedal.  If you do pedal, however, the bike will assist you, proportional to your input.  If you're lazy, it's lazy too.  If you're on fire, then "let's do this", says the bike.  The response is incredibly immediate.
  • The level of assistance is adjustable by you, the rider.  There are four levels.  Zero is a fifth option.
  • At the lowest level of assist, the bike will match you at half your input.  So if you're putting in 100 watts, it will add 50.
  • At the highest level of assist, the bike will add 2.75x your input.  So if you're putting in 100W, it will add 275, for a total of 375.  That's the shit that moves you up steep hills like a damn rocket and gets you home in time for a hot dinner, as opposed to a cold one.
  • If you ride at the highest level, you will drain your battery long before your ride has ended, and you will be pedaling your 45 Lb bike strictly under your own power and your face will look sad if not downright agonized.
  • If you ride at the lowest level, assistance will be with you for a great many miles, but your face will look content and not downright enthralled, as it would if you were climbing Bernard at 27mph and blasting spent electrons out your ass.
  • Balancing overall trip time against judicious juice use is the game then, and a fun one it is, especially given all the feedback that the handlebar-mounted brain provides.  Said the nerd.

Once I settled on the Bosch system as my must-have drive system, which didn't take long, I set about the task of deciding which brand integrated it into the dream bike with the greatest amount other stuff that I needed to have in my life.  There's a whole big other story about that, but it would put you immediately to sleep, so it will remain untold.  In the end, I recklessly forked over a small bike-fortune on a Trek XM700+.  Great bike, IMO, but how about that for a lame big-box bike name.  If it were up to me, I would incorporate electron spendage in the name for sure.  The "Trek Electron Ass Blaster 700", for instance.  I'm certain that they would sell a bazillion.  (I am also certain that it is a very good thing for Trek that that I am not employed by their marketing department.)

Whenever I get a new bike that I'm really excited about, I feel compelled to act out in a juvenile photographic ritual that I call "senior pictures".  I'm really excited about this bike, so here ya go . . .

The "heart" of this fine machine.

That's a pricey drive unit, appropriately protected by a skid plate.

The cockpit.

The "brain" of this fine machine.

Everything important (power assist level, info displayed) is controllable via this remote, left-thumb-operated unit.

Wires and cables abound.

Lots going on here.  Internal cable routing galore; Cannondale-style headshock;  worthy headlight
driven off the main battery.  And oh yeah, sucky fender line.  Pretty sure I can fix that, though.

Rad enclosed drivetrain.  Whatever big-boy bell-bottom pants you threw
your legs into this morning will work just fine on your ride.

Standard rear der and gearset out back, which works just like normal, and if you use it right, prolongs battery life.

Hydraulic discs, which are welcome and appreciated at the higher speeds you run around at on this bike.

Somewhat fugly but super functional euro kickstand, which I am quickly becoming BFF with.

Maybe my motivation makes sense to you at this point, or maybe you think I am totally full of bat-crazy bike shit, I get it.  You may like it, or you may hate it.  I am not sure myself.  Proof will be in the pud'n, for sure.  Let me get back to you.  In the meantime, please keep your car out of the shoulder . . . I have someplace to be.