Wednesday, October 8, 2008

LA Times Big Dummy review

LA Times cargo bike review, originally uploaded by Monkeykun.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Deadbeat blogger...

Yikes! Lots of things have happened since my last blog entry. I need to get my ass in gear and take some pictures of the house and the finished projects.

Updates coming soon!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bike Hugger Snapdeck

Galen asked me to pimp his snapdeck with a Bike Hugger green theme to match his future Surly Big Dummy. Here is the process from start to finish:

Dapper's Snapdeck

Primed and wetsanded

Dapper's Snapdeck


Friday, July 25, 2008


pizza, originally uploaded by Monkeykun.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Soon to be a homeowner [or a mortgage payer, after 30 years a homeowner]... hopefully things go well during the next few weeks. I am excited about having a garage for my bikes and eventually a garden in the backyard.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Outback Oven

Saturday morning I tried out the Outback Oven for the first time:

Outback Oven

Outback Oven

Outback Oven

Outback Oven

Outback Oven

Outback Oven

It was fairly simple to set up and bake with. The tricky part is dialing in the stove so things don't burn.

I want to bake a pizza next!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Snow Peak Giga Power

Awesome stove! I will write a review about it soon.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Big Dummy price increase

from the Surly blog:

The good news is that we managed to squeeze in another run of Big Dummy frames. That's one whole production run more than we had originally planned. It is much easier to type about adding another production run of frames than to actually implement such a thing. We did it because of demand, because you people have embraced the Big Dummy and other bikes of its ilk instead of simply buying a somewhat more fuel efficient car. There are not enough thank yous to express how gratifying that is. So more BD frames are coming in a few weeks, and then late this summer we should get even more.
The bad news is that steel prices and transportation costs have increased significantly of late, which means our costs are going up and so are yours. While the price increases will be felt across the line, there are a lot of people waiting on Big Dummy frames who may have paid a deposit already. If you are waiting on a Big Dummy, or if you are a shop that has quoted a price to a customer for a Big Dummy (or Long Haul Trucker for that matter), check in with whoever you need to and update your agreement. MSRP for a Big Dummy frame and fork is now $1050. It was $895. We've actually factored into this number another impending and definitely happening price increase so that we won't have to do this again anytime soon. So that's that. Again, this will affect the prices of everything we sell, but it should be of particular importance to those of you who have been waiting and budgeting and maybe even paid some money down at your local bike shop in anticipation of your beautiful new whatever... Big Dummy, Long Haul Trucker, what have you. Sorry to get all business but sometimes cold got to be.

I tried to find the receipt for my Dummy frame but I can't find it. If I remember correctly, I was able to get my frame for under $800...

Great success!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Slacker June

I haven't tended to the blog consistently this month but I will try to get back at it and make it interesting again.

Big Dummy transport service

Big Dummy transport, originally uploaded by Monkeykun.

I left my Raleigh Rx1.0 at work over the weekend and needed to get it home tonight so I secured it to the side of Dummy and made it home without any problems. I ended up using a grande zip tie around the down tube and front rim of the Raleigh to keep the chain ring from chewing up the left Wideloader if I made any sharp turns. I think if I transported other bikes more often I would invest in a Traybien.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Urban canoe adventure

Last weekend we ventured to Veterans Memorial State Park in Boise with the Sevylor Colorado. Inflating the canoe and installing the seats took about 15 minutes to complete. I ended up storing the pump and canoe storage bag in the mesh cargo bag and secured it in the stern with plenty of room for additional items. My digital camera stored nicely in the seatback storage bag but I think I will bring my waterproof container for it and other important items next time. The canoe is easy to paddle and it tracks quite well (a few online reviews complain that the Colorado tracks poorly). The lake wasn't real big so we spent a little over an hour paddling from one end to the other looking at the ducks and trying to see fish in the murky water.

Sevylor's first trip

Sevylor's first trip

Sevylor's first trip

Sevylor's first trip

Sevylor's first trip

The canoe is a bit awkward to carry long distances in the storage bag so I think next time I will bring a pack frame to carry it on. Better PFD's (life jackets) are on their way too. Other than that, I'm very happy with it. I'm looking forward to exploring Wallowa lake in Oregon soon!

Friday, June 13, 2008


Morning commute, originally uploaded by Monkeykun.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sevylor Colorado

Sevylor Colorado, originally uploaded by Monkeykun.

Ready to paddle!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Backpacker's Pantry--Lasagna (a review)

After our camping companions introduced us to the wonders of freeze dried camping food a few weekends ago, we decided to give it a try...

MSR Dragonfly stove
Here I am using my MSR Dragonfly stove to boil a little over 2 cups of water in the largest pot of Snow Peak's 3 piece titanium cook set. This set is ultra compact (maybe too compact) and light weight.

Snow Peak Ti cook set
The pots stack up nicely, the handles fold in, and they go inside a mesh bag. Very clever.

Freeze dried food!
Backpacker's Pantry meatless Lasagna ready to cook.

Add boiling water to mix...
Stir boiling water into mix, cover and wait 13 minutes.

Grilled cheese!
I was worried the skillet would be too small for making grilled cheese sandwiches, luckily we had a mini loaf of sour dough bread.

Lasagna finished!
13 minutes later, gourmet food in the wilderness (or on the back deck).

I really enjoyed the lasagna-- it tasted homemade and familiar which is probably why I liked it so much. The Snow Peak cook set will take more practice to get used to but I think they'll work out well.

Freeze dried camping food is the way to go!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sevylor Colorado

Sevylor Colorado features:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bruneau Dunes State Park

REI Half Dome 2

This past weekend we went camping with Kevin, Anne and their daughter Toren at Bruneau Dunes state park, located 63 miles from Boise. Bruneau contains the largest single-structured sand dune in North America and geologists believe they started forming 15,000 years ago. It is also home to Idaho's largest astronomical observatory. It was a great time and the landscape was awesome!

We spent early Saturday hiking, climbing, and exploring the smaller dunes for a few hours. Later in the afternoon we took our first canoe trip around one of the small lakes. I really enjoyed the canoe part of the trip and hope to do it again soon (I've been looking at inflatable canoes). Around 7pm the weather turned ugly bringing rain and strong gusts of wind through the campsite. Fortunately our tent was staked down and made it through without any problems. The storm blew over and we hiked to the observatory to watch a short orientation program about comets. After the slideshow and Q&A session, we lined up for a chance to see Saturn through the large telescope. I wasn't really interested at first but after the line shortened up I decided to climb the ladder and take a peek. Looking at Saturn through a telescope was probably one of the coolest experiences I've ever had, it was amazing!

Bruneau Dunes

Bruneau Dunes

Bruneau Dunes

Friday, May 30, 2008

Chainsaw Massacre

Wednesday night I finished mowing the back yard and decided to do something about the tree branch that has been pushing down on the back fence for awhile now (see Rain below, just right of the well in the background, mid photo). I did some searching and found a couple gas powered chainsaws in the shed. Surprisingly they both started and ran fine, so I decided to start cutting! The first saw, the smaller of the two, wasn't the sharpest so I ditched it after about a minute of no progress and went for the bigger saw. It did the trick and the branch crashed over the fence into the horse pasture. I didn't realize how big it was until it was on the ground, I was committed - no turning back now. I spent the next 2 hours cutting it into more manageable pieces and throwing them over the fence into the back yard. I would've finished sooner but the local horses kept getting in the way and I was almost attacked by a jackass (or donkey, I'm not sure what the hell it was).

Last night I was out stacking and trimming the branches with a cordless chainsaw when the blade slipped, caught my left thumb and split it wide open. I wrapped it in a wet bandanna and Justin drove us to my parents house to have my dad look at it and advise me if it needed stitches or not (he's an urgent care physician at an area hospital--fortunately he had the night off). Of course it needed to be sutured, so off to the hospital we went. I ended up getting 4 stitches and a thumb that doesn't bend so well.

I think my chainsaw days are over with.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Depth of Discomfort: High Gas Prices"

NBC Nightly News asked viewers to email their stories of sacrifices made over the Memorial day weekend due to high fuel prices, here are a few of the responses:

Jenna from Nebraska says: "It's a sad time in America when people who work hard and should be (and used to be) considered "Middle Class" are now living paycheck to paycheck and could lose everything if much more hits the pocketbook. What do we tell our children about why we have to stay home this summer? I guess it's a good time to become green and start growing our own produce, baking our own bread, and limiting the meat."

Katie from Sacramento says: "We will be spending a lot less. We usually do rib eye steaks and racks of ribs with lots of sides - macaroni salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, etc. This year it will be homemade hamburgers with french fries and soda instead of beer. The ground beef was bought on clearance a few weeks ago and frozen - I'll thaw it for weekend use."

Laura from California says: "Instead of our usual ribs, we are having hamburgers. As bleak as it sounds, next year we may have a cup of soup."

Yolen Jeunky, 45, collects dried mud cookies to sell in Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince on Nov. 29, 2007. Rising prices and food shortages threaten the nation's fragile stability, and the mud cookies are one of very few options the poorest people have to stave off hunger.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Mowing the lawn has been cancelled!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ultimate Sport Mechanic repair stand

Surly Big Dummy
I picked up an Ultimate brand Sport Mechanic repair stand at REI for $119 a couple weeks ago when they were on sale. It's a solid unit and seems to handle the Dummy quite well.

5 photos from Saturday

Meridian, Idaho
This is the welcome sign for Meridian, Idaho. Passing by in a car at 30-35 mph it might look alright, but upon closer inspection the ground is littered with trash and spent cigarettes.

Lucky Peak reservoir
Highway 21 to Idaho City, Lucky Peak reservoir.

Honda Insight
A hand out the window shot of the Honda Insight. I was feeling caged up and bored riding in the car.

62 mpg
62 MPG, 600 miles on one tank of gas: the Honda Insight is a technological wonder (almost). I know it's supposed to be "burning calories, not fossil fuels", but my allergies were really bad and I don't do so great riding a bike and sneezing uncontrollably.

Penny-farthing bicycle
And finally, Mr. High Wheel. Cool bike and cool helmet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Idaho Green Expo

Idaho Green Expo

This past weekend I rode the Big Dummy to the Boise Centre on the Grove and gave a car-free living presentation at the 1st Annual Idaho Green Expo. It didn't go as well as I had hoped it would but I guess that's what happens when you put something together at the last minute. Maybe someday I will put together a well thought out and organized presentation and hopefully encourage more people to ditch their cars.

Anyway, it was cool to meet Clancy and check out his sweet Kona Xtracycle long bike! I really like the Schwalbe Big Apples he has on it and the way they ride, it's an awesome setup. Clancy pointed out a Yuba Mundo with a custom plyboo snapdeck on it parked outside of the expo doors and I met the owner of it later when I was riding around the the electric vehicle display. I complimented him on his plyboo creation and told him about wanting to make Xtracycle footsies out of bamboo but the price was too high (Franklin Building Supply quoted $200 for a 4x8 sheet of 1/2" plyboo!). He handed me his card and told me to email him. Turns out he is the owner of a company named Sustainabuilt and they build furniture out of the stuff! So yesterday I emailed him and here is his reply:

Hey Josh,
I'll be at the shop everyday this week except Thursday. Feel free to swing by and I'll get you a couple pieces of scrap plyboo. If it's just footsie material your after, It's on me. We'll come up with something.
Check the website for directions. 221 W 37 Suite F in Garden City.
Take care,

Brad Boggess
Sustainabuilt, LLC

I'm stoked! now I can finish the footsie project I started a few weeks ago.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Speaking of recumbents...

Recumbent Rally review

Boise Bike Week spokecard, originally uploaded by Monkeykun.

Friday night we participated in the Boise Bike Week recumbent ride. I commuted to work on my Burley Koosah recumbent and intended to work until 5pm then ride to the Julia Davis park bandshell but I ended up leaving at 2:30 and riding home to drop off my work clothes. We left Meridian at 5:00 and made it downtown Boise about an hour later. We were greeted by about 4 other bent riders and by the time we rolled out there were about a dozen or so bents and a couple of upright bikes. The ride route took us from downtown Boise all the way up highway 21 to the base of Lucky Peak dam and back to the park, roughly 25 miles. The pace was awesome and the other riders were way cool, I would definitely ride with them again. The Koosah doesn't have a trip computer on it but I estimate the work commute, riding to and from the rally, and the recumbent ride itself was a little over 60 miles.

Burley rim

Burley panda

Lucky Peak

Greenbelt near Harris Ranch

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Recumbent Rally

A Recumbent Rally has been included in Boise Bike Week this year and it will be taking place tomorrow night at 6:30pm. I haven't ridden my Burley for awhile so tonight I spent a few hours cleaning and adjusting-- getting it ready for the ride. I will take some pictures of the event and post them later.