Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cycle Oregon Week 2010 - The Video

Well, finally here it is, my 2010 video for the Cycle Oregon ride. Watch it here in the embed of follow the link to Vimeo for a better HD quality.


If you are looking for a week long cycling trip this is the one. Good times!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New: Cateye Adventure Wireless Computer

Have had a few decent rides with the Cateye Adventure wireless computer on the B1 and it is a sure fire winner.

Wireless operation (always a plus) and an easy to read screen PLUS an altimeter and slope function. It is hard to get better than that. The feature set seems to work just great. It is quite nice to have a readout of total elevation gain for the rides!

The setup instructions for this unit could be a little easier to follow, and the buttons are not very friendly - especially when you have to press two at once. But once its good to go the operation is as simple as pressing the base of the unit in with a click to toggle through the screen options.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

ICE B3 Recumbent - The Mini Review

ICE B1 - Mini Review

After spending a short time with this new steed - I have to say - I love it. The best I can say is that the B1 is everything I love about the ICE trike, (build quality, finish, comfort, etc) in the form of two wheels. It blends most things I loved about my old Burley Django SWB (low BB, lower seat height, “get on and go” riding ease, disc brakes, etc) and has none of the negatives of what caused me to sell that bike - primarily the insane to adjust Burley seat that made riding position adjustments a real test of patience. 

More miles will tell a more complete story - but lets be honest - first impressions are clearly important. Like when you try on a pair of new jeans - if they don't fit right as soon as you pull them up - they come right off. There is no "you'll get used to uncomfortableness" with other things you wear and use so it should be the same for recumbents. After riding many recumbents one gets to the point where even sitting on a bike may be enough to break the deal, let alone ride it. The B1 is like sitting in your most comfy chair. Riding is is... like riding your most comfy chair!
The B1 is very adjustable and it is done easily. There are plenty of seat angle adjustments (as you can see in the picture) taking only the flick of a QR lever. A quick adjustment of the boom will fix the seat/pedal distance depending on the desired seat angle. In my opinion, this is very handy. Climbing while sitting upright is far more comfortable to me but I like to recline a bit on the flats and downhills. Have a stiff climb ahead and sitting upright helps you relax and generate more power? Take two minutes to adjust the seat and boom of the B1 and off you go. It looks like the front boom of the B1 is the same as the ICE trikes, so a QR set would be nice there. (UPDATE) After an email to ICE, to which they always reply, they have confirmed that the front of the B1 can be equipped with the QR set for the front boom. i will be getting these here soon (thanks ICE!) and will be looking forward to on-the-fly adjustments. I will also add that the flip stem is just as easily adjusted for handlebar angle. The ICE B1 = comfort in any position!

Other features of special note: elastomer rear suspension. Enough said. Having it makes SO much difference. Once you have tried this type of setup everything else will be like riding on a hard washboard. Like the elastomer equipped ICE trikes, the B1 is like riding on a cloud. With a suspended fork the ride would be incredibly plush. I do not notice any pogo or power robbing from the rear suspension either. ICE has figured this out and it is mind numbingly simple in function - perfect!
Another feature of special note: Folding. While I may not use this feature very often, I can imagine times when it will come in handy. Our small car is not equipped with a bike rack. The B1 can simply fold and go in the trunk should I need to go somewhere with it. Folding literally takes 30 seconds or so, as evidenced via the ICE video. It works very well.

This B1 came equipped with the ICE U shaped bars, but I also have the hamster bars to try out at some point. The feel of the U bar on the B1 is great and has awesome slow speed stability. Climbing on the B1 is simple and relaxing with this setup. I have never tried a true hamster bar setup, but plan to try it on the B1 after some time. The U bars however are quite confidence inspiring with calm manners at higher speed as well. With the flip stem, getting on and off the bike is a simple affair, and the arm position is relaxed and natural without any unnecessary extension. While it may not be super aero, it is not “trucker wide” either. Since the B1 is not a race bike, it is refreshing that the folks at ICE have created a setup does not pretend to be something it isn’t. I do have to say though, with a reclined hardshell and hamster bar setup this could be like a sporty "mini-highracer" of sorts.
The mesh seat on the B1 is very comfortable, and is the same seat used for the ICE trikes. Indeed, it can be swapped to an ICE trike if desired. On the B1, the mesh seat is like a perfect cradle to pilot hard leaning corners without worry. Even at full recline, getting the feet on the ground at a stop is easy and there is no real leg interference while pedaling.

The tires seen in the pictures are not the stock Marathon Racers. I have equipped this ride with my favorite - 406 Big Apple Lites. After many hundred miles with the BA Lites on the QNT I can say they provide a very compliant ride and have great road manners. On the B1 they feel just as good, and it has a quasi "crater-hopper" look that I have grown to like. Carving hard angles on the BA’s is no problem as they have great grip. On my hard-n-skinny highracers of old, rough chipseal meant wondering if my fillings were coming out. Lesser-packed gravel roads meant a squirrelly nerve-wreaking ride. With these wide meats on the B1 and the rear elastomer this plush ride flies over the tops of softer road surfaces without worry and the occasional drain grate and constant road imperfections with ease. The 406’s accelerate very quickly, and from what I can tell, the bike holds speed just fine. With the ICE Capreo hub and cassette, there are plenty of gears for climbing and for decent top end.

The ICE rear rack is also a great feature. I had thought about taking it off in favor of a seat bag of some kind, but it is just too darned cool looking to do that. Plus I had a few handy trunk bags around, so there you go. ICE does have additional side bars that can be mounted to the rack if needed for using panniers. 

Only one odd omission exists, however: water bottle access. Sadly, there is none. I was shocked to not find a single location to mount a bottle cage. There are mounts on the front of the DR mast, but that cannot be reached while riding - at least not safely. The trunk bag I am using can easily carry one bottle, but really a stock cage mount within reach of the seat while riding is needed. My 2006 QNT has sweet raised mounts on the front of the boom - perfect for a cage. I would propose this feature be added to the B1. I am remedying the situation by adding a "Cat Cage" and some Elite VIP Bottle Cage Clamps to the front of the boom - similar to the same location as the cage mounts on my QNT.

(UPDATE) I received an email from ICE - they do have a clamp on bottle cage that fits to the back of the mesh seat rail. That should be an ideal placement for a bottle - easy to reach while riding. I will be getting one from ICE here soon. Below is a picture of this bottle cage solution from ICE:

I am very impressed with this little SWB. I was looking for a sporty, comfortable, “hop on and go” bike of artwork quality and the B1 is definitely it. Anyone looking for a compact bike that can still get up and move - while collapsing down to a manageable size for transport or storage - really should take a hard look and give this baby a test ride. The fine folks at ICE have ALWAYS been prompt and thorough in answering any questions I may have and offer excellent customer support - it is hard to find a company better out there!

Check them out!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Arrival - The B1

It has been a long time since posting - Cycle Oregon is over and the time since then has flown by. Where does it go?!?! Since the last post I have eliminated a few steeds - the Corsa SS is no more. It has gone to a loving home in Washington State, and I do hope it gets well used.

For me, I have been eying something of a more practical nature for a while. Something with a lower bottom bracket height and a bit more upright seating that is adjustable. Something in a similar flavor to my old Burley Django. I loved the Burley save for a few gripes - mainly the crappy seat attachment design that made easy adjustments "not so" easy.

My gaze fell upon an ICE B1 a while back at Coventry Cycles in Portland Oregon. I had to have it. I now have that B1 - just about outfitted the way I want for some road bombing in the rain and general two wheel fun.

Why the B1? Well, since I already have an ICE trike it is a perfect match. The quality is superb. Great components. As a bonus the mesh seat on the B1 can swap to the trike in mere minutes. Same for the hardshell I have on the trike. Bonus. The seating position with the U bar as seen in the picture is quite similar to my old Burley. The ride feels familiar and VERY comfortable. The seat angle is adjustable from upright to full recline in a matter of seconds and is very easy - something that was not possible on the Burley. The rear elastomer suspension - as on the ICE trikes - provides an incredible level of comfort and is pure simple in design.

So far I have not put many miles on, but I will have a full review coming soon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day Seven - Bittersweet Ending

Finally have some time to sit down and reflect and post about the last day - day seven. The last day of Cycle Oregon is usually a hard one. I mean - the party is over. You have to ride the entire day knowing that at the finish it is time to return to "reality" - whatever that is.

To make this CO even harder was a final day that would prove to be one of the most difficult ever - a ride up and over Tollgate Pass from Pedleton to Elgin.

The ride itself was epic. The weather perfect for riding. Climbing long and hard. Downhills fast and furious. There can simply be no complaints about how awesome of a final day it was. Pulling into the finish at about 2:30 PM meant there was still a bit of goodbye partying going on. After a lot of goodbuys to friends new and old - time to wrap it up.

Until next year!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day Six - Let 'er Buck!!

Layover day number two. I could get used to these. Especially when the layover day is accompanied by a ticket to the 100th anniversary of the Pendleton Round Up.

The morning stated with a parade through downtown Pendleton that had upwards of 1200 plus horses. What followed was a party and rodeo the likes of which I have never experienced. Some great video to come following this weeks ride of the rodeo festivities!

Day Five - Rollers and Rollers and Rollers

Day five was a good day. A lot of rollers that went on and on and on! Still came in at a. Good ti me. Ready for the next layover day and the Pendleton RoundUp!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 4 - Layover in Waitsburg

Ah, the layover day. A day on Cycle Oregon to make a choice - to ride or not to ride? Many cyclists took of in the morning to make the trek to Walla Walla. I decided to give it a rest today and check out the local scene and just relax in general.

So today I offer up a bunch of photos of just Cycle Oregon stuff and a handful of things around Waitsburg.

Hot (or cold) showers always await.

Nossa Familia Coffee. These guys know how to serve up the java with enthusiasm. Sometimes the van gets rocking with the heavy dance moves and it's amazing they can brew up the lattes with such a steady hand! (video to come)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day Three - Another 80 Plus Miles

Day three is a wrap. Day three was a lot to take. What started off with an awesome climb ended with another awesome climb - except the first one was awesome in a good way.

Along the way in the morning I spied the rider on course with the absolute most guts of everyone. Still the coffee cycle churned up the hill...

Now, piloting the 100 pound Trailhead Coffee cycle up an almost 6 percent grade takes guts. Its one thing to tackle a climb on a sub 19lb road bike and brag at the beer garden. This guy - the Real Deal.

Close to the top, a great photo opportunity.

Cruising into the second main rest stop of the day saw a lot of great revelry, music, and the best part of the morning - fresh espresso hot off the Coffee Cycle.

The remaining section of the day was full of fast pacelines, (a few passed by a trike) massive headwinds, and a final climb of the day that was super hot and super devoid of shade. It was a long slog to finish, but the views were in true Cycle Oregon style - fantastic.

Day Number Two - Done

The second day is done. As usual, it was absolutely epic. A bit tired to type. Likely this post will be a day late, but I will let the pictures do the talking.

Highlight of the day - Rattlesnake Grade. Simply astounding climb.

Bonus highlight of the day - two AWESOME super twisty downhills. Video to follow after the Cycle Oregon week.

This climb was a series of switchbacks that went of forever. At least it seemed like forever. The best part of the climb was looking back down over the endue to see all the progress made!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day One in the Book - and it was EPIC

Sitting in the blogmobile pondering the days events, it is hard to think of what all to include in my post. The day was not a long one, a run of about 45 or so miles from Elgin to Enterprise without the option into Joseph. Still, the miles for. The day we mainly uphill. And hey, even when the grade is only a percent or so - when it's uphill it's uphill.

The day started with a temperature rumored during breakfast to be around 29 degrees. Yes! People emerged from their frosty shelters to see bikes covered in nice frosty goodness.

Still, with the sun emerging, it was time to break camp and get out on the road. Getting out of camp at around 8:30am is not as early as I would have liked, but it is a short day. The first sign of exactly how long the trip would last came just a bit out of Elgin beginning the first climb of the day.

I have mentioned before that my commitment this year was to do more "slowing down and smelling the roses." The first opportunity to do so came not too far into the ride. Up ahead I spied a cool replica stagecoach parked outside the front of a little house. Photo opportunity number one of the day.

Well, it was not long before the owner of the house emerged to let us know the history of this place. This house - which was literally in the middle of nowhere - was the last stop during the wagon train days for folks crossing the Minam Grade to swap horses for the upcoming grueling climb across the pass. Very cool.

Even better than that was the the opportunity for a few of us listening to be offered a swig (or many) of some homemade apple cider whiskey. Well, who can resist that? Not me. And I have to tell you, it was some damned good moonshine there. Mmmm. Darned good thing I was on the trike (no wobbles) Kidding - I am not THAT much of a lightweight.

Now, this is the type of thing that makes stopping worthwhile. Not because there's a chance of locals emerging with free booze, but this little bit of history and chance to shake hands and share company with the. Locals only happens when you STOP.

After the climb, we were met with an absolute incredible view before starting the downhill.

The downhill was incredible of course. I will have to save the video footage for a post - Cycle Oregon video. That led up to the first ODS rest stop of the day, where we got to have some incredible espresso served up. By bike too.

Cruising along to Enterprise, peeling the miles away, the scenery was as good as it can get on a Cycle Oregon. The weather was perfect with little to no wind and maintaining a comfortable pace was sublime.

After pulling into Enterprise and getting cleaned up, it was time for a return to Terminal Gravity Brewery. The place was simply hopping with people. Great food and awesome beer. Hard to ash for a better afternoon after a nice days ride.

After returning to camp, time to have dinner with 2,000 plus fellow Cycle Oregonians and then on to the nights entertainment. Tomorrow will be a crazy day. I am sure it will be EPIC.

Stay tuned!