Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween - lets ride

Tomorrow is Halloween. Many of us will be getting our kids dressed and ready to make their candy collecting rounds tomorrow night. But before you get your kids ready to trick-or-treat, maybe you should get some time in on your bike. That way you can eat an extra peanut butter cup (or 10) without feeling too guilty about all those calories.

If you’re available from 10:30am till 3:00pm tomorrow, you can bring your bike here, and participate in the second annual Spooks On Spokes ride. The ride/race will take place throughout this general area.

Similar to an Alleycat race, this event incorporates all types of urban and suburban riding. Part of the adventure is the unknown. You won't know what you're in for until the race begins. Expect mildly difficult terrain, mileage and challenges. Terrain will be mixed, therefor road, mountain or comfort bikes will work. Expect the unexpected, but expect the event to last between 2 and 4 hours depending on your skills.

The event starts after each person is given a manifest. The manifest consists of a list of checkpoints they must find. There will be a 15-minute period to ask questions before the race begins. Each item on the manifest will be revealed after solving a puzzle or riddle. After studying the manifest all participants are released at 11-AM to begin the adventure. Event ends at 3:00-pm Sharp! Categories are: Teams of 2, Geared and Fixed/Single Speed bikes. Participants choosing to compete as a team must remain within 50-feet of one another at all times. Halloween costumes are encouraged, but not expected or required. Your choice.

Be sure to check out the official website for all the details.

Drop me an email at underdahill AT gmail DOT com if you want to meet up for coffee somewhere along the way. I plan to swing by Bike Masters on the way there, so that determines my route to the start area a bit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Polo this sunday?

Is anyone not going to Spooky Cross want to do some polo Sunday?  I've been ichin' to try it out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Upcoming Weekend Bike Events

This Saturday October 31st is the second annual Spooks on Spokes scavenger race. This event is a blend of scavenger hunt, alleycat and adventure race rolled up in one. I'm not charging an admission fee, but I'll accept donations from anyone willing (to cover event insurance of $90). Check out this LINK for more details. For those who run their own blogs, please spread the word about this event or copy the details to your blog if you wish.

Also, the following day, Sunday November 1st is Spookycross. A cycloross race on Living History Farms in Urbandale Iowa. There's no excuse not to be out on your bike this weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Commuting in the rain...

Is like cyclocross. Initially it sounds like a bad idea until you get out and do it. Then it's AWESOME!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chrome and Coffee (Beer)

The ever so cool, ever so tank-like, and ever so functional Chrome Bags brought itself to Omaha with the large thanks going to the good guys at Bike Masters for setting it up. We met at the always good Blue Line, but I didn't have a lick of coffee. I think I drank a diminishing drip of it for about 4 hours earlier in the day, so I figured I should steer clear and find beer. The crowd was full of pedal power and I didn't see a crying eye in the bunch.

The 2010 product line was shown, questions were answered, and raffles were raffled.

This guy I know (me) was there and took a couple of pretty pointless pictures. But without hesitation, I post them for the good of the good. Yay!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

race across the sky

Posted from MTBomaha

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If you don't blog it, it didn't happen

Rafal and Mod making smores at RF and Rox's wedding.

It was fun to see so many bike peeps at the wedding. However, I don't think any of them biked there. FAIL! .... including me, but I couldn't figure out how to hook my camper to my bike. ;-)

Sorry for the terrible picture quality.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Bike Commuting 101

I read Outside magazine and thought this article has useful content, albeit there is more product/gear advertisement than I would prefer.

The Original SUV
Bike Commuting 101
The Age of Bike Commuting is upon us. Across the nation, gridlocked cities are carving out cycling lanes, installing racks, and otherwise embracing pedal power. To help you make the switch, we've exposed the most common whines for what they are: stall tactics. Read on—and the truth will set you free.

Excuse #1: It's too dangerous
The Truth: That really depends on you. If you seek out less traveled routes, and ride wisely and defensively, odds are very good that your commute will be unremarkable—in the nice, pain-free way. Cycling-safety research is not yet at motor-vehicle levels, but studies have produced heartening results. The Transportation Research Board reports an average accident rate of one per every 16,750 miles for bike commuters, and one study by the UK Department of Transport found that roughly 19.9 million miles were pedaled per cycling fatality there. So ride intelligently among cars, wear a helmet—Lazer's Genesis RD ($175; features the best, and most comfortable, fit system we've used—and, at night, light yourself up for maximum visibility. In back, mount a flashing red taillight, like Princeton Tec's Swerve ($30; Up front, you want a headlight with a flash mode. We prefer a powerful rechargeable unit, like Light & Motion's 200-lumen Stella 200 ($270;, but if that seems like overkill for your ride, check out Princeton Tec's 50-lumen EOS Bike ($45).

Excuse #2: It rains too much in my town
The Truth: It's easy to keep dry and warm on the bike. In rainy Portland, Oregon, plenty of folks cycle through winter in thrift-store wool and waterproofed leather boots. Fenders, of course, are a must—and you can't beat Velo Orange's aluminum models (pair, $48; For outerwear, though, some of us prefer high-tech fabrics. The Showers Pass Elite 2.0 ($230; showers­ is a highly breathable, waterproof eVent jacket with lots of venting and smart details; the optional hood ($25) fits under a helmet. Gore Bike Wear's Countdown Gloves ($80; laugh at rain and wind. The Showers Pass Hybrid Zip-Off ($100) soft-shell trouser converts to knickers. And Merrell's leather Chameleon Trek Gore-Tex ($140; is a storm-proof town-to-trail shoe that's great for flat pedals.

Excuse #3: I don't have the time
The Truth: Cycling may be faster. Clock your circuit both ways, at the normal times, and see. But even if the car or train wins, consider this: If you have time for cardio work, you have time to ride. Swap out that spin class for the real world. It's a fair trade. A study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that, for new commuters, cycling just 3.7 miles at low intensity only three times a week increased external power and oxygen uptake as much as a training program. Imagine if they really committed to the commute.

Excuse #4: I need to look nice at the office, not be Sweaty Commuter Guy
The Truth: You can keep your riding to the cooler months—or use a little strategy to roll all year long. No shower at the office? Keep washcloths, deodorant, etc.—some even use baby wipes—in your desk and freshen up at a bathroom sink after a five-to-ten-minute cooldown. Cold water on your hands helps lower your core temperature, and a glass of ice water and a fan at your desk do wonders. You don't have to change clothes, either. Moisture-wicking and waterproof-breathable performance fabrics have made their way into stylish designs, so not only can you avoid the wardrobe shuffle; you might just improve your look, too. Nau's waterproof, four-button Riding Jacket ($200; looks like a slim-cut blazer from Savile Row. Dunning's button-down Performance Shirt ($125; repels moisture brilliantly. Outlier's very light and urban 4Season OG Pants ($180; shed all things wet and greasy but breathe freely. And if you can do jeans, don't ruin your Levi's. Swrve makes très cool cycling denim: seamless crotch, articulated knees, and a little bit of stretch ($100; For shoes, you want waterproofed leather, like Blundstone's Rugged Lux 550 ($160;

Excuse #5:It hurts when I ride

The Truth: That's easily fixed, but your bike might not fit you. Here are the five keys to a plush ride, according to le grand French constructeurs of old.

FIT: To eliminate back, neck, and wrist pain, your saddle should be close to even with your bars. And if the distance between the two doesn't feel right (meaning you're neither scrunched up nor overstretched), nothing will.

MATERIAL: Lightweight chromoly steel is springy (absorbs shocks), strong (is very hard to bend or crack and, unlike carbon, will never break), durable (will most likely outlive you), and practical (is easily repaired).

SADDLE: Leather takes on the shape of your derriere for years of untroubled riding. We love two models with anatomical cutouts, the Brooks B17 Imperial ($142; and the Selle An-Atomica Titanico LD Watershed ($180). The Titanico is softer out of the box but will reach the end of its life sooner. Not into leather? Top pick: the WTB SST ($60–$140;, a padded shell with a cradling shape.

BARS: Make sure your wrists aren't bent awkwardly. Drop bars offer several hand positions. The Nitto Noodle ($54– $65; is a favorite.

TIRES: Bigger equals superior comfort, traction, stability, and versatility. You don't want to go any lower than 28mm in diameter, and 32 to 40mm is more like it. And don't pump them to capacity; try 75 percent of max to start, and then experiment.

Excuse #6: Comfort Level

The Truth: Here it is, straight from GRANT PETERSEN, of Rivendell Bicycle Works. Because who better than the godfather of modern utility cycling to help you stop making excuses and get off the gas?

Chain-smoking salarymen in Tokyo, ladies in Amsterdam, and oldsters in Oxford grab a bike when they want to go somewhere. But they don't necessarily ride for health or to be good stewards of the planet. In Japan, the car is the slow, high-hassle, expensive way to move. Europe's urban centers predate the car and tend to have short, bike-friendly commutes. Bicycling is the path of least resistance in these cases, so it's easy to be virtuous. But in America, it's so easy to be bad. You almost need superpowers to be good. Rah-rah rants about the joys of pedaling, the health benefits, and the wide selection of commute-worthy bikes are all but powerless within a pro-car infrastructure. If they worked, we'd be right up there with the best bike-commuting countries, where 40 to 70 percent ride daily. Our score: 0.48 percent. Our problem is partly a lack of government-imposed disincentives—like the much higher fees and operating costs associated with owning a car in many other countries—but there's also our genetic proclivity to conserve energy whenever possible, like a little Lucifer on your shoulder constantly jingling the car keys. Since it's unnatural, even masochistic, to impose your own disincentives, find another way to break the car habit and get the bike habit. Breaking habits is hard but not impossible, and you have to give a new routine time to take root. The first step is making it easy, and one way is to get a suitable bike. Start when the weather is best, because it's not easy for bike commuting to take root in the hot, muggy summer or dark, cold, wet winter, when it's so hard to resist the comfort of a temperature-controlled sedan, listening to your favorite tunes and sipping coffee. But in time you may come to love riding through all four seasons. Nasty streets and sleet? Bring it on! Whatever you do, just make it so you're driving less and pedaling more. The more you do it, the easier it gets. And if all those far-flung folks can do it, so can you. You may have a harder system to fight, but it's a good fight.

Bike Commuting 101: Lock This Way

RELAXED? Kryptonite Evolution Mini ($62;

NERVOUS? Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit ($100) and, for your saddle and front wheel, KryptoFlex 1007 Looped Cable 7' ($12)

Street Safety 101

Take the rightmost third of the lane.
Own it, and, please, be very predictable.
Ignore impatient honkers; don't engage hostile ones.

Watch out for car doors and pedestrians.
Never swerve into traffic; brake hard, in-line.
Pass cyclists carefully with "On your left!"

Never assume a car won't hit you while it's turning.
Take the lane after a visual check and hand signal.
Move slowly to the right once you're through.

And Finally...Don't Be an Idiot!
Blog Maestro Bike Snob NYC wants you to keep a few things in mind.
You're not saving the world: Ever hear a V8 gurgling and think, What a space-consuming, earth-fouling fascist? Well, if you think you're doing something special by riding a bike, you're just as toxic. Smug is worse than smog.
Ride Like a Grown-Up: In a big city, bikes are faster than cars and motos. While straddling such a formidable machine, act like it. Riding effortlessly through traffic makes a point; riding against it, a.k.a. "salmoning," makes you look like a moron. And forget the sidewalk. If you want to be taken seriously, ride in the street.
Know Your Bike: It's OK not to be a mechanic. But you need to know how to fix a flat and should be ready to do so at all times. Riding without equipment and knowledge is like not wearing underpants—not in the good, sexy way but in the disgusting, chafing way. Have a patch kit, tube, and pump, and know how to use them.
Don't "Reclaim the Streets": Think the car is your adversary? That's defeatist. Bikes were here first: Charles "Mile-a-Minute" Murphy was setting records when cars put out only slightly more horsepower than Angela Lansbury on a charity ride. The road is (still) yours.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Daughter orphaned after truck kills both Parents. No Charges Raised!

Tragic story from Texas.  God forbid any one try and mess with them.

"Texas’s governor recently vetoed a law that would mandate a safe passing distance for cyclists, saying it was unnecessary."

Check out the article on Urban Velo

Bike There option on google!!

Dudes and dudettes, I don't know if this old news but I have been wanting this function for years!

I'm excited.  I hope that it works.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

12-Minutes of your time

Boulder Bike Story from Bikes Belong on Vimeo.

This video is worth at least 12-minutes of your time. If you, like me, want Omaha to be more than it is then we need more people involved. Dynamic, engaged and committed individuals to bring Omaha into the "bike friendly" realm.

Trying to understand USAC licensing.

The last time I was licensed to race was in 2001, which was to race MTB that year. My confusion (and complaints) are in regards to racing Cyclocross under a MTB or Road license. I recently raced my first CX race and thoroughly enjoyed it. Enough so that I'd like to race a couple more this season. One issue holding me back is that the license costs $60 and expires this December. So I plan to get a 2010 license, but I notice that I have to choose between Cat-3 MTB-CX or Cat-5 Road-CX. What? I have to buy two licenses ($120) if I want to race Road, MTB and CX next year? If that's true, that's BS. Since I only plan to race a 1 or 2 road races, a couple MTB and a couple CX races a year, the cost doesn't justify a yearly license. But the major hang-up is that without a license I'm forced to race Cat-5, which in CX is only a 30-minute race. I'm 40+ and would prefer to race a longer race, perhaps with masters, which is where I think I belong (even though most masters kick my a$$).

Could someone explain the USAC "system" to me? I've read through their poorly designed web site and I can't find answers to my questions. Also, why restrict non-yearly license holders to shorter racers, for example the cat-4/5 CX race I was in last week. And, do I have to buy two licenses if I want to race road, cx and mtb next year?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Maiden Voyage

I had forgotten how much fun it is to ride SS. Winds can be a lot more annoying and steep hills take a lot more effort, but it's just so simple. This bike is also a bit more responsive to steering input than the Surly LHT I ride.

I have one pretty steep hill on my commute to work. It's on Mercy road between 75th and 78th. Riding up that this morning was the first time I can remember having to pedal with my upper body in a long time. I was pulling pretty hard on the bars to get enough pressure onto the pedals to keep them rotating. Good times.

I wont be riding this on days when I have to commute loaded down with a weeks worth of clothes and such but I'll probably choose it for most other commuting days. Oh, and it will definitely be my preferred Alleycat bike. ;-)
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Saturday, October 3, 2009

No wonder we're obese...

Fifteen year ban on riding or walking to school? Come on! Saratoga Springs is a chill town too, that's where Serotta is.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Another salvaged frame

I got this frame/fork/crankset/stem from a friend for free. It sat in my garage for a while. After reading Scott's articles about his Schwinn Le Tour II, I decide to build it into a SS for casual rides/commutes.

I had to invest about $120 in a seat post, brakes, brake levers, cables, and bar tape, but everything else was stuff I had in the garage.

I think it turned out pretty good and that's one less bike frame in the local landfill.



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