An end of Pedalpalooza sale in my store: 20% off with code until July 8!

IMG_20180619_144131-01-01.jpegHello friends! Pedalpalooza is entering its final stretch. And I’ve also got some new buttons in the store and a full button restock thanks to Button Arcade. So why not have a little sale?

From now until 11:45 PM PDT on Sunday July 8, 2018, everything in my store is 20% off! Yep, comix, zines, buttons, postcards, and posters. Use code PP2018 in the checkout to get the discount.

The fine print:

  • 20% discount applies to the cost of item, there are no discounts on shipping and/or Storenvy fees.
  • You’ll need to spend at least $5 on an order to qualify for the discount.
  • Discount on stock on hand, no backorders.

So head on over to my store at Storenvy to check out my stuff.

And thank you for your support!


Heavy Duti 2.0

I’ve owned my Schwinn Heavy Duti since October of 2014. At almost four years in my possession, it’s the second in longevity in my stable, behind the Raleigh Crested Butte. Unlike the Crested Butte, which has gone through numerous changes in the almost six years in my possession, the Heavy Duti remained pretty static. This was mostly due to it being a “fun” or bar bike. But then it became the bike I used the least, going through some pretty long stretches of disuse. Most of this was because of it lacking a front brake. I just didn’t feel safe riding a bike that had only a coaster brake.

I had made noises about adding a front brake for years, but didn’t do anything about it. This was mostly because it was such a daunting task no matter which way I sliced it: The front fork was a replica of a Schwinn blade fork, having no way to mount a sidepull brake, and too thin to put cantilever bosses.* I could put a drum brake wheel on there, ** but they were not easy to find, or cheap.*** The other solution would be to install a different fork, one that brakes can be mounted. The big problem here was the funky old American size stem (21.1) made the search difficult, especially if I wanted to have something with canti bosses.**** I would make some vague and vain attempts to search for either solution, get discouraged, and give up.

And of course, the deeper question was: Was it even worth it to go down the rabbit hole? Did I like this bike enough to go through the trouble? I only paid $80 for the bike and spent way less than $200 in the years since I got it on maintenance and parts. Cheap.

I started to ride the bike more over the past winter. And I decided that yes, I like this bike and it was worth it to plunk down some more money on it. But the question remained: How to go about it all?

Thankfully, somebody heard me whining about the bike over the years, and decided to do something about it! Spencer out in Upstate New York dug through his parts stash and found a fork off an 80’s mountain bike, one that had that funky 21.1 size.***** The steerer tube was longer than what I had on the Heavy Duti, but steerer tubes can be cut. So he shipped it out to me.

And thankfully, I had someone willing to work on such a silly project. I had been talking to Jeremiah about the Heavy Duti when he was working at Velo Cult last year. He moved over to River City, so I went there to get the work done.******

And at the end of May, I picked up Heavy Duti 2.0!

So, what are all the changes to make this an improved bike?

  • Well, there’s that front fork! An old mountain bike fork works well. The black goes good with overall color scheme of the bike.
  • Attached to those canti posts is a front brake! It’s a generic Shimano, with a scavenged Dia Compe lever.
  • Also attached to the canti post is a bottle dynamo! It’s a Nordlicht, a German model considered the “best of the best”******* when it comes to these. Alas, they stopped making Nordlichts a few years back for some reason, so the AXA HR (which is what I have on the Crested Butte) is now tops I guess…
  • And I have an old basic Busch und Muller LED headlamp connected to dynamo, mounted to front basket strut (a Wald, of course!)
  • For the rear: The old single speed coaster brake was fine, but I’d been thinking for a bit about putting more gears on this thing. I thought about finding a three speed wheel (pre-built 26 inch coaster brake versions are out there), but wanted to keep it simple and go different. So…how about a two speed kickback? I found a generic (KT) branded one built into a rear wheel on eBay over the winter for a good price. Now it’s on the bike!
  • My old “Back Roads” black rear rack with rat trap is now in use again on the bike.
  • And attached to the rack is a nice rear LED tail light. It’s a Spanninga version. No, it’s battery (using two AAs) since I didn’t feel like getting a dynamo version for now. I find that these German hard-mounted battery powered lights work quite well and last very long.

So…how does the bike feel?

Great! It’s a fun bike to ride around, and now much more practical (and safe). Having a good front brake is useful and puts my mind at ease. Dynamo lighting means (mostly) not having to worry about batteries and charging. A rear rack means more cargo capacity.

The thing that I’m still getting used to is the two speed kickback. Yes, you shift the gears by backpedaling (aka “kicking back”), in the same way you’d brake with the coaster brake. You start in low, then kick back to get to high. Most kickbacks work in such that you kick it back slightly to get to high, then full kickback to brake and then you are in low. This one seems to shift gear when you kickback. So if you are in low, then brake, you will be in high when you start pedaling. It’s a bit weird, but since I have a front brake, it’s not as big a deal as if I didn’t. The gearing on a two speed works as 100% (direct) in low, 133% in high, so it’s like a three speed hub with the top two gears. (On a Sturmey-Archer AW hub, the ratio is 75%-100%-133%) Good for around town and small hills, but not really for anything big!********

I’ve been riding it around a bunch. It’s a great summer fun bike. I can even throw a studded tire on the front and use it as a snow/ice commuter in winter.

Here’s to more bike fun!

*This blade fork was a bit of anomaly, since the bike is from the mid-90s. The Heavy Dutis made after this had a typical unicrown fork, where one could mount a brake.

**It would be fun to have a drum brake, if not just for the simple pleasure of having all the available braking systems possible on my bikes: Side/centerpull brakes (three speeds), V-brakes (Crested Butte), and disc (Bantam). Well, a coaster brake is a hub brake so there’s that…

***Or light. All of the pre-built drum brake wheels in 26″ I could find had steel rims. Going with an aluminum rim would mean paying even more money for a build.

****It’s true that I could have redone the headset to make it compatible with a common fork/stem, but the Bullmoose handlebars I was using was sized for the funky 21.1, and I wanted to keep those bars. Yes, I make things difficult.

*****The early era of MTB’s had funky things like this, since they borrowed heavily from old American balloon tire cruisers. By the later 80’s things got more standardized and moved away from all that.

******I don’t think I ever had any of my bikes worked on at River City, despite the shop being in town longer than I have!

*******There’s not a lot of competition in the bottle dynamo market, though.

********Hey Norm! You still out there?

Bike Touring Workshop, Tuesday June 12: Spots still available!

My Bike Touring Workshop is just two days away, on Tuesday June 12 at 6:30 PM! And there is still a few spots left. So don’t delay, sign up NOW.

This workshop is designed for everyday cyclists, and with an emphasis on camping. No prior experience in camping or touring is required.

This workshop is FREE, but space is limited to 12 people. Register via link on right side of blog. If all spots fill up, I urge you to sign up for the waiting list. A spot or two may open up!šŸ˜€
@pedalpaloozapdx #pedalpalooza #pedalpalooza2018 #biketouring #biketouringworkshop

A First-Week Pedalpalooza 2018 Round-up

Why yes, this blog has been quiet for awhile. What can I say? Life has been busy, and I haven’t had a lot of free time to write. Too much time planning and doing things. Plus, I haven’t really been inspired to write, much less read blogs this year. There is a lot I should write about, like some of my adventures in March, the Lake Pepin tour, and more. I hope to do that soon. In the meantime, here’s a recap of the first week of Pedalpalooza, Portland’s all-June bike fun festival.

Friday June 1: As much as I would have loved to start out Pedalpalooza with a double shot of #pdxcoffeeoutside and Breakfast on the Bridges, due to logistics it was not going to happen. I still managed to drag my tired ass later in the day to the Kickoff Ride. There were a lot of familiar faces, and Sewallcrest Park swelled as more and more folks showed up. We had near 1,000 people when the ride started! We took over the streets of SE and then NE for several hours. I took off right after dark when we passed by Wilshire Park, but I heard that the ride ended in the wee hours by Overlook Park in N Portland.

Sat June 2-Sun June 3: This was the fabled Three Speed Camping Trip! This time it was Tim, Steve, and myself. The destination was Stub Stewart State Park, a decent 22 mile ride from the west end of the MAX light rail line. Despite this location’s relative closeness, I’ve never been there via three speed. The weather on Saturday was great, sunny and 80F/27C. We ran into some other folks from #pdxcoffeeoutside camping there as well! I opted to take the Robin Hood, which isn’t the best load bike since it lacks racks.* I managed to jam it all into one overstuff Carradice Camper Longflap (and a little into a fanny pack). It worked, but was not ideal: The big-heaviness of the bag jammed against rear fender, causing the bridge bolt to snap,** plus I managed a slow leak. Still was a fun trip!

Mon June 4: The first Breakfast on the Bikeway in Woodlawn in years! Ayleen set up a tent and a table at Holman Pocket Park, where NE Holman, Durham, and 13th meet. We set up between 7:30 and 9:30 AM, giving out coffee and snacks to passers-by. Quite a few people stopped. And then I got a cold, which took me out of commission for a couple days.

Wed June 6: This was the Remnants and Relics history tour, led by Dan H. and myself. To our surprise, we had at least 55 people at the start! Maybe people have a thirst for historical bike rides? (Or maybe it’s because there were only a couple other rides on the calendar!) Anyways, it was an interesting tour, especially since the ride would be more ideal with 15 folks, not 50. We made it work, bottlenecks and all. We didn’t get as far as we’d like, so maybe we’ll try to do a Part II later in the year?

*Steve says that all my bikes eventually turn into touring bikes!

**Yes, having some sort of bag rack or bag support would be good. I do have a support, but the problem with it is two-fold: first, since bag supports push the bag upward, an overloaded bag like a Camper ends up sticking UP way high. Secondly, all the weight hangs off the saddle, so what happens is my saddle noses upward in response.

Pepin-Mpls 2018 Trip, the train ride to, and a bit of the Twin Cities.

Emee and I are nearing the middle of this trip, so a quick report from the road to reflect:

  • Sunday May 6: We got to Union Station in Portland with plenty of time to spare. So there was little stress in boxing the bikes. And thankfully, no issues like a pedal that wouldn’t come off. We lounged in the First Class Lounge until boarding, then off on the Empire Builder Eastward through the Columbia River Gorge!
  • Monday May 7: Our full day on the train. While I’ve done long multiday train rides a bunch since 2000, this was Emee’s first! And also her first time in a sleeping car. We watched the landscape of Montana change from the forested mountains in the west around Glacier National Park and the Continental Divide to the flat and open grasslands of the east. We enjoyed the luxuries of First Class, like the included meal service with dessert!
  • Tuesday May 8: We rolled into St. Paul Union Depot a little after 8, sorted out our baggage, got our bikes together, and hopped on the light rail towards the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. Our host would be my old Portland friend Nickey. Emee got a little bit of work done, and then we did a quick exploration of the south side of Minneapolis. We got beer at Eastlake, rode the Midtown Greenway west to the lakes, then stopped by Perrenial Cycles where Emee got a strap for her Carradice bag.

Okay! We still have a couple more days of exploration here, then we drive down to Red Wing on Friday for the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour!

Pedalpalooza is coming! Here’s all the planned Urban Adventure League/Society of Three Speeds rides/events for June 2018.

IMG_20180419_155956-01.jpegDeadlines, deadlines. The Pedalpalooza print calendar deadline (in)conveniently occurs while I am out of town. So I’ve spent the last week or two trying to sort it all out! And finally by 10 AM on the Sunday when myself and Emee board the Empire Builder eastward to St. Paul, sorted I am!

It’s a good slate of eight different events for June, about my average count (read: more than I really should.) As always, there’s things I do every Pedalpalooza, and new stuff. Some stuff open to anyone, some stuff so weirdly esoteric you probably won’t come. šŸ˜‰ So without further ado, here’s what I’m doing:

  • Sat June 2-Sun June 3: Three Speed CampoutĀ Camp via three speed! We’ll be heading to Stub Stewart State Park. 22 mi ride (one way), 1/2 on country roads, 1/2 on rail trail. Supply stop in Banks, halfway on ride. Limited to 3, 4, 5 spd IGH bikes. Register here:
  • Wed June 6, 6 PM: Remnants and Relics Ride Skidmore Fountain/Ankeny Plaza, 18 SW 1st AveĀ 10mile tour hitting up many of the remnants of Old Portland that still remain. Ride not a loop but will end near transit and food/beverages. Presented with Dan Haneckow of Cafe Unknown.
  • Tues June 12, 6:30 PM: Bike Touring WorkshopĀ Velo Cult Bike Shop, 1969 NE 42nd AvĀ Learn more about bike touring and camping. Discussing equipment, planning, and cost as well as day-to-day life on the road. Limit 12 participants, registration required.
  • Sun June 17, 5 PM: Proper Pedal PicnicĀ Green Zebra Grocery, 3011 N Lombard StĀ A classy type of picnic ride, this one is about stepping it up. Dress up nicely and think about nice foods and beverages to bring. Blankets and nice picnic setups are good too. Ride will be approx 5mi to mystery picnic destino. Bring lights/layers.
  • Mon June 18, 6:30 PM: Two Speed Kickback RideĀ Peninsula Park Rose Garden, 700 N Rosa Parks WayĀ A casual 10mi cruise on bikes equipped w/ a two speed internally geared hub, Doesn’t matter what brand or if it’s kickback, automatic, or trigger shifter. End at food and (adult) beverage.
  • Mon June 18, 9 PM: For the love of the bottle (dynamo) rideĀ Lucky Labrador Tap Room, 1700 N Killingsworth St AĀ 10mi cruise by night, kept company by the whirring of the dynamo wheel against tire. Dynamo must function and power at least front light. Please, NO HUB DYNAMO SYSTEMS! Battery light as backup OK. Bottom bracket dynamos OK!
  • Wed June 27, 6 PM: Slough Country RambleĀ Kenton/N Denver Ave MAX StationĀ Let’s explore the nearer reaches of the Columbia Slough! This approximately 10 mi ride will feature sleepy reaches of this waterway, plus other secret spots. Not a loop but will end near transit/food/beverages.
  • Wed June 27, 6 PM: Three Speed RideĀ Paul Bunyan Statue across fromĀ Kenton/N Denver Ave MAX StationĀ Casual paced ramble of approx. 10mi will explore some fun areas. Three speeds encouraged, but any bicycle welcome. Ride not a loop, but ends near food/drink/transit.
  • Thurs June 28, 7 PM: Sunset Moonrise RideĀ P’s & Q’s Market, 1301 NE Dekum StĀ A 5mi ride to a good spot to see both sunset and moonrise. Stock up on supplies and libations at P’s & Q’s, and of course bring a blanket, extra layer, and lights for the ride home. Sunset 9:03 PM, moonrise 9:30 PM.

An early May report: Wrapping up Adventure April, planning for June fun, and getting ready for Pepin.

Society Of Three Speeds

Hello friends of Three Speeds! Itā€™s literally hours before Emee and myself hop on Amtrakā€™s Empire Builder and head east to St. Paul for the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour. Fun! Thereā€™s a few items of housekeeping I want to get out of the way before I go:

  • Three Speed Adventure April: Thank you everyone who has participated. Iā€™m seeing the reports roll in. If you have completed any of the challenges, there is still time to file reports! You need to first a) register then b) youā€™ll get a Report Google Form emailed to you. If for some reason you havenā€™t received it, please get in touch! Youā€™ve got until Friday May 18 to get it filed. Full details here.
  • And yes, I am still working on prize packs. I know, a broken record I am. (skipā€¦skipā€¦skipā€¦) I was hoping to have time the last few weeks, but gettingā€¦

View original post 336 more words

Three Speed Ride report: 22 April 2018

Society Of Three Speeds

Yeah, a week late, but better late than never!

It was a glorious Sunday for a Three Speed Ride. It was in the middle of a streak of nice weather, and the dayā€™s temperature was 65F/18C. It would get downright HOT in a few days, so this was a nice balance. We had nine people overall show up to Rivelo for the ride, two out of them visitors from Minneapolis on rented Bromptons.

We headed south first towards Westmoreland Park, mostly on regular olā€™ streets, but a couple blocks of dirt thrown in, because this is a Shawn Granton ride after all! After Westmoreland, we ascended through the tony neighborhood of Eastmoreland and hit up one of my favorite unimproved roads in down, SE 37th Ave from Bybee to Crystal Springs. Much of it is that ā€œbarely thereā€ path that I love. Then through Errol Heights via SE Tenino Driveā€¦

View original post 206 more words