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It’s all downhill after double digits

Saturday, February 28th, 2015
A Winter Picnic - Atlantis with Space Needle in the distanceMy Rivendell Atlantis at Ten Years

February 2005 my Rivendell Atlantis that I had ordered late 2004 arrived at my apartment in Woodinville, making it ten years old today. In the intervening years I have ridden this bicycle nearly 40,000 miles on many hundreds of commute trips, hundreds of errands, all over Washington State, across the country, into Canada, over the entirety of the Cascade Mountain range and most of the Sierra’s, in Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, Victoria, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Cleveland, across the Continental Divide, nearly two dozen states and provinces, countless county, state and national parks and on and on.  Never has a bicycle fit me so well, or ridden so well. I’ve had other bicycles, even another Rivendell but I just ride this one. So happy birthday dear Atlantis and as promised soon I’ll be sending it back to Riv to be repainted and some minor repair.

I’ve taken many, many pictures of my Atlantis most of which I’ve collected in my Atlantis Gallery on Flickr and even more via the Atlantis Tag.

Rivendell Atlantis 2005 - 01 My Atlantis just after I finished assembling it. Not even ridden!

A Quick(beam) Update

Friday, December 19th, 2014
Quickbeam
 Quickbeam on Beacon Hill

As the days get shorter and the temperatures lower I’ve found that I’ve been enjoying taking little short rides on my Quickbeam. I’m generally more of long exploratory ramble kind of guy, but I often set out late as the mood strikes.  In the winter that leads to my riding being a lot more utility based, or the occasional pre-planned more “epic” outing.  But since I’ve moved to the Beacon Hill neighborhood in South Seattle, I find short rambles in this still fairly new to me region to be a nice way to squeeze some riding into the minimal daylight.

The City in late autumn

The city as seen from Jefferson Park on Beacon Hill

Riding around Seattle, which is plenty hilly, on the Quickbeam I found doable but wasn’t loving it. So last spring right before I set out on tour I converted it to a three speed. I had a wheel built with a Sturmey-Archer S3x fixed three speed hub, to which I put on a freewheel cog. Then it was simply a matter of running cable up to a bar end shifter. I did take some care with this, using nice brackets where I could as this is a “permanent” change as far as I’m concerned.  With the tour looming I abandoned the project, nearly complete but needing a lot of fine tuning.  Well I’ve mostly got it dialed in now and I really love it as a three-speed.  It’s still a bit of effort to get up some hills and of course some of the steepest require the “fourth gear” (i.e. pushing) but that’s all part of the charm.  The Albatross bars have taking some getting used to, but I love just rambling around the neighborhood, perched up high checking things out.  Perfect right for running errands, or like on this day, just head out for a couple of hours in the dwindling late autumn sun.

QuickbeamAnother side of the 'beam

 

420/Easter Ramble

Friday, April 25th, 2014

4-20 Easter Ride - Atlantis at the Locks

Atlantis at the Ballard Locks

It’s rare that these two significant holidays occur on the same day but instead of celebrating either I went for a rambling ride along Seattle waterways. The weekend had been rather grey and rainy and Sunday was expected to be similar but with that spring like character of occasional sun breaks. I’d been hankering for a ride as I’d spent the last weekend (which, of course, had been the nicest of the year to date) sick and was still feeling a bit weak and tired from that. When I got out of doors it was warmer than expected and while grey it was those high thin clouds the sun burned through.

4-20 Easter Ride - Looking west

On the Seattle Waterfront looking West

I rode through the ID and down to the Seattle Waterfront. The waterfront is under a huge amount of development with the former viaduct being torn down, a tunnel built under, the seawall being replaced and a park built downtown. Considering it’s a massive tourist zone makes for fairly chaotic riding. I stuck with riding on Alaskan Way except for a few bits where I was directed onto new Bicycle/Walkways.  It being Sunday morning and Easter/420 it wasn’t all that bad. So I headed to Elliot Bay Trail at the entrance by the Olympic Sculpture Park.

4-20 Easter Ride - rocks

Seaside rocks on the Seattle Waterfront

I’ve ridden this trail many times but this time as I neared the end, where I was going to begin a loop around Magnolia, I decided to do a clockwise loop instead of the usual anti-clockwise.  So I hung a left on a spur on the trail and noted that it had an extension to Smith Cove Park. Well I’ve never ridden this section before! This turned out to be a fairly short stretch (less than a mile for sure) that wended around the rail yard on the east and a bluff on the right to this little park tucked in-between the industrial waterfront and a marina. I hung out at the park for a bit taking photos, reading and relaxing. The little park was empty when I arrived but three other bicyclers arrived whilst I was there.

4-20 Easter Ride - Atlantis at Smith Cove

Atlantis at Smith Cove

Feeling slightly well when autumn comes

Not yet disappeared
like a dewdrop
on a blade of grass,
I am still in this floating world,
moon in the morning.
-Ryōkan

4-20 Easter Ride - The tide is out

The tide is out

From Smith Cove Park, I rode down to the marina which also had a little park there and then I rode back on the Elliot Bay Trail spur and then took the exit for a clockwise loop around Magnolia. This begins with a nice climb up that bluff I’d just been under and then it was gentle ups and downs most of the way around to Discovery Park.

4-20 Easter Ride - Lighthouse side view

Lighthouse at Discovery Park

I rode through Discovery Park and then made my way down to the Lighthouse. This is down a narrow, steep road which always promises a nice slog up from the shore. Down at the beach there was more people than I’d seen so far, but the holidays I think kept it from being too packed. I spent a good bit of time on the shore, enjoying the pleasant weather and being on the water. I walked around the lighthouse and then sat on a log and read and watched for a spell.

4-20 Easter Ride - mud

The beach

If I had known
how sorrowful this world is,
I would have become
grass or a tree
in a deep mountain!
-Ryōkan

4-20 Easter Ride - Ballard Locks

Balard Locks

I made my way up the steep hill back into the park and rode some of the parks trail and closed roads to the northeast entrance from which it was a quick jog through the neighborhoods and along the Ship Canal to the Ballard Locks. You have to walk your bicycle across the locks and on summer days the narrow walkways can be tough to get through – especially if there are people pushing bicycles through both ways. Today though, once again, it wasn’t too crowded even though now the clouds had burned off and it was sunny and warm.

4-20 Easter Ride - Ballard Locks spillway

Ballard Locks spillway

I lingered going through the locks, stopping at each of the sections to look into the water or take some pictures. But soon enough I pushed my bicycle through the park and reaching NW 54th Street I saddled up and begin to ride toward home. I cut though the industrial bits of Ballard to the Burke Gillman Trail, which was as busy as ever on a nice weekend day. I rode the trail into the U-District and there dropped off it and stuck with streets that were on the Ship Canal to the Montlake Bridge. I then followed the Lake Washington Loop along Lake Washington until I rode up the hill to the I-90 Trail which I rode to the ID and then it was back home.

Check out all the pictures I’ve posted from this ride: 420/Easter Ride.
The poetry of Ryōkan is from Sky Above, Great Wind, translated Kazuaki Tanahashi

A Quick (beam) Update

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
A Sunday Ramble - Quickbeam
 A Quickbeam in the grass, alas

It’s been some time since I’ve done much riding on the Quickbeam. The winter months were much more suited toward the Atlantis what with it’s generator light, fat durable tires and ability to carry multiple extra layers of clothes.  Also while I’ve done the commute on the Quickbeam, climbing Capitol Hill isn’t really a good time on the single speed. Doable, but not going to make my top ten rides.  Also I feel I gave the drop bars a shot and while they were fine they didn’t blow my skirt up.  After ages of hearing Albatross handlebars talked up I decided that I was going to switch the ‘beam over to them.  I’d gotten the h’bars, stem, grips, brakes from Riv months ago and was just slacking on doing the work.  Well last weekend I finally did it.

A Sunday Ramble - Quickbeam in front of pool
 Quickbeam at Volunteer Park

Along with the the Handlebar changes I also put on a Nitto R-12 saddlebag support which you can sort of see in the above photo. You can see a bit of the rubber coated clamps on the frame and a bit of the stainless steel hoop. Follow the link if you want to see what this actually looks like.  I have to say it does the job – the pictured saddlebag was brushing the fender when I loaded it up and clearly it is kept away from that now.  After putting on these items, adjusting the brakes I headed out for a test ride.

A Sunday Ramble - Glorious cherry tree
 Glorious cherry tree

I road across Capitol Hill, to Volunteer Park which I rambled around taking pictures. I started off with the bars quite high on the ‘beam and stopped to adjust them several times. I’ll probably lower them a bit more and maybe experiment with the angle on them. I have to say the Albatross bars and the super upright position took some getting used to. I already prefer it to the drops I had on there, but so far mustache bars remain my favorite. I’ll give the Alba’s a good long shot though and see if I can’t get the perfect rambling bicycle going.

A Sunday Ramble - Carved whale fin sculpture with Quickbeam
Carved whale fin sculpture with Quickbeam

It really was a nice sunny, warm sunday afternoon, nice enough that after rambling around the park, I went out for Gellato. Then I headed back toward my apartment with a stop at a little (unnamed afaik) corner park near the Capitol Hill Juvenile Detention Center. At this park, which seems to be mostly a dog walkers park, there is the pictured carved whale fin sculpture rising out of the ground like an Orca just below the ocean surface. I live just a few blocks from here and as it was already cooling down as the sun sank below the cityscape I returned home.

More pictures from today’s ramble: A Sunday Ramble
More pictures of my Quickbeam: Quickbeam Set

Bombing around Beacon Hill

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Quickbeam on Cheif Sealth trail

Quickbeam at the southern end of the Chief Sealth Trail

I haven’t been riding the Quickbeam too much since moving back to Seattle. Seattle is a hilly city for a single speed, but I’ve been thinking I want to use it for commuting instead of my Atlantis and toward that end I’ve been waiting for some new gear. Primarily the small olive Sackville saddlebag you can see in the above picture.  I’ve mounted that with the Nitto Saddlebag Grip so that I can just grab the whole bag when off the bicycle. Other upgrades include Velo Orange hammered fenders that I put on a couple months ago, new waterbottle cages and dedicated front and rear lights.

After putting on the new bag today I thought I’d see how I’d do on the Seattle hills. So I took a rambling route up Beacon Hill and while wandering around up there saw a sign for the Chief Sealth Trail. Now I’d ridden at least a chunk of this trail not long after opened, but it was a diversion from a Lake Washington Loop and on finding it pretty hilly and in the wrong direction I only did a mile or so. It is indeed a hilly trail and is a good workout on a single speed. Overcast and grey today with light spitting rain, it was rather comfortable riding really. Only when I came home did the rain become steady if not very heavy.  Anyway I failed to bring my camera so only took a couple cellphone pics as seen above. A nice day of bombing around Beacon Hill and I look forward to riding the Quickbeam more.

Some work on the Atlantis

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Atlantis 2013 - kickstand action shot

I tend to do my upgrading, changes and fixes on the bicycle at the end of winter in conjunction with cleaning off the accumulated winter gunk. This year due to one of my fender struts snapping off I did a round of work much earlier.  I’d been contemplating replacing my fenders for years now but it’s not exactly thrilling work and since the old set is steel they continued to function well now matter how beat up they were.  But the snapping of the strut put me over the edge.  My local bicycle shop stocks Velo-Orange parts and them actually having the ones I wanted in the size I needed meant I was able to just walk down there and get them.  So I’ve moved to these fluted fenders that VO bill as “zeppelin” fenders. The install went pretty smooth all things consider – it is only the second set I’ve ever put on, but it was similar enough to the Berthoud set that that experience applied.

Atlantis 2013 - New rear fender and tire

While the wheels were off for the fender install I swapped the rear tire to the front and put on a new tire on the rear.  Readers of this blog my recall that I replaced my rear tire in Fort Wayne on my cross country tour.  Quite a few patches of the interior blue belt were visible on that tire at the time and it felt worth doing. The front was worn but not showing any blue so I didn’t replace it at the time.  By the time I got home a few patches had begun to appear. I probably could have gotten more miles out of the tire, but seemed worth doing, as was rotating the tire (which I tend to not be inclined to do). It also turned out that I had broken a spoke over the winter (those single butted spokes on the rear wheel strike again) so I hauled it down to Old Town Bicycles here in Oly and had them fix that for me. That is a repair job I really need to learn how to do.

Atlantis 2013 - Basket top view

I’ve been meaning to put a basket on the front rack for years, years but slack has dominated and it wasn’t unit this winter that I finally have done it. Now that it’s been on for a month or so I gotta say I wish I’d done it earlier.  Great to be able just dump a sack of groceries in there, strap down the cargo net and ride off.  Similarly I’ve had a kickstand I’ve been meaning to put on for at least 5 years now.  But the whole cutting it down just seemed like to much of a pain in the ass as I didn’t have a vice (and other excuses).  But now I have access to a good workbench and tools so I finally did it. I actually need to cut it down a little more (d’oh) but already glad I have it on.

Atlantis 2013 - Non-drive side rear showing kickstand

When I originally got the Atlantis from Rivendell I had a Nitto Jaguar seatpost which after many, many miles one of the bolts sheared off. I could find these bolts anywhere and even asking Riv they basically said they didn’t have any.  Well for various reasons I wanted to go back to that seatpost – the double bolt design is so great – and I searched around for the replacement bolts. I finally found some from a track oriented store in Japan and had some shipped over. An expensive operation but much allowed this very fine seat post to resurrect.

Atlantis 2013 - Wald Basket

Finally, while I’m a die hard generator light man I always like to have a backup light.  I tend to like my backup light to be battery driven so I can replace them from a store while out if necessary (otherwise it’s on rechargeable). But since I can now easily charge any USB device from my generator hub I picked up a Cygolite Metro 300 USB from Riv and have been using that. I have to say, it is a nice bright light with more features then I need that lasts a long time on a charge. So a good investment. I would like to work out a way to mount it to the bottom of the basket instead of on the handlebars, but still working out how to do that.

Atlantis 2013 - Side view

Since I did all this work in January and February I didn’t do some of the other work that needs doing. Primarily I need to rewrap and shellack the handlebars, but I figure waiting until the end of the real rainy season is for the best there. Likewise with a good cleaning on the whole bicycle especially the drivetrain.  Otherwise these are the bulk of the changes for the year though a few other add ons and such will probably move on and off as the year progresses.

Check out these pics and a few more or eight years worth in my Atlantis set on Flick.