Always the Wrong Gear
What is bikepacking?
03 Mar 2021
Recently Bikepacking posted a video about defining bikepacking — the activity or culture, not the website and adjoining print publication — explaining that the complexity of their endeavor was daunting. Or maybe impossible, or possibly silly. The video was hosted on Bikepacking’s YouTube channel, both of which had their own…
Walk the Mountain: An evening in Forest Park for no reason
21 Jan 2021
PORTLAND, Ore., — “When I walk the mountain, all I do is walk the mountain. When you walk the mountain, that’s only part of what you do,” Josh Spice commented in an internet post from Bailey Newbrey. Spice said the words of wisdom came from someone else and unfortunately I…
A Friday morning tradition: Coffee Outside
21 Jan 2021
PORTLAND, Ore., — On many Friday mornings in the Before Times I met up with other Portland bike people in what was partially a social gathering, partially a bicycle fashion show and showcase for every conceivable way to heat water and/or brew coffee. This story recalls what has become one…
Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, summer 2019
09 Mar 2020
[08 March 2020 update: I started this post a couple of months ago but haven’t been able to get back to it — consider this an adventure in progress. When it’s finished I plan to have 3 or 4 posts about my July 2019 ride on the Great Divide…
Swift Campout at L.L. Stub Swift Campout 2019 Portland to L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park and back, 22 – 23 June 2019.
18 Dec 2019
PORTLAND, Oregon — I participated in the 2019 Swift Campout* with a solo overnight ride from headquarters in the University District of downtown Portland to the foothills of the Coastal Range where L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park lies in the Banks-Vernonia Trail.
I left my apartment and made my way…
Leave the gears, keep the Troll
14 Apr 2019
PORTLAND, Oregon – A few months ago I decided it was time to end the short-lived foolishness of multiple gears for a few reasons, the most prominent being that I still rode the damn thing as if it were single speed … always in the wrong gear.
While the title…
Three Volcano Traverse
31 Jul 2018
PORTLAND, Oregon — I left the house thinking I would ride my bike east – I had only the vague notion of riding toward the rising sun, toward the “actual Portland” part of Portland
I threaded through the mismatching meshwork of streets and avenues to a snack stop at a…
Extraterrestrial, a Ranger and snow
22 Feb 2018
PORTLAND, Oregon — I finally had the chance to ride through snow (over paved surfaces, mostly) with a Surly ExtraTerrestrial tire, mounted on a 50mm Rabbit Hole rim, used as a rear tire. I have a WTB Ranger Tough 3.0 front tire, mounted on the same rim
Snow is rare…
Seattle to Portland, the dusty way pt. 3
28 Sep 2017
This is the third and final part of my bikepacking adventure from Seattle to Portland. It picks up in the Olallie Lake Campground in Gifford-Pinchot National Forest in Washington.
I gathered my small camp together and packed up the Troll while my camp neighbors continued to throw food at me…
Seattle to Portland, the dusty way pt. 2
22 Sep 2017
This is part 2 of my bikepacking trip from Seattle to Portland. It picks up just west of Mount Rainier National park.
I weaved my way through the park, past the Longmire Lodge, over a burly wooden bridge over the Niqually River, then right onto the Paradise Valley Road, up…
Seattle to Portland, the dusty way
21 Sep 2017
PORTLAND, Oregon — I decided to follow what I think of as John’s Route from Seattle, Wash., to Portland, Ore., by way of gravel roads, national parks big hills and forests. That first day, leaving the sweatbox hostel on Second Avenue in Seattle, I took John’s advice and cut off…
Lower gears, but still 10 of them
17 Sep 2017
PORTLAND, Oregon — While on a recent bike tour, climbing up some seriously gnarly hills on soft, dusty gravel roads, I had some time to contemplate my gearing choices and other life decisions.
“One by ten, 11-34 cassette and 30 tooth chainring should be low enough for anything,” I thought…
World Naked Bike Ride Portland
30 Jun 2017
PORTLAND, Oregon — I attended my third World Naked Bike Ride last weekend, although it was my first in Portland. The others were in Austin.
This blog is about adventure, and WNBR is no different. To add to the adventure, I rode my ancient fixed gear track bike (no brakes,…
A move to Cascadia
24 Jun 2017
PORTLAND, Oregon — About a month ago my wife and I officially moved to Cascadia, from Austin, and settled into an apartment in a downtown high-rise near Portland State University. The location is good—near several transit options, casual food options, a variety of convenience stores—and the building is comfortable and…
An afternoon of concrete and junk
18 Apr 2017
AUSTIN – What we planned to do as an easy ride around Ladybird Lake, became a grand adventure only partially around the lake. The group was three: Dan, his friend Mike (or something) and me.
We met at Monkey Nest, a local coffee shop to trade some bike parts and…
Rabbit hole in the sand; 2 bars and a Troll
17 Mar 2017
AUSTIN – The tire/rim combination of Surly Extra Terrestrial 26 x 2.5 mounted tubeless to a 50mm Surly Rabbit Hole rim has proven itself as smooth and capable on several paved, hard-pack and moderately loose surfaces – wet and dry
I decided to kick it up a notch with my…
Walz Velo/City hat mini-review
06 Feb 2017
AUSTIN - Walz Caps sent me a couple of their sweet hats to try out. This is a short review the Velo/City model, which is a mix between a cycling cap and a regular sportsball hat. While it’s a bit bulky for under a helmet, it has wife-approved [yes, I…
Monkey Nuts to the rescue
11 Jan 2017
AUSTIN – This whole “gears” thing is working out better than I thought it would. A modern, new and proper one-by (1x10) drivetrain is quiet, shifts smoothly and stays out of the way. I have no reservations about mashing gears or churning the seemingly endless torque up hills and/or through…
How to carry a giant water bottle
01 Jan 2017
AUSTIN – I wanted to make use of the water bottle (I refuse to use the term “bidon”) mounts under the downtube of the Surly Troll for their intended purpose.
I first had a red plastic Specialized water bottle cage from my ancient Rocky Mountain that I pressed into use…
The Troll gets gears, fatter rims
26 Dec 2016
AUSTIN - I made some drivetrain changes on the Surly Troll: replacing the single-speed drivetrain with a 1x10 drivetrain, which also includes a return to the 50mm wide Surly Rabbit Hole rims and familiar 26 x 2.5 Extra Terrestrial tires.
If I could have more than one mountain bike or…
Local adventures are still epic
01 Dec 2016
AUSTIN – I had to get out of the house, I was in a rut and needed to get my ass out of the leather office chair. Since I came back from my abbreviated (but nowhere near complete!) Great Divide Mountain Bike Route run I’ve been rotting idly at a…
Riding the rails west, after pedaling south
09 Oct 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. – What began as an off-pavement bicycle trip along the spine of the Rocky Mountains, became a few days in Portland by way of Greyhound and Amtrak.
I shipped my bike and most of my gear from Missoula and boarded an evening Spokane-bound Greyhound. In Spokane I changed…
Great Divide: Back in the USA
23 Sep 2016
WHITEFISH, Mont. – Subsequent days on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route have gotten easier, but the challenge is still the same. It took a few days for me to settle into a routine of riding my bike all day and camping at night. For a first bikepacking trip, perhaps…
Great Divide Mountain Bike Route: Banff to Fernie
23 Sep 2016
FERNIE, B.C., Canada – The first day was brutal. I had a late start leaving from Banff and wanted to get to the first night’s campsite before dark. I did it, but made some rookie mistakes along the way
I was pretty warm riding but I didn’t remove layers and…
Dusty adventures in Black Rock City
11 Sep 2016
BANFF, Alberta, Canada – Something draws us to the worst place on earth at a high cost in time and treasure
Some create or participate in epic artwork – performance, built things or both – while others volunteer (often buying a ticket to go work for free). Some go for…