Friday, February 29, 2008


Next time you have to wait through three cycles of lights...anywhere in Bend...think about all of that personal freedom you are realizing by being in your car. How much mobility you have over the world.

Now picture me passing you in the bike lane.


zeroing in on local

I was talking with my wife today about getting local with our grocery shopping...she pointed out that Newport Market is the cheapest around, if you walk or ride your bike.

Good point. True, you do pay a bit more there, but for some things, you do not pay any more than you would elsewhere. You do get better quality for the most part. What you certainly get is better service, especially in the wine and meat departments. I hope to leverage my law degree into a job at Newport selling wine. It could happen.

It is no longer feasible to drive down to Fred Meyer's to shop their better prices. The gas is killing us (us=people in general). But for those of us who did not buy into the southern deschutes sprawl that is, say, River Rim, we are better off eschewing the car and riding down to Newport or Devores, paying a bit more per item, and burning no gas.

Is that commuting? Hell yes. The wisdom of alternative transport does not start and end with the work day.

Look at the recent article on the bulletin's site about the development program for the Bactchelor parking lot. Nowhere did anyone talk about alternative transport for the roadway engineering. Interesting.

If we can get 5% of us on bikes, maybe 6%, you will see a decrease in roadway traffic. That also means less risk. As my wife pointed out, not driving to Fred Meyer's means less of everything, gas, risk, hassle, headache...

I found an interesting video at ...scroll to the bottom. The f word is used 4-5 times, so keep your volume under control.

OK...enough random thoughts for now. Have a great weekend.

Get out there and ride...there is no someday.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


My wife had to buy chains for our Nissan 240 SX (her car is ruby pearl) just to get up the driveway.

Most of the year, we get 30mph+, but in the winter, bad winters mind you, the car sucks for traction as it is rear-wheel drive. It is fun to drive in the summer, challenging in the winter.

Chains just to get up the drive. Dang. Bend has had feet of snow recently. I am surprised the city did not hire her to plow roads with her low profile.

She (my wife) has blood pressure that is so low, she cannot get warm in the winter, otherwise, I would get her studs for her bike.

Old Man Winter wins this round with my family. He has yet to beat me over here in the valley. I did have to walk to school one day recently. I had biked a couple of blocks when i noticed I was biking on ice. I got off and walked most of 1.75 miles. Sketchy to say the least. I need some yaktrax for my bike shoes when I am forced to hoof it.

Wife left the chains on so she can roar off at a moments notice, 14 inches on the streets nothwithstanding. I hope she does not chew up the garage floor.

yes, but how can I help?

Below is an email I sent to a friend who was thinking of converting his Cannondale mtb to a commuter. He lives in Hillsboro and commutes 8 miles round trip. He asked me to put together some wisdom on outfitting for commuting in the rain...something I have a little experience with. Edited for anonymity...

Start now. In spite of the rain, soldier on.

Bike – yer Cannondale is fine for it, but switch to slicks, anywhere from 15-25 per tire.
Get some fenders, another 25
Get a tune up, 35-65
Maybe a new chain will be needed? 35-60 depending on level of quality
You have a rear rack? If not, 15-25
Weather proof panniers – I say, go big and get top of the line gear. Well, I would say that about anything you get, but especially for something you want to be weatherproof. Look at for top-notch panniers. Anything that goes on a rear rack and looks like a dry bag, ought to do well.
Messenger bag – Same site, for messenger bags. That is where mine is from. Never regretted getting that model (largest size).
Lights – MARS Blackburn, LEDs, rear 5 reds with 2 yellow side markers…I actually ride with two of these on my Commuter. Headlight, I have two four-LED whites mounted on my commuter.
Batteries – get rechargeable AAs and AAAs for your lights.
Headlamp – either wear on your helmet front with clear LED cover, or wear on your helmet rear, with red LED cover.
Pedals – get some simple pedals to go with your cycling shoes
Pumps – get a floor pump, a two hander, for the garage if you do not have one already, and get a small hand pump to attach to your bike
Under seat bag – put yer tools and your spare tubes (always 2) and your tire removal kit in here

Clothes – Take yer work clothes in your panniers
Cycling Pants- Spend some money on good gear. I have pants from, they work like champs
Cycling Jacket – jacket is from and worth the extra coin.
Gloves – get some winter gloves when it is butt-arse cold, otherwise, simple riding gloves will do
Helmet cover- for rain, I use the shower caps from hotel rooms…free, elastic rimmed, they work awesome…on warm days, even if raining, forget it, because your helmet will not breath
Riding cap – get a thin, slim head cover to wear under your helmet to retain heat
Cycling shoes – something simple that you can wear into a store while on the commute home…three Velcro strap style
Waterproof booties – wear these over your socks...keeps your feet dry, even if your cycling shoes are soaked. Put these on, then step into your cycling pants, then put your shoes on.
Lock – I use a small, Kryptonite U-Lock designed for motorcycles, along with their 7 foot, thick braid, cable lock with loops on both ends. Get both tires looped through with this thing, and through the frame and no one will mess
Helmet - more vents the better, spend no more than 50
Reflective stickers – buy some and stick them on your fenders for more vis

Maybe your riding jacket should be fluorescent yellow for high vis?
Get a bell to put on your handle-bars.

Looks like a lot, and it is, and will cost cash. But, you should be able to get you a lot off of craigs list or ebay. The nice thing is that once you buy an item, that is it. You do not do a lot of spending all the time, as you would for a car.

My wife usually gets me whatever I want (off ebay, etc.), because I save so much by not owning a car.

Give it a week or two, and you will never look back. Soon, you will be riding everywhere for every errand and feeling righteous the entire time…and you should.

Now get after it…

Friday, February 1, 2008

done and done

Yesterday I had to give notice at my law firm. A medium sized firm by Salem standards, there are eight attorneys doing mostly insurance defense and some PLF stuff. All of them excellent practitioners and true gentlemen.

While I am bummed about no paychecks coming in, I felt it was necessary to focus on school. No more double trips in for work and classes. I am in for 17 credits this semester, 5 finals and two papers. Something had to give.

The upside, is that with the heavy load, and summer school, I get out of law school a semester early and take the Feb. bar exam next year.

The other upside, is that summer school is in Italy. Florence, Italy, actually. Not bad.

Wife and child are flying to Europe after my finals and we get two weeks to play in southern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy. How sweet is that?

I will be sure to report on cycling and commuting over there.