30 April 2011


Ride #66
Saturday, April 30th

12-ish miles around Lake Natoma

It was a beautiful breezy day for a bike ride: my safety bicycle (translation: "normal" bicycle) friends suffered more in the breeze than I did, but I still felt the effects.

We started in old Folsom, went along the "south"  side of Lake Natoma, then up across the Hazel bridge and back to Folsom on the "north" side of the lake, then back to the start across the newish bridge.

Once again, I let the photographers of the world down, since I decided to concentrate on shepherding my charges around the lake instead. One of the herd-ees took some snaps, so anything you see will not be from me! I'll add pics as I can get them.

Even though I cannot generally have a conversation with another cyclist while on the bicycle path, it is still a lot of fun to show folks around the bike paths. We stopped to check out the Willow Creek area: a boat launch on the American River; then again to watch dozens of very long millipede things on the water (rowing competition on the lake); then again 1/2 way up Hazel bridge for a good view of Nimbus dam; then AGAIN to point out Negro Bar - a great place for swimming and hanging out in the hot summer months.

The stop at Negro Bar was also to let me consult my cheat-sheet for the detour.

past horsey place. next to big parking lot
veer left & go up park road
through 2 stop signs, set of poles
under overpass
stay to left & downshift!

I was shown a different way to get back up on the bridge and thought I'd try it again. This is the first time I have not missed it.

Ever since high school & English with Mr. Kling, I have taken great pleasure in using '&' whenever I want & sometimes even inventing places for it!

Another ride tomorrow to kick off May is Bike Month, assuming I can get my right brake/wheel/something sorted out. It only squeaks when I'm actually riding the trike. How inconvenient! And annoying! And just a little bit embarrassing!


Today's route (the part over the Hazel bridge is not really accurate: Google has yet to catch up with the ever-changing construction there)

21 April 2011

The jeans gene

Ride #65
Thursday, April 21st

About 13 miles on the splendid American River Bike Trail: Sunrise to Wm. Pond and back again.

The rain stopped, the sun came out, and I had to get OUT. I had an appointment later in the afternoon, so for the first (and last) time I rode my recumbent trike in jeans. Not doing that again.

Why were the jeans so awful?
Was it the button digging into my bellybutton? Was it the rolled up cuff catching repeatedly on the end of the chain tube? (Chain tubes are plastic tubes through which the bicycle chain runs - helps keep the chain and you cleaner). Was it the apparent effort needed to repeatedly force folds into all that fabric around my knees on every stroke?

Some wag on bentrideronline said something like "would you ski in a swimsuit?" when responding to the 'bent community's tendency to gloat about wearing street clothes for bicycling instead of 'having' to wear bicycle-specific clothing.

Street clothes mean you blend in when not on your bike, you theoretically don't have to change clothes after a ride (I do since I sweat like a horse), and you don't have to buy more clothes just for bicycling. Well, I like bicycling-oid clothes since they don't flap around and get caught on parts of my 'cycle, they identify me as a bicyclist, and they come in BRIGHT colors.

However, when I get to the point of wearing shirts and shorts plastered with logos and advertisements and so on, you may feel free to point and laugh.

Well. Got that out of my system.

I saw a recumbent tandem today on my ride, and lots of families out together (Spring Break for many local schools). And never have I seen so many squirrels dashing across the trail. Spring Break for squirrels?

I was so excited to get out that I managed an overall average speed of 11.4 mph over the 12 miles! That's pretty fast for me. I think the longer ride last weekend got me over some speed-barrier (not to mention the intoxicating effects of fresh air and sunshine).

My bicycle group has a ride this weekend and I hope to get my sweetie out also (he is getting over a horrible chest cold so we'll see).

16 April 2011

Feeling charitable

Ride #64
Saturday, April 16th
25 miles in California's drop-dead-gorgous Napa valley.

Cycle for Sight event benefiting Enchanted Hills Camp (blind and visually impared) and the Pathway Home Project (California Veterans).

I camped overnight at a Solano county park (you can read about it in this thread on hammockforums.net) and then finished driving to Napa first thing Saturday morning.

A long time ago in my distant youth, I did the 50k Ride Through Hell in Michigan. This is my first large organized event since then and my very first ride for charity.

It was great! If you have never ridden/ran/swam/whatever for charity, I encourage you to do so.

The photos from today are on my Fotki page (here), but here is a sample anyway.

Nice directions and a well-organized event
View from the middle of the 25 mile route starting mob

Country Road

I did fine on the ride even though I don't think I drank quite enough water while I was actually rolling along. I ended up drinking a HUGE bottle of water on the way home plus the largest iced tea Popeye's sells.

My trike did great, but I seem to have picked up a vibration today. I did hit a miniature utility access port in the bike lane pretty hard with my rear wheel (there was nowhere to go to avoid it - I could have ridden off the road and flipped or swerved into the guy passing me) and there were two stretches of TERRIBLE gravel-on-asphalt. Like the dread chipseal on steroids. It felt like I was riding a giant circular sander. My suspension could not cope with that many little tiny bumps all together.

I have to figure out how to figure out what's up with the bad vibes, and I think it is time to learn all about disk brakes as well.

I might head out tomorrow for a short ride, but than I'll take a few days off!

And I think this is more or less the route we took. I just trailed along with the crowd.

14 April 2011

Elementary error

Ride #63
Thursday, April 14th
21.5 miles on the El Dorado Trail

The parts of this trail that are paved are great.

All kinds of excitement today: wildlife, traffic, hills, repairs, human powered towing.

My triking friend and I headed out once again from the Missouri Flat Rd. trailhead of the El Dorado Trail. We worked our way up the grade, figured out a shortcut from our usual route, zoomed down Main Street in Placerville, over the nifty twisty bridge, and this time did NOT get lost picking up the trail again at Clay St.
Double Trike Madness? Enough flags, you think?

With two trikes and bright clothing and multiple flags. OH, and lights, we felt OK to take the lane and control the traffic behind us on the Forni Rd. downgrade. We decided not to take that shortcut on the way back since we would be in very low gears and there is no bike lane, no shoulder, and limited sightlines. And we wanted to stop at the local bike store later. But flying down that road was fun.
In Placerville

After we picked up the trail again at Clay St., we climbed steadily up the old rail road grade. We were loafing and chatting and generally in no hurry, so our speed to our turnaround point was a lousy 5.3 mph average. We saw a deer turn around and bail off the trail.
Yes, I know those are not deer.

We got to the end of the paved segment and decided to do a little dirt riding.

Since my trike has suspension all around, I came down hill on that dirt faster than my friend did. And I had many more mud-splatters on me then she did.

We made our way back to Placerville, this time skipping the curly bridge and just using Main Street. It is downhill in that direction through Placerville, so we had no trouble at all staying with the traffic through town. My friend was feeling bold, so we used the left turn lane to get onto Ray Lawyer drive and start up our last big hill.
Our left turn lane is at the left of the frame.
We were almost at the top of the hill when my friend's chain snapped! So close to the trailhead where we had parked this morning!
So we had a little chain-tool smackdown (my chain tool lost), and she successfully removed the bent link and reattached her chain. She has reusable rivets on her chain. Mine are not resuable so I would use a special replacement link in her situation. HOWEVER, we did not double double check the chain path before reattaching the link (we were too entranced with our mad chain-breaking abilities) and we crossed her chain.

Blah. Trike no go.

We did not want to mess with the chain again (I suppose we should have, but we did not, why I do not know. I figure we did not want to tempt the chain-tool-gods again) and we decided to go on anyway: coasting on the mostly downhill route. I gave her a towing assist on the flats, and she walked up the two short hills. We did a lot of unseemly giggling.

Try shooting straight over your shoulder. Obviously, I failed! We are on a trestle bridge, that's the wood platform. She's got a grip on the back of my trike's rear rack. Figures she'd be grinning.
Ooooh! A Tunnel!

Not in the flat land anymore

Bridge over US 50

Today's route. Dig that elevation profile!

11 April 2011

Somewhat less vile

Ride #62

Monday, April 11th
Somewhere in Folsom, somewhere around 12 miles

Yes! Three rides in a row.
I was in a foul mood this morning. So foul I decided that it was a good day (or a good day for a bad day or whatever) to see how much difference a nice bicycle ride could make in my personal stormcloud.

So I headed out, after picking up a sandwich from the deli near where I parked the car. Friendly people, beautiful sunshine, entertaining birds. A little tiny bit of huffing and puffing. Ok. I feel better now. The storm clouds circling my head are now reduced from a cat5 to spring showers. Hurray for the great outdoors!

I spent my lunch break by the duck pond, performing ad hoc behavioural experiments on the birds with pieces of my sandwich.
Mallard ducks will compete with each other for bits of bread. And hiss back and forth if another mallard gets too close. Coots will do the same thing among themselves but are pretty quiet about the whole thing. If a piece of bread lands between a bunch of coots and a bunch of mallards, whichever species that gets the bread is ignored by the other species. No hissing or posturing.
Blackbirds are willing to swoop down to snatch the bread off the water if the crumb is near a stick or clump of grass.
One brave male duck was willing to get on dry land to see more crumbs would be forthcoming. He was out of luck since I was occupied with aiming crumbs at the female mallard in the water.
The geese stayed clear.

In other bird-news today, I startled a Great Blue Heron. I would have never seen him if the sound my my derailer clacking had not caused him to flap ponderously away.

That's it for rides until later this week when we attempt the railroad grade to Camino Heights.


10 April 2011

Fiery Tails

Ride #61
Sunday April 10th
Big loop in Folsom

Today my sweetie and I went out on the Folsom bike paths. A genuine loop of 10 miles (although Himself (AKA "Mr. Literal")) pointed out the the very short ramp (20 feet?) from the parking would turn the loop into a lollipop.
Lollipop schmallipop

He took off in a good imitation of a rocket. I trailed along behind, bellowing directions and ringing my bell at blind corners. I did not ring it constantly, but there are a lot of twists and turns on the Folsom trails. We stopped for water a few times and snacks once. I think Himself is getting the hang of bicycling and nutrition. He still wants a donut* for breakfast, but he will eat some jerky before we set out and is always happy to eat some orange segments. Holy Cow! Actual Fresh Fruit!

I like my bell but I don't know how I feel about it. Is a polite "good morning" and "passing on the left" more or less or equally friendly than a ding or two of a bell?
  • Pros of the Bell: pedestrians seem to have a well-trained Pavlovian response. They shift right over. Sometimes both feet at the same instant. Levitation's always fun to watch, an additional pro.
  • Pros of the Voice: I'm taking the time to talk to the person rather than ring-a-ding-dinging at them.
  • Cons of the Voice: an adult voice from hip-height seems to be a little startling sometimes. But there's that levitation potential again. Hmmm.
  • Cons of the Bell: will not pierce the cloud of sound produced by firmly inserted ear-buds. But then sometimes even my outrageous bellowing won't either. I suppose I could re-deploy my cheerful pink flag as a lance. No, no. That'd be too much fun.

The jury will return a verdict later.

One photo. Too busy keeping up with Mr. Rocket today.

That's Mr. Rocket himself in the distance - dull red jacket, dark blue jeans, black helmet in the shade. You must work for your viewing! I believe squinting might yield a glimpse of a white sock.

Some random rides in the next couple of days, including a second try at almost-Diamond Springs to Camino Heights.

Helmet up, tires down. CU

*Blogger's spell checker insists that "donut" should be "donuts" and offers no non-plural solution. I like multiple donuts myself. Maybe the programmers do to? Or I could be all formal and old-fashionedy like and use "doughnut" Or get crazy and doughnaught (which it never has been, but I think it ought (get it? ought ... ha ha) to have been. Ah. I get it. It's that chain store of Dunkin' Donuts. Oh bother. Now it is complaining about "Dunkin'".
I think I'll go have a sinker (Dad-speak for a plain cake doughnut, preferably slightly stale).

Almost exactly today's ride. But backwards.

09 April 2011

Trikers! Front and Center!

Ride #60
Saturday, April 9th
15 lovely sunny miles in Folsom

This was an organized ride, with just two of us. We started off with a heart-pounding 5 mile up and down on some small hills, then cruised around the Folsom bike paths for another 10 miles. Lots of wildflowers, people, birds and so on.

While loafing at the duck pond, we encountered ANOTHER person who rides a trike! What am I, like a trike magnet? So. This other triker and I will get together and ride. This is going to be so nifty.

I did a little economic stimulus of my own the other day and picked up a few more items for my ride. I now have a bright green small PurpleSky flag to replace the generic orange safety flag I had on my seat-back. Now I have a giant pink flag and its little green sister flapping along behind me. I did notice the flapping more today.

And I picked up a Fastback Flash Frame Pack. Which is a very long name for a little tiny bag that velcros around the boom. I can reach it easily enough while I'm riding along. It is the perfect size for my point and shoot camera and a few other small things.

While warming up before the hills, I noticed that the road with the Incredible Disappearing Bike Lane has broken out in sharrows.
This is a sharrow.

It is supposed to encourage drivers of automobiles and riders of cycles to share the road.
This is a Google shot of the road with the intermittent bike lane. In this sat photo it has not yet been decorated with sharrows. The red arrows I scribbled in (I GIMP, do you?) show where some strange overgrowth from the sidewalk intrudes into where the bike lane should be.

I do not know what happened here, but I'll go ahead and imagine a complete lack of communication with the subdivision-planning-entity and the road-planning-entity.

Now, in other news:

Redbuds are out!

So are lots and lots of walkers.

Will try for a two-fer this weekend. I'll keep you posted.

05 April 2011

Are we lost yet?

Ride #59
Tuesday, April 5th
About 15 miles around and around and up and down Placerville

We tried to get to Camino, but we got a little lost, saw hills, climbed them, turned around and sailed back down. Played in traffic, enjoyed a rail trail. Waved at lots of peds and cars.  Had fun. I think my neck is a little sunburned.

We used the 3 mile segment of the El Dorado railtrail, including a fantastic trestle bridge over Weber Creek.

That's Weber waaaaaaaaaaay down there.

The trail dumps you out on Forni road, which has no bike lane, but you can go out of your way onto Ray Lawyer and that does. Have a bikelane that is. And it is a biiiiig downhill.

Some new bike lane (full of glass and rocks and bolts and other garbage) in Placerville.

The cool snail-like overcrossing (for Peds And Bikes AND horses!) at Bedford.
This is looking up through the overcrossing's structure. Feels like inside!

I think this sign is lying and we should have taken this road.

But we ended up climbing up Bedford and then turning around and screaming (I was literally screaming with fear. Screaming on the inside) down Bedford. My brakes got HOT 'cause I'm a big fat CHICKEN and I braked most of the way.

We went back UP Ray Lawyer. I don't know how many times we stopped to rest. But it was frequently.

We tried to stop at the library for water but it was not open yet, so we amused ourselves chatting bike mechanics with a fellow who was waiting for the library to open.

I've tried to record where we went today, I'm not sure I got it right. But I can tell you it was fun!

03 April 2011

Crusin' in the sun

Ride #58
Sunday, April 4th
12 or so miles on the American River

My sweetheart and I loaded up the 'cycles and hit the road. We decided on a flat ride today. Him because he had not been out for a while and me because I was still feeling yesterday's little bitty mini hammer-fest.

Speaking of hammers, I saw two Hammerin' Wheels jerseys today! (That's one of the bike groups to which I belong). Yay!

So we cruised along, himself in front and me trailing along behind. We stopped a couple of times to mess with his seat angle/height. In that process, I noticed he has a shock seatpost, which I think could be stiffer. So I'll take the seatpost out and see if I can figure out how to (if I can) stiffen it up a little bit. I think the changes he made were for the better. If I can't figure out the seatpost shock, I'll head down to Bicycle Planet and they can help me out.

I resisted the urge to say "A recumbent would not have that problem". But I thought it really hard!

While we were taking a break at Wm Pond, we chatted with a fellow who, it turns out, lives not too far from us. He's a retired gent who regularly goes up and down Green Valley road, and likes to do 100 miles days as often as he can. A great role model for both of us! So I am now determined to try crawling up GV road from Folsom and seeing how close to home I can get. It is ONLY a gain of over 1000 feet. When I get pooped out, I'll turn around and fly back down to the car.

I had only 115 miles for March, I had more in  February. However, all the rides in March but one were 12 miles or more. So, I still have not met my goal of a 20+ miler every week, but I'm getting closer. The weather is firmly in Spring here, so that ought to help. BUT I have a lot of stuff to do this month, so we'll see.

So here's the route (this map is backwards, but you get the idea)

02 April 2011

Clean shiny lungs

Ride #57
Saturday, April 2nd
30 miles with the usual suspects, from Folsom to William Pond and back again, American River Bike Trail and Nimbus trail.

Time once again for the 1st Saturday ride with the recumbent folks. I am getting faster although my average speed is up by just half a mile. BUT (and this is a big but - kind of like mine. Urk. Nevermind) today I managed an average speed for 8 miles of 13mph. Whoo! What does this mean? That I could see ahead of me the rest of the group. Like a carrot dangling ahead of me. AND that I was huffing and puffing like nobody's business. AND that I was pretty sure I'd die. But I did not. I do have well exercised lungs. Of course after that I was all tuckered out.

The turkeys were tuckered as well since all the toms were in display mode.

They did deign to move. Eventually.

Turkeys are about eye-level on a recumbent. Interesting and a little creepy. Do I want to know that much about turkeys? Maybe not.

Boaters out as well today.

Today's ride officially starts and ends at Wm. Pond (Discovery Park is still flooded from spring rains (a normal thing) so we've been going to Folsom the last few months. I decided today to START in Folsom and meet the group at Wm. Pond. It worked out OK since I was warmed up when the pack took off at about 15mph.
So this means I parked in Folsom. In the parking structure (yes, there is only one structure in Folsom). It was very full, as full as I've seen it yet, so I got to park at the very top level. And ride down down down and around around around to the exit. Going up was fun also. Normally I won't do that, but ... it was fun.

It turns out the Sacramento Fit folks were out in force today: they decided to come down to my neck of the woods to run/powerwalk around Lake Natomas, a nice 12 mile route. And that's why the structure was full! So there were packs of peds and aid stations and everything. They are a really nice and well organized bunch of people.

On Thursday I took off my chain, cleaned it, added a section to make it a little longer, and moved my boom out 1/2 an inch. My knees were happier than the last time I rode but still tired today. I'll take it easy for a few days and see how they do.

I had another incident of my chain dropping between the rings when shifting. Everybody tells me "that shouldn't happen, the chainrings should be close enough together to prevent that". Duh. Well, folks. It does. Comes of swapping out parts here and there. But it happens ONLY when I am not paying attention and this is ONLY the third time. The first time I had no clue how to fix it and had to spend 15 minutes scratching my head. Today it took longer to get my latex gloves on then it did to move the chain. So I ain't gonna worry 'bout it right now.