It’s Sunday…



The National Park Service just announced the autumn rendition of the ride around Crater Lake.

It won’t be the same as the spring rendition, but it will still be nice.

If you can’t make it to Crater Lake, get out there and ride.

Wherever you can.

Facing & Reaming

Hardened steel on aluminum means that the aluminum has to give.

Small flakes at  a time.

Facing a bottom bracket on a bicycle after chasing/cleaning the threads.

Facing and Reaming
Facing and Reaming

When working on the head tube (where your steering tube runs through the frame), the process is different, but still ends up with lots of aluminum bits.  That process is called facing and reaming, where the facing is done similar to this, but at the same time a different steel bit is reaming the inside of the tube to prepare the surface for a bearing cup.

The purpose of the facing is to make sure that the ends of the tube are parallel with each other.  If not, the bearings and system will not work properly.

This is typically only done once in the life of a bicycle.  If the manufacturer is good, they’ll do it.  If not, your bicycle shop should have done it before selling it to you.  Unless it’s a really cheap bike, when it’s just not worth the time to do it.

It’s all good fun and just reinforces for me what an amazing piece of machinery the bicycle is.  Especially as cheap as you can get them these days.

Wheel Build

Today was a long day at school.  But it was a good day.

We built a set of bicycle wheels from scratch.

I know it doesn’t sound exciting, but it really is, especially when you consider the forces that a wheel that weighs somewhere between 1-2lbs (.5-1kg) has to deal with.  Especially when it’s carrying my wide load, bombing down a twisting mountain road.

We jumped right into it, so I didn’t get a chance to get a picture of all of the pieces that go into making a wheel, but it isn’t much.  A hub, a rim, spokes and spoke nipples that thread on to the spokes and hold the rim to wheel.  That’s where the magic happens.

Our first step was to thread the spokes into the flanges of the hubs.  At times it was like wrestling with an octopus (yes, I know what that really feels like), but there was a method to the madness.

Here are the threaded hubs, with spoke nipples and the all-important cotton swabs for precisely applying grease in the right spots.

Wheel build beginning
Wheel build beginning

Once this step was done, it was time to start connecting the hub to the rim via the spokes, which is quite a process.  It’s called lacing for a reason.  It’s like weaving the spokes in a very specific pattern, in a very specific way so that the forces applied by the rider to the chain are translated into forward motion through contact with the ground.

We do ask a lot of those little 2mm wide pieces of wire.

Once the right (drive) side was laced, here’s what it looks like when the other side of the front wheel needed to be laced.  Still wrestling with an octopus.

Wheel build #2
Wheel build #2

But once the octopus is tamed, we have a very loose wheel.  Luckily it didn’t leave me.

How loose?  I could move the rim side to side several inches.  Although it looked like a wheel, it didn’t act like one.

So it was time to tighten.  And tighten.  And tighten.  All to get perfect balance, not only of weight but of tension.  Because the weight really doesn’t matter.  It’s all about tension.

Get the tension wrong and you’re walking (if you’re lucky).

Wheel Build 3
Wheel Build 3

It took me the better part of the day to get the pair right.  Not bad considering it’s my first set I’ve ever built from scratch.  And while we had looser tolerances today (±1mm) than we will for our certification test in two weeks (±0.1mm), I was able to dial these sloppy old components to the point that I would have passed the test.

That feels pretty good.

So here is the final set, rear wheel leaning against the backstop, front wheel on the truing stand, with various tools that we used today scattered on the bench.  And to give you an idea of how small the relaxed tolerances we had to work with today, the vernier calipers in the lower right are set at 1mm.  If that doesn’t help, stack about 5 sheets of notebook paper together.  There you go.

Wheel Build Final
Wheel Build Final

While that’s all pretty cool, I like the fact that we had until Thursday evening to get them done.  Mine are already disassembled, which gives me plenty of time to focus on the next few days of wrenching.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m having fun!

Hopefully you are too.


As I mentioned early last week, I’ve started coursework at the United Bicycle Institute (UBI), which will lead eventually towards qualification and certification to wrench on bicycles.

I’ve wrenched on my own bikes for 25 years, but after last week’s intro class, I realized several things that I had been doing wrong.

Making things harder on myself than the task needed to be.

So while that course was a refresher on most topics, it was casual, running about 3-4 on a 1-10 scale.

These next few weeks will be different, running about a 7-8 on that same scale, with a few days spiking up to 11.


Tomorrow we will be handed an empty hub, 32 spokes, 32 spoke nipples and an bare rim.  By the end of the day, we’ll have to have made a completely functional, safe bicycle wheel.

Luckily our tolerances will be pretty loose – ±1mm (±0.039′) since we’ll be using well-worn equipment tomorrow.  At the end of the month, we’ll use brand new equipment and the tolerances will be ±0.1mm (±0.0039″).

And I am having so much fun!

Hopefully you are too, doing whatever it is that you are doing.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

For those of you following the blog on at least a semi-consistent basis, you might know that I entered a photo contest held by the local newspaper, Medford’s Mail-Tribune.

No prizes, just a chance to get published in the local paper.

There were four categories relating to the Oregon Outdoors – People’s Choice, where I asked for your help pushing my photo up to the top, and three editor’s choice categories – Wildlife, Landscape and People in Nature.

Although I’m not sure how the final tally for the People’s Choice will work out, looking at the voting web page after voting closed showed my Charioteer sitting at #2.  Out of 342 entries.  That’s pretty humbling.  Thank you!!!  :D

The surprise was the phone call I received on Monday.  Apparently the editors liked my Sparks SUP photo enough that they declared me the winner of the People in Nature category!

Sparks SUP

So on Tuesday I did a phone interview with the editor.  Click here for the story.

Again, thank you all for your support!

Now get out there and enjoy your weekend.

Preferably Outdoors.


But if you must spend a portion of the weekend indoors, perhaps you’d like to follow my new Facebook page.  I will post items there that will not appear in this blog (don’t worry Mom & Dad, I’ll share anything with you some other way).


From now until August 31st, 2013, use the code BAPLaunch when you check out at billandersphoto and save 25% on pre-shipping costs. Thank you for your support!


Changing Gears

After the crush of the last couple of weeks getting the web page ready and making sure things like the Facebook page were ready to go, it was nice to launch the site.

But now it’s time to change gears.


After the page launch late Sunday night and just a few hours of sleep, on Monday morning I started attending class at the United Bicycle Institute (UBI).  Attending this school was the driving force behind the decision for Goddess and I to move to this town.

And it’s all good so far.

I’ll likely post more on the school starting next week, assuming I have time.  This week is their basic course, focused on those bicycle riders who know very little about maintenance.  I do have quite a leg up on this class, but I am still learning quite a bit.  And having a great time doing it.  Next week is when we jump into the professional mechanic-focused curriculum, which already promises to be faster paced and much more stressful, since that leads to certifications.

I’m giddy with excitement to get after it.


As I prepped the web site for launch last week, I wanted to fill in some holes in the portfolio.  There are still more to fill, but I need to keep focus on school.

So as I was perusing the archives, I ran across this one.  I am not sure why I passed it by after that trip to Vienna, but I did.

Luckily we have it for now.

That’s the Café Central in Vienna, Austria.

And if anyone is curious, no that is not an HDR image (I don’t do those).  Just a few focused curves to enhance contrasts and give it that pop.

Goddess and I were in town to celebrate an anniversary and explore the city in detail, after having only made a brief (one day) visit the year before.

If you ever get a chance to go – GO!  Vienna is such an enchanting town, especially down the back alleys and side streets.


From now until August 31st, 2013, use the code BAPLaunch when you check out at billandersphoto and save 25% on pre-shipping costs. Thank you for your support!


On Your Left

It’s been a couple of days.  A busy couple of days.

Over the weekend, a friend, nay, a brother in arms, and I rode the Seattle to Portland route together.  That’s Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon.

On bicycles.

Along with 9,998 other cyclists.

If you keep track, that’s 200 miles (322km).

Although we took the easy schedule and did it in two days.  A few others did it in one.

Perhaps next year.

It was a great experience, a well-supported ride through great terrain*.

But the best part was watching a friend ride his very first century (100-miler) on Saturday.  Then follow it up with his second-ever century on Sunday.


So we started out Saturday morning looking at Mount Rainier.  And finished mid-afternoon on Sunday looking at Mount Hood.  That makes it a great ride in my book.

So what does the title of this post have to do with anything?

Well, we kept a high enough pace each day that we spent a significant portion of each day passing other cyclists.  We passed far more than we passed.  And that makes it a good ride.

And the courteous thing to do while passing, especially on open roads, is to let the rider you are passing know that you are there.

“On your left”.

Or, as you get tired of saying it, simply “left”.  Either way gets the point across.

I’m coming through.

Although this photo is not part of the route, this photo was of a road that I look forward to taking the time to ride.  The McKenzie Highway (OR126), situated just north of the Three Sisters in Central Oregon.

It passes through lush forests and barren lava fields.  Gorgeous scenery.

Lava Fields


For those of you who have enjoyed the images, you may not realize that I do offer my prints for sale.

Each image is a click-through, meaning if you click on it, it will take you to another site (although not this one).  For those I think enough of to offer as a print, which are not all of them (this one did not make that cut), it will take you to my web site where you can purchase them and have them delivered directly to you.  Without watermarks.

Since I have not done a very good job of making this known, I’m offering two coupons valid for the rest of July, 2013.  You just have to browse over to my online gallery.

For purchases up to $300 (before shipping), the discount is 15%.  Just use the code 13Summer when checking out.

For purchases above $300 (before shipping), the discount is 20%.  Just use the code 13Summer20 when checking out.

Unfortunately, only one coupon is valid per order.

If you are considering prints (e.g., not canvas or framed images) I cannot recommend the metallic finish enough.  Seriously.  It adds a dimension to the images that cannot be matched in any other finish.  Almost three-dimensional, especially when it comes to portraits and landscape.  It is my go-to finish for any prints I order, especially for my family portraits.

While I mainly post landscape images here, I do have several other genres that I enjoy capturing:  Travel, Architecture, Nature, Street and Autos.  Each genre is available directly from my main page.

Thank you for your consideration.  And for stopping by to read my rambles.


* Official photos to follow.

Sparks SUP

Stand-up paddling across Sparks Lake, Oregon, with South Sister of the Three Sisters group of mountains in the background.  Three Sisters is part of the Cascades.

Standing with this view, Mount Bachelor is about 50 degrees to the right and about three miles distant.

It’s a stunning natural lake.

Sparks SUP

As the canoe glided past the kayaker, she commented on his stand-up technique.  He simply said “It’s a better point of view up here”.

Either way would be good.

Rings in the Ring of Fire

We in southern Oregon had a great opportunity this weekend, to ride the Rim Drive around Crater Lake before it was opened for the summer season.  Thanks to a less than average snowfall over the winter, the road was ready to be cleared and opened, which is odd, since it’s typically mid-July before the road is ready for the summer.  If that seems late, consider that the average snowfall at the lodge, which is lower in elevation that most of the road, is 44 feet (13.4 meters) each winter!

There are two parts to the Rim Drive, the West Rim Drive (~11 miles/19km) and East Rim Drive (~21 miles/35km).  The western side had been cleared an open for a while, but the eastern side still had stretches that were under 10 feet (3 meters) of snow just over a week ago.

Here’s what a recently plowed stretch looked like (with my bicycle for scale):

Snow Bike

What made this experience even more unique is that this is the first time ever that the National Park Service has held the road closed over a weekend to give access to only cyclists and hikers.  By early afternoon, it was pretty obvious that they had made a popular decision.

Who could blame the large groups of folks out to take advantage?  With absolutely no traffic to worry about on the two thirds of the loop around the lake, it was easy to relax and take in the scenery.


This view, from the northwest side of the lake looking south, is part of the reason for the title for this post.  Just left of center is Wizard Island, the dormant cinder cone in the center of Crater Lake, which is the remains of an ancient volcano that blew its top.  Further in the distance, frame right, you’ll see the snow-capped peak of Mount Mcloughlin [9,495 ft (2,894 m)].  And in the far distance, just a small peak in this image, but pretty large to view from here in real life, is Mount Shasta [14,179 ft (4,322 m)], down in Northern California.  That’s 107 miles/172km away!

So just looking in this direction, there are three volcanic peaks.

Spin around the other direction and there are several lesser volcanic peaks, but 74 miles/119km to the northeast, a snow-covered Mount Bachelor [9,068 ft (2,764 m)] stood alone over the horizon.

It is pretty impressive to stand here and realize that this is just a very small piece of the whole Ring of Fire, knowing how it is shaping our landscape, not just here, but abroad.  This made me think of when Goddess, The Boy and I were able to sit at the summit of Mount Fuji and watch the sunrise some years ago.

As you can tell, I love the landscape.

So the scenery and the landscape, oh, and a closed road, are what drew me to ride around Crater Lake.  All told, the East and West Rim Drives total 32 miles/51km.  Planning for some upcoming rides later this summer, I knew I needed to get more miles than that in my legs, so I decided that I would do two laps (64 miles/52km).  If I was feeling good at the end of the second lap and if I had time, I was going to consider a third, plus a few miles, to get a nice even 100 miles/161 km.

Mind you, this is at an average 7,000’/2,134m elevation.

Hey, if you’re going to go, go big!

So it was an early start.  A cool start.  It was just 38F/+03C when I started.  Through a comedy of errors leading to a leaking water bottle, I started with a wet jersey and underlayer.  So it felt a bit cooler than that.

When I started just after 8am, there were only two other groups of cyclists starting from the south parking area.  They got on the road about 10 minutes before me, and in typical parking-lot sizing up, I figured I’d see them again soon.


I left the parking lot, walked around the gate that kept the East Rim Drive closed to traffic and started riding, heading counter-clockwise around the lake.  Pretty quickly I hit the first climb.  It continued for the next 1.5 miles at an average 6% grade.  My being cold from the wet top layers was soon forgotten.  A brief reprieve with a gradual descent and it was back up again, another three miles at 6%.  And so it continued.  I didn’t see the others from the parking lot anywhere.  Matter of fact, I did not see any other rider for 90 minutes.  And they were headed the other way.

Then another rider.

Headed the other way.

Then groups of riders.

Headed the other way.

Finally, at about two hours into the ride, I saw the folks from the parking lot.

Headed the other way.

Once on the north side of the lake, I had to cross the gate that kept the other end of East Rim Drive closed and out into the tourist traffic.  Which was surprisingly light for a gorgeous Saturday morning.

That’s when I got the picture of the lake.

A few more climbs and some quick descents while keeping an eye out for traffic and dodging a few inattentive walkers got me back to the car.  It had warmed up enough that I was able to peel some warming layers off my arms and legs, refill the water and fuel bottles, then head back out.

This time I was going to go clockwise, opposite of the first circuit.  This way I could see the views from different angles.  I already knew that I would have some great descents, but also knew from the previous descents that I’d have some long climbs.

But the first 7.25 miles/12km going this direction went straight into a climb.  No respite.  Gaining the same amount of elevation that had taken 12 miles/20km to gain going the other direction.

To see what I mean, here is the elevation profile from my ride.  The bottom of the dip in the middle is where I parked my car:

Crater Lake, 6-22-2013, Elevation

Each vertical line is one mile.

But to give you an idea of time spent, here’s a graph where it’s tracked by time.  The vertical lines are still one mile each.  The further the spacing, the longer it took to cover that mile, the closer the spacing, the faster I was going.

Crater Lake Time, Cycling 6-22-2013, Elevation

So where it was taking me around 7 minutes to cover a mile heading uphill, downhill was usually around 2:30.  But if you look at a few of those very closely spaced lines, I was covering the miles in 90 seconds.  That’s 40mph on the bike, not having to worry about traffic.

Except for the occasional bicycle rider who thought that since the road was closed, they could climb up wherever they wanted.

Not good.

Anyway, as I was on the north end of the lake, back into the closed off East Rim, I caught up with a couple that was riding.  He was riding up the center of the right lane, she up the center of the left lane.  With a blind uphill turn coming up.  I explained my experience earlier that morning on that same stretch, where I came around the corner and a group of six cyclists were taking up the whole road.  And I was moving.

Luckily they were able to move over to give me half a lane.  Otherwise it was going to be ugly.

Once she got over her surprise that I was on my second lap, she then mentioned that no one rides the lake counter-clockwise (my first lap).


Apparently going clockwise is easier.

Someone please look at the elevation charts above and please let me know how someone could figure that.


Granted, I had a lot more miles and a lot more climbing already in my legs when I started the second lap than I had the first, but I still don’t see it.

My only guess is that when going clockwise, when the entire road is open, it’s easier to pull over to the overlooks than it is to try and cross traffic.  Otherwise, I really don’t know.

After two laps, there was no consideration of a third.  I’ll leave that for another time.

I need more miles in the legs to pull that one off.

And perhaps a victim, er I mean sucker, er I mean support rider for that last lap to keep calling my abilities to finish into question whenever I start to cry.

You know who you are.

So the day’s tally – 64.26 miles (103.5km); 10,485 feet (3,196 meters) of climbing.

Some fantastic scenery.

And some amazing inspiration.

Crater Lake Pano(I took this panoramic image from the south side of the lake last November, when I introduced Goddess to the northwest and Crater Lake; this is before the snow fell)

Finally, speaking of inspiration – when I finished after the second lap, I pulled into the parking lot and saw one of the original couples from early morning.  I asked them their thoughts on clockwise versus counter-clockwise and he said that they had never rode it counter-clockwise and he had been riding it for 30 years.  Then he asked how I felt, and I admitted that I was a bit beat after riding the two laps.  They were surprised that I had got two in.  Then he said that he felt pretty good after his one lap, then he said “I don’t know if I’ll be able to do too many more of these.  I’m 84!”.

Any aches, pains or tiredness that I had melted away.