Monday, June 30, 2008

Bears Are No Joke

This is why we now carry a gun when we ride. This is right in Anchorage, a few miles from my parents home, right behind the high school I graduated from. I pray for the girl and her family.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Things I haven't done this Summer while biking

1) Worn shorts

2) Worn short sleeves

3) gone without gloves

4) Mountain biked more than 1 time

6) Road on a nice, clean bikepath that isn't full of sand, gravel, glass, garbage, feces

7) Had much positive to say about State of AK Dept of Transportation (still fighting, going to the
newspapers with photos, going to take my snow shovel this weekend and shovel paths
myself - grrr)

8) Gone without a helmet liner in the morning

9) Been able to avoid almost get splattered by little old ladies who can't make up their mind if they are turning or not

10) last but not least...Crashed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Success and Tragedy on the Path this Week

I'm starting this post off with a beautiful, calming photo of the lake I pass on my ride to work.

I'm still fighting the State of Ak and City of Wasilla about sweeping off the bike paths. I have been passing out the local State of AK maintenance phone # to anyone who will say they will call to complain about the road sand and gravel and I have continued to email the guy in Anchorage, also asking them to do SOMETHING about the corner of Parks on-ramp and Seward Meridian where the bike path and road join right at the corner at the bottom of a long, large hill - putting me in a head on trajectory with vehicles cutting the corner and driving into the bike path. I told all of them I was taking pictures and would start emailing whoever I could about the conditions as well as writing letter to the editor and talking with the local radio station.

All last week there were little improvements here and there. Part of the worst of the bike path was swept off, but not all - they would just stop right in the middle-living a 6 inch berm of sand leading into the remaining 100 feet of 3 inches of sand...go figure. They slowly got the hill and corner swept off. Then I was riding home yesterday and they actually put down a stripe of paint to show the edge of the road, giving vehicles an indicator of the shoulder of the road and the bike path. I also was ready to put up a boycott of the coffee shop who kept putting their sign in the middle of the bike path. I asked them to move it and finally the State TOLD them to move it off the path. Here are before and after photos.
The berm left behind
The sign in the path
View coming down the hill to the corner of my complaints. This is after they swept off the path..sort of.

At the bottom, where did the path go and how do I continue on the the left, where the path is supposed to be? This truck and all other vehicles cut the corner into the bike path. The road sand made control and stopping pretty difficult before it was swept off.

Now, after the paint! Vehicles still cut the corner but at least there is some sort of indicator where the lane ends/shoulder begins

I'm still fighting with the City of Wasilla and the State of AK over this next section on the bridge over Cottonwood Creek. Neither Wasilla nor the State will take responsibility for this section, which I almost wipe out on every day, the sand is really bad. This is the tragedy which happened on my way home Tuesday. Notice how much sand is on the path.

1st I flatted so I was running about a half an hour late out of Wasilla. Got that fixed and then came upon this scene. The baby is brand new and was hit. The mom was pretty upset, lots of sirens blaring, people honking. Moose kill by kicking and stomping, they can be very dangerous, especially mother moose protecting babies. The baby did not survive. The troopers carry fireworks and shot them near the mom to get her away then they drug the baby off the edge of the road, only about 15 ft from the bike path. I wasn't too sure about riding past with the mom moose still there so the troopers kept the traffic stopped and had me ride up the shoulder of the road against on-coming traffic until I was past the bridge and back on the path. It was very, very sad.

Later Fish and Game moved the baby.

Not the best week of commuting. But today, the weather is actually sunny..things are looking up.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ahhhh...Weekends, Camping, Canoes, Bikes, Beer

Yes, it is safe to say I live for weekends. I work to support my playing on the weekends.

Capt'n Balance, the dog and I went camping last weekend. The 1st mountain biking ride of he year. I'm out of shape and worn out. I think the stress of the new job is sucking some of the energy and motivation out of me. But I am confident I will adjust and it will all become the norm. We also rented a canoe and went paddling around the lakes. There is a canoe trail from lake to lake. It's a nice activity, but wore out my shoulders and arms, which effect the mountain bike ride the next day. But I was outside, in the daylight if not sunlight...the plus with the wind is it blows away all the bugs. I need a vacation...I sure wish I could somehow figure out how to take an entire summer off work.

My new Fishing hat, I should catch some whoppers with this baby.

The weather is still cold. The temps barely creep up into the 60's but the wind sucks any warmth right out. And it has been blowing, hard, just about every single day.

The bike paths are still in very bad condition. I called the Dept of Transportation maintenance and was blown off, like every year. I emailed Jack Fullerton (, the Chief of Maintenance and Operations for the State of Ak Central Region, as I have in the past when the local guys blew me off. Normally Jack gets the job done very quickly. But this year, nothing has happened nor have I had any response from ANYONE from my phone calls.

I'm getting pretty annoyed. Due to the gas prices ($4.16 gallon reg gasoline), there are more riders than ever...and the path conditions are worse than ever. And we don't have a very good public transportation system here. One little bus line which struggles and is too underfunded to have good coverage.

If there are any other local Valley people who read this blog, please email Mr. Fullerton and nicely request the paths along the Parks Hwy frontage road from the Trunk Road Park and Ride all the way into Wasilla, ending at the Palmer-Wasilla Hwy, to be swept off. I actually think it will take a plow to get all the road sand and gravel off.
Yesterday, while riding past Sears at Seward Meridian, the guy who runs the espresso shop was getting his portable sign to put away for the evening. He has decided to put it right in the middle of the bike path....which looks just like the ditch because it's so covered with road sand and gravel. He couldn't tell where the ditch was and where the path was so he just picked the flattest spot. Yep, it's that bad. I'm going to take my camera and start emailing pictures, maybe even write a letter to the Editor or maybe Tim (Bicycles and Icicles) can get a Daily New plug in for the sad state of the bike paths in the Valley.

I'm going to do another plug for my Mr. Beer. I have been sampling the honey amber ale and it is REALLY good. Definitely one to do again. I have a name for it, in honor of a Mr. Beer guy named Law Dawg. This batch is christened "Law Dawg Amber Ale". I will work on a label this weekend. The Mr. Beer guys are pretty cool. I'm glad to be part of their group (

Lots of stuff going on this weekend so I won't be posting and I am really praying for good weather...please, we need some warmth and no wind. Have a great weekend everyone.