Group Rides

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

Friday, April 19, 2013

A new chapter this summer - touring

In some ways I can't really believe I'm actually starting this "journal". My cycling life has taken me all sorts of places since approximately 1980. That's when I remember jumping on an old gas pipe, hardware store 10 speed (way too large) and exploring the back country gravel and dirt roads of the Palouse area of Washington state. This area is known for it's abundant wheat crops and lush, rolling hills and miles upon miles of rural unpaved roads. As a teen there was nothing better than finding an old abandoned farm house or barn and exploring it. This joy of exploring was lost over the years as I got older.

I attended Central Washington University in the mid-1980's and rode all over the county with my 1984 Peugeot PSV. These are the same rides I traverse today. Being a long distance runner in high school I naturally started to gravitate toward cycling longer distances and completed the Seattle to Portland bicycle ride in one day in 1985. From there I moved into doing 100k and 100 mile rides fairly regularly and even trained for the cross state Cannonball bike ride in 1997 (276 miles in one day) - crashing and bending a derailleur hanger at 3:00 am and ending my hopes of completing the ride.  Then life really got in the way - jobs (moving three times), kids (now 6 of them), coaching (kids sports) - and kept me from riding much. By 2008, I'd had enough and decided it was time to get back on the bike. I've spent the last 4+ years riding more and more each year and finding myself moving closer and closer to the idea of touring. I bought books on bike touring, read Crazyguyonabike journals, talked to touring cyclists I would see in the summer but there was always that excuse in the back of my mind - I don't have time.  I even started accumulating racks, panniers and other gear as bits of money were available.  This summer I was supposed to take a guys vacation with my brothers and father to South Dakota. Unfortunately, due to some unexpected issues, the trip is getting postponed until 2014 which means the week of vacation I had on the calendar was now wide open and I decided now was the time for my first bicycle tour. I chose to start with a four day tour of the central part of the state. While I could stretch it out a few more days, I decided to use this number of days to allow for some family time on the front and back end of the tour and to hopefully produce good experience and gain some knowledge to push me into some longer tours in the following summers.  The final route will take me from Ellensburg to Wenatchee the first day, Wenatchee to Potholes State Park the second day, Potholes to Yakima (via Mattawa and Hwy 24) the third day and then back up the Yakima River Canyon the last day.  Total mileage will be between 315 and 320 for the four days and average between 75 and 80 miles per day.

The bike and equipment:

The bike:

In 2008 I started collecting what are referred to as C&V (classic & vintage) bikes. These are all steel bikes (primarily road) made from the late 1960's to mid 1980's. Several are French, one is American and one is Japanese. I also have an early 1990's Scott steel frame mountain bike and a 1996 Klein mountain bike - both hardtails. Finally, I have a 1987 Trek 800 Antelope rigid frame mountain bike that was converted to drop bars and bar end friction shifters. The intention was for this to be my touring bike. However, after several years of riding it around town and off road I just haven't found it that comfortable. Of all the road bikes only the Trek 510 with it's nice long chain stays could possibly work as a touring rig. I started pondering what to do. The Trek is light and has quick steering but I wasn't sure how it would handle with a load. Should I start looking for a "true" touring bike? I know people have toured on all types of bikes. Why should I have to try to find the "perfect" set up right from the beginning.  Then, I remembered. There was one more bike - a late 80's Peugeot Limestone hybrid that fit better than the Trek Antelope and had 700c wheels. I had recently gone through this bike and converted it to drop bars and bar end shifters as well. I pulled it out of the storage room in the shop and took a look. My mind was made up - try the Peugeot. While the bike is rideable as it currently sits I will be changing out the chainrings from oval to round and potentially changing the front derailleur.   It has recently been fitted with a new set of wheels with stronger rear spokes to support the weight of touring. I have two months to plan and train from here. The ride will not be overly strenuous (only one mountain pass involved) but has some areas where heavy winds can be a factor. That has me a little worried.

Before photo of the bike as it arrive at my place

After photo - minor changes still needed

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Manastash Metric - already?

It's already April which means the annual Ellensburg Manastash Metric Century/Half Century is only 6 months away.

Don't forget to register early for the ride on the first Saturday in October.  Last year's wildfires cancelled the ride due to hazardous air quality conditions.  But, planning is in full swing this year for another successful event.

To register go to the Manastash Metric website.