I got a call from Harvy’s Bike Shop a couple weeks ago. He said Lars Clausen was in the shop with his new book. He put Lars on the phone so we chatted for a bit.
Lars’ book One Wheel Many Spokes is done. There is a publication date celebration in Sultan, Washington on April 22. Exactly two years from the start of his ride in Tillamook, Oregon. I just picked up a copy of the book, have read only a couple chapters. So far so good.
Wanted to add an update here and a photo link. As planned, Lars rode through here on Monday, and a bunch of local riders showed up at Harvy’s Bike Shop to meet him. There was a great cookout sponsored by Harvy, kids everywhere on unicycles, and an impromptu show by The Uniques, who demonstrated some great parade formations in the very tight parking lot.
Following the cookout, John Childs, Unibrier, and I joined Lars for a 20 mile urban Coker ride from Lynnwood to the Space Needle. It was a great ride. A big group of the kids rode the first half-mile to give us a send-off, and then we were on our own. No maps, no route plan…just Unibrier making some vague promises that he knew the local roads and could keep us away from heavy traffic.
In this, he delivered. While it’s a pretty straight shot from Lynnwood to Seattle, it’s urban riding so you have to find a compromise between busy streets that have regular timed lights, and not-so-busy streets that make you stop at every intersection. Steve found a good mix, so we hit very few dismount points. Most lights we could either “time” our way through, or sidle up to a sign-post and balance while waiting for the green light. The other bonus was many of the streets had both a bike lane and a decent sidewalk, which allowed us to ride two abreast and chat while we pedaled.
We took it pretty easy…pacing along at about 8.5, and grabbed a short rest and refuel about half way through. That was a good opportunity to grill Lars on his distance setup, bearing and tire wear stats, riding technique, etc. He has an interesting setup…unlike most of the current distance 36-ers with a handle or boom centered in front of the seat, Lars has modified some bike handlebars which mount behind the seat, and position the grips at about hip height and width, and slightly behind him. As a result, climbing tends to require both hands on the handles, versus one hand on the handle for the front-mounted setups. I’m not sure this setup is better for climbing, but for long distances it looks like it would be superior from the standpoint of being able to get more weight off the seat. Another interesting distance-driven difference: while Lars has an Airfoil rim, he gave it up and switched back to the stock steel rim because of the difficulty in changing tires on the Airfoil while on the road.
Back to the ride. It was a gorgeous day, lots of sun, not too hot. Much of the route had trees along side the road to offer some shade opportunities. We had been deferring to Steve to set the route, but as we approached the Ballard Bridge and prepared to cross into the downtown area, John Childs wrestled control of the ride away from him, ran us all through a red light, then took us on a sidewalk jaunt through downtown Ballard to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/tour/locks.htm. The Locks provide another way across the water, but one open only to foot traffic or foot traffic walking bikes. There was a big crowd of tourists hanging out, eating, watching the traffic through the locks, and dreaming of one day owning a cabin cruiser like the Big Money passing through the channel below. We were the only unis, and drew lots of looks, questions, positive comments, and tourist photos.
After crossing the Locks, we had a steep climb to get back up into the main streets, then an easy couple miles before reaching the “Interbay Trail”, a wide, paved bike and ped path that runs along Puget Sound for the last several miles into downtown Seattle. The city and Puget Sound views from this trail are stunning, and on clear days you can see Mt. Rainier towering in the background, 90 miles away. It’s become a favorite ride for the local 36-ers, and we were happy to share it with Lars. The trail ends at Broad Street in downtown, leaving one very steep climb for the last several blocks to the Space Needle. It was a big workout at the end of a workout, but we were rewarded at the top with the entrance to Seattle Center and the Space Needle, where we did some slow weaving through the throngs of tourists until we reached the International Fountain. We ended the day to the sounds of shrieking kids at play in the fountain, with photos, thanks, best wishes, and hope of sharing more common miles further down the road.
It was a fun ride. I had ridden most of the roads from Lynnwood to Ballard on my bike in the past but not by Coker. It is interesting how different roads seem at 8-9MPH on one wheel rather than 15-20 MPH on two wheels.
Tom didn’t mention he cleaned the climb after the locks. Something still elusive to me. Tom also had the fore-thought to stage a car at the Seattle Center so we could get back home.
Worminton, I’ll assume you’re a kid yourself so I’ll cut you a little slack, but fact is you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about… “Weird” to me is someone that goes around putting people down that he’s never actually met.
I’m sure you practice every day to become a better rider. There are also exercises available to become a better human. It is good to have balance in life.
mmmmmm righttttttttt. Here’t the thing clown!!! I’m actually very intolerant. Or at least I’m told. Either way try to ignore me when I say things like that. What i should have said is wow that is one freaky looking kid.
i’m very weird myself so i know weird but whatever.