Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Gift Ideas at Natural Living Country Store

'Tis the Season of Creating Gift Ideas at Natural Living
home made organic tea blends
Home of Natural Living's organic tea blends

Lisa Piper enjoys creating holiday gift ideas for the Natural Living Organic Food Co-op customers as a way of saying thanks after yet another successful year.
Resonating with the idea that it's not happy people who are thankful, thankful people are happy.  And nobody has to tell Lisa that.

If you're looking for some gift ideas this holiday season check out for a large selection or organic hand blended teas, essential oil room sprays, organic, gluten free tinctures, and so much more.

It's a fun filled busy week around here and though we usually don't like to work on Sunday, this time of year seems to have us creating with such enthusiasm we don't mind.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Natural Living, Bike Tourings and Simple Seats for Natural Biking

Organic, Healthy Foods Combined with Bike Travel including bicycle touring and commuting is a recipe for a healthy lifestyle.  

This is our new Natural Biking blog where we bring it all together for a fun, interactive way to share with family and friends without feeling so scattered. Bikes, wood working, organic foods and other sustainable products are represented and shared via this platform.  We are working hard to keep up with all the things we enjoy doing and still have time to share the joy of those efforts with others.

I just wanted to update this while Lisa is busy in the kitchen making Christmas gift baskets for our Food Co-op customers.  It's almost 11pm and she is still hard at it.  I caught a nasty old flu bug and was in bed with a fever over Thanksgiving.  This is a very busy time of year for us, working hard to make improvements for ourselves as well as for others.

Setting the new vibe of the combined elements of Natural Living, Bike Tourings and Simple Seats to wish folks a safe and happy holiday season.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Photo Collage of Vintage Mountain Bikes restored for Riding, by Rideon

Some vintage mountain bikes or frames that I have restored over the past few years.  I enjoy working on bikes and continue to keep my hobby shop for tinkering on bikes I find which I consider to have some sort of value.  I often look for these older steel frame styles as they usually have braze on fittings for attaching racks and fenders for bike touring and commuting.
For more information regarding some of the details of the bikes shown here visit article at Bike Tourings.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Touring Bike featured at The Loaded Touring Bike Photo Gallery

Picture of touring bike featured at The Loaded Touring Bike Photo Gallery
Photo created near Kemah along Texas Gulf Coast and feature at The Loaded Touring Bike Gallery Site
Photo displayed here was created on a very early evening near Kema along the Texas Gulf Coast.  I was hoping to get a good enough photo for The Loaded Touring Bike site as I have much respect for the folks who travel the world on two wheels and take time to share their photos.  What a cool site full of very interesting loaded touring bikes from all over the world.  If you would also like to share photos from your own bike travels visit The Loaded Touring Bikes Page on Facebook.

The Loaded Touring Bike Site is one of the most visited bike touring sites and has been providing a place for fellow bike touring folks to share scenic photos of their bikes since 2005.  Described as "A Tribute to the bicycle and its ability to take us far away".

Bike in photo is of an inexpensive Nashbar touring frame I built mostly from parts available from my bike shop after closing the business for good.  I was initially very disappointed with having to sell most all the inventory including my '83 Bianchi Steel Lugged Touring Bike complete with original front and rear racks, such a beauty!  I had converted the bike to a twenty four speed with integrated aero levers and mountain bike gearing.  When I sold that bike on ebay for close to a thousand dollars I promised to build myself a bike that I would like just as well if not better than the Bianchi and still make some money from the sale of the Bianchi.   It was a good, if not mandatory financial decision at the time and glad I was able to walk away with at least one bike.

Some highlights from the build are Velocity Dyad Wheelset, Ultegra bar end shifters, Schwalbe Marathon tires and Selle Anatomica saddle.  That was the first year of the Selle Anatomica Titanico and I love that saddle.  Avid Shorty cantilever brakes and FSA triple crankset have provided me with years of dependable use and I have been very pleased with the Nashbar touring frame's geometry.  It was hard on me to go through the loss of my bike shop and there were a lot of other folks disappointed to see the coffee commuter bike shop close.  Yes indeed they were some very difficult times so that what the bike represents for me is new beginnings, moving forward and carrying on.  Happy to see it featured at The Loaded Touring Bike Site.

For Product Review Information visit Bike Tourings

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fun Mountain Biking Retreat, A Cabin in the Mountains, by Rideon

cabin in mountains for mountain biking and bike touring travelers

I had moved from Suquamish, Washington to Pagosa Springs, Colorado in 1997 one year after having been in a car collision.  I was told I would require two years of physical therapy and would not be able to work hard physically (I was landscaping at the time) ever again.
Picture of Ponderosa Pine, Pagosa Springs, CO mountain biking getaway
Tree growing inside "mud room" and exits roof.

During the autumn of 2002 I purchased a small piece of property of 1.8 acres and finished building a cabin on it.  Mountain bike and walking trails make for some nice casual after dinner jaunts.
Partly to prove something to myself as I built the majority of it by myself with very little help. As the property is "off grid" that first winter I did not have electricity or running water. A year later I was able to install solar power enough to run lights, laptop and other small devices.  Getting water to the cabin was challenging at times as the road leading up to the property is very steep and I would often carry grocery items and drinking water on my bike up to the cabin.

Scenic walkway from road to cabin
I worked very hard to get the cabin buttoned up enough to ride out that first winter and had gathered just enough fire wood to stay warm for several months.  It was all very hard physical labor that challenged my mind and body on many levels as I felt the need to work through the night at times to get things done on time.  I am very grateful to have been able to accomplish such a silly task as this and love the property for what it is, a quaint, natural place still off the grid with propane cooking appliances, two buildings each with its own wood stove, wood storage, enough water storage for weeks of washing dishes, etc.  
Mountain Bike retreat cabin exterior
Several years later finally got some finish work done.

 It wasn't until the spring of 2007 that I was able to get some much needed finish work done to the exterior including trim and stucco work.  A project that took so many years to complete should be well cared for and not just allowed to rot away.  Property building in harsh climates requires some maintenance particularly after a hard winter.  This cabin has held up to such severe winter snow storms that other buildings in the area were flattened.  I was concerned about going to visit after the spring melt off, that I might find the place crushed.  I was so pleased to see that the work I had done was good enough to still be standing after such a heavy storm.  I have since sold the property to a family member who is not taking very good care of the place at all and who doesn't seem to care about it much for anything other than to have a false sense of possession.  So, thought I would give my old cabin a blog about with some very nice photos to accompany it.
Mountain Bike retreat cabin in the mountains
Sink drain lines empty to drainage trough and are less likely to freeze in winter, propane line exits wall for easy propane hook up.
Mountain cabin retreat for mountain biking
Cabin Interior with propane appliances including refrigerator and stove top with oven.

Cabin built off grid for mountain biking retreats or getaways
Composting toilet with PVC pipe vent installed above large south facing glass window.
Scenic view of Broken Off Point from property
                 Although the property is off grid and seems to be remotely placed some conveniences include eight mile bike ride to town with a nice wide shoulder along highway.  A bus stop approximately one quarter mile from property has a bike carrier on the front for winter commutes.  At times I really miss the property and reminisce on the three winters I spent there while working at Pedal and Powder Bike Shop.  A blog article written in fond memory was hoping to rent out to cyclists interested in staying in a unique area but doesn't look like that will be happening any time soon.  For more information about Pagosa Springs, visit this informative blog article with links to mountain bike rental shops and other information to make your visit smooth and fun.
Have a nice day.
P.S. Lisa Piper of Natural Living provided a couple of the very nice photos here.  Visit her shop at

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Retro Style Images for Classic Mountain Touring Bike Build, by Rideon

Retro style bike ad
New mountain bike build with retro style
Nothing definitive, calling it the "Rigamaroll"
                               This has been such a fun project so far I that I simply enjoy creating these images reminiscent of old fashioned risque bike ads from Europe.  Some of the risque style which weren't displayed here in the U. S. much.  One of the reasons for having this personal blog, not concerned about offending folks, this is my fun, personal blog.
Retro bike poster advertisement

A fun theme modeling this new bike build after the Rover Safety bike.  So many ideas were blended into this new build and it is so fun to ride that I wanted to share some images created along the way.

mountain bike for touring

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Newly Built Mountain Bike for bike travel, touring and commuting, the "Rigamaroll", by Rideon

Abstract black and white photo of touring bike for bicycle touring
From the Light of Traditional Touring bikes....
Bike Tourings' blog and site continues to provide information and product reviews for folks interested in bike travel, bicycle touring and bicycle commuting.  Site includes links to free information and quality products from well reputed industry leaders and suppliers.

Recently we built up a new touring bike for a customer who only had an idea of what he wanted.  Sort of a beach cruiser mountain bike that he could efficiently ride around the countryside on.  Hmm.  With a mindset of traditional touring builds having developed a knack or understanding of combining quality, comfort and performance for long hours on the saddle I kind of had an idea of where to start.  With the proliferation of fat tire bikes on the market and an ongoing yet burgeoning interest with expedition, mountain bike touring style bikes we sketched out an idea. 

Approximately one year later and lots of fun experimenting with different ideas (some of which we will keep) we built what we have affectionately dubbed the "Rigamaroll".  Built with longevity, durability, comfort and quality performance I included Avid BB7 disc brake, Mountain Riser Comfort Bars, Kona Project 2 Fork and some pretty fat 2.35 inch tires.  This is a fun bike to ride in an area where bike lanes are not very common so going around and riding over typical urban obstacles not a problem with this fun commuter.
Links below provided for information regarding this bike build project.
Fork InstallationTire Selection, Rear Rack Install, Nice Blend of Nature and Nurture
Newly built mountain bike for bike travel, bike camping, bicycle touring, bicycle commuting
Nothing definitive calling it the Rigamaroll

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bike Tourings Work Shop goes off grid with Pacific Domes

While considering where and how to provide myself with a work shop we decided on going with a 16 foot diameter dome kit from Pacific Domes in Oregon. The family owned company has been providing these unique structures since 1972.  
I find it interesting how this dome came to me.  While working with a client in Colorado I realized we were having some communication issues.  Due to the fact she was from Spain at times her English was a bit odd and she did not like being corrected or criticized so I did my best to try and understand what she was trying to say sometimes.
A very eccentric sort she had purchased a dome kit in preparation for Y2K and wanted to be prepared for that crisis which of course never happened so this is why the dome kit I have is so old.  More about that later.  Years later the female client and her brother came to visit me in Colorado while I had since moved away I happened to be in town visiting my property there.  During our visit I learned she had been battling with dementia for several years.  She has since passed away and I was very sad to hear that news as she was a unique and authentic individual with a beautiful sense of humor.  
Her brother offered this dome kit to me for helping him get some things moved out of her storage shed.  However, we couldn't find the frame pieces.  We ordered the replacement parts when it came time to build with what we had, which was an outdated cover we were able to make fit without too much trouble.  
I designed the floor plan to be portable and measures sixteen feet square and then we built on top of the plywood I had painted with floor paint from the hardware store.  
While attending bike mechanic school I had an opportunity to meet with the owner and got a tour of their production facilities and some of the domes which were sold locally.  What a wonderful bunch of folks with positive attitudes and lots of energy.  I learned that Pacific Domes provides disaster relief, provides large domes for concerts and events and so many other uses for their structures.  It is a very interesting design and I have been enjoying the work space for approximately eighteen months now.  

I was concerned about there being enough space for new bike builds.  Photo showing enough room for bike boxes and bicycle in stand.  I did find it necessary to build a rolling tool cabinet that I can easily move around when necessary and use both sides of the tool board.

Our next task was to supply power to the work shop.  This was done with solar panels.  Larger panel came with its own job site solar generator from Sun Wize and came with a built in dc to ac power inverter as well as a built in charge controller and volt meter.  This is nice for plug and play hassle free power when panel is connected to generator. 
Our kit included round windows, screens, zipper roof and a wall screen for added ventilation when needed. For more information visit Pacific Domes, Inc.
Up until now it has been a very challenging and unique experience working in such a different shaped space as created by the geometric frame design based on Buckminster Fuller's ideas and findings.  I don't know about all that stuff but I am enjoying the work shop and grateful to have a place for me and Bubby to play.  

Visit Bike Tourings


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bike Alley photos from Bicycle friendly Flagstaff, AZ

Twenty years ago I was working on becoming a professional photographer and spent a lot of time with much older accomplished and successful photographers.  During some of our coffee table chats I used to put the idea out there of a "coffee table book" of picturesque alleys.  Well, I'm not as serious a photographer as I was back then though I very much enjoy biking around with a camera.  While visiting bicycle friendly Flagstaff, Arizona I decided to create my own bicycle tour of the city's bike friendly alley ways. I like the photo essay theme, check it out.  Fun stuff, enjoy, Cheers!  P.S.  I did this while the girls shopped for stuff to add to their junk pile.


Bicycle touring alleys Flagstaff, AZ
Bicycle touring alleys of Flagstaff, AZ  Visit

Bicycle touring alleys Flagstaff, AZ

Bicycle touring alleys of Flagstaff, AZ  Visit
Bicycle touring alleys Flagstaff, AZ
Bicycle touring alleys of Flagstaff, AZ  Visit

Bicycle touring alleys Flagstaff, AZ

Bicycle touring alleys Flagstaff, AZ

Bicycle touring alleys Flagstaff, AZ

Bicycle touring alleys Flagstaff, AZ

Bicycle touring alleys Flagstaff, AZ
Bicycle touring alleys of Flagstaff, AZ  Visit

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bike Packing, before, during and ........yippee, road trip!

Packing for vacation is such an expression of individuality.  A warm, friendly reminder that some things in life are still one's own and belong to none else.  
I'm not just referring to the goody's or the goody bags but the method and thought or even pace at which a person packs for a reasonable amount of time away from home. 

I have a better understanding now of the gals I live with and am more accepting when the girls pack so much stuff that I can get tired just looking at all their junk.  That's what it looks like to me and thank goodness they don't pay any attention at all to my stuff. How could they, they're too busy being lost in wondering if they brought everything.  While I get to do other things other than......worry.

Here is a list I have come up with for road trip bike packing.  That is to say, packing a bike and stuff in or on a car for a road trip vacation.
1. Bicycle of choice.  This can be a difficult one for me sometimes because I own several bikes and often I am unfamiliar with the area I'm going to or what other types of activities I might be enjoying.  


Also, a very important consideration is how is the bike is going to be transported. Inside a vehicle or trailer, no worries.  A good quality hitch rack, alright.  However, there are some rather shoddy, very questionable quality devices meant to be rigged to a vehicle with straps, bungee cords and whatever else might make the bicycle owner feel more comfortable like.duct tape and baling wire. Photo of one of my many goofy thrift store "bargains" affectionately referred to as another "jickey doo da".   

I feel a bit silly about this as Jenson USA regularly has very good sale prices on these products.  Click on of the banner ads if you're looking for a great deal on a quality bike carrying unit for your vehicle.

2.  Food and Water.  I'm currently packing for Arizona in July, easy, bring plenty of water, make lots of pictures. Besides regular water I like coconut water, it is a good way to hydrate without all the synthetic junk of some other products. Also, I read somewhere that putting one pinch of
quality sea salt per gallon of water provides electrolytes. Another product I have had good experience with is Sportea. Food, here is some good quality Trail Mix though a bit pricey it packs a lot of nutritional value per ounce.  Food is another very individual thing and this isn't a nutrition blog. 
     A)  Hydration Pack, one that is made to be worn while cycling, particularly nice when bike has only one water bottle holder and for sheer convenience. Snacks, camera, small repair tools, spare tube, etc. depending on the size of the pack of course.  It's also nice to have an insulating sleeve on the hose just before the bite valve which helps keep that first drink from being too hot.  Both Nashbar and Jenson USA offer excellent sales on these items.  I have provided links somewhere on the right of the page.
     B)  Insulated water bottle full of ice and whatever I may want to put in there, example Sportea that fits in bike bottle cage.

3.  Climate and Season.  For packing clothing and this vacation is Arizona in July, not a lot of bulky clothing required.  Nice, it's not like going ice biking in Colorado in January, eh?  However, I have from experience learned to appreciate long sleeves while riding with a stiff head wind with the sun baking my arms and hands red.  I stopped and put on long sleeves, it also helped my hands some.  Bike gloves and sunscreen, yes!  Got mine this time around.  Helmet and visor, sunglasses, full brim hat or sun hat, two t shirts, two short sleeve button shirts, one light weight long sleeve shirt.  One pair bike shorts with padded liner, two pairs cargo shorts, swim trunks, one pair pants, two pair grundee undee's, one pair of flip flops, one pair closed toe sandals.  One small travel towel and a lightweight rain shell jacket.  
 A)  Roll top ditty sacks.  These aren't totally water proof but do the job. I pack one sack layered with t shirt, shirt and so on.  I put the long sleeve rolled up and placed in bottom of hydration pack.  

     B)  Delta Compact Panniers for putting the ditty bags in.  I really like the quick and easy convenience of these little goody bags referred to as panniers.  I use them as front panniers on my touring bike and rear panniers on mountain bike for every day use and bike travel such as this.  

4.  Camera.  I like the old tried and true Nikon Coolpix 995 with filter kit, wide angle and telephoto lens adapters.  Not so small that I feel clumsy with it, yet compact enough that it isn't cumbersome to pack.  A fun and affordable high quality camera that can be found on ebay very reasonably priced.

Sleeping arrangements have been provided for so I won't discuss tents, sleeping bags, etc. However, I always travel with my very lightweight Guide Gear 40 degree sleeping bag and Thermarest pillow, kind of a Linus thing.  That's right, one of the things I appreciate most about us bike folk, most of us are kids at heart, having fun, exploring, etc. 
Happy Summer Vacationing,

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Steel is Real, old Mountain Bike frames, Happy Fourth of July

Old steel mountain bike frames made in USA
I have been reminiscing about winter bike commuting in early July due to the fact that I am packing for Arizona where temperatures are well over a hundred and this helps me to cool down a bit.  So, thought I'd give it a "blog about".
Old Steel mountain bike frames made in USA

Working at a Colorado shop one winter seemed to be the year folks wanted to try some winter bike commuting.  It was fun, kinda.  One customer wanted me to convert his bike to a fixed gear, hmm for ice and snow?  Another guy wanted all suspension, hydraulics, etc.  Told the fixed gear guy I just didn't feel it was a good idea given his riding experience and took offense. 

There aren't a whole lot of folks wanting to try bicycle commuting in a smallish remote-ish mountain town, especially in winter.  It was funny how some customers didn't want to hear the keep it simple principle as applies to winter biking.  

At that time I had been winter bike commuting for a couple years and realized the importance of varying terrain and surfaces requiring different equipment needs.  For instance, my cabin has a very, very steep grade that is a dirt and gravel road. Majority of which was shaded so on warmer days may or may not thaw in the sun. Steepness of the grade there requires keeping the butt on the saddle, when I would stand up to pedal the back tire would spin spitting dirt and gravel as I struggled to maintain balance until the tire would intermittently "grab and go" up the hill.  So for winter I definitely needed studded tires and successfully made my own (different blog).  One evening after riding the eight miles of highway from town back to my cabin I noticed several cars parked and sitting at the beginning of the road just off the highway.  I stopped to chat with a gentleman who explained that the vehicles were trying to get up the hill and consequently slid back down the steep grade with a vehicle or two going into the ditch.  For whatever reason the dirt road had become a solid sheet of ice. Here's the punch line;  with my studded tires I was able to effortlessly go my way pedaling and grinning up the hill.  I saw the old guy a few days later and he was laughing and complementing me about it.  I was feeling so happy about my bike commuting that winter and hoping some other customers who were riding those frigid winter days out were enjoying it as much as I was......well, not so.  Our customer who bought the full suspension awoke every morning to a flat rear shock.  He brought it to the shop, we bench tested it, we put it in water to check for leaks and found nothing.  We sent it to the manufacturer and they didn't find anything wrong with it either and received a long explanation about altitude and cold and alright, ride a rigid to beat the frigid.  Hmm, Surly and some other folks building frames landed on something worthwhile considering the success they've been having over the past several years.

 Something of note, also at that time Surly's Pugsley had only been on the market a year or two.  Nowadays surfing the internet seeing photos of monster tire winter bikes is common, and still very pricey.  This brings another point in that more often than not the older steel frame mountain bikes were designed to accept a larger diameter tire, particularly with cantilever brakes.  When descending the aforementioned hill the canti's worked good enough.  
Old Steel mountain bike frames made in USA

Another interesting point is how well designed the older frames were for adding commuting accessories such as racks and or fenders. I have a late 80's Diamond Back Ascent EX that even has three bottle cage mounts most commonly found on touring specific frames.  I can also fit 2.5 wide tires on it with no problems.  
This week's "blog about" is an ode to the old steel frames of yesteryear, often readily retrievable at garage sales, thrift stores, etc. And I just so happen to have some photos from a couple of bikes in commemoration of July 4th.  These beauties are made of 4130 cro-moly steel with original paint still taking a good polish.

If you're someone looking for a good project bike these are such fun bikes to find and throw some cash at them to build them up and customize the way you want it.  Check Jenson USA huge sale by clicking on banner ad.

Happy Fourth! Be Safe, have fun.

Reasons to Ride, Comfortable Commuter Bikes, Approved Drunken Transportation?

People for Bikes People for Bikesasks cyclists to share their reasons for riding. Ever taken time off from riding?  Sure, most of us have at some point and for varying reasons, a few weeks or perhaps even months.  How about a year?  Ever taken an entire year off from riding?  With the exception of the weekly neighborhood jaunts, mostly bicycle commuting I found myself having not been on a nice long ride for what is going on one year.
I've learned from it, putting it to good use and blaming noone, you know the guy from Caddy Shack. Joking aside I took a year off of riding as the dulling effect of a lack of enthusiasm based on the fact that it hadn't become a habit with the community I'm living at.  Even as I write this I am pondering some of the negative remarks folks have made when hearing of my perpetual pedaling when I first moved to the area.  "That's dangerous, stupid, ambitious, etc., etc."  and other more creatively objectionable reasons for not bicycling besides the typical weather man blahs "It's too hot, cold, windy, wet, etc."   
As for my own perception of relating, responding, or lack thereof is based on the idea that I am no "hero".  That is to say I'm not on a mission of social reformation to change other people's minds to fit my own personal interests.  So after awhile feeling like the odd guy out (which is very well and good most of the time) part of me simply said ah F--k it!

Being from Portland, Oregon the bike utopia of our wonderful nation as well as a micro brewery haven.  "Bikes and beer, welcome you here" may one day be displayed on the Welcome to Oregon signs. Hey, does that go along with "keep Portland weird?"  Hmm, perhaps I unwittingly explained the Portland Bike Boom (as it has been referred to).  Anyhow drinking and riding a bike is more socially acceptable than drinking and driving.  I know it's possible to receive some form of citation for that kind of behavior, nonetheless it is more acceptable. My point being that there are a lot of folks who like to drink around here (won't say where yet), they'd be better off riding than driving particularly when they live within a very reasonable biking distance.  

My first effort of bike advocacy in this area was a display of pub hopping on my bike. Expecting to receive some acknowledgment at my display of good common sense with  I felt a bit saddened when I met with cynicism, sarcasm or no interest at all.  Hey, better than being dismayed.  No, if I had been dismayed I would probably feel lost and despite these rather gentle ramblings, I don't feel lost, not at all. Here's what I learned; Number one is that this area is ranked 48 out of 50 making it the third most obese out of shape area in the country, second the area is normally very hot and humid a good portion of the year, third that a lot of folks here like to drink. So, what does a good bike boy from Portland, Oregon do?  Thoughts of placing an ad on craigslist which reads "I Build Comfortable Commuter Bikes, an acceptable form of intoxicated transportation".  Well, like I said I'm no hero.  Thank goodness my reasons for riding are not simply so I can have an approved method of drunken transport.  

What's the lesson here?  Don't drink and ride unless of course you are wanting to get in some more junk miles on the bike.

Reason I Ride;  Took a year off, feel like poppy cock (no I don't need Viagara as a result of opium) and knowing that a good long ride will make it all better.  Next stop, Arizona, which is 1300 miles from south of Houston, TX.
Jenson USA is having a huge July 4th sale with hundreds of items for bike commuting.