If you have a day job like most people do, chances are, your only time to ride during the work week is either during the morning before dragging your ass to the office, or after work when you’re free from the evil talons of corporate America.
In either case, a good set of trail lights are in order to make sure you make it out of the woods alive. They’re also a good addition to the road bike if you ride in rural areas with little or no artificial light.
On top of being a cheap ass, I also have terrible night vision. I’m the guy who gets up to piss in the middle of the night and ends up busting his head open on the door frame–true story.
So, when shopping for trail lights, I spent hours scouring the interwebs, innerwebs, outerwebs and spider webs reading reviews on sub-$200 light sets.
Total out the door price: $160.
Yesterday, Feb. 22, was the “official opener” of cycling season in Seattle. That means two things: Cascade Bicycle Club’s annual Chilly Hilly 30 mile group ride around Bainbridge Island, and the cheaper, funner alternative ride: .83’s F—ing Hills Race (FHR).
The FHR is always held on the same day, on the same course and at the same time as the Chilly Hilly. In contrast to Cascade’s paid entry fees and manned rest stops, the FHR is free to enter (but you have to pay for your own ferry boat ticket, 9 bucks) and is fully self supported and features copious amounts of beer, liquor and other things that are legal here in Washington State, but still federally blacklisted. There are also prizes and priceless shenanigans.
After riding my first FHR a couple of years ago, I decided that this ride was more fun, and cheaper.
And they feed you at the end of the ride.
On the Cascade ride, you have to buy your own bowl of chili at the finish line.
Instead of bib numbers, the .83 riders attach small pirate flags to themselves, each other, and small children.
This year’s FHR began as all FHR’s do. Riders gathered on the Seattle waterfront, signed up for the “registration,” and promptly began sipping on cans of Rainier beer and pulling from flasks that were being passed around the group.
At 8 AM.
Once we arrived at the ferry terminal, the Washington State Ferry workers did a good job of segregating the Cascade riders from the .83 riders. They actually loaded us onto opposite sides of the boat. The weather was an unseasonably warm 50 or so American degrees. Perfect for sipping booze and riding bikes.
A few weeks ago, we were invited to drop by Seattle’s new Chrome HUB at 1st and Seneca to check out the new space and get a peek at some new products. We hadn’t had the chance to drop by since the soft opening, and, with a suspicion we may also get a free beer or two out of it, we found ourselves on our way late one Friday afternoon.
Featured prominently at the front of the store is the custom bag bar, where you can choose to get your right or left handed bag custom assembled here in Seattle from a big stack of materials. The fee is small, and the turn around is less than a week.
The bag bar also offers Chrome’s custom military salvage program, which is cooler than you might guess. Instead of reusing random surplus (which they’ve already done for some time), Chrome HUB locations allow military and police/fire veterans and their families to bring personal military duffels, fatigues, uniforms or fire jackets in to be used as the material for one of their bags.
Chrome was showing off some of their new shoes, up for release in the very near future.
Chrome’s new line of shoes (both lace-ups and slip-ons) are their first without an insert reinforcing the sole, making them less bike-specific but more comfortable off the bike. They are also the first to use repurposed boot making machinery for forged rubber soles, fusing the rubber directly to the upper and in theory making them harder to split. Which is awesome, but really if you put anything in camo, I’m already sold.
There are other colors, I’m not sure why:
I believe these are out this month, I’ll certainly be trying some one when I can.
Seattle’s new Chrome HUB is located at 1117 1st Ave where they are open every day.
The trails were kind to fatbikers at this year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational. While the world has been watching the teams of four-legged critters struggle through snowless patches of trail in the regular Iditarod race, a handful of hardy folks have mostly been avoiding the headlines while pedaling, running, and skiing the route for almost two weeks.
Come on over after Bike Expo, Back Alley’s Birfday, or just hanging out on your own on Saturday. All are welcome!
Got this in the mailbag today:
AETHERfocus is a video series that showcases individuals and companies that inspire us.
A good looking video, and a budding relationship between two companies on the west coast that are pushing boundaries in cycling.
Aether Apparel is a Los Angeles based company making cutting edge outdoor and urban apparel.
Designed and manufactured entirely in the Pacific Northwest, Ben Farver of Argonaut Cycle offers truly custom-built carbon frames. Each of their bikes are handcrafted using an innovative construction process for a completely tailored riding experience. With more than 30 years of industry leading composite experience behind their team, Argonaut Cycle is driven by a true passion for the sport of cycling. They strive to make the best, because they want to ride the best.
A few updates on the TDW from the streets! One – finish has been moved to The Zoo Tavern. Spread the word. TWO – you can follow the action live here.
Were you one of those kids that was always asking teachers for extra credit while your classmates were too busy calculating the trajectories required to get pencils lodged in the ceiling? How sad, but we got something right up your alley. If you plan to ride this year’s Nine to Five All-Night Scavenger Hunt – and you really should, a pre-register, too! – be sure you keep an eye on the Facebook event page for the opportunity to get some points for your team before the ride even starts. Don’t worry if you can’t, no one is going to win or lose on the kind of points we’ll be handing out. But it might give you time for an extra sip of your coffee come the big night.
Don’t forget to pre-register to be sure you get food and a shirt (especially if you enjoy things in the right size)!
If you haven’t noticed already, this year’s Nine to Five registration is now open! The Nine to Five is Seattle’s only all-bicycle sunset-to-sunrise solstice scavenger hunt. Organize your team of up to five or ride solo to complete as many items as you can before sun up while joining group meetups throughout the night for caffeine and snacks, and a full catered breakfast in the morning. A celebration of our city and bicycles!
Pre-registration is very important with the Nine to Five. We order all the food and catering in advance, and it’s much easier if we know how many folks we are going to have so everyone gets food! To help sweeten the deal, this year we are including a specially designed t-shirt with all preregistrations. Wear it into work on Monday to show off when your coworkers ask how you spent your weekend. If nothing else, you can use it as an excuse for cancelling all your Sunday plans.