29 September 2011

Don't ask me, I'm not in charge

Ride #112

Thursday, September 29th

21 miles on the American River Parkway

So excited!
Another assistant organizer for the casual bike group I belong to has started posting rides.
He says it is because his doctor says he should get exercise more often than 2 times a week (and that's true for everybody: even you, dear reader) so he figured if he was going to go on a ride then he might as well post it for the group.

We started at Watt avenue and went West to the very end of the trail, mile 0. I've been there before but I do not regularly ride this section of the trail.
Our leader has lived in this area for 60 years so he knew everything about everything. It was great having a guided tour of what was over the hill and out of sight of the trail.

This trail runs along the American River and this river tends to flood in the spring. The bike trail used to run closer to the river (which I did not know) and it was rebuilt a little farther away in some sections.

Old trail segment

We got to ride on an old section on a detour. The levee is being worked on, so that's why the detour.

Yes, the tree really is that large

Discovery Park, the far point of our ride, is a lovely large green park right on the river.
Little-raised drawbridge

All the bathrooms were locked (Ahhhhhhh! Crisis!) but the incredibly filthy porta johns were not. I think a shrub might have been less traumatizing.

We turned around and headed back, taking a break at a picnic table along the way that was in the shade.
I promptly got a flat tire (darn thorns) and demonstrated changing a tire for the two others on the ride. It was the rear tire and I'm very glad folks were there to hold the trike up when I was struggling to put the wheel back on. Two tries and it was ready to go!

I tried again (more successfully this time) to experiment with a more laid back posture. I found it more comfortable this time, so I think when I unfold my bike (I took the sedan today) and put it back together for the next ride I will use something between the most upright and the most laid back posture.

Next ride this weekend and it will be that 41 mile ride again! Yay!

27 September 2011

Sonoma Skeddaddle II

Ride #111

Monday September 26th 

8.5 miles around some vineyards in Sonoma County, California

We set out just before lunch, a picnic distributed among the various riders (I was in charge of the bread), toddler in tow, to visit as many wineries as we could before the inevitable 3.5 year old meltdown. We hoped for 3 winerys and would have settled for 1, so the 2 we visited was the perfect number.

Fappiono's was the first where they had both whites and reds to taste.

I surprised myself by choosing a rosé to take home. I am normally a red red red person.

We had a nice self-catered lunch accompanied by a bottle from the tasting room.

I successfully packed a bottle in one of my rear bags, and Mrs. Host's Mom's (the happy person toasting the camera) bottle in the other. The extra weight was noticeable, especially slogging up the hills to the next winery.

Our second visit was on Limerick Road, to Collins Vineyard, with a very talkative counterman who waived our tasting fees since we had arrived on bicycles.

Now with three bottles in my bags, the effect that had on my suspension, the realization that the toddler DID NOT want to leave the shade of a tree, AND the uphill dirt roads to the next two possible wineries, we made a wise decision and headed back.

I need a stiffer spring or some adjustment to my rear suspension for heavier loads than I usually carry (like for touring), and I also want to get a 22 tooth ring in front instead of my 26. The trike handled wonderfully  with the load, rolling down hills like it was on a greased track.

Tomorrow I head back to my usual life of local bike rides, and to getting ready for Foxy's in mid- October.

Sonoma Skedaddle I

Ride #110

Monday, September 26th
16 miles around Wimdsor and Healdsburg, California.

My usual small digital camera has a severe allergy to rechargeable batteries, so I'm using my phone for pictures.

I'm staying with some friends in Sonoma County this weekend.

My hosts' toddler had preschool this morning, so all four of us set off across Windsor to drop the child off.

My hosts take their child to school via bike whenever they can. She (the child) is loaded in the trailer with juice in one side pocket and toast in the other. I suppose it is easier to turn a trailer over and shake the crumbs out then it would be to invert a mini-van. AND this child will grow up with bicycling being a normal thing. Yay! 

Mr. Host went home with the trailer while Mrs. Host and I headed up to Healdsburg to stroll around the town square playing empty-pocketed tourists.

This bridge did have a sidewalk, but we took the lane to get across. Coming back, I thought the railroad bridge (that looks like this one) was our left turn but I figured it out eventually. That would have been amusing, but bumpy.

We did buy a loaf of bread for our upcoming picnic, then spent some time admiring the gazebo.

We also got some tasty pastries: she had an apricot cherry pocket and I had a delightfully gingery ginger cookie. We peered in the window of the fan museum, admired the vertical fountain (water and spoons) and then hopped back on our cycles to head back to the house.

We will wait there for Mrs. Host's mom to arrive, for Mr Host to retrieve little hostlet from school, to swap around bikes and trailers and bags and baskets, then off to our mini cycling wine tour.

I've decided that my phone is OK at taking pictures in broad daylight without too many funny shadows (what I expected) and that my phone will not do as my sole source of internet posting while on tour, since there seems to be some problems with photos, phones, uploading, and blogger. Not to mention that I would have no way of satisfactorily editing the photos. Looks like it might be netbook or tablet time.

24 September 2011


Ride #109 Saturday

September 24th

5 delightful miles in Windsor, California

I'm visiting friends in Sonoma county this weekend, so of course I brought my trike with me.

Since my friends have a toddler, dinner was quite early. We had plenty of time after to visit the park, chat with some neighbors, and visit two different pastures full of goats. The first pasture had fully interactive goats, happy to follow the toddler along the fence. The second set of goats were pretty boring, not even deigning to bleat.

I'm composing this post on my phone. All thumbos and other oddities will be corrected later. There. They've all been corrected so any strangeness that remains is on purpose.

I had a sproinging noise from the rear of.my trike when we set out on our ride and I had a momentary horrible thought that I'd broken a spoke! But it was just one of my rear fender stays, which I will fix properly tomorrow.

22 September 2011

Nap time

Ride #108

Thursday, September 22nd.

20 miles on the American River Bike Trail

The usual Tue/Thurs ride from the Fish Hatchery to Wm Pond. My friend with the trailer full of kids couldn't make it but another rider from the meetup group came. He's pretty fast, so I got a good workout. So good I came home and napped for 3 hours. I have a pretty rough life, ha ha. He's also getting ready for the metric at Foxy's.

I also had a flat. #5 I think. Who's counting? The right front tire. I'm glad the other rider was along since today was a "bad shoulder day" and I had trouble getting the tire back over the last little bit of rim. I think if I had spit on the rim, or used some lip balm on it it would have been easier. As usual, most passersby asked if we needed any help. Cyclists are great!

It took me a while to figure out the tire was going soft; all I noticed that it was getting hard to maintain my speed. Much different from the squirmy feeling of a rear flat. I finally was able to peer over the side of the trike to see the tire squashing out from under the wheel more than I expected. The fenders interfere with seeing the tire by just glancing to the side.

I find it easiest to flip the trike on its side to change a front tire. I dug all the stuff I needed out of the tool bag and stuffed it under the side of the trike on the ground (to keep from squashing the fender or mirror). Worked great. It is so nice to be able to work on the tire at a comfortable standing height.

Have you ever noticed how when someone is watching you are suddenly all thumbs? Its true! So I handed my fellow rider the leaky tube to flatten out (I'd inflated it to see if I could tell where the leak was - no luck, time to drown the tube) and knowing he was occupied with that made the 'all thumbs' go away.

I've decided that my tool kit needs to be stored somewhere else. I've had it hanging behind my seat, but it is kind of a pain to fetch it out when it is needed. So I might try attaching it to the rack instead. I had 4 tubes with me, 2 patched and 2 new. I chickened out and used a new tube. I've got to try one of my patched tubes sometime. Or I suppose I could just wait until ALL my tubes are patched then I'll have no choice.

We were out a 1/2 hour later than usual, but there was still plenty of wildlife: I was nearly nose to knee with a deer (my nose, her knee) on a corner and I also saw a turkey hen and some half-grown turklets? What is the right name for young turkeys, anyway? I like turklets so I'll keep it.

This weekend I'll be doing a one-day wine tour in Sonoma County. I wonder how many bottles I can carry on my trike?

Hic. Ish that ano'er win'ry? Wun'erful. Lesh go.

18 September 2011

Well, wouldya lookit that!

Ride #107
41 miles all over the place
Sunday, September 18th

This was another organized ride. I led it.
I put it together with my upcoming metric century in mind. I had planned to try for 47 miles, but decided to stop a little short.

4 other riders came out for this "tourist's pace" ride: one new to road bikes, one working toward a sprint triathlon, another road-biker, and a friend from the casual bicycling group. For various reasons everybody stopped after 22 miles. I kept on rolling for another 19 miles.

We spent most of our time on bike paths with a little section on some of Folsom's nice roads. We worked hard for the first 12 miles, riding up to Beals Point and then up the Folsom Crossing bridge. One of my rest stops had to be altered since the bathrooms at Briggs Park were locked! But the grocery store across the street was a handy alternate.
From the grocery, we hopped back onto city streets and played in traffic for a while.
I think we were a little relieved to get back on the bike trail, it was certainly quieter.
The next rest stop was at a state park boat launch area near the Nimbus Dam.
Then I stopped (by myself at this point) just past Sunrise, then again at Wm. Pond where I decided it would be wiser to make that my turnaround point. So I did, stopping again near Sunrise, then back to the car, pleasantly tired but not whining.
Yay for no whining.

I got home and ate 3 pieces of cold pizza and took a 4 hour nap.

Ok, so maybe this was a long ride!

I saw a handful of two-wheeled recumbents, a hand trike, a guy on a handbrake-equipped longboard (skateboard) being towed by his two absolutely gleeful dogs, and a bike like no bike I've seen before.
Let's see if I can describe it. It had two wheels, I think equal in size but I'm not sure. Feet below butt (so not recumbent). It looked like the handlebars were up under his chin, supported by what looked like a metal tee-pee. I don't think it was a tall bike (go look in wiki) but it might have been. If I see it again I will turn around, pursue, and shoot! (photo). I did not see the unicyclist, but that's OK.

Here's the map, and there's more blog below.

Instead of riding on Thursday, I decided to crawl all around my trike with wrench and list of torques in hand, checking and tightening if necessary. Now, my little torque wrench does not go past 15nm, so there are some things I can't check. And I will admit I don't really understand the suspension terminology, so I checked what I was sure of and poked around at the stuff I was not.
The rear suspension was the only thing I found that needed a little tightening. Oh and the fender mounts.

I also put my front fenders on. This is how it went:
Find fenders in garage. Look for bolts that WERE taped to the fenders and are no longer, find replacement bolts.
Remove left wheel, put on fender. Put wheel back on, check for fender placement. OK.
Remove wheel, Remove fender. Add locktite (blue) to fender bolts, put fender back on. Put wheel back on.

Repeat for right side, with an additional step of 'wiggle fender mount to correct position' and repeat all.

Oh. and I forgot to mention that before I was even putting on the fenders, I noticed my left tire was a rather low. Look! A goathead! From my garage?! No clue.
Replaced the tube with one of my patched ones.

After I put both fenders on I decided to test ride.
&*(@^%#*? the left tire's flat! Changing the tube with the fender in place is not bad.

ttttttthhhhhhaaaat's all folks!

13 September 2011

The Tale of the Teleporting Tortoise

Ride #106

nce upon a time, not too far away (as Terrestrial distances go) and not terribly long ago, a strange three-wheeled amalgam of trike and human set off on a short journey.

This was supposed to be a short trip, and it was. It could have turned into a long strange trip, but this is supposed to be a family friendly blog, so forget that.

Normally this three-wheeled contraption conquers canals, tears up trails, and generally zestfully zips along at a healthy 12-14mph. Today, however, the contraption, hereafter known for the duration of this story as Tortoise, lumbered along at an absolutely blazing 8.4 mph average. There was one redeeming moment down hill at 21mph, but that did not make up for previous and subsequent lollygagging, loafing, and general laziness.

Perhaps Tortoise (and I will learn to spell that by the end of this tale) was a little tired. Perhaps Tortoise's sore tooth was troubling her, or maybe (and most likely) Tortoise was just enjoying the comfortable 73 degrees, for once not feeling like she had to go fast to get a breeze to cool off from going so fast.

As Tortoise loafed along, she noticed vegetation for a while.

Then she was distracted (tortoises are often distractable, but most non-tortoises don't notice this because noticing the distractability requires paying attention to the tortoise for quite a while and the observers tend to fall asleep. Are you asleep?) by Folsom's lovely bicycle infrastructure. So Tortoise stopped and took some more pictures.

Coming back up towards the end of her ride, Tortoise started thinking about, nay drooling about, a nice warm latte with foam to tickle her nose and caffeine to wake her up a bit and warm milk to cheer her up a bit. So Tortoise took a shortcut, skipping the duck pond altogether.

Quite soon after this attempt to speed up her ride by judicious editing (and I've tried to tell Tortoise that such edition does not count as going faster, but rather might be considered a form of cheating) she was passed for the SECOND time by a kind fellow who mentioned the tantalizing possibility that Tortoises teleported!

Now, I've tried and tried and tried (and eventually fell asleep waiting for Tortoise's response) to tell Tortoise that teleportation is not really possible, despite all the scifi books devoured (not literally! but literarily) by her. Tortoise refuses to relinquish this idea so I suppose this is

The End

The wine ride was canceled so I've come up with a daringly daft yet deranged idea of a 47 mile ride to get ready for Foxy's Fall Century (I'm doing the metric) in October.
Stay tuned.

11 September 2011

'Round the lake, again!

Ride #105
Sunday, September 11th.

Around Lake Natoma

I never get tired of this ride. Especially when I'm out with a bunch of people. And today was a particularly awesome day since the heatwave went away and it never got over 74 while we were out.

This was an organized ride with a local Meetup group. The tandem folks came again (still no disk brakes) and we saw another tandem along the way. And I saw only one other recumbent (two wheels). Our group was made of folks on casual bikes and a handful of stray roadies.
One of the road bikes was a sharp looking Cannondale. It (and the rider) disappeared 1/2 way through the ride (which I was later told he tends to do.) I hope he is not still circling the lake!

Ooooh oooh! And I forgot to mention this in my last post: a Unicycle! Yep, an intrepid fellow on one rather large wheel. I've seem him twice on the north side of Lake Natoma, once on the way down from Beals Point and than again today on the long flat stretch running right near the lake.

Our group collectively had one flat and one slipped chain. The flat was in the parking lot at the beginning of the ride so there was a floor pump handy and the slipped chain (on the trail) was an easy fix. The chain-person went off the local bike shop after the ride to see about stopping this from happening again.

I decided to ditch the phone for keeping track of my 11 participants and went to paper and pencil. Much better!

Here's a pic of some of the group making their way up to the Hazel bridge. If you look carefully you might tell the lead bike has two left knees. That's the tandem.

For once, everyone in a picture is part of our group. How'd that happen?!

I tried mounting my camera facing backwards this time, using an old Manfrotto Super Clamp on my seat frame. That's the thing with all the levers sticking out from my seat.

Worked well. I have to operate it by feel since the camera sits right beside my head and I can't see the buttons. It leaves me with one hand to steer and that's a good thing. It also means (assuming I got it level to begin with) my pictures do not need straightening.

At least one more scheduled ride this week, a wine ride on the weekend (hoo boy!) and who knows what else in between?

08 September 2011

Breakfast. It's not just for breakfast anymore?

Ride #104

Thursday, September 8th
20 miles on the ARBT

Neither I nor my friend with the trailer full of kids were feeling like superwomen today. We dragged ourselves along the trail about 2mph slower than usual. Hey, but at least we got out. We decided that we had failed to eat our usual breakfasts and that was our problem. Yeah. That's it. For sure.

I got to Wm Pond ahead of her, as usual (but slower), and waited there in the early morning quiet, people-watching.

Imagine a quiet park, cool in the shade, not quite yet uncomfortably hot in the sun, well watered green grass, shady picnic tables, cyclists coming and going.

Sometimes you are the only person in sight, sometimes there are 3 or 4 groups of cyclists, some chatting quietly about food (salad with heirloom tomatoes, jalapenos, and peaches!), the best way to wipe off grease (baby wipes), sprains vs breaks. Conversations are quiet, languid, their tempo anticipating the heat of the day.

One group is fixing their third flat of the morning, another chatting under a tree: a reflexive seeking out of shade, born from the dry hot air.

Along the trail comes a group of cyclists, whirring along. Some stop, with a  clacking of road shoes on pavement, then the snapping of cleats and the clicking of the shift into a useable gear as they continue on.

Quiet again, except for an intermittent crow.

My friend caught up, we all ate a snack, then turned around and slogged back.

My glutes were KILLING me by the end of the ride. Do I need a different foam pad in the seat? Should I tighten up the straps on the mesh? What's up!? Are my muscles worn out from the Beals climb the other day?

My theory for complaining glutes goes like this: For me, at least, the glutes (for sure maximus, but maybe medius also?) are the muscles I most use to propel myself and my trike. Speeding and climbing hills uses them up faster. Also, these poor abused muscles are what I'm sitting on when pedaling. Sitting on them squashes them a bit, depriving them of the nice oxygen-filled blood that keeps them working well. Hardworking oppressed glutes will naturally complain. Gluteal Muscles of the World Unite!

I didn't get any pictures today, batteries were flat again. Sigh. Maybe I should go back to manual-everything film? No, no instant gratification then.
I found that swapping the positions of the two AAs that run my camera will give me another shot or two, since the two batteries are not equally drawn upon. However, the nice shot of a gentleman sitting contemplatively at a picnic table with his beautiful road bike became decomposed (the guy got up and left, the nerve!) by the time I got the batteries swapped out.

I'm taking a group around Lake Natoma this weekend, and hope to get out another day as well. Yes, I'll be refilling my rechargeable battery stash.

05 September 2011

My day off

Ride #103

Monday, September 5th (Labor Day)
32.5 miles

Being 'self unemployed' you'd think every day was a day off. Not so. Especially after hosting a weekend music party. Guests arrived around 6pm on Friday and the last ones left sometime on Monday.
I bailed out Monday morning for a self-indulgent ride so I can't tell you exactly when they left.

I hit the trail at my old favorite place, in a shopping center in Folsom. I wound down through the bike paths in Folsom, stopping here and there to fiddle with my camera.
I was trying some trick shots involving clamping my old portable "clamp anywhere" Manfrotto tripod to various bits of my bike. I did have some trouble getting the video to run consistently, and I ran through many batteries! HD video is a real juice-sucker.
I've reviewed the video and there is not much there I can use. Oh well. The clamp is nice and heavy and quite stable so the idea is OK, the execution needs work. I just need to figure out how many minutes of video one set of fresh-charged AAs will give me and plan accordingly.

I popped out on the American River Bike Trail near the Folsom outlet mall, then took a break at the State Park near the CSUS Aquatic center for half a ham and cheese sandwich. Then I decided to go up Sunrise to get a tasty Jamba Juice treat. I debated heading over past Wm Pond to the CSUS campus, but returned instead to Folsom via the Hazel Bridge and the north side of Lake Natoma. I slogged my way up to Beals point, ate the other half of my ham and cheese, and chatted for a while with a woman on a trike with an e-assist motor. Cool stuff!

I whipped down Beals, took the Folsom Crossing and a hidden bike path back over to where I had parked my car. I discovered there a note stuck under my windshield wiper from Al, the fellow I'd met last year in this parking lot (mentioned here, and here). We were on the same schedule for bike rides when I first got my trike but lately we'd diverged. Turns out he is looking to buy a recumbent trike, and wanted to pick my brains. I earned my coffee dispensing opinions of dubious value (thanks for the cuppa joe, Al!) and I hope I didn't confuse him further.

During the week of cleaning in preparation for the house party, I rinsed my bike off (I sweat a lot and salt is corrosive) and finished my light bar. I need a way to clamp it to my trike, and Al had the answer. I need to find a part and I can debut my light bar! Yay!

Today I gave that UnderArmour shirt a work out. I think I like it. It really does a terrific job of wicking moisture away. I got chilled enough in the shade at Jamba Juice that I put my windbreaker on.

Here's my ludicrous loop from today.