30 December 2010

Triple Threat!

Ride #26
Thursday, December 30th.

7.9 lovely sunny miles in Folsom. Almost the same route as the last trip, but a little further and with a loop put back in.

My sweetheart came along AND his son (visiting from college for the winter break), so the three of us meandered along the trails, with me acting as sheepdog from the rear. The kid used my old Trek bike (which needs some derailer work, since he was stuck on the littlest chain ring) and he also used my helmet, so I rode helmetless for the first time since highschool! I wore my Tigers baseball cap to ward off the sun. I'll keep an eye out for a cheap 3rd helmet, just in case.

We saw quail and blackbirds and geese and ducks and children and other cyclists and moms and strollers and families and dogs. But not a single fringed surrey.

Our average speed was 9.1 mph, Himself just chugged along - staying on the middle chainring most of the time. HIS front derailer needs some work (I think the cable has stretched a little). So looks like I'll be playing wrench a little bit later this week. I'm getting some practice at this...

As a consequence of my tumble earlier this month, I had a bad link in my chain.
Which I did not find during my post-ejection inspection.
That bad link messed up my shifting (and induced chain suck - oh no! ) so I did not end up going on the 30 mile road ride last weekend, but went home and fixed my chain instead.
OK, so I did not do all the work since I don't have a chain tool. Yet.
I headed over to Bicycle Planet in Folsom (great folks there) with my Very Long chain in hand, and they were kind enough to pop the bad link out and shorten my chain by one link. I bought a whole (regular length) chain and they've ordered a small but functional chain tool for me. When the tool arrives, I'll be practicing on the new spare chain and I'll have lots of links for future repairs.

The chain on my trike is put together with a SRAM master link, so it was relatively easy to take apart. I had to try two different pliers but I got it done. Bifocals don't help.

I did video the chain placement with my new camera before I took it off, and that did help me get it back on and working well. I had to adjust my rear derailer cable again, but it shifted like a dream today. So all is well in trike-land.

On Saturday, 40 insane people (members of the cycling club I belong to) are going to do laps on a local famously steep hill (1.5 miles of climbing). I'm not climbing that hill, but I'll tootle over on my trike and play photographer. It will be fun! So I suppose this is my last ride of 2010 and Saturday will start the New Year off right, with a trike ride and photography fun!

23 December 2010

Blue days, all of them gone ...

Ride #25
Thursday, December 23rd.
A beautiful sunny 7 mile trip on a bit of Folsom's bike paths.

My sweetheart said that the coding problem at work (he is on vacation until the end of the year but email never sleeps) would not get solved today so he came for a ride with me. Booyah! Yes! There was much rejoicing! Und so weiter.

The less he has to do to get out and on the bike, the more likely he is to go. I love fussing around with bicycles so I don't mind at all pumping up tires and loading equipment and all that. He led this ride, with me bellowing occasional directions from behind. I polled him every once in a while if he wanted to go on or turn around and eventually he decided to turn around.

Today's route was partly on the route we could not finish on the 16th, and I think himself is interested in doing the whole messy complicated route one day. We talked a bit about how where we turned around fit into that other ride. He avoided cotton next to his skin and he was more comfortable this time. We might go shopping for a lightweight baselayer for him after xmas. (He borrowed a wicking t-shirt from me and it was, um ... snug. He looked a bit like a giant olive green Buddha.)

My trike worked beautifully today - I just needed to mess with the barrel adjuster for the rear derailluer a little bit near the end of the ride. I moved my tools and bike lock to a seat-back bag and I like having less stuff to paw through in my trunk bag. I was sure there was a baggie of raisins in there, but I could not find them. I'd better check again!

I've ordered a replacement digital point and shoot (a refurbished Canon Powershot) so pictures should appear again soon.

I am scheduled for a 30 mile ride on Sunday, but there is an 80% chance of thunderstorms, so I fear the ride will be canceled.

Happy holidays everyone - time to tinker with my egg nog recipe!

21 December 2010

Well, check that off!

Ride #24
Tuesday, December 21st.
A Shorter Than Expected ride in Folsom

The rain let up so I nipped out for a short ride in Folsom. I'd intended to ride on the pretty little hills and curves under the powerline between Blue Ravine and Natomas, as I did on Nov 29th.

However, I didn't get too far as 3/4s of a mile into my ride I almost rolled my beautiful trike! Too fast on a corner.

Bad triker! No biscuit!

Into the shrubs! Down a little incline! Mud! Arrgh! Shrubs with prickers! My tights were full of little stickers and I have a little hole in the cuff of my wool shirt. And some mud on my windbreaker.
See - this is why I need a new windbreaker - my shirtsleeves always stick out from the windbreaker cuffs. I'd rather rip up my windbreaker than my nice wool shirt. Oh well, small price to pay for triking hubris!

I have a few skinned knuckles and a couple up and coming bruises. I did a little trail-side first aid with my waterbottle and my small first aid kit, then when I got home I throughly cleaned up.
The only things that came off the trike were me and my headlight: a well designed light, it just slid neatly off the mount and neatly back on again. I didn't slide so neatly, but did manage to get me and my trike back up the slope and out of the vegetation without too much undignified thrashing.

I quickly checked that the trike was still rideable, turned around and pedaled back to head for home.

I've just finished a more complete trike check and all is well. I had knocked one fender askew (easy fix) and the handlebars needed just a bit of adjustment. So all is well for my upcoming longer ride on Sunday (unless it rains).

Oh, the other casualty of my tipping was my little digital camera. I think I landed on it.
If I can get the card reader to read the card from the camera I'll add a pic of the pretty little trail I was on.

16 December 2010

Enticed or Bedeviled?

Ride #23
Thursday, December 16th. 7 miles, mostly on Folsom bike paths.

What a lovely afternoon for a ride! My sweetheart played hooky from work and we went on a short ride in the late afternoon sun. I like parking at the light rail parking lots and by 3pm there were spots open at the Glenn station. It is easy enough to get on to the bike paths from that parking lot, but getting back at the end of the ride is a little awkward. I need to figure out a better way before I lead any rides from that location. Should I confess that I directed us through a corporate parking lot via the sidewalks? Ok, then I won't!

The really fun loooooooong bridge.

There were plenty of little bitty hills to conquer where the bike path swoops under surface streets. We saw some other bicyclists grimly pedaling along, and some dog walkers. Humbug and Willow Creeks are nice and full, but since it has not rained for two whole days the undercrossings are dry enough.

I had mapped out a longer ride, but himself got a little tired so I sent him up a set of steps with his nice lightweight bicycle and zipped around a loop with more ups and downs to meet him on the uphill side of the steps. Our curtailed ride necessitated a little bit of street riding (and we even took and used the left/straight lane) to get back on the bike path.

The new overcrossing at Bidwell in Folsom

I had wiped a lot of leaves out from between my fenders and my front tires before this outing so my ride was back to being nice and quiet. I did a little surgery on my seat and uncovered the water-bottle braze on points unhelpfully covered by the mesh. I like drinking from a bottle better than a hydration tube so I'm glad I took the time to do it.

Instead of a bladder on the back of my seat I put a bag just for tire repair and locking up, so my trunk bag on the rack is a lot less heavy to carry around at stops.

My sweetie is having the same problem on his bike that I had on my hybrid: not enough low gears. We'll head down to the shop and see if he can get a different gearing setup.

It is supposed to rain from tomorrow until Christmas, so there will be a dearth of posts for the next ten days. Unless I get desperate ....

14 December 2010

Noise Pollution

Ride #22
Tuesday, December 14th. almost 8 miles in rainy Folsom.

Cool and rainy: 53 degrees with enough rain to run the windshield wipers on the way in on the fastest intermittent setting. Breezy. Totally overcast/foggy/misty. Lots of water puddles to test fenders with. Most of the ride was just damp and breezy, but there was one moment of rain showers.

I was a little tired from physical therapy yesterday, so I poodled along averaging 7 - 8 mph. I saw one intrepid (desperate?) runner and two dog walkers: one set with both dog and walker bundled up in bright colors. The other dog was happily trying to catch an egret. No luck, the egret was airborne long before the dog was in range. I saw a handful of California Quail, heard a toad, and saw a flock of geese overhead.

 My favorite curvy section beckoned, but I took it slow today. If you get moving moderately fast over the bridge, then the curves are a swooping bucket o' fun!
Another reason for going slow were all the leaves knocked onto the trail from the recent wind and rain. I love riding on a carpet of fall color, but I do wonder just what might be hiding under those leaves ...

My old Brooks high-viz windbreaker cut the wind just fine, but did get wet through at the zipper, shoulders, and upper arm areas. The midweight Ibex wool shirt underneath, however, kept me toasty warm. Someday I'm going to ride in really nasty weather. I'm thinking 35 - 40 and raining and windy. Then I'll have a reason to break out my lightweight kayak jacket (no front zipper to leak all over me). If I had worn that jacket today, I'd have overheated in no time.
I wore my old Terry cool weather tights (with the pad ripped out) and my legs were OK, although I think my knees were a little stiff from the cold. I think I would have been more comfortable in wool tights and some kind of windbreaking thing over them.
My hands and feet were toasty in wool hiking socks and some Ibex wool gloves and I really like the wool Buff used as a cap under my helmet: just enough to keep me warm.

My trike is parked in the garage right now (instead of in the car in the garage) since I need to move the chain along every once in a while to help get the water out of the chain tubes. Or so I've been told. There was also a mysterious noise on the front left side: I think it might have to do with the brake, so I'll check that out as well.

Oh yeah, the noise pollution came from my outrageously-noisy-when-wet disk brakes. I suppose that was another reason to go slow: less squalling and squealing.

Almost forgot!

11 December 2010

Tomorrow I'll whine

Ride # 21
Saturday, December 11th. 29 (not 27 - actually, almost 30!) miles on the American River Trail

I finally, finally got to meet up with the Recumbent Riders of Sacramento. Yay! Lovely people, cool bikes. Can't wait for next month to do it again.

It is fall, for sure, no fooling, yessiree bob, ya sure you betcha (I suppose Sacramento area natives would call it winter). Leaves all over the trails. I picked eight leaves out of various bits of my trike today. Some of the leaves were very large - the size of my hand. I expected to find them between the fender and the wheel, but most of them got picked up underneath my trike. One enterprising leaf made a semi permanent home in my rear derailluer. I evicted it. Out, damn'd leaf! out, I say!

I slathered up with sunscreen this morning at home but drove down through the low cloud layer to meet up with the other riders. So it was perfect (in my mind) 'cycling weather: calm, about 60 degrees F, overcast. The group left from William Pond and rode all the way to Old Sacramento, for lunch, and then back. My average speed was about 9.5: respectable for me (and a 1/2 mile off from shorter rides) but I was pretty tired at the end of the trip. Hoisting myself up the stairs to write this entry was quite an effort. I'd better stretch some more in a little bit.

28 miles in one day was my record on my old Trek bike, and that was after months and months of steady riding. I'm so glad I can go almost 30 miles on my trike and still move my arms and neck at the end of it!

I spent most of the time in the back of the group, although I did cave in and lead the group for a little while (my ego was averaging 13mph for that section). Lots of lovely conversation as folks filtered up and down the group. I collected some opinions about lights which will help me decide what to get when my front light battery no longer accepts a charge.

I had moved the switch for my front light lower on the steering mechanism, so needed to rescue the cable from scrubbing on the pavement. I'll add a few more turns to the cable and maybe move some of the velcro strips around. I'll also check for leftover leafs parts before I ride again. I had a local shop (not where I bought my ride, but good folks) true up my rear wheel a bit. No more scrubbing (the clearance between fender and rear wheel is tight tight tight). I had no shifting problems and my brakes were fine also (I adjusted them after the last ride).

I hope to get back on the horse that made my glutes really really tired tomorrow, but that depends on if my sweetheart can be persuaded to leave the computer! (I was ill most of the last two weeks, so that's why no post until now).

I've switched to ridewithgps.com to record my routes and, if there is a way to embed a button-link I have not found it, so here's the map. It is not quite accurate, but is generally OK.