It’s time for a Walkabout, or maybe a Rideabout

For the longest time, I have felt like I needed something. Like I needed to go and talk to the trees, stick my feet in a river, listen to the wind, and count the stars. I grew up out in the country. Where on a cloudy moonless night you can’t see your hand 2 inches from your face. I have lived in the city for well over a decade now, and I have only recently realized I was missing a connection to mother earth that I didn’t even know that I had lost.

There exists something, in the Aboriginal Australian peoples … (thanks to Crocodile Dundee for our deep cultural understanding of Australia) called a walkabout. A trek of young Aboriginals where they would trace the ancestors paths. To me, I see it as a journey out in the world without your “stuff”, where you can connect with your ancestors, spirit guides, gods, or what have you.

This idea has been in my head now for about 18 months. I’m not talking about one of those 6 months sojourns that people go on. I’m thinking an extra long weekend, to maybe about a week. Just head out in to the woods, the mountains, the desert, I don’t know that it matters, I just feel like the requirement is that I not be able to see any man made light sources.

These guys just did a rideabout in Australia, and put it all on film. They went from Sydney to Melbourne on fixed gear track bikes. That idea seems crazy to me, but the spirit of this trailer is the spirit I am looking to find. Have a look …

I think I’ll be watching that when it comes out.

So what keeps me from going on my walkabout? Well realistically it’s all about money and time (isn’t everything). I only get a couple of weeks of vacation a year, and I really want to spend those with my family. So when the choice comes up for a trip with those I love, or clamoring around in the forest, I always go with them.

So what’s a guy to do? I would rather spend my free time with my family, and I want to spend my work time enjoying work. However, I am beginning to think that I might really benefit from a few days– out, with my thoughts, and wind on the leaves. I feel like I might come back a better version of myself which my work mates, and familial bundles of joy might really appreciate. Hmmm …

An open letter to Team CarboRocket

Today I was reading one of my favorite blogs and I came across this press release:

Team CarboRocket is looking for a few good, ordinary folks who are on the verge of doing something extraordinary. You may not even know what that extraordinary thing is yet, but you can feel it burning inside of you. Hopefully, you already enjoy cycling, be it on the road or mountain.

Team membership is open to anyone who’s interested in doing something big. You may be a total novice or a seasoned veteran, we care not. What we do care about is that — whatever your extraordinary goal may be — there is an enormous gap between where you are now and achieving that goal. Maybe you are overweight. Maybe you have never ridden even a tenth the distance you’re hoping to ride. Maybe you’re missing a limb or two. Whatever hurdle you have to reaching your goal should make you dig very deep.

If this isn’t clear here’s an example: You are currently an expert level mountain biker with a resume stacked with impressive finishes and maybe even some sponsors and you want to finish the Leadville 100 mountain bike race because you’ve never done it. Sorry, not digging deep enough, no need to apply.

If, however, you’re a sport-level mountain biker and you’ve been thinking that the Great Divide Race is a little bit too short and you think it’s about time somebody rides from Canada to Mexico and then back, well yeah. We’d like to hear more.

What’s in it for you? You will be supported and sponsored by none other than Ibis Cycles in conjunction with Bingham Cyclery, CarboRocket sports drink, Ritchey components and the ever humble FatCyclist.com. We can’t divulge exactly what awesome deals and swag you will be getting from each of these sponsors because we are still trying to figure out what Fatty is contributing. Maybe he’ll publish your stories. Maybe he’ll give you his super-secret recipe for quiche. It’s hard to say for sure. But we will say that you will like being sponsored by us. A lot.

What’s in it for us? We love a good story and we want to follow yours, from ordinary to extraordinary. We will be there when you fall down, first, to laugh at you and then give you a hand up, a dusting off and a gentle push onward. You will keep us apprised of your progress and ultimately your attempt at completing your extraordinary goal by updating your story at regular intervals on the team blog.

We want at least half the team to be women and total team members to be 10. We don’t want your entire story just yet, only 150 words or less. You need to tell us a compelling snippet of your story including who you are, what extraordinary thing it is you want to accomplish and why it will be so challenging. Email your 150 words to Brad@carborocket.com. The sponsors will then pick 10 people with the most compelling stories to make up the Team.

And then we’ll come up with a cool secret handshake or something. We look forward to hearing your outrageously cool idea. Oh yeah, there is a one week deadline for consideration. You have until February 19, Midnight to submit your snippet.


Team CarboRocket

And here is my “application” to Team CarboRocket. Have a read, tell me what you think. You think I have a chance? Maybe Brad will respond right here on my blog.

Dear Future Team Manager,

I’ve been sent by fatty. Not that Fatty, the fatty who currently resides around my midsection. I am 33 years old, I have a couple of great kids, and can never find enough time in the day to fit everything in. Last year I rode my first and only century, the Seattle LIVESTRONG challenge. This year, in addition, to a few more of those I have a completely ridiculous goal of racing cyclocross, not just racing, but finishing, and not just finishing, but finishing first.

The background – when I decided at the beginning of last year that it was imperative that I rode with team fatty at LVESTRONG I was pushing 400 pounds. At the time of the ride I was 290. It’s gone up a wee bit since then, and this new goal; this is what’s going to send me into overdrive.

I want to race for Team CarboRocket. I want to stand atop the podium come a cold fall evening, covered in equal parts mud, sweat, smiles and pride, 100 pounds lighter, and say that it was only because of you that this was possible.


If you feel compelled … send Brad an email, and let him know why I would be a kick ass member of his team!

LIVESTRONG Challenge 2010

The Seattle LIVESTRONG Challenge Ride is a mere 6 months away. I’ll be taking part again this year. And to be honest, I couldn’t be more excited; more nervous; more proud; and more honored. More excited, because it feels good to do good. To raise money to fight a horrible thing like cancer, to get in good enough shape to push my clydesdale self 100 miles. More nervous, because last year, I got to that 100/70 mile split sign, and just couldn’t force my body to turn down the 100 mile path. More proud because I am part of the greatest LIVESTRONG team. And finally more honored because I ride not just for myself but for my grandfather, who fought cancer to his last breath.

2009 LIVESTRONG Challenge | Seattle

Last thing first …

IIf you’d like to skip the story and just throw money … please just click here, http://bit.ly/dartanyon to donate at my LIVESTRONG page.

On to the story then …

I am a proud member of “Team Fatty”. Especially fitting since I am a pretty fat guy myself. Last year team fatty raised the MOST money for LIVESTRONG, not that I had much to do with it, but those of you who donated last year, certainly did. As you probably know by now, Elden “The Fat Cyclist” Nelson, is sort of my bicycle unicorn. A perhaps, normal guy, whom I have elevated to mythical creature status in my head. Fatty, and Team, recently raised $100,000 (no, not a typo) in 56 hours for LS, and World Bicycle Relief. I couldn’t be more proud of my team. Real money, for a good cause (two good causes, actually). Read all about it over at the fatcyclist.com if you’d like more of the backstory.

As I mentioned, last year, I got to the route marker where the 70 milers turned back towards Seattle and the 100 milers charged up another long hill. By that point in time I had ridden about as far as I had ever ridden. I was tired, beat, and was realizing how tragically out of shape I am. The tank was empty and all I could do was think about the number of miles, feet, no … inches, until I could throw my broken body to the ground. This year is going to be different. This year I am going to cruise by that route marker with a smile on my face, and gas in the tank.

Message from ScottLast year, I really dragged my feet getting ready for the ride … about half way through, I remember thinking to myself … “self, what a wasted opportunity you have here”. I had gathered donations from all of these wonderful people (that’s you guys). I had gotten in pretty good shape, I was riding for a good cause.

I had been getting words of encouragement and advice from my compadres the whole day, and aside from by body feeling totally shot, I remember feeling … good. Good on the inside. The kind of good that stays with you, and makes you want to feel it again. So when I discovered the LS was coming back Seattle again in 2010. I knew I had to be part of it again.

This year I’ve got new goals … Longer ride, the full 100 miles. Raise more money … I’ve got a $1,000 as the goal on my LS site, but what I am really hoping to see is $5,000. I have no idea how I am going to make it happen, but I really am going to try.

So far these are really good reasons to be riding … but my best reason is Sture Mossberg, my morfar. His fight with cancer ended on April 5th 1994.

Sture Mossberg

The little blonde guy in the front is me, wasn’t I cute? He passed away when I was 17. He was a pillar in my family. Father to 3 children, who brought his family over to the US from Sweden in the 50s. He loved fishing. He loved his family. He loved his wife. As a point of fact he bought her fresh flowers every Sunday, every Sunday. He was a stand up guy, the kind of guy that I hope I’ll end up being in the long run.

I miss him. I don’t think about him every day, but, when I do … I think I might feel him … thinking about me.

So if I’ve persuaded you that parting with five, ten, twenty, even one hundred dollars, for a good cause is something you want to do, than please head over to my LIVESTRONG page and donate.

Thanks. Fight like Morfar. Fight like Susan.
Sture's Family

Bad Blog Man

Firstly … if you are a subscriber, I apologize, profusely.
What kind of person doesn’t update their seldom updated blog for 4 months? How do I expect to keep anyones attention, or inspire action, or even reaction … I have no idea. I’ve been bad. I know. I’ll do better.
A few things on the horizon …
A summer retrospective.
A long term, conversational review of the Raleigh Sojourn (a clue, I still love it).
Random thoughts on how throughly messed up education funding in this country is.
and last but not least, the annual publishing of the kid’s wishlists (alright that one is mostly for my mother 🙂

Fatty needs our help

Many people who read my blog, or know me, have heard me talk about The Fat Cyclist. I have often referred to him as my bike idol, my virtual guru. Seemingly trying to find fitness and health, through cycling and having some similar hurdles to me, aka kids and utter lack of time.

I rode in the Seattle Livestrong challenge this year to help show my support for Elden’s (Fatty’s) wife, Susan, who has been battling cancer.

Elden has managed to let all of his fans & friends in on his life in such a way, that leaves me speechless and choked up reading his last few days of posts. See, Susan is not doing well right now.

I am hoping that you will go over to his blog, and show him and his family any support that you can. Leave a comment, or just read, but please send him whatever good vibes and prayers that you can.

Fatty I am willing you all the strength that I have. You are in the thoughts and prayers of myself and my family.


DIY Bike Repair Stand

So I was doing a little tune up on my bike and was fumbling around trying to turn the crank with one hand and hold the rear wheel off the ground with the other, and I finally just got fed up. I needed a stand to work on my bikes with. A little looking around told me that nearly all the “nice” bike stands were at least $150, and even the crappy ones were around $50. Well I figured that I could certainly spend $20 bucks and make some thing as good as a crappy stand. So I zipped down to my local home improvement store and picked up a few bits and pieces.

I ended up spending $12.78 and came out with a pretty decent repair stand if you happen to still have a couple of clamps and a post to clamp to.

    I picked up:

  • 3/4″ threaded pipe base
  • 3/4″ x 10″ threaded pipe
  • 3/4″ ->1.75″ PVC Expander
  • 1.75″ PVC T-joint
  • 2 x Small hinges
  • 2 x 1.75″ Pipe Clamps

Assembly is pretty self-evident. Thread everything together screw the base to a decent chunk of wood laying around your garage, and use the clamps to secure it to a post. You could certainly screw the base directly to the post, but I wanted to be able to move my unit around a bit depending on which cars were in the garage and so forth. The integral part of the stand is the PVC T-Joint, which you saw in half to create a clamp. I lined mine with some pip insulation and instead of using the cheapo draw clasps they had at the store I opted for some hose clamps. I expoyed those to the joint (now clamp) so that I didn’t have to funmple around to much with tring to get the clamp closed.

DIY Bike Repair Stand

DIY Bike Repair Stand Side View

Bike to School Month – Tune Up Day!

I had so much fun helping to organize a “Walk & Roll Wednesdays” program, trying to encourage the children of Sanislo Elementary, and families, to find ways of getting to school that don’t involve driving. So, with Feet First, and the Go! Project we have organized this little effort to persuade folks to walk and ride. Hopefully it has shown the other drivers in the community that the roads around our schools, don’t just belong to them. The goal being for them to take notice that there are a lot of children in the area and encourage them to slow down, in addition to encouraging our families to leave their cars at home.

Well, long story, short (shorter anyway) we’ve had some special things for the kids on a couple of mornings, this morning, we did some light tune ups on the bikes of the kids who ride to school. Mostly just tighten bolts, clean chains, nothing major. But it was my little brain child, and I don’t think it could have gone any better. We had what looked like about 20 kids come to school on two wheels. Which was ’bout a 1 trillion percent increase (dartanyon math).

I need to give a huge giant thanks to the 2 fine gents who helped to tune up the kids bikes; first Scott from my office, and Stu the awesome proprietor of Sanislo’s favorite bike shop, Alki Bike & Board.

I’d also like to give a Big ‘Ol thanks to Jen Cole from Feet First, and the Go Project.

The Sanislo Tune Up Team (from L->R; Stu, Me, Scott)
Me banging on some elementry schooler's bike for bike to school day.

Me banging on some elementry schooler's bike for bike to school day.

Our practicing expert bike wrench putting on the finishing touches

Our practicing expert bike wrench putting on the finishing touches

Summer Streets

This Bike to Work/School Month has not gone so well thus far. On the days when I had the time to bike the weather has been a major disappointment, and on the days that it was nice out I undoubtedly needed to use the car.

Luckily one of my very favorite summer events is coming around again, this time with a new name. What was formerly car-free days (now summer streets) has got it’s calendar for the whole summer up online.

I really love the idea of having some sort of permanent street system that truly allows for pedestrians and bicycles to feel safe. I am sure it stems from the people paths (that if I recall correctly actually allowed for cars, but made darn sure they were going slow), that meandered through the cottages next to one of my childhood homes in Shawnee, PA. I also recall with great fondness the little central business district up in Ithaca, NY that converted to a no car zone …

Without further reminiscing here are the details from the Seattle Climate Action Now Site.

2008 Car Free Days

Walk. Bike. Shop. Play. Breathe. City streets are being opened for people to have fun, celebrate the spirit and personality of their community and support local businesses. Each event is organized by a local organization. Because Celebrate Summer Streets are community driven events, they can be whatever you want. Ride a bike, skateboard and play music, and get to know your neighborhood businesses.

Read the City’s press release about Summer Streets.

Visit a Street Near You

This year the city is supporting art walks, farmer’s markets, parades, fundraiser 5K Walk/Run events and more by expanding these local events to include Seattle Summer Streets.

From April through September 2009, be sure to check out the following Summer Streets celebrations:

Join the Celebration

In addition to attending Summer Streets events, there are many ways you can get involved:

Browse photos from 2008 Summer Streets


Find out answers to your general and resident and business-related questions.

Contact Us

For more information on Celebrate Summer Streets, please email us.

Friends … I need your help!

Yesterday was the 60 days out mark, for the Seattle LIVESTRONG Challenge ride. I’ve been getting in more and more training, and am pretty confident I’ll be crossing the finish line come June 21st. Where I am sorely lacking though … is in the sponsors and donation department. Aside from my own starting donation, I have received exactly 1 other donation (thanks Mike!). I know it’s a tough year, and that cash is tight, but I need to see some cash flow … Whatever you got! 5, 10, 20 … 100 bucks. Whatever you can afford, I’d love to see it come into my page, please.

For those of you not familiar with the LiveStrong Challenge it’s the main event fundraiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s fight against cancer.

I’m desperate for help from you though …. I have faith that I can pedal that far, but I need all my friends and family (heck, even strangers) to sponsor me.

Please, Go to my LIVESTRONG Page and donate. Anything you can, anything at all.


I am riding in honor of my grandfather, my morfar, he died of cancer several years ago, and I remember thinking then that I wished there was more I could do. This is what I can do today, and I am hoping that you can join me in my fight!
My Morfar

Philly Pedal Co-Op, Doing it right!

Thanks to Cyclelicio.us, for pointing this out this morning.

I’ve always felt a strong connection to Philly. I grew up in North Eastern, PA, and while my brother always felt a strong connection to NYC, I always appreciated the gritty, real, feeling of Philadelphia.

Here’s a short video of some folks in Philly trying to do right by their city, and have fun doing it. Watch the video and then check out their site.

The Pedal Co-Op is a worker-run organization that offers environmentally-friendly services to local businesses and residents in Philadelphia.

The Pedal Co-Op’s goal is to diminish the caustic environmental impact that is threaded into everyday modern life.

S is for Bicycle

Well, I suppose technically “S” is not for bicycle, but for spring, in this case. However in my mind as the weather turns towards spring, and the calendar turns to April, I turn to bikes.

Raleigh Sojourn Review

I’ve had my Raleigh Sojourn since the first week in December, but with the weather around here in Seattle I haven’t really had the time to focus on the bike, just to ride it now and again when it’s been nice out. I should also mention that I am by no means, a bicycle expert. I can name and change out any component you can point at. I know the principles of how to create a bike, and have ridden my fair share of them; but I think that only makes me a bike nerd, not an expert. I mainly enjoy transportational & recreational cycling. I’ve never ridden in a Crit; never owned a pair of spandex pants; and have never filled my face with dirt while single-tracking down the side of a mountain. I have however tried to bike to the golf course with my clubs on my bike; gotten a couple of kids all over the place by bicycle; tried to use my bike to lose weight, save gas, and feel better. I’ve used my bike for therapy. And if time was no object, I would bike everywhere.

For my entire adult life I have always purchased used bikes. Pre-Sojourn, my last “new” bike was a 14 speed Raleigh Technium I bought in the 10th grade. I worked and saved all summer for that, and if memory serves, my parents probably still kicked in. Every since then, I have picked up bikes at garage sales, swaps, ebay, and craigslist. At the end of last year I felt like I had ridden enough to treat myself to a new bike. The search went on for days and weeks and months, sure custom steel or titanium would have been nice, but it sure was hard to Justify spending upwards of $3,000 bucks on a bike. In the end I wanted something stylish, that could do it all.

1984 Centurion Elite GT

I certainly do not want to assume that I can tell you what a beautiful bike looks like to you … in fact for straight up looks it think it’s hard to be my 25 year old Centurion. The Raleigh looks good though, and luckily that’s only the half of it …

The Sojourn, as it turns out, is a very capable bike for me. First of all, out of the box it come with nearly everything you need to start commuting, sans water bottle cages. You’ll find a pump, spare spokes, even a bell. The bike is fitted with some real niceties, including a Brooks saddle, and matching leather bar tape, bar end shifters, SKS fenders, great tires, and a great Tubus rear rack. I’m not going to go into every spec because you can of course get them from Raleigh’s website.

Raleigh Sojourn on Seattle's Waterfront

The bike sports a pretty compact geometry, that at first glance made the bike look a little small to my eyes, but upon riding it, I’ve decided it gives it a bit of a spritely feel. I did the build up on it myself, and one of the things I noticed right away, is the quality of the crank arms was noticeably lacking, which automatically got me thinking that the bottom bracket was a place that may have been equally skimmed on. I immediately fitted this up with some new Ultegra kit, I had. The 140mm disc on the rear was a little thought provoking as were the wheel hubs, Joytechs.

I’ve put a few hundred miles on the Sojourn so far, and I have to say that I couldn’t be more pleased. The bike is solid, stable, and quick. Not fast persay, but quick. I’ve really become a fast fan of disc brakes. I know all of the arguments out there against them, but going down Seattle hills in the rain has proven to me that they are the right type of brakes for what I use this bike for. If I was going on a 3 month tour of Vietnam, I may think twice about the discs, but commuting and light touring here in the states, I think they are just perfect. I am a little disappointed in the selection of which brakes Raleigh went with. The Avid BB-5s, seem a little light in the “feel” department to me. I gave them a chance to break in, but still they seemed to go from nothing, to stopped, without much in the way of modulation. I have since switched these out for the Avid BB-7s and am much happier. The hubs and wheels that concerned me a first, have turned out to be just fine, I have dropped into many a pot-hole, off more curbs than I care to count, and into plenty of rocks on the trails, and haven’t so much had to turn a spoke. I suppose at some point these wheels will wear out (although with the disc, I don’t know how long that will be) and then I’ll think about what to replace them with, but for the time being these are great.

One thing that was a surprise for me was the WTB mountain drop bars. I have always ridden drops on the street, and never really given much thought to other bar configurations. These WTB bars, are still drops, but the have a huge flair out from the hoods down, and are exceptionally wide, too wide, I thought. After having spent some time with them though, I just love them. They are very much like the OnOne Midge bars, which I have now read many good things about.

My overall impression is that this is a wonderful bike. Great for commuting, and light touring. The specs might be a little light to consider it a fully loaded, world touring machine, but for me, it’s the perfect set up for a daily 26 mile commute, the occasional distance ride 75+ miles, and even hauling some kids around in the trailer.

Do you have a question about the Sojourn that I didn’t address? Leave a comment, and I would be happy to go into greater detail about anything you’d like … I know when I was looking around for bikes, I really couldn’t find much info on this one. I want to make sure people know what a great all-arounder this is.

Thursday’s World Bettering Cool Video

via my Grandfather (Poppop) in Fitchville, Ohio (yes, really).

From the award-winning documentary, “Playing For Change: Peace Through Music”, comes the first of many “songs around the world” being released independently. Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it travelled the globe.

Check Out Playing for Change