Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why I ride...

I don't race, so I don't ride to train.  I don't participate in timed events, so I don't care about how fast I ride.  Well, maybe a little since I do have to be back in time to open the shop according to my posted hours.  I usually ride solo, so I'm not necessarily riding to compete against others in a group.  However, I do tend to turn it up a little if I see a rider up ahead.  

I ride because I like to push myself physically.  Same reason I also trail run.  There's nothing better than the feeling of turning the pedals over and hearing the tires sing on the road.  In West Marin, just about every ride has upwards of 1,000' of climbing for each 10 miles.  Every ride that I like doing.  I like climbing because I love descending. 

I love riding here because I can go for a 4 hour ride and come across only a handful of stop signs.  In fact, last week, I came across only 3 stop signs on a 60 mile ride I started from my house.  Stop lights?  Not here.  

I also ride because I get to see some amazing scenery.  Flora and fauna.  I bring a small Olympus camera in my jersey pocket on almost every ride.  Most of shots I take are on the bike while rolling.  There's always something unique that presents itself for a photo.  I took up photography in middle school where we had a darkroom.  I don't think I've ever not taken photos.  Not a lot, though.  Too many is noise.  Just enough to give me the sense of reliving the ride or capturing something unique.  Whether it's a cloud pattern, the lighting, the emptiness, some critter or varmint, that's a big reason why I ride - to see things.  Real things.

This is the top of Inverness Ridge.  To the right is the west and the fog that was coming up the ridge from the west.  To the left, it was clear and sunny down on Tomales Bay.  This spot where the fog rolls up and dissipates was amazing.

I saw this coyote on the trail.  I heard something off to my left and looked over at this coyote not more than 10' away from me.  We both stopped.  It was not interested in me, but was sniffing the air and looking past me.  Something was out there.  By the time I got my camera out and took this shot, it had gone up the hillside a bit.  It was a good looking coyote.

The view of Inverness Ridge from the top of the Marshall Wall.

Edge of the fog in Nicasio.

Lots of empty roads to myself in the mornings.

And one of Arch Rock - the result of a ride and a hike.

(What's playing:  Silver Dollar Jukebox on KWMR)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New cross colors finalized...

One of the hardest things about bicycle design is not coming up with the design.  It's coming up with colors for the frames.  Once upon a time, I, along with co-workers, would have to come up with colors for about 75 different models with 2 or 3 different color options.  Not easy.  Working with a small group, it wasn't too difficult.  It can almost be more difficult trying to figure it all out solo.  

I generally don't want to design by committee because my frames are a reflection of me.  Same goes for color choices.  However, as the demand increases, it is important to gauge your customer's interest in your products and throwing out a few color choices is a great way to keep interested parties, well, interested.  

So, because of feedback and because these are also the two colors I was drawn to, the new colors for the cross frames coming from Taiwan this fall will be the Dazzling Blue (left) and Maroon (right).  

(What's playing:  R.E.M. What's The Frequency, Kenneth)

Monday, June 30, 2014

New and used for sale...

The current green cross frames have been very popular.  In fact, the 59cm green frames were sold out before they even arrived.  However, there is one available.  A customer bought one, however, a few months later, he decided that he already has too many bikes and his plans for using this green frame have changed so it is for sale.  If you are looking for a 59cm green cross frame, send me an e-mail and I'll put you in touch with the frame's owner so you can work out the details to get it under your butt and on the road (paved or dirt).  As a reminder, here is what the green looks like.  This is a recent 56cm build for Bill.  The frame for sale is still in its original carton with all the packing materials.

The second bike is a pre-owned local bike.  A root beer cross bike from the first run of frames.  The owner's knees ain't what they used to be and being a multi-bike owner, he's decided to offer this one for sale.  It's a 62cm frame built with SRAM bar end shifters and White Industries crank.  Here's a partial breakdown of parts:

White Ind VBC 46/30 crank 175mm paired to 11-36 cassette
Velocity A23 rims with Shimano 105 32h hubs
Salsa Cowbell 2 46cm bars
Cane Creek brake levers with Avid Shorty 6 canti brakes
WTB Rocket V Pro on a Ritchey Pro seat post
Tires are Vee Rubber V12 1.95, but a set of Conti Cyclocross 42 comes with the bike - both tires have a lot of miles left
Also included is a set of Planet Bike clip on fender/splash guards.

New this bike is $2400.  It can be yours for $1600 + shipping (if required).  There are a few scuffs on the paint, but nothing that goes through the paint.

(What's playing:  KWMR Release Me)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Closed Friday, June 20...

I played golf a lot in my younger days.  These days, I play once a year in the annual KWMR golf tournament.  And that is happening tomorrow so I will be closed all day.  Back in the shop on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.  

(What's playing:  Tom Waits Dirt In The Ground)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ride with Bruce Gordon...

I'm totally off the back posting the goodness that is a casual ride with Bruce Gordon.  It happens tomorrow (sorry for the short notice) and starts/ends at Bruce's shop in Petaluma.  It should be a fun ride and the weather is supposed to be great.  If you haven't seen Bruce's new retail shop and museum that contains all the bikes he's built for himself, you need to set your alarm and get to Bruce's tomorrow for a 9:00 a.m. ride.  Details are here:  Bruce Gordon Cycles Casual Ride!

(Photo by Michael B. Woolsey)

(What's playing:  KWMR)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Closed and colors...

Black Mountain Cycles will be closed Tuesday June 10 thru Thursday June 12.  I'll be back in the shop on Friday.  In the mean time, here are a three new colors that I'm considering for the next run of cross frames scheduled to arrive some time in the Fall.  The maroon has a bit of metallic flake in it.  The blue is a Pantone® Dazzling Blue 18-3949.  The red...I don't recall what caused the request of the red color tube, but it's a nice deep red. 

(What's playing:  Absolutely quiet at 4:20 in the morning)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Four more hours...

If Sunday's 4 hour point/point/point ride wasn't enough, I got out the next day for 4 1/2 hours on a modified out and back ride.  The previous day was on the road bike.  This day was on the cross bike.  Got to mix it up, you know.  As with the point/point/point ride, this day's ride was also one I hadn't been on.  I'd always seen that the Estero Trail was legal for bikes (rare in this local National Park that is designated wilderness), but knowing that much of the trail is on open cattle range, knew the trail was likely pock marked from cow hooves.  There's nothing quite like riding on a hard packed trail that's marked with thousands of hoof print craters on a cross bike.  But, I did it and I'll probably do it again because there's some super fun parts of the ride.

The route I took out of Point Reyes Station took me up the dirt climb out of Inverness at the end of Perth Way.  From there I headed down the paved Mt. Vision Rd. and out Sir Francis Drake to the Estero Trailhead.  Wanting to get to both Sunset Beach and Drake's Head, I did the two as out and backs.  The first mile or so of the Estero Trail is fantastic.  It's a super fun single-track that winds through a small grove of trees and ends up out at the head of Home Bay.  From there, you're pretty much out in the open and not to disappoint, the wind blew.  

After completing the two out and backs, I thought "Inverness Ridge Trail."  I mean, why not.  It's just a climb back up Mt. Vision Rd. to get to it.  My plan was to end up at Perry's Deli for lunch so if I was going to have the sandwich I was planning, the extra climb would make lunch that much more deserved.  Total mileage and climbing - about 35 miles with 4,500' of climbing.  Pretty great stuff.

Foggy at the top of the first climb

Estero Trail.  The smooth part.

Home Bay

Low tide patterns on Home Bay

Looking down on the bridge where where my bike was perched in the photo two above.

Lots of wild flowers and open spaces

Where am I?

Limantour Spit from the top of Drake's Head

Another from the top of Drake's Head

It's so windy out here, the trees need to grow their own kickstands.

Still a bit overcast on the second trip over Mt. Vision

And saw a bobcat who stayed just off the trail checking things out

And this was for lunch.  

And this explains why it was foggy and windy all morning.

(What's playing:  Elvis Costello No Hiding Place)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Give 'em the boot...

Been a while since I posted a "things I like" post, but these are just the best.  You can make your own, but it's kind of convenient to have these with their sticky backs that don't shift when installing.  What I'm talking about is the Park Tools "Emergency Tire Boot."  Personally, I would drop "emergency" and just call them "tire boot."  

What they do is patch a cut tire.  I've got thousands of miles on tires with boots in them.  I consider them to be a fairly permanent fix to a cut tire.  I get customers in who have tiny cuts in tires who want new tires even after I show them they can save their tire.  It's what I use, but I'm happy to sell a new tire too. 

The Park boots come in a pack of 3 or 4 and are fairly large.  Too large, so I cut mine in half and get double the amount out of a pack.  Here is a Challenge Strada tire that picked up a chunk of glass on a wet ride put of slice all the way through the tire.  Behind that nasty cut is a Park tire boot.  It's been holding strong for several hundred miles of pavement and dirt.  I figure I can get full life out of this tire with the boot.  Get some and keep them with your riding kit that should consist of tube, patch kit, multi-tool.

The cut in half boots I keep in my patch kit.

Before I used the Park boot, I used a piece of an old road tire - the thinner, the better.  I cut the bead off the tire and then cut the tire in to small 1" square sections and fit that behind the cut.  Works like a champ and everyone has old, worn out tires, right?

(What's playing:  Queens Of The Stone Age If Only)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Point to Point to Point to Point...

Or the out and back and out and back, out and back ride.  I've been in Point Reyes Station 7 years now and can't believe this was the first time I'd done this ride.  Done every part of it, but not combined it all.  It's basically combining what are typically two rides into one. 

What I'm talking about is a ride from Point Reyes Station to Pierce Point to the Point Reyes lighthouse and back to Point Reyes Station.  60 miles and I'm thinking a bit over 6,000' of climbing (remembering it's roughly 3,500' to Pierce Point and back to PRS and about the same to the lighthouse and back to PRS).  (edit:  That's what I get for thinking.  Actual climbing is 4,500'.)

What got me to tackle this ride now?  Last Saturday, the Dirty Kanza 200 was held and I keep seeing Facebook postings of guys tackling big miles and I felt like I needed to up my mileage (or more specifically my T.I.T.S - Time In The Saddle) on the days I have more than a couple hours to ride.  Last weekend I put in two 4 hour days in a row and between this recent Sunday when I spent 4 hours tackling this Point/Point/Point/Point ride and today's 4 1/2 hours, I'm feeling pretty good on the bike now.  Motivation seems to be with me.  For now.

The road to Pierce Point

Which was fully encased in fog

Rolling back from Pierce Point

Cows dig it out on the range

The cypress tunnel leading to the RCA building

The understatement of the year

There's a lighthouse down there

And back to Point Reyes Station

All the photos here:  http://tinyurl.com/ogkoz57

(What's playing:  KWMR Release Me)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Breaking the rules...

Sometimes I feel unworthy of riding a nicer bike.  I've read "The Rules" and while there is some elitist, fun, playfulness to them, there is good info there.  I am particular in how my bike is set up.  Luckily, I still still have good flexibility so I can comfortably run my bars well below my seat.  I run my seats level, bars just so, road pedals on the road bike, double sided SPD on the cross bike.  I'm fairly fit, but don't have as much time to really put in long miles to be comfortable on fast paced rides.  Today, a long ride for me is 40 miles and 3 hours.  Okay, maybe 60, but not very fast (it seems posting ride mileage in kilometers is the hip thing to do in the states, but I'll stick with miles).  All the right gear.

Then a bike like this comes in and the story behind it makes me think I'm a not worthy.  The owner of this bike - a 1970s Schwinn Varsity that weighs north of 41 pounds - brought it in for a new shift cable and says he's training on it to get ready for a tour back east.  And I realize I am simply a cupcake.  The rides he's doing on this bike are hard.  To the Pt. Reyes lighthouse and back (40 miles with 3,800' of climbing).  To Valley Ford and back is 50 miles. This time of year, it's 50% headwind and it's a continuous roller coaster.  Not an easy ride on a nice road bike.

Even though this rider doesn't know about the rules and his bike pretty much breaks every single one.  There is one rule that is not broken when he heads out on a ride and for that, I am throwing up a big virtual high five to this bike's rider.