29 November 2010

Just call me Granny

Ride #20
Monday, November 29th. 6 miles in Folsom, CA.

This is a fun little ride that I last did on my hybrid bicycle. I remember wobbling up the hills at about 2 mph, and stopping and panting at the top. They are not much in the way of hills, I don't think, but if I did this route regularly, I'd get stronger. It is less than 200 ft climbing in 6 miles, but I think this is just right for me at this point.

Here's the elevation profile (which is the only picture you're getting today):

It is a bunch of ups and downs and fun little switchback sections.

I did better on the recumbent today then on the hybrid last time. Maybe because I'm in a more relaxed position, maybe because I have slightly lower gears available. I did not use the granny gear on every hill, but it was sure nice to have it available. I did not spin up the hill, since my cadence was probably about 60rpm at the slowest, but I did not have to stop on the side of a hill and breathe and I did not feel wiped out at the end. Of course, that may be because I just coasted a lot. And boy, does my ride coast! My top speed was 25mph with gentle breaking.

I saw one other cyclist (on an intersecting bike path) and two dog walkers today. Very quiet and peaceful. I'm afraid the sight of a bright orange (trike) and red (face) and blue (shirt) and pink (flag) 'thing' zipping down the hill slightly freaked out one dog. The other dog did not seem to mind. Oh yeah, I saw two joggers also. The joggers did not freak. They rarely do.

I plan to ride again on Wednesday. CU

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26 November 2010

Workin' the Turkey

Ride #19
Friday November 26th. About 12 miles. American River Bike Trail.

Zipped from Sunrise to Wm. Pond and back again. Lovely cool sunny day, not so many folks out at the start of my ride but plenty out and about on the way back. One recumbent hand cycle, but no other foot-powered 'bents.

Had one slightly embarrassing moment: I was at the bottom of a hill running my mouth instead of shifting down and had to stop 1/2 way up since I did not have the leg strength to pedal hard enough to get the front derailluer to move! A kind fellow in a bright yellow jacket helped me pry myself out of the seat and I got going again. I am always amazed how quickly I lose speed on an uphill.

I spent far too much time on this ride fooling around with my little point and shoot camera. I plan on putting together another 'cycling video, and took a lot of footage on this ride. Which made me realize that I really need to investigate a proper video camera: and a way to attach it to me or the the cycle for hands free photography fun!
Deer fence around re-vegetation area

Trail-side parks

Before ride #18 (the super short one) I had taken the time to clean my chain (in place with solvent and a rag) and applied some 'wet' chain lube. I also think I figured out which way is which on the barrel adjuster, so between the cleaning and the adjustment, the rear derailluer worked like a champ.

I made a couple of small adjustments to the headrest and I think I've found a good place for it. There is only a small possible area of head resting with the helmet on. I dunno, maybe I should declare it a helmet rest?

oooh - exciting news! I finally have a proper torque wrench so I can make sure that the various things attached to my aluminum frame are not too tight. So this weekend I'll play in the garage.

Might ride in Folsom this weekend, and there is a chance of a Roseville ride midweek if the weather is not too bad.

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24 November 2010


Ride #18
Wednesday, November 24th. American River Bike Trail. 4.63 miles

Today I feel that the 0.13 miles above four and a half are important. Just for my pride.

I had intended to go the 12 and some down to William Pond from Sunrise, but alas, my digestion refused to cooperate.
Let's just say that there are plenty of porta-potties and restrooms along the ARBT, but not quite enough for me today.

But! I saw lots of wildlife: many red-tailed hawks, some flavor of titmouse, a squirrel that I could have reached out and patted, and a buck. No, I don't know how many points it had. I almost missed the buck since he was passing behind a nice low 2 wheel recumbent. I wonder if the fellow on the 'bent even knew there was a deer passing right behind him. And I managed to enjoy the 50 degree, sunshiney, breezy weather. A nice change from the rain just yesterday.

As I was driving out, I saw a tandem trike. So I waved.

As a sop for this very short report, I'm including a video that I put together yesterday. Some of you might have seen it posted on BROL, and others might have found it on youtube, but here 'tis for the rest of you.

I will try again to ride on Friday or Saturday.

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21 November 2010

Am I daft?

Ride #17
Sunday, November 21st, bike trails in Folsom CA. A measly 5.6 miles.

It was raining and windy at my house, but down in Folsom, it was just breezy and overcast. The weather forecast was dire enough (thunderstorms! wind advisory!) that the leader of the scheduled picnic ride sensibly cancelled the outing. I went on a ride anyway. There were some families out enjoying the break in the rain, and a couple of other crazy cyclists out jamming through puddles.

I paused, as I always do, by the pond. It is much fuller than the last time I took a picture (see blog for September 10th) and inhabited by ducks and other waterfowl.
I had wanted to do a more extensive loop through Folsom, but my planned route used 3 bicycle underpasses, all probably flooded with all the recent rain. Some of the underpasses have surface street options, but one would require hauling my trike up a muddy embankment. No thanks!

I spent some time fiddling with the barrel adjuster for my rear derailluer, but I think to do it right I'll have to work on the bike in the garage, where I can concentrate just on the bike and not stuff like, oh, driving off the trail or running over a jogger and so on. My fenders (which I reinstalled last week) worked just fine to keep me from getting splashed from the damp trails and occasional puddle.

I dressed in wool layers, topped off with my high-viz windbreaker. I tried Ibex midweight longjohns for leg protection and they were acceptable. If it had been raining, I think I would have been too cold without rain pants on as well. I did eventually unzip my windbreaker and also the neck of the midweight Ibex top I was wearing. I could probably have left the lightweight 'woolie' shirt at home, but it was nice to have when I was unloading the bike. I ended up pulling my wool buff (serving as a balaclava) off as well as my wool gloves by the end of the ride. If I had been riding on hills, I would have removed layers sooner.

The partially unzipped windbreaker was a great place to store my camera and phone while pedaling along although the lumps and bumps caused by doing so probably did not do much for my image as a bicycling fashion plate. The most damage to my image was probably the bright red wool wrap skirt I was wearing (along with a yellow jacket and a bright blue shirt. And a bright red face from the wind.) I whipped up the wrap skirt the other day since, as I often have said, the world does not need to see my rear in spandex (or wool tights).

I might see if I can entice folks out on a short Turkey Day ride. If not then, then on the weekend.

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16 November 2010

OMG! May I please borrow a lung?

Ride # 16
Tuesday, November 16th. A shade over 6 miles. In traffic. Ooooh yeah!

I love riding for fun, but I also plan to use my trike (as I used my bike) for running local errands. So today I did.

My doc changed hospital affiliations, so I needed to sign a form allowing the old lab to send my records over to the new lab. My sweetheart works at the 'business' end of town, near the old lab, so I took the opportunity to get a lift to that end of town and cycle back to the house on this beautiful sunny day.

For those out you who worry about cyclists on the roads I was dressed for visibility: wearing a screaming yellow windbreaker, both tail lights blinking, the very bright headlight on, and two flags flapping merrily away.

I scooted from one end of Cameron Park to the other, using a route made mostly of residential streets. When I am a stronger cyclist, I'll run errands via a round trip from home. All kinds of interesting things are just a short ride away: a good hardware store, the library, grocery stores, my dentist, my doctor, the pet store (but I'm not planning on hauling 30 lbs of dog food home), multiple places for coffee, even haircuts!

For the first part of the ride, I slogged up the hill on the way to the lab (not a big hill, but bigger than I'm really ready for) in the granny gear, huffing and puffing. I took advantage of my trike's stability and low gearing to simply stop and catch my breath at two spots on the hill. The second time I stopped was because of two dogs who had to come over and see what I was.

Uncontrolled off leash dogs worry me quite a bit, not because I'm afraid of them, but because I am afraid for them. These two dogs were on the other side of the road, and charged heedlessly across two lanes to have a visit.
In about 5 minutes, a pair of dogs will come over the hill.
A car in each direction had to stop to avoid the dogs. I stopped (I needed to anyway) and let the owners get their dogs back. A stationary trike is less interesting to the dogs, especially since I had spoken in a cheery voice, identifying myself as human.

Although my route home followed the valley that is Cameron Park, there are still little hills. Down hill is fun (that hill I slogged up at the beginning gave me 30mph on the way down!) but uphill is boooooooring. I am so out of shape I had to stop and just breathe in certain carefully selected shady spots. I suppose I need to do this some more?

Nice and quiet road, horrible chipseal!
I wore my usual cotton capris (since I can't seem to find my non-padded bike shorts) and a very lightweight wool short sleeved t-shirt. The wool shirt is MUCH preferable to a cotton shirt. I was about ready to shed my high-viz windbreaker, since I was getting rather warm, but I treasure the visibility it gives me so I just pedaled slower. Yeah, that's why I was so slow. The windbreaker. Wanna buy a nice bridge? Oceanfront property?

I averaged 7.7 mph, top speed 30mph, slowest about 3 mph. My cleats stayed put on the shoes, my trike shifted well (but I still need to check the limit screws for the rear) and I had no flats, despite riding on the shoulder for most of the ride.

The trike is fine, the 'engine' needs some serious rehabilitation.

I'm still hoping for a picnic on Sunday! If it is cancelled, I'll slap the fenders on and go for a ride anyway.

13 November 2010

Time to break out the woolies

Ride #15, Saturday November 13th
Just over 12.5 miles on the beautiful American River Bike Trail.

It was a lovely day in the mid 60s, not a lot of breeze, mostly sunny. The usual assortment of folks on the path: road bikes, cruiser bikes, recumbent trikes and bikes - one with a partial fairing, the hand-trike fellow again, and walkers and joggers.

We started at one of the parking lots at the Sunrise river access, rode just over the bridge into William B. Pond Park, then turned around and headed back to the car. Himself set the pace, an average of about 10 mph. I tended to catch up on downhills (my fastest today was just 20mph) but instead of falling too far behind on what tiny uphills there were, I found myself sometimes coasting up the hill. Now that's fun!

As has been my habit, I wore cotton capris and a cotton t-shirt. Perfectly comfortable on the 'cycle, but I was a little damp and chilled at lunch after our ride. So it is time for more fall-like clothing. I really like wool since it never feels clammy and wicks just as well as 'technical' polyester fabrics and I have piles of it in the closet. You can take me out of Michigan, but you can't ... well, you know. So, you see, we are not busting sheep out of jail, just changing to wool clothing! We'll just leave the sheep in lockup ... baaaaaaaaaaaa.

I have no scenic pictures for today's ride since I left my camera at home. I did bring my GPS tracker with me - forgetting, as usual, to turn it on when we actually started our ride and then forgetting to turn it off after we stopped 'cycling!

We spent a little time at the beginning of our ride, getting my sweetheart's saddle (he rides a 'normal' bike) adjusted a little bit. I never did adjust my rear derailluer and it worked fine this time. I think I want to move my headrest a little bit, since when I relax and flop my head against it, I get a great view of the sky. Interesting, but hard to stay on the trail.

Swapped out my improvised water bladder carrier for a Camelbak Un-bottle. No problems attaching it to the back of the seat, but I forgot to shut off the valve at one of our stops and ended up dribbling water all over the seat. Someday I'll remember.

I had a loose cleat on my right shoe, but I was able to pry the cleat out of the pedal with a screwdriver and screw it back in place. I need to figure out what is going on with my right foot. Do I just wiggle around a lot? Is that why I get a loose cleat on that side? I must remember to add 'cleats' to my pre-ride checklist. And I should put a spare pair of cleats and screws in my bike bag: just in case.

Next weekend a picnic ride with the Casual Biking group! I'll bring my camping setup so I can have hot tea. This will be good to see how my camping kitchen will fit in my bike bag. I'll actually have to add one of the panniers I bought for touring! Cross your fingers for no rain on Sunday.

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06 November 2010

Come Hell or high water ...

... I'm going for a ride.

And I did.

Ride #14, Saturday November 6th. Just over 8 miles.

I finally got to hook up with the Sacramento Area Casual Bikers, a fun and laid back group of folks who just want to ride their bikes.

It has been over a month since I've been able to ride, and I'm so glad to be back I just can't find words to express it. So I'll just natter on about the ride.

We cruised around on the city of Folsom's beautiful bike trails, starting at Karen's Bakery Cafe in Old Folsom and doing a little bike lane/sidewalk work to get on to the Willow Creek/Humbug Creek trail system.

As a bonus, the new bike/ped bridge across Bidwell street is finished! We took a gratuitous loop just so we could 'cycle across the bridge to get to Peet's coffee. I forgot to get a picture of the bridge. If someone in the group gets a good one I'll ask permission to add it to this post.

The group pretty much filled the patio area at Peet's with bodies and a lot of chatter about bicycles and lights and trips and trails and ...

Then we pedaled back down to Old Folsom, spent some more time chatting in the parking lot, then all went our separate ways.

Since I last posted, I've taken the other fender off the front (more straightforward then getting the other one back on). I switched out the pedals from a Shimano type double sided (cleat-ready on one side, platform on the other) for some Crank Brothers' Candy pedals. I set those up with 20 degrees of float and I like them much better! No talking from my right knee at all, very secure clip in, easy enough to clip out. It sounds like I need to adjust the rear dérailleur just a little bit.

Hope to get out again next weekend.
Keep on pedaling and smiling

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