24 May 2011

Loops, schmoops

Ride #77

Tuesday, May 24th
7 or so miles in Folsom

I parked in a slightly different section of the same-ol parking lot and, since I was feeling like a vehicle today, decided to slog up East Natomas Rd and then up some more on Sophia. I had gone this way last on New Year's Day, in the rain and cold, to shoot the bike club's epic hill-climbing challenge.
The roads felt totally different on a sunny weekday in May!
Lots more traffic. Not so bad on Natomas where there are generally two lanes and the bike lane is all asphalt, not so reassuring on Sophia, where the bike lane is 1/2 asphalt and 1/2 concrete curb extension.

This screen-shot from Google Maps shows what I mean. There is a  bump where asphalt meets concrete.
Even the label has to extend onto the concrete!
And there is only one lane in each direction on Sophia, so unless I'm riding with one wheel on concrete and 1 or 2 on asphalt, cars have to swerve around me. Generally across the double yellow line. Or at least they think they have to swerve.

So why am I whining? I'll tell you.
(you knew I was going to say that, didn't you!?)
1) abrupt differences in height along the direction of travel (like the asphalt/concrete line on Sophia) are GREAT for grabbing a wheel and causing a spill, no matter 2 or 3 wheels.
2) the paint used to mark off bike lanes is generally slippery, even in dry weather.
3) the above mentioned swerving of passing cars

My trike is about 6 inches wider than the handlebars of my old hybrid bike. On standard width bike lanes, all three wheels fit nicely within the lines. On Sophia, I have several choices. And unlike a buffet, not all the choices are great. Wait. Buffets aren't all good either. nevermind.
As I was saying ... I can run with my right wheel on concrete, my left wheel on asphalt, and my rear wheel (the center, if you will) hopefully avoiding the bump. Not great, especially since some sections of the concrete/asphalt interface are sprouting 3ft tall weeds. And any slight course correction (to avoid a bolt, or a manhole cover, or a diviot, or a grate) risks catching my rear wheel on the weed-infested bump. Which, when I'm rolling down hill at 25 miles per, is not fab. On the plus side, I'm contained in the bike lane.
Another option is to avoid the bike lane all together and take the lane. Not safe in a 50mph zone.
Or I can run with my left wheel just outside the bike lane stripe, and my right wheel to the left of the concrete. This is what I did, which still led to swerving by passing cars. They might have swerved anyway; not being used to seeing a recumbent trike in the area.

By the time I was starting up the hill on Sophia to Green Valley, I was tired of the bike lane and tired of the traffic, so I turned around at a usefully placed cross-street and headed back to the shopping center.

And this is where the loop is not my friend. I'm getting closer and closer to my car, my feet are tired from pedaling, my butt is tired of climbing, and I'm sooooo close to my car.
But I've only done 7 miles!
Well, I could just stop and walk around for a little while and keep going.
But there's my car, right over there.
I could do some more hills - leading to cardio and a happy physician. And a happy me.
Ooooo, there's a Jamba Juice. And my car.
I should not park near the Jamba Juice.
I should not ride past my car when I'm not finished with my ride.

I bailed on my ride, had a pomegranate smoothy and a low fat muffin, loaded my trike in the car, and went home.

On the upside, the trike is already in the car, I'll be down in Folsom again tomorrow, and I can easily go for a 'make-up' ride.

I moved my boom out 1/4 of an inch, the beast still shifted well. I'll see how my knees feel and maybe take it out another 1/4 inch next ride.

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