Group Rides

Join us for evening indoor training rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm at the Recycle Bicycle Shop in downtown Ellensburg.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A few trails/paths if you don't mind driving

I started a new job (same company) this past Monday and spent the week in Spokane for a variety of things related to that work. One of the things we don't have much of in Kittitas County are paved multipurpose paths. We have to ride on the logging roads, paved county roads and sometimes (if you're crazy like me) the shoulder of the interstate. There are some nice single track trails in the upper county but on some you share with motorcyclists as well.

I often read and see pictures of different trails in Seattle - the Burke-Gilman being the most popular since it goes through the university district. But, there are also several others over on that side of the mountains that are good for cycling as long as you have the patience to endure those on foot or skates also.

The Spokane area has some really nice trails as well. I road on the Centennial trail from the Spokane valley to Post Falls. That trail however, goes from downtown Spokane to Coeur d'Alene, ID. It's a smooth trail that travels along the Spokane River much of the way. A few areas have some good bumps developing from roots under the path but overall the traffic this time of year on the path is optimal (aka quite light). In 21 miles I passed 5 other cyclists and just as many people walking. It was quite a nice ride. Unfortunately, some of the scenery enticed the desire to take some photos and I had left my camera in the car. Summertime on this trail can be a little busy but not like the western Washington ones.

If distance is what you're looking for check out the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes trail. A description from the internet states:

"The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bike path follows the Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way from Mullan, a mountain mining town near the Montana border, to Plummer, a town on the prairie near the Washington border. More than 71 miles of paved path takes you from high mountain splendor, through the historic Silver Valley, into the chain lakes region, along the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene, over the Chatcolet Bridge to Heyburn State Park, and finally climbs to the Palouse prairie: an adventure for the entire family! "

Again, weekends during the summer can be a little busy on the trail, especially along Lake Coeur d'Alene on the Plummer, ID side. I've found weekdays are the best time to ride.

Finally, there are a couple other options in north Idaho. One requires a mountain bike or cross bike with decent off road tires. This ride is the Trail of the Hiawatha. The trail is 15 miles long but you have the opportunity to ride through a perfectly straight 1.7 mile long railroad St. Paul Pass tunnel. Once that is done you travel through eight more tunnels and over seven steel trestles. As expected, a light on your bike is required. The gradient is only 2%. Day use fee is $9.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Never say never

As I've become a die hard member of the classic and vintage bicycle scene I have discovered one alarming thing about myself - I have a hard time saying no. Especially when something I find is good quality or a great reputation. I won't go as far to say it's disease, but there is definitely something addicting about the hunt for a quality vintage bike or component that makes it so fun.

For years my wife has been the bargain hunter. Now, I can try to do the same thing. I posted earlier about the 40+ year old Gitane that I built for essentially $35 and a lot of elbow grease. That's my most economical build to date. The next one (for a friend) may even top that.

I have discovered that what some others may call junk bikes may actually have some potential with parts. I recently won an auction for some bike parts at the CWU surplus sale. One of the bikes in the group was worth the price - however, it's too short so the frame will be sold. The parts will be kept for potential projects down the road. One of the frames in the bunch had a rare Sakae SR crankset with elliptical Ovaltech chainrings. I'll now have some rare Sakae and Stronglight (French) elliptical rings for my collection.

The Cascade Bicycle Club swap meet in Seatle this year was another success with the purchase of several different parts, some tires, a sweet Cinelli stem/handlebar combination, etc. for barely over $100. The fun is trying to track down the good deals. Two of the items cost 30% of the total cost.

I told myself in January - "No new bikes in 2011". Well, that lasted 2 months. This past week I walked into Goodwill here in town to meet my wife and sitting in the lobby for the wonderful price of $19.99 was a blue Motobecane (French - have I mentioned I like French bikes) mixte bicycle. "Ooohhhhh" went my brain and I found myself moving toward the bike as if some space age tractor beam had me by the neck and I couldn't break free.

I was expecting bottom end components and overall a bicycle in bad condition. It is so hard to stay calm when I started seeing Suntour components for the drivetrain and Normandy hubs on the wheels. The paint was in excellent condition with very few scratches.

My wife gave me permission to buy the bike and I happily, almost skipping, loaded it into the back of my car. After getting home I took note of all the components and started doing some research. The bike is a 1976 Super Mirage with all the stock components on it. The wheels are a little heavy (even though they're aluminum) and the handlebar and seat post are steel which adds weight. The chain may even be original. So it becomes one more project in the works when the current one is done. A complete overhaul will be needed - new cables, repack the bearings, new bar tape and (hopefully) brake hoods. The bike will make the perfect addition to the stable for neices and nephews when they visit to have something to ride with our kids.

Without further ado here are the pictures:

I forgot to mention I also picked up a free 1981 Motobecane mixte frame that same morning that someone had advertised on Craigslist. The frame material is actually a little better than the blue bike. It's got some paint chips and minor rust that will clean up fine.

Shimano Tourney crankset with Normandy Atom 440 pedals
Suntour Comp V front derailleur

Suntour ratcheting downtube shifters

Suntour V-GT Luxe rear derailleur

Weinmann 610 center pull brakes

SR French sized alloy stem

So much for not buying another bike this year.