Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rides with Jane: iBert gets me back on the trail

I had to check my blog history three times, and couldn't believe I never posted about one of the best purchases I've made in the past year: an iBert kid seat for my bike so that Jane and I can ride singletrack.

I heard about it from my friend Joy Martin, and went to REI to take one for a test ride. Jane thought it was so great, she didn't want to take her helmet off. "More, more," she told me. "Honey, we have to purchase it first."

It mounts to 15 mm of stack height on the spacers below your stem, so it's technically attached to the frame. Although it looks like it might affect the steering, your handlebars are independent of the unit. I have good bike-handling skills, and have gradually taken the iBert on more and more technical trails. The things I can't do are pop the front wheel up a curb or really finesse the fork. Past that, it's just common sense.

I've taken the iBert on three airline trips, packing it in my soft luggage and renting a bike. In all our journeys, I've only "dumped" Jane once. We were in PA, and I had forgotten that fallen leaves on top of shale get really slick. We slid out, and the bike landed on its side. I was reassured to find that Jane was completely enclosed in the iBert, protected on all sides. She was temporarily shaken up, but willing to continue the ride. We've taken many many rides since.

Here's a video from our very first trail ride, on our hometown trails of Bonita and Chula Vista.

Enjoy! Click here for video.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Sycamore Canyon - Martha's Grove ride

Seasons and weather in Southern California are a bit tricky, mostly because you expect January to be cold and June to be warm. Here in San Diego, it seems like parts of January and February are warmer than May and June, then suddenly the clouds go away in July and there's no relief from the heat till November.

So while my East Coast friends are busy shoveling out from under yet another snowfall and sticking pins in a little Laura-with-matching-bike doll, we in San Diego are taking long rides in the middle of the day, knowing that once summer is here in earnest we'll have to stick to the coast, go early, ride at night, or run away to the mountains.

Here's the latest ride I did with Billy and Miles out at Sycamore Canyon and Martha's Grove. All told the ride is a little over 17 miles with a fair bit of climbing. I've condensed the ride into about three and a half minutes of the more exciting parts. It's a good ride for conditioning with a couple of technical spots at the top of Martha's Grove.

Enjoy the ride! (Click for video)