15 December 2010

Troll Crank II

Nothing says the holidays like staying out late riding bikes with friends. Who's with me?

05 December 2010

Daily Bread

Several folks have asked, so I'm posting my bread recipe and method here.  I've been baking our family's daily bread for almost two years and over time the recipe has changed a bit.  This is how I made it today.

I use a KitchenAid stand mixer and dough hook.  With the mixer off, add in this order:

3 tbsp honey
2-3 Tbsp Oil (I prefer canola or olive)
0.5 tsp salt
1.5 cups warm/hot water (I microwave it for 2 min on high)
1/4 cups quick oats or whole grains (Bob's Red Mill 10 grain cereal works great)
1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3.75 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tsp dry yeast

Drop the hook and turn the mixer on the lowest setting for about 5 minutes.  Once completely combined, the dough should be churning freely as one big piece.  If it's sticking to the bottom of the bowl (too wet), add 1/8 cup all-purpose flour until fully incorporated.  Repeat if necessary.  If it's not sticking to the bowl, but also not sticky enough to stay on the hook (too dry), add 1 Tbsp of water.

When dough has proper consistancy, turn off the mixer and cover the bowl with a tea towel.  I let the dough rise in the mixer for about 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.

Cycle mixer for a few seconds on to lowest setting so all dough gets back on the hook.  Remove the hook with the dough.  Pull the hook out and place the dough on a pizza stone. Split the dough in half with an ulu, shape the two loaves as desired, then cover with a tea towel.  Again, let the dough rise until it has doubled in size.

Convect at 300°F (or bake at 325°F) for 30-40 minutes on a pizza stone, until the crust has reached the desired color.  Lighter brown will have a thinner crust, which my young kids prefer. (I've used loaf pans, but found that my two seasoned pizza stones work better.)

Remove from the oven and place loaves on a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.  Keep the bread in a sealed bag and it will keep for several days on the counter.   I usually leave one loaf out (sliced) and put the other whole loaf in the fridge.

Let me know if you try it.

19 November 2010

Gobble-Gobble, Crank!

Q: If April Showers bring May Flowers, what do May Flowers bring?

A: Pilgrims, you turkeys! Now c'mon and crank your tail-feathers!

14 November 2010

You can reach your goals; I'm living proof

I usually don't set goals.  Maybe something obtuse like, "Read more books!"  But last December I realized that after a full year of stay-at-home-dadding, I had become overweight.  I kept thinking that the trips to the playground with a bucket bike fully of pre-schoolers would do the trick, but it apparently did not.

When I started riding bikes (again) in 2005, I was training for STP and bike commuting, so I started a mileage log which I continued diligently as my bike commuting habit grew stronger.  During that time, my body hit a sweet spot and stayed the same size and shape most of the year.  Yay cycling!  2009 marked the first year where I wasn't counting every mile, which is probably why I was surprised when I got on the scale after Christmas and saw a much larger number than normal.  It was resolution time, and figuring that I had only ridden about 1200 miles in 2009, I set out to ride 2010 miles in 2010.

I don't own any cyclometers, but wanted my data to be relatively accurate.  Most of my bike trips are to/from home, so I made a reference table with distances to places I frequently ride.  The occasional long ride usually gets googlemapped post-ride.  I broke everything out by bike, taking care to separate cargo vs. solo miles.  Cargo miles are almost always transportational, while solo miles are often recreational, but not always.

This method of data logging is helpful when I'm trying to justify why I keep certain bikes or why I should be willing to spend money on maintenance.  My Xtracycle has a ridiculous number of miles on it, but I haven't so much as changed the chain.  Even if I have to replace the entire inexpensively equipped drivetrain for $150 at mile 3000, I'll know that was money well spent since all those miles replaced car trips.

I did so many charity rides this summer, and led enough short weekly training rides, that I met my 2010 goal in early September.  I never reached my weight-loss goal, but I did figure out about how many miles per month it takes for me to break even with my nutella toast and beer consumption habits.  And that's the key folks: finding balance.

The really interesting thing about these stats is that I've racked up 800 miles on cargo bikes alone.  These are the short day-to-day trips that most purely recreational cyclists would probably ignore, or just simply drive a car.

Xtracycle: 335 miles (average trip length: 4.3 miles)
Madsen:   425 miles (average trip length: 3.7 miles)

The best part is that the year isn't over!  There are still plenty of opportunities to pedal to my destination and burn off all of those holiday goodies.

Do you track your cycling miles?  Do you find it motivates you to ride more?  What kind of cycling goals do you have?

TCBF 2010

I promised a full review of the 2010 Tacoma Craft Beer Festival, which happened back in October.  This second annual event was bigger than last year, featuring more brewers, more firkins, more food, and more days.  It also seemed to feature shorter lines and a excellent shuttle system, which made getting in the door easier.  Overall, an even better event than last year.

I biked to the Foss Waterway Seaport on Friday night to volunteer pouring samples.  I had a blast talking to locals about beer, meeting many interesting folks, including quite a few local restaurant and bar owners who were on the prowl for tasty local brews to put on tap.  I wore a Tacoma Public Libraries hat, thinking that librarians probably like to drink beer, too.  Turns out, they do.

I took my wife to the festival on Saturday so that I could see things from the other side of the booth.  We had a fun time, ran into lots of friends, made some new friends, and tasted some good beer.  There was live music most of the afternoon.  Some guys were making a batch of homebrew out on the dock.  Lots going on.  If you didn't go, pay attention next year and plan to attend.

We only had Sarah's camera phone, but here's what I told her to take pictures of:

12 October 2010

Anniversary MOB Ride Comin' Up!

Via Lordrocktober Himself...

1st Anniversary of the Ride that started it all!
Costume (its Halloween!) - Bicycle Booze Cruz
Saturday, October 23rd, 7:00pm
We'll be stopping at various watering holes throughout the night.
We'll be there wet stuff or dry and clear.
21+ and biking is at your own risk so don't fall down
Spread the word!  -  We Own the Streets!!!

01 October 2010


The Tacoma Craft Beer Festival starts in just three hours!  Now would be a good time to make sure you're ready.

Step 1. Get There and Get Home: Safely

If you're planning to have a great time drinking beer at a beer festival, plan also on not driving home.  There's a shuttle service running from the Tacoma Dome Station, which links to local and regional buses and the LINK Rail.  And the railing around the dock is basically a giant bike rack, so why not ride there?  (Last year I arrived early and they let me lock up indoors to a boat trailer.  I understand that boat has now been removed to make room for more brewers. YES!)

If possible, you may want to ride a bike with a back seat.  You never know who else may need a safe ride home after last call.  (Yes, that's my bike. No, that's not me.)

Step 2: Bring a Snack
The standard for beer festivals is the pretzel necklace.  It's cheap, effective, and virtually hands-free.  However, there's still time to whip up a batch of Matt's Favorite Cookies.

Hint: Tape the recipe card inside your cabinet by the oven.
These pair well with most ales and are quite tasty.  I always recommend making a double batch to share with your friends.  Or to trade them for beer tasting tokens.

Step 3. Show Your Colors

C'mon,it's a beer festival! We're celebrating one of the most amazing inventions of all time, so put on some lederhosen or a toga or a funny hat...

This ancient form of haberdashery dates back nearly four decades.  I had Grandma train me in the Ways of the Can Hat and now it is time to unleash their awesome power!  Expect to see a few of these in the Canned Beer Garden at TCBF on Saturday.  BTW, if you haven't tried craft beer in a can, now is the time.  There are some great beers available now in cans, including those made by our local boys 7 Seas Brewing from Gig Harbor.

I'll be posting more pictures and a full review after the festival.  Any other tips to share?

15 September 2010

On Bucket Bikes

The new Madsen bucket bikes debuted today!  It's worth checking out.  There are many improvements and new features, some of which I've hacked or wanted to hack onto my own bucket bike.  One of my biggest issues with our original model has been the kickstand.  Here's my final fix using a piece of 5/16" all-thread and some nylon lock nuts.

The solid rod not only fixed the kickstand so that it stays in place when deployed, but it also keeps it from bouncing around as much on bumpy terrain.  And Madsen has confirmed via Twitter that their new model kickstand is "upgraded and improved, [with] new factory, bolted-on rubber feet, [and a] solid rod stop pin."  Along with the new parking brake feature, this sounds like a rock solid way to load rambunctious cargo.

In other news, TBR fabricated rain cover v2.0 for a neighbor to the north.  Brynnen Ford and her kids use their e-assist Madsen year-round on the hills of Seattle.  (Thanks for sending these photos, Brynnen!)

This one is a bit taller than our original and incorporates hi-viz fabric and a Scotchlite-trimmed porthole on the back. The passengers love it!

Any other thoughts on the new Madsen model and accessories?  I'd like to see that rear rack in my stocking at Christmas!

03 September 2010

Support the Troops

Today's Frost Park Chalk-Off theme, "Support the Troops", warranted a bicycle and a big 'ol flag.

Kyler and I used it to get there and also as a shadow template for our drawing.

We rewarded ourselves with a Made-in-Washington ice cream bar from Jeff's Ice Cream:

Here are a few other drawings that we saw:

You can view more photos from the event and vote for your favorite at Feed Tacoma.

27 August 2010

Fiets of Parenthood - Seattle Style!

We finally made it to one of the many community bike events in Seattle!  The good folks at Car Free Days and Totcycle organized Fiets of Parenthood, a huge gathering of family cyclists of every age who rode in on nearly every kind of bike and bike-combo you could imagine. The Xtracycle went in the minivan for the first time and we still had plenty of room for my sister and her borrowed Peugeot folder.

FoP was nothing short of awesome!  There was something for everyone and we stayed busy for a solid three hours with the bicycle decoration station, a huge walk-thru/bike-thru sprinkler, slow bike race, family bike obstacle course, helmet fitters, and the kids' favorite: a Madsen bucket bike full of free gelato.  The playground was a cargo bike explosion of Xtracycles, Big Dummies, tandems, trail-a-bikes, kick bikes, trailers, bakfietsen, a tall bike and even a Larry vs. Harry Bullitt.  One lucky attendee won a Globe Haul 1 through a raffle benefitting Bike Works.

Not only were there tons of cool bikes, but there were many enthusiastic parents and kids, eager to show off their cycling skills and talk about how they use these bikes in their daily lives.  Many thanks to Julian, Tim, Anne, Chris and everyone else who helped to make this event a fun time for the rest of us.

If you'd like to see more, there's another write-up here, a great video here, a bit of press here, and a Flickr group here.  The wheels are already in motion for a TBR Family Fiets event in Tacoma next summer.  Who wants to help?!

23 August 2010

MOB Ride: Pedal to Peril

Via lordrocktober

Bicycle Booze Cruz
Saturday, August 28th
Meet up at: THE RED HOT
We'll be stopping at various watering holes throughout the night. 
We'll be there wet stuff or dry and clear. 
21+ and biking is at your own risk so don't fall down
Spread the word!  -  We Own the Streets!!!

20 August 2010

Free Bike Parking in Downtown Tacoma!

Today I saw this advertisement for the soon-to-be-installed parking meters in downtown Tacoma.

It compelled me to ride down to the Frost Park Chalk Challenge and draw this response:

If you like it, you can vote for Matt and I might win something!  

I'm actually a supporter of metered street parking in downtown.  As it is, most street parking is free, but limited to one hour.  I don't find this enough time to get lunch or shop, especially when I have kids in tow. We often park at the T-Dome P&R and take the Link Rail, or ride a bike.  Either way, the parking is free.  And for those times when I need to feed the meter, I'm happy to pay for the right-of-way for my vehicle.

More info at http://downtowntacomaparking.com

13 August 2010

Courage Classic Weekend Redux

My Courage Classic weekend actually started on Friday when I took the whole family to the weekly Frost Park Chalk-Off to do a little shameless self-promotion.  It took the rest of the day to ready the van and assemble my gear.  Getting three guys, their bikes, their camping gear and their driver into one minivan required some planning, but worked well.

Ready to Roll!
We rendezvoused early Saturday morning in the town of Snoqualmie, WA, with some other friends from the Harmon Bike Club.  After loading our overnight gear on the UPS delivery trucks bound for the campsite at the Suncadia Resort, we hit the road.  Just a few miles later, John had what would be the only flat of the 3-day ride.

We gradually broke up into smaller groups as we climbed through the Denny Creek area and approached the summit of Snoqualmie Pass, where the temperature was a balmy 54°F.  Gig Harbor Rotary put on an excellent spaghetti feed for lunch, then we were shuttled by coach bus and moving truck (riders and bikes, respectively) through the I-90 construction around Lake Kaches which is currently off-limits to bicycle traffic.
Denny Creek Switchback Panda

For me, the biggest change this year was that I rode a road bike instead of my 50 pound Xtracycle, which allowed me to complete each day's course about two hours faster than in previous years.  We finished Day 1 in Cle Elum around 1:30pm, giving us plenty of time to setup tents, clean-up in the mobile shower trailer, and enjoy a few cold-ones in the Redhook beer garden.  A huge buffet dinner was held later in a light rain, but those of us who weathered the heat of last year's event knew better than to complain.

Rotarians at Work!
After riding this event three times, I can positively say that the ride from Suncadia to the Blewitt Pass summit is my favorite part.  You break camp and ride a few miles into Cle Elum, eat a great breakfast at the Sunrise Cafe, then traverse the countryside with the sun coming up over the mountains.  It's a quiet and breathtakingly beautiful ride with very little traffic, other than your fellow riders.  I always linger at the Tacoma North Rotary rest stop because it seems everyone is always there.  I spend time catching up with riders and volunteers I've met in years past, and meeting plenty of new folks as well.  It's great to see so many people having fun together.

The Blewitt Paceline Crew
As a group of us left the rest stop, someone shouted out "9:03!" and we soon realized that there was a friendly time-trial taking place en route to the summit.  We charged our five-man pace-line up the mountain at a strong clip and stayed together for most of the 7 mile climb, each finishing about 1 minute apart.  It was awesome!  I enjoyed a light brunch of tomato basil soup, a turkey sandwich, and fresh fruit.  The food stops are great, especially when you consider that these Rotarians are feeding nearly 800 riders and volunteers every meal and snack.

Once camped in Leavenworth, we headed for the Icicle River to soak our legs before a bbq dinner in the park.  Too much fun was had in Redhook beer garden, where DJ Shelda played some great tunes and we all enjoyed each others company.

Are we having fun yet?
Photo courtesy of Kimi. Taken by one
of the many enthusiastic Rotarians.

Monday brings the longest climbing route of the weekend.  After a brisk ride along the Chumstick Highway to the first rest stop in Plain, WA, the route hooks up with WA-2 and heads up Stevens Pass.  There are actually 4 or 5 separate climbs on the way to the summit, each with its own small descent, necessitating that the dessert stop (that is reserved for after lunch on Days 1 and 2) needs to be located pre-lunch.  It's Hawaiian themed and features root beer floats, Oreos, fig bars, beef jerkey, organic bunny grahams, and a hula hoop competition.  I bested three others with the hoop and won a sweet "Rotary Rest-Stop Survivor" t-shirt that I'm sporting as I type.  

Iron Goat Trail
All of this food and fun prepares you mentally and physically for the last 10-15 challenging miles of climbing.  Even so, the potato bar at the summit was exactly what I needed to perk me back up for the descent down the west side of Stevens.  The low clouds and damp wind combined for a fast and freezing run down the mountain.  The main highway portion of the descent is a nailbiter at high speed and lots of crosswinds, but near the bottom is the turn-off for the Iron Goat Trail, a refurbished section of the Old Stevens Highway that is smooth, lively, stunning, and magical.  My friend Mike, a Courage Classic rookie, said that "it might be the best 15 minutes I've ever spent on a bike."     

The finish line was busy, but still full of all the amenities we'd seen along the way: snacks, showers, massage tables, smiling Rotarians, and even a piece of commemorative hardware.  I've heard many folks joke about how it's very possible to gain weight on this ride, despite all of the miles and elevation.  After my fourth or fifth slice of bread pudding at the Day 1 dinner, I can understand why some would think that.  This year, I weighed myself before and after.  The result: -1 pound.  Maybe I didn't drink my fair share of ESB?  I promise to try harder next year!

There simply aren't many supported rides out there that leave you feeling like you've been on a vacation rather than just a bike ride.  If you're thinking about doing your first organized tour, I'd certainly recommend that you start with this one.  Helping a great cause while having a great time?  It's hard to top that.

Thanks again to everyone who sponsored me and my ride to Stop the Cycle of Child Abuse!

I'm keeping this swag!

11 August 2010

We Have a Courage Classic Swag Giveaway Winner!

Firstly, to everyone who supported my Courage Classic fundraising campaign: Thank you. Your combined efforts are helping to stop the cycle of child abuse and neglect in Pierce County. This year I was 1 of 698 riders in theCourage Classic who together raised nearly $750,000 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 is going to win this Three Reasons Swag Bag Prize Package!

And, because I scored some more swag, I'm going to draw a second winner for this stuff:
Each donor has been allocated one raffle ticket for every $5 that they donated. Ticket numbers were allocated sequentially in the order that donations were received (e.g. donor #1 gave $25 and holds tickets 1-5.)  My Little Sister from Church of the Granny Bike flew in all the way from Philly to draw a winner (and boy are her arms tired!)  She gave the tickets a good swirl and chose the lucky winner: 
Congrats to Heather, our Grand Prize Winner!  I'll be contacting you so I can deliver all of your premium swag.  Our runner up is Anonymous, who is actually an old friend that enjoys cycling near her Seattle home.  Congrats to our winners and thanks again to everyone for supporting this important cause.

I'll have a full ride report post coming soon.


-Matt in Tacoma

06 August 2010

Pedal For the Kids (and then with the kids!)

The end of my Three Reasons summer is in sight!  I'm finally getting everything packed and loaded today for my Courage Classic ride this weekend.  With over 1,600 cycling miles on my legs this year, I feel ready.  I'm still second guessing my lack of fenders and my choice to ride a road bike instead of my Xtracycle, but I know that once I get on course everything will work itself out.

The Road Cone!
Thanks to the generosity of others, I've earned the chance to take this 3-day cycling vacation.  I'll be riding with many friends from the Harmon Bike Club and Pierce County Rotary clubs, and taking in some beautiful Cascade mountain scenery.  There's even going to be an outdoor movie screening and Red Hook beer gardens in the evenings.

And, it's not too late to contribute to my effort to Stop the Cycle of Child Abuse and be entered to win a sweet Swag Bag from TBR.  You can donate here through Monday evening and we'll announce a winner on Tuesday.  Just $5 gets your name in the hat.  Good luck!

TBR will be offline until then, but meanwhile you should be making plans to attend Fiets of Parenthood in Seattle August 15.  For me, the biggest challenge will be getting my kids and cargo bike up north, but we're hoping to represent Tacoma in this super fun event.

Now go ride your bike!

02 August 2010

Hills, Glorious Hills

There's an article in The News Tribune today about the benefits of training on hills.  I found the article interesting because I absolutely love riding hilly routes.

One of my favorite hills to climb in Tacoma is North Carr Street.  The view from the top looks like this:

View Larger Map

It's a short climb, but quite steep.  (Turn sideways with streetview above and you can get an idea of the pitch.)  The road surface has a brick pattern which gives it an Old World feel.  It's a total lung-buster on any bike, especially this one:

Yes, I really did it and I had a witness.  This is a recently-acquired Worksman Cycles Industrial Newsboy that's maybe a few decades old.  You can stand up and pump the pedals really well with those tall bars.  Admittedly, it's not the best bike for climbing hills, but the feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top on a simple machine like this is one comparable to climbing Everest (I'm guessing.)  

[I might have been on my way home from a Tacoma MOB Ride when I did this and I might have Yahoo!'d loud enough at the top to wake a few neighbors.  Beer is a very powerful bicycle fuel.]

Speaking of conquering mountains, I'm riding the Courage Classic Bicycle Tour this weekend to raise money for child abuse intervention.  You can DONATE HERE and be entered to win some sweet Tacoma swag.  Just a $5 donation gets your name in the hat.

27 July 2010

Next Booz Cruz

Here come the Tacoma MOB Riders!

On an unrelated topic, don't forget that TBR is raffling some cool swag to raise money for child abuse intervention.  Make a donation HERE to enter the drawing.  Thanks!

15 July 2010

T-Town Throwdown

The T-Town Throwdown Bike Trials Competition is happening this Saturday along the Ruston waterfront in Tacoma.  I took the kids to this event last year and witnessed some amazing riding skills in  action.  It's free to watch.

14 July 2010

Bike to the Ballpark AND More Swag!

We took the whole family to the Harmon Bike Club's Bike to Ballpark event over the weekend.  About 25 people biked with us and enjoyed a great game by the Tacoma Rainiers.

In honor of the event, I'm adding this brand new, limited edition Tacoma Rainiers jersey to my Courage Classic Swag Bag Prize Pack which you can enter to win by donating just $5 here* and help the Child Abuse Intervention Department at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital.  I need your help if I'm going to reach my $1000 fundraising goal!  Who's with me?  Donate today!

*Raffle Rules:
1. For every $5 that you 
donate to my online Courage Classic fund-raising effort, you will have your name entered one time into a drawing to win. (Example: You make one online donation of $25, and I place five separate entries into the hat, each bearing your name.)  If you've already donated, you are already entered.

2. For the purpose of this raffle, all donations must be made by 4 pm PDT on August 9.  My daughter will randomly draw one winning entry from the hat that evening and I will announce the winner on August 10 here on TBR. I will contact the winner by email, so make sure you enter a valid email address when you donate.

3. I will pay to ship the hat and swag to the winner via USPS Priority mail to anywhere in the US.

4. DONATE HERE! Online donations through firstgiving.com are easy and secure. Plus, the hospital is a registered 501c(3) non-profit organization, for you tax-deduction seekers.

07 July 2010

Bike to the Ballpark

We'll be bringing the whole family to this awesome event.  It's another fundraiser for Courage Classic.  Ride there if you can, but even if you drive, walk, or bus, this is a great deal and helps a great cause.

I'll be leading a slow ride from the 6th and Skyline P&R to Cheney Stadium at 11am.  We'll take the Scott Pierson Trail to the ballpark and go slow enough to keep the group together.  The Rainiers are arranging a special bike coral just for us!

Stop Child Abuse and Win TBR Swag!

If you've been paying attention, you know that I found three great reasons to ride this summer, and that there's only one reason left: COURAGE CLASSIC!

The Courage Classic Bicycle Tour is a fundraising ride that benefits the Rotary Endowment for the Intervention and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.  This endowment is the largest single source of funding for the Child Abuse Intervention Department at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma.  For the third consecutive year, I will be riding my tiny bicycle over three large mountain passes in an effort to raise money for this cause and to Stop the Cycle of Abuse.

We need to do this together.  I'll be riding the bike, so that means I need you to donate a few dollars.  And since online raffles are so fun, I've decided to do it again with an emphasis on the things we love at TBR: bikes, beer, Tacoma, and free stuff. 

You could win all of this!

The TBR 3-Reasons SWAG BAG PRIZE PACKAGE includes:
  • A combination bandana/bike map of Tacoma!
  • A LiveSTRONG Hat and matching yellow wristband!
  • Bikey blinkies, stickers, and decals!
  • Tacoma MOB Ride Spokecards so you can booze cruz like the pros!
  • Even more free stuff that I've saved just for this purpose!
and of course, it wouldn't be a TBR raffle unless you could also win:
  • A 100% genuine, upcycled-in-Tacoma, Rainier Beer Tall-boy Can Hat!

Don't delay.  DONATE HERE to enter the raffle for this awesome prize package and to help stop the cycle of child abuse.  I'll likely keep adding swag to the bag over the next month, especially stuff from the Courage Classic.  

Many thanks in advance for your continued support!

-Matt in Tacoma

UPDATE: I'm adding this brand new, limited edition Tacoma Rainiers jersey to the Swag Bag!  This was a giveaway to the Rainiers' tweeps around St. Patrick's Day. Goes great with the hat!

*Raffle Rules:
1. For every $5 that you 
donate to my online Courage Classic fund-raising effort, you will have your name entered one time into a drawing to win. (Example: You make one online donation of $25, and I place five separate entries into the hat, each bearing your name.)  If you've already donated, you are already entered.

2. For the purpose of this raffle, all donations must be made by 4 pm PDT on August 9.  My daughter will randomly draw one winning entry from the hat that evening and I will announce the winner on August 10 here on TBR. I will contact the winner by email, so make sure you enter a valid email address when you donate.

3. I will pay to ship the hat and swag to the winner via USPS Priority mail to anywhere in the US.

4. DONATE HERE! Online donations through firstgiving.com are easy and secure. Plus, the hospital is a registered 501c(3) non-profit organization, for you tax-deduction seekers.

Chehalis Western Trail

After completing a 35 mile loop on the Chehalis Western Trail over the Independence Day weekend, I saw an awesome orange bike pull into the parking lot. 

Chainguard, basket, flat pedals, step through frame, fat tires.  I commented to the owner about how much I liked this setup, and Susan, the owner, was very excited to find someone who could appreciate it.  She has 7 fused discs in her back, and this bike gives her the correct riding position to continue riding comfortably.  Although it looks like an Electra Townie, it's a Fuji that she bought as a 3-speed for just over $200.  She swapped out the rear hub for an 8-speed for another $200 and created a very affordable dream bike. Happy Trails, Susan!

The trail mostly cuts through wooded rural residential areas, staying relatively flat and straight.  We started at Woodard Bay and rode to the Monarch Sculpture Park, a free outdoor art gallery.  We didn't have time for a full exploration, but I'm already planning to bring my kids down here for a visit.