Mud wreck or not, this gentleman could not be stopped Sunday at the Double Down Hoe Down. // Photo Jon Snyder.
I haven’t been to a downhill mountain bike race since I rode outlaw Daughter of the Hellathon in the Olympic national Forest back in ’87. My how things change. I went out on Sunday to catch the wet and messy last day of the Wheelsport East’s Double Down Hoe Down and had a blast. As spectator it was great because a wicked drop was set up at the prime viewing spot at the end of the course. The loudest cheers were reserved for riders a who crash horribly but then got back on their rigs and finished the race. Two riders that I chatted with on the course were both from out of town, one from Bellingham and one from Bozeman–both had rented hotel rooms. Hello CVB, hello Sports Commission! Can we get the Hoe Down some support? It may not be Skate America, but they are putting heads in beds. (more…)
According to Dr. Bob Lutz, head the Bicycle Advisory Board, the next stage in the hiring process for the City of Spokane’s new Bike/Ped Coordinator will occur on April 17, when three candidates will travel to Spokane for in-person interview. Lutz says the hope is that the selection committee would make a final decision the following week and perhaps the individual would start work this summer. The final candidates are all men from New York state, Bend, Oregon, and California, respectively. The position would be funded for two years with a hope that it could become permanent.
The Double Down Hoe Down is coming to Beacon Hill this weekend, with races on both Saturday and Sunday. Each day will also have a kids downhill race. Why not lube the chain and give it go? Tell ‘em OTM sent ya.
The Spokesman Review reported today that County Commissioners have voted to bail out the Parks Board and pay $4.3 million to buy the downtown YMCA property. As I mentioned before, this is a terrible idea. Not only is this a poor site for Conservation Futures, it will suck up one quater of the Conservation Futures budget for 20 years if I’m reading this story correctly (!). In addition the Spokane Parks department will have to subsidize the YMCA building to the tune of $100K a year for the five years that the building will remain standing. All of this is to save $1 million dollar non-refundable amount that the Parks Board committed to the YMCA when the opted for right of first refusal to prevent the land from being sold to a developer that wanted to build a condo tower. This is all kinds of wrong. I cannot believe with city budget strapped the way it is that taxpayers will be subsidizing this boondoggle. What Conservation Futures properties will be lost because of YMCA property sucking up all this money? Kudos to commssioner Bonnie Mager for voting against the bailout.The only winner in situation may be the YMCA. They will receive much-needed cash to help construct their new downtown building. And you what? They deserve every penny. They did everything right in trying to sell the property. The offered it to the Park Board year’s ago but were turned down. They tried to work with the city.
One interesting thing about the Review article mentioned above is that Commissioner Mielke reveals his true disdain for the popular Conservation Futures program. Quoth Mielke: “Do we want 1,000 acres used by 30 hikers a year or one acre used by 3 million people?” I guess that means the Commissioner feels that a reclaimed parking lot is more important that wildlife habitat or open space. If that’s the case I couldn’t agree with you less Mr. Commissioner.
Spokane finally has a plan. A sustainability plan. Here’s a good opportunity to put in your two-cents:
CITIZENS INVITED TO COMMENT
ON SUSTAINABILITY ACTION PLAN
Plan to be considered by Council on March 30
Citizens are invited to comment on the Sustainability Action Plan that will be considered
by the Spokane City Council on Monday, March 30, at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers
in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
The Sustainability Action Plan is the culmination of a year’s worth of work by the
Mayor’s Task Force on Sustainability. The plan includes strategies to address climate
mitigation, climate adaptation, and energy security. (more…)
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According to some experts David Thompson’s early 19th century exploration and mapping achievements surpass Lewis and Clark. He spent a lot of time in what would become Idaho and Washington. North Idaho College give’s you a chance to travel back in time tomorrow:
NIC to offer presentation on David Thompson’s natural world
Who: Wildlife education specialist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Kris Buchler
What: will present on the natural habitats that explorer and fur trader David Thompson encountered in the early 19th century during “David Thompson’s Natural World”
When: at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 24
Where: at the Lake City Senior Center at 1916 N. Lakewood Drive in Coeur d’Alene.
How: The presentation is free and open to the public. Information: (208) 772-3953.
Wildlife education specialist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Kris Buchler will present on the natural habitats that explorer and fur trader David Thompson encountered in the early 19th century during “David Thompson’s Natural World.” The presentation will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 at the Lake City Senior Center, located at 1916 N. Lakewood Drive in Coeur d’Alene. (more…)
For many cyclists, March is the first month to recover the bike from the garage and take the first ride of the year. There are a few things to keep in mind for early spring riding.
Before you ride, do a quick clean up on your bike. There are a lot of things you could do, like inspect and adjust the brakes and gears, repack the bearings in the hubs and headset, disassemble and clean the drive-train, and true up the wheels. But there are only a couple things you really must do if you love your bike.
Clean and oil the chain. The chain is the most critical piece of hardware on your bike that makes the bike go (aside from you). It’s also the component with the most moving parts and the one that picks up the most gunk. This gunk tends to be gritty and destructive. Properly maintained, you should be able to get at least 4000 miles out of a chain. If you’re really negligent on cleaning and oiling your chain, you can wear down your whole drive train (chain rings and rear freewheel sprockets) quickly. Once all that stuff wears down too much you’ll have shifting problems. Replacing your chain, chain rings, and rear cassette is not cheap. So, be thrifty and wise: clean and oil your chain regularly.
When you clean your chain, use some kind of biodegradable degreaser and then rinse with water. Dry the chain and oil it. Use bike-specific lube to oil your chain. Don’t use WD-40. It is not a lubricant, it’s the opposite. And don’t use grease either, it’s a crud magnet.
Secondly: check the air pressure in your tires. If your bike has been sitting for months, then the tires will need air. You’re going to feel out-of-shape and sluggish when you take your first ride anyway, so don’t compound it by slogging around on half-empty tires. If you’re not sure how much air to put in the tires, you can find the recommended air pressure on the sidewall of the tire.
To be certain your bike is ready to roll, take it to your LBS (Local Bike Shop) and have them give it a tune. Alternatively, learning how to do this basic maintenance is empowering and prudent. Many shops teach maintenance classes and roadside repair. Or you can visit the Pedals2People DIY shop and learn with the volunteers there. (Full disclosure: I’m a founder and volunteer for P2P).
After your bike is ready to ride there are just a few things to keep in mind for early season riding. First off, drivers have forgotten about you and they are not expecting to see you out there. So be visible, especially at night. An after work spin around the neighborhood can easily turn into a longer ride and a rest stop at the local pub, which can leave you riding home in the dark. Make sure your bike has lights, front and back. Replace or recharge the batteries so they’re fresh. Reflective bits on you and your bike help a lot too.
As for riding: don’t ride in the gutter. This means don’t ride as far over to the right-hand side of the road as humanly possible. As a matter of visibility, predictability, and safety, you shouldn’t do this anyway. But this time of year you really should take the lane and stay out of the gutter.
The shoulders (and bike lanes) will be full of junk until the street crews come and clean them up. Until they are cleaned, the gutters are holding 6 months worth of debris, trash, and gravel. All this stuff threatens your safety and the air in your tires. If you attempt to corner with any kind of speed over the gravel, your tires can slip out from under you and leave you sliding across the asphalt. And the debris on the side of the road is full of sharp bits of metal, staples, glass, and other threatening ordinance. Add a bit of spring melt to this and you’re left with lubricated bits of metal, staples, and glass that can easily slide into your tires and cause a flat. So start off the new cycling season by taking the lane and staying out of the gutter.
Lastly, if you’re a trail rider then mind the mud! Most veteran trail riders are very sensitive to trail conditions and don’t chop the trails up by riding them when they’re wet. But many new riders don’t know that riding on muddy and overly wet trails can destroy them. So if you’re new to riding trails, err on the side of caution and wait until the trails firm up before you ride them. If you’re an old hat at riding the trails: do the right thing and stay off them, and be gentle and kind to the newbies who may not understand this.
John Speare grew up and lives in Spokane. He rides his bike everywhere. Check out his blog athttp://cyclingspokane.blogspot.com.
Everyday Cyclist, Magazine Article |
I know this isn’t directly outdoor related, but it’s pretty big news if you are a fan of Democracy Now! Goodman has an important perspective lacking in mainstream media and large following across the country. She’ll be at G.U. on April 20. You can call the radio station for more details.
David Suzuki is coming to Spokane and you can get a $5 discount on the tickets. This should be an amazing event for anyone interested in sustainability and world affairs:
Get Lit! Festival Author David T. Suzuki Looks at the Big Picture, plus William Dietrich –appearing at The Bing Crosby Theater, April 18, 2009, 8:00 p.m., sponsored in part by the Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities (SCC)
Tickets available for a minimum $15.00 donation (general admission)*–please contact Ren McCoury at 509-533-7045, Spokane Community College, Learning Resources Center. (Please make checks payable to the CCS Foundation—Humanities Endowment.)
*Face value of the tickets is $20 (general admission)
David T. Suzuki, an award-winning scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster, was born in Vancouver, BC, in 1936. At the age of six, he was interned with his family in a camp in BC during WWII. After the war, he went to high school in London, Ontario. He graduated with Honors from Amherst College in 1958 and went on to earn his PhD in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961. (more…)
Alison Boggs, one of my favorite writers still left at the Spokesman Review, has a great piece on formalizing a trail system between Spirit Lake and Mt. Spokane. This is an awesome idea. Better yet, the Spirit Lake community is viewing the projects as an economic development initiative. Right on. One question: How can we help?
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