28 July 2009

The Heat Is On

I'm riding the Courage Classic this weekend with a large team made up of Harmon Bike Club members and Rotarians from various Pierce County Rotary Clubs. So far, our team has raised over $40,000.

We had a training ride tonight in the 90°F heat and had a blast. We had a chance to meet other team members and share thoughts on the big ride. We are excited to be doing this together.

I've been leading these weekly training rides since St. Patrick's Day. I've also been helping others get jerseys ordered and organizing team events. While it may not seem like much, it has been a lot of work. I'm looking forward to the payoff!

When I got home today, I took stock of what I had brought along for today's 20 mile ride.

I hauled the empty growler in the Xtracycle for 18 miles, then had it filled after our team social. I picked up the empty water bottle from the side of the road in Point Defiance Park to put in my recycle bin at home. And I received a gift from one of my weekly riders, thanking me for leading the rides. (Lisa and Matt - I love it.) These are not large things, but they are also not the sort of things that one usually hauls on group rides.

However, these are things that I would gladly haul to the moon and back if it would help me raise more money for Child Abuse Intervention. As it stands, I'll be riding a 55 pound bike over three mountain passes, while carrying plenty of gear to ensure that others have a safe and comfortable ride. Sure it will be more work that way, but it will be worth it.

If you've been reading this blog at all, you know how much I love bicycling and how much I have tried to contribute to this important cause. Please consider contributing a few dollars. This is the last time I'll ask (this year), but it certainly won't be the last time that your contribution makes a difference.

For those of you in the Tacoma area, have a safe week and stay cool as much as possible. It's supposed to break 100°F here tomorrow, which simply doesn't happen often in this land of drizzle and clouds. I'll be back after the long weekend with a full ride report.

26 July 2009

What's in your Freeloader?

The other day I was out in the garage looking for my tool kit. It's usually with my Xtracycle, but after a very rigid search of both Freeloaders, I came up empty. This is what I did find:

That's two pair of gloves, three rags, a saddle cover, and tubes for both a 700c and 26" wheel. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but I'm always excited when I find that Fat Tire patch kit.

So where was it? I looked in the MADSEN bucket, my wife's saddlebag, in an around the tool box. No dice. For a moment I thought that some lowlife had ransacked my bike while it was locked up somewhere and only taken the tools, because who needs a nearly empty bottle of hand sanitizer and a blinky light with a broken clip?

Then I found the Cross Check's basket hidden in the corner where I had left it after returning from the T-Town Throwdown. And in it was my tool kit, with a bunch of other stuff:

I consolidated both piles and reloaded the Xtracycle. Since it's a million°F here this week, I put the wool gloves back in off-bike storage. Then on a group ride that night, someone needed a ziptie and some sunscreen, and I knew I had plenty of both back there in the "trunk." It felt good to know that I wasn't just carting all of that stuff around everyday waiting for the Apocolypse.

22 July 2009

Eating Miles, All Day Long

First thing this morning, I rode the Cross Check to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I always bike to the dentist, even though I have to lock up to a small tree out front, which seems awkward. The round-trip is about 4 miles. It was about 58°F and cloudy; a nice change from the hot, sunny afternoons we've been having lately. When I returned home, I made coffee and toast, with english cheddar and preserves. Brilliant.

Around lunchtime, I needed to run to the grocery store. My only passenger chose the MADSEN as his preferred mode of transport. What kid wouldn't? About half-way home, we stopped to chat with a curious cyclist about the MADSEN. It felt good to know that other Tacomans are interested in finding more ways to avoid car trips.

During dinner, I had a special request roll in for another beer can hat. It was a rush job, so I xtracycled to the craft store for yarn. Not your typical after-dinner ride, but I take 'em when I can get 'em.

Altogether, three rides on three bikes in one day to avoid 12 miles of driving. It doesn't get much better than that, folks.

18 July 2009

T-Town Throwdown

I biked the kids down to the Ruston waterfront for the 3rd Annual T-town Throwdown Trials Event. We arrived at noon for a little picnic on the grass. While we waited for the competition to begin, Gwen made a new friend and they ran all over the place as three year olds are apt to do. The riders were still walking the courses and warming up.

The Pro courses incorporated the large shoreline rip rap, but even watching the Beginners navigate small boulders was impressive. The crowd wasn't huge, which allowed for good views of the action, but many of the passers-by on the pedestrian path stopped at length to check it out. Lots of good, wholesome, family fun that few were willing to miss.

16 July 2009

One Winner; Many Thanks

Firstly, to everyone supporting this fundraising campaign: Thank you. Your combined efforts are helping to stop the cycle of child abuse and neglect in Pierce County. Last year, I was just one of over 600 riders in the Courage Classic, who together raised over $600,000 for the Rotary Endowment that supports the Child Abuse Intervention Department at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. The Courage Classic is the largest, single source of funding for this program. Every donor and dollar is important.

As promised, one of my generous donors will win this fabulous prize!

Each eligible donor has been allocated one raffle ticket for every $5 that they donated between July 8 and July 17. Ticket numbers were allocated sequentially in the order that donations were received (e.g. donor #1 gave $25 and holds tickets 01-05.) All of the numbered tickets were placed in the hat...

My lovely assistant, Gwen, gave the tickets a good swirl and chose the lucky winner:

Tom from bikejuju.com, you have just won a one-of-a-kind Fat Tire Ale Beer Can Hat! Congratulations! I'll be contacting you directly about how to receive your prize.

In total, you all donated $295 during this promotion, nearly doubling the amount that I had previously raised, and making this a pretty pricey piece of haberdashery. Nice work!

Keep checking back here for more fundraising updates and ride reports from the 2009 Courage Classic. I'm still trying to reach my big fundraising goal: more money than last year and I will ride my MADSEN Bucket Bike over the mountains. Let's do this!



Drive-Thru World

I've always thought it strange that so many drive-thru businesses specifically prohibit bike-thru traffic. Fast food joints are notorious for this, but there are many coffee shops now that offer the service to limited traffic. For cyclists who either don't want to leave their priceless steed unlocked outside (I'm thinking of roadies who don't often carry locks), or those who are carrying a few hundred pounds of precious cargo (kids/groceries/whatever) that they'd rather not leave outside or haul inside, it would be handy to take care of business just like the car drivers.

The folks up north at Totcycle hit the Walgreens drive-thru a while back with success. I asked about this at my local Walgreens and they said that bikes are prohibited and they would ask me to come inside if I tried it. I got smart and stopped asking first.

A few weeks ago, I drove to an aunt's house to drop off three kids for the day. I took my bike along so that I could leave the van for Auntie to use if needed, then biked the 6.5 miles home to do some housework. The bike route home put me within smelling distance of my favorite Tacoma donut shop, Pao's. They have a drive-thru window, which I biked through for a small bag of donut holes. The shop owner didn't seem to mind and I felt like I probably biked off the donut calories that day. The bike trip took a comfortable 32 minutes. Driving took 25 minutes. Hmm...

Then a week later I spotted a new Satellite Coffee shop on 6th Ave, tucked in next to Masa, with a sidewalk window that says "walk-up/bike-thru"! Haven't tried it yet, but now you know. How cool is that?

On the way home from the park today, with three kids in the MADSEN, we used the drive-thru at the U.S. Bank in Proctor. The teller didn't say a word about the bike, treated me like any other customer, and threw in three suckers for the kids since he could see them all sitting right there.

So what's the big deal? Have you tried to bike-thru the drive-thru world?

08 July 2009

T-Town Throwdown

MetroParks is putting on their third annual T-Town Throwdown, a trials riding competition at the Ruston waterfront in Tacoma on July 18. This seems like the kind of biking event that anyone would appreciate. I'd like to take the girls down there on the Madsen, but getting back up the hill afterwards sounds daunting. Maybe the Burley trailer would be better...

Here's the best trials video I've seen on the web, by Inspired Bicycles featuring Danny MacAskill.

05 July 2009

A New Steed

Yesterday the family went on a special errand. With the girls in the Madsen bucket bike and Sarah on her C-dale, we rode the 2.7 miles to the store. With the girls facing backwards in the bucket, Sarah was able to chat with them face-to-face the whole way there.

The errand involved the purchase of Gwen's first bicycle. It was a surprise, and she was overjoyed to pick it out and take it for a test ride in the store. I bought one in the box (unassembled), thinking it would be easier to haul home, but the box made it too awkward to fit in the bucket with the girls. So we just left the box at the store to be recycled - voila! The seat belts held it in place well enough. A lady walking past said that the Madsen setup looked great, adding that there were "a thousand ways you could use with a bike like that." Agreed.

The ride home was sweet. I didn't have to put a foot down once. Somewhere the bike gods were smiling down upon us, and we were smiling, too.

I pre-assembled the bike that evening so that Gwen could help with the finishing touches today, pumping the tires and adding tassles, pads, and handlebar bag. After some brief instruction on the coaster brake, she was off.